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Which actor should be Star of the Month but never will be?


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I think they're limited with Colman, because he made several films at Paramount that are not in the Turner Library. They probably struggled to come up with enough titles for a SUTS day.

He made many silents, which are not Paramount, for example White Sister and Romola, which he made with Lillian Gish, both directed by Henry King. Good prints of those exist.

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He made many silents, which are not Paramount, for example White Sister and Romola, which he made with Lillian Gish, both directed by Henry King. Good prints of those exist.

But do we expect TCM to air (in one month) IF I WERE KING; THE LIGHT THAT FAILED; A DOUBLE LIFE; THE LATE GEORGE APLEY; and CHAMPAGNE FOR CAESAR...? His silents would probably be grouped for one of the four evenings, and his MGM/RKO pictures would fit into a second evening-- then what about the other half of the month?

 

This is why someone like June Allyson will get a third tribute-- it's easier and cheaper to round up her MGM programmers and throw leftover cuts of meat into the soup than to go to the store and get some prime rib (Colman).

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But do we expect TCM to air (in one month) IF I WERE KING; THE LIGHT THAT FAILED; A DOUBLE LIFE; THE LATE GEORGE APLEY; and CHAMPAGNE FOR CAESAR...? His silents would probably be grouped for one of the four evenings, and his MGM/RKO pictures would fit into a second evening-- then what about the other half of the month?

 

This is why someone like June Allyson will get a third tribute-- it's easier and cheaper to round up her MGM programmers and throw leftover cuts of meat into the soup than to go to the store and get some prime rib (Colman).

I think they can do better than that -- Colman's silents tend to be long (I know cause I programmed a couple of them once). White Sister at 143 minutes and Romola at 120 minutes can fill an evening; and there are many more silents.

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Over the past few years, TCM has managed to broadcast most of Colman's early talkie Goldwyns: Raffles, Devil to Pay, Unholy Garden, Arrowsmith, Cynara and The Masquerader. I would hope that they could get access to them again if they had a tribute to him.

 

The two talkie Goldwyns that the channel has not broadcast, however, were Bulldog Drummond and Condemned. The latter is a minor Devil Island's prison drama, but the former is a terrific film with Colman in great dashing form playing the role with charm and a breezy Fairbanksian assurance. It's particularly a shame that TCM never secured rights to Drummond since it is, without question, the most entertaining of his Goldwyns.

 

It would be a real triumph if they could show, not only Bulldog Drummond, but Colman's immensely entertaining Fox followup, Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back, with a beautiful Loretta Young as leading lady and Warner Oland as his diabolical, dastardly nemisis. Tongue-in-cheek melodrama, with a distinctly comic flavour, doesn't get much better than this.

 

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Gad zooks! Drummond's really got himself in a bind this time. So how's he going to light that cigarette, I wonder?

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I think they can do better than that -- Colman's silents tend to be long (I know cause I programmed a couple of them once). White Sister at 143 minutes and Romola at 120 minutes can fill an evening; and there are many more silents.

Would people accept having just two films on one evening devoted to a Star of the Month? It is usually three to six titles each week the Star is featured.

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Would people accept having just two films on one evening devoted to a Star of the Month? It is usually three to six titles each week the Star is featured.

I have to confess, I haven't paid much attention to the SOTM practices. Despite my love of TCM, I find the Star Worship to be my least favorite aspect of the channel. Even in RO's intros, it's more about stars than movies. I guess this is a personality driven age, but I wish it were less the case. But I still think there are enough Colman films to fill the SOTM quota. There are enough silents -- including a silent Beau Geste -- to fill the whole month!

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I have to confess, I haven't paid much attention to the SOTM practices. Despite my love of TCM, I find the Star Worship to be my least favorite aspect of the channel. Even in RO's intros, it's more about stars than movies. 

Completely agree. And it's usually some bit of gossip about the stars, with very little attention given to production or technical aspects of the filmmaking process. I think Ben is a (tiny) bit better in this regard. But most of the wraparounds are fluff and 15% of them contain errors.

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Completely agree. And it's usually some bit of gossip about the stars, with very little attention given to production or technical aspects of the filmmaking process. I think Ben is a (tiny) bit better in this regard. But most of the wraparounds are fluff and 15% of them contain errors.

 

I often wonder if they would expand the intros and extros from, what, about 2 to 3 minutes each to maybe twice that about of time each, if perhaps we'd get much more in-depth information imparted to us.

 

(...well, unless that "15% of errors" would ALSO expand correspondingly to 30% of errors TOO of course, and THEN just forget the whole thing!!!) ;)

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Absolutely agree that there should be more attention to supporting actors...

 

James Gleason made enough movies to take up two SUTS days; David Thomson sings the praises of Elisha Cook, Jr. whom I watched with delight last night in The Maltese Falcon.  What about Frank McHugh...a steady James Cagney colleague.  Good character actors complete a picture, fill it out and add to its composition.  More characters for awhile, less Stars. 

 

Who wouldn't want a Jack Carson Day, a James Gleason Day.  Their talents crossed genres and in some cases would provide more variety to a Star of the Day than say a solid day of James Cagney.

 

Not to consider character actors "STARS" is rather narrow minded on TCMs part. 

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Absolutely agree that there should be more attention to supporting actors...

 

James Gleason made enough movies to take up two SUTS days; David Thomson sings the praises of Elisha Cook, Jr. whom I watched with delight last night in The Maltese Falcon.  What about Frank McHugh...a steady James Cagney colleague.  Good character actors complete a picture, fill it out and add to its composition.  More characters for awhile, less Stars. 

 

Who wouldn't want a Jack Carson Day, a James Gleason Day.  Their talents crossed genres and in some cases would provide more variety to a Star of the Day than say a solid day of James Cagney.

 

Not to consider character actors "STARS" is rather narrow minded on TCMs part. 

 

Char

 

Absolutely agree that there should be more attention to supporting actors...

 

James Gleason made enough movies to take up two SUTS days; David Thomson sings the praises of Elisha Cook, Jr. whom I watched with delight last night in The Maltese Falcon.  What about Frank McHugh...a steady James Cagney colleague.  Good character actors complete a picture, fill it out and add to its composition.  More characters for awhile, less Stars. 

 

Who wouldn't want a Jack Carson Day, a James Gleason Day.  Their talents crossed genres and in some cases would provide more variety to a Star of the Day than say a solid day of James Cagney.

 

Not to consider character actors "STARS" is rather narrow minded on TCMs part. 

 

Character actors are NOT 'stars'.     So instead of having characters as part of SOTM,   I recommend a Support Players of the Month type tribute.    Take one evening a week and feature 3 -4 movies for a specific character actor,  with a different one each week.

 

This allows for 4 - 5 supporting actors per month.   The tribute needs to feature that many actors since there are so many supporting players that need this type of tribute.     (e.g.  if only one supporting player was featured per month it would take over 20 years to get to some of them).

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Response to JamesJazzGuitar:  I believe your idea is sensational and an excellent solution to what a lot of the followers of this thread indicate is their interest.   So if most of us agree to these ideas and there is support for our characters how do we get TCM to listen to, or should I say read, our suggestions? You appear so knowledgeable about these and other items of interest on TCM you may have a suggestion that all of this thread could implement.

 

While I like "what a character" I always want more information and want to see more than snip its in some cases and to me, anyway some of these characters are better performers than some "stars" but that is just my opinion. 

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Char

 

 

Character actors are NOT 'stars'.     So instead of having characters as part of SOTM,   I recommend a Support Players of the Month type tribute.    Take one evening a week and feature 3 -4 movies for a specific character actor,  with a different one each week.

 

This allows for 4 - 5 supporting actors per month.   The tribute needs to feature that many actors since there are so many supporting players that need this type of tribute.     (e.g.  if only one supporting player was featured per month it would take over 20 years to get to some of them).

Right. This has been suggested before, and is an great idea. In fact, there are enough excellent character actors to do this 2 or 3 months in a row.

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With respect, JJG, I think character actors are the REAL stars!

 

I love characters actors \ supporting players just as much as you do but they are NOT stars.   Doing so makes the term 'stars' meaningless.    This is the same type of folly as when one says 'everyone is beautiful':  if everyone is X,  than no one is X. 

 

Star of the Month is theme based programming created for marketing purposes.   So for TCM to do feature one character actor as a star would be like an Italian restaurant featuring Mexican burritos and marketing this in their ads.    I love burritos but that isn't the point.  The point is that a marketing routine has to match the theme that is being marketed.

 

Instead TCM should either drop Star of the Month or limited it to every other month,  and put in place SPOTM.   Supporting Players of the month.    

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Character actors are NOT 'stars'.     So instead of having characters as part of SOTM,   I recommend a Support Players of the Month type tribute.    Take one evening a week and feature 3 -4 movies for a specific character actor,  with a different one each week.

 

This allows for 4 - 5 supporting actors per month.   The tribute needs to feature that many actors since there are so many supporting players that need this type of tribute.     (e.g.  if only one supporting player was featured per month it would take over 20 years to get to some of them).

 

My only squabble with that is, one evening to feature a character actor doesn't seem very special. Many of these actors have made over 100 films, and a single evening would only give us 5 or 6. I'm sure we get more James Gleason films than that every month, anyway, just here and there. I mean, these are some of the most prolific actors of all, who appeared in a big variety of films, more so than almost any "star" you could name, which means they would hold our interest longer, too. Why give such small notice to such big, diverse careers?

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My only squabble with that is, one evening to feature a character actor doesn't seem very special. Many of these actors have made over 100 films, and a single evening would only give us 5 or 6. I'm sure we get more James Gleason films than that every month, anyway, just here and there. I mean, these are some of the most prolific actors of all, who appeared in a big variety of films, more so than almost any "star" you could name, which means they would hold our interest longer, too. Why give such small notice to such big, diverse careers?

 

Characters actors are featured by TCM each and every day in each and every movie that is shown.     As you noted with Gleason TCM viewers to get to see films he is in regardless of any tribute.    The point here:  A tribute is NOT needed for TCM to show movies with character actors like James Gleason.

 

So it comes down to:  what is the goal of a tribute?   To feature more films with said character actor OR to have some type of tribute (call out),  to bring attention to a character actor that TCM already shows fairly often (since they are in so many films)?

 

It appears you're more interested in some type of tribute more so then seeing their films, per se (since in your example,  you admit you see the films these actors are in  with NO special tribute for said actor). 

 

Anyhow,  my basic point was simple math:   The MORE films TCM features in a character actor's tribute the LESS character actors will get tributes.    

 

So if a character actors was to get a 24 hour tribute,  if not more,  how many character actors should TCM feature in a month and how many months a year?    i.e.  spell out your wishes.  

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I love characters actors \ supporting players just as much as you do but they are NOT stars.   Doing so makes the term 'stars' meaningless.    This is the same type of folly as when one says 'everyone is beautiful':  if everyone is X,  than no one is X. 

 

Star of the Month is theme based programming created for marketing purposes.   So for TCM to do feature one character actor as a star would be like an Italian restaurant featuring Mexican burritos and marketing this in their ads.    I love burritos but that isn't the point.  The point is that a marketing routine has to match the theme that is being marketed.

 

Instead TCM should either drop Star of the Month or limited it to every other month,  and put in place SPOTM.   Supporting Players of the month.    

Well, I certainly understand your point. I think it's semantics. I think someone like Beulah Bondi shines more brightly as a star than many of those whose names are above the title. I think it would offer a different way of grouping films and also providing diverse programming.  And of course, the "stars" by your definition would be present in the film as well!

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It appears you're more interested in some type of tribute more so then seeing their films, per se (since in your example,  you admit you see the films these actors are in  with NO special tribute for said actor). 

 

Anyhow,  my basic point was simple math:   The MORE films TCM features in a character actor's tribute the LESS character actors will get tributes.  

 

I get to see films with every actor whether or not it's during a tribute, but if we're going to tribute somebody I'd say we should get a good retrospective of their work. But ultimately my wishes are whatever would get more rare films on the schedule. I don't think a smaller tribute would do justice to any character actor, really, but if they were selective in the films I'd be fine with it. If they spotlighted Roland Young I'd hope for something less common than Topper and The Philadelphia Story, for example. An extended tribute just holds more promise by sheer volume, I suppose.

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Well, I certainly understand your point. I think it's semantics. I think someone like Beulah Bondi shines more brightly as a star than many of those whose names are above the title. I think it would offer a different way of grouping films and also providing diverse programming.  And of course, the "stars" by your definition would be present in the film as well!

 

Sorry but to me it is NOT semantics.   A star is an actor that gets billing before the title or if all actors are given billing after the title a star is listed either alone or with one or two other leading players.  A leading player's  (star) contract were often very specific about the type of billing they would get.    Supporting players didn't have those type of clauses in their contracts.     Of course than there is the marketing of movies;   Stars were given more marketing;  How their face and name were placed on movie posters,  studio still pictures taken and released along with the movies,  how the studio would work with the press to feature and promote them etc....

 

I do agree that if TCM would change their programming to be LESS star driven it would lead to more diverse programming.   e.g. if TCM was to feature Warner Brother supporting players of the 30s,   such programming would feature all the great WB supporting players as well as the major WB stars (Cagney, Davis, Flynn,  DeHavilland, etc...).     This would be more diverse than when TCM features only ONE of those major stars.

 

So I'm all for less star driven programming.  I'm the one that came up with the idea of Supporting Players of the Month  (I'm sure I wasn't the first one to suggest this but just one of the latest people to do so).

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Stars associated with Universal (and pre-1948 Paramount)...

 

Bela Lugosi

Gloria Stuart

Maria Montez

Gloria Jean

Deanna Durbin

Abbott & Costello

Evelyn Ankers

Anne Gwynne

Anne Nagel

Peggy Moran

Lon Chaney, Jr.

Hugh Herbert

Dick Foran

Robert Paige

Patric Knowles

 

Fay Wray

Nancy Carroll

Richard Arlen

Sylvia Sidney

Fredric March

Gary Cooper (1930s)

Randolph Scott (1930s)

George Raft

Frances Dee

W.C. Fields

Charles Ruggles

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Stars associated with Universal (and pre-1948 Paramount)...

 

Bela Lugosi

Gloria Stuart

Maria Montez

Gloria Jean

Deanna Durbin

Abbott & Costello

Evelyn Ankers

Anne Gwynne

Anne Nagel

Peggy Moran

Lon Chaney, Jr.

Hugh Herbert

Dick Foran

Robert Paige

Patric Knowles

 

Fay Wray

Nancy Carroll

Richard Arlen

Sylvia Sidney

Fredric March

Gary Cooper (1930s)

Randolph Scott (1930s)

George Raft

Frances Dee

W.C. Fields

Charles Ruggles

 

I associate Patric Knowles and George Raft more with Warner Brothers than Universal;  i.e. their best work was while they were under contact with WB.

 

Anyhow,  we all wish TCM would lease more Universal films so TCM could show more of the actors that were under contact with the studio.

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