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Whales of August Tonight


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Swithin, since you were an acquaintance of Sir John's, I thought I'd share this with you. This is a page from an autograph album I found in a Toronto antique store many years ago. There were about 40 show biz signatures in this little book, among them this one:

 

Sir John helped me with a couple of projects I worked on a while back. I never met him in person, it was all through the post, and via actors in my office ringing him for advice/information.  He had the oddest handwriting! In one of his letters to me, he opens by saying "I fear you will have trouble deciphering my handwriting..."

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Sir John helped me with a couple of projects I worked on a while back. I never met him in person, it was all through the post, and via actors in my office ringing him for advice/information.  He had the oddest handwriting! In one of his letters to me, he opens by saying "I fear you will have trouble deciphering my handwriting..."

Based on his signature, I can well believe that. I only figured out that it was Gielgud's signature because he added "Hamlet 1936", and that twigged my memory of his stage work.

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$45. These signatures were in the album, plus, among others, those of Tom Mix, Walter Huston, Bebe Daniels, Eddie Cantor, Buddy Ebsen, Leon Errol, Mary Pickford, Ramon Navarro, Olsen and Johnson (who included a comic sketch on their page), Colleen Moore, Olga Baclanova (of Freaks), Cliff Edwards (the future voice of Jiminey Cricket), and Rudy Vallee, among others.

 

I've been considering trying to sell this album lately, but not quite certain of the best way to go about it in order to make the most profit. Anyway, it's fun to breeze through the little album every now and then and feel that you're making some kind of contact with all these great luminaries of the stage and film past.

 

 

Oh, I didnt realize you bought it (DUH!) Not a bad price at all.....

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Sothern, well she's always good.  The first time I ever saw her was during the 1980's on nick at night ( they were showing her old tv series ).   I was only a teenager but I loved her tv show.  To me she was a tv star.   When TCM came around it was so eye opening to discover she was equally as good in movies.   I'm glad I finally got to see the "The Whales of August".  It is one of those movies you can revisit from time to time, a poignant swansong. 

 

After the airing of THE WHALES OF AUGUST, Robert Osborne mentioned that "some cable channel" began airing two of Ann Sothern's old TV series in the 1980s, which introduced her to a whole new audience. He also mentioned that Sothern was able to actually make some money from these airings since she owned the rights to the series. Many old sitcom actors ***cough*** Florence Henderson*** bemoan the fact they've never seen any money from the perpetual reruns of their series since no actors even thought about syndication rights back in the day. The owners of the series were the ones who raked it in from the syndication deals. 

 

Flash forward to the regular checks the stars of FRIENDS are getting from TV rerun airings and Netflix viewings.    

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After the airing of THE WHALES OF AUGUST, Robert Osborne mentioned that "some cable channel" began airing two of Ann Sothern's old TV series in the 1980s, which introduced her to a whole new audience. He also mentioned that Sothern was able to actually make some money from these airings since she owned the rights to the series. Many old sitcom actors ***cough*** Florence Henderson*** bemoan the fact they've never seen any money from the perpetual reruns of their series since no actors even thought about syndication rights back in the day. The owners of the series were the ones who raked it in from the syndication deals. 

 

Flash forward to the regular checks the stars of FRIENDS are getting from TV rerun airings and Netflix viewings.    

I covered this in the Ann Sothern's Legacy thread I did in late February and early march. The channel was Nickelodeon (Nick-at-Nite). But one thing Osborne was slightly mistaken about is that Ann did not own all of the first series, Private Secretary. It was still a big hit with audiences when she halted production. She owned 45% of it, and Jack Chertok owned the rest. Chertok was playing creative bookkeeping games, trying to rob her of the profits from the show, so she ended it. She then hooked up with Lucy and Desi, and formed a new company called Anso which co-produced The Ann Sothern Show at Desilu. I doubt she owned all of the second sitcom either, because Desi was an executive producer and it fell under the control of Desilu. She owned a hefty chunk of these shows, and yes, she made money on them in syndication-- but Osborne was generalizing and you cannot take what he says as authoritative fact. 

 

Another thing he said was that she got hepatitis after she left MGM. Not true. She was still under contract at MGM. Because of the discoloration of her skin, they could not put her on screen. So she kept doing the Maisie show on radio, which he did say-- but Maisie was owned, always, by MGM. So she did not leave MGM, get sick, then go back to MGM to keep doing Maisie on the radio. The truth is she continued to work for MGM, just in a different capacity. When her contract finally ended, she wanted to bring Maisie to TV, but they could not agree on terms. So she went into partnership with Chertok, which then backfired, and she then went into partnership with her friends the Arnazes.

 

I get that these wraparounds are short and Osborne obviously cannot go in depth on some of this. But for the casual viewer to accept that everything he is saying is 100% correct is a bit of a mistake. He is often generalizing, glossing over things, making the basic point but suggesting some things that are not exactly right.

 

So if we look at what Osborne was basically saying it was this-- after NANCY GOES TO RIO, she was off screen for a few years but managed to keep working. Also, she owned percentages of her shows and when they were rerun in the 1980s, it brought her a whole new audience, a financial windfall, and people like Lindsay Anderson re-interested in her for supporting roles in movies.

 

I am not slamming Osborne here. But I believe he is about 85% accurate. The rest of it you have to accept as him making a basic point but glossing over and embellishing a bit.

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Osborne was generalizing and you cannot take what he says as authoritative fact....I get that these wraparounds are short and Osborne obviously cannot go in depth on some of this. But for the casual viewer to accept that everything he is saying is 100% correct is a bit of a mistake. He is often generalizing, glossing over things, making the basic point but suggesting some things that are not exactly right.

 

I am not slamming Osborne here. But I believe he is about 85% accurate. The rest of it you have to accept as him making a basic point but glossing over and embellishing a bit.

I will still gladly take Osborne and whatever he has to say over that other person who occasionally introduces movies on the network any day, any time, any week, any year.

 

as far as I'm concerned: prop Os up and let 'em say whatever he wants to say, he's earned the right to be there and at this point I think the main thing that is keeping Bob alive and working is his passion for what he does (and the knowledge that there is currently no worthy successor on hand.)

 

I get no similar vibe of enthusiasm from that other person (who, while we're talking about mistakes, inaccuracies, and glossing over facts is every bit as guilty as Bob, only not in possession of any kind of resume or reason outsude of his surname to validate his continued presence and expense to the network.)

 

as far as I'm concerned, Osborne can show up sloppy drunk and introduce "The Philadelphia Story" right before they're showing "the lion in winter" up until the day he dies which (if there is indeed a God) won't be for another 50 years.

 

(thank you, it was so nice knowing you all and don't forget to tip your waiters.)

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I will still gladly take Osborne and whatever he has to say over that other person who occasionally introduces movies on the network any day, any time, any week, any year.

 

as far as I'm concerned: prop Os up and let 'em say whatever he wants to say, he's earned the right to be there and at this point I think the main thing that is keeping Bob alive and working is his passion for what he does (and the knowledge that there is currently no worthy successor on hand.)

 

I get no similar vibe of enthusiasm from that other person (who, while we're talking about mistakes, inaccuracies, and glossing over facts is every bit as guilty as Bob, only not in possession of any kind of resume or reason outsude of his surname to validate his continued presence and expense to the network.)

 

as far as I'm concerned, Osborne can show up sloppy drunk and introduce "The Philadelphia Story" right before they're showing "the lion in winter" up until the day he dies which (if there is indeed a God) won't be for another 50 years.

 

(thank you, it was so nice knowing you all and don't forget to tip your waiters.)

I don't want to slice and dice your comments, but I will address this part:

 

as far as I'm concerned: prop Os up and let 'em say whatever he wants to say

 

I could not disagree more with that statement. One of my degrees is in journalism and I worked in news for a bit (not like FredCDobbs)-- but Osborne prides himself on being a journalist-- all journalists (of any sort of integrity) will strive for full accuracy. That is what differentiates you from a town crier, the boy crying wolf and any type of sleazy tabloid reporter. So it is not okay for a man of his standing to just say whatever. It has to be fact-checked for accuracy. In his case, he has a limited amount of time to make an on-air comment so he is paring the facts down considerably. So I can cut him some slack for that, given his format and time considerations. Condensed versions of 'the truth' are more acceptable than just winging it and paraphrasing something that is totally false.

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I don't want to slice and dice your comments, but I will address this part:

 

as far as I'm concerned: prop Os up and let 'em say whatever he wants to say

 

I could not disagree more with that statement. One of my degrees is in journalism and I worked in news for a bit (not like FredCDobbs)-- but Osborne prides himself on being a journalist-- all journalists (of any sort of integrity) will strive for full accuracy. That is what differentiates you from a town crier, the boy crying wolf and any type of sleazy tabloid reporter. So it is not okay for a man of his standing to just say whatever. It has to be fact-checked for accuracy. In his case, he has a limited amount of time to make an on-air comment so he is paring the facts down considerably. So I can cut him some slack for that, given his format and time considerations. Condensed versions of 'the truth' are more acceptable than just winging it and paraphrasing something that is totally false.

and I do understand where you're coming from. These classic films and the people who made them are so important to us, it's understandable that we feel protective about the facts and specifics about them. especially coming from TCM who (like it or not) really is The Guardian when it comes to a majority of classic titles and their exposure to the public.

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and I do understand where you're coming from. These classic films and the people who made them are so important to us, it's understandable that we feel protective about the facts and specifics about them. especially coming from TCM who (like it or not) really is The Guardian when it comes to a majority of classic titles and their exposure to the public.

Thanks for 'getting' my p.o.v.  

 

Hollywood is a factory of myths, but it's nice to let the truth shine through sometimes. :)

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That would be a hoot to see I must admit.

 

have you seen "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix? it's one of their original series, and if you don't have Netflix you can't see it: but it's so good it's really worth shelling out whatever it is they ask for their streaming service.

 

it's an absolutely brilliant show and Robert Osborne HIMSELF makes a HILARIOUS surprise cameo at the end of the 8th (or so) episode, (very) grudgingly introducing a fictitious 1938 musical called "Daddy's Boy" on Tcm.

 

words can't really describe it, but I highly recommend watching it. that Bob is quite an actor.

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have you seen "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix? it's one of their original series, and if you don't have Netflix you can't see it: but it's so good it's really worth shelling out whatever it is they ask for their streaming service.

 

it's an absolutely brilliant show and Robert Osborne HIMSELF makes a HILARIOUS surprise cameo at the end of the 8th (or so) episode, (very) grudgingly introducing a fictitious 1938 musical called "Daddy's Boy" on Tcm.

 

words can't really describe it, but I highly recommend watching it. that Bob is quite an actor.

Thank you for the suggestion of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. I never know what Netflix originals are good. I did see it was new one and since you like it I will watch it.
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Thank you for the suggestion of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. I never know what Netflix originals are good. I did see it was new one and since you like it I will watch it.

Make sure you've got a good 5 hours to binge watch the whole thing, because it'll hook you (and also don't get mad with me if you can't get the song "Pinot Noir" out of your head.)

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(to try and bring the convo somewhat back to "The Whales if August"):

 

I was thinking about it today and 1987 was a really interesting year for films (maybe the best of the decade?) besides " The Whales of August" there was (in varying degrees of quality and interest to some, but notable nonetheless:)

 

Fatal Attraction

House of Games

Wings of Desire

The Dead

Empire of the Sun

The Princess Bride

Raising Arizona

broadcast news

moonstruck

Wall Street

throw momma from the train

my life as a dog

Ironweed

RoboCop

Full Metal Jacket

Radio Days

Good Morning, Vietnam

The Untouchables

 

(And some others I'm sure I'm forgetting.)

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I liked PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES from 1987.

 

     I never did have any desire to watch ISHTAR or LEONARD PART 6. 

 

     I did enjoy 'THE GATE', a low-budget but not-bad horror movie from '87. 

 

     Some folks like THE LOST BOYS.  I've never seen it. 

 

     I've not seen RADIO DAYS, but do need to watch it one o'these days. 

 

    

 

    

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I was thinking about it today and 1987 was a really interesting year for films (maybe the best of the decade?) besides " The Whales of August" there was (in varying degrees of quality and interest to some, but notable nonetheless:)

 

Fatal Attraction

House of Games

Wings of Desire

The Dead

Empire of the Sun

The Princess Bride

Raising Arizona

broadcast news

moonstruck

Wall Street

throw momma from the train

my life as a dog

Ironweed

RoboCop

Full Metal Jacket

Radio Days

Good Morning, Vietnam

The Untouchables

 

(And some others I'm sure I'm forgetting.)

Agree. It was an exceptional year for movies. I read the post yesterday about WHALES not getting nominated for a cinematography Oscar, but I think it's because there were just so many other great films that year struggling to get recognition in all of the main categories. 

 

Personally, I think THE DEAD is the best film of 1987...and another one that deserves major kudos is HOPE AND GLORY-- what outstanding filmmaking that one is.

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WOW. That's incredible she answered all those cards. And what a keepsake for you!

Yes, I was flabbergasted when she replied.  She answered every birthday or Christmas card I sent, usually typed, sometimes handwritten and I treasure her replies.  Once I sent a picture frame for her birthday and she answered, "I have put a charming picture of my mother's family in it and have it prominently placed on my cameo table."  A dear and extraordinary person.

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You never know. A letter that I composed around the same time to Jane Russell (what a contrast to Lillian Gish, to put it mildly) came very easily to me (wrote it in about a half hour), and she sent a very nice reply. With the Gish letter, though, I suffered a writer's block because I pretentiously got trapped in the idea of trying to write something "profound." I should have written something simple and direct from the heart, instead. I'm sure than Miss Gish probably would have appreciated it, as, from what I understand, she was anything but a pretentious person.

 

Ah well . . .

It's so easy to over think things. How wonderful, though to have a note from the fabulous Jane Russell!  She and Miss Gish had at least one thing in common both were very nice people, or so I imagine.

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It's so easy to over think things. How wonderful, though to have a note from the fabulous Jane Russell!  She and Miss Gish had at least one thing in common both were very nice people, or so I imagine.

Yes, it was apparent from the note that I received from Jane Russell that she was unpretentious and very approachable. Sounds a bit like Lillian Gish, doesn't it?

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(to try and bring the convo somewhat back to "The Whales if August"):

 

I was thinking about it today and 1987 was a really interesting year for films (maybe the best of the decade?) besides " The Whales of August" there was (in varying degrees of quality and interest to some, but notable nonetheless:)

 

Fatal Attraction

House of Games

Wings of Desire

The Dead

Empire of the Sun

The Princess Bride

Raising Arizona

broadcast news

moonstruck

Wall Street

throw momma from the train

my life as a dog

Ironweed

RoboCop

Full Metal Jacket

Radio Days

Good Morning, Vietnam

The Untouchables

 

(And some others I'm sure I'm forgetting.)

 

BROADCAST NEWS is scheduled to air on TCM on Monday March 30. I'm not sure if it is a TCM premiere. 

As much as I love Cher and am glad she received an Oscar, Holly Hunter's work in BROADCAST NEWS is at a level so rarely seen in a mainstream American movie in a "non-showy" role: a truly amazing and seamless blend of technical and emotional acting---creative and unexpected line interpretations and behavioral choices rooted in reality matched with a visceral inner life.

 

Holly Hunter would ultimately win an Oscar for a performance that was compared to the work of Lillian Gish: her role as the self-imposed mute in THE PIANO (a movie which I know is very polarizing but one that I like very much).

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Some folks like THE LOST BOYS. I've never seen it.

 

I've not seen RADIO DAYS, but do need to watch it one o'these days.

THE LOST BOYS is a lot of fun. my sister and I wore out the VHS tape watching that one.

 

I don't really care much for most of Woody Allen's post ANNIE HALL work but RADIO DAYS is a really charming and funny film.

 

it also shows semi-regularly on TCM. I think it has been the selection of more than 1 guest programmer so the next time it's on try and give it a shot.

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(to try and bring the convo somewhat back to "The Whales if August"):

 

I was thinking about it today and 1987 was a really interesting year for films (maybe the best of the decade?) besides " The Whales of August" there was (in varying degrees of quality and interest to some, but notable nonetheless:)

 

Fatal Attraction

House of Games

Wings of Desire

The Dead

Empire of the Sun

The Princess Bride

Raising Arizona

broadcast news

moonstruck

Wall Street

throw momma from the train

my life as a dog

Ironweed

RoboCop

Full Metal Jacket

Radio Days

Good Morning, Vietnam

The Untouchables

 

(And some others I'm sure I'm forgetting.)

Great list.  From 1987 I also enjoyed ...

Barfly

Pelle the Conqueror

The Fourth Protocol

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Tin Men

Dark Eyes

Matewan

Prick Up Your Ears

84 Charing Cross Road

Personal Services 

Gardens of Stone

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done

House of Games

Cry Freedom

Babette's Feast

Street Smart

The Grand Highway

Chuck Berry Hail Hail Rock n Roll

 

quite a year.  And just look at last year's crop.  Things are certainly not getting better.

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BROADCAST NEWS is scheduled to air on TCM on Monday March 30.

 

Holly Hunter would ultimately win an Oscar a performance that was compared to the work of Lillian Gish: her role as the self-imposed mute in THE PIANO (a movie which I know is very polarizing but one that I like very much).

oh yeah, THE PIANO is polarizing. Seeing it in the theater, I quite audibly expressed my disgust in the end scene where Holly Hunter manages to free herself from the underwater piano and swims to her freedom. I was like "Oh no **** you deserve to die for nearly boring me to death for the last two hours."

 

I. Hate. That. Movie.

 

believe it or not: as the film let out, several people in the audience came up to tell me they shared my feelings.

 

big thanks for the fYI in re: "broadcast news" i've never seen that one and will definitely make an attempt to watch it provided it's not shown in the godawful graveyard hours on Monday.

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I. Hate. That. Movie.

 

believe it or not: as the film let out, several people in the audience came up to tell me they shared my feelings.

 

That's one movie that made me feel real, actual anger.

 

I'd never been able to warm up to Holly Hunter in anything she'd done - even when her character was more sympathetic. Even so, I was unprepared for the depth of repugnance I would feel toward her in 'The Piano'.

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