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Here's To Ben


Stephan55
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I've been watching how Ben Mankiewicz has been handling most of the hosting duties on TCM during Robert Osborne's recent illness and recovery, and I think that he's doing an exemplary job!

 

(Robert Osborne's last extended medical leave was from July to December in 2011)

 

I first noticed Ben as a regular co-host on The Young Turks talk show (with Cenk Uygur) from 2002-2007, and as a co-host of At The Movies (with Ben Lyons) from 2008-2009 (after Gene Siskel had passed away, when Roger Ebert was too ill to carry on).

 

I then caught sight of Ben when he began hosting TCM's short lived Cartoon Alley (2004-2007) which used to be a Saturday morning staple for me, bringing back childhood memories with those MGM & Warner cartoons that I grew up with.

I really miss that series and wish that TCM would revive it. 

 

I've been a fan of TCM since its inception and though I enjoyed Ben's wise cracking on Young Turks, I'll admit, when he first came on-board as the weekend daytime host at TCM, with his almost "to laid back" attitude and goatee, I was a bit skeptical as to how long he'd last and whether or not I'd care.

 

But as the years have passed, I've grown older and (hopefully) a little wiser, and I find I've grown accustomed to regularly seeing and listening to Ben.  

 

I really enjoyed watching the interaction between Ben and his guest host father, Frank Mankiewicz, on TCM when they discussed the reality surrounding the political movies TCM aired in October 2012.

 

Frank Mankiewicz had been a journalist, a political adviser (for George McGovern, Robert F. Kennedy, and Gary Hart), regional director for the Peace Corps, and president of National Public Radio (which is my favorite radio). So having him appear on TCM with his son was a real treat for me.

 

Most of us are now aware of Ben's famed "Mankiwicz" heritage and background, but it took me awhile to realize that there is a lot of real savvy behind Ben's smooth exterior.

Ben and his older brother Josh (also a journalist), grew up in Washington, D.C., in a Jewish-Mormon household.
They are the grandsons of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, and great-nephews of screenwriter, producer, and director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and their Uncle was screenwriter Don Mankiewicz. 

 

So when Ben's TCM logo flashes on the screen that "movies are in his blood and part of who he is" that is no exageration.

 

I have no doubt that Ben was very close to his father, and Frank Mankiewicz recently passed on October 23, 2014, at the age of 90.
And as has been posted on these boards, Ben also recently lost his Uncle Don Mankiewicz on April 25, 2015, at the age of 93.

 

Those devotees that attended the December 2013, TCM Cruise were also witnesses to Ben's marriage to second wife Lee Russo, and the couple have a young child together.

(edit: childs gender was corrected by a TCM forum member via PM, thank you)

 

Ben can pack more information and trivia into a minutes commentary than practically anyone I know, and he does it quite naturally.

 

Guest hosts aside, in the 20 years since TCM began it has only had two "permanent" hosts: Robert Osborne (since April 14, 1994) and Ben Mankiewicz (since Sept. 2003).

 

Courtesy of TCM, both Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz are regulars in in my home and have become like extended "family" to me.

 

Ben (born March 25, 1967) is now 48, and I feel a little TCM "family" pride on how well I think he is doing.

 

Robert (born May 3, 1932) is now 83, and I wish him well, and hope that he fully recovers and returns

soon.

 

But when the sad day does come for Bob to pass the TCM baton, I feel confident that Ben will be able to continue the race with the same pride, enthusiam and professionalism that we've become accustomed to seeing on TCM.

I derive comfort in that thought.

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I agree with your assessment of Ben and his abilities to perform as a TCM host, his past work demonstrates that. His name  doesn't necessarily qualify him,  his work can stand on its own.  The assumption is that when Robert Osborne does finish his career Ben automatically steps in, and that's fine with me. However I don't understand why just one person has to carry the torch, certainly TCM can have several regular hosts featured during the week.  I would welcome some diversity and maybe some expansion of using intros during the non prime time broadcasts. Since everything is taped what would be the problem with that? And there's long been an  major issue with the TCM wraparounds, the research people who prepare the scripts have to be more  careful in their work.  Some of the mistakes are inexcusable and reflect poorly on the station and whoever the host is presenting them.

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I agree with your assessment of Ben and his abilities to perform as a TCM host, his past work demonstrates that. His name  doesn't necessarily qualify him,  his work can stand on its own.  The assumption is that when Robert Osborne does finish his career Ben automatically steps in, and that's fine with me. However I don't understand why just one person has to carry the torch, certainly TCM can have several regular hosts featured during the week.  I would welcome some diversity and maybe some expansion of using intros during the non prime time broadcasts. Since everything is taped what would be the problem with that? And there's long been an  major issue with the TCM wraparounds, the research people who prepare the scripts have to be more  careful in their work.  Some of the mistakes are inexcusable and reflect poorly on the station and whoever the host is presenting them.

 

I assume more hosts would cost more money.    If someone like Ben is paid a flat salary using him as many hours as reasonability possible makes economic sense.   I assume cost is also the reason for some of the very sloppy mistakes.   i.e. more research staff or better qualified ones cost more.  

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I assume more hosts would cost more money.    If someone like Ben is paid a flat salary using him as many hours as reasonability possible makes economic sense.   I assume cost is also the reason for some of the very sloppy mistakes.   i.e. more research staff or better qualified ones cost more.  

 

Don't forget, last fall TCM lost 12 employees due to the Time Warners cut backs. I'd have to say that they are doing the best that they can. Heck, at least they are not showing commercials.

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I agree with your assessment of Ben and his abilities to perform as a TCM host, his past work demonstrates that. His name  doesn't necessarily qualify him,  his work can stand on its own.  The assumption is that when Robert Osborne does finish his career Ben automatically steps in, and that's fine with me. However I don't understand why just one person has to carry the torch, certainly TCM can have several regular hosts featured during the week.  I would welcome some diversity and maybe some expansion of using intros during the non prime time broadcasts. Since everything is taped what would be the problem with that? And there's long been an  major issue with the TCM wraparounds, the research people who prepare the scripts have to be more  careful in their work.  Some of the mistakes are inexcusable and reflect poorly on the station and whoever the host is presenting them.

 

Of course that is "the assumption."  This has been the TCM modus operandi for 20 years, and if they maintain the status quo, for whatever reason, then I'm hoping, for consistency sake, that Ben becomes their main man. He is the natural shoe-in and we are all familiar with him and he with the "product."

 

Of course, I agree that Ben stands on his own merit. He is intelligent, affable, articulate, an excellent interviewer, and certainly knows his craft and environment, which is one of the reasons why he appears so natural in front of the camera.

 

Of course probably anyone with equitable characteristics could do what Ben does, and just having the "name" or family background doesn't guarantee a person of equal talent and character.

But I do think that a person with Ben's innate capabilities certainly advantaged himself with his heritage. Meaning that he had a family historied in the industry and journalism that allowed an inside opportunity to absorb more and first hand access to the ins & outs.

 

Of course there are issues with wrap around accuracy, and since the people in front of the camera rely on the research department to present much of that information there is much needed room for improvement.

And I agree, when we viewers detect such errors it does reflect poorly on the station.

 

As both jamesjazzguitar and fixreyman have pointed out, money is no doubt a factor.

There have been budget cut backs, and though the cuts to TCM staff have apparently been the least of those experienced by the Turner Broadcasting system (controlled by Time Warner), none-the-less, some staff has been lost, so perhaps oversight and research have been more seriously affected.

 

If money were no object, I for one, would love to have such expansion as you suggest, perhaps at least 3-4 minutes of accurate and enlightening wraparounds on every film that TCM airs, 24/7, with the added diversity of either different hosts, or such tried and true commodities as Bill Hader, and others, during the non-prime time hours. If that meant having one or two fewer films each day for time constraints, I'd be willing to sacrifice that. I'd also like them to bring back the old MGM and Warner cartoons they used to air.

 

However, if TCM continues as they have, for whatever reasons, I'm hoping they stick with Ben as the prime time step-in when Robert retires, and if Ben does not feel up to it all by his lonesome, I'm hoping that TCM recruits someone with equal elan for the weekend day and fill-in work that Ben does now.

Whoever that may be, will have big shoes to fill.

 

In the meantime, I am grateful for both Robert and Ben, and that TCM is able to do the job that it does, as well as it does, with the staff that it has. 

And continues to do so without commercial interruption....

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I don't think the emphasis should be on the hosts and when someone will take over for someone else.

 

The focus should be on the films that TCM airs every day-- that is the main thing...right?

 

Yes, that is the main thing.

But the TCM hosts are one of the key factors that make this station unique.

The "wraparound" film commentary and guest discussions about the films, be it about the films themselves, or input on the actors, directors, producers, special effects, et al, all enhance my overall film understanding and viewing experience.

 

It's more than just watching one movie after another, it's the personality, style and grace of these hosts that help to make watching these films so much more interesting.

 

Over the years, thanks to Robert and Ben, and others, intro and end commentary, I have learned much, and been stimulated to learn even more.

I most often gravitate to the programed time slots in which Robert and Ben are going to speak about the films I watch, even if it's a film that I've already seen before.

 

And yes, I know that it can be a sensitive subject, but I do think at this stage that it is important for TCM to be aware of our constructive input on whom they place in those hosting positions. In the slight chance that it may affect or endorse their decision process.

 

And this is not a precedent. There have been numerous topics discussed on these boards which do not directly relate to the films themselves, including several "Like" and "Don't Like" co-host and guest host threads in the past...

 

This is simply an affirmation for two of the great hosts that TCM does have, and that I would like for them to keep, for as long as possible. If Robert lives to be 103 and is still able and willing to share with us on TCM I would be happy for that.

 

But just as I dislike the necessity of discussing of wills, estate plans, POA letters, and DNR directives, etc. having them in place beforehand can certainly help alleviate a lot of the decision making stress that often occurs in their absence.

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I've been watching how Ben Mankiewicz has been handling most of the hosting duties on TCM during Robert Osborne's recent illness and recovery, and I think that he's doing an exemplary job!

 

(Robert Osborne's last extended medical leave was from July to December in 2011)

 

I first noticed Ben as a regular co-host on The Young Turks talk show (with Cenk Uygur) from 2002-2007, and as a co-host of At The Movies (with Ben Lyons) from 2008-2009 (after Gene Siskel had passed away, when Roger Ebert was too ill to carry on).

 

I then caught sight of Ben when he began hosting TCM's short lived Cartoon Alley (2004-2007) which used to be a Saturday morning staple for me, bringing back childhood memories with those MGM & Warner cartoons that I grew up with.

I really miss that series and wish that TCM would revive it. 

 

I've been a fan of TCM since its inception and though I enjoyed Ben's wise cracking on Young Turks, I'll admit, when he first came on-board as the weekend daytime host at TCM, with his almost "to laid back" attitude and goatee, I was a bit skeptical as to how long he'd last and whether or not I'd care.

 

But as the years have passed, I've grown older and (hopefully) a little wiser, and I find I've grown accustomed to regularly seeing and listening to Ben.  

 

I really enjoyed watching the interaction between Ben and his guest host father, Frank Mankiewicz, on TCM when they discussed the reality surrounding the political movies TCM aired in October 2012.

 

Frank Mankiewicz had been a journalist, a political adviser (for George McGovern, Robert F. Kennedy, and Gary Hart), regional director for the Peace Corps, and president of National Public Radio (which is my favorite radio). So having him appear on TCM with his son was a real treat for me.

 

Most of us are now aware of Ben's famed "Mankiwicz" heritage and background, but it took me awhile to realize that there is a lot of real savvy behind Ben's smooth exterior.

Ben and his older brother Josh (also a journalist), grew up in Washington, D.C., in a Jewish-Mormon household.

They are the grandsons of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, and great-nephews of screenwriter, producer, and director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and their Uncle was screenwriter Don Mankiewicz. 

 

So when Ben's TCM logo flashes on the screen that "movies are in his blood and part of who he is" that is no exageration.

 

I have no doubt that Ben was very close to his father, and Frank Mankiewicz recently passed on October 23, 2014, at the age of 90.

And as has been posted on these boards, Ben also recently lost his Uncle Don Mankiewicz on April 25, 2015, at the age of 93.

 

Those devotees that attended the December 2013, TCM Cruise were also witnesses to Ben's marriage to second wife Lee Russo, and the couple have a young child together.

(edit: childs gender was corrected by a TCM forum member via PM, thank you)

 

Ben can pack more information and trivia into a minutes commentary than practically anyone I know, and he does it quite naturally.

 

Guest hosts aside, in the 20 years since TCM began it has only had two "permanent" hosts: Robert Osborne (since April 14, 1994) and Ben Mankiewicz (since Sept. 2003).

 

Courtesy of TCM, both Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz are regulars in in my home and have become like extended "family" to me.

 

Ben (born March 25, 1967) is now 48, and I feel a little TCM "family" pride on how well I think he is doing.

 

Robert (born May 3, 1932) is now 83, and I wish him well, and hope that he fully recovers and returns

soon.

 

But when the sad day does come for Bob to pass the TCM baton, I feel confident that Ben will be able to continue the race with the same pride, enthusiam and professionalism that we've become accustomed to seeing on TCM.

I derive comfort in that thought.

I couldn't agree more. RO, new face and all, is done. He must own a majority of stock in TCM, or they would have put him out to pasture, just as they did Bob Dorian and Nick Clooney. Neither of them opted for a new face, however.

 

I like Ben. He has come a LONG way. If you listen carefully, his personal faux-unscripted remarks are hilarious. He could take over as top dog in a minute and a half.

 

And if TCM insists on showing non-classic films, almost every day, all day, why not give the public who appreciates Ben something to listen to, besides the drek they foist upon those who love classic films and can no longer get it at TCM?

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I couldn't agree more. RO, new face and all, is done. He must own a majority of stock in TCM, or they would have put him out to pasture, just as they did Bob Dorian and Nick Clooney. Neither of them opted for a new face, however.

 

I like Ben. He has come a LONG way. If you listen carefully, his personal faux-unscripted remarks are hilarious. He could take over as top dog in a minute and a half.

 

And if TCM insists on showing non-classic films, almost every day, all day, why not give the public who appreciates Ben something to listen to, besides the drek they foist upon those who love classic films and can no longer get it at TCM?

I agree, but the decision of RO's successor is hardly an earth-shattering one. The world as we know it will continue to exist, no matter who is the new host, except maybe if it's Drew Barrymore.

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I like Ben and think he would be a great replacement for RO, when the time comes. However I would not want to see more intros. For the most part, I find the intros to be about gossip, about stars, etc.; not about the movies themselves. An exception: Whit Stillman introducing his films (Barcelona, Metropolitan) last year. I found that interesting.

 

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I like Ben and think he would be a great replacement for RO, when the time comes. However I would not want to see more intros. For the most part, I find the intros to be about gossip, about stars, etc.; not about the movies themselves. An exception: Whit Stillman introducing his films (Barcelona, Metropolitan) last year. I found that interesting.

I agree. And I felt the one they did last summer with guest Quincy Jones was very good, because he talked about the creative process when scoring a film. So it helped develop an appreciation of the music that we heard in the films presented that evening.

 

But yes, the gossip stuff needs to be toned down. TCM is too classy for the National Enquirer type wraparounds it occasionally does. And mostly, it's Osborne who does those, not Mankiewicz.

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Now HERE'S who I'd love to see move into TCM's "Number 2 position" when and if Ben takes over for Bob...

 

 

(...I mean, what's NOT to love here, HUH?!...great articulation, nicely animated with an excellent use of inflection, seems to know what the hell she's talking about, AND not too hard on the ol' eyes EITHER!)

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the decision of RO's successor is hardly an earth-shattering one. The world as we know it will continue to exist, no matter who is the new host, except maybe if it's Drew Barrymore.

 

How about Rex Reed? That'd be pretty entertaining.

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I agree, but the decision of RO's successor is hardly an earth-shattering one. The world as we know it will continue to exist, no matter who is the new host, except maybe if it's Drew Barrymore.

 

Granted, it likely will not prevent an asteroid from from smashing into the earth, or reverse the detrimental effect of climate change... Small potatoes in the big scheme of things, really.

However we all live in little artificial worlds of our own creation, so for certain individuals that literally live for TCM, any alteration can seem like an earth shattering event...  The passing of a favorite celebrity, no matter how distant, or the absence of a favored host, can shake and rattle their world. :wub:

 

I enjoy RO, he was one of the early reasons why I became more interested in TCM. Now I enjoy both RO & BM pretty much equally.

Though I would like the status of these two TCM hosts to remain as they have been indefinitely, I know that this is NOT reality.

Robert is 83, Ben is 48, in the natural progression of things Robert will seek retirement long before Ben.

 

Ben seems to enjoy this gig perhaps as much as I/we enjoy him.

He is a very good fit and it would appear that he would be the natural replacement for Robert when that time comes. I think that is a good thing.

It also appears likely that TCM will seek at least one co-host to fill Ben's position when that time comes. :unsure:

TCM struck gold when they "found" Robert and Ben, hopefully that streak of luck will continue.

 

Swithin said:

For the most part, I find the intros to be about gossip, about stars, etc.; not about the movies themselves.

 

I dislike gossip as well. Would love to have everything I hear be factual and spot-on relevant... unfortunetly, that is not a possibility in any venue these days, perhaps it never has been possible, ever...

I think that, for the most part, Robert and Ben shy away from "gossipy" opinion and trivia... especially of the defacing kind.

But on the other hand, sometimes a back-story (and what Hollywood anything doesn't have some kind of back-story) can add to and even elevate the conversation. 

Everyone has experienced problems or difficulties that they live with, some quite severe. When someone succumbs to or overcomes those issues it can serve as either a warning or an inspiration for the rest of us. 

Whether personal or job related, difficulties in production, creative ways to work around difficulties, etc.... numerous hypotheticals that can illustrate why sometimes these trivia side-lines can make one appreciate a movie, or an actor, et al, all the more. 

 

In another thread TB mentioned that children and spouses, et al of stars can be biased...

That is a given. All persons are biased to some degree or another, and memories can be both selective and flawed.

However, even listening to biased and selective remembrances, especially coming from family members, can be quite revealing.

 

What Dargo said....

 

I'm not gender biased when it comes to running mates. Madeleine Stowe is certainly everything you said.

 

I think whoever takes on this kind of a hosting position should both have a healthy background on the subject matter, and really want the job, as an ongoing proposition.

If TCM continues to have a myriad of guest and Spotlight hosts, that is a good thing. But I am happy with at least two main people as the regular faces that I routinely invite into my home.

 

It's a fallacy, of course, but after all these years I "feel" as if Robert and Ben have become "trusted" friends. In that we share a love of movies and I pretty much trust what they have to say. So I invite them into my house and let them tell me about a "new" or different film that they think I might find interesting and enjoy. Or they tell me something new or different about an old film that I've already seen, so that I might take another look with refreshed eyes.

I enjoy this relationship. I find it relaxing, entertaining, fun and sometimes educational.

This relationship would not work for me if I did not like the personalities of these hosts.

 

So yes, TCM IS about the movies, but when it comes the type of movies that TCM airs, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the types of films that TCM airs, the host plays a very important role in retaining older and attracting newer audiance members.

 

In the beginning I came to TCM just to watch the movies. Now I come to TCM (and these boards) to learn more about the movies I watch.

 

And when it comes to Robert & Ben and all the others.... I enjoy making "new" "friends," but I want to keep my old friends, for as long as is possible.

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Swithin said:

For the most part, I find the intros to be about gossip, about stars, etc.; not about the movies themselves.

 

I dislike gossip as well. Would love to have everything I hear be factual and spot-on relevant... unfortunetly, that is not a possibility in any venue these days, perhaps it never has been possible, ever...

I think that, for the most part, Robert and Ben shy away from "gossipy" opinion and trivia... especially of the defacing kind.

But on the other hand, sometimes a back-story (and what Hollywood anything doesn't have some kind of back-story) can add to and even elevate the conversation. 

 

Oh Stephen, I didn't say that I disliked gossip -- I LOVE gossip! My point is that almost all intros deal in some way with stars behavior and careers, with how they got along with the director and the other actors, with their private lives, etc.  That's all fascinating stuff -- would be great on AMC.  I make the (albeit probably exaggerated assumption) that TCM is above that, and that TCM viewers are more interested in the films themselves.  I almost always record films and watch them later. Not because I don't want to watch the intros, though that is often a by-product of the way I watch movies on TCM.

 

Sometimes I think (and I exaggerate here) that TCM should rename itself TCS, for Turner Classic Stars. Because that's where most of the interest seems to lie.

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Oh Stephen, I didn't say that I disliked gossip -- I LOVE gossip! My point is that almost all intros deal in some way with stars behavior and careers, with how they got along with the director and the other actors, with their private lives, etc. That's all fascinating stuff -- would be great on AMC. I make the (albeit probably exaggerated assumption) that TCM is above that, and that TCM viewers are more interested in the films themselves. ....

 

My bad for jumping to conclusions. :rolleyes:

 

Not sure if some of the things that Robert and Ben sometimes say can actually be construed as "gossip," in the literal sense, since when they do stray into these gray areas of discourse, while what they say about a particular actor may be somewhat sensational, or intimate in nature, it's generally confirmed as being true, as opposed to just rumour.

 

And I confess that when I learn some of these backstories about an actor it will often enrich my appreciation of both them and the films that they are in.

 

For just one example, in a case of "Life Imitating Art", RO has shared about actor Lew Ayres' pacifistic beliefs after his portrayal in ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930), and portraying Dr. Kildare in a number of MGM films.

Robert shared that during WW2, Lew's views about war and killing had cost him dearly, both publicly and privately, when he was identified as a conscientious objector.

Lew was at the top of his game when the the U.S. entered the war, but placing him in that box nearly destroyed his acting career.

 

The reality was that Lew did NOT avoid military service (unlike some other Hollywood stars) but because of his beliefs he requested to be A-O-1, so that he could serve as a non-combat medic.

But at that time the military assigned MOSs according to their need, and not an individuals wishes.

Inductees were not allowed to make such a specific request as a condition of their enlistment.

Because Lew felt so strongly about not killing another human being, those now archaic army regs forced him to request a 4E (conscientious objector) status.

 

However, there always seem to be some exceptions in the military, and in Lew's case, he became a medic and in April 1942, his status was changed to 1A.

 

Lew served as a First Aid instructor then, true to his character, took a drop in rank so that he could apply his skills where he believed they were needed most... saving troops in combat.

Lew was both a medic and a chaplain's assistant in the Pacific Theatre.

Lew saw action in both the Philippines and New Guinea providing care to soldiers and civilians alike while under fire. He was one of a handful of medics that participated in the invasion of Leyte Island.

Lew was no different than other combat medics in the war in that he risked his life to render aid, rescue and evacuate others while under extreme combat conditions.

Lew donated all his service pay to the American Red Cross.

Lew served with distinction for three and a half years while in the Medical Corps, earning three Battle Stars.

 

However, despite his military service and war record, when Lew returned to Hollywood after WW2, the stigma of being labeled a conscientious objector haunted him.

It wasn't until he was cast as the compassionate Dr. Robert Richardson (a role very close to the real Ayres, and "Art imitating Life") opposite an Academy Award winning performance by Jane Wyman in JOHNNY BELINDA (1948), that Lew was able to maintain a viable living as an actor.

However the damage had already been done and Lew never regained the stardom of his prewar Hollywood status.

 

Lew was a man of his convictions, and I may never have known this until Robert Osborne offered the little side-line into the actors life.

 

However, knowing what I now know, I am endeared to both Lew the man and Lew the actor.

I actively seek out any movie that he's been in, and observe him carefully as he evolved through his early career and after the war.

 

And I credit the brief wrap-around comments of TCM host Robert Osborne for steering me to discover this deep appreciation for an actor and his movies.

 

BTW, Lew shared similar humanistic views with another famously labeled conscientious objector, Alvin C. York, who also served with distinction during WW1.

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I agree, but the decision of RO's successor is hardly an earth-shattering one. The world as we know it will continue to exist, no matter who is the new host, except maybe if it's Drew Barrymore.

True, but I find his asides hilarious. One of his recent ones, about not being able to always get the girl, as one star did, was a gigantic departure from RO's dry as toast before and afters.

 

Another recent one, about Fritz Lang leaving behind his wife in Germany was interesting, but when BM added that she joined the Nazi party and opined on her lack of character, it was another head turner.

 

I guess he's well paid by TCM, since with his lineage and presence in front of the camera, he could do anything at all in the media world.

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True, but I find his asides hilarious. One of his recent ones, about not being able to always get the girl, as one star did, was a gigantic departure from RO's dry as toast before and afters.

 

Another recent one, about Fritz Lang leaving behind his wife in Germany was interesting, but when BM added that she joined the Nazi party and opined on her lack of character, it was another head turner.

 

I guess he's well paid by TCM, since with his lineage and presence in front of the camera, he could do anything at all in the media world.

RO occasionally says something funny, but his delivery needs work.

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My bad for jumping to conclusions. :rolleyes:

 

Not sure if some of the things that Robert and Ben sometimes say can actually be construed as "gossip," in the literal sense, since when they do stray into these gray areas of discourse, while what they say about a particular actor may be somewhat sensational, or intimate in nature, it's generally confirmed as being true, as opposed to just rumour.........

 

Be careful Stephan, someone might be coming on here soon telling you to shorten your comments...

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Since the studios spent so much time and effort on marketing their

stars and their personae, it seems only appropriate that TCM should

do the same. Ben had a good joke about Roller Boogie being the

best roller disco flick. Easy, but still kind of funny.

I still think Xanadu is right up there and would make a great double bill with Roller Boogie

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I've been watching how Ben Mankiewicz has been handling most of the hosting duties on TCM during Robert Osborne's recent illness and recovery, and I think that he's doing an exemplary job!

 

(Robert Osborne's last extended medical leave was from July to December in 2011)

 

I first noticed Ben as a regular co-host on The Young Turks talk show (with Cenk Uygur) from 2002-2007, and as a co-host of At The Movies (with Ben Lyons) from 2008-2009 (after Gene Siskel had passed away, when Roger Ebert was too ill to carry on).

 

I then caught sight of Ben when he began hosting TCM's short lived Cartoon Alley (2004-2007) which used to be a Saturday morning staple for me, bringing back childhood memories with those MGM & Warner cartoons that I grew up with.

I really miss that series and wish that TCM would revive it. 

 

I've been a fan of TCM since its inception and though I enjoyed Ben's wise cracking on Young Turks, I'll admit, when he first came on-board as the weekend daytime host at TCM, with his almost "to laid back" attitude and goatee, I was a bit skeptical as to how long he'd last and whether or not I'd care.

 

But as the years have passed, I've grown older and (hopefully) a little wiser, and I find I've grown accustomed to regularly seeing and listening to Ben.  

 

I really enjoyed watching the interaction between Ben and his guest host father, Frank Mankiewicz, on TCM when they discussed the reality surrounding the political movies TCM aired in October 2012.

 

Frank Mankiewicz had been a journalist, a political adviser (for George McGovern, Robert F. Kennedy, and Gary Hart), regional director for the Peace Corps, and president of National Public Radio (which is my favorite radio). So having him appear on TCM with his son was a real treat for me.

 

Most of us are now aware of Ben's famed "Mankiwicz" heritage and background, but it took me awhile to realize that there is a lot of real savvy behind Ben's smooth exterior.

Ben and his older brother Josh (also a journalist), grew up in Washington, D.C., in a Jewish-Mormon household.

They are the grandsons of screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, and great-nephews of screenwriter, producer, and director, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and their Uncle was screenwriter Don Mankiewicz. 

 

So when Ben's TCM logo flashes on the screen that "movies are in his blood and part of who he is" that is no exageration.

 

I have no doubt that Ben was very close to his father, and Frank Mankiewicz recently passed on October 23, 2014, at the age of 90.

And as has been posted on these boards, Ben also recently lost his Uncle Don Mankiewicz on April 25, 2015, at the age of 93.

 

Those devotees that attended the December 2013, TCM Cruise were also witnesses to Ben's marriage to second wife Lee Russo, and the couple have a young child together.

(edit: childs gender was corrected by a TCM forum member via PM, thank you)

 

Ben can pack more information and trivia into a minutes commentary than practically anyone I know, and he does it quite naturally.

 

Guest hosts aside, in the 20 years since TCM began it has only had two "permanent" hosts: Robert Osborne (since April 14, 1994) and Ben Mankiewicz (since Sept. 2003).

 

Courtesy of TCM, both Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz are regulars in in my home and have become like extended "family" to me.

 

Ben (born March 25, 1967) is now 48, and I feel a little TCM "family" pride on how well I think he is doing.

 

Robert (born May 3, 1932) is now 83, and I wish him well, and hope that he fully recovers and returns

soon.

 

But when the sad day does come for Bob to pass the TCM baton, I feel confident that Ben will be able to continue the race with the same pride, enthusiam and professionalism that we've become accustomed to seeing on TCM.

I derive comfort in that thought.

Here's to Ben.

 

Let's have more Ben.

 

That is all. ;)

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I follow TCM on Facebook and Twitter and TCM is having some kind of contest where you will be able to introduce a movie with Ben. I don't think you get to go to the studio, it's going to be done on the internet with Skype or FaceTime. They're going to pick four viewers based on why a movie means something to you. Sounds interesting, but I'm not going to enter. Somebody here might want to though.

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I follow TCM on Facebook and Twitter and TCM is having some kind of contest where you will be able to introduce a movie with Ben. I don't think you get to go to the studio, it's going to be done on the internet with Skype or FaceTime. They're going to pick four viewers based on why a movie means something to you. Sounds interesting, but I'm not going to enter. Somebody here might want to though.

 

https://turnerclassicmovies.apps.umbel.com/51b/summer2015fanfavorites/

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I recall reading an interview with Ben when he was asked if his life was ever changed by a movie. He said that as much as he loved movies, his life was never changed by a movie. Sounds sensible to me.

 

Some movies can make you want to change your life. Movies like 'Harvey' have made me feel that way.

 

Unfortunately, the world knocks that outta ya right quick.

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