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Filmlover, I wish I could afford to have cable so I could watch more of the selections on TCM. I debate every few months about my budget and if I could swing it. If I did have cable, I would probably not leave the house! MacDonald is not one of my favorites, but I would watch it just for the nostalgia factor. When I came onto this site last week, I did so in hopes that I could chat with others that speak my language. My co-workers are too young and not interested in alot of the films/actors that I am. (I still try) It does seem to be alot of nit picking here, but I know there is no way the programmers could make all of us happy. Maybe they are trying to get a younger crowd to tune in with the hopes of showing them there are great movies in black & white! Oh yes...If anyone has an abundance of snow please send it to Phoenix...we really need it! Ciao!

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to filmlover; great letter. I think that tcm is the best channel, I love classic movies, including the ones made as late as the '90's. Like you said, just because it was made in the 80s or 90s doesn't mean its not a classic, and "Cinema Paradiso" is an excellent film. There are movies that are on tcm that I dont care to see, and sometimes think why on tcm, "Uncle Buck" or "Caddyshack", please, I just dont watch them, nor am i crazy about musicals, and not to crazy about silent movies that much, but I do watch some silents, but I'm glad that tcm shows them. Just because I dont like them to much, well, i dont have to watch them and will put on a movie from netflix, but I enjoy the old b+w movies the best, Edward G. Robinson is my favoite actor of all times, "Little Caeser"(sorry if i spelled it wrong) is showing Tuesday and I will be recording it for my collection. So tcm, dont change, just keep showing the excellent movies, even if everybody, me included, don't like all of them, and I hope I have not offended any body.Thank you

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Well, I had to look and look, but I found a nearly complete TCM schedule for July of 2001 on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. It's lacking the lineups for July 30 and 31, but the numbers still have a lot to tell. Here's the breakdown:

 

1920s and before -- 10 films

1930s -- 81 films

1940s -- 100 films

1950s -- 91 films

1960s -- 60 films

1970s -- 7 films

1980s -- 3 films

1990s -- 4 films

2000s -- 1 film (the restored and expanded ELVIS: THAT'S THE WAY IT IS)

 

Also, I found the closest thing to a TCM "mission statement" on a 1999 webpage of TCM's history, short as it was then. It begins with this statement: "Turner Classic Movies presents the greatest films of all time, from the '20s through the '80s (emphasis mine) -- featuring the silent screen, international pictures, as well as all of Hollywood's genres -- commercial-free, uninterrupted, 24 hours a day."

 

And continuing in path40a's footsteps, I compiled these stats from the January 2003 and January 2004 issues of Now Playing, respectively:

 

1920s and before . . . . . . . .7 . . . . . . . . . 9

1930s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .91 . . . . . . . . 82

1940s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 . . . . . . . 114

1950s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .95 . . . . . . . 105

1960s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 . . . . . . . . 51

1970s . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 . . . . . . . . 19

1980s and after . . . . . . . . . 17 . . . . . . . . .11

 

I could produce other stats showing the numbers going up and down, but I think Lynn's prior appraisal was right: At times, TCM has had more modern films in the schedule than it does now. It has also had fewer of those films. But as much as the numbers go up and down, the programmers do maintain some basic proportions. The modern films have always been part of the programming mix, right from the very beginning, but they have never overwhelmed the rest of the schedule. There are a few exceptions, but TCM has kept to showing modern films that are at least 10 years old (the most recent film in this month's schedule is from 1996), which I think is distance enough for determining a "classic."

 

In the end, you can't define quality chronologically or "by the numbers." Like others here, I used a chronological criterion to define classics for many years, and eventually found it constricting. You just have to sit down and watch the movies, and evaluate them on their own merits. Fortunately, TCM gives us a lot of opportunites to do just that.

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Quick personal background: I only "discovered" TCM about a year ago, so I can't say that I know firsthand what the programming looked like then. But I have no particular axe to grind in this discussion.

 

Out of curiosity, I decided to see what percentage of the TCM schedules posted here so far consisted of "modern" movies (defining "modern" as either 1970 and later, or 1980 and later). I also counted up the schedules for January and March 2006 (excluding the first three days for March, as it's part of the Oscar programming), and I discounted documentaries when they were identified.

 

Obviously, there aren't enough samples to draw completely solid conclusions, but here are the percentages I came up with:

 

..........1970 1980

Jan 97:....2.7%....0.5%

 

Jul 01:....3.9%....2.0%

 

Jan 03:....6.6%....4.3%

Sep 03:....7.8%....2.5%

Oct 03:....4.3%....1.0%

Nov 03:....8.4%....3.0%

 

Jan 04:....7.7%....2.8%

 

Jan 06:....8.9%*...5.2%*

Mar 06:....5.7%....0.8%

Apr 06:....4.2%....2.1%

 

*The January 2006 numbers are obviously skewed upwards by the anime theme that month. Each movie aired twice on the same night, and I counted each airing seperately. If you subtract the second airings from the "modern" movie counts and from the total for the month, the figures are 6.8% and 3.0%.

 

So far in 2006, movies from 1980 or later have consisted of 2.8% of the regular (non-Oscar themed) programming schedule. If we assume that the January 1997 schedule was typical (0.5% was 1980+) and that the average rate of increase remains constant, then "modern" movies will, indeed, completely take over the TCM schedule .... in the year 2384.

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I love TCM also - I'm in my second year and it's only reason worth subscribing to satellite (my only option.) And I have to get the 2nd tier to get TCM but it's worth it - I had no idea what I'd been missing all these years. (I'm living my alternate life in black and white.) What do you think deregulation will bring - will it make TCM more or less available?

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Well, I'm definitely one who is glad TCM has kept it's focus on classic films. I guess I don't mind a few newer ones in there - especially if, like during February, they are all good quality modern films which at least have a chance of someday being 'true' classics.

 

That said, I can't say that I watched any of the animated stuff last month, nor will I watch any of the modern films this month on TCM. I love several of those modern films that won Oscars, but if they are modern, I love them, and they won Oscars, they have about a 99% probability of being in my DVD collection. And thus, something I'd skip on TCM.

 

Long story short, I watch TCM because of my passion for classic films. For me, this mostly means films from the 20's, 30's and 40's...and into the 50's. But if it was done much past the early 60's, I probably won't be as interested in it.

 

I'm very grateful that so far, TCM has kept to their original programming niche, and hope they continue long into the future doing exactly what they are doing now.

 

Oh! And Robert Osbourne rocks! :D

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coffeedan, out of curosity, how did you use the wayback machine to find the old schedules? I love to look at old television schedules just to see what movies the networks used to run (a friend gave me some stacks of his old TV Guides and I love looking through them to see what movies used to be on TCM in 2000!)

 

I'm new to these boards and while I don't want to seep myself in any sort of drama, I have to say that I love TCM, even with the slight amount of modern movies that they rotate in the schedule. We just recently had TCM added to our cable package and there's nothing like it out there. Even the modern movies are shown well because TCM letterboxes them. The modern movies really don't bother me because...well, I love the old black and white classic movies, but sometimes the modern ones are just as good. Someone said in one of these threads taht good movie making didn't end with the studio systems and they're right--there are plenty of excellent movies made after 1950, 1960, etc--but there were just as many stinkers made pre-1950 as well. Just because it's black and white, pre-code or silent, doens't mean it's superior to a modern movie! TCM does quite well on grouping movies together by theme or star and you can't find that on any other channel. To me, a good movie is a good movie regardless of the era. However, if TCM did change it's format (just as so many cable networks have done: like Bravo, Food Network, the music video channels), I think there would be plenty of complaints, myself being one of them. But why waste all of your energy thinking about something that hasn't happened yet and probably won't? TCM knows it has something special, a programming mantra that they can boast about while geting the finest actors/actresses/directors of Hollywood to sit down for special tributes and interviews. That's why I don't worry about the modern changes--you have to prove yourself adaptable to a younger market--and TCM does that, while keeping themselves true to the classics. But that's my opinion and I'm sure some will dispute it.

 

And I have to agree: I love Robert Osborne as well. The channel just wouldn't be the same without him! He's a very comforting presence. I'm kinda neutral on Ben--he's okay, but boy does he talk with his hands! Drives me crazy, LOL!

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Excellent post pktrekgirl. I am always amazed at the number of people here who crow about how wonderful this or that modern film is, and how it is every inch a classic and how they love it so.....and yet they do not already own these movies on DVD or VHS? All of these modern classics are readily available at every single video rental outlet in the western world. And yet the only way that they can see these movies is if TCM shows them? When TCM shows something that I want to see, I record it for posterity. Then, I don't care if they ever show it again. Time to move on to the other 120,000 titles TCM has in their library. The movies that I would like to see are the ones that aren't on the other cable channels, or at the local library, or at the video store or readily available for sale. If you truly feel that these modern classics are so great and worthy, why is it that you do not own them already?

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I know I don't own as many classic OR modern movies on DVD as I'd like because I can't afford them. Between paying my tuition, art supplies, bills, necessities, etc., buying "luxury" items for myself like dvd's and cd's are, well, a luxury! Having cable and internet is a luxury in itself. That's why I'm always happy with what TCM shows--with the amount I record off the channel, my cable pays for itself. It sounds silly, but it's true. Not everyone can run out and buy material goods at the drop of the hat (myself included!).

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I think Constarkel's point was that the modern movies they choose to show us are always movies that are available for rent somewhere, or even for free at your local library. Many or most of the older movies are not available anywhere, so we turn to TCM to watch or record.

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No kidding. Here's why:

 

1. Not every town (yes, they exist) has a well-stocked local video-store, or even a poorly-stocked one, so it's great to pick-and-choose of what's on.

 

2. Not every town has a library with a well-stocked video section, or even a poorly-stocked one, or even a library, so it's great to pick-and-choose of what's on.

 

3. Not every person tuned into TCM has had the time or the inclination to collect every great classic on this month, so it's great to pick-and-choose of what's on.

 

4. I'm damn certain there's at least one person on the planet who hasn't seen Now Voyager.

 

5. I'm damn certain there's at least one person on the planet who never figured on buying Lawrence of Arabia but wouldn't mind seeing it.

 

6. I'm damn certain there's at least one person on the planet who might appreciate what is on at any given time and not whine about what is not on.

 

7. It's great to know what was nominated for Best Editing in 1944.

 

8. It's great to see how many different ties Robert Osborne can look good in while telling us the connection between films.

 

9. It's great to imagine how many different ties might make Ben Mankiewicz might look uncomfortable in telling me something I really don't need to know.

 

10. If my last two reasons are stupid, it's because I'm not ridiculous enough to express the desire to control what's on my TV set or complain about what isn't on my TV set. I'm really surprised how many people get really annoyed by what is or isn't on their TV set.

 

11. Because I can appreciate that there's someone out there in the big wide world who just might want to watch Benji and I couldn't fathom telling them that that is stupid and that it shouldn't be on the network because (as per one and two) that someone can rent it at their local video-store or their local library when I've personally never set foot in either their local video-store or their library.

 

12. Because I tune into TCM to watch or record, but if what I really want to watch and record isn't on, I'll go and do something else.

 

I could go on but I won't because it would be as redundant as this thread has become.

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constarkel mentioned in his post: "yet they do not already own these movies on DVD or VHS?"

 

Owning is different than renting or borrowing from the library. These days dvd companies have special protection coding on dvd's that make it impossible for anyone to record from a dvd to vhs tape. I hate videotapes because they're in the pan and scan format and not in the widescreen format. I refuse to go the Netflix route since I've had friends who used it and were scammed in the ways that were mentioned in this (or the TCM future) thread. Blockbuster is just ridiculous. I've had charges on my account for things I wouldn't watch if you paid me, so I refuse to do business with them anymore.

 

And besides, I don't see why you have to own a movie just because you love it. I love lots of movies and it doesn't mean that I have to own them. Just seeing them pop up on television from time to time can make a boring afternoon into an entertaining one, no matter what era it's from.

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Ditto to everything you've said! But these two:

 

*8. It's great to see how many different ties Robert Osborne can look good in while telling us the connection between films.

 

9. It's great to imagine how many different ties might make Ben Mankiewicz might look uncomfortable in telling me something I really don't need to know.*

 

Comedy gold!

 

I like to think that TCM is a well stocked movie library that comes right to my house, with no rental fees, hidden charges or due dates (except for that cable bill!). Thank you for this post.

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Johnny, you hit the nail on the head about this thread becoming redundant.

 

And Sugarpuss, your post made plenty of sense. Who the heck wants to buy, rent and go out to the library for a 'newer' movie. Why should we have to?

 

I just can't wait to see "Awakenings", "The Birdcage" and "The Boys from Brazil" right here on TCM.

 

Bring it on!

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Well Mongo, for someone who complains about the redundancy of this thread, you sure do post on here a lot. In fact, if anyone would like to tally up the number of times mongo has posted in this very thread, they will see that he has more than anyone. Way, way more. However, quantity (no matter how vast) will never equal quality and that where your posts are wanting, mongo.

 

Didn't you watch "The Boys from Brazil" when it was on the other night? If not, then evidently you CAN and DO wait. Or the subject matter of that particular film has a special appeal to you and so you want to watch it again and again? I don't even like those movies and yet I have seen every single one of the newer movies on TCM this month. Why? because we have been inundated with these movies for the last 15 years. They are on, all the time, everywhere.

 

What is really funny, is that you seem to salivate over EVERY single new movie that gets scheduled on TCM. Has it ever occurred to you that maybe, just maybe classic movies just aren't your bag? If so, that is nothing to be ashamed of. But don't try to pass yourself off as a classic movie enthusiast (who is so broadminded that they love anime and bollywood and any and everything not classic movie related) when you would really rather watch Nathan Lane movies.

 

TCM is the last stand for those of us that love the classic movies of the 20's through the 60's. There are several outlets for all of the newer movies. Of course, some of you may still be hand winding your electricity and others may not be within a three day's walk of a library but somehow, (And I have to pay double what I would normally pay for cable just to get TCM) many of you seem to have TCM. I would think that if you are paying for TCM, then you must be getting the 5 or 6 Encore Channels as well. Why don't you just watch your favorites over there? We have no such option.

 

Now for those of you that feel this thread is redundant, why don't you go to one of the other thousands of threads here on this forum?

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?I don't even like those movies and yet I have seen every single one of the newer movies on TCM this month. Why? because we have been inundated with these movies for the last 15 years. They are on, all the time, everywhere.?

 

That?s the main problem. These modern movies are on all the time, everywhere. I?m getting tired of paying an expensive satellite fee and seeing the same movies on all the different channels.

 

Seems like TCM should be showing the rare and interesting 1931 version of ?The Maltese Falcon?, with Ricardo Cortez and Bebe Daniels. Or the love story ?Miracle in the Rain?. Or more Robert Montgomery movies in prime time.

 

Nobody has been requesting to see ?Back to the Future? because everyone?s seen it a dozen times already on other channels. The same with ?The Graduate.? Nobody wants to see ?The V.I.P.s?. This movie was shot on a sound stage in 7 days and is a snoozer. It puts people to sleep.

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I just love it when you pick me out of a group of posters, especially since my messages will never equel quality. And the research you do is amazing to say the least, which leads me to believe I am must be making a difference.

Could I help it if I'm lucky enough to appreciate variety? I do appreciate the lengthy post though.

 

Since I don't care for the lengthy version of "Cleopatra" on TCM, I will get back to the Grammy Awards. Afterall variety is the spice of life.

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Now Sugarpuss, FredcDobbs and Constarkel have both made clear what I was trying to point out. I was only trying to state that the modern movies are available everywhere, and for free on every other tv channel or the library if you don't live in the sticks. And by the way, yes, you can record from the DVDs you rent, I do it every day.

Johnnyweeks, none of your points were compelling, the movies you mentioned with the exception of Benji were movies that do belong on TCM anyways.

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Hey! Not only do I want to watch The Graduate, but I own the dvd as well so I can watch it anytime I please. It's iconic. It has the great Dustin Hoffman and the late, great Anne Bancroft in it. And it's the first "classic" movie I ever watched. Not only that, but it will be 40 years old in 2007!

 

The first time I watched it, it was broadcast on a local channel which meant commercial breaks, pan and scan and whole scenes cut out so it could be crammed into a 2 hour time slot! If only I had TCM back then. I didn't get the movie because there were major scenes cut out. People were talking to people off screen because of the P/S. It was madness, I tell you, madness!

 

You can say what you want about Back to the Future, but The Graduate is timeless and classic. It rightly belongs on TCM.

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