No, you needn’t rub your eyes wondering if you read that title right—somebody at The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ was apparently bursting at the seams to put up the tentative January lineup of films on TCM, and while I have never met this individual I’d bet dollars to donuts s/he is a lot like me. The great thing about this is it gives me a chance to map out my recording schedule (and those people who know me are aware that I’m a plan-to-the-smallest-detail kind of guy) since my DVD purchases have been sort of curtailed as a result of the current economy and my meager finances here at Rancho Yesteryear.
One thing I have noticed is that TCM seems to have entered into agreements with both Universal and 20th Century-Fox that allow them to run some of those studios’ older product; among the Fox offerings that I’m looking forward to record include Man Hunt (1941) and A Hatful of Rain (1957), while on the Universal side they’ll be showing To Each His Own (1946), The Egg and I (1947) and All My Sons (1948; I have seen this on TCM in the past, though). TCM also has scheduled The Strange One (1957), a Columbia film recently released on disc that stars Ben Gazzara as a megalomaniacal cadet leader in a Southern military academy (“I’m Jocko DeParis!”) who quickly wears out his welcome among his fellow cadets (which include Pat Hingle and George Peppard). (Believe me—if I had the gitas, I would have picked this one up sometime ago, it’s a cult favorite.)
I went through the schedule and found a few of the highlights—all times are EST:
January 3, Sunday – “Godfrey Daniels!” TCM offers a small tribute to The Great Man himself, W.C. Fields, with showings of It's a Gift (1934, 8pm), Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (1941, 9:15pm) and If I Had a Million (1932, 10:30pm)—the all-star comedy/drama that doesn’t get shown much. Following these films is an edition of the channel’s Sunday Silent Nights, which will offer a double feature of two silent greats as they matriculate in ivy-covered higher institutions (I know it sounds dirty, but it isn’t): Harold Lloyd in The Freshman (1925, 12 midnight) and Buster Keaton in College (1927, 1:30am).
January 4, Monday – Mark this one on your calendars: TCM is going to show one of Billy Wilder’s most underrated films at , Five Graves to Cairo (1943). (They’ve also got another rarely-shown Wilder goodie, A Foreign Affair , scheduled for January 24 at 10:15pm.)
January 6, Wednesday – It’s Loretta Young’s birthday! Celebrate with a mini-marathon of her films: Laugh, Clown, Laugh (1928, 6am), Play-Girl (1932, 8am), Life Begins (1932, 9:15am), Heroes for Sale (1933, 10:30am), She Had to Say Yes (1933, 12 noon), The Stranger (1946, 1:15am), Rachel and the Stranger (1948, 3pm), Key to the City (4:30pm) and Cause for Alarm (1951, 6:30pm). Be sure to stick around for a showing of Josef von Sternberg’s The Scarlet Empress (1934) at , featuring Marlene Dietrich at her loveliest.
January 8, Friday – A birthday tribute to the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Nothing you haven’t already seen before, but the movies shown will include Harum Scarum (1965), Kissin' Cousins (1964), Spinout (1966), Roustabout (1964), Girl Happy (1965), Speedway (1968), Blue Hawaii (1961), Viva Las Vegas (1964), Elvis on Tour (1972), Elvis: That's the Way It Is (1970; the 2001 restoration) and Jailhouse Rock (1957). After Rock, TCM Underground will offer a “chicks-in-chains” double feature with The Big Doll House (1971) and Caged (1950).
January 12, Tuesday – TCM invites you to get “Girl Happy” a second time with showings of Party Girl (1958, 6am), Play Girl (1940, 7:45am), The Petty Girl (1950, 9:15am), Cover Girl (1944, 10:45am) and Ziegfeld Girl (1941, 12:45pm). Following this last Girl will be Ziegfeld Follies (1946) at 3pm, which will then usher in The Great Ziegfeld (1936) at 5pm and then a continuing slew of films featuring “The Viennese Teardrop,” Luise Rainer, as the channel celebrates her birthday with The Great Waltz (1938), The Good Earth (1937), Big City (1937), The Emperor's Candlesticks (1937), The Toy Wife (1938) and Dramatic School (1938) for the rest of the evening.
January 13, Wednesday – Happy birthday, Kay Francis! Have some Kleenex handy, because TCM is going to show The Goose and the Gander (1935, 7am), Another Dawn (1937, 8:15am), Comet Over Broadway (1938, 9:30an), My Bill (1938, 10:45am), Secrets of an Actress (1938, 12 noon), Women Are Like That (1938, 1:15pm), It's a Date (1940, 2:45pm), The Feminine Touch (1941, 4:30pm) and Always in My Heart (1942, 6:15pm). (I can hear the celebratory champagne corks popping at She Blogged By Night right now.)
January 15, Wednesday – Swap the remaining Kleenex for some insulin, because it’s Margaret O’Brien’s birthday, and that means a mini-marathon of Journey for Margaret (1942, 6am), Lost Angel (1943, 7:45am), Bad Bascomb (1946, 9:30am), Three Wise Fools (1946, 11:30am), The Unfinished Dance (1947, 1:15pm), Big City (1948, 3pm) and Tenth Avenue Angel (1948, 5pm). Ms. O’Brien also figures prominently in a repeat of Private Screenings at , in which “Bobby Osbo” interviews her, Jane “Josephine” Winters, Dickie Moore and Darryl “Davey Gillis” Hickman.
January 18, Monday – In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, TCM will be showing movies celebrating the black experience like Bright Road (1953), Sounder (1972) and A Raisin in the Sun (1961). I’m not sure I would have included (as TCM has) the groundbreaking (but riddled with stereotypes) musical Cabin in the Sky (1943), however…but that’s just me.
January 21, Thursday – It’s a salute to
January 22, Friday – “Marriage is a wonderful institution…but who wants to live in an institution?” Confirmed bachelors will be sweating like Edmond O’Brien when TCM honors the preparations for holy matrimony with a festival of Brides Are Like That (1936, 6:15 am), Lady for a Day (1933, 7:30am), Royal Wedding (1951, 9am), Father of the Bride (1950, 10:45am), The Catered Affair (1956, 12:30pm), High Society (1956, 2:15pm), The Member of the Wedding (1952, 4:15pm) and How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life (1968, 6pm).
January 27, Wednesday – Relive those good ol’ days when you were sure there was a Commie hiding underneath your bed with a nice little Cold War Paranoia festival that will spotlight My Son John (1952, 8pm), I Was a Communist for the FBI (1951, 10:15pm), The Manchurian Candidate (1962, 12 midnight) and The Bedford Incident (1965, 2:15am).
January 28, Thursday – TCM takes a “Road Trip” with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Dottie Lamour as they show six out of the seven popular comedy-musical vehicles the trio made between 1940 and 1962. (Sadly, Dorothy only has a brief cameo in the last one, The Road to Hong Kong —she was dumped in favor of some tart named Joan Collins.) The only one missing from this group is Road to Rio (1947), my second favorite of the series.
And there you have but just a tiny taste of the goodies TCM has simmering on the stove for January of the new year—they’ll also feature some silent films including The Merry Widow (1925) and the recently rediscovered John Gilbert film Bardelys the Magnificent (1926) (not to mention a pair of Rudolph Valentino flicks, The Conquering Power  and Stolen Moments ). As always, films and scheduled times are subject to change—so if you’ll excuse me, I may have to lay in a supply of recordable DVDs…