Monday, August 30, 2010

Nothing beats a Todd(y)

In about a half-hour, the portion of today’s TCM Summer Under the Stars tribute to the late, great actress-comedienne Thelma Todd that I’ve looking forward to since May will get underway—the channel kicks off with approximately three hours of classic Charley Chase two-reel comedies that feature “Hot Toddy” as his leading lady. The actual ToddFest started this a.m. at 6am with the Joe E. Brown feature film Broadminded (1931), but since I grabbed that last month during Brown’s birthday tribute I wasn’t going to have to technically rise and shine until 7:15am when Son of a Sailor (1933) comes on. But in digging through my recorded-off-of-TCM DVDs to find my copy of The Freshman (for some odd reason, my Region 2 copy stubbornly refuses to cooperate in the player) I learned that I already had Sailor, which means I didn’t have to be wide awake until 8:30. Then I remembered that with no need to re-record Sailor, I could grab the Gunsmoke episode “Catawomper” at 7am.

(I didn’t realize I already had Sailor and would have recorded it again had I not stumbled across it by accident. But this is a two-way street. I neglected to record The Ruling Class [1972] Saturday because I thought I already had it…and as it turns out I didn’t. What I essentially need is a secretary around this place.)

The lineup of Chase shorts is as follows:

08:30am The Real McCoy (1930)
09:00am Whispering Whoopee (1930)
09:30am Dollar Dizzy (1930)
10:00am High C’s (1930)
10:30am The Pip from Pittsburgh (1931)
11:00am The Nickel Nurser (1932)

Two Wheeler & Woolsey features follow the Chase comedies—Hips, Hips, Hooray! (1934; 11:30am) and Cockeyed Cavaliers (1934; 12:45pm). I’ve already recorded Hips except that the end credits were lopped off, and Cavaliers (my favorite W&W comedy) I purchased off eBay but I’m curious to see if I can record a better copy. Since these two movies run approximately an hour-and-a-fifteen minutes each, that means I can try to make some headway on this week’s Mayberry Mondays installment (which I started last night).

From 2-5pm are the Todd/ZaSu Pitts shorts, and then the Todd/Patsy Kelly comedies follow from 5-8pm:

02:00pm Catch as Catch Can (1931)
02:30pm Red Noses (1932)
03:00pm Show Business (1932)
03:30pm Asleep in the Feet (1933)
04:00pm Maids a la Mode (1933)
04:30pm The Bargain of the Century (1933)

05:00pm Soup and Fish (1934)
05:30pm One Horse Farmers (1934)
06:00pm Opened by Mistake (1934)
06:30pm Sing, Sister, Sing (1935)
07:00pm Hot Money (1935)
07:30pm Top Flat (1935)

And after this—it’s smooth sailing for the rest of the evening. I already have both of the Marx Brothers-Todd films, Monkey Business (1931; 8pm) and Horse Feathers (1932; 9:30pm), and the two features Thel did with Stan & Ollie, The Devil’s Brother (1933; 12:15am) and The Bohemian Girl (1936; 2am). I’ll need to tape Another Fine Mess (1930; 10:45pm)—don’t know why I don’t have it, but I don’t—and I may grab Chickens Come Home (1931; 11:30pm) just to be on the safe side. After that, I’ll program the player to grab Mary Stevens, M.D. (1933) at 4:45am before hitting the hay.

I know what you’re saying—I could go ahead and just program the player for all of these shorts. But many of these comedies run 20-22 minutes in a half-hour slot…which means I’d have to endure eight minutes of things like Ben Mankiewicz shilling the TCM IPhone app (“How cool is that!”). It’s all in the editing, good people.

I guess what I’m trying to say in my typically long-winded fashion is…if anybody calls today, I’m in conference.

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Amanda said...

Super excited for today's star. I adore Thelma Todd

Cliff Aliperti said...

I can definitely relate to your programming difficulties! Typically I record to DVR first and then move those recordings to DVD-R later on, setting the alarm on my phone to buzz at the end of each feature so I can cut recording at the right spot, conserve space, etc.. Todd definitely presents a challenge as my alarm will be buzzing every 22 minutes or so instead of the usual 90. I'm going to be bouncing around the house like a ping pong ball when I do that!