To sort of give you an idea of how long it’s been since I emptied the contents of my inbox, Laura of Miscellaneous Musings fame sent me a heads-up the day after my natal anniversary to let me know that the tentative November 2011 schedule for The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ (ka-ching! …and get back to blogging soon, you hoser…) was up at an undisclosed location. So I offer up my sincerest apologies (I’m even holding a puppy in one hand and a kitten in the other for sympathy purposes) for not imparting some of the goodies that will await TCM fans sooner but two actions kept me from getting this done in a more timely manner a) I’m lazy, and b) when I’m not lazy I’m wicked busy because I’ve usually got projects going on all four burners.
The channel is going to do something different for their Star of the Month feature in November: each Monday and Wednesday night in the month, movies spotlighting actresses of the fair-haired variety (a sort of “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” if you will) will be scheduled, and among the top talent: Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Judy Holliday, Jean Harlow, Mae West, Carole Lombard, Grace Kelly, Betty Grable, Doris Day, and Kim Novak. In fact, because I’m, as I stated in the preceding paragraph, lazy I’ll just let you feast your eyes on the “
of the Blondes” lineup: Battle
November 2, Wednesday
Some Like it Hot (1959—also on November 27)
12:00am The Girl Can’t Help It (1956)
November 7, Monday
This Gun for Hire (1942)
The Blue Dahlia (1946)
01:15am The Bad and the Beautiful (1952)
03:30am Three Glamour Girls (1939)
05:00am Love Has Many Faces (1965)
November 9, Wednesday
Born Yesterday (1950)
The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956)
12:00am Bombshell (1933)
01:45am Platinum Blonde (1931)
03:30am Harlow: The Blonde Bombshell (1993)
04:30am The Girl from Missouri (1934)
November 14, Monday
The Blue Angel (1930)
Shanghai Express (1932)
01:30am Clash of the Titans (1981)
November 16, Wednesday
Nothing Sacred (1937)
To Be or Not to Be (1942)
She Done Him Wrong (1933)
I’m No Angel (1933)
See Here, Private Hargrove (1944)
04:15am Slightly Dangerous (1943)
November 21, Monday
My Sister Eileen (1955)
…And God Created Woman (1956)
01:45am A Very Private Affair (1962)
03:45am A Foreign Affair (1948)
November 23, Wednesday
Sweet Rosie O’Grady (1943)
Down Argentine Way (1940)
Tea for Two (1950)
01:00am That Touch of Mink (1962)
03:00am My Favorite Wife (1940)
November 28, Monday
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
Billy Liar (1963)
An Alligator Named Daisy (1955)
03:00am The Unholy Wife (1957)
November 30, Wednesday
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Dial M for Murder (1953)
12:00am Pushover (1954)
01:45am Jeanne Eagels (1957)
In January of this year, TCM featured one of my personal favorites of the many festivals they’ve hosted in their broadcast history, a salute to the Hal Roach Studios…and one of the highlights was airings of a TV series the company produced during the 1955-56 season entitled Screen Director’s Playhouse, adapted from the 1949-51 radio anthology of the same name. Each week, a top motion picture director would put guest stars through their paces in half-hour dramas and while the program didn’t necessarily hit one out of the park every week some of them were pretty entertaining…and most impressive of all, the video quality of these half-hours was amazing. So Tee Cee Em is going to pull a few more of these shows out of the vaults and air them in November…and you’ll no doubt notice courtesy of the lineup below that the star wattage in these shows is just a teensy bit dimmer than the ones featured in those shows telecast in January. The nifty thing is, after each episode of Playhouse TCM will show a movie featuring one of the stars from that particular telecast:
November 3, Thursday
06:00am Episode #1: “Meet the Governor” (
10/05/55) with Herb Shriner, Barbara Hale
Episode #2: “Day is Done” (
10/12/55) with Rory Calhoun, Bobby Driscoll
Episode #3: “A Midsummer Daydream” (
10/19/55) with Keenan Wynn, Kim Hunter
Episode #4: “Arroyo” (
10/26/55) with Jack Carson, Lynn Bari
Episode #5: “Want Ad Wedding” (
11/02/55) with Jimmy Lydon, Fred Clark
Episode #6: “The Life of
Hathaway” ( Vernon 11/09/55) with Alan Young, Cloris Leachman
November 8, Tuesday
Episode #7: “The Final Tribute” (
11/16/55) with Laraine Day, Thomas Mitchell
Episode #8: “The Brush Roper” (
11/23/55) with Walter Brennan, Chuck Connors
Episode #13: “The Titanic Incident” (
12/28/55) with Leo Genn, May Wynn
Episode #14: “Hot Cargo” (
01/04/56) with Yvonne De Carlo, Rory Calhoun
Episode #18: “Cry Justice” (
02/15/56) with MacDonald Carey, Dick Haymes
Episode #19: “Affair in
Sumatra” ( 02/22/56) with Ralph Bellamy, Basil Rathbone
TCM also rolled out a bodacious batch of the Laurel & Hardy sound comedies that same month, and at the time I expressed regret that they couldn’t make room for Stan & Ollie’s silent output because the greatest movie comedy team of all time did make some hilarious two-reelers before the movies started to talk. Well, good things come to those who wait: the first two Sundays in November (as part of the channel’s Silent Sunday Nights programming) TCM will show some of the duo’s funniest silent comedies, so you’ll certainly want to make sure all the parts in your DVR-TiVo-whatever-recording-device-strikes-your-fancy are in working order:
November 6, Sunday
Do Detectives Think? (1927)
Putting Pants on Philip (1927)
01:00am You’re Darn Tootin’ (1928)
01:30am Two Tars (1928)
November 13, Sunday
12:00am Habeas Corpus (1928)
12:30am Big Business (1929)
Double Whoopee (1929)
01:30am Angora Love (1929)
Despite my using the photo, I only wish Wrong Again (1929) had been included in this lineup. (Stacia of She Blogged by Night fame will more than happy to tell you why. Hint: it involves funny noises.)
Finally, Thursday nights in November brings on a festival of films that feature “the bounding main” as their setting—plenty of comedy, musicals, love stories and suspense. (Dramamine will be provided upon request.)
November 3, Thursday
Romance on the High Seas (1948)
April in Paris (1952)
Luxury Liner (1948)
New Moon (1940)
And the Ship Sails On (1984)
November 4, Friday
06:00am Melody Cruise (1933)
November 10, Thursday
Love Affair (1939)
One Way Passage (1932)
01:00am That Girl from Paris (1936)
03:00am Dodsworth (1936—also on November 26).
November 17, Thursday
The Last Voyage (1960)
Rich and Strange (1931)
01:15am Ship of Fools (1965)
03:45am Abandon Ship! (1957)
November 24, Thursday
Anything Goes (1956)
A Night at the Opera (1935)
01:30am Monkey Business (1931)
Shall We Dance (1937)
And with the special stuff out of the way, let’s take a look at some additional highlights in November (and remember—everything mentioned here is subject to change if TCM just isn’t feeling up to it):
November 1, Tuesday – TCM kicks off the month with an unusual hodgepodge of film noir classics and one or two that seem a little out-of-place (the 1943 musical Cabin in the Sky is on the schedule at 10:45am…are we calling this noir now?) but there are some real goodies on tap, including Colorado Territory (1949) at 7:15am (the western remake of High Sierra…and you might want to grab this one because the Warner Archive copy is a tad on the pricey side) and longtime TDOY fave Out of the Past (1947) at 9:00am.
Come nightfall, the channel has programmed some comedies that will certainly be worth your while but the ones I would recommend are Sleeper (1973; ), Lost in America (1985; ) and the immortal Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936) at . (
, for those interested, is one of the rare films that both sister Kat and I agree on—“We have to touch Indians!”) America
November 2, Wednesday – The first of September on TCM featured a Burt Lancaster film festival…and I never did learn the reason why, but in this particular instance I know what the cause for celebration is…today would have been Burt’s 98th natal anniversary. Lancaster’s real-life acrobatic talents are put to good use in the film that kicks off the morning, Trapeze (1956; 6:30am), and that’s followed by The Flame and the Arrow (1950; 8:30am), From Here to Eternity (1953; 10am), Brute Force (1947; 12noon), The Killers (1946; 1:45pm), Sweet Smell of Success (1957; 3:45pm) and Seven Days in May (1964; 5:30pm).
November 3, Thursday – You’re probably not going to mention Storm Center (1956; ) on a list of Bette Davis’ greatest films…but for some odd reason, I’ve always liked this one. I’ll try and catch it again if my father’s not in the middle of Operation Bait Car—this is a new programming idea I came up with for his channel of choice, TruTV. It combines two of their stupidest programs, Operation Repo and Bait Car—but on my series, the people on Repo repossess the titular automobile and are arrested in the process, putting both shows out of work after the premiere episode. (I think I will soon after be hailed as a programming genius.)
November 4, Friday – TCM’s scheduled showing of the 1933 horror film classic The Invisible Man at 8pm kicks off an evening of movies featuring the legendary Gloria Stuart; the other flicks in the lineup are Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935; 9:30pm), Here Comes the Navy (1934; 11:15pm) and Maybe It’s Love (1935; 1am). That 1997 movie for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress Oscar is not on the schedule, however, and for that we must truly be thankful. At on TCM Underground, the channel will show a movie that scared the snot out of me as a kid, Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971). (I’m surprised the filmmakers didn’t re-title it Let’s Make Ivan Wet His Bed.)
November 5, Saturday – It’s not nearly as good as the radio or TV series, but the 1956 film version of Our Miss Brooks is certainly worth a look-see if you haven’t already seen it. Of main interest to the TDOY faithful, however, are the final chapters in the Republic cliffhanger serial classic Zorro’s Fighting Legion; Chapters 10 (“Mystery Wagon”) and 11 (“Face to Face”) air at 11 and 11:30am, respectively…and the twelfth and final installment (“Unmasked”) airs at 11am the following Saturday (November 12). On November 19, TCM jump starts another movie series with The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939), my favorite of the “Lone Wolf” films starring Cliff Aliperti fave Warren William…and the following week (November 26), William encores as Louis Joseph Vance’s famed literary sleuth in The Lone Wolf Meets a Lady (1940).
Not only is Zorro taking off his mask and putting it away in mothballs, but the Tarzan movies comes to an end about the same time with the last of the two Mike Henry Tarzans, Tarzan and the Great River* (1967, November 5) and Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968, November 12)—both films air at 12 noon. The title of the last movie is a foreshadowing clue to what the channel has next in store the following week (November 19): the beginning of Johnny Sheffield’s Bomba series, with Bomba, the Jungle Boy (1949) on the 19th and Bomba on Panther Island (1949) following on the 26th.
Come evening, the TCM Essentials scheduling of East of Eden (1955; 8pm) subtly ushers in a night of movies starring actress Julie Harris, with The Truth About Women (1957) following at 10:15pm, then The Member of the Wedding (1952; 12:15am), Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962; 2am) and The Haunting (1963; 4am).
November 6, Sunday – Jean Kerr, the author-playwright of such humor books as The Snake Has All the Lines and Penny Candy—and stage productions like Mary, Mary and King of Hearts—gets a two-film tribute beginning at 8pm with Critic’s Choice (1963)…which was not something she wrote but was penned by Ira Levin, who used Kerr and her hubby Walter as inspiration for the characters (it was also the last of the four films Lucille Ball and Bob Hope did together). Following at is the movie adaptation of Kerr’s best-known book, Please Don’t Eat the Daisies (1960), which stars Doris Day as an ersatz Jean and David Niven as the faux Walter. (Personally, I preferred the 1965-67 sitcom with *sigh* Pat Crowley.)
November 8, Tuesday – Saddle up, pilgrim! It’s an evening of John Wayne films that begins with Howard Hawks’
Rio Bravo El Dorado Rio Lobo (1970), the director’s final film at . McLintock! (1963) is next at 10, and then The Searchers (1956) at . Rounding out the night is How the West Was Won (1962)…which is as of this writing the only movie I’ve ever seen letterboxed on Encore Westerns.
November 9, Wednesday – Happy birthday, Marie Dressler! Celebrate what would be the Oscar-winning actress’ 143rd natal anniversary with a film lineup that starts at 6:30am with The Girl Said No (1931) (though I think it’s more polite to say “no, thank you”) and continues with One Romantic Night (1930; 8:15am), Let Us Be Gay (1930; 9:30am), Min and Bill (1930; 11am), Reducing (1931; 1:15pm), Politics (1931; 1:45pm), Emma (1932; 3pm), Prosperity (1932; 4:30pm) and her scene-stealing antics in Dinner at Eight (1933; 6am).
November 10, Thursday – More birthday cake? Well…I really shouldn’t, but…oh, heck—it’s Claude Rains’ day, so I’ll have another slice and settle in for a great day of movies: Anthony Adverse (1936; 6am), Four Daughters (1938; 8:30am), Daughters Courageous (1939; 10:15am), Four Wives (1939; 12:15pm), Four Mothers (1941; 2:15pm), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941; 3:45pm) and Mr. Skeffington (1944; 5:30pm).
November 11, Friday – TCM salutes veterans with a day of military-themed films that kicks off with Buck Privates (1941) at 6am, followed by The Navy Comes Through (1942; 7:30am), God is My Co-Pilot (1945; 9am), The Fighting 69th (1940; 10:30am), Never So Few (1965; 12noon), A Walk in the Sun (1945; 2:15pm), To the Shores of Tripoli (1942; 4:15pm), Darby’s Rangers (1958; 5:45pm), Up Periscope (1959; 8pm) and The Americanization of Emily (1964; 10pm).
These last three films star TDOY god James Garner, and TCM will make it a grand slam by scheduling Marlowe (1969) at midnight—a movie that some believe features the best interpretation of Raymond Chandler’s legendary literary gumshoe. (I’m still a Dick Powell-Murder, My Sweet partisan but I do like Garner’s movie ‘cause it’s sort of a warm-up for the actor’s later TV series The Rockford Files.)
November 12, Saturday – TCM Essentials is going to kick off an evening of “con man” themed films with The Bank Dick (1940) at 8pm…and while W.C. Fields demonstrated facets of the stereotypical fast-talking swiftie in his onscreen persona, I don’t think Dick is the movie I’d go with—he’s much more of a smoothie in films like The Old-Fashioned Way (1934) or You Can’t Cheat a Honest Man (1939). That nitpick aside, the Ernst Lubitsch classic Trouble in Paradise (1932) follows at 9:30pm, then it’s The Producers (1968; 11pm), Angels Over Broadway (1940; 12:45am), Hot Millions (1968; 2:15am) and a movie that I’ve been praying the channel would repeat for some time now, Slither (1973) at 4:15am.
November 13, Sunday – From 1956 to 1958, Scott Forbes played the legendary frontiersman and knife guy Jim Bowie on TV screens…but in the movies, you had a choice between Alan Ladd (1952’s The Iron Mistress, showing at 8pm) and Sterling Hayden (1955’s The Last Command follows at 10). (Okay, there were other
films but TCM switches over to the Laurel & Hardy stuff at .) Bowie
November 14, Monday – Whose idea was it to schedule Pandora’s Box (1929) at six-thirty in the a.m.? Well, I guess I’ll set my alarm for that time because I also want to catch Blessed Event (1932) at …and then I can nap until , when longtime TDOY fave The Glass Key (1942) comes on.
November 15, Tuesday – “It’s that little souvenir/Of a terrible year…” Okay, judging by the lineup on this day, this isn’t where the story ends: The Story of Three Loves (1953; 6am), The Story of Esther Costello (1957; 8:15am), The Story of Mankind (1957; 10am), The Story of Seabiscuit (1949; 12noon), The Story of G.I. Joe (1945; 2pm), The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939; 4pm) and The Story of Will Rogers (1952; 6am) are all featured today.
November 16, Wednesday – People who have been reading this blog for a while now—and yet still have managed to not lose any of their friends—know that I have a tendency to refer to actor Marshall Thompson as “Marshall ‘Daktari’ Thompson” because of his starring role as the veterinarian who practiced his profession at a nature preserve center in East Africa on a hit TV series than ran from 1966-69. TCM is going to show the film that served as Daktari’s pilot, Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion (1965), at 10am so if you’ve never seen the series you can get a taste for what it’s like; why this film—or the TV series, for that matter—isn’t available yet on DVD is puzzling because a) it’s tailor-made for family film/TV devotees and b) it’s not in black-and-white. (I have a rootpeg set of about 73 of Daktari’s 89 episodes, the majority of which came from its reruns on Turner South.)
November 17, Thursday – A birthday tribute to Rock Hudson goes along its merry way until Something of Value (1957; 2pm) rolls its end credits at about 4pm…and then the person who programmed Ernie’s natal anniversary salute decides s/he’d much rather watch a couple of films with Rock’s Value co-star, Sidney Poitier, in Edge of the City (1957; 4pm) and Band of Angels (1957; 5:30pm). We should have suspected something was up when Fighter Squadron (1948) started the day off at 6am (Hudson’s role is pretty much a bit part) but they do make room for Giant (1956—they pretty much have to…it’s a giant, for Pete’s sake) at 7:45am and Ice Station Zebra (1968) at 11:15.
November 18, Friday – If I were planning a Jimmy Stewart film festival, I’d include the movie he made in 1937 with Edward G. Robinson, The Last Gangster…because I didn’t get to record it the last time it was on TCM. To punish me for my slackitude, the channel has whipped up an alternate lineup: The Gorgeous Hussy (1936; ), Speed (1936; ), Navy Blue and Gold (1937; ), The Ice Follies of 1939 (1939; ), The Mortal Storm (1940; ) Ziegfeld Girl (1941; ) and
Malaya (1949; ). Well, whaddya gonna do…stuff happens.
Later that evening, the channel pays tribute to the great British film thespian Richard Todd with one of his iconic roles, A Man Called Peter (1955) at . Preceding Pete will be Chase a Crooked Shadow (1958) at , and The Hasty Heart (1949) calls it an evening at . Still later, TCM Underground has a showing of Equinox (1970) scheduled at , double-featured with The Green Slime (1969) at . (Stacia alert!)
November 20, Sunday – If you didn’t catch A Millionaire for Christy (1951) the last time it was on TCM, its successful encore appeal has been heard by the
Classic Film Court and the lower court’s opinion was upheld. (I have no idea why I wrote this in the manner I did, unless it has something to do with the fact that the nightly Me-TV Perry Mason rerun is on as I’m typing.)
November 21, Monday – Now here’s a classic film birthday that I can get behind (hell, I might even have two slices of cake). TDOY fave Ralph Meeker is feted with a festival that starts with Shadow in the Sky (1952) at 7am, followed by Glory Alley (1952; 8:30am), Jeopardy (1953; 10am), The Naked Spur (1953; 11:15am), Kiss Me Deadly (1955; 1pm), Paths of Glory (1957; 3pm), Run of the Arrow (1957; 4:30pm) and Ada (1961; 6pm).
November 22, Tuesday – TCM gets a jump on Ruth Roman’s birthday (it’s December 22) with a day of her films: The Window (1949; 7:15am), Colt .45 (1950; 8:45am), Dallas (1950; 10:15am), Lightning Strikes Twice (1951; 12noon), Invitation (1952; 1:45pm), Down Three Dark Streets (1954; 3:15pm), Joe MacBeth (1955; 4:45pm) and Rebel in Town (1956; 6:30pm). As I watch some of the films on tap for this day I’ll no doubt be thinking: “I’m going to have to finish critiquing Jungle Queen (1945) one of these days…”
November 24, Thursday – Every now and then a dedicated TCM viewer finds a reason not to get out of bed. (This is one of those times.) The channel starts Thanksgiving morning with a Private Screenings encore from 2006 featuring former child stars, and one of them is featured in the three movies that follow: Little Women (1949; 7:45am), Meet Me in St. Louis (1944; 10am) and The Secret Garden (1949; 12noon). (I dare not risk saying her name because…well, I’m writing this during Halloween month and I’m afraid I might inadvertently summon forth a demon.) The Man Who Would Be Opie, Ron Howard, co-stars in The Music Man (1962) at 1:45pm, followed by Shirley Temple in Little Miss Marker (1934; 4:30pm) and Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street (1947) at 6pm…a fitting treat for the Thanksgiving holiday.
November 25, Friday – TCM Underground has the cult classic Freaked (1993) on the schedule…and I don’t know how many of you have seen this one (it’s one of those movies you’ll probably enjoy if you’ve been smoking a few bowls); it concerns a dickhead actor (played by Alex “Bill” Winter), his best buddy (Michael “Blossom’s drunk brother” Stoyanov) and an activist (Megan Ward) who are transformed into sideshow attractions by an evil Randy Quaid. It’s crammed full of WTF celebrities (Brooke Shields, Mr. T, Morgan Fairchild) and is only sporadically funny at times…but Quaid has a line in the film, “Wakey wakey…eggs and bakey!” that I have been using constantly since I first saw the film on cable. (I also think the “Styrofoam cup!” gag is hysterical.)
November 27, Sunday – “You’ll be swell...you’ll be great…gonna have the whole world on a plate…” Yes, it’s exactly what you think it is—a two-film tribute to the Merm, with There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954) at 8pm and Strike Me Pink (1936), which co-stars Eddie Cantor, at 10:15pm.
November 30, Wednesday – Finally, TCM closes out the month with a birthday tribute to the incomparable Virginia Mayo (the first one of you who cracks a “Hold the Mayo” joke is staying after the post to clap erasers), who would have been 91 today. Red Light (1949) gets the party started at 6am, followed in succession by White Heat (1949; 7:30am), Flaxy Martin (1949; 9:30am), The Girl from Jones Beach (1949; 11am), Always Leave Them Laughing (1949; 12:30pm), Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951; 2:30pm), She’s Back on Broadway (1953; 4pm) and She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952; 6am). (The way those last two have been scheduled back-to-back, it sounds like she’s doing both.)
*True Story: When my sister Kat and I first saw this on TV as tads, she marveled at how quickly the Lord of the Apes was able to haul ass through the jungle by exclaiming: “Look at Tarzan! Even though he’s barefoot, he doesn’t stop for ‘stickers’ or nothin’!”