Kowabunga, cartooners! Once again, it’s that time when Thrilling Days of Yesteryear takes a look at what’s in store for the curious on The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™. (You know, Rick Brooks should be able to send his kids to private school by now. I’m just sayin’.) There’s a multitude of fine viewing in May on Tee Cee Em—a salute to Aussie cinema, a tribute to Moms and Memorial Day…and the channel’s Star of the Month will spotlight the vast cinematic oeuvre of “the girl next door.”
I gotta come clean here—I’m not much of a Junie fan (though Dick Powell seemed to like her all right—so who am I to judge), but I am intrigued to see They Only Kill Their Masters (1972) on the schedule (May 28, 3:45am); I’ll have to DVR it because James Garner. (Masters was the last MGM film to be lensed on the studio’s backlot before it was sold; because of this, a handful of former MGM stars agreed to be grace the movie in supporting roles. Allyson plays a lesbian in the film—she accomplished this amazing performance simply by donning a sweatshirt. Vee-ola! Acting!) Here’s a look at what’s in store for her fans:
May 7, Wednesday
08:00pm The Glenn Miller Story (1954)
10:15pm The Stratton Story (1949)
12:15am The Secret Heart (1946)
02:00am The Three Musketeers (1948)
04:15am Right Cross (1950)
05:45am The Sailor Takes a Wife (1945)
May 8, Thursday
07:30am Girl Crazy (1943)
09:15am Words and Music (1948)
May 14. Wednesday
08:00pm Little Women (1949)
10:15pm The McConnell Story (1955)
12:15am Meet the People (1944)
02:00am The Reformer and the Redhead (1950)
03:45am The Girl in White (1952)
05:30am Her Highness and the Bellboy (1945)
May 15, Thursday
07:30am Till the Clouds Roll By (1946)
May 21, Wednesday
08:00am Two Girls and a Sailor (1944)
10:15am Best Foot Forward (1943)
12:00am Good News (1947)
01:45am Too Young to Kiss (1951)
03:30am The Bride Goes Wild (1948)
05:15am High Barbaree (1947)
May 22, Thursday
07:00am Thousands Cheer (1943)
May 28, Wednesday
08:00pm My Man Godfrey (1957)
10:00pm The Opposite Sex (1956)
12:00am Music for Millions (1944)
02:00am Battle Circus (1953)
03:45am They Only Kill Their Masters (1972)
05:30am Executive Suite (1954)
May 29, Thursday
07:30am Two Sisters from Boston (1946)
And for those of you who don’t like June Allyson…there’s
war. TCM honors those who sacrificed in
service to their country with military-themed films over the course of the
Memorial Day weekend, May 24-26:
May 24, Saturday
06:00am Journey for Margaret (1942)
07:30am The Shopworn Angel (1938)
09:00am A Guy Named Joe (1943)
11:15am Hell to Eternity (1960)
01:45pm The Steel Helmet (1951)
03:15pm Objective, Burma! (1945)
05:45pm The Hill (1965)
08:00pm The Dirty Dozen (1967)
10:45pm Where Eagles Dare (1969)
01:30am Kelly's Heroes (1970)
04:00am Men of the Fighting Lady (1954)
05:30am The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962)
May 25, Sunday
07:00am Imitation General (1958)
08:30am See Here, Private Hargrove (1944)
10:15am What Next, Corporal Hargrove? (1945)
12:00pm Mister Roberts (1955)
02:15pm Ensign Pulver (1964)
04:15pm Pillow to Post (1945)
06:00pm The Password is Courage (1962)
08:00pm No Time for Sergeants (1958)
10:15pm Onionhead (1958)
12:15am The Better 'Ole (1926)
02:00am Carnival in Flanders (1935)
04:00am The Dawn Patrol (1938)
May 26, Monday
06:00am The Red Badge of Courage (1951)
07:30am Sergeant York (1941)
10:00am Friendly Persuasion (1956)
12:30pm The White Cliffs of Dover (1944)
03:00pm The Young Lions (1958)
06:00pm The Fighting Sullivans (1944)
08:00pm Twelve O'Clock High (1949)
10:30pm The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
01:30am Pride of the Marines (1945)
03:45am Above and Beyond (1952)
Friday nights in May—a total of 25 features, though two of those are repeats of that Story of Film: An Odyssey documentary that several of my Facebook chums agreed wasn’t worth anyone’s time—the channel will highlight many outstanding films directed by renowned folk from the land Down Under (and some I’ve been wanting to see for a while now). (Note to TCM: while it is always nice to represent female directors on the schedule, Jane Campion—director of An Angel at My Table and Sweetie—is from New Zealand. I realize that technically Campion is based in Australia, but if I’ve learned anything from Death Proof, it’s that you do not call a Kiwi an Aussie.)
May 2, Friday
08:00pm Breaker Morant (1980)
10:00pm Gallipoli (1981)
12:00am Tim (1979)
02:00am Mad Max (1979)
04:00am Road Games (1981)
May 9, Friday
08:00pm Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975)
10:00pm The Last Wave (1977)
12:00am The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)
01:45am Walkabout (1971)
03:45am The Story of Film: An Odyssey: 1969-1979 – Radical Directors in the 70s - Make State of the Nation Movies (2011)
May 16, Friday
08:00pm My Brilliant Career (1979)
10:00pm Starstruck (1982)
12:00am An Angel at My Table (1990)
02:45am Sweetie (1989)
04:30am The Story of Film: An Odyssey: The 1990s – The First Days of Digital - Reality Losing Its Realness in America and Australia (2011)
May 23, Friday
08:00pm The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)
10:00pm The Plumber (1979)
11:30pm The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972)
01:30am Don's Party (1976)
03:15am Muriel's Wedding (1994)
May 30, Friday
08:00pm Newsfront (1978)
10:00pm Sunday Too Far Away (1975)
11:45pm The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978)
02:00am The Devil's Playground (1976)
04:00am Lonely Hearts (1982)
And on May 11—“M is for the million things she gave me…” That’s right: a salute to the extraordinary women who cooked our meals and wiped our noses and did our laundry and more on an endless list of sacrifices. (It’s criminal that we only celebrate Mother’s Day once a year.)
May 11, Sunday
06:00am Lady for a Day (1933)
07:45am The Catered Affair (1956)
09:30am Now, Voyager (1942)
11:30am Gypsy (1962)
02:00pm Mildred Pierce (1945)
04:00pm Marty (1955)
05:45pm Imitation of Life (1959)
08:00pm I Remember Mama (1948)
10:30pm The Mating Season (1951)
And if that’s not enough for ya—and by gosh…don’t you think it oughta be?—here’s the remainder of what’s on tap for May:
White Heat (1949) follows at 10:15pm (not a motion picture I would have gone with to present a positive picture of matriarchs…but then, I don’t work for TCM), then it’s Bachelor Mother (1939; 12:15am), The Catered Affair (1956; 2am—also on May 11) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942; 3:45am).
May 2, Friday – The Old Groaner himself would have celebrated his 111th natal anniversary today…and he’d probably still end up stealing Dorothy Lamour from his pal Bob Hope. Movies featuring Bing Crosby start at 7:45am with Going Hollywood (1933)…followed by Pennies from Heaven (1936; 9:15am), Road to Bali (1953; 10:45am), High Society (1956; 12:30pm) and Man on Fire (1957; 2:30pm).
(This movie actually played at the top of motion picture bills—the bottom half was The Magnificent Ambersons.) Lupe Velez and Leon Errol continue their hijinks the following week (May 10) with Mexican Spitfire’s Elephant (1942) and wrap it up with Mexican Spitfire’s Blessed Event (1943) on May 17. The series films don’t start up again until May 31, when the first of the “Doctor” series, Doctor in the House (1954) airs at 10:30am.
On TCM’s The Essentials, the scheduling of Best Picture Oscar winner In the Heat of the Night (1967) at 8pm ushers in works from the oeuvre of director Norman Jewison; The Russians are Coming The Russians are Coming (1966) follows Night at 10pm and the night concludes with The Cincinnati Kid (1965) at 12:15am. On TCM Underground, the 1973 cult classic that many believe to be the inspiration for the hit T&A TV phenom Charlie’s Angels airs at 2:15am: The Doll Squad!
(All right, that pun was as painful for me as it was for you. Please don’t trample the flowers in my comments section.)
The channel’s schedule seems to be saturated with mothers—Partridge Family matriarch Shirley Jones is feted with a primetime schedule of her movies; the occasion kicks off at 8 with the movie I was proud to introduce my niece Rachel to over the holidays, The Music Man (1962). Carousel (1956; 10:45pm) is next, followed by The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963; 1am)…and the evening concludes with Shirl’s Oscar-winning performance in 1960’s Elmer Gantry at 3:15am.
(Frankly, my dear…)
Come nightfall, the channel catches up on “the latest gossip” with like-minded movies in The Children's Hour (1961; 8pm), The Women (1939; 10pm), My Reputation (1946; 12:15am), The Age of Innocence (1993; 2am) and The Gorgeous Hussy (1936; 4:30am).
May 7, Wednesday – Happy 113th birthday, Coop! Two-time Oscar winner Gary Cooper is the proud recipient of cake and ice cream today and Tee Cee Em pulls out all the stops with A Farewell to Arms (1932; 6:15am), One Sunday Afternoon (1933; 7:45am), Today We Live (1933; 9:15am), The Westerner (1940; 11:15am), Meet John Doe (1941; 1pm), Sergeant York (1941; 3:15pm) and The Pride of the Yankees (1942; 5:45pm). (Yup.)
The rest of the line-up includes You’re in the Army Now (1941; 11:30am—Regis Toomey alert!), Lucky Me (1954; 2:45pm), Top Banana (1954; 4:30pm) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966; 6am). (Hey, Phil’s daughter Cathy “Jenny Piccolo” Silvers and I are Facebook friends now…gladaseeya!)
In primetime, movies adapted from successful stage productions in the 1960s are the order of the day, beginning with the great political drama The Best Man (1964) at 8pm. A Thousand Clowns (1965; 10pm), The Night of the Iguana (1964; 12:15am) and The Subject Was Roses (1968; 2:30am) follow…but the night is capped off (at 4:30am) by a movie I’ve not seen (and will definitely re-visit) since the early, Duck Dynasty-free days of A&E: Marat/Sade (The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade) (1967).
May 10, Saturday – Child star Anne Shirley is featured as part of a three-film fete that gets underway with The Essentials showing of Stella Dallas (1937) at 8pm (heeeeyyyy Stellllllaaa!!!). The movie that inspired Anne Shirley to become Anne Shirley (she was originally billed as “Dawn O’Day”), Anne of Green Gables (1934), follows at 10pm…and then Shirley’s final film (and all grown-up, too!), Murder, My Sweet (1944), rings down the curtain at 11:30pm.
The Katharine Hepburn Blogathon, hosted by Margaret Perry. TCM will feature Little Women (1933; 6am), Stage Door (1937; 8am), Mary of Scotland (1936; 9:45am), Alice Adams (1935; 12pm), Bringing Up Baby (1938; 2pm), Woman of the Year (1942; 4pm) and Pat and Mike (1952; 6pm)—so if you haven’t seen any of these hold off on reading any essay discussing them until you do so. (Sorry if I sound like anyone’s mother—I think it’s prolonged exposure to my own.)
The incomparable Mitzi Gaynor (still going strong!) is in the primetime spotlight with several of her movies: The Joker is Wild (1957; 8pm), Les Girls (1957; 10:15pm), The I Don't Care Girl (1953; 12:15am) and Golden Girl (1951; 2:45am). The odd man out is her 1974 CBS-TV special Mitzi: A Tribute to the American Housewife, which airs at 1:45am.
Pitfall (1948; 11:30am) and Criminal Lawyer (1951; 4:30pm). Rounding out the schedule are We're Only Human (1936; 7:30am), Kisses for Breakfast (1941; 8:45am), Army Surgeon (1942; 10:15am), Bad Boy (1949; 1pm), Task Force (1949; 2:30pm) and Never Too Late (1965; 6pm).
The actress known by many as “Goldwyn’s Garbo,” Anna Sten, is placed in charge of the primetime schedule—her American film debut in Nana (1934) is at 8pm, followed by We Live Again (1934; 9:45pm), They Came to Blow Up America (1943; 11:15pm) and her feature film swan song, The Nun and the Sergeant (1962) at 12:45am. (Anna’s the nun.) If you like Anna, go with it (I thought she was quite good in 1941’s So Ends Our Night) but if your tastes run toward cinema vérité TCM’s showing two Maysles Brothers classics afterward: Grey Gardens (1976; 2am) and Salesman (1968; 3:45am).
Just kidding…but you may have heard that the only governor we’ve got here in the Peach State recently signed into law what we unwashed hippie liberals call the Fellate Your Firearms Fondly Bill—which odiously expands the “Stand Your Ground” doctrine to protect convicted felons who kill using illegal guns. (Freedom!) So with that, might I suggest you watch some of the movies in today’s line-up for tips on how to beat a potential murder rap (never turn down free legal advice): The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946; 6am), The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946; 8am), Dark Passage (1947; 10am), The Unfaithful (1947; 12noon), Impact (1949; 2pm), A Fever in the Blood (1961; 4pm) and Twilight of Honor (1963; 6pm).
May 15, Thursday – “A preachment, dear friend, you are about to receive…on John Barleycorn, nicotine and the temptations of Eve…” The daylight TCM hours host films about those men call upon to preach—Hallelujah! (1929) kicks the medicine show off at 10:30am, followed by TDOY fave Stars in My Crown (1950; 12:15pm), Count Three and Pray (1955; 2pm), Wise Blood (1979; 4pm—one of sister Kat’s favorites) and The Night of the Hunter (1955; 6pm).
In primetime, the subject turns to “hypochondriacs”—another favorite here at Yesteryear Hospital, Why Worry? (1923) starts the evening at 8pm, then it’s Hannah and Her Sisters (1986; 9:15pm), Up in Arms (1944; 11:15pm), Send Me No Flowers (1964; 1:15am), The Little Shop of Horrors (1960; 3am) and Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936; 4:15am).
May 16, Friday – Tee Cee Em takes the WABAC machine to 1940 and dots its schedule with films from that year—Always a Bride (6am), Cross Country Romance (7am), I Take This Woman (8:15am), It's a Date (10am), Keeping Company (12noon), Lucky Partners (1:30pm), Married and in Love (3:15pm), My Love Came Back (4:30pm) and 'Til We Meet Again (6pm).
The Haunting (1963) is on tap on TCM’s Essentials at 8pm, and what follows are pants-wetting trips into the unsettling world of paranormal investigations. Which is just a fancy way of saying that The Legend of Hell House (1973) and Poltergeist (1983) follow at 10 and 11:45pm, respectively. Stick around for TCM Underground at 3:30am—a favorite of Castle Yesteryear, Night of the Eagle (1962—a.k.a. Burn, Witch, Burn!), is on the menu. (Evil laugh.)
May 18, Sunday – The movie that won Oscars for director Elia Kazan and Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck (Best Picture), Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), is scheduled at 8pm. The two men’s attempt to make lightning strike twice with the socially conscious Pinky (1949) follows at 10:15. (Despite Oscar nominations for stars Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore and Ethel Waters, however…Pinky came up stinky.)
Oscar-winning actor David Niven is in this morning’s spotlight with The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) at 6:15am, followed by The Dawn Patrol (1938; 8:15am), The First of the Few (1942—a.k.a. Spitfire; 10am), A Kiss for Corliss (1949; 12pm), The Moon Is Blue (1953; 1:30pm), Tonight's the Night (1954; 3:15pm), The Little Hut (1957; 5pm) and The Extraordinary Seaman (1969; 6:30pm).
When evening shadows fall today and on May 20, TCM tips its hat to films produced by Mel Brooks’ production company, Brooksfilms (catchy title!). On Monday, it’s Fatso (1980; 8pm), 84 Charing Cross Road (1987; 10pm) and The Doctor and the Devils (1985; 12mid); Tuesday features The Elephant Man (1980; 8pm), My Favorite Year (1982; 10:15pm) and To Be or Not to Be (1983; 12mid).
The first four features—Meet the Missus (1937; 6am), We're on the Jury (1937; 7:15am), Radio City Revels (1938; 8:30am) and She's Got Everything (1938; 10:15am)—all team Vic up with frequent onscreen sparring partner Helen Broderick. After that, it’s This Marriage Business (1938; 11:30am), The Heat's On (1943; 12:45pm), It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947; 2:15pm) and A Kiss in the Dark (1949; 4:15pm).
May 22, Thursday – While I often find it hard to choose between Sherlock, Jr. (1924) and The General (1926) as to which is Buster Keaton’s masterpiece…my favorite Keaton feature (simply on the amount of sheer pleasure it gives me) is Seven Chances (1925; 9:15am). Maybe it’s because one of my favorite actresses, Jean Arthur, has a tiny role in it. Well, who cares—it’ll give me a reason to watch it for the umpteenth time, plus I can enjoy The Silver Horde (1930; 10:15am), Danger Lights (1931; 11:45am), Public Hero No. 1 (1935; 1pm), The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936; 2:30pm), History is Made at Night (1937; 4pm)…and what may be my favorite Jean film of them all, The Talk of the Town (1942; 5:45pm).
He’s back from the TCM Classic Film Festival—where he made lame movie buffs walk and blind flicker aficionados see! Yes, good ol’ Bobby Osbo sets up his projector at 8pm with a few “picks”—beginning with The House on 92nd Street (1945) at 8pm…then he moves up the block to The House on 56th Street (1933) at 9:45. Hobson’s Choice (1954) is next at 11pm (sure, I kid R.O. but he’s got great taste in movies) followed by The Belle of New York (1952) at 1am to round out the evening.
May 23, Friday – Noir icon and The Restless Gun star John Payne is the focus of today’s film line-up…though disappointingly, only one Payne noir is featured—1949’s The Crooked Way at 3:45am. But TCM will show Dodsworth (1936) at 6am (yes, that was his feature film debut!), followed by Garden of the Moon (1938; 7:45am), Indianapolis Speedway (1939; 9:30am), Kid Nightingale (1939; 11am), Wings of the Navy (1939; 12noon), King of the Lumberjacks (1940; 1:45pm) and Tear Gas Squad (1940; 2:45pm).
At 5:15am, TCM will show one of the funniest of the Our Gang silent comedies—the 1926 two-reel classic Thundering Fleas. Not only is “the Gang all here” (Mickey Daniels, Allen “Farina” Hoskins, Joe Cobb) but there are contribution from stars and supporting players from the “Lot of Fun”—chiefly Oliver Hardy, Jimmy Finlayson and Charley Chase. Tape this if you get a chance.
May 27, Tuesday – Actress Merle Oberon has the daytime schedule baton passed to her, and the proceedings get underway at 6am with The Divorce of Lady X (1938). The Lion Has Wings (1939) is on deck at 7:45am, then it’s Over the Moon (1940; 9:15am), Affectionately Yours (1941; 10:45am), Lydia (1941; 12:15pm), That Uncertain Feeling (1941; 2pm), A Night in Paradise (1946; 3:30pm) and Deep in My Heart (1954; 5pm).
She’s the TCM Guest Programmer this month, and we shouldn’t be surprised to see that the first movie on the schedule is one of her own: 1962’s Lisa (at 8pm). (Yes, I was so hoping it would be Loving You . I would have even settled for Where the Boys Are .) The other films to be hosted by The Reverend Mother (I sound like I wandered into a Flying Nun rerun) are Laura (1944; 10pm), The Song of Bernadette (1943; 11:45pm—there’s a stunner!) and The Rose Tattoo (1955; 2:30am). (Fellow CMBA member A Trip Down Memory Lane has some interesting background on the Mother Prioress in this 2012 post.)
May 28, Wednesday – “San Francisco/Open your golden gate/You’ll let nobody wait…” Yes, the “City by the Bay” is feted today with the movie being sung about in those lyrics—San Francisco (1936) airs at 9:30am. Other Frisco-based films on the schedule are Welcome Danger (1929; 6am), Frisco Jenny (1932; 8am), Gold Is Where You Find It (1938; 11:30am), Shadow of the Thin Man (1941; 1:15pm), Seven Miles from Alcatraz (1942; 3pm), Night Song (1947; 4:15pm) and Hit the Deck (1955; 6pm).
May 29, Thursday – Johnny Mercer alert! The two feature films featuring Savannah’s favorite native son Johnny Mercer as an actor (well, that’s certainly debatable) will air today—Old Man Rhythm (1935) at 9:30am and To Beat the Band (1935) at 2:30pm.
Edited by Peter Biskind (author of one of my favorite film books, Seeing Is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the Fifties), I glommed onto a promotional copy of Lunches…and while I still consider Welles to be an amazing talent (not only in movies but in radio as well), some of the revelations in the book put a little tarnish on his legend (though you can argue that it always was there; I was just too Jaglom-like to notice it). TCM will toast these two conversationalists with airings of the Welles films Citizen Kane (1941; 8pm) and F for Fake (1973; 10:15pm)…followed by two Jaglom joints, Someone to Love (1987; 12mid—Welles’s last feature film appearance) and Eating (1990; 2am). The channel wraps up the evening with My Dinner with Andre (1981) at 4am—I guess they want folks to compare it to Lunches.
May 30, Friday – Hold my calls…TCM fetes one of my favorite film directors, Fritz Lang, with a daylong scheduling of his films. My mother will be happy that The Blue Gardenia (1953) is on the schedule (3pm); she saw the second half of it the last time it was on the channel and expressed an interest in seeing the whole enchilada. The other movies scheduled are Metropolis (1926; 6am), M (1931; 7:30am), Fury (1936; 9:15am), Scarlet Street (1945; 11am), Clash by Night (1952; 1pm), Moonfleet (1955; 4:45pm) and While the City Sleeps (1956; 6:15pm)
May 31, Saturday – To close out the merry month of May, TCM’s Essentials will offer up the start of “Pygmalion stories” with the musical version of George Bernard Shaw’s classic, My Fair Lady (1964), at 8pm. The Josephine Baker rarity Princesse Tam-Tam (1935) follows at 11pm, and then it’s Judy Holiday as the world’s most beloved “dumb blonde” in Born Yesterday (1950) at 12:30am.