Saturday, November 5, 2011

Coming distractions: December 2011 on TCM

Once upon a time on the blog (in mid-July of 2009, as a matter of fact) I started a feature here at TDOY called “Coming Distractions”—a sort of mini round-up of movies scheduled to be shown on The Greatest Cable Channel Known to Mankind™ (ka-ching!) in months to come, which I learned about via a placeholder on TCM’s website.  It started out small at first, only mentioning movies that I had a particular interest in…but I later expanded the selections to include a sort of day-to-day rundown of the monthly highlights because I thought just listing films I had an affinity for or planned to watch was a little selfish.  In all seriousness, I was kind of surprised when it became popular (many of the blog hits I receive come from people looking to check out what’s on tap in the coming months) and I decided to continue doing it even though it can be a real chore (I like to include IMDb links to the movies, and I’ve yet to find a faster way of doing so).

But back in April-May of this year, TCM took a page from Facebook and started tinkering with its website when there really wasn’t any need to…and one of the casualties of their not leaving well enough alone was that the tentative schedules became harder and harder to locate.  Now, I’m not saying I should take the blame for this (here’s where I do my “humble country blogger” speech, a la Jimmy Stewart’s shyster in Anatomy of a Murder)…but it does seem as if something hinky is going on with the channel’s new “try-and-find-it-sucka” approach, and at the risk of courting arrogance if I am responsible I throw myself on the mercy of the court.  I mean, seriously…if they didn’t want me to announce this stuff well in advance, all they could have done was e-mail me and say something along the polite order of “Cut that sh*t out, fat boy…” 

In case you think I’m being paranoid about this, check out what’s at the top of the November 2011 placeholder page:

“Congratulations.  You have found the super secret schedule of TCM’s upcoming months.  Please be aware that titles are subject to change.”  Honestly, it’s like it’s some sort of country club that requires a password or a secret handshake.  (And besides, I thought I was pretty diligent about sticking in that “titles are subject to change” disclaimer in all my Distractions posts.)  I’m amazed to find there’s not something on there like “…and don’t tell that idiot blogger who keeps stealing our thunder.”

Truth be told, most of the time I depend on Laura of Miscellaneous Musings fame to do the legwork and track down these schedules—but like her hero, James Garner, she charges $200 a day plus expenses.  (That runs into money, and these souvenir TDOY pennants aren’t selling the way they once did.)  What I’m trying to say in my typically long-winded fashion is that the lead time on the “Coming Distractions” feature is likely to become shorter and shorter from now on…so if it does turn out that I ruined a good time for all involved, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Okay…time to stop the breast-beating and look at what’s on tap for December on Tee Cee Em.  Naturally, with it being the holidays there’ll be the usual sackful of Christmas goodies for the TCM faithful, with Tuesday nights devoted to Yuletide-themed celluloid fodder and a marathon of Seasons Greetings flicks beginning on Friday, December 23 and running throughout the weekend.  There’s also a TCM Night at the Movies special on tap which I haven’t of course seen but if past performance is indicative it will no doubt feature the usual classic film clips and talking-head encounters with the people who were involved with such.  A look at what to expect:

Tuesday, December 6 (Christmas Kids)
08:00pm TCM Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas! (2011)
09:00pm A Christmas Story (1983)
11:00pm TCM Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas! (2011)
12:00am Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
02:00am Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
04:00am Tenth Avenue Angel (1948)
05:30am TCM Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas! (2011)

Tuesday, December 13 (Christmas Comedies)
08:00pm The Lemon Drop Kid (1951)
09:45pm Fitzwilly (1967)
11:45pm The Great Rupert (1950)
01:30am Susan Slept Here (1954)
03:15am Period of Adjustment (1962)

Friday, December 16 (Christmas Romance)
08:00pm The Bishop's Wife (1947)
10:00pm Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Tuesday, December 20 (Christmas Shopping)
08:00pm Good Sam (1948)
10:00pm TCM Night at the Movies: Merry Christmas! (2011)
11:00pm Holiday Affair (1949)
12:30am Bachelor Mother (1939)
02:00am Bundle of Joy (1956)

Friday, December 23
06:45am Alias Boston Blackie (1942)
08:00am Beyond Tomorrow (1940)
09:30am Cover-Up (1949)
11:00am A Christmas Carol (1938)
12:15pm 3 Godfathers (1948)
02:15pm Susan Slept Here (1954)
06:00pm Scrooge (1970)

There’s a brief interruption for something the channel is calling “Christmas Noir”:

08:00pm Backfire (1950)
10:00pm Lady in the Lake (1947)
12:00am Murder, My Sweet (1944)

Followed by two films on TCM Underground—the first is also known as You Better Watch Out (to say I am surprised to see a movie about a homicidal Santa on TCM’s schedule would be a bit of an understatement):

02:00am Christmas Evil (1980)
04:00am New Year's Evil (1980)

Saturday, December 24
06:00am Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938)
08:00am Little Women (1949)
10:15am Meet John Doe (1941)
02:30pm Holiday Affair (1949)
04:00pm In the Good Old Summertime (1949)
06:00pm Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

Then, through the magic of prerecorded intros (because the last place he’s gonna be on Christmas Eve is chatting between movies when he could be out hitting the bars), Bobby Osbo hosts an evening of his personal “Christmas picks”:

08:00pm Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
10:00pm Margie (1946)
12:00am Auntie Mame (1958)
02:30am The Bishop's Wife (1947)
04:30am Tenth Avenue Angel (1948)

Sunday, December 25
06:00am The Green Pastures (1936)
09:30am Ben-Hur (1959)
05:00am King of Kings (1961)

Finally, TCM rounds out the rest of Christmas Day with an evening of programming entitled “Christmas by Leo McCarey.”  It features, as you’ve probably guessed, a lineup of films helmed by the Oscar-winning director…I have to tell you, though; I think this might work better if they kicked off the evening with The Bells of St. Mary’s (1945).

08:00pm Going My Way (1944)
10:15pm Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)
12:00am Duck Soup (1933)
01:15am The Milky Way (1936)
03:00am Love Affair (1939)
04:30am Once Upon a Honeymoon (1942)

And if there’s anything to be learned at all from this lineup, it’s that you apparently can’t program any Christmas films without the ones featuring She Who Must Not Be Named.  But when you think about the holidays…one notion usually comes to mind.  Fruitcake.  No, I’m just kidding about that—it’s that timeless classic by Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.  This December, TCM has several showings of the 1938 version of Dickens’ classic Yuletide cautionary tale…but this year they get an “attaboy” because they’ve also got the 1951 Alastair Sim version scheduled as well.  On Monday nights in December they’ll celebrate “the bicentennial of Charles Dickens’ birth” with movies based on his works…even though technically his 200th won’t roll around until February 7th next year.  (I’m starting to see why they’re playing a shell game with these schedules:  “There he goes again, splitting hairs…”)  My nitpicking aside, here’s what’s on tap to honor C.D.:

Monday, December 5
08:00pm Mystery of Edwin Drood (1935)
09:45pm A Christmas Carol (1938)
11:15pm David Copperfield (1935)
01:30am A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
03:45am Oliver Twist (1922)

Monday, December 12
08:00pm A Christmas Carol (1951)
09:45pm Oliver Twist (1948)
12:00am Nicholas Nickleby (1947)
02:00am Great Expectations (1946)

Monday, December 19
08:00pm A Tale Of Two Cities (1958)
10:15pm Scrooge (1970)

Monday, December 26

The channel’s December Star of the Month is a gentleman and the very picture of cinematic sophistication…well, outside of Cary Grant, of course.  William Powell will be in the spotlight with a festival of 39 films to be featured every Thursday night—including a night of Thin Man movies on December 22.  You know…looking back on a much simpler time…back in my halcyon days as a Ballbuster Blockbuster Video CSR, I once had ALL of the Thin Man movies on a little thing we older folks like to call “VHS.”  I’d like to be able to say that I purchased each and every one of these movies but since this was also before we older folks call “Macrovision” I was a tape-dubbing fool.  (I also swiped…er, liberated all the Rathbone-Bruce Sherlock Holmes films in the same fashion.)

Thursday, December 1
08:00pm Jewel Robbery (1932)
09:30pm The Kennel Murder Case (1933)
11:00pm The Ex-Mrs. Bradford (1936)
12:30am The Hoodlum Saint (1946)
04:00am Lawyer Man (1932)
05:15am Rendezvous (1935)

Friday, December 2
07:00am Star Of Midnight (1935)
08:30am Crossroads (1942)
10:00am Sherlock Holmes (1922)

Thursday, December 8
08:00pm The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1937)
10:00pm High Pressure (1932)
11:30pm My Man Godfrey (1936)
01:15am Double Harness (1933)
02:30am Ziegfeld Follies (1946)
04:30am The Youngest Profession (1943)

Friday, December 9
06:00am The Heavenly Body (1944)
07:45am Fashions of 1934 (1934)
09:15am Reckless (1935)

Thursday, December 15
08:00pm Life With Father (1947)
11:30pm Mister Roberts (1955)
01:45am It's a Big Country (1951)
03:30am One Way Passage (1932)
04:45am The Key (1934)

Friday, December 16
06:00am The Road to Singapore (1931)

Thursday, December 22
08:00pm The Thin Man (1934)
09:45pm After The Thin Man (1936)
11:45pm Another Thin Man (1939)
01:45am Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
03:30am The Thin Man Goes Home (1945)
05:15am Song of the Thin Man (1947)

Thursday, December 29
08:00pm The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
11:15pm Love Crazy (1941)
01:00am I Love You Again (1940)
02:45am Manhattan Melodrama (1934)
04:30am Libeled Lady (1936)

Friday, December 30
06:15am Evelyn Prentice (1934)
07:45am Double Wedding (1937)

So those are the drawing cards for December…and yet as you’ve no doubt heard so many times before: “But wait…there’s more!”  (Again, let me stress that all times listed are EST and titles are subject to change.)

December 2, Friday – The yardstick by which cinematic cads should be measured—and Cliff Aliperti fave—Warren William celebrates what would have been his 117th natal anniversary today…and the best thing about this is if a William film festival is in the cards, it means pre-Code movies out the kazoo.  Expensive Women (1931) gets things rolling at 11:30am, followed by Beauty and the Boss (1932; 12:45pm), The Dark Horse (1932; 2pm), Under 18 (1931; 3:15pm), The Woman from Monte Carlo (1932; 4:45pm) and TDOY fave Skyscraper Souls (1932; 6pm).

With the arrival of prime time, TCM pays tribute to journeyman director Lloyd Bacon (whose birthday is December 4) with a lineup of his movies: the 1940 classic Knute Rockne All American at 8pm followed by another film starring Pat O’Brien (with his pal James Cagney), Boy Meets Girl (1938), at 9:45pm.  Don't Trust Your Husband (1948; aka An Innocent Affair) and Bill Crider fave The Good Humor Man (1950) round out the evening at 11:15 and 1am, respectively.  TCM Underground follows with a John Carpenter double feature: the American Movie Classics staple They Live (1988; 2:30am) and one of my personal favorites in the director’s oeuvre, The Fog (1980) at 4:15am.

December 3, Saturday – A day after Mr. Warren William’s birthday, TCM continues its Saturday schedule of films in The Lone Wolf series with The Lone Wolf Strikes (1940) at 10:30am.  December 10 will bring us The Lone Wolf Keeps a Date (1940) at that same time, with The Lone Wolf Takes a Chance (1941) following on the 17th.  (William and trusty manservant Eric Blore get the time off for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.)  Meanwhile, back in the jungle, it’s the continuing adventures of Bomba, the Jungle Boy at the noontime hour: The Lost Volcano (1950) is scheduled on December 3, with next week staked out for Bomba and the Hidden City (1950) and The Lion Hunters (1951) finishing out the month on the 17th as well.  (Bomba doesn’t work holidays, either.)

Come nightfall, TCM Essentials’ scheduling of the film noir classic Out of the Past (1947) at 8pm will give way to a further evening’s pleasure of films featuring one of our favorite redheads (I can’t believe Bob Hope never thought of making a movie with that title), Rhonda Fleming.  Instant Love (1964; aka Pão de Açúcar) follows Past at 10pm, then While the City Sleeps (1956; 12mid), Alias Jesse James (1959; 2am) and Gun Glory (1957; 4am).

December 4, Sunday – Speaking of Bob Hope (smooth as glass, I tells ya), TCM has one of my favorites of his films scheduled in prime time on this date: The Seven Little Foys (1955; 8pm).  My reason for loving this film so is that wonderful dance number between Bob (who was not too shabby a hoofer) and James Cagney, who reprises his Academy Award-winning role (from 1942’s Yankee Doodle Dandy) as George M. Cohan.  As luck would have it, the channel will show Dandy afterward at 9:45pm.  Coincidence?  Ultimately, you must make that call.

Following Cagney-as-Cohan is a really first-rate documentary that TCM showed back in April entitled Fragments: Surviving Pieces of Lost Films…and if you’re a classic movie fan and missed it the first time around, write yourself up a sticky note and put it on the recording device of your choice.  There are some really amazing treasures on display in this doc, but it will also break your heart when you think that the films from which the clips were culled no longer exist for us to see today.

December 5, MondayDaisy Kenyon (1947; 7am) kicks off a birthday tribute to Otto Preminger…and though what follows might seem like one of those anecdotes I make up just to make these listings a bit more colorful this one is the absolute truth.  (Ruth.)  I bought this on DVD for my BBFF Stacia on the occasion of her natal anniversary in mid-October because she indicated on her Amazon wish list a desire to acquire it …but I swear to you that since that time I can’t look at any TV listings or even switch on the set without finding Kenyon on the air.  It’s like there’s a 24-hour Daisy Kenyon channel or something.  Oh, well.  After Daisy is Angel Face (1953; 8:45am), followed by The Moon is Blue (1953; 10:30am), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955; 12:15pm), Saint Joan (1957; 2:30pm) and The Cardinal (1963; 4:30pm).  (Sorry, Stace—no Skidoo.)

December 6, Tuesday – TCM decides to burn off a few more episodes of Screen Director’s Playhouse, the 1955-56 television anthology series produced by the Hal Roach Studios and based on the 1949-51 radio series of the same name.  Preceding each of these shows is a movie starring one of the actors, and the lineup goes as follows:

07:45am Episode #20: “One Against Many” (03/07/56) with Lew Ayres, Wallace Ford
09:30am Episode #21: “It's a Most Unusual Day” (03/14/56) with Fred MacMurray, Marilyn Erskine
11:15pm Episode #25: “A Ticket for Thaddeus” (05/09/56) with Edmond O'Brien, Narda Onyx
01:30pm Episode #26: “The Dream” (05/16/56) with Sal Mineo, George Sanders
03:45pm Episode #27: “What Day Is It? (06/06/56) with Gower and Marge Champion
06:00pm Episode #28: "Every Man Has Two Wives (06/03/56) with Janet Blair, Buddy Ebsen

December 7, Wednesday – Here’s an example of the sort of programming ruthlessness that goes on at Turner Classic Movies: the morning kicks off with a three-film salute to playwright Moss Hart (Hart, you may recall, was married to singer, actress, game show panelist and noted ballpoint klepto Kitty Carlisle) beginning with George Washington Slept Here (1942) at 7am followed by You Can't Take It With You (1938) at 8:45am and Act One (1963) at 11am.  All perfectly innocent…or is it?

You see, one of the actors in Act One will celebrate (knock wood) his ninety-sixth birthday the day of its scheduling—the incomparable character actor Eli Wallach…and to fete him on his natal anniversary, The Misfits (1961) will follow at 1pm, then How the West Was Won (1962; 3:15pm) and Zigzag (1970; 6pm).  But why fill up the morning with Moss Hart films if there are perfectly legitimate Wallach films (*cough* The Magnificent Seven *cough*) in TCM’s vault?  He’s nearly 100, he doesn’t have time to sit through all that.  (People always look at me strangely when I try to tell them that Robert Osborne is some sort of evil criminal mastermind…well, who’s the nutcase now, folks?)

This day will also the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor…and five films—From Here to Eternity (1953; 8pm), Task Force (1949; 10:15pm), To the Shores of Tripoli (1942; 12:30am), Air Force (1943; 2am) and They Were Expendable (1945; 4:15am)—will commemorate “the day that will live in infamy.”

December 8, Thursday – I’ve ordered an extra large sheet cake to mark the occasion of screenwriter Ernest Lehman’s birthday (he would have been 96) because he’s one of my favorite movie scribes and the lineup of films on the channel this day is first-rate.  My favorite is, of course, North by Northwest (1959) at 12:45pm but Executive Suite (1954; 7am), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956; 9am), Sweet Smell of Success (1957; 11am), The Prize (1963; 3:15pm) and Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966; 5:45pm) are also in the batting order.

December 9, Friday – Hey…it’s Friday…and there’s probably nothing really important on at work, so why not play a little hooky and head home before lunch for TCM’s afternoon salute to Tennessee Williams?  You can’t beat this lineup with a stick: A Streetcar Named Desire (1951; 12noon), The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (1961; 2:15pm), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958; 4pm) and Baby Doll (1956; 6pm…another Eli Wallach film, btw)…and you could even supplement it by purchasing a copy of my friend John DiLeo’s book, Tennessee Williams and Company: His Essential Screen Actors.  (Only two weeks before Christmas, kids!)

This day is also a special one for Academy Award-winning actor Broderick Crawford—he would have celebrated his centennial birthday and in tribute TCM devotes its primetime schedule to Brod with his funny turn in Larceny, Inc. (1942) at 8pm followed by the movie that won him the Oscar, All the King's Men (1949) at 10.  Slightly Honorable (1939) wraps up the evening at midnight.

And if you thought I was gobsmacked to see You Better Watch Out scheduled on TCM on the 23rd, that’s nothing compared to the full-blown Tex Avery-cartoon reaction I had seeing the 1973 cult film Ganja & Hess penciled in at 2am on TCM Underground.  (I wanted to use Stacia’s “What the Shit is This?”™ banner on this one but she has informed me that this could result in my spending an uncomfortable afternoon in a stuffy room with SBBN’s high-priced legal team…what?  What do you mean, look to my left?  D’oh!)

December 10, SaturdayTCM Essentials’ scheduling of The Caine Mutiny (1954) at 8pm brings on a few more movies from the oeuvre of motion picture director/HUAC fink Edward Dmytryk: Obsession (1949; aka The Hidden Room) at 10:15pm, followed by Back to Bataan (1945; 12mid),  The End of the Affair (1955; 1:45am) and Till the End of Time (1946; 3:45am)

December 11, Sunday – TCM tips its primetime cap to Sidney Poitier at 8pm and 10pm with showings of Cry, the Beloved Country (1952) and Lilies of the Field (1963), respectively…and they even have a warm-up at 5:45pm with A Raisin in the Sun (1961)—a movie for which Poitier’s lack of an Oscar acting nomination still astounds me to this day.

December 12, Monday – Nyahh…see?  We’re going to roll out a cake to celebrate Edward G. Robinson’s birthday, see?  Nyahh…then we’re going to watch some movies with the actor, see?  Nyahh…starting off with The Widow from Chicago (1930) at 6am, then Silver Dollar (1932; 7:15am), I Loved a Woman (1933; 8:45am), The Little Giant (1933; 10:30am), Dark Hazard (1934; 12noon), Kid Galahad (1937; 1:15pm), I Am the Law (1938; 3pm), Destroyer (1943; 4:30pm) and A Bullet for Joey (1955; 6:15pm), see?  Nyahh… (Sometimes I think I try too hard on some of these.)

December 13, Tuesday – Last year at Edward Copeland on Film…and More, I paid tribute on the centennial birthday of one of my favorite actors, Van Heflin.  TCM will mark natal anniversary #101 with a day of Heflin’s vehicles: Grand Central Murder (1942; 6am), Tennessee Johnson (1942; 7:30am), Green Dolphin Street (1947; 9:15am), The Three Musketeers (1948; 11:45am), East Side, West Side (1949; 2pm), B.F.'s Daughter (1948; 4pm) and Madame Bovary (1949; 6pm).

December 14, Wednesday – If you’ve been following the blog for a while now you may be familiar with how I sometimes humorously chide my parents (known affectionately as “the ‘rents”) for their horrendously pathetic viewing habits…particularly my father, who seems to have surrendered to the ennui of retirement by seeing how many episodes of World’s Funniest Prisoner Beatdowns he can watch in a single sitting or staring at the local newscasts at noon, 4pm, 5pm and 6pm oblivious to the fact that it’s the same freaking news each and every time (that last sentiment comes courtesy of my mother, by the way).  Well, I’ve already put them on notice that this day is going to be different, Graham—because Turner Classic Movies has on its schedule a day of movie rarities (both sound and silent films) in a tribute to the George Eastman House Archive.  (For twenty-four hours, it will be like watching the once-proud AMC’s Film Preservation Festival all over again.)

06:15am The Blue Bird (1918)
07:45am The Valiant (1929)
09:00am The Spanish Earth (1937)
10:00am The Trespasser (1929)
11:45am The Moon and Sixpence (1942)
01:30pm The Lottery Bride (1930)
03:00pm Kurutta ippêji (1926)
04:30pm Delicious (1931)
06:30pm Payment Deferred (1932)
08:00pm Fear and Desire (1953)
09:15pm Huckleberry Finn (1920)
01:15am Roaring Rails (1924)
02:45am The World Moves On (1934)
04:45am Goldstein (1965)

Now, I won’t dismiss a compromise in this situation—I have a copy of Payment Deferred from previous TCM showings, for example, so if Dad had to get his nightly B-Dubs fix when it’s on I’m cool with that…but there are one or two movies (particularly Fear and Desire) than I’m simply not going to bend on.  I have hired SBBN’s lawyers to arbitrate this matter, and we shall see what develops.

December 16, Friday – “Ah'd love t' kiss ya, but ah jes washed ma hayuh…” Yes, TCM is showing The Cabin in the Cotton (1932) at 2:30pm.

December 17, Saturday – With the classic 1938 screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby scheduled for TCM Essentials at 8pm, can a Katharine Hepburn-Cary Grant film festival be far behind?  You should know better than to ask such questions—The Philadelphia Story (1940) follows at 10pm, then my favorite Kate-Cary teaming, Holiday (1938) at 12 midnight.  Their first collaboration, Sylvia Scarlett (1935), rounds out the festivities at 2am and to continue with that film’s gender-bending spirit TCM schedules Victor Victoria (1982) afterward at 3:45.

December 19, Monday – While I’m on the subject of Cary Grant, TCM rents space on this day for a festival of his features beginning with Penny Serenade (1941) at 6am followed by Dream Wife (1953; 8am), Mr. Lucky (1943; 10am), Walk, Don't Run (1966; 12noon), Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948; 2pm), Topper (1937; 4pm) and Suspicion (1941; 6pm).  Later in the wee am hours, TCM will rerun the 1980 comedy Hopscotch (at 2am) starring Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson…which is good, because the last time it was on I programmed it to record and the ending was chopped off.  (Missed it by that much…)

December 20, Monday – Grant’s Penny Serenade co-star, Irene Dunne, celebrates what would have been her 113th birthday today—and you can watch another teaming of the duo in My Favorite Wife (1940) at 3:30pm, followed by a personal favorite of mine of her films, I Remember Mama (1948) at 5.  But before all that, it’s Cimarron (1931; 6:45am), Thirteen Women (1932; 9am), Ann Vickers (1933; 10:15am), No Other Woman (1933; 11:30am), The Age of Innocence (1934; 12:30pm) and Stingaree (1934; 2pm).

December 21, Tuesday – In keeping with the actress’ diet and exercise regimen, you’ll have to rise and shine by 5:30am to watch Tall Story (1960), which kicks off a Jane Fonda birthday tribute that follows with The Chapman Report (1962; 7:15am), Walk on the Wild Side (1962; 9:30am), In the Cool of the Day (1963; 11:30am), Cat Ballou (1965; 1pm), Spirits of the Dead (1969; 2:45pm—aka Histoires extraordinaires) and California Suite (1978; 5pm).  But if you’re a real slugabed and sleep til’ 7pm, all you’ll have left to look forward to is a 2007 Private Screenings rerun where Jane chats it up with Bobby Osbo.

When evening shadows fall, Mr. O will entertain actress Winona Ryder as his guest programmer…and she’s selected some first-rate flicks: The Front (1976; 8pm), Ball Of Fire (1941; 10pm), Born Yesterday (1950; 12mid) and A Face in the Crowd (1957; 2am).  (But Bob might want to take inventory of the set afterward just to make certain nothing leaves with Ms. Ryder…if you know what I mean, and I think you do.)

December 22, WednesdayNow we can celebrate Ruth Roman’s birthday.  (I told you they were jumping the gun in November.  Oh, what does it matter—I still won’t be any closer to finishing Jungle Queen [1945] by then anyway.)  It’s Great Day in the Morning (1956) at 6:15am, followed by Young Man with Ideas (1952; 8am), Lightning Strikes Twice (1951; 9:30am), Strangers on a Train (1951; 11:15am), Dallas (1950; 1pm), Always Leave Them Laughing (1949; 3pm) and Since You Went Away (1944; 5pm).  (Yeah, I did a double take on that last one, too…but she has—according to the always reliable IMDb—an uncredited bit as “Envious Girl in Train Station.”  One of these days I’d like to see TCM program Olsen and Johnson’s See My Lawyer [1945], because Ruth is in that one as “Mud Girl.”)

December 26, Monday – It’s a tribute to director-producer Alexander Korda, and from the eye-popping lineup of films scheduled there’s nary a bad one in the bunch.  The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) kicks things off at 6:30am, followed by That Hamilton Woman (1941; 8:15am), The Scarlet Puh-Puh-Pumpernickel Pimpernel (1934; 10:30am), The Four Feathers (1939; 12:15pm), The Thief of Bagdad (1940; 2:15pm), The Drum (1938; 4:15pm—aka Drums) and Jungle Book (1942; 6pm).

December 27, Monday – Humphrey Bogart fans know that Bogie was a Christmas baby…but because TCM has other films scheduled that day, they’re going to fete him with a birthday tribute a couple of days late with a four-film salute beginning at 6am with Passage to Marseille (1944), followed by three of the actor’s very best: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948; 8:15am), The Maltese Falcon (1941; 10:30am) and Casablanca (1942; 12:15pm).  Now, I bow to no one in my Bogart admiration but this sort of does the real birthday girl a disservice—none other than Marlene Dietrich.  Fortunately, Casablanca wraps up at 2pm to present a three-film hat tip to Marlene with Stage Fright (1950), Witness for the Prosecution (1957; 4pm) and Touch of Evil (1958; 6pm).

Later that evening, viewers will find themselves invaded by extraterrestrials and other pesky beings from other worlds when Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) kicks off a “Take Me to Your Leader” festival at 8pm.  The underrated Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) follows at 10:30, and is joined by The Man from Planet X (1951; 12mid), Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966; 1:15am), Unidentified Flying Objects: The True Story of Flying Saucers (1956; 2:45am) and The War of the Planets (1966; 4:30am).

December 28, Tuesday – In a previous edition of “Coming Distractions,” I joked that if I ever wanted to program a Lew Ayres film festival I’d take the lazy way out and just stick on a bunch of Dr. Kildare films.  Young Dr. Kildare (1938; 6:15am), Calling Dr. Kildare (1939; 7:45am), The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939; 9:15am), Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940; 10:45am), Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940; 12:15pm), Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940; 1:45pm), Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941; 3:15pm), The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941; 4:45pm) and Dr. Kildare's Victory (1942; 6:15pm) are all scheduled to commemorate what would have been the actor’s 103rd birthday.  (“You got to believe me!  They’re eavesdropping in on this blog!”.)

Come primetime, TCM has a nice little lineup of movies in honor of some of the celebrities that we sadly bid farewell to this year—beginning with The Paleface (1948) at 8pm (in memory of Jane Russell).  It’s followed by The In-Laws (1979) at 10 (Peter Falk), a 2005 Private Screenings rerun with guest Sidney Lumet at midnight, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) at 1am (Elizabeth Taylor), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955) at 3am (Anne Francis) and finishing at 4:30am with The Champ (1931) (Jackie Cooper).  (I’ll pause the comedy here to say that this is an excellent choice of movies for a most fitting tribute.)

December 29, Wednesday – Someone might want to hold Pam’s calls on this date because TCM is going to roll out a chorus line of musicals beginning at 6:30am with Bathing Beauty (1944).  Then there’s a pair of Gene Kelly vehicles to follow—For Me and My Gal (1942) at 8:30 and Anchors Aweigh (1945) at 10:30am…and then the MGM musical trilogy of That's Entertainment! (1974; 1pm), That's Entertainment, Part II (1976; 3:30pm) and That's Entertainment! III (1994; 5:45pm) brings us home.

December 30, Thursday – TCM schedules a daylong tribute to the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry by showing some of the prestigious films that have made that list:

09:30am The Great Train Robbery (1903)
09:45am A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
12:00pm The Bank Dick (1940)
01:15pm The House I Live In (1945)
01:30pm The Heiress (1949)
03:30pm Trouble in Paradise (1932)
05:00pm The Searchers (1956)
07:00pm One Week (1920)
08:00pm Tootsie (1982)
10:00pm Oklahoma! (1955)
12:30am Shaft (1971)
02:15am Jammin’ the Blues (1944)
02:30am Night of the Living Dead (1968)
04:15am Killer of Sheep (1977)

December 31, Friday – Finally, TCM inverts what they did for New Year’s Eve last year and schedules a Marx Brothers tribute during the daylight hours with Go West (1940; 6:00am), At the Circus (1939; 7:30am), Room Service (1938; 9:00am), A Day at the Races (1937; 10:30am), A Night at the Opera (1935; 12:30pm), Animal Crackers (1930; 2:15pm), Monkey Business (1931; 4:00pm), Horse Feathers (1932; 5:30pm) and Duck Soup (1933; 6:45pm) all guaranteed to provide you with a day of genuine mirth and merriment…unless you’re visiting my house, in which the entertainment will probably be a marathon of Ice Road Truckers.

But the channel has an interesting lineup of movies slotted for the evening—all of which serve to remind us that time eventually runs out.  It’s Fail-Safe (1964) at 8pm, followed by Panic in the Streets (1950; 10:15pm), D.O.A. (1950; 12:00mid), Ice Station Zebra (1968; 1:30am) and Juggernaut (1974) with the last word on 2011 at 4:15am

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Cliff Aliperti said...

I was going to say, you know I'm excited about the December 2 schedule, but then I saw that you really do know--thanks for the name check on Warren William day!

Hoping to get articles about any titles I haven't hit yet up on the Warren William site before 12/2 rolls around.

M. Bouffant said...

I wonder if their schedule secretiveness has anything to do w/ that magazine they're still trying to get people to subscribe to.

Who knows what the median age of the TCM viewers is (not that I'm any kind of spring chicken, mind you) but I'd bet a lot of them give up on websites pretty quickly if they can't immediately find what they want.

Stacia said...

super secret schedule


Ganja & Hess

Double woah.

I admit I did a double take when I saw good ol' George and his "what the shit is this" look on TDOY, but I have a feeling when I finally slam together my own December schedule post, my banner is going to go in the exact same place yours did. This is freakier than "UHF" showing on Thanksgiving on TCM.

Caftan Woman said...

"Margie"!! OMG!! Did you say "Margie"!?!

I have not seen that adorable movie since my teen years - a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Bathtubs. Nicaragua. Bloomers. French teachers. Ukeleles. Oh, happy day!

Hal said...

GANJA AND HESS is truly one of a kind. Marlene Clark was never better, and it is really a shame that Bill Gunn (who also wrote THE LANDLORD) never directed another film. Very glad to see TCM picking this one up.

Mike Doran said...

Apologies for going off-topic:

I was at She Blogged By Night reading the latest Phantom Creeps posting. and wanted to add a comment about how I first came to see this cinematic landmark.
Unfortunately, I ran into the same dead-end that I had with you for all that time: no Name/URL option.
Google and Open ID icons are still lingua incognita to me.

So, Stacia, if you happen to see this comment here ...


Stacia said...

Hi Mike! Blogger's "known issues" page says that there are some problems with using IE to comment and they're not fixed yet, as far as I can tell. Do you use IE? If so, there's a workaround I can try.

While we're sneaking around Ivan's place, let me show you where he hides the Ho-Hos...

Mike Doran said...

Stacia -

Does IE mean Internet Explorer?

If so, the answer is yes.

What next?

*pass on the Ho-Hos - thanx anyway*

DorianTB said...

Ivan, who knew there was such a cloak-and-dagger aspect to a little old TCM schedule? In any case, I'm delighted to discover that by sheer happenstance, my half of Team Bartilucci's Christmas 2011 blog post already has LADY IN THE LAKE at 10 p.m. on December 23rd, as that was when we were going to do the holiday blog anyway. Our 2010 holiday post will still be available, though we might add more pictures and captions and such. For now, here's what it currently looks like:

Stacia said...

Hi Mike -- yes, IE is Internet Explorer. Blogger says IE 8 and 9 sometimes have problems commenting, but it should work as long as my blog is set to either the "full page" comment form or the pop up form. I already had it on full page, so I've put SBBN on the pop up form now to see if that helps.

Ivan, thanks for letting us play in your sandbox with this off topic stuff! We replaced the Ding Dongs we ate. All we could find were those pink things with fake coconut on them, but we figured you wouldn't notice.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

All we could find were those pink things with fake coconut on them, but we figured you wouldn't notice.

I love those!!! (Snowball fight!)

Mike Doran said...

Stacia -

The problem I have with your comment page is that it does not have the Name/URL or Anonymous options any more.

The Open ID icons are incomprehensible to me, and thus useless.

That left Google Account, which I tried to access.
I filled out their form as best I could, and then hit a brick wall:

Google sends the account number by phone: either text or a call by landline.

I do not carry a cell phone or texting apparatus.

That leaves the office phone, which I am loath to use for personal matters such as this.

I'm taking enough of a chance sending comments on an office computer.

So unless you put back the Name/URL option (as Ivan so kindly has), I cannot add my comments to your blog any more.

I can still read it, though ...