Mishpocha, in Yiddish, means “family.” One was struck, in attending Turner Classic Movies‘ 30th anniversary gathering, January 12, 2024, at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel, that, beyond the beautiful food and drinks; beyond seeing TCM’s cadre of impressive new advisors, Steven Spielberg, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Martin Scorsese (in absentia); beyond meeting, and photographing, the five charming-and-knowledgeable TCM hosts, there was an overriding feeling of family — call it community if you prefer. It’s an organizing principle that this channel, unique in the broadcast arena, has successfully fostered.
Over its three-decade existence, TCM, has not rested on laurels. Its stimulating programming, overseen by movie maven/television executive Charles Tabesh pokes into every niche and corner of film history, providing viewers with fun, education, delight, and did I mention, escape from the woes of the world?
Many a Friday night returning from an evening at the theater: the pour of a few fingers of scotch, a plop onto the couch, a click of the remote, and there unfurls host Eddie Muller introducing his nasty, gnarly, negative, noxious nuggets of NOIR ALLEY. A deep-dive into the dank, dismal, derelict, dastardly and dangerous doings of the guys-and-dolls who occupy the Muller universe. Other outstanding programming, for example last year’s incredible roster of Warner Bros. movies, unearthed the unseen, bathed us in black & white, and brought home the intense artistry of Jack Warner’s rep company of actors. Last month’s 100th anniversary of Columbia Pictures, this month’s honoring of MGM’s, and the upcoming on-air party marking the channel’s history, to encompass new film restorations, ideally all the stuff you may have missed when, age 11, you were watching midnight movies, trying, trying, to stay awake, but defeated, dozed off.
Which of you artsmeme readers saw, when, on April 14, 1994, media mogul Ted Turner hit the “on” switch of Turner Classic Movies, TCM, with host Robert Osborne introducing Gone With the Wind? I didn’t. But by the new millennium, I was pretty much a regular viewer. I was on the first TCM Cruise, covering it on the blog. I have attended every TCM Fest since inception in 2010 — missing but one year. I even co-hosted an evening on the channel, and now belong to a proud cohort of “legacy co-hosts,” those who were interviewed by Mr. Osborne.
The channel just announced that the 15th annual TCM Classic Film Festival will open on Thursday, April 18 with a 35mm screening of the classic neo-noir Pulp Fiction (1994) with two-time Academy Award®-nominee, Golden Globe and Emmy winner John Travolta in attendance to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film. The Festival’s salient theme, “Most Wanted: Crime and Justice in Film” as well as the 30th anniversary of the network are part of the weekend festivities. A very relevant subject to rouse the consciousness of attendees.
artsmeme has now been pounding the Internet arts beat for sixteen years. Our base in Los Angeles drives our decision to wrap the art of motion picture making into our mix. Central to that value is our appreciation of Turner Classic Movies. Thus we salute you, TCM, with a heartfelt wish, to borrow one of Tallulah Bankhead’s trademark droppings: “Press On!”
artsmeme founder debra levine’s tcm interview by robert osborne may be seen here.