TCMFF 2016 ANNOUNCEMENT: Photo Scavenger Hunt!

tcm-logo-2016The days are rapidly narrowing down to single digits until classic film fans by the thousands will converge to their silver screened Motherland. Turner Classic Movies network kicks off their film festival April 28- May 1st in Hollywood, CA. And for the 2nd year in a row, the TCM folks have brought back the Social Producer program.

Selected from across the country, the Social Producers each bring a unique way to enhance the fandom experience while attending this mega event via social media. I’m thrilled to announce that I will be included in the Social Producer program for 2016 while hosting the official TCMFF  Scavenger Hunt.

Here’s how it works…

PHOTO SCAVENGER HUNT:
Enhance your Turner Classic Movies Film Festival experience by participating in the Photo Scavenger Hunt! New clues for each day. Post it on social media (Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram) tagging TCM and you’ll receive an official TCMFF collector ribbon. Show me your posts so you can collect your official ribbons. Collect all five and you’ll receive a special “Champion” ribbon on the last day of the fest!

Clues:
Star Selfie
*Take a photo of yourself with your favorite movie star’s hand/footprints at the famous Grauman’s Theatre aka TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX and post it on social media. Be sure to tag TCM so we can like/share it too!

New Friends
*Take a photo of yourself with a NEW friend you met while waiting in line. Be sure to tag TCM in your post so we can like/share it too!

Line Selfie
*Take a photo of yourself holding your line ticket or Pass while waiting in line for your favorite screening of the day. Hashtag your the screening and be sure to tag TCM, too.

#TCMFF Squad Goals
*Take a group selfie with your friends in front of one of the official TCMFF venues. Then post it on social media and don’t forget to tag TCM. We’d love to see it!

Hanging Poolside
*Take a photo at a poolside screening. Don’t forget to tag TCM!

After you’ve collected all five, you can collect your special #TCMFF SCAVENGER HUNT  Champ ribbon on the last day of the fest! So, be on the look out each day for clues.

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Thursday, 4/28:  One clue announced
Friday, 4/29: Two clues announced
Saturday, 4/30: Two clues announced
Sunday, 5/1: a “CHAMP ribbon” to be given to all who complete all 5 clues
Each clue to be announced via Social Producer Kellee Pratt with reposts via TCM Social Media, on the following sites:

Twitter: @IrishJayhawk66 or @TCM  

Tumblr: @kelleep or @tcm

For all the best in fest goodies on social media, follow hashtags #TCMFF and #TCMFFSP to see what all the Social Producers are providing in fest fun. If you see me in line or dashing down Hollywood Blvd, show me your fun Scavenger photo or posts and I will give you a collector ribbon. Quantities are limited for this special souvenir, so look for the lady with freckles and a big smile!

kellee and star

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Hollywood Dreams Come True at TCM Film Fest 2015

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Years from now, the 6th annual Turner Classic Film Festival may be described as the year that made history. How suitable considering this year’s theme of ‘History according to Hollywood.’ There was a feeling of change in the air.

The Proof:

1. Our beloved patron saint of classic film Robert Osborne was not present this year. (All curiosities of how he was doing with his minor health procedure was aptly addressed by Ben Mankiewicz with a personal message directly from Bob, infused with all the warmth and sincerity we’ve grown accustomed.)

2. The schedule featured some distinctly newer entries in the line-up which created some controversy. But most of the rumblings quieted once the fest started with the realization of a plethora of ‘true classics’ and not-to-be-missed events available in every time slot.

3. The presence of mega star power was almost dizzying… Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Sophia Loren, Shirley MacLaine, Ann-Margret, Dustin Hoffman… just scratches the surface of the long list of cinematic heroes.

4. And something I was personally and proudly a part of … the Social Producer program. This inaugural concept was a brand-new journey exploring what happens when passionate fandom meets social media expression/engagement as ambassadors for the brand. My contribution was partnering with my ‘cinema sister’ Aurora aka @CitizenScreen for a fun game of asking trivia questions and passing out Buster Keaton buttons and posters to fest goers as we wait in lines. The results? Success!

My TCMFF Highlights:

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ANGIE DICKINSON~ as a special offering exclusively to Citibank clients for $25 per ticket, an intimate interview took place at Club TCM the night prior to the official start of the fest. Ms. Dickinson was as charming, generous and as delightful as anyone could have hoped. Her stories of both personal and professional relationships with the likes of the Duke and Frank Sinatra made us all feel like dinner party guests within close circle of friends. And brought out the boyish charm in our blushing host, Ben Mankiewicz.

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CORA SUE COLLINS ~ Kelly, the founder of the ‘Going To TCM Film Festival’ Facebook group, kindly arranged for a group of us to meet this popular child actress of the 1930’s- known for such roles as the young Greta Garbo in QUEEN CHRISTINA. She captivated us with her stories and photos (including a rare one of Jean Harlow from a beautifully handcrafted wood-cover album). This lovely woman, who will turn eighty-eight years old this month, kept our avid attention as we hovered closely huddled, straining to hear every word.

[THURSDAY]

Byron Haskin’s TOO LATE FOR TEARS (1949) ~ This was a noir I had never seen before. Plus with Lizabeth Scott (who passed this past year) in the lead, we just had to go see it. Wise choice. This lady is a BAD, BAD girl and frankly, her ill intentions are so jaw-dropping at every turn that it’s almost campy. Truly entertaining, especially with the engaged audience. And thanks to Eddie Muller and his foundation, we were able to enjoy this restoration and his intro- in a way as it should be seen.

Michael Curtiz’ THE SEA HAWK (1940) ~I’ve seen this swashbuckling classic before but never like this. Errol Flynn was impressive on the big screen. But what was most thrilling was the introduction by his daughter, special guest and author Rory Flynn, who pointed out surprises in the audience her son (Errol Flynn’s grandson and a very handsome lad). I later discovered that many of these special guests and family members would be a highlight for the fest.

[FRIDAY]

John Ford’s MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946) ~ a majestic John Ford film on the big screen simply CANNOT be missed while at TCMFF. And this one? Aaaaahhhh. Those clouds and landscapes of Monument Valley are positively breath-taking. If it weren’t for the stellar performances of Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp (whom Ford knew personally), the cool and complex Victor Mature as Doc Holliday, and an actually evil Walter Brennan, I would be WAY too distracted by the background. And for the icing on the cake, a Keith Carradine chat with Peter Fonda about what dad (a very private guy) may have shared for a behind the scenes experience. WOW.

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Michael Curtiz’ THE PROUD REBEL (1958) ~ This was another surprise for me. I had never seen this one and was only expecting a very generic western tale. [We had attempted to see REIGN OF TERROR but despite having line #142, many of us were shut out. Small theater, more popular than they had anticipated and obviously very popular with the Spotlight passholders. Ah well.] This tale shows a very sweet bond between father Alan Ladd and his real-life and on-screen son David Ladd, and their dog. I was also very pleased with Olivia de Havilland’s performance as an assertive and independent female. It’s a tear-jerker, I warn you. David Ladd himself introduced the film, which was not only insightful but lent a completely different spin while watching him on the big screen. Then he pointed out that Olivia de Havilland’s daughter was in the audience!

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ANN-MARGRET! ~Ben Mankiewicz conducted an interview with this legendary actress known for films such as Bye, Bye Birdie (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Carnal Knowledge (1971). Conducted in the lobby of the Roosevelt hotel, I was running late so I could only watch from behind the already assembled crowd. But let me tell you, this lady has still got it. I didn’t realize it was possible to have THAT much beauty and sex appeal at age 73. Sheesh.

Charles Reisner’s/Buster Keaton’s STEAMBOAT BILL, JR.(1928) ~ This is Buster Keaton’s (my home state comic genius) last film of freedom before his contract with MGM killed his creative spirit. I was laughing to the point of near hyena levels. It’s unparalleled to experience a silent film as we did for this 70 mm world premiere restoration screening introduced by Leonard Maltin that also featured a world premiere original score composed and conducted by none other than Maestro Carl Davis with a live orchestra. A highlight of the fest for me.

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Edward F. Cline’s THE BANK DICK (1940) ~ Introduced by W.C. Fields’ two grandsons (with unmistakable genetics), they shared delightful stories and quotes from their uniquely talented and humorous grandpa. I’ve seen this film many times but to experience it along with friends on the big screen brought our laughter to tears-streaming howls.

[SATURDAY]

William A. Seiter’s WHY BE GOOD? (1929)~ my first-time viewing of this ‘semi-silent’ Pre-Code was utter delight. Starring the energetic flapper with a good girl heart, Colleen Moore. It featured no voice so this transition into the talkies blended the music, sound effects and expressive acting to keep the jazzy dance scenes fired up. Fun to see a much younger Neil Hamilton, aka the 1966 Batman Commissioner Gordon, take the male lead. With the best scoop on the most juicy dish, famed film historian and scholar Cari Beauchamp’s introduction alerted us to look for a quick cameo in the background (at a party with a man in her lap) of a yet to be discovered Jean Harlow. This film revealed a wonderfully and unexpectantly feminist tone in messaging -complete serendipity and we all cheered loudly!

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Lloyd Bacon’s 42nd STREET (1933) ~my second Pre-Code before noon. Score! A Busby Berkeley musical is like eating your favorite decadent dessert and our first nibble was served up with an entertaining intro by Broadway star Christine Ebersole. Doesn’t matter how many times I’ve enjoyed this sweet treat, seeing this world restoration premiere on the enormous screen with fellow classic film friends was extraordinary!

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Special Interview with ANNE V. COATES/ interview by Cari Beauchamp ~ With an outstanding resume in film editing that spans six decades with films such as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, Coates was unexpectantly funny and very down-to-earth. I only caught part of this interview as we needed to secure an early spot in line at Grauman’s for THE APARTMENT, otherwise I would’ve listened for hours.

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Billy Wilder’s THE APARTMENT (1960) ~ What a thrill!! Like a live #TCMparty, a group of familiar faces camped out super early to experience this magnificently dark comedy with an introduction by none other than Shirley MacLaine herself. As we waited, I passed the time as I did throughout the fest in my Social Producer role, in a fun game of pitching trivia questions and giving away Buster Keaton buttons and posters. MacLaine was as candid and spunky as I anticipated (“Fred MacMurray never picked up a check”… LOL!) and the joy of seeing this film across that enormous Grauman’s screen is positively indescribable.

[SUNDAY]

William Dieterle’s THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1939)  ~ What a perfect choice to kick off the final day of the fest. Watching my favorite Irish lass Maureen O’Hara in her break-out role and the genius who transitioned her to Hollywood in the greatest role of his career, Charles Laughton, in this masterpiece was awe-inspiring.

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ACADEMY CONVERSATIONS: GUNGA DIN (1939) ~ I thoroughly enjoyed this classic military bromance with the hilarious trio of my man Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Victor McLaglen at the beautiful Egyptian theater. At last year’s TCM film fest, I had the pleasure of experiencing Craig Barron and Ben Burtt’s Academy Conversations presentation of THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938). This year they came back with another installment with a hilarious and fascinating look at GUNGA DIN, again with the same behind-the-scenes approach to the special effects, complete with their matching themed hats. I highly recommend these two Oscar-winning artists as presenters at every year’s TCMFF – you won’t be disappointed! I was thrilled to see them again on Friday nights this month as the ‘Friday Night Spotlight’ guest programmers… yippee!

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Vittorio De Sica’s MARRIAGE ITALIAN STYLE (1964) ~ I’ll admit that I could care less that I had never seen this film before, because I came to see the legendary beauty Sophia Loren in person. This was my final film of the fest and it did NOT disappoint. Her interview by Ben Mankiewicz was outstanding because if anything, her charming humor and nature-defying beauty has somehow escaped the passage of time. So I was surprisingly delighted to find this film, paired nicely with Marcello Mastroianni; to be a very funny take on Italian themes of relationships and an excellent showcase of her talents.


I went on to celebrate the fest’s joys with beloved friends at the Closing Party, meeting some for the first time and reconnecting with others which was like a big and happy family reunion. Overall, I felt more tired than last year with the Social Producer duties but enjoyed it immensely as an opportunity to have fun chatting and bonding with fest goers.

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For a peek at my activities outside of the fest, where I explored the hallowed grounds of Old Hollywood, look for my upcoming post on HOLLYWOOD HIGHLIGHTS.

The absolutely best part of the TCM Film Festival is connecting with TCM pals. That’s exactly what Aurora and I shared with our pal Debbie of the LA based radio show “Behind The Lens” with our TCMFF wrap-up report in our live interview the day after the fest: 3/30 show (VIDEO). For a pictorial along with a few videos of the many friendly faces found at this year’s fest, stay tuned for my IMAGES OF THE TCMFF 2015 post. See you in Hollywood next year…

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TCM Film Festival ANNOUNCEMENT! Look Out for new Social Producers

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As we swiftly inch closer to next week’s Turner Classic Movies Film Festival, more news emerges, reflecting what may be the most interesting fest to date. With a diverse assortment of film and events crammed into a full 4 day day schedule, passholders are also chattering about the highly anticipated list of mega stars such as Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Sophia Loren, Ann-Margret, Dustin Hoffman, and Alec Baldwin. Which barely scratches the surface of how the good folks at TCM are ‘making history’ with this year’s installment of classic film nerd nirvana.

In tune with the knowledge that TCM fans are a uniquely loyal and die-hard throng of fans, the network has amped up their social media marketing with a brand new program, Social Producers. I recently discovered that I had been selected, along with a small group of like-minded social media mavens who eat, breathe and drink in TCM, to launch this new role during the last weekend of March in Hollywood.

Here’s what you can expect…

Not unlike a fun game of scavenger hunt, be on the look out for us Social Producers. Whether you’re waiting in line for a screening or walking down Hollwood Blvd. on your way to the next fun-filled event, if you see a Social Producer, be sure to say hello and they might have a fun treat for you! Each of us have come up with an engaging proposal to share our mutual love of TCM with others at the fest. And for our friends who are unable to make it to this year’s TCMFF, we’ll be broadcasting this on multiple social media platforms so they can feel a part of the experience, too. Trust me, if this doesn’t convince you to save and pinch those pennies to make it your number one priority for next year, I don’t know what will!

TCMFF TRIVIA! Who doesn’t just LOVE to show off your classic film knowledge? When I pitched this to TCM, they enthusiastically agreed. When you see me at the fest, I will have a trivia question for you. If you get it right- you will get one of the slick buttons made exclusively for TCMFF passholders! (No worries- if you get the answer wrong, we’re happy to give you a button just for playing.)

BUSTER BUTTONS! Each Social Producer has their own distinct button. The TCMFF Trivia button is Buster Keaton (silent film genius, native to my own home state who can be seen in Friday’s schedule in STEAMBOAT BILL, JR.!)  Can you collect all of them? Heck yeah, you’ve got 4 days- you bet you can!

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AN IRISH & CUBAN VERSION OF TINA FEY & AMY POEHLER…

If you see these smiling mugs, stop and say hello!

If you see these smiling mugs, stop and say hello!

But when I pitched this idea to TCM, I wanted to partner up with my good pal, Aurora aka @CitizenScreen. Because who better to have fun chatting trivia with fellow passionate TCM festers, right?! Again, they agreed. Be sure to look out for both of us- sometimes together, sometimes at different screenings but we will both happily play TCMFF Trivia with you!

So look for all of the Social Producers. We will all be posting on social media throughout the day, for all 4 days, so everyone can feel part of this mega experience. Like some of my fellow Social Producers, we will also be capturing this on video to really enhance the moment. Your 15 minutes of TCM fame is coming, folks… see you in Hollywood!

TCM TRIVIA tweets on @Irishjayhawk66 & @CitizenScreen

TCM TRIVIA tweets on @Irishjayhawk66 & @CitizenScreen

50 Reasons Why I LOVED TCM Film Festival 2014

On April 9th, 2014 I embarked upon an unforgettable journey to Tinseltown. And I loved the experience so much I just had to share fifty reasons why. “Wait… did she say FIFTY?!” Yes, fifty. But don’t be alarmed, this is not quite a War and Peace version of the 5th annual Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. Fifty reasons to love TCMFF is an easy and quick list when there’s SO much to love. So much in multiple screenings, events and incredible opportunities taking place all at once that a majority of this fest is generally missed. I know I missed out on many, many things I would have equally cherished. But without cloning or time travel, one can only take pleasure in the path chosen. That’s exactly what I did…

1. This was my very first trip to Hollywood (and for a lifelong classic film fan this is a BIG deal!) Specifically, this was my VERY FIRST TCM Film Festival!
2. In actuality, this was my first trip by myself, for myself. Oh sure, I’ve traveled by myself loads of times, on business. But this was my very first vacation without kids (yes I have four teenagers), without the hubby, and without any agenda other than unadulterated cinematic fun.
3. Robert Osborne, in the flesh! (okay, so I haven’t officially met him yet, but I got close by- which is pretty amazing for this TCMFF newbie. Perhaps next time, I’ll get the chance)
4. Speaking of amazing TCM hosts… Ben Mankewitz and Ileana Douglas. That’s right, I DID get to experience meeting Ben and Ileana -both charming and fabulous and both Hollywood ancestral legends in their own time.

5. TCMFF Tweetup. This took place the evening prior to the opening day at a modern speakeasy, “Sadie’s.” I was lucky enough (or rather chatty enough) to be included in the TCMFF Social Crew. Meeting all the fellow tweetaholics was a treat because I already knew most of them via twitterverse!

Lindsay @angelnumber25, Jessica @HollywoodComet and Raquel @QuelleLove… these cinematic beauties made me feel young again!

Laura of @LaurasMiscMovies and TCM’s Scott McGee… some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet!

Annemarie of @ClassicMovieHub, Aurora of @citizenscreen, Cindy of @Cindybugz and Laura of @LaurasMiscMovies at the TCM Tweetup, repose before the party started hopping

Will aka @WillMcKinley and me. It was like meeting a long lost brother. #FilmFamily

CINEMA SISTERS! Hanging with Aurora aka @citizenscreen at the Egyptian.

 6. Meeting my #TCM and #TCMparty friends– IN PERSON! I was both excited and nervous leading up to the moments of meeting these ‘modern pen pals.’ As a friendly Midwestern type, I was worried my overzealous persona may be off-putting up close. Happily, or so it seemed, my worries proved to be unwarranted. I immediately felt at home with my #TCMparty pals. Within minutes, it’s as though we had all known each other for decades. Like a family reunion; picking up where we left off.
  

[UL: Karen of @TheDarkPages UR: Joel of @JoelrWilliams1, Nora of @NitrateDiva, Fussy of @MiddParent LL: Miguel of @MonsterResort LR: Alan of @alanhait]

7. The FORMOSA CAFE – after the Tweetup many of us headed over to this historic establishment. I had heard of the many stories from the Golden Age of Hollywood that took place at this cozy venue. I couldn’t have been any more thrilled to socialize with my chums in the same space as where stars like Bogie, Gable and Sinatra dined.
8. TCMFF Red Carpet. Okay, so I didn’t actually attend this event. I merely peeked at all the glamorous celebrities as I walked across the street. But what I did see from curious passing and from my friends’ photo sharings that positioned a closer view, it was a glorious spectacle. Perhaps next year I’ll work out the timing to claim a spot on the bleachers.
9. 5th AVENUE GIRL (1939) on the big screen. While I’ve seen this film a couple of times before, this screening was special. This was my first viewing on the big screen and my first screening at TCM Film Festival. Somehow Ginger Rogers conveyed an extra dose of sardonic charm this time.
10. BACHELOR MOTHER (1939) on the big screen. A Ginger Rogers double feature?! How can a gal be so lucky on the initial day of this wondrous fest?!

11. Comedian Greg Proops introduction to BACHELOR MOTHER. This veteran comic was a pro… sharp, witty, and fast-paced. Besides being very funny, I was also impressed by his mastery of detail on this film and the background stories. Yet this celeb of comedy was also just like us- a passionate fan.
12. Bumping into actor James Karen and his wife, Alba Francesca. I have chatted casually with Jim Karen during my attendance at the last two year’s of the Buster Keaton Celebration in Iola, Kansas. So when I stumbled upon this couple while rushing into a screening, I will so thrilled to see their familiar faces that I bowled them both over with exuberant hugs, immediately followed by my apologies for my bold familiarity. I reminded them of our chats at the Buster Keaton Celebration (like we were just the oldest of Kansas pals) and the two were kind enough to state they distinctly remembered me. I doubt they actually did, but I appreciated their kindness for my benefit.
13. Waking up to THE THIN MAN (1934). On Friday morning at 9am, I enjoyed a screening of this favorite classic while exchanging gasps of delight at Myrna Loy’s exquisite fashions and chuckles with Kimberly of @GlamAmor, Aurora of @CitizenScreen and Lara of @backlotsfilm.

 

14. The famed EGYPTIAN THEATRE. Screening THE THIN MAN was my initial visit to this restored 1922 movie showcase. What a fun example of ancient Egyptian themed architecture.

15. TOUCH OF EVIL (1958). Introduced by Charleton Heston’s son, producer and director Fraser Heston, we were treated with a BEAUTIFULLY restored version of this film noir classic. The imagery was breathtaking. You could see every dirty bead of sweat on Orson Welle’s bloated face and I couldn’t have been more thrilled.
16. Buttons. So many fun buttons! The good folks at TCMFF conceived this brilliant idea to reward us with a variety of social media buttons, with the ability to earn each unique button via a different social media experience. I really commend the folks at TCM for creating outstanding design work for this year’s festival. I chatted with a gal named Katie as we waited for the crosswalk light one early morning. I noticed her TCMFF lanyard and initiated a conversation on how much I admired the design work on the many banners displayed. It turns out she not only works for TCM but was responsible for those designs. Great job!
17. More buttons! Additionally, we met a gentleman, Mark (aka ‘the button guy’) who created and brought an inventory of his own buttons, many representing the various featured films from this year’s cinematic line-up. He was an all around sweet guy and generous with his buttons- happily giving these away to any and all who asked.

18. The BEST button of them all. Speaking of fun buttons, my hubby created a magnificent button of my own to wear at the TCMFF. It represents my love of classic film and specifically Cary Grant, plus it states my twitter handle for the pragmatic purpose of identifying me via my twitter presence. He did a heck of a job with it because I received countless comments of praise. Well done, honey!
19. Margaret O’Brien introducing MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1944). I had heard that this legendary child star of the silver screen, now 77 years old and as energetic as ever, was seen sporting blue hair and nose ring on the Red Carpet the night prior. (How cool is that?!) Engaging us with witty anecdotes, Ms. O’Brien hadn’t lost her touch to capture our attention. And the film itself? The experience can only be described as a joyful toe-tapping, technicolor dream with a tear or two shed by yours truly.
20. Shaking Margaret O’Brien’s hand. While ordering a quick bite as carry-out, we spotted Ms. O’Brien in the Roosevelt diner, the “25 Degrees” restaurant. Trying to keep our wits about us, Aurora of @citizenscreen and I made the decision to act swiftly and introduce ourselves. Upon gently and respectfully taking her hand, she politely returned a greeting then turned to her seated companion and asked us if “we had met Judy Garland’s son.” Gobsmacked, we smiled and shook his hand as well.
21. The GRAUMAN’S CHINESE THEATER. Yeah, I know it’s actually called TCL Chinese Theatre Imax. But hey, it will always be Grauman’s to me. This jewel of a movie house was amazing. And while I heard its recent restoration eliminated more than 200 seats, the seating was very comfortable and the architectural details remain astounding.
22. Mel Brooks introducing BLAZING SADDLES (1974). This was my #1 pick of all the anticipated screenings. I’m a huge Mel Brooks fan and the very thought of seeing this hilarious comedy classic, up on the big screen, introduced directly by Brooks himself, at the very same theater (Grauman’s) that is featured in this film… well, it was almost too surreal to process. As anticipated, I laughed myself silly.
23. Hand and Foot Prints of Legends at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. If you’ve ever seen BLAZING SADDLES, you understand the significance of these…

24. Patton Oswalt, introducing a midnight screening of ERASERHEAD (1977). Oswalt was a riot. I loved hanging with my #TCMparty friends as we got punchy from the long day. I had never seen this David Lynch cult classic so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I can honestly say it was the strangest, most bizarre film I’ve ever seen with no redeeming qualities to speak of. To each their own though.
25. An enormous serving of a ‘laughter breakfast’ with CITY LIGHTS (1931). That Saturday morning, a group of us #TCMparty peeps (including Joel of @joelrwilliams1, Kay of @KayStarStyle and Aurora of @citizenscreen) laughed until we cried while taking in this silent classic. If you’ve never seen this film, and especially if you ever are in need of a ‘pick me up’, I encourage you to see it pronto.
26. Shaking hands with actor Jason Lee. Lee introduced the screening of CITY LIGHTS as a passionate fan of this iconic classic and of the genius behind it, Charlie Chaplin. Afterwards as we filed out of the theater, I stole a quick moment to shake his hand, thanking him for his heart-felt intro. I’m a huge fan of Chaplin’s masterpiece, too. Jason Lee came across as a very genuine and down-to-earth in person. Later that day as many of us took turns posing for silly pics in the TCM photo booth, I saw Lee with what appeared to be his entire family doing the same. Fun to see a whole family get involved in this classic film experience.
27. Another opportunity to see silent films on the big screen. I am spoiled in my home state with more than a few opportunities to see silent films in the way they were meant to be seen- on the big screen, with an engaged audience surrounding you. While CITY LIGHTS did not have a live musical accompaniment, there were a couple more choices to see a grand silent. Harold Lloyd’s supersized fun silent WHY WORRY? (1923) was introduced with a new score by maestro Carl Davis and granddaughter Suzanne Lloyd. Additionally, Hitchcock’s early chiller THE LODGER (1927) was screened the way a silent REALLY should be seen, in tandem with the live performance of the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.
28. Eggs Benedict at the 25 Degrees restaurant. This diner housed at the front entrance of the Roosevelt hotel is a relatively speedy and yummy option for grabbing nourishment on the run between events. And you’re almost guaranteed to bump into fellow TCMFF pals and celebrities, too. Personally, I recommend the eggs benedict or turkey burger.
29. Often standing in long lines. I realize this would normally be a negative thing. But at the TCM Film Festival, this is truly a very positive experience. This was the perfect opportunity to strike up conversations with fellow ole movie fans. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover what bonds you can create in these lines, chatting with folks from all over the country.

30. Strategizing to get the lowest # possible for your spot in line. This process of snagging a spot as early as possible allowed for priority seating. For any screening or event that you absolutely, positively must see, the goal and bragging rights was to secure the lowest number for your position in line. This involved sometimes skipping an event in the time slot prior. Hey, this fest isn’t for amateurs!
31. The popcorn only diet. For those like myself who want to get the most bang for your buck, there is very little time for actual eating of food that comes in the form of a square meal. I was advised to bring snacks. But otherwise, the most accessible snack is popcorn at the concession stand. Where else is it acceptable to eat popcorn for breakfast, minus the good ole college days? No problems here.
32. The “Capture the Flag Movie Screening Game”… is the best exercise. Worried about that concession stand diet affecting your waistline while hob-nobbing with celebs at the TCM Fest? No worries! With the mad dash strategy involved to race to each screening or event, combined with little time to eat more than a handful of popcorn every few hours, you are in better shape than you might think.

33. Mel Brooks Interview with Bob Osborne. Here was my chance to see Mel Brooks up close. Earlier in the day, we got the inside scoop about this taping for a special one on one interview at the Roosevelt. There wasn’t a moment’s hesitation that this was a must-see event. Squeezing in to the front row yet off to the far side of the stage in hopes to get a better view of his face, rather than his back; we hung on to every word. He told several stories about the making of BLAZING SADDLES including what it was like to work with writer Richard Pryor and how Cleavon Little was chosen for the lead; how ERASERHEAD led him to David Lynch as his director for THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980) and a hilarious bit about meeting Cary Grant at the Commissary. He also spoke sweetly about his wife Anne Bancroft. There was a subtle yet notable pause to take a drink of water just before he spoke her name. She passed nearly nine years ago and there’s no doubt in my heart she is very much still and always with him.

[from left to right: Paula aka @Paula_Guthat, Aurora of @CitizenScreen, Will aka @WillMcKinley, Alan aka @AlanHait, Kimberly of @GlamAmor, me, Elise of @EliseCD, Fussy of @MiddParent and just off camera: Nora of @NitrateDiva and Kay of @KayStarStyle is taking this fun pic!]

35. Chicken Pot Pie at infamous, The Musso & Frank Grill. Proudly serving Hollywood since 1919, here was another Hollywood landmark that seemed untouched by the passage of time. From the waiters to the classic menu selections that appeared unchanged for decades, to my heavenly chicken pot pie, this was a special treat. Steeped rich in Hollywood history, as I looked around I could imagine the stars like Chaplin and Fairbanks as regulars dining at the softly worn leather booths or Bogie and Bacall sharing a drink at the bar. But my greatest source of enjoyment for that lunch was the company of my #TCMparty friends.
36. The stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame. I suppose these sidewalk stars seem hum-drum to a Hollywood or LA area resident. The most eccentric crowds of folks that were either selling or demonstrating their wares and often festooned in outrageous costumes certainly paid no attention to the famous names permanently displayed underfoot. But for me, this was yet another hallmark of Hollywood history. From the fantasy to the reality, there was much for me to take in.
37. Judy Garland: A Legendary Film Career @ Club TCM. This was a wonderful presentation by award winning producer and author John Fricke of clips and intimate tales of Judy Garland. I got misty more than once. What an unparalleled talent she was. There will never be anyone else like her.
38. TCM at 20: Inspired By Classics. This was a packed house event at Club TCM, which was set up beautifully at the Roosevelt. The panel of guests reflected a sampling of the artists commissioned to create works of art to celebrate TCM’s 20th anniversary. The panel included Jane Seymour (my GAWD this woman does not age), and the legendary talent and beauty Kim Novak.

39. EL CAPITAN! The architectural details on this old movie house were phenomenal. What an uniquely fun treat to watch a man skillfully playing a grand dame of a pipe organ prior to our feature. Then moments prior to our presenters, this organ, as the man continued to play to the end of his song, magically descended into the floor. Pure Hollywood magic and the show hadn’t even begun yet.
40. John Ford’s HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY (1941). Surprisingly, this was actually my first time seeing this Ford epic film. I had always caught parts of it but never had the pleasure to see it in it’s entirety. What an emotionally moving film. Visually speaking, it is a stunning Ford feast for the eyes to behold. Hard to believe I waited this long to see it. But I’m thrilled I got to experience it with my friends in the balcony, many who were just as choked up as me.

[Friendly foursome waiting in line for our favorite fiery Irish gal Maureen in HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY: Nora aka @NitrateDiva, Fussy aka @MiddParent, Aurora of @CitizenScreen and me…]

41. Maureen O’Hara’s introduction to HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY. This was the moment we had camped out in line and waited for more than an hour. My silver screen idol from my Irish American childhood was right there, in the flesh. I peered down from the balcony and could barely swallow as she appeared on stage. A highlight from her brief interview with Bob Osborne occurred as Osborne asked her what it was like working with John Ford. She raised her flat palm to the side of her mouth, looking out to the audience and mischievously responded in her distinct brogue, “I thought we were here to talk about me.” The crowd immediately with a thunderous laughter. Even at 93, this lady kept us on the edge of our seats.

42. Maureen O’Hara Interview with Bob Osborne. We were treated with yet another opportunity to see my favorite Irish lass. But this time, strategy was essential to ensure a much closer proximity to this delightful Dubliner. So Aurora of @citizenscreen, Annemarie of @classicmoviehub and I protected our territory about THREE hours early at the velvet rope in order to garner the best spot to see our beloved Ms. O’Hara. After chatting with Bob on topics such as how much she enjoyed working with Charles Laughton, it was sadly time to end the conversation. But this spitfire was not done with us just yet. Not only did she grant us the privilege of turning around so we could take photos of something other than her back, but she also welcomed a couple of questions from the audience. I stood practically at arm’s length from her. It was all too surreal for words.
43. HAT CHECK GIRL (1932). We #TCMpartiers were on board for this little PreCode gem. We were one of the lucky ones to nab a spot in this smaller venue. It was a fun lark and we enjoyed Ginger Rogers company yet again!

44. Academy Conversations: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938). Talk about a delightful time! The entertaining pair of Craig Baron and Ben Burtt were a total hoot as they donned their Sherwood Forest feather caps and educated us on the various tricks and special effects behind the scenes of this treasured American classic. Let’s face it, spending a Sunday morning watching Errol Flynn’s snug tights in all his technicolor glory ain’t have bad.
(hamming it up poolside…)

45. The Roosevelt Poolside. Simply gorgeous. It had a distinctly old Hollywood glamor look and feel with all the modern amenities.
46. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) This was my final film of the festival. As we stood in line, @citizenscreen and I struck up a conversation with our line neighbors (as we do..) and as a result these charming folks were media broadcasters from ABC Radio and interviewed us with mics right on the spot! Bob Osborne himself greeted the audience to close out this final film. We then watched Dorothy and the gang in a brilliant 3D restoration, back in the majestic Grauman’s Theater exactly where it premiered in Hollywood 75 years ago. It gave “there’s no place like home” a whole new meaning.

47. Treasures of the Silver Screen. Treasures were every where I looked. From the world’s most recognizable blue gingham dress of my fellow Kansas gal Dorothy, to the original piano used in CASABLANCA which is much tinier than you’d ever imagine, classic treasures abound. I wanted to capture some of this lightning in a bottle by bringing home a souvenir to extend my memories. So I purchased some beautiful jewelry in the TCM gift shop. (And as tiny as that piano was, I don’t think it would fit as a carry on.) With many of this year’s TCMFF marketing and design themes being a nod to the 75th anniversary of THE WIZARD OF OZ, I was contemplating what item to bring home to Kansas. Then my friend Elise aka @EliseCD came to the rescue by generously donating her bag of goodies including a “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore” notebook with Dorothy’s profile standing in the shadow of Grauman’s and a stationary collection of the commissioned 20th anniversary art. Aurora of @citizenscreen also kindly gave her Dorothy notebook for me to pass on to my hubby. Aren’t #TCMparty friends the best?!
48. Closing Night Party! All dolled up, I joined my friends at the Club TCM then joined others poolside. Taking a few snapshots here and there, it started to sink in that this grand adventure was coming to a close. I didn’t want it to end.

49. Miguel’s Monster Island Resort Podcast with some #TCMparty homies. To make this moment last longer, it seemed fitting to join in on Miguel’s podcast, poolside by the fire at the end of closing night party. Discussing our various thoughts on the 5th annual TCM Film Festival, it was the perfect nightcap with dear friends. [See episode #115 at MonsterIslandResort.org]
50. My tearful goodbye. I didn’t want to leave this cinematic utopia. More importantly, now that I had connected with my TCM friends, I REALLY didn’t want to say goodbye. After the exchange of hugs, I hesitantly made my way into the backseat of the cab (Will aka @willmckinley and Aurora @citizenscreen insisted I not walk alone to my hotel on behalf of my protective hubby), I looked up at the two with tears welling up in my eyes and waved farewell.

This was an experience of a lifetime for me. So of course I plan to do this all over again next year- but this time accompanied by my sweet husband. Dorothy was right, there is no place like home. Perhaps I’m lucky enough to have two homes: with my family in Kansas and wherever my Old Movie Weirdo pals shall gather.

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