August 2012 TCM Summer Under the Stars Preview and Recommendations

Introduction

Ingrid Bergman 1940s Real Photo PostcardLast week I created the main site index for Immortal Ephemera's celebration of August 2012 TCM Summer Under the Stars programming. It's pretty much a straight list of what's on in August and who airs on which days. I'll fill it in with links to new Summer Under the Stars related content as I write it throughout August.

This is the first of that Summer Under the Stars content. My opinionated preview of the month.

I'm about to go through all 31 days for you, admittedly short-shrifting five or six of them, and make my recommendations as well as let you know what I'm looking most forward to.

As usual this is all based on my likes and dislikes. I favor the pre-code era through World War II. If that's what you like then we should find a lot to agree about and if I've done my job maybe I'll even manage to point you to a few gems you've yet to see.

Heck, if I don't mention something good that you know is on, please scroll way down to the comments section and make your recommendation. This all about the movies--none of us has seen them all, but if you're like me you sure want to! Following is simply the way I see this (stupendous!) month.

I'll cut it short because this is a long one with a couple of extra features tacked on at the end. I might have gotten a bit carried away this time!

The Usual Disclaimer

These picks are based upon Turner Classic Movies' US schedule (most also air in Canada). Any times mentioned are all EST because that's what TCM uses inside my Now Playing Guide and that's what I use when I set the clocks here on Long Island. The days are TCM's own slightly screwy time periods, typically beginning at 6 am and working through to the following morning at the same time. If I say something airs at August 15 at 4 am your calendar will tell you that I'm technically referring to the very early morning hours of August 16.

TCM Summer Under the Stars, Quickie Edition

Most Exciting Day: August 30, Warren William. Non-Warren William Division: August 21, Kay Francis.
Top Pick: August 30, The Mouthpiece (1932). Non-Warren William Division: August 2, Penthouse (1933); August 8, The Strawberry Blonde (1941); August 15, The Wind (1928); August 18 Lloyds of London (1936)
Most Wanted: August 18: Professional Soldier (1935). Runner-up: August 2, The Barbarian (1933).

Myrna Loy in The Barbarian

I believe The Barbarian (1933) is where this famous shot of Myrna Loy bathing nude amongst the rose petals come from.

Most Exciting Day is self-explanatory. If you want me to recommend a sick day from work, it'll be that day! Top Pick being those I have seen and would push you down on my couch and force you to watch if you even hint that you haven't seen it! Most Wanted being those I have to the best of my knowledge never seen but will be sure to check out this month.

TCM Summer Under the Stars, Long Version

You probably already know who and what you want to see. Opening my own TCM Now Playing Guide I see 31 big names and tons of fantastic programming. There are a few disappointments, though they are mostly by omission. I guess we'll just run through day-by-day and have a look at the can't misses and got to sees.

John Wayne 1951 Artisti del Cinema trading cardThe August 1 John Wayne schedule disappoints me. Don't get me wrong, there are some fantastic titles there, but I'm not seeing any rarities. I suppose I'd be complaining more if TCM scheduled 24 hours of 30's B westerns with the Duke, but I don't see a title I need to set my DVR on August 1.

Myrna Loy on August 2 is a different story. While there is a run of, what shall we call them, common titles in the late afternoon into Prime Time, there's some good stuff early in the morning and one tucked late at night. I'm dying to see both The Barbarian (1933) at 8:15 am and The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933) at 11:15 am. Those will be recorded. And if you don't have it yet, my fellow pre-code fan, please be sure to record Penthouse (1933) at 2:15 am.

Um, if you're not a Tarzan fan you're pretty much out on August 3, Johnny Weissmuller day. If you are a Tarzan fan, you're in heaven.

Turning on TCM Saturday August 4 is going to feel like turning on Fox Movie Channel. It's Marilyn Monroe day and there are lots of biggies. I like The Asphalt Jungle (1950), which really isn't a Marilyn Monroe movie, at 6:00 am, and then Niagara (1953) at 10 am and Bus Stop (1956) at 10:15 pm. It's a shame they didn't get Don't Bother to Knock (1952), that's a good one!

TCM does Claude Rains up right on Sunday, August 5 with most of the usual WB suspects (but not that one, wait for Ingrid day) and then a pair of Universal horror movies kicking off at dinner time with The Wolf Man (1941) at 6:45 pm followed by The Invisible Man (1933) at 8.

Van Heflin 1940s Fan PhotoI like August 6th's Van Heflin schedule better than I like Van Heflin himself. Good Robert Young-Hedy Lamarr movie with H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941) at 7:15 am and a great Prime Time pair with the classic 3:10 to Yuma (1957) at 8 pm followed by Robert Taylor in Johnny Eager (1942) at 9:45 pm. And while I say Robert Taylor I will admit that Johnny Eager probably contains my favorite Van Heflin performance. Patterns (1956) is very good at 1:30 am and TCM doesn't show it much. Shoot, maybe I like Van Heflin better than I thought!

I need to watch more Sidney Poitier movies. It's his day August 7. Blackboard Jungle (1955) is one I saw over and and over as a kid thanks to public television and I enjoyed Something of Value (1957) with Rock Hudson. My Dad always tells Something of Value stories from when he was a kid: apparently there was a hurricane on Long Island around the time it first came out and he and my uncle basically spent the ensuing power outage at the local theater watching Something of Value over and over! Well, it wasn't as good as I was told it would be, but I forgive him, it was okay!

August 8 is Rita Hayworth day. I feel like I know the big ones pretty well: The Lady from Shaghai (1947), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), Gilda (1946) and my favorite of her movies (but not for Rita!) The Strawberry Blonde (1941), but I'm out of the loop on most of the rest. I'll be recording quite a few that day and am personally most curious to see You'll Never Get Rich (1941) which pairs her with Fred Astaire.

I'm not the source to give you anything on Toshiro Mifune day, August 9. About all I can say is TCM always gives over one day of Summer Under the Stars to an international selection. This year it's Toshiro Mifune. Though at least until 8 pm you may as well say it is Akira Kurosawa day.

Lionel Barrymore 1940s Promotional PortraitAugust 10 is Lionel Barrymore day and it's strong right out of the gates with West of Zanzibar (1928) starring Lon Chaney. Pre-code fans may be familiar with the talkie remake from a few years later, Kongo (1932). TCM airs biggies like Grand Hotel (1932) at 10:15 am, Key Largo (1948) at 12 midnight, and You Can't Take It With You (1938), which personally I've never cared for, at 8 pm. The formerly rare star studded Night Flight (1933) airs at 10:15 pm, though it ain't so rare anymore since it came out on DVD just over a year ago. It's a bit overrated too, not surprising given the strength of its cast. Personally I'm interested in Mata Hari (1931) with Garbo at 8:45 am and The Return of Peter Grimm (1936) at 3:15 pm. It's a strong 24 hours with several lesser shown films.

August 11 is James Mason day. Doesn't thrill me, but Lolita (1962) is always good and TCM puts it on in the prime 8 pm slot.

Ginger Rogers 1935 Ardath Tobacco CardGinger Rogers day is another top pick on August 12. I enjoyed Rafter Romance (1933) which opens the day at 6 am. I think TCM last showed that one when Ginger was Star of the Month in March 2010. I thought Kitty Foyle (1940), which Ginger won her Oscar for, was a bit overrated but enjoyable nonetheless. It airs at 11:00 am. I love Bachelor Mother (1939) co-starring David Niven at 1:00 pm and especially Primrose Path (1940) with Joel McCrea which follows at 2:30. Don't miss either if you need to see them. A nice and more varied than expected evening of musicals kicks off wtih 42nd Street (1933) at 8:00 pm followed by Swing Time (1936) at 9:45. Besides Swing Time the only other Astaire-Rogers being shown are Shall We Dance (1937) earlier in the day at 4:15 pm and their final pairing, The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), at 1:30 am. A well rounded day of all types of Ginger Rogers movies!

Deborah Kerr day on August 13 is reminiscent of Van Heflin day in revealing that I might like Kerr more than I thought. The Hucksters (1947) at 7:45 is so very disappointing, practically painful to watch, but I've seen it numerous times for some reason. I can't like Sydney Greenstreet that much, can I? Charles Laughton fans can get a kick out of seeing him reprise his Henry VIII in Young Bess (1953) starring Jean Simmons. If you missed it during TCM's tribute to Ernest Borgnine, From Here to Eternity (1953) airs at 12:15 am.

James Cagney 1936 Godfrey Phillips Tobacco CardAn all-time favorite, James Cagney, gets the treatment on August 14. Set your recorders for Smart Money (1931) at 6 am which really stars Edward G. Robinson as Nick the Barber with Cagney as his number two. Boris Karloff also shows up in that one which is pretty amazing for a film from 1931, a pretty big year for all three of those boys! Speaking of which, The Public Enemy (1931) follows at 7:30 am and if Mae Clarke getting the grapefruit isn't enough abuse for you in one morning, watch Cagney drag her around by the hair in the fun Lady Killer (1933) which follows at 9 am. Other notables: G-Men (1935) at 10:30 am; Each Dawn I Die (1939) at 12 noon; White Heat (1949) at 10:00 pm (or just buy the old Warner's Gangster sets!) and Footlight Parade (1933) at 12 midnight. If you want your Cagney a little older I was surprised by how much I enjoyed 1961's One, Two, Three which airs at 2 am. After all that the one I'm looking forward to most is the one I've never seen, 1953's A Lion in the Streets which sounds like it traces Cagney's rise from street peddler to politician.

Lillian Gish 1917 Kromo Gravure Trading CardJust like TCM always manages to squeeze in an international star, there's also always a silent star. This year it's Lillian Gish on August 15, an interesting choice in that her catalog offers several 1940's and 50's titles as well. Three D.W. Griffith classics air beginning with Broken Blossoms (1919) at 6 am and followed by Orphans of the Storm (1921) at 7:45 with masterpiece Intolerance (1916) claiming the 8 pm time slot. Rightfully so out of this selection--it should have been The Birth of a Nation, which even if you despise is just as good as Intolerance and more important. And gives Gish a lot more to do. The one to catch though is Victor Seastrom's The Wind (1928) at 11:30 pm. I had this on VHS several years ago, last saw it then, but I recall it as absolutely haunting. Extremely claustrophobic. Fans looking for Charles Laughton's The Night of the Hunter (1955) won't be disappointed as long as they can stay up late. It airs after The Wind at 1 am.

If there's anyone you should listen to me less about than Toshiro Mifune it's Elvis Presley. August 16 belongs to the King on the 35th anniversary of his death.

Keeping it short, TCM doesn't do anything out of the ordinary for August 17, Katharine Hepburn day. Early titles like Christopher Strong (1933), Mary of Scotland (1936), Little Women (1933) and Morning Glory (1933) are of the most interest here but TCM mostly plays it safe with a four Spencer Tracy pairings, including Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) at 8 pm. The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969) seems intriguing to cap the day at 3:45 am, but it appears to be pretty poorly received.

Freddie Bartholomew 1939 Mars Trading CardDing, ding, ding, Immortal Ephemera favorite Freddie Bartholomew gets August 18. It's a Saturday even, and the site should experience lots of new visitors that day because I've probably covered Freddie more than anybody else in this particular space!

Note: I've just revised my 10,000-plus word Freddie Bartholomew biography HERE.

I'm dying to see Professional Soldier (1935) with Victor McLaglen, the one Freddie title I couldn't get my hand on while researching my three-part biography, and I'm happily going to revisit the rest. As per the last time it aired I do want to remind you not to miss The Devil Is A Sissy (1936) starring the child star triumvirate of Freddie, Jackie Cooper and Mickey Rooney and airing at 8 am. Of those I haven't written about here Tom Brown's School Days (1940) is very good and I'll be curious to see what kind of print TCM is airing. Those I've seen have been terribly grainy! Lord Jeff (1938) offers up a pretty nasty Freddie, spoiled along the lines of Captains Courageous (1937) which airs at 8 pm itself. Kidnapped (1938) is a bit of a rarity airing at 10:15. Again, curious as to the quality of that one. Favorites Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936) and David Copperfield (1935) both air as does the more rarely played Lloyds of London (1936), which should set off bells for Tyrone Power fans as it's really his movie. Great day, can't wait!

All right, we're running a bit long so I'm not going to be too upset glossing over the next couple of days: Eva Marie Saint on August 19. Anthony Quinn on August 20.

Kay Francis 1938 Polo L Tobacco CardAnd just that quick I'm sidetracked again because Tuesday, August 21 is Kay Francis day. 17 movies! There's some really good stuff on this schedule and not a lot of it is aired all that much by TCM. My fellow Warren William fans will want to DVR Dr. Monica (1934) to start the day at 6 am, though this one is slotted perfectly as it is a Kay Francis film. I've written about both Jewel Robbery (1932) and One Way Passage (1933), two of Kay's six movies pairing her with William Powell. Both highly recommended. I had wanted to write about Confession (1937) when it last aired and didn't get to it. Great movie, I'm going to try my best to give it spoiler-free coverage before it airs this time. Mandalay (1934) co-stars another favorite, Ricardo Cortez, and airs at 10:45 pm. Just before that is The House on 56th Street (1933) which I recently caught. An enjoyable mother-love type movie that you could picture Stanwyck playing in as easily as Kay. 17 films and I'm not going to name check them all. I'll just add I'm a little surprised TCM couldn't get their hands on Trouble in Paradise (1932) for Kay Francis day. Great schedule nonetheless.

If you were looking for Mister Roberts (1944) during Cagney day, as I was, it is on TCM on August 22 as part of Jack Lemmon day.

August 23 is Gene Kelly day and while I've never been partial to his musicals I love the way the day ends with Inherit the Wind (1960) at 2 am followed by Black Hand (1950) at 4:15. Mobster movie fans, Black Hand may be one you've overlooked. Don't on August 23.

I don't like Irene Dunne as much as even I think I should. I prefer her in sentimental stuff like The White Cliffs of Dover (1944) and Life With Father (1947) more than I do her classic screwball comedies. And I usually like screwball comedies. She just doesn't seem comfortable in them to me. On that note both classics Theodora Goes Wild (1936) and The Awful Truth (1937) air on August 24, the latter at 8 pm. Ricardo Cortez fans, DVR alert at 6 am with Symphony of Six Million (1932) which features Dunne in a small and somewhat strange part.

Tyrone Power circa 1940 EKC PostcardTyrone Power day bugs me on August 25 because Tyrone Power is one of my all-time favorites but they miss a lot of the Fox stuff that I really love him in. For instance, how can you do a Tyrone Power day and not have either Alice Faye or Don Ameche anywhere in sight? Big fail. No Nightmare Alley (1947) either. However, the day isn't worth scrapping because there's still some good Ty Power happening! Recommended are Johnny Apollo (1940) at 1:30 pm, Captain from Castile (1947) at 3:15 pm, especially The Razor's Edge (1946) at 8 pm (though TCM seems to have fallen in love with airing it in recent months), and Witness for the Prosecution (1957) at 2:30 am. The one I want is the one I haven't seen: Jesse James (1939) at 10:45 pm. How I've never run into that one before is beyond me!

No pre-code Paramount Gary Cooper on August 26. That's a shame. Lots of movies that TCM always airs for Gary Cooper. Great movies, but still, something a little different would have been nice. Ball of Fire (1941) with Barbara Stanwyck gets the 8 pm slot.

You know I've taken to 1930's movie musicals much better than I ever imagined possible. That said I've yet to acquire a taste for Jeanette MacDonald. Maybe on August 27. As you've probably guessed there's lots of Nelson Eddy that day too! I do love San Francisco (1936) with Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy, and will probably be watching it in the 8 pm time slot, though right now it only calls to attention the fact that In Old Chicago (1937) is another one missing from that earlier Ty Power schedule. Guess I'll get over it.

Ava Gardner 1949 Dixie Premium photoAva Gardner day on August 28 is a pretty well rounded day of movies even if The Killers (1946) stands as a glaring omission. Leave it to me to be mostly curious about Maisie Goes to Town (1944) at 7:45 am. I've seen a good handful of the Ann Sothern Maisie movies. I don't recall Ava Gardner popping up in any of them! The highlight of those I have seen on Ava day appears to be The Bribe (1949) with Robert Taylor and Charles Laughton airing at 10:45 pm. Mogambo (1953) never thrilled me. I just put on Red Dust (1932) when I want to see it.

Like Sidney Poitier earlier, Ingrid Bergman is another classic movie star that I need to get better acquainted with. I know the mainstream stuff. As alluded to earlier the big one, Casablanca (1942), airs on Bergman day, August 29. It's on at 10 pm, right after Spencer Tracy as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941), a less horrific version of the tale that I seem to like better than many. Warner Baxter fans, the day kicks off with Adam Had Four Sons (1941) at 6 am which seems to be the least likely thing that Ingrid Bergman ever played in!

All right, before we get to Warren William on August 30, let's cover James Caan on August 31. TCM airs a bunch of 60's and 70's movies for Caan day and none of them are The Godfather (1972). That's all I got for you there.

Warren William Matchbook promoting The Match KingNow as for August 30. Speaking as a big-time Warren William fan the first thing I have to say is that this schedule is simply amazing! Back on Warren's last birthday, December 2, TCM aired several of his earlier pre-code movies in somewhat of a chronological order. None of those are shown on August 30, so I hope you caught them then. August 30 does pick up right where those left off and in doing so includes several of Warren's most iconic pre-code offerings beginning with the one you absolutely have to catch: The Mouthpiece (1932) at 9:45 am. This is his breakout film which helped propel him to brief A level stardom in the early 30's. Several of the elements may seem familiar, even cliche, but don't blame Warren--The Mouthpiece was remade twice, he was the original.

The twin killing of MGM's Skyscraper Souls (1932) and Warner Brothers' Employees' Entrance (1933) both air on August 30--this Warren William fan is telling you that those are his two favorite Warren William movies. Other favorites are the very rarely aired group of The Match King (1932), The Mind Reader (1933) and the over-the-top Bedside (1934), which is unfortunately hidden at 6 am (DVR!). Late at night TCM includes Warren's first of nine goes as The Lone Wolf in The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939), which frankly is my least favorite of the series, and Warren's first--actually anybody's first--screen portrayal of Perry Mason in The Case of the Howling Dog (1934). Also airing are big titles Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), Lady for a Day (1933) and Cleopatra (1934), the latter of which features an early exit for Warren as Caesar. Pre-code favorite Three on a Match (1932) also plays on the 30th, but that baby is all Ann Dvorak and features a pretty much neutered Warren William.

Clunkers include: The First Hundred Years (1938), Wives Under Suspicion (1938), Times Square Playboy (1936), and, slightly lesser so, Arsene Lupine Returns (1938). If you're a Warren William fan, or plan on becoming one August 30, then these are all can't miss anyway as none of them air very often. I will say that when nap-time comes for me I'm hoping it's during these four!

Wow! What a month!

But we're not done yet. Onto the facts and figures. My TCM stats. And statheads, I've got something very special for August just under the standard tally. Hope you make it to the bottom of the page! But first--

Summer Under the Stars Elsewhere:

Click Myrna to see the SUTS rule at Sittin on a Backyard FenceTCM Summer Under the Stars previews have been posted at:

Finally, don't forget the SUTS blogathon -- click Myrna just above for details.

The Tally

For those unfamiliar with this feature, this is the part of the entry where I open up my TCM Now Playing Guide to tally off every movie TCM shows during the month of August and record the results by decade. You'll find me rooting hard for the 1930's and 40's and holding my nose to big gains from the 1960's and later. I could go either way on the 50's.

The August Tally
Jack Lemmon My Sister Eileen Promotional Photo112 - 1930's
107 - 1940's
85 - 1950's
60 - 1960's
11 - 1970's
6 - 1980's
5 - 1920's
2 - 1910's

To date, January 1-August 31, 2012:
810 - 1950's
789 - 1940's
638 - 1930's
618 - 1960's
147 - 1970's
73 - 1980's
60 - 1920's
10 - 1990's
9 - 1910's
1 -2000's
1- 1890's

Upset city, baby! And you wonder why I love Summer Under the Stars so much? If TCM programmed like this every month, I'd never gripe.

The 1930's for the win and, even better, the 30's pass the 1960's on the Year-to-Date counter further soothing my fears about the 60's taking the channel over (again, I was wrong!).

No further comment here because I've got something special to follow. If you're a stathead who enjoys the tally I'm hoping you like what's coming next. If you grit your teeth at the tally each month then I wish you a great August because the following is really going to make you think I've got too much time on my hands!

TCM SUTS Oldies Ranks

No need after the Tally to remind you that I like playing with numbers. Well this First Annual TCM SUTS Oldies Rank is more fun with simple math.

Rita Hayworth Promotional CardI make no apologies for preferring certain movie eras over others. I love the pre-codes of the early 1930's and I love the later 30's stuff just a touch less than that. I feel the same way about the first half of the 40's but post-WWII I get a bit more selective with what I'll watch.

The 1950's have some of the best movies in film history, but I've always felt once you penetrate beyond that top layer there's a big drop-off. It's a corn field. Doesn't help that a lot of the icons from that decade: Dean, Brando, even Marilyn, won't top any list I'll be typing.

More of the same as the 60's begin then Bonnie and Clyde (1967) comes along and livens things up in a way reminiscent of those earlier pre-code titles I cling too. Things get interesting again. While I love the return of grit in the 60's and especially 70's, I've always argued I don't want to see these movies on TCM--I want my oldies on that channel.

So I've devised an extremely unscientific points rank system in order to try and bring some kind of order to this years Summer Under the Stars lineup.

The rankings are dead simple and more or less arbitrary unless you really believe something fantastically changes every time the calendar rolls out a new decade. Hey, I already use the same fuzzy logic on the monthly tally above, why not stick with it for at least this years' first SUTS Oldies Rank?

We start with my most neutral, take it or leave it decade: the 1950's. Any film airing from the 50's is assigned a point rank of 0 (zero). Then we slide along the graph each direction. In other words a film with a 1940's release date receives +1 point while one from the 1960's receives -1 point. Sticking with the negatives, a 1970's film receives -2; 1980's is a -3. TCM doesn't air anything newer than that this August.

Gary Cooper 1935 Gallaher Tobacco CardIt gets a bit tricky and inaccurate on the other side. I wanted to distinguish the pre-code era from the rest of the 1930's and then, oh, what to do about silent films?

As I wrote above a 1940's title gets a +1. And so a 1935-39 release date receives a +2. Everything 1934 or earlier is worth +3. The Code began being enforced right in the middle of 1934, so that year causes a bit of trouble and I wasn't going to look up the exact release date of every 1934 film to get this exactly right. Not this year at least. We'll just give the latter half of 1934 the benefit of the doubt.

I was going to mark Silent era films with a +4 when it occurred to me that this, after all, is my list and while I like silents I'm not nearly as obsessive over them as I am pre-code movies. In fact, if I wasn't sharing this list I'd probably only allow them a +1 on any personal list. But I'm not going to penalize TCM for showing the oldest of the oldies and so they can share the pre-code +3 ranking.

One final complication. Not every Star being honored in August has an equal number of films playing on each day. Film length varies and so then does the number of titles TCM can squeeze into each 24 hour period for each star. James Mason and Eva Marie Saint only have 10 films showing on each of their days while Kay Francis has 17 movies showing at the other end of the spectrum.

And so after calculating a point total I've then divided it by the number of films showing to arrive at an "Official Oldies Rank." Both totals will be shown but stars are ranked by the smaller percentage number as it offers no bonus or penalty towards the length of each respective film. Oh, documentaries are not counted in any way.

And now, if you've read this far, I think you might like this:

OLDIES % ... OLDIES TOTAL ... STAR (&DATE)
Deborah Kerr 1954 Star Photo Premium+2.69 ... +43 .. Warren William (Aug 30)
+2.35 ... +40 .. Kay Francis (Aug 21)
+2.21 ... +31 .. Lionel Barrymore (Aug 10)
+2.14 ... +30 .. Myrna Loy (Aug 2)
+1.85 ... +24 .. Ginger Rogers (Aug 12)
+1.83 ... +22 .. Lillian Gish (Aug 15)
+1.77 ... +23 .. Freddie Bartholomew (Aug 18)
+1.77 ... +23 .. Irene Dunne (Aug 24)
+1.67 ... +20 .. Jeanette MacDonald (Aug 27)
+1.46 ... +19 .. James Cagney (Aug 14)
+1.38 ... +18 .. Claude Rains (Aug 5)
+1.33 ... +20 .. Johnny Weissmuller (Aug 3)
+1.08 ... +13 .. Katharine Hepburn (Aug 17)
+0.77 ... +10 .. Rita Hayworth (Aug 8)
+0.75 ... +9 ... John Wayne (Aug 1)
+0.73 ... +8 ... Tyrone Power (Aug 25)
+0.73 ... +8 ... Gary Cooper (Aug 26)
+0.62 ... +8 ... Van Heflin (Aug 6)
+0.50 ... +6 ... Gene Kelly (Aug 23)
+0.50 ... +6 ... Ingrid Bergman (Aug 29)
+0.17 ... +2 ... Deborah Kerr (Aug 13)
+0.08 ... +1 ... Ava Gardner (Aug 28)
-0.08 .... -1 ... Marilyn Monroe (Aug 4)
-0.18 .... -2 ... Toshiro Mifune (Aug 9)
-0.50 .... -5 ... James Mason (Aug 11)
-0.55 .... -6 ... Anthony Quinn (Aug 20)
-0.70 .... -7 ... Eva Marie Saint (Aug 19)
-0.75 .... -9 ... Sidney Poitier (Aug 7)
-0.82 .... -9 ... Jack Lemmon (Aug 22)
-1.00 .... -14 .. Elvis Presley (Aug 16)
-1.83 .... -22 .. James Caan (Aug 31)

No, I didn't create this list just to have something ranking Warren William number one! But yes, I find it very interesting that he is. All month I've been telling anyone who asks that my most anticipated days were Warren William, Kay Francis and Freddie Bartholomew. They fare pretty well on this scale devised of my own rankings.

Other things I find interesting are that William and James Caan, the first and last place names on this list, air on the consecutive days. The last two in August in fact. Warren William died before anyone on this list, apparently something which helps your score. James Caan was eight years old when Warren died.

Claude Rains 1936 Facchinos Trading CardBeyond what these numbers reveal about my own tastes in movie stars, and yes, this is shockingly accurate for the most part, the number that sticks out as most surprising is Gary Cooper at a paltry +8.

TCM is airing some big Cooper movies, but it's really a case of the same old, same old for Coop and his low Oldies Rank informed me before I even opened my Now Playing Guide back up to check that TCM had not managed to acquire rights to any of his early Paramount stuff. The pre-code stuff that I'd like to see. Checking his score against the August 26 schedule deflates any enthusiasm I may have had for Gary Cooper.

Lillian Gish is another shocker. Before really getting my nose into the Guide to do this I had expected her to win. She had 7 titles worth 3 points apiece, but then everything more or less canceled each other out after her return to Hollywood in the 1940's.

Again, I don't think this list proves anything. But it was a fun distraction and, I think, for the old movie fan highlights the days to pay special attention to in August. Not that you weren't already.

Nerd Bonus

For those who want to play with the math a little bit beyond what I'm prepared to do I also made sure to segregate 1930-34 releases from 1935-39 releases while compiling the main tally. That way I could post this follow-up tally which better correlates to our Oldies Quotient above (What do you like better, "Oldies Ranks" or "Oldies Quotient"?). That tally:

57 - 1934 and earlier
62 - 1935-39
107 -1940's
85 - 1950's
60 -1960's
11 - 1970's
6 - 1980's

Enough math!

I'm dying to hear which stars you're most looking forward to throughout TCM's August 2012 Summer Under the Stars. Please feel free to share below.

Comments

    • says

      And I have a feeling that’s what all of the non-Tarzan fans will be writing. I do love the first one though. Not something I can see keeping me glued to the tube otherwise.

  1. Joel Williams says

    Looking forward to Toshiro Mifune day! I only know him from a few films (most notably Rashomon) but looking forward to seeing him in other films.

    • says

      I’ve seen I think 3 of the Kurosawa titles, including that one, but I’ve never really been able to get into them. Foreign film gives me a little tougher time than even Silent film but if I’m in the right mindset I will give them a try. To be honest though I don’t see myself getting back into the spirit by August 9.

  2. SusanLM4 says

    Great article! You turned me on to Warren William last year and now I look forward to seeing him whenever I can. Thanks for your reccomendations on his movies. Given that I love the pre-codes and 1930-1940′s films the best, I appreciate your info. By the way, a whole day of Tarzan? Really?

    • says

      Susan, make sure whatever you record your movies on is working good on August 30 because they are showing most of Warren William’s key pre-code titles that day–I think there are several that will become new favorites! See those specific recommendations above, they’re the first ones I point everyone too!

      As for Tarzan, well, they didn’t have too many places to go beyond where they went if they wanted to honor Johnny Weissmuller! They did it the right way though, every one of his Tarzan appearances is shown and the 24 hours are filled out by three entries in his later series of Jungle Jim movies.

  3. says

    This was a great Sun lineup, i would like to see the Quiet Man when its John Wayne ‘s day. This is one movie that is rarely shown if at all. I enjoy watching most movies and would like to be a guest when its viewers choice to pick movies.

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