I'm working on a review, but after I accepted that I was running late for the second day in a row I thought I'd settle on resurrecting the "Daily" instead. The coming review is teased a few posts down in subscribers' emails (or HERE for the impatient).
Back in a second, but first, I don't want to stray too far from the familiar formula ...
Born on this date, December 9: Berton Churchill in 1876; Clarine Seymour in 1898; Carol Dempster in 1901; Margaret Hamilton in 1902; Robert Livingston in 1904; Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in 1909; Broderick Crawford in 1911; and Kirk Douglas in 1916.
All links lead to each actor's IMDb page, set to open in a new tab.
I'm very close to a more regular posting schedule—definitely more than once per month, at least! I think I might retire the "Daily" name though in favor of the "Cliff's Notes" heading directly up above (Because I'm an egomaniac, of course!). I love this chatty format, but I have to admit every day was a bit much for me. Maybe I'll relegate this type of package to those day's TCM is showing something alert-worthy, or, perhaps, since those alert-worthy days seem less and less frequent, something like once per week.
Anyway, today seemed like a good day to write since the world is celebrating Kirk Douglas's ninety-ninth birthday, and that world includes TCM too. They're playing one of my favorites, Lust for Life (1956) at 3:45 pm ET, which provides me opportunity to link back to my article about that one. It's a bit later release than I normally write about, but it'd been on my checklist to cover for years, and I turned out pretty pleased with what I came up with. Lots of background about the Irving Stone novel that the film was based on, if I'm recalling it correctly.
Also on TCM today is Along the Great Divide (1951) at 10:15 am—I had a nice collection of still photos from this one, so I've included a few of Douglas and co-star Virginia Mayo inside today's subscriber mailing. Plus you'll find a few other "birthday" images in there as well.
I wonder if TCM will give Douglas a 24-hour tribute next December 9 as he reaches the century mark. Maybe even another Star-of-the-Month spotlight? Today's twelve hours are good, but it's always hard not to focus on what's missing (no Ace in the Hole, Detective Story, The Bad and the Beautiful, Paths of Glory, Spartacus, etc.!). I was thinking about it the other day, after I realized his birthday was approaching, and I'd be hard-pressed to think of a post-1950 actor I could call my favorite other than Kirk Douglas. Oh, he goes a little far sometimes, but that intensity usually works in his favor.
I owe you a Guy Kibbee biography. At least I owe Aurora, Paula, and Kellee one for their What a Character! Blogathon. I've apologized to them, now I'll apologize to you and say that it is coming. Eventually. I've wanted to get a Kibbee biography up on the site for awhile, but until then, do check out all of the other participants (who actually participated) in the 2015 What a Character Blogathon: Day 1 - Day 2 - Day 3.
We are just days away from the book now. Hopefully I'm not jumping the gun when I say that, but I'm anxiously awaiting the first printed copy of Helen Twelvetrees, Perfect Ingenue, which should be arriving here on Thursday. It's actually my proof copy, but as long as I don't spot any drastic mistakes, I'm shooting to announce the paperback and eBook editions of Helen Twelvetrees, Perfect Ingenue for sale by early next week. Here's a peek at the cover, which was designed by Danny Reid of Pre-code.com, who rushed to my rescue after I spent two days doing little more than finger-painting exercises:
Get used to that purplish cover, you're going to be seeing a lot of it going forward!
I think this is the first time I've revealed who wrote the foreword to the book. I chose Dan Van Neste because he's a good friend who just happened to write the last decent article about Helen, back in the Spring 2005 issue of Films of the Golden Age magazine. You more likely recognize Dan's name as author of the highly recommended and all-encompassing BearManor Media title The Whistler: Stepping Into the Shadows. Since Dan had had the last word on Helen in his 2005 article, I gave him first word on her in my book, ten years later.
Expect to hear from me when Helen Twelvetrees, Perfect Ingenue is up for sale, though I do expect to post that other review that I mentioned (a non-Helen post!) before that.
If you're looking to load something new onto your Kindle right now, do check out The Pre-Code Companion #3, the latest entry in Danny Reid's series of pre-Code article collections (this is turning into the Danny-appreciation issue! No problem, he deserves it!). This third installment looks at three movies that you'll find on your copy of the Forbidden Hollywood Collection, Volume 2 DVD: The Divorcee, Night Nurse, and A Free Soul. In addition to articles about each of the three films by some familiar and favorite bloggers, there are biographical articles about key stars from those films: Clark Gable, Joan Blondell, Norma Shearer, and Chester Morris. That last one is by yours truly. Pre-Code Companion #3 is $2.99 to own, though Amazon Prime customers can read it free-of-charge as part of the Kindle Unlimited program.
I'll put an end to the salesy-stuff there, and wrap up by taking a look at the next few days of the TCM schedule. Ummm, jumping ahead to Saturday morning, December 12, they're playing One Way Passage (1932) with William Powell and Kay Francis at ... 6:00 am. Seems to be the favored time slot for pre-WWII Hollywood releases lately. Oh wait, no, here's one on later that same night—at 3:30 am—Boris Karloff in the very entertaining Warner Bros. title The Walking Dead (1936). I'll dial back the snide comments to add that the rich and wonderful David Copperfield (1935) plays Sunday morning at (er) 6:00 am.
There is a nice run of early titles playing on TCM early in the day on Tuesday, December 15, when a circus-theme in the daytime brings us stars like Chaplin, Chaney, Marion Davies, Joe E. Brown (man, they love him), and the Marx Brothers. I can't really argue with the Carole Landis evening schedule that same night either. It's not a bad day, so I think we'll cut it off there and I'll link you to that particular 24-hour schedule.
Look, there are plenty of early 1940s titles playing in times in between those movies mentioned above, so don't totally despair.
I am of the camp that senses a move to more recent films on the channel, at least playing at times when people are actually watching. They also seem to be expanding their selection of world cinema well beyond the old 2:00 am Sunday night slot, and rubbing in this awakening sophistication with endless commercials for co-branded wine, which is all all right. As long as you have a DVR, you can still catch plenty of snappy Hollywood-made B-flicks and oldies.
I'm sorry for writing the same editorial I always write, but that's just what happens whenever I look over the upcoming TCM schedule. It ain't what it used to be. I only complain because I love you, TCM. I just sense you're getting a little upscale for a guy like me, who misses the Beer and Blood that used to fill so many hours when I was actually awake.
That's all for now—if you're a subscriber reading this in your email, do keep scrolling for the images below. You should hear from me in a few days with that coming review, and, crossing my fingers, not too long after that with official announcement of Helen Twelvetrees, Perfect Ingenue.
Until then, enjoy the movies—I'll talk to you soon!