San Diego Classic Film Calendar

Friday, April 14, 2017

TCMFF 2017 – Postpartum Wrapup, Part III

I decided to break up my initial wrapup of the TCM Classic Film Festival (TCMFF) into three parts. Part I is posted here and covers pre-festival activities on Wednesday and Thursday (Day 1). Part II covers Days 2 and 3, Friday and Saturday, and is posted here. This post covers Day 4 (Sunday) and any leftover bits on the trip home on Monday.  None of these posts are comprehensive. My intention is to cover the handful of things that really jumped out at me each day.

Day 4 – Sunday 

The highlights for Sunday are:

Son of a Sea Cook, TBA –  Back in January when TCM announced the first group of about 20 films for TCMFF, I made a list of my top 5. Number 2 was Arsenic and Old Lace. Much to my chagrin, when the full schedule dropped the about two and a half weeks before the festival, they had placed Arsenic and Old Lace in one of the toughest blocks for me against two other films that I would pick over just about anything else in the festival. They placed Arsenic and Old Lace against Stalag 17 and Red River. Stalag 17 won.

Sometimes things have a way of working out, because Arsenic and Old Lace showed up in the first of the Sunday TBA slots, and with any luck, it would get out in time to see, Lured, my choice for the second film in that block. Well, we weren't that lucky. Lured was full by the time we got out, but we did get to see The Front Page. Still, it was totally worth it. Despite being shown earlier, the theater was packed for Arsenic and Old Lace with only a handful of empty seats, and it was so so funny. I had never seen it in the theater, and I'm so glad I got a chance to.

Skipping Fathom Events, Not Such a Bad Thing – When the TCMFF schedule dropped, I was kicking myself for not seeing the Fathom Events screening of Singing in the Rain when it played back in January. Now, I felt obligated to spend a slot at TCMFF to see it. Looking back, seeing Singing in the Rain in a close to packed Chinese theater, with an audience who knew every nuance of the film and applauded all of the musical numbers was well worth spending a film slot on. That has to be 10 times better than a one third full screening in the local multiplex courtesy of the good folks at Fathom Events.

Musical Saws – The last screening of the festival was one that both my daughter Jasmine and I were looking forward to since it was first announced, Speedy with live accompaniment from the Alloy Orchestra. The three piece group features junk percussion/musical saws/accordion, keyboards, and clarinet/more percussion. When the film rolled, and they started playing, you just couldn't help but smile. The film itself is delightful, and the accompaniment only made it more so.

A Gift for Ben – A lot of people at TCMFF do tchotkes, mostly buttons. Yes, I did buttons too, but I wanted to do something different. About a month before the end of the festival, we watching/live tweeting on #TCMParty to A Place In the Sun. At the end of the movie, a thought came to me. If only Montgomery Clift had used a condom, he could have ended up up with Liz Taylor. As a joke, I made up a graphic and direct messaged it to one of my #TCMParty friends and said, wouldn't it be great to get condoms printed up with this. Well, the more I thought about it the more I thought would be hilarious. I did some research and it turns out you can get 50 condoms custom printed for about a buck apiece. This is the final result:


Now, in the back of my mind I thought it would be cool to get one to Ben Mankiewicz. When I got to the closing party, Ben was there doing the rounds. There were a lot of people around, and I didn't want him to think I was stalking him. I bided my time, talked to other people, and hoped a better opportunity. After all, I was, well, stalking him. About 20 minutes later, he had moved all of about 20 feet from where he was the first time I saw him, but this time there were less people around, and I knew the people standing next to him. I came up and waited for Ben to finish with the person he was taking a picture with.  He turned to me, and I asked, "Did you get one of these?" and gave one of the three or four I had left. He took it, adjusted his glasses slightly, so he could read it. He smirked and put it in his pocket. It was perfect.

Day 5 – Monday 

The highlights on the last day/trip home are:

Really, Patrick Swayze? – After packing in morning, Jasmine and I went out for breakfast at Mel's Drive-In. Mel's has a jukebox, mostly 1950s/early 1960s rock'n'roll songs. Soon after we sat, "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" played. Okay, Dirty Dancing, that goes along with the theme, sort of. Then about three songs later, "Hungry Eyes." I'm like, Really, Patrick Swayze? Duuudddeee.

Hurt Me, Joan Blondell – As I was going through the lines to get into The Jerk, I noticed we went over Joan Blondell's footprints at the Chinese Theater. Now, I make no secret out of the fact that I totally have the hots for Joan Blondell. If I had access to a time machine, I wouldn't go back to kill Hitler, I'd go back to try to hook up with Joan Blondell. She was so hot in the Busby Berkeley Pre-Codes, but to be honest, I think middle-aged heavy-ish Joan Blondell in Desk Set is pretty hot too. In a pinch, I'd even go for old frumpy Joan Blondell in Grease. Yes, I'm a pig. Don't judge me. Back on Saturday, I'd made a mental note to take a picture on her footprints on Monday before we left:

Where I'm lying, Joan Blondell's size 2 pumps would be grinding into me.
Hurt me, Joanie, hurt me.
Now you might think I'm exaggerating on the size 2, but here are the footprints, with Jasmine's shoes for scale.

Those are some tiny feet.

Broken Glasses on the Train
– Jasmine and I took the train up from San Diego to Union Station and then the L.A. Metro to Hollywood Highland. On the way up from Union Station navigating my  luggage in the subway, I broke my glasses. No big deal, they were cheap readers, and I had a backup pair, but it's related to something on the way home. I tweeted something about snack box on the train being kinda cute. Deborah Leigh (Essential Leigh) responded that she thought trains felt classic film-y. I replied that Claudette Colbert had just stepped on my face and broken my glasses.


My Favorite Buttons, All Two of Them – This is not really related to anything that happened on Monday, but I didn't know where else to put it. I'm always kind of surprised by the amount of swag (free stuff) I get at TCMFF. When I checked in and got my Media badge, there was a gift bag about comparable to what we got the last two years as Social Producers. Then we won the So You Think You Know the Movies trivia contest, and there was another gift bag for that. I got some DVDs from Matt at Warner Archives. Then there's the buttons, lots and lots of buttons.

I made buttons to promote my t-shirt designs. Shameless plug, see the link on the top right of the sidebar. Since I was giving out buttons I got a lot of buttons in return. In the picture below, mine is Gunsel on the bottom, but the other two are my favorites. On the left, is the Gayer_Than_Thou button that Alan Hait did. If you do live-tweeting on #TCMParty, you probably already know Gayer_Than_Thou. If you don't do #TCMParty, you should and Gayer_Than_Thou is one of the reasons. He never comes to TCMFF, but having the button made me feel he was there in spirit. The other on the right is the X-rated symbol Film Geeks San Diego did. Not they show any X-rated stuff at TCMFF, but I thought it was a clever idea.


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