The sun shines brightly over Hollywood Boulevard. I’m on my seventh trek to the land of dreams where the majesty of the TCL Chinese Theatre stands tall as a reminder of days gone by. One cannot help but think of old Hollywood and the talent that crossed the theatre’s threshold as you gaze upon its historic facade. It’s all appropriate of course as we gather in this city to celebrate art made decades ago for the 2019 iteration of the Turner Classic Movies Film Festival (TCMFF) and while we celebrate the gathering another important anniversary looms large for the home of classic movies.
I remember it as if it were yesterday. Robert Osborne stepped down a set of stairs to welcome viewers to Turner Classic Movies. He’d be our host, he said, as the network promised to showcase the greatest movies ever made 24 hours a day. He went on to mention he’d have personal stories to tell as he introduced the first ever movie to be shown on the network, “perhaps the most enduring” in filmdom’s lauded history, Gone With the Wind. Exactly 25 years to the day of when Mr. Osborne introduced the film for the first time, April 14, 1994, Victor Fleming’s story of the old South will be playing at TCMFF. It’s a fitting tribute for a tenth festival and a lovely nod to the man we still miss and talk about with admiration. Robert Osborne was TCM and in a sense we are all his legacy.
I wanted to celebrate TCM on its 25th anniversary with a thank you and by sharing the words of people for whom the network is important. As you’ll see, TCM is personal. It is home to many – it is a way to remember moments of laughter and tears with loved ones. To me TCM serves as a reminder of my father every time one of the old gangsters shows up on screen, it reminds me of how I became American with every musical, and of the new friends I’ve made with whom the bond is now timeless. I am forever grateful for all of it. I am a TCMer for life.
The Humphrey Bogart Estate, and other estates like it, exist to promote and preserve the legacy of their namesakes. A key component of that mission, finding a way to make sure that each new generation of film fans discover their work, would be MUCH harder in a world without TCM. By broadcasting and celebrating classic films, TCM provides an invaluable cultural service. It is impossible to fully appreciate America’s present without understanding Hollywood’s past. We are deeply grateful for TCM.
Trudy Ring – Copy editor and writer
Being raised in the 1960s by a mother who loved the movies of the 1930s and ’40s, I became a fan of classic films early on. When I was a kid they were on the late show or weekend afternoons with lots of commercial interruptions! So, years later, I was thrilled by the launch of a channel that showed nothing but vintage movies, uncut and uninterrupted, and introduced with insightful commentary by the incomparable Robert Osborne. And yes, Ben Mankiewicz and the other hosts to a great job too, but Robert is irreplaceable. I have spent more hours than I can count watching TCM, which has allowed me to revisit many old favorites and introduced me to some great films I’d somehow missed. I’m also grateful to TCM for launching the film festival, where I’ve seen many wonderful films and celebrity guests–Norman Lloyd, Tony Curtis, Ann Blyth, Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, Angela Lansbury, Keith Carradine–on and on and on–and where, most important of all, I’ve made lasting friendships with people who love their celluloid heroes as much as I do. This year I become a 10-timer at the festival–once again joining all those wonderful people out there in the dark!
I held my Mother’s dying hand while we watched SUN VALLEY SERENADE on TCM and she told me about dancing with John Payne at Ciro’s and said she loved me. It was the last conversation we ever had. That’s what TCM means to me.
Laura Grieve – Blogger at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings
Over many years TCM has been my most important resource for classic films, providing an opportunity to rewatch old favorites and get to know other movies for the very first time. More significantly, the classic film community which has built up around TCM on Twitter and at the TCM Classic Film Festival has brought wonderful people into my life and led to many special friendships I treasure.
Dave Karger – TCM host, entertainment commentator
I’ve been a TCM fan for many years and was fortunate enough to have the chance to guest host with Robert Osborne in 2008 during 31 Days Of Oscar. To be one of the newest hosts on the channel along with my good friend Alicia Malone is truly an honor. TCM is such a rarity in the media world: a network purely devoted to art and culture. It’s been thrilling to meet other fans of the channel over the past couple years and to learn about all the people I admire in the entertainment industry who watch it as regularly as I do.
Karen Burroughs Hannsberry – Author, editor, The Dark Pages
Danny Reid – blogger and expert at Pre-Code.Com
TCM wasn’t a thunderclap in my life like it was for so many friends I’ve made through the network. My earliest memories involve drinking in Robert Osborne’s banter, the big band that used to kick off introductions, and an interstitial that ran on the network where Ben Mankiewicz did a kick flip off a skateboard.
My brain may have made that last one up, but it’s an imaginary memory I cherish.
I always enjoyed the network, even convincing my college roommates to spend the extra moolah every month so that we could get it on channel 400. Many pizzas were sacrificed for this network.
It wasn’t until I began blogging about classic film 9 (9?!) years ago that the network took on a new importance to me. While it always manages to show Gone with the Wind once a month, what I cherish about the network is how it is a pipeline to the obscure. In the pre-streaming days up to today, the network has been an amazing resource for those of us who devour films of every kind.
The genius of the network is that it serves to not just memorialize the individual films, but the art form itself. Movies from every country, from every era all sit next to one another, mixed so that there’s always something new and different available.
But what I really love about TCM is that it’s never shied away from the zeitgeist, either. When I grew up working in videostores and hanging out online, old movies were for old people. The only movies people talked about involved Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Shirley Temple. TCM has been more than willing to test assumptions about the Golden Age of Hollywood, focusing on how film has depicted race, sexuality and gender in progressive, humanist terms.
For all of the frustrations that have come with being a fan of a television network (some days I wish I could just love Epix Drive-In just a bit more), I’ve met so many amazing people through the TCM-connected community. It’s, honestly, one of the few things that have kept me as sane as I am. As little as that may be.
Happy 25, TCM. Here’s to many more happy years for film, and for film history.”
TCM provides a connection to my aunt and my grandmother, who introduced me to “old movies.” We’re an Italian family, so Sunday lunch and TCM at their house were the norm after my mother passed away in 2002. You could say that was the original #TCMParty.
When I’m not watching TCM, I’m the co-founder of and programmer for Cinema Detroit. It’s still the only 7-day-a-week movie theater in Greater Downtown Detroit. I don’t program nearly as many silent and Golden Age films as I would like, but building a community online around a shared affinity for movies led me to believe I could do the same offline.It’s really not exaggerating at all to say that TCM has changed my life.
Christy Putnam – Freelance writer, author
Twenty-five years is a long time to focus on any one subject, but Turner Classic Movies has done just such an ambitious undertaking. As a fan of the channel, I have been able to connect with existing family and new friends through films that became an integral part of my personal past and my social media future. Since I began accessing the channel, I’ve connected with exciting new friends on the TCM website, at the Turner Classic Film Festival, and virtual new friends posting on social media. Writing columns on The Silver Screen Oasis and the TCM website Message Boards has connected me with industry professionals, classic film lovers, and interesting individuals from all walks of life. Expanding my realm of acquaintances, I’ve met classic film fans from all over the world, either personally or virtually. The all-encompassing aspect of the friendships that have developed has enlightened and encouraged all aspects of my life. The gratitude I feel to TCM for all the fun, excitement, stories, friendships and films I have been able to enjoy is boundless.
Annmarie Gatti – founder, Classic Movie Hub
For me TCM is much more than ‘just’ classic movies… It’s fond memories of growing up with these classics (thanks to my parents who introduced them to me), it’s knowing that I can escape any time into the marvel of these glorious films, and most of all, it’s forging friendships through the social media community of like-minded passionate fans who ‘get it’… who I can joke with, cry with, and share the joy of these classic films with — every day!
Joel Williams – co-manager @TCMParty
As a movie lover, TCM means the ability to see films that have rich characters and tell engaging stories. These are the stories that have stood the test of time. I think many people write-off classic films as stodgy or unaware, when in fact these stories have been the basis for so many other films that have succeeded them. And–as the pre-code and noir fans will tell you–there’s plenty of sex and violence in classic film…it’s just done tastefully. As a human being, TCM has enabled me to form many friendships over the common bond of classic film; friendships I would otherwise have never made. The love of classic film cuts across race, gender, socio-economic status, education, political persuasion, etc. It’s truly a great uniting force.
Terence Towles Canote – author and blogger at A Shroud of Thoughts
Unlike many younger people I cannot say that Turner Classic Movies introduced me to classic movies. I belong to Generation X, a generation that grew up at a time when independent TV stations were still common and all of them showed classic movies. I had then already seen most of the well known classics by the time TCM launched in April 1994. That having been said, what TCM has introduced me to an entire community of other people who also love classic movies. Over the years I have developed several close, lasting friendships with fellow classic movie fans through our love of TCM. Indeed, it was through my love of TCM that I met the most important person in my life. I am then very grateful to TCM for creating a community through which classic movie fans can discuss classic films and even develop friendships though their love of classic films. People often talk about how TCM works to preserve classic movies and how they encourage the love of classic movies, but I think more than anything else it is the creation of a large, active fan community that is TCM’s greatest achievement.
Alan Hait – charter member, Henry Morgan Fan Club.
TCM is today the only place where anyone interested in virtually any aspect of film/motion pictures/The Movies can enjoy the vast history and tradition of American filmmaking – in an accessible, curated and friendly format – and always shown in the way these films were meant to be seen, “uncut and commercial-free”. There is simply nothing else like it anywhere.
Linda Lindley – teacher and fan
TCM has been my go-to channel since it’s inception. Whenever the television gets turned on, it’s either already on TCM or it’s the first channel I check before making any viewing decision. I was drawn to TCM by my love of black and white film – particularly films from the 30’s and 40’s – but thanks to TCM I’ve been exposed to many more genres and discover new films to love on a regular basis. TCM hosts Robert Osborne, Ben Mankiewicz, our newest hosts and all of the guest hosts have expanded my knowledge and enjoyment of classic film exponentially. I have attended every TCM film festival, and consider TCM and everything connected with it to be a part of my family. Happy 25th, TCM!
Kellee Pratt – blogger at Outspoken & Freckled
What does TCM mean to me? It’s both a 2nd home and a chosen family. With the challenges of our modern world, it’s the best therapy to share my passion for classic film with fellow obsessive fans. From this loyal community I have found true, meaningful friendships. I am forever grateful to TCM.
Ruth Mundsack – travel advisor and fan
For me TCM means #ReelFamily and #ReelFriends who share the same passion of Classic Hollywood Movies that I do.. TCM is what I always look forward to daily… When at home, Commuting to work on Public Transportation, On my lunch break or relaxing at the beach with the ease of the TCM APP… I have it with me All the time! No matter what is going on in life TCM is there to make it all better… Who knew TCM would be apart of helping me find #MyTribe
Thank you TCM for 25Years of Joy… Here’s to many, many more!
Theresa Brown – blogger at CineMaven’s Essays from the Couch
Little could I have imagined twenty~five years ago, that TCM ~ a tv station showing old black ‘n white movies ~ would bring so much to me; a balm during life’s disappointments…a cherry on top of happy times…the opportunity to appear on their network opposite the great Robert Osborne, look into his eyes and talk movies…the chance to see movie legends in once in a lifetime experiences at TCM’s film festival…to have a wave of new friendships enter my life to share, bond and argue over our love of classic films. These things TCM brings to me, all while replenishing my soul and heart’s desire with classic films ‘uncut and commercial free’ any time I touch my tv’s remote control. Happy 25th Anniversary, TCM. Here’s to many more.
Jocelyn Dunphy – blogger at Classic Film Observations
TCM is my continuous, 24/7, commercial-free, film history education program. The programming is a blast—from all the ‘Stars of the Month’, daily and evening themes, expert commentary, online courses, etc., to the vintage short films and ads from the golden age sandwiched between the films. And did I mention no commercials?! But it doesn’t end with the TV screen—the community of fans that has grown around the channel has enriched my life, to the point where I decided to give back by co-chairing the Boston Backlot chapter. My one regret? That I didn’t discover TCM 25 years ago!
Jeff Lundenberger – blog contributor and fan
Alicia Malone – author and TCM host
There was a moment last year when I sat down and decided to write a mission statement for myself. What do I feel is my purpose, what is my drive? How can I be most helpful in the world with the skills I have? And what I ended up writing was how strongly I felt that it is my mission to help preserve cinema history, in whatever big or small way I can. That I want to pass on these stories, share the love for these films with fellow classic film fans… and hopefully alight that passion in new ones. After I wrote this, I came across the mission statement written by TCM. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it was almost word for word what I wrote.
And that’s how I feel about TCM. It’s more than just a channel on cable. It’s about cinema history, and keeping the cultural legacy of these films alive. TCM is a community, a safe haven and absolutely vital to the film industry. I feel incredibly grateful to be able to work at a place whose values align with my own, and with all the wonderful people who work there!