TCM FEST RED CARPET
The 5th annual TCM Classic Film Festival technically began on Thursday afternoon, April 10th, with a presentation called SONS OF GODS AND MONSTERS, at The Hollywood Museum, aka the DeMille Barn, hosted by director Joe Dante (THE HOWLING) and FX make-up master Rick Baker (AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON). But the ‘official’ start came at 6:30 p.m., when stars walked down the red carpet outside Sid Grauman’s Chinese IMAX Theatre to see the restored presentation of the Western musical OKLAHOMA!, with female lead Shirley Jones in attendance.
The TCM Fest is like no other event I’ve ever attended. With as many as seven venues screening movies or having live events at any given moment, it’s the cinematic equivalent of the three-ring circus – there’s so much great stuff happening that you can’t do it all, but you can do more than enough. In addition to the Chinese Theatre, films screen at the immense Grauman’s Egyptian, and Disney’s El Capitan Theatre, with most screenings taking place in the Chinese Multiplex next door to the Chinese. A few films were even screened poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Attendees make a major commitment of money as well as time: the most expensive package costs $1599, which includes the red carpet screening, plus the VANITY FAIR after-party, and screenings and events. The least expensive package is $249 – and I understand that all of the packages quickly sell out. And starting last year, non-packagers could buy tickets for unfilled screenings on a stand-by basis for $20.
Margaret O'Brien, carrying
Mickey Rooney's top-hat
As I write this, it’s Monday, April 14th, the day which marks the 20th anniversary of the Turner Classic Movies channel, and I can think of no other organization or outlet which has done half as much as TCM to preserve film and bring it before the public.
At about 4:30 we media-types were assigned our spots along the red carpet that began in front of the Hollywood & Highland Center and ran along Hollywood Boulevard to the entrance of Grauman’s Chinese. The guests began arriving at five. Shirley Jones was with her irrepressible husband, comedian Marty Ingalls, who held a sign announcing ‘37 YEARS’. After waking part of the length of the red carpet with her, Ingalls left her to do interviews while he entertained the rest of us. When someone asked him if he was proud of his wife, he responded, “Is she here?” in mock concern, then added, “Don’t tell her you’ve seen me. I’m with a date.” He walked down to the end of the carpet, to a bleacher full of fans. “Isn’t she amazing? And she’s a hundred years old!” Shirley Jones turned 80 last month.
Merrie Spaeth and Shirley Jones
Merrie Spaeth was next down the crimson walk. In 1964 she played one of the two teenagers obsessed with Peter Sellers’ pianist character in THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT. I asked her what Sellers was like off-camera. “Peter Sellers was a lovely man who wanted attention. And Tippi (Walker) and I would sit at his feet, and he would perform. The funniest thing he would do is take Inspector Clouseau to places where he actually never went. We thought he was wonderful, and he responded.”
Worst picture ever taken of Greg Proops
Comedian Greg Proops, probably best known for WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?, is a very busy voice-actor in addition to his on-camera work -- and my awful picture of him may get him even more voice work! Very knowledgeable about film, he introduced the excellent Ginger Rogers comedy BACHELOR MOTHER later that night. “My favorite westerns? By a long mile, BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID. I also liked DESTRY RIDES AGAIN. And there’s a really odd Henry Fonda film called WELCOME TO HARD TIMES that I think is superb. I also love THE CULPEPPER CATTLE COMPANY. I like lots of westerns. WILD BUNCH.”
Susan Lloyd, granddaughter of silent screen great Harold Lloyd, was attending, and would present his WHY WORRY? on Friday. She was very excited about the imminent release from Criterion of Lloyd’s THE FRESHMAN. She’d spoken about how her father dressed in a much more ‘regular’ manner than Chaplin or Keaton, even wearing glasses. I reminded her that he looked quite different in his earlier films, as Lonesome Luke. “Yes he did. And unfortunately some of the ‘Lonesome Lukes’ got destroyed in a fire at his estate. So there aren’t a lot of Lonesome Lukes. But Lonesome Luke – the first one was Willy Work, where he wore tight clothes and a split mustache, like Chaplin. Lonesome Luke was a little boy, and he started putting glasses on with Lonesome Luke. And he had to fight with (producer Hal) Roach to let him wear glasses; that’s what happened, and then the glasses stuck. And then he put on a suit, and a regular tie, and that was it.”
“And he looked like no one else, because he looked like everyone else?”
“He looked like everyone else, and he was happy. He could walk down the street in make-up and still look like everybody else.”
Andy Dick trying to come up with an answer
Comedian Andy Dick has never been in the running for King of the Cowboys, and seemed genuinely baffled by my question. “Western? That’s a stumper. I can’t really… Have I seen a western? Oh: CHINATOWN!” A friend in his entourage coached, “You might want to go with TOMBSTONE or something.”
New to the red carpet was New Yorker Tiffany Vazquez, one of the twenty ‘Super Fans’ TCM selected to be guest programmers. “Western? I don’t know too much about westerns, so I’m going to have to go with either THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY or maybe THE SEARCHERS.”
When director Joe Dante walked by, I asked, “When are you going to make a Western?”
“When they let me! Actually I did one for Showtime, with Brian Keith (note: it’s an episode of PICTURE WINDOWS called LIGHTNING, written by GUNSMOKE’s Jim Byrnes, featuring Keith, Henry Jones, Ron Perlman and Kathleen Quinlan). They don’t do westerns anymore.”
Then along came Bo Hopkins, who made his screen premiere in THE WILD BUNCH. “Mr. Hopkins, what are your favorite westerns?”
“Well, THE WILD BUNCH. CULPEPPER CATTLE COMPANY. Oh God, all the John Ford movies, Gary Cooper movies.”
“I liked your work in a small but very good picture called CHEYENNE WARRIOR.”
“That’s right; that was a good one.”
One of the unexpected pleasures of the red carpet was to speak with legendary casting director Lynn Stalmaster, who famously cast GUNSMOKE for its first decade, HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL and other Western series, and features like TOOTSIE, DELIVERENCE, MONTE WALSH, VALDEZ IS COMING, JEREMIAH JOHNSON, and all of the MAGNIFICENT 7 sequels. Of Mickey Rooney stature, nearing 90, and bubbling with energy and enthusiasm, when I told him that I wrote the Round-up, he responded, “Oh, I’m happy to meet you, because I’ve cast so many westerns that you have seen. The last one I did was THE COWBOYS, with John Wayne.”
“You cast all of those boys?”
“Yes, and most of them were new to film. And Roscoe Lee Brown; there was a brilliant chemistry between him and Wayne. And Bruce Dern. And he created a villain that had dimension, because he was that kind of an actor. And I cast HALLELUJAH TRAIL for (director) John Sturges. HOUR OF THE GUN, also for Sturges. And Jon Voight (playing Curly Bill Brocius) appeared in that, and had a couple of wonderful moments; an actor of that caliber can make so much of even a brief role.”
“What do you look for when you’re casting a period picture? Is it a different quality?”
“I like to introduce something fresh. Much as I love the old character actors that appeared in every John Ford film, I like to try to find a unique way, that hopefully the director will accept. So I try all kinds of things.”
“Which directors were the best to work with?”
“Sunday we’re showing FIDDLER ON THE ROOF; Norman Jewison. Robert Wise; we did WEST SIDE STORY.”
I’ll have more on the TCM Festival in next week’s Round-up!
ROB WORD’S ‘WILD BUNCH’ LUNCH WEDNESDAY AT THE AUTRY
On Wednesday, April 16th at 12:30 p.m., Rob Word will hold his 3rd-Wednesday-of-the-month Cowboy Lunch @ the Autry, and the topic will be Sam Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH. Admission is free, although naturally you have to buy your own lunch. After lunch, guests who will be discussing the film will include despicable bounty hunter L.Q. Jones; Bo Hopkins, whose very first movie role was Crazy Lee, and who will hopefully talk “…’til Hell freezes over or you say different!”; stuntman, horse specialist and frequent Peckinpah collaborator Gary Combs; and Gordon Dawson, who supervised costumes in WILD BUNCH, and eventually co-wrote BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA with Bloody Sam.
To whet your appetite, here’s a clip from a recent luncheon, with Bruce Boxleitner talking about making the series HOW THE WEST WAS WON. (You can find many more clips from these events by going to Youtube and searching ‘a Word on Westerns.’)
SANTA CLARITA COWBOY FEST TICKET WINNER!
Longtime Henry’s Western Round-up reader Sally Gomez of Baldwin Park, California has won a pair of tickets to the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival by correctly identifying Champion as Gene Autry’s horse. Those of you who wrote in ‘Topper’ or ‘Buttermilk’ may now hang your heads in shame. The Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, April 26 & 27 at Melody Ranch in Santa Clarita.
As there is a film currently in production at the Ranch (that’s why they’re in business, after all), some of the Western street will not be available for strolling, access to other areas has been expanded, and some venues will be in new locales – I know for instance that the OutWest Buckaroo Book Store will be in a large tent that will actually give them more room for author events than they’ve had in the past. Good news for me, as I’ll be moderating a couple of authors’ panels. On Saturday from 1:30 to 2, the topic is THE WEST IMAGINED, and I’ll be talking with Western novelists Edward M. Erdelac, author of COYOTE’S TRAIL; Jim Christina, author of THE DARK ANGEL; and C. Courtney Joyner, author of SHOTGUN.
Author JR Sanders
And on Sunday, from 1:30 to 2, the topic is THE WEST LIVED, and I’ll be talking to non-fiction writers Jerry Nickle, great-grandson of the Sundance Kid; JR Sanders, author of SOME GAVE ALL; and Peter Sherayko, author of TOMBSTONE – THE GUNS AND GEAR.
Also on Saturday at 12:30, and Sunday at 2:30, I’ll be chatting with Miles Swarthout, who wrote the screenplay for THE SHOOTIST from his father Glendon Swarthout’s novel. Miles is also involved with the upcoming movie THE HOMESMAN, directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones, from a novel by Glendon Swarthout. You can learn all about the events at the Buckaroo Book Shop by going HERE.
You can learn all about the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival HERE .
Joey Dillon prepares to shoot an apple
off a volunteer's head!
NEW VENUE, DATE, AND PRICE FOR TARANTINO’S ‘HATEFUL 8’ READING
As you know if you read the Round-up, Quentin Tarantino had announced on The Tonight Show that he was following up DJANGO UNCHAINED with a new Western entitled THE HATEFUL 8. And you also know that some a-holes put the script up on-line, which so angered Tarantino that he shelved the project and sued the A-holes. (A-hole court date is January 27, 2015. A-holes involved are officially known as the GAWKER website.) And you know that, as a benefit for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Tarantino decided to hold a staged reading of the script at the Museum, with tickets costing $200 a pop, for LACMA Film Club members only. But what you perhaps did not know is that scheduling conflicts have caused a change of date and location for the reading.
The Theatre at the Ace Hotel - formerly
The United Artists Theatre
The new date is Saturday, April 19th – that’s this Saturday – at 8 p.m. The new location is downtown L.A., at The Theatre at the Ace Hotel, 929 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90015. The new prices, depending on seat location, are $100, $125, $150 and $200. They went on-sale on Friday to members of the LACMA Film Club, Film Independent, and New York Times Film Club. Any unsold tickets will go on-sale to everyone else tomorrow, Wednesday, at 5 p.m. Here’s the link to Ticketmaster: http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/09004C8A982C9420
As you may have gathered, they’re kinda touchy about things leaking out, so NO cell phones will be permitted at the event. The theatre, incidentally, was built as the United Artists Theatre in 1927, and is one of Downtown’s treasures. Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith had just begun UNITED ARTISTS to have control over their films, and commissioned the building of the theatre.
The dramatic reading is significant, and open to wildly different interpretations. Friends who are attending have told me they think that, with the script being shelved, this will be their only chance to witness this new Tarantino work. Others, myself included, are hoping that the enthusiasm and excitement generated by this event will reinvigorate Tarantino’s enthusiasm, and convince him to make the movie. We’ll have to wait and see who’s right.
HAPPY 80TH BIRTHDAY JAMES DRURY! INSP CELEBRATES FRIDAY WITH HIS FAVORITE ‘VIRGINIAN’ EPISODES!
James Drury, star not only of THE VIRGINIAN series, but of Sam Peckinpah’s RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY, FORBIDDEN PLANET, POLLYANA, and many TV westerns -- memorably THE REBEL, RAWHIDE and THE RIFLEMAN -- will turn 80 on Friday. To celebrate, INSP, which exclusively shows the venerable series, will air Drury’s two favorite episodes among the 249 he starred in. In THE MOUNTAIN OF THE SUN, the Virginian tries to discourage a trio of female missionaries from going to help Yaqui Indians in Mexico, and in the process falls for one of them, played by lovely Dolores Hart. This was Hart’s last performance before she gave up acting and became a nun. In FELICITY’S SPRING, the Virginian and Felicity Andrews (Katherine Crawford) make wedding plans, and I’ll not say more than that. In addition to the two 90 minute episodes, INSP will also run some never-before-seen footage to celebrate James’ birthday. Don’t miss it!
James Drury with Clu Gulager
DEL MAR RACETRACK CAPS ‘WESTERN WEEK’ SAT. WITH ‘NIGHT OF THE HORSE’!
Del Mar’s 69th Annual Horse Show is going on, and on Saturday night, April 19th, Night of the Horse presents Hoofbeats Through History, which will examine the moment man first encountered the horse, and how his world was forever changed. Anthony DeLongis, actor, stuntman, accomplished mounted shooter, knife-thower, and whip-cracker will demonstrate his remarkable warfare skills.
Peter Sherayko as Buffalo Bill
Peter Sherayko, western movie actor, historical accuracy authority, and action coordinator will don the goatee from his famous Buffalo Bill Cody one-man-show, and reenact how the cowboy tamed the west, opened territory, ranched, mined, blazed trails and brawled!
The show will also feature Clay Maier driving dressage and jumping, cavalry style. Nancy Nunke will present the world’s only trained Przewalksi’s horse – these are the prehistoric horses seen in cave paintings! Present-day knights in shining armor will demonstrate their jousting skills, plus there will be Charros, Roman Riders and Trick Riders! To learn more, go HERE .
THAT’S A WRAP!
That’s it for this week! Have a great one, and let me know about anything in your neck of the woods that the Round-up Rounders ought to know about!
All Original Content Copyright April 2014 by Henry C. Parke – All Rights Reserved