My First TCM Film Festival–Part 3

During my last post, Jimmy and I had just gone to bed at 2:00am after finishing our midnight movie, Xanadu. We were on the go from 9:00am all the way until 2:00am. It was a long day.

April 16, 2023

Today was our last day at the TCMFF. We were going to get up early for the 9:00am screening of Heaven Can Wait with Don Ameche and Gene Tierney. However, having gotten to bed at 2:00am, this screening was not happening. I’d seen this film before and I own it, so we decided that sleep sounded more appealing. We also skipped the last spotlight breakfast, in favor of sleeping in. Unfortunately, because we didn’t get out and about until around 10:30am, all the good ribbons were already gone from the information desk. We decided to have an ice cream/coffee breakfast at Ghirardelli across the street from Grauman’s. Jimmy had wanted to get the Lands End sundae ever since he saw it on the menu at the Disneyland Ghirardelli (actually California Adventure. It’s in the Pacific Wharf area).

The amazing ceiling at Grauman’s. This is the most gorgeous ceiling I’ve ever seen in my life. I hate to imagine how much work it takes to clean it.

Originally I wanted to go see the Carole Lombard/Clark Gable precode, No Man of Her Own. However, it started at 12:15pm. By the time we got over to the theater, it was almost noon. Seeing that they start seating movies 30 minutes prior, and the precode was in the tiny Theater 4 in the multiplex (a theater I’ve heard referred to as “The Thunderdome”), Jimmy thought that even with our Spotlight passes, we might not get in, due to them having already started seating. He didn’t want to risk missing the start of another film trying to get into theater 4. Instead, we opted to see the classic to end all classics, Casablanca (1942) at Grauman’s. Even though we’d seen this film in the theater four times previously, it turned out to be the right choice. Eddie Muller and Ben Mankiewicz delivered a delightful introduction and we were off. Seeing one of my favorite movies on “the biggest screen in North America” was absolutely amazing. You could hear a pin drop in the theater. It is definitely one of the best theater experiences I’ve ever had.

The inside of Grauman’s

After Casablanca, we did head over to theater 4 to see Mr. Cohen Takes a Walk (1935). This wasn’t a film that I originally planned to attend, however, I wanted to see Leonard Maltin who was introducing this film. He also introduced Heaven Can Wait, which we missed because we chose to sleep instead. We also already knew what our 4:45pm movie was, so ‘Mr. Cohen’ fit perfectly in the schedule. Leonard Maltin’s introduction was excellent. He was absolutely correct when he said that “this isn’t a great film, but it’s a good film and deserves to be shown.” Shout-out to the woman who spent Maltin’s entire introduction taking pictures of herself sitting in a theater seat instead of being a polite and attentive audience member. ::Rolls eyes.:: ‘Mr. Cohen’ ended up being exactly what Maltin said it was. It was a very charming movie.

This is the most gorgeous theater I’ve ever seen in my life.

After ‘Mr. Cohen,’ we had a 45 minute break before our next film. We wanted to find something quick but substantial to eat. We spotted Johnny Rocket’s at the mall outside the multiplex. Jimmy asked the waitress what the lead time was on a burger (he used to be a sous chef) and we were told that she could rush the burgers if we ordered those first. Jimmy and I quickly ordered a burger and she ran the order to the kitchen. We also got fries and sodas. Shout-out to Johnny Rocket’s who got our burgers out in less than 10 minutes. We got to the restaurant a little after 4:00pm, and had our food by 4:15. We had 30 minutes to eat and get back to Theater 4. We made it and were back in the theater to see Larceny Inc (1942) with time to spare.

A bust of Bette Davis’ head that was on display in Club TCM. This was used for makeup tests during production on “The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.” Can you imagine having this in your house?

Larceny Inc was one of the TBA films. At the TCMFF, a handful of timeslots on Sunday afternoon will display TBA. On Saturday, the TBAs will be announced. The TBA titles are films that sold out during their original screening and festival attendees are given another chance to see something they may have missed. Larceny Inc originally screened on Friday, but we were seeing Footlight Parade. The TBAs on Sunday ended up being, Larceny Inc, Footlight Parade, The Killers, One Way Passage, and The Old Maid. We spent all afternoon in theater 4, which up until Sunday had been the only theater we hadn’t seen yet. Larceny Inc was hilarious. It isn’t often you see a comedy with Edward G. Robinson where he dresses like Santa while smoking a cigar. After the film ended, we immediately got back in line at theater 4 for our final film–The Old Maid (1939) with my queen, Bette Davis, and Miriam Hopkins.

I’d seen The Old Maid before, but I wanted to see it because I’d heard that Mario Cantone had delivered a hilarious introduction during the first screening. Jimmy and I were seeing Harvey during The Old Maid‘s first go around. I’m glad how the TBAs turned out, because The Old Maid was my second choice if Harvey were sold out. We had just seen the new King Kong restoration at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland in January. King Kong was at Grauman’s during the Harvey/The Old Maid timeslot as well. However, because we’d just seen it, it wasn’t on our radar.

Mario Cantone’s The Old Maid introduction encore performance was hysterical. I don’t know how politically correct a post-stroke Bette Davis impression is, but it was hilarious. Jimmy and I met Mario during the cocktail party on our first day of the festival. The Old Maid did not disappoint with the melodrama and for the record, I am Team Bette.

Eddie Muller, Alicia Malone, Dave Karger, me (!), Jimmy, my phone and my wine. I’m so happy I didn’t spill my wine on their table, that would have been so embarrassing!

After The Old Maid, we headed back across the street for the closing party. They were using Club TCM and the Roosevelt lounge again for the party. Both rooms were very crowded and the drink lines were long. As a note, people: if there is a long line, just order something easy (e.g., glass of wine, beer, rum and coke, crown and coke, etc.) stop waffling when you get to the front of the line, just order something. But I digress, despite the crowd, the closing party was a lot of fun because Jimmy and I finally got to talk to the last host that we hadn’t met yet despite spending so much time with him–Dave Karger.

I am so happy to report that all five of the hosts: Ben Mankiewicz, Eddie Muller, Alicia Malone, Jacqueline Stewart and Dave Karger were as nice as could be. Not an air of pretension surrounding any of them. They graciously shook hands with and talked to the festival attendees and even posed for photos. Dave even told Jimmy and I that we should go on one of the classic cruises, which he said is even more fun than the festival. Jimmy and I actually looked at pricing for this year’s cruise, which is actually slightly cheaper than the TCMFF (for two people). Unfortunately, I don’t think we can swing both the festival and the cruise in the same year. However, we’re interested in the cruise and may go when it casts off from the West Coast again. It’s leaving from San Diego this year, which would be super convenient, plus San Diego is awesome, but we can’t swing going this year.

Jimmy and I had an absolutely amazing time at our first TCMFF. While I wish that the weather was a little better, it was better than it was in Portland, so that’s something. We are already planning to return next year as it will be both the 15th TCMFF and the 30th anniversary of TCM. It’ll also be the 40th anniversary of films made in Jimmy’s and my year (1984, eek), so I’m hoping for a Spinal Tap reunion. What I wouldn’t give to hear “Big Bottom” live. When we returned from the festival, Jimmy said that he expected to have fun, but he didn’t expect to have as much fun as he had. Thank you, TCM!

Total number of films seen: 13

Total numbers of panels seen: 2

Total number of Laurel & Hardy shorts seen: 1

Films that we’d seen before: Footlight Parade (1933), Beach Party (1963), Bye Bye Birdie (1963), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954), The Old Maid (1939), Sorry Wrong Number (1948), Casablanca (1942) and Xanadu (1980)

New to us films: Harvey (1950), Rio Bravo (1959), Larceny Inc (1942), Mr. Cohen Takes a Walk (1935), and Enter the Dragon (1973)

Panels: Looney Tunes at the Oscars and The Evolution of Henson Puppetry

Laurel & Hardy Shorts: “Going Bye-Bye” (1934)

Favorite Parts of TCMFF: The Henson Puppetry Panel, seeing Casablanca in the IMAX, Enter the Dragon, meeting all the hosts, seeing Jacqueline Stewart and Alicia Malone in the elevator, and the cocktail party.

Least Favorite Parts of TCMFF: The crowds at the opening and closing night parties in Club TCM and the Roosevelt Hotel lounge (larger space would have been better), the weather, the Friday night incident, and the fact that it ended!

Other things I saw at the TCMFF:

John Travolta’s suit from “Saturday Night Fever.”
An ice bucket from “Casablanca”
Rita Hayworth’s famous dress from “Gilda.”

Click on the photo to read Part 1 of my trip to my first TCMFF!
Click on the photo to read Part 2 of my trip to my first TCMFF!

3 thoughts on “My First TCM Film Festival–Part 3

  1. I enjoyed Part 3 of your adventures, Kayla. I saw The Old Maid the first time around, and you are so right about Mario Cantone — he was absolutely hilarious. I was crying laughing! I also saw Larceny, Inc., during its first showing — good stuff. We were in Casablanca together (I wanted my daughter’s first-time viewing to be at Grauman’s!) and you probably walked right by me at the closing night party; I was parked from start to finish on the bench that was right on the other side of the wall from where the hosts were stationed. I envy you this great picture — I was so wiped out that I didn’t budge off that bench. (BTW, that ice cream breakfast sounds delicious — my daughter and I paid a visit to Ghiradelli’s and shared a sundae on Monday; best thing I’ve had to eat in the longest time!)

    — Karen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love The Old Maid. Though I wish they’d stuck with Old Acquaintance as originally announced. How I would have loved to see Bette shake Miriam on the big screen. Though The Old Maid always makes me laugh when Bette makes herself look so horrible and Miriam looks the same. I’m sure Mario brought it up in his original performance of the introduction, but this go-around I watched “The Old Maid” focusing on Miriam’s crazy eyes, and it made it even more entertaining!

      I’d heard of Larceny Inc, I think I even own it because it’s on an Edward G Robinson collection I have, but I’d never watched it. I thought it was really funny.

      Casablanca was excellent. I envy your daughter getting to see it for the first time at Grauman’s! Like I mentioned before the TCMFF I’d already seen it 4 times in the theater prior and have seen it at least 2 dozen other times. It was still amazing though on the big screen.

      We mingled around the crowded party and worked our way towards the hosts’ table because I wanted to meet Dave Karger. He was the only one we hadn’t talked to yet! I understand that the parties are typically around the pool, which I definitely would have preferred. It was so crowded!

      Ghirardelli is awesome. That store though used to be an old-fashioned soda fountain with a Disney theme. Jimmy and I went there on our honeymoon in 2011 and had old fashioned chocolate malts. I’m fine with it being Ghirardelli though. Jimmy and I had coffees and sundaes. Jimmy had his Lands End and I got a Hot Fudge. We’ve been to the Ghirardellis at Disneyland, Monterey, Hollywood, and San Francisco. Apparently, it is our thing. Lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I would have loved seeing Casablanca on the big screen. One of my best ever memories is having seen Dawn Patrol in the theatre in Hobart for the anniversary of Errol’s 100th birthday. Also saw The Quiet Man on the big screen – there were tears, laughter and sheer joy in the audience.
    Thank you for sharing your adventure and so pleased you and Jimmy had such a good time.

    Liked by 1 person

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