Thursday, October 29, 2015

Get drunk with TCM!

While there are quite a few interesting movies about alcoholism -- The Lost Weekend and The Days of Wine and Roses spring to mind -- That's not the subject for this morning's post. Instead, just before the start of prime time yesterday, when I tuned in early to see whether TCM would run the TCM Remembers piece on Maureen O'Hara that supposedly has started airing but I haven't seen yet, they were running a promo for the TCM Wine Club.

The promo had Ben Mankiewicz up in Napa County, CA with somebody I'd never heard of who works, I think, for Francis Ford Coppola's winery. Apparently, the wine club is, if you join, going to send you fifteen bottles of wine every three months, wines that are supposedly selected to go with movies running on TCM. Well, technically, in many states they'll be sending the wine to a distributor in the state from which you can pick it up, or something like that. The 21st Amendment repealing Prohibition left it up to the individual states to set alcohol policy, and the result is that some states have byzantine laws around alcohol distribution, there mostly to keep the current distributors in work. (I think it was the previous governor of Pennsylvania who tried to take on his state's system after getting elected in 2010, and utterly failed. But that's a topic for another thread.)

Anyhow, back to the wine club, the first thing I noticed was that once again we have Ben and not Robert doing the promo. I presume TCM is putting Ben into more and more roles, because after all Robert Osborne is 83 and not going to be around that much longer in the grand scheme of things. Making Robert travel from his home in New York to northern California is probably too much to expect. Ben is still based in Los Angeles, if memory serves.

The other thing I noticed is that TCM cut strategically at the end just as Ben and the vintner were about to ingest some of that nice red wine. I know there used to be a law that in advertisements, you couldn't show anybody actually drinking alcoholic beverages. Since this is technically an advertisement, if that law is still around it would apply.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of people are whining (pun intended) about this over at the TCM boards. But then TCM has been hawking movie-themed swag like TCM T-shirts and coffee mugs for years, so this isn't particularly new. Just a bit more specific and separately branded.

As for the club, there's no way I'm paying prices like that. I enjoy a nice wine, but I'm not expert enough on the subject to notice the subtleties between different grape varieties apart from reds versus whites. I'll try the moderately priced magnums at the local liquor store and drink a glass of wine with dinner:

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