Monday, September 12, 2016

TCM and AFI salute John Williams

Apparently, the most recent recipient of the AFI's Lifetime Achievement Award was movie score composer John Williams. Certainly, his film scores are memorable, going back to Jaws (9:15 PM tonight on TCM) if not earlier. As you can guess, tonight is the night that TCM is airing its programming salute to Williams in response to the AFI's giving him their award.

If you noted the odd starting time for Jaws, that's with good reason: the prime-time programming is beginning at 8:00 PM with the AFI-produced show in which they actually gave Williams the award. That show will be on again overnight at 2:30 AM. Interestingly, TCM is only running three movies, but I'd bet that's due to difficulties getting the rights. Williams worked a lot with Steven Spielberg and I think many of those popular movies show up on other channels. (TCM has run Close Encounters of the Third Kind several times; I'm not certain about most of the later Spielberg/Williams movies.) Indeed, TCM is rerunning their special on Williams' collaboration with Williams, at 11:30 PM. But somehow I don't think TCM is going to have an easy time getting the rights to E.T.: The Extraterrestrial, or Raiders of the Lost Ark, any time soon.

The first Spielberg/Williams collaboration, The Sugarland Express, can be seen overnight at 12:30 AM, or late Monday evening in more westerly time zones. The third movie is the John Wayne western The Cowboys, at 3:45 AM. Williams' movie composing career actually goes back well before The Cowboys, as he scored a substantial number of movies in the 1960s, often credited at Johnny Williams. Better examples would include How to Steal a Million or Fitzwilly.

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