Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thoughts on Carson

TCM showed the third of five nights of Carson on TCM last night. I haven't gone into the interviews too much, since there's usually other stuff worth blogging about. But tonight's Paul Henried lineup is a couple of movies I haven't seen; one (Joan of Paris) that sounds as though I might have seen it, or I might be mixing it up with something else; and one (Never So Few) that's a bit of a dud. So why not mention a few things about Carson on TCM now?

The first thing I noticed is that the graphics package changed, which is neither here nor there, except that I found it somewhat odd. Then Shelley Winters came on, which was only partly about her, and partly about the fireworks that occurred between her and Oliver Reed. Oh my. One thing I found interesting was Winters' comments about the difference in perception between a man Carson's age dating a young woman, and a woman of Winters' age dating a younger man. This was only about eight years after The Graduate, and before the idea of "cougars" became a thing, so it shouldn't be a surprise, I suppose. Also, when Winters discusses her age with Carson, she was in fact five years older than him, although she tries to imply she was a few years younger. Carson also briefly mentioned A Double Life, which I didn't realize she had done. It was made at Universal, which would explain why it never shows up on TCM, but Universal did I think license Olive Films to make a DVD release last year.

Ronald Reagan unsurprisingly only talked about political events. A bit of a shame, but this being two months after he had left the California governor's mansion, not a surprise. At least he wasn't irritating like Robin Williams, who seemed like he was trying to do a standup routine instead of an interview. Jonathan Winters told stories in much the same way that George Burns did when his interview aired a few weeks ago, but I think I prefer Burns' presentation style.

Michael Caine was a more conventional interview, since he was ostensibly there to promote Educating Rita. One thing I enjoyed was Caine's talking about insecurity in Hollywood, since it reminded me of the piece he did on Cary Grant the last time Grant was TCM Star of the Month. Caine tells the story of him and Grant being out in Hollywood, and some tourist coming up to the two of them and recognizing him, but not Grant. When the tourist says somethig about Cain being the first star she met, and how you never see stars out and about in Hollywood. "No, you never do", Grant replies, not letting on who he was. Caine was also asked about his worst picture, and readint the reviews, I can see why Caine didn't particlularly care for Ashanti.

All in all, I've been enjoying the pieces, which as I understand it are eventually going to show up between movies. Unsurprisingly, the same people who shriek that TCM as we know it is being killed off, and no facts the sycophants can present will ever get them to change their mind, are in a tizzy about Carson on TCM. That, I suppose, is all the more reason to enjoy the presence of these interviews.

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