an open letter of thanks

 

 

Dear Mr. Osborne, Mr. Mankiewicz, TCM Staff, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, TCM Party and many distinguished guests:

I cannot thank you enough for your gracious hospitality and entertainment this past weekend at the 5th annual Turner Classic Film Festival. As this was only my second year to attend, I am fully confident that I will be attending every year, as this is one hell of a party.

Hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz, you were gracious, patient and truly engaged with all the guests, those famous and those famous in our own minds. The entire TCM staff, from producers to greeters, were genuine and really looked happy to be working. If this was not the case, perhaps you should consider work in front of the camera, because you were all very believable. Everyone received equal celebrity status treatment.

The Roosevelt staff, under pressure from the onslaught of guests requesting changes of rooms due to construction and early arrivals remained graceful and collected. The hotel itself is an homage to a more graceful and elegant era. You provided the staff to back those images up and it did feel like “Old Hollywood” rekindled.

Film screening poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
Film screening poolside at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

Many classic and current film stars showed up to support the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Turner Classic Film channel. Every one of them looked out to our applause with humility, mutual admiration and style. They made us laugh and they made us cry. They reminded us of why we traverse from all over the country to see these classic films on the big screen.

Alec Baldwin with Don Was intro "A Hard Day's Night" Illeana Douglas interviews Richard Dreyfuss
Alec Baldwin with Don Was intro “A Hard Day’s Night”
Illeana Douglas interviews Richard Dreyfuss
Ben & Jerry (see what I did there) Ben Mankiewicz interviews the legendary Jerry Lewis
Ben & Jerry (see what I did there)
Ben Mankiewicz interviews the legendary Jerry Lewis

 Finally, I offer my full gratitude to my #TCMParty pals. I am not yet a seasoned veteran of the festival, and still easing into the marathon of movies. But, this I know is true: there is just something special between this group of “friends” that see each other once a year and are pretty damned excited about it. Some of you, I finally met after years of tweeting back and forth. We are not strangers at all, just like-minded people with a passion for old movies, the strong link in our social media friendships.  It doesn’t matter where you come from, simply hashtag tcmparty and you’re in; our secret handshake, not so secret.

@AlanHait @CitizenScreen @IrishJayhawk66 @willmckinley @joelwilliams1 @MonsterResort @NitrateDiva @TCM_Party @cinebeth
@AlanHait @TheDarkPages @CitizenScreen @IrishJayhawk66 @willmckinley @joelwilliams @MonsterResort @NitrateDiva @TCM_Party @cinebeth

There is definitely a feeling of melancholy that April 2015 is now so far away. But, in the meantime, I’ve got TCM on the television as I write and Twitter at the ready. Robert, Ben and the gang all ready to just hang-out together online, until next year. The only thing missing is my own, personal Roosevelt staff. *sigh*

 Fondly,

                                       Jackie Stallings

this is "living lola"
this is “living lola”

TCM Film Festival 2013

So, for my forty-schmismosh birthday last week, my wonderful husband treated me to my ultimate fantasy: The TCM Film Festival in Hollywood.

(Don’t even want to know what you were thinking.)

For those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram or are related to me or are my friends or were standing next to me in the grocery line yesterday, I apologize for showing this yet, again.

But, holy hell. THIS. HAPPENED.

photo (13)
The incomparable Robert Osborne

Don’t you just love the way he is cozied up to me? Like we’re old friends. Well, to me, he is. He will always be. I love Robert Osborne. He was as gracious and dapper as I thought he’d be. The perfect host. Lark just has to deal with it.

 I will be waiting with bated breath this fall, when tickets for next year’s film fest will go on sale. Larkin and I had the time of our lives and have vowed to go back every year.

with Larkin at the Vanity Fair party
With Larkin at the Vanity Fair party

Many of the movies I attended, I admit, I have seen numerous times. But, never on the big screen.

Some digitally remastered, some not. All amazing.

But, even more fascinating than re-watching them, as they were meant to be viewed, were the introductions.  Legendary filmmakers, actors, directors…discussing the details, the memories, the experience of taking part in creating these classics.

Tears filled my eyes, when we all gasped in surprise when Cher was introduced to kick off “Funny Girl”. (You may remember, she was one of my first mentors. See “About Lola”)

Cher introducing "Funny Girl"
Cher introducing “Funny Girl”

I heard Tippi Hedren and Norman Lloyd speak of working with Alfred Hitchcock. I was totally amazed by The Birds; a film I’ve seen many times. It sounded absolutely terrifying in the historical Grauman’s TCL Chinese Theatre. It felt like a totally different film.

I swooned over Cary Grant in Hitchcock’s Notorious. In my opinion, he is the most gorgeous, debonair male lead of all time. All these years, watching all of his movies, but finally…there he was….larger than life. I sigh, just typing this.

 Albert Maysels discussed his capturing the infamous “killing” on film while working on the Rolling Stones documentary, Gimme Shelter. The creators of Aiplane!, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and star Robert Hayes had us all rolling in the aisles before the film even started. Laughing and reciting the lines of Airplane! with 1100 other fans is something I will never forget.

I cried along with Jane Fonda as she recalled the therapeutic making of her father’s last film, On Golden Pond; triumphantly winning Henry Fonda his first Best Actor Academy Award, at the end of his life.

Robert Osborne with Jane Fonda
Robert Osborne with Jane Fonda

So many touching stories behind the camera, enriching the 40 foot screen dramas that lit up my face for those four amazing days. It was nothing less than movie magic.

Since it was my first festival, I paced myself and actually ate meals. There are many passionate fans that survive on popcorn and protein bars and fill 12 hours a day with films. I took “Happy Hour” at the Roosevelt Hotel quite seriously. We all have our different means of survival. And, hey, it WAS my birthday weekend.

#TCMParty
#TCMParty

On a personal level, I finally met Twitter friends that follow TCM and share an affinity for classic films. Putting names to faces is nothing like putting names to avatars to Twitter handles to real names, then real faces. I kept smiling like a jack ass to people I was sure I knew. But, did I?

Sometimes there are 100 of us watching an old film together via Twitter, sometimes just a handful. With one hashtag, we connect in some sort of modern, technical, pen pal, friends from camp that you only see once a year, kind of way. We assemble from all over the country and beyond, sharing trivia, tidbits and stories. And, with no one shhh-ing us. It’s pretty damn cool.

I treasure my true, real-life, talk-on the phone, “help me bury the body” friends; they know everything about me and still love me. (And politely gloss over my TCM obsession.)

I have Twitter friends that share like-minded interests and know nothing about me except what I tell them in 140 characters or less. I love the daily banter, links, recipes and revelry that fill my time line.

My TCM Twitter friends and I share a true love of classic films that will live forever.

And, that is a love that will outlive us all.

Kind of like my love for my husband. And, Robert Osborne.

 For a true classic film education, I highly suggest the following blogs:

 Cinematically Insane

Once Upon a Screen

 Outspoken and Freckled

Joel’s Classic Film Passion

Comet Over Hollywood

 Paula’s Cinema Club