1st Day TCM Film Festival!
LzCutter's Look Back at Four Fabulous Days!
Thursday, April 22nd:
"Do I look hot?" SueSue Applegate aka Christy asks.
Yes, she does. She is filming a Fan Retrospective this morning and we are rushing to get out of the house while giving MrCutter the space he needs to get ready for work.
We manage to get out on time and head over the hill (Laurel Canyon Blvd) to Hollywood. Laurel Canyon Blvd started out as a horse bridal trail a hundred years ago.
Forty years ago, it was ground zero for the numerous rock and roll and folk singers (Mamma Cass, Stephen Stills, Graham Nash and Joni Mitchell, Mickie Dolenz, etc) who were making top 40 hits.
Today, it is one of four ways to get from the Valley to Hollywood.
We get to the Roosevelt and amazingly enough, they have our early check-in almost ready. We get checked in, stow our luggage (did I mention Christy travels with a small caravan of luggage - she has to for all her costumes and jewelry and accessories that I will borrow over the weekend.) and they tell us our room should be ready when she is done filming.
We go upstairs to the penthouse suite where Carol Lombard and Clark Gable once had a love nest. We meet a couple of TCM staffers that I knew from my trip to Atlanta and Christy tries to shake off her nerves. Before we can get comfortable (and get a Diet Coke, oh sweet elixir of life), we are whisked up the stairs to the rooftop where Christy is to film her piece.
We are in heaven. Christy and the crew are hitting it off big time. Me, I'm enjoying being up there with the giant rooftop neon sign. Where we came up from the stairs is a small cupola that reminds me of the Hotel Del Coronado down in San Diego where Some Like It Hot was shot.
For the next hour Christy charms the crew and answers all the questions asked of her. She does voices, talks about her mom and how she would make pies when ever a movie would upset Christy, she talks about costumes and how her mom and aunties would make the costumes that Christy loved on the silver screen, she sings songs from classic films.
All to soon the hour is over and we head downstairs. We get some swag on the way out. MrCutter will have a new TCM Film Festival tee-shirt and baseball cap to add to his collection.
We are able to check into our room and I get ready to go to the Academy Room to film my Fan Programmer Update spot with Robert Osborne. We go up to the Mezzanine to the Academy Room (which is not where the first Oscars were held). The crew is getting the set ready, putting a filter film on the window that overlooks Hollywood Blvd (which the portion directly below us has been named Turner Classic Movies Way).
Two other women are there. One is waiting her moment in the spotlight talking about the Film Festival with Robert O. Lo and behold, they are from Texas and Delana's daughter is from Baytown, where Christy is from! Old home week!
For me it is old home week as well. TCM's director, Sean Cameron, calls me over. We hug and I tell him I am ready. He tells me not to worry, I look great (I keep playing with my hair and wondering why I didn't get a haircut before this moment).
Next thing I know, there is our patron saint, Robert O. We hug and sit down in the chairs. Just before we are to start filming a loud noise comes from outside and down on the Blvd. We crane to see what the commotion is. All we can see is Tom Brown and a crowd crossing towards us. Tom is throwing kisses to someone we can not see.
The buzz on the set is that the noise problem is being taken care of. And just like that it is! Quiet on the set and we are off to the races. It is a quick shoot. I talk a bit about seeing films on the big screen and how important that is, the panels I want to see and my new job as the Digital Archivist at The Walt Disney Family Museum.
Next thing I known, Sean is calling cut. The shoot a pick up with Robert O to end the piece with and we are done.
We each get our picture taken with Robert O (hoping Christy remembers to send me mine) and we go back to our room.
The sunny weather has turned overcast. We change clothes and head down to the lobby to meet Filmlover and Kyle (and hopefully others) to go to In-N-Out Burgers for some much needed nourishment. Kyle calls me to say he is running behind schedule and will meet us later. We go down and check out Club TCM, in the Blossom Room where the first Academy Awards were held. TCM has turned the room into a nightclub setting with lots of places to sit, a bar, snacks and they are running montages on the screen and the side walls.
We meet up with Peter (Filmlover) and Paula (Countessdelave from TCM City) and her sister Tracy. We walk down to In-N-Out and order. Once we are seated, David (Kingrat) joins us. He'd been waiting at the other entrance and decided to come inside and look around. He finds us immediately. It helps that Paula and Tracy have vintage hairstyles (in anticipation of the big gala later in the evening.)
We are all getting along great. We enjoy our food and talk classic film.
Too soon, it's time to head back and get ready for the Welcome Party. Some are going to the Gala Screening of Star, David is going to Dirigible and Kyle and I are going to Neptune's Daughter.
I find a young man in a tux at TCM Club who is part of the hired staff to help out. I ask about lining up for Daughter and though he doesn't know the answer, he says he'll be back. When he comes back, he has all the info we need. He becomes our go-to guy at Club TCM whenever we have questions about events in the hotel.
The Welcome Party is fun. David and I stake out a spot on a sofa and observe the crowd. Guys in tuxedos, white suits, tails and top hats, women in long gowns, short cocktail dresses and some of us just in casual wear.
The Club thins out once the Red Carpet begins. We see Diane Baker leave with Robert O and she looks fabulous!
Christy, Paula and Tracy head for the Red Carpet, David for the Chinese. Kyle and I stay put and are joined by Peter. We make our way down to the pool to see Daughter.
As the crowd grows, there is no sign of rain. As the hour grows near, we are welcomed by Genevieve McGillicuddy, the director of the Festival who after a few words throws it to Ben Mankiewicz, who welcomes Esther Williams and Betty Garrett. Ben has three chairs set up but as soon as he realizes that Esther is in a wheel chair he deftly and without much notice (ie me and Kyle who are sitting right there to see it) quietly gets rid of the extra chair.
Esther and Betty are great. They have great banter.
"Everything sounds better underwater" says Esther.
"I can't hear everything you are saying so if it's something bad, I'll hear about it and smack you later." says Betty.
The Aqualillies are a big hit, performing their synchronized water ballet the perfect tribute. Once the movie starts, Kyle and I move back inside to Club TCM where it is warm. Christy goes off to the Vanity Fair after party having scored an invitation from someone who can get her in.
David (Kingrat) comes back and tells us about the Capra boys introducing Dirigible.
We have a drink or two and call it an evening knowing that tomorrow starts early.
Christy gets in about 3 am having had the time of her life and getting to meet everyone from Alec Baldwin to Diane Baker. I am glad for her but to tired to stay awake to hear the stories!
Coming up: Friday!