Friday, April 18, 2014

The Failure of the 1968 TV Series Blondie

At nearly 84 years in age Blondie is one of the longest running comic strips of all time. And as might be expected it has seen a good deal of success in other media. Nearly as famous as the comic strip itself is the series of 28 movies beginning with Blondie (1938) starring Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake. Blondie also saw a great deal of success on radio, where Blondie ran from 1939 to 1950.  There have also been Blondie comic books, Big Little Books, colouring books, and more. For all their success there is one medium that Blondie and Dagwood never did conquer: television. A Blondie TV series starring Arthur Lake and Pamela Britton ran for one season on NBC in the 1957-1958 season. The 1968-1969 television version of Blondie would do even worse. In fact it is often considered one of the biggest ratings catastrophes of the Sixties.

It was in December 1967 that CBS ordered a pilot for Blondie. The prospective new show was a joint venture of King Features Syndicate (owners of the comic strip), Universal Television, and Kayro Productions (the company of writers and producers Joe Connelly  and Bob Mosher, now probably best known for Leave It to Beaver and The Munsters). Cast as Blondie was Patricia Harty, who had last appeared in the single season sitcom Occasional Wife. Cast as Dagwood was Will Hutchins, perhaps best known for the Western Sugarfoot. Jim Backus was cast as Dagwood's boss Mr. Dithers.

It was on 19 February 1968 that CBS announced its schedule for that fall. Among the shows that were added was the new version of Blondie. Sadly, among the shows that were cancelled was He & She, the ground breaking sitcom starring Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin. According to Harlan Ellision in his column in the Los Angeles Free Press (included in his compilation The Glass Teat) CBS president Mike Dann had to choose between renewing He & She and picking up Blondie. He chose the latter. Given what unfolded early in the 1968-1969 season, one has to wonder that he did not come to regret his decision.

Indeed, Blondie debuted on CBS on Thursday night, 26 September 1968. Its ratings for that night were mediocre at best. In many respects this should come as no surprise. While its competition on ABC was very weak (The Ugliest Girl in Town, which would be cancelled nearly as quickly as Blondie), its competition on NBC was Daniel Boone, a show that would rank #21 for the season. Worse yet, Daniel Boone was a popular show with children (especially boys), part of the audience who may well have watched Blondie had it been on in a different time.

While the ratings for Blondie's premiere were mediocre, the reviews it received were overwhelmingly negative. Wade H. Mosby of The Milwaukee Journal described the show as "A horrendously contrived piece of fluff that should have never been snatched from the comic pages..." Don Page of The Los Angeles Times referred to Blondie as  “an unmitigated disaster."  Cynthia Lowry of the Associated Press wrote of the show,  "the whole thing is pretty dismal." In his 5 December 1968 column in The Los Angeles Free Press Harlan Ellison referred to it as "an abomination of stupidity." George Gent of The New York Times was a little easier on the show than other critics, although he pointed out "the humour is so very basic that it would appear to be a children’s show exclusively."

It seems possible that viewers agreed with the critics, as ratings for Blondie dropped catastrophically in the weeks following its premiere. As early as mid-November there were rumours that CBS would cancel the show. In the 25 Nov. 1968 issue of Broadcasting it was even stated that the cancellation of Blondie was a virtual certainty. The rumours swirling around the survival of Blondie turned out to be true. It was the week of 16 December 1968 that CBS announced that they had axed the series. Its last episode aired on 9 January 1969.

Today it is difficult to adequately assess why the 1968-1969 version of Blondie failed. It is true that it aired opposite the high rated Daniel Boone on NBC, but its competition on ABC was The Ugliest Girl in Town, a show that did also poorly in the ratings and may have been loathed by critics even more than Blondie was. Blondie did receive overwhelmingly negative reviews, but there have been times when critics have been wrong. Both The Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan's Island were trashed by the critics, yet they not only did very well in the ratings (The Beverly Hillbillies did phenomenally well), but their reruns are still aired to this day. Bad reviews can sometimes be a bad gauge as to the actual quality of a show.

It would seem the best way to determine why Blondie failed would be to actually watch episodes of the show. Unfortunately, with only thirteen episodes Blondie never received a syndication run, nor has it even been released on DVD. What is more, no episodes are available online or seemingly anywhere. The only clips from Blondie online are from a CBS 1968 television special to promote that network's new fall shows. The clips run around 5 minutes and half (including the theme song) and roughly summarise the plot of the first episode. They do offer some clues as to why the show may have failed.

Watching the clips it is perhaps safe to say that Blondie did not fail because of Will Hutchins. Mr. Hutchins actually did a very good job of playing Dagwood, emulating Arthur Lake while endowing the role with some of his own personal style. While Patricia Harty is sufficiently blonde and leggy as one would expect Blondie to be, she does not do nearly as well as Mr. Hutchins does as Dagwood, although in her defence the script seems to have hindered her (more on that later). We only get a brief glimpse of Jim Backus as Mr. Dithers and he does a good job in his few seconds. That having been said, Mr.Backus' Dithers seems a bit too much like Mr. Magoo. As much as I love Jim Backus, I cannot help but wonder if John Dehner or Douglas Fowley wouldn't have been better in the role. As to the kids, Peter Robbins (the voice of Charlie Brown in  A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown) and Pamelyn Ferdin (who would go onto play Felix's daughter on The Odd Couple) are adequate in the roles of Alexander and Cookie, although from the clips it would appear their roles could have been better written.

Of course, the casting of Alexander and Cookie point to something odd about the 1968-1969 version of Blondie. Quite simply, it seems rather anachronistic for the late Sixties with regards to the comic strip. By 1968 both Alexander and Cookie were teenagers, yet on the TV show they are both only around 12 and 9 years old respectively. The show also seems a bit anachronistic with regards to how Blondie dresses. While Blondie remains a constant thirtysomething in the comic strip, her wardrobe has always changed with the times. In 1968 Blondie was wearing dresses that would have been fashionable for any thirtysomething woman to wear that year. In the television show, however, Blondie wears a dress that, except for a somewhat higher hemline, looks strangely old fashioned, as if it was something she would have worn in the Fifties. Dagwood's hairstyle and clothes also seem to be out of date, but then Dagwood never was known for his fashion sense.

While the show appears to have had a deliberately anachronistic look, it seems unlikely that is what hurt it in the ratings. That having been said,  there is another clue in the clips in CBS' 1968 fall preview special to something that might have. In various reviews from the time the show was criticised for its emphasis on slapstick. To a small degree this is to be expected. After all, one of the running gags from the comic strip is Dagwood constantly running over Mr. Beasley the Postman as he leaves for work. Such slapstick was to be found in the movie series of the Forties as well. From the clips, however, it seems possible that the TV show may have had too much slapstick. Not only does Dagwood run into the postman, but Blondie pours hot tea in Dagwood's lap, and Dagwood bursts through the paper walls of a Japanese tea room. Now it's possible that the clips in the fall preview special included more slapstick than would appear in the average episode, but given the critics' reviews of the show it seems likely that the series did indeed have an emphasis on physical comedy, more so than most shows of the time.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with physical comedy. Such classic comedies from I Love Lucy to The Dick Van Dyke Show had more than their fair share of pratfalls. The biggest problem with the clips from the 1968 CBS fall preview special is that none of the scenes are particularly well written. In the movie series Alexander and Cookie often knew much more about what was actually going on than their parents, but in the clips they appear as little more than typical sitcom children. While Patrica Harty did the best with what she was given, the way Blondie is written she seems more like the stereotypical jealous wife than Blondie. It is true that in the movie series Blondie did tend towards jealousy, but it took some time before she did anything rash (often the better part of a movie). From the clips it would appear that in the first episode Blondie automatically and immediately concludes Dagwood is romancing Honey Hilton (played by Melinda O. Fee, Honey is the daughter of an important client) and pours hot tea on him. Sadly from the clips in the fall preview special and descriptions in newspapers of the episode ("Sayonara Dagwood"), the entire plot seemed to centre on Blondie mistakenly assuming Dagwood is having an affair, but done with none of the panache of the film Blondie on a Budget (in which Blondie is jealous of one of Dagwood's former flames, played by Rita Hayworth).

Sadly, from the clips in CBS' 1968 fall preview special, it seems possible that the bad reviews Blondie received were more than warranted. If the clips are an accurate presentation of the show that was to come, then it would seem possible that it concentrated a bit too heavily on slapstick and its plots may have been a bit hackneyed and not particularly well written. While the movie series of the Forties was hardly sophisticated comedy, its humour derived more from the characters themselves than sight gags and slapstick and even the plots had some originality to them. What is more, the characters in the films were much more than mere caricatures. As mentioned earlier, Blondie was jealous, but she was not so swift to overreact as she appears to have been in the 1968-1969 TV show.

Indeed, from the clips the CBS' 1968 fall preview special it is difficult to determine what goal  producers Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher wanted to achieve with Blondie. In some ways it seems hard to believe the show is from the 1968-1969 season, as it would seem to be something that would have aired earlier in the Sixties. That is, it seems possible that Messrs Connelly and Mosher were trying to achieve a comic strip on film, not unlike the hit show Batman from the 1965-1966 season. In the wake of the success of Batman there were a number of pilots made that sought to emulate its success in bringing a camp sensibility to older properties, including Dick Tracy, The Perils of Pauline, I Love a Mystery, and so on. It seems possible that they wanted to do the same thing with Blondie, although it does not explain why the show (at least from the clips) seems to depart from the comic strip as it was in 1968.

It also seems possible that Messrs. Connelly and Moshe were attempting to fit Blondie into their own particular brand of comedy. It is notable that in some ways the clips of Blondie from the fall preview special seem like an odd cross between Leave It to Beaver and The Munsters. Like Leave It to Beaver, Blondie centres on a typical suburban family with children in their tweens, although in Blondie's case they seem to live in some odd time warp that combines the Fifties with the Sixties. Like The Munsters the show featured a none too bright husband with a smarter but very jealous wife. From the clips in the 1968 CBS fall preview special it seems possible that the producers were less concerned with a loyal adaptation of the comic strip Blondie than they were a sitcom more like those they produced in earlier years. Unfortunately, it appears that it may have been a poor fit.

Of course, most of this is speculation. All we can say with any certainty is that Blondie received poor reviews and poor ratings. I can say that in my humble opinion the clips from Blondie in the 1968 CBS fall preview special were not particularly well done. It seems possible that Blondie simply was not a very good show and this is why it failed so badly in the ratings. Indeed, in his December 1968 column in The Los Angeles Free Press Harlan Ellison described it as, "... a ratings disaster surpassed only by the all-time debacle, The Tammy Grimes Show (to which Blondie bears a marked resemblance)." It is perhaps because of this that the 1968-1969 version of Blondie has not been seen since. For better or worse this is unfortunate, as the 1968-1969 series is an interesting part of the history of one of the longest running comic strips of all time.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The 50th Anniversary of Them's 1st Public Perfromance

It was fifty years ago today Them made their debut at the Maritime Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Them was founded by native Belfastite singer and multi-instrumentalist Van Morrison. In the early Sixties Mr. Morrision had performed with various bands in Northern Ireland, including The Monarchs and The Golden Eagles. It was in April 1964 Van Morrison founded a R&B club at the Maritime Hotel with Jimmy Conlon, Jerry McKernan and Gerry McKervey. In need of a band to play at the club he recruited members of the Belfast rock group The Gamblers (Alan Henderson, Billy Harrison, and Ronnie Millings) and keyboardist Eric Wrixon. The new band was named Them, after the 1954 sci-fi horror film Them! (1954).

It was not long before Them was signed to Decca and they made their first recording on 5 July 1964. It was during this session that what may be their best known song, "Gloria", was recorded. They would have a top ten hit in the United Kingdom with their cover of Big Joe Williams' "Baby, Please Don't Go", the flip side of which was "Gloria". It would be followed by the single "Here Comes the Night", which went to #2 in the United Kingdom and #24 in the United States. Unfortunately, while Them met some success, tensions in the band would drive Them apart. The tensions between band members reached the point where there were two competing bands named Them, one led by Billy Harrison and Pat McAuley and another by Van Morrison and Alan Henderson. As might be expected there was a lawsuit, the ultimate result of which was that Van Morrison and Alan Henderson won the right for their band to be called "Them" in the UK. Van Morrison left Them not long afterwards and the band, led by Alan Henderson, persisted in some form until 1971. Them has regrouped since then, although without Van Morrison.

Regardless, Them would have a lasting impact on garage rock and rock 'n' roll in general. The band would have an impact on such diverse artists as The Doors, MC5, Thin Lizzy, The Saints, Elvis Costello,  Nick Cave, and The Hives.

Here is a clip from 1965 of Them performing their signature song, "Gloria".

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Hard Day's Night Airs on TCM on June 2!

If you have never seen the classic Beatles film A Hard Day's Night, there may be no better time than this year to do so. On 2 June Turner Classic Movies will air A Hard Day's Night at 7 PM Central as part of a whole night of British Invasion movies. Among the other films TCM is showing that night is the classic Dave Clark Five film Catch Us If You Can (also known by its American title, Having a Wild Weekend). Catch Us If You Can will be particular of interest to film buffs as director John Boorman's feature film debut. Turner Classic movie is also airing the British music review film Pop Gear (also known by its American title Go Go Mania), which features performances by The Beatles, The Animals, Herman's Hermits, Peter and Gordon, Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas, The Nashivlle Teens, and others. TCM is also showing the Herman's Hermits films Hold On! and Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter, as well as Get Yourself a College Girl (it is an American beach movie, but it features appearances by The Dave Clark Five and The Animals).

Not only will TCM will be showing A Hard Day's Night this year, but Criterion is coming out with a DVD/Blu-Ray set on  24 June as well. In addition to a restoration of the film approved by director Richard Lester himself, the DVD/Blu-Ray set will include such features as audio commentary from the cast and crew, interviews with The Beatles from 1964, the 1994 documentary You Can't Do That: The Making of A Hard Day's Night, the 2002 documentary Things They Said, Richard Lester's short "The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film" (1959), and much more.

Of course, the best news may be that A Hard Day's Night will be returning to theatres on 4 July. It was already among the many films shown at the TCM Classic Film Festival this past weekend. It would seem that if one is a Beatles fan and has not yet seen A Hard Day's Night, there will be no excuse after this year!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bessie Smith & Dave Edmunds' Birthdays

It was 120 years ago today that jazz legend Bessie Smith was born. She was one of the most influential singers of the Twenties and Thirties. From 1923 to 1929 she had a string of hits, starting with the #1 song "Downhearted Blues". Among the musicians with whom she performed were Louis Armstrong, Charlie Green, and Fletcher Henderson.

Here is her first hit, "Downhearted Blues"

Today is also the 70th birthday of singer and guitarist Dave Edmunds. He played with various bands in the Sixties before launching a successful solo career in 1970 with his cover of Smiley Lewis' "I Hear You Knocking", which went to #1 in the United Kingdom and and #4 in the United States. He would have such hits as "Baby I Love You", "Born to Be With You", "I Knew the Bride", "Teacher, Teacher (with Rockpile--Nick Lowe provided the lead vocal)",  "Girls Talk", and "Singing the Blues".

Here is his song "I Knew the Bride".

Monday, April 14, 2014

Turner Classic Movies Turns 20

It was 20 years ago today, on 14 April 1994, that Turner Classic Movies was launched at a ceremony in New York City's Times Square. The ceremony was attended by such classic movie stars as Arlene Dahl, Jane Powell, Celeste Holm, and Van Johnson, as well as the channel's host Robert Osborne.It was at this ceremony that Ted Turner, then head of Turner Broadcasting, flipped a switch and Turner Classic Movies (now commonly referred to by its initials, TCM) went live. The first film it showed was the 1939 classic (and still highest grossing film of all time when adjusted for inflation) Gone with the Wind. Since then Turner Classic Movies has become the preeminent classic film cable channel in the United States and perhaps the world.

As might be expected, the origins of TCM are tied to the history of Turner Broadcasting. It was in 1970 that Ted Turner bought  WJRJ, a small independent television station in Atlanta, Georgia. It was from this small station, which would later become WTBS and still later TBS, that Turner Broadcasting evolved. By 1985 Turner Broadcasting was large enough and powerful enough that Ted Turner was able to buy MGM/UA. Mr. Turner was almost immediately forced to sell both Untied Artists and MGM, but he retained ownership of the vast MGM/UA library, which included all MGM films made before 1986, a good number of United Artists films, most of Warner Bros. films and animated shorts made before 1949, and the majority of RKO's films. Many of these films would be shown regularly, albeit with commercial interruptions, on Turner Broadcasting's new cable channel TNT, which launched in 1988. Indeed, the first movie ever shown on TNT was (you guessed it) Gone with the Wind. The classic films aired on TNT proved popular, popular enough that the idea for a channel devoted entirely to classic films seemed like a very good one. Unlike TNT, however, TCM has always shown classic films without commercial interruptions.

Of course, here it must be pointed out that Turner Classic Movies was not the first cable channel devoted to classic films. At the time that TCM was launched, American Movie Classics (often called by its initials AMC) was already nine and a half years old. AMC only showed films made prior to the 1950s and aired them without commercial interruption. American Movie Classics proved rather successful. Starting in 1993 AMC held annual  Film Preservation Festivals. Unfortunately in 2002 AMC began airing commercials and changed its format so that it showed more recent movies as well as classic films. Eventually the channel would drift away from showing classic films almost entirely, to the point that it became simply "AMC" instead of "American Movie Classics". There were multiple reasons for AMC's changes in format, although much of it may have had to do with fierce competition from Turner Classic Movies.

Indeed, it was in 1996 that Turner Broadcasting merged with the conglomerate Time Warner. As a result Turner Classic Movies now had access to Warner Bros. films made after 1949, as well as the Saul Zaentz and National General Pictures film libraries. Since then TCM has made deals with other studios (Universal, Paramount, and so on) to show their films. In the end, then, Turner Classic Movies has an absolutely vast library of films that they can show (around 10,000 films at any given time). This would make it hard for any other cable channel devoted to classic films to compete with them.

Even without its absolutely vast library of films Turner Classic Films would be a formidable opponent. Quite simply, its success does not simply rest with the fact that they could feasibly show more vintage films than any other channel in the world. There can be little doubt that much of its success rests with its programming.  Starting in May 1994 TCM has featured a Star of the Month, showing films of that particular star one night a week for the month (the first was Greta Garbo). It was in March 1995 that Turner Classic Movies began their annual 31 Days of Oscar, a month long event during which they air films that either won an Academy Award or were nominated for one. In 2006 31 Days of Oscar moved from March to February, as the Oscar ceremony had changed its annual date. It was in August 2003 that TCM began Summer Under the Stars, a month long event during which marathons of stars' films are shown each day.

It was in December 1998 that Turner Classic Movies produced their first "TCM Remembers" as a tribute to those film personalities who had died during the year. In addition to the long tribute including nearly every single film personality who died in a year, TCM also produces tributes to individual film personalties shortly after their deaths.

In addition to its special programming Turner Classic Movies has had several regular programmes through the years. Among the most popular regular programmes to air on TCM is The Essentials. During The Essentials a film considered essential for film buffs to view is shown, complete with a special introduction from the hosts and a discussion about the film afterwards. The Essentials debuted in 2001 and was originally hosted by director Rob Reiner. Eventually Robert Osborne took over hosting duties for The Essentials beginning in 2006. His original co-host was film critic Molly Haskell. Since then he has had a succession of co-hosts, the current one being actress Drew Barrymore. In 2008 a spin off of The Essentials, The Essentials Jr., was launched. The Essentials Jr. has the same format as the original series, although it shows classic films that will appeal to both children and adults.

In addition to The Essentials and The Essentials Jr., Turner Classic Movies also airs Private Screenings, a programme on which Robert Osborne interviews a figure from classic films. The show debuted under the name Reel to Reel on 8 June 1995. Mr. Osborne's first guest was Jane Powell. Turner Classic Movies also airs Silent Sunday Nights, a block usually of two films aired every Sunday night. In October 2006 TCM Underground debuted. TCM Underground airs late Friday night and is devoted to cult films. From 2004 to 2007 Turner Classic Movies aired Cartoon Alley on Saturday mornings. Hosted by Ben Ben Mankiewicz, three classic animated shorts were shown during each episode of  the show. Friday Night Spotlight is a regular series that airs on Friday nights and features films devoted to a particular theme over the course of a month. Past themes have included "Science in the Movies", "The Hollywood Costume", "Noir Writers", and "Second Looks (hosted by Illeana Douglas)".

Over the years Turner Classic Movies has aired several documentaries devoted to various aspects of classic film, some of which the channel also had a hand in producing. TCM has aired an entire series of documentaries under the heading Race and Hollywood, which has included such instalments as "Black Images on Film",  "Asian Images on Film", "Latino Images on Film", and "Native American Images on Film". As might be expected, TCM has aired documentaries devoted to specific movie stars, including Joan Crawford: The Ultimate Movie Star, Rita (about Rita Hayworth), Stardust: The Bette Davis Story, GarboForever - Garbo, and so on. More recently Turner Classic Movies aired the documentary series The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Later this month it will air 1939, a documentary devoted to what many believe to be film's greatest year. 

Based on its programming alone Turner Classic Movies would be loved by classic film buffs, but its reach long ago went beyond the television screen. In January 1997 the first issue of Now Playing, TCM's programming guide and magazine devoted to classic film, was published. Turner Classic Movies would also begin issuing box sets of  DVDs under the heading of the TCM Vault Collection. The box sets consist of rare films and are usually devoted to a specific actor, director, studio, or film genre. The TCM web site, launched not long after the channel itself, has proven to be a valuable resource for classic film fans. Not only does it contain programming information, but a database filled with information and articles on thousands of films. Turner Classic Movies has also supported film preservation and restoration, often partnering with the Film Foundation (a non-profit organization devoted to film preservation). In 2000 TCM began the annual Young Composers Film Competition, in which young composers compete in scoring a restored, silent feature film.

Of course, among Turner Classic Movies' greatest accomplishments may be the annual TCM Classic Film Festival held every April. First held in 2010, it is a four day long festival hosted by Robert Osborne and featuring screenings of classic films, discussions, and other events.

Central to TCM's success has been its host for the past twenty years, Robert Osborne. The former reporter for The Hollywood Reporter has proven to be the perfect host for the channel, not only charming but possessing a seemingly endless knowledge of classic film. Over the years Mr. Osborne would become as loved by classic film fans as much as many classic movies stars. In 2003 Ben Mankiewicz joined Turner Classic Movies as a regular host. Since then he has also become a favourite with classic film buffs.

If Turner Classic Movies has grown into something more than a cable channel devoted to classic film, it is perhaps with good reason. At one time classic films were regularly shown on local television stations, generally late at night or on weekend afternoons. Unfortunately as networks expanded their programming on late nights and sports overtook weekend afternoons, classic films began to disappear from local television schedules. By 1994 there were only a few avenues through which a classic film fan could see vintage movies. He or she could watch them on AMC, their local PBS station (if he or she was lucky), or TNT (although there they would have commercial interruptions). If he or she couldn't watch them one of those ways, he or she could only hope that his or  her local video rental store had copies of classic films on VHS. Turner Classic Movies gave classic movie fans another avenue through which they could see classic films. This would not only be through the channel itself, but eventually TCM would make available many films on DVD that had not been widely available before. Today there is the TCM Streaming App, with which one can watch classic movies on one's mobile device or one's computer. Quite simply, Turner Classic Movies made classic films more readily available.

In making classic films more readily available Turner Classic Movies also provided another service to classic film buffs. Quite simply it has created a whole new generation of classic film fans. Many young classic film buffs first discovered classic movies on TCM. What is more, there seem to be a good number of young people who discovered classic films on TCM. At one time classic film fans tended to be a little bit older, either those who saw the films when they first came out or Baby Boomers and Generation Xers who had the opportunity to see them on local television. Now it is not unusual to find twenty year olds who are fans of classic films. Turner Classic Movies created a whole new generation of classic film buffs and in doing so saved classic films from being forgotten.

Of course, Turner Classic Movies has also done a great service to classic film buffs in exposing them to films that even the most experienced classic film fans might not have seen before. This is particularly true of Silent and Pre-Code films. Rarely shown on television, even in the days when local television stations did show vintage films, TCM would provide man classic film buffs their first opportunity to see films from the Silent and Pre-Code Eras.

Turner Classic Movies has proven invaluable to classic film buffs in the past twenty years. It became much more than a cable channel that shows classic films long ago. In fact, it has become much more than a resource for information on classic film long ago. Quite simply, it has become a focal point for classic film fandom. It is through TCM that classic film fans often meet and as a result share and discuss their love of classic movies. More than anything else, this could be TCM's greatest contribution to classic film fans.