May 6th, 2012

carole lombard 07
  • vp19

Learning what 'Stars' will come out

Last Aug. 28, movie fans got to see not only "My Man Godfrey," but 14 other Carole Lombard films when she was honored for the second time in Turner Classic Movies' annual "Summer Under The Stars" presentation. She's not part of SUTS this year (and probably won't return until TCM and Universal come to some sort of rights agreement regarding more pre-1948 Paramount product that Universal owns), but the list for 2012 is now available. Here it is, with SUTS first-timers marked with an asterisk:

1. John Wayne
2. Myrna Loy
3. Johnny Weismuller*
4. Marilyn Monroe*
5. Claude Rains
6. Van Heflin*
7. Sidney Poitier
8. Rita Hayworth
9. Toshiro Mifune*
10. Lionel Barrymore*
11. James Mason
12. Ginger Rogers
13. Deborah Kerr
14. James Cagney
15. Lillian Gish*
16. Elvis Presley
17. Katharine Hepburn
18. Freddie Bartholomew*
19. Eva Marie Saint*
20. Anthony Quinn*
21. Kay Francis*
22. Jack Lemmon
23. Gene Kelly
24. Irene Dunne
25. Tyrone Power*
26. Gary Cooper
27. Jeanette MacDonald*
28. Ava Gardner
29. James Caan*
30. Warren William*
31. Ingrid Bergman

Thanks to members of TCM's message boards, who track this stuff down with the diligence of China-watchers during the days of Chairman Mao and the Cultural Revolution, for finding all this.

An intriguing list, nearly half of them first-timers to SUTS.

Of course, the biggest name among the newcomers is Marilyn Monroe (shown above in "Let's Make Love"), heretofore unavailable to TCM except in limited doses because most of her films are property of 20th Century-Fox. But the recent shift of the Fox Movie Channel, de-emphasizing classic-era content, gave TCM an opportunity to procure Monroe, and her films will be shown on Aug. 4, near the 50th anniversary of her death (an event that should be well-publicized). Until this year, Marilyn was the only top 10 member of either gender's top 25 classic star list from the American Film Institute not to be featured on SUTS. (Lillian Gish, rated 17th among actresses, is also a first-timer.) Another Fox stalwart, Tyrone Power, gets his first SUTS date on Aug. 25, following in the footsteps of Gene Tierney last year.

To be sure, there are some old standbys on the list. Katharine Hepburn (who's overused on TCM promos as it is) regains the overall lead with her seventh appearance (she's shown above in 1936's "Mary of Scotland"), while John Wayne ties Cary Grant and James Stewart for second place with six. But it's hard to believe that many of the first-timers have never received the honor before -- Lionel Barrymore, Anthony Quinn, Kay Francis, Jeanette MacDonald. (Alas, MacDonald's fare largely will be her "iron butterfly" MGM films, not her more interesting, and sexier, work for Paramount.) And Eva Marie Saint, one of TCM's best friends (and beloved by its fans), gets honored for the first time, too.

TCM tends to throw some surprises our way with SUTS, and 2012's list is no exception. Johnny Weismuller gets his day in the sun Aug. 3 (mostly in Tarzan films, of course), and filling the role of "international" star, done last year by Jean Gabin, is Japanese legend Toshiro Mifune. Want a child star? There's Freddie Bartholomew. A '70s star? James Caan. A stalwart of pre-Codes? Warren William (shown above with Loretta Young in "Employees' Entrance"), who's became quite popular with TCM viewers in recent years.

And as a Myrna Loy fan (seen above in "Penthouse"), I am not only pleased to see her honored, but that it comes on Aug. 2, the 107th anniversary of her birth.

The tentative schedule (with a few films yet to be scheduled as of this writing) can be found at (Note that it's at the bottom of the thread.) I know people who try to take time off from work to match their favorite stars' SUTS days.

It leaves you wondering who might be in TCM's plans for 2013, the 10th anniversary (and 11th year) of the SUTS format. Could Loretta Young be honored on her centenary (if she doesn't get Star of the Month that January)? Who would be the child star (Shirley Temple has never been part of SUTS)? The silent star (Mary Pickford's never been in SUTS, either)? The pre-Code star (how about Richard Barthelmess)? The '70s star (possibly Goldie Hawn)? We'll find out about this time next year.
  • Current Mood
    excited excited