July 31st, 2012

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It's the most wonderful time of the year...

carole lombard no more orchids 25a

...and we're not referring to that Andy Williams December perennial, either.

No, we are referring to August, which to classic movie fans is Christmas in July (a Preston Sturges in-joke). It's been that way since 2003, when Turner Classic Movies first instituted its Summer Under The Stars promotion -- honoring 31 stars in as many days with 24-hour blocks of their films.

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Last year, Carole Lombard received the honor for the second time, enabling fans to watch the likes of "No More Orchids" (seen above). This year's lineup has a fine blend of SUTS regulars and newcomers, covering a wide array of the cinema spectrum. Several August anniversaries are also being commemorated. Here's the schedule (SUTS first-timers are 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. Ingrid Bergman
30. Warren William*
31. James Caan*

(Caan and Bergman's days have been switched since when we first learned of the lineup in early May. You'll soon learn why.)

myrna loy the barbarian 01a

Okay, so Carole's not participating this year...but my second all-time favorite actress is, and moreover, Myrna Loy (seen above in a racy scene from "The Barbarian," one of her films scheduled to be shown) is being honored on the 107th anniversary of her birth! Another birth anniversary -- a centenary, in fact -- will take place Aug. 23, as famed dancer (and underrated actor) Gene Kelly is celebrated. (What a glorious feeling!)

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Conversely, anniversaries of several screen stars' deaths are also being noted. While Marilyn Monroe (as seen in "Niagara" above) left us 50 years ago Aug. 5, TCM gives Monroe her first SUTS salute the day before. (As we wrote in May, most of Marilyn's films were made for Fox and thus heretofore unavailable for TCM.) Aug. 16 marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis Presley's passing, and he will be honored. And it was 30 years ago Aug. 29 that Ingrid Bergman died, and that led TCM to switch her SUTS date with first-timer Caan.

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Other days worth noting include Ginger Rogers (seen above with David Niven in "Bachelor Mother") on Aug. 12; the always-engaging James Cagney on Aug. 14; silent-era legend Lillian Gish on Aug. 15; Kay Francis on Aug. 21, including two back-to-back gems with William Powell, "Jewel Robbery" at 8:15 a.m. (Eastern) and "One Way Passage" at 9:30; and the king of pre-Code cads, Warren William, on Aug. 30. He's seen below in "The Mouthpiece" (1932), one of his best vehicles, which will be shown at 9:45 a.m.:

warren william the mouthpiece 00

For more observations on this year's edition of SUTS, visit http://hollywoodrevue.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/whats-on-tcm-august-2012/ and http://immortalephemera.com/21049/august-2012-tcm-summer-under-the-stars-preview/; see the complete schedule at http://immortalephemera.com/20865/tcm-summer-under-the-stars-2012-complete-schedule/. TCM's own SUTS site, http://www.tcm.com/summer/, will kick in on Aug. 1.

As the star of day one might say, not a bad lineup, partner.

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