Did you enjoy seeing Carole Lombard in "Twentieth Century" on Turner Classic Movies last night? Good, because you won't be seeing her on the channel for a while. The reason?
TCM's "31 Days of Oscar," its annual celebration of the Academy Awards. (The event began when the ceremony took place in March, and its length was not altered even after the Oscars was shifted to February.)
Lest some of you conspiracy theorists think the channel has something against Lombard, soberly consider this fact: Only two of her films, "My Man Godfrey" in 1936 and "To Be Or Not To Be" in 1942, have been nominated for Academy Awards; both came up empty. (The latter's lone nomination was for, of all things, "Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture.") Both movies have aired in previous "31 Days of Oscar," but this year, neither made the cut.
To be fair, Lombard's film career was comparatively brief, and during her lifetime there were relatively few Academy Awards categories, compared to today. And if the Oscars then had separate comedy and dramatic categories -- along the lines of the Golden Globes and other award competitions -- Lombard, or her movies, almost certainly would have been nominated a few more times (and might have won).
But TCM has had Lombardless months before, so this isn't really all that new. And a glance at the month's schedule (http://www.tcm.com/schedule/) shows an array of films fans of hers should enjoy watching. For example, in William Powell's apex year of 1936, he made several other notable movies. Here's a rather special publicity still from one of them:
It's Powell, Jean Harlow, director Jack Conway, Myrna Loy and Spencer Tracy of "Libeled Lady"-- along with their autographs -- in a photo for the film's screenwriter, George Oppenheimer. "Libeled Lady," one of those movies you can watch countless times, will air at 8:15 a.m. (Eastern) Feb. 14.
An aside: This year, TCM's "31 Days" format will focus on specific genres during its daytime hours (and as might be expected for Valentine's Day, romantic comedy is the theme). For prime time, TCM will show many Best Picture winners and nominees chronologically, which means that at 8 p.m. (Eastern) March 3, the final night of the festival, we'll get to see the channel's premiere of...
..."The Artist," the French 2011 black-and-white, (mostly) silent valentine to classic Hollywood. (Much of it was filmed in Los Angeles, including a scene inside the iconic Bradbury Building.) This beloved film has aired on TV before, usually on obscure channels and with commercials, but TCM is where a classic such as this belongs.
Carole's "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" wasn't nominated for any Oscars, but one of its predecessors in marital mayhem was...
..."The Awful Truth," which put Cary Grant on the map as a leading man in 1937. It will run at 10 p.m. (Eastern) Feb. 4, following the 1936 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers gem "Swing Time."
I understand there's some sort of football game going on today, but yesterday I celebrated another (and dare I say more important?) sport when I visited Dodger Stadium for the team's annual FanFest. Here are some photos from the event, as Chavez Ravine was transformed into a party site:
Much memorabilia was purchased. This fan got former Dodger pitching great Orel Hershiser (now one of the team's broadcasters) to autograph a baseball:
And for fans who bleed Phillies red, this image of T-shirts featuring the name and number of longtime Phils shortstop Jimmy Rollins, now in Dodger blue. It's still difficult to perceive, as if Goldie Hawn suddenly became a brunette:
Among the items dotting the ballpark are huge replicas of the Dodgers' six World Series rings. Here, a fan poses near the ring of their most recent triumph, in 1988:
The Dodgers haven't returned to the World Series since, their longest pennant drought in franchise history. Fans are hoping a revamped front office and a number of off-season signings and deals can put them over the top -- especially since their archrivals in San Francisco have garnered three World Series rings the past five seasons.
And now, certainly not by popular demand, some photos of me at yesterday's event. First, my favorite pic from the group, showing me sitting behind home plate in seats I'll never afford unless I win the lottery or befriend some VIPs (hey, I'm not far from Hollywood!):
Earlier, I had stood in front of the left-field foul pole, 330 feet from home plate. (Note the fence is only 4 1/2 feet high, leading to potential outfielder-fan conflicts on fly balls deep into the corner. If you ever sit in these seats, please don't cause interference.)
I also got to sit in the Dodger dugout (which is on the third-base side), and for manager Don Mattingly's sake I hope that during this season, he never has an expression like this:
Finally, fans also were able to walk the bases. Here I am leading off third (since I'm wearing a jacket, I presume I'm a pitcher), hoping the batter can drive me home:
BTW, the blue seats in the mezzanine level directly above the Vin Scully Press Box is where I'll be sitting this season as part of my 20-game mini-plan. The lady of Chavez Ravine will turn 53 this April and still looks lovely, and this 59-year-old eagerly awaits my more than two dozen dates with her this summer, cheering on the Dodgers. (Except when they're facing the Washington Nationals, of course.)
OK, I know many of you want my Super Bowl prediction. Here's my answer, via a pic -- how can you not go for Hollywood's couple of the moment, Carole & Co. fave Anna Faris and her red-hot husband, Chris Pratt (both from the Seattle area), along with their adorable son, Jack?
We Angelenos are hoping that beginning in 2016, Anna, Chris and Jack can watch their Seahawks without leaving town...against the Los Angeles Rams.
Carole's looking up at something (a spider web, perhaps?) in Paramount p1202-592, our first Lombard LiveJournal header for February.