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Backlot Fan Programmers - 12/16
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Remind Me
 The Third Man

Backlot Fan Programmers - 12/16


The TCM Backlot gives our viewers and fans a chance to see behind the scenes of TCM and interact with us through our shared love of classic film. Several times a year, TCM Backlot Members can win the opportunity to be Fan Programmers, which gives each winner the chance to program a favorite film and chat with TCM Prime Host Ben Mankiewicz about it. Be sure to watch these programmers' TCM debut airing December 16 at 11:30am ET. But first get to know them a little bit better.

April from Utah, She Done Him Wrong (1933)

Which Classic Hollywood Star is Your Favorite and Why?
Definitely a tie between Betty Grable and Jayne Mansfield. Grable was the all-American girl with Rosie the Riveter undertones. She was like a hot fudge sundae: quintessential America in a blonde, petite package. Life magazine dedicated a six-page spread just to Grable's legs in 1943. That flabbergasts me. I think hardly anyone ever came close to her stardom and she was what people needed for the War. If Grable was a hot fudge sundae, then Jayne Mansfield was something with 15 types of ice cream, sprinkles, peanuts and caramel. She was so over the top and out there. You know, Mansfield actually threw out the idea for a reality show following her life in 1967, a few days before she died? Can you imagine? Over 30 years before Anna Nicole swaggered onto our screens, Mansfield was thinking of doing it. Never ceases to amaze me how forward-thinking Mansfield was, even if she only held onto A-list stardom for a few years.

What's Your Favorite Aspect of Being a Backlot Member?
The Robert Osborne archive. No hesitation in answering that. It brings back so many memories. I can remember watching his first introduction and thinking, "That's who I want to be." I love the hosts that we have now too.

What is Your First Memory of Watching TCM?
I don't think I can really pinpoint a specific memory. One of my first was watching She Done Him Wrong and Robert introduced it. It's a little bittersweet to have the opportunity to do it now. I could never introduce anything as eloquently as he did, but I feel like my life has come full circle. I never thought I would have this chance and TCM has made my dream come true.

What is Your Favorite Scene from the Film You Chose?
Definitely the ending. I got to talk about it with Ben but it never will cease to flabbergast me that it was severely edited around the world. People in Ohio got a completely different ending than, say, those living in California. Couldn't imagine that happening now.

If You Could Gossip with One Classic Movie Star, Who Would It Be?
Oh goodness. Can I have both Betty and Jayne? They came from different eras and I think it would be fascinating to see what each would say about how they dealt with the studio system. Both did what the studios told them to do (for the most part) and it worked SO differently for both. Grable got roughly 15 years of super stardom while Mansfield was out after three years. I think Grable probably would have made the same decisions career wise but I wonder if Mansfield would have changed anything.

Michael from California, The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Which Classic Hollywood Star is Your Favorite and Why?
My favorite Classic Hollywood star is William Holden. It's amazing how he maintained a viable career from Golden Boy (1939) to S.O.B (1981). His career reflected, more than any other actor, the ever-changing nature of Hollywood during those years. As a contract player during the 1940s, he held his own but most of those films were ordinary. It took director Billy Wilder and the 1950s to bring Holden an Oscar and great success. By the 1960s, like Hollywood, he was on the decline, but he rode into the New Hollywood of the 1970s on the back of The Wild Bunch (1969). His late career resurgence in The Blue Knight (1973) and Network (1976) solidified his position as one of the all-time great leading actors. These films allowed his persona of toughness laced with vulnerability to include an added sense of his own mortality. Holden also showed a willingness to poke fun at himself, which gave him a chance to succeed even when the material was not up to his talents.

What is Your Favorite Aspect of Being a Backlot Member?
I like being part of a community of like-minded classic film lovers, especially since I'm fortunate enough to live in L.A. where the TCM Classic Film Festival happens. Standing in line at a screening is a great way to talk with other fans like me.

What is Your First Memory of Watching TCM?
I remember when my cable provider finally added TCM because the channel had already been on for a few years and I couldn't wait to get it. I don't recall the first movie I saw on TCM, but I do remember it was uncut and commercial free, and it was a joy to finally see so many of my old favorites shown that way.

What is Your Favorite Scene from the Film You Chose?
In one of the early scenes from The Best Years of Our Lives, Fred Derry (Dana Andrews) is at the air base looking for a flight home. In the background amongst the other servicemen, there's an African American soldier also on his way home. This was, to me, a subtle touch by the filmmakers to point out that this black man also fought against fascism and is just as deserving of an equal shot at a ride home, just like the other soldiers are. And this was before the armed forces were desegregated in 1948.

If You Could Gossip with One Classic Movie Star, Who Would It Be?
I'm not the gossipy type, but if I could I would love the chance to gossip with Mae West. She pushed the envelope for women and sexuality in film in so many ways and must have known all kinds of inside stuff about what was going on in Hollywood during that era. Things that the public wouldn't find out about until many years later.

Trisha from Florida, It Happened One Night (1934)

Which Classic Hollywood Star is Your Favorite and Why?
This is a hard one for me because I have so many and my tastes have evolved over time. Clark Gable has been at the top of my list for many years. It Happened One Night has long been my most beloved movie and my favorite role of his, as well as Gone with the Wind (1939). Vivien Leigh is my top actress. But Jimmy Stewart's acting in classics such as It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) should have won him Academy Awards. He is mesmerizing to watch. I never saw a mediocre performance of Stewart's and my appreciation of his art has grown over the years to include him as a classic favorite of mine.

What's Your Favorite Aspect of Being a Backlot Member?
I love talking about movies and stars, and it's fun to have a voice in recommending programming and why. I am also very interested in the activities such as the tours and cruises. I like feeling like an insider which is extremely fun.

What is Your First Memory of Watching TCM?
I remember watching Robert Osborne introduce movies and talk about their history and give interesting anecdotes. He had a wealth of information and it wasn't done on other shows, so I was hooked and tuned in regularly to not only watch the movies but learn more about them. I also remember a commercial that featured a collage of classic movies. My daughter and I would run into the room whenever we heard it playing. We watched it a million times and could watch it a million more times. It was the best!

What is Your Favorite Scene from the Film You Chose?
I love the classic hitchhiking, "Walls of Jericho" and the runaway bride scenes but the encounters on the bus is also at the top of my list. The banter and wisecracks are hilarious.

If You Could Gossip with One Classic Movie Star, Who Would It Be?
Definitely Carole Lombard. She was so fun loving and witty but also had a very good heart.

Scott from California, The Third Man (1949)

Which Classic Hollywood Star is Your Favorite and Why?
I have many favorites in different genres, but Humphrey Bogart would have to be top choice if I can only pick one. He was an atypical leading man with a character actor look. This and his immense talent gave him the range to play a wide variety of parts - heroes and villains were played equally well. He was in many of the best movies ever made, including The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942), High Sierra (1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), The Big Sleep (1946), The African Queen (1951), Sabrina (1954) and many more.

What's Your Favorite Aspect of Being a Backlot Member?
I love the bonus clips we can access in the Backlot video vault, with interviews and extended conversations. The contests are quite fun, and the sense of family is great.

What is Your First Memory of Watching TCM?
I started watching when the channel started and remember Robert Osborne introducing himself and giving fantastic intros to all the films. It really broadened my knowledge and interest in classic movies.

What is Your Favorite Scene from the Film You Chose?
The climactic sewer scene is one of the most stunning visual sequences in film and has many imitators, but this is still the best. The entire movie is full of great visuals and the cinematography has been very influential for my artwork in graphic novels.

If You Could Gossip with One Classic Movie Star, Who Would It Be?
Again, way too many choices, but Orson Welles might be first because he was so far ahead of his time. I would have loved to delve into the depths of his storytelling mind. Two of my other favorites would be Audrey Hepburn or Danny Kaye, because they both had such amazing lives off camera as well as on. They both seemed very generous with their time for others and very well rounded.

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