by Julian Spivey
One of the greatest things about Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is that every August they celebrate “Summer Under the Stars” in which every day of the month is dedicated to movies featuring one actor or actress.
Some years “Summer Under the Stars” is certainly better than others and unfortunately TCM’s 2012 slate seems to lean on the rather disappointing side.
This year’s schedule features a lot of first time actors and actresses to the “Summer Under the Stars” schedule, which frankly leads to some of the disappointments. In total there are 14 (almost half of the month) days dedicated to “Summer Under the Stars” rookies. The new actors and actresses making their debut are Marilyn Monroe (which is by far the most surprising debut), Johnny Weissmuller, Van Heflin, Toshiro Mifune, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Freddie Bartholomew, Eva Marie Saint, Anthony Quinn, Kay Francis, Tyrone Power, Jeanette McDonald, Warren William and James Caan.
Every year there is one or two “Summer Under the Stars” selections that just make me shake my head in amazement as to why TCM would select these actors/actresses. I think the network wants to spread the honors around, but honestly are many people tuning in to see films starring Freddie Bartholomew, Kay Francis, Jeanette McDonald and Warren William? How many viewers, even those who are avid TCM fans, can even tell you who those actors/actresses are?
Personally I’d rather see a “Summer Under the Stars” day dedicated to films starring James Stewart, Henry Fonda and Humphrey Bogart for the half dozen time over seeing a day dedicated to films featuring Warren William once.
Other interesting choices by TCM for this year’s “Summer Under the Stars” include showing Elvis Presley movies on August 16, the 35th anniversary of his death, and showing Gene Kelly movies on August 23, which would’ve been the triple threat actor’s 100th birthday.
Despite being at least slightly disappointed by the network’s 2012 “Summer Under the Stars” schedule there are five days that I highly recommend setting your DVRs or tuning in for:
August 1: John Wayne
August 7: Sidney Poitier
August 14: James Cagney
August 26: Gary Cooper
August 29: Ingrid Bergman
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