The 2017 TCM Film Festival: Revisiting Adventures in Paradise — Part V

As 2017 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time for my next entry in my ongoing look at this year’s Turner Classic Movies Film Festival. And what better topic than one of the first events I attended – “Remembering Robert,” which was presented on April 6, 2017, exactly one month after the passing of TCM icon Robert Osborne, described during the event as “the face, the voice, and the heart and soul of TCM.”

“Remembering Robert” featured heartfelt remembrances from numerous network staffers, including TCM host Ben Mankiewicz; Osborne’s longtime director Ann Wilson; Gary Friedman, who produced Osborne’s intros; and Charlie Tabesh, head of programming, as well as one of Osborne’s oldest and closest friends, actress Diane Baker. Mankiewicz, who labeled Osborne as “distinguished, funny, unfairly charming and smart as hell,” started things off by introducing a brief video that used to air before Osborne spoke in front of a crowd – it was both hilarious and touching and served as the perfect kickoff to the event.

Diane Baker shares memories of her close friend.

Diane Baker told the packed theater how she first met Osborne – she’d been living with her parents in San Fernando Valley and Osborne lived near her. She was testing for a Fox contract and someone suggested that she do the scene with Osborne. He later joked with Baker that her voice during the test was so high that “dogs can hear it.”

“He was just a nice guy,” Baker said. “They guy next door that you want to see and be with.” Baker also shared with the audience her last visit with Osborne, shortly before he died. “I knew this was going to be the last time I was going to see him,” she said. “He said, ‘No sad songs for me. I’ve had a great life. It’s been a wonderful, wonderful life. So don’t be sad.’ So I’m trying real hard.”

Several staffers recalled how much they had learned from Osborne – Gary Friedman said that “no one has taught me more about art and film and culture,” and Ben Mankiewicz shared that he learned that “imitating [Osborne] would be a catastrophe.”

A packed crowd showed up to pay homage to our beloved Robert Osborne.

“What you saw on the air from Robert was Robert,” Mankiewicz said. “There was this authenticity that came through the television screen. Robert showed me that being yourself is the best possible way to connect with a fan base that craves authenticity and sniffs out phonies.”

Osborne was also remembered for his extensive expertise and his respect for the stars of yesteryear. Charlie Tabesh said that Osborne’s knowledge of classic film made him “the real deal,” and VP of Talent Darcy Hettrich stated that there was “a humanity to him – he cared about the stars that Hollywood had basically forgotten. They saw in him a true respect and love for what they did. For me it was such a pleasure and an honor to find talent for him. It was a glorious 23 years with him.”

One of Osborne’s favorite stars in his favorite movie.

In addition to the tributes and reminiscences, several fun facts about Osborne were shared, like his fondness for TV’s Judge Judy, who once served as a guest programmer; his excitement over meeting actor Jean-Paul Belmondo at the second TCM film festival; and his particular love for films of the 1940s, stars Gene Tierney, William Holden and Susan Hayward, and such favorites as the Rob Reiner mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, A Place in the Sun, All About Eve, and his number one movie, The Razor’s Edge.

Finally, the staffers assured the fest-goers that TCM will continue to foster the connection that it has with its viewers and offer the same high-quality classic film experience that has become the hallmark of the network.

“Robert left this place in a strong position and more ready to face the future than the network has ever been,” Mankiewicz said. “There’s no replacing Robert, but there also is no stopping TCM.”

Stay tuned for the next installment of Revisiting Adventures in Paradise!

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~ by shadowsandsatin on December 30, 2017.

9 Responses to “The 2017 TCM Film Festival: Revisiting Adventures in Paradise — Part V”

  1. Interesting that The Razor’s Edge was his favorite movie- mine too.

  2. Well written and thanks for sharing this experience with those of us who couldn’t attend. And Happy New Year!

  3. Thanks for sharing your experiences at the TCMFF about Robert Osborne. I attended as well but its nice to be able to relive the occasion through you fine summary. So sorry he won’t be with us after all these years.

  4. I really enjoyed your stories about Robert, and made me miss him all the more. Nobody else has been able to take his place yet — I look forward to someone else who can show the same love and sweet humor he always did. Fine article and tribute!

    • Thank you so much, Becky. I don’t think anyone will ever fill Robert’s shoes — we sure were lucky to have someone like him, though, for as long as we did. I can’t imagine that TCM would be what it is today if not for him and his unique talent and passion.

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