Thursday, November 24, 2011

Robert Osborne Taking a Break

Turner Classic Movies has posted the announcement below on the Main Page of, their Member's forum, and on Facebook.
Robert Osborne
"Beginning today, Robert Osborne plans to take a short break from his TCM hosting duties for minor surgery, followed by a vacation. Osborne, who recently signed a multi-year agreement with TCM, plans to return to the network in three months and will also attend the first TCM Classic Cruise in December. He will continue to appear on TCM as part of several features, including the Guest Programmer series, The Essentials and Race & Hollywood: Arab Images on Film. Many of Osborne's hosting duties will be handled on a temporary basis by a number of special guests and friends of the network, including Robert Wagner (week of July 11), Jane Powell (week of July 18) and Tippi Hedren (week of July 25). Other guest hosts will be announced in the coming weeks."
I join the thousands of people who will miss Robert Osborne's personal warmth and love of films on the network during his recovery, and sincerely hope that his time away allows him to fully heal and to return to share his insights into classic movies with all of us again after a vacation. Have fun, Bob. You deserve it.

Update! Robert Osborne is returning on December 1, 2011!! After some delay in his reappearance as the host of TCM's evening and The Essentials programming, the welcome news is that Mr. O.'s familiar and welcome presence will again grace Turner Classic Movies. Look for the countdown dates until his return in the sidebar. Better yet, enjoy R.O.'s relaxed and rested announcement in the following video:

Thanksgiving: The Tony Sarg Years Recaptured on Film

Happy Thanksgiving. I hope that this holiday finds you warm, safe, and able to reflect on  all the blessings, large and small, seen and unseen, that surround us throughout our lives. In the last year, perhaps our vision of those gifts has been dimmed by this world's many distractions and troubles. If that is the case for you, please accept this post as an encouragement today and in the days to come to see life with a somewhat lighter heart.

As regular readers of this blog may recall, puppeteer, filmmaker, author and artist Tony Sarg has fascinated me for many years. Sarg, whose mother was British and father was German, brought his unfettered imagination to the mechanized displays in the holiday windows of the Macy's Department Store in Manhattan, beginning in the '20s. Later his development of  large-scale floating balloons led to his innovative creative contributions for that company's annual Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City between 1935 and 1941.

In the following newsreel footage, covering much of the Sarg years, many of his looming creations can be seen, along with the animated throngs of onlookers and parade participants who are captured on film as they reveled in the day and the wondrous sights before them. Those strange and fascinating floating figures include a few Disney characters (in their early forms), a "Red Indian" described by the British narrator in an unconscious if casually condescending manner, and hardworking paraders trying to fulfill the sometimes Herculean task of keeping their part of the parade in step.

Near the end of this second newsreel, President Franklin Roosevelt joshes a bit as he hosts a holiday feast. The last video of the three from 1941 seems charged with a certain poignancy, coming as it did literally days  before America was plunged into war on Dec. 7, 1941. It also marked the last year that Tony Sarg's playfulness translated into an exhilarating spectacle, since he would die the following year at 62.

The last clip is also silent but is nonetheless interesting because it appears to be a home movie and gives a "street level view" of the event. The sometimes jerky camera movement and the unaware expressiveness of the people on the screen only made the moment more affecting for me. Seeing a young policeman trying to maintain order and yet still glimpse the parade, a gaggle of excited children unable to stand still as they watch the parade, and formally dressed men and women straining to catch all the sights, I couldn't help feeling that the transitory nature of this very human occasion almost dwarfs the giant figures passing by. What were the lives of these people like? What happened to each of them? Do any of them still remember that day?

Unanswerable but compelling questions, I suppose. In any case, enjoy, and thank you for stopping by:


Related Posts with Thumbnails