Turner Classic Movies
(April 14, 1994-present) is a long-running
, commercial free cable-TV channel dedicated to airing classic movies, most of them from the Turner Entertainment and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
, United Artists
, RKO, Warner Bros.
film libraries. TCM daily airs many familiar classics (mostly released before 1980 and often pre-1970), along with tons of foreign films and obscure rarities that would otherwise never be able to see the light of day—including stuff that nobody would think about, like trailers and even two-reel live-action comedies. The network shows no outside commercials, although between (never during
) films they will show old trailers of films or short commercials for the network's merchandise.
The network won a 2008 Peabody Award
for their dedication to broadcasting and restoring classic and foreign films.
TCM is one of the last film networks that have knowledgeable on-air personalities introduce a film before its airing. Film historian Robert Osborne, who has been with the channel since its beginning, is the most famous of the two — he does introductions and outros for the films that air prime time every day (and a new one each time a film is shown, too, as TCM's prime time schedule often features a loose theme). Film critic Ben Mankiewicz is the other. He presents a handful of films that air during the daytime and on the weekends (although his aren't new for every episode).
Compare and contrast to AMC
, which was once much like TCM before it experienced Network Decay
, partially because TCM had gained the rights to so many of the classic movie catalogs, and partially as a way to appeal to more younger audiences through the use of more recent movies and original dramas like Mad Men
You can find its Web site here.
The official YouTube
channel can be found here.
"Turner Classic Tropes":
- Audio Description: Even when this feature for the visually impaired was at its lowest adoption rate in the mid-2000s, TCM has continued to be one of the largest advocates of this service, which helps to allow those who aren't able to see a film still enjoy it with narrated descriptions on much of TCM's library.
- Bad Export for You: There are channels that go by names such as TCM France, TCM UK, and TCM Asia, but their programming is not the same as the U.S. flagship. This is presumed to be a function of these channels' programmers not having the rights to certain titles enjoyed by U.S. TCM programmers.
- The Golden Age of Animation: Has unfortunately tended to get short shrift on the channel, most likely due to the stubborn persistence of the Animation Age Ghetto. However, vintage shorts were featured on the Ben Mankiewicz-hosted Cartoon Alley from 2004-07.
- Guest Host: In 2011 Robert Osborne took a five-month sabbatical following a surgical operation, leading TCM to employ a number of guest hosts in his absence.
- The Essentials, a weekly presentation of a selected film which airs Saturday evenings, has featured a celebrity guest host (or co-host with Osborne) since it debuted in 2001. Hosts have included Rob Reiner, Peter Bogdanovich, Sydney Pollack, Molly Haskell, Carrie Fisher, Rose McGowan, Alec Baldwin, and (as of 2013) Drew Barrymore.
- A variation that runs during the summer months is Essentials Jr., which shows films for kids and families. Hosts have included Tom Kenny, Abigail Breslin, Chris O'Donnell, John Lithgow, and (as of 2013) Bill Hader.
- TCM also has an occasional "guest programmer" feature, in which a special guest (usually, though not always, a celebrity) chooses a lineup of films for a given night and pairs with Osborne to introduce them.
- In 2013 TCM introduced a new Friday Night Spotlight feature, with a guest host joining Osborne to present films based around a given subject or theme. Cher was the first guest host for the program.
- In Memoriam: Since 1998, they've typically shown a "TCM Remembers" tribute to someone in the movie business who's recently died and dedicated a night of movies he/she were involved with. A montage of all those people who died the past year is also shown at the end of the year.
- Internal Homage: Started its debut broadcast with Gone with the Wind, which had also kicked off its older sister channel TNT in 1988.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: When TCM screens a film not available on a legitimate DVD release, TCM subscribers record the film and...share the wealth...with people who don't have access to TCM.
- Letterbox: They sometimes show an educational short explaining to non-cinephiles how aspect ratios work and why letterboxing is a good idea.
- Also notably, they always run the films they air in their original aspect ratio, completely uncensored. This even occurs on the HD feed, whereas TBS and TNT will stretch out films across if they only have the pan and scan standard def version on their HD channels.
- Marathon Running: They love this. Marathons of films by certain directors, from a specific time period or genre, exploring a particular theme, or starring a given actor (usually on his/her birthday) are particularly frequent, including an all-day Akira Kurosawa marathon on what would have been his 100th birthday in 2010.
- In honor of Judy Garland's 90th birthday (June 10, 2012), they gave a 24-hour marathon of her films which were chosen by historian John Fricke (an expert on Judy Garland's work and The Wizard of Oz), with Fricke acting as Robert Osborne's co-host for the day.
- They also honored actress Vivien Leigh by playing a 24-hour marathon of her films on what would have been her 100th birthday (November 5, 2013).
- Every August TCM presents an event called Summer Under the Stars, wherein every day of the month is devoted to a 24-hour marathon focusing on the works of a legendary movie star or beloved character actor.
- They also have an annual 31 Days of Oscar event, showcasing Academy Award-winning films (including many more contemporary films than under their usual format) for a month leading up to that year's ceremony.
- Network Decay: Heroically averted thus far, as explained in detail on this page.
- Notably, there are very few post-2000 films shown; the most recent movie featured on the channel is Le Havre (2011), which aired as part of TCM's annual Labor Day tribute to the Telluride Film Festival.
- Even more impressive? In a World where every basic cable channel seems to be about "maximizing profit" and squeezing commercials into every nook and cranny (so that you won't change channels, don't you know), TCM steadfastly refuses outside advertising note and runs everything uncut (even if it's rated R or TV-MA). And the network has been this way from the very beginning. This near-insane dedication to task won them a 2008 Peabody Award.
- Really Dead Montage: The channel airs a "TCM Remembers" tribute each December, showing the various film personalities (from both sides of the camera) who have died in the preceding year.
- Roger Rabbit Effect: In 2002, a special sing-along edition of The Wizard of Oz was hosted by Robert Osborne and The Powerpuff Girls to promote the release of their movie.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Hoo, boy. During the three-minute or so spots for an upcoming movie they're going to air, they practically show you enough scenes that you could put together a decently accurate article about it on The Other Wiki without even seeing the movie itself.