Creator: Turner Classic Movies
Turner Classic Movies
(April 14, 1994-present) is a long-running
, commercial-free cable TV network owned by Time Warner and 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 film trailers, short commercials for the network's merchandise, and other interstitial material.
Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz are the primary on-air Host
s for the channel, with Osborne appearing to introduce films in prime time during the week and Mankiewicz handling daytime and weekend airings. (They're occasionally joined by others; see Guest Host
The network won a 2008 Peabody Award
for their dedication to broadcasting and restoring classic and foreign films.
Compare and contrast to AMC
, which was once much like TCM (with genial host Bob Dorian) before it experienced Network Decay
. This was 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 long gotten short shrift on the channel, due in part to the stubborn persistence of the Animation Age Ghetto. However, vintage shorts were featured on the Ben Mankiewicz-hosted Cartoon Alley from 2004-07, and since then...
- 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, Drew Barrymore, and (as of 2015) Sally Field.
- 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 2014) 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 each December. Produced by Sabotage Film Group, these beautifully crafted clipreels can be real TearJerkers.
- 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 almost always run the films they air in their original aspect ratio (the very, very rare exceptions come with extremely obscure titles, in which case they may not have anything better than a TV print available), 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. Examples:
- 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.
- One of their most admirable series is Race and Hollywood, which goes back to the earliest days of the network. Over an entire month, usually in the spring, they show a series of films about, starring, and by non-white people, with a focus on how the movies influence the dominant culture's view of non-whites as well as non-whites' view of themselves. Another series, Screened Out, did the same for LGBT films, actors and filmmakers, and in 2005 there was "Religion on Film".
- Network Decay: Heroically averted thus far, as explained in detail on this page.
- Nighthawks Shot: One of the clips that TCM runs to introduce programs is a live-action shot staged to look just like the "Nighthawks" painting.
- 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.
- Silence Is Golden: Silent Sunday Nights. Most every Sunday, TCM shows a silent film at midnight Eastern, 9 pm Pacific.
- 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.