Of fathers and classic film   Leave a comment

Posted by vp19 on 2013.06.16 at 08:00
Current mood: ecstaticecstatic

carole lombard no more orchids 12b

Today is when we celebrate fatherhood in all shapes and forms. Carole Lombard’s relationship with her own real-life father, Fred C. Peters, was rather complex (when he died in 1935, she declined to attend his funeral, saying she didn’t want to make a scene but perhaps indicative of his being out of her life for more than two decades), so instead we’re illustrating the holiday with a pic of Carole with one of her movie dads, Walter Connolly in 1932’s “No More Orchids.”

As in past years, Turner Classic Movies is celebrating the day as well. This morning, it’s showing Glenn Ford in “The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father,” followed by the original Spencer Tracy “Father Of The Bride”; tonight, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” where Gregory Peck plays heroic father Atticus Finch, is the “Essentials Jr.” selection, followed by William Powell in “Life With Father.” In between, there’s a slightly different take on the topic, via the channel’s weekend host.

ben and frank mankiewicz 00a

Ben Mankiewicz will have his 89-year-old father, Frank Mankiewicz, on to introduce four movies. What’s the big deal, you say? Quite a bit. As virtually any classic film fan knows, the Mankiewicz family has a long heritage in Hollywood, dating back to the dawn of talking pictures; several of Lombard’s films were written by a Mankiewicz.

And the segment begins at 11:45 a.m. (Eastern) with a little film written (or co-written, as you will) by Ben’s grandfather, Herman J. Mankiewicz. You may have heard of it…it’s called “Citizen Kane.”

citizen kane 008

However, Frank Mankiewicz didn’t follow in the footsteps of his father, going in a different direction, and the next two films shown reflect that. They deal with politics — “All The King’s Men” at 2, “The Last Hurrah” at 4.

My family has ties to Frank Mankiewicz through politics. In the 1960s, he was press secretary to New York Sen. Robert Kennedy, and regularly came in contact with my father, head of a federal employees union then based in my hometown of Syracuse. My mother, now 92, aided my father (who died in 1982) in his work and met Frank a number of times.

I was too young then to have met him, but I recall Frank from after I moved to Washington in 1970. By then, he was a newscaster on WTOP-TV, and later co-hosted a talk show on WRC radio with D.C. political columnist Tom Braden.

Finally, Ben and Frank conclude the set of four with an entirely different film — the first one Ben says he saw with his father…1977’s “Smokey And The Bandit,” at 6:15. Okay. (“Eastbound and down, load it up and truck it…”)

There’s much more on the Mankiewiczes in a Washington Post story (http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/grandson-of-citizen-kane-co-writer-continues-a-family-tradition-as-a-tcm-host/2013/06/14/2b63e5f2-cf85-11e2-8f6b-67f40e176f03_story.html), where we learn Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty refuses to stay in a hotel that doesn’t carry TCM. Do we hear “future guest programmer,” folks?

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Posted June 16, 2013 by vp19 in Uncategorized

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