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ASK ALEXA!

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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby moira finnie » October 28th, 2013, 1:10 pm

Alexa, as we approach the 20th anniversary of TCM, could you please describe what it was like to work at Turner Classic Movies in the very beginning? Was there a master business plan to make things run smoothly? How many people saw the network in the mid-nineties? Were your offices set up in Atlanta already? Was Ted Turner actively involved on a daily basis then? If you don't mind my asking, how did you get your job (If any of my questions in this post are not something you want to talk about, don't worry--its understood).

Most of all, what was the attitude of the people on staff like then? How many people were there when you began? Did you think this gig would turn into something of a career or were just hoping it might last awhile?

Was it a bit like Judy and Mickey saying "Let's put on a show!" and flying by the seat of their pants? Maybe people who haven't interacted directly with the staff may think I'm exaggerating, but these people are very hard working, but extraordinarily nice and actually listen when you try to tell them something there. I've been in and out of the corporate world quite a bit in the last 25 years and have never seen anything quite like it.
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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby kingrat » October 29th, 2013, 11:15 am

Alexa,

You mentioned your fondness for John Cromwell's films. Does TCM have any interviews discussing his work? Has James Cromwell ever done an interview talking about his father? It would be great to have you interview him!

Thanks,

David

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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby Mrs. Osborne » November 14th, 2013, 9:55 am

Masha-

We licensed that picture from Janus and all the rest of the foreign titles for The story of film from Krugman.

Thanks for asking.

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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby Mrs. Osborne » November 14th, 2013, 9:58 am

David

YES! I did interview him all about his dad and mom. Hopefully we will be able to use the interview in some way on TCM. He is a great guy and met his first wife when they were both children on the set of ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM. (she was Lee J Cobb's daughter.)

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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby Mrs. Osborne » November 14th, 2013, 10:11 am

Moira:

Yes it was very much like Judy and Mickey when TCM started in terms of excitement. We were determined to beat AMC at its game and we did.

We were always based in Atlanta and I would say there were about 20 of us. The producers then were both working on TNT and TCM. We were on in NYC as I recall but not much beyond that. We did not have TCM on my cable system in Atlanta FOR FIVE YEARS AFTER WE HIT AIR.
Marsha Armstrong was in charge of the studio side of things and she was very much the organizer and we still follow her blueprint today. (she left to head the Warner Bros international tv back in 1995). She hired me since I was freelancing doing research for TNT's Our Favorite Movies.

Ted Turner was around for anniversary parties so we saw him from time to time - He LOVES TCM.

It is funny but only 3 of the original employees are still here. I will never forget the day Robert came to the offices and we had a all day meeting with him.

Did I answer everything?

Thanks for your kind words.

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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » November 15th, 2013, 7:28 pm

I am loving your comments, and it is so much fun to read about how it all came together. Thank you for your wonderful insights! :lol:
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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » December 9th, 2013, 11:37 am

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Dear Mrs. Osborne,
Since today is a day to celebrate Margaret Hamilton's screen presence on TCM, can you tell us a little about your interview with her son, Hamilton Meserve, when you visited with him a few years ago?

We would love to learn more! :D

SSO member Jack Favell has posted a thread devoted to Miss Hamilton's special tribute today: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6451

Sincerely,
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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby JackFavell » December 9th, 2013, 12:50 pm

Thanks for the plug, Christy, and great question! :D

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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » December 9th, 2013, 8:11 pm

Always a pleasure, Jackie!
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Just a small part of the research libraries at TCM that I saw last Friday...
Image
Art Director Marty Kelly and Alexa Foreman inside the vast Turner Studios...

Alexa is very busy right now, but I know she will attend to our questions when she has a chance. It was a fabulous interview with Hamilton Meserve!
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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby Mrs. Osborne » December 19th, 2013, 10:22 am

Jack-

Margaret Hamilton loved children and taught kindergarten and nursery school. Even when there was a lull during WWII with her Hollywood career, she went back to teaching and founded the Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church's nursery, and it still exists, with her name as the founder.

Guess who one of her students was back in New York? William Windom.

She knew she had a "character face" and was proud of that. Her parents offered to have her nose "fixed" but she was proud of the Hamilton nose.

There was not one studio that she preferred. Whichever studio caused the phone to ring and a job was the one she would work for.

She had seen what happened to young actors like Judy Garland and told Hamilton her son that he was not to be in the business - no way no how.

and that is about it. She was one of the best.

Thanks Jack for your interest.

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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby JackFavell » December 19th, 2013, 1:30 pm

My gosh, Alexa! Thank you so much for all the information.

I am so glad that she was proud of the Hamilton features that won her so many jobs.

I had no idea she had founded a school, nor that she had gone back to work as a schoolteacher during the war. I DID know that William Windom was one of her students, and rumour has it he was so rambunctious that she had to throw him out of class. Take it with a grain of salt, though. Got the info from IMDB, not TCM. :D

Have a very happy holiday season!

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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby Mrs. Osborne » December 19th, 2013, 1:39 pm

Yes Jack

that is true.He told me in his interview that she promoted him to the next grade to get rid of him.
they later connected back in NYC and would go to the Russian Tea room together.

Wouldn't it have been great to be in the next banquette?

Alexa

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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby JackFavell » December 19th, 2013, 3:45 pm

Whew! Oh I'm SO glad they met up later on! I actually worried over that piece of information. I've always liked William Windom. :D

I'd just like to visit the Russian Tea Room once in my life, no matter who was sitting in the banquette next to me. Then if they'd just bring back Luchow's my life would be complete.

Hmmm. Now you've got me thinking about all the movie star moments that take place in restaurants, and who I'd like to be the next table over from.... maybe I could light my nose on fire in front of William Holden. :D :D :D

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Re: ASK ALEXA!

Postby Sue Sue Applegate » December 21st, 2013, 10:05 am

Mrs. Osborne,
Will you tell us about some of the other wonderful folks that you have interviewed through the years for TCM's "Word of Mouth" interviews like Claire Trevor? Was this when you were a producer of those segments?

I know how much I adore those few moments of screen goodies about personalities, private moments on the sets of classic films, and public moments of triumph. The "Word of Mouth" segments are some of the most entertaining candids on TCM, and when I am hungering to revisit a previous "Private Screenings" interview with Robert Osborne, they provide a fleeting moment that sustains me. Do tell us more when you have a moment!
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