I just returned from shooting the Spring Break Film Festival introductions at the TCM studios in Atlanta and boy do they know how to pamper their guests. We had a car service waiting for us from home to airport and then from Atlanta airport to the Four Seasons hotel where they put us up. Friday morning at 8:45 am car was there to drive me to the studio less than a mile away. I was met by a PA and walked to the soundstage where I was warmly greeted by Gary, the segment producer, and Sean, VP of production, who initially contacted me to do this. They introduced me to the crew (all of whom were really nice particularly the sound guy and camera man) But I hit it off with the researcher Alexa who is a huge movie buff as you would expect in a job like hers. She even copied an article from the LA Weekly for me about the death of Yvette Vickers because Carol Lynley was interviewed in it.

I was then taken to my dressing room (more of a oversize closet LOL) and the Stylist helped me pick out my first outfit to wear before taking me to makeup. Back on the soundstage, I was told the set for Ben Mankiewicz’s intros was brand new and I would be the first guest on it. Finally met Ben (pictured below) and he was super cool.

We immediately began shooting. Ben would read an intro off the teleprompter and welcome me. I had to say somethig like “Thanks Ben. Great to be here.” He then would start the discussion. After the first two intros for Gidget and Gidget Goes Hawaiian, I was told I needed not to blink during my response to Ben as I was in my closeup, Mr. DeMille. I tried but I think I failed a few times as the shoot continued. Hard with those bright Klieg lights shining down on you. As for the interviews, Ben made it real easy. We flew through 8 intros and then a wardrobe change.

I asked how I was doing and got good feedback. We did 2 more than lunch, which was a catered affair in a private lunchroom for TCM only. Alexa gave me a tour afterwards and told me that was not their normal soundstage. She brought me over to the more luxorious TCM area, but it was being used for something else. We did 5 more before the last wardrobe change and wrapped an hour early.

I think I did better with some of the intros than others. Wasn’t sure what Ben was going to ask me. Made sure I told stories from the actors I interviewed like Aron Kincaid, Gail Gerber, Pamela Tiffin, Christopher Riordan, Linda Rogers, Ed Garner, Luree Holmes, Darlene Tompkins, Chris Noel, etc. I am sure some were better than others and they will edit to make me look good. LOL

Overall, I had a lot of fun. However, I am not sure I will watch myself right away. I will DVR them but hold off from viewing until I get some feedback and the courage to take a look.


Comments: 4

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  • John Black

    Thanks, Tom. Great to be here.

    A fun read, and I hope to be able to watch all those shows and intros. I will be moving in late March, but will hopefully be “re-hooked” by mid April. I’ve done some inteviews myself, and as a non-professional, probably need drastic editing to “look good.”

  • Stephen Bowie

    This sounds like a lot of fun and I bet your intros will really enhance the experience of these films for TCM watchers.

    When I did an on-camera interview for one DVD extra, they filmed it in the cameraman’s apartment, and never sent me a copy of the DVD … so, yeah, you were pampered indeed! Congrats, Tom.

  • Jim Poling

    Great job on TCM, Tim! No need to be nervous. Very cute and charming and smooth. Now if only you could get your own show.

    And loved Dueling Harlows. Thanks for all your hard work!

    • Thanks for the kind words and for buying my book, Jim. Glad you have enjoyed both. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Ben was a really nice guy and the TCM staff was wonderful and just so nice.

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