What a whirlwind. What a lovely, wonderful, extremely satisfying whirlwind. Every year that my husband and I go to the TCM Classic Film Festival we swear we’re going to find a few moments to relax. But as soon as the final festival schedule is released, reality hits. Arrrghhh!….we won’t have enough time to see, do and experience everything the festival has to offer! Movies, interviews, movies, parties, movies, friends, movies, special events and did I mention more movies? Heck….time’s a wasting….we can relax another time! Just not in Hollywood during the TCMFF.
Jim and I definitely went to our share of movies this festival. “Marty”, “My Favorite Wife”, “A Woman of Affairs”, Tom Mix, “Blood Money”, “Merrily We Go to Hell”, “Vanity Street” are just a few. We especially enjoyed the many pre-code movies that we’d never seen before. Watching classic movies at the TCMFF is not like watching movies anywhere else. First of all, we’re in Hollywood, not our neighborhood mall theater. Nothing beats the feeling of anticipation and excitement just waiting for the film to start. Settling into our theater seat, listening to the buzz of conversation get quieter as the lights dim, applauding at the intro credits and again when our favorite star makes their first appearance. Until the end of the movie, we sit in the darkened theater, totally immersed in the story and transported to a different time and place. Yes, this is definitely our happy place. Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it!
And while we love going to the movies, we also enjoy trying new experiences at each festival. Two historic venues really made this trip memorable.
HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY
Every year we try to arrive at least one day before the start of the festival just to meet up with friends, family or just try something new. This year we had a memorable experience taking Karie Bible’s Hollywood Forever Historic Walking Tour with other TCM festival- goers.
Yes, I know it’s a cemetery. But it’s also historic, beautiful and a serene respite from busy LA. While not officially part of the TCMFF, Karie is a TCM festival attendee herself, and specifically tailored her tour around this year’s festival. My husband, Jim, provided much needed shade for our tour guide while she shared her wealth of knowledge and respect of the famous and not so famous whose final resting place is at Hollywood Forever.
AMERICAN LEGION HOLLYWOOD POST 43
We really didn’t know WHAT to expect with this new venue. How long would it take to walk the over 1/2 mile uphill along the always busy North Highland Ave? Heck, just being able to safely cross the intersection of Franklin Ave and N. Highland was a major achievement. Would it be worth it? More importantly, would we get to our movie on time? Turns out it was well worth it, every… single…time. We knew the clubhouse, built in 1929, was quite historic so we were pleasantly surprised by the totally refurbished state of the art theater. Between the two of us, we saw What’s Not to Love About Republic Serials, “The Little Colonel”, FOX: An Appreciation and Tom Mix Double Feature. I was thrilled that before one of the shows, who would sit in the seat next to mine and share my armrest but the “Czar of Noir” himself, Eddie Muller!
During our time at the Post, Jim and I explored its other areas. The downstairs Art Deco bar, complete with piano took us back in time by about 80 years. The curved ceilings are reminiscent of being in an underground bunker. It was easy to imagine sharing the bar and a cocktail with Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, or Humphrey Bogart. Still downstairs, on the other side of the bar was a large function room closed off to us. Jim started talking to the security guard who graciously let us in to look around.
Inside was a large well-lit bar, that somehow looked vaguely familiar. Our security guard host proceeded to tell us that it was the bar from “The Shining”, the 1980 movie starring Jack Nicholson. It seems that after the location shooting was complete, additional shots of the original bar were needed so this one was built as a double. We really enjoyed our time at the Hollywood Post 43!
We’re really looking forward to our next TCMFF. What’s the best part of a TCMFF? Meeting up with old friends, making new ones, seeing old movies and sharing new experiences.