Simpson Sunday: Katharine Horse Trainer

Katharine Hepburn

Season 3, Episode 8: Lisa’s Pony

When Homer fails to bring Lisa a saxophone reed she needs on the night of the talent show, she’s humiliated in front the entire school. Determined to win her over again, Homer decides to make one of Lisa’s biggest dreams come true: to own a pony. Buying and caring for a pony quickly proves to be more expensive than Homer realized though, and he’s forced to work around the clock to earn the money for it. Homer buys the pony from a horse farm, run by a very proper woman. Tress MacNeille voiced this character and based the voice on Katharine Hepburn’s very distinct voice. When asked about the stable services she offers, the woman also offers to teach pronunciation to Lisa at no extra charge so that Lisa can also speak like Katharine Hepburn.

Lisa's Horse Trainer

What’s on TCM: February 2017

Vivien Leigh OscarHappy February, everyone! As any regular TCM viewer knows, February is traditionally TCM’s 31 Days of Oscar month. I’m well aware that this tends to be a love it or hate it type of month, and while I’m always disappointed that it means few silent films will be shown, there are always plenty of other movies to keep me entertained throughout the month.

This year, all the movies included in 31 Days of Oscar will be shown in alphabetical order. As if that weren’t enough, all the movies scheduled during prime time are grouped together by a common theme, which will also be in alphabetical order ranging from “addiction” to “zany.”

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the schedule.

 

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Book Review: Mary Astor’s Purple Diary

Mary Astor's Purple Diary by Edward SorelIf you’re a classic film fan who has spent any significant amount of time watching Turner Classic Movies, surely you have seen at least one movie starring Mary Astor. With starring roles in some of the greatest films ever made, including The Maltese FalconMeet Me in St. LouisDodsworthMidnight, and The Palm Beach Story, just to name a few, any classic film fan is bound to cross cinematic paths with Astor at some point.

While I’ve certainly seen plenty of her movies, I know little about Astor’s personal life or what she was like as a person. So when Edward Sorel recently published his book “Mary Astor’s Purple Diary” and I heard it was about a major scandal from the 1930s that involved her, a bitter husband, and a diary in which she documented her affairs in great detail, I was definitely intrigued. Hollywood has seen more than its fair share of scandals over the years, but this was one I hadn’t heard about before.

“Mary Astor’s Purple Diary” is one of the most unusual but delightful books about old Hollywood I’ve ever read. Rather than being a straightforward recounting of the scandal, it’s part showbiz book and part personal recounting of how Sorel became acquainted with Astor. While replacing the floors in his New York apartment back in the 1960s, Sorel removed the existing flooring and found old newspapers underneath dating back to when this scandal was in all the papers. He found himself fascinated by the story and felt compelled to learn more about Astor. Over 50 years later, Sorel clearly still feels a great deal of affection for her.

If you’re hoping for a detailed, in-depth book about the scandal or about Mary Astor in general, this is not the book for you. But if you’re in the mood for a quick, light, witty read with lots of great illustrations, “Mary Astor’s Purple Diary” is well worth your time. While it’s hardly an exhaustive biography, it had enough information about Astor’s personal life to make me want to learn more about her. Before reading it, I had known nothing about her awful father, her affair with John Barrymore, her ill-fated first marriage, and of course, the big scandal that occurred when her second husband tried to use her diary as a pawn to get custody of their daughter. It sounds like she led a very fascinating life. It was like this book did for me what removing that old flooring did for Sorel: drew my attention to an interesting woman by revealing a now somewhat forgotten scandal.

Simpson Sunday: A Message from a Horror Icon

Boris Karloff Bride of Frankenstein

Season 5, Episode 14: Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy

Over the course of The Simpsons, Grandpa Simpson is often shown to be a big fan of writing letters to people, companies, and publications, usually to complain about something. In the episode “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy,” Grandpa realizes he’s nearing the end of his life and decides to give his family their inheritance early so he can see them enjoy it. Since he knows Lisa enjoys reading, he decides to give her his lifetime of personal correspondence. Lisa takes a telegram from the pile and we learn that at one point in time, Grandpa had many things to say to Boris Karloff, who was apparently not amused.

The Simpsons Telegraph from Boris Karloff

Simpson Sunday: Not So Fast, Bart

Bogie Bacall Grauman's Chinese Theater

Season 6, Episode 24: Lemon of Troy

When Bart discovers some wet cement in Springfield, he can’t resist the urge to write his name in it so he’ll be remembered for years to come. But Marge catches him, brings him home, and scolds him for not taking pride in his hometown. But when she asks Homer to back her up, he fails to see why this was such a big deal.

Homer Simpson Lemon of Troy

Bogart Chinese Theater

Simpson Sunday: The Force is Strong With This Simpson

Princess Leia A New Hope

Season 4, Episode 4: Lisa the Beauty Queen

After Homer enters Lisa in the Little Miss Springfield beauty pageant in an effort to help boost her confidence, Lisa is initially horrified. But the rest of the family convinces her to go through with it and offers to help prepare her for the pageant. Marge helps by taking Lisa to the beauty parlor, where the stylist tries many new styles on her, including the infamous “cinnamon roll” hairstyle worn by Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars: A New Hope.

Lisa Simpson With Princess Leia Hair

What’s on TCM: January 2017

Jane Wyman All That Heaven Allows

Happy new year, everyone! I hope you all had a had a safe and happy holiday season. As always, TCM’s January schedule is chock full of things to set your DVRs for. Jane Wyman is the Star of the Month and her work will be featured every Monday night. On Tuesday nights, TCM will be doing a spotlight on prison films. If you’ve recently seen La La Land, you’ll want to tune in on January 18th for a night of movies chosen by director Damien Chazelle, which includes many movies that heavily influenced La La Land. And I certainly can’t forget to mention that TCM will be celebrating the career of Debbie Reynolds on January 27th with a 24 hour marathon of her films.

Now, let’s get on to the rest of the schedule.
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