Tuesday, March 7, 2017
REMEMBERING ROBERT OSBORNE
(May 3, 1932 - March 6, 2017)
Once again, I've chosen to briefly interrupt the normal flow of my blog so I can pay my own personal tribute to film historian Robert Osborne, host of Turner Classic Movies, who died yesterday at the age of eighty-four.
As a kid growing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s, one of the weekly television broadcasts I remained faithful to was the ABC Sunday Night Movie. At a time when movie collecting was either not available yet or simply too expensive for most people, theatrical motion pictures that aired on television were the best thing a kid like me could get in order to watch movies at home when he was being raised by parents who were too damn cheap to pay for HBO! As each movie began every Sunday, voice-host Ernie Anderson was there to not only introduce the movie that was about to be aired, but enthusiastically made it known to viewers that the movie was something to be experienced and shared. His introductions accompanied with scenes from the movie were there to psych you up and get you excited for what was to come. Today, all of that simply doesn't exist anymore. Oh sure, movies are still aired on cable television stations, but the beginning of one movie tends to overlap the end credits of another as we're forced to watch multiple mini-boxes on our TV screen that also include the so-called rating of what we're about to watch. It's all so mindless and completely impersonal.
And then there was TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES which was first launched in April 1994. The best in classic motion pictures without edits or interruptions, and introduced by host Robert Osborne. With his friendly and charming personality that shone brightly through his obvious love of cinema, the viewer was not only educated on points of the film about to air both before and after the broadcast, but was also made to feel as if they were part of a genuinely worthwhile experience to be savored and cherished. We were about to watch a movie together and we could feel good about ourselves for having chosen to take the time out of our busy lives to sit down and share it with someone who knew things about the art of cinema that perhaps we did not...someone like Robert Osborne. He was, I'd say, the Ernie Anderson of my adulthood, though much more than just a voice; a presence of knowledge and joy in the world of movies.
I'll miss watching and listening to him. He was the only voice I truly enjoyed listening to on the only TV channel worth watching anymore, in my opinion. Now he's gone. Thank you for the great memories, Robert!