It began eleven years ago with a spark of inspiration. What is the one thing that practically every film fan can agree on…the one thing that every cinephile looks forward to? What is the celluloid glue that holds us all together so dearly? Our love of character actors.
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From the earliest years of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the network has broadcast “What A Character!” interstitial short tributes honoring various character actors. Many of the most popular supporting players have been highlighted over the years, including Marjorie Main, Edna May Oliver, Beulah Bondi, William Demarest, and Butterfly McQueen. These consummate pros were the inspiration for the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon. Kellee, Aurora, and I decided to dedicate a blogathon to those invaluable talents who often stole the scene. Now, for the eleventh consecutive year, we continue the tradition. Details after the jump
Unable to resist those actors, Aurora, Kellee, and I decided to dedicate a blogging event in their honor, and the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon was born. Now, for the 10th consecutive year, we continue the tradition.
This announcement also serves as a heartfelt thank you to all who have participated in this event so graciously for nine years. The talent, enthusiasm, and passion with which you have approached our beloved character actors are beyond anything we could have imagined. We hope you join us again for this special celebration!
The 10th Annual WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon takes place on Saturday, December 4, 2021.
Let the hosts know which character actor you choose by leaving a comment below.
We prefer no repeats, i.e. previously published posts.
Character actors can be from any era of film or television.
Please include the name and URL of your blog and your Twitter handle if you have one to help us promote your work properly.
Publish your post on or before December 4, 2021.
Please include the event banner (designed by yours truly from an idea by Aurora) on your blog to help us promote this special event
HAVE FUN and spread the word!
A tenth anniversary is a big deal, a fact recognized by both TCM and The University Press of Kentucky, who have offered books to give away to a lucky 10 U.S. and Canada WHAT A CHACRACTER! bloggers.
While you may well be familiar with TCM, you may not know about The University Press of Kentucky, which has a wonderful array of film history-related biographies and analytical studies in its Screen Classics series. For our event, Director of Sales & Marketing Brooke Raby has offered a sampling of their offerings, one copy of each of the following titles:
Thank you to Brooke for the terrific list of books.
One Last Thing: Much gratitude to my friends and co-hosts, Kellee and Aurora, without whom this blogathon would not exist, and both of whom were instrumental to the development of TCM Party. One decade down: forever to go. Happy WHAT A CHARACTER! Anniversary!
Chosen Actors and Participating Blogs
Felix Bressart – Taking Up Room
Jack Carson – Second Sight Cinema
Hans Conried – A Shroud of Thoughts
Elisha Cook, Jr. – Whimsically Classic
Wally Cox – Journeys in Classic Film
Diana Dors – Real Weegie Midget Reviews
Mildred Dunnock and Patricia Collinge – The Last Drive In
Hope Emerson – Shadows and Satin
William Frawley – By Rich Watson
Theresa Harris – Blog of the Darned
Kathleen Harrison – Caftan Woman
Edward Everett Horton – Silent Film Music
Jessie Royce Landis – Michele Price
Lured (1947) Supporting Cast – Paula’s Cinema Club
Subsequent to Day 1 over at Outspoken and Freckled, and Day 2 at Once Upon A Screen, I am presenting Day 3 of our annual tribute to the names below the title, those scene-stealing supporting players who add immeasurably to our favorite films.
First up, Gary Pratt takes a good look — literally — at Donald Pleasance, particularly as half of a beautiful friendship in The Great Escape in a guest post on Outspoken and Freckled.
Lesley at Second Sight Cinema looks at late-blooming Charles Coburn, who nonetheless became “as indispensable to the movies as he had been to the American stage for nearly four decades.”
Aurora at Once Upon A Screen… profiles another late bloomer, the inimitable Majorie Main, whose “physical look, her mannerisms, dry wit, and that voice! all made a package that was not easy to forget.”
The Lady Eve shines the spotlight on Joyce Compton, declaring, “there’s more to [her] story than her turns as scatterbrained, Southern-fried blondes.”
Kellee at Outspoken & Freckled sheds some very deserved light on Frank McHugh’s life and career.
To be continued with more character actors to come…
With a ton of alternate titles and a couple different versions (U.S. and U.K.), this film based on the short story “Casting the Runes” by M.R. James is both genuinely creepy and a fitting part of Turner Classic Movies’ tribute to Peggy Cummins, who passed away on December 29, 2017 at the age of 92. If you haven’t seen it, or even if you have, you ought to, plus it’s the TCM Party tonight at 9:45 p.m. Eastern with guest host Jim Phoel aka @DraconicVerses.
It’s got some really gorgeous black-and-white cinematography by Edward Scaife (who also shot The Third Man) under the direction of dollar-from-a-dime maestro Jacques Tourneur (Out of the Past, Cat People, I Walked with a Zombie). I made some apparently oversized gifs from it (too big for tumblr) and I’m parking ’em here. More gifs after the jump…
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences handed out its first Awards at a dinner party for about 250 people on May 16, 1929, to honor movies released from August 1, 1927 – August 1, 1928. The organization’s first president, Douglas Fairbanks, hosted and presented at the ceremony, held in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. The brainchild of MGM studio mogul Louis B. Mayer, the Academy was formed in 1927 as a non-profit dedicated to the advancement and improvement of the film industry. Some might argue about some of those achievements, but there is one thing that is sure to impress classic movie and Hollywood fans: When the music plays to open this year’s Oscars on March 4, 2018, it will be the 90th time the film industry has honored achievements in movies. Check out all the 1929 nominees and winners.
If you look through 90 years of Oscars ceremonies, you’ll find numerous surprises, disappointments, and controversies, any number of which may spur debate from film aficionados. That’s where we come in. For the sixth consecutive year, I am joining forces with Kellee of Outspoken & Freckled and @Irishjayhawk66 and Aurora of Once Upon A Screen and @CitizenScreen to bring you the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon. Given Oscar’s special anniversary and all of the memories, we hope you’ll consider joining us to make this the best and brightest outing yet. Details & list of participating blogs after the jump…
What’s great about being a character actor is you know that you can survive forever. It’s not about the gloss of your eyebrows.
— Martin Short
We’re back for a fifth consecutive year to honor the versatility and depth of supporting players with the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon. Based on a phrase borrowed from Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the WAC! Blogathon is an event that many look forward to each year. It’s a chance to pay tribute to the Louise Beavers and Eddie Andersons of the movie world — the names that seldom or never appeared above the title. Your enthusiasm for spotlighting the oft-nameless faces that appear in countless beloved movies is admirable, and Aurora, Kellee, and I extend sincere thanks to all of the bloggers who have joined us in the previous four years. We invite you all to help us make the fifth outing extra special. Get all the details after the jump…
As #TCMParty people and/or readers of this blog may or may not know, I’m obsessed with the 1947 mystery-drama Lured. Sure, the presence of one of my favorite velvet-voiced British thespians, George Sanders, has a lot to do with it. But its major charm is Lucille Ball’s fine performance in the lead role, which, while allowing flickers of her comedic genius to show through, always makes me wish she’d done more dramatic roles.
The WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon honors the players who rarely got leading parts, exhibiting instead a versatility and depth many leading actors wished they had. Aurora, Kellee, and I never tire of seeing them show up in films or paying tribute to their talents, and as the previous three installments of this event have proven, neither do you.
And so here I am with Day 1 of the 4th annual WHAT A CHARACTER! I know you can’t wait to read all the fabulous posts. Before you jump in though, we’d like to thank all the participants for their understanding as we re-scheduled the blogathon from last weekend due to world events. We really appreciate your patience.
The third edition of Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide drops tomorrow (September 29, 2015). Updated for the first time since 2010, and presented by Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the Guide covers films “From the Silent Era through 1965.” There’s more than 200 new entries — some of which are running on TCM tonight, including our TCM Party at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Why Be Good? (Maltin gives it 3 stars out of 4, in case you were wondering.)
The bulk of the book is capsule reviews, each of which includes the film’s year of release, running time, rating, director, major cast, and symbols indicating what formats are available. It’s fairly comprehensive, with more than 10,000 entries. Although it’s light on films before 1920, there’s plenty in here that I’ve never heard of. The “Index of Stars” at the end of the book is a partial listing of selected actors’ filmographies and is handy for recalling the name of a movie when you can only remember who starred in it.