Showing posts with label Norman Lloyd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Norman Lloyd. Show all posts

Monday, August 2, 2021

The New Deal for Artists (1981)

"One of the horrors of a society... is the break with the past, a lack of continuity. Young people know nothing of the past. For that matter even people who lived in the past have forgotten it... the New Deal, The Arts Project, is a good case in point. It's as though it never existed." — Studs Turkel

Time threatened to erase the history of the WPA (Work Progress Administration) and the impact its artists had on the culture of 1930s America and beyond. Part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal, the WPA helped create jobs for many Americans during the throes of the Great Depression. This included unemployed artists who were paid $23.86 a week to create art. Jobs were created for actors, directors, musicians, painters, dancers and photographers. Through their different art forms, these creators told the story of an America that was enduring great strife. Theatrical productions played out social dilemmas for audiences, photographers captured the devastation of the Dust Bowl, painters made an impact by creating murals in public spaces, writers documented American life for present and future generations. Black and indigenous communities as well as other minority groups were encouraged to participate. The work of WPA artists stirred up political sentiment that went on to the scrutinized by communist fear mongers who took action to erase their work. 

Photo courtesy of Corinth Films

Image courtesy of Corinth Films

Photo courtesy of Corinth Films

Photo courtesy of Corinth Films

Just in time for the 40th anniversary, Corinth Films has released director Wieland Schulz-Keil's The New Deal for Artists (1981). In the late 1970s, Schulz-Keil had made a 4 hour film for German television about the United States during the Great Depression. A 90 minute section of this longer film, focusing just on WPA artists, was released for American audiences with narration by Orson Welles. The New Deal for Artists examines a time when artists were documenting and disseminating a pivotal moment in our nation's history. We take social documentary for granted these days but back then it was a new concept. The documentary interviews artists, historians and politicians including John Houseman, Studs Turkel, John Randolph, Nelson Algren, Will Geer, Howard Da Silva and even our beloved Norman Lloyd. Film history buffs will appreciate the fact that this documentary offers extensive background on the Federal Theater Project which Houseman, Welles and Lloyd were involved with.

The film has been remastered for DVD and digital. The DVD release includes a 12-page booklet with original essays by Armond White and Ed Rampell.

The New Deal for Artists (1981) is a remarkable documentary, a veritable time capsule of an era when the US government paid artists to capture American life. It fights against obscurity simply by existing. A must watch for anyone interested in cultural history.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Red Carpet: 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival Opening Night

Thursday April 26th was the opening night for the 9th annual TCM Classic Film Festival. That evening TCM celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Producers (1968) with director Mel Brooks in attendance. Director Martin Scorsese was also on hand to received the inaugural Robert Osborne Award for excellence in the preservation of classic film heritage.

For the third year in a row, I was on the red carpet at the opening night of TCMFF to take photos and to interview some of the special guests. The red carpet is the most exciting part of the festival. Not only do the evening's honorees walk the carpet but you also see TCM hosts, festival presenters, festival passholders, actors, actresses, directors and a host of other celebrities. And of course, Norman Lloyd. 

I had a blast this year on the carpet. I of course had my moment of Norman Lloyd as I called out to him with words of adoration and air kisses. He stopped for a brief moment to acknowledge me and my fellow Lloyd admirer Nora aka Nitrate Diva. Lloyd is always a highlight of the festival. You can read here all the previous times I've seen him at TCMFF. 

The red carpet has been a test of my social skills and each year I get better and more confident. I went from being an awkward and shy teenager to a thirty something who yells out to celebrities on the red carpet. If you told me years ago that I'd be yelling out to Maxwell Caulfield (Empire Records!) and Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do!) in the same evening I wouldn't have believed you.

Below is a collection of photos I took on the red carpet. I also conducted interviews which I'll be posting here and on my YouTube channel. Those video interviews include Alan K. Rode, Ben Model, Wyatt McCrea, Dennis Miller, Leonard Maltin, Bill Morrison, Ruta Lee, Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey.

Mel Brooks TCM Classic Film Festival
Director Mel Brooks

Alicia Malone TCM Classic Film Festival
TCM host Alicia Malone

Alan K. Rode TCM Classic Film Festival
Author Alan K. Rode and his wife

Wyatt McCrea TCM Classic Film Festival
Wyatt McCrea

Ben Model TCM Classic Film Festival
Silent film accompanist Ben Model

Jennifer Dorian and Coleman Breland TCM Classic Film Festival
TCM General Manager Jennifer Dorian and TCM President Coleman Breland

The Pigeon Sisters from The Odd Couple: Monica Evans and Carole Shelley

The Pigeon Sisters from The Odd Couple: Monica Evans and Carole Shelley

Melvin van Peebles and Mario van Peebles TCM Classic Film Festival
Mandela, Melvin and Mario van Peebles

Juliet Mills and Maxwell Caulfield TCM Classic Film Festival
Juliet Mills and Maxwell Caulfield

Gillian Armstrong TCM Classic Film Festival
Director Gillian Armstrong and Marya Gates of TCM

Paul Sorvino TCM Classic Film Festival
Paul Sorvino

Norman Lloyd TCM Classic Film Festival
Norman Lloyd

Norman Lloyd TCM Classic Film Festival
More Norman Lloyd because one can never have enough of this living legend.

Ben Mankiewicz TCM Classic Film Festival
TCM Host Ben Mankiewicz

John Martin TCM Classic Film Festival
Turner CEO John Martin

Mark Bridges TCM Classic Film Festival
Costume Designer Mark Bridges (Phantom Thread)

Pola Changnon TCM Classic Film Festival
Pola Changnon

Kate Flannery TCM Classic Film Festival
Kate Flannery

Keith Carradine TCM Classic Film Festival
Keith Carradine

Dennis Miller TCM Classic Film Festival
Dennis Miller

Andrea Savage and Tom Everett Scott TCM Classic Film Festival
Andrea Savage and Tom Everett Scott 

Larry Mirisch TCM Classic Film Festival
Larry Mirisch

Suzanne Lloyd TCM Classic Film Festival
Suzanne Lloyd

Rudy De Luca TCM Classic Film Festival
Rudy De Luca

John Mankiewicz TCM Classic Film Festival
TV writer John Mankiewicz (House of Cards)

Martin Scorsese TCM Classic Film Festival
Martin Scorsese

Lolita Davidovich and Ron Shelton TCM Classic Film Festival
Lolita Davidovich and Ron Shelton

Ruta Lee TCM Classic Film Festival
Actress Ruta Lee

Eva Marie Saint TCM Classic Film Festival
Eva Marie Saint in the background

Rosanna Arquette TCM Classic Film Festival
Rosanna Arquette

Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey TCM Classic Film Festival
Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My Memories of Norman Lloyd at #TCMFF

Ben Mankiewicz and Norman Lloyd at the Live at the TCM Classic Film Festival screening (Press photo)

Today is Norman Lloyd's 102nd birthday. To celebrate TCM willl be airing the 2015 Norman Lloyd Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival. I was in the studio audience for that legendary interview. It was an experience I'll never forget and I'm excited for everyone else to see it. To commemorate his birthday and the airing of the special I'll be sharing my memories of seeing Lloyd from three different TCM Classic Film Festivals.

Back in 2013 when I was preparing for my very first TCMFF, Laura of Laura's Miscellaneous Musings had pointed out that 98 year old Norman Lloyd would be in attendance at a screening of The Lady Vanishes (1938) and that it was not to be missed. Taking her suggestion I quickly altered my TCMFF schedule. And so began a series of amazing encounters with Norman Lloyd.

The first was at the 2013 TCMFF but before the film screening. Aurora (Citizen Screen), Laura and I were at Club TCM sitting in the way back by the main entrance while attendees were participating in the So You Think You Know the Movies? trivia game. And guess who walks through the door? None other than the man himself, Norman Lloyd. Aurora pointed him out to Laura and I and we all stared in wonder. No one else had spotted him because he had slipped in as a surprise guest and everyone's attention was on the main stage. Aurora went right up to him and shook his hand. That was one of a series of "Aurora moments" named after her special encounters which resulted from her determination and some luck. She inspired me to make my own moments at future festivals. (More on the experience here.)

Norman Lloyd at Club TCM
A couple of days later I attended the special screening of The Lady Vanishes (1938). Leonard Maltin was on hand to interview Norman Lloyd about Alfred Hitchcock and his work. Lloyd was as fit as a fiddle at 98 with a mind as sharp as a tack. The interview was fascinating. He regaled us with stories and charmed our socks off. You can watch the full interview below and check out my transcript and notes on the experience here.

Norman Lloyd getting a standing ovation at TCMFF 2013

Norman Lloyd at TCMFF 2013

Little did I know that these two experiences were only beginning. Even more amazing encounters were to come.

Fast forward to the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival and Norman Lloyd returned as a festival guest. I had such a fabulous time seeing him in 2013 that I made a point to see him again.

That year I decided to sit in the bleachers and watch the stars walk down the red carpet on opening night. Norman Lloyd was one of those guests. Here he is on the red carpet with Ben Mankiewicz and Sean Cameron greeting the fans in the bleachers.

Norman Lloyd bows to the fans in the bleachers. 2015 TCMFF

Next up was a screening of Reign of Terror (1949) hosted Eddie Muller of the Noir Foundation with special guest Norman Lloyd who plays Tallien in the film. 

I almost didn't make it to this screening. I got there kind of late having just come from Christopher Plummer's hand and footprint ceremony. Lucky for me I got one of the last seats. Unfortunately it was in the front row at the far right which proved to be an awkward spot for viewing the film. However it was the perfect spot to see Norman Lloyd come down the stairs for the interview after the screening. 

Eddie Muller and Norman Lloyd
At 100 Norman Lloyd was STILL as sharp as a tack. At one point in the conversation he went off topic and started to ramble but remembered to come back to the original question, something I can't even do and I'm several decades younger. You can read my post about the interview here.

After the interview Lloyd at to walk back up those stairs and I had the perfect vantage point. He was going to walk right past me again and this time I was determined to talk to him. I'm a shy person and can get tongue-tied very quickly. But I can always say "thank you". It's simple, it's direct and I can't mess it up. And when Lloyd walked up to the stairs I gave him a big smile and said "thank you." He looked and said "thank YOU". I was on cloud nine. I can't believe that I spoke to the great Norman Lloyd. And that wouldn't be the only time either. More on that to come.

Set-up for the Live at the TCM Classic Film Festival with Norman Lloyd

Press photo of Norman Lloyd greeting the audience at TCMFF

At that point I couldn't get enough Norman Lloyd so it was imperative that I attend the Live at the TCM Classic Film Festival interview hosted by Ben Mankiewicz and featuring Lloyd. I blocked out an entire morning to get in line and attend the two hour event (it'll be edited down to one hour for television). 

Press photo of Ben Mankiewicz and Norman Lloyd at TCMFF

Words cannot express how wonderful this experience was to me. I ran the gamut of emotions: I laughed, I cheered, I cried. I loved listening to Lloyd's stories about the Great Depression, working with heavyweights like Hitchcock, Chaplin and Welles, his work on film and TV, his beloved wife Peggy who past away a few years ago, his most recent film Trainwreck (2015) and countless other stories. My favorite moment was when Mankiewicz asked Lloyd about seeing Babe Ruth at Yankee stadium. Lloyd stood up, animated and regaled us with the story.  I sincerely hope that moment made the final cut. After a year and a half I'm curious to see video of this day, to refresh my memory on things I forgot and to relive all those emotions. Lloyd charmed us all (he even flirted with the make-up artist) and I hope he'll charm you all too.

Can you see me? I'm to the left of Norman Lloyd's head peeking out from above his chair! (Press Photo)

My Norman Lloyd story doesn't end there. I got one last glorious experience with him at the 2016 TCM Classic Film Festival and it was totally unexpected. 

When I was preparing for my fourth festival, I was determined to fulfill my dream and interview stars on the red carpet. I got the full guest list for opening night and I studied all the names closely. Even though Norman Lloyd wasn't technically a special guest at the festival, he was going to walk the red carpet and attend the opening night party. This was my chance to talk to him again! I was at the end of the interview line and by the time he came down my way he was no longer doing interviews. However I knew I had to work fast to make an Aurora moment happen. I seized the opportunity to have some sort of  interaction with him.

I called out to him proclaiming "WE LOVE YOU NORMAN LLOYD!". He stopped looked around trying to find who was calling out to him. I repeated "WE LOVE YOU NORMAN LLOYD!" He looked over at me and said "beautiful!"

Norman Lloyd looking over at me. 2016 TCMFF red carpet.

Then I replied, "no YOU'RE beautiful!" And I blew him a kiss.

Norman Lloyd blowing me a kiss. 2016 TCMFF red carpet.

And you'll never believe it but he blew me a kiss back! I almost fainted. What an experience. I flirted with Norman Lloyd on the red carpet! I didn't get video of the encounter but I have these three photos, eye witness accounts and my own memory of the event. 

Can you find me in this picture? I'm in the pink dress in between Norman Lloyd and TCM's Sean Cameron
(Press photo via Zimbio) 

I want to wish Norman Lloyd a very happy 102nd birthday. I want to thank him for all those wonderful moments at the TCM Classic Film Festival as well as his body of work in film and television which has entertained many of us for decades. Happy birthday!

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