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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Day 3 of the 2014 TCMFF was the Best Saturday Morning Ever

Guest writer Amanda Glenn gives an account of her favorite morning at the 2014 TCMFF. One that had two Disney classics and a John Ford favorite, all at one of LA’s most beautiful picture palaces, the lovely El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Blvd. The day also included an appearance by a classic lady.

On the third day of the 2014 TCMFF I was up early, excited for what lay ahead. I left my room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel with a spring in my step, stopped and got a berry yogurt and granola parfait at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and arrived at the El Capitan before the TCM elves (the ones that line us up and herd us gently into the theater throughout the TCMFF) had even appeared. I was not alone. There was a small hovering group of us eager to start the day with the 1967 Disney classic, THE JUNGLE BOOK – a film that came out 47 years ago!

When the lines were formed I had a very low number, so I was assured of obtaining my favorite seat. Basically, I like either a far left side seat on the left aisle, or a right side seat on the right aisle. That way a short person like me is sure to have a good view down the aisle. I was glad to be seated early. It allowed more time to enjoy the fantastic organ and equally fantastic organist playing a seamless run of all those Disney tunes the world knows and loves. I have no doubt that anyone who can’t sing along with that particular repertoire is an alien, born and raised off planet. The robust atmosphere had the audience smiling and the movie hadn’t even started yet. When the house was full a disembodied voice introduced and thanked the organist. And then, wonder of wonders, the organist played a final good bye as he and the organ slowly descended, disappearing magically (or so it appeared from the view from my seat) just below the stage level. It was a magical experience and the day was just beginning.

JUNGLE BOOK was a joy and when it was over I and a vast majority of my fellows rushed out and got in the line to reenter the theater and see another Disney classic, MARY POPPINS. There were literally hundreds before me but I still managed to get a ticket in the high two hundreds and knew I would get in (the El Capitan holds 998 seats). Sure enough, I lucked out and got another aisle seat, much further back but still nobody between the stage and me where the organist was again making the waiting audience smile. Sadly, the disappearing organ was not as magical from this vantage point because I was sitting high enough to see the organ lowering into the stage, so I’m really glad I had the previous experience first.

MARY POPPINS was, of course, pure delight and was particularly enjoyable to see with such an appreciative crowd. The over all effect had me leaving the theater smiling and feeling light enough to do a little floating myself, just as the character Uncle Albert had done in the film. And, like so many others, I floated down the block, around the corner, and around another to the end of the line (I was number four hundred and five) to head once again back into the El Capitan for the next screening of the day, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY. The John Ford classic is one of my very favorite films and one of which I had never seen on a big screen before, so this was one of my festival musts for me this year. This time I had a seat in the balcony, but honestly there is not a bad seat in that El Capitan. The organist was almost at the end of his recital when I got settled in and I was able to watch the beautiful organ disappear from above (I still liked it better the first time).

Needless to say, HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY was the perfect cap to a perfectly marvelous Saturday morning as can only be had at a TCMFF. OK it was now four o’clock, so it was a long morning, but it was the kind of morning you want to last forever. Especially since the film’s beautiful leading lady, Maureen O’Hara was actually in attendance and conducted a Q&A with TCM host, Robert Osborne after the screening. She may be going on 97 years of age, but the five-time co-star to John Wayne was a delightful addition to an already memorable screening. No doubt, my memory of that particular Saturday at the 2014 TCMFF will stay with me for years to come.

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