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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

TCM's 2017 Summer Under the Stars

TCM announces the 2017 Summer Under the Stars Lineup. This is the time of year when Turner Classic Movies turns its attention to providing the ultimate old movie star showcase, paying tribute to 31 different stars over the course of 31 days. Usually, each month on TCM there is a single star of the month. However, each August the game changes to highlighting an individual star each and every day. It's a chance to pay tribute to stars who otherwise might never be featured for a whole month. But there are always plenty of big, recognizable names as well.

Notable highlights from this year's programming include a Robert Mitchum 100th birthday celebration. Although, the rough and rugged star of War films, dramas and Films Noir has been celebrated as a star of the month, TCM couldn't pass up the opportunity of a centennial salute to the man who made complete indifference sexy. Of course the die hard fan will know most of the selections, but there are usually one or two little known surprises thrown in for each star to keep the dedicated viewers on their toes.

And be sure to catch the films dedicated to Elvis on the 40th anniversary of his death. Some say if you've seen one you've seen them all, but I think that's selling the King of Rock and Roll a bit short. His early work is particularly interesting, and shows real signs of a future as a serious actor. And this might have been the case had he not been guided to take the easy road of repeating a popular formula over and over. But, hey, having Elvis' name on the marque sold tickets either way, so I guess the Colonel thought, "why bother".

I'm particularly interested in the days dedicated to Lon Chaney (August 3), Clair Trevor (August 4) and Rod Taylor (August 18). These are stars who enjoyed huge success in their hey-days, but are largely overlooked but even the most devoted classic film enthusiast today. If you don't know these stars, or only recognize them from their most popular films, please do yourself a favor and dig into their portfolio. There's a reason these remarkable talents were once superstars, and the talent demonstrated in their work hasn't faded in the least, even if their stars have.

During the month long celebration be sure to check out what's happening concurrently on other media platforms. The TCM online community is an extremely active one. As a nod of recognition to that viewership two nights of programming has been set aside for selections by real members of the TCM "Backlot" fan club. What's more, dedicated fans can immerse themselves in the star filled atmosphere via an interactive calendar of the stars, online quizzes and live tweeting events. And there are plenty of other non-TCM social media activities created by bloggers, tweeters and the like for those looking to make the most of their social media profiles and online presence. Why not make the most of the 24 hours devoted to each chosen star. This only comes around once a year, after all. Or should I say thirty-one times a year.

EXTRA BONUS MATERIAL: Here's a fun little game for you. The following is a slight description of some of the films airing this August. How many titles do you think you can figure out just from these small clues? A couple or so, you're not doing too bad. Five out of ten is pretty good, but ten out ten makes you an expert! If you get stuck, just reach out to me on social media via for the answers. I'm @classicfilms on Twitter, classicfilmprofessor on Instagram and classicfilmfan on SnapChat.

1) A married man whose wife is on vacation falls for the blonde bombshell upstairs.

2) A silent-screen swashbuckler finds love while trying to adjust to the coming of sound.

3) A substitute teacher changes the lives of the slum children in his class.

4) A girl from the wrong side of the tracks endures scandal and heartbreak when she falls for a high-society boy.

5) An Irish ex-boxer retires to Ireland and searches for the proper wife.

6) A race-car driver falls for a pretty swimming instructor who wants him to slow down his career.

7) A Korean War hero doesn't realize he's been programmed to kill by the enemy.

8) Tabloid reporters crash a society marriage.

9) A WWII drifter finds himself protecting schoolgirls and their beautiful teacher.

10) A dying plantation owner tries to help his alcoholic son solve his problems.

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