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The Sunny Side of Sad

TCM Sunny SideThis morning I was having my usual idle TV watching session and was disappointed to find that Turner Classic Movies replaced their longstanding “Sunny Side of Life” movie intros with a more generic intro showing contemporary footage of morning commuters, pigeons and tall buildings. Yawn. This was inevitable, since the channel’s previously chaotic on-air visual identity has been gradually moving to a more consistent “cityscape” theme over the past year. Supposedly this is part of an overall effort to attract more youthful viewers, but mostly the new imagery comes across as safe and borning. One TCM forum poster likened this new intro to a late-’80s Levis ad, and I’d have to agree. “Sunny Side” must have played in our home at least a thousand times, but I never got tired of the spot’s calming animation, Edward Hopper-like visuals, and Chet Baker’s voice/trumpet. Oh well.

At least TCM still does one visual identity with a sense of style and panache: the “This Month” promos. Vintage clips expertly edited with a current, edgy song on the soundtrack can actually make old movies look hip. Look at the beautiful job they did using Beck’s “Lonesome Tears” (this one’s from 2003, I believe):

6 Thoughts on “The Sunny Side of Sad

  1. Christopher on April 20, 2007 at 7:05 pm said:

    Whenever “Sunny Side” would start, I would always think “Something great’s gonna happen,” and I would get all excited for whatever was coming up. Very sad to see something so great (TCM) become so common — although, thankfully, less common than network television. Talk about yawn factor!

  2. James on May 3, 2007 at 9:26 am said:

    I can’t believe they removed that intro. I agree with Chris, I always felt as though a GREAT movie was coming on – and it DID! Why mess with perfection? It was calming and put the viewer inthe mood for the coming feature. The network is not going to attract new viewers with a new intro, they are only upsetting the faithful viewers. What is next, Turner New-Classic Movies?

  3. Judith on July 11, 2007 at 1:26 pm said:

    Who designed “Sunny Side?” No matter what time of day or evening I viewed it, I was immediately cheered with the idea of how art can transport us. It was brilliant. How can we get it back?

  4. Angela on July 15, 2008 at 10:17 am said:

    I couldn’t agree more with all of you! What an unfortunate switch—I loved how unusual and cozy the “Sunny Side of Life” morning intro felt. It was hopeful, contemplative and comforting, the way a cup of coffee or tea by a bright window feels in the morning; the sun is warming you up for a new day–goals will be reached, perhaps some mistakes will be made, but for a moment, you can patter around the kitchen in the warmth of a robe and accept new beginnings to old losses. That’s how the “Sunnyside” intro made me feel; the past remains a living part of humanity by our daily connections, moments and pauses. As far as hoping to attract a younger crowd, I’m only in my twenties and I’ve always loved watching this intro after night shift or before a morning class. I also haven’t been able to find it anywhere online. What gives? The spirit of TCM is supposed to be in holding onto the “good stuff”.

  5. Mr. Clue? on October 25, 2008 at 3:16 pm said:

    Oh man, I have literally been heartbroken since this replacement of what I consider ‘the ultimate TCM theme song’. It made me happy every single time I heard that tune even if I didn’t watch the upcoming movie. The strange thing is I never heard it before TCM became one of my favorite channels to watch but once I heard it for the first time it immediately captured me and gave me nostalgic feelings. I appreciated that short clip more than TCM will ever realize and until they return ‘the sunny side of life’ my day holds a boredom that is hard to shake.

  6. Sabrina M. on July 21, 2010 at 10:07 am said:

    My eyes are filled with tears right now. I thought my family was alone in our heartbreak over the removal/replacement of this incredibly enchanting introduction to TCM’s morning movies. My children and I would immediately feel a sense of tranquility the moment that intro began. I agree that TCM should be more concerned with keeping with classic tradition rather than trying to appeal to the masses or to a younger crowd. “The Sunny Side of Life” made our worries go away and the various stresses of life disappear…………if only for a moment……..

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