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Happy 15th, Turner Classic Movies

TCM Now Playing cover, January 1995Turner Classic Movies has been on the air for fifteen years this month — wow! Noel Murray of the A.V. Club salutes the anniversary in a blog post. I remember when TCM first started very well. Ted Turner’s other cable channel, TNT, broadcast previews of their new venture that spring. As soon as I saw Robert Osborn’s classy intro for Flamingo Road, I knew that this was gonna be something new and interesting. The retro logo, ad campaign and identity system designed by the wonderful Charles S. Anderson company confirmed that fact. This wasn’t like American Movie Classics at all. Although I was a fan of AMC, the channel (as it existed in 1994) was a more humble affair generally geared towards oldsters who remembered classic films when they were new. Enjoyable, but not cool in any way, shape or form.

Seeing the Now Playing program guide cover posted at the A.V. Club reminded me of something else. In the early years, TCM published their monthly schedule on a single, folded up piece of paper. And it was shipped for free to anybody who was interested. Even before I could get the channel (being an apartment dweller with limited income was not fun), I pored through these schedules with their enticing titles. Later on, I participated in a customer survey that helped to determine the format and listing style for the glossy, more detailed schedule that we know and love today.

I can also remember that it wasn’t so easy to get the channel in its early years. A co-worker at the time was housesitting for someone with a fancy satellite system. I handed him a bunch of blank VHS tapes and told him to just put them in the VCR and record TCM; I didn’t even care if it only caught parts of movies. In late Spring 1996, I was a new homeowner — with cable setup — and could finally enjoy them 24/7. Unlike many other cable channels, TCM hasn’t changed a lot over the years. They know not to tinker with a good thing. Happy anniversary, TCM.

P.S. Another good, albeit unrelated, read: Typeface Inspired by Comic Books Has Become a Font of Ill Will (thanks Christopher!).

One Thought on “Happy 15th, Turner Classic Movies

  1. Christopher on April 18, 2009 at 11:22 am said:

    It seems 1994 was a good year for you: TCM premiered and you met me. Here’s a kiss. :-*

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