Welcome To Your Arbitrarily Incomplete Discussion Of TCM’s In Memoriam Tribute

SPOILER ALERT AND PRO-TIP: The video works much better if you pop it out to full screen. If you don’t, the names are cut off.

I’m a sucker for these In Memoriam things, and Turner Classic Movies’ version is first out the gate this awards season. No, I’m not counting the Emmys in awards season because while they are indeed award-y, they’re not in the crucial year-end/new year block of awardpalooza.


In memoriam features are sweet and sad and lovely and short enough that you feel nostalgic without tipping into full-on maudlin. They are also, apparently, a source of some controversy as to who gets included and who does not. In the Emmy Awards not-an-award-season version from earlier this year, Jack Klugman aka Quincy got snubbed and Glee’s Cory Monteith got included and there was much anger. TCM’s version includes Klugman but omits Monteith, so I guess it’s up to you to decide how that makes you feel.

Watching these things each year – did I mention I cry like a baby during the Oscars one? I totally do. Anyway. Watching these things each year is always an exercise in memory: “Hey, I didn’t remember that one, but they were great. Hey, who is that? Oh, hey, I remember that and it’s just so sad.”

The person that sparked that last feeling for most people this year was Roger Ebert, a man who wrote his own elegy far more beautifully than anyone else could have. We lost a lot of other people that you’ll remember this year too: Jean Stapleton, Eileen Brennan, Annette Funicello, James Gandolfini – and if you watch clips from any of those people you will probably cry if you are that sort of person and I am way that sort of person.

In the Didn’t Remember But They Were Great category you’ll see people like Charles Durning and Dennis Farina, and I will defend Dennis Farina’s awesomeness to my last breath, because dude was a Chicago cop in real life who later played a badass New York cop in Law and Order life. Yep, I’m perfectly aware he bashed hippies – literally – during the real cop years, and not going to defend that, but still love the real cop/pretend cop symmetry.

The Who Is That?? category is always chock full of cinematographers and such, but I’m enough of a nerd that I then have to look each of them up and see what they worked on. What? You have a better hobby??

This year, I have my own personal category: the Sadly, No We’re Not Related subdivision starring Hal Needham, baller stuntman and director of things like Cannonball Run.


Aren’t those opening credits the fucking best?

Expect an even more extensive trip down memory lane after I watch the Oscar In Memoriam in a few months. SORRY NOT SORRY.

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