TCM’s showing of “At Sword’s Point” on Friday, part of its tribute to the late Maureen O’Hara, was preceded by what may be the oddest Robert Osborne introduction I have ever seen. Bob was taped against a black background and filmed from above, as if he were in a black hole. I do know that Bob has been taping his segments in New York in recent years rather than in Atlanta and perhaps there was some problem in getting his set ready – or something. But this was very strange indeed.
I assumed the black background was simply a straightforward and respectful “frame” for his introduction of the 24 hour memorial retrospective of her work. I agree the angle of Bob’s medium shot was odd, but it seemed like all the intros and interstices were shot in one session, so they picked an angle he liked and stuck with it. I’m almost 20 years younger than Mr. Osborne and when you have the energy to do something you’d better go at it and get it done…I hope there is nothing more sinister at work, and hope you don’t think so either.
Keep up the good work Larry.
He also looks less well put together above. He’s been on the scene for so many decades. First as an actor, then as a daily columnist for the Hollywood Reporter, and in his current position of host/historian for TCM. His has always been a top-drawer presence. Now, age and health changes are beginning to break through, as they eventually do for most of us. I think the time has come for us to salute him and offer a virtual hug for being so good for so long.
Larry, you were responsible for the Maureen O’Hara tribute sets. What happened?
As far back as I can remember, whenever TCM has to put together a program of films to honor a recently deceased film star, they always go with the black background for the intros. Since it’s an interruption to their regular schedule, they can’t set up things as carefully as they normally do, so the set-ups are simple and spare (and black) so the work can be done quickly. I agree that Robert Osborne was filmed from an odd angle, but such things often happen on a short hastily-drawn-up production schedule.