“I grew up in a small town where I went to the movies a lot and fell in love with all these people. I also fell in love with the movie business. So all I saw were actors on the screen so I thought, well, that’s what I have to be if I want to be a part of the movie business.”
At some point in our lives, all of us have wanted to be associated with movies. Whether it’s a child who watches a cartoon or superhero movie and acts them out, or someone who actively chases the dream of going to Hollywood, we want to be part of the movies. It’s part of the appeal. Some actually follow their dream and become the movie stars, directors or any other movie craftsman. There are plenty of opportunities out there. I mean, have you read the credits to any movie lately? There are literally thousands of roles in which one can get into the movie business. The only problem is that you have to compete with about a few hundred thousand others, so the odds are still 500 to 1.
So the trick is to create your own role. That’s what Robert Osborne did, and it helps that he’s just the absolute best.
Decades ago, Osbourne graduated with a degree in journalism and went to Hollywood to try his hand at the business. He was quickly signed as an actor at Desilu studios, spearheaded by Desi Arnez and Lucille Ball. After a few roles, Lucy herself recommended to Robert that he pursue his writing career, and he considers it to the be the single best piece of advice he ever received. He pushed his original career path of journalism but now with an unprecedented Hollywood flavor. He became a scribe and focused his energies on the Academy Awards themselves. His first book, Academy Awards Illustrated, was published in 1965. And ever since, he’s become Hollywood’s official “biographer of Oscar.” Over the years, he’s parlayed this role into an “ambassador of film” of sorts, and has been a host on Turner Classic Movies since its inception two decades ago.
As part of the 2014 Summer Classic Film Series, The Paramount will be hosting Robert Osborne, and he is bringing an oft forgotten piece of film history with him. On July 20, he is hosting a screening of the film DODSWORTH.
DODSWORTH is a 1936 film directed by William Wyler, director of numerous classics like JEZEBEL, MRS. MINIVER, ROMAN HOLIDAY and BEN-HUR. For those who complain that today Hollywood only uses its resources to make disposable entertainment for tweens and teenage minds, DODSWORTH will be a refreshing breath from when Hollywood made movies for grown-ups. Starring Walter Huston and Ruth Chatterton, the film is a bittersweet story about a marriage in crisis. When a recently retired tycoon and his wife go on a grand European tour, they discover that they desire different things out of life and begin to deal with those consequences. Wyler also uses the film to point out differences between American and European attitudes about etiquette, morality and culture.
Sounds interesting and refreshing all at once. Consider this the oasis in the desert, since those modern multiplexes are featuring dinosaur robots, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fighting animals and Scarlett Johansson using assassin skills. An Evening with Robert Osborne will be far different than most anything you will find in theaters this summer, and embodies the kind of fare we find at Paramount all summer.
Don’t view it as a mere nostalgic trip to a time long gone from Hollywoods’ heyday, but more of a reminder of the kinds of stories and craftsmanship that motivate us. Inspiration can be as simple as looking up at the screen and being transported to some other place you’d rather be. And when the film stops and the lights go back up, you can work on making your dream become a reality. Whether it’s as a movie star, a screen writer, a director or even a historian like Osborne himself. That, my friends is the part of the magic of movies: creating new worlds and allowing you to create your own.
You can dream all you like, but don’t sleep on this magical experience. Robert Osborne will appear at The Paramount on July 20th at 7:00 p.m.