The CMBA is excited to start a new series that profiles our member bloggers. Two classic movie blogs will be featured each month, one on the 1st and the other on the 15th. Today we're toasting the blog (and the man) who started it all: Rick from Classic Film and TV Café.
Classic Film and TV Café is a lively blog that always teaches you something new. Topics include classic film and television shows, obscure facts about classic celebrities and the famous Movie-TV Connection Game (click HERE for a sample).
One of the outstanding features of this blog is the impressive amount of interviews the Café conducts. Rick has interviewed a surprising number of classic film and television insiders, including celebrities and biographers.
"I've been fortunate enough to interview several classic film and television stars," says Rick. "One of my favorite interviews was with three-time Oscar nominee Piper Laurie. I sat beside her for almost an hour at a nostalgia convention, and she patiently answered my questions as she autographed photos." (You can read the interview HERE.)
CMBA: What sparked your interest in classic film?
Classic Film & TV Cafe: I think I inherited it. I don't think my parents would have called themselves film buffs, but my family watched a lot of movies. Films starring Errol Flynn, Ronald Colman, or Bing Crosby were family "events." My sister and I rarely missed Shock Theater on Saturday nights. I became exposed to silent films by watching them on 16mm at the public library. When I attended Indiana University, I took at least one film course per semester and became exposed to international cinema. My friends – and my future wife – enjoyed watching classic films with me. I guess classic movies have always been a part of my life.
CMBA: Why did you decide to start the CMBA?
Classic Film & TV Cafe: My first experience with blogging was TCM's Classic Film Union. I enjoyed reading other people's posts on classic cinema and their thoughts on mine. Unfortunately, one overzealous blogger began to post 5-8 times daily and dominate the "white space." That inspired me to create my own blog, and I invited several other bloggers to join me. We supported each other with comments, which was great...but then, I thought: "Why not expand our community to include other classic movie blogs?"
I created the CMBA on October 31, 2009 and invited Rupert Alistair of Classic Movies Digest to become its second member. My wife and Rupert asked lots of questions about the CMBA. In response, I wrote the CMBA Charter and defined the CMBA's mission as to: promote classic movies; support fellow classic movie bloggers; establish and maintain quality blogging standards; and recognize classic movie blogging excellence.
By the way, did you know there's a Classic TV Blog Association, too?
CMBA: What makes a film a "classic" in your opinion?
Classic Film & TV Cafe: It must have an enduring appeal or message. It bothers me when fellow classic film fans try to define "classic" by a decade. I first saw Casablanca in the 1960s and it was already a classic, even though it was barely 20 years old.
I also don't buy it when people say there aren't any classic stars like in the "old days." I think today's stars, such as Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep, will be remembered as screen icons.
CMBA: What classic film(s) do you recommend to people who say they hate old movies?
Classic Film & TV Cafe: Well, it depends on the viewer's age. I have shown The Court Jester, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and The 7th Voyage of Sinbad to many young viewers and have delighted in watching the joy on their faces. For my adult friends, I typically introduce them to classic cinema via Rear Window, Laura, Lover Come Back, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Bringing Up Baby, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Black Narcissus, Curse of the Demon, and The List of Adrian Messenger.
CMBA: Why should people care about classic film?
Classic Film & TV Cafe: If you truly love movies, you need to embrace all of cinema. You need to sample films from different eras (e.g., silent, pre-code). You need to explore different genres (e.g., film noir, the adult Western of the 1960s, Hammer's horror films, Laurel and Hardy's physical comedy). You need to expand your horizons beyond classic Hollywood and branch into the foreign-language films of Renoir, Lang, Bergman, Fellini, and Kurosawa. You may not like some of it, but you'll never know until you try.
CMBA: What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
Classic Film & TV Cafe: Sharing my love of classic movies and learning from other classic film and TV fans. I do a monthly quiz in which I'll often list two actors connected by a common thread (e.g., Michael Caine and Basil Rathbone both starred in films called Dressed to Kill). I'm always surprised – and delighted – by people who provide a different answer than mine – which is also correct. (Did you know Caine and Rathbone both played Scrooge?)
CMBA: What challenges do you face with your blog, and how do you overcome them?
Classic Film & TV Cafe: Unpleasant people have stolen my copyrighted content and posted it as their own. I have filed formal complaints and requested my content be removed, but so far without much success.
CMBA: What advice would you give to a new blogger?
Classic Film & TV Cafe: Try to make your blog different from existing blogs. Consider creating a niche blog. Or, write about different classic films; for example, there are dozens of reviews of The Awful Truth, but very few about Bunny Lake Is Missing. Finally, try to write well (my wife is my editor!) and publish posts on a regular basis. If you stop blogging for a long period, many readers will stop visiting your blog.
Thank you for joining us, Rick! You can visit his blog by clicking HERE.