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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Vale Robert Osborne

Robert Osborne died just a couple of days ago.

All around the world there are or used to be, blokes, just about exclusively blokes, who are beloved presenters of classic movies on television stations. Australia has had two standouts, Bill Collins and David Stratton. Since TCM first went to air it was graced by the presence of Robert Osborne.  Avuncular, precise to the point of being almost automaton-ish. Osborne presented the first film ever shown on the channel, Gone with the Wind, inevitablyand you'll find him on more than four hundred others if you are  one of those with TCM copies your collection.

His intros were models of informed discussion and that deep love of Hollywood in all its facets - from the great films to the nether reaches that characterises a lot of American film commentary.

This was by the way TCM stateside. The local far more limited and impoverished version shown here  until it was recently removed from the Foxtel roster (thus rendering the Foxtel movie offering basically worthless) has never run to frills like presenters so Australians never got the chance to experience Robert's skills and benefit from his knowledge

There is an an excellent report about about Osborne and his charmed life in the Hollywood Reporter which you can find if you click here.

The recently published book "A Thousand Cuts: The Bizarre Underground World of Collectors and Dealers who Saved the Movies, which I wrote about just a while ago (click here), has a chapter on Osborne which gives some details about his 'hobby' as a collector and his network of Hollywood friends. Nice stuff.

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