Host Dave Karger leads off annual festival with a Barbara Stanwyck day
Despite the differences of this summer from any that came before it, “Summer Under the Stars” always is a part of the season.
Turner Classic Movies spends each August showcasing films of one performer each day, and the festival begins anew with a 24-hour tribute to Barbara Stanwyck on Saturday, Aug. 1. Dave Karger says “the calendar gods have smiled on me” by again making him the TCM host who both opens and closes the event, wrapping it up with a salute to veteran French talent Alain Delon on Aug. 31.
In-between is the traditional mix of screen icons and notable character actors. Working his usual Monday-night and Saturday-afternoon beat on TCM, Karger also has on his “Summer Under the Stars” watch Rita Hayworth, Charlie Chaplin, Norma Shearer, Nina Foch, Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood, George Raft and Eva Marie Saint. Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, Laurence Olivier, Rock Hudson, Sammy Davis Jr., Goldie Hawn and the recently deceased Olivia de Havilland are among others with days devoted to their work.
“I drew the good straw on Barbara Stanwyck,” the friendly Karger muses, “because she is a favorite of all of the TCM hosts. Ben (Mankiewicz) and Eddie (Muller) are both huge fans of hers, as am I … but I don’t get to introduce my favorite Stanwyck movie. That is ‘Stella Dallas,’ which comes later in the month, on the Anne Shirley day (Aug. 25). I do introduce four Stanwyck films, though, so I feel very fortunate.”
Still, Karger admits to good-natured jealousy when actors he especially admires are on others’ “Summer Under the Stars” docket. This year, he says that list is topped by Cary Grant: “Alicia (Malone) gets to do that, and I’ll be watching ‘Charade,’ without a doubt. He is just one of my favorites. Also, Lana Turner; I love the kinds of movies she made, like ‘Peyton Place’ and ‘Madame X.’ And when I saw there was a Rock Hudson day, I thought, ‘Come on. I should be doing that.’ ”
While many of the daily “Summer Under the Stars” subjects have been gone for years, Karger reflects, ‘I really like the days where we spotlight people who are still with us. Not only do we have 24 hours of Eva Marie Saint, but Goldie Hawn, and also Warren Beatty — who I got to interview a couple of years ago in front of the Oscar voters, which was a thrill of a lifetime.”
Karger notes the overall “Summer Under the Stars” lineup “is like a jigsaw puzzle that the TCM programmers manage to fit together every year, and it boggles my mind how they do it. We’re just the lucky people who get to present it to the audience.”