Next to PBS, my favorite television network is probably Turner Classic Movies. TCM has been a staple on most cable line-ups for nearly twenty years, and part of its allure (besides the excellent programming of classic film and the no-commercials policy) is the venerable long-time host, Robert Osborne. A film historian of great repute, Mr. Obsorne provides the introductions and exiting remarks to every movie aired on TCM during the evenings. He is returning to the network tomorrow night after an almost five-month hiatus due to health reasons. I, for one, am more than pleased.
There's something special about TCM. The aforementioned attributes of programming, hosting and lack of commercials create the perfect storm of television so comfortable that tuning-in is like slipping into a pair of comfy slippers. Robert Osborne adds so much to this mix. His knowledge of film is outstanding, and his demeanor is personable and, dare I say it, comforting. Whether he's approaching the camera with his assured gait, or sitting down letting us slowly come in for a close chat, Osborne smoothly puts you in the mood for the movie you're about to watch, and provides information about the plot and filmmakers that is always interesting.
It's been an all right time during Robert Osborne's absence these past few months. Many notable persons have stepped-in to contribute hosting duties. Robert Wagner, Ben Mankiewicz, Tippi Hedren and Leonard Maltin have been some of the best folks to fill-in. But none have been able to truly fill Osborne's shoes. It will be a welcome sight to see him return to his regular hosting duties. He is an integral part of what makes TCM so wonderfully unique.