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Pass The Popcorn: WCNY-TV Airs 48 Hours Of Fine Films This Weekend

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Hang onto your popcorn, film fans: "The Boy with Green Hair" is back.

What? Can it be? You mean the 1948 Joseph Losey film with the weird title (and an even weirder premise, since the title is literal) can be seen in Syracuse? Where? When?

Well, it'll be shown on WCNY-TV, Channel 24. At 9:55 a.m.

Let's see ... 40-year-old weirdly-titled films by directors with cult followings, shown at weird times, on a public television station. Wait a second. Is somebody trying to sneak a fund drive in on us here?

No, no, no. In fact, it's the very opposite of a fund drive. It's WCNY saying thanks to all those people who signed up or renewed memberships during its December "Countdown" campaign, which raised $200,000 without a single pledge break. It's WCNY's "Great 48-Hour Movie Marathon," two full days of uninterrupted movies, many of them classics, and there won't be a plea or a pledge break in sight.

It's literally a marathon, with 24 movies, from "Bridge on the River Kwai" to "X, Y and Zee," displacing all of WCNY's regular programming this weekend. (Except for "Dr. Who," but we'll get to that later.)

The marathon begins at 9 p.m. Friday with "Easy Rider," the 1969 film about drug-running biker hippies with Peter Fonda as Captain America, Dennis Hopper as a paranoid but affable sleaze who says "man" a lot, and Jack Nicholson going "Nit, nit, nit." It's a cult classic whose cult has gotten so big, there's nothing very cult about it anymore.

The marathon ends Sunday with "Citizen Kane," a classic, pure and simple, airing at 7 p.m. The 1941 film about the rise and end of a powerful newspaper magnate (awfully familiar to anyone who'd ever heard of William Randolph Hearst) was Orson Welles' first film, and stars him and Joseph Cotton. Many critics still call it greatest American film ever made; all at least acknowledge it as a milestone.

And "The Boy with Green Hair" is actually a whimsical film with a serious message, the first (1948) by the director of such popular cult films as "The Damned," "The Concrete Jungle," and film versions of Harold Pinter's "The Servant" and "Accident." Losey, especially in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, was known for films that explored both the interior landscapes of characters and broad social concerns.

Between "Easy Rider" and "Citizen Kane" are sandwiched such films as "Meet Me in St. Louis," with Judy Garland and Mary Astor (7:30 a.m. Saturday); "Oliver," which won five Oscars (11:35 a.m. Saturday); "On the Waterfront," which won nine and made a hero out of Marlon Brando and Karl Malden and heels out of Lee J. Cobb and Rod Steiger (5:30 p.m. Saturday); "From Here to Eternity," which won eight Oscars and turned a roll in the surf with Burt Lancaster or Deborah Kerr into a popular '50s fantasy (10:05 p.m. Saturday); Katharine Hepburn's "Little Women" (8:05 a.m. Sunday); and "Terror of the Zygons" (3:18 p.m. Sunday).

"Terror of the Zygons"?

If you're confused, you're obviously not a "Dr. Who" fan.

WCNY may be willing to risk the wrath of Bob Vela, Jeff Smith and Julia Child fans who won't get to see their pals Saturday morning ("This Old House," "The Frugal Gourmet" and "The French Chef," respectively), but they certainly don't want to rile the followers of a guy who wears a 10-foot-long scarf and flits through time in a phone booth with a robot dog.

"'Dr. Who' has a very loyal audience," said WCNY spokesman Kevin Morrow. "Even with our fund drives, we won't remove it from the schedule."

And, since each "Dr. Who" episode is actually a 90-minute or two-hour movie in itself, "Terror of the Zygons" could qualify for inclusion in a movie marathon, even if it isn't exactly "The Bridge on the River Kwai" (7:20 p.m. Saturday).

But what about the Vela-Smith-Child triumvirate? You think they don't have loyal fans?

"We're hoping that our audience will bear with us for just this one weekend," Morrow said. "And, we think the fans of those shows will be happy with what we're airing instead."

Hmmmmm, let's see. "Band of Angels" starts at 9:25 a.m. Saturday and runs until 11:32. Well, Clark Gable, Sidney Poitier, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (before he joined the "FBI") and Yvonne DeCarlo (before she streaked her hair and started hanging around with a big green guy) are a pretty fair trade for "Modern Maturity" and "Motorweek," but I don't know that they outshine "This Old House" and "The French Chef" together. And 145 minutes of Oliver Reed and Ron Moody in "Oliver" hardly make up for a missed meal with "The Frugal Gourmet."

"There are always going to be people who are going to be upset when you try to do something like this," Morrow said. "We try not to play around with the schedule too much. But at times, to carry special events, you have to tinker with the schedule a bit."

Hey, try that one on a crazed "Dr. Who" fan with Zygon stun-gun. Or maybe a Dalek. You know what he'd say?


Caption: Herald-Journal file photo Alec Guinness is a model of British resolve in the classic, "The Bridge on the River Kwai."

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to

  • APA 6th ed.: Reilly, Jim (1988-01-21). Pass The Popcorn: WCNY-TV Airs 48 Hours Of Fine Films This Weekend. Syracuse Herald-Journal p. D3.
  • MLA 7th ed.: Reilly, Jim. "Pass The Popcorn: WCNY-TV Airs 48 Hours Of Fine Films This Weekend." Syracuse Herald-Journal [add city] 1988-01-21, D3. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: Reilly, Jim. "Pass The Popcorn: WCNY-TV Airs 48 Hours Of Fine Films This Weekend." Syracuse Herald-Journal, edition, sec., 1988-01-21
  • Turabian: Reilly, Jim. "Pass The Popcorn: WCNY-TV Airs 48 Hours Of Fine Films This Weekend." Syracuse Herald-Journal, 1988-01-21, section, D3 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=Pass The Popcorn: WCNY-TV Airs 48 Hours Of Fine Films This Weekend | url= | work=Syracuse Herald-Journal | pages=D3 | date=1988-01-21 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=Pass The Popcorn: WCNY-TV Airs 48 Hours Of Fine Films This Weekend | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=14 July 2024}}</ref>