Kareem Abdul-Jabbar & Raquel Welch Present Katharine Hepburn & Humphrey Bogart Movies

Robert Osborne, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Robert Osborne, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will join Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne to present four of his favorite films in TCM's “Guest Programmer” series on Monday, March 22.

Most “Guest Programmer” evenings are devoted to the best-known old classics, and Abdul-Jabbar (and Raquel Welch's on April 1) will be no exception. Abdul-Jabbar's tough-guy flicks consist of two of Humphrey Bogart's and two of John Wayne's best-remembered vehicles, respectively, The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon; and The Shootist and Stagecoach. Who knows? Perhaps if you watch The Big Sleep a tenth time you'll be able to figure out what actually takes place in that movie.

The following is a schedule for Abdul-Jabbar's Monday, March 22, stint in the programmer's chair (schedule and synopsis – all times shown are Eastern – from TCM):

8 p.m.  The Big Sleep (1946) - Humphrey Bogart stars as Raymond Chandler's classic detective Philip Marlowe, who becomes involved with a socialite, played by Lauren Bacall.  Howard Hawks provides the crisp direction in this highly entertaining thriller.

10 p.m. The Maltese Falcon (1941) - Bogart is Dashiell Hammett's private eye Sam Spade in this quintessential film noir from director John Huston.  Mary Astor is the woman who comes to Spade to help in a case involving a priceless statue.  Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet co-star.

Midnight  The Shootist (1976) - John Wayne's last film casts him as a gunslinger who tries to live out his last days in peace after learning he has cancer.  But his past continues to bring havoc.  Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard and such veteran stars as James Stewart, Richard Boone, John Carradine, Henry Morgan and Scatman Crothers co-star in this intelligent western from director Don Siegel.

2 a.m.  Stagecoach (1939) - Wayne became a star with this John Ford classic about a fateful stagecoach journey.  Part character study, part action adventure, this American masterpiece co-stars Andy Devine, John Carradine and, in an Oscar-winning performance, Thomas Mitchell.

Photos: Courtesy of Turner Classic Movies

Raquel Welch, Robert Osborne
Raquel Welch, Robert Osborne

Raquel Welch will join Robert Osborne on Turner Classic Movies this spring to present four of her favorite films in TCM's “Guest Programmer” series on Thursday, April 1.

Welch will discuss Humphrey Bogart-Lauren Bacall's To Have and Have Not, in addition to a couple of films featuring strong-willed women: George Cukor's Adam's Rib, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, and Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, with Jean Arthur and James Stewart. The last presentation of the Welch evening will be the girl flick of 1961, Blake Edwards' Breakfast at Tiffany's, in which Audrey Hepburn's sweet sex worker (not that you'd actually be told what the character does for a living) finds both both love and her missing cat.

It's too bad the evening won't include Myra Breckinridge.

Welch's new book, Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage, will be published on April 1. By the way, Raquel Welch was my favorite star when I was four years old. That was after I saw One Million Years B.C. on TV. Back in those days, anyone who had co-starred with large reptiles would have a special place in my heart.

The following are the films Raquel Welch has chosen for Thursday, April 1 (schedule and synopsis – all times shown are Eastern – from TCM):

8 p.m.  Adam's Rib (1949) - This fourth pairing of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy casts them as lawyers working on opposite sides of an attempted-murder case.  The hilarious script by Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin is one of Hollywood's best examples of a battle of the sexes.  Judy Holliday, Tom Ewell, David Wayne and Jean Hagen co-star under the direction of George Cukor.

10 p.m. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - One of Frank Capra's most beloved films, this slice of Americana stars Jimmy Stewart as a young man who suddenly finds himself a member of the United States Senate.  There, his idealism is nearly crushed in the face of corruption.  Jean Arthur, Claude Rains and Harry Carey co-star.

12:15 a.m.      Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) - Audrey Hepburn brings sparkling life to Holly Golightly, the backwoods girl who comes to mod New York in this adaptation of Truman Capote's romantic comedy.  George Peppard co-stars.  Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer's “Moon River” won an Oscar, as did Mancini's outstanding score.

2:15 a.m.       To Have and Have Not (1944) - Humphrey Bogart is a skipper hired to help the French Resistance in this Howard Hawks drama based on the Ernest Hemingway novel and scripted by William Faulkner and Jules Furthman.  Lauren Bacall, in her screen debut, mixes toughness and sex appeal.  Walter Brennan and Hoagy Carmichael co-star.

Photos: Courtesy of Turner Classic Movies

Save Cahuenga Peak

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is joining efforts to save the land surrounding one of the nation's most iconic landmarks – the famous Hollywood sign. TCM will help raise awareness for the Campaign to Save Cahuenga Peak through a multi-faceted plan that will leverage the excitement for the first-ever TCM Classic Film Festival, which takes place in Hollywood April 22-25.

“The Hollywood sign is an iconic symbol known the world over, but the land surrounding it is in grave danger of being developed in a way that could destroy its appearance,” said TCM host Robert Osborne. “As we're about to celebrate the history of Hollywood with our first-ever TCM Classic Film Festival, we are eager and proud to help preserve an important aspect of that history through this important initiative.”

The Campaign to Save Cahuenga Peak is an ongoing initiative to buy and preserve land surrounding the Hollywood sign. The Trust for Public Land (TPL), one of the partnering groups on the campaign, needs to raise $12.5 million by April 14 to buy the 138 acres on Cahuenga Peak, located behind and to the left of the "H" in the iconic sign. Land purchased through the Campaign to Save Cahuenga Peak will be protected and added to Griffith Park.

For additional information about the campaign or to make a donation, go to www.savehollywoodland.org.

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