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The Televisionist, Oct. 9


Sunday, Oct. 11, starting at 6 a.m.
Turner Classic Movies.

While the world seems to be full of shocking stuff these days — the price of gas, the collapsing stock market, that Sarah Palin is a vice-presidential candidate — nothing has saddened me more in recent months than the death of Paul Newman on Sept. 26.

In films like “The Hus-tler,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “Hud,” Newman showed what it was to be a real actor. To boot, the guy made a mean salad dressing and was, even in his later years, just freakin' gorgeous to look at. I'm a red-blooded, F-150 drivin', 99.999947 percent heterosexual dude, and I feel absolutely no shame in saying that if Paul Newman — circa “Cool Hand Luke” — gave me a backrub and there was some Percy Sledge on the radio and maybe some of those little candles that smell like lilacs, I might just go gay for the guy. OK, to be honest, I admit that I feel a little shame at that, but I'm feeling nostalgic, okay? I'm heartbroken. Cut me some slack.

Luckily for us, the great movie stars never really leave us. They never even have to grow old if you pick the right films. To that end, it's really exciting to hear that Turner Classic Movies has got a Paul Newman Marathon in the hopper for this Sunday — 11 of Newman's best films, including such rarely seen gems as “The Rack,” Until They Sail,” “Torn Curtain,” “Exodus” and “Sweet Bird of Youth.”  If you can't watch the whole thing, at least tune in at 9 p.m. for “Cool Hand Luke,” followed by the immortal “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” with the equally gorgeous and not-so-sexually-confusing Elizabeth Taylor. 

If anybody needs me this Sunday, I'll at home in my bathrobe, watching TCM with a big Newman's Own-slathered salad in front of me on a TV tray. I should be easy to spot. I'll be the one trying not to cry into my lettuce.

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