Over the Air TV Bonus: Golden Oldies Galore

Overflowing cornucopia for cord cutters using antennae

All the free, well crafted entertaining movies you might wish to see (again)

Step aside Netflix, IFC, TCM – celluloid cascade glittering with stars, Oscars – free

What do you think spies are: priests, saints, martyrs? They’re a squalid procession of vain fools, traitors, too, yes; pansies, sadists and drunkards, people who play cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten lives.

Tired of too much good and bad TV, too many cable channels, and movies which cater to the pre-adolescent set with weak plots, overwhelming special effects and coke fueled direction? The sanest way to keep up with the basic offerings of TV aside from sports channels may be to cut the cord and revert to over the air TV, which has offered all the basic channels – 2,4,5,7,9,11, 13, 25, 64 – in crystal clear digital form ever since the digital switchover in 2008. Additionally, the channels are multiplexed, offering more than one broadcast program on the same channels, including program guides.

Movie Mississippi

One overlooked benefit of cutting the cord to cable TV, apart from the savings of up to $30 a month, or $360 a year, or as much as six times that if subscribing to many cable offerings, is that the multiplexed space provides room for three and possibly more first rate movie channels featuring all the golden oldies you never saw or wish to see again.

I Walk The Line (1970) features Gregory Peck succumbing to Tuesday Weld

On 5-2 is M! MoviestvNetwork (WNYWDT2), which boasts classics such as Untamed (1955, a Boer War romance with a straight backed Tyrone Power and an overwrought Susan Hayward), The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1966, with a dour Richard Burton spying in East Germany), A Blueprint for Murder (1963, Joseph Cotten finds out if Jean Peters really poisoned relatives), The Last Hurrah (1968, an aging Spencer Tracy hangs on to rule as a mayor in New England town), I Walk The Line (1970, married sheriff Gregory Peck tempted by teenage daughter of moonshiner Tuesday Weld), Evel Knievel (1971, George Hamilton with Sue Lyon), Hatari (1962, John Wayne and Red Buttons with Elsa Martinelli capture and pet wild animals in Kenya), North to Alaska (1960, John Wayne brings back French girl to Stewart Granger and Ernie Kovacs in Alaska, fellow gold rush prospectors), Moscow on the Hudson (1984, Robin Williams as Russian musician seeks asylum in New York)… to select just from the 24 hours current while this post is written.

Gary Busey makes a better Buddy Holly than Buddy himself

On 7-3 LAFF WABCDT3 may have something to suit your more child centered side occasionally, since it carries 250 harmless comedies, though it is mostly cluttered with 1000 sitcoms the likes of the Drew Carey Show and the Empty Nest. At this moment the current weekday 24 hours offers the Mike Myers comedy So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993), wherein a multimedia poet falls for a San Francisco butcher who may have killed her husband with him next, Freaky Friday (1977), with Barbara Harris and Jodie Foster exchanging personalities for a day, Father Hood (1993) with Patrick Swayze as a small time crook busing his children around the country with newswoman Halle Berry in pursuit, Life with Mikey (1993) with Michael J. Fox, My Father the Hero (1994) with Gerard Deperdieu, The Absent Minded Professor (1961) with Fred MacMurray creating a glop which makes things bounce skyhigh, Jack (1996), where Robin Williams’ 10 year old body ages at four times the normal rate, and Blame it on the Bellboy (1992) with Dudley Moore mixing up the mail in a hotel in Venice.

You never heard of it before, but Blame It On The Bellboy (1992) with Dudley Moore might be amusing, judging from this photo

On 11-3 THIS-TV (WPIXDT3) has Sleeper (1973, Woody Allen wakes up after 200 years in deep freeze), The Last Waltz (1978 Band’s last concert),The Buddy Holly Story (1978, with a young Gary Busey!), La Bamba (1987, Ritchie Valens played by Lou Diamond Philips), The Englishman Who Went Up The Hill and Came Down A Mountain (1995, Hugh Grant maps a small Welsh village in 1917 and falls for local beauty Tara Fitzgerald), Jack and Sarah (1995, high strung yuppie Richard Grant meets bubbly nanny Samantha Mathis after wife dies, mother Judy Dench clashes), Ulee’s Gold (1997, Florida beekeeper Peter Fonda searches for wife of jailed son against thugs looking for stolen loot). All these and more within a day, as we write this.

Good Neighbor Sam (1964, Jack Lemmon) features Jack in a difficult situation, especially when they put up billboards around town featuring him with the wrong wife!

On 41-4 there is GRIT TV (WXTVDT4) Grit movies focus on male action heroes Alan Ladd, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Chuck Norris in westerns, war and crime movies such as (today’s selection) Red Mountain (Alan Ladd as rebel captain rides West to join Quantrell’s Raiders but changes sides when he discovers the ugly truth – with Lizabeth Scott, 1951); Courage Under Fire (US Army officer Denzel Washington investigates chopper commander Meg Ryan’s worthiness for Medal of Honor; with Matt Damon, 1996); Rumble In The Bronx (Hong Kong police officer Jackie Chan in New York to attend the wedding of his uncle encounters diamond smuggler and his thugs – 1995); Tango & Cash (Narcotics cops Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell framed by a drug baron and jailed among lowlifes they put behind bars, 1989).

Irresistible in his white hat (can you see it?), Alan Ladd and Lizabeth Scott in Red Mountain

On 68-3 GET-TV (WFUTDT3) today is playing The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946, Barbara Stanwyck with Van Heflin and Kirk Douglas fears exposure as the poisoner of her relatives), Duffy (1968, James Coburn, James Mason, James Fox involved in hijacking banker father’s yacht), Murderer’s Row (1966, Dean Martin plays Matt Helm, secret agent), The Inspector General (1949, Danny Kaye’s sublime comedy masterpiece), Good Neighbor Sam (1964, Jack Lemmon as San Francisco adman who poses as friend’s husband so wife can inherit $15 million), Meet John Doe (1941, Barbara Stanwyck reporter hires bum Gary Cooper to act as spokesman for masses), The Way We Were (1973, Barbara Streisand and Robert Redford as leftist and writer whose college romance extends through life), The Owl and the Pussycat (1970, George Segal struggling writer shares an apartment with some of the time call girl Barbara Streisand). All these within the same day too.

A difficult relationship: George Segal and Barbara Streisand forced together in The Owl and the-Pussycat (1970)

Get a Roamio if you can

So, now using over the air tv? A Roamio comes in handy, believe it or not. A little known fact is that the lowest in the pecking order of this charmingly named TIVO – there are three, $200, $400 and $600 when last we looked – scoops up and displays available over-the-air stations as handily as it does cable TV channels, delivering a nicely laid out schedule for each, despite their peculiar new numbering system. Its remote is also equipped with RF which is superhandy.

Beware – your Roamio will rapidly fill to bursting with golden oldies.

And in case you are a depressed urbanite who doesn’t immediately appreciate the special emotional value of fine old movies as an instant pick-me-up, B movies included, perhaps especially Bs, which are comfort food for the heart, read this delightful essay by Leon Wieseltier in the NYTimes Magazine: Letter of Recommendation: Turner Classic Movies.

Leon, you may not know, is the editor of the New Republic who resigned in disgust when its new pinhead owner, a boy billionaire from Facebook, took over and said he thought it needed to focus on its digital content.

What was wrong with that? Well, if you don’t know perhaps you need to linger over another Wieseltier rumination, also in the Times, his Jan 15 effort Among the Disrupted, in the Book Review.

Maybe a better schedule guide is found at locatetv, which offers, for example, Movietvnetwork M! on this page, Movietvnetwork M!

You can select other stations from the dropdown menu.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *