10 Things We Learned About TCM’s Hosts on the 2019 Classic Cruise
TV Insider is taking you inside the 7th TCM Classic Cruise, so stay tuned for more as we navigate the Atlantic and (we hope) signature cocktails with Turner Classic Movies.
If you know that Nikko, a Pat Walshe character listed in the credits for 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, was head of the Winged Monkeys, congrats! You could have swept the many movie trivia competitions taking place on the 2019 TCM Classic Cruise.
During October 24’s “TCM: Open All Night,” the trivia was all about the network’s four hosts. Named after the late-night programming block, the standing-room-only event gathered Ben Mankiewicz, Alicia Malone, Dave Karger, and Eddie Muller for a game of 100 Questions.
Once Mankiewicz got over the fact that this was not a competition (“What’s the point? If we’re not keeping score, I don’t want to play!” he joked), these 10 get-to-know-you queries brought the most entertaining responses.
What was your favorite book as a child?
Malone, who is Australian, recalled, “I was a real horse-y gal, so I loved the Saddle Club books [by Bonnie Bryant]. I would read them over and over again, and they talked about a mythical place called Virginia, and I always wanted to go because it sounded so lovely—green grass, rolling hills, lots of paddocks.” Karger was quick to point out that she pronounced Vir-gin-i-a with four syllables, quipping, “It’s probably better the way you say it.”
If you could live on any beach, which would you choose?
After noting he is “so not a beach guy,” Noir Alley’s Muller announced—to the crowd’s approval—“I’d choose the beach with the best bar.”
What was your mother’s signature dish?
Aww moment No. 1: Karger answered, “My mom makes the best chicken cutlets I’ve ever had. A little egg wash, a little bread crumbs. Whenever I see a chicken cutlet on a menu or at someone’s house, it makes me feel like I’m 6 years old.”
If you could only take one CD for a cross-country road trip, which would you choose?
Having talked about his devotion to Bruce Springsteen earlier, Mankiewicz said, “I don’t discover new music—I merely rediscover old music. As my daughter [Josie, 6] would attest, we’ve been on a significant Fleetwood Mac run for the last year or so. So I’d be tempted to take a little Fleetwood Mac. Since Ric Ocasek died, I’ve had a lot of Cars.” He also brought up this valid point: “Who has a CD?”
What scared you most when you were young?
After saying she was “incredibly shy as a child,” Malone fessed up to a “terror” of talking on the phone. “My mum would always make me call up to book her appointments, and so I would write out a script of what I was going to say. And then if boys were calling, I had a whole list of things to talk about, just in case there was a lull in the conversation. Same with friends, I would note down things to say,” she explained, adding with a smile, “And now there’s texting, so that’s great.”
Is there anything you regret not doing due to fear?
This one went to Muller. “I believe fear is the great motivator. There is stuff I haven’t done because I’ve been afraid, and that’s great. It’s made me very sensible,” he said. “I am not jumping off bridges with a bungee cord or anything like that—I just don’t do that stuff ’cause I still have books to read and movies to watch.”
Would you prefer a view of the desert or the sea and why?
“Somebody was trippin’ when they wrote that,” Muller observed. “That’s not even a choice!” Clearly. Mankiewicz managed to eke out this: “I would prefer a view of the sea because I like it better than the desert.”
Who’s the scariest movie villain of all time?
Karger described his choice as “actually quite easy [to come up with] and a little bit out of the box,” naming the thunder and lightning in 1982’s Poltergeist. “Where the little boy was counting the seconds between the thunder and the lightning, and it got smaller and smaller and smaller—that freaked the f— out of me,” he said.
What sound do you love the most?
Aww moment No. 2: Muller’s “goofy” admission that he really likes the sound of his cat purring, “’cause then everything’s cool.” He added: “I was gonna say something cynical, like ‘I love the sound of counting money,’ but just the sound of my cat purring is a good one. I like that.”
Tell us an embarrassing moment.
Live television generated quite a few bloopers for the quartet. When Mankiewicz covered local news in Charleston, South Carolina, he made a split-second decision on a story about a school-board scandal that still rankles. Early in the 6pm broadcast, cameras would go live to reporters at various locations to tease the second half-hour of the show.
“They go to me, and you can hear it because the producer says, ‘Go!’” he remembered. “Suddenly, I could not recall anything, [like] where I was. I thought, well, I’ll pretend the [sound in my earpiece] doesn’t work. I’m just gonna make that call in the moment. So the producer is like, ‘Go!’ [He mimics obliviousness.] And then you have to really sell it, so you do something shouldn’t do. [He brushes his hand across his face, still looking oblivious.]” A live truck operator called him on it, but Mankiewicz stuck to his story. “Uh-huh.”