The Stars Are Especially Bright Once Again On Turner Classic Movies
Summer Under the Stars (SUTS), Turner Classic Movies’ annual August programming favorite, returns this month, with the network again devoting each of the 31 days to films from a particular actor or actress. It begins Aug. 1 with a 14-movie salute to Lucille Ball, which is appropriate, given that this month marks the anniversary of the legendary comic actress’ birth (Aug. 6, 1911).
Over the course of the month, eight stars will be spotlighted in SUTS celebrations for the first time. Below are this year’s SUTS first-timers, along with movies making their TCM debuts during this celebration. Be sure to also check the adjacent calendar, as well as the listings section and grids, for full SUTS details and a complete list of titles for each day.
SUTS: Notable First-Time Stars
Anthony Perkins (Aug. 2)
Anthony Perkins is justifiably remembered for chillingly embodying murderous mama’s boy Norman Bates in the 1960 thriller Psycho, which of course will be featured during his first SUTS day. But you’ll also see his range of talent across other titles, like his second film, Friendly Persuasion (1956), for which he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and the Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer — Male; the 1957 biopic Fear Strikes Out, where he gives a terrific performance as troubled baseball player Jim Piersall; and more.
Stella Stevens (Aug. 3; memorial tribute)
Stella Stevens’ first SUTS celebration will also serve as a tribute to the late actress, who passed away Feb. 17 at age 84 (she was born Estelle Caro Eggleston on Oct. 1, 1938). Among the 12 Stevens films featured today are the Elvis Presley-led musical comedy Girls! Girls! Girls! (1962); the romantic comedy The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1963); Sam Peckinpah’s comedic Western The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970); and a couple of the campy cult classics Stevens started appearing in during the ’70s, including the “blaxploitation” titles Slaughter (1972) and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975).
Jackie Cooper (Aug. 4)
John Cooper Jr., better known as Jackie Cooper, had an amazing big-screen career from his early days as a child star the late 1920s to the late ’80s. You’ll see 15 films from roughly the first 15 years of that career as he appears during SUTS for the first time. Cooper had a notable first himself: He became, and still is, the youngest ever nominee for the Best Actor Oscar, for the comedy Skippy (1931), which is part of TCM’s lineup. You’ll also see him in The Champ (1931), Treasure Island (1934) and more.
Rhonda Fleming (Aug. 10; 100th birthday tribute)
One of Hollywood’s most glamorous actresses of the 1940s and ’50s, Rhonda Fleming is getting her first SUTS celebration on the 100th anniversary of her birth (she was born Marilyn Louis on Aug. 10, 1923; she passed away Oct. 14, 2020, at age 97). In several of the 13 films featured in TCM’s lineup, you’ll see why the highly photogenic Fleming became known as the “Queen of Technicolor,” but her beauty and talent shine through in the black-and-white productions, as well. Among the highlights during this day are the film noir classic Out of the Past (1947), the musical comedy A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949) and the historical adventure Serpent of the Nile (1953), with Fleming as Cleopatra.
Other SUTS First-Timers
The Nicholas Brothers (Aug. 9)
Katy Jurado (Aug. 16)
Geraldine Chaplin (Aug. 22)
John Carradine (Aug. 31)
SUTS: First-Time Films (TCM Premieres)
Aug. 3 (Stella Stevens): Slaughter (1972; airs late-night)
Aug. 9 (The Nicholas Brothers): My Son Is Guilty (1939)
Aug. 22 (Geraldine Chaplin): Honeycomb (1969); Anna and the Wolves (1973); Stress-es tres, tres (Stress Is Three, 1968; airs late-night)
Aug. 29 (Woody Strode): Winterhawk (1975)
Aug. 31 (John Carradine): I Escaped From the Gestapo (1943)
Be sure to check back daily for the star and schedule of that day.