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Liz Ciancone

June 2, 2014

LIZ CIANCONE: Programs from past can still be the best

TERRE HAUTE — I was playing with the channel selector the other evening and lucked upon my Best Friend’s favorite movie. We sat up until all hours until the credits for “Twelve O’clock High” signaled that it was all over.

Not only is it my BF’s favorite movie, but he says he read that it was selected as the best war movie ever made. Certainly it is the best movie about the Air Force and that’s his thing.

We talked about it even though it was time we should be turning out the lights and going to bed. I remembered that there was some talk back in 1949 that Gregory Peck, the star, had been slighted at the Academy Awards that year, but my BF insisted that the movie had won the best film award. I remembered only that Dean Jaeger was named Best Supporting Actor. So, I decided to look it up.

My “search engine” of choice is more 20th century than 21st century. I dug out the Almanac, checked the table of contents and only Dean Jaeger of that excellent cast won an award that year. A movie called “All the King’s Men” won most of the statuettes. I don’t think I saw it, but I’ve seen “Twelve O’clock High” dozens of times.

Later that same week we chanced upon a program which looked back at the decade of the ’60s. The revelation that television was a new thing in the ’60s was another reminder of how time flies. As we watched snippets of programs of the ’60s — in black and white, color television came later — we enjoyed all over again comedy that was funny without being vulgar.

Maybe it was going back to the familiar, but Goldie Hawn and Arte Johnson were as funny the other night as they were some 50 years ago.

I forget that the ’60s are a part of an American history lesson to most folks who are not already eligible for Social Security. The ’60s are pleasant memories to those of us who made the cut.

I think somewhere we have a video of “Twelve O’clock High.” I’m just not sure we still have some way to show it. I guess that’s progress?

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star education reporter. Her column has appeared on this page for more than 20 years. Send email to

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