TOM HATTEN, NICE GUY

Before there was that pile of stiffs who introduce classic films on TCM, there were local hosts who performed the same function in individual markets (cable not having yet been invented…sort of). If you were growing up in LA in the 70s and 80s and you loved classic films, you probably became acquainted with some of these soothing and friendly hosts, of whom the most prominent were Ben Hunter (whose noontime Matinee movie ran every weekday on KTTV, channel 11) and, on Sunday afternoons, Tom Hatten, who hosted ‘Family Film Festival’ on KTLA (channel 5). Hatten was a sunny, comfortable, unaffected fellow who was also a fine cartoon artist–one of his gimmicks when he hosted a children’s cartoon show was demonstrating how to draw simple caricatures of Popeye, Bluto, Olive Oyl etc. Hatten is still alive–he’s 92–and I always enjoyed his offerings, mostly from the Paramount archive. Lots of Hope and Crosby, which I then loved (almost unwatchable now) among others. The above intro is from 1989 and the movie of the day is ‘Munster Go Home’, the big-screen ‘Munsters’ job. I also always like the little projector that sat next to him and which he pretended to turn on at the end of the opening monologue and which never fooled me for a second.

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