The TCM Classic Film Festival takes place every April in Hollywood, California. Fans from around the world gather to watch and celebrate classic films and the cast & crew who made them. Classic movies are shown over four days at various venues in Hollywood. In addition to the movie screenings, there are other special events that will take place throughout the festival. Citi Credit Card is a sponsor of the festival and hosts a special kick-off event almost every year.
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How Did I Find Out About this Exclusive Citi Card TCM Event? A friend of mine saw this event listed on the CITI Private Pass website. It was an exclusive event for cardholders and their guests. Special events are released here on Tuesdays. Be sure to sign up for email alerts but also check the website throughout the day on Tuesdays. For this particular event with the TCM Classic Movie Festival, the tickets are normally made available 2-3 weeks before the festival.
For 2023, the tickets for a conversation with Diane Ladd and Laura Dern became available on Tuesday the week before the festival. These are the types of events I share in my private Facebook group. Anyone who purchases my e-book on How to Meet/See Celebrities in LA is able to get access to the group.
Every year there is a different special guest. When I went for my first time in 2017 the special guest was Martin Landau, in 2018 it was Louis Gossett Jr. In both 2017 and 2018, I was able to meet both Martin and Louis and get photos with them as well as autographs. The next time that I went was in 2022 when I saw Jon Lithgow. I was not able to meet him or get an autograph but this event is still so fantastic.
The event is held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in the Blossom Room where the very first Academy Awards were held. Throughout the festival, this room serves as Club TCM, a place where select pass holders can come for special events. I was very impressed with the setup in this room. It had a classic Hollywood look that I loved and you get to see different props and costumes on display.
Before the conversation, everyone in attendance had a chance to enjoy some drinks and hors-d’oeuvres. The food was very tasty but the atmosphere in the room was really what made everything even better.
One of my favorite things in the room is getting to see costumes on display. In 2017 there were three Debbie Reynolds costumes that were on display. The dress on the left is from Singin’ In The Rain, which is one of the movies that will be shown during the festival. The other two dresses are from The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
The conversations at these events tend to last for 45 minutes to an hour. As a big Cary Grant fan, I was so excited to hear Martin Landau talk about North By Northwest. I didn’t get to hear a special story about Cary, but I still loved what he shared. Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, and Martin were doing a scene. Alfred Hitchcock whispered something to the other three but didn’t say anything to Martin. He asked Hitch if there was anything he wanted to tell him. What happened next in the conversation was really something special. Martin did a good impression of Hitch and said: “Martin, I’ll only tell you if I don’t like what you’re doing.” He pointed out to us that it had meant that Hitch didn’t like what the other three were doing which got a big laugh from the crowd.
I had no idea that Martin was best friends with James Dean. This was another very special experience. I have never met someone who knew James Dean and to hear Martin talk about him was amazing. Martin referred to him as Jimmy and shared that he would spend holidays with Martin’s family. He also shared stories of them trying out different bits and it was just remarkable.
Following the conversation, everyone was given a chance to meet Martin which was the cherry on top of an incredible event. Originally, I thought I would have Martin sign under his picture in my TCM the Essentials 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter. North by Northwest is one of the movies in the book so I thought that would be really special to have him sign. However, I started thinking about how he would have to sign over some text and I wouldn’t really be able to showcase it. That was when I got the idea to have him sign a TCM Film Festival 2017 napkin.
I am so thankful that I was able to attend this event and cannot wait to check out more events during the festival.
If you’re interested in learning more about the festival be sure to check out my guide to the TCM Classic Movie Festival.