There are many reasons to love the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. In 2007, it was because they honored Charles Tabesh, Turner Classic Movies Senior Vice President of Programming and New Media, and Robert Osborne, the cable channel’s on-air host whose wealth of knowledge about films, film history, and film folk, may be inexhaustible. It’s certainly nothing less than amazing.
When I talked with them on July 13, 2007, it was my chance to push for more screenings of my favorite silent film star’s work, to ask about where Mr. Tabesh begins when programming from the enormous archive at his disposal, and Mr. Osborne’s approach to interviewing legends. He also waxed philosophical about why some stars become legends and others don’t, and they both delivered incisive opinions about Hollywood’s attitudes towards race and gender over the years.
Parenthetically, this may be the only interview I’ve conducted that comfortably includes both Rudolph Valentino and Jane Fonda.