Susan Doll (aka suzidoll)
Susan Doll

When I was six years old, my cousins took me to see my first film in a theater-a matinee of Visit to a Small Planet, starring Jerry Lewis, at the old Bula Theater in Ashtabula, Ohio. And, I have been hooked ever since.

As a kid, I was always breaking up weekend playtime activities with my neighborhood friends because I had to go home to watch the Saturday afternoon movie shown on a local television station. Despite the missing scenes, bad splices, and millions of commercial breaks, watching On the Town, The Road to Utopia, Bringing Up Baby, and even the Bowery Boys\' adventures was always worth it. As a matter of fact, my week was organized around the movie schedules of Cleveland\'s TV stations: Weekday afternoons were reserved for the horror and suspense films hosted by the legendary Ghoulardi; on week nights, I watched major Hollywood movies with parents on Monday, Wednesday, or Saturday Night at the Movies. Much to my teacher\'s chagrin, I was the only kid in my third-grade class who habitually watched The Late Show, and then during the summers, The Late, Late Show. What she didn\'t realize was that I was getting a cultural education.

In college, I discovered film classes and couldn\'t believe someone was actually going to give me a college degree in "movies." I couldn\'t think of anything better than sitting in a classroom watching westerns, screwball comedies, Cuban films, Russian films, Italian films, thrillers, documentaries . . . and then talking about them! I rode that train as far as it would go, finally getting a Ph.D. in film studies from Northwestern. If there had been another level of degree I would have stuck around for that.

Since then, I have been able to parlay my obsession into a career by teaching, researching, and writing about the movies for over 20 years. How lucky is that? And, thank you Jerry Lewis.

Posts by Susan Doll

I remember when Peter Bogdanovich’s Nickelodeon was released in the 1970s. While I loved the film, I turned to my companion and remarked, “The reason I like this movie is the very reason why it will not be a hit at the box office.” Over the weekend, I caught the Coen Brothers’ Hail, Caesar!, and […]

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Clark Gable was born on this day 115 years ago in the tiny town of Cadiz, Ohio. Like all movie lovers, I appreciate the King of Hollywood as a signifier of the glamour and charm of the Golden Age. However, Gable is also a fellow Ohioan, so a couple of years ago, I visited his […]

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Once again, I am teaching a section on Hitchcock to my advanced film history course. I told the students that we would study one filmmaker this semester, and I let them choose a director from a short list. The students selected Hitchcock, which was also the choice last year. The Hitchcock section consists of four […]

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Hoist the colors! Tomorrow, Tuesday, January 19, TCM takes us out to sea with a series of cinematic adventures aboard pirate ships. Prepare to be shanghaied at the ungodly hour of 6:00am when the first film, Hell Harbor, kicks off the day-long celebration. I confess I have already written about Hell Harbor back when TCM […]

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While wandering through an antique mall in the middle of nowhere, I came across a beat-up bookcase crammed into a corner nook. As I walked toward it, a book caught my attention right away: The Movie Picture Girls. The faded brown cover showed a man cranking an old silent-movie camera while two young girls appeared […]

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To celebrate Elvis Presley’s 81st birthday, TCM will show four feature films and two documentaries this Friday, January 8. I have a soft spot for the last film scheduled, This Is Elvis, because it was the movie that motivated me to write my dissertation on Presley, which provided the core material for several books. Produced, […]

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As always, my list of cinematic lost causes for this year consists of the type of movies that the commercial Hollywood industry has turned its back on—indies, documentaries, and overlooked gems that failed to attract audiences to the theaters. What is different this year is the number of medium-budgeted films or star-driven dramas on the […]

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As part of Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday celebration, TCM has included several television specials in their Wednesday Sinatra-centric programming. This Wednesday, December 16, the 1973 special Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back airs at 8:00pm EST. However, one TV special that was not included in the December programming is The Frank Sinatra Timex Special, which was […]

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When I was very young, I made a mental list of adventures I wanted to experience in my life—a kind-of bucket list before the phrase was coined. One of those experiences was to hear Frank Sinatra sing in concert, preferably in Vegas or some Hollywood night club that existed only in my imagination. While friends […]

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