The Ghost of Robert Osborne

Robert Osborne, in Athens, Georgia, 2009 - found at
Come, walk with me down this shadowy path, won’t you?

Are you familiar with Robert Osborne? Host of Turner Classic Movies, the man is an aging repository of film facts and Hollywood trivia. Since 1994, every film shown on the station during prime time gets a personalized intro from Osborne, usually recorded on a set carefully constructed of earth tones and tchotchkes.

The problem, of course, is that Robert was born in 1932, and already stands as one of the oldest faces on television.

Imagine, however, the library of intros and outros the man has built up – four movies a night, seven days a week, over the course of nearly two decades. Even with some rounding, and some vacation time, that’s likely over twenty-thousand bookended films.

Someday, hopefully one not too soon, the TCM executives are going to find themselves at a crossroads. Will they set out the ghost of Robert Osborne – amiable and warm, but still nothing more than the afterglow of an expended life – to roam the airwaves and haunt our flickering boxes?

Will he become, as many of the stars he now introduces, a memory made real only by the broadcast of the thinnest slices of his existence?
Ghostly image from The Innocents (1961)