My Romance with Toronto, Still the Festival of Festivals for Me
By Meredith Brody
Well, it really wasn’t my first film festival. I’d had flirtations with other, smaller festivals, but they were almost all fairly local. And my attendance at them was patchy, not obsessive.
My first deep-dish, long-distance festival relationship was in Toronto.
Compiled by Gary Meyer (update November 21, 2022)
The Internet can be a dangerous place to find the good, the bad and the ugly. Thanksgiving as a search subject is especially rewarding. We present a sampling, mostly from the past. We found vintage greeting cards, Hollywood stars, ads for disgusting sounding foods, awkward family photos and all around nostalgia. You won’t believe what turkeys have been put through but we hope you will laugh and be astonished.
(Editor’s note: THE AUTOMAT will show twice on Turner Classic Movies, Tuesday, November 22. There will also be for classics with automat scenes.)
By Gaetano Kazuo Maida
(Updated November 21, 2022; originally published April 2022)
A film that starts off with the instantly recognizable dulcet tones of Mel Brooks gushing, “one of the greatest inventions, insane centers of paradise…” is irresistible even if you’ve never heard of the Automat. For those of us of a certain age from New York or Philadelphia (and yes, I’m one: born and raised in New York, with family in Philly), the Horn & Hardart Automat was a unifying experience of childhood delight and teenage necessity. You didn’t need a lot of money to eat, just a handful of nickels… In its heyday (1920s to the 1970s) it was, in just two cities, the largest restaurant chain in the country by any measure, at one point in the 1940s serving fully 10% of the population of Philadelphia. Continue reading
By Gary Meyer
(updated November 21, 2022)
Are you ready for candy that offers the flavors of the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner spread: Roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, green beans, ginger glazed carrots, and, for dessert, sweet potato pie?
Regrets, I Have a Few
By Meredith Brody
When I was picking up my press pass in Toronto, I ran into the ebullient, ubiquitous Col Needham, the founder of the essential Internet Movie Database, and a tireless festival-goer. He was the first familiar Festival face I’d seen – at the first film festival outside of the SF Bay Area I’d been to since 2019. He was chatting with his Bristol friend Mark Cosgrove, of the Watershed, but I was so happy to see a familiar Festival face after two years of not running into anybody at all, much less at film festivals, that I blithely inserted myself into their conversation, Cosgrove turned out to be a sympathetic soul.
After a few minutes, Col said he had to rush off to a screening. “What are you seeing?” “MOONAGE DAYDREAM,” he replied. And I watched him walk off. I had already planned to go buy a catalogue, sit down somewhere quiet, and try to figure out the next few days.
Assembled by Gary Meyer
(Updated November 21, 2022)
The theatrical release of a new documentary by Lisa Hurwitz, The Automat, has taken me back in time with its wonderful clips from classic movies and discussions of food favorites of our youth from Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Pot Pie to Custard Cups and Pumpkin Pie. It is essential viewing for those interested in the history of restaurants in the 20th Century, the combining of technology and home-cooked meals and a trip down memory lane even if you were born too late to actually visit one. But we also cover contemporary attempts at automated food. We have included many photos, film clips, recipes, music, and related links to supplement your enjoyment of The Automat now playing in theaters and at film festivals—only on the big screen.