Lora Stocker from Angier, North Carolina
On Twitter: @LoraStocker
When you’re not watching TCM, what do you do?
As a graphic designer and artist I am one of those lucky individuals who gets to be creative for my career. When not watching TCM, I am most likely hard at work on an assortment of art or design projects. When not creating something for a client, I try to combine my love of film and design into pieces I can share online with the classic movie fan community.
Other than watching movies and creating art, my favorite pastime is traveling. I try to seize every opportunity I can to explore museums, historical landmarks, units of the National Park Service, and quirky roadside attractions. Whenever possible, my trips also include visits to Hollywood-related locations like Monument Valley on the Navaho Reservation, celebrity museums like the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, NC, or hotels where the stars have stayed like the La Posada Hotel and Gardens in Winslow, AZ.
What’s your favorite movie snack?
My favorite movie snack is a warm soft pretzel with lots of mustard.
What’s your favorite part of TCM?
To me, the best part of TCM is the larger community that has organically grown around the network. By curating films and providing deeper context for screenings, TCM has fostered a devoted audience of thoughtful, passionate film fans.
When TCM first launched, I was a kid living in a small, rural town with access to only one video store. It felt like I was the only person my age interested in classic movies. Then came TCM – a network tailor-made for me. Little did I know that there were other kids just like me discovering classics through our own TCM classroom at home.
Through Social Media engagement and special events like the TCM Classic Cruise or the TCM Film Festival, I have connected with an entire community of fellow classic movie fans and I have TCM to thank for it.
What’s your favorite movie genre?
My favorite film genre can change with the seasons. For example, last year I was fully immersed in screenings and coursework for TCM’s Summer of Darkness. If you asked me this question last August, my answer would have been the seedy underworld of film noir. That being said, the films that I can watch over and over again and the ones that take up most of the space in my DVD collection are musicals. From the kaleidoscopic visuals of a Busby Berkley picture to the unparalleled talents on display in an Arthur Freed production, I find musicals engaging on so many levels and I find something new with each repeated viewing.
Who’s your favorite actor or actress or filmmaker of all time? And why?
If I had to pick just one person to be my favorite actress of all time, it would be Judy Garland. Beyond being one of her generation’s greatest interpreters of popular song, she was also a performer with broad acting range. She could be just as impactful on the screen in moments of comedy, drama, and romance as she was singing with Mickey Rooney or dancing with Gene Kelly. As I have learned about her personal triumphs and tribulations over the years, I respect her talents even more. Whether on stage, screen, television, or record, she is one of those rare stars who could reciprocate empathy with the audience. By creating relatable characters and performances she was able to show warmth, humor, humility, and vulnerability often in a single instance. In turn, the audience formed an emotional connection with her that only deepened through her transitions from child star to leading lady and seasoned performer to Hollywood icon. I find the body of work she left behind to be increasingly complex, inspirational, and timeless.
Who would you be thrilled to meet, and what would you say?
Doris Day has been one of my favorite stars ever since I was a little girl and my mom introduced me to her films. I would be over the “silvery moon” to meet her. While I could ask her any number of specific questions about her long career as an actress, singer, and animal welfare activist, I would most like to tell her “thank you.” From Doris Day movie marathons with my mom, singing her music on road trips with my friends, or seeing Calamity Jane on the big screen at the 2015 TCM Film Festival, her work continues to bring me so much joy that I would just want to express to her my sincere gratitude.
What do you collect?
I have amassed a lifetime’s worth of movie-related artifacts that document my personal film heritage. Like lots of classic movie fans, my home is filled with cinematic touches in almost every room. While I probably have more DVDs, soundtrack recordings, magnets, posters and books than I should admit, I do have some series of collectibles that I treasure most.
As a child, my grandmother taught me to play the piano. When she passed away, I inherited her large collection of sheet music, including many pieces from the movies. Over the years, I have continued to build my sheet music collection focusing primarily on film-related theme songs and scores.
In my career as a designer, I am always on the lookout for vintage graphics to inspire my next project. One day in college I ran across a box of old magazine advertisements at a thrift store. While flipping through the box, I found an advertisement of Susan Kohner promoting Lustre-Creme products and I bought it on the spot. Ever since then I try to check every antique shop I visit for more Lustre-Creme advertisements to add to my collection.
If you had to pick just one, what would be your favorite movie?
I enjoy and admire so many movies from a diverse range of genres that is it feels almost like sacrilege to pick just one as my favorite. I also find that there is generally a difference between someone’s favorite film and the one they think is the best. While a person’s pick for best movie of all time tends to be more about a film’s larger artistic or cultural importance, a person’s favorite movie is often about one’s own personal experience with film.
To answer this question, I have to go back to the film that made me really fall in love with classic movies. For me, that would be Royal Wedding, which, at age six, I bought with my allowance out of a discounted VHS bin. I had just started taking tap dancing lessons and my grandmother thought I might like this singing and dancing actor named Fred Astaire. Boy, was she right! I watched my VHS tape incessantly to the point that I could sing all the songs, quote the dialogue, and mimic, with varying degrees of success, most of the dance numbers. I even asked my dance teacher how I could learn to dance on the walls and ceilings like Mr. Astaire.
Long after retiring my tap shoes, it has been the classic movies that have stayed with me the most. The memories I have with films are irreplaceable – from spending long afternoons with my grandmother watching movie musicals, sharing tears and tissues with my mother over many melodramas, or discovering an unexpected love for westerns while on early dates with my now husband. Classic movies have provided me with artistic inspiration, connected me with new communities of friends, and given me more wonderful experiences than I can count.
Thank you Lora! For being in our Member Spotlight, we’re sending you a set of collectible TCM ceramic coasters based on Hollywood Musicals. Protecting your furniture never looked so good!
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