Lancaster resident Lyndsay Rouzer-Squyres is one of 25 Turner Classic Movies fans selected for a trip to Atlanta to go on set to introduce their favorite movies dedicated to the their favorite people.
Rouzer-Squyres will be on TCM at 9 p.m., April 19, to introduce “Calamity Jane” as a dedication to her grandmother.
The high school teacher was home alone one November weekend, with her family out of town. It was the perfect opportunity to catch up with some old Turner Classic Movies on the digital video recorder.
“I was settling in to have a ‘me’ weekend,” Rouzer-Squyres said.
In between the movies, there was a promo about the contest. The requirements called for fans to submit a 90-second video about which movie you would pick and to whom you would dedicate it.
“There was nobody home, so I was like, ‘Whatever. I can talk for 90 seconds. No big deal,’” Rouzer-Squyres said.
She put a white sweater with black polka dots on, over her pajama shirt. She sat down and filmed three different 90-second clips. She submitted the third one about two days before the deadline and forgot about it.
“They contacted me in early December and told me I was one of the 25 people that they would like to invite to come and introduce a film on TCM,” Rouzer-Squyres said.
In mid-January TCM flew her to their Atlanta studio.
“I thought it was going to be a whole weekend of bad small talk, but it was so much fun,” Rouzer-Squyres said.
She met the other contest winners at a cocktail reception. They shared the films they selected and to whom they were dedicating their films.
“You had this awesome automatic icebreaker with people, like ‘What’s your movie, why did you pick it?’” Rouzer-Squyres said.
She also met TCM Primetime Host Ben Mankiewicz.
“He just talked to us and when they thought they had it we were done,” Rouzer-Squyres said. “He was so great it was easy to talk to him.”
She was overwhelmed by how excited and engaged the TCM staff was to the contest winners.
She picked “Calamity Jane,” the 1953 movie starring Doris Day.
Rouzer-Squyres discovered the film one summer when she was about 11 years old and spent a couple of weeks at her grandma’s house in Glendale.
“After about a week, grandma’s house was getting a little bit old,” she said. “My grandma, one day, could see that I was getting a little bored.”
Grandma handed Rouzer-Squyres a VHS copy of “Calamity Jane” and sent her upstairs to watch the movie.
“I took it upstairs,” she said. “I watched about 10 minutes and it’s this stagecoach and this woman is, like, wildly singing in this old western accent.”
Rouzer-Squyres turned off the movie, took it downstairs and gave it back to her grandma.
“I told my grandma it was weird; I didn’t like it,” she said.
Rouzer-Squyres tried the movie a second time the next day.
“I was hooked from that point forward on classic film,” she said. “It was a way for me to really connect with my grandma all the time.”
Even as an adult, “Calamity Jane” is still Rouzer-Squyres’s favorite.
She will make sure her leadership students at Eastside High School see it.
“I’ll make sure that we take a look so that they can see that being interested in things and going out and having experiences that might be intimidating but are definitely worthwhile, is something you should do,” Rouzer-Squyres said.