At the 6th annual TCM Classic Film Festival a couple months ago, my better half and I were thrilled to see plenty of old movies on the big screen.

We caught Gunga Din with an informative and humorous introduction by two special effects guys, Craig Barron and Ben Burt, who showed us video of the real-life Southern California locations that stood in for India. (The comparison of the movie’s precarious bridge over the chasm to the actual place was especially revelatory.)

We saw Too Late for Tears, a “lost” noir classic about the most cold-blooded killer you’ve ever seen (played by Lizabeth Scott). We saw Earthquake at an outdoor poolside screening introduced by one of its stars, Mr. Shaft himself, Richard Roundtree.

And we reveled in the classic screwball comedy The Philadelphia Story with a packed house at the fabled Chinese Theater — you couldn’t ask for a grander movie experience.

But our favorite moments of the festival weren’t particular screenings. They were meeting some of the more prolific members of one of Twitter’s most entertaining hashtags — #TCMparty..

Do you remember Mystery Science Theater 3000? It was the simplest show concept ever — a group of people watching bad movies and making jokes about them. Well, #TCMparty is like that, only instead of sitting in a theater together, the participants could be anywhere in the world.

If you’ve ever watched a bad (or good) movie and wished there was someone else around to crack jokes with, follow the #TCMparty hashtag.

The Tweets there are not always jokes. Not every movie lends itself to mocking. You can also catch interesting factoids about what you’re watching from the movie experts who often follow the hashtag.


And sometimes a Tweet manages both to make you laugh and learn something. For example, during a screening last week of The Third Man, whose stars included Orson Welles and the smoldering beauty Valli, @patrickdijusto tweeted:

Toward the end of his life, Welles caught this movie on TV. “How did I not sleep with her?” he said of this actress. ‪#TCMParty

Like the cracks you make at home as you watch a movie, most don’t make much sense out of context. But sometimes they work in any setting.

One #TCMparty regular is @joelrwilliams1. During a recent screening of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, he wrote: “Watching this as a kid may have been my first exposure to the fact that the govt might deliberately misinform ‪#TCMParty ‪#CEotTK

Which was followed by a Tweet from @patrickdijusto:

“You don’t know scared shitless until you’ve run and hid from US government helicopters. ‪#TMOT ‪#TCMParty ‪#CE3K

Amen to that.