When I switched to Turner Classic Movies Thursday night, I didn't see Ben Mankiewicz, or "Cool Hand Luke."
Instead, the screen was filled with a blue rectangle and the message, "unauthorized."
A Google search revealed that Xfinity has removed TCM from its regular cable package. For me to receive TCM's movies, like the showing the other day of Lawrence Olivier's "Hamlet," I'll have to subscribe to Xfinity's special sports package.
Well, there is a lot of sword fighting in "Hamlet." And "The Graduate" has Dustin Hoffman's famous swimming pool scene.
I didn't recall Xfinity informing me about the change, which would force me to subscribe to NFL Red Zone games and a Major League Baseball package to keep viewing TCM. But I found an announcement on the Internet.
Xfinity is forcing movie lovers who hate the NFL or major league baseball to pay extra to watch classic films. While I'll watch top NFL games on basic cable, I don't want to pay extra for the chance to watch every NFL game, especially those involving teams like Miami or Cincinnati. Nor do I care anything about the Chicago White Sox or Seattle Mariners.
While TCM recycles too often films like "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "Bulliltt," it shows lesser-known classics and forgotten movies. For years, a channel change to TCM gave a sense of anticipation and discovery, like a visit to the library or bookstore.
Now, to check out if TCM is showing an interesting movie, I'll have to pay an exorbitant fee for bad football and baseball.