I have such bad timing. I mentioned Judith today to my husband, with regards to her movie reviews in the TV Guide and how badly I wanted to start a database on her made for TV movie reviews so I could access them more easily when I’m writing. And then I come home and find out she’s passed away at the age of 90.
While Judith has no doubt been a well-known film critic for as long as I can remember, I really started to take notice of her when I received a bunch of TV Guides last year (a gift from my awesome hubby). Her reviews are mostly short capsules with little more than a synopsis and a few words in favor of or against the film. However, while these tidbits often fell by the wayside as many threw out their Guides (how could you!), they have come to mean a lot to me. I use her reviews for research or sometimes to simply give me some background or idea of what I’m heading into.
I am still learning about the world of retro TV, but she seems to have been one of the few consistent voices talking about these movies during its golden era of the 70s and into the 80s. The only other people I can think of are Arvin Marill and Richard Levinson and his writing/producing partner William Link. With the help of these people I have been able to eke out some decent knowledge on the genre, and I owe them a lot.
I am just going to post what I wrote on my Facebook Page because I think it really just says everything I am thinking about right now:
It is with great sadness that I post this news about Judith Crist's passing. As a lover of TV Guide, I have been pouring over my old issues, reading her reviews of TV movies. Strangely enough, my husband just got me 150 (!) old TV Guides from the 70s (which are currently being shipped) and I just said to him that I wanted to start cataloging her reviews in a spreadsheet so I could have a nice way of finding them when I want to quote her. Wow. While she didn't seem super pro-TV movie, she was one of the first critics that I saw taking the form seriously. We might not agree on everything, but I respected and admired her work.
Read more about Judith's life here.