Siskel & Ebert at/and/with/for/vs./because of the Movies

Most Internet users already heard the news: longtime film critic Roger Ebert passed away Thursday at age 70 after yet another bout with cancer. His passing comes fifteen years after that of his TV comrade, sparring partner, and dear friend Gene Siskel.

I can’t remember what impressionable age I was when I first encountered their popular syndicated movie-review series Siskel & Ebert at the Movies. Our local affiliates sometimes aired it on Saturday afternoons, sometimes in the dead of night, and occasionally found it useful for filling any programming holes outside primetime. I’d never seen anything like it; thirty minutes of two movie fans sitting in a deserted theater balcony and telling viewers whether they thought the latest movies were good or bad. It sounded like a dull concept for a TV show. I could imagine the fun if they were brandishing weapons, but just sitting there? Talking? Why?

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