Altavista classic movie buff Patti Pierucci got the thrill of lifetime recently when she won a spot in a contest to go to Atlanta to film a spot with Turner Classic Movies’ host Ben Mankiewicz. On Monday, Apr. 22, 8 p.m., she will be with him to introduce one of her all time favorite movies “The Yearling.” She is dedicating the movie to her son, Patrick Russell.

So how did she win this wonderful opportunity? Pierucci watches TCM movies quite a bit and records even more to watch in her free time. She joined the “Backlot” fan club to talk to others about classic movies.

Since this is TCM’s 25th anniversary, they held a special contest for 25 super-fans such as herself get the chance to introduce one of the favorites.

“I don’t ever win anything so I was absolutely floored when I won. I love Ben Mankiewicz and got to talk to him about 20 minutes which they will edit down. I can’t even remember what I said because I was so starstruck,” she recalls.

Pierucci enjoyed getting the “star treatment” with makeup and hair and even false eyelashes!

“The Yearling” is a special movie in her family and her sister and her son’s dog are even named after some of the characters.

The shared love of movies instilled a desire to be a film maker in her son (an Altavista High School graduate) and he is delighted to be able to do it for a living now. “He lives in Atlanta so he was able to come over and watch the taping. We had a wonderful time and I loved meeting all the people who work there. They all genuinely love classic movies and enjoyed talking about them.”

So what’s she going to be doing on Monday night? Having a “viewing party” with family and friends at home outside of Altavista.

“I want to thank TCM for this opportunity. It was a real privilege to be able to film this spot with Ben for a movie I love so much. They’re the most wonderful group ever!” she exclaims.