Sunday, August 17, 2014

Frozen Assets

I worked a rare long and early Sunday shift. It wasn't too bad when I got in, but by 11, we were busy with people just getting up or coming out of church. I'm not the only one who had to work early today, either. I saw quite a few people who normally work in the late afternoons and at night. Most of the people who went on vacation this week were morning and afternoon shift regulars. Thankfully, it slowed up enough by 3 that I was able to leave without a relief.

When I got home, I changed into regular clothes and went right into defrosting my darn freezer. I read online about a method of defrosting the freezer without turning it off and making a big mess by placing pans of boiling water under the ice. I did what I could, but my freezer is really, really bad. The ice is so built up on the top in particular, it still didn't all come off after more than an hour of switching water out and hacking away at the ice with a hammer. I did get enough off to close the freezer door and get everything back in, which is what I really wanted. I'll see if I can get rid of more of it later in the week.

I ran records as I worked on the freezer, and later as I made blueberry pancakes and boiled snap peas for dinner. I didn't have time to make the former for breakfast, and the latter were the only things that defrosted when I took them out of the freezer. Started with Popeye, another tribute to Robin Williams. I have the soundtrack to the underrated 1980 musical. As with Annie, I never understood the critical complaints here. This musical is beautifully filmed with a great cast that includes Williams as the title character, Ned Beatty as Wimpy, and a spot-on Shelly Duvall as Olive Oyl. My favorite number is a cut song for Sweethaven's town drunk Barnacle Bill, the touching "Din' We." I also like Olive's "He Needed Me" and Popeye's introductory "I Yam What I Yam." This and Aladdin make me wish Williams had been able to do more out-and-out musicals.

Disney was one of two studios who put up the enormous budget for Popeye (the other was Paramount). I decided to check out a few of Disney's other lesser-known live-action musicals. Walt had high hopes for The Happiest Millionaire, a big-budget extravaganza featuring Fred MacMurray as the eccentric Philadelphia millionaire of the title who keeps pet alligators and teaches a bible-and-boxing class in his home. Leslie Ann Warren is his tomboy daughter who eventually falls in love with a handsome young man who has his eyes on car manufacture in Detroit.

I prefer Warren's other Disney film, The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. In my kids' version of the story, two of the younger children in the band narrate the tale of how their family moved to Dakota so their older sister (Warren) could be with her new beau. It's 1888, though, and the year of the famous contested election between Grover Cleveland and William Harrison. Democrat Grandpa (Walter Brennan) can't help stirring up trouble, but his teaching the kids his opinions in school upsets the town and his daughter's romance.

I did Aladdin while I was in the bath. This has never been my favorite Disney movie, but it does have some nice numbers, including Williams' two breathless set-pieces "Friend Like Me" and "Prince Ali," and the opening "One Jump Ahead" for the title character as he spends his morning out-racing Agrabah's guards in the marketplace.

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