Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Just a Bill and Other Government Tales

It was a beautiful, sunny, surprisingly warm day when I woke up this morning. I finished out Let's Go Navy, then switched to Election Day programming. Buster Bunny goes up against Montana Max in Acme Looniversity's election in the Tiny Toons Adventures first season episode "Citizen Max." Monty's dirty dealings get Buster kicked out of school, until Buster and Babs get even.

Buster and Monty are far from the first Looney Tunes to go toe-to-paw in the political arena. Bugs competes with Yosemite Sam for mayor of their small town in "Ballot Box Bunny." They try every trick known to man or rabbit to come out victorious, but the race has a surprising conclusion.

Bugs isn't the only classic cartoon character to try his luck at politics. Popeye and Bluto join the race in "Popeye For President." Olive is the last person to vote, but she can't do so until she's finished her farm chores. Popeye helps her out, but Bluto may get her to the polls first.

Grampy wins by a landslide in the Betty Boop short "The Candid Candidate." The Great Depression multitudes keep demanding more and more changes from Grampy and his secretary Betty. Grampy finally uses his unique collection of inventions to solve their problems.

The Three Stooges are hired by the campaign manager of a crooked politician to get his candidate the presidential nomination in "Three Dark Horses." Even the Stooges aren't that dumb. After they discover that the guy is corrupt, they switch their votes.

I finally headed out around quarter after 12 for a walk. I was originally going to volunteer at the Oaklyn Library today, but they were closed for Election Day. I didn't know they would be. The Haddon Township Library was open until 5. No matter. I headed to WaWa to buy lunch instead. WaWa has a few holiday specials on this month. I ordered an Egg Nog Cream Smoothie and a 4-inch version of "The Gobbler," a hoagie with cranberry sauce, turkey, mayo, and stuffing.

Went for a walk around Oaklyn after I left WaWa. It was really a nice day for it. I don't think we're going to have too many more nice days like this. The trees here have finally started to turn brilliant shades of gold, yellow-green, orange, rust, and scarlet. The late roses are sweet and delicate in their pink-and-yellow softness. Most Halloween decorations were still up; they probably will be for the next week or so.

I ran into Richard pulling his lunch out of his car on my way in. Richard was enjoying the lovely weather, too. He liked it so much, he decided to put off a job he was in the midst of that no one was in any hurry to finish and go fishing instead. I told him about the mouse. He said he hadn't seen any mice downstairs, but they were probably scared off by the repairs. He'll take a look soon. He also said they'll be replacing windows upstairs and downstairs. Good. There's a cracked window in my bedroom that's been like that since I moved in. I'm afraid it may get worse.

When I got home, I had my Gobbler and continued with the election-themed shows. Night Court did a few episodes that revolved around lawyer Dan Fielding's periodic attempts to get into politics. "Once In Love With Harry" was the first of these. While Harry fends off the affections of a prostitute with a crush on him, Dan runs against a man who died two weeks before. He just can't seem to pass him in the polls, despite being alive.

Mike Nesmith throws his green wool hat into California's political ring in "Monkee Mayor," an early second season episode of The Monkees. Micky Dolenz suggests he become mayor to give a voice to their elderly neighbors, who are being forced out of their homes by an evil businessman who controls the mayor. Mike has good intentions, but he discovers just how hard it can be to play the political game when the businessman threatens him and the others.

I baked Cranberry-Chocolate Chip Muffins while moving onto "The Not Making of the President" from the second season of Happy Days. Mr. Cunningham is upset that Richie is campaigning for 1956 Democratic nominee Adeli Stevenson instead of the Republican Dwight Eisenhower. Richie really only cares that a girl he's interested in is campaigning heavily for Stevenson. He does eventually get into the race, much to his father's consternation.

Richie and his dad aren't the only relatives with differing political viewpoints. Married couple Hilary Booth and Jeff Singer run against each other for city council in "Strange Bedfellows" from the second season of Remember WENN. The stakes really heat up when they're joined by a folksy local baseball legend for a debate and spend it sniping at one another. Meanwhile, WENN's other staff conduct their own poll, while station manager Scott Sherwood doesn't really seem to be taking the elections seriously.

Switched to something entirely different as I made the bed and dusted the apartment. Schoolhouse Rock had several shorts that dealt specifically with government and voting. "I'm Just a Bill," on how a bill becomes a law (and how long that process can take), is probably the most famous. "Three Ring Government" amusingly compares the US government to how a typical circus is run. "The Preamble" discusses the Constitution. "Sufferin' 'Till Suffrage" details how women were finally given the vote after years of protests. The more recent "I'm Gonna Send Your Vote to College" spoofs college fight songs as it explains about the Electoral College and what it does. "Tyrannosaurus Debt" from Money Rock goes into the national debt and how it keeps growing.

(And Richard had better do something about the mice soon. One of them chewed a hole in a small stuffed frog Mom made when I was a child and filled with beans. They ate the beans and made a mess around where I had him. I'm so mad! I can't even replace that frog. I doubt Mom still has the pattern.)

Moved to The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band as I put up the Thanksgiving decorations and made spiced chicken cutlets with mushrooms, leftover broccoli, and slices of Apricot Honey Bread for dinner. The family of the title were a real band who moved to the Dakota Territory in time for the infamous contested election of 1888 between William Harrison and Grover Cleveland. Grandpa (Walter Brennan) swears by the Democrats, but Dad (Buddy Ebson) and his oldest daughter Alice's (Leslie Ann Warren) beau (John Davidson) are dedicated Republicans. Grandpa's very anti-Republican views get him into trouble with the locals when he starts teaching his views to kids in school. Matters come to a head during the Election Day party, when everyone finally learns a lesson that, no matter what side of the political divide you're on, there are just some things it's best to work together on...like becoming a state and making music.

This is one of the strangest traditional musicals I've ever seen. You don't often see a musical where the politics really overwhelm the music at times, and it shares the problem of many late 60s musicals of being overlong. Too bad, because the score of this one has really grown on me over the years. I especially like the cute duet for Davidson and Warren "'Bout Time" and the two big dance routines, "West 'O the Wide Missouri" and "Ten Feet Off the Ground." (Look for a young Goldie Hawn as a featured chorus girl in the former.)

The votes are in at the Peanuts' school. You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown, but Linus may have a shot at winning. Lucy is determined to make her brother a winner, but his speech about the Great Pumpkin may blow his chances. Meanwhile, Snoopy introduces his "Joe Cool" persona to TV audiences as he tries to sneak into school with the kids.

Finished out the night with Perfect Strangers as I did the dishes. The boys "See How They Run" during the sixth season when Balki runs for president of his college student council. Larry swears he won't go overboard as his campaign manager...and then does, of course.

After a shower, I finished the night with the Muppet Babies' "Kermit Goes to Washington" on YouTube. The kids learn about laws and government when Nanny suggests they vote for someone to be president of the nursery. Piggy is disappointed she doesn't beat Kermit, but proceeds to have a fine time as First Pig anyway.

Muppet Babies: Kermit Goes to Washington

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