Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rainy Day Mysteries

It was still sunny and a little humid when I got up this morning. Did some more Scooby Doo as I had breakfast and got ready for work. "Jeepers, It's the Creeper!" is one of the few episodes of the entire series where we see Mystery Inc. interacting with kids their own age. They're on their way to a dance their high school is holding in a barn when they encounter a ransacked armored car and its driver. Evidently, a strange zombie called "The Creeper" has been stealing from local banks. When the lights go out in the barn, the kids opt to solve the mystery instead.

Mystery Inc is on their way to a rock concert when the Mystery Machine decides to overheat next to a spooky old southern mansion. They end up with a "Haunted House Hang-Up" when they discover a headless ghost who may be guarding a treasure.

Work was pretty much the same as yesterday - dead for most of the day. It's the middle of the month and the middle of the week, not to mention we're between holidays. It did get busy enough later that I had to have someone take my line so I could go home, as I had no relief.

Oh, and I got some ideas for my next round of WENN stories - and these, I should be able to post. Along with Captain Victor, Man of Power, I'm going to be doing a series of fairy tales and short fantasy stories spotlighting one or two WENN characters, taking place at different times during the series. (Gertie and Mr. Eldridge and Eugenia and Mr. Foley will share their stories, which will be more comic and shorter than the others.)

Betty's will be The Little Mermaid, inspired by the second season episode "Behind Every Great Woman." Her story is set in New England. A mermaid rescues a handsome sailor (Scott), but when she gives up her voice to be with him, she discovers that not only do two witches (Ruth and Hilary) want his human soul, but he already has a dear female friend (Maple). (And while I don't intend to use Disney's ending, which I always considered to be a bit of a cop-out, I can't bring myself to let Betty end up a spirit, either...)

I'm going to do Victor's King Arthur straight medieval Camelot, based around the late third and fourth season. Victor is King Arthur. Scott is Lancelot, who turns up while Victor is on a mission...and falls hard for Queen Bettivere. Maple is the Lady of the Lake. Pavla is Morgan LeFay. The others are other members of the court and Knights of the Round Table. (That one may require some reading on Arthurian romances and will likely be held off until later in the summer.)

Scott's story will head west for a gender-inverted take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, based around the early third season. Scott is a gambler who returns west to find that his mother, who married a wicked landowner (Pruitt), has died, and his stepfather wants him out of the way. He's jealous of his good looks and has no intention of allowing his stepson to either gain his inheritance or find out what he has in mind for the land the town's on. Pruitt sends a bounty huntress (Maple) to kill Scott and take out his heart, but she's a friend of his and warns him instead. He flees, first to a friendly tribe of Indians, then a a run-down theater that's being restored by a troupe of seven performers (Hilary, Gertie, Mackie, C.J, Mr. Foley, Mr. Eldridge, Eugenia) who agree to take him in. A reporter (Betty) at first believes Scott is a crook...but she has second thoughts when three more attempts are made on Scott's life.

The sky was beginning to darken by the time I headed home at 5 PM. After the huge storm the other day, I had no desire to do anything but hang out at home! I made some tasty Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip while watching The Death Kiss. I thought a murder mystery was appropriate for such spooky weather. The title actually refers to the movie being filmed at Tonart Pictures. The studio's top actress (Adrienne Ames) is accused of having her ex-husband shot during the filming of a picture. Her current boyfriend, a writer at the studio (David Manners), is determined to prove her innocence. The cop in charge of the case (John Wray) thinks he's just a pest, and the head of the studio (Bela Lugosi), would rather write it off as an accident. As it turns out, quite a few other people working at the studio, including the director of the film (Edward Van Sloan) and an alcoholic extra, would have loved to see the leading man die for real....

From the title and the presence of Lugosi, I assumed this would be a rather dark crime story. Far from it. Actually, it's a fairly goofy mystery with a surprisingly realistic glance behind the cameras at a real-life small-time film studio. The entire movie was shot on and around Tiffany Pictures, the minor movie studio that produced it. Too bad Tiffany went under and was bought out by Columbia shortly after they made this film. While not a masterpiece, this is quite fun, with a genuinely suspenseful finale with hand-tinted yellow flashlight spots.

Don't come here looking for the scares often associated with Lugosi - he's not really in it much at all. This is a fun little mystery with an interesting glimpse at life at a small-time studio in the early 30's.

Oh, and it did start raining sometime around 6:30-7. Thankfully, this time, all we got were showers. They were heavy at times, but nothing like the other day. At the moment, they seem to have subsided.

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