Sunday, January 14, 2018

I Remember Yesterday

I celebrated the start of a sunny winter day with Mandarin Orange Pancakes and the soundtrack from the 1967 Rex Harrison version of Dr. Doolittle. I haven't seen this movie since it made occasional appearances on cable and a few local independent stations when I was a kid, but I remember it being supremely weird. The plot description in the booklet attached to the record cover bears this out. The good doctor of the title prefers animals to people, despite being friends with an enthusiastic young man named Matthew (Anthony Newley). He falls for the niece of one of Doolittle's more obnoxious customers, Emma (Samantha Eggar). Doolittle is accused of murder when he steals a seal from a circus to return her to her mate and it's believed that she's a woman, thanks the bonnet he's hidden her in. When the others rescue him from jail, they all take off for the South Seas to find the rare Great Pink Sea Snail.

Uh, yeah, the story is that bizarre. No wonder this was apparently a flop in 1967. In some ways, it reminds me a lot of another odd musical fantasy from this time period that also didn't do well at the box office, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. There's a period setting in Victorian/Edwardian England, with the first half set entirely in England and the second in a far-flung fantasy land. At least one scene in England takes place in a fair or circus. The lead is an eccentric older man who prefers machines, animals, and kids to adults and has a romance with a younger woman, despite the initial disapproval of her guardian. Both films end with the leads being taken home by some fantastic conveyance.

For all this movie's problems, it does have a rather nice score. "Talk to the Animals" was the hit at the time and won the Oscar, but I liked the ballads better. Too bad Matthew's "Where are the Words?" was deleted; it's very sweet. His duet with Emma, "Beautiful Things," is also quite lovely. Dolittle's "When I Look In Your Eyes" is a touching ballad...that he performs to the seal missing her mate in the film.

I don't know if this is available on CD, but the LP makes a pleasant listen if you ever run into it.

Headed off to work shortly after the record ended. While busier than it was last week, we mostly weren't quite as bad as we usually are on Sunday. The Eagles played yesterday, and a lot of people may have been taking advantage of a chilly but windless afternoon off to get other things done. I cleaned the bathroom and bagged in the morning shift, then helped the afternoon bagger do the carts, did cold returns, and for some reason, cleaned up a lot of spills after break. (Including plastic buckets of roses that were leaking all over the main entrance to the store.)

(I also got to see some of the Jaguars - Steelers game during break. The Jaguars were way ahead by the end of the first half, 28-7. Though the Steelers caught up in a big way, Jacksonsville still pulled off a win 45-42 and will hopefully knock out the Patriots next. The Vikings had an even bigger last-minute victory over the New Orleans Saints tonight 29-24 - they'll be playing the Eagles next Sunday.)

When I got home, I listened to the Johnny Mathis Swing Softly album while working on BB In Toyland. BB manages to get the door open while Rose distracts Kylo Ren and his men by throwing paint at them. Ren finally gets a hold of BB after the others make their way in. Han stops his son from dragging the girl away, confronting him about his leaving the factory and his invading Toyland. Kylo Ren takes off before he can give his father answers; BB goes after him.

Broke for dinner and to make dessert around 6:30. Turned one of the containers of ground turkey I bought on Friday into Taco Casserole with the addition of pasta, cheddar cheese, onions, carrots, taco sauce, and broccoli. Made Blackberry-Pineapple Grunt from I'm Just Here for More Food for afterwards. (I didn't have enough blackberries for just blackberry grunt.)

Listened to Golden Boy while I ate. I thought this 1964 stage musical was appropriate for Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Joe Wellington (Sammy Davis Jr.) is determined to become a fighter by any means necessary, even betraying his manager when he falls in love with his white girlfriend Lorna (Paula Wayne). He does become famous...but when he learns just how empty it is when he actually takes a punch in the ring and kills his opponent.

Oddly, the music reflects very little of this heavy drama. You can hear some bitterness in "Don't Forget 127th Street," a paen to Joe's Harlem roots, and in Lorna's song "Lorna's Here." Otherwise, it's mostly ballads for Wayne and Davis and jazzy numbers for Davis like the hit "This Is the Life."

I'm pretty sure the CD is out of print, but it can likely be found online if you're a fan of Davis or prefer your musicals on the darker side.

Finished out the night with Donna Summer's greatest hits set On the Radio. I felt like I needed something a lot more fun after Golden Boy. My stepdad was a huge fan of hers. Some of my earliest memories are of dancing around the house to this and her Bad Girls LP set.

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