Monday, December 26, 2022

'Twas the Day After Christmas

Spent the first day of my actual vacation (I just took yesterday off) sleeping in. It was past 12:30 before I really got moving. Watched Match Game '75 while eating brunch. Ed Asner and singer Julie London joins in to help sweet, sobbing Dorothy figure out "Better __" in the Audience Match...but she does pretty well on her own. Charles is delighted when he comes up with the top answer, milking the audience's reaction for all it's worth. Richard has a harder time with "__ Test" in the Head-to-Head.

Switched to Charlie & Lola while making my bed and doing a few little things around my rooms. Lola's excited about her first sleepover at Lotta's, until she sees how different her nightly routine is from the one she has, and she realizes she misses Charlie. She says "I Slightly Want to Go Home," until she plays a nighttime game with Lotta that she usually does with her brother that helps relieve her homesickness.

I considered going for a walk today, since it was only cloudy. It's still cold, though, and I'd really rather save my money for trips later in the week. I puttered around online and played a few games at the Buzzr website.

Ate lunch, then rested while watching A Christmas Story. All Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsly) wants for Christmas 1940 is a Red Ryder BB gun "with a compass and a stock and this thing which tells time," but the universe seemingly conspires against him receiving this perfect gift. His mother (Melinda Dillon) thinks it's a bad idea. His father (Darren McGavin) seems to be too caught up in his feuds with the furnace and the next door neighbors' dogs and with his "major award" to notice anything else. Ralphie and his little brother Randy (Ian Petrella) may not survive typical childhood pitfalls like getting into fights with local bullies and their visit with an overworked Santa (Jeff Gillen) long enough to make it to Christmas Day...and even then, the holiday doesn't turn out at all like Ralphie expects.

Here's the other Christmas comedy from my childhood that's still a favorite of mine. My family played the copy we taped off HBO constantly during the holiday season long before TNT started running it during Christmas Day. There's so much I can relate to here, from parents swearing where their kids can hear to the bullying to siblings who won't eat and hide under the sink when they're upset. The Parker parents are the hilarious stand-outs, but everyone's a delight. 

Roused myself long enough to write when the movie ended. The Mouse King does manage to get Gene down after he's beset by his men. The Nutcracker will defend him, but Debralee worries it may be too much...

Broke for dinner at quarter after 7. Ate while watching Match Game '79. Gene and Bob Barker spend the first episode drooling over Brianne Leary in her newsboys cap and outfit. They're absolutely thrilled to be referred to as sex symbols! Jon "Bowser" Bauman's more interested in the poem he recites in the beginning. In the second episode, Bob mentions The Price Is Right intended to build a Showcase around Match Game, complete with Gene, Charles, and Brett. I wonder if they ever did?

Finished out the night after a shower online. Started with It's a Wonderful Life. George Bailey (James Stewart) thinks life has passed him by. He runs a savings and loan in his small town that's provided housing for half his neighbors, yet he and his wife Mary (Donna Reed) live in a ramshackle house with a big family and no money. Every opportunity he had to leave, he ended up having to stay to help someone in need, or keep the Building and Loan going, if only to keep the town from falling into the hands of nasty Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore). He's about to take his life when he thinks he's lost the money he needs to keep his business going, but he's saved by Clarence (Henry Travers), a friendly angel. Clarence finally comes up with the idea of showing George what the world would be like if he'd never been born...and it's not a pretty picture.

Your mileage may vary, depending on how you feel about director Frank Capra's pro-small town politics, but I mostly love this movie. Actually, my favorite thing about this is the host of beloved character actors having a great time with their roles, from Beluah Bondi as George's warm mother to Thomas Mitchell as forgetful Uncle Billy and Gloria Grahame as the town flirt with an unrequited crush on George. Highly recommended for fans of Reed, Stewart, or the actors involved, or those who agree with Capra's sentiments about small towns at the holiday season.

The series finale of Tiny Toon Adventures was their full-out spoof "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special." Frustrated over a series of mishaps besetting their big holiday extravaganza, Buster Bunny attempts to leap from the actual film. He's stopped by a tall white rabbit with a familiar drawl named Harvey, who shows him what Tiny Toons would have been like if he wasn't on it. (There's even a joking reference to Quantam Leap here!) 

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