Started off the morning with this week's American Top 40 re-run. Casey jumped back a decade to the bicentennial year of 1976. Soul, R&B, bubblegum pop, and novelty acts ruled the airwaves...but disco was beginning to make a big splash. Top songs that late September included the Bay City Rollers' remake of "I Only Wanna Be With You," "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine" by Low Rawls, "Say You Love Me" by Fleetwood Mac, "Still the One" by Orleans, "Wham Bang" by Silver, "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor, "Summer" by War, "Getaway" by Earth Wind and Fire, "She's Gone" by Hall & Oates, "With Your Love" by Jefferson Starship, "A Little Bit More" by Dr. Hook, and "Disco Duck" by Rick Dees. The #1 hit that week was made for dancin' - "Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry.
This time, I headed out as Casey was signing off. It was too nice and there was just too much going on to hang around. The weather was absolutely amazing. Sunny skies, soft breezes, mid-70s temperatures...it just doesn't get any more beautiful than this. The leaves are just starting to fall from the trees here, making golden showers as I pass under them.
After fruitless peeks at a yard sale in Oaklyn and two in Collingswood, I arrived at the Collingswood Farm Market. Needless to say, given the gorgeous weather, they were packed. I'm beginning to see the first signs of the fall harvest. Fat orange pumpkins and strange-shaped gourds in fall colors abound, helped by the recent dry streak. Cucumbers are gone, though, and one girl at the orchard booth said this was the last week for peaches. On the other hand, radishes and lettuces of all kinds have returned in spades.
I ended up with the peaches, apples (yellow this time - they were out of small Galas), a tomato, two mini-pumpkins, and my annual large pumpkin. I always buy a medium-sized pumpkin that I keep out from late September through after Thanksgiving, or until it goes bad, whichever comes first. I never carve my pumpkin. For one thing, I'm not good with cutting anything. I'd probably cut myself more than the pumpkin! For another, I like being able to use it for multiple holidays.
I made two more yard sale stops - one in Collingswood, and one in Haddon Township - before heading across Cuthbert Road and into Audubon. Today was Audubon's fall town-wide yard sale. It was nearly as busy today as it had been in April, and almost as hard to navigate. I didn't do as well as I did in the fall, though. I made my best finds at a large estate sale on Washington Terrace. The yard sale outside was more organized than the mess inside. Except for the glassware that was piled on a table, there were things stacked here, there, and everywhere! You'd think people who were going to allow others to roam through their homes would have been more organized about it.
My take ultimately included:
A colorful bracelet made of bright woven rubber bands I bought for a dollar from a pair of enterprising 8-year-olds who were selling bracelets and candy on East Haddon Avenue in Oaklyn. (They claim it glows in the dark!)
One book: Iced by Carol Higgins Clark
Two videos: Little Nemo: Adventures In Slumberland (which I watched on YouTube last year and very much enjoyed) and a home-recorded video labeled as "Disney Halloween" - we'll see what that turns out to be.
Four DVDs: A double bill of the 90s Little Princess and Secret Garden (still in its plastic!), Silver Spoons: The Complete First Season (more complete than the taped-off-UPN episodes Lauren sent me), the Doris Day musical Calamity Jane, and Kung-Fu Panda
I wasn't going to go until 3PM without lunch this time. I stopped at Simply Soups around 1PM. There were quite a few families and couples there already, and service was slow. Good thing I kept it to my usual breadsticks, can of soda (Diet A&W), and small cup of soup (a creamy turkey and pumpkin with wild rice) that was delicious as always and worth waiting for.
By that point, it was almost 2PM. I was tired, and most yard sales would probably be shutting down. I just went straight home. I went online for a little while to look something up, but the stunning day kept calling me. I went back outside for a stroll to the CVS on the border of Oaklyn and Collingswood. It was certainly a lovely afternoon for it. There were lots of people out and about - dog walkers, teenagers on bikes, kids playing in yards, people chatting in gardens or on porches. The sound of drums and brass instruments being practiced filled the air.
The big item I needed at CVS was anti-itch cream. I seem to have developed a rash on my upper thighs and arms. I'm guessing it has to do with the antibiotics I'm taking for my tooth. I wonder if I'm having a bad reaction to it. I also picked up a bag of soothing chamomile and green tea Epsom salts and Palmolive dish washing liquid on sale.
When I got home, I went straight into the bath. Oh, did I need it! I added the salts and soaked in the perfumed water for over an hour and a half. I put on the first CD in the Monkees Present Deluxe Edition and looked over more of my Christmas craft books while enjoying the peace.
After I finally got out, I put on Million Dollar Mermaid while making lamb chops with sauteed peppers and Chinese beans for dinner. Esther Williams had apparently lobbied for years to do the biography of Australian swimming star Annette Kellerman for years before MGM finally gave into her in 1952. Kellerman grew up in Sydney with her doting father (Walter Pidgeon). Crippled as a child, she started swimming as a way to build up her legs. She eventually built them up to the point where she won every amateur swimming competition in New South Wales by adulthood. Lacking money, she and her father set off for London. She first encounters James Sullivan (Victor Mature) on a boat to England, where he hopes to promote a boxing kangaroo. He's even more interested in Kellerman when she tells him about her tropies and how popular she was back home.
When they get to England, he convinces her to swim the Thames, which she does as a publicity stunt. It works, and soon they take off for New York. Broadway audiences aren't ready for a swimming star, so Sullivan tries to get her to swim in Boston. There's a huge outcry there over her one-piece bathing suit, which she wears to win competition, the bloomer-style suits in vogue being too heavy for swimming. She's arrested for indecency, but Sullivan convinces her to take on the courts. After all that, she appears in Sullivan's carnival shows, but they quarrel over her right to do more legit tours outside of the water and break up. She finally gets an offer to appear in water ballets at the enormous New York Hippodrome theater, which she does to great success. Meanwhile, Sullivan is trying any way he can to drum up cash, including taking part in an air race. When an accident occurs during the making of Kellerman's first movie, it's Sullivan who finally rushes to her side.
I can understand why Williams wanted to play Kellerman. Kellerman apparently went on to become a popular film star in fantasy-oriented water-set movies like A Daughter of the Gods, which seems to have been the first movie with a nude shot and the first million-dollar movie. Even after her movie and stage career fizzled, she remained an avid advocate of health issues and exercise for the rest of her life. (Kellerman's not the only one who had an accident on a movie set that almost derailed her career, either. Williams hurt her neck while doing a diving stunt for one of the Hippodrome water ballets and wound up in a neck brace for months.)
Unfortunately, the emphasis on romance drags this one down even more than in the romantic comedies. Victor Mature was never really comfortable in musicals, this one included, and isn't having much fun as the huckster who doesn't want to be seen as riding his girlfriend's mermaid tails. Pidgeon's better as the father who wants the best for his daughter, even giving up his music career for her.
Even with the leading man problems, I still recommend this one as a starter Williams film because of the relatively strong story. If you can handle the sappy romance and enjoy Williams and her aqua antics, dive right in.