Thursday, October 17, 2013

Whip-Crack Away!

I had no real plans for this morning, so I slept in and spent most of it finishing Anne of the Island. This is the third Anne of Green Gables book. Anne's off to college in big-city Kingsport with her friend Priscilla and her long-time guy pal Gilbert Blythe. The book switches back and forth between Anne's world of friendship and lovely little cottages in Kingsport and the quieter world of Avonlea. Anne's not happy with many of the changes in her beloved home town, from the death of a childhood schoolmate to several marriages. Then Gilbert declares his feelings for her, and she has to decide if she's ready for love.

A charming entry into the series...but by all means, if you've never entered Anne's world before, please begin with the classic first book Anne of Green Gables.

Switched to the tale of another energetic and unusual young woman during brunch. We move out west to the Dakotas for one of Doris Day's best musicals, Calamity Jane. Day's the title character, a buckskin-clad, strong-willed sharpshooter and stagecoach driver who spins tall tales for the boys at the Golden Garter Saloon in Deadwood about her many adventures. When the cowboys, including Jane's buddy Wild Bill Hickcock (Howard Keel), get a crush on a tights-clad actress, Calamity heads to Chicago to hire her for the saloon. What she finds is Katie Brown (Allyn Ann McLearie), the actress' stage-struck maid. Calamity can't tell one bustle-wearing female from another and brings Katie back by mistake. Katie stays even after the mistake is found out, and she and Calamity become good friends...until they both start competing for the love of a handsome officer. Calamity's jealous at first, until she realizes her "secret love" is right under her nose.

I had this a couple of years ago, but I got rid of the video and never got around to picking up the DVD until I found it at a yard sale. This adorable western tale is something of a cross between Oklahoma! and Annie Get Your Gun, with songs that sound like they were cribbed from both. While Keel is fine as Hickcock and Dick Wesson is particularly funny as a tenderfoot actor who gets stuck in drag at one point, this is really the ladies' show. Day throws herself wholeheartedly in the role of Jane and has tons of fun doing so. McLearie is equally enjoyable as the dainty dancer who has more steel under that bustle than one might suspect. There's a nice score, too, including the Oscar-winning "Secret Love."

Necessary for fans of Day, Keel, or musical westerns, a fun show for everyone else.

Ran some quick Backyardigans after the movie ended. Spunky pink bug-girl Uniqua delivers a message to King Austin in order to become a knight in "Knights are Brave and Strong" and fights with Tasha over what the markings in the snow really are in "The Yeti."

Work was mildly steady through rush hour, after which it died so quickly, I spent the last hour and a half doing returns. Needless to say, there were no major problems whatsoever, and I was in and out after I picked up milk.

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