Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Very Weird Science

It was still sunny, windy, and warm when I got up this morning. I began the day with two horror-themed TV show episodes. Ricky, Alfonso, and Freddy are watching a horror movie marathon on "A Dark and Stormy Night" in the third season of Silver Spoons. When the storm knocks out the power, Ricky's dad Edward suggests telling ghost stories. The quartet comes up with a spooky tale of three young lads who discover a Jekyl-and-Hyde scientist (Edward), a lovely lady (Kate), and a very stuffy monster (Alfonso's uncle Dexter) in a scary old mansion.

Things are just as scary in downtown New York's Night Court. "The Gypsy" has put a curse on the courtroom after Harry fines her for insulting him over his ruling. Suddenly, Bull collapses and Dan's accountant drops dead in the middle of an audit. While Dan tries to save his funds, Harry and the others do a little magic of their own to prove to Bull that the gypsy is a fake...or is she?

I had almost as much running around to do today as I did yesterday. Hit the Oaklyn Library first. I had big bags of books to bring to both libraries. They were fairly busy with people preparing raffle baskets and a mother and her child looking for books and DVDs to take out. I organized the DVDs and gave the young adult novels a look.

I went home briefly to pick up the other bag for the Haddon Township Library, then headed out again. They were just as busy. I had even more to do there. In addition to organizing and shelving the kids' and adult's DVDs (the kids' S titles still don't fit) and a large pile of classical CDs, the head librarian asked me to take a look at the paperback romance shelves, which desperately needed to be put into some kind of order. That was fine. I find most mass market romance novels to be boring, but I know a lot of people like them, including my mom and sister. I got through the D titles before my stomach informed me that it was past time for lunch.

By 2:30, the sky had darkened, the wind had picked up, and it was much colder. I regretted not bringing a sweater or coat with me. I hadn't needed one yesterday or earlier. I picked up sponges at Dollar Tree, then had a quick chicken pizza steak and fries at Nick & Joe's Pizza, next-door to Friendly's. The dark-paneled main dining area with the huge, elaborate water colors of scenes of Italy was surprisingly busy when I came in. There were two other older groups and what sounded like a Hispanic family enjoying late lunches.

The clouds continued to build as I headed home. They finally burst about an hour or so later. I concentrated on cleaning for the rest of the day. Ran Disney's Halloween Treat as I cleaned the bathroom and scrubbed the bathroom and hall floor. My family taped this Disney Channel special sometime in the mid-late 80s. It's a collection of several Disneyland/Wonderful World of Disney segments (including one on villains narrated by Hans Conried as the Magic Mirror) and classic Disney horror-oriented shorts.

One of my favorite shorts is the second-to-last featured, "Lonesome Ghosts." Goofy, Mickey, and Donald become the original ghost busters when a group of bored specters invited them to their dilapidated mansion. After a lot of slapstick (including Goofy and a ghost playing around in a mirror frame), it's the trio who finally frighten the ghosts away!

Continued with a few more Disney shorts as I switched from the bathroom to the kitchen. Mickey Mouse has twice been on the receiving end of some very weird science. The classic black-and-white short "The Mad Doctor" has Mickey attempting to rescue Pluto from the title character. The rare 90s short "Runaway Brain" makes Mickey himself the subject of the experiment. Another mad doctor (voiced by Kelsey Grammer) switches Mickey's mind with that of a monster. Now Mickey has to convince Minnie he's who he says he is, despite being in a body eighteen times his normal size.

The most famous of all mad scientists may be the original monster creator himself, Dr. Frankenstein. I moved to Young Frankenstein while finishing the kitchen and making salmon with peppers and mushrooms in lemon sauce and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. The title character (Gene Wilder), Fredrick, isn't proud of his grandfather's gruesome legacy...until he inherits his castle and holdings. When he and his assistants (Terri Garr and Marty Feldman) discover his grandfather's laboratory, he decides his experiments might work after all. When his subject (Peter Boyle) is accidentally given an abnormal brain,  he has to figure out how to tame this beast, before the local inspector (Kenneth Mars) and the suspicious townspeople learn what's really going on.

One of Mel Brooks' most beloved spoofs is an affectionate take on the Universal horror movies of the 30s. It's a personal favorite of mine, if only for some of the witty dialogue and fun performances. (Apparently, the cast and crew enjoyed making the movie so much, they added extra scenes, just so they could keep going!) Fans of Wilder, Brooks' work, or comic horror will find much to love here.

Finished the night with one more Disney short as I cleaned up from dinner. "The Haunted House" was the first horror-oriented short Disney did with a regular character, in this case Mickey Mouse. Mickey finds himself lost in a very spooky old house, where skeletons dance, ask for organ concerts, and get involved in outhouse gags.

Incidentally, the rain ended as quickly as it came. It's supposed to be nice and chilly through Halloween, then rain this weekend.

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