Thursday, January 08, 2015

In My Own Little Apartment

Started off the day with this month's cleaning as soon as I finished breakfast. The bathroom was disgusting. I haven't had the chance to clean in over a month, since the week of Thanksgiving. I scrubbed and dusted the bathroom as much as I could.

Did the 1965 Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella while I ate and worked. It's pretty much the same deal as the 1959 version, with even more of an all-star cast. The Prince is Stuart Damon, who went on to a career in soap operas. Celeste Holm is an older, more maternal fairy godmother. Ginger Rogers and Walter Pidgeon are the queen and king. The stepsisters are character actresses Barbara Ruick (best known as Carrie Snow from the film version of Carousel) and Pat Carroll (who did the voice of Ursula the Sea Witch in The Little Mermaid). One song is added for the Prince in the opening, the lovely "Loneliness of Evening," which was apparently cut from South Pacific and pulled out of the trunk for this broadcast. Warren is a different, somewhat sweeter Cinderella.

While I grew up with constant re-runs of this one on cable in the 80s and early 90s, I like all three versions (yes, the Brandy one from the 90s, too). Not one is the same, and they all have something to recommend them. Which Cinderella you end up with depends on which cast you prefer and if pictoral quality is a factor. (The 50s Cinderella was shot live - the copy available is a little fuzzy but decent.)

Switched to Duchess of Idaho as I moved into the kitchen to dust and scrub the counters. Though the film opens and closes with water ballets, this really has more in common with the land-locked Texas Carnival. Williams follows a spoiled playboy (John Lund) to Sun Valley, Idaho, in the hopes of getting him to fall in love with her girlfriend, his adoring secretary. While on the train, she meets a handsome bandleader (Van Johnson) who falls for her. Soon, she finds herself trying to make the playboy see the virtues of her friend and fend off the bandleader. What she didn't plan on was both men falling for her...or her enjoying being with the bandleader so much.

This is one of the last of the semi-revue romantic comedies MGM tossed Williams into during the 40s and early 50s. As such, it's not bad. Even with only two water ballets, it's still an improvement over something like This Time For Keeps. Johnson and Lund are obviously enjoying themselves as the two very different suitors. Johnson and his band introduce this movie's best number, the jivin' "You Can't Do Wrong Doin' Right." This would be the last MGM movie for Eleanor Powell and one of the last for Red Skelton and Lena Horne, all of whom had brief cameos. For fans of Williams or MGM musical lovers.

Cleaning took me so long, I rushed through lunch and just barely made it to work on time. Despite it being less windy and slightly warmer than yesterday, we were quiet through most of the afternoon. It did pick up a little by rush hour, but it was never overwhelming. The managers sent one of the college girls in so I could get out on time.

Needless to say, though it was a little warmer than yesterday, that still barely took us into the teens after dark. I went straight home. Had the last of the New Year's crock pot ham while watching one of the episodes of The Red Skelton Show Lauren sent me. In addition to the New Year's "Silent Spot" drunk spoof, this early 60s show gave us a couple of hilarious skits that had Martha Raye as the world's least-likely Cleopatra. Red was the Roman slave Nauseous, who is the only man on Earth who can resist her charms. Raye also gets a couple of nice numbers to herself, including a touching "Little Girl Blue."

As with the Beatles Ed Sullivan shows, one of the most fascinating things about this was it was intact, including all its commercials and a CBS station identification. The packaging for Mazola Corn Oil and Margarine has barely changed in 50 years! They apparently used to make salad dressing, too.

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