Saturday, February 14, 2015

No Valentines For You

Unfortunately, my Valentine's Day began with a phone call...and then another. Two different managers wanted me to come into work. I put them off while I finished Anne's House of Dreams, then called them back and said I'd do it. I didn't want to, but I need the money and the hours.

Ran two specials as I ate breakfast and got ready to head out. Bugs' Cupid Capers is one of the Looney Tunes specials from the late 70s-early 80s made up of old cartoons with new linking material. Bugs watches as a rather familiar Cupid does his work with the other Toons, despite Bugs' insistence that he's meddling.

In an episode from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Rabbit cancels Valentine's Day in order to keep Pooh from flooding the Hundred Acre Woods with paper hearts. Pooh, however, gets a pot of honey for Valentine's Day and assumes it's from Piglet. He can't resist giving just one Valentine. This eventually ends up with flying cakes and crazy plays for Christopher Robin. But who did send the original pot of honey?

I rushed out around 12:30. My first stop was the Oaklyn Library. There was one person at the computer; other than that, it was just me and the librarian. I organized the DVDs, then moved on quickly.

My second stop was Abbie Road. I wanted to look over Bob's collection, but I had practically no time. He did offer me some oatmeal cookies. I just chose a two-disc fifties vocal set and hurried out. Half-way to Audubon Crossings, I realized I left the bag with the chocolate sandwich cookies at Abbie Road! I didn't have the time to go back for them. I needed to have lunch. I didn't really have the time for that, either. I scarfed my broccoli and shrimp pizza at Tu Se Bella's as fast as I could, and I was still late for work.

Work was busy all afternoon. If people weren't shopping for Valentine's Day dinners, they were panicking over the two inches of snow we're supposed to be getting on Monday and Tuesday night. It had started snowing as I was heading into Audubon and got rather bad when I arrived in Audubon. Though everyone was in a good mood, I was glad to head out after four hours.

I wasn't happy when I got home. I tried to cheer myself up with a few more Valentine's Day cartoons. Disney did a second Pooh Valentine's Day tale in the early 2000's, A Valentine For You. Pooh and his friends search for the "Smitten" bug in order to cure Christopher Robin after he seems to like a girl more than them.

There are two Peanuts Valentine's Day specials. (Making Valentine's Day the only holiday besides Christmas to have more than one Peanuts special.) In Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, Chuck is hoping for a suitcase load of Valentines, while Linus buys a huge box of chocolate for his teacher. Sally thinks the chocolate is for her. Lucy tries to get Schroeder to give her a valentine. Meanwhile, Snoopy is putting on romantic-but-messy puppet shows.

A Charlie Brown Valentine is a little kinder to poor Chuck. He's trying hard to get the Little Red-Haired Girl to notice him...but somehow ends up taking Peppermint Patty and Marcie to the Valentine's Day Dance anyway. Sally pursues Linus and Lucy pursues Schroeder, without success. Snoopy works on his love poetry.

The Tiny Toons have their own bouts with love during prom season in the first-season episode "Prom-ise Her Anything." Babs patiently waits for Buster to ask her while he tries to learn dance moves. Elmyra gets Montana Max to take her, but he stands her up at the prom. The rabbits finally bring him back.

I ran a few records after a shower and scrambled eggs with escarole and tomatoes for dinner, ending with The Most Happy Fella. This 1956 musical is the closest thing you can get to an opera without actually being an opera. Even my 3-disc cast album comes with all of the music and quite a bit of dialogue. Amy is a waitress in 1927 San Francisco. She goes out to Napa Valley to be the mail order bride of Tony, a kindly Italian winery owner. Tony, however, is an old man. Nervous about how Amy (whom he calls Rosabella) will receive him, he sends her his young foreman's photo instead. Tony gets into an accident on the day of Amy's arrival. She's not happy about the deception at first, but she does grow to love him, even though she likes his foreman, too. Her best friend Cleo also ends up in Napa, where she takes up with Herman, a cowardly ranch hand.

Considered to be the crowing achievement of Frank Loesseur (Guys and Dolls, How to Succeed In Business...), Most Happy Fella did well enough when it came out, but was ultimately overshadowed by the more crowd-pleasing My Fair Lady. Even now, despite hits like "Standing On the Corner" and "Joey, Joey, Joey," the story is a little depressing and melodramatic, despite its happy ending. The music (other than the out-of-place dance number "Big D"), is just as good as is often claimed. If you have a taste for darker or more complex musicals or love Loessuer's other projects, you may want to give this one a try.

And here's some vintage Valentine's Day tales I scrounged up online, as well as the only holiday special to date for Ever After High.

Muppet Babies: My Muppet Valentine
From Disney, With Love
The Bernstein Bears' Comic Valentine
Ever After High: True Hearts' Day

Here's hoping you had a far more romantic Valentine's Day than I did!

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