Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Look to the Rainbow

Top of the evenin' to 'ye! I hope you all had a lovely St. Patrick's Day. I began mine with a call from Mom. I was working on my journal when the phone rang. Mom wanted to wish me a happy holiday and tell me she'd heard from Rose. Dad is still in the hospital, and will be for the next week. They did get all the cancer out, but they had to remove his voice box to do so. He won't be able to talk again. Mom herself is fine. She's still working erratic hours at the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. She says they should be steadier again once the weather becomes steadier.

I had enough time for a couple of cartoons as I had breakfast. Porky Pig has a surreal encounter with a pack of vengeful leprechauns who think he's after their pot of gold in "Wearin' Of the Grin." Woody Woodpecker also has problems with the Wee Folk in "His Better Elf." A woodpecker-like-leprechaun gives Woody three wishes. When he wishes for gold, the gold turns out to come from a bank...and Woody ends up learning a lesson in the importance of earning his bread.

Work was dead as a doornail for most of the afternoon. It was a gorgeous day, into the 60's. It was too nice for people to be indoors shopping. By the time it the 4 PM rush hour began to roll in, I was on my way out. I picked up cabbage for dinner tonight and raisins for my Irish Soda Bread. I was out of sugar, too. The chain came off my bike on my way to work. A man coming out of the Acme was nice enough to help me get it on so I could get home.

There was a box waiting for me on the steps when I finally arrived. I'm surprised my American Girl order showed up so quickly. I didn't expect it for another couple of days. It arrived just in time to change Samantha into her new mint-green Special Day Dress for St. Patrick's Day. I also bought her limited-edition Flower Picking Dress, which came with a basket of fabric tulips. The modern Coconut Fun Outfit consists of tights, magenta shorts, blue flats, a pink and blue plaid headband, and a cute blue-violet studded t-shirt, all for the miraculously low price of 9 dollars. (I've seen modern AG outfits with fewer pieces go for twice that much on eBay!) The current accessories set for Samantha includes a lace headband with a big flower, a cute velvet purse, and a pretty necklace with a heart-shaped pendant. I mainly got it so Samantha could have a necklace of her own, like most of my other dolls. (I also bought more hangers, which I needed badly.)

AG is clearing out their Historical Character Mysteries with older covers or based around characters who are now retired. I picked up The Cameo Necklace, featuring African-American New Orleans belle Cecile, and The Crystal Ball, my favorite mystery featuring Jewish ragtime-era New York resident Rebecca Rubin, for $1.25 each.

Finished out Finian's Rainbow as I made skinned chicken thighs with cabbage, the last of the fingerling potatoes, and Irish Soda Bread for dinner. I began it before I went to work. Finian's Rainbow was Fred Astaire's last appearance in a film musical. Astaire is the title character, a roguish Irishman who thinks his stolen pot of gold with flourish in the ground near Ft. Knox. After all, if the United States' money seems to grow, why not his? Og, the leprechaun he stole the gold from (Tommy Steele) isn't too happy. Losing his gold is causing him to become human. Finian's daughter Sharon (Petula Clark) is just fed up with her father's stories.

Meanwhile, the people of Rainbow Valley, where Finian buried the gold, are being hounded by nasty, bigoted Senator Rawkins (Keenan Wynn). Rainbow Valley is a commune where blacks and whites live in harmony, including Woody (Don Franks) and his silent sister Susan. When Sharon wishes the senator was black, so he knew how everyone in the Valley felt, she accidentally turns him into a black man. Now everyone has to find that gold, before Sharon is burned as a witch!

Francis Ford Coppola's first major production ran into a lot of the same problems as many other film musicals of the late 60's and early 70's - no amount of up-to-date talk about race and communes could change the fact that this was originally a Broadway hit in 1947, and it does feel a little dated. Things look a little better today. Astaire and several critics complained about the rag-tag choreography. Actually, the odd dance routines, including Astaire's delightful solo to "When the Idle Poor Becomes the Idle Rich," suit the bizarre plot to a T. Steele and Clark do an adorable "Something Sort of Grandish" as well. Steele is my other complaint - he's way too over-the-top as Og, to the point of being a little annoying.

If you're a fan of the cast or the big musicals of the 60's and 70's, this one has a lot to offer and is worth at least a look.

Ended the night with an episode of Moonlighting that features an even more unusual leprechaun. The second season show "Somewhere Under the Rainbow" brings a pretty young Irish colleen to the Blue Moon Agency, claiming she's being followed and that she wants protection. Trouble is, she also claims she's a member of the Wee Folk and that the people following her are after her pot of gold. Maddie and David try to help her find the gold as they argue over the idea of magic and the things we can and can't see.

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