Monday, November 16, 2015

Autumn Lovers

Started another gorgeous, sunny day with breakfast and the 1955 TV version of Babes In Toyland. There were two live versions of this story done in the mid-50's, both of which are now on DVD. I prefer the one from '55. Dainty Barbara Cook is more realistic as a storybook heroine than the very urban Jo Sullivan and fits better with Dennis Day. The clowns are funnier, and the production feels a bit slicker than the first one. Interestingly, this is the only other time besides the 1986 TV production I've seen a Wizard-of-Oz-style wrap-around tacked on this tale, in this case a Macy's Santa reading the story to a little lost girl who is waiting for her mother to pick her up from the store.

Got to the laundromat around quarter after 11. I picked the right time. The place was dead as a doornail. It didn't get that much busier once the laundry was in the drier. I worked on notes for the next story I plan on working on, the WENN Babes In Toyland, while listening to The Price Is Right. I didn't have much in the way of laundry at any rate. I was in and out in less than an hour.

I worked on my story for about an hour after I got in and put my laundry away. Doug has been taking Betty out to the Summer Festival grounds between rehearsals. Though she likes him more as a friend than a lover, she still accepts his invitation to the Summer Festival Ball after their show. A certain shadowy figure who is watching Betty from the gardens at Bedside Manor wishes he'd been able to ask her instead...

Ran a Backyardigans episode as I got ready for work. The show did two holiday-themed episodes, the first being "The Secret of Snow" from the second season. Snow-loving Uniqua wants to know the secret of making the frozen precipitation come down. She journeys to the Land of Ice to ask Ice Lady Tasha and her bored assistant Austin if they know the secret of snow. Harried Tasha has no time for Uniqua's requests. She first sends her to the desert, then the jungle, to get her off her back. Not only does Uniqua keep returning, but she brings Cowboy Pablo and Jungle Tyrone along for the ride.

Work was...really pretty dead for most of the evening. Even rush hour didn't get as busy as it has over the past few weeks. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day in the middle of the month. We're between holidays. It's too early for most people to start shopping for Thanksgiving perishables, and most people have probably already bought their turkeys and mixes and boxed items. I doubt it'll pick up until we get closer to the weekend.

Lauren was at her self-defense class tonight and wouldn't be online until past 9. I took advantage of this to make a decent dinner of baked leftover swai fish fillets, roasted sweet potatoes with rosemary, and the last of the spinach sauteed with mushrooms in chicken stock.

Watched Lonesome while I ate. This 1928 part-talking movie is as simple of a romantic comedy as one could wish. Jim (Glenn Tryon) and Mary (Barbara Kent) are two typical working-class singles in late 20's New York. Lost amid the cogs of industry, they're both lonely amid their paired-off buddies. They meet on the beach at Coney Island and happily spend the day together, falling in love. They're separated at the roller coaster, then try to find each other again...but they finally discover they've been near-by all along and never knew it.

Awwwww. This was one of the sweetest romances I've ever seen...with or without sound. The dialogue scenes were only added later as a concession to the new sound movie craze, but they work pretty well, for the most part. I especially liked the first one, with Jim boasting to Mary about his non-existent wealth on the beach. It sounded charming and natural, just the way a first meeting between two lonely people should.

Some of the silent images are amazing. I loved the beautiful hand-tinted sequence where Jim and Mary are almost literally dancing on air. Their fun day at Coney Island almost has a documentary feel. This will probably be the closest I get to actually seeing the real Coney Island in its heyday.

If you love silent or early talkie cinema or just want to see a really good, simple romance, the pricey Criterion set (it's on DVD and Blu-Ray) is worth looking around for.

Finished out the night with making Teen-Time Chocolate Chip Bars from The Betty Crocker Cooky Book  and watching The Nutcracker: A Fantasy On Ice. Dorothy Hamill and Robin Cousins are Clara and her beloved Nutcracker in this lovely cable special from the early 80's. I have fond memories of watching this on HBO as a small child; in fact, this was probably the first version of The Nutcracker I ever saw, well before I saw the actual ballet.

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