Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Have Yourself a Dolly Holiday

Started off a sunny day with Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving while I had breakfast. I mainly ran it for the Thanksgiving special in the middle of the "full-length" film. The Hundred Acre Woods crew is gearing up to share a feast of honey, haycorns, and hot chocolate ice cream when Rabbit butts in. He insists that Thanksgiving is about tradition, and tradition means eating the right foods. Trouble is, Tigger and Eeyore can't find the cranberries, Pooh and Piglet are terrified of the turkey they're supposed to be catching, and Gopher's making pumpkin pie "with attitude." When the party goes wrong, Rabbit cancels everything. It's Pooh who finally remembers that we celebrate Thanksgiving not for the food, but for the friends we share it with.

Spent the next hour and a half dressing the American Girl dolls for the holidays. I never did get around to dressing them for this month. They were due. Samantha is in her Cranberry Christmas Dress and the red shoes from her Spring Day Dress. Josefina looks like a Spanish princess in her yellow striped Christmas Dress and Mantilla. (They replaced it with a blue one this year. I may get that and use it for regular winter wear.) Jessa is in the 90's Chinese New Year Outfit with Josefina's black mules. (The velvet shoes that originally came with that outfit fell apart years ago.) Felicity wears her beautiful bright blue Christmas Ball Gown with Josefina's Heirloom Accessories choker. Molly's feeling glamorous in her Evergreen Velvet Dress, white Springfield Collection socks, Samantha's "meet" shoes, and Whitney's ruffled petticoat. Whitney gets the blue-violet Snowflake Ball Gown with a black Springfield Collection spencer (the dress is sleeveless), black stockings, and the velvet strap shoes from Ivy's Chinese New Year Dress.

Had a quick lunch while doing Mickey's Christmas Carol. This 1983 adaptation of the famous Charles Dickens novella is usually listed as Mickey's theatrical comeback. Actually, Mickey has the role of Bob Cratchet here. Uncle Scrooge, as a perfect Ebeneezer Scrooge, is the real focus. Donald is his nephew Fred, Daisy is Belle, Jiminy Cricket, Willie the Giant, and Big Pete are the ghosts, Minnie is Mrs. Cratchet, and Goofy makes a better Jacob Marley than you might think. (Also look for rare animated appearances by comic-books-only characters Grandma Duck and the Three Little Wolves.)

Headed out around 12:30 for a walk to the Oaklyn Library. It was a nice day for it. It's still windy, but not nearly the gale-force winds we've had over the past two days. It was chilly, but nothing out of the ordinary for late November, probably in the lower 50's. The trees are getting more and more bare. A smattering of yards already have Christmas decorations out, but most have settled on pumpkins, scarecrows, mums, and bright-colored fall banners.

The Oaklyn Library wasn't busy today. I listened to one of the older patrons chat with the librarian and tried to ignore all the political blather on CNN. I was thankful when the librarian got tired of it too and switched to The Weather Channel. I mainly shelved books in the children's area, though I did also look at DVDs.

Went home to pick up my laundry, then right back out again. I had a huge load to get done, including the sheets I stripped off the bed yesterday. Thankfully, they weren't that busy. A family did show up later, and there were people here and there. I mostly just worked on story notes and sort-of listened to Steve Harvey.

When I got home, I put everything away, then put the ripped sheet in the back room to be cut into dust cloths, then went into writing. Rey suggests disguising themselves as slaves to get into the salt and pepper mines and rescue the captured toys. The Nutcracker points out a place where they can get into the Starkiller Fortress and free Han. Leia adds that they can stop at the home of Mother Maz, an old woman who runs a place for stray gingerbread children, and get supplies and aid.

Let the DVD continue into The Small One as I made Tuna With Peas for dinner. Tun and Peas is basically what it sounds like, a tuna casserole cooked on a stove top. I didn't have sour cream around (I don't like sour cream), so I used cream of chicken soup instead. Yum, Came out very well. I might have to get some more of that Acme natural tuna if it's still on the shelves.

The Small One came out in 1979, four years prior to Christmas Carol. We move from London in the 1840's to the Middle East in biblical times for the touching tale of a little boy and his small, elderly donkey. The boy's father says the donkey doesn't earn his keep anymore and must be sold. The boy is heartbroken, but he's determined to find Small One a good home. Small One is too old and frail to attract a buyer. Most of the city people laugh at him...until one kind fellow named Joseph who needs a gentle donkey to carry his wife to Bethlehem offers to buy him.

Very sweet tale of faith and friendship from Don Bluth, shortly before he broke away from Disney. (In fact, I think this was his last completed project with the company.)

Switched to Meet Me In St. Louis as I made Pumpkin Bread to take to Mom and Dad's house on Thanksgiving. This is six months in the life of the Smith family as they prepare for the opening of the big St. Louis World's Fair in 1903 and 1904. Esther (Judy Garland) is playing matchmaker for her older sister Rose (Lucile Bremer) and her long-distance beau while pining after that cute boy next door John (Tom Drake). Tootie (Margaret O'Brian) is making snowpeople that look like her siblings' friends and claiming her dolls have "four fatal diseases" so she can bury them and give them nice funerals. Everyone's plans are in an uproar when Mr. Smith announces that he's moving the family east to New York, and an eastern-bread beauty seems to make a play for the boy Rose is after. Rose and Esther have their own plans, but things ultimately work out for everyone, right in time for the Fair to finally open.

This adorable coming-of-age tale has been a favorite of the women in my family since Mom bought the video in the early 90's. Men don't seem to be as fond of it. I don't think Dad knew what to make of it, and Keefe was scared to death of the Halloween sequence for years. I mainly had it on for the Christmas sequence. This was the debut of the much-loved holiday standard "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Watching this one always brings back a lot of memories of growing up in a similarly large and female-dominated family. Phone calls (even after the advent of the cell phone) were often heard by at least three or four other members of the family, especially if they were from the opposite sex. Anny could be as macabre as Tootie at that age. She used to make up equally weird stories about her school at the dinner table and have "crab graveyards" at the beach where tiny crabs would bury in the sand.

I don't know how other guys would handle it, but for ladies, if you're a fan of Garland or of other nostalgic musical tales like On Moonlight Bay, this is one of MGM's best musicals of the 1940's and is absolutely recommended.

And I found another animated film I was fond of during my childhood on YouTube. This 1974 Japanese version of Jack and the Beanstalk used to show up from time to time on cable when I was little. It has a really interesting premise that deviates from the original story once Jack gets up the beanstalk - the castle in the clouds is really ruled by a princess who is under the spell of a witch. The witch has enchanted the princess to marry her ugly giant son so she can be Queen of the Clouds. All the citizens of the land were turned to mice. Jack's more interested in the giant's gold at first, but his conscience finally kicks in, and he learns that even a clever farm boy can make a difference and rescue royalty.

Jack and the Beanstalk 1974 Japanese animation

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