Friday, June 16, 2017

The Frankenstein of the Opera

Awoke to a cloudy, cool, and humid morning. Also surprisingly quiet - still no Charlie. I was able to have my quick breakfast and make my grocery list in peace. Did a quick Three Stooges short while I ate. Since I'm currently reading the Vesper Holly desert action tale The Jedera Adventure (and in honor of the new version of The Mummy in theaters), I opted for the Stooges' own sand saga. "We Want Our Mummy" the guys say when they hit the sand to find the kidnapped Professor Tuttle and the long-lost mummy of King Rootentooten. They end up dodging moving mummies and a nasty group of thieves who want the reward for the king for themselves.

Headed out around quarter of 11 to do this week's grocery shopping. Not nearly as many good online coupons this week, although one for Life Cereal (which was already on sale) helped. They still have a bunch of fish fillets with manager's coupons, too. I bought three, each with a different seasoning. Eggs were on a dollar sale. Also restocked skim milk, unbleached flour, mandarin oranges, canned apricots, buttermilk, grapes (red this time - another good sale), yogurt, peanut butter, and tea (found boxes of Red Rose's new "Sweet Temptations" on the clearance racks - went with Blueberry Muffin and Caramel Apple Pie).

Headed home to put everything away and have lunch. Did two episodes of Scooby Doo, Where are You? as I worked and ate. Mystery Inc also has to deal with an animated mummy in "Scooby Doo and a Mummy Too." They too are after a professor who has disappeared, or in this case, been turned into stone along with his assistant. The mummy seems to be after an Egyptian coin Shaggy accidentally put in his pocket. But why would an ancient king want a coin, and what's the coin's real purpose?

"Spooky Space Kook" is an even more far-out tale. The kids stop for gas at a farmer's house near an abandoned air field. The farmer claims he's been seeing aliens land there. When the kids start seeing them too, along with glowing footprints, they head to the air field to find out what this strange creature is really after.

Went back out around 1:30 to run errands in Westmont. First stop was Dollar Tree. I needed cards for Father's Day. Also grabbed some of those Kool Aid frozen juice bars I loved so much last year. The line was long, but for once, they had all three registers open. I was in and out quickly.

The Haddon Township Library was a ghost town when I arrived, despite the gloomy day. There was only one audio book to shelve, and no DVDs. Good thing another volunteer had started to organize the kids' CDs but hadn't been able to finish. I completed the project, which needed to be done badly. I hadn't done it since they moved the CD shelves across the kids' room from the DVDs.

The library's copy of Charlie Chan In Honolulu seems to have been joined by at least five or six other titles. I opted for Charlie Chan at the Opera and a double feature of Charlie Chan In Rio and Dead Men Tell. Took out Suicide Squad again, since I never got to it last week. Continued my voyages with the Starship Enterprise with Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Ducked out around 3. I wanted to get going before the traffic on Cuthbert and the White Horse Pike did and to have time to write. Newton Lake Park wasn't much busier than the library, despite the relatively cool day. The rain has done wonders for the flora. Everything is so green and brilliant here. The leaves are enormous, shading the blades of emerald grass and tiny gem-like wildflowers.

Went on the computer as soon as I got home. Luke, Henry, and Charles are brought up to the upper deck of Jenkins' state-of-the-art steam yacht, the Paradise, to be fed to the sharks. Luke literally leaps into action before that can happen! He's not the only one. The cast of the Rebels cartoon, along with Ahsoka from Clone Wars and Jyn and Cassian from Rogue One, all help out. Rusty hands everyone their weapons.

While everyone else is chasing Luke and the Rebels, Leia wraps her gold leash around Huttman, throttling him to death. She throws off her jacket and frilly skirt to reveal a costume that bears close resemblance to that of the Crimson Hawk and Golden Eagle. She calls herself the White Swan and declares that she's now the first female member of the League of the Crimson Hawk. Boba Fettson chases Luke up one of the masts. She shoots his jet pack, making it blast across the island, before he can hurt the newly-declared Jedi. Meanwhile, Henry and Charles rescue Langdon from the hungry jaws of several sharks.

They end up taking over the ship, with the help of the servants, musicians, and dancers Huttman had once abused. Luke says they'll turn Huttson's remaining bounty hunters over to the authorities and drop anyone else off in Anchorhead before heading back to the mainland to rescue Wedge Antilles and the rest of the League.

Broke around 6:30 for lemon garlic salmon (way too salty) and a green salad. Decided it was cool enough to attempt peanut butter cookies for dessert. Did the one-bowl recipe in the cookie cookbook Lauren sent me for my birthday, with hazelnut extract instead of vanilla. (I forgot the vanilla at the Acme earlier.) Other than I think I should have added more peanut butter, the cookies came out quite tasty and fairly sweet.

Watched Charlie Chan at the Opera while I baked, and later while online. There's a madman (Boris Karloff) loose in the opera house in Los Angeles. He's suspected to be the one sending threatening notes to his ex-wife Lilly (Margaret Irving) and her husband (Frank Conry) who had him incarcerated. He's far from the only suspicious character hanging around backstage. Another singer in the company (Nedda Herrigan) is concerned about her husband (Gregory Gaye) having had an affair with Lilly. We also have two young adults who keep trying to sneak into the theater, one of whom (Charlotte Henry) claims to be Lilly's daughter. When Lilly and her husband both die on opening night of Mephistopheles, Charlie and "Number Two Son" Jimmy have to figure out if the madman really did it, or if someone else had it in for the diva.

The presence of Karloff, one of the most famous horror actors ever, elevates what many consider to be the best Charlie Chan film. Watching Karloff and Oland match wits with each other is a pleasure, and the other actors more than measure up to them. There's even original arias written by Oscar Levant. If you're a fan of this series or of light mysteries from the Golden Age of Hollywood (and can deal with Chan being played by a white actor), this is a moody and beautifully shot entry in the long-running series.

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