Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Caught In the Storms

Started off a sunny morning with more Turtles. The boys intend "The Ninja Sword of Nowhere" as a present for Splinter. It's really made from an alien metal that can slash rips in time and transport the bearer through dimensions. They end up having to get it back from Shredder when he traps Splinter between dimensions.

Worked on writing for the rest of the morning and early afternoon. Luke and the nerds hurry to the Rogues' cottage as soon as they arrive. Wedge isn't responsive at first. They just barely got to sleep after their huge party ended. Luke's good friend Brian "Biggs" Darklighter is the first to figure out what he's talking about, then convince the others to make plans...

Did a few short episodes of Danger Mouse from the 5th and 6th season while eating a quick lunch and getting ready for work. "The Man From Gadget" is a very annoying Irish salesman whose faulty devices don't seem to be getting DM any closer to Greenback's newest hideout. DM finally ends up using his head...or at least, the salesman's. Greenback is "Tampering With Time Tickles" when he creates bombs that can turn anyone older or younger. An elderly Penfold and a youthful Danger Mouse try to keep them from causing worse damage. "Once Upon a Time Slip" is one of the most bizarre episodes of the whole series. Somehow, a slip of the tongue from the narrator throws the regular cast into a parody of "Robin Hood," with Danger Mouse as Robin, Penfold as Little John, and Greenback as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

The first bang of thunder was heard while I was still writing, well before the clouds appeared. By the time I was ready to leave for work, it was coming down in buckets. I waited five minutes, but it wasn't letting up. I didn't have the time to call anyone, and even if I did, I didn't want to drag anyone out in that mess. I rode to work, just barely making it on time...and arrived so soaked, I was dripping. I did wear my lightweight work pants that dry pretty fast and I was able to borrow a dry shirt, but I was walking around in wet shoes and socks for the rest of the afternoon.

As it turned out, I needn't rushed. The weather scared off our customers. We were dead for most of the afternoon, and never more than mildly busy. There was a small spurt around 3:30, when the sun made a brief return and the rain stopped. By quarter of 4, the clouds were rolling in again. As it turned out, we had plenty of help. I was only outside once, quickly helping a teen boy gather carts before the next storm came. Once it started raining again, I went inside. I mostly cleaned bathrooms (which actually did need it for once), the break room, and did returns.

I quickly bought a soft pretzel for a snack and some bags of Pepperidge Farm Graham Fish for dessert before heading out. While the rain continued to fall, it wasn't anywhere near as heavy as it had been earlier. I was only slightly damp when I arrived home. Good thing, because I had to take out the trash, including some doll boxes I no longer wanted to keep.

Since I was already wet, I hit the shower before having leftovers for dinner. Did a few cute Betty Boop shorts while I ate. I wasn't the only one frustrated by the bad weather. "Grampy's Indoor Outing" is prompted when Betty's nephew Junior is disappointed when rain cancels the local carnival. Grampy turns ordinary objects into rides...including a still-amazing finale that makes their modern apartment building into a 3-D roller coaster. A snooty puppy sees Betty's beloved pooch Pudgy as "Little Nobody"...until he rescues the spoiled canine from a raging river. Betty thinks "A Little Soap and a Little Water" is all she'll need to get Pudgy clean. He'd rather get his bone from a bucket of ashes.

Finished off the night with the last of the Bing Crosby movies on the Screen Legend set, If I Had My Way. Bing's second independent offering from Universal also pairs him with a child, in this case the much older Gloria Jean. Bing is Buzz, a construction worker on the Golden Gate Bridge, and Jean is Pat, the daughter of a close friend of his. Poor Buzz has to break the news to the girl when her dad dies in an accident on the bridge. He and his Swedish buddy Axel (El Brendel) takes Pat cross-country to New York City, where she's supposed to live with her Uncle Jarvis (Allyn Joslyn). Turns out that Jarvis is a rich snob who wants nothing to do with the kid. His kindly older brother Joe (Charles Winninger) and his wife Marian (Nana Bryant) are more than happy to take the girl and her protectors in. Buzz isn't happy when Axel uses the money from Pat's father to buy a Swedish restaurant...until he turns it into a nightclub and hires former vaudevillians to perform. But then the rich uncle turns up, angry that Buzz tried to dump worthless stocks on him. Buzz, Pat, and their buddies have to think of a way to detain Jarvis and make sure the show goes on.

I was actually rather impressed with this one. First of all, this is the only movie on this entire set with no romance for Bing. His relationship with Jean is the focus. Her father's death, the Great Depression, and the (real-life) building of the Golden Gate Bridge give it a slightly dark undercurrent. This also has a decent score, including the standard title song.

Unfortunately, it has some of the same problems as some of the other older movies on this set. While the blackface number is neither as prominent nor as long as the one in Here Comes the Waves, it is still there. Like Double or Nothing, this one fills out the second half of the movie with specialty numbers...though in this case, at least the numbers were genuine history, with rare performances from real former vaudevillians like Blanche Ring and Eddie Leonard.

Definitely the best of the set along with Waikiki Wedding and Here Comes the Waves, this is a hidden gem if you love Crosby or stage history that deserves to be better-known.

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