Saturday, September 02, 2017

Rainy Day Harvest

I awoke to a day that was cloudy, damp, and cold, in the lower 60's. Ran black-and-white Popeye shorts to cheer me up as I ate breakfast. "The Two Alarm Fire" is consuming Olive's house, but Popeye and Bluto are more interested in one-upping each other than putting out the flames. Olive and Bluto take part in "The Dance Contest," but Popeye's no Fred Astaire. It takes spinach to get him going. "We Aim To Please," say Olive and Popeye, at least until the first customers at their diner are mooching Wimpy and demanding Bluto. "Beware of Barnacle Bill" is a through-sung short opera about Popeye fighting the title character (Bluto) for Olive. Popeye and Olive teach Bluto to "Be Kind to Aminals" when they catch him abusing his horse.

It was showering lightly when I headed to the Collingswood Farm Market around quarter after 10. Thankfully, the rain was gone by the time I arrived. They were still pretty busy despite the late hour and the weather. I ducked around quite a few folks in rain gear buying produce for their Labor Day barbecues and for kids' back-to-school lunches. The fall produce is starting to slowly roll out. I saw grapes and some winter squash for the first time today. Just ended up with small peaches and Gala apples, onions from the organic booth (where they're smaller and cheaper), two ears of corn, and a tomato.

Worked on writing after I got home and put everything away. There's a reason Vader wanted to use Lance's club to lure the Walker twins and Hank. It's a former fish warehouse with room for tanks in the back. These tanks once held fish...but now one is going to be used to transport Hank to Jasper Hutt's club in Atlantic City. Charlie tries to fight his way out, but he's subdued. Hank tells him to watch Luke and Leia and Chip to keep an eye on Arturro. Leia rushes to him and kisses him. They barely have the time to exchange "I love you-I know" before Vader shoves Hank into the tank below them.

Broke at 1 for a quick lunch before work and more Popeye. The two sailors aren't "Pleased to Meet 'Cha" when they both end up at Olive's house at the same time and pretty much destroy it with their antics. Bluto is "The Hyp-Nut-Tist," who uses his hypnotic powers to humiliate Olive and Popeye onstage, at least until Popeye can get to a can of spinach. Popeye has to "Choose Yer Weppins" when a criminal who gives Police Officer Wimpy the slip ends up in his and Olive's shop and gets a load of all the swords laying around.

The rain had returned by 1:30, but it was so light, I opted to ride to work. Work was, once again, a pain in the rear. The rain picked up just in time for me to be sent to do carts. I had no help at all this afternoon. Spent most of the time outside and got soaked. The only time anyone helped me was when two managers came outside...and of course, one was the grouchy man who only barked orders instead of asking nicely for help. While I did do trash later in the afternoon, I eventually ended up right back outside. (I never did get to the bathrooms.) It didn't help that we were on-and-off busy all day, thanks to the weather, the holiday weekend, and the beginning-of-the-month traffic. Thankfully, the rain was down to a mist by the time I headed home.

Since I was already wet, I went right in the shower after I got in. Had shrimp and green beans for dinner when I got out. Ran Deep In My Heart while I ate and later as I went online. The final MGM composer biography semi-revue takes a look at Sigmund Romberg. If his name doesn't sound as familiar to many of you today as Rodgers and Hart or Jerome Kern, it's because he mainly specialized in old-fashioned, romantic operettas like The Desert Song or New Moon. Actually, Romberg (Mel Ferrer) did start out like the others, writing jazzy specialty numbers such as "Leg O' Mutton Rag" for the Shubert Brothers' Passing Show revues and goofy Al Jolson vehicles. Playwright Dorothy Donnelly (Merle Oberon) encourages him to get the Shuberts to put on his romantic musical melodrama Maytime. It's a massive hit, but it's not until he falls in love with a society girl (Doe Avedon) a few years later that he has the inspiration to write some of his most popular shows.

Like the other composer "biographies," there's more nifty numbers than real history in this underrated treat. Gene Kelly performs with his brother Fred for the first and only time in "I Love to Go Swimmin' With Wimmin." Cyd Charisse and James Mitchell dance a sensuous "One Alone" that's far sexier than anything in the 1953 Desert Song. Jane Powell and Vic Damone sing a lovely "Road to Paradise" and "Sweetheart, Will You Remember?" The amazing sequence where Ferrer manages to turn the Al Jolson vehicle he's been working on into a wild one-man farce has to be seen to be believed. Also look for the rare numbers "It" performed by Ann Miller and "Your Land and My Land" sung by Howard Keel and the men's chorus.

If you love operetta like I do or the MGM musicals of the 40's and 50's, you may find much to enjoy in this one, including some material that just doesn't show up that often anymore.

And I'm glad I got home when I did. The rain has continued off and on, sometimes heavily, for the rest of the night. (It's on - and pouring - as I write this.)

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