Thursday, November 15, 2018

Snow Day Surprise

Began the morning with my first Rankin-Bass special of the season as I ate breakfast and got ready for work. The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold from 1981 is their second-to-last Christmas stop-motion cartoon. A young Irish sailor is sent to a mysterious island to dig up a pine tree for Christmas. It turns out to be guarding the Banshee Mag, who had once terrorized the little people who live on the island. She needs the gold mined by an old leprechaun (Art Carney) to remain alive, or she'll vanish at the dawn of Christmas morning. He refuses to give it to her, turning it over to the sailor instead. When she plays a trick on the lad that leaves him under a spell, it takes the love of the leprechaun and his estranged wife (Peggy Cass) and their family to restore him.

It was just sleeting a bit when I headed off to work. I figured I'd be fine riding my bike. It was cold, in the upper 30's, and very windy, but I figured it wasn't cold enough for snow. I was wrong. By noon, the sleet had become much softer...and it was piling up on the sidewalks and the roadways.

Not only did the messy streets not stop customers from coming - we were steady-to-busy all afternoon - but I was the only bagger there the entire morning. The head bagger took the day off for a funeral, and the afternoon bagger never appeared or even called. I did have help from a cashier who  doubles as a bagger, but I was mostly outside all day, trying to push carts through the snow and shovel the slush. (At least the shoveling was a lot easier than it had been during those storms we had in March.)

It was sleeting hard again when I was done. There was no way anyone would pick up me and my bike in that mess. Not to mention, the streets were still pretty bad, especially in Oaklyn, and the Acme's parking lot was impossible. I half-rode, half walked home.

Hung everything up to dry when I got in. Made lemon bars while watching more Rankin-Bass. The Stingiest Man In Town was their last regular animated holiday special until 2001. This musical adaptation of a 50's TV musical of the same name has Walter Matthau as Scrooge, Dennis Day as Nephew Fred, and Robert Morse as the younger Scrooge. What I like about this one is how many songs they retained from the original musical. I'm especially fond of "An Old Fashioned Christmas" for Fred and "Yes There Is a Santa Claus" for Martha Cratchit.

Did two quick snow-related shorts from my public domain set while I cleaned up from the baking. "Snow Foolin'" is one of the Paramount Famous Studios Screen Song sing-along shorts. Animals have fun in the snow, to the tune of "Jingle Bells." "The Snow Man" is an oddity from I'm guessing the 1930's from the rubber hose designs. An Inuit and his arctic animal buddies have to get rid of a snowman when the one the build comes to life as a Yeti.

My computer finished updates in time to let me squeeze a little writing in. Anakin Scrooge is horrified when Sheev Palpatine Marley glides in, fettered by enormous chains and lock boxes. Scrooge denies him at first, until he wails enough for him to give in. While Scrooge tries to defend them, saying he was always a good man of business, Marley regrets not having done more to help others.

Did The Nutcracker while making leftovers for dinner. I have the 1977 version that stars Mikhail Baryshnikov as the Nutcracker Prince and Gelsey Kirkland as Clara. Stockton University's media center had the video of this in the early 2000's. I used to traditionally watch it every year the day before we left for Christmas break. While it's missing a few dances, likely for time (notably the Arabian coffee dancers and the Sugar Plum Fairy), it's still a favorite of mine.

Finished the night with the 1961 Disney Babes In Toyland, which I cover in more detail at my Musical Dreams Reviews blog.

Babes In Toyland (1961)

Oh, and someone at Dinosaur Dracula mentioned this really cool site. It has a collection of vintage Christmas catalogs, ranging from the late 30s to the late 90's. It's fascinating to flip through these and see how what we bought and how they were advertised changed over the years!


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