Thursday, December 13, 2018

I Believe In Father Christmas

It was still sunny outside when I woke up this morning. Made Cranberry Flummery to go with my breakfast while watching a mildly holiday-themed episode of Wonder Woman. In "The Deadly Toys" from the second season, two scientists have vanished into thin air after being replaced by androids. The scientists were working on a huge weapons project, but canceled it at the last moment when they became concerned about the damage it would do. Diana has to protect the last remaining scientist while figuring out what an eccentric toy maker and his clockwork charges have to do with the case.

Changed Ariel into the "Cat's Meow" outfit Lauren gave me after breakfast. It comes with a purple cat sweater, knitted neck wrap, gold sparkly skirt, lavender tights, and cheap turquoise shoes. I replaced the shoes with the much nicer metallic purple strap shoes that were also a gift from Lauren a few years ago. To be honest, the gold skirt is a little too formal and glittery to work with the simple cat-print sweater and homey neck wrap. I probably won't use these pieces together too often. The colors do look cute on Ariel, though.

Worked on writing for a little while after I finished with Ariel. Leia rejects the first tree they bring home. It has too many gaps and looks like a comb with teeth missing. Rey and Hank go out again to the country, but the second tree they bring back is way too big for the house. They're hoping that the third time will be the charm...

Broke for lunch at 1. Had Banana Honey Muffins while watching Kung Fu Panda Holiday. Po is really gearing up to celebrate their town's big winter holiday with his noodle-making crane dad Mr. Ling. His plans change when Master Shifu tells him that, as the Dragon Warrior, he must hold a huge formal banquet for all the major kung fu masters. Po's excited at first, but he has no idea about formal etiquette and accidentally shames a bunny cook, and then gets overwhelmed trying to do everything himself. Not to mention, the dinner is at the same time as his father's big family get-together at his restaurant. Po's conflicted about which to attend at first...until he realizes just how important food is for bringing everyone together, especially during a holiday.

Work was once again no trouble at all. I spent almost the entire evening outside, doing carts, sweeping the patio, or gathering trash and recycling. Clouds had moved in by then, but I still got to witness a glorious pink-and-gold sunset out in the parking lot.

There were two packages waiting for me when I got home. I brought the one from Linda Young up before I left. She and her husband James always send me a few gifts for Christmas. This year, there was one to open now, and three to leave for Christmas Day. Alas, the one to open now was something they gave me last year, The Curious Stories of Christmas, an anthology of unique or unusual holiday customs, history, and real-life stories. I think I'll give the second copy to Lauren, who is also a big fan of Christmas.

The other package was my final gift from Lauren. She and her parents have some stock in Kimberly-Clark, and they always send me a box when they get one. I kept the paper towel roll and tissues, along with two coupons for pads. Everything else in the box - the wipes and car cleaning towels and coupons for diapers - will be spit between Rose and Anny's families.

Put on the 1986 Babes In Toyland as I made leftovers for dinner. I go further into this guilty pleasure TV musical at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Babes In Toyland (1986)

Since it was next on the disc, I moved on to Here Comes Santa Claus while making Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies for Lauren and her parents. Babes In Toyland wasn't the only bizarre holiday fantasy musical to debut in 1986. This is the dubbed version of a French musical about a little boy named Simon who takes his best gal friend Elody to Lapland to find Santa. His parents have gone missing in Africa, and he thinks Santa can help find them. While Santa and his fairy assistant head to Senegal to fulfill the boy's request, the children end up in the hands of a nasty ogre who wants to eat both of them for supper!

Hoo boy, is this a weird one. There's plot holes galore. How did the kids take a plane trip to Lapland with no one noticing? Why didn't the teacher see that they were gone? What do the extra scenes in Africa with Santa and the monkeys and the crocodile have to do with anything? Why didn't the kids realize that their teacher and the mean school janitor close resembled (and were played by the same people as) the fairy and ogre? The special effects, especially in the end, are only a cut above Babes In Toyland.

On the other hand, there are some things I like here. I've never heard of a fairy helping Santa Claus. That's a actually a rather creative touch. Some of the synthesizer score isn't bad. I always have "I Believe In Father Christmas" stuck in my head for days after I watch this. As a resident of the US, I like the look at holiday customs in France, including kids putting out shoes instead of stockings and covering the presents with tinsel garland instead of wrapping them. Not to mention, you don't see many Christmas films made on location. That's the real Senegal and Lapland they're walking around in; real African natives were used as extras.

It looks like this one was finally released on DVD in the US under the title I Believe In Father Christmas, and it's been parodied by the MS3K-style group Rifftrax. It's still not the most necessary movie in the world, but if you like your musicals campy like me, it's worth digging around for.

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