Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Welcome to Springtime

Started off the first day of spring by texting Mom; today is also her birthday. Moved on to two cartoons while I ate breakfast. "Springtime Serenade" is one of the few color cartoons featuring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit during his starring years at Universal. Ozzie, his sister Fanny, and other local animals are delighted that spring has arrived. Ozzie and Fanny are even cleaning up their summer resort. A grouchy old groundhog is determined to spoil their fun with predictions of winter. The animals don't listen, until the snow starts falling.

"Springtime" is one of the earliest and most basic of the Disney Silly Symphonies. (In fact, it was the third Silly Symphony.) It's pretty much just plants and animals dancing and animals eating each other in time to classical music.

I headed out shortly after "Springtime" ended. Work was quiet for pretty much the entire day. It did pick up a little bit in the afternoon, but it never got anything like crazy. I did the outside trash and recycling and alternated between rounding up carts and shelving items during the first half of the day; shelved loose items and candy, bagged, and helped a manager load Easter candy onto a display during the second. There were no problems whatsoever.

No wonder we were dead. By the time I got out of work, it was in the mid-50's and climbing. It was such a nice day, I took the long way home down Nicholson Road. They weren't terribly busy, either, not even around the entrance to the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center. It certainly looks a lot more like spring than it did at this time last year, when we were beginning our third snowstorm in a row. Some of the trees on Atlantic even had bright pink blossoms.

Charlie was still working on the windows in the living area, behind my dining area table, when I got in. I don't know if he only has the upper halves in, or if he's doing smaller windows, but...there are only windows on the top half. The bottoms are covered in plywood. He also tore out the wood between the windows and around the electrical outlet, which now dangled a bit (despite him having at least three things plugged into it).

I tried to ignore his cursing and did some writing. Luke Skylander is an engineering student and fan of comic books and sci-fi who lives with his uncle and aunt above their furniture repair shop. Uncle Owen isn't happy to hear that Luke has been buying comic books from old Ben MacKenner, who had known his father Anthony when they were in the same unit during the Korean War. He'd rather his nephew stayed away from that crazy old coot and focus on his studies at Coruscant University. Luke does agree to take Rudy and Charlie to Ben's shop and is excited to learn that Rudy had been in the same unit as his father in Korea.

He'd finally left by the time I'd broke for dinner at 6:30. Ran a few more spring cartoons as I got organized. "Birds In the Spring" was one of the earlier color Silly Symphonies. Once again, it's what it says on the tin. A baby bird falls out of its nest and is almost eaten by a snake before the other birds rescue him.

"The Goddess of Spring" is a full-blown mini-opera, and one of the cartoons Disney used as a trial-run for Snow White. This retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth has some fun music and a nice sequence with Hades' minions dancing, but Persephone moves like she's made of rubber, and her gnomes up above are too cutesy.

Made chicken salad on a bed of spinach, tomatoes, and scallions for dinner. Moved to Tiny Toon Adventures while I ate. Babs introduces "Spring In Acme Acres." A bored Cupid turns his arrows over to brainless Conrad the Vulture. He thinks he's creating "Love Among the Toons," but he's really wrecking havoc, including Monty falling for Babs! "Elmyra's Spring Cleaning" proves to be hazardous to the health of her pet fish, who just wants her to put his water back. Plucky and Dizzy compete on a game show, "That's Incredibly Stupid," which parodies the stunt shows of the late 80's and early 90's. Plucky keeps sending Dizzy out to do the stunts, but the last one proves much harder than he anticipated...

Did two Yogi Bear shorts as I cleaned up from dinner. Yogi is a "A Wooin' Bruin" when he has to try to win Cindy from a brawny circus bear. Ranger Smith is just wondering why bears are suddenly swiping everything from a cake to his car. "Spring Has Hit a Snag" for Snagglepuss when he invites Lilah, a  pretty lioness, into his home, only to find that she's a demanding brat who whines for him to do everything.

Finished the night on the couch with something a little different. I hadn't heard good things about the original 1948 Superman: The Serial, but it's actually a lot of fun. Unlike a lot of superheroes who were transferred to serial form, it pretty much keeps Clark's origins intact. (Which, unfortunately, gives the first chapter the same problem of it moving slow as the first movie.) Clark has to battle the wicked Spider Lady, a female mob boss whose men have a ray capable of destroying the planet. He has to figure out what she's up to, while making sure a very determined Lois Lane (Noel Neill) doesn't find out who he is or get herself killed grabbing scoops from him.

I like this. Kirk Alyn isn't a bad Superman; Neill's even better as a very determined and sarcastic Lois. There's a lot of complaints about the flying being animated, but it doesn't really look that horrible. The Spider Lady is actually a pretty nifty villain, too. If you're a fan of Superman or old-time serials, you can do far worse than this one.

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