Sunday, September 27, 2020

The Eagles Tie Down the Bengals

Started off another cloudy morning with apple-cinnamon pancakes for breakfast and Prime Time Musicals. This Verase Sarabande collection brings together songs from lesser-known TV musicals of the 50's and 60's, some of which no longer exist outside of their soundtrack albums. Along with a few songs that are pretty well-known even now ("A Ride On a Rainbow" from Ruggles of Red Gap, "Love and Marriage" from Our Town) and two songs from Barry Manilow's Copacabana, I enjoyed "One Day at a Time" from the Bing Crosby vehicle High Tor (which I reviewed on my Musical Dreams blog back in April) and "Listen to Your Heart," a sweet ballad from a version of Pinocchio with Mickey Rooney as the puppet and Fran Allison (of Kukla, Fran, and Ollie fame) as the Blue Fairy. 

Switched to Lost In Boston IV while cleaning up from breakfast. This is one of the collections of songs cut from stage musicals - in this case, from shows that played off-Broadway or had short runs. My favorite is the hilarious opening number. "Thirty Weeks of Heaven" is a spoof of early 20th century vaudeville tours that is funnier than anything that made it into By the Beautiful Sea. Other ones I like include "Marking Time" from Pippin, the ballad "A Green and Private World" from the notorious flop Drat! the Cat, and three devastating numbers from the late 70's show Ballroom, "Who Gave You Permission?", "The Job Application," and "Suddenly It's You." 

Went over to Jodie's side of the house around quarter of 1. This time, the kitchen was as full as it's allowed to be at the moment. Rose and Craig were there, with Finley playing with toys in the living room and Khai attached to games on his iPad. Jodie ordered Vodka Pizza, pizza from a local place made with Vodka sauce. Not bad. Very salty. Rose brought lemon and chocolate petit fours. (Jodie really liked the lemon.) There were crackers and various bruschetta and olive spreads as a snack. 

Finley, Rose, and I went out for a walk a little later. Finley hoped her friends next-door would be out, but they all play for sports teams on Sundays. We ended up strolling down the steep hill to the dock on the lake. The lake is mostly covered in algae right now, and not very pretty. Finley and Rose still insisted they saw a turtle and kept looking for them all around the dock. All I saw was bright green spots.

We strolled back up to my place after that. Finley loved playing with my rag dolls and Cabbage Patch Dolls, who now sit at the heavy dark wood doll table Jodie gave me. We played with Luna the Black Cat and a couple of my bears, too.

When we went back to the main house, Rose pulled out the bin of Beanie Babies for Finley to play with. She seemed most interested in the two cats, which made sense, given they have two cats at home. We played with a unicorn, birds, bears with labels on their chests, a walrus, and several cows before I went back to the living room. Said "hi" to Mark and his girlfriend Joya, enjoyed crackers, and sat down for the game. 

By the second half, I was so tired, I just about passed out on the couch. Finally left around 4, just as Rose and her brood were heading out. The game wasn't really going anywhere, anyway. The Eagles and the Bengals ended up tying 23-23.

Spent the rest of the evening watching game shows. Every September, Buzzr has a "Lost and Found" marathon of rare or unusual game show episodes. This year, they went super-rare with black-and-white shows from the 1950's and early 60's. Each show was a Goodman-Todman production that lasted a year or less, and had anywhere from one to four episodes remaining. 

Get the Message and Call My Bluff were variations on Match Game and Wordplay, respectively. Message had two celebrities writing down words to describe a person, place, or thing. The celebrity had to guess what it was. Bluff was funnier. This time, one team gave three different descriptions of a strange word. The other team had to guess which was right. (Interestingly, Peggy Cass took part in both.) Bluff apparently went over far better in England (where it ran for 20 years) than here. 

Say When!! had more in common with The Price Is Right. The contestants chose prizes to match up to a certain amount. Whomever can call "when" without going over wins their prizes. Number Please was Wheel of Fortune without the wheel. Two contestants call out numbers on a board. The more numbers they choose, the more letters will come out. Whomever guesses the words wins the prizes they represent. Split Personality allowed one contestants to choose the clues for the other to guess a famous person. Whomever got the most right would have to guess which two celebrities are represented on a split face in the end.

The final show was a genuine oddity. What's Going On was a huge flop in 1954 that only lasted five episodes, four of which exist. It was basically "What's My Place?" Three panelists have to guess where three other panelists are. The game play was boring and derivative, but this one gets a pass for Audrey Meadows doing a hilarious kick line with an all-male chorus line and Clifton Boardman and tenor James Melton attempting to race antique cars. 

(Incidentally, survey says the big winner here was Call My Bluff. Like Blockbusters, I really wish that one went over better on this side of the pond. It was funny and genuinely delightful to watch. Say When!! was the best of the non-celebrity-based shows. The truly weird What's Going On gets a pass mainly for the funny segments - the actual gameplay was nothing special.) 

Having just come off the daffy Going On, I finished the night with two other shows that mixed laughs and game-play. The Cheap Show from 1978 was a syndicated Chuck Barris spoof of game shows in general. Dick Martin hosted a goofy semi-game that had costumed contestants answering questions. If they missed, their partner got slimed, or hit with pies. Winners of the question rounds got junky nonsense "prizes." The pair who made it to the bonus round did get a genuinely good prize...chosen for them at random by a rat running around a wheel. This one is more weird than fun, although the slime and pies do give you the feeling Nickelodeon channeled a kid-friendly version for their Double Dare a decade later. 

Like What's My Line? and To Tell the Truth, I've Got a Secret got a syndicated revival in the late 1960's. Unlike those shows, it wasn't a success...but it did give Richard Dawson some of his first game show experience. I read about this episode in The Matchless Gene Rayburn and had to see it for myself. Gene's old boss Steve Allen hosted this version of the show where a panel has to guess a contestant's "secret." Good panel here, too. Gene and Richard were joined by Broadway star Nanette Fabray and Pat "Grandma Arbuckle/Ursula" Carroll. 

The first guy's "secret" was pretty nifty - he made an organ out of soda cans. The second took Steve out into the audience as several men stood up in their seats. Nannette guessed they were all named "James Smith." 

Charles Nelson Reilly was the third guest. He admitted he was learning to paint by numbers...and he somehow learned while painting a still life of fruit on the stomach of bikini-clad Price Is Right model Janice Pennington. The ladies nearly fell over laughing when they found out, and Richard just grinned...but Gene practically drooled, jumping all over the place and trying to get at her! It was funny as heck. 

If you need a good laugh, check out these two comic rarities! 

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