Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween Harvest

Kicked off Halloween morning with breakfast and Raggedy Ann & Andy and the Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile. Chuck Jones directed two holiday specials featuring the perky rag doll duo in the late 70's; this was the second one. Ann (June Foray), Andy (Daws Butler), and their dog Arthur first bring a glum, unwanted pumpkin (Les Tremayne) to a little boy in need of some Halloween fun. They then have to figure out how to convince his stern Aunt Agatha (Foray) to let the boy keep his new friend and join in the festivities.

Dashed out shortly after the cartoon ended. It was an absolutely glorious day for a Halloween farm market, sunny and breezy and just cool enough. Goes without saying they were busy with people buying apples, pears, and squash for their Halloween parties. I even saw a few kids in costume, including the most adorable Elsa and Anna. Corn and eggplant are gone, but I saw the first cranberries of the season. Couldn't resist those cranberries; also grabbed sweet potatoes, little honeycrisp apples, small heirloom tomatoes, red leaf lettuce, and more arugula. 

Took the short way down Bettlewood back into Oaklyn. Need to stop at Dollar General on my way home. I ran out of sugar earlier in the week, and I wanted more peanut butter, too. Grabbed two boxes of sandwich bags with plastic zippers to make treat bags when I realized they barely had any Halloween items left, let alone Halloween treat bags.

Finished out Bugs Bunny's Howl-oween Special when I got home and put everything away. Bugs dodges Witch Hazel and her stew pot between segments from various horror and Halloween-themed Looney Tunes shorts. Witch Hazel turns Speedy into a copy of her so she can go on vacation, but he inadvertently casts a spell on Daffy that turns him into something very strange. Sylvester is first spooked by a Tweety who has transformed into a monster, then by the scary noises in a dilapidated house. Bugs avoids a vampire who would love a little rabbit for Halloween.

Watched Scooby Doo! Music of the Vampire while putting together treat bags with my candy and the mini-bags of cookies, Goldfish crackers, vegetable chips, and pretzels Rose gave me. I go further into the only full musical in the Scooby Doo franchise to date at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Made up my costume as the movie ended. I decided weeks ago I'd be a black cat this year. I already have the ears, tail, and gloves. I was going to add make-up whiskers and a black nose, but I remembered I'd be wearing a mask and ended up wiping them off. I'm not a fan of the black bow choker that came with the original costume, so I put that on my stuffed black cat Luna.

Suddenly remembered as I wiped my face that I needed to feed Rose's cats. Grabbed my coat and bike and dashed over to her house on Kendall Boulevard near the school. Was surprised to see a lot of kids gathered at the school in costume. Maybe they had a school parade, or were getting ready for trick-or-treat.

It took me a few minutes to get into Rose's house. Her front door sticks even harder than mine does! Craig left a Halloween note, a small can of Fancy Feast, and a container of dry food for them. Had no problem giving them the wet food, and their water bowl didn't need to be filled. Spilled the dry food all over when I tried to load it into the bowls, though! Cleaned up the mess as quickly as I could before hurrying out. (And no, I never saw the cats. Guess all the noise outside spooked them.)

Rushed home, switched the coat for a lighter sweater, loaded the bags into a plastic bag and my metal bowl, and went outside. Everyone giving out candy had their wares displayed on card tables or in large bowls on their front stoop. I borrowed the side tables from the porch to display my candy bags. Did pretty well, too, given Hillcrest is a tiny street on the end of Oaklyn along the river. Saw two Incredible Hulks (one a toddler), a toddler police officer, a mini pop star, Iron Man giving out candy across the street, two Day of the Dead skulls, two more cats, a plethora of witches in all sizes from toddler to lady giving out candy, Woody from the Toy Story movies, Yankees and Phillies baseball players, soccer players, Death with a scythe also giving out candy, a knight riding a purple cardboard horse, a tiny toddler butterfly, Skully from Monsters Inc, and a unicorn. Two of the neighborhood girls were X-Men in elaborate coats with brass buttons and Wolverine claws. The kids next-door were Dipper Pines from Gravity Falls and a ninja. 

Sat on the brick steps with Luna and read my Reader's Digest book of Washington Irving short stories between kids. The weather was just amazing. Sunshine warmed my nose, even as I shivered at spooky tales like "Rip Van Winkle" and "Dolph Heyliger." The dressed couple down the street played horror-themed music - hearing "Ghostbusters," "Monster Mash," and the theme from The Munsters added to the warm-yet-creepy atmosphere of the day. 

By 5 PM, clouds drifted in to hide the sun. It was now too cold for sitting outside and reading. I was down to four bags anyway and was hungry for real food. Left the bags on one of the tables for any kids who wanted them, swapped my sweater for a winter coat, and headed out on foot.

First stop was Phillies Phatties. Needless to say on a holiday where most people's minds are on candy rather than dinner, they were really busy. I picked up slices of mushroom and margarita (tomato-basil-mozzarella) and a can of Wild Cherry Pepsi and took them outside. Enjoyed my treat while girls dressed as a unicorn, a gymnast, a witch, and a cheerleader chatted and had their dinners.

Strolled around the neighborhood for a while after that to admire everyone else's costumes and decorations. I love how creative everyone got with handing out candy. Some folks settled for scattering the candy on card tables with signs that said "take one." Others had big plastic cauldrons or grinning hard plastic jack o'lantern bowls. One family stuck lollipops in a pumpkin; another tied them to their railings and let the kids pull out two. Others went the same route I did and handed out treat bags filled with candy or novelties. 

Since I still wore part of my costume, I couldn't resist taking a little candy, too. This is the first time I went trick-or-treating since at least 1992, and it was infinitely more fun than tramping all over Cape May in the freezing cold sea air. Saw lots more great costumes, too. One tiny miss was dressed as a teddy bear, another as a lovely mermaid in a glittering turquoise costume. A little boy was a mini-Spider Man. Even older kids got in on the fun. On my way to Phillies Phatties, I passed a group of teens that included a ballerina, Tigger, a zombie, and an Eagles player. 

The candy spreads weren't the only nifty decorations I saw tonight. Some families, including Rose and her kids, set out hay bales and pumpkins, with wooden pumpkin patch signs on their front doors. Others had elaborately-carved jack 'o lanterns on their front steps. Still others (including Rose) went with gaudy-colored inflatables. I saw Frankenstein strapped to a table and ready to escape, a vampire rising out of a coffin, and several awesome black and orange dragons. As I headed home and the sun sunk behind the horizon, orange and purple lights hanging from porch railings and roof tops flickered on softly up and down Haddon Avenue. 

Put on Ghostbusters as soon as I got home, put away the cat costume pieces, and had apple crisp for dessert. Scientists Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Egon Spangler (Harold Ramis), and Ray Spantz (Dan Ackroyd) are fired from Columbia for their dubious theories and practices. Peter convinces them to go into business for themselves as paranormal investigators and ghost-catchers. Their first client is Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver), a classical musician living in an unusual Upper West Side apartment building who claims she saw a monster in her refrigerator. Peter's interested in her, but they may not have the money to pursue her...and her inquiries...further. Suddenly, little green ghosts and skeletal cab drivers are being spotted all over New York, and they go from being broke to getting swamped with work. They have to hire a fourth man, Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson), to help them handle it all. 

It all goes back to Dana and her demonic refrigerator, which turns out to be far more important than the Ghostbusters originally suspected. When she and her nerdy neighbor Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) are possessed by the spirits of two demigods who could open the portal to another world, the quartet have to spring into action. First, though, they need to convince the Mayor of the Big Apple (David Marguiles) and the obnoxious head of the EPA (William Atherton) that they're on the level and New York really is under a spectral attack.

A favorite of mine since childhood, this still holds up remarkably well, especially the incredible special effects. Though Murray generally gets top honors as the most sarcastic and cynical Ghostbuster, the entire cast does well with the hilarious script. The sequel isn't too bad and I still think the all-female remake has an undeserved bum rap, but for most people, this and the Real Ghostbusters cartoon are probably the only version of this story they need. 

As I watched the movie, I saw someone set off fireworks on the river. They weren't as big or glittery as the ones a couple of weeks ago, but they were pretty.

Ran It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown while doing dishes and getting organized. The Peanuts' Halloween festivities aren't quite as spooky. Linus makes his yearly vigil in a sincere pumpkin patch to wait for (non) arrival of the Great Pumpkin. Against her better judgement, Sally joins him. Meanwhile, Snoopy fights the Red Baron and Charlie Brown has trouble trick-or-treating.

Finished the night with two spooky Halloween cartoon episodes on Disney Plus and a vintage special on YouTube. Even though it's set during the summer, Gravity Falls managed to sneak a Halloween episode into its first season. The citizens of Gravity Falls love Halloween so much, they have a second Halloween in June, "Summerween." Mabel Pines and her girlfriends are all going to go trick-or-treating, but Dipper wants to be with his crush Wendy and refuses to go out in costume...until he, the girls, and Soos are attacked by a monster in a yellow emoji mask that demands they go trick-or-treating for 500 pieces of candy or die!

The 2017 Ducktales takes us underground for a unique horror adventure. After seeing a movie about mole people living underground, Huey and Webby head for the subway to see if the mythical race of creatures known as the Terra-firmians are real. Huey refuses to believe in anything he can't read about in his Junior Woodchuck Guidebook, but he learns there's a lot more to life than living by the book when he has to rescue Webby, Mrs. Beakly, his brothers, and Webby's friend Lena from a runaway subway. "The Terror of the Terra-firmians," however, isn't what everyone thinks it is...and neither is Lena, who's getting instruction from one very nasty shadow. 

Dracula (Judd Hirsch) has even more trouble with witches in The Halloween That Almost Wasn't. The Witch (Mariette Hartley) is supposed to fly over the moon at midnight and kick off Halloween, but this year, she refuses to do it. She's tired of jokes about her ugliness and feels underappreciated. He and the other monsters of filmdom do everything they can to convince her otherwise...but it takes two kids to remind her of just how important she is to them and the holiday.

And here's hoping you had a Halloween that was equally fun, whether you did trick-or-treating, held a party like several families in the neighborhood, or spent a quiet night at home with horror movies. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Laundry Day

The clouds lingered as I rolled out of bed, but the rain wasn't nearly as heavy as it was last night. It made a pleasantly spooky backdrop for breakfast and Split Second. Came in just as the second round ended. The Countdown Round was an exciting one, going back and forth between the man and the champ; in the end, the champ won the round and got herself a car. The "family pair," a mother and daughter, dominated Blockbusters. They won the first game and the Gold Rush bonus round, but were having a harder time with a solo lady when the show ended. 

Switched to Moonlighting after breakfast. "I See London, I See France, I See Maddie's Netherworld" from the fifth season has Dave and Maddie thinking about their mortality after a man dies of a heart attack in their office. A friend of his sends them looking for the other half of his lottery ticket, but there's a lot more to this case than two guys who might win big bucks. Meanwhile, the two detectives argue over the idea of there being something on the "other side."

Took advantage of the empty house to wash as much laundry as I could in the basement. My comforter and winter blankets desperately needed to be cleaned, but I didn't want to drag them to the laundromat or spend the money on extra washing machines for them. Changed the sheets while I was at it, too. It suddenly dropped into the upper 40's today! Turned on the heat and put on the flannel sheets.

Switched to Match Game '77 while eating lunch and putting my clothes away. Eva Gabor, country star Bill Anderson, and Betty White joined Gene and the regulars in the first episode for jokes about where pirates throw their darts and the Audience Match "___ Orange." White sticks around for the next episode, where she's joined by Susan Sullivan and Scoey Mitchilll. For once, Richard is the only person who didn't match, giving Gene a chance to sit under him and read him a question of his own. 

Moved on to The Bowery Boys Meet the Monsters as I made pumpkin cookies. Slip and Sach visit the Gravesend family in order to persuade them to allow neighborhood kids to play on their vacant lot. Turns out there's a reason the Gravesends keep to themselves. The male members of the family are mad scientists who want brains for their gorilla and robot, the dumber, the better. Auntie owns a man-eating tree she's hoping to feed Slip to, while cousin Francine is a vampire who wants a man, any man. The duo have to figure out how to escape this house of horrors, with what little brains they have intact!

Rose called as I was preparing to run errands. She and Craig are taking their kids to Hershey Park's Halloween festivities. I told them I'd feed their cats tomorrow. She finally showed up with the spare key to her house as I made the bed. I gave her bags of candy and cookies for her and her family. She gave me a box with mini-bags of Goldfish crackers, chips, and large cereal bars to give to trick-or-treaters. 

Did a few shorts as I got organized. Olive Oyl and Popeye are "Spooky Swabs" when they have to clear ghosts out of a ship. Halloween has Olive spooked, and she thinks it's Popeye who's been playing pranks. Popeye doesn't need spinach to make it a "Fright to the Finish," just a little vanishing cream. Mickey Mouse tries to rescue Pluto from "The Mad Doctor," but may need rescuing himself when he ends up in the insane scientist's lab, too. 

Headed out shortly after Mickey ended. Though it remained cloudy, windy, and cold, the rain vanished by 2 PM. I really did need to get some grocery shopping done. Had an online coupon for free Acme generic butter, along with more normal online coupons for broccoli, yogurt, whipped topping, bananas, and a cucumber. Generic toothbrushes were buy one, get one. Dug dark agave syrup, a can of mustard powder, and a dented can of crushed pineapple off the clearance rack and packs of crusted tilapia and spice-rubbed salmon out of the seafood coolers. Restocked jam, honey, cereal, white flour, milk, cheese, parchment paper, deodorant, and black tea. 

Not a bad schedule next week. I do have more hours, but with the exception of another late day on Thursday, they're all in the morning. I'm a little concerned about that late day and a long day on Sunday, but I also have Election Day off (as well as next Saturday). At least I won't have to deal with politics-crazed crowds. I'll spend that day inside, cleaning and doing chores. 

Watched Press Your Luck as I put everything away. It came down to the two women by the end of the show. The man had one turn in the second round and got hit by a Whammy. Both women won piles of cash, but one picked up a trip to San Diego that put her over the top and won her the game. 

Worked on writing for the next few hours. Captain Gene Rayburn pilots his ship The Marauder back from a lucrative raid off the coast of Jamaica in the late 1700's. Among his crew are its only female officer Brett Somers, who directs storing the loot, and First Mate Richard Dawson, who drives and navigates the ship. Gene considers Richard to be his protégé and trusts him, but third mate Charles and cabin boy Gary Burghoff aren't certain he's worthy of that trust...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Threw together ratatouille from the various vegetables laying around in my refrigerator to go with my barbecue-spiced salmon for dinner while watching Match Game '74. Richard nominates Charles for "___ Riley" on the Audience Match, even though it's not how his name's spelled. As it turns out, he was up there, regardless of spelling. Towards the end of the episode, a lovely young contestant who would eventually turn a lot of heads made her first appearance.

Cleaned up from dinner while Match Game PM was on. This 1979 episode was the first I caught on Buzzr when I started watching it last April. I'd recognize Elaine Joyce's leopard-print dress anywhere (when I wasn't ogling hot Lou Grant reporter Robert Walden). Meanwhile, Bill Daily tries to get his bad answers past the audience and Joyce Bulifant continues her matching and good answer streak.

Made apple crisp to go with that whipped topping during Sale of the Century. They're still on the "End of the Summer Bash." This time, we had a Glee club member, an academically-minded young lady, and a kid who was so short, I thought he might have been a junior high schooler. All of the kids got something, but the singer forged ahead in the Speed Round and ended up getting a Hawaiian vacation and the Bonus Round money.

TCM for White Zombie after a shower. Madelaine Short (Madge Bellamy) and Neil Parker (John Harron) are getting married in a plantation in Haiti owned by rich Charles Beaumont (Robert W. Frazer). Beaumont loves Madelaine too and goes to voodoo master Murder Legendre (Bela Lugosi) in order to win her. Murder encourages Beaumont to give his love a potion after her wedding that will "kill" her, so he can bring her back as a zombie. Murder's turned many of his rivals into zombies...and Charles ends up slowly becoming one, too. Neil and a local missionary (Joseph Cawthorn) have to figure out how to bring Madelaine back to life, without ending up becoming one of the undead themselves.

Weird little independent horror flick is one of the first to seriously discuss the walking dead. Those expecting the gruesome zombies of later films may be a little disappointed. These don't do much besides shuffle around until they attempt to push Neil off the castle walls in the finale. Critics at the time were a little rough on the acting. It's not great, but it's far from horrible, either, especially from Lugosi and Cawthorn as the evil voodoo magician and the missionary who will do anything to bring him down. If you love Lugosi or want to see where several zombie tropes got their start, look up this odd thriller.

Finished the night at Disney Plus for the classic Donald Duck short "Trick or Treat." Donald plays a mean trick on Huey, Dewey, and Louie, ruining their candy bags. Kindly Witch Hazel takes pity on them and casts a spell on Donald that'll make him give up those goodies...even if he has to dance all night!

Donald and the boys aren't the only ones enjoying Halloween frolics. Here's more spooky vintage Halloween tales, whether you and your kids trick-or-treat, hold a party, or celebrate at home. 

Disney's Haunted Halloween (Educational Short) 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Scary Tales On a Rainy Day

Awoke to pouring rain and gritty gray skies as dark as evening. Livened up the morning with oatmeal for breakfast and an episode of Arthur. It's "Hic or Treat" as Arthur tries to figure out how he can scare his little sister D.W out of her annoying case of the hiccups. Buster's tired of Brain being "Mr. Alwaysright" after he insists that the hat he bought isn't right for his mother and sets out to find something Brain isn't right about.

Switched to writing after the cartoon ended. Re-wrote yesterday to have Gene just go to his dressing room instead of onboard the plane. He's packing when he switches on one of Los Angeles' local independent stations. As the Technicolor film The Spanish Main flashes across the screen, he imagines what it would like to be a pirate like Paul Henried's character and really stick it to Richard and his boss...

Broke for a quick lunch at 11. The Three Stooges are detectives who must find a young woman kidnapped by mad scientists, before they take her mind and put it in the body of a gorilla! The mad scientists try to use "Spooks!" to scare them off, but the Stooges fight back with a stack of cream pies.

Rain still fell heavily at 11:30. I ended up taking Uber to work and back. As you can probably guess, work wasn't that busy today. We got steady only during the lunch and dinner rush hours. There were a few grumpy customers, but otherwise, most people were in pretty decent moods considering the weather. I got off with enough time to grab bags of candy to give out at Halloween (Oaklyn is doing trick or treat from 2 to 6 on Saturday) and folders, glitter markers, and twistable crayons leftover from back to school last month on clearance.

As soon as I finally got home, I put on Phantom of the Paradise while turning the leftover chicken cutlets into Chicken-Pepper Stir-Fry. I go further into this rock and roll Faust story at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Cult Flops - Phantom of the Paradise

Ran the original 1932 version of The Mummy on TCM when I went online. The movie begins somewhat similarly to the remake, with the discovery of an unusual mummy (Boris Karloff) who was once an ancient high priest named Imhotep. This time, archeologist Sir Joseph Whemple (Arthur Byron) is the one who found him, his friend Dr. Muller (Edward Van Sloan) who warns about curses, and their assistant Ralph Norton (Bramwell Fletcher) who ignores it, reads "the Scroll of Thoth," and loses it when the Mummy comes to life.

This Imhotep doesn't need any help from devotees, thank you. He's figured out how to make himself up well enough to pass among humans. He shows Whemple's son Frank (David Manners) and Professor Pearson (Leonard Mudie) where to find the untouched tomb of the Princess Anck-su-namun. They donate the treasures to the Cairo Museum, further learning that Imhotep was buried alive because he tried to resurrect his lover the Princess. He thinks he's found her reincarnation in the form of half-Egyptian beauty Helen Grosvenor (Zita Johann) and wants to kill her. It may take an unusual form of divine intervention to save Helen from being buried with the walking mummy!

Not as pretty to look at as the 1959 version, but a tad bit creepier, with shadows around every corner. Karloff gives one of his better performances as the walking corpse determined to have his former love at any cost. Those who are looking for more action may want to check out the later 90's-2000's films, but fans of the classic Universal monster movies will find a lot to enjoy here.

Finished the night on YouTube after the Match Game syndicated premiere with an animated rarity from Ruby-Spears, The Trouble With Miss Switch. Miss Switch may be the best teacher Rupert and Amelia ever had, but the "trouble" is she's a witch. The truly wicked witch Saturna has taken over the Witch's Council with the help of her Computer Witch, who claims Miss Switch is too old-fashioned. She'll be banished to the Haunted Forest if she can't prove she's a very modern spell-caster. Rupert suggests working her magic on the big school football game, but Saturna interferes and makes the team lose. Now the kids and Miss Switch's cat Bathsheba have to prove their friend is more than a thoroughly modern witch - she's a truly fair and kind teacher.

For all the comedy with the mixed-up football game and the tense moments on Witch Mountain, this ended up being rather sweet. Too bad it's currently YouTube-only. I might have to check out the sequel, Miss Switch to the Rescue, there tomorrow. 

The Trouble With Miss Switch

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A Dark and Windy Afternoon

Began a gloomy gray morning with banana pancakes and The Monkees. The groovy 60's boy band had some pretty strange adventures during their second season, but "Monstrous Monkee Mash" may be one of the weirdest. Davy Jones is lured to a spooky house by a comely vampire, who turns out to be Dracula's niece. Her uncle wants to use Peter Tork's brain to bring his monster to life! It's up to Mike Nesmith to rescue his bandmates and get them all out of this house of horrors alive. 

Worked on writing for an hour after I ate. Goodson admits that he and Gene are stalemated. They both think they're doing what's best for the show. He'll let Gene go for now, but he really does want him to tone the schtick down. I have Gene watching the pirate movie that goes into the fantasy sequence on the plane, but I think I may re-write that tomorrow...

Broke for lunch and getting organized around 11. Watched the Halloween episode of Happy Days while I ate. Richie Cunningham is nervous about his buddy Ralph Malph holding his annual Halloween party in a reputedly "Haunted" house. Joanie's friend told her that anyone who goes into the house loses their head! Fonzie reminds Richie that there's nothing to fear but fear itself...and the possibility of the party being invaded by a gang that's upset they weren't invited.

Spent the entire afternoon at work pushing carts and sweeping...and I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. We were pretty darn busy this afternoon, with long lines by rush hour. Thankfully, they had enough help for me to stick to bagging. Thankfully had help all day, from a bakery worker recruited to push carts early-on and a new and very competent young man later.

Went straight home as soon as work ended. Passed Jodie chatting with the neighbors next-door as I made my way down Hillcrest. She confirmed what Rose told me yesterday about her going to St. Augustine, Florida for two weeks. She claims she won't be in any place with people. She just wants to visit the places she and Dad went to. The neighbors will water the plants and bring in the mail. I can leave the rent for her before she comes back and am welcome to use the laundry room while she's gone.

Arrived home just in time for the start of Match Game '74. Had sliced chicken on tomatoes and salad greens as Richard found Brett's lost earring and Allen Ludden was frequently teased for a strange answer he gave earlier in the week. Charles and Gene settled on the steps together to answer a question during Match Game PM

Sale of the Century switched to their "End of the Summer Bash" week, with high schoolers playing and prizes tailored accordingly. An apple-cheeked Latin Club vice president gave a young water polo player a run for his money, but he just made it past her in the Speed Round. Poor kid messed up on the second-to-last Bonus Round puzzle and did miss that money.

Ended the night on YouTube after a shower. Since I've had luck finding vintage variety shows there for Christmas, I thought I'd see if I could find one for Halloween. Came up with a dilly - The Paul Lynde Halloween Special from 1976. And boy, is it from 1976. Guests include Roz Kelly from Happy Days and Tim Conway joining Lynde in a sketch spoofing the trucker craze of the mid-late 70's, Billie Hayes and Margaret Hamilton in their Witchiepoo and Wicked Witch alter egos respectively, Florence Henderson in another skit with her as a frosty British beauty avoiding the advances of Sheik Lynde, Betty White as a ghostly beauty pageant winner, the Osmonds, and KISS performing their huge hit ballad "Beth." If you loved Lynde on Hollywood Squares or sitcoms in the 60's and 70's, or are a fan of KISS or anyone involved, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.

Skipped ahead a decade and a half for another rare Halloween special featuring a Golden Girl. Rue McClanahan appeared in The Wickedest Witch in 1989. She's a none-too-happy witch who's been banished underground with a group of particularly dumb lizard-like creatures who are obsessed with game shows. When she learns that forcing a child to do a hateful act will release her from the spell that keeps her there on Halloween night, she has one of the creatures go to Earth to find a child. What he comes up with is a little boy who is obsessed with magic...and while he's happy with the spells the witch teaches him, he can't bring himself to hurt his new lizard buddies, no matter how silly they act.

Check both of these out on YouTube for a major blast of spooky nostalgia! 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Here Comes the Sun

Began the morning with breakfast, another misty day, and Halloween Is Grinch Night. Thanks to a sour sweet wind, the Grinch is making his way down to Whoville in the hope of terrifying the community with his bizarre Paraphernalia Wagon. It's up to one inquisitive young Who that's lost in the mountains to keep the Grinch from making it down the mountain and reaching the town. 

Briefly went to the garage to try to fix my bike. Jodie pulled up just as I rolled it out on the driveway. She handed me latex gloves to keep from getting too greasy. In the end, getting the chain back on the gear took all of three minutes. I really need to tighten the chain, but I also need to find the right wrench to do it. That's going to have to wait a while. And of course, just as I went inside, the sun came out and it got warmer.

Worked on writing for a while after I got back inside. Mark Goodson, Gene's boss, really wishes he'd stay in one place, like Bill Cullen or Allen Ludden or the Nartz brothers. Gene reminds him that Bill Cullen has a lame leg and can't move around, Allen Ludden's dealing with a stronger format on Password, and Jack Nartz will be out of a job when the syndicated Concentration ends that fall. 

Mark points out an expensive painting he purchased at an auction in Beverly Hills depicting a fight onboard ships between US Naval officers and pirates. Now there were people who knew how to keep law and order, he tells Gene. Those officers did everything they could to cut down those ruthless marauders and save hundreds of innocent lives, he insists. They were men who knew how to play the game. Gene relates more to the pirates, who may have been bloodthirsty cutthroats, but were also normal people doing their (admittedly dirty) jobs. 

Broke for a quick lunch at noon. Went with the real Match Game '77 while I ate. Orson Bean's sporting a beard all this week, as he, goofy Joyce Builfant, and blonde bombshell Lynda Day George joined Gene and the regulars in trying to help the contestant answer "___ Hill" on the Audience Match.

Rose called me shortly after I finished lunch. She and Craig were taking their kids to Hershey Park's Halloween festivities this weekend and wanted to know if I could feed their cats on Friday. Sure! They'd leave everything on the table for me. I just had to put it out for the kitties. (Kitties actually being around optional. They like to hide. Kelsey apparently will be staying with Craig's parents.)

She also told me Jodie's going away for the next two weeks starting Friday to St. Augustine, Florida! Is she crazy? She and Dad did that every fall for years, but this is not the time to relive fond memories. If she must go to Florida to close up things for Dad, she should at least do it in the late winter or spring, when travel is hopefully better. 

Headed out shortly after it ended. Thankfully, there were no problems whatsoever this time. I got to and from work with absolutely no fuss. Work was on-and-off busy, a little bit more than yesterday thanks to this being the day of our 5% off Senior Discount. It slowed down enough by quarter of 7 for me to shut down without a relief.

Arrived home in time for most of Match Game PM. Changed and had scrambled eggs with Italian cheese, spinach, and mushrooms while David Doyle tried to figure out "___ Stadium" for a very southern contestant and everyone argued with the producer over the difference between sawdust and wood chips. The younger bowler challenger was ahead for most of Sale of the Century. While the woman put in a good showing towards the end, the champ just barely came back in the speed round and won. He didn't do nearly as well in the bonus round this time, though.

Finished the night online with the 1943 version of The Phantom of the Opera. I go further into the only musical in the Universal monster series at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

The Phantom of the Opera (1943)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Take the Long, Dark Way Home

Began a dreary, wet morning with breakfast and The Muppet Show. The appearance of Vincent Price in the late first season prompted the show's first "themed" episode. Monsters ate each other to the tune of "I've Got You Under My Skin," living furniture ate the newscaster, and real-life gourmand Price brought along a huge fuzzy friend who decided to eat everything in sight, including Kermit.

Broke to work on writing for an hour. Gene's boss Mark Goodson calls him up to his office to discuss the faltering ratings on Match Game and his hosting style. Goodson isn't a bad man, but he's a bit pretentious and a stickler for The Rules. He wishes Gene would emphasize the game over the goofing off and points out how much different Richard is on Feud. Gene counters by reminding him that, quite frankly, the show's format is deadly dull. The two times they tried to emphasize the game, when the original first began in 1963 and the remake started in 1973, they almost ended up going off the air. The show needs the comedy to distract from how simple the actual gameplay is.

Speaking of Match Game, I watched an episode from 1977 while eating a quick lunch and getting ready for work. Towering-yet-boyish Peter Issakson joins Fannie, Mary Wickes, Gene, and the regulars for jokes about Ugly Edna and a "Don't ___ It" Audience Match. Towards the end, we're introduced to a new challenger with a twin sister in the audience who does, indeed, look just like her.

Headed straight off to work after the show ended. No problems there whatsoever. In fact, we were dead right up until rush hour. It's the end of the month, and the gloomy and humid weather wasn't exactly conductive to a lot of running around. It did pick up a little towards the end of the night, but I was still able to shut down and head out with no problems.

At least until I tried to get on my bike. Despite being fine when I went to work, the chain had somehow slipped off between then and my going home. I ended up walking home in the dark. I couldn't see to fix the chain, and I had no desire to call anyone at 7 PM. Rose was probably dealing with her kids, and Jodie usually goes to bed around 9. (And as it turns out, she wasn't home when I got in anyway.)

When I did finally get home, I was so tired, I spilled sugar all over the kitchen. Other things went better. What I saw of Sale of the Century was a blast. The three contestants were neck and neck, even after the one woman won the Instant Cash. The slightly older gentleman came from behind to win the Speed Round; had no problem with the bonus round, either.

I was also greatly cheered by the arrival of my final purchases from Amazon and eBay. Found another set of True Value Happy Holidays LPs, 19 and 20 from 1984 and 1985 respectively, and the Verasae Sarabande Broadway collection Unsung Sondheim. Picked up the 1929 Rio Rita from the Warner Archives for review next month or early next year. 

It took me so long to clean up, get everything together, and take as shower, I had just enough time for two Halloween sitcom episodes on Hulu before and after tonight's syndicated Match Game premieres. Larry Appleton and his cousin Balki hold a Halloween party to watch a horror marathon in the season 4 Perfect Strangers episode "Aliens." Even Balki gets spooked and bails out before the end, leaving Larry to watch the whole marathon alone. He eventually has a nightmare about Balki being an alien from the planet Mypos who has come to take over the Earth.

"Trick or Treated," from the final season of MASH, is only slightly less weird. The members of the 4077th are about to hold their Halloween party when they're interrupted by a flood of wounded soldiers. Some of them, like the Marine who somehow got a cue ball stuck in his mouth (George Wendt), or the really drunk soldier who drove through a chicken coup (Andrew Dice Clay, and yeah, that sounds like something he'd do), are more overly enjoying Halloween partying than hurt. There are some genuine wounded among the partiers, though, including a poor guy who hasn't eaten since his buddies were blown up in a fox hole and another who isn't as dead as everyone thinks. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Puttin' On the Monster

Began a cloudy, windy morning with breakfast and the Tiny Toon Adventures horror-themed episode "Horror of Slumber Party Mountain" from the third season. Elmyra parodies Elvira as she shows a short spoof of the type of schlocky camp fests the real Elvira joked about on her show. Buster, Hampton, and Plucky dress as frightening local legend "One Eyed Jack" to bring a few scares to Babs, Shirley, and Fifi's slumber party. Things get much scarier than any of the kids anticipated when the monster turns out to be real...and picks them off one by one!

Dashed off to work shortly after the show ended. Though it wasn't bad when I got in, it picked up as early as 10:30 and stayed busy for the rest of the day. Though the Eagles played on Thursday (and won), there were other local games going on and the weather wasn't really appropriate for much else. Though I was tired and often not up to the long line, the crowds did make the time go faster. We had plenty of help this time, too. The crowds slowed enough by 3:30 that I was able to leave slightly early without a relief.

Took the long way home down Nicholson Road. Despite the chilly wind and gloomy gray skies, I wanted some time outside. I work too late to do this the rest of the week. Everyone must have been at home, watching football. There was almost no traffic on the road, not even around the mall and the Hispanic church on Nicholson. At least it really felt like fall. Most of the trees are finally starting to turn colors here; gardens overflow with mums, asters, and late roses. 

Changed, had a snack, and went into writing as soon as I got home. Richard snidely suggests that Gene appear on Family Feud and be under his command for once, which Gene refuses to do. Joyce Bulifant asks Brett about how her divorce from Jack Klugman went, since her children go to school with Brett's boys. Don't ask, the older woman snaps. She's ready to run to Alaska to get away from it all. (In real-life, the divorce - or separation, or whatever it was - supposedly wound up being painful for all parties.) Gene's about to go to his dressing room when a page calls him, saying Mr. Goodman wants to discuss the declining ratings on Match Game...

Broke at quarter after 6 to have leftover chicken cutlets with pasta and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. Ate while watching Young Frankenstein. Fredrick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder), the grandson of the original Dr. Frankenstein, inherits his grandfather's castle, laboratory, and books in Transylvania. He's a sensible surgeon who is absolutely adamant about not following in his grandfather's footsteps...until he finds his diary and wonders if there might have been something to his relative's experiments with reanimating the dead after all. Thanks to a mistake with brains made by his humpbacked assistant Igor (Marty Feldman), Fredrick finds himself dealing with a monstrous creation with an abnormal brain (Peter Boyle) who terrifies the local townspeople. The trio have to prove that the monster isn't so scary, even as they fend off suspicious Inspector Kemp (Kenneth Mars) and Fredrick's prim fiancee Elizabeth (Madeline Khan). 

I've loved this movie since I was a kid. I'm not the only one. Apparently, the cast enjoyed making it so much, they added extra scenes just to keep going! I can't say I blame them. This is a delightful bit of comic horror with a surprising dark side for Mel Brooks, especially towards the end, when the Creature is finally able to admit how grateful he is to Fredrick for giving him a chance. Using the real sets from the original 1932 Frankenstein adds considerably to the spooky atmosphere. If you love any of the cast, horror comedy, other versions of Frankenstein, or Brooks' other work, you'll want to scare up this one.

Finished up the night on YouTube with vintage Halloween game show episodes. I never heard of the 1990 version of Match Game, which is a shame. Its Halloween episode is a riot! Charles Nelson Reilly appeared as Superman, Brett Somers as a little girl, and Vicki Lawrence as Little Red Riding Hood, but a ventriloquist with a wisecracking dragon puppet who may have the scariest costume of all. 

Celebrities got dressed up for the holiday on the late 90's-early 2000's Hollywood Squares, too. I used to love watching this show in college. I'd flip back and forth between this one and Jeopardy before sticking to ABC for Wheel of Fortune. Opted for the shows from 2000 and 2001. Whoopi Goldberg, Jeffery Tambour, and Gilbert Gottfried were the only celebrities who remained the same in both. Goldberg was a mouse, Tambour was Shakespeare, and Gottfried a not-bad Dracula in 2000. (Host Tom Bergenon claimed he was Bob Barker, but the white wig made him look more like George Washington.) Goldberg and Bergenon didn't dress in 2001, but Gottfried was an even-more appropriate werewolf and Tambour was Julius Caesar. Other panelists in 2000 included Caroline Rhea as Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz and Bruce Vilanch as the Cowardly Lion; panelists in 2001 included Anthony Stewart Head as Robin Hood, Martin Mull as Sherlock Holmes, and Viveca A. Fox as a gorgeous Cleopatra.

People dressed up in games that didn't involve celebrities, too. Alex Trebek was as an extremely unlikely matador and openly ogled a young can-can girl in a 1988 episode of Classic Concentration. A Filipino girl dressed as a clown beat a young man in a weird blue wig on Scrabble, while a lady in a feathered mask had more trouble with a man in a king's crown.

Of course, Halloween involves a lot more than dressing the part. No costumes on Super Password in 1988, but all winners got something from a bag of "treats," while losers chose from a bag of "tricks." In both cases, the prizes were small toys or novelty items, like a squeaky dog you make jump with a button for the treat and a light-up skeleton head for the trick. Trick-or-treating Whammies took a lot of loot in the second half of the Halloween 1984 episode of Press Your Luck. Host Peter Tomarken hid from the mayhem under a Frankenstein mask and did an odd dance to the theme song at the end.

Halloween lunacy can be more fun with loved ones aboard. Couples competed to see who could drop balls off witch's hats into spittoons and throw plastic suction-cup aliens onto astronaut masks on the 1979 Monty Hall Beat the Clock. Two dressed-up families answered mostly holiday-related questions on Family Feud. You could easily tell this one was from 1989. Host Ray Combs was the Tim Burton Batman, complete with his son as Robin! 

Hope you enjoy all these spooky games on YouTube this Halloween week! (Note that most episodes come complete with either the original commercials or the commercials and hosted openings from their Game Show Network broadcasts in the late 90's-early 2000's.)

Saturday, October 24, 2020

It's a Busy Day, Charlie Brown

Began an early morning with breakfast and It's Magic, Charlie Brown. After reading a book of magic tricks, Snoopy puts on his own magic show. It doesn't go very well until Snoopy turns Charlie Brown invisible. Trouble is, he can't change him back right away. Chuck laments his fate...until he realizes Lucy can't yank the football away if she can't see him coming...

Went straight to work as soon as the cartoon ended. Work wasn't bad when I got in, but it picked up around 9:30-10 and stayed that way for the rest of the morning. We're short on help, too. Someone called out; one of the teenagers quit. We had lines that were as long as they're currently allowed to get all afternoon. Thankfully, it slowed down enough by 2 for me to leave without a relief. 

Went straight home. Changed, rounded up laundry and things I wanted to wash, grabbed a snack, and went back out. I'm not going to have the time to get my laundry done until next Friday! It was today, or wait a week. The laundromat was busy when I got in. By the time I returned from WaWa with a banana smoothie, it slowed down considerable. I still opted to stay away from people and work on my story notes outside, ignoring the gloomy dark afternoon and heavy winds.

Put my clothes away when I got home, then went into writing. Dick Martin invites Richard Dawson to the party he's holding with his wife Dolly, but Richard claims he's too busy with Family Feud to accept. Gene's still fuming and Charles tries to talk some sense into him, but Richard ignores both as he leaves.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers and made pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins while watching The Halloween Tree. Four kids dressed as a mummy, a witch, a monster, and a skeleton for trick-or-treat follows what they believe to be their close friend to a spooky old house in the woods. There, they find a wrinkled old man (voice of Leonard Nimoy) who leads them to a gnarled tree filled with jack o'lanterns in the back. When Pip steals a pumpkin that looks like him, the gentleman takes the kids on a trip through 4,000 years of Halloween history to get it back, and teaches them the significance of their costumes in the process.

Based after a book by and narrated by Ray Bradbury, this is a unique look into a holiday whose customs and history aren't explored nearly as often as they could be. I really need to look up Bradbury's original book, too.

Went into Z.O.M.B.I.E.S 2 after a shower. I discuss the further adventures of the zombies and cheerleaders from Seabrook High at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Musicals On TV - Z.O.M.B.I.E.S 2

Finished the night at Buzzr. They honored Tom Kennedy with a marathon of two shows he hosted, Password Plus and Body Language, and one he appeared on as a panelist, To Tell the Truth. The only episodes that were new to me were from Password Plus. For some reason, they're stuck on the Allen Ludden episodes from 1979. Too bad. Kennedy did just as well hosting the show, including on a hilarious all-celebrity week from 1980 that featured Judy Norton-Taylor of The Waltons, Greg Morris of Vega$, Nancy Walker, and Jim Perry (who was hosting Card Sharks at that point). 

In the first episode, after Jim claimed the Pyrenees Mountains were in Afghanistan, we see Tom with an encyclopedia after the Alphabetics round. Turns out the Pyrenees aren't in Afghanistan or in South America, like Tom thought. They're in Europe. An annoyed Jim came right out, grabbed the book, and threw it offstage! It was by far the funniest moment of any of the episodes tonight. 

(Oh, and speaking of Password, my Christmas gift for Mom I ordered from eBay showed up today as well.)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Summer In the Fall

This time, I slept in and didn't roll out of bed until past 10:30. Started off my morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Daniel, Miss Elaina, and Katerina are at the Museum-Go-Round, working on their costumes for Dress-Up Day. Daniel wants to be Tigey the Adventure Tiger, while Elaina makes her robot outfit. "Katarina's Costume" ends up being more creative - she can't decide what she wants to be! O the Owl is excited to be dressed as a traffic light for the school parade on "Dress Up Day" and help people. He's upset when his costume rips, but Mrs. Tiger and the people in the town encourage him to figure out what else he wants to be.

Switched to DVD for a spooky episode of the rousing early 2000's swashbuckler spoof Jack of All Trades. Jack's alter-ego The Daring Dragoon is accused of desecrating sacred cemeteries and destroying monuments. Inventor Emilia takes a potion that makes her a "Dead Woman Walking" and will allow her to be in the tombs when they're attacked. Jack joins her and gets really hot under the collar when they're almost creamated!

Jumped over to Match Game '77 just in time for one of my favorite episodes of the entire series. In the first question of the day, Gene laments that the upper tier already matched, so the lower tier panelists play the ones on the upper tier. As funny as Richard Dawson was as Brett, Jo Ann Pflug made a hilarious Dick Gautier with a big white smile, and Fannie Flagg borrowed the appropriate hat and pipe to be a perfect Charles Nelson Reilly!

Headed out shortly after the show ended. It was cloud when I got up, but by 12:30, the clouds and mists vanished, leaving an utterly perfect sunny afternoon. Took the long way across Audubon to the Crossings shopping center. First stop was a brief one at GameStop to get ideas for Lauren and Skylar for Christmas. Next, went to The Shoe Depot. My poor errand-running sneakers were literally falling apart. Found a pair of nifty Reebox with reflective strips on either sides and rubber soles. I love them! They're sooo comfortable. Didn't see any winter boots I liked, though. I may end up ordering those online.

I've wanted to get my hair cut for months now. Thank goodness I last got it done in February, about a month before everything started shutting down. I meant to get my hair done in August, after I returned to work, but I discovered that the Hair Cuttery I was going to in Collingswood shut down. I've looked at places to get my hair done...but I ultimately just stepped into Great Cuts at the shopping center. The lady was sweet, trimming my hair to just above shoulder length. It looks really cute!

There's three cell phone stores in the shopping center. I talked to Metro by T-Mobile and Cricket Wireless. Cricket had slightly cheaper 1-line plans and let me keep my old phone number, but Metro's phone price was cheaper. Not only do I desperately need a new phone, I need an actual phone plan. I'm currently using a free line on Jessa's plan...which is in Dad's name. They're not going to keep a line for a man who is not among the living much longer. Didn't do anything today; I need to do more research.

Hit the Acme next for this week's grocery shopping. Made use of my accumulated rewards points to get free eggs and a chicken sale to pick up two packs of chicken cutlets. Acme's generic sandwich bags are buy one, get one. They're in the midst of their annual "buck a bag" produce sale. I bought most of my vegetables last week, but I did pick up a bag of spinach. The Acme may be one of the only places with plenty of disinfectant wipes. I grabbed a container to use on my hands when I come home from work and errand runs. Restocked bananas, apples, yogurt, milk, trash bags, toilet paper, tomato sauce, crushed pineapple, and brown rice. 

Not nearly as happy with my schedule next week. In good news, I did get Halloween off, as I asked for...but I don't have my next day off until next Friday! And except for Sunday, I work in the afternoon all week. It's starting to get dark earlier. Going home is going to be kind of scary. 

Headed home after that. Got in just in time for Tattletales. Comedian Max Adrian and his gorgeous wife Vonnetta were by far the big winners today, getting a double-money question in the end right. Press Your Luck was really exciting today. Everyone picked up money in the first round. They also did well in the second...until they kept hitting Whammies. The champ hit a Whammy and couldn't pass the one guy, who picked up a car and a trip to New Orleans.

Worked on writing for a while after that. Dick Martin comes over, looking for his cufflinks. Richard pops his hand out to give them to him. Dick just wishes Rich would get over himself a little. He's not nearly as much fun as when they worked together on Laugh-In. Richard angrily tells them he's doing what's best for him and Family Feud. Gene turns down his offer of appearing in the show, saying he'll never speak to him again. 

Broke for Asian Chicken Salad at 6:30. Pan-fried chicken fillets, then sliced them into strips. Put the strips on top of greens, shaved carrots, and tomato wedges, and topped it with sesame seeds and my own home-made Asian dressing. Oh, yum! Came out very well. Good and good for you.

Match Game '74 got almost as wild as the earlier episode. Gene introduced a comedy record Patti Deustch and several other comic actors made, and Richard complained about his chair breaking. A contestant who worked in a psychiatric hospital prompted several jokes on Match Game PM about who on the panel needed to attend one. 

No clue why Sale of the Century skipped ahead to 1988. The champ went back and forth with a young Asian man the entire game. The guy picked up at least one Instant Bargain and the Instant Cash and eventually jumped ahead in the Speed Round. He just missed the "guess the puzzle" Bonus Round, though.

Moved on to Mystery at the Wax Museum when I went online. In this spooky Technicolor thriller, reporter Florence Dempsey (Glenda Farrell) is almost fired on New Year's Day by her editor Jim (Frank McHugh) for not being able to find any news. She runs across a real scoop when she learns that the body of a model thought to be a suicide has disappeared. The model's not the only one. Many bodies have gone missing from the morgue. Florence's roommate Charlotte (Faye Wray) has a boyfriend who works at a brand-new wax museum, overseen by former sculptor Ivan Igor (Lionel Atwill) who was crippled and disfigured in the conflagration that destroyed his previous museum. Florence notices that the wax figure of Joan of Arc closely resembles the dead model. She's not the only one. Igor and his freaky lackeys may be hiding more than just wax under those statues...and Charlotte could be the next one who gets the statue treatment.

Two-strip Technicolor horror mystery proves that the pinks and greens can be as good dressing up spooky stories as they are musicals. This movie was one of the last major films made in the then-dated Two-Strip process. It was lost for years and only very recently restored to as close to its original glory as UCLA can get it. Determined Farrell, genuinely creepy Atwill, and some scary sets and special effects are the thing here. It was remade in the 1950's as House of Wax with Vincent Price, but this earlier movie is worth checking out, too. 

Finished out the night with The Facts of Life at the Roku Channel. Their "Halloween Show" was in the fifth season, after the girls and Miss Edna (Charlotte Rae) started Edna's Edibles. They're getting ready for their Halloween party when an elderly customer stumbles in with a spooky story about four sisters who were involved in a massacre at the building where their store's housed. Things get even creepier when sausages turn up with no explanation, and then Miss Edna walks around with knives and appear to be possessed. The girls try to get to the bottom of this mystery...but Natalie (Mindy Cohn) may know more than she's telling. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

In the Mists of the Morning

Awoke to a solid wall of mist for the second day in a row. Thankfully, I didn't have to go out in it right away this time. Had breakfast while watching Halloween Hall of Fame. This is one of three Disney Halloween specials my mother taped off Channel 29 (then an independent; now our local Fox station) and The Disney Channel in October 1988. Johnathan Winters is a security guard at the Disney Studios who discovers a jack o'lantern (also Winters) hiding in a crystal ball in the prop room. Seems Jack doesn't like how staid the holiday's gotten. Winters introduces segments of the shorts "Trick or Treat" and "Pluto's Judgement Day" and the featurette "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" to prove otherwise.

Switched to Split Second while cleaning up from breakfast. The young doctor really did well today, pushing ahead of both women and just getting the countdown round. He once again didn't find the car and said he'd return. I really only half-listened to Blockbusters while finally getting around to making the bed. I meant to do it on Tuesday, but ran out of time.

Went for a walk after Blockbusters ended. I needed to pick up a few things at Dollar General. Though the fog lifted by 11, it remained cloudy and humid. Not the prettiest walk I ever had, but I was really out of sponges. I wanted a green binder for my Christmas CDs, but all Family Dollar had last week was red. I bought a green binder and decided to use the red binder and a folder to hold my story notes. Their eggs were a $1.15, not as cheap as the last time I was there, but still cheaper than Acme. Found Jiff Natural peanut butter, canned pumpkin, and cooking spray for cheaper than the Acme had it. 

When I got home, I put on Match Game '77 while I organized the two binders. Dick Gautier and Jo Ann Pflug join Fannie Flagg, Gene, and the regulars for one of the funniest weeks of the entire series. These two episodes introduced a sweet, soft-spoken contestant from Casablanca who prompted a lot of bad Humphry Bogart imitations from Richard and Gene.

Returned to Disney while I had a quick lunch, made Chocolate-Coffee Chip Cookies, and sorted through papers and other assorted debris that piled up on top of the crates with the file folders. Scary Tales Halloween featured sequences from animated films and shorts that revolved around horror or villains, or were spooky in some way. Disney's Halloween Treat was the expanded Disney Channel version of Scary Tales, with a few different segments and the additions of sequences from the Wonderful World of Disney show on the cat's contribution to horror and famous villains of (older) Disney animated films. 

By the time the cartoon ended, the sun finally came out. It had turned into a gorgeous, sunny, and very warm day. I thought I'd go out for a walk and found most of the neighborhood kids sitting on Chloe's front porch directly across from my apartment. I had a really nice chat with them as they had mock fights with plastic lightsabers. I'm so glad I moved here. The apartment may be smaller, but the appliances are nicer, the shower is nicer, the rent is nicer, and the neighbors are better. This is a really tight-knit little street; many of these kids have been friends literally all their lives.

I talked to the kids for so long, I ended up only having the time for a short walk down Manheim and back up to Manor before returning for Tattletales. Rugged Glenn Ford and his then-girlfriend Cynthia wound up being the big winners today, over the more egotistical Gautier and Max Adrian. The Whammies flew fast and furious on Press Your Luck today, especially in the second round. It came down to the two women; in the end, the champ won a trip to Rome that was enough to allow her to win and come back tomorrow.

Found an orange envelope on the ground next to the door when I came in. Mom sent me a Halloween card! It's a really cute one with a stylized black cat witch. I texted her and told her I got the card and I loved it. 

Began my next Match Game fanfic after the show ended. I'm hoping Pirates of Blank will be a lot shorter and less complex than Fairy Tale Blank turned out to be! It was inspired by the Gene Rayburn biography and several folks on the YouTube live chat mentioning that Gene was one of the few people who wanted Richard to stay with the show in 1978, even after he started acting disinterested and was clearly tired of the whole thing.

The story begins directly after the taping of Richard's final PM episode (they always filmed the nighttime shows last). Gene angrily tells Richard his behavior over the past few weeks was childish and unprofessional. Richard counters with his disapproval of the Star Wheel that took the spotlight off him and the fact that he'd wanted out for a year and a half. Family Feud is where his focus and his interest lays now. The ratings for Match Game never recovered from a disastrous time change the year before; it's a sinking ship.

Three other panelists from that final show overhear their quarrel and throw out their own opinions. Joyce Bulifant likes Richard a lot and thinks he's funny, but wishes he'd been a little nicer over the past few months. Brett Somers says "good riddance." She never liked him anyway. Charles Nelson Reilly has nothing against Richard personally, but agrees with Gene that he should have been more professional about leaving.

Jodie knocked on the door around quarter of 5. She apparently ordered spaghetti and meatballs from somewhere. Did I want some? Sure! I had it with farm-fresh zucchini and tomatoes sautéed in red wine vinegar. The tomato sauce turned out to be a lot spicier than I thought! I forgot Jodie can handle the heat.

Ate while watching Match Game '74. Patti Deustch makes one of her earlier appearances on the show, joining Bill Cullen, Betty White, Gene, and the regulars for jokes about what King Midas shows the duchess in his gymnasium and trying to figure out "___ Bat." Marcia Wallace found herself hoping to help a gentleman from Brookyn win $20,000 on Match Game PM

Sale of the Century started out with the woman champ blazing forth, picking up all three Instant Bargains along the way. The other two got closer towards the end, with the man picking up a recliner on the Fame Game board, but they just couldn't catch her in the Speed Round. She ended up winning a trip to Hawaii on the Match the Prizes board.

Watched Alleujah! The Devil's Carnival after a shower. I go further into the feature-length sequel to The Devil's Carnival on my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Alleujah! The Devil's Carnival

Finished the night on YouTube with two Bernstein Bears Halloween or horror shorts. The first, "Trick or Treat," comes from the 2000's run. Brother Bear is convinced that the old lady with the spooky old treehouse is a witch, but Mama tells him she's just a nice lady. He gets the chance to find out the truth when Sister and their friends enter her house for Halloween goodies, and she ends up helping them get rid of bully Too Tall and his buddies. "The Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Mansion" is from the original 1985 series. This one goes the more conventional route of having the Bears stay in a "haunted" mansion inhabited by several animals who think they'll hurt them. 

Oh, yeah, and the Eagles played tonight. I didn't see much of it...but to my shock, they came from behind to just barely beat the Giants 22-21. Granted, the Giants are doing even worse than they are right now, but a win is a win. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Afternoon In the Fall Sunshine

Began a misty, moisty morning with a quick breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Daniel becomes "King for a Day" when King Friday agrees to let him take over his duties for a while. Dan is supposed to bring a sweet treat and something to make noise to the castle, but he keeps being distracted by neighbors in need of help. He gets Doctor Anna when he finds Prince Tuesday with a sprained ankle, gives his banana muffin to O when he loses his own sweet treat, and gives Miss Elaina the cymbals he chose to cheer her up when her favorite stuffed toy has to be washed. Turns out what matters isn't what he brought, but the fact that he was kind to his neighbors and friends.

Hurried out shortly after the cartoon ended. The mists lingered as I dashed off to work. As it turned out, I had no need to rush. Except when I used the bathroom or was on break, I spent the entire day outside, pushing carts. Turned into a good day for it, too. Somewhere around noon, the mists lifted, and it became a gorgeous, partly sunny (if incredibly humid) day. Truthfully, I probably didn't need to be out there all day, but there was plenty of help inside and out, and there really wasn't much for me to do anywhere else.

I was sore but happy when I headed home. Changed, then made leftover burgers, rice, and a greens salad for dinner while watching Match Game '74. In the episode that was on as I got in, Richard and Gene talked about Gene eating lasagna over Richard's house, and everyone makes fun of Gene's attempt at a Godfather (or the Godfather's mother) accent and Richard's big eyes. For some reason, Buzzr skipped the next episode, moving us onto the one where Gene does a little dance down the stairs, Pat Harrington and Richard Dawson admit that his black jacket makes him look a bit like he's dancing to a funeral.

Things got a lot crazier in Match Game PM. The episode ended in a tie that went on for so long, they came back from commercials in time for Gene to announce they were on their third sudden death round. The sweet college student didn't do so hot after that, either. She missed "I Wanna Be ___" in the Audience Match; even after she got the second, she didn't have much luck with Susan Richardson in the Head-to-Head.

Sale of the Century was pretty much the same as last night. Everyone was even for most of the game. One lady would get ahead, then the other. The man wasn't far behind, and he did win two prizes on the Fame Game. Once again, the woman champ burst ahead and won the Speed Round decisively. She picked up a cute Norman Rockwell art print on the Match the Prizes board.

Moved online for the 1959 Hammer Horror version of The Mummy on TCM. This has very little to do with either the 1932 Boris Karloff Mummy, or the later series from the late 90's-early 2000's. Archeologist John Banning (Peter Cushing), his father Stephan (Felix Aylmer) and his uncle Joseph Whemple (Raymond Huntley) are in Egypt, about to open the tomb of Princess Anaka (Yvonne Furneaux). John broke his leg and can't join his father in the opening...but that turns out to be a good thing. Despite warnings from native Egyptian Mehemet Bey (George Pastell), Stephan opens the seal and discovers the princess. He also finds "the Scroll of Life"...and when he reads from it, comes face-to-face with a towering bundle of rags (Christopher Lee) who was once a high priest in love with the princess. His father is found catatonic after his encounter with this terrifying vision.

Three years later, Stephan recovers enough to tell his son what he saw...but he's killed shortly after by the Mummy. Mehemet used the Scroll of Life to revive him and murder the unbelievers. When Joseph is killed, John tries shooting the interloper, but it does no good. Police Inspector Mulrooney (Eddie Byrne) prefers "cold, hard facts." He doesn't want to believe John, until the Mummy attacks him, too. Turns out John's wife Isobel (Furneaux) is the exact look-a-like of Princess Anaka. The Mummy will do anything to keep his beloved safe, even kill. John and Mulrooney have to stop this creature from carrying Isobel off, before he tries to make her like him.

Slow as the Mummy itself as times, but still very interesting. The movie sometimes seems less like a horror film and more like quieter variation on Amelia Peabody/Indiana Jones-style adventures, with its detailed Egyptian love story and Mummy's Curse. Cushing, Pastell, and Aylmer get top honors as the son who doesn't believe in the curse, the native Egyptian who does with every fiber of his being, and the father who saw way more than he should have. Recommended for lovers of the Hammer Horror movies of the 50's, 60's, and 70's, or for those of you who are like me and prefer their horror on the bloodless side.

Finished the night back at Disney Plus with the Halloween episode of Mickey and the Roadster Racers. Mickey is absolutely determined to defeat "The Haunted Hot-Rod" in a Race Around Ragged Peak...but is this spooky roadster the real-deal, or Pete playing pranks? Pete's the one getting pranked in "Pete's Ghostly Gala." Three real spooks refuse to leave his Halloween Party before the guests arrive. Minnie, Daisy, Pete, and Cukoo-Loca play Ghostbusters to get rid of them. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Cloudy Days and Pink Sunsets

Began a cloudy, wet morning with Honeynut Squash Pancakes and Garfield's Halloween Adventure. Garfield and Odie are excited to dress as pirates and go trick-or-treating, at least until Garfield's desire for more candy ends with them stranded on a deserted island. Turns out the island was the home of pirates who buried their treasure there...and every year on Halloween night, their ghosts return to protect it. Garfield and Odie have to evade the ghosts and get home, before they lose a lot more than their candy haul!

Let Split Second run while I cleaned up from breakfast. It was a tight race today, with two contestants tying at the end of the main rounds for the second day in a row. This time, a young doctor came from behind to win the Countdown Round. He didn't do any better finding the car than his predecessor and opted to return.

Was a bit surprised to see a busy garage when I went to get my bike and a red truck in the driveway. Mark and a friend of his agreed to help Jodie clear all of Dad and Uncle Ken's junk out of the garage. Garages, actually. I didn't realize there were a larger garage - the one where I put my bike - and a smaller room. 

First stop after leaving them was a quick run to the post office. Lauren's birthday was yesterday, and I wanted to get her present out. Thankfully, the only other person there besides the cashier and me was a man vacuuming the floor. I sent the package and went back out.

The laundromat was very busy when I arrived. I took a front-loading washing machine that ran for less time than most of the others, since I had to work later. Ran quickly to WaWa for a chocolate banana smoothie before returning to dump everything in the drier. It sprinkled slightly while I sat outside and worked on story notes, but nothing that really amounted to much.

Put the laundry away while watching another Halloween-themed episode of The Cat In the Hat Knows a Lot About That. Sally doesn't know what her favorite smell is, so the Cat takes the kids to visit his friend Whiffy the Skunk for a game of "Smell and Seek." Whiffy may like smells that human's aren't too fond of (like rotting logs) and use his own stench to scare away predators, but Sally decides she'd rather have a pleasant smell. The kids want to make their Halloween masks scarier, so the Cat takes them to visit Aiya the "Aye Aye!," a big-eyed monkey-like creature with long fingernails and huge ears. He may look weird, but those features help him to find food in the jungle.

Switched to Match Game '77 as I had lunch and got ready for work. Ron Palillo of Welcome Back Kotter and a pair of Pattys, Duke and Deustch, joined Gene and the regulars for a couple of very strange questions. One involving what a poor man's brother didn't get until he was 28, had a few racy answers that I'm surprised made it past the censors. 

Headed out to work shortly after the show ended. Work was on-and-off busy, but otherwise the same as yesterday - a bit of a pain. We're still having trouble explaining the online sales to many of our customers. Either they signed up to get the big sales without any idea of how to actually use the app, or they're technology-phobic and refuse to touch anything that involves cell phones. I had a very hard time trying to explain it all to them. Not to mention, my relief was late getting in, making me almost-late. At least the sun was out by the time I finished, revealing a gorgeous pink sunset.

Went straight home as quickly as I possibly could. Watched Match Game '74 while enjoying leftover burgers, honeynut squash, and a salad with tomatoes and mixed greens for dinner. Comedienne Jo Ann Worley of Laugh-In marked her first appearance on the show, joining Pat Harrington and Nipsey Russell doing very well sitting in for Charles. Brett didn't have as much luck on the Head-to-Head Round in Match Game PM, but Joyce Bulifant was on a roll! She's notorious for not matching, but she got both the questions she wrote for right as well as being right in both Audience Matches.

This time, Sale of the Century was a more evenly-matched game. The women were neck-and-neck for most of the show, with the one male contestant not that far behind. The champ finally jumped ahead in the Speed Round to barely win. She picked up a lovely ruby and diamond ring on the Match the Prizes board.

Dug into the vintage Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook Mom gave me in college for a simple cake recipe. Came up with what they called "Inexpensive Sponge Cake," a simple cake made with butter melted in hot milk. I added orange flavoring and orange peel to make it Orange Sponge Cake. One of the things I like about the Picture Cookbook is it gives amounts to make a smaller cake as well as large layer ones. I went with the square pan version. Oh, yum! It tasted perfect when it came out of the oven, sweet and citrusy, and smelled delightful.

Watched The Devil's Carnival online after a shower. I go further into the first horror musical review of the Halloween season at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

The Devil's Carnival

Finished the night on Disney Plus with the Halloween episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Mickey's Treat" is a trip to the Trick or Treat Tower for Pete's big Halloween party. The gang first has to find a shield for Goofy's knight costume, then figure out their way down the path to the tower and how to get in. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Autumn Treat

Began my morning with breakfast and Split Second. It came down to the wire in the Countdown Round today after a tie between the woman champ and a young law student in the second round. The lady came back and got it at the last second. She didn't choose the car and ending up opting to return.

Spent the rest of the morning posting the remainder of Fairy Tale Blank. I can't believe how long this one took me! I probably should have cut some characters and parts out. It's really too long...but there's so many people I like and wanted to include. I've considered a couple of stories to do next, but since I just read the Gene Rayburn biography, I think I'm going to go for the somewhat shorter pirate/swashbuckler story I've been developing.

It's set on the day of Richard Dawson's final taping in 1978. From what I've gathered, the only person who was really upset about Richard leaving was Gene Rayburn. Gene saw Richard as his best panelist and protégé and considered his aloof behavior in late '77 and much of '78 to be an act of betrayal. Richard had nothing against the show or Gene, but he wanted to focus on Family Feud, where he had more control over the proceedings. Brett Somers says "good riddance." She wasn't a fan of his anyway. Betty White and Charles Nelson Reilly like Richard well enough, but wish he'd handled leaving better. It doesn't help that Gene's boss Mark Goodson is breathing down his neck. He'd prefer Match Game being more focused on the game than the comedy and Gene being a more conventional game show host who stayed in one place.

Gene wishes his boss would leave him alone to do what he does best and is livid with Richard for leaving. While watching an old pirate movie, he imagines himself to be a pirate captain who gets revenge on the Naval general and his former first mate who stole his ship, kidnapped the second mate (Brett), and incarcerated his crew.

I'm hoping to start Pirates of Blank either tomorrow or Thursday. For now, here's the beginning of Fairy Tale Blank. The rest is at my Writer's Desk at the Riverside blog!

Fairy Tale Blank, Prologue

Rushed and had a very quick lunch, then headed out to work. The Acme was off-and-on busy for pretty much the entire day. They just started doing the save for the turkeys on their online rewards program, plus there's a ton of really huge sales there, too. Other sales require you to buy 25 dollars worth of merchandise to get the sales. A lot of people just didn't read the signs, and while they did buy the 25 dollars worth, they either didn't get the exact item specified or didn't clip the coupon online. It really got to be a bit of a pain to explain it all. Thankfully, it slowed down enough by quarter of 6 I was able to shut down with no relief and be only a minute or two late getting off.

Changed into a regular shirt, then rode down to Phillies Phatties on West Clinton in Oaklyn. Between my long hours this week and finishing a long project, I deserved pizza. Took two cheese slices and a can of Wild Cherry Pepsi outside to the wooden benches, where I enjoyed my treat while listening to a trio of pre-teen girls chatter.

Went home after I finished my soda and put on Match Game '74. We have some of our first views of the show's judge and producer Ira Skutch in this episode, while Gene "passed out" at a contestant's unusual answer to a question. Match Game PM got even wilder. It started with Gene taking off his jacket and Betty doing a routine to "stripper" music when a contestant said she studied the human body and ended with Charles coming down to complain when his answer to "Phil ___" on the Audience Match only made it to the $100 spot.

The two female contestants dominated Sale of the Century tonight. The one guy barely got in there. They were neck-and-neck up through the beginning of the second round, after which the champ took back control and won the Speed Round. She picked up $3,000 on the Match the Prizes board.

Packed up the box for Lauren's birthday present and card while the movies ran. Today's her birthday, but I likely won't get the box to the post office until tomorrow morning at the earliest. The box is too big, but oh well. It was all I could get.

Finished the night on the TCM app with The Devil Doll, an unusual horror/fantasy from 1935. Banker Paul Lavond (Lionel Barrymore) was sent up the river by his three unscrupulous partners. He escapes prison with a scientist (Henry B. Wathall) who developed a potion that can shrink people to doll size and allow anyone to control them. Paul takes advantage of this after the man dies. He dresses as a woman toyshop owner and recruits his widow Malita (Rafaela Ottiano) to help him make human "dolls" that will infiltrate the homes of his adversaries. Paul wants to create a better life for his embittered daughter Lorraine (Maureen O'Sullivan), but Malita is more interested in continuing her husband's work to create a smaller population who will have to fight for fewer resources. 

This apparently didn't go over well in 1935, but it actually comes off as pretty darn creepy today. Barrymore's performance as the man obsessed with vengeance isn't bad, but Ottiano as the insane female mad scientist and the still-impressive special effects really carry the day here. The "dolls" really do look that small, thanks to a lot of forced perspective and giant furniture. 

If you're a fan of Barrymore or are like me and prefer your scares to be lower-key, you'll want to give this creepy toy story a look. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Finishing the Fairy Tale

Began the day with work. Though I did end up in the register twice, I mostly spent the day outside with the carts. The head bagger doesn't work Sundays, and one of the baggers who does work weekends is on vacation. Fine by me. The weather was too nice to be inside all day anyway. It was just as nice as yesterday, with pale blue skies, fresh breezes, and pleasant 65-degree temperatures. Ran into Jodie while I pushed carts; she said she bought more shrimp for the Eagles luncheon.

That sounded intriguing, so I went straight home after work. Stopped at my place to put away my jacket and a few other things, then went around to the door on Jodie's side of the house. Mark, Joya, Rose, Craig, and their kids were enjoying a tasty shrimp scampi on white rice with Caesar salad and Rose's butterscotch fudge when I arrived. Yum! It was buttery and rich, just right. Dipped my bread in the butter sauce.

The kids didn't last very long. Even with the new pirate-themed Nick Jr. show Santiago of the Seas on, they screamed and roughoused with each other a little too much for Rose's liking. She ended up taking them home early, well before the end of the first half. 

The rest of us didn't stay much longer. Craig and I left during halftime. The game was terrible...well, the first half was. The Eagles played horrendously and were down 17-0 when they left. I didn't see it, but they apparently came back in a big way by the fourth quarter. Not enough to win, alas, but losing 30-28 to the Baltimore Ravens looks a heck of a lot better than 17-0!

Spent the rest of the afternoon finally finishing Fairy Tale Blank. Charles is hailed as a hero by one and all, including his friend Brett, and gets a kiss on the cheek from Richard. He finally awakens right before the next show is to begin, and gets a surprise when he sees a pretty young woman on the bottom row who looks an awful lot like the witch. She says her name is Joan Collins, and she specializes in, well, rather witchy roles...

Whew! That one took me over a year, but between the Match Game marathons and all the hours I had, I didn't get to a lot of writing between late March and early May, and then I moved. It's my third novel-length fanfic. It's so long, I won't have the time to post it all tonight. Here's part 8; I'll post the first parts tomorrow morning.

Finished The Apple Tree, which I began this morning, while having leftover lentil soup for dinner. This oddity is an anthology of three musicals, all with the overriding theme of unusual boy-meets-girl stories featuring Alan Alda as the boy, Barbara Harris as the girl, and Larry Blyden running interference. The first one literally retells the beginning, with Alda as Adam, Harris as Eve, and Blyden as the snake in the garden. The second is a retelling of the ending-less short story The Lady and the Tiger. Harris is the princess who has to make the terrible choice, Alda is her lover, and Blyden is a balladeer. The third is the Jules Feiffer spoof Passionella, featuring Harris as a chimney sweep-turned-star by a voice in her TV set, Alda as her rough-and-ready Prince Charming who isn't what he seems, and Blyden as their fairy, person. 

Evidently, critics took fault with this one when it was revived a decade ago, finding the stories dated and the music only ok. I wonder if it might do better nowadays, with anthologies having become popular on TV again. "Adam and Eve" is a touching rumination on finding love and growing old; "Passionella" is a hilarious spoof of what happens when we suddenly get everything we want. I'm less fond of "The Lady and the Tiger." The passionate operetta-style music doesn't fit with the shows that bookend it, and the conceit of the open ending works better on the printed page than onstage. 

Ended the night online with game shows on YouTube. I enjoyed Name That Tune so much last week, I looked up more of it and other music-themed game shows. In addition to a short-lived daytime version of Kennedy's Name That Tune, the show would see another revival in 1984 with Jim Lange hosting. This is the version I remember most from it's run on USA. It was a lot of fun to try to guess the Golden Medley and see if I knew pop standards as well as the contestants!

Name That Tune is hardly the only game show that revolved around guessing songs. Actor Richard Bly hosted the short-lived Face the Music in 1980. This is another one I loved watching on USA. This time, the contestants have to guess a series of songs that relate to a person, place or thing, and then guess that person. Evidently, the show was better-known for its wacky contestants than the gameplay. While the men in the episode I selected are fairly subdued, the lady is a pip, big, blonde, and very noisy!

Musical Chairs from 1975 is the rarest of the shows I watched tonight, with only about four or five episodes known to exist. It has a lot in common with Face the Music, only instead of using the song to guess a face, they used it to either guess a trivia question related to it, or guess the next lyric of the song. It's too bad the show didn't last long. It made history by having the first African-American game show host, ultra-hip Adam Wade. He occasionally joined a young Irene Cara, singer Mary Stuart, and soul group the Spinners to perform songs ranging from "The Candy Man" to "Country Roads" to the Spinners' nifty version of "Fascinating Rhythm." 

Try these shows out if you need a little background music this evening! As a bonus, Musical Chairs and the 1977 Name That Tune come complete with their original commercials. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Password Is "Harvest"

Kicked off an absolutely gorgeous day with breakfast and Jem on Tubi. In "Trick or Techrat," Jem and the Holograms are once again called on to help save a musical landmark from destruction. This time, it's an opera house owned by a retired magician that's intended for the wrecking ball. They agree to hold a concert to save the beautiful building on Halloween...but the Misfits are determined to have their own Halloween concert right across the street. When one of the Starlight Girls gets scared and runs off, Jem and the others go after her...but she's the one who learns what's really going on behind the scenes.

Doc McStuffins has a different type of Halloween scare in "Hallie Halloween." Doc's hippo nurse toy Hallie wanders off when she sees a trick-or-treater dressed as her and gets stuck on a witch's broom. Doc does manage to rescue her, but she's so traumatized by the incident, she won't go back out. Doc and the others remind her that if she stays with the group and sticks to the rules, she'll be fine. Plastic alligator Gustav is saying "Don't Fence Me In" when his head gets stuck in a fence. The others have to figure out ways to get him out without damaging him.

Headed out shortly after Doc ended. It was much too nice to sit inside all morning! The sky was radiant blue, the sun was high, the breeze was blowing, and it was chilly, but not freezing. Perfect day for a ride into Collingswood. I dodged a lot of cars and even more people riding bikes and pushing strollers down Beechwood and Lakeview. 

Made a quick stop at WaWa for money before hurrying across the street to the farm market. They were the busiest I'd seen them all year! I got in at 10:30, and some booths were already pretty close to sold out. Pumpkins are gone, but spinach is back, and I saw the first Brussels sprouts of the season. Picked up the sprouts, small apples, arugula for salads, grapes, and tomatoes. 

Went straight home via Newton Lake Park. I'm surprised they weren't busier, too. Golden sunshine sparkled on rippling green waters as weeds drying on the shore rustled in the breeze. Hints of wood smoke drifted from the homes across the street and behind Collingswood High School.

Came home in time for the second half of Split Second. Everyone was again neck and neck the whole episode. One of the women didn't pull ahead until the Countdown Round. Unlike the lady yesterday, she didn't find the car on the boards in the bonus round and opted to return. Match Game was the episode from 1976 from the other day where Charles took his shoe off to illustrate an answer, to the disgust of his buddy Brett next to him. 

(Oh, for those of you who are regular Buzzr watchers, apparently as of next month, Body Language will replace Split Second at 10 on weekday mornings, To Tell the Truth will replace What's My Line at 8:30, and some version of The Price Is Right - I'm guessing the black-and-white Bill Cullen one - will be on Saturday mornings at 10:30. Mixed feelings here. I really like Split Second, but Body Language is just as much fun, and may do better in the mornings as people get up and moving. Wish they'd just return to showing Truth and Line back-to-back again.)

Headed off to work right as Match Game ended. It wasn't bad when I came in, but it picked up around 2 and remained busy for the rest of the afternoon. I had long lines for much of the day and occasionally got pretty frustrated. 

Since there were other things I wanted to do tonight, I limited my grocery shopping to grabbing a few things I couldn't live without. I used up the last of the milk this morning and ran out of laundry detergent on Tuesday. The Acme was having a good sale on Nestle chips; I got three bags for $1.88 each. 

Mixed feelings on this week's schedule. On one hand, most of the week isn't terribly long...except that one 8 1/2 hour day on Wednesday when I'll be bagging again. Don't have off until Thursday, either, though I do get Thursday and Friday off, and I'll work too early next Saturday to make it to the farm market again.

Before I left for work, I threw together a lentil soup in my crock pot from various vegetables, spices, and chicken stock. Oh, yum! It tasted amazing when I got home, savory and nutty. Changed quickly and put everything away, then had dinner while watching the Tom Kennedy Password Plus Tribute Marathon on YouTube.

The same guy who posts the Match Game live chat premieres on YouTube and put together all those Match Game marathons in the spring strung together episodes of Password Plus and Super Password featuring that the late Tom Kennedy. He first turned up with Elaine Joyce (and a mustache) during a week in late 1979, when Allen Ludden was still hosting. He became the permanent replacement for Ludden in 1981, after Ludden was stricken with stomach cancer and became too sick to continue. In addition to the week where his game show host older brother Jack Narz appeared, memorable episodes on Tom's watch included Dick Martin making jokes of the use of "France" for "French" and Marcia Wallace fighting over the differences between "Harry" and "hairy." Kennedy made his last Password appearance on Super Password in 1987 with another legend, original Star Trek cast member Nichollete Nichols. 

The Password! Come along and see Tom's now-rare hosting stint on this show and honor one of the best game show hosts of the mid-20th century. 

Tom Kennedy Password Tribute Marathon

And here's the review for the Cannon Movie Tales version of Hansel & Gretel I watched last night.

Family Fun Saturday - Hansel & Gretel (1987)

Friday, October 16, 2020

What to Do On a Rainy Day

Awoke late to gloomy clouds and pouring rain. The damp weather would continue in one way or another throughout the entire day. This was not the right time for running around. I decided as I got dressed that I'd spend this day fully at home, something I haven't done in a long time. Besides, boxes from Amazon were supposed to be arriving later. 

Had breakfast while watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. The kids are all excited for "The Neighborhood Fall Festival," especially Miss Elaina, whose father Music Man Stan put up the decorations. When the wind blows his decorations down, the kids try to figure out how to put them up again. They're upset that they can't do it exactly the way he did it, but Mrs. Tiger assures them that it's ok to do it their way. Daniel and his friends aren't perfect at every game during "Field Day at School," but they're happy that they've tried their best.

In Sheriff Callie's Wild West, Sheriff Callie, her deputy Peck, and his friend Toby go after a trio of bandits who swiped their Halloween treats in "The Great Halloween Mystery." The thieves buried the pumpkin full of goodies in a corn field, but someone planted a corn maze, and now they can't remember which corn stalk they hid it under! Callie and the guys follow their trail as they search for their stolen loot. "The Ghost of the Scary Prairie" is a story Peck comes up with to scare Toby. It's not real, but Toby runs off spooked before Peck can tell him. Thanks to flour that lands on Callie and parts of their costume that get attached to her horse Sparky, her deputy and his buddy become convinced that there really is a ghost roaming the plains!

Switched to Match Game '77 while cleaning up from breakfast. The first episode had everyone teasing Charles about his blue sailor-style cap, while Brett comes in for a ribbing in a question about Edgar Bergen claiming Charlie McCarthy wasn't the first dummy he worked with. In the second, the crew finds something close to Brett's glasses, and she jokes about Charles' shoes (and what he didn't wear with them.)

Thought I'd try something different after the shows ended. Found a recipe in a Pillsbury cookie cookbook for Halloween Chocolate Pretzels. The "pretzels" were actually chocolate butter cookies rolled in the shape of a pretzel. You were supposed to melt chocolate in the microwave to dunk the cookies in and cover in Halloween sprinkles. I don't own a microwave, thought the chocolate was too fussy, and frankly, the cookies are rich enough without it. Settled for brushing them with an egg wash and sprinkling them with orange and yellow colored sugar instead. Yum! They came out delicious, very chocolately, and not that hard to make. I may do them again when Halloween gets closer.

Watched Elvira: Mistress of the Dark on Tubi while I worked. Elvira (Cassandra Peterson) is frustrated with her job hosting bad movies on Los Angeles TV. She wants to take Las Vegas by storm, but lacks the money. When she learns her Aunt Morgana died and left something in her will, she heads cross-country to Fallwell, Massachusetts. The tiny town never let go of its Puritan sentiments and shuns anything that is remotely different, scary, or sexual. Elvira, being a lot of all three, is a fish out of water from the get-go. She's not popular with the townspeople, especially after she inherits her aunt's decaying mansion, pet poodle, and "recipe" book. Her Great-Uncle Vincent Talbot (W. Morgan Shepard) wants the recipe book - actually a spell book - and tries to buy it from her, but the dog hides it. 

Meanwhile, Elvira tries her hardest to get a job and earn the money to take her to Vegas. She encourages the teens in the town to help her fix up her house, but their parents throw fits and won't let them near her after that. She befriends the head of the town movie theater Bob Redding (Daniel Greene) and hold a midnight horror film festival there, only to be sabotaged by jealous bowling alley owner Patty (Susan Kellerman). Bob tries to encourage her by coming over to her house for dinner. She wants to make a big meal from her aunt's "cookbook," but ends up conjuring a monster. Turns out her aunt was a witch, she's descended from a long line of witches, and her uncle is an evil warlock who wants to take over the world. Now Elvira has to figure out how to get her revenge on the townspeople who shunned her and keep her nutty uncle from getting his hands on their family's magic.

You probably wouldn't think I'd be into something as weird as this, but I loved this movie in the late 80's-early 90's. It used to run a lot of cable and independent TV stations. Nowadays, while I don't love it the way I did then, I still like it a lot. Peterson is likable and funny as the goth queen who confronts the obnoxiously puritanical townspeople, and Shepard isn't bad as her villainous uncle who thinks the book is his ticket to taking over the world. Love the spoofing of the clichés of bad horror films and other 80's B films, including at least one Rambo reference. If you love horror comedies or Elvira, are familiar with the movies she's making fun of, or want to see a nifty variation on the "slobs vs snobs" theme of the time, you'll want to give this one a look.

Finally found my Amazon packages on the porch around quarter of 3. Brought them in, then had a quick smoothie lunch while watching Super Password. Betty White killed at this one, helping her contestant win the Super Password bonus round in record time and getting more answers than Jon "Bowser" Bauman and his contestants. 

Along with more Christmas presents and Call Me Madam to review for Election Day next month, I picked up more CD binder pages. From now on, all disc media in this apartment will be in binders, including the Christmas and old-time radio CDs. Did the Christmas titles while Tattletales ran. Nutty Orson Bean and his sassy then-wife Carolyn Jones were the big winners, getting almost every question right. 

Had moved on to the old-time radio discs by the time Press Your Luck was on. This was an exciting one. Everything went back and forth, with none of the contestants pulling ahead until the one guy picked up a car during the second round. Even with two Whammies, he was still the big winner, picking up the car and a sport boat, among other things. 

Worked on writing after the show ended. Ethel (Merman) and her daughters storm over, claiming Fannie is their servant. Her daughters, however, really aren't interested in being mollycoddled anymore. Meredith fell for Sir (Bert) Convy and Victoria wans to join a comic acting troupe. Allen offers Fannie a job and to repair her decaying manor house. The wizards join together to turn Donald's legs into a fish's tail, so he can join his beloved Patti at her family's home under Anderson Bay. 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Made turkey burgers, spinach salad, and mashed honeynut squash (so sweet, it didn't need sweetener, just milk and spices) for dinner while jumping back to Match Game '74. This time, blonde bombshell Elaine Joyce is the one who comes in for ribbing in a question joking about what she gets tired of people staring at. (One look at the "Bugle Boy" shirt on her chest gave anyone near her the answer.) Late 70's TV hunks Robert Walden and Bart Braverman joined Betty White, Gene, and the regulars in Match Game PM for jokes about what autographed photo Bernie the Super Salesman could sell to Brett. 

The woman card sharp completely dominated Sale of the Century tonight. Though the man won one of the Fame Games and the other woman gave her some competition early-on, she took the reins shortly after and killed in the Speed Round. She picked up a well-deserved 10,000 dollars on the Match the Prize Board. Made pumpkin pudding from the failed "Pumpkin Whirl" in the freezer while I watched.

Finished the night with Hansel & Gretel. I'll be going further into the Cannon Movie Tales version of this famous story tomorrow. There's a lot on tomorrow that I want to watch, including at least two marathons, so I figured I'd watch the movie for review tonight.