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. 

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