Sunday, October 04, 2020

Fireworks In the Night

Began the morning with a quick breakfast and the cast album for the 1983 revival of On Your Toes. Having enjoyed seeing one Rodgers and Hart show from the 30's the other night, I thought I'd listen to another this morning. Junior Dolan (George de la Pena) is a music professor, but he was originally a hoofer in his family's vaudeville act. He tries to convince a Russian ballet to put on his student's jazz ballet, with a top ballerina (Natalia Makarova) in the lead role. When her lover fights with him and is knocked out, Junior ends up dancing the male lead...but there's someone in the show who would rather seem him dead than onstage. If he doesn't keep dancing, he won't live to see another opening!

Rodgers and Hart put out another sterling score here; along with title song that contrasts jazz and ballet, the other hits including the duet "There's a Small Hotel" and the lament "Glad to Be Unhappy." I also like Junior's student Frankie's big song at school, "It's Got to Be Love," and the ballet's manager Peggy explaining to Junior why "The Heart Is Quicker Than the Eye." If you're a fan of 30's music or Rodgers and Hart and can find this, it's very much recommended. 

Scurried out the door even before the record ended. Work was quiet when I arrived, but that changed quickly. By 1, we were swamped, and pretty much remained so for the rest of the afternoon. The Eagles didn't play until 8:20, but it's the first Sunday of the month, and a gorgeous day to boot. This may be the only day this week a lot of people could go shopping.

When I got home, I changed and worked on writing. The combined powers of the Princesses, Charles' voice, and Richard's arrow do their jobs. Malade's black powers is dissolving, causing her to fade away. The moment Richard's arrow pierces her heart, she evaporates in a last blast of light, throwing everyone - including the arriving villagers - back several feet. At the very least, King Allen (Ludden) has finally awaken, to the delight of his wife, and is feeling well enough to banter shakily with the others.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Listened to Anything Goes while heating up leftovers. This is the 1962 off-Broadway cast album with Eileen Rodgers as belting Reno Sweeney, Hal Linden as gangster Billy Crocker, and Kenneth Mars as stuffy Brit Sir Evelyn. It was the first version to include songs from other Cole Porter shows; while "Friendship" and "It's DeLovely" have remained with the show ever since, this is the only time the score featured "Let's Misbehave," "Heaven Hop," "Let's Step Out," and "Take Me Back to Manhattan."

Switched to the soundtrack for Pete's Dragon after dinner in honor of Helen Reddy, who passed away on Tuesday. While the story is kind of corny, there is some good music in the tale of a boy and his dragon who flee to a New England town and befriend a lighthouse keeper and his daughter. Reddy introduces the Oscar-nominated ballad "Candle On the Water" and sings my favorite song from this score with Sean Marshall, the touching "It's Not Easy." 

Made Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies after dinner. This time, they couldn't have come out more perfect. Didn't burn a single one, and they smelled amazing coming out of the oven. I think I finally got the hang of dealing with this stove.

As I pulled out the first batch, I heard a bang that was awfully close to my apartment. Rushed into my see glittering golden fireworks going off in the street! I had a perfect view from my bedroom windows. A group of kids and their parents set them off, even as I watched in delight. I have no idea why they decided to set off fireworks tonight, but they looked pretty.

Finished the night watching football and quieter game shows. This week, I looked up game shows I remember watching on the USA Network in the late 80's and early 90's. The New Chain Reaction is from the early 90's and was hosted by Geoff Edwards. Two people have to guess words that link together a pair of phrases on either side of a board. The one who earns the most points wins the game and goes on to the bonus round. If they guess the entire chain of words in so many seconds, they win a big prize. It was a close race, both in the actual game (where one of the women came back and almost beat the other), and in the bonus round, where she just missed the win.

Next up was Play the Percentages. Apparently, this one went through at least two formats during its short time on the air in 1980. I opted for the very first episode, with the original format featuring couples who challenge each other to guess the percentage of how many people answered a question in a certain way. It's basically Card Sharks without the cards. It was kind of complicated, to the point where I can understand why they changed the format, but the set was nifty. Geoff Edwards was the host here as well. 

Wipeout is from 1988, and is kind of Tic Tac Dough without the tic tac toe angle, or Press Your Luck with wipeouts instead of Whammies. Peter Tomarken asks three contestants to choose names that relate to a certain subject, like "Elvis Presley Hits," from the monitors. If they guess correctly, they earn money. If they hit a "Hot Spot," they might get a vacation prize. If they guess incorrectly, they hit a "Wipeout" and lose their money. The two players with the most money move on to the Challenge round, where they challenge each other to see who can name more answers to a topic and win a prize. The person who won that went to the bonus round, where they have to guess six correct answers in a topic in 60 seconds and win a car.

As a fan of Tic Tac Dough, I really got a kick out of this one. Peter Tomarken always has fun hosting (and comes off as a lot less smarmy than Geoff Edwards), the game play was fun, and the lady who ended up winning obviously had a great time.

If you grew up at the same time as me and have the same fond memories of USA's game show schedule, you may want to check out this trio of major blasts from the past!

Oh, and I checked the Eagles score off and on. They finally figured out what they're doing. This time, they got a decisive win, beating the 49ers on their home turf 25 to 20. 

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