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.)

1 comment:

Linda said...

Aha! I knew the "ventriloquist with the wisecracking dragon puppet" had to be Ronn Lucas. Scorch was the dragon. I fell in love with Ronn Lucas from his appearances on COMEDY TONIGHT, a PBS series featuring stand-up comedy, in the early 1980s.