Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Sunny Days and Spooky Stories

Began a beautiful, sunny morning with breakfast and the Muppet Babies Halloween episode. Fozzie is disappointed that he's the only Muppet Baby not wearing a scary costume. He wants to celebrate "Happy Hallo-wacka" by putting on a super-spooky haunted house, but he comes off as more silly than scary. Animal plays ghost to give the kids something to really be scared of...and prove that Halloween can have its funny side, too. Summer tells "The Teeth-Chattering Tale of the Haunted Pancakes" when Kermit won't try Nanny's ghost-shaped "Boo-Berry Pancakes." Halloween Hollow resident Kermitbod won't eat his ghost pancakes, either, so the Witch of Trying New Things (Summer) turns them into real until he does try them.

Worked on writing for an hour, then switched to a spooky episode of the 2003 Strawberry Shortcake. Huckleberry Pie dares Strawberry to go into the woods. She accepts the dare...but all the kids are scared to death when they run across an old muffin-shaped house that makes a ton of noises! They think they've found "The Blueberry Beast" and all run out. Strawberry is determined to confront her fears and reveal that maybe what they imagine isn't so scary after all.

Headed to work shortly after the cartoon ended. Work was busy. I did just about everything. I went on the register for cashiers going on break. I swept the store. I shelved the few loose items out. I gathered carts. It was a good day to be gathering carts. Sunshine, bright blue skies, warm, breezy but not as windy as the last few days. Perfect fall weather. 

The weather felt so nice, I took the long way home down Nicholson Road, despite it being rush hour by that point. I did have to dodge a lot of traffic, even in Oaklyn. It was worth it. I wasn't the only one out and about, either. I saw people out for walks and kids riding their bikes and playing in their yards in the neighborhood.

Returned to writing when I got home and changed. Sir Jack Narz explains how he and his brother Sir Tom (Kennedy) ended up in Malade's employ. They fought her when she invaded, but she captured them and locked them in the basement. She tried to seduce the younger Narz, but his brother didn't appreciate it. The wicked witch ended up putting both under a spell to control them and destroyed their wands. Sir Peter Marshall remembers even less. All he knows is he was hit over the head and didn't realize what happened until Malade and her magic were gone.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers while watching Match Game '74. Brett's extra-long and rather muddled  answer to a question about what the Lone Ranger and Tonto eat when they're desperate manages to be a winner, and Orson does even better with the Head-to-Head. Things went even better on Match Game PM as Gene got answers to a question about Old Mrs. Periwinkle's honeymoon and former castmates Bill Daily and Marcia Wallace (who were on The Bob Newhart Show together) bantered with each other. 

Sale of the Century wasn't quite as exciting as it's been the past few days. Though everyone ended up with something, the champ dominated from about midway through the episode and came through in the speed round. She ended up with a shopping spree.

Moved online for the original 1931 Dracula, which is currently on the Watch TCM app. Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi) is a vampire who's menaced the Transylvanian countryside for centuries. He makes Renfield (Dwight Frye), a solicitor who came to handle his financial affairs, into his willing slave. They head to London, where the Count finds his next victims at the opera. 

The first to go is lovely Lucy Weston (Frances Dade), who finds him fascinating enough to go to him with no coercing. Her friend Mina Seward (Helen Chandler) is next on his list. When she starts having nightmares and Renfield is found raving about vampires and eating insects in a sanitarium, Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) realizes that it's the Count who is behind it all. After Lucy turns up biting children in the park, he becomes determined to save Mina from the same fate.

Though it features Lugosi's iconic performance as one of the seminal vampires in film history, this is also an early talkie. There's a lot of long stretches of talk, and it feels more like a play at times. It's also fairly atmospheric for the time, especially once they hit London. If you can handle some of the early talkie stiffness, you may enjoy the first sound film version of one of filmdom's most famous blood-suckers.

Finished the night on YouTube with "Jack O'Lantern." This episode of the Rankin-Bass animated series Festival of Family Classics is the closest they got to a Halloween special. A grandfather relates the tale of how a leprechaun in a carved pumpkin saved his family's farm from a pair of witches who wanted to destroy their crops and take their land for themselves.

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