Monday, November 30, 2020
Sunday, November 29, 2020
Saturday, November 28, 2020
Friday, November 27, 2020
Thursday, November 26, 2020
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Monday, November 23, 2020
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Dashed off to work, making it just in time. We were pretty quiet when I got in, but it picked up around 11. We had lines down the aisles at one point, and that was with a lot of help. Thankfully, other than a few mishaps, there wasn't much trouble. It slowed down enough by 2 that I shut down with no relief and no need for one.
Called Rose when I got home. According to my phone, she called me earlier, but it was shortly after I got to work. Yes, she's having Thanksgiving. It'll likely just be her family and me, which is fine. I can come over whenever. Given I also wanted to watch the all-day marathon on YouTube Match Game Productions channel, I'll likely go over around 3 and give a few hours to the live chat first.
Went down for a nap after I got off with Rose. I hadn't heard from Jodie when I came in, so I assumed she wasn't doing anything for the Eagles-Browns game. I really wasn't in the mood for watching them anyway, given how badly they've been doing lately. Hit my bed at 2:30 and didn't get up until 4:30. (And I was right. Checked online later and found out that they did, indeed, lose to the Browns 23-17.)
Did some writing after I rolled out of bed. Gene and Brett are dragged on deck and find themselves facing Gene's former boss, General Mark Goodson. He's an intelligent but fastidious man who likes to show off his wealth, boasting about his fancy new cufflinks even as he gloats about capturing his former officer. Brett's not happy when he reveals she's a wealthy noblewoman who ran away from her husband, a doctor and compulsive gambler, and there's a reward for returning her to him.
Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had the leftover soup while listening to the soundtrack from Scrooged, the 1988 modern Christmas Carol with Bill Murray in the Scrooge role. The big one here is the version of "Put a Little Love In Your Heart" by Annie Lennox and Al Green that turns up frequently on the radio during the holiday season. Most of the other songs are generic pop and hip-hop that were common at the time, though the final number is a nice version of "The Christmas Song" by Natalie Cole.
Made apple crisp and switched to Merry Christmas With the Williams Brothers. "The Holiday Season" with Andy Williams and his brothers is the hit here, along with the Williams favorite "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." There's also the rollicking "Kay Thompson's Jingle Bells" and his version of "The Twelve Days of Christmas," "A Song for a Christmas Tree."
(By the way, that apple crisp came out amazing. I tried the recipe from a Susan Branch cookbook I picked up a while back, and it's perfect. Maybe a little sweet - I might use slightly less sugar next time - but otherwise spicy and delicious.)
Moved online for game show episodes on YouTube. The only Thanksgiving episode I could find was Classic Concentration from 1990. The copy isn't great, but they do have a big turkey decoration in front of the contestants' desk and a "Happy Thanksgiving!" rebus in the beginning.
Since I had such a hard time finding Thanksgiving-themed games, I went with shows played by couples or families. The original Family Feud runs from the 70's and 80's are on Buzzr, but they play in the early morning when few are awake. I did one episode from 1982 with Richard Dawson and a group of ladies from West Virginia with some very interesting answers, and one from 1988 with Ray Combs and a group of enthusiastic gentlemen.
For some reason, Buzzr only runs Tattletales episodes from 1974 and 1975. There's lots of great shows from later in the run they haven't touched yet, like this one from 1976. This was the first time Price Is Right hosts Bill Cullen and Bob Barker actually met. Bob and his wife Dorothy Jo did pretty darn good, too.
My sisters and I were huge fans of Double Dare on Nickelodeon and in syndication when we were kids. We religiously watched every version they tossed out, including Family Double Dare. It's the same as all of the other Double Dares, only here, it's parents and kids getting covered in gunk, plastic balls, and colored water. Interestingly, both Physical Challenges involved filling a vessel with that colored water. One had the dad filling a cup with lemonade squirting from a giant lemon; the other had the family wearing hats with bowls to pass each other enough blue water to fill a long-necked cup.
Celebrate Thanksgiving with your family, some very strange answers, a pinch of innuendo, and a lot of slime!
Saturday, November 21, 2020
Began an early morning with breakfast and Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures. "Mickey's Thanksgiving Fun Race" has all the Disney characters and their friends or family members driving in cars representing common Thanksgiving foods. Mickey and Donald have a gravy boat-shaped car, but Mickey wants to go slow, and Donald wants to speed. All they end up doing is making a mess, until they finally realize that they can use both their approaches at different times.
Daisy, Minnie, and Cukoo-Loca are "Happy Thanksgiving Helpers!" who are charged with making the big dinner. Daisy wants everything to be perfect, including her grandmother's Double-Berry Cranberry Sauce. When disaster strikes and their guests bring very different dishes, like Rabbit, she finally realizes that friends are a lot more important than "tradition."
Work was, surprisingly for the Saturday before Thanksgiving, not a problem. We were steady for most of the day, not dead, but not overwhelmingly busy. Had a bobble early-on with an order, but it was a small one the managers were able to refund. Other than that, no trouble whatsoever. My relief was even perfectly on time.
Did my grocery shopping after I finished. Took advantage of a lot of sales and several online coupons to pick up free eggs, pasta, and chocolate chips. Found two small containers of dishwashing liquid on the clearance shelves. There were big coupons for sugar and yogurt, too. Wanted a turkey breast, but they're all out until Monday. Grabbed a pack of Christmas cards with a pretty stylized Christmas tree. Restocked cereal, low-salt black beans, almond extract, milk, Farina, mayonnaise, tea, and mushrooms.
Threw on the current version of Muppet Babies while putting everything away. "Run, Fozzie, Run" has Fozzie fleeing into a story book when he breaks a flower pot and thinks Nanny will be angry. The others follow him, dodging all the things he's broken on the way. "My Brother Vinny" is Rizzo's big brother, a singing super star. He wants to be as cool as he is, but while he can dance, he's no singer. The kids try to convince him that he's better off being himself.
Worked on writing for a while after I changed. Gene tries to take on two of the sailors, but he's moving slow after being drugged and is easily taken down. Brett tossed over the shoulder of one beefy sailor...and tries to ask him out on a date. Gene is not amused as they're both dragged on deck.
Broke for dinner early at 6. Had leftover burgers and potatoes with a green salad (using my last farm market tomato) for dinner and cookies and herbal tea for dessert while watching The Nutcracker. Other than eliminating the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier, the Mikhail Baryshnikov version from 1977 is about as straightforward of a Nutcracker as you can get. He's the Nutcracker doll under a spell; dainty Gerry Kirkland is Clara, the girl who saves him. As you can imagine, there's some wonderful dancing here, especially in the second half, when we see the candy from around the world.
Watched Trolls World Tour when I got online. I go further into this year's sequel to Trolls at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.
Finished up on YouTube with the Match Game '73 premiere and another version of the Nutcracker story, The Nutcracker Prince. This 1990 animated film has more basis in the original E.A Hoffman story, The Hard Nut. Clara (Meghan Follows) still has to save the Nutcracker (Kiefer Sutherland) from the Mouse King (Mike MacDonald), but we get more of his back story. He was cursed by the wicked Mouse Queen (Phyllis Diller) after he freed pretty Princess Pirlipat (Mona Waserman) from an ugliness spell into the form of a doll. Her son swore revenge on him. Clara has to stop the Mouse King from harming her toy friends...and perhaps realize that she's growing up more than she'll admit.
Odd but charming Canadian entry into the Disney imitation race of the 1990's. Sutherland's stiffer than the Nutcracker, but Follows is a lovely Clara and MacDonald has some funny moments as the king of the mice who just can't keep his tail straight. The animation's fairly cheap, but it has an interesting look, especially when it switches from semi-realistic Disney to a cartoonier style for the "Hard Nut" sequence. Worth a look at least once around the holidays if you grew up with it in the 90's or have Nutcracker fans at home.
Friday, November 20, 2020
Thursday, November 19, 2020
Began the morning with breakfast and Rio Rita. I just picked this one up on Amazon as part of their Prime Day last month. I've wanted to see it for years, ever since I read about it in the book A Song In the Dark on early talkie musicals. I go further into the early talkie south-of-the-border operetta that introduced Bert Wheeler and Bob Woosley to audiences at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.
Worked on writing for a while after the movie ended. Gene can't seem to keep awake, even as Richard takes Brett over to his bed and binds and gags her with the sheets. He realizes too late that Richard drugged their tea and rum. Charles barges in to confirm his worst fears. The men aren't moving, and the Navy ship is getting closer. Richard pulls a gun on Charles to keep him from telling the men. He'll use him as a human shield to get past the only other people who didn't drink the rum, Jimmie (who's still on watch) and Gary. Gene passes out as Richard drags him on deck. He's the one who directed them to the Navy ship. He wants them to be found.
Broke for lunch at 1:30. Went to the front porch and grabbed a flat package for me out of the mailbox. I ordered a couple of DVDs on eBay this week, including Happiness Is Peanuts: Snow Days. The main feature, She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown was the last Peanuts special themed around winter or the Yuletide holidays I didn't have. The "she" is Peppermint Patty, who's entered a local skating competition. Snoopy is her demanding coach. She expects Marcie to make her costume, but Marcie can't sew. Snoopy eventually does that, too. He doesn't prove to be as good with the tape recorders on the day of the skating tournament. When the recorder eats Patty's music, it's up to Woodstock to provide accompaniment to her routine.
Switched to Good Eats while eating a quick can of chicken and dumpling soup for lunch. I don't have the Thanksgiving episodes, but I do have a show Alton did about a fruit frequently consumed at Thanksgiving. "Cran Opening" gives us his recipe for cranberry sauce, as well as for cranberry granita and Cosmopolitans.
Clouds had moved in by the time I headed off to work, but it wasn't quite as cold as the last few days. Maybe that's why weren't as busy, either. It was on-and-off steady, not insane, but not dead, either. I forgot to put someone's card in towards the end of the evening and had to redo their order. Other than that, things went very well, and there were no other real problems.
Put on Sale of the Century when I got in. We had our second close game in a row, with no one really ahead and everyone winning or buying something. The younger man got barely ahead in the Speed Round. He did far better in the Bonus Round, getting the money with time to spare.
Finished out the night online, watching the Shirley Temple Babes In Toyland while writing my Rio Rita review. This hour-long version of the holiday operetta is an episode of Shirley Temple Storybook, her TV show from the early 60's that adapted children's books, fairy tales, and novels. No lovers needed here. It's just Uncle Barnaby (Johnathan Winters) and his goofy trio of mooks (including Joe Besser and Jerry Colonna. The mooks kidnap the Babes and leave them stranded on a sinking ship. Even after the kids escape, they have to evade Floretta the fortune teller (Temple) and her gypsies and the nasty citizens of Meantown in order to make it to Toyland and the kind Toymaker.
Here's the episode, so you can enjoy this adorable version for yourself!
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Started off a lovely, sunny morning with breakfast and Body Language. Catherine Hickland of the then-popular daytime soap Capitol and Nathan Cook of the nighttime soap Hotel compete with two very noisy and enthusiastic young ladies. It came down to a tie, but Hickland's team got it, though they didn't win the extra money in the bonus round.
Blockbusters didn't move quite that fast. In fact, the two rounds played by a young man and a mother and her son seemed to take forever. It didn't help that the mother at one point chose a D hexagon that was nowhere near her row, was boxed in by other hexagons, and was completely useless. (To her credit, she did look embarrassed when she realized what she did.) They hadn't even finished the second game when the show ended.
Got organized and checked out a few things, then headed out to run errands around 11:30. The sun was out, but the wind was bitter and heavy. I figured it would be easier to haul my clothes on the cart than struggle with the bike in the wind. I picked the right time to do it. The laundromat was empty when I arrived. Dropped the laundry in the largest washer that takes the longest. Not only did I have the time to spare, but I had things I wanted to get done.
Next stop the House of Fun to poke around. I'm finishing Amanda's Christmas bag and Lauren's box. Didn't see anything I thought would work for Amanda, but I found something extremely unique and unusual among the wrestling action figures for Lauren. (And they had a second figure from the line. If she likes the one I picked, I'll get that one for her after the holidays.)
After I got my load into the dryer, I headed in the other direction to Family Dollar. Hoped they had a plastic container I could use for cake flour, but they only had glass ones. Headed another block to WaWa for a Cinnamon French Toast (Cinnamon and caramel) Smoothie, a blood orange sparkling water, and "The Gobbler," a hoagie with stuffing, cranberry sauce, cheese, and turkey that only appears at this time of the year.
At least it was a nice day for a walk. Despite the wind and cold, the sun shown warmly, the sky was a brilliant deep blue, and the air had a good smoky fall snap to it. I wasn't surprised to see many other people out and about, from folks on bikes to children playing in front yards to people who were also walking home with groceries and other necessities from errands.
Put everything away while watching Very Merry Christmas Songs. This expansion of the original Sing Along video includes songs from then-new direct-to-home-media offerings like Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas, along with three additional older tunes, "Jingle Bell Rock," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and "White Christmas" (the last-named in its original Bing Crosby version).
Switched to Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving while having lunch and making yeast dough for Stuffed Rolls. This is actually one of the holiday specials and two episodes of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh vaguely connected by new material. In the first segment, Rabbit thinks it's Groundhog's Day and demands Piglet tell him if spring is coming...and regrets his pushy behavior when he realizes it's nowhere near February.
The second is the Thanksgiving special. Rabbit's being pushy again, this time telling everyone that Thanksgiving is a time of tradition, and they have to do things the traditional way. Pooh's the one this time who points out that Thanksgiving is more about sharing what we have than "tradition."
Rabbit's also the focus of the Christmas segment, as he explains how he once rescued a baby bird and raised her as more-or-less his daughter, and the trouble he had seeing her grow up when she was ready to fly.
Returned to Buzzr for Tattletales as I finished up the dough. I was more than a little surprised to hear the voice of a familiar orange lasagna-loving cat while I kneaded! Lorenzo Music, the original voices of Garfield and Peter Venkman on The Real Ghostbusters, played today with his wife Henrietta. The big winners were Elaine Joyce and her dancer husband Bobby Van, who got the finale double-point question right.
Press Your Luck got even more exciting. The previous champion Whammied out; the other two had three each. It came down to a woman who picked up a car and nothing else, and a man who racked up the money. He finally picked up a sail boat and a trip to Hong Kong that put him over the edge and made him the new champ.
Worked on writing for a while as the dough rose. Joyce is falling asleep over her bowl of stew. She's been tired ever since she had rum with the crew, she tells them. Brett's starting to become a more than a little suspicious, but it's too late. She's already yawning. Gene's realizing too that they've been played for fools. Not only was Richard the only person to handle the tea and the rum, but he's navigating them straight towards that other ship...
Broke for dinner and to fill the rolls with peach and cherry jam at 6:30. Watched Match Game '74 as I dropped jam onto the dough and slid the rolls into the oven. Gene joked about his microphone being moved up and down in the opening; later, he and the others tried to explain who Long John Silver was to a woman who had never heard of him.
Everyone joked about what Betty White's host husband Allen Ludden just realized was over on Match Game PM. The girl said Password (she likely meant the 60's original), but Betty and the others had their own ideas. This was followed by the panel's performance of their own chain gang song.
We had the second close game in a row on Sale of the Century. Once again, the woman bought both Instant Bargains, but the other man tied the champ in the Speed Round and won the tie breaker. Didn't have much luck in the Bonus Round, though.
Oh, and the rolls didn't come out too badly. Almost forgot to add the yogurt. It originally called for sour cream, but I don't like sour cream, so I used plain yogurt. I don't think I made the indentions big enough. The jam went everywhere but in the roll. They tasted good enough and the recipe wasn't that difficult, so I may try this again. Next time, I'll make smaller rolls with larger indentions and less jam.
Finished the night online with Two on a Guillotine on TCM. Cassie Duquesne (Connie Stevens) will inherit her late father Duke's (Caesar Romero) mansion if she can spend a week there. Reporter Val Henderson (Dean Jones) offers to stay with her in order to get the scoop on her father's promise to return as a ghost. Indeed, there's many spooky goings on and happenings in his huge old castle-like house, from a skeleton popping out of a closet to music and noises heard when there's no one around. It all goes back to the mysterious death of Cassie's mother Melinda (Stevens) after a trick involving a guillotine went wrong. The two look up several people involved in that act, including his former assistant Dolly (Virginia Bast) who loved him, and find out that there may be more to Duke's threat and Melinda's death than meets the eye.
Odd little old-dark-house story is marred by miscasting. Jones and Stevens aren't exactly known for their horror work and come off as too lighthearted for such a creepy tale. Romero's better in the Vincent Price role as the former magician who thinks recreating his final trick will bring his beloved wife back from the dead. The scares are more effective, especially the haunting and lush score by Max Steiner (his last).
If you're a fan of campy vintage horror from the 50's and 60's or either of the stars, you'll want to try catching this spooky little tale on TCM.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Monday, November 16, 2020
Began the morning with buttermilk pancakes for breakfast while watching Molly of Denali. Molly and Tooey hatch "Operation: Sleepover" when Molly has to sleep at Tooey's house during a blizzard. They want Tooey's sled dogs to sleep inside, but there's so many! Even after his mother agrees, they have to figure out how to keep them out of mischief, all while Tooey writes a blog article on caring for sled dogs. They learn what goes on "Beneath the Surface" when ice fishing season begins on the nearby lake. They compete to see who can catch the biggest fish while their friend Nina films the aquatic life with her underwater camera. It turns out to be more useful than they can guess when Molly's fish charm bracelet lands in the water, and she and Tooey have to figure out how to get it back.
Did a quick segment of To Tell the Truth while I got ready for work. Three older women claimed to be going to college for the first time at 84. Almost everyone said it was number 3, who was the most enthusiastic about her schoolwork and why she was going, and they turned out to be right. (And bless her heart! I hope she did well. I knew a couple of people at Stockton College in the late 90's-early 2000's who were taking classes, either for the first time or finishing a degree, and were over 50.)
Went straight to work after that. One of the baggers has the next two days off, so I'm taking her place. Couldn't have been a better day for it. Wiped down registers and the handles to the frozen food and dairy coolers for an hour and swept the store twice, but I was mainly outside, gathering carts and rounding up trash and recycling. Couldn't have been a nicer day for it. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and thought it was windy, it actually wasn't that bad, probably in the mid-upper 50's.
It was such a nice day, I took the long way home down Nicholson Road. The area around the entrance to the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center and much of Nicholson were busy with early rush hour travelers, but they all vanished once I rode over the hill and into Oaklyn. The trees finally turned gorgeous colors here, brilliant golds and yellows and bricks and oranges, while late roses and mums linger in gardens.
Met an Amazon van as I made my way to the apartment. Lauren mentioned I had two more packages coming from her. I took them into my arms and let him go on his way.
Changed, then opened my next Christmas presents. Yes, they were the Game Show FAQ and Quizmaster: The Life of Bill Cullen. They're written by the same man who did the Gene Rayburn biography I bought earlier in the fall. The FAQ is really more of a history of game shows, which I'd love to know more about after all the shows I've watched lately. Quizmaster is as lengthy as the Gene biography and will likely wait until after the New Year, when I can give it my full attention. (Incidentally, that same author, Adam Nedoff, wrote an equally-enormous biography of Allen Ludden. As much as I'd like to hear more about his relationship with Betty White, I think I'll save that one for my birthday next year.)
Watched Tattletales and Press Your Luck while looking over the books. Tattletales got southern-fried as Mississippi belle Mary Ann Mobley and her husband Gary Collins were joined by Buck Owens of the Grand Ol' Opry and his wife Lisa Todd of the very big hair and Pat Harrington and his wife Marge. Mary Ann and Gary were the big winners today, getting almost every question right.
Press Your Luck had an unusual situation going into the game. The previous winner, a feisty little old lady, came back not because she won any money, but because she was the only contestant on the previous show to not Whammy out. She was easily defeated by a young woman who won a ton of money in the second round and hit only one Whammy early-on.
Did some writing after the show ended. Cabin boy Gary Burghoff tells Captain Gene Rayburn he and lookout Jimmie Walker spotted a ship following them on the horizon. Gene tells him to find Charles and alert him to the possible danger, and to remind him that they're having dinner together. Richard starts to pour Brett's rum as the young man leaves, but his smile doesn't quite reach his eyes...
Didn't get much further than that when Jodie called. Did I want leftovers from yesterday's pot roast? Sure! Pot roast turned out to taste even better cold. She gave me the remaining biscuits to eat the rest of the week, too.
Watched Match Game '74 while I ate. Policeman CB Farnsworth made his debut in the first episode as the episode ended. He got to see Gene happily discovering that his microphone can telescope up and down in the second.
Made Butter Pecan Cookies while Match Game PM ran. Gene and the panelists helped a very nervous contestant calm down and remember her husband's name. Whatever they did worked. She played the game beautifully once she calmed down and had help with the bonus round from Joyce Bulifant. The woman champ on Sale of the Century just kept rolling. She bought the first Instant Bargain, won the first Fame Game, breezed through the Speed Round, and got the bonus money with one second left.
Finished the night online with Quiz Show. Having read a little about the quiz show scandals of the 1950's in Game Show FAQ and run into some shows from the era on Buzzr and YouTube, I thought this was appropriate. Besides, I've wanted to see this movie since it came out, and it's currently streaming for free on The Roku Channel.
Twenty One was the hottest show on the air in 1958, making national heroes out of the champions who could guess the difficult questions asked while in an isolation booth. Herb Stempel (John Tutorro) is the reigning champion, but he's a nerdy-looking Jewish guy from Queens, and his ratings are leveling. Hoping to find someone more traditionally telegenic, producers Dan Enright (David Paymer) and Albert Freeman (Hank Azaria) turn to Columbia University professor Charles Van Dorn (Ralph Fiennes). Stempel loses to Van Dorn in a showdown the next night...but as it turns out, Enright offered him his own panel show if he threw the game.
Angry that Enright won't deliver, Stempel finally brings his allegations to a grand jury. Congressional lawyer Richard Goodwin (Rob Morrow) is assigned to his case. Turns out Stempel was far from the only contestant who had the answers given to him. Most of the major champions on the show were coached on their answers well in advance. Morrow keeps pushing for their stories to get in the spotlight, though they keep hiding it. Van Doran, meanwhile, is starting to regret his part in all of it. He only wanted to get out from under the shadow of his much-loved professor father (Paul Scofield), but finds himself threatened with losing all the fame and celebrity he's gathered from being champ. Richard thinks taking down his bosses is worth the sacrifice, but he's less sure.
Slow-moving but well-acted look at one of television's first major scandals. Tutoro and Fiennes take top honors as the two very different men who desperately want to hang on to their time in the spotlight, even if they have to lie to do so. There's also excellent performances from Scofield as Van Dorn's autocratic professor father, Paymer as the smarmy TV producer who sacrifices integrity for ratings, and Johann Carlo and Mira Sorvino as the women in Stempel and Goodwin's lives who wonder just what's going on here.
If you're like me and have any interest in the history of TV, game shows, or the 1950's, or are a fan of any of the stars involved, you'll absolutely want to get out of that isolation booth and check this out.