Monday, November 30, 2020

Stormy Weather

Awoke to pouring rain and a dark, gloomy morning that felt more like evening. Began the day with breakfast and Body Language. In fact, I came in just as Jim J. Bullock was gyrating wildly for his contestant. They ended up winning the main game and got 900 in the second round, but just missed the bonus round by one word.

Blockbusters returned to the episodes featuring that amazing mother-daughter team who won pretty much everything for weeks. Started the dishes as they defeated a young woman. The daughter only missed two questions in the Gold Run bonus round. They were half-way through their game with a male contestant when the show ended.

Switched to DVD for a couple of holiday and winter-themed Scooby Doo episodes as I made the bed. "A Nutcracker Scoob" is from the early 80's Daphne/Shaggy series. Fred joined the duo, Scooby, and Scrappy to save an orphanage from a cranky miser and stop The Ghost of Christmas from stealing a precious jewel. "That's Snow Ghost" is one of my favorite episodes from the original series. Mystery Inc has to solve the mystery of a strange ski lodge and the spectral Yeti who appears there to scare off customers.

Moved to Match Game as I scrubbed the kitchen. After I finished that, I moved on to doing the floors. I swept the hardwood floors first, then vacuumed the floors, rug, and futon. Moved on to dusting the floors as the episodes ended.

Went to Tubi for An American Christmas Carol as I made lunch. Benedict Slade (Henry Winkler) is a grouchy old miser who owns a repossession business in a New England town during the Great Depression. He was once a bright young furniture apprentice with many ideas for the future, but first his boss refused to change, then a loan shark took him up on his new refinancing idea. Alas, in taking his idea, he turned down his boss' request for a loan to rebuild his chair-building business. The present is only a bit happier, as he sees that the son of his employee Thatcher, whom he just fired, is very sick. It may take a vision of a bleak future where neither he nor the boy survive to prove that we help ourselves when we help each other, and that the best charity is giving new ideas and new hope a chance.

Despite Winkler playing older Slade under a ton of makeup, he does well enough as the selfish skinflint who eventually learns to see the light. Though it's a low-budget production, it still reflects the holidays of long-ago nicely (other than a few misplaced hairstyles on the ladies). Not the most necessary Christmas movie, but worth a look if you love Winkler or Christmas Carol adaptations.

Moved to The Roku Channel for a winter episode of The Cat In the Hat Knows a Lot About That. Nick and Sally are having trouble finding her sled in the snow. The Cat takes them to Jingly Bell Forest, where Magnus the Reindeer teaches them how "Reindeer Games" and a great deal of digging with his antlers can help them find things lost in the snow. "Along Came a Spider" named Mabel who helped teach the Cat and the kids how to make webs, so the kids can fix their net.

Returned to Buzzr for Tattletales as I started dusting the living room and kitchen. I was a bit surprised to see one of my favorite childhood singers, Dionne Warwick, as a contestant today with her then-husband Bill Elliott. They were joined by Gary Burghoff and his then-wife Janet and the ultimate winners, Lynn Redgrave and her then-husband Jack Clark. At one point, Gary showed what he learned on MASH by actually dropping to the floor and demonstrating pushups for a question!

Press Your Luck went even better - no pushups required. The first half hit no Whammies...but that was mainly because they'd done terrible with the first-round questions and barely got any turns to begin with. They did much better in the second round. The ultimate winner avoided Whammies and picked up a motorcycle for his trouble.

Did some writing after that. To the horror of Brett, Charles, and Richard, Governor Goodson forces Gene onto the plank. He swears he'll come back to haunt him, but Goodson laughs at that. They eventually force him over the side as he stumbles into the choppy waters of the Atlantic.

The rain vanished sometime around 2 PM. It almost looked like the sun was trying to come out. It disappeared again around the time I started writing. By 5:30, we were in the middle of a torrential thunderstorm, complete with sheets of rain, wild winds, and noisy thunder and lightning. It was very loud and very crazy! I couldn't believe how dark it got. It looked like midnight when it was only 5 o'clock. 

Jodie sent me a text earlier asking if I wanted any dishes. I said "sure." I tossed out all of my dishes but my Fiestaware set when I moved in July. Turns out she was giving me a very full set. Not only were there six dishes, but there were six saucers, six mugs, a serving plate, six bowls, a gravy boat, a creamer, a sugar bowl, and a larger rectangular bowl likely intended for roasts. It's a very pretty blue flower stoneware pattern...but I'm not sure I'll keep it. It's just too much. I don't need all of that, and Jodie mentioned she has Fiestaware she wants to get rid of, too.

(She also brought me the inner tubes I ordered on Amazon. I'll put them on tomorrow. This was no day for messing with the bike.)

Watched Match Game '75 as I organized the dishes and had leftover turkey soup for dinner. Handsome high school teacher Ron Valenti continued his run as champion, to the delight of a smitten Fannie Flagg and Betty White. The contestants simply didn't seem to get the idea on Match Game PM. It took them until the third round to really match anyone. 

The contestants did far better on Sale of the Century. The two men dominated the game - I think the one woman answered a question in the Speed Round and that was it. The younger of the two bought two of the three Instant Bargains, dominated the Speed Round, and won a piano on the Match the Prizes board he said his wife would love.

Finished the night online after a shower with two rare Disney Christmas shows on YouTube. Disney's Christmas Fantasy On Ice was a popular figure skating special repeated annually on ABC from 1991 through 1994. A man (Bronson Pinchot) whose young niece drags him around Disneyland tells her a story to distract her while they rest. The story has the Disney characters searching for five points of a magic snowflake that'll make it snow in California. Yeah, it's that goofy. The "search" is really just a framework for some of the most famous figure skaters of the time to do their thing. The showing I watched was from '94, which replaced Brian Boittano's solo "Beast" routine with one from Kurt Browning (whom I had a bit of a crush on in the mid-90's). 

The Magic of Christmas at Walt Disney World is a promotional video from 1992. It's what it says on the tin. A little girl writes Santa to tell him she'll be in Disney World for the holidays, and he tells her what it's like there. The real magic of this nowadays isn't so much the elaborate Christmas decorations, but seeing all the shows and rides that no longer exist, including the Maelstrom and parts of The Land in Epcot and several Christmas-themed stores in the Magic Kingdom and the Disney Village Marketplace (now Disney Springs) shopping area. There's a reference to the long-gone Pleasure Island and their "every night is New Year's Eve" party, too. 

Here's both specials, so you can enjoy a little Disney magic of your own for the holidays!

Disney's Christmas Fantasy On Ice (1994 broadcast, despite being listed as 1991)

Oh, and the Eagles did a little better tonight...but they still couldn't get past the Seahawks and lost 23-17. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Happy Holidays Dolls

Began the morning with apple cinnamon pancakes for breakfast. It was so nice to just be able to sit back and relax with my pancakes and Earl Gray tea and not have to rush anywhere! Normally, I'd be off to work barely after finishing.

Ran my True Value Hardware collections all day, including the four new LPs I picked up on eBay. Started with the newest of the records, Volume 23 from 1988. This is the one we had when I was a kid in the late 80's-early 90's. I remember listening to it when we decorated the Christmas tree together. It was the first time I ever heard the Bing Crosby version of "White Christmas" somewhere other than the radio. Other good ones here include the classic Chuck Berry version of "Merry Christmas Baby," the very 80's "This Christmas" by the Jets, the Andrews Sisters' "Winter Wonderland," and "Greatest Little Christmas Ever Wuz" by Ray Stevens.

Went through the doll outfits Lauren sent from Amazon a few days ago after I did the dishes. There were two bathing suits with raffia-style flower hair clips. I kept the floral one for Ariel, who doesn't have a bathing suit, and put aside the green shamrock-print one. Ariel also claimed two sundresses in green floral and yellow polka-dots and a very 70's ensemble of floral bell-bottoms with a ruffled sleeveless blouse. The sparkly purple princess outfit, tiara, and fur wrap will be used as a costume. There was a red Christmas-print dress and a pink floral sundress that aren't the right color for Ariel, and I already have Christmas outfits for the girls. I'm considering picking up another from eBay after the holidays, so I saved those.

Dressed the dolls in their holiday outfits after I got their new ones put away. Whitney wears the lovely Snowflake Ball Gown from 2010 with black tights, black velvet strap shoes, and a black bolero jacket taken from a Springfield Collection outfit. Molly's in her green velvet dress with thin tights borrowed from one of Whitney's outfits and strap shoes from Samantha. Sam gets her Cranberry Christmas Dress with red strap shoes and the original white ribbed tights. Ariel's sporting Julie's purple paisley Christmas dress and white tights with Molly's white t-straps from her Polka-Dot outfit. Josefina looks like a Mexican princess in her yellow Christmas Dress and black mantilla. Felicity gets to twirl on the dance floor in her bright blue Christmas Gown. Jessa's modern Chinese New Year Outfit with the red brocade pants and jacket are at least the right color for the holiday.

Had a very quick lunch at quarter of 2 while continuing with the Happy Holidays series. Julie Andrews tops Volume 22 with a lovely "Away In a Manger." I also like "Felix Navidad" by Jose Feliciano and "Silent Night" by Ella Fitzgerald. Volume 20 kicks off with the original Bing Crosby version of "Little Drummer Boy." We also get "The Christmas Song" by Mel Torme, "It's Christmas" by Ronnie Milsap, and "I Wonder as I Wander" by Leotyne Price. 

Scrubbed the bathroom from top to bottom while the LPs ran. The big thing here was scrubbing the tile floor. I put off doing it because of my arm. I don't think anyone's scrubbed it in a long time, maybe even Jodie. Also did the windows in the whole house I could get to inside.

While the bathroom floor dried, I went outside with a broom and finally swept all the leaves and debris from my patio. I've been meaning to do this for a while now, but either the weather's been bad, or it was too cold or too windy, or I just didn't have the time. It was really starting to build around my front door, allowing leaves and sticks to blow into my hall.

After I set up the bathroom, I went into writing. To Brett and Richard's horror, Governor Mark Goodson intends to make Gene walk the plank. They all protest, but to no avail. Goodson believes it the best way to get the renegade captain out of his hair for good.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftover turkey soup and macaroni and cheese for dinner while finishing Volume 19, which I started earlier. The big one here is the original Carpetners version of "Merry Christmas, Darling." "What a Merry Christmas This Could Be" by Willie Nelson is also fun.

Moved to CDs for Volume 32 while I made cranberry sauce. This is one of the six True Value collections I bought from the hardware store in Cape May during the late 90's and early 2000's when they were owned by the company. Favorites here include "Christmas In Your Arms" by Alabama, "Christmas Is the Time" by Lou Rawls, "The Christmas Waltz" by Nancy Wilson, "Christmas Passing Through" by the Roches, and "Christmas for Every Boy & Girl" by Clint Black.

Finished the night online with more game shows on YouTube. I enjoyed Buzzr's Black Friday Frenzy so much, I thought I'd do my own version tonight. Supermarket Sweep goes further back than most people realize. The original version actually debuted in 1965. Only a single episode from 1967 exists today...or maybe two, given the returning champs are different in each part. There's a lot that's different here, from everyone being allowed to keep their groceries to filming in a real grocery store to everyone being allowed to keep what they get in the Big Sweep. 

The original pilot for the 1990 Supermarket Sweep came closer to the first show than the version every 90's cable fan knows and loves. David Ruprecht himself introduces the copy shown at Wink Martindale's YouTube channel. Once again, they filmed in an actual supermarket. It was a more formal affair, with David in a suit and everyone in good clothes. As with the original, there were fewer of the mini-games, too. Not only did this pilot add the 5,000 bonus round, but one of the couples became the show's first big winners with at least ten seconds left on the clock.

The original 60's daytime Let's Make a Deal is mostly gone, but the late 60's-70's syndicated version is pretty much intact. That show barely changed in 50 years, except to change out Monty Hall for Wayne Brady in the current itineration. Even in the 1970 episode I watched, it's still people in crazy costumes swapping deals around with Monty, hoping to avoid zonks. They did win a car here, and got the Big Deal, too.

Fortunately, the entire almost 50-year-run of The Price Is Right remains intact. I went with an early episode from 1973. This is a half-hour show that's played more like the nighttime shows from a decade later. Bob Barker brings people into mini-games and eventually the Showcase Showdown, but there's still no wheel or extra 1,000. 

Alas, only audio exists online for the original 1969 Sale of the Century. I moved on to a 1984 daytime episode instead. They already had the match-the-prizes board by then, but other things were very different. There was another lady besides Summer Bartholomew and the contestants still picked octagons on the Fame Game instead of pushing a buzzer. The champ got a good run from an older man early in this one, but he bought a vacation that set him back considerably. The champ not only killed at the Speed Round, but he picked up the car on the prizes board.

Shop 'Till You Drop was paired with Supermarket Sweep on Lifetime and PAX (now Ion Television) for most of its off and on run. Shop is basically the same idea as Supermarket, only set in a mall instead of a grocery store. People play pricing games to earn points. Enough points will win the chance to grab packages from the mall "stores" that add up to 1,000. The 1992 episode I watched ended with a couple winning a trip to Zurich, Switzerland.

It was revived and overhauled in 2003. This version moved the action to a Costco-style wholesale market and make some of the mini-games guess-the-person rather than fun with props, and upped the bonus round winnings from 1,000 to 2,5000, but otherwise remained largely the same. I kind of preferred the original version, partially because of the colorful set, and partly because I found the '92 host Pat Finn to be far more appealing than noisy JD Roberto. 

Check out these shows as you away to do your own Cyber Monday shopping! As a bonus, Sale of the Century and The Price Is Right come with their original commercials and the commercials from its run on Game Show Network respectively! 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Bike Trouble

Began a bright and sunny morning with breakfast and the Laurel and Hardy fantasy vehicle March of the Wooden Soldiers. I go further into this popular version of the venerable fantasy in this review from my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog from two years ago.

My DVD copy of the movie comes with a plethora of holiday-related public domain extras. I'd never checked out the black and white toy commercials before. There was one for Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, when they were still plastic pieces you stuck into real potatoes. Other toys are less familiar, but have ancestors kids still play with today. The battery-operated dog that picks up its magnetic bone when you tug on its leash reminds me of a similar electronic dog on a leash my little niece Finley got for Christmas last year. My siblings and I had updated versions of the Remco car wash and town for our Hot Wheels in the 80's and 90's. 

After I stacked the dishes in the rack, I took down the fall and Thanksgiving decorations. Yes, I know fall continues for another month, but I'd like to do my first deep cleaning here before I put up the Christmas and winter stuff. Amanda's visiting on Thursday, too, and I want everything to be ready for her.

Ran the current version of Muppet Babies on Disney Now while I worked. It's "A Very Muppet Babies Christmas," and the kids are excited about opening their Secret Santa gifts. Everyone loves what they got...except Kermit, who got what appears to be a green lump he attempts to trade away. Turns out the "lump" isn't what he thinks, and the important thing about the gift is really that the person who gave it to you did it with love. Summer's upset that a blizzard canceled her going home to the South Pole for the holidays, so Piggy decides to hold "Summer's Super Fabulous Holiday Surprise" right outside. Trouble is, she ends up adding her own traditions in place of Summer's and forgetting the reason she dit it in the first place.

Headed out around 11:30 for a walk to Dollar General. Besides, it was too nice to stay in all day. Fresh breezes blew across heaps of nut-brown leaves scattered in piles on the sidewalks as the sun made it just warm enough to need a heavy sweater, rather than a coat. Dollar General was relatively busy for lunch time. The busy week showed in their decimated shelves. They had neither brown sugar nor the dollar cans of pumpkin and boxes of aluminum foil left. Had more luck finding the Jif on sale and a larger container of foil, along with my favorite pecan roll I've never seen anywhere but that store.

Put on Match Game when I got home and as I had a cranberry-banana smoothie for lunch, and then as I worked on a project. I'm tired of digging through those DVD boxes I bought this summer for the Christmas titles. Since I still had half the pack of DVD/CD holder pages left, I bought a binder at Dollar General and loaded the DVDs into them, including the one I just got on eBay a couple of days ago, The Stingiest Man In Town. That will free up room in the boxes for more DVDs too, or to rearrange the ones I currently have. 

Went outside around 2 PM to finally get that new inner tube on the bike. That proved to be easier said than done. I had no trouble getting one washer off, but the other was stuck. It just would not budge, no matter how hard I pulled on the wrench. 

I was still yanking on it when Finley rushed up to me in a sequined shirt, wonder what I was doing and wanting to play with the still-good front wheel. Turns out she, her brother, and her mother were visiting Jodie and bringing a few things for her and me from their house. Rose did manage to get the washer off, but she admonished me for using cheap tools and suggested I buy a better tool kit than the two dollar store screwdrivers I've used for 18 years and the 10 dollar Allen wrench I picked up a couple of years ago. 

To my embarrassment, when I pumped up the new inner tube to get it in, it was way, way too small. I have no idea how I ended up with one that small. We just ended up putting it in the garage until I could get ones the right size. At least Finley had fun as I found a place for my gingerbread house and put away the butter and sparkling water Rose gave me. She watched me in the kitchen, then played with the Cabbies at their table and had them pet Luna before her mother took her and her brother to McDonald's for dinner.

Worked on writing after they left. The sailors try to separate Lorrie and her husband Anson, but Goodson insists on them remaining together, at least before they drop her off on dry land. He's less lenient with Gene. He has something special planned for the rebellious pirate captain...

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Watched Hart to Hart on the Roku Channel as I turned most of the leftovers from Rose's Thanksgiving Dinner into turkey soup. "A Christmas Hart" from the fourth season begins when the couple is robbed during their butler Max's birthday party. The robbery occurred while a young couple and friends of Max's were performing a song as part of the Jingle-Grams company. Johnathan and Jennifer spend the holidays undercover to find out what else the owner of Jingle-Grams has in mind and how the male half the young couple figures into it.

Ran two holiday episodes of Sofia the First at Disney Now while making peanut butter cookies. "Holiday In Enchancia" from the first season introduces the holiday of Wassail, their big winter gala. Sofia is looking forward to a big party with her new dad and siblings. When he vanishes in the snow, it make take advice from Princess Aurora of Sleeping Beauty and the help of her animal friends to find him. "The Mystic Isles: A Mystic Wassalia" introduces us to Wassail customs in other lands as Sofia discovers that her new friend and teacher Crystala may not have any Wassail traditions of her own.

Finished the night online with Jack and the Beanstalk at TCM. I go further into this goofy color fantasy vehicle for Abbott and Costello at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Black Friday Frenzy Matches

Began a cloudy morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Be a Vegetable Taster!" says Teacher Harriet as she introduces her students to the delights of the school garden. Katarina isn't sure about these, but she finally decides that trying new food isn't such a bad thing. "Daniel Tries a New Food" at home when Miss Elaina visits. Vegetable pasta goes over better with Dan than with Elaina, but everyone agrees that Mrs. Tiger's Banana Swirl is a big hit.

Called Uber shortly after the episode ended. Got to work literally just in time. Not that it mattered. It was almost empty when I got in, and it never became terribly busy. At worst, we were mildly steady around rush hours, and mainly because we didn't have much help today. Most people probably wanted this weekend off. Who wants to go grocery shopping the day after Thanksgiving? Even with many buying smaller meals, most people still likely have enough food for a week. Thankfully, my relief was on time, and there were no major problems. 

Speaking of getting the week off, my schedule next week is...vacation! I asked for next week off earlier this month. First of all, I'm dead tired. I've worked a lot over the past few months. Second, my friend Amanda's visiting on Thursday. Third, I need to clean the apartment and put up the Christmas decorations before she arrives. 

Had some grocery shopping to do after I finished. Had online coupons for pads and yogurt. Since I was taking Uber home and could carry a little extra, thought I'd try a box of Bubly cherry sparkling water on sale. Grabbed Cool Whip to top my pie slices and candy canes for the tree next week. Restocked apples, bananas, cranberries, milk, an onion, ground turkey, vanilla and peppermint extract, toilet paper, and butter. 

Jodie popped in shortly after I got home. Yes, she slept at Jesse and Dana's house yesterday. More importantly, she brought a package from Amazon. I hadn't ordered anything! Turned out it was another gift from Lauren. She sent me a collection of doll clothes, including a Christmas outfit, a sparkly princess outfit, and bell bottoms and an off-the-shoulder ruffled blouse for Ariel.

Changed, had a snack, and went on YouTube for the second Thanksgiving weekend Match Game marathon. The "Fully Stuffed" marathon was the same thing as yesterday, episodes the owner and operator of the Match Game Production channel considers to be underrated. In fact, I saw one of them, the episode where Charles and Richard sing a song about big winner CB Farnsworth, on Buzzr recently. Bob Barker was at the center of jokes in a syndicated episode when his chair broke and suddenly sank...and then the chair they found to replace it was much too high. In a Match Game PM episode, a lady who had clever answers in the main game totally struck out at the Audience Match. They let her match the contestants to win some money. One of my favorite episodes of 1974 was sweet Janet Finn's record Head-to-Head win, as Charles Nelson Reilly held her - and everyone - in suspense as he reveals if she's become the new all-time champ.

Here's even more matching madness to keep you and your family in stitches this holiday weekend!

Finished out the night on Buzzr with their second annual Black Friday Frenzy marathon. This year, Supermarket Sweep and Sale of the Century were joined by Let's Make a Deal. Sale of the Century finished the 1986 syndicated run of the female poker player from Las Vegas, who was last seen picking up 3,000 cash a few weeks ago. Long story short, she bought no more Instant Bargains but still managed to kill at both Speed Rounds and win the whole kit and kaboodle, including two cars and 50,000.

Supermarket Sweep jumped, way, way back to 1991 for their first Sweep of Champions. Boy, were things different. They filmed in a real (now defunct) California supermarket, the buzzers sounded totally different, David was back in weird-patterned sweaters, everyone still has huge hair, they had more guess-the-price mini games, there were no "extras" in the Big Sweep besides the stuffed or inflatable bonus items, and they had a big guy dressed as a peculiar alien with snouts on his hands and baggy neon clothes blocking the aisles and forcing people to turn back. It was kind of odd, but still pretty fun. One couple won the 5,000; the other did not.

Let's Make a Deal gave out more cars tonight than I think they have the entire year or so they've been on Buzzr. A young lady in a red white and blue Colonial dress and cap was the big winner in the first episode, picking up a car in the Big Deal after giving up an expensive fur coat. The car in the second episode went to a guy in a crazy Christmas-themed outfit, the only time I've ever seen the car won on the Door #4 Wheel. The Big Deal in the second episode went to a couple who gave up a Tahitian vacation and got a huge kitchen set instead.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving Matches

Awoke to a gloomy, dark morning. Was reading the book on Thanksgiving Linda Young gave me a couple of years ago when my cell phone rang. Rose wanted to know if I could come over around noon. They weren't eating until 4, but Finley in particular was really looking forward to my arrival. I told her 12:30. I wanted to finish my reading and have breakfast.

After I finished off the book, I did the material from Colliers Harvest of Holidays. They had a short story on the first Thanksgiving, as told by an old Puritan woman who was there, along with poetry and the familiar "Over the River and Through the Woods." "Pilgrims' Party" is a short story from the Disney anthology Storybook Land. Mickey and Minnie take the gang to a real old-fashioned Thanksgiving dinner at Plymouth. It's all fun and Pilgrim cosplay, until Pluto steals the turkey!

Put on Planes, Trains, and Automobiles while eating the last of the apple crisp for breakfast and getting the bread organized. Neil Paige (Steve Martin) is an ad executive trying to get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. When his plane is stranded in Wichita, he ends up getting the last hotel room in town with Del Griffith (John Candy). Del's the nicest guy you'll ever meet, but he's also an overly chatty mass of bad habits who drives Neil crazy at first. It's not until they've taken every type of transportation from planes to buses to cars to together that Neil finally understands why Del is on the road...and why he has a real reason to be thankful.

Despite the forced left turn into sentimentality towards the end, this is a generally enjoyable comedy about what we really have to be thankful for, with career-best performances by Candy and Martin. Adults looking for something to watch while they recover from dinner (or who would normally be doing their own major traveling before the holidays) will really enjoy this one. 

Strolled over to Rose's house even before the movie ended. The rain vanished as I finished off reading. By the time I was strolling down Manheim, the sun was out, the sky was blue, and it was in the 60's, a bit warm for Thanksgiving. I was fine in my jean jacket and a short-sleeved blouse. You'd never know it rained this morning if there weren't puddles all over the place.

Rose and Finley did greet me when I arrived. Craig already had the Lions-Texans game on. My nephew Khai was in and out, sometimes reading Garfield comics, sometimes attached to Roblox in his bedroom. Rose had a vegetable tray and Triscuits and Club crackers out and was working on a cheese tray when I got in. (Her sliced Parmesan was to die for.) 

Finley was excited to show off her bedroom. She sleeps on a white loft bed with a slide that allows her to get down quickly. I got to admire her dance costumes (she started taking dance classes last month) and her piles of stuffed animals big and small. When we went back to the living room, I read her "Donald Duck, Private Eye" from Storybook Land while Finley listened in her child-sized recliner. 

After Rose and Craig cleared the table, we moved on to another project. Rose bought a gingerbread house set from Walmart a few days ago. Instead of making one big house, we each had our own individual mini-house to decorate. Finley insisted on covering the A-frame with sprinkles and gumdrops (when she wasn't eating them!). Khai sprinkled red and green candy bits onto the roof of his Colonial House. My "Classic Cottage" had holly leaf sprinkle roof shingles, green spearmint leaves on the roof, gumdrop "lights" on the edges (that wouldn't stay on), and holly leaf sprinkle garlands around the windows and door.

Once our gingerbread masterpieces were safe in places where curious kitty paws couldn't reach, Craig, Finley, and I settled down to rest while watching Frozen on Disney Plus. Finley initially had a hard time sleeping while her brother played with noisy Duplos. Once he got bored and retreated to his room, she fell asleep...and so did her dad and Kelsey the Mini Pincher on his lap! I snuggled into the soft leather chair, read Storybook Land, and listened to "Let It Go" and "Love Is an Open Door." 

I go into further discussion on Frozen at this review from my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog in January 2019. 

Craig just started shaking Finley awake as Rose announced dinner was ready. Everything was so delicious! Craig carved a fragrant turkey breast, and Rose mixed mashed potatoes. Brussels sprouts with ham and green beans sautéed with crispy onions added crunch and earthy flavor alongside cranberry sauce and creamy macaroni and cheese. According to Rose, even the butter was fresh from a friend of hers who worked at a Whole Foods wholesaler and gave her a ton.

Finley, Khai, and I watched cartoons while Rose and Craig cleared the table and did the dishes. Khai loves The Adventures of Puss In Boots on Netflix. Apparently, Puss is here an adventurer who loves a pretty, sweet kitty named Dulcinea. She is "The One" who can stop a terrible creatures called The Bloodwolf from destroying her town. Puss and his Senor Puss Squad help her out with their own brand of magic. After he's defeated, in the next season, Puss swears he'll be Dulcinea's sidekick, but she just wants everything to return to normal. 

Bluey and her sister Bingo have their own fun with their parents. Bluey and Bingo put on the sad-eyed looks to convince Dad to play "Ticklecrabs" with them. When Dad and Mum tell the girls they're taking a vacation without them, they imagine having to "Escape" the girls coming after them in increasingly outlandish ways.

Rose called everyone for pies with real whipped cream after "Escape" ended. Finley just had pumpkin, but I tried the pumpkin and Rose's famous apple. They were sublime, with the pumpkin perfectly spicy and the apple delightfully tart. Craig settled for watching the Washington-Cowboys game after he had some trouble with Finley.

Rose drove me home carrying a bag filled with leftovers. I was surprised to note the driveway next to the main house was empty. She mentioned Jodie told her she would be staying over Jesse and Dana's house after their dinner. That gave me the chance to get the laundry done in the laundry room as soon as I got in. I need clean socks and work clothes, and I really don't want to wait until go to the laundromat to get them.

Finished out the night on YouTube with another Match Game marathon. This one revolved around episodes that are a favorite of the owner of the channel who restores the show that he considers to be overlooked. I came around in time for the 1978 episode where Bob Barker ogles Lori Anderson rather openly. My two favorite episodes by far of what I saw both came from the syndicated run. One had Joyce Bulifant in a wild curly red wig while Bill Daily searched for his answer and a contestant somehow managed to answer "An athletic caterpiller bought 100 sneakers and ___" with "accordion." The second started with Betty White showing off her still-trim legs in a short red dress and ended with Sharon Farrell and Richard Paul demonstrating mud wrestling.

Here's the full marathon, so you can enjoy these underrated gems for yourself! And come around at 2:30 tomorrow for even more hijinks in the marathon's second half!

I hope you all matched yourselves a wonderful Thanksgiving, no matter who you ate with or the size of your meal!

(Oh, and the Texans eventually gave the Lions a solid 41-25 thrashing, while Washington kicked the Cowboys' rears equally hard 41-16.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

It Takes All Kinds of Pilgrims

Began a lovely day with breakfast and Molly's Pilgrim, an Oscar-winning short subject from 1985. Molly is a little girl who came from Russia to the US with her parents. The other kids make fun of her borscht lunches, her amazing tumbling abilities, her old-fashioned clothes and odd accent. When her mother makes a pilgrim doll that looks more like a Russian peasant than a Puritan, the kids are initially baffled. Molly's teacher finally explains to them what her mother was doing. Molly and her family came in search of religious freedom...and that makes them pilgrims, too. As one of Molly's classmates says, it really does make all kinds of pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving.

Took two quiet and quick Uber trips to and from work. To my surprise, my 7-hour work day was no trouble. We were off-and-on steady for most of the day. It wouldn't get really busy until the 3 PM rush hour, by which time I was a hour from being done. Plenty of help, too. It slowed down so much by 4, they shut me down a little early and let me help bag.

Put the second half of Press Your Luck on when I got in. Once again, it came down to the ladies, with the one guy barely registering. The ladies hit two Whammies each, but one picked up a bar that just barely allowed her to squeak by and become the new champ.

Worked on writing for a little while after the show. Two sailors are trying to manhandle Lorrie when another breaks away and runs to her arms. It's Anson, the husband she stowed away to look for. Turns out he's a sailor on Goodson's ship. Meanwhile, Goodson has to figure out what to do with the Marauder's rebellious captain...

Broke for dinner at 6. Watched Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving while eating leftover broccoli and turkey burgers. In the first segment of this three-part special, Rabbit's calendar loses pages, making everyone think it's Groundhog's Day. They recruit Piglet to tell them for sure. The Thanksgiving episode has Rabbit insisting on "tradition" and sending the others after turkey and cranberry. It's Pooh who finally realizes that it's not what we eat that's important, it's who we eat with. Rabbit takes care of a baby bird in the third part, but has a hard time accepting when she's ready to fly south for the winter.

Made Pumpkin Bread for tomorrow while Match Game PM was on. This was one of the wildest episodes of the entire series! Fred Grandy gave "goat" for almost every answer, while Rita Moreno couldn't have been happier to help a man win 20,000. Sale of the Century returned to 1986 as a gentleman in glasses beat the competition soundly in the Speed Round and won a piano on the Match the Prizes board. 

Switched to TCM for The Plymouth Adventure. This is yet another retelling of the pilgrims' famous voyage, this time focusing on the voyage itself. Here, cynical Captain Christopher Jones (Spencer Tracy) falls for lovely Dorothy Bradford (Gene Tierny), wife of Puritan priest William Bradford (Leo Genn), but while she cares about Jones, she still has feelings for her husband. John Alden (Van Johnson) has a far easier time with Priscilla Mullins (Dawn Adams), though Captain Miles Standish (Noel Drayton) has some interest in her. 

I can see why this didn't go over well in 1952. I do give MGM credit for adapting a period of American history that doesn't often get covered outside of Thanksgiving specials, but the Bradford/Jones triangle feels forced and dull, and the actual historical one with Miles, John, and Priscilla is barely covered. These pilgrims are way too colorfully dressed for severe Puritans, who only wore black or gray. I can see why this won an Oscar for special effects. The big storm sequence is amazing, so realistically done, you can practically feel the ship rocking.

If you're a fan of the stars involved, enjoy a rousing romantic adventure, or are looking for something a little different for Thanksgiving viewing, there's enough that's interesting here for me to recommend it for after your big dinner.

Finished the night with The Mouse on the Mayflower on YouTube. I go further into this rare Rankin-Bass Thanksgiving tale at my Musical Dreams movie reviews blog. (There's a lot of marathons, football games, and movies on tomorrow, likely to make up for the lack of parades. I thought I'd get this in tonight and focus on all of the one-time events tomorrow.)

Here's even more vintage Thanksgiving tales to help you pass the time while you wait for dinner tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Once Upon a Pair of Cousins

Kicked off a sunny, breezy morning with breakfast and Perfect Strangers. In the seventh season Thanksgiving episode "Wild Turkey," Larry comes to their new home the day before Thanksgiving with 58 live turkeys he hopes to sell. After they all wander into the kitchen, Larry's wife Jennifer insists that one of them ate her wedding ring. Larry and Balki trace the only turkey they sold to a neighbor's house, where they end up invading their dinner in order to remove it from the bird.

Took Uber to and from work. Had very pleasant drivers both ways. The man who picked me up had a lovely Scottish accent and told me stories about driving in the Netherlands and Germany and how they take much better care of their roads than Philadelphia does.

Work was on-and-off busy, sometimes with lines down the aisles. In addition to this being two days before the major food holiday of the year (and a lot of people who would normally be going out staying at home and making dinner), it's also the day of the Acme's Senior Discount. At least two customers bought more stuff than they could afford and had to put some back. At least the young woman with the smaller order was really sweet about it. The mother with the screaming kids wasn't happy at all and was more of a pain; in the end, a manager finally decided to deal with her order elsewhere.

Caught the tail end of Press Your Luck as I got home. This was the Halloween episode I watched about a month ago, with Peter Tomarken sporting a Frankenstein mask near the end and doing a weird little dance in the end credits. In the end, the one guy couldn't get near the two ladies. The champ just kept winning, beating the other lady with an all-cash score.

Worked on writing for a while after I changed and had a snack. The other pirates, who are tied together, ask Goodson what will happen to them. Goodson says they'll be thrown in the brig on his ship the SS Todman and put on trial when they reach land. Brett refuses to allow Goodson's sailors to harm the other women on-ship and only agrees to be his guest if he releases them. Lorrie, however, realizes that one of Goodson's sailors looks familiar...

Broke for dinner at 6. Had roasted broccoli, a baked sweet potato, and leftover turkey burgers while watching Match Game '74. These two episodes were some of the nuttiest of the entire year! The first one introduces a bear of a contestant with a heavy beard who reminds Gene that he has to push the button to bring down the question holder. After he won, he kissed Jo Anne Worley during the Head-to-Head Match, which somehow lead to everyone kissing everyone else, and we had a rhyme from Nipsey Russell and a question about reactions to Brett streaking in the nude.

Finished the night with Once Upon a Brothers Grimm. I go further into this vintage TV fantasy from 1977 at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Giving Thanks for Comedy

Started off a quick morning with breakfast and the goofy swashbuckler sitcom Jack of All Trades. Somehow, it managed to sneak a Thanksgiving episode, "One Two Three, Give Me Lady Liberty," into its second season. Midget emperor Napoleon built a familiar-looking statue carrying a torch and even sculps its face to look like Emilia. Emilia and Jack have their own suspicions about that statue and invite Napoleon to Thanksgiving dinner in order to swipe the plans. When they find out that the statue is a trap being sent to the President of the US, Jack distracts everyone with another Turkey Day tradition - football!

Dashed off to work shortly after the episode ended; got there just in time. We were off and on busy, sometimes with lines down the aisles. It's three days before the biggest food holiday of the year, and a lot of people are shopping earlier or later to avoid crowds. Doesn't help that I'm dead tired and made mistakes right and left, including having to re-do two small orders to get the online rewards number in. Other people didn't understand how the turkey coupon works. You have to clip the coupon online, then save the money, not the other way around. Thank heavens my relief was right on time.

Would have dashed home...if I hadn't discovered my bike somehow got a flat tire. I'm not sure how that happened. It was fine when I rode to work this morning! I ended up walking home. My cell phone's been acting weird for months, and I'm not sure I could have called anyone without it dying. At least it got pretty nice by 4. This morning's clouds gave way to sunshine, cool 50-degree temperatures, and brisk wind.

I do have a spare inner tube, but it's the back that went flat. I have neither the time, nor the energy to mess with it right now. At least I'm off next week with few plans outside of the house besides Amanda's visit. I'll take Uber for my remaining three work days this week and see if I can fix it next Saturday or Sunday. 

Changed, took out the trash, then did a little writing. Goodson knows who Brett really is. She's the wife of a prominent Philadelphia doctor who ran away when she got fed up with his gambling and their constant arguing, and he's offering a reward for any information about her whereabouts. Brett agrees to go if Goodson's sailors don't harm the other women onboard. 

Broke for steamed broccoli and a three-cheese omelet at 6:30. Match Game '74 got pretty wild today, what with Fannie Flagg showing off her t-shirt with a dour woman's face on it and everyone joking about what the Godfather would hang on his Christmas tree. Match Game PM might have been even nuttier. Dick Martin took Charles Nelson Reilly's place while Debralee Scott flirted with a handsome single contestant, Betty White nearly made out with him, and Bill Daily showed off his tuxedo.

The champ dominated Sale of the Century. He bought an Instant Bargain and the Instant Cash, then dominated the Speed Round. Alas, he didn't have luck with the Bonus Round or finding that extra Instant Cash. Tried making cranberry sauce while this was on, but I used way too much water and it really ended up being cranberry cider. 

Finished out the night online after a shower with more Thanksgiving episodes of vintage sitcoms. "Samantha's Thanksgiving to Remember" in the fourth season of Bewitched takes her, Tabitha, Darren, Aunt Clara, and their next-door neighbor Gladys to 18th-century Plymouth to see what the actual first Thanksgiving was like. Samantha fits in better than Darren does, especially after he's accused of witchcraft when one pilgrim sees him lighting a fire with a match. Samantha finds the tables turns as she has to defend her husband of being a witch...and teach everyone in Plymouth a lesson in jumping to conclusions and respecting differences.

The "Thanksgiving Story" in the fourth season doesn't go as well for Barney Miller and his squad. First, a man is arrested for stabbing his annoying brother-in-law in the hand with a fork. Even after he's tossed in the lock-up, Barney and the guys have to retrieve a group of inmates who escaped a mental institution and drag them out of an automat. 

Sunday, November 22, 2020

It's the Holiday Season

Started off a quick morning with banana pancakes for breakfast while listening to the soundtrack from the 1970 Scrooge. Albert Finney plays the world's most infamous miser in this version with music by Leslie Bricusse. "Thank You Very Much" for the people celebrating in the future was the hit here; other favorites include the sweet "Christmas Children" for Bob Cratchit and his kids as they go shopping and "December the 25th" at the Fezziwigs' party.

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!

Finished the night on YouTube with the next Match Game '73 premiere and Arthur's Thanksgiving. Arthur's looking forward to his dad's big dinner with his family and Aunt Minnie, whom he hasn't seen in years. His dog Pal's been eating food off the table and is put outside when Mr. Read thinks he ate his Brussels sprouts. Pal manages to slip off his leash and chase a cat, but gets lost trying to get home. Arthur's search for his lost dog leads to half the town, from a hot dog seller to a little old lady to firefighters, joining in. Meanwhile, his buddies at school are excited about being in the town Thanksgiving parade, especially Muffy, who gets to ride with her dad in a fancy vintage car, Pal and another dog manage to bring food to the dogs at a shelter who only get kibble and treats for Thanksgiving, and DW tries to figure out what's going on with sarcastic Aunt Minnie.

Here's the link on YouTube, so you can enjoy Arthur's Thanksgiving adventures, too!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Girls and Trolls Want to Have Fun

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. 

Animation Celebration Saturday - Trolls World Tour

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

Afternoon on Haddon Avenue

Began a glorious morning with breakfast and Body Language. Catherine Hickland and Nathan Cook continued their run, with Kirkland's guy getting every answer right at one point. Alas, he didn't do nearly as well at the bonus round, missing the last answer.

Let Blockbusters run while I did the dishes. The mother and her son finally met their match in a former champion who was permitted to return after NBC raised the win limit from 10 to 20. She won the second round and only missed two questions on the Gold Rush. The lady was taking on a brother and sister pair as the show ended. 

Got organized as the first half of Match Game-Hollywood Squares ran. The Match Game half started with a pretty nice group, including future Card Sharks host Bob Eubanks and Fred Travelena and his 6,000 voices. Fred tossed a few of those voices into one question involving an evangelist...but he ended up sounding more like an entire Saturday morning cartoon. 

Headed out around 11:30. I wanted to do a little bit of shopping in Collingswood. I hadn't been there for a while. Besides, it was way too nice of a day to sit inside. The persistent and bitterly cold wind finally vanished, leaving a bright blue sky and a sun so warm, I was out in my jean jacket and felt fine. Everyone was out taking advantage of the weather, too. I dodged a lot of people out for walks or bike rides or walking their dogs in Newton Lake Park both ways.

First stop was a brief peek at Haddon Culinary, which replaced International Market in the next block over from The Pop Shop last year. They were mainly expensive imported and locally made pantry goods and cheeses. Nothing I needed, so I moved on quickly. Liked their remodel, though. The dark wood and metal shelves and black flooring were a giant improvement on the sagging shelves and old tile flooring at the International Market.

I next hit The Candy Jar, a tiny old-fashioned confectionary and candy novelty store. Lauren says she has plenty of candy and I sure don't need any, but I thought I'd treat Amanda. It took me ages to decide what to buy for her, but I finally chose a half a pound and headed out.

Strolled further down Haddon Avenue, enjoying the lovely day. Peeked into Clutter, a narrow thrift shop filled with vintage books and retro linens and decorations. Poked around in a basket of lovely old ornaments that were three for five dollars and came up with a lovely little gold and wood angel I kept for myself, and two more ornaments I bought for Amanda and Lauren. Wanted to check out Collingswood Music and their record collection, but they have music lessons along with sales. A sign in their door said they were open by appointment only.

Went across the street to WaWa next. I was more thirsty than hungry by that point, so I treated myself to a pumpkin spice smoothie. It was creamy, sweet, and more importantly, wet. 

Had no luck anywhere else. Occasionette has lovely stationary, decorations, and local books, but I already bought Christmas ornaments and didn't see anything I needed. Sadly, Frugal Consignment seems to be completely gone. I was looking forward to picking up a shirt or two there. Resisted InnerGroove Records. I was just there not long ago, and I didn't want to spend an hour on my knees. 

My last stop was at the CVS on the border of Collingswood and Oaklyn. CVS sells a ton of Peanuts merchandise during the Christmas season. Amanda is a huge Peanuts fan. I picked up something for her and two cans of those low-salt nuts for me.

When I got home, put everything away and organized my Christmas gifts while watching what amounts to the Thanksgiving episode of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Daniel's saying "Thank You, Grandpere!" when he visits as his parents make fruit salad for Neighborhood Thank You Day. Dan wishes his grandfather could stay, but he says he has to work. There's a surprise waiting for him when they arrive at the Enchanted Garden, though! "Neighborhood Thank You Day" seems to involve people hanging cards thanking someone they love on a fall-colored Thank You Tree. Daniel doesn't know who to write a card for, until Mr. McFeely rescues the cards after they're blown away.

Went on to the next holiday as I had lunch. The Care Bears Nutcracker has Cheer and Grumpy helping a little girl named Anna, who is upset over her best friend moving away. She's sure she'll never have another close friend, until a confused moving nutcracker somehow falls into her bedroom. The Nutcracker's being chased by a group of rats, including the Rat King, who want to bring him back to the evil Vizier. The Vizier took over Toyland and forced its residents to search for the prince's magic ring. The Care Bears, Anna, and the Nutcracker return to Toyland to search for the ring, the prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy...but they're being followed, not only by the rats, but by Baby Hugs and Tugs looking for their own Christmas ornaments and Anna's brother Michael, looking for adventure.

Switched to Tattletales while making cranberry cookies from The Betty Crocker Cooky Book. Ditzy Lynda Day George and her husband Christopher were the big winners today, getting almost every question right. It came down to the champ and the one woman contestant on Press Your Luck. They kept swapping turns on the second round. He finally hit a series of big money tiles that won him the game.

Worked on writing for a while after the cookies came out of the oven. Gene awakens to see a big, burly sailor in his face. There's Naval sailors all over his room, breaking his things. One carries Brett out, ignoring her angry screams. He demands to know what's going on...just as a familiar figure enters the room...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Brett and Charles get in a few fun moments on Match Game '74 as Richard and Abby Dalton (later of Falcon Crest) helps a lady answer "___ Widow" and Fannie drools over the male contestant. Brett sweated out another big 20,000 payday on Match Game PM. We had the third new champ in as many days on Sale of the Century, as a young man just out of college beat the previous champ in the Speed Round, but once again missed the bonus round. 

Watched Charlie's Angels on the Roku Channel when I got online. "Chorus Line Angels" throws Kelly into the spotlight when a producer is worried about her investment in a Vegas-bound revue whose star and choreographer have already disappeared. Kelly takes the star role, Julie is her agent, and Kris claims she's a reporter. When another chorine vanishes while trying to deliver information to Kris, she's the one who has to figure out what's going on.

Finished the night at Hulu with MASH. Hunnicut and Hawkeye find themselves on "The Yalu Brick Road" when they get lost while picking up antibiotics after most of the camp got salmonella poisoning from Klinger's bad Thanksgiving turkeys. The two inadvertently take a North Korean soldier prisoner and get help from another Korean man they help along the road. Meanwhile, Hot Lips is about to smack fussy Winchester silly when they and Father Mulcahy are the only ones at the camp who aren't sick and end up having to look after the others.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Nothing Sweeta Than Rita

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. 

Rio Rita (1929)

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!

Babes In Toyland 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

A Walk In Oaklyn

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

Winds of November

Slept in a little bit, but I still started off the morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Dan and Katrina want to play house, but Prince Wednesday insists on being a dinosaur whose loud roars wake up their baby doll. "Prince Wednesday Finds a Way to Play" so they can all join in the fun. Likewise, O would prefer to stay forwards while Dan and Miss Elaina do everything backwards. "Finding a Way to Play On Backwards Day" becomes more of a challenge when Elaina and Daniel want to put on a backwards show and O still won't turn around, but O knows a way to join their show while facing front.

Did a little writing after the cartoon ended. Joyce Bulifant, the cook onboard The Marauder, brings a hearty stew to Brett, Richard, and Gene. She's yawning when she arrives. She gave the men their meals and joined them in sharing the rum they picked up from their last raid. There was something about that rum, she yawns, that didn't seem quite right...

Broke for lunch at 11. Watched my first Christmas special of the year while eating yogurt, a banana, and an apple cider donut. The Leprechauns' Christmas Gold is one of the last Rankin-Bass stop-motion specials, and definitely one of the strangest. Young Irish sailor Dimty finds himself stranded on a strange island after he digs up a pine tree for his ship. Turns out the tree imprisoned Mag the Banshee, a wailing demon who needs someone to give her gold in order to survive. Mag is after the gold of one Blarney (Art Carney), a leprechaun who was abandoned by his wife (Peggy Cass) after Mag tricked her into believing the gold would cause trouble. Blarney tries to warn Dinty of Mag's shape-shifting wiles, but after he ends up with the gold, she goes after him...and it'll take a Christmas miracle between the feuding little folk couple to restore him.

Headed off to work shortly after the cartoon ended (waving hi to Jodie, Mark, and his friend in the garage as I left). Work was a madhouse today. Tuesday is the day of our 5% off Senior Discount. As tiring as it was, I'm glad I spent almost the entire time outside. I'd rather handle the carts and the cold, blustery winds than all those people. Gathered trash and swept the store, too.

Came home just in time for Match Game '74 after I took out the trash. CB Farnsworth continues his winning ways, nearly squeezing the breath out of poor Richard when he wins him the $5,000! In his honor, Richard and Charles perform their own song about him. The episode ended with jokes about which member of the Match Game panel would have to cover up when they all went streaking in the nude.

Had leftovers for dinner while Match Game PM was on. Eva Gabor hoped to help a handsome Air Force sergeant win 10,000...but her foot may not survive his enthusiasm! Meanwhile, the others make some pretty racy jokes about what Adam and Eve do in a revised version of the bible and Gary Burghoff walks offstage when the audience boos his answer to a deli question! 

The previous champion on Sale of the Century had stiff competition from a cheerful young man and a very sweet lady. She bought both Instant Bargains; he won the Speed Round. Just missed the bonus round, though.

Finished the night on TCM with Say It With Songs. I go further into this heavy Al Jolson melodrama from 1929 at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

In the Autumn Sunshine

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.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

The Rain Is Right

The sun was still up when I rolled out of bed this morning. Had a quick start with breakfast and our first Christmas CD of the season. A Broadway Christmas from Verasce Sarabande is a collection of Christmas songs from mostly Broadway shows. Most of them were cut from more familiar musicals, were written for musicals that were never produced, or are from shows that aren't well-known or never turned up in New York. Favorites from this one include the sweet "Christmas Eve" that was cut from She Loves Me, the gentle "Christmas Gifts" from a musical version of It's a Wonderful Life that's mostly been limited to regional stages, the lively chorus number "Be a Santa" from the 60's flop Subways are for Sleeping, the girl-group pastiche "Turkey Lurkey Time" from Promises, Promises, and a lost Irving Berlin number, "The Happy New Year Blues."

Work was busy pretty much for the entire day, even after the Eagles started playing the Giants at 1. We had a hard time keeping up with customers. Several cashiers called out or never appeared. Doesn't help that I'm dead tired, too. I've been a lot busier at work lately than I usually am in mid-November. Thank goodness my relief arrived right on time.

Jodie called me in when I got home. Did I want to share pot roast with her? Well, all right. I don't know if it was a good idea, given she just came back from Florida and should be isolating. At least the pot roast was delicious, with tasty sweet carrots and perfect soft potatoes and a salad. Yesterday was her birthday - she made this for her birthday dinner. I didn't stick around for long. The Eagles game was over (they lost to the Giants 27-17), and she was watching Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part 2. That whole series seems like a lot of romantic twaddle to me, so I took my leave.

(I got home just in time. It started raining shortly after Jodie served me the pot roast and has been going hard, sometimes with heavy wind and thunder, since then.)

Tried to get some writing done, but I was too tired to focus. Cabin boy Gary Burghoff comes in before Richard does and tells Gene he and look-out Jimmie Walker see a ship on the horizon. He's worried that it may be an American Naval boat that's been after them for weeks. Gene says he'll tell Richard and have him steer clear of it.

Broke for dessert at 7. Had Fruit Gems while finishing Broadway Christmas and listening to Here's Love. Miracle on 34th Street gets the musical treatment here from Music Man composer Meredith Wilson. While not matching that early success, it does have some decent songs. Doris (Janis Paige) insists that she and her daughter Susan (Valerie Lee) will always be "Arm in Arm." Kris Kringle (Laurence Naismith) encourages Susan to "Expect Things to Happen" when she uses her imagination. Susan admits what she wants most in the world to sympathetic lawyer Fred Gaily (Craig Stevens) in "My Wish." "Look, Little Girl" shows how wary Fred and Doris are of each other. Wilson's hit "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" was imported here and paired with "Pine Cones and Holly Berries" as Doris sings with sidewalk carolers.

Finished the night online after a shower with some very vintage game shows. Went far back to explore the career of one of my favorite hosts, sweet Bill Cullen. Winner Takes All from 1952 seems like a simple quiz show today, with Bill asking the contestants questions and them winning prizes. It was actually the first show with returning champions, and the first to use devices to lock out one contestant while the other answered. 

Bill was the original host of The Price Is Right. This would be his biggest hit, with the first version running from 1956 to 1965. Most people who are familiar with the later Bob Barker/Drew Carey incarnation may find this one to be a little different from what they know. It's pretty much just the contestants bidding. No pricing games, no contestants coming on down, no spinning money wheels. The interesting thing here is what they bid for. Some of the prizes would be cool even today (including a massive grill), and one would be unthinkable for any game show nowadays - an airplane! (Incidentally, this has been off and on Buzzr's schedule since last year. It's currently back on Saturdays from 10:30 to noon.)

Match Game and To Tell the Truth were far from the only times Bill sat in on a game show panel. He was a regular on the long-running original version of I've Got a Secret. Here, he's joined by Audrey Meadows, pretty and perky Betsy Palmer, and sarcastic Henry Morgan. Gary Moore was the host. The first two contestants, a serial kissing mailman and a man translating the questions into Italian for his mother in Cleveland, were nothing compared to future president Ronald Regan, who kept getting up every time Audrey tried to ask him a question!

Eye Guess was one of the more popular game shows of the late 60's. Here two contestants study a board filled with names or phrases before Bill asks them a question. They have to pick out the answer on the board. If they can't remember, they say "Eye Guess," which will reveal the center square. It'll either give them the answer, or a blank. The person who gets the most guesses right wins a chance to go onto the bonus round, where they pick prizes off the board. They stop only when they run into a "stop!" panel. While no blockbuster, so to speak, this was kind of fun, and it's regrettable that the color episode currently on YouTube is said to be the only full episode still existing today. (I think at least one more or part of one may be available in black and white.)

Enjoy a taste of Bill Cullen's early career...and of TV history!