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!

1 comment:

Linda said...

Emma, you have fallen into one of the big Thanksgiving myths. Pilgrims and Puritans were not the same group. Pilgrims (they called themselves "saints" as the Mormons do; they were called "Separatists" by the English government) settled in Plymouth, Puritans came later and settled Boston. Pilgrims did indeed wear bright colors; in fact it's surprising that in 1952 the movie studio bucked the typical view of Pilgrims in art to create costumes for the cast.

The "Pilgrims" (and even the Puritans) we have read about for years were mostly a construct of Victorian Americans who were trying to put a religious veneer over the founding of the US. They painted them as very pious and holy. Yes, their lives did revolve mainly around their Christianity. However, they were far from "Puritanical" as we define it. For instance, they would have you believe Puritans had sex strictly for having babies and did not enjoy it. But they did--it was fine to enjoy sex, even for women, so long as it was with your spouse. It's adultery they abhorred. They also used what we would consider scatological language, like "shit." It was blaspheming that was forbidden, using God's name in any kind of oath. So you could call someone a "shithead," just not a "God-damn idiot."

The Puritans and Pilgrims also believed that if you did not take a piece of land and improve it--in other words, make a farm, or make a town--and finally make a profit from it, that this was counter to God's teachings and meant you were lazy and slothful, nd God would punish you for it. This is what put them at odds with the Wampanoag tribes they encountered, who believed the Creator gave them the land to use as it was.