Sunday, January 31, 2021

I've Got My Games to Keep Me Warm

It was just dark and cloudy this morning when the Uber driver picked me up and took me to work. You'd never know it from the crowds. We were crazy almost the entire afternoon. I got thrown into the register twice, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon, and spent the last two hours doing returns, but I was mainly outside. There were two baggers outside at any given time, and it still didn't make any difference. We'd bring two or three to the front, and they'd vanish instantly...if people didn't take them out of our hands while we were still in the parking lot! 

The snow finally started around 12:30, shortly after my first break. It was light and soft at first, with tiny flakes that didn't amount to much. It didn't stick until around 2:30, by which time I was called in to do returns. By the time I'd finally finished, the snow was coming down heavier and faster, and even the roads were glittering white.

I called Rose...but she didn't come. Waited a half-hour. No Rose. Texted her. No Rose. Waited an hour. Still nothing. Figured she was feeding the kids. A sympathetic co-worker suggested I call a cab, but I first of all, I've never called a cab. Second, I didn't think they'd be out in that weather, anyway. 

Was just about to call Uber when Rose finally got back to me. She hadn't been sure when I texted her my schedule that I wanted a ride home or not. It was genuine miscommunication. She did finally pick me up at quarter of 7, by which time I was just happy to go home. Finley and Khai were with her. Finley wanted to stay at my house, especially with the snow coming down. Her mother told her they'd come back here tomorrow or Tuesday to play in the snow.

After all that, I was just happy to enjoy a delicious dinner of shrimp dipped in melted butter, steamed broccoli, and pasta with shredded Parmesan cheese. Finished Winter Memories, which I began this morning, as I ate. This is another Columbia Special Products collection. As with many of them, it doesn't have that much to do with winter. The closest is a nice "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" by Doris Day, and Robert Goulet's "If Ever I Would Leave You" from Camelot and Jim Nabors' "Try to Remember" from The Fantastics at least mention winter. There's also a rollicking instrumental "Sleigh Ride" by Andre Kostelanetz and His Orchestra and the ballad "Wild Is the Wind" by Johnny Mathis.

Switched to The Desert Song for some much-needed romance as I had Mint Cookie ice cream and cleaned up from dinner. I opted for my British Angel LP with Bruce Forsyth singing the rare comedy numbers "It" and "One Good Boy Gone Wrong." Opera singers June Bronhill and Edmund Hockeridge handle the big ballads "One Alone," "I Want a Kiss," and my favorite song from this score, "Romance." 

Finished the night online with a couple of word games as the snow continued to fall. By far my favorite of the ones I hadn't seen was PDQ. Two contestants step into isolation booths in this 1964 show while a celebrity tries to get them to guess a certain word or phrase by setting the letters on a board. Whichever team guesses in the least letters wins points. The winner goes on to the bonus round, where they have to guess a word from three letters. Giselle McKenzie and Stubby Kaye lead their gentlemen through some very funny rounds, including their attempts to get them to guess "Minuet In G." Host Dennis James presided over this one. 

To Say the Least is a short-lived show from 1977, hosted by Tom Kennedy. Once again, celebrities helped out a contestant, this time in guessing a subject from the fewest words possible. The contestant would have a celebrity guess what the answer to a phrase or subject was, then would remove a word and ask the next contestant. Rita Moreno, Alex Trebek, Soupy Sales, and Elaine Joyce are the celebs who help out here.

Buzzr no longer runs the black and white Password episodes from the early 60's, so I went with a nighttime show from 1962. Eve Arden may have played a teacher for years, but she's no great shakes at word games. Rifleman Chuck Connors did a little better. 

I've spotlighted Wordplay a few times, and it's just as much fun in this episode from February 1987. Kennedy returns to referee the antics of fellow hosts Bert Convy and Bill Rafferty. Nighttime soap star Abby Dalton ends up in between their wacky descriptions of unusual words.

1,000,000 Chance of a Lifetime, a big-paying syndicated variation on Wheel of Fortune, has a computer theme. Couples guess a clue, then push keys on a giant keyboard to reveal letters on the screen. When they reveal enough letters, they'll be able to guess a puzzle. The winners go on to a bonus round, where one has to guess a word one letter at a time. If they won, they'd get 5,000, or could continue on for the big million-dollar prize. Jim Lange hosts here. I'm surprised I don't remember this one. The game play was fun, especially guessing the puzzles. 

Merv Griffith's Crosswords apparently isn't popular among game-show fans. It seemed all right to me. Two people try to spell out words in a crossword puzzle. After the first break, three more contestants, or "spoilers," join in. If a spoiler guesses correctly, they trade places with the contestant. The bonus round had the winner filling in the rest of the crossword puzzle. A lot of people called this one of the worst game shows ever, but I think it's more overly complicated than it is bad. Host Ty Treadway was a bit bland as well.

At any rate, here's some word games to keep you guessing as the winter storms rage! (And thanks to Wink Martindale and his Vault channel for the To Say the Least episode. Look for the original commercials on several shows, too!)

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Calm at the End of Work

Began a beautiful, sunny morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Daniel has to be "Calm at the Clock Factory" when his father takes him, Katerina, and O the Owl to see where he works and how he puts clocks together. Dan Sr. takes his son and Prince Wednesday to the library for Storytime. They can act silly outside, but in the library, they need "Calm at Storytime," or they can't hear O's uncle X reading the newest Tigey the Adventure Tiger book. 

Worked briefly on writing after breakfast. Goodson intends to have his men take Charles and dump him overboard, too, for attempting to blow the whistle on him. Gene demands that he takes him upstairs, preferably yesterday.

Was jolted out of my "zone" by a knock on the door. Jodie went out to breakfast with her Aunt Colleen, but the side entrance to the other side of the house tends to swell in winter, and she couldn't get in. I let her through, and she thanked me by driving me to work. Apparently, she needed to get grocery shopping done anyway.

Anyone who's seen the weather reports for the east coast can probably guess that we were a madhouse for most of the day. We're only supposed to get 3 to 5 inches of snow at press time, but that's still more snow than we've seen since mid-December. I went outside to help the afternoon bagger with rapidly-vanishing carts, only to be dragged inside to take customers and bag. And then, after break, I was sent outside with at least three or four other baggers to deal with the dwindling carts...and this time, remained there for the rest of the evening. Frankly, by the end of the night, it slowed down to the point where we barely needed two baggers outside, but I didn't feel like dealing with the lunacy inside, either. 

Even after all that, I had my own grocery shopping to do. Took advantage of online coupons to pick up grapes, eggs, Parmesan cheese, and Turkey Hill ice cream. There were good sales on chicken, too - grabbed a pack of breasts and another of thin-sliced breast. Found a container of shrimp for a good price. Had a Rewards coupon for free frozen vegetables. Restocked honey, white and brown sugar, yogurt, oranges, bananas, butter, milk, oranges, and carrots. 

Once I got home, I quickly watched the first half of The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour while putting everything away and having dessert. For some reason, Gene decided to pretend he and the panelists on the upper desks were in Venice while waiting for those in the lower tier to finish writing their answers for a question. There were even jokes about someone falling overboard and the rest of the set "cutting across the Canal" when it came in.

Finished the night online after a shower with Puss In Boots. I go further into the 1988 version of the fairy tale with Christopher Walken as the title character at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Friday, January 29, 2021

Tax Woman

Began a sunny morning with breakfast and Blockbusters. The father-daughter-in-law pair were finally upended by a young gentleman. He did very well in the Gold Run round, missing only one question. He'd just started with a father-in-law and son-in-law pair as the show ended.

Rose called just as I was rolling out of bed. I called her back, then went into my taxes. They were a lot more complicated this year! I got a second W2 for the money I inherited from Dad, and there was the temporary disability from the broken arm. Needless to say, it took me a lot longer to finish than usual. I can normally knock my taxes out in 20 minutes to an hour. It took me over an hour and a half to round up all that information. And I ended up paying the state money! At least Federal's giving me over 1,000. That'll help pay the state. 

After I sent it all out, I made a Raspberry-Squash Smoothie for lunch. Watched the tail end of Match Game '75 before switching to Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Teacher Harriet tells O the Owl "You are Special" when he tries to imitate the other kids' talents. He does have a talent none of them do, though. Dan Sr. reminds his son that "Daniel Is Special" when they take a walk through the leaves and he collects a pile to make pictures.

Finally dashed to Jodie's side of the house while she was out to do my laundry. While the sun peeked in and out of silver clouds all day, it remained very windy and way to0 cold to hike to the laundromat. I threw the laundry into Jodie's machine and hurried back to my side of the house, before she came home.

Put on Ski Patrol as I returned and started Butterscotch Bread from one of my bread recipe books...and again when Tubi stopped and the Roku reset itself. Jerry Cramer (Roger Rose) is the laid-back head of the Ski Patrol, who operate out of the old ski lodge run by Pops (Ray Walston). His fellow patrollers include Iceman (T.K Cramer), who loves his karaoke machine, explosives expert Eddie Martinez (George Lopez), and lovely Ellen (Yvette Nipar) who teaches the beginner's classes. There's also Stanley (Paul Feig), who has tried out for the Ski Patrol seven years in a row without making it. Real estate magnate Sam Marris (Martin Mull) wants to build a gigantic ski resort in the area where Pops' lodge is. With the help of Cramer's snooty rival Lance (Corbin Timberbrook), he sabotages the Ski Patrol at every turn...until they all figure out what Marris is up to and band together to save the mountain they love. There's also the nutty guy with three personalities (Sean Gregory Sullivan) who has his own one-man rock band and keeps getting into trouble on the mountain. 

This is one of those wacky random comedies that used to show up constantly on cable in the early 90's. My family loved it then, but we were always big on the Police Academy movies, too. This is pretty much the same deal, but with skiing instead of cops. Interestingly, while it's never been on DVD to my knowledge, it does show up for streaming - it's on Amazon Prime for rent and purchase along with being free on Tubi. Not the most outstanding movie ever, but an amusing way to spend an afternoon if you have fond memories of those cable showings or are a big fan of the slobs vs. snobs comedies of the 80's and early 90's.

Jodie came in towards the end of the movie. Rose was calling me on her cell phone...and she wasn't happy. Why did I do my taxes now? They're too complicated for me to do on my own. Um, I've always done them on my own, with Turbo Tax, and no one has ever complained. Why didn't I wait for more paperwork to come in? Why didn't I wait for her, so we could figure it all out? Because I wanted to get it done and out of the way now. Why wait when you can get something done quickly and with a minimum of fuss? I didn't realize they aren't processing claims until February 12th. They usually take mine right away. 

Now she's more convinced then ever that I have something wrong with me. Something about compulsions. I should probably call Mrs. Stahl again. I tried a couple of times last year, but I never heard from her after April. I called her and gave her my cell phone number after I moved in July, and she never called me back. 

I called her back on my own phone. At least we did manage to figure out the bikes. I told her what I'd narrowed it down to, and she asked me to send her text messages with the model numbers and information. She also said she or Craig would drive me to work during the snowstorm we're supposed to get from Sunday night into Tuesday if I had to work on those days. 

By the time I got off with her, finally slid the bread into the oven, and retrieved my laundry, we'd switched to Press Your Luck. It was all about the ladies today - the one guy Whammied out early. They went back and forth in the second round, with one only winning because she hit a Windjammer cruise on her last turn.

Yes, I did text Rose the bike information she wanted after the show finished. I also checked my schedule for next week, which is usually up on the employee website by mid-Friday. Boy, did I get lucky. I've never been so happy to lose hours. I'm off on Monday and Tuesday along with next Friday. I do work 7 and 8 hour shifts all week except for Saturday, but I'll take it to avoid the weather. (And if the weather does get that bad, they may need me for 8 hours on Sunday anyway.) 

Got some writing in after sliding the bread out of the oven. Goodson not only won't lead them to Charles, he's ready to call his men. Gene is ready to throw him overboard...but Richard says there's someone who may be able to help...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. I set up Lentil and Root Vegetable Stew in the crock pot earlier. Enjoyed it while watching Match Game '74. Skipped ahead a bit to the next week with South American hunk Alejandro Rey and sweet Juliet Mills. While Gene sat down as an excited contestant related her life story, everyone else gave their answers to the "antipasto" question that wondered what Frankenstein would do if he were the only man in the world and Brett was the only lady. Foster Brooks' appearance on Match Game PM assured that there would be several drunk jokes...but he did get to try to help a lady win $7,500. 

For some reason, Sale of the Century jumped back to Varsity Week and skipped the first day. They picked up with a volleyball player, a cheerleader, and a football player. The volleyball player bought one of the Instant Bargains and won the Instant Cash and ultimately killed at the Speed Round. Unlike some of the adults the last few nights, he was easily able to pick up the Bonus Round cash.

Finished the night online, cheering myself up with vintage sitcoms from the 90's. I'd noticed earlier that Disney Plus just put Dinosaurs on their site. Used to love that show in the early 90's. Earl Sinclair, his wife Fran, their three children, and his mother may seem like your typical sitcom family, except for one detail. They're all dinosaurs, full body puppets created by the Jim Henson Workshop. Went with the first season episode "The Mating Dance." Fran is feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated after the hatching of her third child, rambunctious Baby. Earl re-learns the Mating Dance to put some spark back into their marriage.

The second season of Parker Lewis Can't Lose kicked off with "Father Knows Less." Parker's best friend Mikey is angry because his mother can't help him with a project to make a toaster and his father left the family six months before. All the other kids in school are working with their parents, including Parker and his sister Shelly. Parker pairs him with a kid having trouble in school, but Mikey's not having an easy time with him. Meanwhile, their principal Musso butters up the industrialist in charge of the show in the hope of getting a better job.

Family Matters began their second season with the creation of "Rachel's Place." Laura's thrilled when she gets a job at Leroy's, the local hangout...but being a waitress loses its luster when she has to work with clumsy Steve Urkel. Urkel's attempt to work the grill ends with the diner burning down. Rachel has been looking for a job and thinks running a diner would be a great idea...if she can get Carl and Harriet to loan her the money...

Rose is also having money problems on The Golden Girls. "Rose Fights Back" in the fifth season when her husband's pension is cut off and she can't find a second job because of her age. She goes to a popular investigative reporter to complain and try to get a job with him. He almost turns her away because of her age as well, but she finally convinces him to give her a chance. Meanwhile, Sophia is buying everything she can get her hands on in bulk after joining a local warehouse market, and it's driving the ladies crazy. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Baby, It's Cold Outside!

Thankfully, the rain was long gone by the time I rolled out of bed this morning. Ate breakfast while watching To Tell the Truth. Came in just as they were trying to figure out which of three older men were Clarence "Ducky" Nash, the voice of Donald Duck from the character's creation in 1934 until his death in 1985. I'm actually glad I got in just the panel voted. I'm a huge Donald fan; I knew Mr. Nash right away. I had a harder time deciding between three men who claimed to have written a book of household hints. I chose big, burly number 2. Almost everyone else went with three, and he did turn out to be the writer and handyman. 

The panel didn't have as much luck on What's My Line? No one came close to figuring out a Philly woman created a kit designed to add decorative embroidery and patches to jean outfits. Two models showed off her creations; while most of them were very much of their era, some were pretty darn cute. They did figure out the man ran a bowling alley in the White House; evidently, Nixon was a bowling fan. (Research reveals that, as of a decade ago, the bowling lane was still there.) Also caught a "Who's Who" game; none of the panelists got any of the four male audience members' occupations right.

Headed off to work even before the show ended. Work was dead the entire day, especially in the morning. It was so quiet this morning, I spent 40 minutes hanging gift cards. I also swept the store and gathered trash and recycling. Spent the afternoon outside. It was sunny, but cold, with freezing gale-force winds that blew carts everywhere. It was still better than being inside and getting 600 different orders. 

Took Uber home as soon as I finished. When I got in, I put on the tail end of Press My Luck while having a snack. The champ just kept pushing and pushing...until he finally hit a Whammy on his last passed turn. The only woman picked up dishware and a trip to Las Vegas, among other prizes.

Looked up more bikes next. Rose suggested Dick's Sporting Goods; there's a large store at the Garden State Plaza in Cherry Hill. Their website only showed one single-speed cruiser, and the closest store that had it was Moorestown, a half-hour away. I'd have to order it and send it to Cherry Hill.

Worked on writing after that. Brett manages to get the keys off Goodson. While she and Tom release Jack and his crew, Gene tries to get Goodson to reveal where Charles is. He won't tell...but a certain member of his crew will...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Anson Williams of Happy Days joined Gene, the regulars, Fannie Flagg, and ever-laughing Kaye Stevens to answer "Martha __" and discussed how romantic Cleopatra and Caesar got on Match Game '74. We also got a rare glimpse of Ira Skutch, the show's producer and offscreen judge, when Gene caught him on camera. We were introduced in Match Game PM to an adorable little man who called himself "Tiger." Even the young woman contestant next to him joked about them being engaged. 

Jodie poked her head in during Match Game '74. She deliberately left the water running in the sinks to keep the pipes from freezing. She and Dad had that problem before in this house. I also found out David, my cousin Samantha's husband, visited a few days ago to pick up speakers he and Dad built together, and she gave him the bin of family photos. On one hand, a lot of those photos and all of the memorabilia and scrap books belonged to Uncle Ken and I intended to ask Samantha about them anyway. On the other hand, I wish she'd asked me first. Rose and Jessa didn't get to see the photos, and there's pictures of Dad in there, too. Hopefully, Samantha will be willing to share with the other two.

(Oh, and I convinced her to let me do the laundry at her place tomorrow. It's going to be too cold to be hiking to the laundromat.)

Moved on to making Lemon Drop Sugar Cookies from The Betty Crocker Cooky Book by the time Sale of the Century was on. Another nail-biter of a game today. The champ bought both Instant Bargains (including a Vegas trip) and the Instant Cash, but the other guy started catching up towards the end. The champ killed at the Speed Round...but he's still having trouble with the Bonus Round...

Finished the night online after a shower with The Great Gabbo. I go further into this 1929 musical drama featuring Erich Von Stronheim, a dummy, and a platoon of peculiar dance routines at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Frozen Winds

The weather was down to clouds when I opened my eyes this morning. Sun just broke through as I had breakfast and went to Tubi for Jem. The elusive rock star will need a little "Broadway Magic" when she and the Holograms win the leads in a big musical. The Misfits are their understudies...and they'll do anything to get those lead roles, including letting their sleazy manager Eric Raymond claim he'll give 100,000 to whomever can figure out Jem's identity. 

Switched to writing after the cartoon ended. Brett first tries lashing out at Goodson, but she's a distraction for Gene and Richard hitting him at the same time! They finally get Goodson to give up the keys to Jack's prison, but now they have to find Charles...

Broke to get ready for work at 11. Watched The Cat In the Hat Knows a Lot About That as I got organized and made dinner. Sally learns about "Flower Power" when her mom has a cold and she wants to pick flowers for her. The Cat takes her and Nick to Fah-Fah-Zoom in order to learn about beautiful flowers and the animals who rely on them for food or shelter. The kids are upset when their snow-Cat starts to melt, so the Cat takes them to Freeze-Your-Knees Snowland to keep him in one piece. The kids learn about snow, why it melts, and how ice is formed.

It took less than five minutes to get an Uber driver to work. The Acme was pretty much dead all afternoon. It got a little busy during rush hour, but never really horrible. I rounded up carts, gathered trash and recycling, and swept up a food mess someone left by the employees' outside picnic table. By the end of the night, I had help from two teenagers and a college student and not much of anything to do. Other than it was cold and windy and the clouds returned by the time I was at work, there were no problems whatsoever. 

After I got home, I tried calling Rose. She called me at work. She never called me about my bike earlier. I really should have called her. I've whittled it down to two bikes, an Electra and a Sun. Alas, I didn't get her this evening, either. I'll try again tomorrow.

Watched Match Game PM as I warmed up and had a snack. A goofy, jumpy contestant really livened things up on the show tonight. Brett and Charles fussed at each other over their answers and Richard Paul took a nap while a nervous Patti Deustch tried to help the gentleman win 15,000 with "__ Zoo."

Sale of the Century was close for the first half of the game, even after the champ bought a chance at the Instant Cash. It wasn't until the Speed Round that he jumped ahead. Alas, he still couldn't figure out the Bonus Round and just missed getting it.

Finished the night with TV shows online. Started at The Roku Channel with "A New Kind of High" from the first season of Hart to Hart. Two chemists at a Hart Corporation-owned chemical company have discovered a new kind of drug that gives you major highs. The woman wants to sell it to the highest bidder. The guy is so crazy about her, he just wants to do whatever she wants. Johnathan catches wise when they kill their supervisor, who was about to blow the whistle on them. He starts asking questions about the missing formula as Jennifer goes in disguise to make her own inquiries.

Moved to Hulu for The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Ironically, I chose the 4th season opener "The Lars Affair" on a whim before I learned Cloris Leachman passed away tonight. It's now a tribute to her and to Betty White, whose birthday was not long ago. White made her debut in the show as Sue Ann Nivens, the man-hungry hostess of "The Happy Homemaker Show." Phyllis discovers at one of Mary Richards' (Moore) parties that Sue Ann is having an affair with her husband Lars. She tries to rationalize or ignore it...until Mary convinces her to confront Sue Ann on the set of her show. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Rainy Daze

It still wasn't raining when I rolled out of bed this morning. Caught the tail end of Body Language as I had oatmeal and an orange for breakfast. Big Roger E. Mosley was acting out the bonus round as I joined in. Alas, his contestant only got one word out of three right. The contestants did better on Blockbusters. A father and daughter-in-law became the new champs; she easily breezed through the Gold Run round with only one question missed. 

Put up the Valentine's Day decorations next. The cardboard banner went over the large windows in the living room; the Mylar garlands hang over the bay window in my bedroom and on the ledge. Valentina the Love Penguin and Amoura the Love Frog join most of the winter stuffed animals on one of the book shelves in the hall. The frilly heart-shaped candy box I thought was too pretty to throw away perches on top of another. Taped Mylar-covered hearts to the windows and hung cardboard hearts from the doors on the shelves in the living room

Watched specials related to winter sports while I worked. She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown has Peppermint Patty training for her local figure skating competition with Snoopy as her demanding coach. The Pink Panther is a skiing star in the Winter Olym-pinks, but his fellow skiing team member doesn't like all the attention he receives and does everything he can to sabotage his performances. 

It finally started to rain somewhere around this point...a light, misty sort of rain that was neither cold, nor icy. Fine rain would continue in some form for the rest of the day. To my knowledge, we never got snow, or even freezing rain. 

Moved on to Match Game '76 as I made Orange Old School Muffins (Alton Brown's Old School Muffins recipe with mandarin oranges and orange peel). Made a quick raspberry-banana smoothie lunch while watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Super Daniel!" and his Grandpere help two imaginary animals get a snack and escape the forest as they bring Dan Sr. his lunch. Teacher Harriet shows the kids how to "Play Pretend" by giving them a cardboard box that can be anything. O the Owl refuses to see it as anything but a box...until even his imagination gets moving.

Went online to do research on bikes. I still don't know what I want, besides a single-speed cruiser like the one I had. They all look alike to me. Called Mom, who has an Electra that she loves. We ended up discussing not only the bike, but all the problems I've had with pretty much everyone here. Don't get me wrong, I love Rose and Jessa and appreciate everything Jodie does and Dad did for me, but I've felt caught in the middle of a lot of their drama lately. There's also that bin of photos. I need to find it and see what my sisters and Samantha want from it. I put it in the den on Jodie's side of the house because there's no room in my place for it, and now it's gone. 

We chatted for so long, Press Your Luck was on by the time we finished. The two women far outstripped the one man in the second half...until they started to hit Whammies. He picked up a Seattle vacation and became the new champ.

Worked on writing for a while after that. Richard shoves Gene and Tom Kennedy at Goodson as the rest of Tom's crew pose as sailors. Gene's livid, until he sees a wink from Richard and realizes that all isn't what it appears to be...and that Richard isn't as much of a traitor as he thought.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. It was total bedlam on Match Game '74 tonight in one of my favorite episodes from that year. McLean Stevenson first kissed everyone but the contestant (including Gene and Richard), then chased Gene around the studio after the contestant won the Head-to-Head round a second time. Match Game PM got pretty goofy too as westerner Guich Kooch passed around his cowboy hat (it ended up with Gene) and everyone answered a question about the symptoms of "the Betty White Flu." 

Enjoyed steamed broccoli and leftover One-Pot Pasta as Sale of the Century began. It was all about the guys tonight. The champ bought one Instant Bargain and the other male contestant picked up the other and the Instant Cash. They were evenly matched at the Speed Round, to the point where it came down to a tie breaker question. The champ won, but he didn't do nearly as well with the Bonus Round this time.

Finished the night with Broadway Babies. I go further into this early talkie gangster melodrama at my featuring flapper Alice White at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Before the Storm

Started off my morning with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Pancakes and an orange for breakfast. Watched Muppet Babies while I ate. Bunsen and Beaker warn the Babies not to enter their vault of failed experiments. Gonzo does anyway and drinks a fizzy juice that makes him float every time he burps. The Babies try to help him out of "Gonzo's Bubble Trouble" before Bunsen and Beaker see him floating. "Fozzie Can't Bear It" when Kermit says he's going to visit his grandma for two days, so he sticks to him like glue and tries to think of ways to keep him from leaving.

Switched to Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures as I did the dishes. Donald wants to get chores done at home, but his Uncle Manny shows up, charms his skunk (whom he insists on calling Sally), and insists that he has "new" ways of doing things. Donald has his own ways of doing chores, but Daisy insists he should give Uncle Manny a chance. Princess Olivia of Royalandia asks the Happy Helpers to aid her in setting up the "Royal-lympics." She and her friend Charlotte want to take part, but her head advisor insists that princesses always win no matter what. Minnie finds a way for Olivia to compete fairly. 

Worked on writing for a while after the cartoon ended. Goodson taunts Captain Jack Nartz, telling him he has his brother, but hasn't decided what to do with him yet. He may keep Tom in the cages where Jack's being held...or he may throw him overboard, like he did Gene.

Broke at 11:20 to get ready for work. Thankfully, the Uber driver was quick and got me to work right on time. Ironically, after all the fuss yesterday, we were dead for almost the entire afternoon. Either everyone got their snow jitters out yesterday, or they heard we wouldn't be getting much besides frozen rain.

I spent the afternoon and evening outside, bringing up carts and gathering trash and recycling. It wasn't a bad day for it. Clouds hung overhead, but they were blahh gray rather than the pearly sheen of snow...and they never did anything besides block the sun. No rain, no snow, no wind. It wasn't even that cold, probably in the lower-mid 40's, nothing like it has been the past few days. It still hadn't done anything when an Uber driver arrived quickly and zipped me home. 

When I got in, I changed, had a snack, and put on Match Game PM. An Arkansas woman with bouncy blonde curls and a personality to match had a honeyed Southern accent, but terrible answers. The guy easily beat her and went on to get help from Bart Braverman on "The Other Side of ___." The one man left the champ in the dust on Sale of the Century. He leaped ahead of everyone on the Speed Round and won the Bonus Round with a second left.

Finished the night on the Kanopy with Rumpelstiltskin, another German fairy tale movie from the 50's. This one sticks closely to the original Grimm's Fairy Tale. Marie (Liane Croon) is the miller's daughter whom the lazy miller (Wilhelme Grothe) claims can spin straw into gold. The young King (Gunter Hertel) is so desperate for gold to fill his empty treasury, he lets the miller convince him she can spin straw into gold. A little man (Werner Kruger) does what she wants, but asks for her child the last time to teach her a lesson and keep the baby from greed. The poor queen becomes desperate to keep her child, so much, she begs the miller's put-upon assistant Hans to find the little man's name. 

As cheap as it looks, I did end up enjoying this one. What I like is the finale, which puts aside the floor-stamping theatrics to allow Rumpelstiltskin to see that the royals do love their baby, and leave with dignity.  

(And at press time, we still haven't gotten rain, snow, or anything else. It's dry as a bone out my window.)

Sunday, January 24, 2021

What Goes On In Vegas

Woke up so late, I had enough time for a quick breakfast and not much else before I called Uber. Of course, the driver couldn't find my apartment despite having a GPS on his phone. I ended up being ten minutes late.

Honestly, work was a pain in general. The other bagger on duty today is a total sweetheart, but she's also pregnant. Not only is she unable to push carts right now, but one of the managers had her working on making posters for the deli, so she couldn't sweep the store, either. It got so busy by 12:30, I barely had enough time for sweeping or pushing carts. I wasn't close to done with the carts when I finished. Thankfully, the Uber driver was on time going home.

As soon as I got in, I changed and fell into bed. I was sore all over and dead tired. I needed a nap rather badly. Went down at 3 and didn't get up until almost 5:30.

Did some writing after I finally rolled out of bed. Jack and all of the men from the captured crews are in cages in the hold. Scoey Mitchilll from Gene's crew demands to know if he'll throw Tom overboard like he did Gene. Not at all. Goodson taunts Jack by telling him he's already captured his brother and intends to hold him as a hostage. 

Broke for dinner at quarter after 7. Had a quick meal, then made Cinnamon Sugar Blondies while listening to Copacabana. I've had the original cast album for the British stage version of the Barry Manilow TV musical for a long time. There's a lot more songs here than made it into the film, including a big number for Lola's introduction called "Just Arrived" as she comes to New York, another solo for Tony ("Dancin' Fool"), a second ballad for Tony and Lola as he wishes she weren't just part of a song ("This Can't Be Real"), and a very funny number for the owner of the Copa and his cigarette "girl" paramour when she sends him after Tony ("Who am I Kidding?").

(By the way, the blondies came out beautifully, just sweet and chewy enough. I found the recipe on Pinterest. It's right here.)

Finished the night on YouTube with casino-themed game shows. The Big Showdown was a short-lived dice game from 1975. Too bad the show didn't last long, and only a few episodes are known to exist. This one was a lot of fun even after host Jim Peck accidentally fell down the stairs he was supposed to descend. (Thankfully, he was ok and laughed it off.) It's a fast-paced trivia game that works up to that big roll. If you get the words "show" and "down," you can win a 10,000 payout. 

Dealer's Choice is another short-lived show from around the same time, this one in syndication. Jack Clark leads three contestants in a series of casino-based games, set right in Las Vegas. Alas, though the game was colorful it was often confusing and looked incredibly cheap. (This wasn't helped by the much-traded copy on YouTube being in almost unwatchable shape.) 

Since Buzzr limits its showings of the 1978-1981 Card Sharks to episodes from 1978-1979 (except for the 1980 game show host and celebrity tournaments), I went with one from March 1980. I chose the right one to highlight, too. There was a huge payout on the Money Cards about mid-way through, one of the biggest I've ever seen on this show. 

Did another Las Vegas Gambit. Like Dealer's Choice, this one was filmed in the real Vegas. Unlike Dealer's, it doesn't look it. Went with the first episode of the series, which kept the blackjack-based bonus round from the original 1974 Gambit

Pay Cards! from 1968 eliminates the trivia all together to focus on the card game, in this case poker. Two contestants and one celebrity choose cards from a board, trying to get a winning hand. The winner finishes with a bonus round for a big prize package. Celeste Holm is the celebrity playing with the boys; Art James hosts. 

Wish I'd seen Caesar's Challenge, the last new daytime game show on the networks before they revived Let's Make a Deal in 2009. Despite the Roman/slot theme, this one actually involves unscrambling words. It too was quite a bit of fun, and had some huge prizes to boot. The copy on YouTube even comes with the original commercials from its network run.

Bet on these rare shows to provide lots of entertainment for storm-bound families! 

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Take Me Out to the Matches

Began the morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Daniel Uses His Words" when he's angry because his mother moved his farm animals and Miss Elaina threw his beloved stuffed animal Tigey. He's growling angry at first, until his mother insists that he can't tell people what's bothering him if he doesn't talk. Dan and Katerina say "All Aboard!" when they pretend to play train at school. Dan growls when he wants to be the conductor, and Katerina meows angrily when Dan puts other animals besides monkeys in the cars. Teacher Harriet reminds them to use their words and actually talk to one another.

Worked on writing for an hour or so after the cartoon ended. Goodson taunts Jack, telling him that he has Richard Dawson under his thumb. He also claims he has his brother and his crew, which Jack doesn't believe. Tom wants to throw Goodson out a window right then and there, but Richard has a better idea...

Broke with just enough time to change, pack muffins and a banana for lunch, and call Uber. Got to work on time, thankfully. I was outside the entire day. Other than it being freezing cold (barely in the 30's) and gale-force windy, there were no problems whatsoever. I was on my own outside until around 4, when more baggers arrived and joined me to help push and wipe down the few carts that needed to be done. No problems whatsoever. Called Uber and got home without a fuss.

Called Rose as soon as I got in, changed, and put on leftovers for dinner. Yes, she's still in quarantine, but they're almost done. She wants me to order a bike from a company or a shop and send it to the shop to put together. She says I'll have more choices that way. 

Whether we buy it from the shop or order it online, I really do need to figure out what I want. The trouble is, unlike with the cell phone, I have no idea what I want, other than a simple women's cruiser for between 250 and 400. The brand of bike I had before is not only expensive, but they don't make that line anymore. While I'm not getting something super-cheap from WalMart, I do want something decent. I just can't decide what that is. I have a couple of ideas. Rose suggested I take until Wednesday morning to figure it out.

Switched to YouTube while eating dinner. Hall of fame Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and long-time announcer for the Atlanta Braves Don Sutton passed away earlier this week. Sutton was by far the best of the few professional athletes who occasionally appeared on the 1970's-80's Match Game. He was charming, funny, and not bad at the game. He first turned up in 1977 and proved to be so popular, he made occasionally appearances through the show's second syndicated season in 1980. 

Here's the marathon, so you can honor this fastball favorite!

Finished the night on Amazon Prime with Happy Feet 2. I go further into this sequel to the 2006 animated hit at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Friday, January 22, 2021

High Seas Adventure

Slept in a little and got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Blockbusters. The solo gentleman was finally defeated by a mother-daughter team, who also had no trouble with a younger woman. Like the man, they couldn't figure out the Gold Run, though. The mother got three questions in a row, then missed at least five.

Worked on writing for the rest of the morning. Gene and Tom are ready to storm down to the hold and free Jack on the spot. Richard convinces them that this would just make things worse. Goodson tells Jack his brother is on ship and that he intends to take him and the others hostage until he relents and reveals where his treasure is.

Broke with enough time to get dressed, pack up my backpack for later, and call Uber...and I was still late to work. At least that's the worst thing that happened all day. Spent almost the entire afternoon outside, enjoying a sunny, windy day and a glorious flame orange sunset. I also swept the store early on before it got busy, gathered trash when those got a little too full, and grabbed the recycling later after it slowed down.

Did my grocery shopping after I finished. Made use of a few online coupons to pick up cereal, eggs, and broccoli. Tried the new Mocha-Chocolate Kit-Kat Duo bar, which was very coffee-tasting and sweet. Picked up shrimp for dinner. Restocked oranges, sponges, garlic, bananas, a can of mandarin oranges, whole wheat flour, butter, milk, and yogurt. 

Not thrilled with my schedule this week. Lots of 7-hour days...which is a bit of a surprise, since we're not usually that busy in late January. Good thing Tuesday is one of my two days off. (Friday is the other.) Looks like we may get hit with some nasty snow and sleet Monday night. 

Put on Match Game PM as soon as I got home. Put things away as Gene introduced his beloved wife Helen in the audience. Bill Daily almost ate his answer a few times as Gene tried to explain what matzo balls look like to a contestant. 

Had shrimp and peas for dinner as Sale of the Century began. This wound up being another close race, with everyone winning or buying something and no one being too far ahead. The champ barely one it by two questions. She still couldn't get close to the Bonus Round money, though.

Finished the night at Tubi with the 1952 swashbuckler Blackbeard the Pirate. British Navy Lieutenant Robert Maynard (Keith Andes) is determined to prove that privateer Henry Morgan (Torin Thatcher) has returned to his old pirate ways. He claims to be a surgeon on a certain Captain Bellamy's ship in order to find out of he's Morgan's partner. Whether he is or not becomes a moot point when they find Bellamy swinging from a sail and ruthless Blackbeard the Pirate (Robert Newton) in charge. Also on board is pirate's daughter Edwina Mansfield (Linda Darnell) and her lady-in-waiting Alvina (Irene Ryan). Edwina is carrying two mysterious chests that she won't let anyone touch. She was supposed to have married Bellamy, but really only agreed to it in order to avoid Morgan, whom she stole treasure from. Maynard steals Bellamy's captain log in order to find out the truth about him and Morgan...but Blackbeard is more interested in that treasure and the beauty hiding it.

Typical nautical yarn with Newton in fine fettle as one of the most famous buccaneers ever to sail the Jolly Roger. I do like that Edwina is the daughter of a pirate, rather than your typical noblewoman, even if Andes and Darnell are fairly bland. Ryan, William Bendix, and Alan Mowbray have more fun as the silly lady-in-waiting and members of Blackbeard's crew. Fun way to pass an hour and a half if you love swashbucklers or are a fan of Newton. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Food and History

Kicked off a sort-of-cloudy morning with breakfast and Blockbusters. The champ made short work of that sister team, but still couldn't make it through the Gold Run bonus round. He was having less luck with another pair when the show ended.

Switched back to My Little Pony while making chocolate chip cookies. The babies are frightened by a spirit they think is "The Ghost of Paradise Estate." It's really a bird-like shapeshifter who was sent by an evil squid creature to find a magical stone that'll restore his watery home and allow him to once more be in charge of Dream Valley. She doesn't want to do it, but the creature's holding her grandfather hostage. Megan, her siblings, and the Ponies do their best to help her find the pieces and stop the evil squid.

Returned briefly to Buzzr for Match Game '75 while pulling out the cookies, then got organized and headed out. I really just needed to do laundry. At least the laundromat wasn't busy when I got in, and I really only had a small load anyway. Worked on story notes while the laundry was in the washer, then treated myself to the new Mountain Dew Major Melon (watermelon-flavored) and a soft pretzel from WaWa. At least the weather wasn't bad. While it continues to be off-and-on cloudy, it was neither as cold, nor as windy as yesterday.

Let Super Password go in the background as I put away my laundry when I got home. Jo Ann Worley and Jack Jones were the celebrity word-guessers here. Jo Ann got her contestant to the Super Password bonus round, but they struck out there and in the Ca$shword mini-game. I also set up the Susan Branch calendar I ordered off Amazon. 

Finished organizing Dad and Uncle Ken's photos while half-watching Buzzr. Sweet Juliet Mills and her husband Michael Miklenda were the big winners on Tattletales, over George Hamilton and his smart wife Alania and Peter Haskell and his tough wife Cricket. The Whammies flew fast and furious during the second half of Press Your Luck. The champ managed to avoid most of them and picked up a Denver vacation, among other prizes. 

Made a few more good finds as I finished going through the bin. My favorite was a vintage cookbook, The College Cookery, from Burlington County College. I'm guessing it's from between 1965 and 1985, from the simple plastic binder design and sepia-toned print. I have no clue why Uncle Ken had that in the bin. I saw no familiar names among those who contributed recipes, and I'm pretty sure neither he nor Dad attended Burlington County College. Some of the recipes looked pretty decent, though. It was the only thing I kept for myself. Put everything else back in the box. I'll call or text my sisters and cousins later this weekend or next week and see what they say about it. 

Worked on writing after I dropped the bin in the den next to my entrance. Richard finally leads past a couple of sailors who try to feel up the ladies and down into the hold. Goodson taunts a very-much-alive Jack Nartz about the loss of his ship The Concentration and tries to persuade him to reveal the location of his buried treasure. Jack refuses - he intends the treasure for his family and crew. 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Tried a recipe for "One-Pot-Spaghetti" from Uncle Ken's cookbook while I watched Match Game '74. It was pasta, tomato sauce, and water cooked with sautéed onions and ground beef in oil. I made it olive oil and added a little white cooking wine along with dried parsley. Oh, yum. Whomever complied this book knew what they were doing. Tasty and savory.

Gene literally rolled into Match Game, leaving Richard to joke about him falling down drunk. (Which wasn't true. Neither Gene nor Richard were drinkers.) Meanwhile, Scoey Mitchilll, who was notorious for never matching the contestant, actually got his first two matches towards the end. Bob Barker turned up in Match Game PM, but it was Charles who had to try to help the contestant win 20,000 in the end.

Sale of the Century was a nail-biter tonight. The ladies were neck-and-neck, buying no Instant Bargains or Cash. The one guy was behind almost the entire game, until he picked up a number card on the Fame Game that caught him up in a hurry. In the end, the other lady beat the champ by one question in the Speed Round. She didn't do any better on the Bonus Round, though.

Finished the night on Pluto TV with Lost Horizon. I go further into this long and peculiar epic 1973 musical at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Cult Flops - Lost Horizon (1973)

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Changes Blow In

Began the morning with silvery clouds, breakfast, and Blockbusters. The champ made short work of a pair of sisters in the beginning and a mother-daughter team in the end, but he still struck out in the Gold Run bonus round. I think he got two answers there.

Switched to original My Little Pony on The Roku Channel as I made Orange-Chocolate Chip Muffins for lunch at work this week. "Crunch the Rockdog" mercilessly turns everything he touches into stone. The ponies discover from a living mountain he was made to be a guard dog without feelings. They have to bring him the mountain's Heartstone to make him understand how others feel about his actions. Meanwhile, romantic Truly can't understand how logical Wind Whistler can be so seemingly frigid...but sometimes Wind Whistler reveals how logic can be helpful in dealing with a problem.

Paradise and Fizzy would rather be reading and playing than repairing Paradise Estate. They think they've found the answer when a sorcerer sells them magic paint that will make anything easier to repair. What it does is make the furniture come to life and repair itself, then decide it doesn't like how the ponies handle them and chase them out. Only Baby Cuddles' motherly buggy remains faithful to her pony. It's Cuddles who finally ends "The Revolt of Paradise Estate" when she helps the furniture see that the sorcerer treats them even worse.

As the cartoons ran, I happened to look at the window and notice snow coming down, and hard. It didn't stick, or amount to more than very pretty frozen rain. It was gone by the time I called Uber...and of course, started again more heavily by the time the car arrived. At least the guy was a good sport about it, even switching to music from the Inauguration when we both came to the conclusion that neither of us really wanted to hear about politics. 

Thankfully, the snow was slowing down when I arrived and was gone by the time I went out to gather carts. The squalls did leave behind some nasty cold gales, blowing carts around and making it hard to push them. There was also a mix-up with the sweeping early in the day, and I got stuck in a register for a few minutes later to go in for a manager's break. (Apparently a lot of people called out or didn't show, I'm guessing because of the Inauguration.) At least it wasn't busy. In fact, we were dead almost the entire afternoon. It got a little busy at rush hour, then went right back to being dead. More help arrived later to take over the cleaning and sweeping.

Went straight into Match Game PM when I got home. Brian Billick, future Super Bowl-winning coach of the Baltimore Ravens, was a contestant in this episode. He's definitely a better coach than a game show player. He lost rather badly and didn't really seem to understand the game that well. The champ had a far easier time on Sale of the Century. She was ahead by the second half and killed at the Speed Round, winning a trip to Aruba. Still couldn't get that Bonus Round, though.

Finished the night after a shower watching the 1940 Thief of Baghdad at TCM's on-demand site. I'm in the mood for a good romantic adventure. Sabu is the title character Abu, who first encounters King Ahmad (John Justin) in prison. Ahmad was tricked by his Grand Vizier Jaffar (Conrad Veidt) into going among his people as a poor man. The two do manage to escape, only for Ahmad to fall for the Princess (June Duprez) of a neighboring city. Jaffar wants her (and her kingdom) too. He plies her father the Sultan (Miles Malleson) with mechanical toys in order to gain her hand, but she's in love with Ahmad. Jaffar angrily blinds Ahmed and turns Abu into a dog. He also tricks the Princess, letting Ahmed awaken her, only to force her onto a ship so he can get her to hold him. 

That restores the guys, but Jaffar shipwrecks them when they chase their vessel. Abu finds himself alone with a bottle and a genie (Rex Ingram) who gives him three wishes. It may take a lot more than even a genie's magic to help Abu find the All-Seeing Eye and keep his friend from ending up losing his love and his head!

Oooh, this was fun, and worth all the trouble they had filming it. (It started in England, but had to move to the US when World War II broke out and went through at least five directors.) The special effects still look pretty darn good, especially on the genie. Sabu and Ingram have the most fun as the young thief caught up in adventure and the genie who sees Abu as his ticket to freedom. I love the gorgeous pastel colors too, straight out of an Arabian Knight storybook. Honestly, if you love Arabian Knights tales or are also looking for a good adventure, you'll want to check this out on TCM or dig up the recent Criterion Collection release. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Discovering History

Began a sunny morning with breakfast and Blockbusters. The solo man quickly defeated a sister team...but this time, he didn't do nearly as well on the Gold Run round. In fact, I think he got two answers right. He was doing better with another sister team when the episode ended.

Let Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour run briefly while I did the dishes, then switched to My Little Pony as I made the bed. "Somnubula" is one of the stranger episodes from later in the original series. The  Big Brother Ponies return to Paradise Estate to find all of the female ponies missing. The babies and Spike reveal they were lured by a voice heard from a carnival. Turns out this is a circus of horrors, as the owner is draining the ponies of their youth...and may do the same to the Big Brothers.

(We only had one of the Big Brother Ponies...ironically, one of the ones who came out the year after this episode debuted in the second and last release and didn't appear in this episode. His name was Barnacles, Between his pirate hat and Cutie Mark and his bright red ringlet mane and tail, I had to have him.)

Moved to Match Game '75 briefly, but I ended up in my bedroom. Wanted to text Rose about getting a bike with Jessa, but I accidentally ended up calling her. She wasn't happy. She said she's too busy right now in quarantine for dealing with anything...and that I need to take all of this up with Jessa. Which I did. I texted her, then spent the next hour or so doing research on bikes online.

Broke for lunch at quarter of 2. Made a chocolate-banana-coffee smoothie while watching Hart to Hart on The Roku Channel. They once again only have season 1 and 2 available. Went with "The Latest Fashion In Murder" from season 2. Jennifer is flattered when she and Johnathan are asked to pose for a fashion shoot. Her delight turns to fear when she finds a major model murdered at a fashion party, and then the owner of the magazine dead at the shoot...and she and Johnathan suspect she may have been the intended victim of the latter.

Took a nap for a while after the episode ended. Between chatting late with Lauren while she's off work (she's back working for another two weeks) and the increased hours pushing carts, I'm really bushed. In fact, I only got up because I heard dinging on my phone.

It was Jessa, but she wasn't texting me. She needed to ask Jodie about how her driver's license. I texted her and told her I needed to talk to her, too. She said she'd be around at 5:30.

That gave me time to work on some writing. Robert Walden and Dolly Martin make sure renegade former pirate Richard Dawson actually helps them free the other women. Lorrie McCaffery is upset that she can't see her husband. Marcia Wallace just wants to kick someone's rear. Richard tells them he knows where the crews are hidden in the hold. Gene agrees to let him lead them down there, as long as they all dress as sailors and look like they're just out for a stroll with him...

Broke at 5:30, but I didn't hear voices on Jodie's side of the house until quarter of 6. Not only was Jessa there, but Jodie's Aunt Colleen was visiting too. Jodie revealed that she finally got an actual job - she's working for her uncle in his tax office. Second, Jodie's been going through a LOT of stuff. Boxes are piled here, there, and everywhere. Among the boxes and bins were one filled with old family photos of Dad and Uncle Ken. Jodie initially gave it to Jessa, but I told her I'd go through it. I'm good at organizing things. 

(She also gave me a hoagie, but it was Italian with salami and bologna. I ate half, then tossed it. Too salty for me now, and I'm not a big fan of salami or bologna to begin with.)

After dinner, I went through the bin. I couldn't believe my luck. It was filled with photos and memorabilia going back a century. The oldest photos were of Uncle Ken and Dad's father Albert when he was young, likely in the early 1900's. The most recent were of Uncle Ken's daughter Samantha and her husband Dave, I'm guessing from between 2005 and 2007. There were even Polaroids of a teeny me with young Samantha and her brother Guy during what was likely my first Christmas in 1979, and two more of Rose and me in the early 90's. 

The vast majority of the photos came from between the 1930's and the 1970's, from the cars, clothes, and hair styles. Dad showed me a few pictures of my grandmother, Pop Pop Al's wife, before, but nothing like this. There were photos of Dad's graduation and what was likely his prom, with him handsome and beaming behind girls in pastel dresses. Uncle Ken was in World War II and Dad was in Vietnam; I got to see them in their sailor and army uniforms before they left. There were photos of Uncle Ken and Aunt Jayne's wedding in the 1960's, and them with baby Samantha and Guy. Lots of photos of what I suspect were family trips to Wildwood in the 50's and 60's, including Wildwood torn to shreds in what were likely photos of the major storm that rained devastation on the South Jersey Shore in 1962

And that's just the photos. Boxes and a full scrap book held articles on Uncle Ken's career in high school athletics, both as a player in football, baseball, and swimming and as a coach. I found the announcement for his and Aunt Jayne's wedding, a wedding card from his family, and piles of programs from Uncle Ken's football games in the 40's and 50's. There was even a copy of local newspaper The Retrospect from 1995 with a lengthy article discussing Uncle Ken and his many athletic achievements. 

I'll go through it, but I really need to get a hold of Jessa, Rose, and especially Samantha. Sam will probably want Uncle Ken's things, and I know the other two will really want to see this, too.

Watched Match Game '74 as I worked. Morey Amsterdam and George Kirby replaced Charles in this episode, and they both did very well, too. Richard had more fun tossing Brett's shoe away, while everyone else tried to figure out what's huge, covered with feathers, and called Moby ___ and Richard tries to figure out who stole his seat. Match Game PM had its own fun as Ron Pallilo joined for jokes about what a guy's wife says whenever she walks into a department store and Richard's reminder that the lady should have listened to him in the Audience Match. 

The champ dominated on Sale of the Century. The one guy couldn't get anything going. The other lady did better, but the champ killed at the Speed round. She still couldn't get the Bonus Round money, though. 

Finished the night online with No Maps On My Taps at Watch TCM. I go further into this documentary on three great black tap dancers at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Musical Documentaries - No Maps On My Taps

Monday, January 18, 2021

A Fair World for All

Began the morning with readings in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The Colliers Harvest of Holidays anthology came out while King was still alive, but the material listed for United Nations Day works just as well. King and the United Nations both worked and work for peace. We had part of the book "A Fair World for All" by Dorothy Canfield Fisher and several poems. 

Quickly moved on to breakfast and My Little Pony. Mimic the unicorn is fading out, and only "The Golden Horseshoes" can save her. After the Moochick reveals that the four horseshoes were scattered across several countries, he tries to help Mimic while Megan and the other ponies search for the horseshoes.

Worked on writing after the cartoon ended. Brett lets all of the women out of the next room. Lorrie is upset that they've kept her away from her husband Anson. Marcia Wallace is just angry, period, and is ready and raring to kick rear. Richard says he's willing to take the others into the hold where Jack and the crews are being kept, but Robert Walden and Marcia are to keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn't betray anyone else.

Broke quickly at 11:30 to get ready for work. No problems whatsoever today. Both Uber trips went smoothly. Spent most of a partly cloudy and very windy day pushing carts. Also taught a new bagger how to gather carts and round up the trash and recycling. The only time it got busy was around 4, when we hit rush hour and anyone who went to work came home. Once rush hour ended, so did our customers. It was dead when left.

Arrived home in time for the second half of Match Game PM. We jumped way back to 1977 for this episode - I came in just as everyone was making jokes about what a mummy was holding when she was buried. They eventually answered "Octo __" on the Audience Match, and Richard tried to help a contestant win 10,000 on "__ Dream." 

Sale of the Century was a close one tonight. The one man did get a Fame Game, but it was really between the two women all night. The champ was ahead until the Bonus Round, when the other lady got ahead of her. She didn't get close on the Bonus Round, though. (And incidentally, if the new champ looks familiar, she won money nine years before on Password Plus as well.)

Moved to Ruby Bridges on Disney Plus after a shower. Ruby (Chaz Monet) is an extremely bright 6-year-old living in New Orleans in 1960. She's so smart, she's encouraged to attend a white elementary school by a Dr. Broyard (Peter Francis James). Her mother Lucy (Lela Rochon) thinks it's a wonderful idea and wants her children to have better educations. Her father Abon (Michael Beach), who ran headlong into prejudice during the Korean War, isn't so sure. 

Indeed, not only are there crowds protesting around the school when she arrives, but parents and most teachers pull out. Barbara Henry (Penelope Ann Miller), a woman from Boston who taught many different types of children on military bases, is her caring and supportive teacher. Not everyone agrees with Mrs. Henry's kind treatment of her student. Frosty Miss Woodmere (Diana Scarwid), the school's principal, wouldn't have allowed this at all if it wasn't for the new law integrating schools. As the year goes on, it proves to be hard for the entire Bridges clan, especially Abon, who loses his job and doesn't understand his wife's desire to move up in social classes. Child psychiatrist Dr. Robert Coles (Kevin Pollack) not only helps Ruby see how special and intelligent she is, but helps her family understand it, too. 

Wow. Hard to believe this one debuted on The Wonderful World of Disney in 1998. In fact, I remember the night it came out. ABC made a pretty big deal about it, and no wonder. This is one of Disney's best TV movies, far above anything they've done for The Disney Channel. Not only is the cast perfect, but the script pulls no punches. You hear the terrible insults the protestors call this six-year-old child who just wants to learn. You see how much this hurt her family, especially her skeptical father, and how it divided her neighborhood and her community. The performances are amazing, especially from Rochon and Beach as Ruby's parents with very different ideas on the importance of learning. 

Mom worked for one of the elementary schools in Lower Township as a graphic artist during the late 90's. She did a lot of research for a project several classes did on Ruby's story. She did see this movie when it came out and raved about it to me...especially since she lived in the south when all this happened and remembered Ruby's story well. If anything, this is even more relevant nowadays, with racial tension once more in the news. It can also be found on Amazon Prime, and I believe it's on DVD. If you haven't seen it yet, do so, especially if you have any interest in the history of the Civil Rights Movement or the changes the US went through in the early and mid-60's, or you remember them like Mom. 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Wild Is the Wind

Began the morning with breakfast and Anne of Green Gables: The Musical. I'm currently re-reading the book, so I thought I'd give this another listen. Apparently, this is Canada's longest-running musical, beginning as a TV musical and continuing in some form or another from 1965 until last year. It proved to be too old-fashioned for the US and barely made off-Broadway in 1971, but did better on the West End in 1969. It's the West End production that this recording is based on. 

Some of the songs are only middling, but there's a few gems here. I like "Humble Pie" as Matthew tries to teach Anne how to apologize to Mrs. Lynde, Anne and Diana's charming "Kindred Spirits" as they rhapsodize about their friendship, and Miss Stacy encouraging her students to "Open the Window" and let learning in. The ensemble numbers are where this falters. They're far too generic, especially the opening with nosy townspeople wonder where Matthew is off to and "Ice Cream," after Anne attends her first ice cream social. 

I'm a bit surprised I found this LP for practically nothing at the (now defunct) FYE in Philly. I don't think it's that common on this side of the Atlantic. Not the greatest musical, but enjoyable enough for fans of Anne Shirley and her world.

Headed off to work even before the album ended. Work was incredibly busy all day. Between the crowds and the wild wind, I had a hard time keeping up with the carts on my own. Thankfully, there were at least two other baggers there all day. (There was supposed to be a third after noon, but she never appeared.) One or the other came out to help me when things got too overwhelming. I was very glad when the clock hit 4 and one of the baggers and I were able to go home.

As soon as I got in, I fell into bed and took a nap. I've been so worn out lately. Jodie had guests in the den - I think the next-door neighbors - and I still slept for an hour and a half. 

Read some Anne of Green Gables after that, then listened to the soundtrack from Dreamgirls in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day tomorrow while eating leftovers for dinner. Of the additional material written for the film, my favorite number is the upbeat ballad "Love You I Do," which Jennifer Hudson performs at Rainbow Records after they just got started in Detroit. Other songs I love on this album include "Steppin to the Bad Side," Hudson's roof-blowing "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going," and the Dreams' energetic disco version of "One Night Only."

Finished the night online with vintage game shows on YouTube. Most people assume game shows skewer older, but there have been many kids' versions made of favorite adult shows. Since I couldn't find footage of Video Village Saturday morning spin-off Video Village Jr., I went with the similar Shenanigans from 1964. It plays like a kid-oriented version of Family Game Night from 40 years later. Kids play mini-games based around Milton Bradley board games, some of which (like Operation) are still being made today. 

Boy, do I wish NBC hadn't erased most of Storybook Squares. This 1969 Saturday morning show had Hollywood Squares celebrities dressed as characters from fairy tales (Abby Dalton was Miss Muffet), history (Wally Cox as Paul Revere), favorite stories (Paul Winchell and one of his dummies as Romeo and Juliet!), or characters from shows the celebrity appeared in (Carolyn Jones as Morticia Addams). Other than that and slightly smaller prizes for the kiddies, it plays pretty much the same as the regular show. It proved too expensive to sustain, but everyone loved doing it so much, they'd do occasional "Storybook Squares" weeks in the mid 70's. (And I don't blame them. The episode I saw was too adorable.)

Joker's Wild and The 25,000 Pyramid also did kids' versions. Joker! Joker! Joker! seemed to do a little better, running for two years. Junior Pyramid only went for a few months and a prime-time special. Adult version hosts Jack Barry and Dick Clark were in charge of these as well. They too were similar to their originals, only with easier categories and, in the case of Pyramid, encyclopedias and scholarships as top prizes. 

I remember being a huge fan of Teen Win Lose or Draw as a kid in the late 80's-early 90's. It's kind of like Pictionary or Body Language with drawing instead of acting out. In the first round, two kids and a popular young celebrity of the time try to draw words that form a puzzle. The kids guess the puzzle from the words the celebrity draws. For the second round, one of the kids draws their interpretation of a tongue twister, and the kid and celebrity have to guess that. The last round involves guessing what the final contestant is drawing as fast as you can. Wil Wheaton of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Josie Davis of Charles In Charge were the celebrities trying to guess what the artwork means here. 

King's World debuted two kid versions of it's wildly popular syndicated games Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune on CBS around the same time in the late 90's-early 2000's. With their bright colors, wild and bold set designs, and then-cutting-edge computer graphics, Jep! and Wheel 2000 look and sound utterly and totally of their time. 

I found Jep!, despite the odd set design, to be slightly more fun. The big change here is, if the kids get two wrong, they get something dumped on them - in this case, the kid got balls dropped on his head. Watching the kids think of the answers was actually pretty cute.

Wheel 2000 doesn't come off quite as well. The wheel itself looks cheap, the mini-games add nothing to the show, and the set design has dated even less well. Lucy is supposed to be the animated, ultra-hip version of Vanna White, but the CGI used on her looks awful nowadays, and she's far more annoying than she is cool or funny. 

See if you and your kids can play along with these vintage finds! 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Muppet and Matches Entertainment

Slept in this morning; didn't start Muppet Babies until past 10:30, after the rain had already passed. Razzie is "The Copy Cub" when she repeats everything her big brother Fozzie says and does. It's driving him crazy and keeping him from practicing for his big Joke Show. Bunsen and Beaker try to make two of Fozzie, so she'll copy the copy...but they end up making three Razzies instead! Now Fozzie has to figure out how to evade all three of them. "Animal Loses It" when he's fed up with losing every game he plays. Scooter and Skeeter invite the gang to play the jungle-themed board game they made. Animal has high hopes that he'll finally be a winner...but Nanny and Piggy help him learn that it's more important to have fun playing with your friends.

While I had no trouble calling Uber today, they were late, which meant I was late for work. Thankfully, that was the worst that happened all night. The Acme was busy when I came in, but they slowed down around 2 PM and never really got busy again. Once again, I was on my own until around 4, when more help arrived. Spent the last hour wiping down cooler handles and registers. No trouble whatsoever. 

Had some grocery shopping to do after work. Took advantage of an online coupon for Turkey Hill Ice Cream to treat myself to their Tin Roof Sundae (aka chocolate-covered peanuts in vanilla with fudge swirl). Found glass bottles of Chinese Five Spice and Herbs de Provenance in a cart filled with clearance spices and condiments. Thought I'd try frozen raspberries in my smoothies this week, since most fruit is expensive at this time of year. The Acme is having their occasional "Buck-a-Bag" produce sale; grabbed scallions, a bag of collard greens, cherry tomatoes, mini-cucumbers, baked rice pea snacks, and oranges. Restocked milk, yogurt, jam, ground turkey, a salad bowl for dinner at work this week, and chocolate chips. 

While I have slightly fewer hours next week, my schedule is otherwise an improvement. I still work pretty long on Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, but next weekend isn't as bad. Sunday is the only early day. Tuesday and Thursday off. I should still have time to call Jessa and ask her about the phone line and getting a new bike in Deptford.

(Oh, and my cell phone works beautifully. My old phone would have been down to 60 or lower by the end of the night and probably would have reset before I could use Uber. The new phone only dropped to 97 by the end of the night.)

Let Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour run in the background while I put everything away. Poor Gene Rayburn had laryngitis during this episode and sounded terrible; several panelists expressed their concern for him, including Marcia Wallace and Charles Nelson Reilly. Other notable panelists that week including Pat Sajak (who just began hosting Wheel of Fortune at that point),  Larry Manetti of Magnum PI, and the late Helen Reddy. 

Finished the night online after a shower with That's Entertainment III. I go further into the final That's Entertainment documentary at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Princess and Pony Tales

Began a dark and cool morning with breakfast and Blockbusters. The current solo champ played a pair of twin gentlemen, then went on to kill at the Gold Run bonus round. He was having a harder time with a perky mother-daughter pair when the show ended. 

Switched to the 80's My Little Pony on The Roku Channel while cleaning up from breakfast and getting organized. The second season kicked off with "The Quest of the Princess Ponies." The Princess Ponies are supposed to be the guardians of the magic wands that protect the balance of magic in Ponyland. Truth be told, they're spoiled and silly creatures who spend their time arguing over who should be queen. They learn a quick lesson in leadership and working together when an evil lava monster called Lavan kidnaps them and steals their wands. While Spike and the Bushwoolies rescue them, the other Ponies try to figure out how to rebalance the magic in Ponyland when Lavan's attempts to use the wands throws it into chaos.

Headed out as soon as the cartoon finished. Needed to run some errands, starting with a quick stop at Dollar General. Mainly stopped there to grab a cord for my cell phone. It did say that it was for an older release of the Samsung...but why would they have cords for phones that haven't been sold in years? I bought it anyway. I have too many cast album CDs to fit into one binder anymore. Grabbed a second one in yellow. Ran out of shaving lotion last week. My niece Lilah's sixth birthday is this weekend. I did send her birthday gift in her mother's Christmas package, but I forgot her card. 

Next stop was the laundromat. They weren't that busy, but the managers were installing new big front-loading washers for oversized loads and I didn't want to get in their way. I dumped my load into the smallest front-loader with the least time, then worked on story notes outside. 

After my load went into the dryer, I strolled to WaWa to get a Chocolate Chocolate Chip frozen hot chocolate. While windy and cloudy, it wasn't really cold or raining, probably in the lower 50's. It actually wasn't a half-bad day for mid-January. There were a lot of people out and about, especially around Elsie's, a deli and sandwich shop across from WaWa.

I got home and tried to slide the cord into my new cell phone...but it didn't work. It was just too big. Put on Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood to cheer me up while making a quick banana-cherry smoothie lunch. "Daniel Plays Ball" with the other kids and Prince Tuesday, but he's not very good at catching it. (Me too, kid. I can't catch a ball to save my life.) Prince Tuesday shows him how to catch and encourages him to keep trying. Daniel likewise helps "O Build a Block Tower." It keeps falling down, but they look for ways to keep it standing. 

The show just ended when Jodie came in. Apparently, I got a package in the mail. My Christmas presents from Linda and James Young finally arrived! She sent them over a month ago, but wrote the zip code wrong. They somehow ended up in Hartford, Connecticut, then everything was so crazy with the post office over the holidays, they didn't get here until now. I'm glad they did get here. She gave me a charming and folksy anthology of Lois Lenski Christmas stories and the TCM book Must-See Musicals. The latter is among the books frequently advertised on TCM before their movies start. I've almost ordered it a dozen times, but had put it off...and now I'm glad I did! They also sent a gorgeous gold-embossed reindeer card.

Shelved the books and my laundry, then went online briefly and ordered a cell phone cord that did say it fit my specific phone as a rush order from Amazon. After that, I took a nap for an hour and a half. I've had a very long week, had a long couple of months before that, and had no other plans for today. Even with the kids playing outside my window, I still had a nice rest.

Woke up around 5. Read Anne of Green Gables for a while, then went on my laptop and did some writing. Understandably, Gene doesn't trust Richard a bit after he threw him over in favor of Goodson. Robert Walden agrees to watch over him, mainly because he wants to ask Richard about Goodson and his corrupt government. 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. For some reason, Match Game '74 skipped way, way ahead. Jack Carter, dizzy blonde Louisa Moritz, and Orson Bean joined in as Jack stuck markers in his teeth and pretended to be a walrus and then ran off the set, Richard Dawson's chair somehow disappeared, and Betty White got tied up in electrical tape. Match Game PM went in the opposite direction to 1977. Sarah Kennedy and Dick Martin of Laugh-In joined in for jokes about what the senator gave to his secretary and "Beverly ___."

Made Coffee-Cinnamon Brownies while watching Sale of the Century. The young lady champ had a lot of stiff competition today, despite buying both Instant Bargains and the Instant Cash. She barely won the Speed Round by a question; had far more luck with the Bonus Round.

Jodie brought in the cord I bought on Amazon earlier while the brownies were in the oven. Yes, this one worked just fine. Took a look at my new phone while watching Jack Frost. I go further into this unique Rankin-Bass stop-motion fairy tale at an entry from my Musical Dreams Movie reviews from last February. 

Finished the night online. Jeannie tries to help Tony and Roger after they're pushed to their limits by a nutrition expert (Paul Lynde) in "Please Don't Feed the Astronauts." The expert sees all the energy Jeannie gave them and thinks they're up to his grueling trek across Skull Island. Still trying to help, Jeannie creates a "Friendly Native Village" of Arabians and makes the expert think he's having hallucinations.

Switched to TCM for The Little Princess. Shirley Temple's first color vehicle is supposedly an adaption of the Frances Hodgeson Burnett book. Here, her father goes away to the Boer War, Mrs. Minchin's silly sister becomes a shy brother (Arthur Treacher), her French maid becomes a friendly teacher (Anita Louise), and she has a handsome riding teacher beau (Richard Greene) whose grouchy grandfather (Miles Mander) disapproves of their relationship. Miss Minchin not only forces Sarah to become a servant after her father dies, she fires her two teachers in love after they marry. Here, Sarah doesn't believe her father is dead. With the help of Miss Minchin's brother, she dilligently searches the veteran's hospital for him. Ram Dass (Caesar Romero) still gives her beautiful things, but Miss Minchin finds out, and Sarah has to flee.

This one is a lot of fun in the first half, when Sarah is trying to play matchmaker, and then during her adorable dream sequence where she's a real princess, Bertie is her jester, Miss Minchin is a witch, and the teachers are peasant lovers. The last twenty minutes veer uncomfortably into melodramatic territory as Sarah desperately searches for her father; this would be done much better and more realistically in the 90's version. Enjoyable and cute if you're a Temple fan and pretty easy to find (it's in the public domain). 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

I'll Walk Alone

Began a cloudy morning with breakfast and Muppet Babies. Gonzo and Fozzie accidentally turn a painting Summer made for Nanny into "Summer's Disaster-Piece" when they splash it with paint. Gonzo distracts the others while Fozzie tries to fix the artwork, but he just makes it worse instead of better. It takes Summer's creative eye to find beauty in their mess. Fozzie thinks he has to say "Farewell, Statler and Waldorf" when he hears him say they're packing to leave. He tries to hide their suitcase while the kids find games to keep them at home.

Did a little bit of writing after I ate. Brett releases the other women, who are raring to go. Richard knows where they have Jack Narz and Gene's crew, but not Charles, who is being kept separately. He says he'll lead them to the hold, but Gene doesn't trust him after he betrayed him on the Marauder...

Broke to change and get ready for work around 11 and called Uber shortly after. I wanted to leave early to buy a new cell phone from the T-Mobile store in the shopping center behind the Acme. I know exactly what I wanted - a new Samsung phone that's basically an updated version of my old one. Thankfully, they'd just gotten a new batch of the smaller one in the day before. Buying that and a cover took longer than expected. I didn't have the chance to let him transfer all of my data to the new phone from the old one.

Work was pretty much the same as it's been the past week - mostly dead except during rush hours, when it picks up slightly. The sun came out around 2 and turned it into a beautiful, sunny day in the upper 40's, too nice for grocery shopping. Besides, most people are likely waiting for the holiday weekend to shop. I spent the entire day outside this time, gathering carts and what little trash needed to be done. I'm sore as all get out, but at least there were no major problems. Once again, I had plenty of help by the end of the night. 

I really should have let the guy switch my data over and just been a little late for work. I hadn't realized the man who set up my new phone threw away the ancient SIM card for the old phone. I had to get the password for Uber off my old phone so I could download it on the new one, and it took me longer than I care to admit to figure that out. And the old phone died again and I had to reset that. 

When I walked in the door at home, I realized I left the pink bag with the receipt and the box that held the instructions and charger at work. Now I couldn't charge a phone that was getting low or put it away. I was so angry with myself, Jodie ended up coming in when she heard me yelling. She did finally admit that she has no intention of selling the house anytime soon. According to her, it'll take anywhere from six months to a year to get her side of the house painted and re-carpeted enough to be presentable.  

She also told me Rose and her family are under quarantine. Her husband Craig started a second job with Amazon and came home with the virus. Thankfully, they caught it before it could spread to the rest of the family and he recovered quickly and well, but it means they can't go anywhere. Jodie's delivering food for them, too. 

Had a snack while watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Daniel Waits for Show and Tell," but he really wants to show off the photo album he and his dad made. Teacher Harriet distracts him and the other kids by singing songs and playing games while they wait for their duck egg to hatch. Daniel and Katerina also use their imaginations to pass the time during "A Night Out at the Restaurant." 

Finished the night online with That's Entertainment, Part 2. I go further into the second documentary, this time featuring Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly dancing and hosting, at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Morning With My Sister

Had a quick start this morning with breakfast and What's My Line? Turned the TV on just as they were going into the second guest. No one got close to figuring out the lady was the first female high school football referee in the state of Michigan. Soupy Sales, on the other hand, guessed in a few questions that the Mystery Guest was one of his favorite actresses, the lovely and multi-talented Joan Bennett. The third was a man who made a new type of coffee cup holder.

I just got online when Jessa arrived. We looked over all the phone lines and various companies...and came to the conclusion that the lines are fine the way they are for now. She and Joe are ok taking over Dad's payment for my extra line while I figure things out. For now, I think I will go to the T-Mobile behind the Acme tomorrow and pick up a new phone. As I was reminded last night, my cell phone really is done for. I'm worried it'll die completely one of these days. 

Even after we finished online, we continued chatting. She's now working for Amazon packing boxes for shipping. She only works during the weekend and one or two days during the week, but it's not much money or insurance, and it's very stressful. She did get the chance to give me sleep socks for Christmas, and I finally got around to giving her the last bag of Christmas cookies I made. We watched The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour while looking at old photos of Dad, her mother and my first stepmother Kaye, and Uncle Ken when we were little.

Jessa dropped me off at work. Thankfully, no problems today. I pushed carts and gathered trash and recycling almost the entire afternoon, except for the 15 minutes I ended up going in for a cashier so they could go on their break. By the end of the night, I had another bagger out with me and not a whole lot to do. Thankfully, there were no mistakes with Uber this time, and I went straight home. 

In fact, I got home so fast, I arrived in time for the second half of Match Game PM. This was the very last episode of the nighttime show in 1980. This time, it's Bart Braverman's turn to flirt with an especially cute contestant, while Betty White sat in for her friend Brett and made jokes. We skipped way ahead in 1988 on Sale of the Century. The champ had a hard battle with a smart lady who bought a fax machine, but he just barely got ahead in the Speed Round and won the bonus round puzzles with one second left.

Finished the night online, watching Idiot's Delight on demand at TCM. I enjoyed Clark Gable's goofy girlie dance routine from That's Entertainment so much, I thought I'd look up the movie it came from. Harry Van (Gable) meets Irene (Norma Shearer) in Omaha in 1919 when she debunks the drunk mentalist he's working for. She thinks he could be so much more; he thinks her claims about being Russian and her dreaming are as phony as a three-dollar bill. Twenty years later, he's taking a group of girl dancers through Europe when they're stranded at a hotel in a country about to go to war. Among the other guests stranded there are an arms dealer (Edward Arnold), an agitated pacifist who is convinced the arms dealer's weapons started the war (Burgess Meredith), and a young couple on their honeymoon (Pat Paterson and Peter Willes). There's also a blonde countess with a fake Russian accent who seems awfully familiar to Harry...

Honestly, the dance number is the best thing about this. While Shearer and Gable do have chemistry, the movie was based after a play and comes off as wordy, static, and preachy, and the anti-war plot has dated very badly. The movie uses two endings, one based after the original play for international audiences, one ignoring the bombings for US audiences. Neither ending works very well or makes a shred of sense. If you love Gable or Shearer, are familiar with the Pulitzer-winning play of the same name, or know what was going on in 1939, you may want to check this out at least once. Everyone else is better off catching Gable's vaudeville number on That's Entertainment or online.