Sunday, February 28, 2021

Rainy Day Matches

Began a gloomy morning with simple buttermilk pancakes for breakfast and Sugar. I've been wanting to pick up this musical version of the 1959 movie Some Like It Hot for years. It's pretty much the same as the film. Two musicians (Robert Morse and Tony Roberts) witness a gangland killing in Chicago in 1928. They disguise themselves as women, join an all-female band going to Miami, and make friends with the band's blonde bombshell singer Sugar Cane (Elaine Joyce). Not only are the gangsters wintering there, too, but a wealthy businessman (Cyril Ritchard) falls hard for one of the guys in disguise. The other falls hard for Sugar, dressing as a frigid yachtsman to impress her.

There's some cute songs, including "The Beauty That Makes Men Mad" for the musicians after they get into dresses and the gala "Sugar" for the guys, but it's really nothing special. Many people consider Some Like It Hot to be one of those perfect movies that don't need embellishment. It did well enough in 1972, running about a year and a half, but it was probably too old-fashioned for the time period. (Wikipedia indicates that it did far better elsewhere, including Mexico, England, Argentina, as well as on regional stages in a revised version.)

Headed out shortly after the record ended. No trouble anywhere today, including my first day back at work since last Sunday. Got Uber fast going home and back, for once. Work was on-and-off steady. We had plenty of help, inside and out. It's also the last day of the month, and the weather was terrible. It started showering lightly as I arrived at work. By 4. the shower was a lot heavier. Other than my relief just barely got in on time, there were no problems. Rose called me at work. I called her back at home, but haven't heard from her.

After I got in, changed, and called Rose, I finally finished up Pirates of Blank. Bill Cullen wakes up Gene in the dressing room they share. He wants to change the channel and watch a ball game. Gene's fine with that. He has a plane to catch, anyway. Since Bill's watching a Pirates-Dodgers game, Gene asks him if he'd like to be a pirate and stick it to Goodson. Bill shrugs. Other than he wish he got more for hosting The Price Is Right, he has no beef with his boss. Gene leaves him to his ball game with a sigh.

And that's that. This was intentionally supposed to be a shorter story after Fairy Tale Blank took almost all of 2020. The next one will revolve around the only regular currently without a fanfic, the Richard Dawson Zorro-inspired western Wild Wild Blank, and I'm planning on it being a long one. I'm hoping to start it after work tomorrow. For now, here's a little nautical nonsense for the end of winter!

Listened to another rare "old fashioned" Broadway show from the early 70's while having fish and the last of the arroz con pollo for dinner. Purlie is based after the play Purlie Victorious. A preacher (Cleavon Little) wants his sweetheart (Melba Moore) to fool the local bigoted landowner Ol Cap'n (John Heffernman) into thinking she's the servant of his long-lost cousin, so she can gain the inheritance money and Purlie can save the local church. Turns out that Ol Cap'n son's Charlie (C. David Colson) is nothing like his jerk of a father and is ultimately the one who helps Purlie save the church...and inadvertantly takes down his father in the process.

The great cast and some good songs make this a bit of an improvement over Sugar. Along with Little and Moore, we have Sherman Helmsley as a servant who would rather do things his way than fight Ol Cap'n directly. Moore's big song is the delightful roof-raiser "I Got Love" that ends the first act. I also like Little telling everyone how he's "A Newfangled Preacher Man" and the hard-driving chorus number "First Thing Monday Morning" for the male workers. The story may be a little too old-fashioned for Broadway nowadays, though this was seen as an Encores concert in 2006.

Finished the night online doing more game show salutes to Black History Month. I really wish CBS hadn't lost most of Musical Chairs. This 1975 music-based game show was the first to employ an African-American host, hip singer Adam Wade. The one episode on YouTube isn't in the best shape, but it does showcase some great performances by Irene Cara, Mary Stuart, The Spinners, and Wade himself (along with vintage commercials). 

One of the things I love about Match Game is the diversity on the panel. You never know who'll turn up in those glittering orange boxes. Probably the best-known African-American panelist would be Nipsey Russell. Known as "The Poet Laureate of Television," his ribald poems livened up many a game show, and he'd even do some hosting himself in the 70's and 80's. I watched his first show from 1973, and my favorite of his episodes from early 1979. Gene flees for his life behind the set when a lady contestant proves to be way too excited, but Nipsey has no trouble giving her a squeeze! 

Tough Scoey Mitchilll didn't play the game nearly as well as Nipsey, but he had some memorable moments of his own. He and Charles switched seats during an episode in 1976, prompting a lot of jokes and confusion from Gene and the rest of the panel. As a fan of The Jeffersons during my childhood, I had to include Isobel Sandford, who seemed to enjoy her one week on the show later that year. Jimmie Walker of Good Times could get a little annoying, constantly working up the crowd, but he was popular enough to appear on Match Game well into the '90's. His first episode in the 1990 version has him happily flirting with a very pretty contestant. 

Match and sing along with more African American Greats as we finish out Black History Month!

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