Friday, April 30, 2021

A Rather Blustery Day

Began a sunny morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Daniel learns his mother's pregnant, and "The Tiger Family Grows." He's a little reluctant to be the dad when he and Katerina play Mom and Dad, but he finally realizes that he's ready to help take care of a new sibling. "Daniel Learns About Being a Big Brother" when he helps his parents set up the baby's room. He wants to keep some of his old things at first, until he realizes how much he's grown out of them.

Headed out to work shortly after the cartoon ended. Work began very well. I spent the first half of the day outside, pushing carts before the gale-force wind could fling them in the way of cars and rounding up the outside trash. More help came in during the afternoon...after which I was pulled and dropped in a register for the last hour. 

Jumped straight into grocery shopping after work. Had big online rewards coupons for free butter and eggs and a dollar off the order, and smaller ones for bananas, yogurt, and mayo. Ben & Jerry's pints are buy one, get one. I don't often do Ben & Jerry's because their ice creams are so full of bits and pieces, they tend to be too decadent for me. Cherry Garcia is only cherry ice cream and chocolate flakes, and the new Chocolate-Banana-Peanut Butter Cup didn't seem that bad. Found a bag of soft sugar cookies on the bakery clearance rack. Bought whole-grain tortilla chips for a recipe I intend to do next week. Restocked ground chicken, oranges, jam, canola oil, lime juice, and milk.

Mixed feelings on next week's schedule. In good news, no hours later than 5, and bagging all week except Saturday. In frustrating news, long hours all week except Saturday, including a 8 1/2 hour day on Wednesday. Wednesday is one of the head bagger's regular days off, and a lot of people may have taken this week off as well now that our vacation cycle's starting over.

Came home in time for the tail end of Super Password. The second-to-last puzzle included "Favorite" and "Year" as clues, leading Richard Moll to guess his then-Night Court castmate Selma Diamond. She was indeed in My Favorite Year (in a brief but very funny role as the wardrobe mistress), but the actual answer was Peter O'Toole. 

The only panelists I recognized on Tattletales were Patty Duke and her then-husband John Austin, but they actually came in third. The big winners were, rather amusingly, a nationally syndicated columnist and her producer ex-husband, the first divorcees to appear on the show. Press Your Luck was just as crazy. Whammies slammed everyone throughout the entire episode. The champ finally prevailed when the other woman Whammied out at the last minute. 

Worked on writing next. Ira all-but-threatens Richard, telling him in veiled comments what'll happen if he tries to dig too far into the railroad's holdings. Richard outwardly agrees with him, insisting he has no interest in anything but keeping bar fights from getting out of hand...but he has a gleam in his eyes...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftover ham with broccoli and pasta and a salad, with strawberry shortcake for dinner while watching Match Game '79. Everyone gave some rather unusual answers to "Afternoon __," ignoring the most obvious at the time...the hit song "Afternoon Delight." Elaine Joyce was equally concerned to answer "New Orleans __." 

Brian Billick, later the coach who lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl win, didn't have nearly as much luck on Match Game PM in 1977. In fact, his answers weren't very good. He never matched any of the panelists. The winner had her own trouble choosing an answer to "Madam __."

For some reason, they skipped way ahead to Thanksgiving week 1988 on Sale of the Century. Once again, it was a very close game; this time, one of the ladies pulled ahead in the Speed Round. She too had trouble in the Bonus Round.

Finished the night online with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of The Painted Hills, the last Lassie movie released by MGM. A kindly older prospector (Paul Kelly) discovers a vein of pure gold in the hills, intending to give it to the widow of his partner (Ann Doran) and her son (Gary Gray). He tries to give his faithful dog Shep (Lassie) to the kid, but the dog returns to him. His other partner (Bruce Cowling) kills him for the gold, then tries to poison the dog. Native healers bring Shep back from death, allowing her to lead the kid back to the hills and find out what really happened to that poor old prospector.

Genuinely enjoyed this one. Ok, so it was corny, the dialogue wasn't spectacular, and Cowling was a pretty obvious villain. There was gorgeous scenery in the real-life California hills (even in the scratchy public-domain print they viewed) and a tense story, and the Natives were treated surprisingly well for a western from the early 50's. Recommended if you're a fan of Lassie or the darker westerns popular in the early 1950's. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Password Is "Romance"

Got so into finishing To Die But Once, it was 10:30 before I finally got out of bed. Blockbusters was already going into its regular rounds when I made scrambled eggs and orange slices for breakfast. The solo woman champ finally met her match in a grandmother-grandson pair. It was a close match, especially in the first round, but they ended victorious.

Switched to Mickey and the Roadster Racers at Disney Plus. Mickey and the gang are "Going Upppp!" when they compete in the first-ever Hot Dog Hills Hot Air Balloon race. Pete's thrilled when his equally sneaky aviator cousin Sky Commander Peterlovsky joins him to sabotage the others...but learns a lesson about cheating when his cousin tries to get him out of the race, too. Mick and Goofy are hoping for some quality time together when they've "Gone Fishin'," but the others just have to come along for the ride and disrupt their trip.

Headed out the door shortly after the cartoon ended. I wanted to run a quick errand while the weather remained decent. It was still sunny when I strolled to Dollar General, and even warmer and more humid than yesterday. It was in the mid-80's by almost noon. I stepped into the air conditioning to buy Cool Whip for dessert, hand soap for the kitchen (the bottle currently there was almost empty), muffin cups, and my favorite pecan roll.

Thank heavens there was a package waiting for me when I arrived at home. The Allen Ludden/Betty White biography I ordered two days after my birthday finally appeared. It's the last of the three Adam Nedoff-penned game show host biographies. I thought I'd save it for spring, a time of love...since Betty and Allen's story seems more romantic to me than any romance novel!

(Oh, and it started raining shortly after I got in, and has continued raining off and on for the rest of the day. The wind and rain got so bad at one point, I had to close the windows.)

Went online to check a few things, then made a Cocoa-Banana Smoothie for lunch. Watched Red Garters while ate, and later while making Lemon-Sesame Muffins. I go further into this truly bizarre stylized western satire at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Pluto TV was starting to act weird again, so I switched to watching Buzzr on The Roku Channel for the rest of the day. Came in just as Richard Moll gave his contestant a rather dark look as he gave a clue on Super Password. They did eventually get the puzzle, over soap opera star and singer Gloria Loring and her contestant. 

Milton Berle and his delightful wife Ruth and Amanda Blake and her gruff animal-tamer husband Frank Gibert were the big winners on Tattletales today, over Orson Bean and his wife Carolyn Jones. We had another wild game on Press Your Luck. At least the lady who won actually walked away with money this time, over 16,000 of it, and only one Whammy she got rid of in the second round. 

Worked on writing for a while after the show ended. Ira grills Richard, telling him more-or-less that he should do what his predecessor Sheriff London didn't and leave the railroad alone. Richard doesn't like being threatened, but he's not fond of violence, either. He shot those men in defense. 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Match Game '79 started with Gary helping a contestant try to get 10,000 with "Bless Your __." The male contestant that joined her later just didn't seem to grasp the game, giving lousy answers to questions like what happens when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has to cut back on singers. Brett pointed out Gene's beloved wife Helen in the audience on a Match Game PM from 1978.

Sale of the Century was far closer than it has been the past few nights. Though the champ bought both Instant Bargains and the Instant Cash, the lady won a Fame Game and the other man pushed him all night. In the end, he pulled ahead and won the Speed Round, but still had trouble with the Bonus Round.

Ended online with Hart to Hart on The Roku Channel. Max is "The Wayward Hart" when he goes off to somewhere other than Vegas after Johnathan and Jennifer tease him about being predictable. Johnathan regrets his joking when he's told the cigar he bought Max is actually toxic, and they end up trying to track Max down before he can smoke it. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Spring Into Summer

Began the morning with breakfast and Angelina Ballerina. The Roku Channel currently has the original early 2000's cartoon as part of their Kids and Family line-up. "Angelina In the Wings" is upset when her little cousin Henry gets to dance with Madame Zizi as one of her Sunbeams, and she has to understudy him. Zizi's conductor is ready to throw Henry out, but Angelina insists she can teach him the steps. Angelina nurses "Arthur the Butterfly" back to health, but is reluctant to let him go. She's furious when Henry accidentally releases him, but learns a lesson in what it's like to be trapped when she and Henry fall into a deep hole and can't get out.

Headed out to work shortly after the cartoon ended. Work was quiet for most of the day, except during the noon rush hour. It was too nice to be busy! The temperature was already in the 70's when I went out at 8:30. By 11:30, the lingering haze and clouds were long gone, replaced with sunshine, sizzling blue skies, and a warm wind. We're still short on help, though. I spent the afternoon rushing from sweeping inside to gathering inside recycling to doing carts because I had no one helping out inside.

Took the long way home down Nicholson Road again. It would have been a crime not to! It was too nice to rush. Everyone else in Audubon agreed with me. There was a smattering of traffic around the mall entrance. Otherwise, even Nicholson Road wasn't that bad. Enjoyed the scenery, the pale green leaves and rainbow gardens.

Thankfully, Buzzr on Pluto TV was up and running again by the time I walked in the door. I changed, then watched Tattletales. Milton Berle and his delightfully witty wife Ruth and Carolyn Jones and her goofy husband Orson Bean were the big winners today, over Amanda Blake and her animal tamer then-hubby Frank Gilbert. 

Press Your Luck could have used a lot more luck today. The game started well, with two contestants getting money in the first half. There were so many Whammies in the second game, the only contestant who didn't Whammy out was a very funny older lady. She became the champ by default, despite not winning anything.

Worked on writing for a little while. Ira Skutch sports a far more expensive and elaborately cut suit than the western wear Gene and Mayor Allen Ludden wear. Richard jokes about admiring it before Gene explains why he's really there. He wants Richard to be the new sheriff. Allen has already heard stories about Richard's prowess with a gun, but Ira doesn't like what he sees of this stranger...

Broke for leftovers at 6:30. Match Game '79 gives us a major milestone as Gene announces that Fannie Flagg is in the midst of writing her first book. (That would eventually become Coming Attractions, later Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man. It was finally released in 1981.) We also get a rather weird question about whom Harry the Super Salesman sold Polygrip to. 

Steve Kanaly of Dallas joins Elaine Joyce, Patty Duke, Richard Paul, Gene, and Brett and Charles for Match Game PM. We get a lot of interesting answers to what the snake gave Eve in an updated version of the bible and a Lawrence Welk joke (with Richard Paul doing a pretty darn decent Welk imitation). Later, Charles attempts writing in Yiddish, though it looks more like he tried to write a song, and helps a contestant answer "__ On White."

The champ dominated most of the game on Sale of the Century. While the other man did win a Fame Game, he bought an Instant Bargain and the Instant Cash and just got through the Speed Round. Didn't have as much luck with the Bonus Round as he did last night.

Finished the night on Disney Plus with The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffith. Eric Griffith (Roddy McDowell) is the butler for Arabella (Suzanne Pleshette) and her 12-year-old brother Jack (Bryan Russell) Flagg. Jack's obsessed with all things Wild West and California Gold Rush. When he discovers he and his sister are now broke and their home has been repossessed, he runs away to San Francisco. Loyal Eric joins him on the ship and becomes its cook. Arabella follows them too, hoping to keep them out of too much trouble. 

Eric and Jack hope to find gold with the help of a map given to them by actor Quentin Bartlett (Richard Haydn), but it's stolen by disreputable Judge Higgins before they can get far. They manage to find gold anyway, only to lose it again. Meanwhile, Arabella's taken a job at the local saloon as a singer, to Eric's horror. He accidentally knocked out saloon owner Sam Trimble's (Harry Guardino) top prize fighter Mountain Ox (Mike Mazurki), and now Sam wants to promote the rematch as the biggest thing to hit San Francisco in years. Arabella protests at first, but Eric insists it's the only way they can get their money back...if he can avoid Ox and his buffalo-sized fists!

I remember running into this one on The Disney Channel occasionally as a kid, but time hasn't been kind to it. Several gags involving Asian and Native American stereotypes can be more than a little uncomfortable for some people nowadays, and the goofy sped-up slapstick in the end looks more silly than exciting. McDowell and Pleshette do have a great deal of fun as the uptight butler who discovers he might have more tough guy in him than he thinks and the smart lady who wants to do things her way. I also love the charming cartoons used as transitions from one sequence to the next. In the end, I'd say this one is mainly recommended for fans of McDowell, Pleshette, or the Disney family comedies of the 50's, 60's, and 70's. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Sunshine and Matches

Began the morning with a quick breakfast and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Minnie Red Riding Hood" wants to take a bowl of her Minnie-stroni Soup to an ailing Goofy. The others help her avoid the Big Bad Pete, who will do anything to get that tasty-smelling soup!

Headed out short after the cartoon ended. Thank goodness I'm bagging and pushing carts for the rest of the week. It was too nice of a day not to! The weather got absolutely gorgeous, breezy, bright, and very warm, probably into the lower 70's by noon. Needless to say, between the beautiful day and this being the end of the month, we were only busy around the noon rush hour, and even that didn't last. I even had some help later. I was in and out with no trouble whatsoever.

The weather was so beautiful, I took the long way home down Nicholson to enjoy it. They were only busy around the entrance to the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center and the Hispanic church. Otherwise, it was smooth sailing. Everything is soo green now. The trees drip with spring green leaves and pale brown or red seed pods. Gardens overflow with tulips, azaleas, and rhododendrons in every color of the rainbow. 

As soon as I got home, I changed and put on Pluto TV to watch Buzzr...but for some reason, their Buzzr is acting really strange. The image keeps moving way too fast and gets so far ahead of the audio, they end up skipping. It's only doing it on Buzzr, too. I tried a few other channels, and they were all fine. Even the commercials were fine. Just not the shows.

I finally gave up and put on Can't Help Singing instead. I go further into this western romantic comedy featuring Deanna Durbin in her only Technicolor feature at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Worked on writing for a bit after the movie ended. Ira Skutch, the head of the railroad, is in a heated argument with Mayor Allen Ludden, the head of Televisa City. Ludden wants Ira's boss to sell off some of his land and Governor Todman to lower taxes. Skutch claims his boss needs that money for railroad expansion, so more people can come out and live in their fair city.

Broke to make turkey burgers and steamed broccoli for dinner, along with that pasta salad. Buzzr still wasn't working, so I flipped upwards to The Price Is Right. Buzzr has a vintage Price channel, and other than a bobble or two, that worked just fine. The episodes on the channel are from the early 80's, probably around 1983. Johnny Olsen is still the announcer and Bob still has dark hair, but other things remain the same. We still have mini-games, goofy Showcase Showdowns (the first one had a skit with the models as umpires at an umpire convention; the prizes were what the audiences at the ball games threw at them over their calls!), and familiar games like the Poker Game, the Grand Game, and the eternally complicated Check Game that even Bob has trouble explaining.

Finished the night online with the Match Game episodes I wasn't able to catch on Buzzr earlier, plus a good early PM show. Match Game '79 started off with Brianne Leary doing an amazingly limber headstand. She's more nervous when called on to match "__ Cement" in the Head-to-Head. Betty White is less happy about a joke about her husband Allen Ludden being so out of touch, he doesn't know that __ is over in Match Game PM. She's happier singing an impromptu prison number for a jail question.

One of my favorite Match Game PM episodes debuted very early in the series...and alas, a bad tape prevents it from being seen anywhere but YouTube nowadays. It's pretty similar to the "Admiral Color TV" incident, only this time, Richard insists that "Burns and Cuts" is on the Audience Match board and Gene doesn't think it is. Once again, of course, Richard is right, to the thunderous applause of the audience and Gene's general annoyance! 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Tooth and Consequences

Began a late morning with breakfast and the second half of Blockbusters. I came in just as the solo woman was about to begin the Gold Run. She started shaky, but picked up quickly after getting her first right question and ended up winning another 5,000. They were just introducing a brother-sister team when they finished for the day.

Switched to the most recent Muppet Babies episode at Disney Now while cleaning up from breakfast. Fozzie and Kermit are thrilled to reopen their pizza parlor, this time with "Best Pals Pizza Delivery." Kermit keeps forgetting to deliver the pizzas when he gets too involved with helping Walter, the lead character of his favorite TV show Wacky Alpacas, with his own problems. It takes Walter's balloon breakdown to make Kermit realize he should be focusing on his own work. "Summer the Science Penguin" wants to find a way for Fozzie's macaroni to stick on his picture without glue. She feels like a failure when none of her experiments work out, but Nanny encourages her to keep trying.

Went to Disney Plus for an earlier Muppet Babies episode. Having had many a bad day myself, I could certainly relate to Summer's "Upside-Down Day." She's disappointed after having trouble all morning. Gonzo tries to cheer her up by making the nursery, then the entire backyard turn over. Turns out that the real cure for her "Bad-Day-Itis" isn't as complicated as the kids think. It's "Tooth and Consequences" for Animal when he claims he hasn't gotten a present from the Tooth Fairy. The other kids take him to the Tooth Fairy's castle to find out what's going on.

After I finished the dishes, I called the dentist. I've had a broken tooth for years now. It didn't hurt until about two weeks ago. I put off calling them first because of my finances, then everything that came up last year. Now that I have money and my hours at work are slightly better, I really don't have an excuse anymore. To my surprise, they had a slot open later in the afternoon. I took it. Better to get it done sooner than later, and it's been a while since I've been to Target.

But first, I really needed to get my laundry done. At least it was a gorgeous day for a ride. Sunny, windy, cool but not unusually chilly for late April, probably in the upper 50's-lower 60's. I wasn't the only one taking advantage of the nice weather, either. The laundromat was busier than I've seen it in a long time. I barely managed to get a washer and dryer. 

Saw a man sitting behind a card table covered in plastic-wrapped soft pretzels on my way there, about a block from the laundromat. Today was Pretzel Day, and in honor of the day and the new pretzel store his family's opening in late June or early July, he was giving out freebees. Yum! The pretzel was warm, salty, and so soft, it practically melted in my mouth. Good price, too, from what I could see on the flyer he handed me. I may have to treat myself to a pretzel every now and then once they open. Worked on story notes while the laundry was in the dryer. 

As soon as I got home, I put the laundry away, then had a fast banana-strawberry smoothie lunch. Decided to try something different on Disney Plus while I worked. I'm surprised I don't remember the 1985 animated series Ewoks. Apparently, this prequel to Return of the Jedi and the Ewoks TV movies focus on the diminutive bear-like warrior clan and their lives before humans invaded their world. 

Started with the first episode, "The Cries of the Trees." Poor Wicket is always getting into trouble with his aunt, especially after older Peebo encourages him and his brother Willy to play a game that's supposed to be for the elders. The witch Morag wants the Ewoks out of their woods, which are dry from lack of rain. She forces the Queen of the Wispies - fire fairies - to burn their forest down. Wicket and his friends are the ones who come up with a creative way of saving their homes.

Ran a few quick Ewoks-focused shorts from the online Forces of Destiny female-based series. Leia helps two of her new friends make a quick "Ewok Escape" during Return of the Jedi, and we see how she got the tan dress she appeared in at their village later. The Ewoks want a nibble of stormtrooper at "The Imperial Feast." Leia knows it's not nice to eat people and sends Han to get rations from Hera of Rebels. She'll give them to him...for a price. She's the one dealing with Ewoks when they sneak aboard the Ghost with Chopper. But "Chopper and Friends" more than prove their worth dealing with TIE Fighters over Endor.

Hurried out as soon as the last short ended. The traffic was just starting to pick up on Cuthbert, but I managed to get across with little fuss. Noticed a nifty new mural on the side of Genova's Pizza as I passed. Someone did a colorful panting of junk food - pizza slices, milkshakes, fries - on a black background. I might have to make a closer inspection of it when I have more time.

Got to the dentist's office at the Westmont Plaza with just enough time to sign in. They were busy, but it thankfully didn't take long for them to call me over. Talked to the cheerful lady who cleaned my teeth first. According to her, they were really built-up, thanks to my having put this off for three years. 

After I finished with her, an equally sweet young technician took many x-rays of my mouth. The more dour doctor took a look after that. His conclusion is what I'd feared. The broken tooth not only will have to go, but I'll need another root canal. May need one in a tooth on my lower left side, too. A broken wisdom tooth doesn't hurt, but it obviously needs to come out as well. He also mentioned my gum disease is advancing. I was supposed to have seen a gum specialist in 2018, but I canceled because my dental insurance doesn't cover it, and I didn't have the money then. I made the appointment. I have it now. 

Made a quick stop at an equally busy Target on the way home. They had a really cute pack of striped cotton crew socks for $7. Looked at their purses, but they all seemed a bit to cheap for me. Grabbed unbleached flour and oatmeal, both of which cost a lot less there then at the Acme.

As soon as I got home, I took my recycling out to the curb, then rescued some of the boxes Jodie brought out there. The largest ones were too big to keep in my apartment, but if I'm going to move anytime soon, I'll need something to move my things in. 

Worked on writing for a while. Allen Ludden and Ira Skutch, the representative of the railroad, are arguing over the town's problems when Gene and Richard arrive. Allen protests that his boss, Mark Goodson, is not only buying up too much usable land, he's not stopping his friend Governor Todman from increasing taxes. Ira's complaining he doesn't have anything to do with that when they arrive.

Broke for leftovers at 6:30. Jon "Bowser" Bauman starts off Match Game '79 with his own poem about his experience on the show. The others tease Gene about his wearing blue socks with brown suit, while Bob jokes about him and Gene being "sex symbols" and ogles Brianne Leary in her cap and newsgirl outfit.

Fred Grandy returned for Match Game PM, along with Eva Gabor, Gary Burghoff, and Marcia Wallace. They almost lost Gary when he walked off after his answer of "cheesecake" as to what a delicatessen owner would cover the doorknobs with was booed. Eva had her own problems after she answered "__ and Proper" for a delighted Air Force officer...who accidentally kicked her foot and took off her toenail! (Brett and Marcia later revealed she took the injury well and was a real sport about it.)

Sale of the Century was dominated by the one male contestant. He took the lead early, won a Fame Game, and bought the second Instant Bargain. Won the Speed Round by a wide mile and got the Bonus Round money at the last second.

Finished the night at Shout Factory TV with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Final Justice. I was hoping this later Mike episode would have them making fun a western, but it was actually about Texas sheriff (Jon Don Baker) who chases an Italian mobster (Rossano Brazzi) across Malta after they're diverted to the island nation. A local police detective (Helena Dalli) joins him as he ignores orders to return to Texas and tracks down the men who killed his partner.

I honestly found this to be entertainingly cheesy, with or without the robots' wisecracks about Baker's weight and good-ol'-boy wardrobe and the bad dialogue. I wouldn't be surprised if my stepfather rented it when it came out in 1985. It's the kind of thing that was right up his alley - cheesy action with lots of blood, gunplay, violence, and a big man out for justice. Recommended if you're like Dad and love campy action, too. 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

The Games are Wild

The rain started late last night, and continued through early this morning. It was still raining when I opened my eyes. Thankfully, by the time I made tasty Strawberry Almond Pancakes for breakfast, it was long gone. 

Listened to the soundtrack of the 1962 Gypsy while I ate. The main reason I bought this was it includes the full "You'll Never Get Away From Me" with Karl Malden's part of the song and "Together Wherever We Go." Malden's vocals aren't the best, and he doesn't sing all the lyrics anyway, but it is nice to hear him with Lisa Kirk. I also got to appreciate "All I Need Is the Girl" and just how hilarious "You Gotta Get a Gimmick" is. 

Tried to get Frozen II going, but...for some reason, the record wouldn't work. It would start turning, then suddenly stop. I had a hard time pushing the red vinyl record through the center. I'd try it again later.

This time, I made it to work with more than enough time to bring the bike in the back. Work was just as much of a pain as yesterday. We're always busy on Sundays, and we still don't have enough help. If people aren't on vacation, they're afraid to come back to work because of the virus. I was told to go in for the man in the Express lane around 3 for his break...and then he never came back. Nobody bothered to tell me until later he left early. Thank goodness I was done at 6. Not only did it slow down considerably by then, but they recruited a younger cashier to come in for me.

Hurried straight home afterwards. Changed, then went to make dinner. To my surprise, I found several foil-covered bundles on the counter and in my refrigerator, along with a plastic bag of pasta salad and two sugar cookies in bags. The bundles on the counter were rolls; the ones in the fridge were sliced ham, meatballs, and a small Italian hoagie. Checked my phone and learned via text that Jodie went to her niece's christening and brought home plenty of leftovers, enough for both of us. 

Gave up on Frozen II for the time being and listened to The Music of Broadway 1932 instead as I ate dinner and made Ginger Molasses Cookies. Songs from shows of that year are covered here, mainly by orchestras and their singers, though a few do get the original performers to do a number. Lupe Velez's "Conchita" from Hot-Cha! even sounds like it was taped live. 

The shows may not be remembered today, but many of the songs are. Two Irving Berlin standards came from the semi-revue Face the Music, "Let's Have Another Cup of Coffee" and "Soft Lights and Sweet Music," plus one that's familiar to me from the Unsung Irving Berlin CD set, "I Say It's Spinach." (Listen for the cute Popeye gag at the end.) The revue New Americana wasn't a hit, but it did contribute what could be the anthem for the early Depression era, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" Fred Astaire introduced Cole Porter's "Night and Day" and "After You, Who?" in Gay Divorce, his final Broadway show. Disc 2 got more romantic, with a medley of songs from the Jerome Kern operetta Music In the Air (including the hit ballads "I've Told Ev'ry Little Star" and "The Song Is You")  and music from the Grace Moore vehicle The Dubarry

Finished the night on YouTube with a salute to game show producers Barry & Enright. Jack Barry and Dan Enright met when they worked together at WOR in North Jersey. They started making panel shows in 1947 with Juvenile Jury. This is the cutest panel show I've ever seen. Six kids under the age of 10 help their peers with their problems while Jack Barry moderates. The kids themselves are utterly adorable, especially precious 4-year-old Susan and sensible 6-ish Charlie. 

They finally hit it big in the world of game shows with the controversial Twenty One. Yes, this is one of the shows that were fixed - the contestants knew many answers in advance - and lead to the infamous game show scandals of the late 50's. I went with the battle between James Snodgrass and Hank Bloomgarden. They would later apparently replay one game that was questionable...but Snodgrass was fed the answers, and supposedly would later send himself the script.

It wasn't until the 70's when Barry and Enright got back on their feet and felt free to move ahead with projects together. Their biggest later hit was The Joker's Wild. Barry returns to host the 1972 CBS version. Simple isolation booths and questions are replaced with a giant slot machine spun to reveal topics. The contestant chooses a topic and answers a question. If a Joker comes up, the money value is doubled. I have fond memories of seeing the later syndicated version with Barry and Bill Cullen on USA when I was a kid, and it was nice to watch this one, too.

My favorite Barry-Enright show is by far the late 70's-early 80's syndicated Tic Tac Dough. Once again, contestants choose topics from a board to answer questions. This time, we have monitors set up to resemble a tic-tac-toe board, and they have to get three questions right before moving on to the Bonus Round. If they can avoid finding the roaring dragon in a monitor, they'll win a prize package. I loved answering the trivia and always crossed my fingers that they'd avoid that scary dragon! Wink Martindale is the host in this 1984 syndicated episode.

Jim Lange takes over for the very similar Bullseye from 1980. The tic-tac-toe board is replaced by three circles, two with categories, one with numbers or a bullseye. The numbers determine how many questions are to be answered; the bullseye allows the contestants to answer as many questions as they want. The contestant could either keep the money or put in the bank, to be won by either player. The "Bonus Island" round replaced the questions with money values. If the contestant got money values, they could answer questions and accumulate cash, If they got a bullseye, they could freeze it for later. If they got a bolt of lightning, the round was over. 

I remember seeing this show on the USA Network when I was a kid, but didn't recall much else besides that weird spinning board. It's all right, if an obvious clone of Joker's Wild

Barry and Enright didn't seem to have as much luck diving into celebrity-based shows. Not a single one of their three celebrity panel shows that made it to air lasted more than a few months, including Break the Bank from 1976. Tom Kennedy hosted the ABC daytime version I found here. Two contestants answer questions from ten celebrities who are on either side of a huge flip-board. Some of the spaces on the board have dollar amounts, some have money bags, some are blank, and one has a Wild Card. Blank spaces end your turn. Dollar amounts give us questions and the stars' opinions as to the answer. Money bags meant you could take the pot, or flip it over and continue the game. The Wild Card can be used for anything.

Between the elaborate board and all those panelists, this one is way too complicated. Not only that, but like Hollywood Squares, they made it obvious all the wisecracks from the contestants were scripted beforehand. Kind of fun, but between the board and the panelists, it's a little much. I can understand why it struck out on ABC and in syndication.

Explore the world of two of the earliest and most controversial TV game show producers with these vintage finds! (Look for the original commercials on Juvenile Jury and Twenty One...and be wary of Bullseye. All of the copies of that show only currently seem to have sync problems.) 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

It's a Warm Spring, Charlie Brown

Began a quick morning with breakfast and It's Arbor Day, Charlie Brown. Sally has to write a report on Arbor Day for school and decides that the best way to do it would be to plant a garden. She and the other Peanuts choose Chuck's baseball field to sow their seeds, to his least until it looks like their crops might help them win a game.

Rushed off to work shortly after the Peanuts ended. I wish I hadn't. Work wasn't fun. We were fairly quiet when I got in, but things picked up by noon and stayed busy until around 4. The weather was glorious, sunny, breezy, and much warmer. I just couldn't do anything right. I came in on time, but I was scolded for taking too long to put my bike in the back room, and later for being on break for a little too long. At least the customers were in somewhat better moods. People wanted to pick up food for barbecues and outdoor meals, and just to be out and about on a lovely day.

Thank heavens it slowed down enough by 4:30 for me to shut down with no relief. I had my own grocery shopping to do. Found another cheap salmon fillet and bowl of shrimp and a container of ground turkey with a manager's coupon. Spinbrushes were buy one, get one 50 percent off. My teeth have been sore; I thought trying an electric toothbrush again might help. The large three pound container of strawberries was on another $3.99 sale with an online coupon; picked up a loaf of angel food cake off the bakery clearance rack to go with them. Restocked oranges, yogurt, milk, cereal, whole wheat flour, batteries, bananas, and oatmeal.

My schedule next week is a vast improvement over the previous couple of weeks. The only day I work 8 1/2 hours is next Saturday, and that's because the head bagger went on vacation again. In fact, I'm bagging all week except for tomorrow. There's always plenty of bagging help around on weekends.  Otherwise, I'm mostly around in the morning and early afternoon. Monday and Thursday off.

Went straight home after I finished. Changed, then put everything away. Had the shrimp with a green salad and Honey White Bread with strawberry preserves for dinner while watching Sheriff Callie's Wild West on Disney Plus. Everyone in Nice and Friendly Corners love Farmer Stinky's prairie peppers so much, they anoint him "King Stinky" and will do anything to get them, including all his chores. Stinky's enjoying the attention, but Callie wonders why he hasn't produced the peppers yet. "Abigail's Big Story" is a made-up article she wrote about Vanilla Plains to have something exciting to put in the paper. Trouble is, Peck and Toby believe it. Sheriff Callie and Abigail rescue them from the dangerous plains as Abigail realizes what a little white lie can do.

Switched to Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood as I finished dinner. As someone who isn't good at most sports and is terrible at catching, I can very much relate to "Daniel Plays Ball." Daniel plays a ball game with Prince Tuesday, Prince Wednesday, and Miss Elaina, but he has a hard time catching the ball. The others encourage him to keep trying. "O Builds a Tower" of blocks that will be the tallest in the classroom...if he and Daniel can keep it from falling down! Teacher Harriet reminds them to keep trying and find new solutions.

The original Sailor Moon is on Hulu in its entirety, in English and Japanese. "Usagi's Panic: Rei's First Date" happens when she manages to wrangle an afternoon in the park with an amused Mamoru. Usagi grabs nerdy Umano in order to follow them. Meanwhile, Ami is more concerned about her friend, the park's caretaker who is devastated that it's to be destroyed for a new office building. She's really on the alert when animals attack first the developers, then her and her friends...and the girls realize what happens when you don't play nice with Mother Nature.

Finished the night online with the 2012 film version of The Lorax. I go further into this noisy expanded version of the Dr. Seuss environmental fable at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

Spring at Home

Began the morning with breakfast and Blockbusters. Came in as a solo lady played a brother-sister team. She finally beat them, then won the Gold Run after a shaky start. She was on the first round with a mother/daughter team as the show ended.

Took a stroll to Dollar General after the episode ended. It wound up being a rather nice day, despite the continuing heavy wind. At least it was dry and cloudless, if a bit chilly. They were a bit busier than I expected, given the decent weather. I finally picked up a can of mandarin oranges, cooking spray, a kitchen towel to go along with the one Linda Young sent me for my birthday, and dry cloths for my dust mop. Thought I'd try Squirt, a brand of Mountain Dew-like citrus soda I'd heard of, but never seen until today.

Got home in time for an orange-strawberry smoothie and the second Match Game '75 episode. Years before Joan Collins became the most beloved villainess on prime time, she turned up in a memorable week with Scoey Mitchilll and Patti Deustch. Charles' answer for "Bi __" on the Audience Match was "bisexual"...and surprisingly for 1975, not only did the contestant choose it, but it was the second answer on the board. (Charles looked quite satisfied after they revealed the answer.) Later, Gene literally climbed the audience to get to a camera that wouldn't cut to a commercial!

After the lunacy with Match Game, I turned to cable-based apps on my new TV that were a lot safer. Activated Disney Now, Cartoon Network, TCM, Nickelodeon, and Nick Jr. Watched a recent episode of Bluey to test Disney Now. Bluey and Bingo are disappointed when they wake up on "Easter" to find that the Easter Bunny didn't leave them any colored eggs. He did leave a clue in their baskets, leading them on a merry chase all over the house looking for clues leading to the hiding place of their eggs.

Checked out the first episode of We Bare Bears to test Cartoon Network. The bears are ready to take prisoners when a backpack with "Our Stuff" is stolen after a basketball game. They try to retrieve it with the help of some shady pigeons, but end up making a worse mess all over town.

Ran the 1944 Kismet to test TCM and to watch while I worked on Honey White Bread. Ronald Coleman is magician and "King of the Beggars" Hafiz, who passes himself as the Prince of Hassir to gain entry to the home of the Grand Wazir (Edward Arnold). He's hoping the Wazir will marry his lovely young daughter Marsinah (Joy Page), but she's in love with the man she believes to be the gardener's son (James Craig). Hafiz wants to run away with the Wazir's head wife Jamilla (Marlene Dietrich), but he's caught and arrested for stealing clothes. He gets out of it only by promising to murder the Caliph...but he's the one who's surprised when he realizes whom the Caliph really is. Now he has to dodge the Caliph's men, save Marsinah from the Wazir, and get out of Baghdad with Jamilla, before they all end up losing a lot more than their hands.

Coleman makes for a charming rascal in this Technicolor Arabian Nights confection. Dietrich isn't the first person you'd drop in a story set in old Baghdad, and indeed, she does seem a little out of place. Arnold has more fun as the scheming Wazir. The sets and costumes are gorgeous, looking like illustrations from my old Arabian Nights book come to life. The musical remake has its own fun, but if you're a fan of Coleman or Dietrich or are looking for something closer to the original play, this is worth making appear.

Switched back to the second half of Super Password, just in time to see Jamie Widdoes try to help a lady through the bonus round. He and his new contestant only had slightly more luck with the next puzzles. Comedians Marty and Frenchie Allen were the big winners on Tattletales - and I do mean big, with over 500 won for the red section. 

Everyone got slammed with Whammies in the first half of Press Your Luck. The second half went better. The champ eventually just picked up enough money to beat the one guy and exceed what was then the money limit at CBS, entering the "hall of fame."

Heard giggling on Jodie's side of the house as Press Your Luck ended. Rose was visiting briefly with the kids. Finley was dying to come and see the Cabbies. We bounced on my mattresses (I don't have a real bed) for a few minutes before she played with my Cabbage Patch Kids at their little table and with my stuffed black kitty Luna. Mom, Khai, and one of the neighborhood kids came around a few minutes later to retrieve her...and a few minutes after that to find her favorite blanket.

Worked on writing as the dough rose on the window ledge in my bedroom. Gene explains to Richard that the railroad bought a lot of the land vacated by settlers that the Wild Rider Gang drove away. Sheriff Michael Landon was looking into this before he died...and likely died because someone didn't appreciate his meddling.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Watched Match Game '79 while having crab cakes and leftover asparagus with my Honey White Bread. (It baked well enough, but the dough came out too cakey and bland.) This week finished with jokes about what a lazy dog chases and Fannie helping a contestant win 10,000 on "__ Harry."

Tonight's Match Game PM episode was hilarious...and actually, rather sweet. A poor lady was so nervous, she couldn't even remember her husband's name! Gene held her hand until she calmed down. Joyce Bulifant was only a little less nervous when she had to help her win 12,000 on "__ Inn." 

It was another close one Sale of the Century. Everyone bought something or won something, and no one pulled ahead until the champ pushed out slightly in the second half. She finally won the Speed Round by two questions, but had more trouble in the Bonus Round.

Finished the night on The Roku Channel with The A-Team. "The Battle of Bel-Air" from the second season introduces reporter Tawnia Baker, who is undercover as a clerk in a security firm. She warns the A-Team that Decker's after them, then recruits them to help her save an oil-sheik from being murdered by corrupt company executives. 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Cold for Earth Day

Kicked off a sunny, cold morning with a quick breakfast and an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The gang is holding a surprise party for Minnie, but they give her so many chores to keep her away while they set it up, she doesn't feel terribly appreciated. She dreams that Fairy Godmother Clarabelle gives her a fancy dress and glass shoes and helps her attend Prince Mickey's ball as "Minnie-ella."

Hurried off to work even before the show ended. I worked the register for the entire 8 and 1/2 hours today. It was...mostly very boring. We were on-and-off busy, and once again only had long lines because we had no one to take them. There were only two cashiers until almost the evening. I did get a WIC check in the end that almost made me late getting off, but other than that and the occasional lines, there were no major problems. 

Raced home as soon as I could. My new DVD player came today! It's a Mediasonic, and it's small - even smaller than the Sony - and very easy to set up and play. All you need to do is just plug the right cord in the sockets. My only complaints is that the buttons are downsized too, on the player and on the remote control. It's hard to tell what's stop, pause or menu. Otherwise, it appeared right away on my TV and played fine. 

Worked a little bit on writing after that. Richard notes the splendor of the City Hall furnishings. That's because the railroad has their offices on the second floor, Richard explains. Head boss Mark Goodson is usually in New York and is rarely seen, but his representative Ira Skutch is usually in residence.

Jodie knocked at the door to the main house around quarter of 6. Did I want some shrimp scampi and a very salty piece of garlic bread for dinner? Sure, why not? I've had a long couple of days, and I probably wasn't up to cooking anyway.

Switched to Match Game '79 after I broke for dinner at 6:30. We have a new group today, with sweet Susan Richardson, dour Richard Deacon, and Robert Pine of Chips joining Fannie Flagg and the regulars. Deacon's even grumpier than usual when the lights on his name look like they aren't lit, while Brett and Charles make jokes in the background. Gene has to referee Wesley Eure and Debralee Scott  teasing each other on Match Game PM, while Charles tries to help a waitress at Disneyland's private club win 10,000 on "Turning __." 

In honor of Earth Day, I put on The Lorax as I relaxed on the futon. The Lorax is a strange little orange fellow who speaks for the Truffula trees, but the greedy Onceler insists on chopping them down at an alarming rate to make his faddish Thneeds. It takes the Onceler driving away all of the animals and plantlife in the area and the loss of his business to make both understand the devastation that unchecked "progress" can cause.

Finished the night with Meet Me In Las Vegas at TCM's on demand site. I go further into this vehicle for Dan Dailey and Cyd Charisse and travel brochure for Vegas in the 50's at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Wind Storm

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Jem on Tubi. It's a "Culture Clash" when the Holograms' agent hires an eccentric creator of wacky modern sculptures to be the art director on their new video. The Holograms don't think much of his creations or his avant-garde ideas, especially when they get in the way of their performing. For once, it's the Misfits who cause trouble when they find out that the owner of the art gallery who sells his sculptures is using them for criminal activity. The Misfits' manager Eric Raymond inadvertently helps Jem and the artist prove their innocence - he's a genuine fan of the man's work. 

Headed off to work shortly after the cartoon ended. It was sunny and relatively warm when I rode to the Acme this morning, and it remained so...until around 1:30. Clouds built up on the horizon, and the wind picked up from a gentle breeze to a howling, thrashing gale that send carts and flower petals spinning everywhere. I hurried all over the parking lot, gathering as many carts as I could before the storm began. 

The storm never came. Customers reported a shower for about 10 minutes around 2:30-3, when I was on break and sweeping the store. Other than that, it remained gale-force windy and cold for the rest of the day. No thunder, no lightning, no more rain. It got cloudy, but that never resulted in anything more than it being a little darker than usual around dinner. 

Hurried straight home after work, hoping to beat the weather. When I got in, I changed and turned on my new TV. Added it to the accounts for most of the apps I stream regularly, including Disney Plus, Hulu, Amazon Video, YouTube, and Peacock. I'll get the cable-based apps moving when I have more time on Friday.

Did a little bit of writing next. Richard admires the well-appointed City Hall. Gene admits that, though the town's doing relatively well, it's mostly due to the man who owns half the businesses in town, Mark Goodson the railroad magnate. His representative, Ira Scutch, is with Mayor Allen Ludden as they speak.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Got a surprise when I opened the refrigerator and saw a plate covered in foil. Turns out Jodie left me a tasty dinner of chicken and rice in (likely jarred) gravy and steamed asparagus. 

Ate while watching Match Game '79. This took place later in the week of the infamous excited contestant who attacked Gene. By this point, she'd been defeated by players who were a lot calmer. Meanwhile, the panel has fun with figuring out what an Eskimo cheerleader likes to rub and the answer to "__ Tender" in the Audience Match.  

Made Chocolate Chip Muffins while Match Game PM was on. As goofy as he can be, Jon "Bowser" Bauman can occasionally be a pretty decent player, as he is here and on Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. He's the one who has to help a contestant get 10,000 on "Benjamin __." 

Slid the muffins in the oven towards the end of Sale of the Century. The champ and the one guy started out pretty close, but she jumped ahead towards the middle of the show, even after buying an Instant Bargain. She won the Speed Round by a wide margin, but continues to have trouble with the Bonus Round.

Tested Disney Plus with an earlier episode of Muppet Babies. Gonzo is so into winning, he creates "The Great Gonzo's Desert Grand Prix" so he can compete with the others. The race isn't as much fun when he uses Mario Kart-style obstacles to ensure he wins. Statler and Waldorf, who were acting as commentators and referees, remind him that it's more important to enjoy a race with your friends than to win. Animal becomes "Animal Kong" when he can't get his drumsticks during quiet time and gets so angry, he grows to ten times his size. The others do everything they can to calm him down.

Finished the night online after a shower with Charlie's Angels. "Angel Flight" lets Kelly and Kris fly the not-so-friendly skies as they investigate who's sending black roses and making threatening phone calls to a friend of Sabrina's. She runs a school to train stewardesses...but someone is determined to spook her into obeying them. After one of the stewardesses is killed, Sabrina's friend is a lot less willing to discuss the matter. Now Kelly and Kris need to figure out who's making those phone calls, before the experimental plane they're taking their test run in has a very bumpy flight. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Springtime In New Jersey

Began my day with breakfast and Springtime In the Rockies. I go further into this Canadian-set vehicle for Betty Grable and Carmen Miranda at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Did a few chores around the house while I worked. Moved the children's picture book anthologies and fairy tale collections to the bottom of the kids' books shelves in the hall to make more room for my books on media history. Made the bed - the sheet was almost falling off. Grabbed a huge box off the porch - my TV arrived! I'd fiddle with it when I got back from doing the laundry.

It was such a lovely day, I might have done my load at the laundromat, even if Jodie wasn't home. The beautiful weather was reflected in the largely empty building. It did start to pick up a little later, enough for me to sit outside on the concrete barrier and enjoy the warm 70-degree day and fresh breezes as I worked on story notes.

Tried to get the TV set up when I got home, but it proved to be very different than my old set and a lot more complicated. First of all, I had to screw on the rather spindly little legs. It took me at least five tries to hook my Roku account up to the new TV...and then the darn thing spent most of the rest of my time there updating and adding new software. I also had to figure out where to put it. It's a 32 inch TCL, almost twice the size of my old 19-inch Sylvania. I quickly ate leftovers for lunch, threw on my work clothes, grabbed a banana for a snack, and dashed out.

Got incredibly lucky at work today. I'd been in the register for a half-hour when one of the college students came in for me. Seems they had no afternoon bagger today. They didn't even call out. They just didn't schedule anyone. I gleefully took over sweeping and pushing carts until the evening bagger arrived at 6, after which I turned the sweeping over to him and focused on pushing carts and enjoying that stunning weather for the last half-hour.

Returned to messing with the TV when I got home. First of all, none of my previous electronics come with an HDMI port - not the DVD player, not the Wii. I could probably get one for the cable box from Jodie, and Lauren told me there's HDMI cords you can buy for the Wii. I did replace the DVD player, though. I've had it for about four or five years, since the old DVD recorder died. It works just fine, but it's also not made for the new up-to-date smart TVs. The one I ordered is about the same size and is even region-free. I've always wanted to see British and European musicals like Jessie Matthews' 30's vehicles and German operettas of the pre-war era.

Thought I got the TV working, but it kept blinking in and out while I watched Match Game PM on Pluto TV. Turns out the reception is poor, no matter how much I turn the darn thing around. After resetting it twice, it finally started behaving during Sale of the Century. Good thing, too. This was an interesting game. The one guy kept jumping in with the wrong answer and couldn't get near the ladies. The champ easily won the Speed Round, but still had trouble with the Bonus Round. 

Monday, April 19, 2021

Birthday Bounce

Knock knock knock!

Persistent banging at the door to the main house jolted me out of slumber late this morning. Jodie had a package for me. It was one of my several eBay birthday gifts to myself, the double DVD set of Nancy Goes to Rio and Two Weeks With Love. I actually bought it for the latter, a turn-of-the-20th century-set vehicle for Jane Powell and Debbie Reynolds. I remember catching it on TCM around 2001 and thinking it was really cute. Both movies might be nice for summer vacation-themed reviews in July and August. 

Couldn't go back to sleep after that, and it was almost 11 AM anyway. I read in bed and did my journal for a while. It was past noon when I finally got up and moving. Match Game '75 already began, even as I poured milk into my shredded wheat. Bill Macy, who was appearing on Maude with Beatrice Arthur at that point, figured in to one of the wilder weeks of that year. In the first episode, a comment from the pretty young contestant that she didn't have any response for the Audience Match lead to a rather amusing slip of the tongue from Gene. The second featured a question as to whom would play the Beast to Betty White's Beauty. 

Made Oatmeal Raisin Cookies while finishing out the Mickey Mouse In Living Color set. My favorite color Mickey shorts had him joining Goofy and Donald for some truly inspired gags. "Clock Cleaners" has Donald tangling with a spring while Mickey saves a woozy Goofy from falling off the edge. Their ideas of being "Moose Hunters" is for Donald and Goofy to dress as a female moose and Mickey to grab the male one. Needless to say, it doesn't work out well. "The Whalers" has them hunting on the high seas, but Goofy can't even figure out the cannon. "Moving Day" doesn't go much better. When Sheriff Pete claims he's going to sell their belongings at auction, the trio try to high-tail it out before he can hold the sale. 

Along with "Lonesome Ghosts" (which I have in full elsewhere), "Mickey's Trailer" is the best cartoon to feature the famous trio. Things start out well in their ultra-modern, push-button vacation home, with Mickey making use of the bells and whistles to get Donald going in the morning. Things get hairy quickly after Goofy, who's driving the trailer, comes in for breakfast...and forgets the car is still running. He loses the trailer when he scrambles out, leaving Donald and Mickey flying down a mountain out of control!

The other Mickey cartoons from this era have him joining the gang to put on a show for his nephews Morty and Ferdie and their orphan friends. He's the star of the show in "Magician Mickey"...and for once, gets to pay Donald back for constantly stealing the spotlight. "Mickey's Amateurs" is more like "Mickey's Gong Show," what with Clarabelle Cow accompanying Clara Cluck's number and Donald's frequent (and unintelligible) attempts at a recitation. 

There's some real carnivore confusion in "The Worm Turns." Mickey creates a formula that makes weaker creatures able to fight predators. This is all well and good with a fly fighting off a spider and Pluto chasing off Pete the Dog Catcher...but Mickey also makes a far smaller, more animal-like mouse than himself able to chase off a cat who has no interest in the bigger mouse right next to him! Things get a little spookier in "Mickey's Parrot," as Mickey and Pluto investigate some eerie sounds after hearing about an escaped convict on the radio. 

Mickey's best shorts from this era often featured him going through great lengths to show off for Minnie. "Mickey's Rival" is Mortimer Mouse, a long-nosed jerk who butts in on Mickey and Minnie's picnic date. It takes an angry bull to show Minnie which mouse really cares about her. Mickey is "The Brave Little Tailor" in one of his most impressively-animated shorts. He takes down a huge giant who is a lot nastier than Willie in Mickey and the Beanstalk to win the hand of fair Princess Minnie. 

Rose called me as I pulled the cookies out of the oven. I emailed her yesterday to ask if they were doing anything for Khai's birthday. She let him take the day off of school and took him and Finley to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden instead. Apparently, Khai wanted to have pizza and a few friends over afterwards. Did I want to join them? Sure! I had a set of Garfield comics I picked up on Amazon to give him.

(Oooh, and other than slightly burning one batch, the cookies came out well, nice and chewy.)

Put on Tattletales while wrapping Khai's birthday present. This time, Gene and Helen were the big winners, answering almost all of the questions right. (Even if Helen's answer to the first one made me wonder if she'd ever seen some of her husband's more overt skirt-chasing on Match Game.) It was all about the ladies on Press Your Luck - the one guy kept running into Whammies. The previous champ finally picked up a ton of money and trip to Curacao in the Caribbean, among other prizes.

Worked on writing while the shows were on. Gene takes Richard across the street to the City Hall, where Mayor Allen Ludden has his offices. The railroad also has offices here. It's represented by Ira Skutch in town; his boss Mark Goodson generally stays back east and is rarely seen.

Took my bike to Rose's house around quarter of 5. Khai played the goofy card word game Apples to Apples with two buddies of his from the neighborhood in the backyard as his mother and father restrained the dogs and delivered cheese, pepperoni, and sausage pizza slices to everyone. Finley insisted on me joining her to play with her new mother and baby stuffed penguins, which apparently she bought from the gift shop at the Adventure Aquarium with her Easter money. 

We climbed up on the trampoline to play with the penguins after we ate. Of course, the boys eventually saw us and decided they wanted to bounce, too. We all bounced around for a while - well, I really more hopped, being twice the size of anyone else and having fairly bad knees. Once Khai and the guys started wrestling with each other, Rose decided it was time for Finley and I to climb out.

We'd resumed playing "mother and baby penguin" when Rose brought out the cake. She told me on the phone earlier it was her first attempt at a tier cake. It was huge, two big layers iced with aqua blue frosting, with a molded candy shark's tail sticking out. For all her worries, it came out very well, and moist as can be. Everyone enjoyed it, including Craig's parents and Jodie, who arrived while we were on the trampoline. 

I headed off shortly after Khai's friends announced they were going home, too. Got home just in time for Match Game PM. Gene's vibrant red shoes comes in for some ribbing early in the show. Later, everyone sings about Texas when Richard gives it as an answer to "The Eyes of __" in the Audience Match. Steve Kanaly of Dallas and a young Jamie Lee Curtis join the lunacy here. 

We had another close game on Sale of the Century. Everyone bought or won something (and the champ finally got the Instant Cash), but here too, it eventually came down to the ladies. The other lady pushed ahead in the Speed Round, but just barely missed the Bonus Round.

Finished out the night with Hart to Hart on The Roku Channel. In "As the Hart Turns" from the fourth season, Max is addicted to the soap opera Doctor's Hospital. He's thrilled when Jennifer wins a walk-on role in a raffle. The writers on the show love the ideas she tosses out and convince her to work on storylines to bolster the show's ratings. One actor is less-than-thrilled with their decision to write him out...and intends to end Jennifer's storyline permanently. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Childhood Games

Started off a fast morning with Chocolate Chip Pancakes for breakfast and the original cast album for Finian's Rainbow. Scotswoman Ella Logan is Sharon here, singing "When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich" and the original topical lyrics for "If This Isn't Love." David Wayne does better as a charmingly impish Og; I love his "If I'm Not Near the Girl I Love." 

Headed for work after I finished breakfast. The Acme's just so crazy right now. There wasn't nearly enough help to deal with the Sunday crowds. They put me in the express lane, and I just couldn't go fast enough to keep things moving. Not to mention, people with large orders kept jumping in, even when I said not to. If employees aren't using up vacation time, they're still on leave, or they left their jobs. I was so happy when they had one of the baggers come in for me so I could go home on time.

Jodie came out on the porch as I made my way to the main house. One of the mothers who live across the street gave her a slice of key lime pie when she found out my birthday was earlier this week, and she put it in my fridge. She also told me that she now intends to put the house on the market in June. The house is too big for the two of us, and she can't afford its upkeep and the pool and cleaning up the extensive grounds. I don't know what I'm going to do after she does sell it. I have nowhere else to go, and no one I can live with. Everyone I know either doesn't have the room, or lives with their parents, or are too far away.

Cheered myself up with leftovers for dinner while listening to Danger: High Voltage. This K-Tel album is one of the few I've found from the 80's, in this case from 1981. "Don't Stand So Close to Me" by the Police and "Kiss On My List" by Hall & Oates were the big hits here. Other favorites include "Living Inside Myself" by Gino Vanellei, "I Love a Rainy Night" by Eddie Rabbit, "Celebration" by Kool & the Gang, and a remake of "Tell It Like It Is" by Heart.

Finished the night on YouTube with many wonderful childhood memories. I've watched game shows for as long as I can remember. By the late 80's, my three favorite shows were on CBS, who had the best daytime schedule. Card Sharks started giving away cars along with the Money Cards around late '86-early '87. I went with one from December 1987 that was exactly as I remembered when I was a kid, up to and including them asking certain groups of people in the audience high-low questions.

When the Ray Combs version of Family Feud debuted the following fall, the brief Card Sharks/Feud/Price Is Right block that ran through the spring became "my" game show schedule. Combs always seemed to have so much fun, I looked forward to seeing him what he and all the hilarious families would do - and what their answers would be.

The episode I chose of The Price Is Right from 1988 is exactly how I remember the show being when I was about 10. Rod Roddy's announcing, Bob Barker has white hair, all of the models are around, there's the Spelling Bee and Bump games, and the Showcase Showdowns are genuinely weird. (Holly Hallstrom is dressed as a baby in the "story" Showcase!) 

Of course, I didn't just watch adult-oriented game shows. Shows intended for kids my age and younger began to turn up on newly-created family cable channels around the early 80's. The Disney Channel's first crack at a game show was Contraption, which ran from 1983 through most of the decade. Kids watched a clip from a Disney movie at different "stations" representing Books (movie based after a book or story), "Animals" (stories featuring animal characters), "Heroes and Villains" (action clips), and the bonus round, "Magic" (clips featuring magic or fantasy). After kids answered trivia on the first three, they'd race in different unique machines - bikes made to look like magic carpets or boats, a hamster wheel cart - and whomever won the race got the most "Contrap-chips." Whichever team has the most chips at the end is the winner.

It's too bad that like most of The Disney Channel's early programming, the show is hard to find nowadays. The one episode on YouTube is in pieces and not in the best of shape, but it's still fun to watch, especially if you're a Disney fan.

Nickelodeon's Super Sloppy Double Dare from 1989 isn't really different from any other version of the show. The Physical Challenges are just a bit messier. Likewise, the Fox Fun House from 1990 has a slightly updated set, a different announcer, and JD Roth ditched his mullet, but is otherwise the same wild stunts ending with a run through a weird house for prizes.

We return to Nickelodeon for something a little bit more unique. Finders Keepers is a cross between the 60's Camouflage and Fun House. Here, the kids have to find objects hidden in a picture. The kids who find three get to search for real objects in a house with some pretty strange rooms. The winners get to search the entire house for clues. Wesley Eure hosted the original Nickelodeon version.

(By the way, something I recently learned - Finders Keepers and Fun House did better in England, with the latter in particular running a decade and becoming a touchstone with many British kids who grew up in the 90's.) 

At any rate, I hope these shows bring back as many fond memories for you as they do for me! (Look for the original commercials on The Price Is Right.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Of Mice and Muppets

Began a cloudy morning with breakfast and Muppet Babies. Fozzie sees how impressed his little sister Razzie is with Piggy's knowledge of animals and makes up a creature called a crocopoodle to get her attention. She demands to see it, especially after learning it gives hugs. Fozzie has to lead the kids on a "Backyard Safari" to find out if a crocopoodle made that strange trumpeting sound over the fence. Kermit becomes "The Invisible Frog" when he uses Bunsen and Beaker's new invisibility formula to cover up his wearing pajamas on Sports and Games Day. 

Worked on writing for a while after breakfast. Gene explains the situation as he takes Richard across town to City Hall. They need a new Sheriff...and more to the point, someone who can figure out what's going on with the Wild Riders Gang. They've attacked almost every business in town and several ranches outside of it, forcing people off their land and to pay heavy taxes. Most of the town lives in fear. Richard admits that he wants the job, but claims he's not violent and only shot the bandit to defend himself.

Jodie came in just as I was about to have leftovers for lunch. A package came for me in the mail. Yay, it was one of my eBay birthday presents to myself. I've wanted to pick up more Walt Disney Treasures sets for years, but most of the ones I'm interested in tripled in price since they went out of print over a decade ago. Finally found Mickey Mouse In Living Color Vol. 1 for something very close to what it likely cost on release. It even came with the original tin, "Band Concert" artwork, and paperwork. 

Began with "The Band Concert," Mickey's first color short. Even here, Donald Duck steals the show as he keeps randomly playing "Turkey In the Straw" on a flute, disrupting Mickey's classical music concert. Even when a storm hits and throws the musicians everywhere, Mickey refuses to stop playing...and so does Donald! 

Mickey and Pluto are hard at work eliminating pests in "Mickey's Garden" least until Mickey dreams that he shrinks and the pests try to eliminate him. Donald and Goofy join Mickey as "Mickey's Fire Brigade" first tries to save a house, then rescue its sole occupant, Clarabelle Cow. Clarabelle doesn't appreciate the guys invading her bath and keeps trying to avoid them.

Hurried out to work right as the cartoon ended. Work was on-and-off steady, pretty much the same it has been for the past week. There were a few really annoying customers, including one lady towards the end who took so long to get organized and load her items on the belt, even her young son complained. Thankfully, I finished the last customer with just enough time to sign out and hurry home.

Returned to Mickey Mouse while having dessert. Skipped "Pluto's Judgement Day" and "On Ice," both of which I have in full elsewhere. "Thru the Mirror" is one of Mickey's most famous color shorts, and one of the few where he's completely solo. After reading Alice's Adventures Through the Looking Glass, he dreams he can step through his own mirror. In the looking-glass world, he shrinks small enough to dance with playing cards and go swimming in a globe. The King of Hearts doesn't appreciate him shimmying with the queen and sends his card after him!

Mickey more commonly appeared with the rest of the gang from the mid-30's onwards, like the "put-on-a-show" shorts "Mickey's Circus" and "Mickey's Grand Opera." Mickey barely figures into "Circus," which mostly revolves around Donald's difficulty with his trained seals and the orphans watching the show. He introduces Clara Cluck and Donald in "Grand Opera," but it's Pluto and a magician's hat who really bring down the house. 

Pluto also appears in "Mickey's Elephant." His bad side goads him into feeling jealous of the adorable baby pachyderm and the house Mickey built for him. He wants revenge, but his attempts to get rid of this rolly-polly interloper ends up backfiring on both of them. 

"Mickey's Polo Team" consists of Mickey, the Big Bad Wolf, and the rest of the Disney gang (with Donald riding a burro). The opposing team is all caricatures of Hollywood comedians of the time, including Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, and Harpo Marx (the last riding an ostrich). While the fast-paced players outrun Donald, Stan, Ollie, and their stubborn equines, Clarabelle Cow happily flirts with Clark Gable.

I enjoyed seeing the many sides of Mickey so much, I finished the night with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy: The Three Musketeers at Disney Plus after a shower. I go further into this adorable comic opera satire at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

Adventures In the Rain

Started off a cloudy morning with breakfast and Body Language. This time, Jm J. Bullock is the one who got the right answers on the puzzles and helped his contestant make it to the bonus round. They got so close! She guessed 9 words right on the second round...but only missed the Bonus Round words by one.

Buzzr moved on to Blockbusters as I sipped my tea. The show started off with a single lady and a brother and sister team. The duo won half-way through, but they didn't have as easy of a time with the Gold Run. They were just starting the first round with another lady when the show ended.

I started out around quarter after 11...then went briefly back inside. My birthday presents from Linda Young arrived! She sent me one of the most recent Maisie Dobbs books, To Die But Once, a really nice journal, and a pretty flowered card. Maisie's now stacked with the other to-be-read (or re-read) books on the shelves I use as nightstands.

It started raining lightly as I rode down Atlantic and down to Nicholson Road. I hadn't checked out the stores in the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center for a while. No luck at Ross, but I did find a butter-soft leather wallet at Marshalls to replace the vinyl floral one I've had for at least a decade and cotton bags for produce. No luck at The Shoe Depot, either. Didn't like their sandals, and the one pair of New Balance sneakers I saw weren't that great of a price. 

Did better at Goodwill. Found the George Winston Summer album on CD, then dug through the huge, messy stacks of records across the way. Came up with:

Finian's Rainbow - Original Broadway Cast

Gypsy - Soundtrack for 1962 movie

Danger: High Voltage - 1981 K-Tel collection

The Music of Broadway: 1932 & 1933-34 - Two-disc sets of music taken from shows released during that era. They weren't making original cast albums in the US then, so these are more often big band covers, though there is an original performer (like Fred Astaire) here and there.

After I hit Shoe Depot, I went a block down to Great Cuts to get my hair done. It's getting a little too long and was frizzy all winter. Got it cut to shoulder-length. It looks fine, but it's still a little frizzy. Maybe I should have gone a tad shorter.

Hit the Acme next for this week's grocery shopping. Picked up a green pepper and thickly shredded mozzarella to go with the dinner I had planned. Found manager's coupons on three fish fillets, two crusted. The 18-count eggs are on sale for $1.49 with an online coupon. I still have half a container of eggs, but that was too good of a sale to miss. Grabbed another container of the natural Jiff peanut butter while that's on sale, too. Restocked powdered sugar, milk, leafy greens, broccoli, bananas, yogurt, ground turkey, and Crest toothpaste.

Not as happy with my schedule next week. In good news, more hours, Monday and next Friday off. Really wish I didn't have to work 8 1/2 hours two days in a row, or do cashiering all but one day (including one of the 8 1/2 hour days). I just do not like cashiering. It's really draining for me to handle tons of people all the time. 

Headed straight home in time for a smoothie lunch and the second half of Super Password. Fred Grandy and his contestant were just starting the Super Password bonus round when I came in. He didn't have as much luck in the next round with a new contestant. 

Tattletales was funny as heck today, thanks to hammy Match Game host Gene Rayburn and his very witty wife Helen appearing. Though they lost, they made winners Nancy Sinatra and her beloved husband Hugh Lambert and Steve Forest of S.W.A.T and his wife Cris look a little staid by comparison! (For one thing, Gene was the only guy who used his hands to describe...certain areas...of Raquel Welch's anatomy in a question.) 

Press Your Luck got pretty wild, with two contestants being slammed with Whammies in the first round. The second went better. It came down to the two ladies. In the end, the other woman couldn't make enough to unseat someone who picked up a trip to Las Vegas and a game table, among other prizes, along with a ton of money and one Whammy.

Worked on writing for a while after the show ended. Re-wrote the beginning to make Nipsey Russell the bartender who explains to Richard what's going on in Televisia City. Decided I'd make Charles the local teacher instead. 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Sliced onion and green pepper, crushed garlic, browned ground turkey, and boiled noodles for a skillet Italian Casserole. Watched Match Game '79 as I worked. Hunky Lou Grant reporter Robert Walden joins pretty and smart Audrey Landers and an extra-goofy Patty Duke to find out if Patty's under the Audience Match Patti ___. 

I have no idea who Ronny Graham is, but he was a delightful presence on Match Game PM. He really had fun answering questions about why there's __ in a copy of The Last Supper. Meanwhile, Gene's wondering where the lights went during his entrance and Fannie Flagg's more than a little nervous when she has to answer "__ Miss" during the Head-to-Head.

The sweet young woman contestant keeps rolling along on Sale of the Century. She dominated most of the show, buying both Instant Bargains and the Instant Cash and winning all of the Fame Games. The other woman started to catch up towards the end of the show, but she won the Speed Round decisively, then did equally well with the Bonus Round.

Finished the night at Tubi with Rio Lobo. After the Civil War, Colonel Cord McNally (John Wayne) goes after the person who robbed a train of payroll money for the Union Army and killed a good friend of his. He looks up former Confederate army members Captain Pierre "Frenchy" Cordona (Jorge Rivero) and Sergeant Tuscarosa Phillips (Chris Mitchum), who don't know much more about the whole affair than he does. Shasta Delaney (Jennifer O'Neill) arrives in town with her own vendetta. Lawmen from the wild town Rio Lobo killed her father, and she wants them arrested. McNally figures out they were among the traitors who sold the Union Army out and follows Shasta and Frenchy to Rio Lobo. 

Everyone there is terrified of wealthy Ketchum (Victor French) and the violent sheriff he installed, Hendricks (Mike Henry). McNally rounds up an odd assortment of townspeople, including Amelita (Sherry Lansing), the Mexican girl who wants revenge on Hendricks for slashing her face, and Tuscarosa's grizzled father (Jack Elam) to take Ketchum and Hendricks down.

Third and final version of a story Howard Hawks told twice before (in Rio Bravo and El Dorado). It's not nearly as good as those two...but it still brings back a ton of memories. My stepfather was a huge John Wayne fan, and we watched this movie a lot in the 90's. I rather like the feisty ladies here, including Lansing as tough Amelita, and Elam's having fun towards the end as the nutty old man. Mainly for huge fans of Wayne or Hawks, or for those who grew up watching it on video and cable from the late 70's onwards. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Clouds Will Soon Roll By

Began a gloomy morning with breakfast and Body Language. Came in just as Jm J. Bullock missed answering a puzzle. Elke Sommer answered the puzzle correctly and got her contestant into the bonus round. They did great guessing and acting out the words to earn money for the Bonus Round...but just missed one on the actual round.

Worked on writing for a while after the show ended. Lee finally manages to pry Debralee off Richard. they need to type up that article and get it on the front page of the Match-Up Times. Gene tells Debralee that he and his new sheriff will figure out who the bandits are and what they want. He tells Richard they're going to meet the town's mayor Allen Ludden to get him that job.

Broke for lunch at 12. Ate a jelly omelet and asparagus really quick while watching Match Game '75. This one started off goofy, with Orson Bean appearing in the beginning to explain why he's in the audience. In the last minutes, a woman contestant taught Gene how to leg wrestle...and managed to flip him over!

Hurried off to work as the next episode began. Work was a bit of a pain. I ended up in the 10-items or less register, and it was no fun. People were demanding, or rude, or they tried to bring way too many items into my fast lane. At least it was no busier than it's been the rest of the week. I was very happy when it slowed down enough by 7 for me to hurry on home.

Got home just in time for the second Audience Match on Match Game PM. Changed as a pretty teacher contestant chose "Light bulbs" in response to "__ Bulbs." Brett wasn't as happy to help her with "Above and __" on the Head to Head.

They crowned a new champ on Sale of the Century this evening. The one young woman started off like a shot and never looked back, buying an Instant Bargain and the Instant Cash and winning a Fame Game. Beat the guys at the Speed Round by a decent margin, then did well at the Speed Round, too.

Finished the night at the TCM on demand website with Flying High. I go further into this goofy 1931 vehicle for Bert Lahr and Charlotte Greenwood with Busby Berkeley choreography at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Birthdays and Matches

Began a gray and gloomy morning with breakfast and Yogi Bear. Yogi thinks that the big TV show Ranger Smith says he's going to appear on is a variety show and tries to learn how to sing and dance. It's really Yogi's Birthday Party, with all the Hanna-Barbara funny animals created to that point coming on the show to wish Yogi the best of his day.

Switched to Match Game and making Almond Butter Icing for the cake I baked yesterday after breakfast. Instead of watching movies or running Buzzr all day, I went to YouTube to watch my favorite Match Game episodes. Part of the show's charm is you never know who'll appear...even when they're not actually panelists. In the episode I chose from early 1978, Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Jim Nabors, and Tim Conway literally wander in from filming the last season of The Carol Burnett Show down the hall and play a round. Tim gets the last word with his very funny "answer." 

Given the nature of the show, there's tons of references to the pop culture of the 1970's and early 80's. Being the huge fan of Star Wars that I am, I couldn't resist an episode from later in 1978, shortly after the new set debuted. Gene jokes about how the screechy noises the new question holder makes sounds like "something out of Star Wars." The music department even kicks in at one point with a bit of the original movie's theme song. Gene also lets a young lady who can't see from her seat perch on-stage for a while. 

(Wish my icing came out as well as the episode. I didn't let the butter soften long enough, then put in too much milk. It's lumpy and soupy. At least the cake itself was delicious!)

Made my way out after the episode ended. I couldn't put off getting my laundry done. I needed clean work clothes. The laundromat was pretty busy, so I sat outside and worked on story notes. The clouds grew heavier and the wind picked up a little as I worked, though it remained warm, probably in the mid-60's. It started spitting a little as I rode home.

Arrived home just in time. The rain picked up, even as I hurried in the door. Put on another Match Game episode while folding clothes and opening a card with 20 dollars from Lauren and her parents. Composer Marvin Hamlisch is probably best-known today for reworking the music of Scott Joplin into the Oscar-winning score for The Sting. He appeared on a week in early 1976, along with Isobel Sanford of The Jeffersons. At the end of the last episode of the week, he and Charles created a cute song for Brett that was so catchy, she joined the guys in singing along. 

Called Uber for a ride to the Cherry Hill Mall. Not only was it getting late, but it was raining too hard for a hike to Cuthbert. Of course, the ride cost a ridiculous amount of money because of the weather, but thankfully, the rider didn't take anywhere near the 20 minutes Uber claimed to arrive, either. I had just enough time to print out a bus schedule to get home before she arrived.

She let me off at Nordstrom's. My original thought for lunch was the Bistro in the center of the mall...but they were insanely busy, even at quarter after 2. Browsed around The Disney Store a few doors down, came back, and they were still busy. I finally gave up and had a huge burger and delicious, crunchy onion rings at a quieter Fatburger instead.

Did a quick walk around the Mall to find a few other things I needed. GameStop's gone and Build-a-Bear is still appointment only, but most of the other stores I like are still there. Peeked at the toy store next-door to Build-a-Bear for games to play with Lauren and Famous Footwear to find new work sneakers and walking sandals, but no luck. 

Did a little better at JC Penney. I badly need new socks. The old ones keep getting holes in them. The Mixit cotton crew socks I like were on sale for $9.50. Picked up a three-pack of white and of pale blue, black, and tan. 

Bought a cute flower-print t-shirt and a new khaki trench raincoat at Old Navy. My current rain coat is a heavy bright blue thing I bought in a hurry at a now-defunct women's store just a few doors down in the Cherry Hill Mall. It never fit right and had no cord threaded in the hood to keep it from flying off. Had the time to take brief peeks at Famous Footwear and The Shoe Show before going outside to catch the bus.

Thankfully, the bus was early despite the rush hour traffic. It took no time at all for them to drop me off at the in-construction expansion of the Merryfields bar on the White Horse Pike. Pulled on my new rain coat to combat the showers on the way home. Treated myself to a Double Mocha Cappuccino from WaWa in the rounded plastic container. 

Went straight into writing when I got home. Gene tells Lee and Debralee there's nothing to see. He has no idea who these bandits are, or who's in charge of them, or why they're targeting gold and local ranches. He does know that he needs to take Richard to Mayor Allen Ludden to give a report on what happened and see what he can do about getting him a job.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Made a smoothie while watching Match Game '79 on Buzzr. They skipped ahead from New Year's Eve 1976 to New Year's Day 1979. Gene stumbles through his doors in the opening draped with streamers from the previous episode and looking more than a little bleary-eyed. He recovers long enough to see a bald contestant joke about how he made a bet with his wife that he couldn't get on the show.

Wish Rita Moreno appeared on the show more often. She was a lot of fun when she turned up, as in tonight's Match Game PM episode when she helped a contestant answer "__ Ladd" for the Head-to-Head. Meanwhile, Gene admires the soft wool in Bart Braverman's jacket, but Charles declares that the fireman contestant has the best suit of all. Later, we get a very funny question about Helen Rayburn applauding when Gene __. 

Finished the night online with more Match Game on YouTube. Janet Finn was one of the show's earliest big winners in 1974. She was such a sweet lady, her whole run was a pleasure to watch. My favorite of her appearances came from towards the end of her run, when Charles spoofed newscasters when he read his "Russian ___" answer for the Head-to-Head that would make her the top champ. 

Janet was far from the only memorable contestant to appear on the show. Just a week or so after the New Year's Day 1979 episode, a lady contestant got so excited, she practically attacked Gene. Nipsey Russell had no trouble grabbing hold of her for a squeeze, though!

I've done the infamous "School Riot" episode from 1977 before, but it is a major part of the fanfic I'm currently working on. I go into further detail on this one in an entry from last month

The syndicated episodes of the early 80's have their own share of wild antics. McLean Stevenson gets his first chance to host after an argument over the merits of the miniseries Shogun ends with Charles smacking Gene with his card and Gene "collapsing" onto Jonelle Allen. In an episode from a year later, Betty White turns up in the opening in a brief red dress to show off her still-terrific gams. Later on, Sharon Farrell and Richard Paul inadvertently demonstrate mud wrestling when she topples onto him. 

That wasn't the only time McLean pulled crazy stunts. In 1974, he kept kissing all the men in the panel the whole week. This ended with Gene dashing off before he could grab him for a smooch and McLean chasing him all over the studio and in the back of the audience. 

Changing places or personalities happened quite often. My all-time favorite daytime episode from 1977 had Jo Ann Pflug, Richard Dawson, and Fannie Flagg on the lower tier playing Dick Gautier, Brett Somers, and Charles Nelson Reilly in the upper desks. The ladies in particular are scream here, especially Jo Ann's huge smile! Richard would play Brett again, this time joined by Betty as Charles, in an equally funny PM episode from later that year. 

Richard Dawson was not happy at all when Goodson-Todman added the Star Wheel in mid-1978. He was the panelist most often chosen for the Head-to-Head. The Star Wheel was added to give other stars more of a chance to play...or at least, that was the idea. Of course, it stops on Richard the first time it's spun, prompting almost the entire panel - including a sheepish Richard - to walk out!

My very favorite episode of the 1970's-80's run - and the one I use to introduce people to the show - is a classic PM episode from mid-1975. The entire episode is hilarious, thanks to Brett and Betty's constant sniping at each other, but the lunacy reaches a head during the Audience Match. The first question is "Admiral __." Brett gives "Byrd." Charles throws out "Admiral and the Lady" (which was booed by the audience). Richard's answer is "Color Television." Gene can't believe he said that and makes a bet as to whether or not it would be on the board...and guess who was right?

Here's all of my favorite episodes (plus tonight's PM on Buzzr), so you can enjoy every bit of matching lunacy!