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!

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