Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Back to Tooth Again

Heard knocks and giggles from my front door as I worked on the second chapter of The American Agent late in the morning. Craig and Khai needed my new inner tubes to fix the back tire. They came over to clean up the remains from yesterday's party and for Finley to go for a swim. I handed it over to them, then returned to reading and writing for a while. 

After I went to say "hi" to them and see how they were doing, I went back inside for breakfast. Watched more Silly Symphony shorts as I ate. There were only two shorts in the "Leonard's Selections" section I hadn't already watched. "The Grasshopper and the Ants" depicts the famous Aesop's fable of a goofy grasshopper who teases the ants about not wanting to have fun, only to regret it when winter comes and he has no food or shelter. "Wynken, Blinken, and Nod" shows off gorgeous soft color and still-amazing effects animation for the rather cutesy story of three babies who go fishing for "star-fish" on a wooden shoe, only to catch a very fast comet. 

For some reason, several of the shorts are included only as Easter egg "extras" when you highlight a certain part of the menus. "Who Killed Cock Robin?" None of the birds know for certain, not even his sweetheart Jenny Wren. Jenny wants to see justice done, but the owl judge and the parrot lawyer don't have much to go on...until they find out the least-likely culprit shot that arrow.

"Water Babies" is similar to "Wynken," only here, the cutesy babies play in and around a pond, riding frogs like horses and flying on birds. "The Practical Pig" is the fourth and final go-around for the Three Little Pigs and the Big (and Small) Bad Wolves. It pretty much rehashes "Three Little Wolves," only here, Practical's machine that beats up on the Wolf is a lie detector, and the wolves catch his brothers while swimming. 

Headed out shortly after the cartoon ended. Thank heavens whatever Craig did for my inner tube held. It got me to the dentist office in Westmont with a few minutes to spare. As it turns out, I was barely there for 15 minutes, anyway. The periodontist poked in my gums and declared them to be much better. I made an appointment for a regular cleaning in late October and was on my way. Made a brief stop at Target for a bathroom break and to buy honey and the Nature's Bakery raspberry fig newtons.

Headed home for a quick smoothie and fig newton lunch and to start the second Silly Symphonies disc. "Mother Pluto" was one of Pluto's earliest vehicles, which is why it's on this set and not his solo Treasures collections. Pluto inadvertently finds himself taking care of a group of chicks when he tries to bury his bone in hay. He actually starts to enjoy mothering them, until the mother hen wants them back and calls in the rooster to help.

What is the scariest of all Disney media? Hocus Pocus? The Nightmare Before Christmas? No, it's "The Old Mill." The simple story of how the animals who live in a decaying grain mill react to a violent storm comes off as spooky, intense, and atmospheric, thanks to the stunning animation and the gradual building of many details, such as the change from sun to rainy weather or the fraying rope on the grain wheel that's the home to a mother bird and her eggs. 

Disney adapted "The Ugly Duckling" as a Silly Symphony twice, in 1931 and as the final short in the series in 1939. Though the 1931 version has some virtues, including a funny opening, the story of how the "duckling" saves his siblings from a waterfall doesn't have much to do with the original. The 1939 version has a cuter cygnet, but otherwise does much better. I especially enjoy a touching sequence where the poor thing is so desperate for love, it swims with a toy duck it believes to be real.

"Peculiar Penguins," the black-and-white "Birds of a Feather," and the Easter short "Funny Little Bunnies" were a lot simpler. Like the earliest Silly Symphonies, they pretty much just depicted animals falling in love and dancing in time to music. "Funny Little Bunnies" does have some adorable details depicting how the title characters create Easter baskets and candy, and how each bunny has a job to do.

Went back out again around 2:30. Had laundry I badly needed to get done. Thankfully, by the time the laundromat got busy, my small load was already in the dryer. I worked on story notes, then treated myself to a tasty Chocolate Chips Ahoy Smoothie at WaWa. 

Put on Press Your Luck as I folded my laundry. It came down to the two ladies today, as the guy barely registered. The champ made the mistake of passing her last spins to the other woman. She barely won with just money and three Whammies.

Went into writing after the show ended. Brett wants to know more about the Lobster Quadrille to get her sons off the idea of the Mock Turtle's lessons "lessoning." The Mock Turtle claims he's too stiff to teach them, unless he gets help from Duchess Marcia and Bill the White Rabbit.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Jodie gave me most of a small pizza she couldn't finish. I had that while watching Match Game '76. Brianne Leary made her first appearance as a contestant towards the end of this episode, and proved to be an excellent and very gracious player. She became the only contestant to return as a panelist when she turned up for a few weeks in 1979. 

Did the dishes during Match Game PM. The first PM episode of 1978 brought in Gary Burghoff and Jo Ann Pflug as Gene makes comments about what the female contestant doesn't wear. Later, Richard tries to help that lady with "__ Boone" on the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night at Paramount Plus with Grease Live. I go further into this excellent remake of the beloved 1978 50's-set musical at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

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