Sunday, October 31, 2021

Anything Can Happen On Halloween

Started off a sunny Halloween morning with Pumpkin Pancakes and grapes for breakfast. Watched Raggedy Ann & Andy and the Pumpkin Who Wouldn't Smile while I ate. The doll duo bring a glum pumpkin to a lonely boy whose aunt forbid him from trick-or-treating or having a jack o' lantern. They then focus on the aunt, reminding her of all the fun she had on Halloween as a child.

Switched to the episode of the 60's Woody Woodpecker Show included as a bonus on the Woody Woodpecker & Friends Classic Collection Vol 1. "Spook-a-Nanny" is the only cartoon created directly for the show. Woody wants to attend a Halloween party with all his friends from the Walter Lantz Studios. Trouble is, first his boss Walter Lantz keeps him blowing balloons between shorts, and then his buddies won't let him in. He finally joins a ghost rock band to scare his way into the party, but he can't walk through walls like they can.

Went online after I finished the dishes. Sam Mitchell, one of the many people who post vintage game show episodes on YouTube, put together a marathon of Halloween-themed episodes starting at 11 AM. I saw most of them on Buzzr or last year on YouTube...but there was a show I never encountered before. Whammy! The All New Press Your Luck ran on Game Show Network for a little over a year from 2002 to 2003, but it did manage to fit a Halloween episode in. It's pretty much the same as the original show, only this time, they start with 1,000 and spin first, then collect more spins. Host Todd Newton posed as the Grim Reaper; the guy dressed as basket ball player bride won. 

Here's the full marathon, for your own Halloween enjoyment!

It rained briefly around 11:30, making me wonder if they'd still have trick-or-treating. Called Rose. Yes, trick-or-treating was still on. She even intended to stop by with Craig and the kids later to pick up their Mystery Bags.

The fairy wings I ordered on Amazon over a week ago never did come. I switched to being a Roma gypsy queen instead. My cousin gave me a lovely paisley woven shawl years ago, but it's hard to wear it when you're constantly riding a bike. It went very well with my new dark gold blouse, the brown, gold, and blue floral skirt I bought for my Little Red Riding Hood costume a few years ago, and a pile of beaded necklaces and gold sequin star tiara I kept as part of my princess/movie star outfit. Tied my Red Riding Hood cape around my waist for more flair. 

Went out to greet trick-or-treaters around 1 PM. I'd be in and out for the next couple of hours, including going in for 20 minutes around quarter of 2 to have a smoothie for lunch. Settled down to read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other spooky Washington Irving stories between kids. Heard the occasional burst from the Eagles-Lions game at the party along with spooky songs like "Someone's Watching Me." (Incidentally, in a Halloween miracle, the Eagles mauled the Lions 44 - 6.) Jodie's friend Sandy brought over Halloween cupcakes; I chose the chocolate with coconut icing topped with a candy corn. 

We had a lot of kids this year, even more than last year, likely thanks to two big parties taking place on the same block. I actually gave away all of my Mystery Bags, plus some of the candy Jodie had as well. The kids next door helped me drum up kids until they headed out for their own trick or treating fun. Ryan was a secret agent in a black trench coat; Savannah was a Ravenclaw Hogwarts student. Savannah's friend Annabelle was the Queen of Hearts in a heart-shaped tiara and fancy tulle dress. 

I love how creative the kids get with their costumes around here. A mom Ash brought over her adorable daughter Charmander and tiny infant Pikachu. We had a family of skeletons, one a baby. Saw a group of teens that included a cowboy, a witch, a unicorn, and a skeleton. Another older boy at least wore a mask while he rode around on a bike. A grown-up witch and huge pink unicorn gave out candy. The first kid to come was a ghoulish Jason Voorhees in a mask and carrying a cardboard chainsaw. Ran into two generic princesses in tiaras and poofy pink dresses. The two older girls from around the corner were a pastel ghoul with bright neon blue pigtails and a horned monster. Kids from the party across the street included a pumpkin, Iron Man, Spider Man, a family of Rockford Peaches from League of Their Own (including a mini toddler Peach), a baseball player from a local Little League team, and Chase the police dog from Paw Patrol. Later on, I saw two more Spider Men (one a Spider Girl), two Black Panthers, a pretty ghoul in a fancy costume, and another baby skeleton.

Rose and Craig arrived with Finley and Khai in tow around 3:30. Khai wore a Jurassic Park t-shirt, but his real costume was a nifty inflatable tyrannosaurus. The rest of the family's costumes revolved around Finley's Bee Queen outfit. She wore a crown with gold "feelers," tiny striped wings, yellow striped stockings, and a black tutu and leotard. The kid was less happy about the huge frilly yellow hoop skirt and ruffled gloves that were also a part of her costume, especially after she tripped and skinned her palms. Her father wore a beekeeper's net-covered hat and carried sunflowers. Her mother just had a t-shirt that said "this is my beekeeper's costume." 

I never saw The Great Pumpkin today, but he did leave me a wonderful gift. He gave me time to think between kids. I haven't had time to just sit down and read and think in weeks, if not months. Even when I was on the trains, I was ready to run to the next train. I felt content for the first time in ages. I know I won't be in this neighborhood or sitting on the porch of Jodie's house next year, but it felt really good this year. I know I really do prefer giving to getting. 

Originally planned on making dip and chips for dinner, but by 5:30, when the kids started winding down, I decided I was too tired. Plus, I wanted to see if there was going to be a parade this year. Ended up buying two slices of cheese pizza and a bottle of Wild Cherry Pepsi at Phillies Phatties. The place was hopping with fathers and sons enjoying slices of pizza after trick-or-treat and watching the Saints-Buccaneers game. (Saints thankfully handed Tom Brady his rear 36 - 27.) I eventually ate outside, watching princesses and pandas and Spider Gwens go by. 

Strolled around the neighborhood to look at lights and decorations...and when I returned, the Halloween Parade was ambling down West Clinton. That was a surprise. They're usually late; this time, they were 20 minutes early. What was even more surprising was Rose and her tribe joined us, with Cider in her own doggy bee costume tugging Craig along. Usually, Rose's kids pass out well before the parade. Among the niftier costumes I saw at the parade were Pennywise from It (complete with balloons),  Belle, a tiny Tinkerbell, another Spider Man in a more elaborate costume, a toddler ladybug, a black cat, and a small cop with handcuffs. 

For some reason, the firemen did give out candy when everyone arrived, but there was no judging. Everyone just sort of stood around in front of the closed fire house. Rose and her family finally gave up after about 20 minutes. I gave it another five minutes, then did the same.

Made pumpkin muffins when I got in while finishing up the Halloween episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, "Mickey's Treat." Mickey and the others are excited to travel to Trick or Treat Tower for Pete's Halloween party. First, though, they have to find something to complete Goofy's knight costume, make their way over the giant Candy Corn, and Mickey the magician has to perform a trick for Pete. 

Slid the muffins into the oven and did the dishes during It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Linus insists that the Great Pumpkin rises out of a sincere pumpkin patch on Halloween night to bring toys and goodies to all of the children in the world. He insists on sitting in a pumpkin patch to see for himself. Against her better judgement, Sally joins him. Meanwhile, Charlie Brown has trick-or-treating problems, and Snoopy skips ahead to Veteran's Day for a fight with the Red Baron.

The full version of the Donald Duck "Trick or Treat" short is on Disney Plus. Donald would rather keep his candy for himself and play mean tricks on his nephews, until a kindly witch takes pity on them. Donald swallows the key to keep it from her, making her cast a spell on him to dance it out! 

Finished the night on YouTube with more spooky Halloween game show episodes. Price Is Right made their third try at a nighttime version in 1994. The fun of their Halloween episode was limited to the one Showcase Showdown, which offered a collection of Universal monster movies, several trips to famous horror locations, and a fancy car. Doug Davidson was the eager host here.

Sale of the Century and Classic Concentration took part in NBC's "Trick or Treat Week" in 1988. Concentration went a little further, with Alex Trebek dressed as a king in a huge crown and Marjorie Goodson as his queen, and the contestants in costume as a showgirl and a jester. Sale settled for Halloween-themed Instant Bargain skits and decorations that matched the gold and orange backdrop.

The original Win, Lose, Or Draw also took part in that week. Horror icons Linda Blair of The Exorcist, Zelda Rubenstein of Poltergeist, John Astin of the original Addams Family, and David Naughton joined host Vicki Lawrence figure out what their contestants attempted to sketch. The ladies won big and won fast here; they played so quickly, there was time to draw with the audience in the end. 

Super Password in 1986 settled for messing with Halloween witch toys, a few frightening Password Puzzles, and a crack from announcer Gene Wood telling host Bert Convy to take his mask off. (He wasn't wearing one.) The late 80's - early 90's Family Feud got more into the holiday. Ray Combs borrowed a less-lacy version of Finley's bee costume to ask contestants dressed as queens, Lady Liberty, Sherlock Holmes, a Chinese lady, and Alice In Wonderland spooky survey questions.  

While the original Hollywood Squares didn't do Halloween episodes per se, they did do occasional "Storybook Squares" weeks with everyone in costume, even long after the Saturday morning Storybook Squares show ended. Peter Marshall presides over an episode from 1976 that features Sandy Duncan as the devil, Mel Brooks as his Silent Movie character Mel Funn, Steve Landisberg as Wise King Sullivan, Tammy Wynette as Madame Pompadour, Denise Nicholas as Queen Tut, John Bider as Rasputin, George Gobel as a stereotypical Confucius, and Paul Lynde in the center square as golden-curled Narcissus. 

My favorite episode of the underrated 1990 version of Match Game is their hilarious Halloween show. Charles Nelson Reilly comes as Superman, his old buddy Brett Somers does her last week of the show as a little girl, host Ross Schafer is Dracula, and Vicki Lawrence returns as Little Red Riding Hood in a super-short dress. It's wisecracking dragon puppet Scorch and his handler Ronn Lucas who manages to come up with the scariest costume of all. 

Celebrate Halloween with these forays into game shows past! (Most shows come with either their original commercials or the ones from their Game Show Network runs.)

And here's hoping you had a safe, happy, and game-filled Halloween of your own! 

Saturday, October 30, 2021

I Believe It's Magic

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and The Three Stooges. They did several horror-themed shorts over the years, but I went with "Spooks!" from 1953. One of two 3D shorts they did has them as detectives in search of young woman who was kidnapped by a mad scientist. He wants to switch her brain with that of his gorilla. The Stooges dress as pie sellers and go after her, only for the scientist and his henchman to toss a variety of weapons at them in order to scare they off.

Called Uber just as the short ended. The guy picked me up within 8 minutes. No messing around this time. He got me right to work down the Black Horse Pike.

My long cashiering shift was...almost exactly the same as yesterday with better weather. It did get cloudy and a bit windy later, but it never rained. In fact, it was a bit warm. Otherwise, we were once again off and on busy with people buying goodies for trick or treat, Halloween parties, and election night dinners. I shelved candy between customers. My relief was a smart teen girl who was right on time. Got an Uber driver in less than three minutes; was home in five. 

Went straight into writing when I got home. Not being able to reach Brett's head at the moment, Queen Betty turns her wrath on the Red King instead and orders his head chopped off. He calmly tells her that she's the one who'll be sent into exile...because he's taking over the kingdom...

Jodie called while I was online and told me I could do the laundry at her side while she wasn't there. I didn't have the heart to tell her I already did it last night. I desperately needed clean work clothes this morning. 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers while watching Halloween Hall of Fame. Mom recorded this vintage Disney special off what's now Fox 29 in 1988, and I've watched it in some form or another almost every year since. Johnathan Winters is a security guard at the Disney Studios who discovers a jack-o-lantern in a crystal ball (also Winters) while goofing off with props. Seems Jack's in hiding because he doesn't think the holiday is scary anymore. Winters directs him to parts of "Pluto's Judgement Day," "Trick or Treat," and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad to prove otherwise. 

Made gingersnaps while watching Disney's Halloween Treat. This special from the early 80's ran on The Disney Channel for years; Mom taped it a few days after Hall of Fame. "Trick or Treat" and "Pluto's Judgement Day" are joined by "Lonesome Ghosts," "The Old Mill," "Donald and the Gorilla," the Wizard's Duel sequence from The Sword and the Stone with Madam Mim, and a segment from the Disneyland anthology series on the cat's contribution to history. There's also a segment from a later Disney anthology show featuring Hans Conried as the Magic Mirror introducing clips featuring various villains from animated films, including the one he voiced, Captain Hook from Peter Pan

Finished the night online after a shower with Monster Mash. No, not the one I watched the other night. I go further into the very different animated retelling of the famous horror novelty rock song from 2000 at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

The website for the cable channel Freeform currently has Ghostbusters (and Ghostbusters II) for free with ads. Paranormal professors Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Egon Spangler (Harold Ramis), and Ray Stanz (Dan Ackroyd) are fired by Columbia for their shoddy work habits, so they go into business for themselves as professional ghost catchers. Their first client is classical musician Dana Barrett (Sigorney Weaver) who claims she saw a monster in her ice box. Womanizing Peter is interested in her case and her in general and looks further into it. Meanwhile, business has gone from nothing to booming, so much that they have to hire another member, Winston Zeddmore (Ernie Hudson) to help handle it all. 

The head of the EPA Walter Peck (William Atherton) isn't pleased with the mess they leave and shut them down. This overloads the containment system and spews ghosts all over New York, just as Dana and her neighbor Louis Tully (Rick Moranis) are possessed by the spirts of an evil demon who lives in their apartment building. Now the Ghostbusters have to catch this nasty Sumerian god and the giant marshmallow man stomping around New York, or they're going to face time behind bars...or worse, an afterlife covered in charred whipped corn syrup.

The second movie isn't that bad and I still think the all-female remake got a bad rap, but the original remains the one to see, with its hilarious script and still-amazing special effects. 

If you enjoyed Ghostbusters, here's even more vintage Halloween programming to enjoy before and after trick or treating!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Spooky Tales In the Rain

Began a very windy and cloudy morning with breakfast and one of The Monkees horror episodes from the second season, "Monstrous Monkee Mash." Davy's date with a dream girl turns out to be more of a nightmare when it turns out she's a vampire, Dracula's her uncle, and they intend to make him one of them. The others go to rescue them, but Peter and Micky fall into their clutches as well. It's up to Mike Nesmith to get all of them alive and with their brains intact!

Finally called Jodie's realtor Linda Alexandroff after breakfast. She said the same thing the other one did - I don't make enough money to pay the rent for most local apartments. Apparently, I'll have to write a letter to explain my inheritance and being able to pay 4 to 6 months of the rent up front. 

Did sneak a little writing in. Brett lifts Ira in the air and finally shakes a confession out of him. Yes, he stole the tarts, under orders from the King...and because he was hungry, and he wanted the Queen and King's attention. All they care about are their garden and parties, not running a kingdom. He believes the Red King's rules will make things better.

Broke with enough time to change, pack for grocery shopping later, and call Uber. The driver came within 8 minutes, but for some reason, his phone tried to direct him through Audubon, rather than taking any faster way. I turned him down Nicholson Road and past Applebee's. 

Work was busy almost the entire afternoon. Besides nasty weather chasing people and their Halloween parties inside, two cashiers called out, and another went home early. We had no help at all, anywhere. They reported only having one person in the deli and the bakery, too. At least most people were in good moods, and the afternoon went fast. It slowed down enough by 5:30 for me to shut down without a relief.

Fewer hours next week, but still a lot more than I was getting before last March. Yes, I did get Halloween off, as I requested; also have Wednesday off, and my cashiering shifts are short 4 and 5 hour days. Still have two 8 1/2 hour bagging days in a row, though. 

Went straight into grocery shopping after work. Found another bag of whole wheat flour on the clearance rack and had a free coupon for Acme brand butter. Picked up chips and green peppers for a dip recipe I'm going to try on Halloween. Grapes and shrimp were on good sales with online coupons, too. Restocked apples, bananas, milk, olive oil, cereal, vanilla extract, and shampoo. Treated myself to a double-pack of two Reeces Pumpkins. 

The clouds grew darker and darker as the afternoon progressed. No wonder it died down by 5:30. When I came outside after I finished my shopping, it was dark as midnight and showering heavily. To my surprise, it took less than four minutes for my Uber driver to arrive even with the bad weather. She was a pleasant older woman who chatted with me about my rental problems and got me home in five minutes. (I tipped her well.)

(Incidentally, it would continue raining off and on in some form or another for the rest of the night, complete with those high winds I mentioned earlier.)

Match Game '77 was on when I got home. The first one featured "___ Marshall" on the Audience Match. Gene wasn't entirely happy with the top answer being "Peter Marshall," host of the rival comedy game show Hollywood Squares. (We also find out why Richard started asking people to stop referring to him as "Dickie" by '77.) I had shrimp and salad during the second as the panelists reacted to an especially weird answer to a question about what the stork delivered along with the baby.

Switched to Perfect Strangers as I threw the laundry in the wash for the fourth season Halloween episode "Aliens." Larry's excited about watching a horror movie marathon on Halloween night. Balki thinks the horror movies will make you bad. Larry scoffs at his fears, until he has a nightmare about Balki being an alien bent on taking over the Earth!

Watched Young Frankenstein on Amazon Prime, where it's free with the subscription. Fredrick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) is called to Transylvania when he inherits his late grandfather's castle and workshop. He's a surgeon who isn't interested in his grandfather's gristly work in reanimating life, until he discovers his private library and thinks there might be something to it after all. His assistants Igor (Marty Feldman) and Helga (Terri Garr) help him bring an enormous man to the castle for an experiment. It works...but Igor brought an abnormal brain, and now Fredrick has a brainless hulk running around. He does manage to bring him back, thanks to Frou Blucker's (whinny) (Cloris Leachman) violin, and even gets him tap dancing...but first his routine goes wrong and the monster is taken prisoner, and then his fussy fiancée (Madeline Khan) shows up for a visit...

Classic horror comedy was so much fun - to watch and make - the cast added extra scenes, just so they could keep going! Top notch work from everyone involved, with some hilarious gags and delightfully spooky atmosphere (thanks to the real sets from the 1931 Universal Frankenstein being used). Highly recommended for lovers of Mel Brooks and his spoofs, the cast, or gentler horror satire.

Finished the night on YouTube with the Halloween episode of You Can't Do That On Television while folding laundry. Annoying Alisdair had joined the cast by this point, just in time to see Christine jokingly put a "curse" on their obnoxious stage manager Ross for Halloween. Christine means it to be all in fun, but Ross takes it seriously and spends the episode lamenting all the strange things happening to him. Meanwhile, the Senator dad has his own idea of trick-or-treating, a kid tricks the executioner by switching clothes with him, and some of Barth's Halloween dinners are not for the squeamish. 

Thursday, October 28, 2021

No Rest for the Weary

Kicked off the morning with breakfast and the first Doc McStuffins Halloween episode. Doc's dad has a new decoration in "Boo Hoo to You," a little ghost who pops out of a pumpkin. At first, all Doc and her friends have to do is fix the top of the pumpkin so the ghost will come out...but they have far worse problems when the little fellow is freaked out by the other decorations. Doc has to convince him that Halloween isn't really that scary. Doc's brother Donnie says "It's Glow Time" for his glow-in-the-dark monster Glo-Bo, but he won't glow. Doc and the others take him out in the sunshine to recharge his energy.

Headed out shortly after the episode left. No problems here. Called Uber; they arrived within 8 minutes. Got to work with just enough time to put my bag in the back.

Work itself went less well. Once again, it started out fine...but once our customers picked up, so did my chores. At one point, I was told to clean the men's bathroom. Someone made a mess in there. That took so long, I never did finish all of it and didn't have the time to sweep the store or gather carts. I flat-out told the manager I will not be doing that again. Even with the remaining cleaning left to others, I still had to sweep, gather carts, help a particularly demanding customer outside, make sure all the other bathrooms are working, and shelve cold items. And I didn't have any help until 4PM. It was 3:30 before I could even get to the overflowing outside trash. 

At least the weather was decent for pushing carts when I got out there. It was sunny, fairly warm, and humid through most of the day. The clouds and cooler weather didn't roll in until past 3:30. It's been cloudy ever since. 

Was dead tired when I rushed out and called Uber. Thank heavens I got someone quickly. They came within three minutes; I was home in five. 

Sent out a few more e-mails for apartments, then went into writing. King Allen and The Red King demand that Brett leaves immediately. The Cheshire Catwoman (Lee Merriweather) appears on her shoulder to remind everyone that she can't exactly walk out the door when she's ten feet tall. Brett grabs Ira the Knave instead. She shakes him until he confesses that he stole the tarts to frame Sir Richard and get him out of the way.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers while watching Match Game '77. The second question involved what someone has to do for "Old Man Rayburn" while hosting Match Game '99. This gets a little creepy when you realize that there was a version of Match Game on syndication around in 1999, but Gene didn't host it. He passed away that November. (And I've heard from several quarters it wasn't very good anyway.) 

Match Game PM was a bit less spooky. It's also an episode I have some fond memories of. It was the first episode I saw on Buzzr when I started watching about two years ago. There are some things you never Elaine Joyce in a leopard-print halter top or handsome Lou Grant reporter Robert Walden. Meanwhile, nervous Bill Daily dodges boos for his bad answers and finds himself answering "__ ing Pretty" in the Head-to-Head.

Was so happy stretched out on the couch, I stayed there to watch the first Halloween episode of the current Muppet Babies. Fozzie's upset when his yodeler costume isn't as scary as the other kids' costumes. He tries to celebrate "Happy Hallowokka" by creating a scary haunted playground, but everything he does comes out funny. Animal dresses as a ghost to help. Summer tells "The Teeth Chattering Tale of the Haunted Pancakes" in order to convince Kermit that Nanny's ghost-shaped "booberry pancakes" are worth trying.

Switched to YouTube after a shower for Monster Mash. I go further into this strange version of the Boris Pickett song from 1995 at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Finished the night with the season 5 Halloween episode of The Facts of Life. "The Halloween Show" has an old man in a loud sport coat telling the girls and Mrs. Garrett a spooky story about four sisters who lived in their building and were murdered by one of them. Three of them think it's just a story, until they keep seeing clues everywhere indicating that the ghost of that killer may have possessed Mrs. Garrett...

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Blowing In the Wind

Got such a quick start, I barely had time for breakfast, the tail end of the 1986 Card Sharks, and the beginning of To Tell the Truth. Gene Rayburn joined Bill, Peggy, and Kitty to figure out which of three men was stranded in a dinghy and a rubber raft for 37 days in the Pacific. Didn't have the chance to see which one did it before Uber arrived. 

Work was tiring today! This was my first of two bagging days in a row. I was all alone today, too. The next bagger wasn't due until I left at 5 PM. We were on-and-off busy later in the afternoon, which meant I had a hard time keeping up with the carts and the sweeping and checking the bathrooms and cleaning up broken jars of pasta sauce. We're having a hard time finding baggers who want to work on weekday mornings and afternoons. All but two baggers work evenings or weekends. Even Uber showed up later than they were originally supposed to after showing up right on time this morning.

At least the weather could have been worse. Windy and cool, but also cloudy for most of the day. No rain this time, only those dark clouds. 

Applied for a fairly inexpensive apartment building in Mt. Ephram, about ten or so minutes down the Black Horse Pike from the Acme, then went into writing. Brett eats both mushrooms Nipsey the Caterpillar gave her at at the same time...and they make her grow so tall, her head hits the ceiling! She's now literally bigger than the Red King and can tell him what she thinks of him. But it won't last for long...

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Had leftovers while watching Match Game '77. Gene jokingly threatens the male contestant before everyone makes jokes about what would be in a Gene Rayburn sandwich. Meanwhile, Brett misses her best friend Charles, who is away visiting family in New York, rather badly.

Started a Honey Oatmeal Cake while watching The Halloween Tree. Four kids dressed as a witch, a skeleton, a monster, and a mummy are shocked when they realize their good friend Pip who always comes up with great costumes is in the hospital. They think they see him running along and follow him to a spooky old house owned by a shrunken man named Moundshroud (Leonard Nimoy). When Pip steals the pumpkin from the Halloween Tree that represents his life, the kids and Moundshroud follow him through 4,000 years of Halloween history, learning about the multi-cultural origins of their costumes and Halloween traditions on the way.

It's rare that animated specials dive in Halloween's origins the way many do for Christmas, making this adaptation of the Ray Bradbury children's novel fairly unique. 

Finished the night online with Mystery at the Wax Museum on TCM. This horror mystery was one of the last films to use the original two-strip Technicolor process before the studios switched to the improved three-strip. Reporter Florence Dempsey (Glenda Farrell) thinks the Joan of Arc statue at the local wax museum too closely resembles a model who recently committed suicide for comfort. Turns out the model's body is among the many that have gone missing from the morgue recently. The musuem's creepy owner (Lionel Atwill) was disfigured by a fire in his previous museum that left him unable to sculpt. His assistant Ralph Burton (Allen Vincent) has a fiancee named Charlotte Duncan (Fay Wray) who is a dead (pardon the pun) ringer for the perfectly crafted Marie Antoinette he lost in the fire. He's determined to make the lovely Charlotte into his next victim, even as Florence learns just what happened to those bodies.

Creepy horror thriller proves that the pinks and greens of two-strip Technicolor could be just as useful in creating spooky atmosphere as it was in dressing up flashy musicals. Farrell and Atwill do the best here as the determined and fast-talking woman journalist who needs that story and the scary sculptor who finds a fairly nasty method of continuing to sculpt, even when he no longer can. This and the Vincent Price remake House of Wax are both recommended if you like your scares more tense than bloody. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

A Dark and Cloudy Afternoon

Was lulled to sleep last night by a heavy storm. It was cloudy and gloomy when I opened my eyes this morning around 10:30, but the rain was long gone. At least it made a nice backdrop for starting Killing Thyme.  

My phone jangled less than 20 minutes after I opened the book. Rose finally got back to me. Yes, she's been busy. No, she can't take my bike to Deptford now, or at all this week. She has too much going on. Craig's busy with work at the restaurant, and she's dealing with the kids and animals. And I need to start pushing the apartment hunt harder and offering people 4 to 6 month's rent in lieu of a month-to-month lease.

Read for a little while longer before rolling out of bed around 11:30. Watched an episode of Bewitched on The Roku Channel as I made oatmeal and mandarin oranges for breakfast. Endora wants her daughter Samantha to come with her for a typical witches' Halloween party, but Darren needs here there to host a party for his costume shop-owning clients. Endora teaches him a lesson when she dresses as a little girl out for "Trick or Treat" who turns him into a werewolf just as the party begins, then refuses to change him back.

Put on Match Game '76 as I cleaned up breakfast. It was an episode I'd seen several times, the one with a contestant who resembles John Ritter and chatters about his Irish setter. That's probably why everyone gives dog answers to the next question.

Headed out for a Dollar General run shortly after the episode ended. Jodie's friend Erica who lives down the street was just pulling out of her driveway as I strolled past. She ended up giving me a ride, even though it's not far. Eggs and chocolate chips are still cheaper there, and I wanted mozzarella cheese to go with dinner. Picked up more candy and novelties to fill out the remaining Halloween bags, too, including Moon Pies. 

Worked on those bags when I got home while watching the Halloween episode of Jem on Tubi. It's "Trick or Techrat" when Eric Raymond and his lackey try to scare Jem, the Holograms, and one of the Starlight Girls away from a crumbling opera house. The girls intend to give a charity concert on Halloween to save it, but the Misfits have a competing concert going on across the street, and a corporate buddy of Eric's wants to build a high rise. The poor Starlight Girl is scared to death of everything, but she's the one who overcomes her fears and figures out what's really going on. 

Went on Zoom at 2 for counseling. To tell the truth, Mrs. Stahl didn't say much that everyone else hasn't been saying for months. Don't be hard on yourself, don't be upset, just focus on finding an apartment. She keeps recommending a place a friend owns in Mt. Ephram. They are down the street from the Audubon Acme...and right now, they're the only apartments in Mt. Ephram that are open, according to online apartment rental websites. 

I just wish I hadn't put all this off...and that everything wasn't happening at once. In the last year, I've moved, broken an elbow, lost my father, lost my only source of transportation twice, and now I have to move again. And all this on top of a world-wide pandemic. I'm tired and burnt out and overwhelmed, and no one around me understands. All I want is time to rest and really consider my next move. 

Gave up on apartment hunting for a while and switched to baking Vanilla Pear Cookies to make me feel better. Returned to Tubi for Repo! The Genetic Opera while I worked. I go further into this unique sci-fi horror rock opera at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Went online after the movie ended. In addition to apartment hunting, I snuck in some writing. Queen Betty is fed up with everyone ignoring her and orders Richard taken to the dungeon. Lee the Cheshire Catwoman tries to distract them, to no avail. Brett first tries yelling at Betty, but then she comes up with a better distraction...eating both of the mushrooms from Nipsey the Caterpillar at once and growing ten feet tall! 

Broke for dinner at little early, at quarter after 6. Made pasta and meatballs with tomato sauce, cheese, and a salad while watching Match Game '77. Chris Cranston, the former Playboy Centerfold, continues her run in these two episodes. She was finally taken down by a pretty Japanese lady; her challenger was a rather mannish woman dressed in a suit. 

Joyce Bulifant was on fire today on Match Game PM. She got both her matches and was on the board on both Audience Matches. Meanwhile, Charles sits down with Gene so he can read him a question alone, and Brett's not happy when she has to help the contestant match "__ Advice" in the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night online after a shower with vintage Halloween shows. The Paul Lynde Halloween Special is possibly the most 1976 holiday program in existence. Lynde joins his housekeeper Margaret at a spooky mansion...and of course, she turns out to be Margaret Hamilton, aka the Witch of the West, and her sister is Billie "Witchiepoo" Hayes. They give him three wishes. The first allows him to spoof the trucker culture popular at the time, with Roz Kelly of Happy Days as his waitress girlfriend and Tim Conway as a rival trucker. The second has him as a desert shiek romancing frigid British beauty Florence Henderon, with Conway as a member of the Foreign Legion. In between, KISS play three of their biggest hits, "Detroit Rock City," "Beth," and "King of the Night Time World," Betty White appears as Miss Halloween, Kelly does disco, and the Osmonds run out to annoy Lynde. 

White wasn't the only Golden Girl to turn up in a truly nutty Halloween show. Rue McClanahan is The Wickedest Witch in a rare special from 1989. She lives with a clan of game show-obsessed lizard creatures underground and understandably will do anything to get out. Apparently, she can only break her curse and return to the surface if she gets a pure being to do an evil deed on Halloween. She gets one of the lizards to bring a kid who loves magic down to her domain, but he can't hurt his new buddies, no matter how annoying they are to her. 

The Witch Who Turned Pink is also from 1989, and sounds more like an especially weird storybook from my childhood than a typical holiday special. Four pumpkins who hate the color green turn one of the witches who live near their pumpkin patch pale pink. Her fellow witches are horrified at her pastel hue and try every spell they know to change her back. An owl is the only one who can really figure out how to set things right. 

Here's these three rare tales of witches, monsters, rock-and-rollers, and comedians who go bump in the night, for your viewing pleasure!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Before the Storms

Kicked off a late morning with breakfast and the second season Halloween episode of Happy Days. Richie's asked to check out a supposedly "Haunted" house where Ralph's holding his annual Halloween party. His sister Joanie claims he'll lose his head if he goes in there, but Fonzie claims he needs to confront his fears. Richie is determined to go...and prove to his friends that some fear really is just all in your imagination.

Called Uber around twenty minutes to 12. I got a ride in less than ten minutes. The lady who picked me up was really sweet. She even had candy and bags of cookies in the seat; I took a bag of mini chocolate chip cookies for later. We pulled up to the dental office at Westmont Plaza less than five minutes later. (Turns out she worked at the AC Moore there before they closed. Oh, and I found out why Michael's didn't open there as planned; despite AC Moore having packed the store to the gills, Michael's still considered it to be too small.)

Got in around 12:48 and signed in. They pulled me in about 10 minutes later. Another pleasant older lady cleaned and scraped my teeth. They were fairly built-up, considering it's only been over a month since my last dental appointment. Took a half-hour. That's my last dental appointment for the year. I won't need another check-up and cleaning until February. 

Ran a few errands next. Picked up sponges and soap at the Dollar Tree next-door. Target and Dollar Tree cleared out most of their Halloween stock already. Had far more luck at the CVS a few blocks away. Found gift bags and plastic vampire teeth and bugs to put in them with the candy and tattoos I already had, along with the cheaper yellow Tide on sale. 

It was a lovely afternoon for a walk. The sun was out, shining and golden overhead. The sky was a searing blue, and it was breezy, warm, and humid. I very much enjoyed strolling down Cuthbert and Atlantic, past people on their way to work and mothers pushing their children.

Next stop was PNC Bank in Collingswood. Though I had to sign in online, they were dead quiet other than the one poor teller dealing with a lady taking out money and the people at the drive-in window. A plump, sweet young gentleman looked up my account and discovered I did have an offer for a simple charge card. I intend to strictly limit the card's use to weekly grocery trips and the occasional lunch out. The eager young man quickly got me approved; PNC will send me the card within 5 to 7 days. After I get it, I'll lower the amount to at least $500.

Strolled a few blocks down Haddon Avenue to Main Street Realty. One of my customers mentioned there was a realtor there who might be more receptive to help me...but I couldn't remember her name. I talked to two gentlemen and explained my problem. Basically, the men said try to talk to people and offer them 6 month's to a year's rent in lieu of regular monthly payments. 

I hadn't intended this to be a browsing trip, and many stores in Collingswood are closed on Mondays anyway. Called Uber at the parking lot behind Haddon Avenue, in front of the senior center, as soon as I finished with the realtors The older man picked me up in a quick two minutes and got me home in five.

Put everything away when I got home, then put together my Halloween treat bags while watching the horror-themed episode of the swashbuckler satire Jack of All Trades. Jack's partner Emilia takes a potion that makes her a "Dead Woman Walking," so she can find out who's desecrating tombs from the inside. Her potion works too well, making Govenor Croquey think she really is dead...and leading to her and Jack nearly being cremated! 

Switched to Tattletales on Buzzr as I continued making the treat bags. Married dancers Bobby Van and Elaine Joyce were the come-from-behind winners here, over comedian Shecky Greene and his wife Nalani and Greg Mulavey and his wife Meredith MacRae. 

Press Your Luck started out fairly subdued, with everyone getting some money in the first round and no whammies. They finally hit in the second; the one lady didn't get enough on her last turn to beat the other guy. He went home with a trip to Hawaii and a motorcycle.

Called Rose about the bike, but didn't get her, so I switched to writing. Brett finally reminds Queen Betty who's the boss here. She's ready to throw everyone out when the Cheshire Catwoman (Lee Merriweather) appears to upset everyone even further.

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Watched Match Game '77 while eating leftovers and a salad for dinner. Former Playmate of the Month Chris Cranston gets to admire Gene's snazzy two-toned shoes and take on a sweet-natured Hawaiian surfer woman. Richard and Dick Martin are happier ogling the ladies and helping them with "__ Rib." David Doyle argues the difference between wood chips and sawdust and is extremely nervous helping the southern-accented contestant with "__ Stadium" on Match Game PM

Lightning began as early as Match Game PM. By the time I moved on to Halloween Is Grinch Night, we were in the middle of a full-blown thunderstorm. It was the perfect backdrop for how little Eukeriah Who stopped the Grinch from coming down to Whoville with his "Paraphernalia Wagon" full of surreal Seussian scares. 

The rain continued on and off as I went online for House on Haunted Hill. Vincent Price headlines this classic 1959 horror film as eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren, who brings five people who desperately needs money to his house for a "ghost party." If they stay the night, they'll earn $10,000. His wife Annabelle (Carol Ohmart) seems to be more interested in avoiding the guests or at least debunking the ghosts. Dr. David Trent (Alan Marshal) also doesn't believe in ghosts, but poor young Nora Manning (Carolyn Craig) has seen too many rattling skeletons and vats of acid in the place to not be convinced. She, daring pilot Lance Schroder (Richard Long), and newspaper columnist Ruth Bridgers (Julie Mitchum) go from trying to win money to hoping they survive the night after Annabelle turns up dead and Fredrick gives them all guns to defend themselves. But are those guns as dangerous as they appear...and has Annabelle really joined the ghosts in the house, or is she up to something else?

Despite director William Castle using "Emergo" (swishing a skeleton in front of the audience) at certain parts of the film, this is actually one of his more straightforward fright fests. No camp elements, no major blood or gore (as in the 1999 remake). It's pretty much Clue played straight, with Price giving one of his best-known performances as Loren and Ohmart more than matching him as his frigid wife. If you love other old-haunted-house stories or Price, this is one "haunting" you'll want to sign up for.

Finished the night at Hulu with the Halloween episode of MASH. It's "Trick or Treatment" in the 11th season when the party at the 4077th is disrupted by wounded partiers, including one guy who gets a cue ball stuck in his mouth (George Wendt), and another who drove drunkenly through a chicken coup (Andrew Dice Clay, which should surprise no one). There's more brutally damaged wounded there, too, including one poor soldier who is too traumatized to eat after witnessing his friends killed having dinner in a fox hole and another man who turns out to be alive after being tagged as dead. 

(Incidentally, that rain has continued to provide spooky atmosphere off and on for the rest of the night, though the noise and pyrotechnics are long gone.) 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

They Have the Power

Got such a quick start this morning, I barely had enough time to eat and call Uber. They were there in five minutes and got me to the Acme just in time for work.

Work was pretty much the same as yesterday. Might have been a tad busier during rush hours; otherwise, it was on-and-off steady. Once again, I shelved candy between customers. Left slightly late, thanks to getting a WIC check, then a slow and large order. At least the Uber driver took less than 15 minutes to arrive, not bad during an Eagles game. 

I originally planned on watching the Eagles-Raiders game and doing writing when I got in. I put on Fox and started writing, but even though it was 7-7 at that point, I kept drifting off. After 20 minutes, I gave up, switched it off, and took a nap instead. Woke up about a hour and a half later, still fairly tired. (And I discovered the Eagles lost to the Raiders 33-22.)

Did feel up to dinner. Made leftover burgers and zucchini and tomatoes while listening to the original cast album for The Phantom of the Opera. The beloved extravaganza telling of the "ghost" who hides under the Paris Opera and tries to push his protégé into the limelight is the last 80's "pop opera" still standing in its original production on Broadway. No one has equaled Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford's legendary performances as Christine and the damaged "ghost" who tries to control her, and their both captured in this lengthy but lovely recording. I've always been especially fond of the ballads "All I Ask Of You" and "The Music of the Night" myself.

Finished off the night on YouTube after a shower. Video games rose to prominence in the late 70's as computers just started to be offered for the home market. It wasn't until 1981 that the first game show based around video games, Starcade, debuted. This syndicated showcase of then-popular games like Galaxian and Journey had teens answering trivia questions for the chance to play the game of their choice and rack up points. The kid who got the most points in the end would go on to play the last game and win the grand prize. Geoff Edwards was the enthusiastic host. 

The Video Game Crash of 1983 killed Starcade, and it's attempted replacement, The Video Game, didn't last a year. Video games wouldn't turn up on TV again until Nintendo rose to prominence in the late 80's-early 90's. Video Power began as a cartoon/video game review show, but was retooled in its second season to be a game show similar to Starcade. The kids in the audience try to stump the much younger "Johnny Arcade" (Stivi Paskoski), then play two current video games (in this case Skate Or Die II and Ninja Gaiden III). 

Alas, this one wasn't nearly as fun as Starcade. Everything from Pasokoski's too-cool-for-you attitude to the weird industrial sets screamed "trying too hard to be hip." The bonus round, with the kid going on a shopping spree to grab games and gear, had more in common with Fun House than video games. 

Arena made a lot more sense. This hit for gamer channel G4 in the early 2000's pit two teams against each other playing certain games in a tournament format. As someone who spent a lot of the early-mid 90's watching her sister play Final Fantasy games, I can confirm that watching people play games can be almost as much fun as playing them yourself - and the guys really get into it, too.

Nickelodeon Arcade proved to be a far more worthy successor to Starcade. Here, the kids play original games created for the show, including leading a character named Mikey to squares that'll earn them points or prizes. If they land on a square saying Video Challenge, they get to play one of those original video games. One kid plays; the other bets on how well their partner does. The winners get to run through three stunt challenges based after those original games. Phil Morris has a great time hosting, despite a lot of bobbles with the questions. 

Kind of complicated, but fun to watch, and the kids looked like they had a great time. (If you enjoy this, there's more currently available on Paramount Plus.)

My favorite find tonight was the one-off special Battle of the Video Games from 1983. This Southern California show pits four teams of older teen and adult celebrities (the only show tonight to feature adults doing anything besides hosting) playing four popular games of the time - Ms. Pac Man, Burger Time, Frogger, and Pac Man - for charity. In between rounds, we get interviews with the celebrities in question, and even get to see the Bally's Arcade factory then. If you're a fan of early video games or game shows from this era, it's funny and fascinating. 

Catch Pac Man Fever with these dives in to game show and video game history!

Saturday, October 23, 2021

That Old Muppet Magic

Slept in this morning; when I did roll out of bed, I had a quick breakfast while watching the Classic Concentration morning feed on Buzzr. The girl and guy were neck-and-neck for most of the round, but he got the puzzle half-way through. Went on to get the car in the bonus round with a few seconds left, too. Marcia Wallace and Henry Pollic III were just coming on Super Password when I called Uber. They arrived in less than three minutes and got to the Acme in five.

No problems at work whatsoever. We were off-and-on steady all day. I shelved candy between customers. My break was late, possibly because it was supposed to be during one of the "on" times when people flooded in from fall festivals and hay rides. It slowed down enough by 4 that I was able to get off with no problems. It did take 13 minutes for my Uber to arrive, but there was no traffic and no trouble getting home, either.

Worked on writing when I got in. The Red King (Mark Goodson) wants the sentence first. Brett insists that's not how it's done. Queen Betty realizes she's losing control here and starts demanding everyone listens to her or else. Orson the March Hare and Gary the Doormouse want to know what happened to their friend Charles the Hatter.

(Oh, and I got incredibly lucky. The rain that threatened South Jersey all day finally arrived shortly after I got home. It continued for a little while after that, but I don't think it's rained since then.)

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Had leftovers while watching Muppets Haunted Mansion on Disney Plus. I go further in the first Muppets Halloween special at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Finished the night on YouTube with Halloween episodes of The Lawrence Welk Show. You'd think this sweet show and scary holiday would go together like oil and water. It actually works out better than you might think. I think my favorite of the three episodes I found was the one from 1965. Jo Ann Castle (looking like Phyllis Diller as the Bride of Frankenstein) and a Frank-like Jack Imel did "Trick or Treat" from the Donald Duck cartoon for a pair of freaked-out Lennon Sisters. The Lennons grabbed their little sisters to be skeletons for "Dry Bones," and Bobby Burgess and his then-partner Barbara Boylen were bats "In the Hall of the Mountain King." Norma Zimmer made a lovely witch singing about "Three O'Clock In the Morning," and a devilish Arthur Duncan danced to "Old Devil Moon."

The 1975 show was almost as much fun. Bobby was the devil this time with Cissy King, dancing to "Satan Takes a Holiday." Anacani was a gorgeous Victorian senorita singing "Blue Moon," and Gail, Sandy, and Mary Lou were a trio of witches out of Hocus Pocus asking people to "Put On a Happy Face." Dick Dale got really weird as a mad scientist creating three singing beauties when he wanted a "Real Live Girl." Arthur reprised "Old Devil Moon," this time for some reason as a tap-dancing astronaut.

They dropped the party theme by 1978 and just did a series of skits and mildly scary songs. Bobby and Cissy reprise "Satan," this time as a pair of dancing skeletons bothering "The Phantom of the Organ" Bob Ralsten. The "Me and My Shadow" choir number with black and white costumes and two skits with Bob Dale as a sorcerer who keeps trying to make himself smile were more strange than cute or funny. 

Enjoy a little spooky background music this Halloween season with Welk, his singers, and their magical, musical parties. 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Autumn Blue and Gold

Started off a quick morning making the bed and tidying up as I watched What's My Line. The first guest held some interest for me, thanks to my four years living in Wildwood. He bought and restored neon signs, which even in 1972, were referred to as a "lost art." The second guest brought in more ribald jokes - she was a championship chicken plucker who lead her own all-woman plucking team.

Jodie called me outside before I could see the third guest. We ended up doing breakfast at The Black Horse Diner two blocks from the Audubon Crossings Shopping Center. Apparently, the hostess is a friend of Jodie's. I had two pancakes, half of a grapefruit, and hot tea; Jodie had coffee, eggs, bacon, home fries, and scrapple. The waitress tried giving me French toast; she apparently grabbed the wrong plate. I got my spongy buttermilk pancakes soon enough. The grapefruit was really sweet, too. 

We still had to kill more time while people looked at the house, so Jodie took us to the small WalMart behind the Acme. We both bought candy for the kids on Halloween; I got Tootsie Rolls and lollipops and orange-colored Kit Kats for the kids and my favorite pumpkin-shaped York Peppermint Patties for me. I also grabbed mandarin oranges and cooking spray. Thankfully, a line opened just as we made it up front.

They were still there even after we finished. She drove me around the lake at Newton Lake Park. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day, probably in the 60's, but I was still depressed. Nothing is going right. No offense to Rose, but I really don't want to have to crowd her and her family in their small home. Jodie says her aunt and uncle have plenty of room for her, but I don't really know them well. I'd rather be on my own. 

I got in with just enough time to change into my work shirt, make a grocery list, and pack up my lunch for later. Jodie, at least, was nice enough to drive me there. No problems on the road, and I got there with more than enough time to get organized.

I'm cashiering for the rest of the weekend. It did get busy, but there otherwise weren't too many problems. As long as the lines were, they went pretty fast. Some customers were very encouraging about my current problems. One suggested talking to the head of Main Street Realty; another said I should look into government assistance. 

Decent schedule next week. In good news, two days off in a row, Monday (for regular dental cleaning) and Tuesday. Unfortunately, I'm still stuck working two 8 1/2 hour days in a row, plus an 8 hour cashiering day on Saturday.

Had a lot of groceries to pick up after my vacation last week. Ground chicken and turkey were on sale, and the latter had a manager's coupon. Found a small container of shrimp for dinner. The Acme's generic ice cream brand is doing fall seasonal flavors this year. Hard choice, but I went with Caramel Apple Pie. Grabbed grape tomatoes, celery, and spinach on the "buck a bag" produce sale and strawberries with an online coupon. Restocked milk, yogurt, pears, bananas, plastic wrap, parchment paper, crushed pineapple, chocolate chips, and brown sugar. Added Halloween tattoos to the growing pile of items for my trick or treat bags.

It took thirteen minutes to get an Uber driver this time. Could have been much worse at the height of rush hour. At any rate, he arrived on time, hit no traffic, and got me home quickly.

Went straight into Match Game '77 when I got in and changed. Buzzr's finally running new-to-them episodes, including this week featuring Dick Martin in Charles' seat. (No idea where Charles was - probably directing a play or opera somewhere.) Everyone dodges the sardine and onion sandwich on Gene's breath while Brett and Mary Wickes ogle "new kid on the block," soap star Tom Hallick, on the first episode. We get a lot of candy bar jokes in the second episode when the Audience Match is __ Henry. 

Did the dishes and made Chocolate Chip Muffins while watching Match Game PM. Charles and Fannie spend the episode teasing Brett about her lace wrap that resembles a tablecloth. Meanwhile, Eva Gabor argues with judge Ira Skutch over the differences between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. 

Slid the muffins in the oven and did the dishes while switching to DVD for Bugs Bunny's Howl-oween Special. This is one of those shows that's mainly bits and pieces of older Looney Tunes shorts strung together with a thin story, in this case Witch Hazel chasing Bugs. At least two of the shorts - "Broomstick Bunny" and "A Haunting We Will Go" - actually revolve around Halloween. Other excerpts including Sylvester being terrified by a giant monster Tweety and mice who want him and Porky gone and Bugs tangling with a vampire. 

Finished the night online after a shower with Stage Fright. I go further into this spoof of slasher flicks and European operetta extravaganzas at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

What Is Passion?

I woke up at call the Acme and tell them I wasn't coming in. After all the trouble yesterday afternoon with doing too much at once, I couldn't bring myself to. I was too tired and sore. They gave their condolences, and I lay back down and slept until 10:30.

It was past 11:30 when I finally finished reading and writing in my journal, and nearly noon when I made cornmeal pancakes for brunch. Watched Match Game '76 while I ate. Gene's extra-long microphone was temporarily replaced by a shorter one in the first episode, to his chagrin. He's delighted to get his regular one back from Richard in the second. Meanwhile, Scoey Mitchilll has an obvious crush on a pretty curly-haired contestant with an adorable round-cheeked smile. 

Made a few calls around 1 PM. The first was to the realtors. I didn't get the one selling the house and left a message. I did get the on in Collingswood. She had bad news. Apparently, even making 1,500 a month isn't enough to rent a decent apartment in this area. I can only afford one for $500, which isn't going to happen. I don't see how it isn't enough. It's the most money I've ever made! 

I had more luck calling Deptford about the bike. Basically, they said it sounded like normal wear and tear on a bike I use every day. I'll need to get Rose or Craig to bring it in for them to check out and replace.

Jodie came in while I was still upset about the realtors with more bad news. I'd have to clear out tomorrow at quarter of 9 so someone could look at the house. Great. I'd planned on sleeping in. She said she'd take me out to breakfast. She also suggested doing my laundry today, which I was going to ask if I could do anyway. I put it in about 20 minutes later. 

Well, if the money I made wasn't good enough, I figured it was high time I found a real job. My problem is, first of all, while I know I love to write, I don't know what else to do with it, besides writing blogs and fanfiction. I'm not sure how to write a proposal, and I'm terrible about selling myself. Every time I look at editing and writing and copywriting jobs at LinkedIn and Indeed, they always require more experience or skills than I have. I see those jobs that need years of experience and technical skills and I panic before I even apply. 

I finally gave up around 3 PM and settled down for a much-needed nap. There were a few kids coming out of school and enjoying a beautiful day, but it was largely quiet. Even Jodie wasn't around or went upstairs. Even so, I slept until quarter of 5 and was still tired afterwards.

Did a little bit of writing when I went online. Betty's tired of no one paying attention to her and demands a sentence. Brett heatedly points out that verdicts come first, and anyway, Dickie didn't do it. Her sons and his vehemently agree, and Orson the March Hare wants to know what happened to Charles the Mad Hatter.

Tried looking up jobs again after I got distracted from writing, but...I just couldn't find anything. Nothing was right. Everyone says "follow your passion." How do you follow your passion? I've always been made fun of over my obsessions and told to avoid them, to the point where I don't know what's passion and what's just something I'm into anymore. 

I'm so overwhelmed, I don't know what to do. I need a real job to get an apartment. I need passion to get a real job...but how can you find your passion when you're burnt out and scared and not a single thing in your life is going right? I'm terrified I'm going to lose my home and end up having to rely on other people's charity without even a real home of my own. Every time I think I'm doing the right thing, it's always and without fail the wrong thing. How can I make things go right? 

Didn't break until past 7:20. Saw a bit of Match Game PM while making burgers and steamed green beans for dinner. Sale of the Century was a neck-and-neck battle between the champ and the one guy. He bought a trip to Vegas and won the Instant Cash, but she killed at the Speed Round again. Still couldn't get that bonus round, though.

Finished the night online with Rockula. I go further into this campy 1990 horror comedy from B movie specialists The Cannon Group at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Just Plain Tired

Started off the morning with a quick breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Katerina, Dan, and Miss Elaina are preparing for Dress-Up Day, the Neighborhood equivalent of Halloween. Daniel is delighted to find a costume for his favorite character, Tigey the Adventure Tiger, while Elaina makes her robot costume. Katerina can't decide what she wants to be...until she comes up with a very creative solution for "Katerina's Costume!" O the Owl is especially excited to show off his traffic light costume on "Dress Up Day," but when he rips his paper lights, he has to decide what else he wants to be.

Hurried off to work after that. Thankfully, no problems with the Uber drivers. The one who picked me up in the morning arrived in less than 7 minutes; the afternoon driver got to the Acme in 6. 

Wish work went as well. It wasn't so bad in the morning. They got one of the stock boys to do the inside sweeping and checking the bathrooms, leaving me to gather the carts and replace the trash and recycling. It helped that it was dead all morning, too. The day was sunny and warm, probably in the upper 60's-lower 70's, much too nice for shopping. 

The trouble started after the young man ended up in a register around 1. Not only did it start picking up at this point (though it never did become overwhelming), but I was now the only bagger. The evening bagger called out. Every time I tried to sweep or go outside to round up carts, someone would call me to take boxes to the baler or clean up a spill or put a cold item away, always at the same time. I tried to do the best I could, but I was so tired and frustrated, I was going crazy. 

There were a few sales on this week I couldn't turn down. Sugar was 99 cents with an online coupon, and I badly needed it; the new Silver Blossom raw honey was free with another. The Acme's generic brown eggs were on sale with a third. 

I was so worn out, when I got home, I changed and lay down with Match Game '75. Fannie Flagg continues her flirtation with that high school gym teacher, even dancing with him at one point. Meanwhile, Ethel Merman tries to get Brett to stop imitating her. 

Started watching Match Game '77...but I closed my eyes and didn't open them until the second episode was almost over. Made fried eggs with a green salad while watching Match Game PM instead. Foster Brooks and Lorna Patterson, along with sarcastic semi-regular Marcia Wallace, got to meet proud Brooklyn resident LeRoy. It's Marcia who has to help win 20,000 with "Twilight __."

Made "The Vermont" Maple Cookies with that syrup I bought in Vermont while watching Sale of the Century. There was a close game today, with the ladies neck and neck for most of the time and the man coming up in the end. The champ bought a lovely cedar wardrobe and still blew everyone away at the Speed Round. This was a 1988 episode, which means she didn't do quite as well at the guess-the-word puzzle bonus round.

Finished the night online with Too Close for Comfort. The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour premiers on YouTube have showed the week featuring the cast this week. This mid-80's sitcom had Ted Knight as a cartoonist whose two grown daughters Sara and Jackie move into the apartment downstairs. Nancy Dussault is his sensible wife. "Sara's Monroe Doctrine" brings in annoying and needy neighbor Monroe Ficus (Jm J. Bullock), who follows her everywhere after he's dumped. The two even end up in jail when they try to be street singers. Henry and Muriel have to bail them out...but Monroe ends up doing something sweet for them when he causes trouble on their anniversary

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Ride Captain Ride

We got an early start on the road today around quarter of 8. Lauren's parents had an appointment at the dermatologist's 15 minutes from the Albany train station. Listened to the Perfect Strangers Dance of Joy podcast discuss the third season episode "My Brother, Myself" while we waited for them. 

At least it was a lovely day for a drive. The clouds finally cleared out last night. Everything was sunny and clear, without a hint of mist. It was chilly and windy, but probably not abnormally so for the time of year. 

The Millers dropped me off at the station. Mr. and Mrs. Miller are still wary of going in public places, even with masks, so I hugged them in the parking lot and took my leave there. The Millers are very sweet people, and I always have a great time when I visit. Treated myself to a tasty butter crumb cake at the cafe, hit the bathroom, and read Guilty as Cinnamon until they announced my train.

This may be the easiest train trip I've ever had. The train to Albany left on time and arrived 20 minutes early. The New York to Philly train was actually going to Richmond and arrived about five minutes late, but nothing worse than that. The weather remained gorgeous, sparkling on the blue river waters along the Ethan Allen Express. For the first time in years, I got seats on both trains to myself. The stations weren't busy, either. I even got to experience a bit of a bustling New York when I crossed 8th Street passing between Penn Station and Moynihan. Bought a roast beef hoagie for dinner at Jersey Mike's, then got an Uber home within seven minutes. Hit a little bit of traffic, but was still home in about a half-hour.

There was a package waiting for me on my counter that definitely wasn't there when I left. I put everything away while watching Match Game '75, then opened the box. It was Sees Candies, chocolates in a pretty fall-themed tin. 

Had dinner while watching Match Game. The '75 episode was one of the best of that year. Fannie Flagg flirts with a handsome high school teacher, culminating in her fainting after he kisses her during the Audience Match. Things get even more wild after he picks her as his match for the Head-to-Head!

Called Mom as Match Game '77 began. Yes, she sent me the candies. She's having a rough time at the Ferry, too. They're not doing any better with hiring help than anyone else, and she's tired of having hours piled on her. She's leaving after the end of the season on October 30th and will take the winter off to figure out her next move. She has money from the sale of the house and Social Security. She just wants a small side job to compliment her income, and she's still looking to move in with Keefe and his wife once the pandemic and the housing market calm down.

I wish I knew what to do next like that. I've already decided I'm giving myself until Three King's Day, or January 6th. If things don't improve at the Acme, I am leaving and finding a better job. Unlike Mom, Jodie, and Rose, I do need to make an income...if only to have something to do. 

I'm sick and tired of everyone throwing the insurance and retirement fund in my face. I don't care anymore. I'm way beyond caring. I'm exhausted. I wasn't even able to relax when I broke my arm last year. I moved during those two and a half months off. And now I need to find another place to live, which doesn't seem to be working out. Other businesses offer insurance and retirement funds, have more positive employees who actually want to be there, and don't switch out bosses every few months. Beyond that and getting a credit card, I really don't know what my next move will be. I have to call the realtors again when I have time and find out what they say. 

They're also after me about the bike again. I can't always rely on the bus. That's not realistic. It doesn't go everywhere, and sometimes, you need your own transportation. 

Organized the new DVDs and CDs while Match Game PM was on. This 1979 episode started slow, but really picked up when Brett and Charles exchange quips and Gene reveals they had to do the tiebreaker three times before someone wins. Sweet Susan Richardson ends up having to help the winner with "Hot as ___" in the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night online with Everybody's Talking About Jamie. I go further into this joyful British musical about a teen who wants to be a drag queen at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Any Way You Want It

Began the day on the open road. Heavy dark clouds lingered among the rays of sunlight, and it was cold and windy, barely in the 50's. Even the horses wore blankets as we passed them grazing. Lauren took us over the border and into upstate New York, past lovely little hamlets and quaint farming communities with whitewashed churches and stately little libraries. We turned onto the highway, heading past downtown Albany and over to the off ramp for the Wolf  Road shopping area.

Crossgates Mall is one of the largest malls in New York State, and I believe the largest mall in Albany. Since we parked there, we started off at JC Penney. Alas, we didn't do nearly as well there as we did at Holyoke and walked out with nothing. 

Didn't find anything at Amazon 4-Star, either, but it's a neat store. This is Amazon's first shot at a brick-and-mortar storefront. Basically, they sell anything with really good reviews. I looked at the books, toys, and some of the electronics, but didn't see anything I really needed.

We were in and out of a few stores next. Lauren pointed out a yellow blouse with a pretty blue flower print at Macy's that was a plus-size shirt on the regular size racks. I loved the print, and not only was it the perfect size for me, but it was on a deep discount, too. Didn't find anything at the huge GameStop or the vintage game store shop Jay Street Video Games.

Uno Pizza and Grill just happened to be across the way from Game Stop, so we had lunch there. We thought the individual pan pizza and soup lunch special was perfect for us. I had a salty-but-tasty French onion soup; she went with broccoli and cheddar. Her thin crust Taco Pizza was a lot bigger than my deep-dish Farm Market vegetable pie. I finished all but one slice of mine; she didn't close to finish hers and ended up taking half of it home for a snack.

Returned to shopping to walk off that filling lunch. No luck at Burlington Coat Factory. This one was much smaller and narrower than the massive store at Holyoke. Even Lauren couldn't find anything. We did better at the huge Build-a-Bear Workshop. I bought a "love" t-shirt and long jeans for my tomboyish Cabbage Patch doll Carrie, and Lauren bought an outfit for her Cabbie Larry. 

Lauren didn't dig anything up at FYE, but I came up with a winner at the last minute. It took me forever to find the musicals in that large, overstuffed store. When I did run into them on the back of a shelf, they had the Criterion Collection Lubitsch Musicals Eclipse set I've wanted for years, but could never afford until recently. It has The Love Parade, Monte Carlo, The Smiling Lieutenant, and One Hour With You. Lieutenant and Love Parade have showed up on TCM, but I've never seen the other two anywhere. Also grabbed Supergirl: The Second Season and finally found Wonder Woman 1984 for a decent price. (I refuse to get HBO Max just for the DC media, and the CW only has the more recent seasons of Supergirl on their website.)

Hit up Dave & Buster's for an hour next. This is a huge arcade and bar that's pretty identical to Round 1, without the bowling and with tapping or inserting your card instead of swiping it. Fewer cranes, too, with less elaborate prizes. They also have more games that give you a ton more tickets. I did best with the spinning wheels that handed out tickets, including one pirate-themed wheel you spun yourself. Tried basketball and throwing balls into milk jug, but I have terrible aim. Had a lot more fun with skee ball and massive neon-lit versions of Centipede, Space Invaders, and Pac-Man, a faster-paced Galaga, and arcade versions of Crusin' and Mario Kart

Having amassed far more points than at Round 1 (Lauren had over 1,800!), we went to look at the prizes...and still couldn't decide what we wanted. We did better on the cranes. Lauren won a two-foot stuffed giraffe she named Jeffrey off one crane. We both got rubber ducks. She won a purple one. I got a peach duck and a duck wearing monkey ears. (I'll give the latter to Finley.)

Shortly after we left, I pointed out a small toy store a few doors down from Dave & Buster's. Heroes Hideout specialized in toys and games based after whatever's big in pop culture. One whole wall is covered in Funko Pops toys. Lauren bought four of those and a small Care Bears "mystery" figure in a box. I picked up a stuffed Cheer Bear in adorable anime-esque version based on the version of the show that just debuted a few weeks ago. Headed to Old Navy after that, but we didn't find anything there.

Running around that arcade throwing bean bags and skee balls really worked up a thirst. We made our way back down the hall to a small Orange Julius booth. The Orange Julius at the Cherry Hill Mall was replaced by Haagen Daas, and Lauren has none in her area. She bought a Tripleberry Smoothie; I got a Pina Colada Julius. Settled down on soft leather couches across from the booth with Jeffrey and enjoyed our treats.

At that point, we figured it was time for dinner, even though we weren't really that hungry. I bought a turkey, stuffing, and cranberry may pannini from a deli store, but could barely eat half of it. Lauren couldn't eat her second taco from Taco Bell, either. Plus, she'd been hauling a two-foot stuffed giraffe for over an hour. We packed up the rest of our meals and made our way back to JC Penney.

Once we finally remembered where the door we came in was, we had no problems. There was no traffic on the road going or coming. The mall wasn't busy, either, not even Dave & Buster's. The parking lot was very wet when we came out. It must have rained hard earlier in the afternoon, though the sun was trying to come out even as we climbed into the car. It showered a little bit when we were on the road, but nothing crazy.

We showed our finds to Mr. and Mrs. Miller when we got in and tried to find a place for big Jeffrey. (He ended up on a TV tray table.) While they got organized, I took a much-needed shower and did whatever packing I could. Along with my DVD finds, the Millers gave me Maude: The Compete Series, and I had to find room for that and the Lubitsch set. 

Finished the night downstairs with Lauren online after a shower. I was so pooped, I was barely up to more Match Game. Brett proved so popular during her first two appearances, by episode 26, she was officially a regular. Fannie Flagg, one of the most popular semi-regulars, made her debut a few months later. She became the first woman Gene welcomed with a kiss, albeit on the neck. 

Brett also figured heavily into two of my favorite episodes from 1974. Everyone went looking for her earring at the end of the show in one from early in the year. Later, she and giggling Kaye Stevens get to beat up on Gene when he accidentally yanks soap star Trish Stewart off her seat! (Thankfully, she was a good sport about it and laughed it off.) Meanwhile, Charles admires an especially pretty contestant in a very skimpy top in another episode. 

Here's still more of the early years of Match Game, to start off your week with a bang and a few naughty answers!

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The Rainbow Connection

It was gloomy, cold, and gale-force windy when we headed out this morning, Lauren in a winter jacket, me in that blue hoody I bought at Eddie Bauer. The damp weather made me appreciate we planned on staying in the area today. This was no weather for long drives.

Our first stop was in Lanesborough, down the road from the abandoned Berkshire Mall. Berkshire Mantiques is an antique shop and coffee bar situated in an old farm building. Despite the name, it's filled with all kinds of antique items, from ancient gas station signs to records to furniture. There's even an area for coffee and baked goods set up along a bar in the back. Lauren greeted the owners like old friends. Apparently, they're customers at the bank where she works. I didn't see anything I could carry home, but she found the cutest teddy bear-shaped bank. He has a slight chip in his base; otherwise, he's adorable.

It started raining as we headed down the highway to North Adams. The weather slowed down just as Lauren pulled into the parking lot behind Norad Mill. This 1898 factory complex has since been made over to houses offices and shops. 

Our first stop was Belltower Records. This tiny hipster enclave nestled in a whitewashed sewing room mainly sold new records and old CDs. It reminded me a lot of Sun Valley Records in Somerdale, without the DVDs and incense. We peeked around, but they were kind of busy, and neither of us walked out with anything.

We had far more luck across the hall at the Norad Candy and Toy Company. Stuffed animals and bins and shelves filled with penny candy lined the walls of the polished oak wood room. We have plenty of candy, but we found Halloween stuffed animals we liked. Lauren chose a cute black cat with an orange bow. I went with a sweet bat with orange-lined wings. He'll go great with the three stuffed bats I pull out for Halloween every year. 

Lauren originally planned for us to eat at The Norad Cafe, but they're closed on Sunday. She took us into downtown North Adams, eventually ending up at 413 Bistro and Taproom in the Holiday Inn. They were a small room consisting of a black wood bar and whitewashed brick. We each had sliders. The waitress said they were out of the beef brisket I wanted; I went with chicken and waffles. Lauren had siracha chicken. 

And so, we waited to eat. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. It took almost 40 minutes for our food to arrive. We waited so long, another group sitting in the room across from us got angry and left. Admittedly, our food was very tasty when it did come. The chicken was crunchy and the herbed cream cheese was delicious, but the waffles were too small to work as sandwich bread. I used a knife and ate the chicken and waffles separately. 

(Research reveals they're a brand-new business that just opened in July. They may have gotten hit hard with the current hiring shortage, and I can't imagine it's easy to find people willing to work on Sunday's at normal times.)

The Berkshire Emporium is across the street. This is another huge antique center, more of a jumble like the Barrington Antique Center. They had so much stuff packed into that building, shelves of books for sale lined the side wall of the bakery next-door. I couldn't take home anything that interested me, but Lauren found a cute mini-Nintendo that held over 600 vintage games. (Apparently, they're among the most popular items in the store. The owner told Lauren she sells one or more a week and can't keep them in stock.)

Our next stop was the gigantic WalMart in Lanesborough. We dodged lighter showers heading into the massive building, nestled between two mountains. Lauren found Father Knows Best: The Complete Series and a few things for her parents. Once again, I saw nothing I could carry home that interested me. 

Lauren's wanted to check out the Berkshire Scenic Railway in Adams for years. This volunteer-only local museum has short trips down tracks originally used by passenger trains and freight going from Boston and Albany to North Adams when it was an industrial hub. Truthfully, the scenery mostly consists of trees and houses, but there is the occasional lovely view of babbling brooks and rushing rivers. The trees are starting to turn glorious colors up here, too, golds and bricks and lime greens. (Oddly, despite talking quite a bit about the historic Hoosic Tunnel, we didn't go through it.)

It started pouring as we arrived at the station. The two of us dashed for the car as fast as our legs could carry us. We decided the weather wasn't appropriate for further travels. She ordered take-out dinner from her parents' favorite local restaurant the Highland instead. 

No sooner did she finish calling in the order, than we looked up over the train...and saw a beautiful rainbow stretching over the trains and the majestic Greylock Mountain. Even as we took photos, a second, fainter rainbow appeared, to our surprise and delight. 

We stopped briefly at a parking lot in downtown Pittsfield for Lauren to pick up dinner, then headed home. After we showed Mr. and Mrs. Miller our finds, we dug into dinner. I had a huge hot turkey sandwich dripping with (probably bottled) gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Lauren had a Chicken Parmesan sandwich and a small salad. Yum! The potatoes were probably a mix, too, but there's nothing like comfort food. 

After we ate, we moved into Lauren's room downstairs to try out that tiny Nintendo. Half of the 620 games were Japanese titles we never heard of, and many of the others were for one player only, but we did find a few we could do together. I got further on Super Mario Brothers, mainly because I remembered to use the secret pipes in World 1-2. Lauren killed me at Ice Hockey 7 - 2; I had trouble aiming. She also did better at Elevator Action, in which a secret agent rides a series of elevators down a building, shooting at bad guys and occasionally stepping into red doors. I couldn't get out of the first round; Lauren made it to round 3. Her Raphael just barely beat my Leonardo at Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters

We did best at Galaxia. Each of us made it to the third round. She had the better score, but I had the higher aim-accuracy percentage. I've been playing that game all my life; it was common in the Cape May arcades during my childhood, and I believe they had it in Wildwood in the early 2000's, too. 

Finished the night online with vintage word game shows at YouTube. Rhyme and Reason was yet another attempt to clone Match Game in 1975. In the pilot episode, Bob Eubanks hosts a panel (including poet laureate of television Nipsey Russell) who have to match the word the contestant game to finish a rhyme. It's cute, but a bit complicated and slow-paced. I can understand why it didn't last a year, and this is the only episode known to exist today.

The Cross-Wits was more fun. It's basically a cross between Password Plus and crossword puzzles. Here, the celebrities help contestants figure out a crossword puzzle with a theme. The winners move on to the bonus round, where a celebrity helps the figure out a larger puzzle for increasing cash amounts. Nipsey Russell's in this 1979 episode as well, joined by Elaine Joyce, soap star Rosemary Forsyth, and character actor James Hampton. Gentlemanly Jack Clark presides over this one.

Wheel of Fortune originally debuted on NBC in 1975. It garnered good but not spectacular ratings on the network through the early 80's, until Chuck Woolery was replaced by Pat Sajak in 1983, Vanna White started turning letters, and the show launched a syndicated version later that year. Suddenly, ratings were through the roof, and they climbed even further when the show was packaged with a new version of Jeopardy! in the late 80's. The episode I chose from 1988 is pretty emblematic of the ones my family used to watch together after dinner. 

The success of Password in the early 60's spawned even more word association parlor games. Oh My Word was a short-lived San Francisco show that had celebrities making up descriptions of unusual words. Musicians Buddy Greco and Sal Mineo join Jim Lange (in his first major hosting assignment) here. Wordplay is a later version from 1987, only here, it's three celebrities making up the goofy descriptions. Roseanne Barr joins Ned Beatty and Stephan Furst over a year before her sitcom started to chew gum and revel in wordy wisecracks. Tom Kennedy keeps things moving. 

Lingo originally played syndication in 1987, but that version didn't even last a year. Game Show Network revived it in 2003; this time, it ran five years. Chuck Woolery watches over two teams of men and women attempt to guess a mystery word appearing bit by bit on a screen. The team who finally guesses gets to choose numbers for a bingo card. If they can fill a line, they'll be able to move on to the bonus round, where they guess as many Lingo words as possible. 

This seems to be especially popular with people who grew up watching it in the early-mid 2000's, and I can see why. Though the ladies didn't play too well, it's still fast-paced fun in an era where most shows were trying desperately to rack up suspense and mystery. 

Stump your friends and challenge your mind with these wild word games! (Oh, and Rhyme and Reason comes in three parts, but it's also the only copy of that show known to exist.)