Sunday, January 16, 2022

Wintertime Matches

Began a sunny morning with breakfast and the original cast album of Bloomer Girl. Evelina Applegate (Celeste Holm) is the daughter of a hoop-skirt manufacturer in upstate New York just before the Civil War, but she knows her own mind. She won't marry southerner Jeff Calhoun (David Brooks) until he frees his slave Pompey (Dooley Wilson), and she advocates the loose trousers her aunt Dolly Bloomer (Margaret Douglass) created. I'm not sure why this musical barely appears today. If anything, its themes of equality and feminism are even more relevant today. There's also some great music by Harold Arlen and E.Y Harburg, including "The Eagle and Me" for Pompey, the hit ballad "Right as the Rain" for Evelina and Jeff, and two funny numbers for the ladies of town who take to wearing bloomers, "It Was Good Enough for Grandma" and "T'morra, T'morra." 

Dashed off to work before the record even ended. Work started off fairly quiet, but it picked up by noon. Most people were either shopping for the big Eagles-Buccaneers playoff game at 1 PM, or to beat the "snow" we were supposed to get later in the day. To tell the truth, the snow was less than an inch - most reports said we'd mainly be getting rain - but it was enough to scare people. Once again, a lot of people were in bad moods, too. I was so glad when it slowed down fast enough for me to shut down and rush out without a relief.

(Oh, and the Eagles' season is over. They lost to the Bucs 31-15, and I heard they played rather badly.)

Went straight home and online, where I puttered around until it was time for the next Betty White/Match Game YouTube marathon to start. The final 1981-1982 season of the syndicated run featured some of my favorite episodes of the entire series. Betty faced tragedy in this years as she lost her beloved Allen Ludden to cancer, but it didn't effect her performance on the show. If anything, she seemed to have more fun than ever arguing with Brett and Charles and teasing new permanent third regular McLean Stevenson. 

In fact, two of the best episodes of the series period came out of its final years. Betty showed up in a brief red dress to flash her still-great gams during the start of one show. Later on, Sharon Farrell accidentally grabbed Richard Paul and demonstrated mud wrestling after they ended up on the floor, and a contestant showed off a piercing, Joker-like laugh. It was supposed to get his kids out of bed, but I suspect it's more likely to have given them nightmares. The series finale had a lady kissing a beet-red McLean despite his cold (and Skip Stevenson kissing the other contestant!), Betty quipping that she give that back to Richard Dawson, and Charles doing jokes in the opening with the mannequin used to test color levels.

Other great episodes from the final years included another Betty attempt at a strip tease after Gene and the other panelists constantly comment about her see-through blouse, McLean inviting a little girl to join them onstage and play the game with them, Elaine Joyce's own six-year-old daughter Taylor Van hiding under her mother's desk, and several episodes featuring a very proper English butler whose presence inspired Charles to help Dolly Martin improve her own Liverpool accent, My Fair Lady-style.

Join Betty for the end of the original show...and come back tomorrow at 10 AM to celebrate Betty's 100th birthday by seeing how she did eight years later in the short-lived ABC version from 1990.

Betty White: A Life Well-Lived - Syndication 1981-1982

Oh, and we did get snow around 6:30...for all of an hour or two. It changed to pouring rain around 10, and has been raining steadily ever since. 

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