Sunday, March 20, 2022

The Music of Spring

Began my morning with breakfast, then finally doing a few things I'd been putting off. Contacted Craig on Instant Messenger to ask him when would be a good time for me to pick up the dolls. I appreciate Rose wanting to help, but not only are we enabling my overreliance on her and her doing everything for everyone, but I'm kind of tired of waiting for her to have the time. I could walk over there and take an Uber home with the bin. 

Spent the next hour or so flattening cardboard boxes to go out in the recycling tomorrow. One of the tools that came in the tool case Rose gave me for Christmas was a sharp knife with a retractable blade. It easily sliced through the tape on the empty boxes...and the empty boxes when the sides were too close to slice through. Listened to my Tina Turner: Simply the Best CD while I worked, enjoying hits like "River Deep, Mountain High," "Tiny Dancer," and "We Don't Need Another Hero." 

Had a very quick lunch, then headed off to work. It was almost exactly the same as yesterday - busy during rush hours, otherwise off-and-on steady. Cold, heavy wind and gloomy clouds didn't really improve anyone's mood. Neither did a lot of cashiers leaving at the same time. We had to call for help during my last hour. 

Watched Whew! while I rounded up things that needed to be dropped into crates and put in the closet. John Ritter made a surprise guest appearance at the end of the episode when his Three's Company buddy Richard Kline's contestant had a big win on the board. He gave them hugs, threw a scarf and bear hat on Kline, and took off. No idea what was going on there, but it was pretty funny. 

Finished the night on YouTube after a shower. Musical game shows go back to radio, where they were among the most popular programming of the 1940's. Beat the Band and Stop the Music were major hits at a time when radio was beginning to lose its luster. Stop the Music was such a hit, it dented the ratings of long-time champ The Fred Allen Show, prompting Fred's dislike of game shows. 

Stop the Music also crossed over to television. I found an episode from its second 1954 to 1956 run. Jaye P. Morgan, later of The Gong Show, is the singer. Host Bert Parks proved to have an attractive voice alongside her. Loved their adorable comic duet "To Prove My Love for You." Sailors and couples alike had a great time trying win $10,000 by guessing the title of the song. 

Some early musical game shows got so into the musical side of things, they dispensed with the games. Musical Chairs from 1955 was a summer-replacement panel show that had celebrities answering questions about music, no trivia or game-play involved. Mel Blanc shows off his Speedy Gonzales voice, and Bobby Troupe was just as charming and soft-spoken as he would be twenty years later with his wife Julie London on Tattletales

The stakes were considerably higher two decades later on Name That Tune. Tom Kennedy lead two contestants through guessing the names and melodies of popular songs, then having one contestant say the other could "name that tune" in a certain amount of notes. I used to love watching the Jim Lange syndicated version from 1984 on USA Network as a kid. It was fun to play along and see if I could guess the songs before the contestants did!

Face the Music is another oddity that used to play on USA in its formative years. Three contestants hear music that relates to a person, place, or thing shown on a screen. They have to guess which the songs fit. The winner goes on to face the champ in a one-on-one battle to see who can guess which song relates to which subject first. The show is better-known today for its off-the-wall contestants than its game play. Here, the one guy outstrips two ladies, one of whom sings baritone with a male quartet, the other who is a former belly dancer. The latter in particular seemed pretty clueless, but neither did especially well. The baritone only made it because the the other lady barely got any points. Former Tarzan Ron Ely just seemed amused by the weirdness.

MTV got their karaoke on several times, notably with Lip Service in 1992. Jason Mohr was the original host for this battle between three lip-syncing groups. The best group would return for a chance at serious cash and to sing in their own music video. Nipsey Russell is among the celebrity judges deciding who has the chops to appear on TV.

Sing along with these musical blasts from the past! (Look for the original commercials on both Name That Tune episodes.)

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