Friday, September 30, 2022

Before the Storms Came

Began the morning with breakfast for me and the cats and Charlie & Lola. Charlie and Lola plan "The Most Wonderfullest Picnic In the Whole World" with their best friends Marv and Lotta. The girls are hoping to eat everything you possibly can outdoors. The boys want to wallop each other at tetherball. Unfortunately, bad weather forces a change to their plans, but they discover that picnics can be just as much fun inside as out.

Brought my laundry downstairs. I have a lot that needs to be done. In addition to clothes from vacation, I'm washing towels and my summer sheets and quilts. I had so much, I ended up doing it in two batches. 

Worked on writing between loads. After three long multi-chapter stories in a row, I'd like to do some projects I'll hactually finish this year. Started one of the three Match Game short stories I have planned, Wedding Blank. This one is set directly after the 1978 episode where the others hold a "wedding" for Jack Klugman and Brett Somers in the last five minutes or so. Jack is amused. Brett isn't - they divorced for a reason. Brett also asks him about his kissing on her neck earlier. He claims it was part of the gag.

Broke at 1:30 for lunch and more Charlie & Lola. The kids say "I've Won, No I've Won, No I've Won" when Lola cheats to win at every game. Charlie keeps trying to find something she can't cheat at. He finally comes up with an obstacle course that his longer legs naturally give him an advantage on.

Went downstairs to put the laundry in the dryer, then changed and headed out to work. No problems there today. I only worked four hours, and I spent them sweeping and pushing carts. We were only busy during the 3:30-4 PM rush hour. They originally told me I'd only do the carts until the head bagger (who wanted to cashier) went home...but then they ended up with more cashiers than they needed. I rounded up carts for the evening bagger when he came in, freeing up him to gather the outside trash.

Even the weather cooperated at first. Dark clouds and heavy wind kept everything cool despite the humidity thick enough to cut with a knife. Passed through a very busy Final Friday Festival on West Clinton in Oaklyn, but not only did I not bring money, but the rain wouldn't cooperate for much longer. The rain finally started about a half-hour after I got home. It's been pouring off and on for the rest of the night. 

Watched Match Game '77 while I had dessert. Tom Hallick of The Young and the Restless came dressed in a tux and looked very dapper and handsome. Brett was happier joking around with goofy Dick Martin, who replaced Charles Nelson Reilly for the week. (I believe Charles was out doing a Broadway show, not getting his face lifted, as Brett suggested!) Meanwhile, Richard has no trouble helping the contestant with "__ Graph" in the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night online watching Murder She Wrote as I finally put away my laundry and the new work sneakers I ordered on Amazon. Jessica runs across "Corned Beef & Carnage" when her niece is accused of killing the ruthless head (Larry Kline) of the advertising agency where she worked. She did quit over sexual harassment shortly before his death, but she's far from the only person with a beef against the ad man. His brother (Bill Macy) and partner (David Ogden Stiers) were appalled by his shoving them out of the business and his lack of creativity, and a rival company had attempted to steal his ideas and personnel. No one seems to know when he died...until Jessica discovers that a certain corned beef sandwich he ordered may not have showed up when it was originally claimed to. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

I Love the Nightlife

Woke up slightly earlier so I could feed two kittens and an older cat for a friend. After I did that, I had breakfast while watching Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. "Daniel's Sleepover" with Prince Wednesday is fun...except for the spooky shadows and lumps in the bed they keep seeing. Queen Sarah and Daniel's parents encourage them to find out what's really scary. O the Owl is equally scared when he goes "Backyard Camping" with Daniel and Dan Sr. The Tigers encourage him to look beyond the surface to see what's really frightening him.

Headed out to work early, too. The Acme's having a buy one, get one sale on bakery muffins. I bought two containers for lunch this week. 

That was the most exciting thing that happened all day. We were off-and-on steady with people getting their beginning-of-the-month groceries. Some orders numbered into the $800's! I alternated between shelving candy and standing around, bored to death, because we were so dead. Thank heavens my relief came on-time.

Needed a few things after work. Bought granola bars (actually, Special K bars with cinnamon or strawberry filling) and sugar cookies from the bakery. Haagen Daas are buy one, get one this week. Thought I'd try Black and White Cookie and Cherry Vanilla. Grabbed bakery sugar cookies for a treat.

Went straight home after I finished shopping. Put on Let's Make a Deal while I made dinner. I remember seeing the first episode during that Deal marathon a month ago. A couple in military fatigues and paper crowns who were supposed to be crickets netted the Big Deal of the Day, a whole bedroom, in the first. The Big Deal on the second episode went to a young woman who got a gorgeous grand piano, a huge stereo, and a TV.

Had dessert and changed my sheets for slightly heavier autumn and spring ones while watching Match Game '77. Took a shower afterwards, then finished the night on YouTube with Diamond Horseshoe. I go further into this vehicle for Betty Grable and the legendary New York nightclub at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Ride Like the Wind

Started out today to the Albany-Renesslaur Train Station around 10:30. My train didn't leave until 12:10, but I wanted to pick up something for lunch. Lauren waited while I bought turkey and vegetables in an herb wrap. Said good-bye to her after I picked up my lunch. We always have a good time when we're together, and this week was no exception.

Everything went fine after that. The trains were both full, but I think they were both really for commuters. I didn't have a seat to myself either time. A businessman did work on his computer all the way to New York. The woman next to me going to Philly wanted to be next to her husband. Thick clouds still darkened the morning when I left Albany. By the time we chugged into New York five minutes early, the clouds were blowing away, replaced by sunshine, heavy wind, and bright blue autumn skies. 

Soon as the escalators rolled up to Moynihan Station, I hit the nearest bathrooms. Treated myself to a "pink drink" at Starbucks, freeze-dried strawberries with coconut milk and passion fruit. Sat at the counter in the dining area of the food court to sip my drink and enjoy a few snacks I brought with me. 

The train to Philadelphia arrived right on time. I considered taking the NJ Transit train, but the next train leaving for Atlantic City wasn't until 6, and it was only 5:30. Called Uber instead. The driver arrived within 10 minutes. He hit some traffic in downtown Philadelphia, but it all cleared once we got to the Ben Franklin Bridge. I got home within a half-hour. 

Threw on Let's Make a Deal after I fed kittens for a friend and as I put everything away and did a few chores. A lady dressed as Charlie Chaplin and her husband in scrubs traded away a vacation and got appliances. Ironically, they got more, and larger, appliances on the Big Deal of the Day. The lady in the next episode also got appliances after trading some in...but she also got a soft white fur jacket she absolutely loved (and looked quite nice in). 

Switched to Match Game '74 as I finished dinner, then finished out the night with Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo on Disney Plus. I just needed something silly to end my vacation. Jim Stephens (Dean Jones) and his mechanic Wheelie Applegate (Don Knotts) take Herbie to France for a cross-country race. Herbie falls for a beautiful blue Lancia Scorpion and keeps trying to impress her, but her owner, Diane Darcy (Julie Somnars), doesn't believe in living cars and thinks Jim's trying to keep her out of the race.

Meanwhile, two bumbling British jewel thieves (Bernard Fox and Roy Kinnear) stole a priceless diamond and stash it in Herbie's motor. Their superior wants them to get it back, by any means necessary, but either Herbie has too many people around, or they just get into a mess. Someone's giving them their orders, though, and it may be higher-up than Jim or anyone else suspects...

My sisters and I watched all of the Herbie movies a lot on the Disney Channel in the 80's and early 90's. None of them are masterpieces, but they're all good, goofy fun. This is one of two with Dean Jones as Herbie's charming owner. They get really creative with Herbie here. Check out his "date" with the Lancia Scorpion Giselle about midway through. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

No Day but Today

This time, we headed through New Lebanon and into the back roads of upstate New York. It's really lovely here at this time of year. Small farms and quaint old villages are dotted with stacks of pumpkins and gourds and baskets of apples. Trees just starting to turn colors shade lovely old farmhouses, whitewashed churches, and stately stone libraries. We hit no traffic anywhere, not even turning off the highway and onto the ramp for the Crossroads Mall just outside of Albany.

Lauren took us a bit further down Wolf Road to the Colonie Center, the other major mall in the area. Remodeling back in the early 2010's made it gorgeous inside and out. The outside includes Art-Deco details around the entrance to Regal Cinema. Inside, there's wrought-iron railings, wide skylights, and soft chairs surrounding a massive fireplace. 

There must be a lot of families with small kids in the Albany area, because we ran into a ton of toy stores today. Our first two stops of the day were Heroes Hideout and Go! Calendars and Toys, which are across from each other at Colonie. Heroes specializes in more collectible toys than Go; otherwise, they're pretty similar. I didn't find anything, but Lauren bought a calendar for work from Go. 

Colonie Center has a lot of big box stores as anchors. I checked out Barnes & Noble while Lauren went across the way to Boscov's. I didn't find anything at Boscov's after I joined her, but I did find the next book in that Key West mystery series, A Deadly Feast. We poked around FYE, but theirs doesn't have a big selection of DVDs and CDs, so we were in and out. They have a very small arcade, but we decided to save our money for later. Their LL Bean is huge, but their wares are still too expensive for my budget. Lauren picked up a lovely black vest for work at Macy's. I got a maroon t-shirt with a pretty fall flower print. 

After we left LL Bean, Lauren took us a little further down Wolf Road for lunch. Ted's Fish Fry is a local fast food franchise that specializes in crispy fried seafood and chicken. They're also extremely popular, even with a remodeled vintage Pizza Hut next door. Lauren helped an older lady inside, and we joined a long line. Lauren got three fish tacos. I had a scallop roll (fried scallops in a hot dog bun), a huge container of cole slaw, and sweet potato fries. It took forever for me to get the fries because the kids behind the counter misheard me and thought I didn't want them. When I did finally get them, I shared them and the cole slaw with Lauren. 

After we got a bit turned around, thanks to a slight miscalculation by Lauren's GPS, we pulled into Crossgates Mall at about 1:30. Crossgates is about two decades younger than Colonie, and while it's not as pretty, it's much bigger. Since we parked at its back entrance, we started at JC Penney. Lauren found two blouses. I picked up a yellow polo shirt for $7 to replace the yellow t-shirt I got bleach on a few weeks ago.

(As we stood in line, we had to listen to an annoying woman pushing a stroller complain about how she wasn't moving fast enough and oh, why did they come to a mall without an elevator, and what was wrong with the store and the lady and why would she pack a dress in a bag and not on a hanger? The cashier said after she left that they were rude, and she was very right. If the woman didn't have the time to shop, or was busy with her baby, neither she nor her mother should have been shopping, period. And they certainly should have been nicer to the cashier. It's not her fault they're dragging a stroller around a major mall.) 

Next up, we strolled across the mall to hit Dave & Buster's. This is pretty much the same thing as Round 1 with no bowling alley and fewer crane games. The games they do have give you more tickets, though, and the cranes are easier to manipulate. We spent the next hour running from giant Pac Man to skee ball to video bowling to huge pirate's wheels you spun yourself to get tickets. 

Not only did we get more tickets, but we both had tickets leftover from last year. Lauren won a big stuffed sloth wearing a purple hoodie. I wanted a llama with rainbow fur, but she wouldn't fit into my luggage. I settled for a glittery unicorn with an electric blue mane I named Celeste and saved the rest of my tickets for next time. I also won a cobalt blue sea horse out of the crane game I named Mermista. (Lauren didn't get anything out of the cranes but a couple of rubber duckies.)

We walked around the mall for a couple of hours after leaving Dave & Buster's. Lauren didn't get anything at their FYE, but I picked up the 1974 The Little Prince musical with Gene Wilder and Bob Fosse and the original 1956 Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason. (Found the latter marked at $24.99; it came up to $19.99.) Lauren bought a pair of half-plaid, half-black pants with a chain on them from Hot Topic. I looked at Sailor Moon t-shirts, but didn't buy any. Lauren saw an awesome set at the Lego Store to recreate an Atari 2600, complete with games and game holder and a little space to build a tiny arcade. She ordered it online on the spot. We were in and out of Rack Room Shoes, DSW Shoes, Spirit of Halloween, Heroes Hideout, and Jay St. Video Games.

Had dinner at 110 Grill, a simple but elegant bar and restaurant. They were pretty expensive, so we stuck to sandwiches. I had a juicy and messy turkey burger with Swiss cheese, avocado, and more sweet potato fries. Lauren went with a "steak and cheese" sandwich with broccoli. Our sandwiches were tasty, and the waitress was a doll. 

Lauren quickly stopped at another Ted's Fish Fry (this one with a bar) to buy her parents more chowder. She took us home after that, past the glittering skyline of downtown Albany and across darkened towns and highways. We noticed it rained a bit around Schodeck. It had been on-and-off cloudy all day, sometimes heavily, but they never burst until it showered a little as we drove across the border into Massachusetts. What little rain we got vanished by the time we pulled into Lauren's garage. 

After we showed Mr. and Mrs. Miller our finds and I hit the shower, we played one final game of Super Mario Party. If you win the first three games in regular Party mode, you unlock Kamek's Tantalizing Tower. This is an all-gold board with a twist. Instead of Toadette moving the star constantly, she stays at the top of the tower. At the beginning of each round, and if you hit a space on the tower, you change how much her two (later in the game, three) stars will cost. 

To my shock, I actually won. Lauren barely came in second. She's still better at the minigames, but I bought three stars on one of my last turns. 

Finished the night on YouTube with a second-season episode of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Captain Gregg worries he's "Medium Well Done" when a touring medium (Shirley Booth) visits Gulf Cottage. Mrs. Muir wants a story, but Claymore wants his ancestor out of the house, so he can raise the rent. He's thrilled when she holds a seance to find out more about the ghost...but the captain isn't going to be pushed out so easily!

And that's the end of my vacation. I go home tomorrow. Oh, and I need to call Jessa on Thursday. Jess texted me earlier about having to change my phone lines. I suspect our shared phone lines are at an end. I should have changed my phone line ages ago. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Walk Like a Woman

Got quite a surprise as we started out this morning. Someone lay new blacktop over the badly rutted old road. We found the men and the vehicle that poured the gravel half-way down the hill. They tumbled away as Lauren made her way around them, then around a truck carrying gravel further down the way.

Lauren drove through Lee again, taking us back onto the Mass Pike. Thankfully, we ran into no trouble this time, no traffic anywhere. If they were still working on the section of road that slowed traffic on Saturday, it was further down. We pulled in at the smaller Holyoke Commons shopping center next to the main Holyoke Mall around 11:30. 

Hit TJ Maxx first. They do have some great Halloween decorations, most of which I can't carry home. Lauren agrees that their clothes tend to be hit or miss. We walked out with nothing. Did much better at the huge two-story Barnes & Noble. Lauren picked up a set of the Marx Brothers films made at Paramount. I found the next book in the Shady Hollow animal cozy mystery series, Cold Clay

Had lunch at Red Robin in between stores. We got in at barely noon. There were only one or two people there, which may be why we got our meals so quickly. We shared a small stack of those delicious onion rings. She had a "Smoke & Pepper" burger with seasoned bacon. I had the California Chicken Sandwich, grilled chicken with guacamole, tomatoes, lettuce, and pickles. Yum! Their chicken is far less dry with guacamole on it. 

Headed to the main mall at 1 PM and parked across from the back entrance to JC Penney. Hit them first. Lauren got nothing, but I found a lovely cream-colored sweater with sienna flower trim on the clearance rack. Originally $64, according to the tag, it rang up as $15. Sweet. 

We strolled across the mall to Round 1 Entertainment next. This arcade and bowling alley has become a favorite of ours in every mall we've run into it at, and this one is no exception. At least the skee ball machines worked here. We spent the next hour dashing from skee ball machine to the bean bag throw to the basketball games to giant Pac Man and Mario Kart Deluxe. Didn't make enough points to get anything really interesting. I'll try again at Deptford another time.

Running all over Round 1 made us thirsty. I initially suggested Starbucks for a drink, but Lauren didn't like the look of their menu. Went downstairs and checked out a few other booths. Lauren bought a Fruity Bubble tea, a drink with tea, milk, fruit, and tapioca at the bottom that resemble "bubbles." I picked up a nice, cold Chocolate Mocha "Chillatta" from Cinnabon.

We were in and out of a couple of stores for the next few hours. I peeked at the new Alex Bath & Toy, apparently an offshoot of FYE, as Lauren finished her tea. Saw lots of Our Generation items, but nothing I really wanted.  Lauren got nothing at FYE, but I found the  BBC series The Musketeers and Uncle Magoo, a collection of American history-themed Mr. Magoo shorts. Likewise, she picked up a really nice plaid shirt at Macy's, but I just used the bathroom. We looked at DSW Shoes, Build-a-Bear Workshop, and Stateline Video Games, but didn't buy anything. 

Ended up at Uno Bar and Grill for dinner. If we were doing Uno's, I wanted pizza. I had the Farmer's Market individual deep-dish pizza, which I've done before when Lauren and I had lunch here. Lauren managed to eat an entire huge bowl of shrimp and lobster scampi. 

The clouds that lingered off and on all day finally burst while we waited for dinner. By the time the waitress brought us our meals, it poured cats, dogs, and chickens out on the street between the mall and the parking garage. We figured that was a sign that we were done for the day. We did take a peek at the extremely messy shoe section at JC Penney (we both need new shoes for work), but eventually just headed out.

We timed it perfectly. The clouds caught up with us again about 20 minutes from the turn-off to Lee. Mother Nature put on a spectacular show as lightning flashed against the rolling green mountains. As Lauren pointed out, we were very lucky that the storm hit until just as we turned off the ramp and into downtown Lee. By the time Lauren brought down the recycling to their curb and parked the car, the rain had finally vanished. 

Showed Mr. and Mrs. Miller our purchases, then played more Super Mario Party. This time, we did King Bob-Omb's Powderkeg Mine. Lauren once again won, likely due to winning the most minigames, but everyone played well except for poor Rosalina (who never did manage to get any stars). 

Finished the night with a quick episode of Bewitched on The Roku Channel. Went with an early episode of the first season, "It Shouldn't Happen to a Dog." Samantha is fed up with the owner (Jack Warden) of the company Darrin wants to get an account with hitting on her at a party. She turns him into a dog to get him to back off. Darrin doesn't believe he did anything wrong and demands Samantha turns him back. She does, but he tries again. He never does learn his lesson, even after ending up at the vet, but Darrin does learn to trust his wife more. 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Have You Ever Seen the Rain

We headed out around 9:30 this time. Dark clouds lingered overhead as Lauren pulled into the lot behind the Lee Outlets. We started off with the Gap, the closest store to our entrance. Lauren picked up tank tops here. I found a gold henley shirt. I haven't had one of those in ages, and they're always so comfortable. I usually do well with shirts at the Gap. The store seemed quiet other than the employees. We may have been the first ones there. 

We were in and out of stores for the next hour and a half. Neither of us found anything at Ann Taylor, the Loft, or Eddie Bauer. I finally bought new underwire bras at Hainesbrands. They were 25% off instead of 40 because you had to buy three to get the sale and I only needed 2, but I still needed them. My underwire bras are badly stretched out. Peered around a charming little shop called DJ's Gifts that sold toys, wooden carvings and statues, and exotic items from around the world. Lauren confirmed that DJ's and Solomon's Furniture in the building across the way moved from the Berkshire Mall when they closed. 

Old Navy just opened two weeks ago in the former IZOD/Van Heusen store. Their store was a lot simpler than either of those preppy brands, bright white and boxy. I didn't get anything, but Lauren got a few shirts. We did better in another recent addition, Forever 21. Their store was even simpler. They did away with shelves all together and had everything either in cardboard boxes or hanging up along the wall. I really liked a pair of white corduroys with pretty flowered embroidery, but I couldn't find my size. Ended up with black jeans with apples embroidered on them. 

Unlike the Cumberland Outlets, the Lee Outlets has a small food court in the center building near Sketchers. They no longer had a Subway, but the other booths - Mexican, Italian, Asian, and a local sandwich shop - were open. We both went with sandwiches. I had "Thanksgiving," turkey and American cheese with greens, tomatoes, and cranberry mayo. She had a chicken-bacon club. 

The food court has a tiny "Fun Zone" arcade next to the Asian food booth. Though there was an Alien shooting game, everything else was some type of crane. I tried a couple of them in an attempt to get stuffed animals, but had no luck. Lauren didn't do any better. We headed out shortly after she gave up trying on the larger one.

After we left, we hit Famous Footwear, Aeropostale, and Chico's, but found nothing interesting. The dirty gray clouds that threatened all morning finally burst as we left Chico's. The shower got too heavy for further mall exploring. Besides, the remaining stores were all expensive upscale designers like Polo Ralph Lauren and Talbots that we can't really afford and don't usually carry my size anyway.

Since we left the Lee Outlets earlier than planned, we had time to stop at Lauren's local Goodwill. It moved into a larger store earlier this year after Big Lots also upgraded into a larger building. I thought I found a pale-blue Eddie Bauer turtleneck that looked perfect...but I didn't read the tag right, and it turned out to be a medium. I'll give it to Lauren. She came up with a whole pile of shirts. 

Our last stops of the day weren't pleasure shopping. Lauren had a list of things her parents needed at the massive WalMart in Lanesborough. She found all of it but bags of shredded potatoes for fried potatoes with cheese. Picked those up at the Target attached to the now-closed Berkshire Mall. Went to one of her local supermarkets, Stop & Shop, for diced turnip and mouthwash. Drove into Pittsfield so Lauren could pick up the dinner she ordered from the Highland, one of her parents' favorite restaurants. 

We ate with Lauren's parents after we rolled in. Lauren and her folks enjoyed veal Parmesan with spaghetti and salads. I had turkey with an odd orange-y gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes (that were probably a mix but at least were warm), and slightly mushy peas. 

Joined Lauren downstairs for the fudge thumprint cookies and apple strudel we picked up at Walmart and to play Super Mario Party after I took a shower. Once again, Lauren took Mario and I took Peach. We played the jungle-themed Thwomp's Domino Ruins tonight. Even on hard, Lauren still got the most stars and won the most mini-games. I barely came in third to Boo the ghost, though.

Finished the night online with more games from various broadcast networks. Even PBS, the public broadcasting network in the US, got in on the games. Their most famous national game is probably Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego from the early-mid 90's. Three kids compete to follow a strange crook who steals a famous landmark and return it, then run to name every country on a certain continent in the bonus round. How strange was this show? In the episode I chose, Patty Larceny somehow manages to steal Williamsburg, Virginia. Lynne "The Chief" Thigpen, host Greg Lee, and group Rockapella helps the kids with the clues.

Most PBS game shows were local versions of quizzes for high schools or colleges, or educational shows. Even New Jersey had its own high school quiz show at one point in the late 80's on what was then the Camden PBS. North Jersey high schools St. Joseph and Pequannock get put through their paces here with the help of Professor Todd Hunt.

PBS wasn't always America's fourth network. DuMont began life in the early 40's as the first network on the air, and the only one not spun off from radio. They never managed to gather as many affiliates as the Big 3 and, despite developing the now-standard practice of selling commercial time to different advertisers, instead of letting one company control each show, were perpetually in the red. They did put out several popular game shows before finally succumbing to their financial difficulties in 1956. 

The episode of Down You Go seen here may be in poor shape, but it's one of the few DuMont shows still in existence today. This cross between What's My Line and Wheel of Fortune is likely DuMont's answer to the panel shows that were wildly popular on the other networks at the time. Four celebrities try to guess Hangman-style puzzles sent in by viewers. Slow-moving and not that exciting, but just the fact that it exists at all makes it interesting.
No one tried to create a real fourth network to rival the Big 3 again until the 90's. Fox Broadcasting became 20th Century Fox's attempt to enter the television market. Most of their early game shows were syndicated programs they picked up, like my old childhood favorite Fun House. They retooled it a little to bring it up-to-date, but it was otherwise pretty much the same Double Dare imitation it had been in syndication. 

Fox didn't get heavily into the game show genre until Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hit it big in 1999. They were the first ones out of the gate with imitations. Greed had six contestants answering numerical questions. The one with the furthest answer is eliminated; the others form a team. They can answer questions for dollar amounts up to two million. The member who gives the lowest scoring answer is eliminated by the next-lowest scorer, and so on. Chuck Woolery keeps things moving and suspenseful.

Tough quiz that's one of the better Millionaire clones of the early-mid 2000's. It actually did fairly well in the ratings and only ended because Fox's new executives didn't like game shows.  I know a lot of people who grew up in the late 90's-early 2000's who have very fond memories of the original run or its later re-runs on Game Show Network.

Warner Bros and Paramount tossed their hats into the ring with new networks in the mid-90's. The WB and UPN had some successful shows before they were merged as The CW in 2006, but their non-scripted programs weren't among them. They mostly focused on cheaper reality show competitions like Dance 360, UPN's updated hip-hop version of Dance Fever

The WB did make one short-lived attempt at a Millionaire clone in 2004. Studio 7 crossed the quiz show with reality programming that had college students living together for a week, quizzing each other on the material. Each appeared in six rounds, wearing a ring they gave up if they needed help. The show apparently ran for 7 weeks; I have the intense series finale here. 

Explore TV history with these rare game shows! (And yes, watch out for a bad tape on Down You Go...but as mentioned, it's one of the few DuMont programs to survive today.)

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Angels of the Morning

We got an earlier start this time, at 9 instead of 10. Headed into a glorious blue and gold early fall day, this time making our way past Lenox and Lee to the Mass Pike. Everything went fine...until we hit traffic around the exit to West Springfield, thanks to annoying road repair. After that, we managed to get through most of West Springfield again before running across another long line of traffic near the Eastern State Exposition. 

Lauren got so fed up dealing with traffic, when a man announced a good price for parking behind a shopping center close to the fair, we took it. I'm glad we did. She drove into a spot under a row of shady trees not a five-minute walk from the fairgrounds. We decided we'd rather have a slightly longer walk than deal with the Big E's parking lots. 

The Eastern State Exposition is the state fair for the New England region. As you enter, you see colorful boardwalk stands featuring every kind of food that can be fried, including Kool Aid. We passed a petting zoo, a pony ride, and the world's smallest horse, and heard about a pig race taking place at one of the farm buildings. 

We were mainly interested in the two large buildings on either side of the fairgrounds, flanked by rows of food stands and shopping booths. Hit the Young building first. Lauren wanted to find the woman selling stuffed toys, blankets, and other accessories made from fluffy alpaca wool. Usually, her wares are too expensive for me. This year, I had the money to buy a small panda with thick fur. Lauren went with a white bear.

We walked around there and the Better Life Building for a while after that. They have pretty much the same mix of home and garden booths selling window treatments, upgraded gutters, and cheaper internet packages and booths of exotic clothes or toys or local crafts. We didn't buy anything here, though we did look at some of the food booths on the edges of the building for lunch.

In between, we had lunch at a row of food booths and carts in the back of the Young building. I found a rustic wooden booth selling baked sweet potatoes with toppings ranging from bacon to pecans to scallions. I opted for two tacos filled with rice and mashed sweet potatoes. Lauren went to the other side of the row for French fries with cheese and bacon. They gave her so much, she couldn't begin to finish it. I snitched a few to help out.

Hit the Avenue of the States next, a row of buildings made to look like each New England state's historic capitol building. We tried to explore Rhode Island, but the crowds were too heavy. I did get to see the jack o'lanterns carved by Rhode Islanders, but people were too thick around the expanded Del's Lemonade stand to get more than a glimpse of them. 

We decided we'd double back later to take in the remaining state houses and see if the crowds thinned. Besides, Lauren spied something way more fun across the way from the Massachusetts building. She bought us tickets for a little blue and yellow train tootling around the back of the Avenue of the States. It was mainly supposed to be for little kids, but they didn't mind two adult riders. The ride was short, but a lot of fun. The little kids on board were darling. They waved to passers-by and chattered about everything around them. It was more like being on a float at a parade.

Lauren spied a soup stand at the Storrowtown Village living history museum. She wanted to try their broccoli and cheese. I had those vegetarian tacos, so I went with cheeseburger (ground beef and potato) chowder. Salty, but filled with lots of big potato pieces and ground beef. The bowls, however, were much bigger than expected. Neither of us close to finished them.

We walked around in the Young building and Better Life Building again, but the crowds weren't thinning. If anything, they increased as the afternoon went on. Lauren suggested getting something cold and wet and finding shade. We bought very sweet frozen lemonades from a lemonade booth in the Better Life Building and ate them in the shade under the arch of the Food Court as cool fall breezes blew across our sweaty faces.

Trying the Avenue of the States again proved even more fruitless. We tried to elbow our way through crowds buying baked potatoes at the Maine building, raspberries and honey in Massachusetts, and Ben & Jerry's and flannel clothing in Vermont. After we could barely get through the crowds in Vermont, Lauren decided she was tired of dealing with all the people...and I figured she was right. We didn't even finish walking through Vermont before we made our way back out and hiked down to the gate, and then over to the parking lot (after a quick bathroom stop). 

Since we'd gotten out at 2:30, too early for dinner, we explored a few near-by stores. The shopping center in front of the parking lot sported the largest Big Lots I ever saw. They were so big, they even had the room for furniture. A larger center just a few blocks away had a TJ Maxx that was nearly as big. We didn't buy anything at either place, but they did kill time.

Lauren had her phone out and was trying to find a place for an early dinner when I emerged from TJ Maxx. I figured we could go with the obvious and pointed to the blocky red and gray building across the parking lot from us. I noticed the Chipolte coming in. Apparently, Lauren did too, but forgot about it in the mess with the traffic and the parking.

Chipolte, like Shake Shack, is basically a fast food restaurant with blocky contemporary decor and food that's a lot tastier and better for you than anything at Taco Bell. She had three steak tacos, since she didn't get the sweet potato tacos at the Exposition. I had a bowl of chicken, black beans, rice, and salsa. Proved to be a tasty mix of flavors...and way too big. I didn't close to finish it. For once, Lauren ate more than I did. (The kid who took our orders added sour cream when I told him not to...but in his defense, I heard the two other kids behind the counter explaining things to him. I think he was a new trainee.)

This time, we only hit a little traffic around another bit of road repair, nothing like we ran into before! Otherwise, no problems, not even passing through Springfield. We finally pulled into Lauren's parents house around 6:30.

Played video games for a couple of hours downstairs in Lauren's room after we showed Mr. and Mrs. Miller our new bears. I'm getting better at Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. My best showing was 3rd on the second version of Mario Circuit. Lauren hit second on Baby Park. We kicked villain rear with our Street Fighter combo of soldier Cammy and martial artist Chun Li...until we tried Tough mode, then couldn't get near them. Played a tropical fruit-themed Super Mario Party round. Lauren beat me by one star, but just barely. 

Finished the night at the Roku Channel with Charlie's Angels. They're Moonshinin' Angels in the fifth season when Charlie gets a call from the California backwoods. Seems two local moonshining families who are notorious for their feud are starting up again, thanks to a gangster turning them against each other. Kelly joins the Barletts as a driver. Kris offers her chemistry skills to the Catlins as a master distiller. Julie opts to take a job as a waitress and listen for gossip at the local diner. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Pinball Wizards

Started off the morning with a quick cereal and peach breakfast while admiring the Millers' yard and their stuffed animal, DVD, and CD collection. Lauren met me upstairs around 10 AM. We stopped for gas quickly in New Lebanon before heading off into Vermont.

Lauren and I decided to try something different on our Vermont drive this year. Instead of hiking all the way up to Weston, we stayed slightly closer to home at Manchester. They have a large, sprawling outlet mall and many other unique stores in a beautiful old downtown. After Lauren parked behind one of the outlet buildings, we strolled down the street to check out the small souvenirs store All Things Vermont. They lived up to their name, carrying retro toys, stuffed animals, candy, local honey and maple syrup, pots and pans, and lots of Vermont-branded clothing. Lauren bought nothing here. I picked up maple leaf sandwich cookies.

We really came to Manchester to check out Pastime Pinball, a combination museum-arcade in one of the outlet mall buildings. Pinball machines from as far back as 1947 and as recently as last year lined the walls of the first two floors. The third floor sported older arcade games and a small snack bar. Lauren bought the unlimited tickets that let us play all the games for as long as we wanted. 

I had an absolutely wonderful time. I played games from the 60's based after the World's Fair in New York and figure skating ("Ice Revue"), a clear poker-themed console from 1976, and Elvira, racing, and taxi-themed games from the 80's. Did not expect to see a Shadow game from 1994, considering how badly the Alec Baldwin film did in theaters. Enjoyed early 90's games based after the Indiana Jones and Addams Family films and a magic-themed game from the late 90's. 

I did best at Pirates of the Caribbean from 2006 and a Munsters game from 2019. Pirates was just as much fun as the weird movie series it's based on. If you hit the ball into the mini-ship hard enough and often enough, you could "sink the Kraken" as the ship actually "went down." The Munsters used the voices from the real show and even had a game-within-a-game where you could use mini-flippers on tiny balls. (It took me a try or two to find the mini-flippers.)

We had a quick hot dog lunch upstairs at the snack bar, then tried some of the older arcade games there. Two sit-down table consoles featured a wide variety of older games. I played Space Invaders and Pac Man, but didn't do especially well with them. I've never been any good at Pole Position II. Couldn't figure out a wooden shooting gallery game, either. Did much better with a wooden skee ball machine where you slid a very heavy puck instead of a ball. Even with the heavy metal puck, I slid it hard enough to get it into the top rung. Lauren even picked up a Pinball Pastimes t-shirt. 

After we finally finished with pinball, Lauren led us down the street, over a bridge, and past a lovely rushing river to the Northshire Bookstore. This beautiful three-story bookstore once functioned as an inn, but now holds tons of books on every subject possible. I also saw clothing, accessories, notebooks, magazines, and records. (Though not DVDs or CDs, despite being listed on the sign painted over the entrance to the upper level.) 

The second story is the children's section. I couldn't find the adult used books besides a spinning shelf of romances, but I did stumble on ones in the back of the children's area. Ended up with Understood Betsy, Return to Howliday Inn, and The Haunted House. The only Mercedes Lackey book I turned up was her most recent Elemental Masters story, The Silver Bullets of Annie Oakley. Lauren's not really a reader and walked out with nothing. 

We drove around for the next hour or so, checking out a TJ Maxx, a Jockey, and a two-story J. Crew. Pendleton is a Washington State-based store that sells t-shirts, woolen sweaters and accessories, home goods, and other things with soft southwestern colors and designs. No luck anywhere, for either of us. The trouble with the Manchester Center Outlets is the buildings are spread out all over town, and most of the stores are way beyond our budgets.

We were going to have dinner at the Manchester House of Pizza, but they were closed for their own vacation. We ended up down the street at Christo's Pizza and Pasta. Despite it being barely past quarter after 4, they were already busy with families and shoppers having an early meal. We ordered a 12-inch mushroom pie and two bottles of Diet Coke. Not bad. Doughy, and not much cheese, but it had a nice, crispy crust. 

The traffic began picking up even as we strolled to the Northshire Bookstore. By almost 5, it reached near-city levels. We figured it was time to head on home. The drive through Vermont and upstate New York is the best part of the trip. Gorgeous country out there. The leaves are just starting to turn color; some trees are already awash in brilliant shades of gold, orange, rust, and lime green. Pumpkins and stalks of corn carpet fields and line farm stands. Beautiful weather today, too, windy, chilly, and sunny. Can't get much more fall that that.

Showed our purchases to Mr. and Mrs. Miller, then I took a much-needed shower before joining Lauren in her room. Tomorrow, we're heading in the opposite direction to Springfield, Massachusetts for The Eastern States Exposition, New England's state fair.  

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Autumn In New York

To my surprise, I awoke to sunshine. We were supposed to have rain all day. Celebrated the weather and the first day of autumn while I ate breakfast with the Charlie & Lola fall special, "Everything Is Different and Not the Same." Lola isn't a fan of changes. Everything around her is changing. She has new tights that sag, a new teacher she's not used to, a new desk with her friend Lotta, and her favorite tree is losing all its leaves. She and Lotta are ready to hibernate after they ruin the big tree artwork with real leaves they made for class, but Charlie coaxes them out to see how important fall and changes are. 

Switched to The Cat and the Hat Knows a Lot About That as I made my bed and packed anything else I'd need. Nick and Sally can't decide which season is their favorite, so the Cat takes them to the Garden of Seasons. They meet three young animals - a Canadian goose, a frog, and a rabbit - during "Spring and Summer" and follow them as they grow and change through "Fall and Winter."

Headed out after the show ended. To my surprise, I got an Uber driver willing to take me in a minute or two, and it didn't even take him three to arrive. We had a lot more trouble on the road. Not only were there heavy dark clouds on the horizon, but the traffic leading to and going over the Ben Franklin Bridge was awful. It barely moved. The clouds finally burst as we got over the bridge and pulled away from the road work that caused the trouble. Fortunately, there was no traffic anywhere after that, and we arrived at the 30th Street Station within ten minutes. 

30th Street Station is a gorgeous Art Deco treasure that more closely resembles one of the hotels in downtown Philly than a train station. I always feel a little more elegant just walking through there. I didn't really need much, so I mostly just walked around and read Key Lime Pie Murder.

I really got lucky today. It did start raining while I was at the station, though not heavily. I suspect the originally advertised thunderstorms either arrived later in the afternoon or blew south. The Northeast Regional rolled in ten minutes late, not bad considering the trains coming from Washington and Miami were nearly a half-hour late or more. 

When I did get on, the train wasn't busy at all, especially surprising for the lunch hour. I ate my Caesar salad from WaWa and listened to music on my phone. It showered a little bit off and on during the trip, but if it ever thundered, I didn't hear it. We made it into New York slightly late, but not too bad, given the weather. By the time I crossed a noisy and heavily trafficked 8th Avenue from Penn Station to Moynihan Train Hall, the precipitation had died down to spitting.

The food court, newsstand, and downstairs bathrooms finally opened at Moynihan last spring. I first stopped at a lovely little Italian bakery stand next-door to Starbucks. Their prices were surprisingly reasonable for downtown Manhattan, and their wares looked divine. Tried "pignoli cookies," little almond-flavored cookies topped with pine nuts that were only $1.50 each. Oooh, they were perfectly sweet and soft, and very almond-y. Very yummy. 

Found the bathrooms next to the new food court. All of the restaurants were upscale pizza and salad eateries I'd never heard of before. No fast-food joints for a former post office! The dining area had soft dark-red vinyl seating and wooden trim that looked more like a nicer version of the bars in Cape May during my childhood. 

I couldn't settle down. Tried reading in the waiting area for a while after I finished in the bathroom. Not only was it pretty full in there, but I was too jumpy. Walked around the main concourse for a while until I spied the very long line for the train going to Albany.

The Lake Shore Limited lives up to its name. The view from New York to Albany is stunning, all shining rivers, bobbing sailboats, crumbling factories, and sprawling summer mansions, with the majestic Adirondacks rising above it all. It kept my mind off the full train. A young businesswoman worked on her laptop while I listened to music and watched two Match Game PM episodes from 1977. In the first one, Richard and Betty do hilarious impersonations of Brett and Charles when Gene reads a question to the lower tier. Marcia Wallace's salty mouth gets her into trouble in the second when her answer to a question about where a guy loses a few inches is censored! 

Though the train arrived at the Albany-Rensselaer Station ten minutes early, Lauren kept track of it on Amtrak's website and knew to come early as well. I stopped to use the bathroom really fast before we headed for Mario's Restaurant, a fancy Italian eatery in New Lebanon on the border of New York and Massachusetts. They remind me of many of the more upscale restaurants in Cape May, with a large porch, stone fireplace, and a real purple-red carnation and candle-holder on the table.

Lauren had eggplant Parmesan. I ordered soft round cavatelli pasta with tomatoes, shrimp, and homemade crumbled fennel sausage. Mine was spicy, but otherwise a tasty mix of earthy flavors. Lauren certainly seemed to enjoy hers. She ate the whole huge roll and half the spaghetti that came with it. She had her favorite Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake for dessert. I opted for a simpler Parfait with vanilla ice cream, fresh brownie rounds, thick, rich hot fudge sauce, and what I believe to be real whipped cream. We shared amazing mushroom beignets - savory fried donuts filled with small portabella mushrooms and topped with cream sauce - sourdough bread, and a dish of navy beans with vinegar and olive oil.

We finally pulled in at Lauren's house around nine. I'm now downstairs in her bedroom, writing this at the vintage scarlet chrome-and-Formica table she uses as a desk. Tomorrow, we'll be driving into Manchester, Vermont to check out their outlet mall and a pinball museum Lauren discovered online. 

(And I really got lucky with the weather today. The clouds broke up as the train left Moynihan, and it was sunny and windy in Albany. The streets were wet when we got out of Mario's, but to my knowledge, it hasn't rained since then.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Getting Ready for Vacation

Started off my morning with breakfast and the first season of Sailor Moon on Hulu. It's "Usagi vs. Rei: Nightmare In Dreamland" when Ami, Luna, and the squabbling title duo investigate a popular local amusement park that's said to have had several mysterious disappearances. Rei's frustrated by Usagi being more interested in the rides and food than in their mission, until they have to rescue Ami from a creepy doll-like animatronic princess.

Spent the next hour or so pulling out the luggage and bringing the laundry downstairs. Got most of the backpack and my clothes together, though some things would have to wait for later or tomorrow. Made sure to pack my umbrella, too, and a heavy sweater. It's supposed to rain here tomorrow and will drop into the low 60's in Pittsfield after that. 

Watched Jetsons; The Movie as I rounded up what I'd need for my trip. I go further into the only big-screen foray of the "first family of the future" (and an old childhood favorite of mine) at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

(Incidentally, while I won't be doing reviews on vacation, I will continue to update this blog.)

Put on Match Game '75 after I went downstairs to switch the laundry to the dryer. An audience member gives Gene a carnation and greens to hide his busted microphone, then eventually gives them to the rest of the cast. Gene spends the rest of the episode fielding many jokes about talking into a flower.

Headed out shortly after the episode ended. I had a lot of errands I wanted to run. WaWa was busy with the lunch crowd when I got in, but I did take money for vacation out of the ATM machine and buy a sweet and subtly spicy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie. Stopped at the pretzel shop to buy a soft twist for lunch; got a second thrown in. Hiked to the other side of Oaklyn to buy a few remaining things for the trip, including snacks, a thank you card for Mr. and Mrs. Miller, and gifts for Lauren. Went back to WaWa when I realized I forgot a Caesar salad for lunch for tomorrow. It'll be cheaper and faster to eat on the train than it would to buy food at the stations. 

Besides, the weather remained too lovely to be inside all day. While nothing like the heat waves we had in July and early August, it was much hotter and more humid today despite the searing blue sky and bright sunshine. Soft, cool autumn breezes helped make the heat more tolerable. Not to mention, I'll be spending almost all of tomorrow sitting in a train or a station.

Brought the laundry upstairs when I got home, then finished all the packing I could do for now and put away any clothes I won't need in Pittsfield. I'll do the rest of it tonight and tomorrow after I get dressed. 

Spent the rest of the afternoon and evening finally finishing Blank In Wonderland. Brett wakes up to discover she's fighting with her lawn chair. Jack's there, too, and she gives him an awkward greeting as he picks up the boys. He's not really angry, though, and even gives her a kiss on the cheek. Brett tells Charles she's willing to spend a night on the town with him, "but no tea parties!"

And that's that. This took me longer than it should have, probably due to all the stress in my life since I started it last May and it just ending up being a novel-length story, but I think it turned out decently despite all the trouble. 

Next up after vacation will be a series of short stories, some of them based after my childhood, others revolving around the Match Game cast. For now, enjoy Brett Somers' epic fantasy dream!

Broke for dinner and Let's Make a Deal at 6:30. This is another one I saw in July during that marathon. A lobster and his chef wife won $1,400, but traded it away for what turned out to be a much nicer kitchen set. The Big Deal of the Day went to a woman in a very patriotic ensemble covered in flags. She missed out on getting an upright piano in a deal earlier...and was thrilled when she won a gorgeous grand piano!

Finished the night with more Match Game '75. Ed Asner makes his first appearance on the series and Julie London her only appearance during this week. Brett blurted out that the sweet, sobbing contestant looked like she was going to have a nervous breakdown...right before Gene's Head-to-Head question was "Nervous __." Guess what the contestant and Richard answered? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Deep In the Heart of Oaklyn

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Texas Carnival. I go further into this robust MGM musical with Red Skelton and Esther Williams as carnival performers who impersonate millionaires at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Texas Carnival 

Worked on writing after breakfast. Brett turns her crown over to Richard, which doesn't please the Red King one bit! His unleashed magic makes everything, from the sparks in the candles to the dishes and plates, come to life. The Cheshire Catwoman appears and attacks the Red King. Fed up with everything, Brett also grabs the Red King and shakes him...but the man she really wants to shake is her ex-husband...

Broke for lunch at 1 PM. Watched Pontoffel Pock, Where are You? on my Seuss Celebration DVD. Pock is a "schnook" by his own admission who just got fired from his job at a dill pickle factory. His wish to get away from it all is granted by the fairy MacGillicudy, who gives him a magic piano. It can take him anywhere in the world he wants to go with the push of a button. He first travels to Grugan, but his showing off on the piano upsets the locals so badly, they attack him. After convincing McGillicudy to give him another chance, he next ends up in Casbahopolis. He falls for the "eyeball dancer" Neefa Feefa, only to lose her when he has to leave quickly with the piano. Now everyone - Eefa Neefa, the fairies, and Pock himself - are wondering where the heck he's going to end up next!

Headed off to work just as the cartoon ended. Ended up in a register again, and Express, too. On one hand, we could have been busier, especially for Senior Discount Day. I still get too nervous dealing with people, though. Everyone says I'm fine, but I'm worried I'll say or do the wrong thing, or cause trouble. All I wanted was to get out of there.

(And thank heavens that was my last day at work for over a week. I took tomorrow off to pack and get organized for my trip to Pittsfield. I leave Thursday afternoon.)

Needless to say, I dashed home the second one of the teenagers who work late could come in for me. Finished the night with dinner and Match Game '75 when I got in. Sweet Dorothy continues her run with "Draw __" on the Audience Match. Richard is more than happy to help her with "Trail __" on the Head-to-Head. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

The Eagles Plunder the Vikings

Began the morning with breakfast and Charlie & Lola. Charlie's looking forward to visiting his grandparents in the country. "I Love Going to Granny and Grandad's, And It's Just That" says Lola, who first is worried about what she can pack, then that she'll miss her parents too much. Charlie suggests she takes things along that reminds her of them. 

Worked on writing for the rest of the morning. Richard destroys the Red King's scepter, which truly ends his magic. White King Gene is now awake and restored to Helen, and everyone in Wonderland is back to...well, themselves. Brett's more worried about Jack when the Red King throws him against the wall...

Broke for lunch at noon. Watched Match Game '75 while I had lunch. Gene's more than happy to kiss Lana Wood of the James Bond movie Diamonds are Forever, but it must have affected his brain. Later on, he checks the contestants' score and can't seem to figure out 2 + 2! The panelists have an equally tough time figuring out "__ Dive" in the Audience Match.

Headed out to work shortly after the episode ended. I did have to help a grumpy woman take three huge packs of water to her car and empty the especially full and disgusting trash can by the bus stop on the Black Horse Pike, but I mostly spend the day pushing carts. We weren't even really that busy, and we actually had plenty of help for once. Clouds moved in around 4 PM and it showered lightly and briefly, but otherwise, the weather was sunny but humid and warm for this time of year, too nice for shopping.

Hurried home the second I could get out. Changed, then went straight into dinner and more Match Game '75. The end of the episode featured a very funny question about whom Richard Dawson married. Gossip queen Rona Barrett said Raquel Welch, but the other panelists all said Charles or Brett. Charles must have turned ten shades of red! This is hilarious if you know the show. Richard reportedly didn't get along with Brett well, likely because they were born and bred spotlight-hogs. He did get along with Charles...but Charles was gay, and Richard was very straight. 

I'm so glad I remembered ESPN Plus comes with Disney Plus/Hulu bundle. It allowed me to watch tonight's Eagles game against the Minnesota Vikings. The Eagles dominated the game from the first quarter. They only gave up one touch down, and though quarterback Jason Hurts did get sacked, he also made two touchdowns in the first two quarters. He literally had to slam through a pile of Vikings and barely touch over the goal line to make the second one! It was a terrific game, and the Eagles ultimately slaughtered the Vikings 24 to 7.

(And it wasn't even the worst loss of the night. The Bills absolutely murdered the Titans 41 to 7 in the earlier game, and that was despite one of their men being taken out with a nasty neck injury.) 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Military Matches

Barely had enough time for breakfast this morning before hurrying out to work. I ended up spending the day in the register. I wish I handled the register better. I'm easily overwhelmed when things go wrong. Everyone says I'm too hard on myself. I expect someone who has worked at a grocery store for 20 years to not be overwhelmed by and scared of customers. I wish I knew what to say to them, or how to answer their questions. 

Didn't help that we were busy off-and-on the entire day. The Eagles play tomorrow, but the sunny and warm (if slightly humid) weather may have prompted many barbecues and end-of-summer parties. Saw a lot of big orders, too, possibly getting ready for the second full week of school for many local children. 

Hurried home and upstairs the second I finished. Had leftovers for dinner while listening to the original Broadway cast album for Silk Stockings. Don Ameche, Gretchen Wyler, and German actress Hiledgarde Knef starred in this 1955 stage adaptation of the 1939 Greta Garbo comedy. Cole Porter's last stage musical has Knef as the stern Russian who travels to Paris in order to bring home three officers and a composer who want to stay in Paris. Ameche is the film director who seduces her with the charms of Paris, and Gretchen Wyler is a swimming star who wants to go legit in a musical version of War and Peace

This one is all about Porter's last great ballads. "All of You" and "As On Through the Seasons We Sail" are as lovely as anything Porter wrote in the 30's and 40's. The rest of the score is more of a problem. The show had an especially torturous tryout, with songs and characters discarded right and left. "Stereophonic Sound" for Wyler is amusing if you know anything about the changes the American film industry went through in the mid-50's, but it probably won't make much sense if you don't. Most of the other songs, including Wyler's other two solos "Satin and Silk" and "Josephine" are more dull and silly than anything.

Honestly, the 1957 film version (which I really need to get to reviewing) has the better cast, but this has more Porter, and Ameche does give "All of You" the right soft sell. If you really love Porter or 50's musicals, get both and see how they compare. 

Worked on writing for an hour or so after dinner. Queen Betty, King Allen, and the Card Guards burst in and order the Red King arrested for trying to take over the kingdom. The Red King pushes Brett away and is about to use the scepter on her when first Jack, then Richard attacks him. The boys finally sneak it away...just as things really go haywire...

Finished the night on YouTube with Match Game episodes featuring actors from MASH in honor of the 50th anniversary of the show's debut yesterday. Loretta Swit and McLean Stevenson appeared occasionally on the show from its beginning in 1973. Swit usually sat in either the second seat where Brett Somers ended up later, or the sixth "comedienne" seat. Stevenson would be one of the only male panelists to sit in all three seats. 

Swit mainly tossed out sarcastic barbs, but Stevenson could be absolutely nuts. I've mentioned the time in late '73 he turned up shirtless on an episode. The one I went with is from the week in '74 where he kept running out and kissing or necking with Richard and Gene every time a contestant won. The episode begins with him coming out in the contestant's seat (after leaving an "out to surgery" sign on his desk), and ends with him chasing Gene through the audience and around the back of the studio!

McLean became the last regular in Richard Dawson's old seat during the final syndicated season in 1982. He really livened things up, whether taking over hosting for Gene temporarily or pulling children out of the audience to play with them. I chose one that doesn't get seen nearly enough, the time he turned up in a white suit and fedora after being "dressed" by Tim Lange of The Love Boat

Gary Burghoff, a former student of Charles Nelson Reilly, filled in for him during late 1974 and through the first half of 1975 while his mentor directed the hit Broadway play The Belle of Amherst. He turned up more often than Stevenson or Swit, even during the syndicated run after he'd already left MASH. He had some hilarious moments of his own during his tenure taking over for Charles. I went with the episode where Johnny Olsen answered a question with his famous "Come On Down!", prompting Gary to run out in his idea of an excited Price Is Right contestant. 

McLean turned up again in Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour in 1984. He proved to be just as wild with 9 celebrities as he was with 6. I chose one of the best episodes of the entire series, where his getting ink on his pants somehow ends in the last few minutes of the show with him having a major wardrobe malfunction. William Christopher, kindly Father Mulcahy himself, brought up the spiritual level of the show a few weeks later. 

Tossed in a classic bonus episode of the syndicated What's My Line from 1972. Alan Alda appeared in this infamous show several months before MASH began. He was joined on the panel by the only man on earth who could out-ham him, Gene Rayburn. After they couldn't figure out a handsome young man was a champion pizza-flipper, Larry Blyden gave the two gentlemen a chance to flip their own. Alan's dough somehow turned into a lasso, while Gene threw his so high, it got caught on a stage light! Even after all that, Larry Storch baffled everyone with his celebrity impersonations as the Mystery Guest.

Celebrate 50 years of MASH with these hilarious looks at how funny its cast could be, whether they were in Korea or Burbank! 

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Busy Busy Harvest

Began the morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Daniel's excited for "The Neighborhood Fall Festival," especially the decorations! When strong autumn winds knock down the scarecrow and pumpkin piles in front of Music Man Stan's store, Katerina, Dan, and Miss Elainia figure out how to redo them to the best of their abilities. Dan's delighted to try the fall-themed games during "Field Day at School." He can't jump over the pile of leaves at first, and Prince Wednesday has a hard time getting a soccer ball between two pumpkins. Teacher Harriet encourages her students to do their best, not someone else's.  

Headed out after the show ended. Wanted to run a couple of errands today, starting with my first trip to the Collingswood Farm Market in over a month. They were packed when I arrived, and no wonder. Every table burst with juicy Technicolor produce. Berries and plums are gone, but there's a ton of everything else, including the first pears and grapes of the year. Bought small Gala apples for me to take to work, large Galas for a friend, a mini cantaloupe, and sweet black grapes.

While the sun's out and there's a nice breeze, it's also a lot hotter and more humid than it has been. I stopped in at 7-11 next-door to the Westmont Acme. I don't go there often enough. They're run by a nice Chinese family and are a lot less scuzzy than the one on the corner of West Clinton and the White Horse Pike in Oaklyn. Tried a VitaminWater Blueberry Hibiscus Slurpee. Oh, yum! So sweet and smooth, you'd never know it's calorie-free. 

Made my way down two blocks and over the hill to the Haddon Township Library. Mainly wanted to return the books I took out two weeks ago. I finished The Consequences of Fear yesterday. Thought of taking out another, but it'll just be one more thing to do before vacation. I'll make another big library trip after I get back.

Worked on writing for an hour when I got home. Brett argues with the Red King over playing "the game." The Red King worries he'll lose his kingdom if he doesn't have rules and regulations. Brett points out it's no fun playing if everything is constantly regulated. Games need some spontaneity. He finally manages to push her back, but she has two knights ready to fight for her...

Barely had enough time to change and have a quick lunch before I dashed out. I did end up going in for someone's break before I spent almost the entire remaining evening pushing carts...until the last hour, when I got stuck in a register again. I really don't like this back-and-forth. I can't change on a dime. I wish they'd either make me a bagger again or make me a cashier again, not both. I just can't multitask. I don't have that ability.

Rushed out the moment I could get away with it. Went straight home and into dinner and Match Game PM on Buzzr. This was the episode with the pretty lady who had the gorgeous long braids and the gregarious guy from Brooklyn who talked New York with Charles. It's also the episode with the question about what the football team held in front of them in the locker room...and Brett's answer was so ribald, I'm surprised she got away with it. 

Finished the night with Pinocchio. I go further into the new live-action/animated version of the beloved 1940 animated film at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Friday, September 16, 2022

At War With the 4077th

Began the day with breakfast and Charlie and Lola in my bedroom. Lola is a picky eater who claims "I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato," or carrots, potatoes, cheese, fish sticks, or peas. Charlie finally gets her to eat most of it by claiming they're really magical. He thinks tomatoes will be harder...but Lola finally finds a type of tomato that is definitely something she likes! 

Worked on writing for the next hour. Brett faces down the Red King at the party when he keeps making the food come to life and run away. She's tired of him trying to control everything and points out that games are meant to be fun. He wants everyone to obey and behave and calm down. Brett leaps at him, hoping to get the scepter away...

Broke to change and head out at quarter after 12. I wanted to leave for work early to pick up a few things. I'll have enough time to hit the farm market tomorrow, so I mainly wanted muffins for lunch next week and cookies for this week. Needed peanut butter, too. Natural Jiff is finally back on the shelves.

Good news and bad news about my schedule next week. Good news - I'll be on vacation starting Thursday, and I took Wednesday as a regular day off to get things done. The bad news is I have an 8 1/2 hour day on Sunday and I'll be in a register the entire time. I am not looking forward to it at all.

I didn't enjoy being stuck in a register today, either. Everyone tells me to relax, but how can you relax with all those people there? How can you relax when you're the one who is supposed to be doing everything, and you're making a mess? I end up panicking and making mistakes because I'm just so worried about getting into trouble or upsetting the wrong person. The line is supposed to flow. 

Thank heavens, it died quickly after about 3 PM. I spent my last few hours standing around. In fact, I was able to sneak out a few minutes early and enjoy a warm, sunny ride home.

Went straight upstairs, changed, and had dinner while watching the end of Let's Make a Deal. A chef gave up appliances and a square dancer in a frilly red and white dress $500 for the Big Deal of the Day. The square dancer bowed to her corner and got a refrigerator and small appliances that were certainly a lot more than what she gave up! The Big Deal went to the Chef, who won a beautiful living room set and TV. 

Match Game '75 started as I brought up dessert. A very pregnant contestant made everyone a bit nervous during the Audience Match, especially Gene! Fannie Flagg said "Big Jim" in response to "__ Jim." The audience nearly booed her to death...making it all the more satisfying when it turned out to be in the $100 spot!

Finished the night on Hulu after a shower with a MASH marathon. Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the show's debut, which is why I began with the "Pilot" episode. Hawkeye and Trapper want to help their Korean cabby earn enough money to attend college in the US. Hawkeye hits on holding a costume party and a raffle for a weekend pass with the lovely nurse Lieutenant Dish (Karen Phillipp). Frank squelches this idea when he temporarily takes over for Henry Blake, but the guys bandage him and sedate him. Hot Lips finally catches them and tells her former lover General Hammond...but then a load of patients come in, and he gets to see what everyone can really do.

Father Mulcahy is played by a different actor in the pilot. By the time of "Life With Father" in the third season, he's the familiar kindly William Christopher. Mulcahey has to figure out how to perform a Jewish ceremony for a dead soldier. Meanwhile, Henry's worried that his wife may be cheating on him, and Hawkeye and Trapper do a puzzle in order to win a pony.

Moved on to Season 5 next for "Souvenirs." No one approves of the smarmy helicopter pilot selling used guns, cartridges, and other things soldiers throw away to the black market. Hawkeye and B.J really don't like that he's using Korean children to do his dirty work and find a way to end his business for good.

In the seventh season episode "Dear Comrade," Winchester hires what he thinks is a Korean houseboy to do chores for him. He's really a spy trying to find out the secret of the 4077th's continued success in medicine. What he learns is how to respect them - and himself - when he gives them a home-made itch cream that may smell bad, but does eliminate a particularly pesky rash from a group of soldiers. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Sunny Day In September

Began the day at work. Made it right on time...which may have been a moot point. We were dead almost the entire day. I spent most of the morning shelving the few unwanted items left in carts and the last hour pushing carts. I did have to go in for the cashiers' lunches, but that only went for a half-hour each. 

No wonder it wasn't busy. We had amazing weather today. Sunshine, clear blue skies, cool breezes. Couldn't have been more than the upper 70's. It's too nice for shopping! It was so nice, I took the long way home down Nicholson Road. With the road repairs ended, they were only busy around the entrance to the mall. The White Horse Pike was busier, but I got out at the same time as the kids from the Oaklyn School, so there were crossing guards out.

When I got home, I went straight upstairs, changed, and rested while watching Smilin' Through. I go further into this 1941 remake of the classic tearjerker with Jeanette MacDonald at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Worked on writing after the movie ended. Brett joins everyone in Wonderland and Looking Glass Land for a massive tea party. Red Queen Fannie and White Queen Helen bring them in and insist that Brett carves the roast. Brett has no idea how to do that. She's more interested in trying to figure out how to get the scepter from a highly perturbed Red King Goodson...

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Got to see a baseball player and a medieval maiden go for the Big Deal of the Day on Let's Make a Deal. The baseball player didn't seem too upset about ending up with sports clothes and luggage. The lady couldn't have been more thrilled with the Big Deal - a new car.

Had dessert and finished the night while watching Match Game '75. The first episode featured Charles' hilarious answer to what the football teamed passed around in their huddle that wasn't the ball. The second had Richard receive a stuffed doll version of him from an audience member he treated as well as his own sons. 

(Oh, and I'll be going on vacation a week from today. I can't wait!)

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Afternoon Delight

Started my late morning with a double-dose of Charlie & Lola as I ate breakfast. Lola insists "I am Not Sleepy and Will Not Go to Bed." She claims she has to feed baby tigers, get whales out of the bathtub, and have a dance party with foxes. Charlie eventually gets her to bed by telling her the animals are sleeping, too. "But That Is My Book!" Lola wails when her favorite picture book is taken out of the library. Charlie tries to find another book she'll love just as much.

After breakfast, I made the bed, then pulled out my luggage. Wanted to see if there's anything I'll need to buy before vacation. The wet wipes I keep for the train dried out, and I saw a half-full mouthwash bottle that will likely run out before the end of the week. Everything else I'll need, like food for the trip, I won't pick up until the day before I leave. 

Watched Match Game '75 while I worked. It started innocently enough, with Gene complimenting elegant Joan Collins on her 20's-style headwrap and blouse. Things went off the rails fast when Charles' answer for "Bi __" on the Audience Match was "Bisexual." Not only did the contestant choose it, but it turned out to be in the 250 spot. (Charles looked extremely satisfied.) Later on, Gene got so annoyed with the camera people for not going to break when they were supposed to, he literally climbed over the audience and attacked the camera!

Headed out to run errands shortly after that. Dodged electrical wire repairs on Cuthbert to hit Target first. Picked up the wet wipes and mouthwash, along with a large box of granola bars for the week. Thankfully, there were no lines this time. I was in and out.

Took the long way across Saddler's Woods going to King's Highway. This is the thick old-growth woods between the Westmont Plaza and Paul the VI High School and Crystal Lake Road. It's land that was purchased by a runaway slave in the mid-1800's who didn't want any of it cut down...and to this day, the people of Haddon Township continue to honor his wishes. The woods were lovely and peaceful, even with Crystal Lake Road just minutes away. Light filtered through lime-colored leaves, and everything smelled of earth and wildflowers and wet bark. I saw only one other person on my walk, a jogger who scared the heck out of me! I hadn't expected to see anyone.

I came out behind a row of what looked like 70's-era tract houses. The path continued between them and the woods, occasionally turning off into a narrow gorge. Finally found the end at an empty grassy field with only a weathered basketball net on it. 

Normally, King's Highway is really out of my way, but I wanted to check out Cacia's Bakery. I've been there before, but not in a long time. They're an Italian bakery that sells stromboli and square-cut pizza along with deli cheeses and meats, bread and cookies, Italian pastries, and take-out meals like lasagna. The pizza proved to be cheap as well as unique. I went with a slice of cheese, a slice of white broccoli, and a bottle of water, along with a butter cookie for then and chocolate chip for later. 

Cacia's is a bakery first and has no seating. I ended up at the wrought iron table outside the actual pizzeria on the other side of a series of older buildings housing art and music schools and framing businesses. The pizza was doughy but delicious, especially the white broccoli that had thicker crust. I loved the butter cookie with cream frosting. Moist and just sweet enough.

I realized as I rode back to Audubon that I left my bike helmet at Target. No problem. Went back there, waited while a clerk retrieved the helmet from the customer service desk, and went out. Took less than five minutes. 

Headed upstairs when I got in and straight into New Moon. I go further into the second MacDonald-Eddy colonial New Orleans swashbuckler (and the last of their joint movies I haven't reviewed yet) at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Worked on writing for a while after the movie ended. Brett and the others enter an explosion of light and pure noise. Almost everyone she met on her journey came to the tea party, including Queen Betty and King Allen and Red King Mark. Red King Mark, as you can guess, is not pleased he's been checkmated...and he still has a few tricks up his sleeve...

Broke for dinner at 7. Finished the night with Match Game '75 while I ate. Announcer Bern Bennett took over for these episodes while Johnny Olsen went on vacation. Bass-voiced comedian Joe Silver and warm Good Times matriarch Esther Rolle made their only appearances on the show this week as well. Gene quite happily smooched Esther in the second show! 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

It's a Quiet Day at Home, Charlie Brown

Started off the morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood in honor of Grandparents' Day. "Daniel's Grrific Grandpere" loves having fun with his grandson, including looking for shells at low tide when they can't take Grandpere's boat out. Likewise, Dan has a great time "Making Mozies With Nana" as his friend Jodi's grandmother shows them how to make banana oatmeal cookies. 

Switched to Charlie and Lola as I gathered my breakfast mess. Lola insists "There Is Only One Sun, and That Is Me" in her school play based around the seasons. She's devastated when she's chosen to be a fall leaf instead and keeps insisting she'd be a better sun, until Charlie reminds her that there's great things about leaves, too. 

Speaking of autumn, I took down my summer decorations and put up what I have for fall after breakfast. I did manage to find room for everything...but I couldn't find the big fall bow wreath. I must have put it in storage accidentally. Even dug up places for the two scarecrows, all the stuffed calico apples and pumpkins, and the beaded wreath. 

Watched Match Game '75 as I worked. Joan Collins, years before Dynasty, and gruff comedian Scoey Mitchilll joined Patti Deustch and the regulars here. The first episode featured a story from Richard Dawson about how a woman gave him a quarter to "eradicate trench hand." This was a gag answer Richard came up with for the Audience Match "Trench __" a few weeks before when he couldn't figure out anything else to say. (Match Game 101 later revealed Richard and Gene rounded up enough money in real life to donate to the Muscular Dystropy Fund.)  The second episode featured an amusing question on how a pirate captain checks for __ before giving a newcomer a handshake...and Patti Deustch doing very well with the answer.

When I put the summer and fall decoration containers away, I realized the top of one container of journals was broken, and the others were falling over. I moved them to the gap between my desk and the wall in the bedroom. Next made a list of all the musicals on DVD I own but haven't gotten to reviewing yet. Most of them were smaller films on sets or movies I dubbed off video when I still had my DVD recorder.

Watched Naughty Marietta as I worked. I go further into the first movie Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy starred in together at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Went downstairs to put in the laundry, then switched to You're In Love, Charlie Brown while I sewed a button back on my brown shorts. (As best I could. It's so hard to thread a needle!) Poor Charlie Brown would love to tell the Little Red Haired Girl he has a crush on her, but he's thwarted at every turn. Even worse, it's the last two days of the school year. He has to talk to her now, or he won't see her again until the fall. Lucy and her buddies make fun of his feelings, but he does get a nice surprise in the end.

Did some writing after that. Jack and Charles lead Brett into the tea party, followed by the others. It's a mess of singing animals, Betty and Allen in King and Queen of Hearts mode, and every kind of tea goody known to man. Brett has to figure out where the Red King is, before she loses her chance to grab his scepter and get home...

Broke at 6:30 to bring up the clean laundry during Let's Make a Deal. The lady in the opening segment had no luck at all, opting to take a small amount of money over what turned out to be a car. They did far better in the Big Deal of the Day. A woman in a clownish nurse costume went home with a gorgeous white fur coat. 

Didn't have dinner until nearly the end of Match Game '75. The contestant is so thrilled when she wins, Gene insists she put a crack in the studio floor! In the second episode, we hear Charles and William Shatner discuss the Broadway shows they did with Julie Harris. (Shatner appeared in the hit play A Shot In the Dark; Charles did the musical Skyscraper, along with Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall.) 

Finished the night online with Mystery Science Theater 3000. Mike Nelson had his first real movie session with the creepy 1962 horror movie The Brain That Wouldn't Die. Dr. Bill Cortner (Jason Evers) saves his decapitated fiancee's (Virginia Leith) life by reanimating her head and keeping it in a liquid-filled tray. She's not happy about this and tries to get him to kill her again, but he wants to find her the perfect body. He finally lures his old girlfriend Doris Powell (Adele Lamont) to his laboratory, claiming he can heal her scars...but he really wants to transfer his fiancee's head onto Doris' body. Cortner's keeping another experiment-gone-awry in the laboratory, too, never realizing that this monster could lead to his undoing...

The blood and guts are unusually heavy for a movie originally filmed in 1959. The gore and some mildly titillating footage of Cortner trying to find suitable bodies among strippers and beauty pageant contestants may be why this couldn't find a distributor until American International Pictures finally released it. For all the stiff acting and over-reliance on near-soft core footage of strippers catfighting, there's also a spooky atmosphere, some decent special effects, a surprisingly good jazz score, and the monster when he does appear in the end really is that scary. 

Monday, September 12, 2022

Late Summer Harts

Slept in a little bit more this time and didn't get to breakfast until past 11. Put on The Cat In the Hat Knows a Lot About That while I ate. Nick and Sally are having a hard time drumming up business for their pickle restaurant. The Cat shows them "A Sweet Deal" when he introduces them to Eddie the Honeyguide bird, who helps other animals find food. The kids want to swing on a rope over a puddle, but they can't figure out how to grip correctly. Charlie the Chimpanzee is "The King of Swing," and he shows the kids how he swings on vines across Leafylaloo Forest.

Didn't have enough time to write, so I settled on my bed and made a list of everything I needed to pack for vacation next week. I probably missed one or two things, but I think I got most of it. I'll pull out the luggage tomorrow and see if I need to replace anything. 

Headed off to work shortly after that. Though it remained cloudy and murderously humid, it wasn't raining. I took the bike with no trouble. They told me I'd be bagging today, since the head bagger wanted to be in a register. That would have been fine, if I'd just been sweeping floors and pushing carts. They kept pulling me from that to take registers. I wish they'd figure out what they want me to do. If I'm a cashier, they need to leave me in a register. If I'm a bagger, they need to leave me alone to sweep and push carts. I can't change from one to another on a dime. 

(Had a hard time sweeping, too. Thanks to the heavy humidity, half the coolers in the store leaked badly. I couldn't pass through one of the frozen food aisles and the one next to it for at least two hours, and another aisle further down still had a little water, even when I left.

Rushed straight home and into writing. Richard's sleepy and goofy, but he is happy to see his sons. Brett's more concerned about the tea party. So's Charles. They figure the Red King is up to something. They're just not sure what.

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. Came in as Monty led a girl dressed as a marshmallow and a middle-aged woman who looked pretty darn good in a leotard through a pricing game on Let's Make a Deal.  The girl tried to win a chinchilla fur coat and missed the price. The lady more sensibly gave up on the fur and went with an alternate package...which she gave up for the Big Deal of the Day. She got very visibly upset when all she won for her trade-in was $400 from Monty's Piggy Bank. The tall and energetic gentleman next to her in a garbage bag and foil hat (he reminded me of Jimmie Walker) did a little bit better and ended up with a vacation to the Bahamas. 

Broadway legend Julie Harris and Star Trek captain William Shatner joined for one of the most memorable weeks of Match Game '75. The pregnant woman finally lost, thanks to a slightly gross question about why Optimistic Oliver isn't upset he cut off a finger. The next lady discovered that the audience really liked Richard's answer of "Goose Up" for "Goose __" on the Audience Match. Richard was less fond of an earnest young missionary who discussed family planning while not being married himself. 

Hit the shower, then finished the night online with Hart to Hart. For some reason, the Harts met a lot of villains who obsessed over having one or the other for their own. In "Harts on Campus," Jennifer discovers the former science geek at her prep school (Kip Niven) is now a gorgeous hunk. He never got over Jennifer, though, and will do anything to get her...including hypnotizing Johnathan into pushing Jennifer away. 

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Games In the Rain

First of all, let's take a moment to honor those who lost their lives in the attacks on 9/11 over 20 years ago today. I go further into my memories of that fateful morning in this entry from 2015, Memories On a Busy Day

I don't work until late this week, so I can sleep in. Listened to Prime Time Musicals while eating a quick breakfast. Picked up this Versasae Sarabande collection of songs from made-for TV musicals of the 50's and 60's off e-Bay two years ago. Some of these songs make me wish more early TV musicals were readily available. "One Hand Tied Behind My Back" is a rousing piece about a dedicated tomboy, from the western romance No Man Can Tame Me. There's only bits and pieces of the Barbara Cook-Red Buttons Hansel and Gretel online, including "Too Happy Dancing." I'm especially fond of two dreamy ballads, "A Ride On a Rainbow" from Ruggles of Red Gap and "Listen To Your Heart" from a version of Pinocchio with Mickey Rooney as the wooden boy. 

Worked on writing for a while as the CD continued. Jack's the one who reveals that if they get the Red King's scepter, it'll allow King Gene to awaken and release its hold on both worlds. Brett's more worried that she and her boys may not be able to get home. 

Leave It to Jane while eating a quick breakfast after I rolled out of bed. Jane first debuted in 1917 at the (still-existing) Longacre Theater in New York. The copy I have on CD is of the 1959 off-Broadway revival. Jane is encouraged by her buddies at Atwater College to seduce the star football player from rival Bingham. She does, but ends up falling for him in the process. 

Jerome Kern wrote the score for this one with PG Wodehouse. It's funny and charming, and likely why this one keeps getting revived on regional stages over a century after its debut. "'Till the Clouds Roll By" was the hit, but I like the bouncy comic number "Cleopatterer" as a waitress on-campus wishes she were more like the famous Egyptian queen.

The rain continued to fall steadily as I got ready for work. It wasn't a day for a bike ride. I ended up calling Uber. Luckily, the rain slowed down long enough for me to get a driver in 8 minutes.

Work was off-and-on busy all evening, even though the Eagles-Lions game had already started by the time I got there. At one point, I did end up pushing carts. Several employees called out, including the afternoon bagger. And, of course, that's when the rain picked up, which meant I got soaked while doing it. At least it slowed down so much by 7 PM, I used the last 20 minutes of my shift to put away cold items people didn't want.

(Oh, and incidentally, they did it by the skin of their beaks, but the Eagles did apparently manage to beat the Lions 38-35.)

Surprisingly, despite getting off at 7 PM, it took me about 6 minutes to get a ride home. The rain had ended by this point, leaving clouds, heavy humidity, and cool-for-September mid-70's temperatures. No traffic anywhere, not even around the street repairs on Nicholson. The car pulled up to East Clinton in less than 5 minutes.

Had dinner upstairs while listening to the other vintage musical paired with Leave It to Jane on the CD, Oh Kay! Kay moves ahead a decade to 1925 for a tale of bootleggers on the loose in a Long Island mansion. The gangster's sister Kay falls for the mansion's owner Jimmy, despite it being his wedding day. The Gershwins came up with one of their best scores for this one, with no less than four standards - the revivalist chorus routine "Clap Yo' Hands," Kay and Jimmie's duet "Do Do Do," Jimmy's solo "Dear Little Girl," and the big hit ballad "Someone to Watch Over Me" for Kay.

In honor of the Eagles' win and the beginning of football season, I spent the rest of the night watching sports game shows on YouTube. ESPN's mainly known for the sheer variety of sports and analysis they run, but they have done game shows in the past. 2 Minute Drill from 2001 was a tough quizzer based on the English game show Mastermind. Three players try to guess five questions in a row based on the expertise of a 4-sports celebrity panel. This is likely ESPN's entry in the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire imitation race. The questions were challenging and the game play suspenseful, but it was too complicated, and ultimately too derivative.

Stump the Schwab from 2004 is a lot more fun. Like Drill, this ESPN Classic show tested contestants' general sports knowledge. Otherwise, it has more in common with Win Ben Stein's Money. Here, though, it's ESPN's statistician Bernie Schwab they're all trying to beat. This was the last day of a championship tournament. Schwab ends up putting a Philly man through his paces.

Sports Challenge is the granddaddy of the ESPN general trivia shows. It even ran on ESPN Classic at one point. Two teams of sports celebrities representing a sport or team answer questions relating to a sporting event clip. The "Bonus Biography" had teams guessing who a silhouette was based on clues given by Johnny Gilbert. Winners got money and athletic equipment for the junior athletic organization of their choice. Watched the Chiefs and the Rams play each other in the episode I chose from probably sometime in the mid-70's.

Bowling may seem like the least-likely sport to become a game show, but several did pop up in the 60's and 70's. Celebrity Lanes from the early 60's and the 70's syndicated hit Celebrity Bowling were pretty much the same idea - celebrities bowl for charity. In the case of Lanes, they also bowl with a pro champion and earn money for them. 

Kids had their sports games, too. No less than Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham hosted Scramble in 1993. In this sports-themed variation on Double Dare, the kids answer trivia that gains points as they would in a football game. When they get a "touchdown," they get to do a mini-game that uncovers the identity of a famous person. The bonus round has them punting footballs through a small hoop.

Even lower-budget channels got in on the games. Ultimate Fan League from Fox Sports Net brought together men from various regions Fox Sports covered to play each other in atrivia tournament. Of course, I had to check out the episode where two guys from my current home state New Jersey played guys from my birth state Florida. (Not to brag, but the Jersey guys wiped the floor with the Floridians, who got nowhere near them.)

Play ball and test your sports trivia with these classic games! (Celebrity Lanes is in two parts, but it doesn't otherwise appear to be online. And look for the commercials on Scramble and Stump the Schwab, among others.)