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.) 

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