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! 

No comments: