Friday, October 21, 2022

The Music of Fall

Started off my morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. Daniel and his friends are excited to get ready for "Dress Up Day" (aka Halloween) in the neighborhood. Daniel finds a Tigey the Adventure Tiger costume and Miss Elania makes her robot outfit, but "Katerina's Costume" winds up being a lot more creative. O the Owl loves his "Dress Up Day" traffic signal costume and is upset when it rips. Daniel and the others encourage him to turn it into something else.

Put on Match Game '75 while cleaning up and getting organized. Mary Ann Mobley brings up memories of a famous radio commercial with her "Call for Phillip Morrriissss!" answer to "Call for __" in the Audience Match. (It was the catchphrase for Phillip Morris cigarettes, supposedly yelled by a bellhop.) Meanwhile, Brett tosses out a joke about her and Gene supposedly going to a hotel in Encino when Charles walks around her to hear the question and she asks him if he's made the reservations. 

Took out the trash and recycling, then called Uber for a ride to Woodbury. Got them within a few minutes; they arrived in 11 minutes. A nice older lady picked me up, fielding a call from her grandson asking where she left the keys as we drove through West Collingswood Heights. (According to her, he had his own keys and continually lost them.) 

She dropped me off at On the Record in Woodbury about 20 minutes later. Yes, this is another local independent record store. They were about the same size as Phidelity Records in Westmont, with no dollar bins, and a similar remodeled wood floor and old and new music posters on the wall. The cheapest record I saw was four dollars. Most of the ones I found were five or six dollars, but I did find one for $15 that was still sealed. He also had CDs and music-related DVDs and books. 

Took me almost an hour, but I came up with a nice haul. The records:

The Broadway original casts of Nine with Raul Julia and Flahooley with Yma Sumac and Barbara Cook

Snow White and Rose Red & The Goose Girl (British children's album from the 70's - Ceila Johnson of Brief Encounter narrates The Goose Girl.) 

Grimm's Fairy Tales Told by Danny Kaye (This also features Snow White & Rose Red, one of my favorite fairy tales.) 

John Denver - Rocky Mountain Christmas

The soundtrack and story of The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas (This was the $15 dollar record - not only is it fairly rare, but it was still sealed in its original plastic.)

The CDs: 

The original London cast of the stage Sister Act (Apparently, the short-lived Broadway cast wasn't recorded.)

Manheim Steamroller - A Fresh Aire Christmas

And a new CD I picked up for Lauren as a Christmas present.

Asked the owner if he knew of a good place for lunch. He had several suggestions, so I thought I'd check them out. Decided I wasn't in the mood for the Mexican place a block down...but I did like the look of a little thrift shop next-door. The narrow building held piles of mostly newer items, including a room full of clothes. My main interest was in a small room in the back piled with books, CDs, videos, and DVDs. Picked up Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie on DVD and Philadelphia Homestyle Cookbook. The latter is a locally-printed book of recipes from Philly families, with information on its neighborhoods in 1984. (I may have to do some research and see how some of those neighborhoods have changed since then.)

Saw a dollar store across the street and thought I'd check it out. Alas, it turned out to be shut down. Someone did paint really nifty Halloween artwork on the windows, though. 

Oh, well. It was a gorgeous fall day, with a robin's egg-blue sky and a warm golden sun. It couldn't have been a nicer day for a stroll in a historic downtown. Some of the buildings on Broad Street in Woodbury date back to the 1700's and were major stops during the Revolutionary War. The further down I went on Broad Street, the newer the buildings became. The large shops of the 1700's and 1800's that housed On the Record gave way to smaller homes and storefronts from the early-mid 20th century and the modern Inspira Health hospital buildings. There were not one, but two small bridges over glittery rivers. 

The Colonial Diner stood a few blocks from Inspira Health. Its Beetlejuice-esque black and silver stripes were hard to miss! It wasn't terribly colonial. The outside screamed typical 60's-70's chrome diner, other than the stripes. The interior had a more modern veneer, with hardwood floors and soft teal leatherette booths. They were fairly busy for almost 3 in the afternoon, which made their quick service all the more appreciated. I had a tasty breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, peppers, cheddar cheese, and tomatoes, and slightly flavorless hash browns. 

When I checked Uber, the cheapest ride listed cost almost 40 dollars! Went two doors down to wait until it slowed down enough for better prices. The Town Store was a local convenience store that was far larger than it appeared from the outside. I went in expecting a few shelves of candy and cigarettes. They were more like a smaller cross between Dollar General and WaWa. Shelves groaned with not only candy and cigarettes (and medical marijuana behind glass), but pharmacy items, drinks, and every kind of snack imaginable.

They had a lot of sodas I never saw before or rarely saw elsewhere. I ended up with a strawberry Perrier and a Reeses Snack Bar package. Should have been more careful with the latter. It turned out to be a bit melted. The strawberry Perrier was really tasty, though. It did taste like strawberry.

Finally picked up an Uber for a decent price about 10 minutes later. He took nearly 15 minutes to appear, though it could have been worse during rush hour. And of course, he was across busy Broad Street when he arrived. I had to dash over during a rare time when there were no cars. After all that, the traffic wasn't bad, and he did get me home within 20 minutes.

Went upstairs and into writing after I got in. Finally finished Acting Blank. As the others trickle in, Bill admits that, they may not agree on acting, but they do think Gene is the perfect host for Match Game. Gene decides while he waits to enter his door that, no matter how much he enjoys stage acting, he truly loves his other job, too. 

That took me way longer than it should have, but I haven't had time to write on 8 hour days, and there were days when I could barely focus. I won't have a chance to write this weekend, either. I'll resume writing Monday with Change of Blank, my first story based around Match Game '90. Brett and host Ross Schafer argue over her treatment of him and how she wishes he was the snubbed Gene. Charles tries to play referee.

At any rate, here's Acting Blank if you need a really quick read tonight!

It was nearly 7:30 when I finally broke for dinner and Match Game '77. We skipped ahead a few episodes to a new panel. Sweet soap star Trish Stewart, crusty character actress Mary Wickes, and neurotic Bill Daily join Richard Dawson in wishing his younger son Gary a happy birthday. Meanwhile, Gene jokes about a lady's nifty butterfly-shaped glasses.

Finished the night after a shower on YouTube. Ernest Scared Stupid is currently free there. In the late 19th century, the small town of Briarville, Missouri is attacked by trolls who turn children into wooden dolls. Town elder Phineas Worrell (Jim Varney) traps the largest troll in a gnarled old tree. The troll puts a curse on him that his descendants will become less and less intelligent. By 1991, Phineas' ancestor Ernest (Varney) is the dim garbage collector. His only friends are local kids Elizabeth (Shay Astar) and Kenny (Austin Nagler). After bullies destroy their cardboard haunted house, he builds them a haunted treehouse. That treehouse happens to be in the very same tree that keeps the troll at bay...and of course, Ernest inadvertently says the right incantation to release it.

Horrified when kids start disappearing (including Elizabeth and Kenny's other friend Joey), Ernest turns to troll trap-makers Tom (John Cadenhead) and Bobby Tulip (Bill Byrge) for help. Their so-called traps don't really do much besides make a mess. Local eccentric old lady Frances Hackmore (Eartha Kitt) knows how to really stop the trolls. It'll take help from all the kids in town and Ernest's kind and gentle heart to save them from this truly terrifying menace.

This one has a lot in common with Hocus Pocus, which came out two years later, including a relatively low budget and a lot of wacky slapstick mixed with believable Halloween lore. It's surprisingly dark for one of Ernest's vehicles. The troll costumes are genuinely scary and hideous, and they really do turn the kids into dolls. There's a lot of non-slapstick violence for his movies, too, including the trolls attacking the adults and Ernest nearly torching the head troll for attacking his dog. 

I remember my family renting this a lot in the early-mid 90's at Halloween and enjoying it, and I still think it's one of Varney's most underrated vehicles. Might make a nice triple-feature with the Hocus Pocus movies for older elementary school-age kids who can handle the trolls and the violence level.

Kenny isn't the only kid who went up against strange creatures on Halloween in the late 80's and early 90's. The Wickedest Witch from 1989 is Avrissa (Rue McClanahan), a nasty witch who has been forced to spend the last 300 years with goofy, game show-loving monsters underground. The Great Schitck (seriously, that's what they're called) tells her that forcing a pure-hearted being to do a bad deed on Halloween night will end the curse. She sends one of the monsters to befriend and bring a child down below. She tries her hardest to get him to do something terrible...but no matter how much he wants real magic, the kid can't harm his new buddies, even if they annoy her. 

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