Monday, December 19, 2022

Christmas In Living Color

Once again began my morning with breakfast and writing. Debralee's shocked when the mice explain their reason for attacking the Nutcracker is his king killed their kind over them raiding his pantry and eating his Christmas party food. She's even more surprised when she recognizes the Mouse Queen and her trilling voice...

Broke to change, then headed out to work. Got there right on time. Work was pretty much the same as yesterday - busy during rush hour, not bad the rest of the afternoon. People are finally starting to come out of the malls and pick up baking ingredients, food for Christmas dinner, and last-minute gift cards. Other than being a little late to go in for someone's break after I got backed up with an older woman's order, there were no major problems. It slowed down enough by 7 for me to leave without a relief. 

Went straight home and into dinner and Match Game '79. TV hunks Robert Walden from Lou Grant and Tattletales host Bert Convy join lovely Audrey Landers to answer "Whadya __" in the Audience Match. Meanwhile, Patty Duke gives a really strange answer to what a bad athlete has training wheels on. 

(Incidentally, I found out why Buzzr's running the 1979 episodes in prime-time. Rumor has it they're finally going to be starting in on the syndicated Match Game episodes from 1979 to 1982 next month. Sounds like they're also finally getting around to doing their annual Lost & Found marathon next month as well. The Lost & Found marathon usually runs in late September; maybe whatever they dug up wasn't ready by then.)

Finished the night with a beloved holiday classic and a genuine rarity. Started with the classic, Christmas In Connecticut from 1945. Elizabeth Lane (Barbara Stanwyck) is the most popular food columnist in the US during the mid-40's. Everyone loves reading about her scrumptious recipes, her bucolic farmhouse, and her cute baby. Trouble is, it's all fake. Elizabeth is really a single career girl who lives in an apartment and can't boil water. Her recipes come from her Uncle Felix's (S.Z Sakall) restaurant. 

Elizabeth is understandably panicked when her boss Alexander Yardley (Sydney Greenstreet) insists on coming to her farm for Christmas and bringing the handsome soldier Jefferson Jones (Dennis Morgan). She agrees to marry dull architect John Sloan (Reginald Gardiner) in order to use his Connecticut farm house and the babies his housekeeper Nora (Una O'Connor) takes care of. It's only after she falls for the charming Jones, babies are switched, and cows get loose that she begins to realize that honesty really is the best policy, especially where love is concerned.

Charming holiday romantic comedy may be the grandparent of everything that ever turned up on Hallmark, but it's way more fun, thanks to that nifty cast. Sakall and Greenstreet come off the best as the two bosses with very different ideas of listening and how to treat their employees.

The anthology show Playhouse 90 did their only color episode, The Nutcracker, on Christmas Day 1958. This adaptation of the George Balanchine version existed only in black and white until someone uploaded a color copy to YouTube last year. I'm so glad they did. The soft pastels look exquisite, like something from a dream. June Lockheart is the gentle narrator. They do have a Sugar Plum Fairy here, but her "cavaliers" are the four head male dancers from the previous sequences. Mother Ginger and her children are intact and do a very cute dance, but the Russian Trepak routine is replaced by candy cane dancers who jump through hoops. Balanchine himself dances Godfather Drosselmeyer. 

Here the YouTube link, so you can check it out for yourself! 

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