Friday, January 13, 2023

A Walk On the Cold Side

Slept so late, I started the day with breakfast and Match Game '75. Tough-guy producer Sheldon Leonard and Cuban belle Louisa Moritz (the latter in a provocative peacock feather top) joins the group, along with Fannie Flagg in a sequined stop sign sweater. The others do their best to help out with "Tongue __" on the Audience Match.

Headed out to run errands after the show ended. I didn't realize it got so cold overnight! The rain vanished, but it got cold and remained dull gray and gale-force windy. The rain coat I wore wasn't really appropriate. I dropped The Prisoner In the Castle at the book kiosk about a block away, then went back to the house to pick up my winter coat and use the bathroom.

After I grabbed the right coat, I picked up a warm, soft twist pretzel at the pretzel shop, then hit Family Dollar. I wanted to see if they had granola bars. They did have those Special K filled crisp bars, and I found a metal Valentine's Day wreath decorated with flowers I liked. Unfortunately, the line was backed up due to a woman having trouble with her order. I had enough of that yesterday. Finally decided I didn't need either item, put them away, and left with nothing.

After all that, I needed WaWa. Headed two blocks down and across the street for a drink. White chocolate mocha is their big winter theme this year. Thought I'd try the smoothie, along with some bananas and granola bars for later. Not bad. More caramel than chocolate of any kind. 

Went for a short stroll after that. Though the rain we had last night had long since vanished, it still wasn't a very nice day. Blustery, cold winds sent the few remaining Christmas decorations and a few Valentine's Day flags fluttering. Most folks settled for winter wreaths or their bare brown gardens. The gray, gloomy clouds lingered all afternoon.

Had lunch and rested while watching the Bowery Boys movie Spook Busters in honor of Friday the 13th.  Slip (Leo Gorcey) and most of his buddies have just graduated from exterminating school, except goofy Sach (Huntz Hall). They get their first big assignment cleaning up an abandoned mansion that once belonged to a magician. The duo and their buddies encounter all sorts of spooky tricks, from words appearing on a dusty mirror to an ax being thrown from nowhere. They're trying to figure out what's going on when they're joined by their old friend Gabe (Gabriel Dell) back from the Merchant Marines and his French wife Mignon (Tanis Chandler). Sach plays an organ that turns a wall around...allowing him to discover a laboratory in the back of the house, where a mad scientist (Douglass Dumbrille) wants to remove his brain and put it in his gorilla!

I nearly passed out towards the end of Spook Busters, so I went down for an actual nap for an hour. After I got up, I did a little writing. Betty White is the Snow Queen herself, and while she's happy to welcome them to her domain, she's not happy to announce that the wicked Mouse King has declared that he'll take over the Land of Sweets if the Princess isn't awakened and the Prince isn't found.

Broke for dinner at quarter after 7. Ate while watching Match Game Syndicated. The first episode revealed that the new bell and buzzer were a tad different than the original ones, and that Judy Landers was a lot smarter than people give her credit for when she helped the contestant with "__ Gravy" in the Head to Head. For some reason, we skipped two episodes after that to the end of the week. Richard Paul showed off his cowboy headgear, while the others helped with "__ ing Point" in the Audience Match. Richard matched with the audience at the end of the first episode to fill time, Charles in the second.

Speaking of Charles Nelson Reilly, in honor of what would have been his birthday today (and it being free on YouTube), I watched Cannonball Run II tonight. Sheik Abdul ben Falafel (Jamie Farr) starts the illegal Cannball Run race up again, since he lost the last time. He's joined by his faithful servant (Doug McClure) and a drunk doctor (Jack Elam). 

Stunt drivers J.J McClure (Burt Reynolds) and Victor Prinzi pick up Betty (Marilu Henner) and Veronica (Shirley MacLaine), who are dressed as nuns but are really dancers trying to get to New York. Jamie (Dean Martin) and Morris (Sammy Davis Jr.) are dodging mobster Don Don Canneloli (Reilly), who in turn needs pay off mob enforcer Hymie Kaplan (Telly Salvavas). There's also the Asian car filled with gadgets driven by a Chinese engineer (Jackie Chan!) and a gentle giant (Richard Kiel), the two gorgeous women (Catherine Bach and Susan Anton) who recruit a trucker (Joe Thiessman) to help them out, and the Cadillac driven by an orangutan and his human friends Mel (Mel Tillis) and Tony (Tony Danza). 

This is one of the most eclectic casts I've ever seen in any film. Is this movie great art? No. Is it even good? Probably not. But there's a lot of weird bits and a few great gags, especially once they get on the road. Yes, the Arab (and to a lesser degree, Asian and Italian) stereotypes are dated. Yes, the script is all over the place. It's still a wacky good time if you love a good car chase or are a fan of anyone in the cast. 

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