Monday, January 16, 2023

The Great American Chase

Started off Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the Colliers Harvest of Holidays anthology book. King was still alive when the book was published...but the material for United Nations Day works just as well. King and the United Nations both worked towards peace for all people. I read the first three declarations from "World For All" by Dorothy Cannell, along with "Prayer for a Better World" by Stephan Vincent Benet and several poems.

I was in so bed so long, beginning Night of the Four Hundred Rabbits after that, it was noon before I really got moving. Had breakfast and made my bed while watching Match Game '75. Buzzr featured the week with tough-guy producer and actor Sheldon Leonard and Cuban bombshell Louisa Moritz (and Louisa's increasingly strange - and brief - blouses). The first one features a contestant who has no idea who Zorro is, making a question about where he puts his Zs rather difficult. The second has everyone trying to figure out "Spirit of __" in the Audience Match.

Headed out to run errands next. It was too nice outside to sit around all day. The sun felt warm on my shoulders, and the wind died down to a soft breeze. Even the kids I saw roaming around the neighborhood on their bikes and scooters only wore heavy sweaters. 

Mainly wanted to hit Family Dollar for the first Cannonball Run. It doesn't seem to be easily found online, and they had it for $5, far cheaper than it is on Amazon. Also picked up deodorant there. Grabbed more of those sugar-free wafers at Dollar General, along with a new hairbrush and a bottle of blue Fanta Zero "mystery flavor." (Psst - it's cream soda. Rather tasty, too.)

Put Cannonball Run on when I got home as I had lunch. The "Cannonball Run" is an illegal, anything-goes East-to-West-Coast marathon car race. Anyone can enter anything. There's no rules other than speed. Race car drivers J.J McClure (Burt Reynolds) and Victor Prinzi (Dom DeLouise) drive a medical ambulance fitted with a NASCAR engine. They drag along a shifty doctor (Jack Elam) to look more legitimate, then grab the gorgeous photographer Pamela Glover (Farrah Fawcett) when she's trying to stop the race with uptight safety inspector Arthur J Foyt (George Furth). 

Former driver-turned-drunk James Blake (Dean Martin) and his con-artist partner Morris Fennebaum (Sammy Davis Jr.) dress as priests and drive a Ferrari. Marcie Thatcher (Adrienne Barbeau) and Jill Rivers (Tara Buckman) start off in a Lamborghini and use their frequently distract cops. Two Japanese designers (Jackie Chan and Michael Hui) make use of the many gadgets on their Subaru to drive at night. A pair of cowboys (Mel Tillis and Terry Bradshaw) spend the race drunk in their Hawaiian Tropic car, while a sheikh (Jamie Farr) has a much classier Silver Shadow. Two best friends (Alfie Wise and Rick Avilies) drive a truck they can't stop...literally, as the breaks don't work. There's also the British playboy with the Astin Martin and the rotating collection of pretty girls who thinks he's Roger Moore (and actually is played by Roger Moore). 

Hoo boy, is this a wild ride. This is even more of a random collection of skits and car chases than the second movie. And that said...I think I actually like the second movie a little bit better. Silly as the plot there is, at least it has something to tie it together, and the cast is better. This one is barely held together by Foyt and the various local highway officers trying to chase everyone down. Once again, this isn't great art or a critical darling, but it is a guilty pleasure if you like the cast or are a fan of all-star comedies or direct Hal Needleman's other car-oriented movies. 

Switched to Buzzr's Lost and Found marathon as I put up what little I have for Valentine's Day. Normally, they hold this on a Sunday in late September, but they skipped it last year...because they now have way too much material to squish into a random fall weekend. They're running "Lost and Found" episodes between 4 and 6 all week. 

I arrived just in time to see a guy dancing with two men in an obvious horse costume, doing a vaudeville sketch for the 1953 quiz show Winner Takes All with pioneering radio talk show host Barry Gray. Next up was the pilot for the 1956 kids stunt show Choose Up Sides, featuring energetic baseball player Bob Kennedy having a great time leading cowgirls and spacemen through wacky stunts like being human bowling balls. The last was It's News to Me, a 1951 panel show hosted by John Daily featuring panelists guessing if the information given by a newsmaker is true or false.

(Honestly, the winner by a long shot was the hilarious and adorable Choose Up Sides. I liked it with the less-likely Gene Rayburn hosting too, but Kennedy worked better with the kids and seemed to really like running around with them.) 

Worked on writing after that. Snow Queen Betty explains as she leads the group to her ice sleigh that the Mouse King is holding Sugar Plum Queen Brett and her cavalier Charles hostage, hoping to force them to give away the precious nut that will release the princess...the one the Nutcracker currently has. 

Broke for dinner at 6:30. Match Game '74 featured the episodes with Richard Deacon, Betty White, and Gunilla Hudson. The latter shows off the word "skol" printed on the rear of her jeans, years before young women wore words printed on their rears in the early 2000's. The Match Game Syndicated episodes were the ones leading up to the arrival of Kirstie Alley and her first round. They were funny even before she came in. In the round before hers, the lady took so long to figure out an answer, Gene lay down and took a nap!

Finished the night online with Murder She Wrote and the first season episode "Birds of a Feather." Jessica's visiting her niece Victoria (Genie Francis), whose fiancee Howard (Jeff Conaway) seems to be MIA. Turns out, he's been working in a drag club, trying to earn extra cash. He seriously regrets this when he's found holding the gun that killed the club's nasty owner Al Drake (Martin Landau). Howard's not the only one who had issues with the guy. His wife Robin (Carol Laurence) was having an affair with the club's top headliner (Dick Gautier). The drumming comedian Freddy (Gabe Kaplan) wanted recognition for his talents. His agent (Bart Braverman) would do anything to make his client a star. Jessica's hindered by the San Francisco cop (Harry Guardino) who doesn't believe her at first when s he points out Howard couldn't have done it. 

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