Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Of Dolls and Superheroes

Started out the morning with breakfast and Match Game '75. Richard's delighted to show off a puppet one of their fans made that looks like him. He treated that thing as well as he did his own beloved sons. Meanwhile, Gene praises their young producer and scorekeeper Roger Dobowitz for actually spelling the words on their cue cards right for a change. (Poor Roger! He was such a sweetie, and Gene teased him so much.)

Switched to The Backyardigans at Paramount Plus as I got organized. Tasha, Pablo, and Uniqua are a biker gang who call themselves The Do Gooders and go around helping people out. Mail-moose Tyrone has a Valentine's Day "Special Delivery" for them, but he loses his bag. The other three try to return it to him, but he thinks they're a stereotypical "bad" biker gang and attempt to out-ride them.

Headed out to run errands after that. Not only was it sunny and bright, but starting tomorrow, it's going to be too cold for walks for the next few days. Headed to Dollar General first. I mainly needed thin pads. Grabbed Valentine's Day cards and a gift for a friend, too. 

Debated what to do about lunch. Truthfully, I wasn't up to even pizza. I opted to drop by the pretzel shop about a block down the street from me. They sell cheesesteak pretzels and hot dogs wrapped in a pretzel. The gluten-free pretzel dogs were the only one left, so that and a can of Diet Pepsi were what I bought. I also wanted to pick up one regular pretzel for later...but the lady said she had too many and gave me three! 

Had lunch while watching Frosty's Winter Wonderland in honor of the cold weather arriving tomorrow. In the Rankin-Bass sequel to their Frosty the Snowman, the local kids build Frosty a wife after he admits he's lonely. Trouble is, they have to figure out how to make her "all livin'" like him...and then Jack Frost decides  he's jealous of Frosty and goes after his magic hat.

Dressed the dolls for February next. Samantha's dusky pink Talent Show Dress is so authentic, it's based on a real little girl dress from 1904 that exists in a museum. Whitney gets a pink and white felt poodle skirt with a white Peter Pan collared blouse I found on eBay and a knitted pink sweater with pearl trim from a yard sale. The pretty pink and red flowered Empire waisted gown and lace wrap Josefina's wearing also came from eBay. Felicity's in her Laced Jacket and Petticoat (which I laced up with a velvet ribbon I've had for a while). Ivy's Chinese New Year Dress doesn't really fit Jessa that well, but I like it better for her than the current Lunar New Year dress at American Girl. She wears it with Josefina's black mules. Molly wishes she could wear something more glamorous than her plaid School Jumper and white blouse! 

Barbara Jean gets the gold and white Sweet Spring Dress with the pink flower and ribbon trim, which does look something like a minidress from the mid-late 60's. I struggled to get a pink ribbon to stay on her head, maybe because it's larger than average for dolls nowadays. Ariel's in Julie's Calico Dress with the red tights and boots and bandanna to wrap around her masses of copper hair.

Switched to job hunting after I finished, but I'm still not having much luck. I'm just so nervous. Can I really do any of this? What can I do? Would all these people who want experience take someone who's worked at a grocery store for 20 years? I need health insurance, but writing jobs don't have that. Can I write and have a job that'll provide health insurance and help me make enough money to buy a condo? 

Moved on to writing around 5:30. Betty admits she's seen Richard before, but he tries to hide his face from her. He's worried she may recognize him. Allen doesn't. He introduces Richard to Betty as a member of the group and says he's long as the boss approves...

Broke for dinner and Match Game '74. Jokes abounded about the sweater Fannie Flagg wore with hands in strategic places and Gene's monumentally ugly patchwork pants. (Richard got them all singing "She's Got the Whole World In Her Hands" in the opening.) 

Returned to writing during Match Game Syndicated. Baby-faced and busty Charlene Tilton of Dallas made her first appearance on the show...but I'm not sure it was the smartest idea to put her next to Bob Barker, who spent the week ogling her. Needless to say, Gene was thrilled to give a kiss to the "new kid on the block." There were jokes later in the episode about pairing her with announcer Johnny Olsen!

The second episode kicks off with Bob showing off his orange jacket advertising his "Bob Barker's Fun & Games" road show plugging The Price Is Right. Charles plays director and insists that they show off how smoothly the turntable and wheel drop in the transition between the regular games and the Audience Match.

Finished the night on Amazon Prime with the three-part PBS documentary Superheroes: A Never Ending Battle. This look at the history of superheroes details their rise during the later Depression years and World War II, when they were patriotic blues-chasers. The enormous success of Superman in 1938 inspired scores of imitations, from the powerless vigilante Batman and his kid sidekick Robin to ultra-patriotic Captain America to kid-turned-hero Shazam (originally Captain Marvel) and the first major female superhero, Wonder Woman. 

They fell out of favor after the war in favor of darker horror, romance, and crime comics...but all comics became suspect in the 1950's after intellectuals denounced them for their violence and lack of morals. By the early 60's, all but the most popular titles had vanished, the crime and horror was gone, and comics were  considered kids' stuff. That changed thanks to Marvel hiring artists like Stan Lee, who created Spider Man, the Fantastic Four, Nick Fury, and the Incredible Hulk. Whether they were born with their powers, or gained them on accident, they were far more human and relatable than the gods and aliens at DC. This era also saw the first flowering of diversity in comics with the creation of Black Panther and the amoral mercenary Luke Cage.

DC responded by bringing Wonder Woman back to her roots, sending Batman and Robin off on campy pop art TV adventures, and throwing Green Arrow and Green Lantern together for a revealing trip across a changing American landscape. Other notable creations from this era include Black Cat, Valkyrie, Iron Fist, and the original Ms. (now Captain) Marvel. Marvel even brought Captain America back after being frozen in ice to join their own superhero team, The Avengers. 

I was born just four months after the release of the first Superman movie in December 1978. Christopher Reeve was one of my first crushes, and I loved seeing his first three movies and Supergirl on cable as a kid. My sisters and I were big fans of Wonder Woman, Spider Man, and the Incredible Hulk on TV, too, and we never missed the Spider Man and His Amazing Friends and Legendary Powers Super Friends cartoons on Saturday mornings. 

The darker characters and movies of the late 80's and 90's didn't do much for me, though. Ultra-violent titles like The Watchmen, The Crow, Spawn, Lobo, Hellboy, and Blade delighted my guy friends who went in for blood and gore, but disgusted and bored the heck out of me. The only superheroes I was interested in during the 90's were The Rocketeer, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

That finally started changing as superheroes reemerged in the early 2000's. The X-Men movies were such huge hits, even I had to check them out. (My crush on Hugh Jackman at that point may have helped slightly.) As the world reeled from terrorist attacks and new wars, superheroes once again reemerged, this time on a larger scale. I saw movies and TV shows for characters I'd never heard of before like Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Harley Quinn, Deadpool, the Teen Titans, and Pakistani teen Ms. Marvel. Others, like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Captain America, The Flash, and Nick Fury, got total rehauls to make them far more relevant to modern audiences. Even during the worst of the pandemic, local mothers told me they got their kids through binging on superhero movies on Disney Plus and HBO Max. (Which reminds me, I need to catch up on the newest ones.)

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