Monday, February 20, 2023

Quiet Times at Home

Started the day late with material from Colliers Harvest of Holidays for President's Day. They have biographical essays on Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, who have birthdays last week and Wednesday respectively, so I did both. Apparently, not much is known about Washington's early years, so his essays mostly focused on his part in the Revolutionary War. Lincoln's are far more interesting and pretty much cover the gamut of his life, from his early years as an amazingly tall pioneer boy who just wants to read to his years as president of the Union during the turbulent Civil War. We also get several poems, including Walt Whitman's "O Captain" on Lincoln's assassination.

Didn't get going until past 12:30. Watched Match Game '75 while I had breakfast. Gene finds himself describing a weather vane to slightly ditzy Louisa Moritz by standing on the lower desks and flapping his arms like a rooster while producer and tough-guy actor Sheldon Leonard looks on. Gene doesn't have a lot of luck with his screechy microphone in the opening, either.

Switched to Doc McStuffins as I got organized. Lambie accidentally gets "The Rip Heard 'Round the World" in her rear when Doc's dancing with her. She and Doc are incredibly upset. Lambie is Doc's favorite toy who has been with her since she was a baby. They learn about stitches from Doc's mom, who sews Lambie up good as new with a "scar" of thread seams that barely shows. It's "Walkie Talkie Time" when Donnie and Luca want to sneak up on Doc, but their walkie talkies aren't working. Doc figures out why Walter the Walkie Talkie can't contact his partner Grace, and where Luca left her.

(I know how Doc feels. I'd get upset if my stuffed animals ripped as a kid, too, especially if they were my favorite! In fact, I recently had to perform similar "surgery" on Grindal the Uni-Dragon, who somehow got a hole in his lower paw.)

Restarted my crocheting project, this time using pink and yellow yarn. It didn't curl this time...but it did ruffle! It wasn't supposed to do that, either. Oh well. I'm not restarting again. I kind of like the effect, anyway. It's supposed to be a spring plate mat. I'm going to make one for each season. 

Watched the first six episodes of the 1939 Republic serial Zorro's Fighting Legion as I worked. Reed Hadley is Don Diego Vega, who dons his Zorro persona to help his uncle Francisco after he's killed by men working for Don Del Oro. This golden figure appears to be an idol of the Yaqui Native tribe and is inciting them to attack Californians for taking their land. Don Del Oro wants to steal the newly-minted Republic of California's gold, end the Republic, and declare himself emperor. Don Diego takes his uncle's place on the local Council to find out which one of its ruthless members is posing as Don Del Oro, while he and his "Fighting Legion" combat the Natives and Del Oro's men.

This is definitely one of Republic's better western serials. It has the advantage of being their only serial to feature the original Zorro and be set in roughly the same time period as the book. (Their other Zorro serials feature a descendant using the name, or only use the name and not the character.) Hadley's reasonably charming as Vega and virile and dexterous as Zorro. 

Worked on writing around 4. Richard Dawson, now the sheriff of Match County, asks Marshall Gene Rayburn and Mayor Allen Ludden where he might take lodgings. Gene suggests the Newhart Inn boarding house on the other side of town, run by prickly-but-charming Marcia Wallace. He also invites Richard to dinner with him and his wife Helen that night. Richard agrees to take him up on the offer.

Didn't break for a shower until past quarter of 7. Finished the night upstairs with dinner and the original silent Mark of Zorro at Kanopy. Don Diego (Fairbanks) seems like a foppish nobleman, but he's really Zorro, who aids the innocent and abused in early California against the corrupt Govenor Alvarado (George Periolat). He and Alvarado's henchman Captain Juan Ramon (Robert McKim) both attempt to court the lovely but impoverished noblewoman Lolita Pulido (Margurite De La Mote), but she finds Diego to be dull and Juan to be a bully. It takes the governor jailing Lolita's family to finally bring Diego out into the open and let him reveal his true identity once and for all. 

This is the grandparent of every desert swashbuckler from Errol Flynn's westerns to the late 90's-early 2000's Antonio Banderas Zorro films. Fairbanks had such a marvelous time leaping from chandeliers and rescuing the girl, he'd spend the remainder of his career specializing in historical action films. Check out the scene where he takes boastful Sargent Pedro Gonzolez (Noah Beery) and a whole roomful of bar patrons on by himself!

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