Monday, February 27, 2023

Tales of Romance and Fantasy

Got started on a cloudy day with breakfast, making my bed, and Match Game '75. In the first episode, Earl, the sweet little fellow in the Audience Match box who opened the answers, fell asleep back there. Gene had to go in and get him going. The second one has some interesting answers for what a huge Martian is doing to the astronauts' capsule and Mary Ann's old-time radio answer to "Call for __" in the Audience Match.

Went online briefly after that to look up the phone number for Collingswood Family Medicine. I tried to get into my patient portal, but I couldn't remember my password or the answer for the question they ask you to enter your account. I made an appointment for a check up on March 10th...before I remembered that's less than a week away, and I need two weeks to ask off. Oh well. If I work next Friday, I'll call them and see if I can reschedule.

Spent the next hour or so after that vacuuming, sweeping, and dusting my rooms. I'm upstairs in an attic. The rooms get really dusty, especially the bedroom. This being an attic, everything is low to the ground, so other than the vacuum, there's not a lot of standing, either. Took my laundry downstairs as well.

Listened to records while I worked. I've picked up several children's fairy-tale retellings from the 50's and 60's in the last year or so,  including one from England. The Golden Treasury of Fairy Tales is a bit of a misnomer. Among its stories are the storybook Heidi and the poem The Owl and the Pussycat. "The Ugly Duckling" is the song from Hans Christian Andersen. I preferred the adorable "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," with its darling-sounding Baby Bear, and a surprisingly dark version of "Little Red Riding Hood" where the wolf does eat Red and Grandma and the huntsman saves them by killing the wolf.

British actress Ceila Johnson of Brief Encounter narrates Snow White and Rose Red and The Goose Girl. The latter in particular is a rarity that doesn't often show up in adaptations of this sort. Even in death, the head of her former horse is able to help a princess who is forced to be a goose girl after her treacherous servant usurps her clothes and her place with the prince. "Snow White and Rose Red" is one of my favorite fairy tales. Rose and I used to pretend to be them when we were younger. The title pair and their mother give a bear shelter, then help him with the grouchy and ungrateful dwarf who stole his treasures.

I never heard of The Fairy Princess and the Ivory City until I found the record on eBay last spring. Apparently, it's an Indian tale of a prince who is banished after accidentally shooting the Vizier's wife. The Vizier's son, his best friend, insists on coming along. Good thing he did, as he's able to help the prince when he falls in love with a beautiful fairy and wants to win her hand. I do wish they hadn't gone in for the stereotypical Indian accents on the Vizier's son. Otherwise, this was rather charming.

Did some job searching after I brought the laundry upstairs and put it away. I wish most of the companies that hired mentally disabled people weren't tech companies. Maybe they're the only ones big enough. Most of them are getting rid of workers, not hiring more. I don't know anything about law, either. And there seem to be no disability-friendly companies in the South Jersey area.

(And it's a good thing I hadn't planned on doing anything outside today. It had been cloudy up to this point. After about 3 - 4PM, it started raining hard. It's been pouring off and on ever since.)

Switched to writing after dinner. Richard asks Marcia Wallace about the railroad and why Ira's so nervous. She doesn't have a high opinion of them. They've pushed raising taxes in the county and are trying to buy up land from local settlers and cattle ranchers to build an extension. The Wild Gang appear whenever they're unable to buy the land and force people off of it.

Watched Match Game Syndicated as I worked. I wish Alfie Wise was on the show more often. He was hilarious when he did appear. Poor Patty Duke slammed her knee against her desk and had to be helped by one of the contestants, who happened to be a physical therapist. Lots of fussing between Charles and Brett here, too.

Finished the night on Kanopy with another silent western, this one a more typical example of the genre. The Winning of Barbara Worth from 1926 is one of only two romances featuring Hungarian Vilma Banky and Brit Ronald Coleman known to exist in full today. Barbara (Banky) is raised by Jefferson Worth (Charles Willis Lane) after her parents die on their way to California. He hopes to irrigate the desert and turn it into fertile land for settlers. Engineer Willard Holmes (Coleman) arrives in the desert also hoping to do this, but his greedy boss James Greenfield (E.J Ratcliffe) won't finance his big project to divert the Colorado River to the settlers. Holmes also has to compete with handsome and sweet cowboy Abe Lee (Gary Cooper) for Barbara's hand. 

Greenfield's attempt to drive Worth and his men out of the area become all for naught when a cloudburst overflows the Colorado and sends a catastrophic flood heading straight for his town. It'll take all of Holmes' courage to help Worth and his men save the settlers and prove to Barbara that you don't have to look like Gary Cooper to be a hero of the wild west. 

This is one of Cooper's earliest roles, and...well, I have to admit, I don't envy Barbara's choice here. Cooper and Coleman are both excellent (and gorgeous) as the engineer determined to bring water to the desert and the sweetheart cow puncher who wishes Barbara would see him as more than a brother figure. Banky herself is wonderfully strong-willed as Barbara, and there's some amazing desert vistas (filmed in the real desert in Nevada and Arizona) done in blue and yellow tints. The highlight, though, is the rushing flood in the last ten minutes, with excellent miniature work as the town is destroyed and people flee the oncoming waters.

If you love Coleman, Cooper, westerns, or silent movies, this is one tale that's worth fighting for. 

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