Friday, March 17, 2023

Tales of Old Ireland

Top o' the evenin' to ye! I started off my St. Patrick's Day with the Colliers Harvest of Holidays anthology. They only have one piece for the holiday, but it's a biography of St. Patrick himself. I didn't know much about him until I read that. 

After I wrote in my journal, I moved on to breakfast and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. When "Minnie's Rainbow" appears at the Clubhouse, she and the others follow it to see where it leads. Donald's more interested in that famous pot of gold. Leprechaun Pete plays every trick he can think of to keep them from his precious gold!

Doc McStuffins celebrates the holiday with "A St. Patrick's Day Dilemma" in the third season. She brings home a paper doll in an Irish step costume for the holiday. Fiona teaches the others step dancing, which inspires them to put on a St. Patrick's Day parade. Doc's brother Donny accidentally draws on Fiona's dress. Doc wants to change it, but Fiona's upset she can't wear it for the parade. Doc "cleans" it and admonishes Fiona in the importance of wearing clean clothing and keeping clean. Professor Hootsburgh is delighted when Gillian, a doll version of the legendary giant in her story, comes home with Doc. She's such a big toy, though, she keeps knocking everything over. Gillian nearly runs away until she makes "A Giant Save" and realizes it's not so bad to be a big girl.

Worked on writing for a while after breakfast. Richard gets turned around on the wide open prairies going home. He's hoping the horse knows her way home...until he hears coyotes growling awfully close-by...

Broke with enough time to change and grab everything for work. I had a harder time getting Uber, despite the continuing nice weather. They must have been busy with folks who imbibed slightly too much green beer and needed rides. It took me 14 minutes this morning and I was almost late arriving, 9 minutes tonight, and there was some traffic on the White Horse Pike both ways. 

Work was off-and-on busy, and that was with enough help for once. Considering I had a few grouches in the express lane, I wonder if a few people came straight from celebrating at Rexy's Bar and Applebee's and into shopping. Not everyone was feeling the effects. One lady burst into laughter at my Irish accent and said I was "a delight." 

Mixed feelings on my schedule next week. Slightly more hours...and also slightly longer and later hours, including a 7 hour day  until 7 PM on Sunday. I asked for Tuesday and Friday off for counseling and the job fair with Karen respectively.

Did some grocery shopping after I got my schedule. The granola bars weren't on as good of a sale this time, but I still wanted them; picked up two boxes. Grapes were on a good sale, so I also got two large containers of reds. Had online coupons for the Acme's generic bag of almonds. I originally wanted Irish soda bread for my St. Patrick's Day treat, but by the time I got off work, they were sold out. I went with a small box of Irish potatoes - a candy made of coconut and cream cheese rolled in cinnamon - that was on sale. Went back and bought Mom a gift card - her birthday is Monday.

Another box awaited me when I got home. I picked up the second version of Kit's Reporter Outfit released after American Girl started calling the historical characters BeForever. I'll probably get both of them eventually, but I'm going to wait on some of her older clothes until I see what gets released. This one is an adorable red and white polka dot skirt and vest over a white blouse with turquoise rickrack trim. It came with the felt cloche hat with the huge red bow from Kit's BeForever accessories. 

Went straight into Match Game '74 when I got home. This one ends with a question about what the Mission: Impossible crew would do if Brett was a part of that impossible mission. They have a harder time with "___ Johnson" in the Audience Match.

Since Buzzr is still repeating last week's Match Game Syndicated episodes, I returned to Match Game PM on YouTube.  There's technical difficulties in this early episode when the toaster slides out of Gene's reach during the second round, and he needs the contestants' help to retrieve it. Richard doesn't have much more luck with "Fine __" in the Head-to-Head.

Finished off the holiday with a St. Patrick's Day double feature, starting with Darby O'Gill and the Little People at Disney Plus. Darby (Albert Sharpe) is the caretaker for wealthy Lord Fitzpatrick (Walter Fitzgerald) who spends most of his time chasing King Brian of the leprechauns (Jimmy O'Dea) and his pot of gold or regaling the men in the taverns with his tall tales. Tired of his neglect and aware of his advancing age, Fitzpatrick replaces him with the younger and more dedicated Michael McBride (Sean Connery). Darby begs Michael not to tell his pretty daughter Katie (Janet Munro) that she's about to lose her home in the caretaker's cottage. When Darby does finally trap Brian, he keeps him in a bag until he can make three wishes. He learns a lesson in what really means the most to him when Janet is hurt during a storm, and he'd give up a hundred pots of gold to keep her safe from the banshee!

Disney's charming take on Irish folklore is one of their better movies from the 50's. Spunky Munro makes a delightful couple with a young Sean Connery (who even sings, and rather well), while Sharpe and O'Dea have a blast playing off each other as the chatty old codger and the king of the legendary wee folk. Speaking of, the special effects remain darn good to this day. The leprechauns are integrated so seamlessly you think there's really tiny people dancing with Darby, and the banshee remains a truly frightening sight. 

Some violence, plenty of drinking, and that spooky ending with the banshee makes this for families with older kids and young teens who'll enjoy the romance and Darby's banter with Brian.

Left the leprechauns and fairy stories behind for a slightly more realistic take on Irish culture, The Quiet Man, at Paramount Plus. Sean Thornton (John Wayne) returns to the tiny village of Innisfree in County Mayo, Ireland to live a peaceful life in his family's ancestral cottage. Big Will Danaher (Victor McLaughlan) wishes he'd get out - he wanted the land for himself. Thornton's more interested in courting Will's fiery sister Mary Kate (Maureen O'Hara). 

He does manage to win her, but things go south when Danaher learns they tricked him and the Widow Tilane (Mildred Natwick) has no interest in him. Danaher does finally let her have the furniture left to her by their mother, but not her dowry. Mary Kate is horrified Sean won't fight her brother for it. Sean has his reasons for not fighting...but when Mary Kate almost leaves him, he finally decides he's had enough. He faces down her bully of a brother in an epic donnybrook that gets so wild, half of Ireland comes to see it!

This love letter to Ireland and its people was a favorite of Wayne, O'Hara, and director John Ford. It was a real passion project of Ford's for years; he won one of his four Oscars for it. The stunning color cinematography of Ireland in all its emerald green shamrock glory also won. O'Hara and Wayne are backed by a terrific supporting cast that also includes Ward Bond as the local priest obsessed with catching a legendary fish, Barry Fitzgerald as the town's matchmaker, and Arthur Shields as the town's other priest. Though the treatment of Mary Kate and Irish stereotypes are slightly dated and once again, there's several brawls (including that huge fight in the end), this is mostly a delightful look at what happens when cultures based on older and newer traditions collide. 

(And interestingly, despite - or maybe because of - the mild stereotypes in these films, I've read that they're both wildly popular in Ireland.)

Tossed in one more animated short from the Looney Tunes. We return to the leprechauns for "The Wearin' of the Grin"...but these little fellows are far less benevolent than King Brian. They think Porky Pig is after their pot of gold and sentence him to wear green shoes that dance forever. Porky finds himself in a surrealistic Irish nightmare where he just can't seem to escape that emerald foot wear, no matter where he goes!

(Oh, and it was actually pretty nice this morning, breezy, sunny, and in the lower 60's. It clouded over by the time I got out of work, but the rain didn't arrive until I was long online and chatting with Lauren.) 

No comments: