Sunday, April 30, 2023

Dolls On a Rainy Day

Slept in this morning and got a late start with breakfast and my new Classic Fairy Stories CD set. I listened to the second disc with "Three Little Pigs," "Beauty and the Beast," "Jack and the Beannstalk," and "Puss In Boots." These are all pretty straightforward retellings, except "Three Little Pigs." The wolf keeps coming after the third little pig, even after he's gotten the idea he won't blow the pig's house down. He keeps inviting the pig to get vegetables and fruit, but the pig comes out earlier. He finally gets rid of the wolf in the same way the Disney pigs did - via a hot stew pot. 

Made my bed while listening to the CD, then switched to records. Listened to the Buddy Rich jazz record The New One! and another fairy tale, Tale Spinners for Children: Cinderella. From the accents and dialogue straight out of a pantomime, I'm guessing that this is an English recording. It's also pretty straightforward, and very charming, especially Cinderella herself. 

Prepared the dolls for May and warmer spring weather as the records went on. Samantha and Kit are dressed for their May birthdays, Kit in her turquoise flowered dress, Sam in her pink-striped dress and lacy pinafore. Felicity is ready to help me dust in her striped Work Gown. Josefina prepares for Cinco De Mayo on Friday in her red and gold print dress with the ruffled sleeves and black velvet vest. Her Feast Day shawl looks sensational with it. Molly's in a hand-made recreation of her hard-to-find Victory Garden Dress I picked up on eBay with Kit's red strap shoes from her BeForever meet outfit. 

Whitney wears Maryellen's Back to School Outfit with the red, white, and blue bow print and cute red bow-trimmed shoes for Memorial Day. Barbara Jean is the prom queen at the then-new Cherry Hill High East in her bright pink fringed dress, fur wrap, pink vinyl heels, long gloves, and tiara borrowed from one of her sisters' ballet costumes. Jessa keeps things simple in the flower tie-dye t-shirt from one of the hiking outfits, the tight jeans from the Blue-Jean Basics outfit, and a pair of high-top flamingo-print sneakers. Ariel dares to bare her midriff in a ruffled top and floral bell bottoms she got from Lauren for Christmas about three years ago. 

Had a very quick lunch after I finished the ladies, then switched to writing. To Richard's annoyance, Brett plops down between him and Lee and demands to know when they're going to find her cattle. Richard explains that they have a plan right now to make the thugs think they're surrounded...

Finished the night with dinner and one of the longest Match Game weekend marathons to date. This time, everyone keeps their clothes on as they show off some of the fashion of the 70's and 80's. From Gene Rayburn's plaid suits to Richard Dawson wearing his own version of Fannie Flagg's infamous tight t-shirts. from Elaine Joyce in very 80's pastel outfits during the syndicated episodes to the infamous syndicated show where Betty White turns up in a short red dress to show off her gams, you never know what your favorite star will wear next on these episodes!

(Oh, and it's rained for almost the entire day, frequently heavily. There was talk of flooding tonight. I'll believe it. I am soo glad I had today off! I didn't have to go to work and get wet again.)

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Books and Matches

Started off a cloudy morning with breakfast and The Backyardigans. Detective Pablo, in full-on Sherlock hat and cape, wonders "Whodunit?" when he's invited to Mystery Manor and Lady Tasha's jewels disappear. Who could have taken them? Was it Tyrone the Butler? Uniqua Underhood, who knew about the robbery before it occurred? Or Mr. Austin Frothingslosh, Lady Tasha's neighbor, who seems nervous about something.

While it wasn't raining, it was still very damp outside. I suspected there would be no town-wide yard sales or Audubon Day festivities, or any kind of outdoor activities today. Instead, I called Uber for a ride to the Mount Laurel Library. They advertised a big book sale on Facebook. On Saturday, you could get a bag of books for five dollars. That would more than make up for the outdoor festivals being washed out. The Uber driver arrived in less than 7 minutes and took about a half-hour to get to Mt. Laurel.

The Mount Laurel Library is a large, beautiful, and very modern building situated across the street from equally modern government buildings, surrounded by lovely forests. The book sale took place in a hot, stuffy, windowless room off to one side. The room was way too small for everyone who wanted to check out their wares. It was jam-packed with older people and families riffling through everything, often packed two or three at a table. It took me a long time to search the boxes of paperbacks, shelves laden with hardbacks, and tables groaning with picture books, DVDs, and CDs, but I finally came up with:

The Best of Muppet Babies (1986) (I suspect this is a bootleg, since the original Muppet Babies has never been on DVD, but it's a nice find anyway.)

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Seasons 1 & 2 (I dropped HBO Max back in the fall. It was one streaming service too many.) 

Commercial copy of Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies (My current copy was dubbed off the original video back in 2011; this one comes with an extra short and is still in its original plastic)

The New Pillsbury Family Cookbook (Binder-style cookbook probably from the 70's-early 80's, from the recipes and illustrations.)

Classic Fairy Stories (2 CD set with BBC radio actor Bernard Cribbins' readings of fairy tales; some, like "The Princess On the Glass Hill" and "Dick Whittington," don't often turn up on collections of this sort.) 

Compact Jazz: Best of Dixieland 

Three paperback cozy mysteries: Flour In the Attic by Winnie Archer, Caught Read-Handed by Terrie Farley Moran, and Sugar and Vice by Eve Calder

The hardback young adult fantasy novel The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Hippopotamus Pool by Elizabeth Peters in hardback (one of the few Amelia Peabody books I didn't have)

The Case of the Stepdaughter's Secret by Earle Stanley Gardner/A Fine and Private Place by Ellery Queen (I've heard of these series on TV, but I'd never read the actual books. I found a bunch of Perry Mason Detective Book Club pairings from the early 70's, but took this one because I'd always wanted to know more about Queen, too.) 

(They also had two boxes of records right as you came in, but I found nothing interesting.) 

Hit the bathroom, then settled down on damp wooden benches outside to figure out what to do next. I thought I'd go to lunch in Mount Laurel, but the library and government buildings are almost literally in the middle of nowhere. They're certainly not within walking distance of any restaurants or shopping centers. Besides, that bag was getting heavy. I decided to call Uber and eat back in Camden County. Got a driver within three minutes, a cheerful fellow who chatted with me all the way to Oaklyn.

Soon as I got in, I put the bag upstairs, then went right back out. It was gloomy and cloudy but not raining, and it hadn't rained in hours. Might as well take advantage of Mother Nature's continuing generosity and get out while I could. Strolled down the White Horse Pike to Jalapeno's Bar and Grill for lunch. They were relatively busy for past 2:30, but cleared out even as I ate my delicious shrimp quesadillas. The service remains rather slow there, but I wasn't really in a hurry anyway and didn't mind waiting.

The reason I ate there is it's two blocks from our brand-new, just opened WaWa. Truth be told, we do not need another WaWa, even if it is the 1,000th store. We don't really need another gas station, either. There's two in Oaklyn alone. The older WaWa across from the Ritz moved across from the Arts Building. It is a somewhat larger building, with more room for counters, including self-checkout. I haven't had an Icee in ages, so I went with that. Glad I did; the Aqua Fresca Strawberry Hibiscus was sweet but very tasty. Surprisingly, given they've been open for two days, they weren't that busy. Everyone must have come on opening day or were getting gas.

Went right online and into The Puppetoon Movie on Tubi when I got home. I go further into this showcase for pioneering stop-motion animator George Pal at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Worked on writing for a while after that. Richard modestly calls Gene the real genius behind their trap. Fannie doesn't like being bait, but she has no choice. No one else will take the gold.

Finished the night after a shower with dinner and tonight's Match Game Classics marathon. Jokes about stripping, strippers, and clothing removal abound on Match Game. Most of the time, it's questions about strippers and what they do, but occasionally, someone actually will take clothes off. Gene stripped off his jacket at least three times, the last to show off his new gold brocade vest from China, and there was the time he gave a lady his argyle socks. Bill Daily got so excited when he matched a contestant on a big Head to Head once in 1979, he nearly took off his sweater and shirt. Gary Burghoff went shirtless in 1974 when he missed an easy answer to a question. McLean Stevenson also went topless the year before, though he claimed it was because no one would lend him any clothes. Richard Dawson briefly showed off his still-muscular chest in '77. 

No one got more into stripping routines than Betty White. She would roll up Gene's pant legs to show off his knees. (That's how those argyle socks were exposed to begin with). She did her own version of stripper's routines at least three times, notably in a syndicated episode when the others teased her about her see-through ruffled blouse. 

Have a great time takin' it off with this hilarious marathon!

Friday, April 28, 2023

Rainy Daze

Started off the morning finishing the Silent Stars book. The last star discussed was a little off-beat. Rin-Tin-Tin was the biggest animal star of his day. His action movies and dramas were so popular, they saved Warner Bros from bankruptcy until sound came along. He was said to have been able to do amazing stunts and perform expertly on cue - probably more than some humans at Warners. He may also have been the only star in the book who didn't have to worry about sound. His bark recorded just fine. In fact, he probably would have continued further into the sound era at other studios had he not already been an advanced age for a dog. He died in the arms of his neighbor Jean Harlow - not a bad way to go! 

Switched to Charlie & Lola while I ate breakfast. Charlie and Lola learn to "Look After Your Planet" when they see a contest to win a tree you can plant if you gather 100 things that can be recycled. It's too hard to do it alone, so they get their whole school involved. Even then, it's hard to get everything...until Marv's little brother Morton comes up with the last bits from an unlikely source.

Though it wasn't raining at quarter of 11, it was cloudy and a little humid...and it was supposed to pour later. I called Uber. I wasn't taking chances after I got wet going home from work earlier in the week. For a lousy weather day, I had no trouble getting cars. The one taking me to the Acme arrived in five minutes; the one taking me home came in 2. 

Spent the first half of my shift sweeping and gathering carts. Maybe it's just as well that they pulled me to take a register once another bagger came in. It started raining around noon and has been off and on, often heavily, for the rest of the day. It wasn't really that busy until around 4:30-5, when rush hour started and I was the only cashier. We seriously had no help whatsoever. It slowed down enough by 6 that I was able to shut down with no problems, despite my relief being late.

(I did end up taking my breaks outside, on the covered patio part of the sidewalk. They're in the midst of repainting and remodeling our break room. It does need it, but I wish they could have done it after hours. Some people did eat in there, but the paint smell was too overwhelming for me.)

Went grocery shopping once my shift ended. I mainly needed snacks for the week. They were out of the coconut milk I usually drink, so I figured I'd try the generic brand. Candy Snap grapes were back to being cheap; bags of baby carrots are cheap, too. Grabbed yogurt, scones, and blueberries on sale. Not only do they still have that coupon for the free bag, but they just got in spring-themed bags with pretty floral designs. I bought two, one pink and green, one a tropical citrus theme on a peach background. I'll use them for my spring and summer decorations. 

My schedule this week is barely a schedule. On one hand, I have three days off, including Monday for physical therapy and a rare Sunday...but my hours are practically nothing. I need to step up finding a job, and fast. 

After I got home, I changed and went straight into Match Game '73. Fannie Flagg joined in for her first week on the show, along with comedy writer Ann Elder and comedian Jack Carter. Jack, in fact, got to do one of his few Head-to-Heads with "Stock __." 

Let it go into Match Game '79 while I ate dinner. I liked Fannie Flagg's answer for what a very old turkey wears (and what Gary Burghoff thinks of the question). Later on, Brett has far less luck helping the contestant with "Hotel __" on the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night on Kanopy with the Douglas Fairbanks version of The Three Musketeers. I watched part of this before, but it's so long, but I never got to finishing it. At least it moves a lot faster and is far less ponderous than his Robin Hood, despite the over two-hour running time. It's also one of the few adaptations I've seen to be fairly true to the book; it even includes the Musketeers' lackeys and the entire subplot with the Queen's earrings. There's a lot of great sword fights, derring do, and jumping around on roof tops and furniture, and Fairbanks is obviously having a whale of a time. The rest of the cast is having almost as much fun, especially George Siegmann as a hilarious Porthos and Nigel De Bruilier as a perfectly oily Cardinal Richeleu. 

If you're a big fan of the book, swashbucklers, or Fairbanks and have time on your hands (it's almost 2 and 1/2 hours), this is highly recommended.  

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Black and White World

Ended up spending my morning reading more of that silent stars book. I had run into John Gilbert before. In addition to reading about his relationship with Greta Garbo in at least two other books, I've seen his swashbuckling vehicle Bardleys the Magnificent, which reappeared after this book was written. I've also heard him in Queen Christina (which I saw on TCM in college) and Hollywood Revue of 1929. His voice was a charming light baritone that suited him just fine. I think the romantic parts he played went out of style, and he couldn't adjust to the more natural acting sound required.

Clara Bow and Colleen Moore also had voices - a mildly deep contralto and a nasal Brooklyn belt - that suited their personas. In fact, Bow remained popular in sound for a few years. Their problem was, they were both different representatives of "the flapper," the female embodiment of the Roaring Twenties. Bow was its sexier, more outrageous side, while slapstick comedienne Moore represented its core of comedy and wonderful nonsense. Once the twenties stopped roaring, there was no reason for them to exist. Tough Bow had her own problems, including major scandals and mental issues. Moore did try sound, but ultimately decided she'd rather focus on her family and her gorgeous dollhouse. 

When I did finally roll out of bed, it was past 11:30. Had breakfast and worked on writing. Richard explains that Gene came up with the idea of using the gold to bring the Wild Rider Gang to them, and then ambushing them...but he'd really rather flirt with Lee. She wishes he'd focus more on his job and less on his wardrobe and his interest in her.

Switched to Match Game '77 after about an hour or so. It was beginning to become more obvious by the time of this episode that Richard Dawson wasn't happy on the show anymore. He was upset that his answer of "Toasted" didn't match "warm buns" and insisted the audience write the producer Bobby Sherman. This would be far from the last time Richard would argue an answer in the coming weeks...and he'd be even angrier in later episodes...

Put on Bernadine as I job hunted and had lunch. I go further into the first movie for Pat Boone and the last for Janet Gaynor, the story of a group of high school boys who try to help one with his love life, at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Went straight to work soon as the movie ended. Got there right on time...and could have been infinitely late. Except for one blip around rush hour, we were dead almost the entire evening. In fact, by the time we finished, we had so much help, I shut down early with no trouble and barely anyone noticing. 

Headed home and had dinner while watching Match Game '79. Gary Burghoff got two chances to match the contestant in this episode. He did much better with "Bless Your __" than with "__ Candy Bar." 

Finished the night on YouTube working on my blog while listening to the original off-Broadway cast album for The It Girl. There's been a few musicals based around silent movies and stars. This one is taken from Bow's most famous vehicle, an early Thoroughly Modern Millie about a shop girl who does everything she can to marry her boss. She even claims the baby her ill friend had is hers. Jean Louisa Kelly has Bow's role, and she's a delight, especially in showstoppers like the opening "Black and White World" and her big five o'clock number "A Perfect Plan." If you love the Broadway Millie or are interested in the Roaring Twenties like me, you'll want to give this charming comedy-drama a hearing. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Little April Showers

Started off my morning reading about one of my favorite silent actresses, the wonderful Marion Davies. I love her delightful vehicle Show People, a very funny spoof of silent-era Hollywood. I ran across When Knighthood Was In Flower on YouTube a few years ago and really enjoyed that, too. I had just enough time to write in my journal, change, and grab breakfast before Karen picked me up for today's job counseling session at the Haddon Township Library.

I had no idea signing up for federal aid was so complicated! Turns out I need my most recent bank statement and this year's tax return. I have them - in fact, I just put my tax return away - but I didn't have them on me. We just looked for jobs instead. I wasn't happy about applying as a secretary for Cooper University Hospital. I really want to stay out of health care. It's too stressful, and I know nothing about medicine. There just isn't much out there that fits my abilities and interests.

After Karen dropped me off, I grabbed my bike and went right back out. I never did get to check out Cacia's Bakery on King's Highway last week. They're a small Italian bakery across the street from a church and the big CVS, and they make terrific food. Despite the small size of the little brick building, I just couldn't decide. A slice of cake, or oatmeal cookies, or maybe one of the square pizzas? I eventually bought some butter cookies as a treat for now and a Jewish apple cake for dessert over the next week or so. 

It had been cloudy and windy all morning. The clouds grew darker as I rode down the back roads of Audubon. They finally burst as I headed back. Thankfully, they didn't last long. I got a bit damp going home, but they were gone by the time I crossed Cuthbert Road. I didn't want to take my chances, though. I went nowhere else today.

Went straight into lunch and Match Game '77 when I got home. Jo Ann Harris had no trouble giving Gene his "new kid on the block" kiss in the opening. Meanwhile, Avery Schriber has a hard time just staying in his seat! 

Messed around a bit online before I finally decided to settle down for a nap. I didn't care how nice it was or wasn't. I'm just really, really worn out right now. I went down at 1:30 and didn't get up until past 4. Read the next chapter in the silent stars book on Lon Chaney Sr. Alas, his only movie I've seen is The Phantom of the Opera, which I watched on Halloween in college one year. His specialties were largely horror, crime, and melodrama, none of which interest me. I do want to check out the bizarre He Who Gets Slapped, where he plays a scientist-turned-clown in a film that also includes John Gilbert and the young Norma Shearer, his Hunchback of Notre Dame, and both silent and sound versions of The Unholy Three

I went on the computer around 4:30 for writing. Richard admits he, Gene, and Gary formulated a plan. They're hoping the gold will lure the Wild Rider Gang out of hiding, and they'll be able to catch the rest of them. Fannie's not crazy about that plan...and neither is Richard. He claims he's more worried about his own neck and keeps trying to flirt with Lee, who ignores him.

(Oh, and the clouds moved in again somewhere around 5 PM. By 6, it was raining again, and much harder than before. It's rained off and on, sometimes heavily, for the rest of the night.)

Broke for dinner at 7 PM. Watched Match Game '79 while I ate. Bowser is touched when Joyce Bulifant gives him her rope of beads in the opening. Gene's less amused when the cameras won't get off of him, prompting him walking right into the camera for a creepy close-up!

Finished the night online after I did chores downstairs with The Black Pirate. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. is another silent movie star I've read about this week. A lot of his later swashbucklers get too big for their britches (and plots), but this one is just right. After a band of cutthroats destroy his ship, a young man (Fairbanks) vows revenge by joining the ones who did it. After he kills their captain (Anders Randolf), he claims he'll capture their next ship single-handed. Not only does he manage to do that, but he insists they hold the female passenger (Billie Dove) for ransom. The pirate lieutenant (Sam De Grasse) would rather have her, period, and has the ransom ship destroyed. The young man has fallen in love with her and tries to free her, but ends up sent off a plank for his troubles. But you can't keep a good Fairbanks down, and with the help of a one-armed Scotsman (Donald Crisp), he survives the jump and leads the cavalry to rescue his lady fair. 

If you ever wanted to check out one of Fairbanks' swashbucklers, this or The Mark of Zorro are probably the best places to start. They're shorter, leaner, elaborate without being overdone, and a heck of a lot of fun. Fairbanks has a ball as the young nobleman out for revenge, and Donald Crisp is hilarious as the old Scotsman who helps him out. If you love silent action or are a swashbuckler fan like me, this is highly recommended. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Sunny Day Angels

Got a quicker start than I planned today. Quickly read the next chapter in my silent film stars book on Rudolph Valentino, wrote in my journal, changed, grabbed a granola bar, and rushed out. Had to dodge traffic on Cuthbert and Haddon Avenue, which along with the late start, made me ten minutes late for my appointment.

At least they took it well. I just signed a few papers when I got in. They came for me in less than five minutes. I laid down on a doctor's table and the lady smeared some jelly-like substance on my neck, then pushed her fingers around it. I wiped it off and headed out. It all took less than 10 minutes, and I was back on the road again in 15.

(Oh, and I later discovered online that the ultrasound came out negative. Nothing different than last year.)

Since I rushed out without eating much, I had breakfast at the Haddon Diner. This small restaurant took over the original location of the Westmont Diner about two blocks away from South Jersey Radiology over the border between Westmont and Haddonfield. It looked almost the same, with the same dark paneling and vinyl covered booths. I had a delicious Greek omelet with tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, feta cheese, and sausage, home fries, and whole-wheat toast. Watched the cars go by on Haddon Avenue while listening to the chatter of the small crowd.

Made a quick stop at the WaWa on the corner of Cuthbert and Haddon Avenue for a drink before heading home. It was too nice of a day not to ride through Newton Lake Park. The sun was shining, the wind continued to blow, and it was neither too hot, nor too cold for late April, in the mid-60's. The sun shined on the bottle-green water, sparkling as parents pushing strollers and older people out for walks made their way past.

After I got home, I looked over older journals (I just finished my latest one today) until Match Game '77 came on. Arte Johnson and Barbara Rhodes join Patti Deustch and the regulars for this week. Brett happily shows off a lovely sign a fan made her in the first episode. They had trouble figuring out "__ Flower" in the Audience Match in the second episode.

Let it run into Tattletales while I ate lunch. Although Allen and Betty did very well, this time, it was long-married Susan Howard and Calvin Chrane who came up with the big win for the banana section. Alana and George Hamilton did do better, though - they actually got on the board before the last minute.

Went back to job hunting briefly before I went on Zoom with Mrs. Stahl. While I did largely enjoy my birthday and my quiet Easter, I'm tired of work and wishing I could get out of it sooner. I'm barely getting retirement money, and certainly not what Mom thinks I am. I want a real job, and a real home that's really and truly mine, and that I'll never have to leave unless I want to. I'm just getting so tired of waiting for those things!

I'm a little depressed. Not heavy, suicidal depression like Rose gets, but I'm tired, and I'm fed up with everything. I'm tired of my brain not working the way it should. It doesn't take a normal person twenty years to find a decent job. I don't see someone who's being negative or too hard on herself. I see someone who acts like a spoiled child and isn't hard ENOUGH on herself. I don't push myself hard enough to get the job done, or I'd have a real job already. I need to learn how to kick myself in the right direction. 

After counseling, I rested and enjoyed popcorn while watching April Love. I go further into this surprisingly charming vehicle for Pat Boone and Shirley Jones at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Went online for a while to try to write. Richard tries to direct the ladies away from his private life by wondering why these gang members are so rough on suits. He still needs to get his fixed. Lee's more interested in finding out how they intend to lure the remaining gang members with the gold.

Broke for dinner at quarter of 7. This was one of the funniest episodes of Match Game '73. It opens with Gene in another strange suit, a gray and white check with a pink bow tie that prompts Brett and Pat Harrington to ask him when he became part of a vaudeville team. Pat gets in a cheap shot on Richard when he comments that an answer is "More than Diana (Richard's ex wife) ever did." Far from being offended, Richard ruefully admits it's true. 

After dinner, I took the laundry downstairs, then brushed my teeth and took a shower while it was in the washer. Put it in the dryer, then went back upstairs for Charlie's Angels on The Roku Channel. "Angel's Child" is one of the darker episodes of the 4th season. To her horror, Kelly learns that the police officer working on the theft case they've also been hired to handle tends to take out his anger and frustration in his partner being killed on his son. After she finds the boy with a black eye, Kelly becomes determined to get him away from his abusive father. Not only does the kid really love his father no matter what, but the thieves have their own plans for Kelly and the boy. 

Monday, April 24, 2023

I've Got a Match

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Charlie & Lola. After she can't find her favorite stuffed fox, Lola becomes worried about going missing herself during a surprise school field trip. She wonders "What If I Get Lost In the Middle of Nowhere?" Charlie's tips on how to deal with being lost are useful when they end up going to a maze, and Lola and Lotta use them to find their way to the tree in the center and back to the entrance.

Worked on writing for the rest of the morning and early afternoon. Lee diverts them back to discussing the Gang. No, Richard doesn't know who they are or what they want. He does want to know the name of a good tailor, though. He still has that bullet hole in his jacket sleeve. Lee is not amused by his fretting over his clothes. Debralee hangs on his every word.

Ran Buzzr while I worked. Scoey Mitchilll, Elaine Joyce, and Fannie Flagg joined in for Match Game '77. In the first episode, Elaine Joyce and Brett Somers accuse Gene of getting fresh when he tries to unwind Elaine from his microphone. Later in the episode, a question about why they would take a best-dressed award from Gene prompts Elaine to untie his shoelaces. The second episode Brett using her rear end to demonstrate an answer, Elaine yelling at Scoey for talking over her, and Gene briefly taking the contestant's place!

Let it run into Tattletales as I got ready for work. Allen Ludden and Betty White went up against two soap opera couples, George Hamilton and his then-wife Alana and later Dallas star Susan Howard and her long-time husband Calvin Chrane. Betty and Allen just knew each other too well. Though George and Alana did stage a big comeback in the end after not getting anything right the entire episode, Betty and Allen ended up winning it for the "banana" (yellow) section.

Rushed out to work after the episode ended. As it turned out, rushing probably wasn't necessary. We were quiet almost the entire afternoon. The only time it got busy was when one register would close so a cashier could go on break, leaving only one or two registers open. It's the end of the month, there's not much going on besides sports and birthdays, and the weather was gorgeous, windy, sunny, off-and-on cloudy, and in the lower 60's. Of course, the lines just started to get long as I shut down to go home. They called in the producer manager to take the rest of my long line.

Rushed home soon as I could and went straight into Match Game '73 when I got in. Charles returned for these episodes, joined by Betty, Pat Harrington, and Jo Ann Pflug. The first episode introduced a military chaplain contestant whose vocation and his just returning from Vietnam prompted several jokes. Richard comes into the jokes when his very British response to "Cotton __" in the Audience Match leads to a crack from Charles about him not being the popular favorite anymore. 

Let it go into Match Game '79. The week with Robert Pine and Susan Richardson ended with Fannie Flagg getting "__ Harry" on the Head-to-Head. Turns out a certain popular Clint Eastwood movie was the contestant's favorite. We went into the next week after that, with Richard Deacon, Jon Bauman in "Bowser" greaser mode, and Brianne Leary. Jokes were made about Brianne's newsboy-style suit and cap and Bowser's goofy poem in appreciation for his being on the show.

Finished up the night with dinner and I've Got a Secret on YouTube in honor of a new revival being announced. This was the first of many Goodson-Todman imitations of What's My Line. It's basically the same deal, only here, the panel guesses something funny or unusual about the contestant. Goofy Garry Moore was the original host. Bill Cullen was on the panel from the beginning. 

The show was a little too faithful to its source in the first year or so. It wasn't until they started playing the secrets for comedy and bringing in panelists who could handle the jokes that things clicked. Bill was joined by sarcastic radio comedian Henry Morgan right away; sweet actress Betsy Palmer and tough former Miss America Bess Myerson eventually replaced Jayne Meadows and talk show hostess Faye Emerson. Steve Allen took over for Moore in late 1964, placing the accent even further on the laughs and the increasingly silly secrets from their celebrity guests.

The show ran for 15 years, only ending in 1967 when CBS thought it skewered too old and cleared their nighttime slate of game shows. The last season was in color, although currently only black-and-white copies circulate. The final episode went out with a young Lynn Redgrave as the celebrity guest and a rather sweet secret about what five older men were doing in New York. 

Unlike Line or To Tell the Truth, Secret has never been able to recapture the popularity of its original run. The first syndicated revival in 1972 with Richard Dawson and Pat Carroll on the panel and Allen hosting again was well-received. It had some terrific celebrity guests and very funny secrets, but it only lasted a year. I went with the first episode, featuring Paul Lynde in a secret that impressed plus-sized Carroll and definitely impressed me! 

CBS brought back Secret as a summer replacement show in 1976. It barely ran for four episodes and a pilot before calling it quits. Only the pilot is available for viewing today (though the last episode is said to survive as an audio recording). Apparently, CBS gave it little publicity or attention and didn't really do much with it. Shame, because the pilot is a lot of fun. Bill Cullen enjoys moving up to the host's chair, while Richard is joined by Morgan, Elaine Joyce, and Pat Collins. Rodney Dangerfield gets early exposure showing off two unusual musicians who would be more at home on The Gong Show, while the show opens with grandmothers doing their own odd dancing routine. 

That failure scared producers away from the format for over 20 years. It was 2000 before it was dusted off for the female-oriented cable channel Oxygen. Once again, they stick to the original format, only this time done in an informal living room setting. Considering the show barely lasted a year, they did manage to get some fairly impressive guest stars. Terri Garr, Amy Yasbeck, and Jm J. Bullock were on the panel in the episode I went with. Lily Tomlin was the guest star, and her voices - or lack of one- really stumped the panel.

(Secret would be dusted off one more time in 2006 for Game Show Network, but that version was so short-lived, all I can find of it online are bits and pieces that reveal a colorful set and a format close to the original.) 

No matter who's hosting or how wild the celebrity guest can be, this is one of the most fun game shows around - and that's no secret. Hope you enjoy the history of this often-hilarious exploration of secrets, lies, and comedy lunacy!

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Winds of Spring

Slept in more than I planned and got caught up reading the chapter about the Talmadge sisters, Norma and Constance. I knew about Norma - a lot of her melodramas were remade with sound in the 30's and 40's  - but Constance I only heard mentioned in a book on early talkies. Honestly, she sounds like a lot more fun, on screen and off. I may have to see if any of her comedies are online. 

Just barely made it to work on time after I ate. We were a lot busier today than yesterday! There were lines almost the entire afternoon. The weather was far nicer this time, into the mid-60's, still really windy, but also sunny when I left. Everyone wanted to have barbecues and family outings. This time, there were no problems other than some grouchy customers. I managed to shut down in time to head out.

Unfortunately, I had trouble when I got home. I couldn't leave the mini-fridge in the spot I had it at - it made too much noise. It had to go in my bedroom, which doesn't really have enough room, either. I tried to move the table with the printer on it around, then stuff in the living room. It doesn't really fit in my desk, either, but I can't figure out where else it can go for now.

I had a little time after dinner and a shower for writing. Debralee and Lee both console Richard on his divorce. Lee asks him if he intends to do better with his new sheriff job. He's hoping to. Especially since Gene has a plan for getting the Wild Rider Gang...

Finished the night with another Match Game Classics marathon. This time, instead of just returns, we get the first episode for some favorite panelists, or the last ones. Debralee Scott first turned up in 1976; Eva Gabor made her first appearance in 1977. Nipsey Russell and Patti Deutsch made their final Match Game appearances in 1979, Arlene Francis in 1978. (Francis and Nipsey Russell would turn up again for The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour.) Bonnie Franklin of the original One Day at a Time made her final appearance on a PM show in 1980. Jack Klugman's last show was sitting in for his wife Brett Somers on the second-to-last PM in 1981. He got a jacket when he complained about panelists not getting gifts, then went crazy after the Head-to-Head, running around, spinning the Star Wheel, and kissing people in the audience!

Celebrate first times and last times with this wild and wacky marathon!

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Stormy Matches

Started off the morning with breakfast and Disenchanted. I go further into the Disney Plus sequel to Enchanted from last November at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Did some job searching and worked on writing as the movie ended. Gene finally pacifies Brett by telling her the whole set-up is a trap. They're hoping that word of the gold will get around and bring in the Wild Rider Gang. Fannie's more worried about them spooking her customers, while Debralee is only interested in listening to Richard.

Had a quick lunch, then headed off to work. When I left, it was sunny and very windy, slightly chillier than yesterday but nothing crazy. It wasn't supposed to rain heavily until later this evening. I figured I'd be fine riding the bike.

Work was a pain in the rear. When we weren't dead, we were dealing with grouchy people who did nothing but complain about the prices and buying bags. I'm sick to death of hearing about both. I can't help inflation.

I still don't understand why people can't figure out the bagging thing. They complained that the plastic bags were too small, too hard to open, and ripped too easily, and they complain that the vinyl and cloth bags cost too much, don't open easily enough, and are going to get thrown away eventually anyway. Here's an idea. Don't use bags. Just dump everything in your car. Why bother with bags if all you're going to do is fuss over them?

It remained sunny through about 5 PM...but by 5:30, dark clouds gathered outside. I walked my bike into a heavy shower. I didn't want to wait around all night, so I just rode home and got wet. The rain stopped about half-way through Oaklyn, but it started up again less than 10 minutes after I got in the door and has been off and on, sometimes heavily, ever since. (Although we still haven't gotten the thunder storms they predicted.)

Finished the night with dinner and tonight's Match Game Classics weekend marathon on YouTube. The head of the channel went with an unusual theme this week - episodes featuring actors who were away from the show for a while, but came back. There was a lot of this in Match Game '90, which did have several panelists from the original show making appearances. Dick and Dolly Martin turned up together and separately, and there were also Avery Schriber, Mary Wickes, and Marcia Wallace. Bill Daily and Elaine Joyce appeared together on one week of The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, along with old Squares hand George Gobel. Gary Burgoff did a later week. McLean Stevenson did some of his funniest work on the show during a wild week in 1974, his first appearance on the program in over a year. 

No one made more of a return after a prolonged absence than Charles Nelson Reilly. He left the show in late 1974 to direct the hit Broadway play The Belle of Amherst with his old friend Julie Harris. He literally dropped back in to kick off one of the best weeks of mid-1975, via a wire and a stuffed bird he named Harry. As Richard quipped later when helping him out of the flying harness, "I've heard of frequent flyer miles, but this is ridiculous!" 

Celebrate some fabulous returns with these hilarious episodes!

Friday, April 21, 2023

Silence Is Golden

Overslept this morning and barely had the time to eat and rush to work! I wish I hadn't. Work was a royal pain in the rear. I'd been there for barely a half-hour when I got yelled at by an older woman who didn't think I knew what I was doing, when I was only trying to explain something to her. She just wouldn't listen. Her daughter scolded her for behaving badly, but I should know how to explain things better. 

After that, I was pulled for the next few hours to do carts. It mostly went well. It was another gorgeous day, sunny, dry, and even warmer, into the 80's. I wasn't thrilled when I had to chase a cart all the way across the shopping center, though. I was told someone abandoned one of the electric carts by the building with America's Best and Pep Boys. It wasn't there. It was behind that building, between the former Golden Corral building and the back exit, closer to the Pizza Hut/Taco Bell. That's all the way over at the very end of the mall area! It took me forever to get that poky thing back; I was late with my break by the time I did. And I ended up back in the express line because another bagger arrived.

Had some grocery shopping to do after work. Berries are on sale; went with blueberries. Grabbed some coconut milk, too. It's been a long time since I bought any. Got a bag of vegetables to snack on and lemon shortbread cookies, along with a fruit parfait for a treat. I'll have muffins for lunch at work.

My schedule for next week is...almost exactly the same as this one. Three days off, Tuesday and Saturday paid vacation days, Tuesday for counseling and my ultrasound appointment. One late day, and next Friday is 7 hours again. 

At least I got my last big birthday order. I bought a mini fridge for my room online. The vegetables I buy for snacks keep going bad, and I'd like to keep cold drinks up here, too. That's why I bought the coconut milk today - I now have a place to keep it. 

Watched Match Game '73 while I worked. Buzzr jumped way, way back for Nipsey Russell and Mary Ann Mobley's second appearance on the show and Bert Convy's first appearance in weeks. Even at this early point in the series, Richard was the choice for "Soft __" on the Head-to-Head in the first episode. The episode ended with a young contestant with a considerable Afro who claimed he wanted to be a game show host himself someday.

For some reason, they skipped the next episode and went on to the one after. Gene began the episode by honoring one of the great announcers, Johnny Olsen. He announced the entire run of Match Game 70's-80's, along with the 60's Match Game, both runs of Tattletales, and The Price Is Right until his death in 1985. (And I give Johnny credit for being a good sport. Not many announcers would put up with some of the crazier stuff that happened on Match Game, or the weirder Showcase skits.) 

Buzzr went from the beginning of the show's CBS run to its end for Match Game '79. Charles wore a captain's cap, prompting a lot of nautical jokes and referring to him as "captain" or "sailor." It didn't help that a contestant who was a retired sea captain turned up at the end of the episode. Robert Pine didn't have as much luck with "Older __" on the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night at Kanopy with Little Annie Rooney. Since I just read the chapter in that silent movie stars book on Mary Pickford, I thought I'd do one of her vehicles. Annie (Pickford) spends her days running around the New York slums with her gang, starting fights and making mischief. Annie's brother Tim (Gordon Griffith) belongs to a far more threatening gang, led by Joe Kelly (William Haines). They're trying to make money by selling tickets to a dance. They're not the only ones who need to come up with money. After they scare a fruit seller's horse away, Annie and her crew put on a western play to get junk to sell for cash. The horse nearly runs away with her, but she's grateful when Joe not only saves her, but convinces the fruit seller to take tickets to the dance.

Annie adores her cop father Officer Rooney (Walter James), and she's horrified when another officer tells him he was shot on his birthday. Seems he tried to break up a fight at the dance and was killed accidentally for his troubles. Gang members Tony (Carlo Schipa) and Spider (Hugh Fay) put the rap on Joe, whom Tim seeks out to kill. Annie and her friends think otherwise...but even after they get the evidence to the police, they may still be too late to save Joe...

Given Pickford was 33 when she made this and playing probably about 13-14, you'd think she would be a bit creepy in the title role. Far from it. I wouldn't want to make that woman mad! She can fight just as ferociously as the boys, maybe even more so. She's equally at home in the kitchen and is adorable around burly James. Almost everyone else pales beside her, although her diverse "gang," who rather resemble tougher Our Gang kids, are obviously having a great time throwing everything in sight and putting on their idea of a western.

If you love Pickford, this is highly recommended; look around for the restored copy from 2015 with yellow tints for fights and indoor scenes. 

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Into the Spring Sunshine

Slept in and read that book I found at Goodwill on silent movie stars for so long, it was 12:30 before I got going. Watched Match Game '77 while I had breakfast. They moved on to a new panel, with Scoey Mitchell, Elaine Joyce, and Fannie Flagg. They all had trouble with "Huey __" in the Audience Match. (And if it's any consolation to them, I didn't know who Huey Newton was, either. Apparently, he was big in the Civil Rights Movement.)

Headed out shortly after the movie ended. It was too nice to spend the whole day writing, the way I originally planned. It remains sunny and breezy, and was even warmer than yesterday, into the lower 70's. Stopped briefly at the clothes bin behind Dollar General to drop off a bag of donations, then headed to Westmont. Since they weren't open at Easter, I made my first stop Phidelity Records. Didn't find any good DVDs this time, but I did get a few records: 

Original cast album for Paint Your Wagon (another one I've tried to find for years)

Original soundtrack for Victor/Victoria

Music Magic, a K-Tel collection from 1978

Tale Spinners for Children: Cinderella, a kids' adaptation

The Buddy Rich Big Band - The New One!

Had far less luck at Samaritan Thrift across the street. They were about to close in 15 minutes, and I didn't see anything interesting. I did have a very tasty personal pan pizza at Franco's Place, then went down the street for a water ice at Rita's. I got a cookies and cream. It was too sweet to taste of anything but sugar, with cookie bits that were much too small.

I headed down Cuthbert Road until I hit Newton Lake Park. By that point, school was out. The park was so busy with kids on their way home, families pushing strollers, and people walking their dogs, I ended up on the street. The park itself is gorgeous, with trees sprouting lemon-lime leaves and green banks lined with golden buttercups.

Went straight into job hunting when I got in, but I still didn't have much luck. I saw nothing on LinkedIn or Indeed, so I moved into writing. Lee's annoyed when all Debralee does is flirt with Richard. Richard, for is part, is quite amused, even if Deb is too young for him. Lee tries to steer the conversation back to what he knows about the Wild Rider Gang and the railroad, until they hear a commotion outside...

Broke for dinner at 7 PM. Watched Match Game '79 while I ate. Patti Deustch, Nipsey Russell, and Dolly and Dick Martin finish out their week with far more subdued contestants and equally difficult Audience Matches. I'm a bit surprised Brett didn't give the obvious answer to "__ Tender," given her reputation as a drinker.

(Oh, and it looks like Buzzr's next marathon will run the second week of May and will be themed around TV moms. I saw Florence Henderson, likely on one of the All Star Family Feud episodes, Isobel Sandford, and Lucille Ball. Sounds like it'll be another all-week affair, likely leading up to Mother's Day. Could be fun. We'll see what I can catch.)

Finished off the night with A Song Is Born on Amazon Prime. I go further into this Danny Kaye vehicle about professors of music who protect a gangster's moll (Virginia Mayo) featuring many of the most popular big bands of the day at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

On the Sunny Side of the Street

Got a really quick start this morning. Overslept a little and had just enough time for breakfast before I got dressed and made my way out the door. As it turned out, Karen had a few calls that she had to make before she picked me up and was slightly later than she said she would be, anyway.

We thought we could use the teen area, but they're keeping very important computer equipment there that they don't want any unauthorized people near. We ended up in an enormous conference room. We mostly looked at Rutgers' website and how you would go about signing up for student aid. Rutgers is one of only two schools in New Jersey with full library science courses online; the other is the smaller and more expensive Ramapo. The colleges down here only have courses for school librarians. I wouldn't mind that, but I want more options. We briefly looked at Indeed as well, but there still isn't much there.

After we finished, I strolled across the street to Target. I needed a few things. I'm almost out of mouthwash, D3 vitamins, and regular multi-vitamins. Didn't see either the Sunbelt Bakery granola bars or a weekly planner. All the planners they had were for the full year; I need one that's undated. I did pick up blueberry trail mix, though. Grabbed a Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuchino; little too much coffee taste there. Stopped briefly at Dollar Tree to check out their planners, but they were all dated.

Soon as I got home, I put everything away, then went right into lunch and Match Game '77. Dick Smothers and soap star Meg Bennett ended their week with some very strange answers to what a tailor would put on a face after they removed your nose. The panel had more luck with "I Gotta __." 

Headed back out after lunch. Dollar General has Sunbelt Bakery granola bars. They had undated planners, too. Not as big as the one I bought from them last year, but at least they had them. I also picked up a planner to help with home finances.

And I went back out...because it was an absolutely gorgeous day. Sunny and bright, but very windy and dry, and the wind was quite chilly. It felt a lot more like spring than the heat last week did. Rainbows of tulips waved in the wind; pale pink, green, and white petals scattered on the sidewalk. Soft gray dandelion puffs and white stars studded lush emerald lawns.

After I got home, I put on The Gay 90's record I picked up at Goodwill a while back while going through the piles of paperwork on my printer. Yes, this is a collection of songs from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I just wanted to make sure it worked. It was really scratched. Yeah, it sounded fine the medley of "After the Ball" and "The Band Played On" was especially good.

Went down for a long nap after that. I needed one badly. I've been going like crazy for the past few weeks, and while I am trying not to stay up so late, it does happen. I've been so tired, I was down for almost two hours, and it didn't really help a whole lot.

Worked on writing after that. Debralee scolds Lee for hogging Richard's attention. She's more interested in flirting with him. Lee just wants to know what his plans are for his job and how he intends to keep them safe...and Richard just wants to look into her eyes.

Broke for dinner at 7. The episode of Match Game '79 I watched was one of the funniest from that year. A contestant got so excited after the Audience Match, she dragged Gene around screaming. Gene dove behind his question holder after that! Nipsey Russell, however, had no problems grabbing hold of her for a squeeze. 

Finished the night online after a shower with Mystery Science Theater 3000 at Shout Factory. Joel and the robots started off with the short Circus On Ice, which is what it says on the tin, a circus ice show with people in animal costumes and a skater enacting a dying deer. Other than the deer act, the robots mostly seemed to find it boring. I thought the deer act was morbid, but the acts were otherwise cute. 

The main feature was far less interesting than even an ice skating show. Monster A Go-Go sounds like it would be fascinating. An astronaut disappears from his space capsule on its return, only to reappear as a hideous monster...or does he? This weird little flick never capitalizes on this premise, or much of anything else. Apparently, half the movie was finished in 1961 before the filmmakers ran out of cash. The other half was completed in 1963 with a mostly different cast and not released until 1965...and it shows. It moves slower than the monster, with characters and scenes that have little relation to each other. The narrator tells way too many plot points that should have been shown, including the monster's capture and escape.

When even the robots find a movie boring, you know it's bad. I wouldn't go anywhere near here unless you really love MST3K or terrible films. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

No Messing About

Began the morning with breakfast and Charlie & Lola. For once, it's Lola who teaches Charlie the lesson. He wants to rush through chores to see his favorite show and insists "Will You Please Stop Messing About?" Lola,  however, knows that the best way to get through chores is to have fun with them. It takes an apple-gathering session to finally make Charlie understand how much fun getting work done can be.

Did some job searching next. Still no luck. There's just not much out there. I saw a few data entry jobs on Indeed, but they were full-time, or wanted more skills or experience than I have. I also finally got to making the appointment for a cat scan on my thyroid. 

Switched to writing after that instead. Lee tosses out a series of rapid-fire questions to Richard. She wants to know everything - why he came, where he's from, what he hopes to get from the sheriff job, has he found the bandits yet. Her apprentice Debralee Scott would rather flirt with Richard.

Broke for a quick lunch and to move my winter clothes into a larger container while listening to Jennie. Though this 1963 flop was originally a vehicle for Mary Martin, my real interest was in the 1906  setting and Dietz and Schwartz's not-bad songs. Jennie and her children appear in elaborate action melodramas with her husband James, but his huge props keep backfiring and destroying the theater. She gets an offer from a playwright who's smitten with her, but doesn't want to leave her family at first...until her hubby's latest show literally burns the theater down and he pushes her away again. 

More interesting than the show's poor reputation and short run (it made a little over a month) would indicate. I really do like the songs, including "Waiting for the Evening Train" and "High Is Better Than Low" for Jennie and James and Jennie's big "Before I Kiss the World Good-Bye." Apparently, a so-so script and meandering plot did this one in. Still worth digging around for if you love Martin, Schwartz and Dietz, or love stories of stage history like me. 

Work was a pain in the rear. We were off-and-on busy, mainly due to Senior Discount Day, and some folks were grumpy or not very helpful. And of course, I ended up in the express lane...and got out late when no one bothered to tell me until the last minute there was no one coming in for me.

Rushed home soon as I got out. Went straight into leftovers for dinner and Match Game '79. The week that was very easy on the eyes ended with jokes on "It Ain't __" on the Audience Match. The second half of the show brought in a very excitable contestant who would get even crazier on the first episode of the next week...

Finished the night on The Roku Channel with The Kid from Brooklyn. I go further into this Danny Kaye vehicle from his Goldwyn days about a milkman who becomes a reluctant boxing champ at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Monday, April 17, 2023

Making Changes

Started off the morning with breakfast and Doc McStuffins. Donnie's friend Alma loves her hugging stuffed monkeys, Ben and Anna. Donnie accidentally rips one of Ben's Velcro patches on a rose thorn. Doc's able to glue it back one, but she has to keep Ben at the clinic overnight so he can dry. He and Anna have never been in a "Ben/Anna Split" before, but Doc assures them that Ben will be fine and they can hug in the morning. "That's Just Claw-ful" when Alma's new puppy runs off with Doc's toy crab Hermie and breaks his arm after he buries him. Doc is able to pop his arm back in, but it's weak. She shows him exercises that will strengthen his arm.

After the cartoon ended, I went online and printed out the forms for my physical therapy appointment, then added the information. Watched Match Game '77 as I did the paperwork. Buzzr is now on the week with Ron Pallilo of Welcome Back Kotter and soap star Trudi Wiggins. Nipsey Russell sits in place of Charles, who was appearing in a short-lived play. The first one has some interesting answers to how the astronauts knew there's life on Mars. In the second, Gene jokingly grabs the contestant by his tie when he's trying to think of an answer as to what's in the Gene Rayburn Sandwich at the CBS commissary. 

It took me a while to round up all of my trash and recycling and set up my new DVD player. I've always had trouble with the cable that hooked the old one up to the TV. It finally stopped working on Friday, and no amount of wiggling or resetting or pushing or pulling would get it working again. Ordered a new one from Amazon that arrived yesterday, and yes, it did work fine.

After I got the trash and recycling downstairs, I headed out for physical therapy. I knew it was in Haddonfield, but not where. Turns out it's actually squeezed into the small shopping center on the corner of Crystal Lake Road and McArthur Boulevard, in something of a gray area bordering Westmont, Haddonfield, and Audubon. The ride didn't even take ten minutes.

Since I did get there so early, I opted to have lunch first. There's not much in that neck of the woods. The shopping center only sported two restaurants; one was an abandoned "family restaurant," the other was a Chinese place that wasn't opened, and may also have been abandoned. I ended up next-door at The Taproom Bar & Grill by default. They're a huge - and hugely popular - bar and restaurant bordering Saddler's Woods. Thanks to the location, they have plenty of room for outdoor seating, and live bands on weekends.

I opted to eat inside, due to the heavy wind today. The frantic waiter greeted me with a sheepish admittance that they'd been so busy this weekend, they were out of almost every single item on their menu. I'd been hoping for a thin, crispy bar pizza, but that's one of the things they didn't have. When I asked for a Caesar Salad Wrap, they could provide the chicken and the wrap, but not the romaine or the dressing. No matter. I like spinach better anyway, and ranch dressing was more unique and even tastier. Fries are supposed to cost extra, but I got mine for free, since they were out of the chips that usually come with sandwiches. (And I'm not a chips fan either, really. Too greasy.) 

Got back over to the physical therapy office with five minutes to spare. Good thing I did sign all that paperwork earlier. It made things a lot quicker. I saw the young man barely five minutes after I arrived. I explained not only my current injury last month, but what happened in 2012 that damaged my ankle to begin with. Turns out that, while my hips and legs are pretty strong, yes, my ankles are still a bit weak, and the muscles going up the back of my legs are stiff and need to be loosened. We did a lot of small exercises with a stretchy ribbon and a dog leash-type-pull, moving my ankles back and forth and up and down. 

My ankle is a lot better than it was two months ago when I hurt it, but it still gets sore when I stand on it too much (like at work). It is less swollen than it was in February, though, and it does seem to be healing well. My real concern is keeping it from happening again. I got lucky that it wasn't as bad this time and I had the money to deal with it, but I don't want a repeat of what happened when I broke it in 2012. 

It felt good enough for a bike ride afterwards. I wanted to check out that Italian bakery on King's Highway, but I forgot it's one of many local businesses that's closed on Mondays. Just ended up riding home, this time taking the back roads in Audubon to avoid the traffic on the White Horse Pike. Wind aside, it was a nice day for a ride. The sun was shining, the sky was a pretty pale blue, and while it was cooler than over the weekend, it wasn't cold, either, probably in the mid-60's. 

Did some research on jobs and colleges when I got home. Almost every college in New Jersey has courses for school librarians, but only two - Ramapo and Rutgers New Brunswick - have general library science courses online. (And Rutgers requires you to come to the college once a week, which is out of the question for me.)  And I'm wondering if I could even pass the applications. My math still isn't very good, and I haven't done any real school work in years.

Did a little writing next. Fannie insists that the gold is in the safe, and it'll be fine as long as it has someone guarding it. Richard would be interested...if he didn't just see reporter Lee Merriweather walk in. He immediately decides to take her up on her offer to interview him the day before and goes right over to remind her.

Broke for dinner at 7, then brought my laundry downstairs. Buzzr jumped back to Match Game '79 at the 7 PM hour. I'm not complaining too much, considering the very attractive Robert Walden and Bert Convy were on the panel that week, along with Patty Duke and Audrey Landers. In the first episode, the Audience Match "Patti __" prompted several jokes when Patty's name was on the board, along with references to Patti Deustch. Neither they nor the audience had much luck with "__ of the North" in the next episode...but a lady who was brought back after Gene read a question wrong did much better.

Finished the night on YouTube after taking a shower and putting my laundry in the dryer. Game show formats have been exported overseas as far back as the radio era. Match Game, for instance, turned up in Australia in 1977 as Blankety Blanks. Graham Kennedy, a popular TV comedian down under, hosted the show. I can see why the 1977-1978 run remains nearly as well-remembered in Australia as the 70's-early 80's version is in the US. Kennedy is warm, funny, and outrageous, and he had some great people with him. The Aussie equivalents of Brett and Charles - even sitting in their seats - were lovely older blonde Noeline and comedian "Ugly" Dave Gray. They had just as much fun joking with Graham as Gene did with his panel. The set even closely resembled its American counterpart.

Sale of the Century has always been far bigger in Australia than here. While the American Sale from 1983 saw a respectable six-year run, it was on in Australia from 1980 to 2001. It would be revived successfully later in the 2000's as Temptation. The early episode I have here reflects the original non-bonus round that just had contestants deciding if they wanted to come back and try for more prizes. Most of the show is the same as the early American version...except the Fame Game, which has the faces of famous people on the tiles flipped along with money. The set is also similar, other than the longer, wider desks with smaller numbers. Big, jovial Tony Barber hosted for the show's first decade. 

Wheel of Fortune went around the globe even before it became a nighttime sensation in the US. The Australian version began in 1981 and lasted until 2006. It continued to have contestants purchase prizes between rounds as of 1996, but they also had smaller prizes (called "goodies," which I thought was cute) on the board itself. John Burgess had been the host since the show began. He was replaced by Barber in 1996; the episode I have may have been one of, if not the last one he did. 

British television also did their versions of American shows. Comedian Bruce Forsyth remains a legend among BBC viewers and frequently hosted game shows. One of his most popular was Play Your Cards Right, the British Card Sharks that ran from 1983 to 1987 in its original series. One of the big differences here was that couples played instead of singles. Some of the jokes and racier questions made it more like Play Your Newlywed Game Right at times. The Money Cards bonus round involved asking questions and making bets and was a lot more involved than the American version. Having couples play made it even funnier, and Forsyth did so well hosting, the show is apparently still associated with him (and would even bear his name for a while in the mid-80's.) 

Some formats that couldn't find audiences in the US did better overseas. Blockbusters ran a decent 2 1/2 years in the US, but the English version was a sensation, lasting from 1983 to 1993 and having been briefly revived many times since then. The format was identical to the US show, with the exception of the players being teenagers. Maybe our Blockbusters should have been on Nickelodeon or in afternoon syndication instead of on NBC. The kids did great and obviously had fun with it. Host Bob Holness reminded me a lot of Allen Ludden. He even looked like him, with his white hair and glasses, and he was warm but firm with the teens. 

I think it's a crime that the adorable Catchphrase never caught on in the US. This rebus puzzle game was an even bigger hit, running from 1986 to 2004, and it's currently seeing an equally-popular revival that's been going since 2013. Two contestants guess the phrases being represented by simple animation on a four-squared screen. Often, these rebus phrases will feature "Mr. Chips," a gold robot who was the show's mascot. The "bonus catchphrase" was more like Concentration, with the contestants having to guess a catch phrase as they choose a box from the monitor. The bonus round had them guessing catchphrases in rapid succession, earning higher dollar amounts the more they went. 

This is one of the cutest game shows around. Mr. Chips is funny, and I love the animation for the "catch phrases." I really wish it would come back across the Atlantic someday; I think this is just so much fun to play along with.

Go on vacation to England and Australia without leaving home with these UK favorites!

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Thoroughly Modern Bros

Began the morning with breakfast and the original cast album of Thoroughly Modern Millie. It took me a while to warm up to this stage adaptation of the wacky Roaring 20's-set film, but I really get a kick out of it now. Sutton Foster became a star as the title character, a thoroughly modern flapper who comes to New York in 1922 to marry her boss, only to get caught up in a white slavery ring plot involving the head of her boarding house and her girlish best friend. Of the songs written directly for the show, my favorite is "Forget About the Boy," the number for Millie and the secretaries after Millie thinks Jimmy's cheating on her. 

Worked on writing for a little while after breakfast. Poor Bill Daily's been watching the gold all morning, and he's about to have a nervous breakdown. Richard says he'll relieve him. Brett insists on watching as Fannie opens the safe to reveal the hidden treasure...

Broke for a quick lunch before heading to work. For the most part, we were just as quiet as we've been the rest of the week. It picked up a little during rush-hour, and there were a few problems. I was tired and didn't do a good job explaining something to somebody. He got upset, and then I got upset, and he got angry at me. It was my fault. I didn't explain things well, and I acted like an idiot. The manager and everyone behind him said he shouldn't have yelled at me, but I shouldn't have gotten him upset in the first place. That's not professional.

It helped that the weather remains nice. It continues to be humid, slightly cloudy, and too warm for this time of year. Most people are likely finishing out their spring breaks elsewhere, and we're between holidays. 

Went straight into dinner and an earlier Match Game Classics marathon when I got home. I swear, this set had some of the craziest glitches. In one episode, an orange backdrop came down instead of the board for the Head-to-Head money. In another, the question holder slid out of Gene's reach, and the contestant had to hold it up while Gene read the first question. Gene complained about a nail in the set poking him. His microphone died at one point, leaving him using a much shorter microphone he didn't like. Once during a syndicated episode, Gene explained a long word to Dick Martin for so long, everyone walked off-stage and the lights went out! Gene had to fix Joyce Bulifant's floppy microphone in a PM episode.

Check out even more of the wackiest technical problems to have ever occurred on a game show!

Finished the night with something really unique on YouTube. A group dubbed one of the Super Mario Adventures comics that used to run as a serial in Nintendo Power Magazine in the mid-1990's. I'm glad they did. Not only are the voices pretty accurate to the characters, but I absolutely love how Peach is portrayed here. Much like in the current film version, she's a strong, take-charge character who will do anything, not only for her kingdom, but for Mario as well. She has no difficulty chasing Bowser after he's turned Mario and half her kingdom to stone, or trading places with Luigi to rescue Mario as part of an elaborate plot. And interestingly, this story also involved Bowser's desire to marry Peach. (Bit surprised no one thought of hypnotizing her in the movie.) 

If you ever wanted to see how tough a mushroom princess could be (or how awkwardly a random salesman can be shoehorned into a plot), check out this hilarious and action packed tale!

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Where's the Rain?

Got a quick start today with breakfast and Charlie and Lola. "Never Ever Never Step On the Cracks," says gullible Lola, who believes everything she hears. She and Lotta really believe there's animals in the cracks in the sidewalk who will grab you if you step on them, that bedbugs bite if you don't sleep tight, and mushrooms grow in your ears. Charlie finally convinces her that superstitions are just stories, after all, and not real.

Headed off to work shortly after the cartoon ended. I didn't like the look of the dark clouds outside, so I took Uber. Most of the Uber drivers are from Philly or Camden and don't know the suburbs well. The guy missed the turn to the Acme and ended up making a fast U-Turn! After all that, I arrived at work just fine and right on time.

Work was off-and-on steady, busier than yesterday but nothing like it has been the past few weeks. I once again spent most of the day pushing carts and sweeping the floor. There was a point where I ended up doing a basket of cold returns someone left behind, and had to help managers round up three 35 packs of water for a customer. Otherwise, it went pretty fast, and there were no real problems.

I got my schedule online last night and confirmed it this morning. I'm glad I took those vacation days this week and next week. I got far fewer hours than I have for the past couple of weeks...and I'm glad. I'm wiped out. I do have physical therapy on Monday and need to contact Karen, but I otherwise have no plans. 

Picked up a few things after work. The red grapes are no longer on sale, but strawberries and cherry tomatoes are. Had online coupons for granola bars, the fancy OGX shampoo and conditioner I like, tissues, and a bag of bakery cookies (I went with oatmeal), along with coupons for free yogurt and a free tote bag. Badly needed pads, too. Since I was taking Uber home, I decided to try Waterloo, a brand of sparkling water that had an online coupon. Went with their orange vanilla.

There were far fewer problems getting home. The driver appeared in less than two minutes, knew where he was going, and chatted with me the whole way. I arrived five minutes later

Watched Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood while changing and having a snack. "Daniel Goes to School" for the first time and is nervous about what he'll do there. He packs his favorite toys and books, but they prove to not be necessary when Teacher Harriet shows him they have everything they'll need. Likewise, "Daniel Goes to the Doctor" for his first check-up. Mrs. Tiger and Dr. Anna explain everything they'll do in a check-up, like listen to his heart beat and look in his ears and throat.

Switched to Enchanted while resting for a little while. I go further into the story of a Disney animated princess (Amy Adams) who ends up in the real New York at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Worked on writing next. Fannie finally brings them all back into her office, where she's keeping the gold from the bank in a safe. Bill Daily is supposed to be guarding the safe, but he's frantic and worried. Richard has to calm him down.

A thunder storm rattled in around 4:30 after it had been cloudy and spitting off and on all day. It finally poured...for all of 10 minutes. Once the storm passed, so did the rain. To my knowledge, it hasn't rained since.

Finished the night with another Match Game Classics marathon. This one revolved around technical glitches. The stage could be almost as much of a character as the panelists at times. Both the original set and the one built in 1978 to accommodate the new Star Wheel ended up more-or-less falling apart. Gene Rayburn's doors would stick. The turntable got stuck at least three times. Gene's microphone didn't stay together very well, either. The ball at the tip came off at least twice. At one point, someone gave Gene one of the old diamond-shaped microphones they used in old-time radio. Brett complained that someone painted over the gum she stuck under her desk. Lights would go out. A light bulb popped with an audible crack that sounded like a gun firing during a syndicated episode. 

You never know what will happen on this show...or what will go wrong. Here's the marathon, for your enjoyment! 

Friday, April 14, 2023

A Very Matching Birthday

Started off my birthday with breakfast and Match Game. As I have the past two years, I opted to have an all-day Match Game marathon on my birthday, starting with the infamous episode from 1973 where Gene comes in sporting a god-awful green and red plaid suit. Jack Carter says he looks like "a station break in Poland," and the others won't even turn his way when he makes his entrance. 

Hurried out after that to enjoy my big day. Had a few errands to run before I left Oaklyn. Dropped some paperwork in the post office box on the White Horse Pike. Forgot to deliver the Easter bags for Rose and her kids on Easter day; left those on her stoop. Picked up a Lemon-Blackberry Propel at WaWa.

With all that, it was 10 after 10 when I finally pulled into the parking lot behind the Barrington Antique Center. It's a huge old building with a rabbit's warren of room filled with every single vintage item you can imagine, from 100-year-old china and glassware to DVDs and books from two or three years ago. Even with all the things displayed, it didn't take me long to find something interesting.  Cooking With Mickey Around the World Vol l and 2 sat on a table when I came upstairs. I initially grabbed Volume 1, then decided it made sense to take them both. They were $5 each; they came up to a little over 10 with taxes.

(Research on eBay later in the evening revealed they're apparently a bit rarer than the price at the Antique Center would indicate. Though there's a later publication from 2004 that goes for as little as $4, the two volumes from the 1980's can be found for anything from $10 to $75 a piece, though most of them seem to be going for somewhere between $20 and $30. That's still a lot for two spiral-bound cookbooks from 40 years ago. 

I've seen these mentioned in some Disney blogs and pages that cover the history of the theme parks and have wanted to try them. They're collections of recipes from restaurants in Disney World and Disneyland. The 2004 release would cover Disneyland Paris and the Disney Cruise Line as well.)

It took me so little time to find and buy those books, I left earlier than planned. I just barely had enough time to lock up my bike before the bus to Deptford arrived. Fortunately, there were only two other people on the bus, and none of them got off at the Mall.

Since the bus drops you off less than a minute from Red Robin, I began with lunch. Tried something different, the Whiskey BBQ Chicken Wrap. Oh, yum! Grilled barbecue chicken with tangy barbecue sauce, shredded cheddar cheese, and lettuce and tomatoes. It was delicious. There were just enough perfectly seasoned steak fries, too.

Went to Boscov's two doors down after I ate. I had such good luck finding t-shirts at their Junior Plus section in December, I thought I'd look for more. Once again, the Junior Plus section came through. I found one t-shirt with a sunflower print and a lovely soft tunic in pretty spring colors, with elastic sides.

Next up (after a brief peek at FYE) was Round 1 Entertainment. Spent the next hour or so running from Pac Man to Mario Kart Deluxe to spinning wheels. The skee ball machines are finally working again, so I got to play those, too. Though I did amass a tidy sum of points, I ultimately decided to save them for when Lauren visits next month. I did get my second toy from a crane at Round 1, a small Kirby poised for flying. 

Was in and out of stores for a while after leaving Round 1. Peeked at Box Lunch and Go! Calender and Toys, but saw nothing interesting. Did better at JC Penney. I picked up a pale blue polo shirt and a pair of black jean shorts, both on sale. The Visa gift card Mom gave me bought these.

Headed across the parking lot after I got back around to Boscov's. There is a Barnes and Noble in Deptford. It's across the street from the Mall, behind the newer shopping center with Bed, Bath, and Beyond and the Christmas Tree Shops. At least it was a nice day for a stroll and dodging traffic. It was still sunny, breezy, and very warm at that point, nearly in the mid-80's, but not humid.

Barnes and Noble was very busy at that point, mainly with kids and parents looking for something to read or play over the holiday weekend. I didn't have that much left on the gift card, so I just picked up a just-started cozy mystery series set in a record shop and the Cary Grand Screen Icons set with Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer, My Favorite Wife, and the Cole Porter "biography" Night and Day. 
My receipt came with a coupon for a dollar off a Starbucks Frappucino, so I treated myself to a chai tea version. And of course, I had to have a big "Celebration Cupcake." The Starbucks was also pretty busy, mainly with teens and college students looking for a quiet place to chat with friends or check their laptops.

By the time I finished my drink at 4:30, I didn't really feel like braving traffic to get back across the street...and even if I did, I used up all of my cash on hand on lunch. Called an Uber to get me back to Barrington. She arrived within 9 minutes, not bad for the height of rush hour, and got me to Barrington in about 10. Got on my bike soon as I arrived and rode home, mostly taking the back roads to avoid the congestion except for a brief stop at the WaWa in Audubon for a drink. By this point, it had clouded over and was slightly cooler, but thankfully, the clouds didn't do anything but look ugly.

Did some writing after I got home and put everything away. Fannie finally gets Brett calmed down, reminding her that Richard is here to watch the gold. Brett, however, won't leave until she gets Gene and Richard's full assurance that they'll find her cattle and keep the ranchers from losing more.

(I did get some presents from others today. A friend gave me a beautiful bouquet of coral-orange roses, along with a mug with Hershey's Kisses and Snickers in it, a card, and a balloon. It was very sweet of her.) 

Spent the rest of the night watching Match Game episodes on YouTube. Of course, Gene was hardly the only regular on the show to come in for jokes. A question on one episode asked what Brett Somers would have been arrested for. When Gene asked if we could "get a little milk from Patti," he meant the answer to a question...but Patti Deustch took it a whole other way. Richard Dawson did his Cockney Newkirk voice to read a question about what the Germans would put on to torture the Hogan's Heroes crowd. Betty White had a habit of stripping whenever the appropriate music was played, notably in an episode from 1978. There was also the episode where someone backstage somehow spelled "soup" as "suop" on the Audience Match.

Gene ran into problems of his own. He got his microphone wire tangled around soap star Trish Stewart and yanked the poor girl off her seat! Trish took it well, but Brett and Kaye Stevens chewed Gene out for not being careful, Richard asked Gene to bring up a girl for him, and Charles Nelson Reilly said he preferred the Santa Monica Pier for fishing. He claimed talk show host Mike Douglas hit him on the head when he took his place in the opening for a cameo in one 1976 episode; a year later, he attacked a camera man for not putting a shot where he wanted it. 

Some of the contestants could get even wilder. Overly enthusiastic Dorothy Zinni really livened up the first two shows of 1974. She got so excited, she accidentally hit the perfectly calm and cool guy next to her. Even Richard was too afraid of her for a kiss! One pretty single lady claimed she "fooled around" early in 1975. Needless to say, Richard told her to call him! 

There were memorable male contestants, too. Handsome high school phys ed teacher Ron Valenti really turned Fannie Flagg's head in mid-1975. Cop CB Farnsworth became one of the show's top winners in 1974, prompting Richard and Charles to make up a song about him. Rita Moreno was very nervous helping a gentleman win $20,000 in a later nighttime episode...but her delighted reaction when he said his answer is absolutely priceless! 

Party on with some of the wackiest people on TV in these classic episodes!

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Something In the Wind

Began the day with breakfast and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It's "Minnie's Birthday," and the others want to make a surprise party for her. First they have to figure out how to keep her picking strawberries long enough to make her cake...and then they have to get her back when she gets offended and says she'll have her own party elsewhere.

Headed to work shortly after that; got there just in time. We were even quieter today than we were yesterday. It's the week after a major holiday, most people went shopping last week...and it was just too darn nice to be in a grocery store. Other than being called in to sweep and do a brief online training course, I spent most of the day outside gathering carts and trash, and wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. It remains in the 80's, sunny and dry as a bone, though a nice wind kept it from feeling too unbearable. 

Went straight home after that; I was too tired from pushing all those carts to do anything else! Changed, then had a roast beef sandwich and leftovers for dinner while watching Something In the Wind. I go further into this unique romantic comedy with Deanna Durbin as a DJ who has a close encounter with a rich family who thinks she was their grandfather's mistress at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Finished out the night on Hulu with birthday-themed episodes of Sailor Moon S. Usagi wants nothing more than for her own prince charming Mamoru to give her a pair of glass slippers she saw in a shop for her birthday. It turns into "Usagi In Tears: A Glass Slipper for My Birthday" when he claims he had no idea it was her birthday. They make up...just in time for the glass slippers to turn into a monster that attacks Usagi, steals her transformation broach, and kidnaps Mamoru!

"The Stolen Pure Heart: Usagi's Crisis" brings in the remaining Sailor Guardians, along with Sailors Neptune and Uranus, whom Usagi told about her troubles earlier. While the other Guardians distract the monster, Usagi manages to retrieve the broach...just in time for a final showdown with wicked witch Kaorinite! 

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Of Mice and Magic

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Bluey. She wants to help her dad Bandit make a "Duck Cake" for her sister Bingo's birthday, but her mum Chili says she can't until she cleans up the Lego mess in the living room. When Bandit makes a mess in the kitchen and has to fix the cake, Bluey learns the importance of helping others.

Karen picked me up at ten minutes to 10. We spent most of the hour we spent at the Haddon Township Library talking about my options for school. If I do go back to school, I need to decide which one, and I need to do an application for federal aid and send it to my Abilities Solution counselor. Finding a job in the proving to be harder. Most jobs in this area are for health care or teaching, neither of which interest me.

When I got home, I had a fast lunch while watching Charlie & Lola. She says "I am Really, Really, Really Concentrating" when she enters the Egg on the Spoon Race in her school's Sports Day. Marv and Charlie are joining the three-legged race, while Lotta hopes she'll do well in the obstacle course. Lola tries so hard to focus on keeping the egg on the spoon, she gets a prize of her own in the end.

Headed out shortly after the cartoon ended. I actually managed to get in on time for a change, which was about the only exciting thing that happened all afternoon. We were quiet almost the entire day. If people aren't out of town, they did their shopping last week for the holidays. Not to mention, the weather was gorgeous, sunny, windy, dry, and warm for April, in the lower 80's. It was too nice for shopping. It picked up a little around rush hour, but other than that, there were no really huge problems. My relief was right on time.

Went straight into writing when I got home. Brett's not impressed with Richard at all. She knows the Wild Rider Gang have hit other businesses and ranches in the valley. She wants those varmints gone. Gene tries to send her home, but she won't go until he gives her his word that he'll find the missing cattle and money.

Broke for dinner at 7 PM. Watched Match Game Syndicated as I worked. They're up to the week where Bob Barket sat next to nubile young Charlene Tilton...which may not have been the smartest idea, given how he behaved with the models on his own show. In the first episode, Bob's delighted when he's the only one to match a contestant and encourages a standing ovation. His chair turns on him in the next episode when it sinks below the level of the desks and the one they get to replace it is too high.

Finished the night on The Roku Channel with The Secret of NIMH, one of my favorite animated movies. Widowed mouse Mrs. Brisby (Elizabeth Hartman) is terrified when her son Timothy (Ian Fried) comes down with pneumonia days before she has to move her family out of the about-to-be-plowed fields. Busybody Auntie Shrew (Hermoine Badderly) suggests asking The Great Owl (John Carradine) for help. The wise but majestic creature encourages her to go to the rats in the rose bush for aid. 

Turns out the rats are extremely intelligent former lab animals who run a highly detailed society in the rose bush, with electricity stolen from the farmer. Their leader Nicholdemus (Derek Jacobi) wants them to start a farming colony in a safe far-away valley, but there's a splinter faction led by the treacherous Jenner (Paul Shenar) who would rather not upset the rose bush. Mrs. Brisby and her moving project ends up caught between these two warring factions. It's Mrs. Brisby herself, however, who saves her children and her home after disaster strikes, proving that real magic comes from a loving heart.

One of, if not the best animated film of the 1980's. Mrs. Brisby has always been my favorite character. She's one of the most realistic depictions of motherhood in animation, from her hilarious encounters with Jeremy the Crow (Dom DeLouise) to her initially horrified reaction to the Great Owl. Jeremy also has some good moments, especially when he and Mrs. Brisby are dodging Dragon the cat in the opening. The animation is flat-out stunning, with lush backdrops, detailed character movements, and incredible effects for the time. Jerry Goldsmith's orchestral score is one of my favorites from any animated film, as is the gorgeous Paul Williams ballad "Flying Dreams." 

Major warning that for something rated G, the movie does get very dark at times. Three gristly on-screen deaths, several scary sequences with Dragon, the Great Owl, and in the finale, and frank discussions of death, grief, illness, and animal testing make this for families with older elementary schoolers on up who can handle the heavier subject matter.