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!

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