Monday, June 26, 2023

Tooth and Dolls

Began the morning with breakfast and Doc McStuffins to ease my nerves about my dentist appointment. Doc and her crew hold a surprise party for "Hallie's Happy Birthday." Hallie's not sure what to think of the goofy "illnesses" Sir Kirby comes up with to keep her occupied while the others round up the decorations and food. Doc's toys are terrified of Mr. Chomp, the plastic toy shark who got a "Shark-Style Toothache" when her brother Donny accidentally knocked him against the tub and cracked a tooth. She and Hallie have to convince the others that Mr. Chomp is a bath toy, and he's not scary at all.

Headed out around quarter after 11. Since I wasn't sure what shape I'd be in when I got home, I opted for walking to Westmont. It was still hot and so humid you could cut it with a knife, but it was also sunny and windy. Saw lots of people out and about, including a mother helping her older daughter learn to roller blade and families in their yards.

Since I arrived at the Westmont Plaza a little early, I peeked around in Dollar Tree. I was hoping to find 4th of July decorations, but most of them either looked as cheap as they were or were too big or covered in glitter. I did find a bag with three fans printed with 4th of July themes that were really nifty. Also grabbed a bottle of water for the way home.

I did manage to arrive at the dentist's office ten minutes early. They promptly brought me in the back and sat me down in an operating room. Fifteen or so minutes later, it was out. It wasn't really yanked this time, and they did numb my mouth with needles...but the needles and the extraction hurt like heck. And I wasn't supposed to eat solid foods until it healed. What would I do about lunch?

My initial thought was a smoothie at Starbucks, but it looks like they're out of ice to make slush drinks like Frappucinos and smoothies. They didn't have any 4th of July decorations, either. I ended up with bags cashews in dill pickle and lemon poppy seed for later in the week.

As I walked down Cuthbert, I ran across a woman who is a frequent customer at the Acme. She said it was too hot for walking and agreed to give me a ride. I just wanted to hit WaWa for a smoothie, so she dropped me off there. WaWa was fairly busy, but I was able to pick up a Mixed Berry Banana smoothie with no trouble. Added yogurt and protein powder to make it at least something like lunch.

This time, I really did go home. It was too hot and sticky to be doing anything else. I went upstairs and looked up something online, then swept and vacuumed my rooms while listening to the rest of the Jack and the Beanstalk Peter Pan album. After that finished, I put on the soundtrack album for the MGM musicals Les Girls and Lili. Cole Porter's last score for film isn't his best, but it does feature some decent songs in this story of three dancers who dispute one's tell-all biography. Gene Kelly is the man they're all fighting over. He and Kay Kendall spoof the upper crust in "You're Just Too, Too," while Barry wonders "Why am I So Gone About That Gal?" Lili's main attraction is the lilting, bittersweet hit "Hi Lili, Hi Lo."

Spent the next few hours after that dressing the dolls for July and the upcoming holiday. Whitney's ready to perform in the 4th of July Parade in her AG Dance Dress and Molly's tap shoes. (The tap shoes that came with the outfit are falling apart.) Molly will head off to camp in her Camp Gowanigan uniform and saddle shoes. Ariel's patriotic patchwork peasant top and her shorts are home-made. Jessa's in a pair of shortalls, the red t-shirt from the 90's Blue Jean Basics, and purple jelly sandals. Samantha wears her Middy Dress and Tam with black stockings and black and white boots. Josefina's in her Indigo School Dress and Camisa. 

The closest thing Kit has that's appropriate for the holiday is her red and white polka-dot Reporter's Outfit. It has a turquoise bow, but the skirt and vest look right. As a teenager, Barbara Jean can get away with sporting a brief terrycloth tube top and her own white shoes. 

Listened to the second Remembering the 60's CD while I changed them. We move a little further into the decade here, with songs from the British Invasion and some very American crooners. I have fond memories of hearing many of these on oldies stations in the 80's and 90's, including "I Know a Place" by Petula Clark, The Pink Panther theme by Henry Mancini and His Orchestra, Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto's sexy "The Girl from Ipanema," "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me" by Mel Carter, "Since I Fell for You" by Lenny Welch, and two hits from crooner Jack Jones, "Wives and Lovers" and "Dear Heart."

Had tomato basil soup and yogurt while watching an episode of She-Ra: Princess of Power that was fairly dark for this show. He-Man learns about "The Price of Freedom" while helping his sister rescue miners trapped in a cave by Hordak, who burned their village for rebelling. Though She-Ra goes to get help, it's the miners who end up being heroes when they use their tools to dig their way out and get a stricken He-Man to safety.

Worked on writing for a while after I ate. Joyce is barely able to keep the dog in the shed. She hopes no one at Television City is upset that the shed is missing. She's also worried that Ira and the guards, who chased them out, may have followed them.

Finished the night on Dailymotion and YouTube honoring one of the true characters of American game shows. Chuck Barris, whose birthday was earlier this month, is actually a local weirdo. He was born in Philadelphia and even attended Drexel. He got started working for ABC's Standards and Practices and writing  and producing music, including one of my favorite early-60's hits "Palisades Park." 

When they moved him to head of programming, he claimed the shows being pitched to him were worse than his own ideas. ABC suggested he quit and become a producer...which is exactly what he did. His first major hit for the network was The Dating Game in 1965. The wild success of the show involving a young woman tossing out double entendre-filled questions to three would-be suitors, led to ABC asking for more of the same. 

The Newlywed Game debuted during the fall of 1966. Now, we had just-married couples giving sexy answers to ribald questions. It was an even bigger smash, running until 1974 and turning up well into the new millennium in various formats. Bob Eubanks added his own leering jokes here.

Barris continued with more of the same through the rest of the decade. The Game Game, The Family Game, and The Parents Game were all short-lived syndicated variations on The Newlywed Game, with people trying to match each other's embarrassing stories. Sadly, of these, only an episode of The Family Game with Bob Barker hosting is currently available online. Here, it's parents and children trying to match stories. The kids' responses are a bit like the later Child's Play; otherwise, this is better-known for being the last black and white show to air on daytime television.

He'd finally hit pay dirt on syndication in 1973 with his revival of the 50's game show Treasure Hunt. This is basically Let's Make a Deal with boxes instead of doors and normally-dressed women instead of people in chicken suits. Geoff Edwards encourages ladies to pick a box in a pile on the stage. The box had an envelope with money in it. They could keep the money, or go for a bigger prize behind a door. The box might contain the prize, or it might contain a goofy "klunk" junk item or nonsense prize. These were often accompanied by silly skits or gags. The episode I have isn't bad, but apparently, later episodes could get nasty with the "klunks," to the point where Geoff Edwards left by 1977. 

Along with the Dating and Newlywed Games, Barris' most famous production is likely The Gong Show. This spoof talent show features three celebrity judges who hit the gong for some pretty outrageous acts. Some are terrible and get gonged right away. Others are legitimately good and are judged with hand-written numbers. At the end of the show, the winner would receive a check for about $700. The worst act of the week on Friday got a check for $500. 

I've heard stories about how crass this show was since I was a little kid...but what I saw here was actually kind of cute. Allen Ludden joins regular judges Jamie Farr and Jaye P. Morgan to check out an overweight woman doing a dance in a skimpy costume, an adorable little girl attempting folk songs, a lady who could genuinely sing, a big guy who did a pretty decent soft shoe routine, and a very sweet woman and her very big "talking" Great Dane. We even got a brief bit by The Unknown Comic with a bag over his head. It's all in good fun, and it's hilarious. No wonder this would run for five years on syndication and four on NBC. 

The $1.98 Beauty Show is in the same vein as The Gong Show. This time, we have a spoof beauty pageant hosted by an energetic Rip Taylor and his confetti. I doubt Barris intended this to be uplifting, but I love that women of all ages and sizes are included. In fact, the runner-up was an adorable 52-year-old with a truly lovely smile. The first two acts - a woman who did a tango to "Misunderstood" and a baton twirler - were really good. There needs to be more plus-sized hula dancers, too. She moved just as well as the more slender beauties in the movies.

Barris was on a roll, but he finally went too far with 3's a Crowd in 1979. Amiable Jim Peck hosted this attempt to return to The Newlywed Game format. This time, it's a husband, his wife, and his secretary who are matching stories. Um, you can see the problems here. Women's rights groups and unions protested it, including in front of the studio. Even the debut episode I have here leans uncomfortably into Jerry Springer territory as the women hurl bleeped curses at each other. 

That debacle ended Barris' career. His remaining four shows in syndication - Gong Show, Beauty Show, and revivals of The Newlywed Game and The Dating Game - were all canceled within a year of the show's release. Barris would never have a new format on TV again. His last major production was a revival of the 60's show Camouflage. This one was done in by its time slot, as most syndicated shows now ran five days a week instead of one. He spent the rest of his life overseeing revivals of his shows and writing wildly fictional memoirs (including Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, where he claimed to be a CIA agent). 

Let's bang the gong and blow kisses for one of the most truly unique minds to ever work on television!

(Oh, and the rain that had been predicted all day didn't show up until almost 10 PM. It has stormed off and on since then, though.) 

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