Thursday, November 30, 2023

Dolls and Parades

Started off a cold, clear morning with breakfast and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Mickey Saves Santa" when he and Donald travel to the top of Mistletoe Mountain to help him fix his sleigh when it gets stuck. Donald just wants Santa to see his Christmas list, but Mrs. Claus has to constantly remind him to "be nice!"

Karen picked me up right at 10. We did apply to a sheet metal office in Camden and a construction company office in West Berlin. I still wish I knew what I wanted to do. None of this sounds all that exciting. I want to write, but I don't know how I can write, have health insurance, and make enough money to buy a condo or a mobile home. At least Karen was nice enough to swing by the PNC in Collingswood and let me take out rent money. 

When I got home, I relaxed while watching the 2018 Muppet Babies. Bunsen and Beaker create the Elfbot to help the Babies make a paper wreath for Statler and Waldorf, but they get so caught up making gifts for themselves, they forget to give presents to others. "It's a Wonderful Elfbot" when they remember how good it is to give and receive. "A Merry Litter Christmas" has Bunsen sending piles of unwanted shrimp-flavored milk into space to get rid of it. It ends up landing on Planet Gonzo, where the kids have to help clean up the mess.

Switched to Match Game '77 while I ate lunch. The first episode begins with Richard helping out with "Secretary of __" in the Head-to-Head. Gene's more interested in drooling over the female contestant. The next one gives us more of a lovely contestant with super-long, shiny dark hair.

Let it run into Tattletales. I'd seen the week before, when I watched it on YouTube, but it's hilarious. Bill Anderson and his then-wife Becky, Betty White and Allen Ludden, and Patrick Duffy and his wife Carolyn were the couples. Betty and Allen usually played fairly well and knew each other like no one else. They ended up tying in the first episode with Bill and Becky. They stuck around for the second episode, joined by Jamie Farr and his sweet wife Joy and Eddie Mekka and his then-girlfriend Shirley. This time, Eddie and Shirley were the ones who came out on top - Betty and Allen only got one right.

Dressed the dolls for the holidays after the episode ended. Barbara Jean is in the purple paisley dress with the lilac velvet ribbon and white medieval-style sleeves that was Julie's previous Christmas dress; she wears it with the bead-trimmed heels from the flapper costume. Samantha's lace headband with the flower matches surprisingly well. Ariel wears Julie's original wine red crushed velvet jumper and ruffled blouse, but with more child-appropriate white tights and black velvet shoes. Jessa honors her heritage in the original Chinese New Year's outfit from the late 90's and black mules borrowed from Josefina.

Kit is in her original red Christmas dress with the white triangular collar; she wears it with her white t-straps. Molly is in her Evergreen Christmas Dress and black strap shoes she borrowed from Samantha. Whitney gets to wear the cute holiday print apron I found at the shop in Marlton over her dark blue and silver Snowflake Gown with black stockings, blue-violet flats, and a black Springfield Collection shrug. Felicity is ready to dance in her blue Christmas ball gown and the choker she borrowed from Josefina. Josefina is pretty as a Mexican princess in her yellow striped dress, pantalettes, and mantilla. Samantha sports her Cranberry Christmas Dress; the red shoes from her Special Day Dress match perfectly.

Dressed the Cabbage Patch dolls, too. Dulcie, who loves frills, gets a fancy cream-colored Build-a-Bear dress trimmed with gold sequins and white and gold tulle. Carrie does not love frills, but she still looks cute in the candy cane-print flannel dress with the bow on the collar that's an actual little girl outfit I found at an antique shop years ago.

Listened to Christmas albums while I worked, starting with Turned On Christmas. Same deal as all the other Hooked On/Turned On albums. We have medleys of beloved Christmas songs, or even just songs that sort of randomly have to do with the holidays. There's a whole medley devoted to songs about toys, or things that sound like toys, like "Baby Elephant Walk" or "Mickey Mouse March." Not the most necessary thing in the world, but it does make nice background music during December.

Julie Andrews sings on Firestone Presents Your Favorite Christmas Music Vol. 4. She gets the sole new song, "The Bells of Christmas," as the finale. Vic Damone also gets "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Otherwise, the songs are more traditional, like "Masters In the Hall" or "Angels We Have Heard On High" and are mostly performed by Dorothy Kirsten or James McCracken.

The Life Treasury of Christmas is all choral music. It's supposed to accompany the book of the same name, which I've never heard of. A few of these songs are pretty new to me, too, notably "Rocking Carol," "The Golden Carol of the Three Wise Men," and "The Boar's Head Carol." 

Worked on writing after I put all the dolls' things away. The woman whom Cora discovers in the woods is Florrie, a kindly old witch. She had once been the real King Stephen's nurse, then his advisor. She takes Cora to her home in the woods and gives her a ball of yarn that will unravel and lead to wherever she wants to go and a basket of goodies for herself and to befriend the abused animals and objects in Harron's fortress.

Headed out around 6 PM. I wanted to have dinner before Oaklyn's Christmas parade and tree lighting. Opted for pizza at Phillies Phatties. Had a slice of cheese, a slice of chicken ranch bacon, and a can of Diet Pepsi. Yum! The chicken was especially tasty, just the right blend of salty-tangy flavors. Got there just ahead of the crowd, too. A family with young kids who couldn't decide what they wanted turned up just as I got my pizza slices.

Went a few doors down to Common Grounds Coffee House for a hot drink and dessert. Picked up a nice and rich hot chocolate and a small chocolate cake pop. Unlike Phillies Phatties, they were quiet, with only one person snuggling in a chair while enjoying a latte.

Limped back up West Clinton to the City Hall and fire house parking lot for the parade. The Oaklyn Civic Association gave away free hot chocolate, coffee, donuts, and candy canes. The hot chocolate was too thin and sweet, not very good. I did have a blueberry cake donut while listening to a group of pre-teen girls from the Oaklyn School sing carols next to the tree, on the side of City Hall.

For a change, the parade was actually on time. Oaklyn's parade is mostly fire trucks wrapped with lights, but some of them do get a little creative. One huge float festooned with outdoor sculptures and inflatables shot bubble "snow" into the air. Another truck was topped with a wooden sleigh pulled by painted dalmatians. Others blasted "All I Want for Christmas Is You." 

I joined everyone around the tree just as Santa disembarked from the last decorated truck. He presided over the tree lighting as the volunteer of the year pushed the button that sent light flooding across West Clinton and the White Horse Pike. Not having children who wanted to see Santa, I went straight home soon as the tree was lit.

Took a shower, then finished watching Tales of Hoffman, which I began earlier in the afternoon. I go further into Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's gorgeous opera anthology at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Cold Autumn

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Charlie & Lola. "I am Going to Save a Panda" Lola insists when her school holds various activities to raise money for helping the pandas in China. She's devastated when she comes down with chicken pox the day of the school marathon and can't go. Charlie finds a way for her to take part and feel better about her illness.

I might have called Uber anyway, regardless of how my knee felt. It was in the 20's when I got up this morning. Considering I got a late start, it actually worked out pretty well. They got here in less than 3 minutes and got me there in a little over five. They had to go slow on Nicholson, which seems to be getting regraded. Fortunately, it wasn't enough to make me late. I was just on time.

Truth be told, I probably could have stayed home again. We were dead almost the entire day. It's the end of the month and the week after the biggest food holiday of the year. If people aren't finishing their Thanksgiving leftovers, they're waiting on their beginning-of-the-month money. It's also too early for people to think about Christmas dinner and baking. Many people may be just starting to buy their presents. The weather was nice too, sunny, pale blue, and far more tolerable once it got a little bit warmer later in the day. I swept the store, shelved cold items people didn't want, and pushed carts well as I could. 

Since I don't think I'll make it to the Westmont Plaza this weekend, I did my grocery shopping today. Mostly needed to restock yogurt and Propel mix and add to my granola bar stash. Picked up a bag for Amanda's presents. Strawberries were on a good sale with an online coupon. Bought a brace for my knee. 

Had a harder time getting a ride home. The driver was supposed to come in 8 minutes...but then it jumped to a minute, then two. And by 2:30. Nicholson Road was blocked off all together, and he had to go down Market Street and the White Horse Pike instead. Between traffic and the alternate route, it took almost ten minutes to get home. 

Put everything away, then had lunch while watching Super Password. The first episode had a very funny Pat Sajak playing against Jo Ann Worley. The second returned to the week with Lucille Ball, Ann Dusenberry, and the Golden Girls duo. Lucy seemed kind of slow to figure things out, and Betty White plays Password better than anyone. She and Estelle Getty made it to the Super Password bonus round twice.

Did some job research after that, then worked on writing. When a maid brings Cora her wedding dress, she convinces her to try it on. Cora walks out in her clothes, determined to find where Stephen's fortress home is in the woods. The woods, however, are very big, and Cora is soon very lost. She stops to ask an old woman if she can give her directions...

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. The first episode started off with everyone admiring Gene's new tie embroidered with men in kilts that Bill Daily gave him, leading Bill to almost give him the rest of his clothes! There's jokes about the male contestant's couch-cover coat, too. The episode after that is another one that's currently lost, which means Buzzr went to the end of the week. Gene has a hard time remembering names in the second one. Joyce Bulifant has a story with every answer, but not everyone wants to hear them...

Finished the night with The Golden Voyage of Sinbad for free on YouTube. Columbia returned to the stories of Sinbad the Sailor and his adventures twice in the 70's. This time, Sinbad (John Phillip Law) finds a gold amulet dropped by a strange little monster. He dreams of a man in black and a girl with an eye tattooed on her palm. The man is the wicked magician Koura (Tom Baker), who claims the amulet is his. Sinbad dodges him and makes his way into the city. He meets the Vizier, who reveals that the amulets are pieces of a map that'll lead to youth, a shield of darkness, and a wealthy crown. Koura has already tried to get the Vizier's piece, locking him in a burning room and leaving him so disfigured, he has to wear a mask. He also meets the girl with the eye on her hand, the slave Margiana (Catherine Munro). Her master agrees to let her go if Sinbad also takes his lazy, spoiled son Haroun (Kurt Christian). 

The Golden Voyage is full of danger, from a moving masthead that attacks the sailors to hostile natives who attack the group. Koura too is determined to get the amulets and find that crown. Sinbad, however, won't back down. In the end, it'll take a team effort from him, his crew, and his new friends to take on Koura, the natives, and the Guardians of Good and Evil who watch over the Fountain.

I enjoyed the 50's one a little bit more, but this wasn't bad, either. The creature work may have been even more intricate - check out the battle between the Guardians in the end! Baker's work here so impressed the producers of Doctor Who, it's how he ended up being hired as the Fourth Doctor. Law is sufficiently dashing as Sinbad, and Christian gets a few funny moments as the whiny kid who eventually learns about teamwork and independence. If you're looking for 70's fantasy and sci-fi with a slightly softer edge, you'll want to go on that golden voyage with Sinbad, too. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Lady In the Red Shoes

Once again slept in. Finished The Christmas Tree Book, then wrote in my journal. Put on Match Game '77 when I got rolling and had breakfast. The week with Debralee Scott and Bill Cullen ended with some really interesting answers about what a smart dog does when Match Game comes on the TV. Richard has a far more surprising answer for "Susan ___" in the Head-to-Head! In the next episode, Marcia Wallace, Barbara Rhodes, and Avery Schriberer join in to hear a contestant discuss his pet ferret and see Gene and Richard play tic-tac-toe on Marcia Wallace's bare shoulders.

Let it run into Tattletales. Martin and Judy Milner, Bobby Van and Elaine Joyce, and Jed and Toby Allen also continue their run. This time, Toby and Jed managed to get it together long enough to win the first episode and tie in the second. 

Spent the rest of the afternoon watching The Red Shoes on YouTube. I go further into this gorgeous British film about a ballerina torn between her love for a composer and her desire to dance at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Worked on writing for a while after that. Cora angrily confronts the man who calls himself Stephen. He finally admits that no, he's not Stephen. He's Stephen's cousin, a sorcerer who practiced the dark arts. He  offered his cousin unlimited power and the chance to rule with an iron fist over both kingdoms and attacked him when he was rejected. He says he and Cora are getting married, whether she likes it or not, and makes the hunchback vanish. He's in his fortress home, he tells her, and she'll never see him again. She's marrying him, whether she likes it or not.

Finally broke for dinner at quarter after 7. Comedian Freeman King joins bubbly Betty Kennedy for this Match Game Syndicated week. Betty gets her first chance at the Head-to-Head with "__ Georgia," while Charles rips Brett's name off the Star Wheel and Gene wonders where the "Old Philosopher" music is coming from. In the second episode, he spends way too much time explaining elevator shoes to a contestant who is just stalling for time.

Having seen Bert Convy on Tattletales earlier, I thought I'd check out some of his other appearances. He was on Murder She Wrote twice during the run of Super Password, starting with its two-part pilot episode, "The Murder of Sherlock Holmes." Shocked when the mystery novel she never intended to publish is a best seller, Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) finds herself in New York City, besieged by nasty talk show hosts of all kinds. 

A kindly publisher finally invites her to a costume party at his palatial country estate. The party takes a turn for the deadly when a man in a Sherlock Holmes costume is found dead in the pool. It's believed to be the owner of a seafood chain (Brian Keith) who had more than a few enemies, but is then discovered to be a private detective who was hired to investigate a leak in his company. When her nephew Grady is accused of the crimes, Jessica ends up playing detective herself, including following the owner's former mistress and the stage composer (Convy) who suddenly has enough money to produce an off-Broadway show. 

Convy's playing it far less congenital in a second season episode. He's Christopher Bundy, the publisher of several trashy girlie magazines. Jessica is furious when she learns one of her short stories may end up in one of his rags. His family doesn't like him any more than she does, and a publisher (Robert Stack) whose empire he may buy is even less fond of him. "Christopher Bundy - Dies on Sunday" when  he's shot in the back in his own home. Jessica has to figure out whom in the family is the culprit and save her publisher friend from being arrested for the crime. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

Home Around the Corner

Once again, I got up early and called out. My knee remains stiff, my wrist is sore, and my big toe is black and blue and hurts. My knee feels a little better when I move it around, but it's still not great. Went back to bed after that and slept until past 10:30. Got caught up reading The Christmas Tree Book and writing in my journal and didn't finally get moving until nearly noon. 

Had brunch while watching Match Game '77. A charming old gentleman who claimed he sold junk for a living came in for some ribbing, but he ended up doing very well. (For one thing, he did find a really nice tie.) Debralee Scott, Bill Cullen, and Fannie Flagg were among those who helped him out. Gene was the one who got the jokes in the second episode when his new western-style jacket inspired a few quips from Richard.

Let it run into Tattletales. The first episode featured Patty Duke and John Astin, Abe "Fish" Vigoda and his wife Bea, and soap star Millee Taggart and her husband Barry Kurtz. The Vigodas had been married for years, but John and Patty were always really good at this. After that, they skipped a week to the one with married dancers Bobby Van and Elaine Joyce, baby-faced Martin Milner of Adam-12 and his sweet wife Judy, and another soap star Jed Allen and his sassy wife Toby. The soap people just couldn't get it together, letting the cop and the dancers waltz off with the show.

Managed to move the knee well enough to take the laundry downstairs. After that, I relaxed and read Christmas books while watching The Shop Around the Corner. Alfred Kralik (James Stewart) is the head salesman at Mr. Matuscheck's (Frank Morgan) shop in Budapest. He's not happy when his boss hires little Klara Novak (Margaret Sullivan) after she manages to sell a musical cigarette box as a candy holder. The two fight over every single thing. Alfred is more interested in the young woman he's been corresponding with via mail, his "dear friend." They've never met, and he's too nervous to let her see him. 

That's not Alfred's only problem. Matuscheck has been unusually rough on him lately. He even fires him. He thinks he has his reasons, but he's totally wrong. Meanwhile, Klara admits that she's also been corresponding with a man via mail...but Alfred's not certain what to think when he hears her letters and they seem terribly familiar...

Charming European romantic comedy features lovely performances by Sullivan and Stewart as the two people who think they hate each other, even as they send each other romantic letters. Morgan is also excellent as the shop owner who thinks his best employee has turned on him. Ernest Lubistch adds a delicate touch and gentle warmth, even when the story edges into dark-ish territory with the reason Matuscheck is angry at Alfred and what he does when he finds out the real culprit. Perfect viewing for quiet afternoons during the holiday season.

Spent the rest of the afternoon working on writing after I dropped the laundry in the dryer and brought it upstairs. Stephen is furious when the little hunchback is able to attack him. He uses his black magic to throw him against the wall. Cora runs to him, trying to help him recover. The hunchback opens his mouth to tell her what's going on...but no sound comes out. He's a mute with no voice. He tries again, but still nothing. He tries to mime it, then write it down, but his fingers won't obey him...and all the while, Stephen is growing angrier, and his eyes are getting redder...

Broke at 7 for dinner and Match Game Syndicated. Buzzr went right back to the week with Paul Williams, Gail Farrell, and a plethora of short jokes. They help that sweet little Navy officer do very well in these episodes. Gene's more interested in discussing the coming Christmas holiday in the first one. Brett gets to help the happily sobbing officer with "America __" in the second.

Moved to YouTube after dinner. All three Sinbad movies made by Ray Harryhausen are currently free there. I started with the original from 1958, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Sinbad (Kerwin Matthews) and his men know better than to hang around the island of Colassa and become food for its one-eyed monsters. Magician Sokurah (Torin Thatcher) lost his magic lamp to the monster and wants Sinbad to return and retrieve it. Sinbad won't risk any of his men, until Sokurah shrinks Sinbad's fiancee Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant). Now, Sinbad has to find the roc egg that will restore her in order to restore his fiancee and avert a war with her father. The giant one-eyed monsters aren't the only obstacles on Colassa, They'll have to face everything from the massive Roc itself to a huge dragon in order to retrieve the lamp and rescue the princess.

One of Harryhausen's earliest works, and his first revolving around the Arabian Nights sailor, this is a dashing adventure with truly frightening stop-motion monsters, gorgeous costumes, and lovely Technicolor. 

Finished the night with a truly unique dive into Disney theme park history. Kevin Perjurer of Defunctland created Journey to EPCOT Center: A Symphonic History to be a documentary that's just as original as the concepts Disney came up with EPCOT itself in its early years. Kevin uses images, music, and actors portraying Disney Imagineers, architects, and workers to portray how EPCOT went from Walt's "experimental prototype community of tomorrow" to the corporate-sponsored future-and-culture-based theme park it was when it opened in 1982. It's truly awe-inspiring and like nothing else on YouTube. I especially like how he keeps everything accurate to EPCOT's developmental period of 1976 to 1982, from the headlines of the time to the laser-like recreation of early CGI. 

If you want to learn more about EPCOT's early years and don't mind the lack of dialogue, you owe it to yourself to check this out.

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Eagles Wash Out the Bills

I awoke this morning to a sore right wrist, a right big toe that was one purple spot, and a stiff knee I could barely move. Yeah, I called out of work. No way I'd be able to push carts with my knee and wrist like this. Called them around 8, then went back to sleep and passed out until almost noon.

Did some reading and writing in my journal, then went into breakfast. Since I just finished the 1980 novel Annie that was based on the Broadway show, I did the original cast for that first. I'm honestly fonder of the 1982 movie - I can't see anyone but Carol Burnett as Miss Hannigan - but there's some indelible performances on the original cast, too. Dorothy Loudon is a good Miss Hannigan, while Reid Shelton may be the definitive Daddy Warbucks. Andrea McArdle launched her stage career as the original title character. There's at least one duet for Warbucks and Grace Farrell, "You Won't Be an Orphan for Long," that doesn't seem to have made it into any of the filmed versions. The chorus numbers "It's a Hard Knock Life," "NYC," and "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile" are fun here.

Switched to another mildly Christmas-themed musical after Annie. I picked up my Decca Broadway CD of Babes In Toyland and The Red Mill at least 20 years ago. The Babes songs are mainly sung by Karen Kemple and Kenny Baker and include charming versions of "Toyland," "Floretta," "I Can't Do the Sum," and one that I've never heard elsewhere, the tongue-twisting "Song of the Poet." Wilbur Evans scores with the two big hits from Mill, "Every Day Is Ladies' Day With Me" and "The Sidewalks of New York." 

That Christmas Jazz CD I picked up yesterday was a great find. It was worth it alone for Louis Armstrong's "Christmas Time In Harlem" and Babs Gonzalez' hipster version of The Night Before Christmas, "Be Bop Santa Claus." I also liked Fats Waller's "Swinging Them Jingle Bells" and Duke Ellington's version of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas." 

Moved to records in the living room during lunch. Disney's Babes In Toyland book-and-record has Little Boy Blue narrating the story. (It sounds like the same kid who narrated The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band book-and-record.) Most of the songs are clearly not from the original film...although this sometimes works to the record's advantage. Thurl Ravenscroft sounds a heck of a lot more menacing singing "And We Won't Be Happy 'Til We Get It" than Ray Bolger! The Tom and Mary also do a lovely "Just a Whisper Away."

Say One For Me is a 1959 movie about a priest (Bing Crosby) in New York's theater district who gets involved in the lives of several of his parishioners. It basically sounds like Going My Way crossed with Singin' In the Rain, and the soundtrack bears this out. Crosby and Ray Walston get nice versions of "The Secret of Christmas," but most of the other songs are generic dance numbers performed by Robert Wagner, Debbie Reynolds, and the chorus. 

Here's Love is the Broadway musical version of Miracle On 34th Street from 1963. It largely follows the original movie, although Fred Gaily is stated to be an ex-Marine and we have a dream sequence where Susan imagines her mother among toys trying to choose a father. Janis Paige is Doris; Fred Gwynne is fellow Macy's executive Mr. Shellhammer. Not some of Meredith Wilson's best work, although I do like Doris' "Look, Little Girl," her "Arm In Arm" with Susan, and Susan and Fred's sweet duet "My Wish." 

Thanks to Paramount Plus, I was able to watch the Eagles-Bills game today. It didn't look too good for the Eagles throughout most of the game. Despite the Bills being hit constantly with penalties, they just couldn't get anything started. The fact that it poured almost the entire day didn't help. The Eagles finally woke up in the second half and caught up in a big way by the fourth quarter. They finally won the game in overtime, 37-34.

Worked on writing for a while during and after the game. Stephen tries to hypnotize Cora again, but she's not falling for that anymore. She knows the truth about him - he's a shallow, insensitive bully with no interest in anyone but himself. He finally admits that no, he doesn't love her. He loves the fertile land in her parents' kingdom. She's a means to an end.

He's about to attack her when the hunchback, whom Stephen claims can't do anything but follow orders, breaks free and runs right into him. They go sprawling while Cora pulls away. Stephen's furious, yanking the hunchback around. Cora separates them, telling Stephen basically to cut it out and lay off the guy. Stephen calls the hunchback a freak and a monster, but Cora knows who the real monster is - Stephen.

Broke to have dinner at 7:30, then took a quick shower. Finished the night with episodes of Supermarket Sweep in honor of Cyber Monday tomorrow. This is another one that goes further back than most people likely realize. The original show debuted on ABC in 1965. Three teams begin with a base time of 1 minute and 30 seconds and play pricing games in order to add more to their time. The bonus round lets them run around the store, gathering the most expensive food, along with various bonus items and prizes. The team that gathers the highest total wins and plays two more contestants. Bill Malone hosted.

It's interesting to see what was different in the initial version. First of all, they drove around and filmed at different Food Fair markets in the New York area. Everyone was allowed to keep their groceries along with the bonuses. Everything you saw was real, including the market. No big bonus rounds, either. The Big Sweep is the bonus round. If nothing else, it's interesting to see how real grocery stores looked in the mid-late 60's. 

The women-oriented cable network Lifetime revived Supermarket Sweep in 1990. This time, it was filmed at a studio set up to look like a real supermarket. The pricing games used to earn time are more diverse, including games that let contestants guess tabloid magazine trivia or unscramble brand names. The Big Sweep is now followed by a Bonus Sweep, where the winners of the Big Sweep guess three clues that lead them around the store, ending in an item holding five thousand dollars. Energetic David Ruprecht of the bold sweaters hosted.

I don't think any show evolved more during their runs than Supermarket Sweep. It never seemed to be the same show twice. The graphics became increasingly brighter and blockier. A Mini-Sweep opened the first round starting in 1991 where people would guess an item from Dave's clues, then try to find it in the store for 10 extra minutes. More and more bonuses were added to the Big Sweep, including finding a list of items David announces, guessing an item from clues on a monitor, grinding a bag of coffee, filling a bag with candy, and figuring out which three bread items David wants or which three frozen yogurt flavors he asked for.  Even the episodes I have here from 1990, 1993, and 1995 show different bonuses and pricing games. David dropped the sweaters in favor of weird ties by 1993. 

The show returned on PAX-TV in 2000. I love the graphics that originally opened this one, with their adorable CGI animation depicting carts racing around a store. The second Mini-Sweep is replaced by two longer games. One has a member describing words to their partner that would eventually form a food word; the partner has to guess the word. It's sort of "Supermarket Pyramid." The other was the "Snack Attack Movie Game." That started with three questions about movies. The winner would taste test a food that was related to the film and try to guess what it was for fifty dollars towards the Sweep. 

Supermarket Sweep remained wildly popular in re-runs, first on Lifetime and PAX, then on Buzzr after they debuted there in 2019. That led to the creation of a round-the-clock channel that mostly showed early 90's episodes and a fourth revival on ABC in 2020. Noisy Leslie Banks hosted an expanded hour-long version. Now all the contestants participate in the Mini-Sweep instead of just someone buzzing in, and the Bonus Sweep is expanded to allow contestants to keep going to increase their total winnings, or stop with the money they have. In the show's third episode from 2020, one pair keeps going, only to get stuck, while two mothers wisely figure they have enough money for their needs. 

This has a lot of virtues. Banks is such a ball of energy, I got tired just watching her scoot around! The announcers from the early version are replaced by Banks and a goofy security guard who plays a few skits with Banks between rounds. The contestants are allowed to personalize their matching sweatshirts, too, leading to some rather creative designs. They also have cute names based around their favorite food, like "Team Honey" for honey fans or "Team Marinara" for two women who admitted they bonded over emotionally eating mozzarella sticks. It's kind of too bad ABC dropped this one early last year. I hope they bring it back eventually - it's a lot of fun.

Attention shoppers! Go wild through the aisles with some of the craziest cart-fillers to ever dash through a grocery store! 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Falling Into Parades

Began the morning with breakfast and Charlie & Lola. "I Really, Really Need Actual Ice Skates" Lola begs when she sees a friend skating at the local rink. She was supposed to be saving the money her grandparents gave her for a scooter. Turns out skating is a lot harder than it looks...but her guy buddy is having an equally difficult time with his scooter...

Hurried out after that. The Collingswood Christmas Parade starts at 10 AM. It's the big holiday parade in Camden County. They were already packed two and three deep when I finally arrived. I tried to buy a hot chocolate, but they were out at WaWa, and the line at Grooveground Coffee Shop almost went out the door. I ignored the biting cold day and bought three pretzels from the members of Collingswood High's wrestling team instead.

I finally found a space to settle about a block from the corner of Haddon and Collings Avenues, in front of Exit 4 Escape Rooms and across from Marlene's Dress Shop. There weren't as many floats as usual, but some of them got really creative. Oaklyn and Collingswood's preschool had a penguin theme, with kids and adults carrying stuffed or wooden penguins and two people waddling around in penguin costumes. There were two Frozen floats. The Oaklyn Elementary School's version had Olaf enjoying his warm hugs in a tropical getaway of colorful neon crepe paper and paper palm trees.  One of the two karate troops definitely won for most creative float. They were "Santa's Secret Service," with elf ears and red and green karate belts. There were at least four groups of classic cars. The Grinch drove one snazzy sports car; a stuffed Minnie Mouse perched on a reindeer on the roof of another. Collingswood Bike Share rode decorated bikes, while the children of the Zane North Elementary School pushed scooters. 

I counted at least five dance troupes, including Ovations from Oaklyn. Three bands of Mummers strutted their stuff. One had a pirate theme; the others were just bright colors, spangles, and feathers. Camden High School's band really got into their routine. Their high strutting dancers and musicians moved to the music with a dance as vibrant as their purple and gold uniforms. Collingswood High School's flag brigade swung and tossed and caught gossamer translucent flags that more closely resembled fairies' wings. Two stilt walkers, a toy solder and an elf, delighted the kids with their juggling and high-fives. I saw people dressed as Frosty and Crystal, Raggedy Ann and Andy, Sam I Am from Green Eggs and Ham, the Grinch, and another penguin who clearly didn't want to be there.

Collingswood is always a mess after the parade. I rushed back to my bike to hightail it out of there. Even that proved to be difficult. I had to dodge not only cars, but locals walking to their own homes. At least it was a gorgeous day for it. Sunny and breezy, but cold and crisp, not even in the 40's at quarter of noon.

Stopped at Koupa Espresso Bar on Haddon Avenue in Westmont to finally get a warm drink. They're an ultra-modern coffee shop a few doors down from Phidelity Records. I originally wanted a Gingerbread Chai Latte, but they were out of the syrup. Finally settled at the bar by the window with a Maple Chai Latte. Very sweet and VERY spicy, but quite warming on such a cold day.

Phidelity Records was open when I finished my drinks. Didn't pick up a lot, but I did find a Christmas present for Amanda and a few things for me: 

Original Broadway cast album for the 1969 musical vehicle for Katherine Hepburn Coco

K-Tel albums Music Machine and 2 Power Hits Vol. 2

Christmas Jazz - Collection of holiday jazz that includes Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra (This one was a dollar CD.)

Went across the street to Samaritan Thrift after that. I'm not normally a fan of turtlenecks, but I found a really cute red one with a pretty Christmassy-print. Also picked up a cute gift for Amanda. As it turned out, I couldn't afford anything else. They only took cash, and I gave most of my money to the wrestling team.

I was riding along Cuthbert in front of the Acme when I turned...and almost ran into one of the telephone wires next to the phone pole. I missed it, but the bike and I went crashing to the ground. The bike was fine, but I was not. My right big toe hurt like heck, even in my heavy Bearclaw boot. My wrist was sore, and my right knee was a bloody mess. And I had a hole in my brand-new corduroys! I was furious with myself. Some people walking down the street did help me up, but I was able to walk well enough to go on my way. Good thing the hills are so steep on that part of Cuthbert, I'd be walking and pushing the bike up hills anyhow.

Did manage to make it to Cuthbert to do the shopping I'd planned on. Picked up coconut milk and breakfast sandwich cookies at Sprouts. I also found jars of apple cider spread and pumpkin spice spread on clearance for 99 cents that looked intriguing. Cleaned up my knee here, too. Good thing I always carry Band-Aids in my purse. I had debated skipping Target, but my accident made stopping there necessary. I picked up a wrist wrap and cold compresses along with my favorite cinnamon sugar cashews. Grabbed a Diet Pepsi while waiting in a long line.

Thank heavens, my knee held out long enough to get me home on the bike. Needless to say, I went straight upstairs after that. Watched Berry Merry Christmas from the 2003 version of Strawberry Shortcake as I got organized and rested. Strawberry wants to find the perfect presents for all her friends. Honey Pie Pony suggests that they go to Holiday Land, where Santa Claus lives, to find them. Strawberry travels far and wide to find just the right present. Honey Pie keeps pushing saddles, but Strawberry reminds her that she's not shopping for her. When she thinks her presents are ruined, the others tell her they're just happy she's home, but there is a nice surprise waiting at the end!

Switched to Muppet Treasure Island after the cartoon ended. I go further into the Muppet retelling of the classic Robert Lewis Stevenson pirate novel at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Managed to get into my bedroom to do some writing after that. Cora tells the gentle hunchback she wishes he wouldn't let Stephen bully him so much. When she's running the castle, she'll make sure he's treated better. She's about to lean over and kiss his cheek when she hears an angry shout...

Listened to one of my new K-Tel albums while I worked. Music Machine had some really great songs, some of the best I'd seen on these collections. Favorites included "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" by Andy Gibb, "Don't Give Up On Us" by David Soul, "Gonna Fly Now" by Bill Conti, "Play That Funky Music" by Wild Cherry, "Dancing Queen" by ABBA, "Beth" by KISS, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John, and "You and Me" by Alice Cooper.

Broke for dinner at 7:30. Watched The Love Boat while I ate. In the fifth season, Julie is "Green, but Not Jolly" when Gopher's bottle of hair dye turns her newly platinum locks bright emerald. A man (Bert Convy) who believes in reincarnation thinks he's found his "Past Perfect Love" when he sees a woman (Tanya Roberts) who looks just like the lady he loved 100 years ago. A bachelor football coach (John Phillip Law) finds an "Instant Family" when he falls for a single mother (Lynda Day George) with a mentally disabled son (Corey Feldman). 

Switched to the original 1938 version of The Buccaneer at Kanopy after I ate. The pirate in question is Jean Lafitte (Frederic March), who operated in New Orleans during the War of 1812. He wishes to marry wealthy Annette de Remy (Margot Grahame), but she wants him to give up piracy. Governor Clairbourne (Douglass Dumbrille) has put a price on his head. Jean is furious when his man Captain Brown (Robert Barrat) blows the American ship the Corinthian, despite his order not to touch American ships. The sole survivor is Dutch woman Gretchen (Franciska Gaal), who had to walk the plank. Jean rescues the young lady and lets her work as a maid for him.

The British offer Lafitte money to guide them through the swamps around New Orleans. He would rather offer his aid to General Andrew Jackson (Hugh Sothern), but Jackson doesn't trust him and jails his men. Lafitte releases them and helps Jackson rout the British army. He's now hailed as a hero, but then what happened to the Corinthian comes out at the victory ball when Annette sees Gretchen wearing a cameo that belonged to her sister who was lost with the ship. It'll take all Lefitte's cunning to escape being hanged and get his men and Gretchen out as well.

Cecil B DeMille directed this movie, and it sure does look like it. It's huge in every sense of the word, with giant war battles on land and on sea, massive ships, stunning costumes, and lavish sets. March is fine as Lafitte and Dumbrille does well enough as Clairbourne, but others don't work out as well. Gaal's squeaky little voice and her modern mannerisms make her all wrong for a historical role. Still, it's recommended for fans of DeMille's work or those who love a good pirate yarn like me. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

Black Friday Magic

Began the morning with breakfast and The Busy World of Richard Scarry. Huckle and Lowly want to be "Young Vikings" when they make a raft and sail downriver like Huckle's dad did as a child. Sally isn't supposed to tell their parents, as it's to be a surprise for Dad...but when they're stranded on an island, she may not have a choice. We get a Scarry crossover when Pip Pip recruits Inspector Sneef to find the Queen's jewels onboard Her Majesty's ocean liner bound for Australia in "Sneef Saves the Queen." "Hilda the Director" brings on the other kids in her class to be in her play, but drives them away when she won't let them help her. She learns how important it is to work together when her set falls apart on her.

Hurried out to work after that. Needless to say, we were dead the entire morning. It's the day after the biggest food holiday of the year. Food is the last thing on most people's minds right now. I swept the store, pushed carts, and gathered trash. Other than one of the trash bags making a mess, there were no problems. Even Mother Nature cooperated. It started out cold and cloudy this morning. By the time I finished at 2, the clouds were vanishing, the sun was out, and it was a little warmer, into the lower 50's. 

Had grocery shopping of my own to do after work. Needed to restock granola bars and yogurt - both were on good sales. I did buy grapes, but they cost a fortune. I thought I had an online coupon for them, but I guess it didn't work. I won't be getting them next week unless they're on sale. Found a solo cinnamon roll for dessert later.

Also got my schedule for next week. Other than working at noon on Sunday, it's pretty much the same thing I had before this week. Three days off, Tuesday, Thursday, and next Friday; Monday is the only early day.

Went straight home after that. Watched Password Plus with Allen Ludden, Marcia Wallace, and Wesley Eure on Buzzr. Marcia is normally really good at this, but Wesley's contestant won the round and made it to Alphabetics. 

Let it go into Super Password after. One of the show's most interesting weeks came early in 1987, when Betty White and Estelle Getty of The Golden Girls played Lucille Ball and her screen daughter Ann Dusenberry from Lucy's short-lived final sitcom Life With Lucy. Lucy more than held her own against sassy Estelle and seasoned Betty and played very well with Ann. They even made it to the Super Password bonus round. (Which Lucy did move rather slow on.)

Stayed at Buzzr for their annual Black Friday Frenzy marathon. This year, three episodes of Supermarket Sweep were followed by three episodes of Sale of the Century. Sweep started off with a random episode from early in the original run. David Ruprecht wore a crazy sweater, the women still had big hair, and there were only the huge inflatable bonuses and the shopping list in the Big Sweep. The remaining two episodes were from a "Double Your Cash" week in I believe 1998. Dave's now sporting silvery hair and a crazy tie, the hair is flatter, and there's far more bonuses in the Big Sweep, including candy, grinding your own coffee, and remembering a bread list. 

(And I wish we could have seen more of "Double Your Cash" week instead of the 1992 episode. I want to know if the couple who got that almost 2,000 total in the first episode ended up winning the $5,000.)

Sale of the Century ran its Thanksgiving episodes from 1988. Pretty similar to the 1985 Thanksgiving episode I watched last Monday. Once again, everyone's playing for holiday-themed goodies like a trip to New England, a beautiful blond wood table, and pretty Limoges china and a certificate to a dessert-of-the-month club. Two people missed the guess-the-subject Bonus Round, but one guy did win $5,000 on it.

Oh, and the next Buzzr marathon is going to be a big one. Buzzr opted to keep their tribute to Bob Barker anyway, whether he made it to 100 or not. Along with the Bob on Price Is Right special CBS ran last summer, there will be episodes of Tattletales, Match Game, and the late 80's Family Feud featuring Bob. Price Is Right: The Barker Years will finally show half-hour episodes from 1972 and 1973. It's so big, it'll run the whole first full week of December. 

Worked on writing after that. I went back and added an earlier scene of Cora fleeing to the garden to escape Stephen's dull parties with dignitaries and his wenches. She's strolling through the garden when she notices the hunchback servant working in the garden, lovingly spreading mulch and removing dead leaves. She helps him remove a dead leaf that his short, stubby fingers can't grasp. As she's praising his work in the garden, the head gardener comes around the corner and scolds him for dilly-dallying when he should have been working. She tells him there was no harm done and asks him to be gentler to the man from now on. 

Broke for leftovers and Match Game '79 at 7 PM. Buzzr jumped back to the week they skipped a while back with Foster Brooks, Lorna Patterson, and Betty White. Gene Rayburn rubs the shoulders of a nervous contestant in a way that would likely get him into trouble nowadays near the end!

Finished the night on YouTube after a shower with variations on The Nutcracker. The exquisite Playhouse 90 TV version from 1958 was only rediscovered in its original color a few years ago. Kudos to whomever found and restored the color, because it's gorgeous. It really adds magic to this New York City Ballet production. George Balanchine not only choreographed, he played Godfather Drosselmeyer.  Clara and her prince remain children during the entire Candyland sequence. The Sugar Plum Fairy performs her dances with four cavaliers. Other than men in striped leotards representing candy canes replacing the Russian trepak dancers, this is a traditional but quite well-done version of the show.

Ran across two unique animated Nutcrackers after that. I remember seeing the Russian Nutcracker from 1973 in school as a child. Here, it's a servant named Marie who rescues the Nutcracker. His backstory follows "The Hard Nut," only it's the prince who is cursed, rather than the princess. When Marie frees him, he turns her into a princess, and they go to his parents and never return to Marie's former place of employment. This relatively dark and ominous retelling haunted me for years. 

A British stop-motion Nutcracker and the Mouse King from 1978 is a bit lighter. Once again, it follows "The Hard Nut," only it's a prince who cracks the nut for the ugly princess rather than Drosselmeyer's nephew. The flashback sequence is done in regular animation, made to look like Russian tapestries. It was done by Bob Bura and John Hardwick, who apparently specialized in stop-motion TV shows in England and had won awards for their work. No wonder. Everything here looks smooth and fluid. The Nutcracker is actually rather cute; the Mouse King and his followers most certainly aren't, but they're not too scary for young kids. 

Older children who are ready for a slightly darker version and don't mind that it's dialogue-free may want to check out the Russian cartoon. Younger kids looking for an introduction to the story that's only slightly scary may be more interested in the stop-motion short. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Beautiful Thanksgiving

Began my holiday with readings from the Colliers Harvest of Holidays anthology. We get a short story with a pilgrim grandmother telling stories of her youth, along with several poems and "Over the River and Through the Woods." The Disney anthology book Storybookland from the early 60's has "Pilgrim's Party." Mickey and the gang head to Massachusetts for a real old-fashioned Thanksgiving dinner. It's all fun and historical cosplay, until Pluto steals the turkey! 

I also read the original book version of Molly's Pilgrim. This one is set in the early 20th century, from the outfits and Molly's mother referring to Cossacks and how they could never return to Russia. There's more references to how Molly looks different from the other girls, and Elizabeth is brunette, rather than a snobbish blonde. In other ways, the short is actually a very accurate adaptation, especially in the second half when Molly learns about Thanksgiving at school.

Watched A Looney Tunes Thanksgiving on Amazon while eating breakfast. Bugs Bunny's Thanksgiving Diet has Bugs teaching a European-accented girl bunny how to lose weight in time for the big dinner, then helping her figure out the cause of her hunger via clips from shorts. In Daffy Duck's Thanks-for-Giving Special, Daffy tries to land something bigger than a Thanksgiving special by showing sequences from his cartoons. 

Very disappointing. Thanksgiving Diet has a slightly stronger relationship to the holiday than Thanks-for-Giving, which is just clips from Daffy's shorts, but neither of them really have all that much to do with Thanksgiving. This is especially annoying since the Tunes did make at least one Thanksgiving short, "Tom Turk and Daffy." Only for the most ardent fans of the Toons or those looking for a way to keep Toons-loving kids occupied before the big dinner.

Headed out to work before the cartoon ended. Work was just as busy as yesterday, maybe even more. The carts were empty when I arrived again. I was shocked. I figured most people would have bought everything they needed for Thanksgiving well before this. Once again, the parking lot was a mess. Good thing there was another guy helping me, and then a third towards the end of my shift.

At least the weather behaved this time. It behaved so well, I took the long way home. It was very sunny and breezy, with a soft blue sky overhead, probably in the mid-50's. Surprisingly, considering what the Acme looked like, it wasn't that busy. Not even around the entrance to Audubon Crossings. I admired radiant scarlet and gold trees and the last of the roses in gardens as I rode into Oaklyn.

When I got home, I changed, finished Daffy Duck's Thanks-for-Giving Special, and went back out again. After working three days in a row pushing carts, I wasn't up to the Uber trip to the Empire Diner. I discovered Mulligan's Bar and Grill on the White Horse Pike was open, so I ended up there.

And I'm sure glad I did. Their Thanksgiving dinner was incredible. The meal came with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, caramelized sweet potatoes, garlic green beans, and your choice of salad or soup (I opted for the salad.) Yum. Everything was as real as could be. No boxed mixes here! The only thing that likely came from a box or can was the tiny cup of jellied cranberry sauce. I even liked the buttery gravy, and I'm not usually a fan of gravy. There was even a slice of pumpkin pie the size of a small life raft. And the young waitress was a real doll, too. I left her a big tip.  

I ended up sitting by the window across from the bar, with a perfect view of the Lions-Packers game. The Packers were killing the Lions when I was there, 28-14. Apparently, they caught up after I left, but not enough to win the game. Packers won 28-22.

Since it's two blocks from Mulligan's, I stopped at WaWa next for a treat. Had their Peppermint Mocha Smoothie. Yum. Too sweet, but lots of chocolate and peppermint flavor. It was busy, but I was able to use self-checkout.

Went home after that. Spent the next few hours watching (and almost falling asleep over) Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. All Neil Page (Steve Martin) wants to do is get home to Chicago for Thanksgiving. Trouble is, every single vehicle he boards breaks down, is caught in a snowstorm, or doesn't get him far enough. If that wasn't enough, he keeps running into show curtain ring salesman Del Griffith (John Candy). Del is the nicest guy in the world, but he's also a chatty and occasionally annoying mass of bad habits. Neil spends most of the trip ready to throw him half-way to Chicago...until he realizes why Del is on the road, and how important it is to be thankful for our loved ones and having a home to get to.

Classic comedy from John Hughes remains a funny and fairly realistic look at holiday travel nightmares over 30 years later, even when it takes a left turn into forced sentimentality towards the end. John Candy and Steve Martin later called it one of their favorite films and their best performances, and I have to concur. Bad language and sexual references make this for teens on up who have been through a lot of what happens to these two guys, are fans of the stars, or are looking for something to watch after dinner on Thanksgiving Day.

Worked on writing for a while after the movie ended. The gentle hunchback brings Cora her favorite book as a wedding gift. Cora admits that she finds the hunchback sweet and kind despite his wretched appearance and wonders why he allows Stephen to bully him.

Put A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving next. Charlie Brown has his own holiday troubles when Peppermint Patty invites herself, Marcie, and Franklin over for Thanksgiving dinner. Chuck is going to be over his grandmother's house for Thanksgiving. He, Linus, and Snoopy make a dinner of toast, jelly beans, popcorn, sundaes, and pretzels to appease them. Peppermint Patty is furious, until Marcie and Linus remind her and Chuck about the real reason for the holiday.

The real reason for the holiday is also the subject of The Mayflower Voyagers. Here, the Peanuts kids, Snoopy, and Woodstock play pilgrim children and animals on their way to the New World. They endure a terrible trip and harsh weather when they arrive, with many of their parents dying on arrival. After the friendly natives Squanto and Massasoit help them plant crops, they share the bounty and invite them over for a feast of thanksgiving.

Tried something I hadn't done in ages after the Peanuts ended. I made cranberry sauce. The sliver of jellied cranberry sauce I had at Mulligan's was the only part of that meal I wasn't crazy about. I missed my real, home-made sauce. I think I put in too much water and too little sugar, but it still came out edible and nicely tart.

Watched The Thanksgiving Treasure during and after making the sauce. Addie Mills (Lisa Lucas) first discovers the horse of her dreams while riding her bike on the outskirts of her Nebraska town in November 1947. She's smitten, but it turns out the horse belongs to cranky Walter Rehinquist (Barnard Hughes). Her father James Mills (Jason Robards) has a long-standing feud with him, dating back to when he wouldn't pay him for building a pond. Addie tries to make friends by bringing him a Thanksgiving dinner taken from bits of her own meal with her uncle and aunt. Rehinquist calls her bossy at first, but he eventually lets her ride Treasure and comes to enjoy her visits. She's deeply upset when he gets sick, but her grandma (Mildred Natwick) reminds her that we need to be thankful for what we did share with our loved ones.

Second of four Addie holiday movies is the sweet and sad story of a horse-crazy girl who makes a friend not only with a horse, but with her lonely owner. Hughes in particular is wonderful as the cantankerous Rehnquist, who can tell wonderful stories when he gets going. Highly recommended holiday viewing, especially for families with girls Addie's age.

Did The Berenstein Bears Meet Bigpaw next. I go further into the tale of how a Thanksgiving legend in Bear Country doesn't turn out to be as scary as it seems at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Finished the night with possibly the most unusual Thanksgiving sitcom episode in existence. The swashbuckler spoof Jack of All Trades somehow shoehorned a Thanksgiving episode into their second season. Diminutive Napoleon is building a familiar statue carrying a torch, which he intends to give to the Americans. Jack convinces Emilia to hold a Thanksgiving dinner for him and Governor Croquey to figure out what they're up to. When it turns out to be more sinister than expected, Jack says "One, Two, Three, Give Me Lady Liberty" when he turns to another Thanksgiving tradition to keep them occupied - football!

And I hope you had a wonderfully weird Thanksgiving of your own, no matter what you ate or whom you celebrated it with!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

When Santa Came Early

Began the morning with breakfast and one of the most unique Thanksgiving cartoons out there. "Thanksgiving for the Memories" is from the Q-Bert segment of the early 80's video game-based cartoon anthology Saturday Supercade. Q-Bert's teacher recalls that when the Q-Pilgrims came to the New World, the eldest pilgrim offered a cart and horse to the settler who did the most work. Coiley the Snake tries to sabotage Q-Bert and his friends, but they avoid him at every turn...until Q-Bert trips over his brother Q-Bit's ball and lets loose with his famous symbol curse. When the upset Q-Bit runs away, the other pilgrims - including Coiley and his pals - go after him.

Headed to work soon as the episode ended. Work was a mess from beginning to end. The carts were empty when I arrived at 9:30. The crowds did ebb a little around 11:30, but they came back at 12:30-1 and never let up after that. I spent almost the entire 8 hours pushing carts. There was another bagger after 10:30 who did the trash and sweeping. I am so glad they switched me to bagging! Dealing with the parking lot was crazy enough. People screamed obscenities at each other, cars honked, cut each other off, drove way too fast down the road between the lot and the store, and didn't look when people were coming out of the store. I'm just grateful there were no accidents. 

Not everything was bad. I found my favorite fudge-topped shortbread cookies on clearance. Picked up a container of cooked shrimp on sale for a small dinner tomorrow night. I got to see tree sellers set up the Christmas tree lot that is always in the back of the Acme parking lot from the day after Thanksgiving through the day before Christmas Eve. 

A huge Coke truck decorated with their Santa Claus ads lingered in the back of the parking lot for most of the afternoon and evening. I couldn't think of why until I walked out of the store and saw it parked on the curb. It was now decorated with small twinkling lights. Santa himself sat on a "throne" surrounded by lights out front. People gave out free Coke Zero samples while customers sat on Santa's knee or took photos with him. I wasn't up to the photo op, but I did grab a free Coke Zero on the way out. 

Went straight home and into dinner and Match Game PM. Gene teased a guy with long, thick hair, but the joke turned out to be on him. Not only did the guy win, but he sensibly asked Charles to clarify his odd answer to "Throw the __" in the Audience Match, then went with Richard for "Jack the __" in the Audience Match.

Singer Gail Farrell of The Lawrence Welk Show made her first of two appearances on Match Game Syndicated in early 1980. Since the Monday show for this week is another one that's currently MIA, Buzzr went right to Tuesday. Clifton claims his fan club is in the audience when they cheer loudly for him, while the others help calm a very sweet Navy officer. 

For some weird reason, the second show jumped back to the very last episode of Match Game '79. Bill Daily tried on Gene Rayburn's navy suit jacket, claiming he intended to wear it for his upcoming wedding. (He must have ended up keeping it. He's seen wearing that suit several times during the syndicated series.)

Switched to The Plymouth Adventure at Amazon Prime after a desperately-needed shower. Captain Christopher Jones (Spencer Tracy) is not thrilled to be hauling a group of settlers across the Atlantic, including a religious group he considers to be hypocrites. He thinks the only thing anyone cares about is money, until he falls for beautiful Dorothy Bradford (Gene Tierney), the wife of pilgrim leader William Bradford (Leo Genn). Carpenter John Alden (Van Johnson) has his own romance problems when he catches the eye of pretty pilgrim Priscilla Mullins (Dawn Adams), but soldier Miles Standish (Noel Drayton) also has his eye on her. All the romance might not add up to a hill of green beans if the settlers can't survive the long, treacherous ocean voyage, and then the even longer, cold winter at Plymouth Rock.

Stirring romantic swashbuckler gets kudos for covering a period of history not often discussed in movies. Tracy walks away with the top honors here as the weary captain who thinks everyone is out for a quick buck, until he meets Dorothy. The special effects won an Oscar in 1952 and still look pretty good to this day, especially that huge storm at sea. Great costumes and sets, too, especially the fairly realistic Mayflower. Worth checking out at Thanksgiving for fans of the cast, old movie buffs, and those looking for a relatively appropriate holiday movie for romantic older kids and teenagers. 

Finished the night with Molly's Pilgrim on YouTube. Molly, whose Jewish family recently immigrated from Russia, would be happier if the kids at school didn't tease her about her old-fashioned clothes, her accent, her borscht lunches, and her talent at gymnastics. When her teacher gives her an assignment to make a pilgrim doll for a Thanksgiving display, her mother makes the doll look like a Russian immigrant. The kids and teacher don't understand at first, until Molly explains that her family was also looking for religious freedom. One of the students ultimately said it best - it really does take all kinds of pilgrims to make a Thanksgiving.

And here's even more vintage Thanksgiving specials to tide you over until the big meal!

(Oh, and I got lucky with the weather. It was really windy and off-and-only cloudy for the entire day. The sun tried to come out at one point, but heavier clouds moved in. It thankfully didn't start raining until nearly 10 PM.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Laughter In the Rain

Started off the morning with breakfast and Swing Parade of 1946. I go further into this cute low-budget backstage musical featuring singer Gale Storm and The Three Stooges at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Worked on writing briefly during the movie. Cora asks Madame Fran the dressmaker why she thinks Stephen is such a catch. Yes, he's handsome, but what else? What else is there? asks the lady. Cora's wondering whether her fiancee really is more than just a pretty face when she sees his hunckbacked manservant coming kindly over to her with a flower...

The movie ended just in time for me to make it to work. Work was off-and-on steady for most of the afternoon. I actually thought it would be a lot worse. I started off the day by cleaning up a huge cranberry juice spill. I still have no idea how one of Walmart's electric carts ended up on the side of the Acme building. I had to drive that to the Walmart on the other side of the shopping center.

As I walked back to the Acme around quarter of 1, I felt little drops on my nose. Those little drops got bigger and fatter as I rounded the corner to the entrance. It would rain in some form or another for the rest of the day. At least it didn't rain that hard while I was at work. Strong wind was more of a problem than rain. Spent most of the afternoon sweeping the store and trying to keep carts from blowing away, though I did have to get the full outside trash at one point.

Oh, and I texted my sister Rose during break to ask her what her family is doing for Thanksgiving. Alas, it would seem they're visiting family in New Hampshire for the weekend. Research later revealed that The Empire Diner in Brooklawn is open on the holiday again. I'll just do what I did last year and have a big lunch there, then come home and watch TV and work on writing. 

Went straight home after work. Despite the continuing rain, I decided I wasn't in the mood for leftovers. I grabbed an umbrella and strolled a block down to Crown Chicken and Gyro. At least they were nice and warm when I arrived. Not to mention quiet. I saw one other person waiting for their order as I waited for my cheesesteak, fries, and Diet Dr. Pepper. 

Ate dinner at home while watching Match Game Syndicated. I arrived literally just in time to see Bart Braverman briefly take over asking questions for Gene when the latter wanted to answer them. Frankly, Bart sounded more like a race track tout than a game show host! In the second episode, Gene mentions Charles directed an opera featuring star Diano Sorvino (who would become the only opera singer to appear on the show a year later). Oh, and it looks like an episode was skipped here. Apparently, GSN never showed this one either, so it would appear to be permanently lost for the moment.

Finished the night with Thanksgiving sitcom episodes. Probably the most famous Thanksgiving-themed sitcom show is "Turkeys Away!" from early in the first season of WKRP In Cincinnati. Feeling out of place at the station, manager Arthur Carlson comes up with a big secret promotion he won't tell anyone else about. When Arthur's big promotion that involves dropping turkeys out of a helicopter proves to be, well, a turkey, he and the others have to deal with the fall-out. (And amazingly enough, this would seem to be based on an actual radio promotion in Cincinnati, though apparently the turkeys were tossed off a truck there.)

Barney Miller has an only slightly less eventful "Thanksgiving Show" in the fourth season.  He and his men at the precinct have to deal with a band of mental patients who escaped from their institution and end up loose in an automat. They have only slightly less trouble with a guy who stabbed his mooching brother-in-law with a fork during Thanksgiving dinner.

The 4077th at MASH also has a wild Thanksgiving in the eight season episode "The Yalu Brick Road." G.W Bailey probably wishes he was back dealing with goofy cops when Klinger's bad turkeys leave the base with a raging case of samonella poisoning. Hawkeye and Hunnicut get lost in enemy territory while picking up the antidote and end up bringing along a North Korean soldier who alternates between trying to take the prisoner and insisting on being their prisoner. Meanwhile, Father Mulcahey tries to keep Hot Lips and Winchester from killing each other as they all take care of the stricken soldiers in the camp.

Balki and Larry have their own trouble with "Wild Turkey" in the seventh season of Perfect Strangers. Larry buys a flock of turkeys, hoping to pawn them off on last-minute shoppers. When one of the turkeys may have swallowed Jennifer's diamond ring, he and Balki end up invading the home of the people who purchased it during Thanksgiving dinner to get it back. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Thankful for Games

Began the morning with breakfast and The New Scooby Doo Mysteries. "A Nutcracker Scoob" was the series finale and the first-ever Christmas Scooby episode. Daphne, Fred, Shaggy, and the dogs are helping an orphanage put on their Christmas play when mean old Nicholas Nickleby comes in and tries to buy the place, then shut it down. That's not the only trouble Mystery Inc faces. The Ghost of Christmas Never attacks the production as the gang searches for a priceless emerald that could save the orphanage.

Headed out to run errands after that. Stopped at Dollar General first. I really liked what TreSemme did for my hair when I tried travel-sized versions in September, and they're also cheaper than the usual Ogx I use. I also picked up Mylanta for the heartburn I'd had since last night and a gift and Christmas card for Amanda. Quickly strolled a few blocks down to Family Dollar, where I finally picked up more underwear. Candy canes were cheaper here than anywhere else except Dollar Tree, and I grabbed something small for Amanda, too.

The other reason I went out was just to enjoy a beautiful late morning. It was chilly, in the upper 40's, but sunny and breezy. It's very fall here now, with many trees having either totally lost their leaves, or pretty close to it. Though a few houses have Thanksgiving banners or inflatable turkeys, most settle for fall wreaths on the doors or the last mums and roses in their gardens. It was also pretty quiet. There were lines at the stores, but most people must have been at work or lunch when I was walking.

Went straight into Tattletales when I got home. It was still the week with Bill and Ann Cullen, Bob and Dorothy Jo Barker, and Days of Our Lives star Patty Weaver and her husband Larry Stewart. Bob and Dorothy Jo did much better the first time around, coming close to winning for a change. Ann and Bill finally won in the last minute. In the second episode, Bob and Dorothy Jo only answered one question right. It was one all the ladies got right, about the movie they'd like to show for their husbands. Classy Larry said Casablanca. Bill admitted that Ann had wanted him to see Cabaret. Dorothy Jo knew darn well how her husband felt about dogs and opted for Benji.

Had lunch while watching The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't on YouTube. (Alas, it's no longer on Tubi.) I went further into this cute Hanna-Barbara animated special at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog last year. 

Switched to job hunting after the cartoon ended. I'd still like to do something with writing, but if that doesn't pan out, there's data entry, too. I'm not going to be able to get together with Karen this week, but when we do see each other again, I think I'll focus on data entry jobs when I'm with her and do more research on writing and editing jobs on my own. 

Worked on writing for a while after that. Harron still tries to hypnotize Cora, but he's not entirely successful. She keeps ducking away. Desperate to marry her before she figures out the truth, he pushes up the date for their wedding. The dressmaker gushes about what a catch he is and how handsome he is, but Cora realizes that "Stephen" isn't much more than a pretty face. She doesn't love him, and knows he can't love anyone but himself.

Broke for dinner at 7, though it was closer to 7:30 before I finally had a cheese and herb omelet and salad for dinner. Buzzr finally returned to Match Game Syndicated tonight, picking up with Bart Braverman, Barbara Rhodes, Bill Anderson, and Joyce Bulifant in early 1980. Gene tossed in a few jokes about the male contestant's considerable mustache in the first episode. (The female contestant was from Lauren's native Pittsfield!) Bill began the second by showing off a photo of his darling baby boy. Joyce is just happy when she actually gets an answer right. 

Finished the night after a shower with Thanksgiving-themed game show episodes. Match Game didn't do big dinners, but they did occasionally make turkey jokes. The episode before Thanksgiving in 1977 had Orson Bean discussing his role as Bilbo Baggins in the animated Hobbit that was just about to debut. 

Other shows got more into the holiday. Sale of the Century had a gorgeous living room set and a night out for a big dinner with all your friends among their prize packages in 1985. The 1987 High Rollers with Wink Martindale had a turkey-themed prize package "stuffed" with money. Ray Combs led two energetic families through Thanksgiving-themed questions on a syndicated Family Feud episode in 1989. This one actually did culminate in a big turkey dinner for Combs and both families. 

Thanksgiving game show episodes go back a long way on TV. I've Got a Secret did a very funny one in 1954 with Garry Moore claiming he was going to serve the rather handsome live turkey at the beginning of the episode for Thanksgiving. The other Thanksgiving secret was much cuter. A first grade class put on an adorable Thanksgiving play for the panelists, including Faye Emerson, Jayne Meadows, Bill Cullen, and Henry Morgan. 

To Tell the Truth got a Thanksgiving show in during their last season in 1967. The first round was really sweet. We met three very pretty ladies who all claimed to be the wife of Bud Collyer's son. Bud himself revealed which one was really his daughter-in-law. The second only showed three sets of gorgeous legs that claimed to be "Miss Drumstick." Tom Poston dropped out early, claiming he recognized one set of legs just a little too well...and no wonder. The third set of legs belonged to a certain comedienne who continued to be associated with game shows for the remainder of her very long life, and even married a host...

The Price Is Right has done Thanksgiving episodes pretty much since they started. Their second and last half-hour Thanksgiving episode in 1974 ended with two nifty Thanksgiving showcases depicting ways to celebrate the holiday. At least the Showcase went over better than the rest of the episode; only one contestant won their game.

The wild success of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2000 cut across generational lines. Young kids finally got in on the action during their Thanksgiving episodes that year. A 16-year-old boy and his dad did the best; a younger kid kept getting the questions right, but his dad didn't believe him and called on lifelines instead. Wish Regis hadn't kept questioning the boys about their girlfriends, including the two younger ones who were clearly still in the cooties stage. It got a little annoying after a while.

Run these before your Thanksgiving dinner and get everyone playing along before the big meal! (Look for the original commercials on To Tell the Truth and the ones from its Game Show Network run on The Price Is Right!) 

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Matches On a Sunny Day

Overslept this morning! I had just enough time to write in my journal, change, grab something to eat, and dash out the door. Raced fast as I could across Oaklyn and down the Black Horse Pike. I just barely got to work on time.

That was the worst thing that happened all day. I spent the rest of the morning and afternoon pushing carts. Once again, it was a perfect day for it. Sunny, breezy, mid-50's. Couldn't have been nicer for November. The morning bagger was already there when I arrived; two evening baggers came in during the last hour. I only swept once, when the morning bagger went on break. No trouble at all after I got in.

Went straight home after work and into writing. Cora wakes up from her nightmare screaming and immediately goes to confront Stephen...or Harron...about it. He denies it, then gives her his red-eyes hypnotic stare. He wants to marry her the next day. She doesn't love him...or does she? His stare is making it harder to remember...

Listened to a couple of Christmas records while I worked. The seventh and final Firestone Christmas album mixes things up a bit with secular pop numbers by Vicki Carr along with the usual hymns and carols. Carr's big number is the sweet "I Still Believe In Christmas," which I believe is exclusive to this album.

I've had New England Sleigh Ride for ages. In fact, I tend to forget I have it. There's a couple of songs on this largely instrumental album that I've never heard of before and may be exclusive to the LP, including "Christmas Is Glowing," "Everything Says Christmas Is Here," and "Snow Flakes on the Windowpanes." 

Had a quick dinner, then finished on YouTube with tonight's Match Game Classics marathon. Comedienne Jo Ann Worley is best-known today for her appearances on the early seasons of Laugh-In and for her cartoon voice work. (She was the voice of Hoppo on The Wuzzles and the original voice of the wardrobe on the animated Beauty and the Beast, among others.) Worley first turned up on Match Game in 1974 and would continue appearing on the original version through 1976. She was a more frequent semi-regular on Match Game '90, and in fact, was probably one of the celebrities who most often turned up on that version. 

Later in 1974, Gene had an encounter with an extremely enthusiastic, jumpy contestant...and her equally enthusiastic sister in the audience. Turns out she was the sister of Dorothy, the excitable contestant who made New Year's Day 1974 so wild and memorable. Considering her sister jumped around so much Gene hid from her behind the back tiers, it would seem insane amounts of energy runs in the family! She was on the week with little Jackie Joseph where she drooled over a handsome man with long blonde hair and a bushy gold beard. She saw Ron Pallilo do well with the Audience Match in 1976 and Marjorie Goodman Cott of Classic Concentration turn up with her tiny dog in 1991. Earlier that year, she and Charles made jokes about doing The Mikado together onstage.

Let's all sing an aria for the loudest Laugh-In lady of all in this nutty marathon!

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Last Harvest Day

Began the morning with breakfast and Care Bears Family on Tubi. A little boy has to make a speech for his Thanksgiving town festival, but is shocked when everyone is too grumpy to come out for it. He and Share Bear discovers that Sour Sam has given everyone - including several Care Bears and Cousins - his Crabby Apple Pies that have turned everyone cranky. "Gram Bear's Thanksgiving Surprise" is that she's become quite a bit more hip and youthful...but she can still make her Happy Apple Pies and encourage the boy to make sure that his town remembers the importance of being thankful.

Hurried out after that. It was 11 AM, and I wanted to hit the farm market before they closed for the year. Once again, there were far more craft booths than produce tables, but I still found Asian pears, lovely little gala apples, herb and garlic cheddar cheese, and multi-grain bread. Saw many people buying broccoli, greens, apples, and cauliflower for Thanksgiving and birthday parties. I had a harder time with the bakery booths. Apple cider donuts and pretzel rings were gone, and the multi-grain loaf was the cheapest one they had left. 

Went across the street to WaWa for a treat. Though I'd try their Caramel Apple Smoothie. It was...ok. Too sweet. It did taste like apple, but there was more caramel than apple. Considering how busy they were, I used the self-checkout and got out as quickly as I could.

I completely forgot there's two record stores in Collingswood. Collingswood Music is hidden down a side street. Fortunately, they open earlier on Saturdays. They don't have quite the selection that Innergroove does down the street as they also sell musical instruments and lessons, but I did come up with:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - the original off-Broadway cast for this 1964 musical adaptation of the James Thurber short story.

Soundtracks for National Lampoon's Animal House and Superman III

The rest of my time in Collingswood didn't go nearly as well. I put my caramel apple smoothie near a door in order to check out the Time Lapse thrift shop. I didn't know anyone lived over it! Just a few minutes later, a college girl came in whining that someone left their "nasty drink" on the door and she cleaned it up. I didn't tell her it was mine. I didn't feel like being yelled at, and I felt bad enough. 

Saw a pile of records at the Dig This 60's furniture shop. Some man told me that they weren't for sale. When I pointed out that they were clearly left on the sale floor. he snapped that he played them in the store. I left quickly after that. Haddon Culinary was too busy to find much and expensive, too. Didn't see anything I wanted at Clutter Thrift Shop, the Occasionette gift shop, another gift shop with a coffee bar that specialized in leather goods. 

I was so upset and frustrated with myself, I wandered into the library. I didn't see anything I wanted on their sale racks, either. Went upstairs to sit down and collect myself while I colored an Indian design with colored pencils at one of the Teen Area tables. 

After that, I felt calm enough to head home. At least it was a nice day for all of this. Windy, yes, and colder than it has been, but sunny and bright, probably in the lower 50's. Just right for this time of year. I considered going to Dollar General, then decided I'd do that on Monday.

When I got home, I had lunch and put everything away while watching Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving. I go further into this anthology of A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving and two New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh shorts at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog in an entry from 2021.

Switched to the 1973 Filmation version of Treasure Island after I ate. I also go further into their second crack at British literature at the Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Moved to writing after the pirates ended and I took an early shower. Cora tries to stop Harron from harming Stephen, but he throws a leash and collar around the prostrated king and tells him he's nothing more than a servant. He then turns on Cora and is about to attack her when she wakes up screaming. It was a bad dream, but she suspects it was telling her something very important...

Listened to one of my Firestone Christmas albums while I worked. I have all seven of these. I've always loved the covers, with their huge bows and mistletoe against bright-colored backgrounds. They just scream "late 50's-early 60's Christmas" to me. My mother had a couple that used to belong to her mother in the 1980's. We used to listen to them when we decorated our Christmas tree. Rise Stevens and tenor Brian Sullivan are the main performers on numbers like "O Come All Ye Faithful," "Carol of the Bells," and two medleys of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "The First Noel" and "Away In a Manger" and "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear." 

Finished the night on YouTube. Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra didn't get quite as into Thanksgiving as they did some other holidays, but they did do a few really fun episodes devoted to it. The 1973 show opens with everyone on their way "Home for the Holidays." Guy and Ralna insist "Ya'll Come to See Us," while the female singers remind us to "Count Your Blessings." Motherly Normal Zimmer wants to "Bless This House." Arthur Duncan celebrates by tapping away to the "Stealer's Waltz." Bobby Burgess and Cissy King do a waltz to "Somewhere My Love," then finish with a sprightly polka.

I have fond memories of catching the 1978 Thanksgiving episode in college. They open the episode with the rousing "On This Thanksgiving Day." Mary Lou Metzinger thinks Jack Imel is a chef and asks him "What'cha Got Cookin'?" Bobby and Cissy's Native dance in rather ridiculous Indian costumes works a lot less well today.  Guy and Ralna get "Count Your Blessings" here. Ken Delo reminds the older folks in the audience to "Button Up Your Overcoat."Arthur dedicates his number in this episode to "Dear Hearts and Gentle People." Anacani performs a lovely Spanish hymn, "May You Go With God." 

"Home for the Holidays" also opens their final Thanksgiving show in 1981. Guy and Ralna's ballad here is "A House With Love In It." Anacani picks up the pace with a Spanish-language version of "Put Your Hand In the Hand." Close friends and partners Ken Delo and Arthur Duncan go "Back In Your Own Backyard" as they recall why everyone wants so badly to get home for Thanksgiving. Bobby and his new partner Elaine Niverson get their square dance on for "Turkey In the Straw" and "Polly Wolly Doodle." Joe Feeny reminds everyone to "Be Thankful," while country singers Ava Barber and Jim Turner join in for "You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma." The show ends with "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You" in honor of its author, Meredith Wilson.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with your family and Lawrence Welk's!

Finished the night with this Saturday's Match Game marathon. Character actor Robert Donner, best-known for his work in Mork & Mindy, made his first appearance on the show late in 1979. He would continue as a semi-regular through syndication and The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. His dour demeanor, no-nonsense sense of humor, and nifty artwork on his cards really livened up some of the later syndicated episodes. Once, his answer was so bad, Gene sent him down to talk to the contestant whose answer had been equally odd. He got to see soap star Heather Thomas show off her tight, backless striped dress and hear Charles and Brett bicker over whether or not he stole her answers. Charles, who had so often been scolded by Brett for not wearing socks, would really hear about it when he walked around on the shag carpeting barefoot. Then there was the time almost everyone on the panel but Marcia Wallace walked off the set due to some bad answer. 

Donner may have had even more fun on Hollywood Squares Hour. On his last week of the show, he decided he wasn't getting enough attention and hired a guy he called Crazy George to play a drum and scream loudly in the crowd whenever he gave his answer. George was so noisy, he unnerved several viewers watching the show online! Needless to say, Robert was the only person in the studio who thought this was a good idea. Gene eventually had to subdue the guy.

Drum up a little out-of-this-world fun with this wild and wacky marathon!

Friday, November 17, 2023

The Warmth of the Fall

Began the morning with a quick breakfast and Mickey's Mixed-Up Adventures. "Mickey's Thanksgiving Fun Race!" has Mickey's pals and their relatives driving floats made to look like favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Donald and Mickey end up in the gravy boat together, but their inability to decide whether they should drive slow or fast nearly causes disaster. Minnie and Daisy are "Happy Thanksgiving Helpers" when they desperately race all over town to find the ingredients for the cranberry sauce recipe Daisy's grandmother usually makes. When their other guests end up bringing non-traditional sides, Daisy finally realizes that who is sitting around the table is more important than what's being eaten.

Watched a little of the early 80's Family Feud while I got organized. Richard Dawson not only kissed the ladies, he charmed the heck out of three teenagers and three young girls. He even did sign language for a deaf fan in the audience. 

Headed out to do my grocery shopping at quarter of 11. I started off at the Westmont Plaza. Picked up breakfast cookies and coconut milk at Sprouts. Bags of Lily's seasonal chocolate-pumpkin chips were supposed to be a 99-cent manager's deal, but they came up regular price. I had to get a refund on a gift card and buy them again. I had more luck picking up Christmas presents for a friend's daughter and my niece Lilah at Target. Thanks to an online coupon, Lilah's gift was 25 percent off. Pumpkin was cheaper there than at Sprouts or the Acme, too.

Headed past the Haddon Township Library and down the hill to the Westmont Diner for lunch. I hadn't had pancakes in ages. They were out of the Lemon Yogurt Poppy Seed Pancakes, so I went with their "Banoffee Pancakes," three large pancakes with banana slices, whipped topping, butter cookie bits, and caramel. The caramel was too sweet, but the rest tasted pretty good. It was almost 12 by this point, and they were busy with mainly older groups looking for lunch.

Went straight up the next hill to the Westmont Acme after lunch. I mainly needed yogurt. Had an online coupon for Chobani. Grapes were on sale, too. Finally ran out of popcorn earlier in the week. Also dug up an online coupon for the 20 oz Coke bottles, and they were 2 for 4. I grabbed a regular Zero and a rarer Segrams Ginger Ale Zero. The Westmont Acme was busier than the Audubon Acme's been for the past few days. I barely dodged a long line. 

Rode home across Newton Lake Park, passing many children returning to school after lunch and dog walkers and parents with strollers out to enjoy the unusually warm weather. It was 69 degrees, according to the digital sign in front of Haddon Township High School, cloudy and a bit humid for November. Everything is certainly looking like fall now. The leaves are rapidly tumbling from the trees; they so cover the path in the park, it's hard to tell where the path begins and the grass ends. I walked my bike up the dirt path over the hill, enjoying the stillness of the woods and the vibrant yellow and gold trees.

When I got home, I put everything away while watching Tattletales from 1976. It's Price Is Right History week as then-current TPIR host Bob Barker and his very funny wife Dorothy Jo competed against previous TPIR host Bill Cullen and his smart wife Ann and Days of Our Lives star Patty Weaver and her husband Larry Stewart. Amazingly enough, this was the first time the two hosts had met. Bob and Dorothy had been high school sweethearts - they met at an Ella Fitzgerald concert - and were married until her death in 1981. They blew away the others and got every answer right.

Went online and checked my schedule next. In good news, Monday and next Saturday off. I was barely expecting to get one day off. I'll be able to see the Collingswood Christmas Parade again. The bad news is, I work early Thanksgiving. It's only four hours and it's in the morning, so I may not fuss about working it. I'll miss the parade, but not dinner.

Listened to my new records next. On a Clear Day You Can See Forever opened in 1965, and despite not being a runaway hit, it produced standards in the title song and the ballads "Come Back to Me" and "What Did I Have That I Don't Have?" While Barbara Harris is adorable as the time-spanning Melinda on the cast album, I can understand why revised versions have failed in revival. The story of a hypnotist who discovers a kooky young woman lived a past life via hypnotism is just too bizarre to stand up today. Several numbers set during Melinda's previoius life in the 18th century exist mainly to give the chorus something to do and probably show off the sets. 

Honestly, this is worth getting to hear Harris and big-voiced John Cullum do those three numbers. William Daniels also joins Harris for a sweet "Wait 'Til We're Sixty-Five." Just enjoy the solo performances and "Clear Day" and skip the other chorus numbers.

Did the first disc of the MGM musical soundtrack set next. The Pirate was Cole Porter's last score before his big comeback with Kiss Me Kate. This sexy swashbuckler with Kelly as an actor passing himself as the title swashbuckler to woo Caribbean lass Judy Garland produced the standard "Be a Clown." Garland's passionate "Mack the Black" and Kelly's teasing "Nina" are other stand-outs. Hit the Deck is an underrated tale of sailors on leave and the girls they fall for. "Hallelujah!" is the big one here; other good songs include "Sometimes I'm Happy" and the lovely "More Than You Know."

Moved on to K-Tel's Hit Machine after the musicals ended. The title of this 1976 album couldn't be more accurate. Almost every song here was a hit in its time, and most are still well-known today. Among my favorites here are "When I Will I Be Loved?" by Linda Rondstat, "Right Back Where We Started From" by Maxine Nightingale, "Moonlight Feels Right" by Starbuck, "Evil Woman" by the Electric Light Orchestra, "Island Girl" by Elton John, "Rock and Roll All Nite" by KISS, and the title songs from Welcome Back Kotter and Happy Days

Did the soundtrack from Scrooged while writing. The big hit here was the Annie Lennox-Al Green "Put a Little Love In Your Heart" that still shows up on the radio frequently during the holiday season. Most of the other songs are the random pop tunes and rap numbers that were common in 1988, but we do get Natalie Cole's version of "The Christmas Song" along with "A Wonderful Life."

Worked on writing while the records were on. Stephen sorrowfully explains to Cora that the man claiming to be him is his cousin Harron. He's an evil sorcerer who considers Stephen's kind and just leadership to be too soft for running a kingdom. Not only does he believe he can do better, but he's after the kingdom's vast treasury as well. He used his hypnotic powers to turn his guards on him and have him imprisoned in the dungeon. He's dodgy about where he is now, though, only that he's close by, but can neither speak to her, nor even write his name.

They're about to kiss when black magic throws them apart. Harron appears, accusing Stephen of giving Cora too many hints about breaking the spell. Stephen angrily insists that Harron already meddled by attempting to put Cora under the same spell as the rest of his kingdom. Harron forces his cousin to his knees, twisting his limbs until he cries out in pain, Cora begs for Harron to let him alone, but he wants to punish his wayward cousin...

Broke for dinner at 7 PM. Watched Match Game '79 while I ate. The first episode opened with Brett playing with balloon animals and ended with Marcia teasing Bill about his long answers. In the second, everyone tried to figure out "__ Turner" in the Audience Match while Bill put his arms around Marcia and Elaine Joyce and claimed they were his girls, to Marcia's very visible disgust. 

Finished the night on Tubi with more holiday fantasies. I went further into the Laurel and Hardy March of the Toy Soldiers in November 2018.

The version of Nutcracker On Ice on Tubi is from the mid-90's. Golden-haired Elaine Bobeck looks like a pretty porcelain doll herself as Clara; Todd Eldridge is her Nutcracker Prince. Peggy Fleming makes an especially elegant Sugar Plum Fairy. The sequence in the Land of Sweets is cut down to flowers skating, but we do have most of the Rat King's big fight. Not a bad beginner Nutcracker for young skating fans who won't mind the lack of recent champs.