Sunday, December 31, 2023

Have a Very Matching New Year

Began the last day of 2023 with Arthur. D.W wants to invade "Arthur's Sleepover" after she hears about UFO sightings in the area. Arthur and his friends find a creative way of keeping her giving her what she wants. He's not staying up for "Arthur's New Year Eve," until his friends tell him all the cool stuff that supposedly happens at midnight. Grandma Thora reminds him that the really important thing about New Year's is looking back on the previous year and looking ahead to the next one.

Made a short run out next. It was nearly 1 when I headed to WaWa for my last treat of the year. Tried a Sugar Cookie Smoothie. Yum! Really did taste like a butter sugar cookie. Bought a Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi and a soft pretzel for later. They were surprisingly not that busy for the last day of the year and around 1:30. Maybe everyone was getting ready for tonight. 

Or they were avoiding the weather. It remains the same as yesterday -  cloudy, cold, and windy. Which, to be fair, is what it's supposed to be doing at this time of year. At least it wasn't snowing or raining.

When I got home, I had the pretzel and soda, along with lunch, while watching Rudolph's Shiny New Year. I went further into this Rankin-Bass special at this Musical Dreams Movie Revews blog entry from 2019.

Wrote birthdays on my new calendar and looked something up on my phone while I had Holiday Inn on. I did my review of this classic Bing Crosby-Fred Astaire holiday-themed musical on New Year's Day 2019. 

Switched to a couple of sitcom episodes when I went online. "New Year's Eve - 1960" proves to be an exciting one for Laverne & Shirley. Laverne's ecstatic to be going to Shirley's party with an old guy friend of hers from high school, but she's heart-broken when her date doesn't go as expected. Shirley is with Carmine, but she's caught a cold. At least they can watch Lenny drop Squiggy before midnight instead of the ball.

The cops on Barney Miller have an equally memorable "Happy New Year" when they bring in a pregnant shoplifter who doesn't speak English. While Barney's wife Liz stays with her, the others prepare for the blessed event. Fish is more concerned about a man who is going to jump off a building if the war in the Middle East doesn't end, and Harris has to deal with a drunk who is waiting to file a complaint until he's sober.

Cathy Lane is looking forward to the arrival of her father, a newspaper correspondent, on The Patty Duke Show. Her cousin Patty is almost as excited, until she learns from her father Martin that not only is Cathy's father in jail for getting involved in a revolution, Martin has to fire him for disobeying his boss' orders. Everyone tries to prepare Cathy for "The Christmas Present" not coming home, but she insists that he'll come no matter what.

Even after Cathy's dad Ken makes it back to the US, "Auld Lang Syne" still isn't terribly pleasant, due to him being fired. The girls try to get him a book deal, but he's happier out in the field. When the revolution starts up again, there's only one man his boss wants out in Europe. Cathy may miss her dad, but she knows he's happiest covering the news, and she's happy with Patty as her cousin reminds her that they "made it through another one."

Worked on writing for a while after that. Rover the dog is sniffing around when a large lion with a curly mane nearly pounces on him! He sends Charles reeling, but pulls back after he realizes  he can't get through Richard's tin. Joyce isn't happy about him going after Rover, though...

Did a couple of cartoons themed around New Year's, parties, and clubs during dinner. Popeye says "Let's Celebrake" when he, Olive, and Bluto head out dancing for New Year's. Popeye gallantly brings along Olive's grandma. She's no swinger at first, but spinach really gets her feet moving. Bluto is jealous in "Morning, Noon, and Nightclub" and tries to sabotage Popeye and Olive's dance act. Popeye uses spinach to turn the tables. Mickey and Minnie Mouse are the original party animals in "The Whoopee Party." They get so into the music, even the furniture dances along!

Finished the night on YouTube with the Match Game Sunday Classics marathon. Every year in the 70's, Match Game celebrated the New Year with the changing of their sign, dropping balloons and streamers on the set and in the audience, and giving the panelists noisemakers and hats. Charles came out in a firefighter's hat and carrying a huge Match Game  balloon in 1975, which he popped to reveal a smaller 1976 balloon. In 1976, Charles caught an egg dropped by an exceedingly ugly paper mache "Goody-Toddy Bird" that said Match Game '77. Head honcho Mark Goodson came out to praise the job they were all doing and how popular the show had gotten at that point. 

Brett was out doing a play in 1977, but Fannie more than adequately took her place. They dropped the balloons first that year, probably to have more time for the game. By 1978, they had a new sign that only needed to have the number screwed in. After Charles and Gene finally figured out how to get the numbers in place, Charles and Brett "christened" it by breaking bottles over it. As the balloons dropped and the others celebrated, Gene passed out from the excitement!

1978 was the last Match Game New Year's episode on CBS. There wouldn't be another New Year's episode until Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour in 1983, and that was limited to comedian Gallagher playing with balloons during the Leave It to Beaver theme week. Match Game '90 got far more into the holiday. There were black and silver balloons arching over the set, and everyone dressed to the nines in gowns and tuxes. Charles was on vacation during that week, so Brad Garrett did a dead-on impression of him.

No game show celebrates New Year's like Match Game! Celebrate the start of 2024 with these hilarious episodes!

As Match Game '90 began, I heard booms going off all around me. One was so close, it shook the house! The New Year had arrived here, too. I sipped my apple-cranberry sparkling juice and watched the sparkles around me.

Here's hoping you  have a safe and happy 2024 with all the people you love to match with! 

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Out and About on Haddon Avenue

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and The Busy World of Richard Scarry. Huckle and Lowly want to report on "The Big Story" for a school paper, but they can't find anything newsworthy, until they find a certain key that goes to a Busytown shop. "Couscous In Gibraltar" has to capture the gangster Pepe and his Dirty Rats when they break out of prison. He makes use of a goofy disguise and a ship packed with a cargo of cheese to lure them into a trap. The firefighters try to get ready for "The Firefighter's Ball," but with Mr. Frumble doing the decorations, they'll be lucky if he doesn't burn the fire hall down.

Headed out after that with the cart. It wasn't quite as nice as yesterday, cloudy, chilly, and windy. However, it wasn't damp, or even really that cold. I had a nicely brisk walk past the glassy green lake and down to Collingswood.

First stop was Occasionette, the gift shop on Haddon Avenue. They're a lot like The Whale's Tale in Cape May, a pricey purveyor of cookbooks, fancy stationary, baby toys, and seasonal gift items. Unfortunately, their after-Christmas sales weren't that great. I did buy another set of early 20th-century-inspired Christmas cards, this one with a simple Art Deco pine tree bordered by "Noel" in red.

Strolled two blocks down to Innergroove Records after that. They were busy with record fans and teenagers looking for great music for their New Year's parties. I splurged and picked up a soundtrack album I wanted, along with two things from the dollar bins.

Rushed across the street next for lunch at the Pop Shop. I once again timed it well. They were just starting to clear out by 1 PM. I only had to wait five minutes for a table to be cleared. I had a massive "Black Friday" roast turkey sandwich on multi-grain bread, with lettuce, mayo, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I love the Pop Shop's crispy tater tots and house-made iced tea, but that big sandwich filled me up too much for their ice cream sundaes. (Plus, I had one yesterday at Friendly's.) Even got to see the waiters and waitresses sing "Happy Birthday" to someone.

Stopped really quick at the bank next. For some reason, I couldn't get the ATM outside to work, so I went inside. Went in, got my money, and went out.

Since it closes earlier than most of my other favorite stores, I hit up Samaritan Thrift next. This time, I made sure to bring more than enough cash to pick up a few things. I found a cornflower blue shirt with a false striped collar, a paperback copy of Ozma of Oz, and a lovely canvas with an oil of a glittering American flag against a starry night and shadowy palm trees I'll put up for the Fourth of July.

Ducked across Haddon to Phidelity Records after I got out. I did even better here, despite it being almost as busy. Along with picking up dollar DVD sets featuring the Bob Hope movies Sorrowful Jones, The Paleface, Caught In the Draft, and Give Me a Sailor, I made some pretty decent record finds. Between the two stores, I ended up with:

The original Broadway casts of the Duke Ellington revue Sophisticated Ladies and the lesser-known Rogers and Hammerstein musical Allegro

Donna Summer - The Wanderer

The George Shearing Quintet - On the Sunny Side of the Strip

The original soundtrack for the Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face (This was the splurge at $18. Nothing else cost more than $5.) 

The Great Comedians, a 5-disc collection of radio comedy show broadcasts from the mid-late 40's

Hurried down Cuthbert, avoiding rush-hour traffic on my way to the Westmont Acme. I didn't need a ton, but I did want to restock my granola bars, yogurt, grapes, and mozzarella snacking cheese. Bought bagels for work next week and sparkling apple-cranberry juice for tomorrow night.

Cut across Newton Lake Park going home. There were a couple of kids out with their friends at rush hour on a Saturday, but it otherwise wasn't that busy. It's really winter at the park now. The leaves are long gone, exposing the last of the dried seed pods and bird's nests. I pulled the cart over the dirt path on the hill, tugging it out of mud and leathery wet leaves.

Put everything away after I got home, then had dinner while watching Happy New Year, Charlie Brown! I go further into the Peanuts gang's New Year's celebration at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Moved to YouTube for tonight's Match Game marathon. Host Gene Rayburn finally got the spotlight in honor of his birthday last Friday. Gene's wacky imitations and goofy "anything for a laugh" gags really made the show. One of his most notorious early episodes was the time in 1973 when he turned up in such a god-awful plaid suit, the panel wouldn't look at him when he came out. He attacked the cameramen at least twice. The second time, he actually smacked his head on the camera! 

He goofed off with the panelists, too. McLean Stevenson twice chased him around the studio, trying to get a kiss. McLean once took over hosting for Gene during the syndicated series when Gene and Charles got into an argument over the merits of the miniseries Sho-Gun that ended with Charles hitting Gene and Gene collapsing on Janelle Allen. Betty White rolled up his pant legs many times. When she exposed argyle socks, Gene ended up giving them to an audience member. Richard helped him get back into his suede shoes.

Gene loved his exercise, too. In 1978, he literally came running into the studio through the audience. He once roller skated into the show, too. In 1981, he tottered in wearing a wispy white wig as the infamously randy old man character Mr. Perriwinkle. Near the end of the show's run, he sported a bright patterned tunic and cowboy hat he borrowed from Charles.

Celebrate the New Year with everyone's favorite hammy host with the most!

Finished the night with The Lawrence Welk Show. Lawrence and his cast did annual New Year's episodes framed as big parties. In 1966, one of the Lennon sisters joined a shy mailman singer to ask "What are You Doing New Year's Eve?" Jo Anne Castle has a blast pounding "Happy Days are Here Again" on her sequin-and-balloon-covered piano. Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylen catch a "Tijuana Taxi" with their lively Mexican routine. Jimmy Roberts and Norma Zimmer recall "Moments to Remember" by the fire. Jack Imel encourages a trio of tapping football players to learn dance moves that "I can guarantee you won't see at any Bowl games," as Laurence put it. 

Arthur Duncan gets a rare chance to kick off the show in 1974 with "Let's Start the New Year Right." He's followed by a pair of truly talented young polka dancers. The Semonksi Sisters make their second  appearance with their sprightly version of "My Melody of Love." Bobby Burgess is joined by Cissy King for a swinging "When the Saints Go Marching In." Gail Farrell and Larry Hooper get an adorable "Be My Baby Bumble Bee," while Tanya Welk and Ken Delo wishes everyone "The Merriest." The show ends with everyone, including the youngest Semonski sister and the professional polka duo, dancing in the audience for a massive polka party. 

Arthur also kicked off 1981, this time with "Happy Days are Here Again." Guy and Ralna do a rather bizarre version of "Fame." Bobby Burgess and Elaine Niverton dance a far more likely "Balboa." Ken Delo joins Mary Lou Metzinger and Jack Imel for "The Hucklebuck." Ava Barber gets the charming country number "I Wish You Were Here." The highlight here is the introduction of the Queen of the Tournament of Roses Parade and her court, with each girl smarter and more attractive than the next. Lawrence pairs them up with singers and members of his orchestra, then dances briefly with the queen herself.

Celebrate New Year's with your family and Lawrence Welk's!

Friday, December 29, 2023

Sunshine On My Shoulders

Began the morning with breakfast and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. It's "Nighttime In the Neighborhood," and Daniel is excited to be attending a pajama party at the library with his friends. His parents show him and Margaret fun things that go on outside at night while they walk there, like fireflies and Baker Aker starting tomorrow's bread. At the library, the kids play Musical Sleeping Bags and hear a story about Trolley traveling all around the world.

Called Uber after the cartoon ended. They picked me up in about 7 minutes, not bad for 11 AM. No trouble on the road at all, not even traffic. They pulled in behind a food truck at the Gloucester Outlets a little over 20 minutes later. 

I was a bit surprised to see the food trucks again. I figured they were there for Memorial Day Weekend. Turns out they have food trucks at the mall from Thursday through Sunday, probably due to the lack of food options there. While not busy like it was on Memorial Day Weekend, there were still a lot of people going in and out of stores and watching their children run around the (Astroturf) lawn. 

And no wonder they were. The weather was gorgeous today. It was sunny, breezy, and bright, probably in the upper 40's-lower 50's. A little warm for this time of year, but not overly so. Certainly an improvement over the last two days!

First stop was Go! Calendars and Toys. They were having a 40 percent off non-character merchandise sale. I found the recent re-release of the original board game version of Password. Thought Lauren and I could have fun being Betty White and Allen Ludden and giving the game a try ourselves when she visits. With the sale, the game came to $10, about the same as it is on Amazon right  now. 

Peeked around Toys and Socks next, but I need more substantial socks than what they have, and their prices on stuffed animals were not great. Had more luck at Hanes. Picked up three bras at 40 percent off each. I realized I didn't have a plain blue long-sleeved t-shirt, so I bought one at Eddie Bauer, along with sleep socks on sale for $7.99.

Dropped into Friendly's for lunch at around quarter after 12. It's a good thing I got there when I did. They were able to seat me the second I arrived. By the time I was eating my BLT and fries, they had a wait time of over 40 minutes and were turning people away. I also had the meal that included a bowl of cheddar broccoli soup and scoop of Viennese Mocha Chunk ice cream. 

Their play-until-you-win crane had stuffed animals again. I thought I'd give it a shot. Ended up with a sweet, wooly white lamb and a stuffed angel doll. I didn't need the doll, so I gave it to a little girl who was waiting for a seat with her mother. The girl was thrilled...and so was her mother! 

Ducked in and out of a few stores next. What I really needed were new work pants. The ones I've bought from Boscov's and JC Penney have gotten holes in the thighs less than a year after purchase. My brown jeans from Macy's are already in bad shape, too. Checked Old Navy, Levi, the Gap, and Express. Either they didn't have my size, or their khaki pants just seemed too thin. 

I have a pair of khaki capris from Lane Bryant that I've used for a decade and are still in good shape. Honestly, the black and khaki jeans I bought there seemed a little thin, too, but I'm willing to try them. They were both on sale, though the khaki pair weren't on as good of a sale as the black ones. Grabbed a wire-free poppy-print bra on sale, too. 

After that, I stopped briefly to use the bathroom and buy a Coke Zero from a vending machine before heading across the parking lot to Dave & Buster's. Same deal as Round 1 with a larger sports bar replacing the bowling alley and the ability to tap your card, not just slide it through. They were also just as busy, though I was able to play skee ball here. I think I'm getting a lot better at these arcade games. I came up with over 2,900 points. Picked up a stuffed giraffe with big eyes and a box of cards with yoga poses printed on them as visual references. 

Hiked back to the mall and called Uber. I think I should have called them at Dave & Buster's. They were still mobbed. I had a hard time seeing the car around all the other cars and the food trucks. I almost missed it. At least that's the worst that happened. They arrived in seven minutes, not bad for the beginning of the 3:30 rush hour, and got me home in a little over 20.

Went straight into writing when I got home and put everything away. Joyce is worried about meeting something worse than bees or lions. Richard admits he knows what the Warlock of the West is capable of, but he won't go further into it, saying it's not appropriate for Joyce's human ears.

Checked my schedule while I was on the computer. In good news, Thursday off along with the rest of my vacation. I have a lot of late days, though, and one really early day. Good thing I planned on spending next week after New Year's Day cleaning and taking down my Christmas decorations. 

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. Gene starts off the episode by reading a fan letter that scolded them for bad grammar on a bible quotation. Peter Marshall continued to play amazingly well, getting every single answer he put forth right.

For some reason, Buzzr jumped back to Match Game '79 at 7:30. I switched to YouTube for Mysterious Island, which is currently free there, instead. During the Civil War, three Union soldiers and a war correspondent escape a Confederate prison in a weather balloon. They end up stranded on a South Seas island where volcanoes rumble and quake and the animal life has grown to gargantuan proportions. 

They're  not alone, either. They first encounter a British noblewoman and her niece who were also stranded on the island, then are attacked by pirates and sink their ship. Later, they learn Captain Nemo (Herbert Lom) was the one who created the giant animals in an attempt to increase the world's food supply. He agrees to use one of his inventions to bring up the pirate ship if they spread his mission of peace to the world. But there's that active volcano that's still rumbling to worry about...

If you're a fan of Swiss Family Robinson and other stories of survival on a tropical island, you'll probably be a lot more into this than I was. The acting was dull across the board from everyone but Lom, who gave Nemo more gravity than the script warranted. The real interest is the Ray Harryhausen stop-motion special effects. The giant crab is especially nifty, and there's those exploding volcanoes and the huge flightless bird, too. Worth checking out for fans of him or of 60's adventure movies. 

Finished the night with New Year's sitcom episodes. It's "A Night To Disremember" for Oscar Madison and his ex-wife Blanche (Brett Somers) in the original The Odd Couple. Felix treats them to dinner on the anniversary of their divorce. This leads them to relating how they finally called it quits during a disastrous New Year's Eve party...but the trio remember how things went very differently.

The 4077th celebrate "A War For All Seasons" on MASH, via a much-mauled Sears-Roebuck catalogue.  It provides the material for Father Mulcahey to start a garden, Hot Lips's ever-evolving knitting project, and Hawkeye and Hunnicut get a wash basin for a liver transfer. Meanwhile, Winchester puts money on the Yankees when he sees Klinger betting on them, but the World Series doesn't go as well as either hoped.

On The Donna Reed Show, Donna encourages her teenage daughter Mary to "Have Fun" when she goes out on a date with a cute, smart guy from school (George Hamilton). Mary runs home in tears, certain that the date went badly and her life is over. Her parents recall their own disastrous first date at a New Year's Eve party, but like Oscar and Blanche, their memories of what happened are quite different. 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

A Misty Moisty Afternoon

Began a gloomy morning with breakfast and Charlie and Lola. Lola finds a stuffed bunny just outside of her school. She says "I Would Really Like to Keep It," but Charlie insists on putting up posters and reminds her of how she'd feel if someone kept one of her toys. It's still really hard for her to let go, especially when the owner is found...

It was misting lightly outside when Jessa picked me up around 11 AM. We ended up at Barrington Antique Center first. Spent an hour searching through the jumble of everything from vintage children's books to relatively recent DVDs, from old colored glassware to modern Barbie dolls. I saw at least two boxes with vintage metal New Year's noisemakers. Jessa bought a clapper-style one with two squares taping against a paddle. I found a darling little red and green plaid teddy bear. I think he's supposed to be an ornament, but I'll put him with the collectible bears during the holidays instead.

Jessa ignored the mist that continued to fall and drove us to a similar store in Woodbury. This one was in a large old shopping center. It was only one story and not quite as big, but there was still a lot to see. At least this time, unlike when she took Lauren and me there in May, we had more than 15 minutes to take everything. Jessa didn't buy anything, but I found a vintage stuffed Yogi Bear for only $4. (The plaid bear was $4 too.) 

We had lunch at the Deptford Mall Red Robin. Thankfully, unlike when I went there for lunch during my Christmas week off last year, it only took us 10 minutes to be seated. Jessa had an iced tea and a burger with fries. I had a very sweet Caramel Apple Lemonade (which tasted more of caramel and lemonade than of apples), the teriyaki chicken sandwich, and fries. We shared a smaller tower of onion rings. The sandwich wasn't bad, but despite Red Robin claiming they changed the recipe, it's still very messy, and I still ended up eating a lot of it on the plate. 

Since it's next door to Red Robin, we checked out Boscov's next. The problem is, I'm mainly looking for work pants. Every pair of work pants I've bought from a department store hasn't even lasted a year, and I really don't need shirts of any type right now. I ended up with a pair of cotton boot socks on sale. The socks I have keep slipping down in my Bearclaws and end up waddled around my toes, which is uncomfortable and annoying.

Jessa and I had to split up around 3. Seems she forgot to tell me that she had to take a nap before work. We exchanged gifts at her car. She gave me a cute pair of slipper socks and a mug with hot cocoa mix. I also gave her a pair of slipper socks, but much larger and thicker ones. 

Next up after Jessa left was Round 1 Arcade on the other side of the mall. I spent the next 40 minutes or so running from Nerf Arcade to ring toss to Bust a Move to Hot Wheels Slot Cars. The place was far busier than usual for when I'm there. Some games, like Mario Kart and the skee ball machines, were too busy for me to get to. I still managed to amass over 3,000 points. Got a unique blue denim teddy bear with a blue and white striped scarf around its neck and a zipper in back. 

Had no luck in the rest of the mall. Didn't see any records that interested me at FYE, and the DVDs are down to one random rack hidden way in the back. A vintage clothes store mainly sold old pop culture T-shirts and jeans that cost the same as new ones. Miniso and BoxLunch had cute stuff, but nothing I absolutely needed. Couldn't find any pants that fit at The Loft. 

It was past 4:30 when I called Uber for a ride home. Despite the ongoing rain and gloom and it being rush hour, it took less than a minute for the driver to arrive. There was a little traffic on the highway and in West Collingswood, but he still got me home within 20 minutes.

Put on Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when I got home. I went further into this really strange attempt to cross cat and mouse antics with Roald Dahl's whimsical story of a strange candy manufacturer at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Worked a little bit on writing after that. Joyce is worried that they might meet something a lot worse in the woods than a cowardly lion. Richard assures her that he'll take care of it, but Charles is more worried that they'll run into something the Warlock of the West sent.

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. The episode began with a comedy panel show crossover as Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall briefly takes over hosting while Gene sits in his seat. The two joked about how much they looked alike, with Brett tossing in a few quips about their ages. (Personally, I don't see it.) 

Finished the night after a shower with The Love Boat on Paramount Plus. There were many changes afoot in the 8th season opener. The special Alaska cruise is supposed to be for women who are hoping to win a date with Engelbert Humperdink (himself). Julie got married suddenly and is replaced by rude and grouchy Bernice (Diane Ladd) as "The Crew's Cruise Director," but her recently-divorced sister Judy (Pat Klous) proves to be better at the job. 

Harry (Bert Convy) and Ralph (Arte Johnson) say "What a Drag" when they stuff themselves into dresses in order to get onboard. Harry is hoping to follow his wife, cruise organizer Jane (Patty Duke), and tell her how inadequate he feels around her. Her flirting with Captain Stebing to make him jealous doesn't improve his mood. Meanwhile, Gopher and new ship's photographer Ace (Ted McGinty)  pursue two gorgeous passengers (Lydia Cornell and Rebecca Holden), while Doc tries get over "Doc's Slump" and reconcile with another (Michelle Phillips). 

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

As Time and Rain Goes By

Slept in, then spent so much time reading non-fiction essays and stories about Christmas lore and customs, it was past 12:30 before I got moving. Watched Match Game '78 while I ate breakfast. The third episode of the New Year had Gene sporting a lightning bolt on his microphone, supposedly in order to dissipate the static it created. There's also a crack about "gay and colorful" from Gene and Brett that was interesting considering Fannie and Charles were on the panel...

Let it run into Tattletales. The first episode was the one I saw during the Bob Barker marathon a few weeks ago, where he was joined by Pat Cooper and his smart wife Patti and William Shatner and his girl Marcy. Bob and his wife Dorothy Jo didn't do to well there. They did much better in the second episode. I'm not surprised they had great stories. They'd known each other for so long, they met at an Ella Fitzgerald concert and married right out of high school. 

Went for a walk after the show ended. It rained hard this morning, but by quarter after 2, the rain had taken a temporary leave of absence. I wanted to get pretzels, but despite it being nowhere near 4 PM, the pretzel shop was already closed. I wonder if they went on vacation this week? Ended up at Dunkin' Donuts for a Pepsi Zero and cream cheese-stuffed bagel bites instead.

I got home just in time. It started raining again as I strolled down East Clinton. Good thing I brought an umbrella. It picked up not twenty minutes after I got in and has been raining hard off and on ever since.

Put on You Must Remember This as I had lunch, and then while resting. It's entirely appropriate that Linda Young sent me this five-part American Masters special on Warner Brothers for Christmas. They just turned 100 this year, making it a good time to chronicle their history. The first three episodes chronicled Warners' history from their first silent star Rin Tin Tin through the late 1960's, when they released the groundbreaking (and very violent) Bonnie & Clyde and Cool Hand Luke

Sound movies began with them, with Al Jolson's melodramas The Jazz Singer and The Singing Fool that had to be heard to be believed. They reveled in the lawlessness of the early 30's with tough ladies like Barbara Stanwyk who could be utterly amoral and gangsters like Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney who flouted the law and paid for it. Even after the Hays Code began to be enforced, Warners could count on Busby Berkeley and his kaleidoscopic fever dreams to pack in audiences, or Errol Flynn's swashbucklers that proved historical action stars could be even tougher than the mobsters.

No one got more patriotic than they did before and during World War II. They produced four of my favorite movies from this era, three of them with reluctant romantic lead Humphrey Bogart - the twisty private eye caper The Maltese Falcon, the ultra-patriotic Yankee Doodle Dandy, the Oscar-winning Casablanca, and Bogie's first encounter with his future wife Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not. 

Even classics like The Big Sleep and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre with Bogart and White Heat with Cagney couldn't stop their slide in the late 40's as television and difficulties with the House Un-American Activities hearings cut into their business. Jack L. Warner put his money on massive epics like My Fair Lady, and while that was popular, most of his audience preferred more violent action in Bonnie & Clyde and The Wild Bunch. The exception to the malaise were the Looney Tunes shorts, which were at their peak of creativity in the late 40's, 50's, and 60's, even as the studio around them crumbled. 

Worked on writing for a while after the third episode ended. Joyce is nervous about the dark forest. Richard is not. The only thing that can harm him is water or sharp denting objects. Charles just hopes there's nothing in there that eats hay.

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. The first episode featured Gene and Eva Gabor explaining how an overly enthusiastic contestant accidentally kicked Eva's foot so hard when he came to embrace her, he took her toenail off. Eva was a good sport about it, but she did have it wrapped up and on ice. In the second episode, a college student who was a cheerleader showed off some of her moves for a very appreciative crowd.

Spent the rest of the evening finishing out You Must Remember This. Warners' tough-guy sensibility was nowhere more in evidence than in the 1970's in hits like A Clockwork Orange, Dog Day Afternoon, Barry Lyndon, and All the President's Men. With the debut of Superman in 1978, Warners more-or-less created the superhero movie as we know it today. The first three Superman movies were among my favorites when I was a child. I was far more interested in them than I was in Spielberg's epics The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun. While the adults talked about the Oscar-winner Driving Miss Daisy, every boy I knew imitated the Joker of the Tim Burton Batman and the potty-mouthed wiseguys of Goodfellas

Normally, my stepfather loved Clint Eastwood. We had The Outlaw Josey Wales on video and he would watch the Dirty Harry and Any Which Way But Loose movies on cable. Unforgiven, however, proved to be a little too dark for even his taste. He far preferred The Fugitive when we rented it in early 1994. Warners also had early-mid 90's hits with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, the ultra-romantic The Bodyguard that made a movie star out of Whitney Houston, and the campier Batman Forever. 

They dove headfirst into action franchises by the end of the decade with the smash success of The Matrix. The slow-mo visuals and martial arts sequences were as influential in the early 2000's as Al Jolson and his "Blue Skies" had been 80 years earlier. I fondly remember seeing the First Gulf War action comedy Three Kings in the theater with my then-boyfriend when it came out and drooling over George Clooney in that and Ocean's 11. My little brother far preferred the animated Space Jam and Pokemon: The Movie and the much-loved and influential Harry Potter fantasy films.

Honestly, the last segment lost my interest as they droned on about then-recent releases. I actually wouldn't mind seeing them update this for their 100th anniversary and discuss more recent hits like the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows films, The Artist, the various DC Comics movies (and attempts at turning them into a Marvel-like universe), the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series,  The Lego Movies, the Paddington films, and their many mergers that ended with them belonging to Discovery.

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Pure Imagination

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and the first episode of Green Eggs and Ham on Netflix. Somehow, the simple story was turned into "Here," the surprisingly touching tale of failed inventor Guy (Michael Douglas) who encounters an enthusiastic little guy named Sam I Am (Adam DeVine) at a diner after missing the bus. Sam keeps pushing his favorite dish green eggs and ham on everyone, but Guy refuses. There's a Chickargriffe (Dee Bradly Baker) missing from the zoo. Little EB (Illana Glazer) is hoping to catch it despite her worried single mother's (Diane Keaton) fretting over everything. Sam, however, has his own connection with who freed the Chickargriffe, and why it's now running loose...

Headed out after that. Since it was relatively late and I didn't trust Mother Nature, I took Uber. No trouble here, not even traffic. Let let me off at the theater in just  a little over ten minutes. I went straight into a nice, quiet lunch at Applebees, since I wasn't sure how long the movie would run. I enjoyed by grilled chicken and bacon sandwitch and crispy, salty fries. Went to the stores on the other side of the movie theater to buy a Pepsi Zero at Dollar Tree.

Even with all that, I was still 20 minutes early for Wonka. Was disappointed to learn that the Fandango card only works for ordering tickets online. I'll just use it next month when Mean Girls: The Musical comes out. Stopping at Dollar Tree proved to be a wise decision, too. The lines for the concession stand went half-way across the lobby; I didn't bother with them. I just ended up following the twisty halls to the theater instead.

Mean Girls was definitely the most interesting commercial. I still haven't gotten around to seeing the original film, let alone its musical version! I really need to do that one of these days. Migration looks cute, but nothing I'm going to go out of my way to see. Maybe when it debuts on streaming. 

As for Wonka, I go further into that at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Though the weather remained gray and a bit warm for this time of  year, it wasn't raining, snowing, or doing anything besides be gloomy. It wasn't even windy. I had enough time for a stroll up the hill to the giant Walmart. I was hoping to pick up the Wonka soundtrack like I did with the one for Barbie, but it would seem that it won't be out on physical media until next month. Did grocery shopping instead. Bought yogurt, Propel drink mix, and granola bars; found a container of sugar-free oatmeal raisin cookies on clearance. 

The bus home showed up on time for a change. No trouble here, either. There were more problems with people chattering with the driver and distracting him and blocking riders coming on than with the relatively minimal traffic. Got off on the White Horse Pike with no trouble.

Went into writing when I got home. I couldn't get anything going with Nutcracker Blank, so I returned to The Wizard of Blank. Joyce is worried about the dark forest ahead. Richard and Charles are less so, although Charles does hope that no animals there eat straw.

Broke at 7 PM to check out Match Game Syndicated. Fred Grandy sticks around for this week, this time moving to Charles' seat. Joe Santos takes the male ingenue chair, joined by Eva Gabor and Betty White. The show made history with Glenn, one of the first blind contestants to appear on a game show. Betty was more interested in his sweet and beautiful service dog Princess, who was aptly named (and probably smarter and better-behaved than many of the panelists). 

Finished the night with dinner while watching the first season Christmas episode of The Love Boat. It's "Lonely at the Top" for Captain Steubing, who isn't in the Christmas spirit and feels like he can't connect with his homesick crew. Father Mike (Dick Sargent), who has brought six orphan boys on a special cruise paid for by an anonymous donor, suggests he try to be involved with their lives, but Steubing just ends up trying too hard. An unhappy couple (Shecky Greene and Florence Henderson) try to find a way to say "Divorce Me, Darling" and end their relationship. It may be a "Silent Night" for a man (John Gavin) who was framed for a crime he didn't commit. His wife (Donna Mills) wishes he'd just live and let live, or at least deal with it in another way besides killing his former partner.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Matching For Christmas

Started off a cold, clear Christmas morning with breakfast and stories from the Colliers Harvest of Holidays anthology. My favorite was "Flora McFlimsy's Christmas." Flora is a doll who was left in the attic by her previous owner. She manages to climb downstairs on Christmas Eve and see the tree. Santa gives her to one of the children who currently lives in the house as a gift. The newer dolls make fun of her, until the angel gives her things from her trunk that make her the hit of the holidays. There was also 'Barney's Wee Red Cap," about an Irishman who uses the cap to take him to places where he won't have to hear about charity...and everywhere he goes, he sees the Christmas spirit in action. "A Star For Hansi" has a grandmother telling the story of how she had an applewood box and would leave one coin in it.

Unwrapped my gifts from Linda and James Young soon as I finished reading and writing. Linda gave me the Han-Leia story The Princess and the Scoundrel, the Star Wars history Secrets of the Force, and a nice journal. My "stocking stuffers" were You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros Story and a new set of Rich Steves Europe episodes. 

Had a quick breakfast while watching A Pink Christmas. The homeless Pink Panther is having a difficult Christmas in this retelling of the O Henry short story "The Cop and the Anthem." He tries everything he can to get a good meal, from shoveling the sidewalk to posing as a Santa to trying to get himself arrested, but nothing works. After he gives his only bit of food to a hungry dog, the duo end up with a big Christmas surprise.

As I got organized, I switched to a Rankin-Bass double feature. Aaron The Little Drummer Boy lives with his animals in the desert and hates all humans after thieves killed his parents. He's kidnapped by the wily head of a traveling troupe who thinks he'll be perfect to lure the heavily-taxed crowds, but he's so angry, he drives them away instead. They sell the boy's camel to three kings who follow a star. Aaron follows them, and finds a certain child in a manger who is the only one that can help when his lamb is hurt.

Aaron, his animals, and his drum are recruited again, this time to help one of the Kings in The Little Drummer Boy Book II. A bell-maker wants to ring his silver bells to announce the birth of the Baby Jesus, but they were stolen by Greek soldiers who took them for taxes. Aaron helps distract the soldiers, so they can rescue the bells before they're melted down. The price, however, is high for Aaron...

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus won an Emmy in 1974, but it's rarely seen nowadays. That's a real shame. This is a charming retelling of the little girl in late 19th century New York who wrote to the New York Sun's editorial department, asking them about the existence of Santa, and the editor's kindly answer. It was obviously done by the same people who did the Peanuts specials. There's a similar animation style and some of the same voices.

A friend called me to join her Christmas celebration. I had gifts for her and her daughter and son and girlfriend. I even had treats for their cat. They gave me a reading light, a huge tin of three different kinds of popcorn, and a 25 dollar Fandango gift card. (The last-named will come in handy when I go to see Wonka tomorrow.) There was a huge brunch with scrambled eggs and cheese, waffles, scrapple, sauteed asparagus, toasted bagels, and bacon. 

After I ate, I walked to Rose's house and straight into a crisis. Poor Oreo the dog had gotten a bad cut on the bottom of his paw. Rose and Craig were wrapping up his paw just as I arrived. I played with my niece Finley in her toy room for a while before we came out to plates of cheese, grapes, berries, pineapple-coconut balls, sugar cookies with tie-dyed frosting, Reeces cup cookies, chocolate chip bars, and cherry-topped cheesecakes. I went home with far more. Craig brought home eggplant Parmesan, green beans, and a beet salad from Anthony's in Haddon Heights, where he works. Rose gave me some of it. She gave me cherry cheesecakes and pineapple-coconut balls, too, and sugared nuts. along with a beautiful holiday tin of tea. 

The kids loved their things, too. Finley is learning to read, and she was delighted with her Dr. Seuss book and activity book. Khai was happy to get an Eagles blanket of his very own that he didn't have to share with his parents. Khai is getting so tall! His hair is really dark, too. I have to agree, he does kind of look like our father Bruce, with his broad shoulders and dark hair. I got to admire their beautiful real tree with ornaments Rose got from Mom as a kid or that Jodie gave to her after she cleared out Dad's holiday decorations. 

Finley and I settled down in the living room to watch her play animal games on her iPad and to make sure Oreo didn't try to get his bandages off. Craig had the big Eagles-Giants game on. The Eagles started strong and fast. They were up 20-3 by the time Craig and Finley drove me home. (Apparently, they faltered in the second half, but not enough to lose. They still ended up winning 33-25.

Finished the night at YouTube with an extremely long Match Game marathon. The owner of the Match Game Productions channel gathered all the episodes beloved by his mother, who introduced him to Match Game. I came in just as everyone was trying to help a sweet French contestant. There was the episode where Fannie flirted with a handsome high school teacher, and the one I saw on Buzzr last week where Betty White did something like a stripping routine. In a later episode, Gene came in carrying what proved to be Patti Deusch's toddler son Max and Gary Burgoff's adorable little girl Gina. 

One night time episode featured Charles and Richard sporting wide-brimmed straw hats as "Your Basic Big Picture Hat Society." Another had two of the most hapless contestants to ever play the game. The only reason one even made it to the bonus round was Charles matched each of them once, and then matched one in a tie breaker. There was also the one where Richard and Betty pretended to be Brett and Charles, and even wore their hat and glasses. At the end of an episode, when Richard was kissing a contestant, Gene tried to pull her back, only for Richard to hang on! Poor lady joked that her arms were longer when Gene finally got her away.

Enjoy the holidays matching with your mom on this very long marathon! 

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Christmas Is Waiting

Began my Christmas Eve off with finishing A Christmas Carol and reading short stories from various children's anthologies. Paddington's Christmas adventures begin with "Paddington Does His Christmas Shopping." Mrs. Brown takes Paddington to a fancy store to finish their shopping. After driving the clerks crazy leading the clothesline he bought for Mrs. Bird around the store and getting it twisted around everything, he finally ends up finding a jeweled pin that a millionaire lost. He tries to help decorate for "Christmas," but does better giving surprise gifts instead.

Dug a few Disney holiday stories out of their Storybookland anthologies. They have two versions of "Babes In Toyland." I did the last one in the Fantasyland book that comes a lot closer to the actual movie. We had the Golden Book version of "Mickey Mouse Goes Christmas Shopping" in the 1980's. Mickey and Minnie take Mickey's nephews Morty and Ferdie to the department store. When each assumes that the other will watch Morty and Ferdie, the boys end up playing in the toy department. After they fall asleep on the moon simulator ride, they wake up in a closed store. It takes a familiar holiday helper to lead them back to Mickey and Minnie.

Watched Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales during breakfast. This series of shorts was made to fill out an hour slot with Charlie Brown Christmas, but it has some cute material in its own right. I love Sally writing to "Samantha Claus" and her method of getting a Christmas tree. Snoopy has some good moments as a sidewalk Santa and trying to make peace with the neighbor's cat, too. 

Headed out after breakfast to run a few errands. I was half-way down the White Horse Pike passing the sushi restaurant when my cell phone went off. It was Los Amigos Bakery, the Mexican bakery on the White Horse Pike. I put a ticket in for a raffle to win a free cake about three weeks ago. I didn't expect anything to come of it, but it would seem that I was one of the winners. I was shocked. I never win anything. I told the lady I'd swing by to pick it up on my way back from errands. 

My first stop was CVS. I was mainly there to get a better wrist wrap. The one I bought at Target wouldn't close anymore. I bought a hand-wrist combo. I'm hoping the velcro on this one will last longer. I also picked up Crest Gum Protection toothpaste on a good sale.

Headed two blocks down and across the street to Dollar General next. Wanted pet toys for Rose's dogs and cats here. Restocked my Tide, too. I never see Dr. Pepper Zero anywhere but here, and they had Cherry Coke Zero. A friend who was wrapping gifts was out of tape.

Los Amigos Bakery is two blocks from Dollar General, so I went there next. Turns out I was one of three winners, and we got to choose which cake in the display we wanted. I picked a lovely white chocolate yule log cake. I never had one before, and though it wasn't large, it was festive. The lady wrapped it up in a pretty black and gold box, and even took a photo of me holding it and grinning. I'll bring the cake to Rose's tomorrow for Christmas dinner.

Put the cake aside and had lunch while watching A Disney Channel Christmas when I got home. This blending of the earlier Disney specials Jiminy Cricket's Christmas and A Disney Christmas Gift was one of the first Disney Channel holiday programs in 1983. It's easy to tell the year from it referring to Mickey's Christmas Carol being "now in theaters." The Jiminy Cricket half is the "Once Upon a Wintertime" segment from Melody Time, the fall and winter fairies dancing to "The Nutcracker Suite" in Fantasia, and the classic shorts "Pluto's Christmas Tree," "The Art of Skiing," and the hilarious "Donald's Snow Fight." 

The second half leans more on the feature length cartoons. We get sequences from Bambi, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Pinocchio, and Snow White featuring either parties, gift-giving, winter, dancing, or even just references to faith. The special finishes with the two Santa Silly Symphony shorts, another classic Donald Duck short "The Clock Watcher," my favorite black and white Mickey short "Mickey's Good Deed," and the Past segment from Mickey's Christmas Carol. I always get a lump in my throat watching Jiminy sing "When You Wish Upon a Star" in the finale, surrounded by all the Disney characters at the time.

Did a few Disney winter and Christmas shorts while cleaning up from lunch. "Chip n' Dale" is the first short where the two mischievous chipmunks are named. After Donald cuts down their log home to use in his fireplace, they do everything they can to get it back intact. They're "Toy Tinkers" when they invade Donald's home to get his Christmas nut supply. "Mickey's Orphans" is another black-and-white Mickey short, and the first Mickey short to earn an Oscar nomination. Mickey and Minnie also deal with small holiday invaders, in this case a basket full of overly enthusiastic kittens who literally strip their Christmas bare.

Stayed with Disney, but went with the full Mickey's Christmas Carol. Despite his title status, the real star of this Oscar-nominated featurette is Scrooge McDuck as Ebeneezer Scrooge. Mickey is a wonderful Bob Cratchitt, Donald is Nephew Fred, and Goofy is a very funny Jacob Marley. Pete puts in one of his scariest performances as a frightening Ghost of Christmas Future who sees a very hot time for Scrooge if he doesn't change his ways!

The Disney gang are far from the only classic cartoon stars to appear in Christmas Carol. The first short in Bugs Bunny's Christmas Tales is a spoof of Christmas Carol. Here, Porky is Cratchitt, Yosemite Sam is Scrooge, and Bugs is Nephew Fred who decides to teach his uncle a lesson. Wile E. Coyote tries to get the Road Runner on ice when he chases him across snowy mountains in the second short. Bugs also stars in the third short, as he tries to keep the Tasmanian Devil in a Santa suit from literally eating him out of house and home. 

Moved to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation next. All Clark Grizwald (Chevy Chase) wants is a perfect old-fashioned Christmas with all the relatives gathered around the table, a big beautiful tree, and lots of gifts under it. As usual, what Clark imagines and what actually happens are two entirely different matters. The two sets of grandparents can't agree on anything. His house is covered in so many lights, it shorts out the neighborhood power grid. His miserly boss (Brian Doyle Murphy) is late sending a big bonus Clark needs. Even when Clark gets the lights working, his hillbilly cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) and his family show up in their rattletrap RV and cause even more chaos. In the end, when the SWAT team is coming through the windows and the tree is on fire, Clark finally realizes that we can't make Christmas perfect, but we can make it memorable.

One of the most popular holiday comedies of the last 30 years or so. Chase and Quaid are hilarious as the very different cousins, but the whole cast is funny as heck. Look for Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the female half of a snooty yuppie couple who wish Clark wouldn't inadvertently get them mixed up in his antics. Scatological humor makes this for pre-teens and teenagers who just started their own Christmas breaks and adults who have probably gone through everything Clark does here at one time or another.

Put on the Christmas episode of Remember WENN after I went online. The first two seasons of WENN are currently on Flex. The cast and crew of radio station WENN hope that Christmas 1940 is going to be a memorable on on "Christmas In the Airwaves." Writer Betty Roberts is hoping to go home to Indiana for the holidays, but she's more worried about the nasty financier Mr. Pruitt who wants to shut them down. He was ordered to by their owner Gloria Redmond, a former singer who lost her husband the Christmas before and doesn't want to be reminded of anything about the holiday. The cast have to figure out how to let the show go on under Pruitt's nose and prove to Gloria that Christmas is a wonderful time for a heart to start healing.

Moved to tonight's Match Game marathon at YouTube after eating dinner. In addition to the hilarious Christmas episode from 1978 with Charles and Brett as Santa and a little girl on his knee, the only Christmas episode of Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour, and the Christmas week episodes of Match Game '90, we had episodes that mentioned Christmas or were filmed around Christmas. Patty Duke sported a luxurious fur coat in one syndicated episode. Betty Kennedy sat in for Brett in another. Everyone teased McLean Stevenson about his black western shirt with the red embroidered roses in another one. Another syndicated show had everyone get so excited over winning, Gene ended up dancing on the desks and grabbed the contestant for a dance.

Join the Match Game panelists for one heck of a Christmas party in these classic episodes!

Finished the  night with two more featurettes set on Christmas Eve. I went further into the lovely The Small One, about a little boy who tries to sell his donkey in Bethlehem on a certain December night, last Christmas Eve on my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

I also discussed the Rankin-Bass special 'Twas the Night Before Christmas on my blog during Christmas Eve 2019. 

And here's hoping all of you have a wonderful holiday season, no matter what you celebrate or with whom!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Welcome Christmas

Began the morning with breakfast and two classic Christmas specials, the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Bernstein Bears' Christmas Tree. I go further into both at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Let it continue into Mole's Christmas after that. In this adaptation of a chapter from The Wind In the Willows, Mole is horrified when he realizes he's spent too much time at his friend Rat's home and neglected his own. He claims he has nothing to give his friend when they do find it, but Rat digs up enough odds and ends from Mole's cupboards to make a nice Christmas dinner. They find things to feed and give as gifts to adorable mice carolers, too.

Worked on writing for a while. Betty claims that the Sugar Plum Fairy and her cavalier tried to hold off the mice, but vanished while doing so. They need their magic to help them fend off the mice. 

Left for work a little bit early. No trouble with Uber either way. Got a ride to work in 4 minutes. I managed to find a ride home in 6 minutes, even at the tail end of rush hour. Little bit of traffic going home, but nothing really annoying.

I left early so I could drop off the cookies and enjoy a meal at the Acme's Employee Luncheon. One table held meatballs, hot roast beef, and hot dogs and sauerkraut for sandwiches. The next had salads, potato salad and macaroni salad and a greenish ambrosia. Desserts - my cookies, a cranberry cake, tiny cinnamon rolls, banana bread - were on the third table. I tried a little of everything but the ambrosia (I just didn't get to it), the potato salad (I prefer pasta salads), and the hot dogs (they give me heartburn). The banana bread was really good, moist and just sweet enough.

Wish the rest of the day was that much fun. I was outside pushing carts almost the entire afternoon. It was a noisy mess from start to finish. I rushed around fast as I could, and I still couldn't keep up with them. I'd no sooner fill one side than the other side would be empty. The tree lot was being taken down and blocking a lot of the back, too. I did have the morning bagger outside occasionally, but after he left at 4, I was alone. And once again, they kept calling me to sweep or return cold items, and I just couldn't get to the carts. At least I was able to get out at a decent time.

At least I got some appreciation. The floral manager was so happy with how I helped her these past few weeks, she gave me a box of chocolate-covered Oreos. I gave her a really nice card. I also got a compliment early in the day from an elderly customer who said she liked how cheerful I always am. 

Once I got home, I had a quick dinner while watching the 1969 Rankin-Bass Frosty the Snowman. Frosty is brought to life by a magic hat that was thrown away by the inept Professor Hinkle. He wants the hat back now that it seems to be really magical, but Frosty manages to elude him. When Frosty claims it's getting too warm for him, little Karen and Hocus Pocus the bunny take him to the North Pole...but the Professor is on their trail...

Switched to YouTube for tonight's game show marathon. MGP switched the focus to the original Richard Dawson Family Feud for all of the Christmas Eve and Day episodes made during his run (now that all of them have been found). Whether big hair or straight hair, sideburns or shellacked do's, a few elements remained the same throughout the show's run. They seemed to use the same questions on Christmas Day about the names of Santa's reindeer and what families do on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. They used the same plastic decorations for almost the entire run, too. At one point I think in 1979, Richard played around with them and actually got stuck on a garland. In later seasons, some of the families would sing songs for Richard (and do rather well, too!) or bring him Christmas gifts. I really liked the weaving that joked about his "Kissing Bandit" nickname.

Call out your own family to play along and join the holiday Feud!

Watched the Lawrence Welk 1966 Christmas episode earlier in the day. Finished the night with two more. Lawrence Welk and his musical family also did annual holiday extravaganzas. They always began with everyone singing while decorating the tree and freezing in place for a "Christmas card," and ended with the children of the cast receiving gifts from Santa Claus after introducing themselves. 

Bobby Burgess joined Barbara Boylen to do a "Doll Dance" as Raggedy Ann and Andy in 1966. He and Cissy King performed "The Skater's Waltz" without ice in 1976. He did a polka with Elaine Niverson in 1981. By far his cutest partner was his own sweet little daughter Becky, who danced "Up on the Housetop" with him in '81. She wasn't the only talented girl dancer on the show, either. Drummer Paul Humphery's daughter Pier did an adorable tap routine in 1976 and an incredible acrobatic number in 1981. 

Some of the adults had fun, too. Anacani really got into "Feliz Navidad" in 1976. Arthur Duncan showed how to "Ring Those Bells" in 1976. He joined all of the dancers for "December the 25th," with Jack Imel as Santa Claus directing his elves in 1966. Also in '66, Jo Ann Castle did a fun honky-tonk "Frosty the Snowman" on her icicle-covered piano. Carolers in old-fashioned costumes serenaded the audience in 1966 and 1981. Jimmy Roberts and Norma Zimmer did "White Christmas" together in 1966, and Norma did a lovely "Silent Night." 

Let Lawrence Welk and his family play for your family at your own holiday get-together!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Winter Dreams

Began the morning with breakfast and two holiday specials revolving around curious bears. Ted E. Bear doesn't want to be The Bear Who Slept Through Christmas. He'd do anything to stay awake and find out what this Christmas thing is. He eventually ends up in the city, where he meets a Santa who finally explains that Christmas isn't just a day or a concept. It's a feeling, and one best shared with those who need it most.

Teddy bears Christopher and Holly are The Bears Who Saved Christmas when their family is stranded in a cabin during a snowstorm. They want to find a tree and evergreens to make their holidays a little brighter. With the help of a flashlight that's scared of the dark and a compass with no sense of direction, they set out to find a way to bring Christmas magic to their family.

Headed to work after Christopher and Holly ended. At least I had no trouble with Uber. Took me 6 minutes to get a ride this morning. The car didn't even take a minute to arrive going home. There was some traffic on the White Horse Pike going home, but it wasn't too bad.

There was a ton of traffic at work, too. Work was a mess. It was busy from when I arrived until when I left. I had no help keeping up with the sweeping and the carts. By the second half of my shift, the managers wanted me to shelve fruit and vegetables that people didn't want and clean the bathrooms, too. The men's bathroom was a disaster area. That meant that I didn't get to the carts until I had five minutes left of my shift, which meant I didn't get much done. The head bagger was there, but she was cashiering.

The weather wasn't spectacular when I did make it outside, either. It was clammy, cold, and cloudy. At least it also wasn't windy, but it wasn't a very pretty day. We're supposed to get rain on Sunday and next week. I guess everyone wanted to avoid that. 

I did confirm my schedule for next week. Yes, I got Christmas Eve off, along with the rest of the week. I feel a little bad about it, though. I didn't realize the head bagger wanted next week off, too. I didn't mean to shove everything on the other baggers. I wish there was a way we could all coordinate our vacations, so one person in a department didn't end up shouldering the load for others when they aren't there.

Put on The Snowman when I got home in honor of the first day of winter. This lovely British short, based on a wordless picture book, has a little boy creating a snowman who comes to life in his dreams. He first shows him all the modern delights of his home. The snowman then takes him on a flight to the North Pole, where he meets other snowmen and Father Christmas himself.

Switched to White Christmas while half-napping in the game chair. I went further into this classic Bing Crosby-Danny Kaye holiday extravaganza at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog in December 2018.

Watched Santa Claus Is Coming to Town online next. I also discussed this one at my blog (along with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog earlier in December 2018.

Worked on writing after that. Queen Betty tells the worried Nutcracker that Princess Clara-Marie remains under a spell, and she's still wooden and laying on a bed. Brett the Sugar Plum Fairy and Charles the Cavalier had the nut that could save her, but they've vanished.

Broke for dinner and Match Game PM at 6:30. Betty White is the only one who understands a question about what a doctor uses a stick of dynamite to cure. Richard Dawson has more trouble with "Who's Afraid of __" in the Head-to-Head.

Match Game Syndicated continues to be a wild week. Birthday boy Gene Rayburn (he would have been 106 today) stuck the "B" from the question holder on his forehead when it fell off. David Doyle's nervous that he's come up for the fifth time that week on the Head-to-Head. He just hopes that he can get "Long and __" this time.

Finished the night at YouTube. The Bishop's Wife is currently free with ads there. Bishop Henry Brougham (David Niven) is desperate to convince rich widow Mrs. Hamilton (Gladys Cooper) to help him build a lavish cathedral. He prays for guidance...which arrives in the form of Dudley (Cary Grant), a debonair angel. Dudley proceeds to charm his sweet wife Julia (Loretta Young), their servants, their daughter Debbie (Karolyn Grimes), and even the kindly Professor (Monty Wooley). The only person who isn't delighted with him is Henry. Henry finally realizes that Julie and Debbie are more important than any cathedral when he worries he might have lost them to a supernatural being.

The first version of this story, later remade as The Preacher's Wife with Don Cheadle and an equally-debonair Denzel Washington. Niven, Grant, and especially Young are all wonderful as the leads. Young in particular is so luminous, you can understand why a bishop and an angel nearly end up fighting over her. Wooley has some good moments as the crusty Professor who figures out what's going on with Dudley well before any other mortal besides Henry. This warm, cozy film is highly recommended to watch while snuggled up on a cold holiday night. 

Thursday, December 21, 2023

I Believe In Christmas

Began the morning with breakfast and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Mickey's Choo-Choo Express" is on its way across the Clubhouse world to pick up their friends, so they can enjoy Professor Ludwig Von Drake's never-melting snow. They get Clarabelle, her puppy Bella, and Chip and Dale on time...but there's also two mystery guests on Mistletoe Mountain to pick up, and then Conductor Pete wants to join in on the fun, too.

The most recent Shaun the Sheep release in the US is the holiday special The Flight Before Christmas on Netflix. Shaun and the flock follow their master and a reluctant Bitzer to their town's Christmas Market when little lamb Timmy gets caught in a gift. He's accidentally given to the neglected son of a popular chef and a media personality who light up the town tree. Shaun and the flock follow him to the couple's very modern and elaborate house to rescue him.

Headed out for grocery shopping after Shaun ended. Since it worked out really well last week, I went on foot again. The weather was even better for it. It remains gorgeous here, sunny and mid-40's, without a hint of wind. In fact, it felt really warm in the sunshine. The park was still fairly quiet on my way there. I saw a few dog walkers and some seagulls and ducks enjoying the sparkling green waters. There were a lot more joggers and people out for strolls when I finally headed home. Did my best to avoid the puddles and thick mud still leftover from that storm on Saturday.

The Westmont Acme was bustling when I arrived. I kept running into people who were also looking around the small store. Bought treats for Rose's dogs and cats and the cat that belongs to a friend to finish out my Christmas shopping. Everything else I picked up - yogurt, grapes, oranges, another bag of those On the Border Holiday Chips - were the usual groceries. I have absolutely no desire to do any kind of shopping this weekend. I know the stores are going to be insane. I won't be shopping again until Tuesday.

Watched Tattletales and had lunch after I got home. Buzzr stuck to the show's early years. This time, Betty and Allen are joined by Pat Harrington and his wife Marjorie and Gavin MacLeod and his then-new bride Patti. As newlyweds, Gavin and Marjorie had by far the best stories. Gavin told how they were vegetarians who had carrot cake for their wedding and how they went to great expense to lay down gas pipes for their new dryer, only to discover it was an electric model.

Headed back out after the shows ended. I'll give Rose her family's Christmas gifts on Christmas Day and Jessa hers when we get together next Thursday, but I wanted to give out the gifts that go to neighbors on the other side of Oaklyn while I had the chance and the weather remained nice. I did give Brittanie's boxes to her son Ryan as he arrived home from school. They have a huge, energetic black lab named Gunther, and I was afraid he'd get to them on their steps. Left everyone else's on their porch or steps. 

Stopped at Common Grounds Coffee House for a treat and a drink. Their Almond Poppy Muffin was delicious, very nutty and just sweet enough. I thought the Eggnog Crusher was a chilled eggnog drink. Turns out it was a chilled coffee drink. Yuck! I read the sign wrong. It was too bitter. I barely drank half before tossing it. 

Went online after I got home. I first checked my schedule for next week...and just about fell off my chair when I realized I had Christmas Eve off. I'm already on vacation from Christmas Day through New Year's Day, but the last thing I expected was for them to give me Christmas Eve. Research on this blog revealed that the last time I had Christmas Eve off was 2011, and I asked for that to go down to Mom and Dad's house with Rose and her family. I don't think I've ever had a Christmas Eve off I didn't ask for. They probably have more than enough high school and college boys who can sweep and push carts during the holiday weekend.

Watched Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey next. I go further into this delightful holiday fantasy adventure at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Moved onto Match Game PM during dinner. Fannie Flagg sat in for Brett Somers during the first episode while the latter was doing a play. Gene strips off his jacket and vest to show off his body when the contestant says him as the answer to whose body a woman's boyfriend has. Richard doesn't have much luck with "__ Boone" in the Head-to-Head in the next episode, thanks to there being two Boones who were popular in 1977.

Let Match Game Syndicated run after I finished. David Doyle was a riot in these episodes. In the first one, he wears a hat very similar to Charles' in an attempt to imitate him. In the second, he protests the Star Wheel landing on him four times in a row. Gene, Fred Grandy, and Bill Daily are more concerned about the turntable moving too quickly and having to turn it back themselves. 

Finished the night with The House Without a Christmas Tree. Journey isn't the only smart pre-teen who is having trouble connecting with a male parent. Eleven-year-old Addie Mills (Lisa Lucas) wishes her taciturn father James (Jason Robards) would buy a Christmas tree. Christmas trees - and Addie - remind James too much of the beloved wife he lost. Grandma (Mildred Natwick) keeps trying to encourage him, but he's just as stubborn as his daughter. Addie finally wins her school tree, but James is upset that she accepted charity. When Addie gives the tree away, James finally realizes how important it is to his daughter.

Lovely and charming story of a family healing during the holidays. I'm especially fond of Grandma, who offers sage advice while "skipping" pancakes across the room and turning sheets into angel costumes. Highly recommended for families during the holidays, especially those with girls Addie's age. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Of Angels and Toons

I overslept this morning, more than I wanted. Had barely enough time to read the first chapter of A Christmas Carol, write in my journal, grab breakfast, and rush out. At least I had no trouble with Uber. Picked up a ride to work in 6 minutes and a ride home in four. There was no traffic either way.

Work wasn't really a problem, either, other than having to dodge the crane repairing the lights in the parking lot. We were mildly steady for most of the morning. It started picking up a little around noon, but it still wasn't crazy. Maybe it was the nice day. It was a sunny, breezy, brisk early 40's, a perfectly normal day for mid-December. I spent the entire day pushing carts and sweeping with no problems.

Once I got home, I changed, then went downstairs. It took a little while to slice the dense chocolate fudge and put the boxes for them together. I keep finding cute Christmas cookie and candy boxes everywhere, including online, but they require a lot of patience to push the flaps in that I often don't have. At least I did get them done. 

The Peanut Butter Fudge took a while, too. I used brown sugar when I probably should have used more powdered, and I almost forgot the butter. The batter was still sticky when I finally poured it into the prepared pan, but as of around 5 PM, it seems to be firming up a bit. Hopefully, it'll be better tomorrow.

Went upstairs to watch It's a Wonderful Life. George Bailey (James Stewart) is not having the best Christmas Eve. His Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell) misplaced the money he needs to keep his Building and Loan business open. George loves his wife Mary (Donna Reed) and their children, but he's full of regrets. He never got to see the world or go to college. George spent most of his life after his father's death trying to keep mean old miser Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore) from taking over Bedford Falls.

When Potter puts out a warrant for his arrest, George almost commits suicide. He's saved by Clarence (Henry Travers), a kindly older man who claims to be an angel. George doesn't believe him, until Clarence acts on a chance comment by George about wishing he was never born. Bedford Falls without George is a very scary place, enough to finally show George that he truly does have a wonderful life after all.

This is an old favorite of mine, but it's not for everyone. If you don't agree with director Frank Capra's pro-small-town sentiment, this won't be your cup of Christmas tea. At any rate, Stewart and Reed are absolutely delightful. They're backed by some of the finest character actors in Hollywood, including Beluah Bondi as George's mother, HB Warmer as drugstore owner Mr. Gower, and Gloria Grahame as Violet, who has been chasing George since childhood. 

Naturally, I had to follow that up with the series finale of the original Tiny Toons Adventures. Buster doesn't think "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toons Special," either. His attempt to make a holiday show with the Toons goes so badly, he almost jumps out of the film. It takes a familiar rabbit to make Buster understand how important he is to the show and his friends.

Worked a little bit on writing after that. Snow Queen Betty and her husband King Allen are searching for the Sugar Plum Fairy (Brett) and her cavalier (Charles). They're the only ones who know how to find the nut that can save Princess Clara-Marie.

Broke for dinner at 7 PM. Watched Match Game Syndicated while I ate a quick roast beef sandwich. Gene has to explain why the opening was so slow. Tim Conway apparently taped a show in the same studio and they had to rearrange everything quickly. He even shows a cue card that reveals what went on in the show. They're joined by Dawn Jefferies of General Hospital, Rita Moreno, and Fred Grandy. David Doyle takes Charles' place. 

Finished the night with TV holiday specials from the 1980's. Rugby Tiger (voice of Dave Golez) thinks he's going to be The Christmas Toy for little Jamie again this year. He sneaks out to climb into the package and is followed by Mew (Steve Whitmire), a cat toy who is worried he'll be seen by humans and frozen forever. When the other toys realize they're gone, doll Apple (Kathryn Mullen), nervous ride-on horse Belmont (Richard Hunt), and laid-back cab driving Little Person Cruiser (Brian Henson) go after him. It's not until he sees another toy in the box and almost loses Mew that Rugby finally understands that friendship is a lot more important than being in the holiday spotlight.

Rugby's not the only orange striped cat who had a busy holiday in the mid-80's. Garfield's Christmas Special has Jon taking Odie and a reluctant Garfield to his parents' farm on Christmas Eve. Garfield finally ends up bonding with Jon's sassy Grandma. She's badly missing her husband, but he finds a way to make her Christmas a little bit merrier.

Even the action shows from Filmation got in on the holiday cheer. Yes, The She-Ra He-Man Christmas Special is a thing. Orko accidentally stows away in an experimental rocket, then brings two Earth children to Eternia after She-Ra, He-Man, and their friends finally get the crystal to create the portal to bring them there. Horde Prime doesn't like the children's talk of a happy, peaceful holiday and demands that Hordak and Skeletor bring them to him. Skeletor gets them first, but he learns a surprisingly lesson in the Christmas spirit when he ends up defending them against Horde Prime. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

The Tooth Will Out

Started off with Charlie & Lola. Lola keeps asking her brother "How Many More Minutes Until Christmas?" They open an advent calendar to help keep track of the days before the holiday. Lola is more concerned about having mixed up her card to Lotta with her letter for Father Christmas. She sends another one, but is worried about it getting there on time. When they discover that there seems to be no door in the calendar for the 25th, they cut one themselves, then travel through it to help Santa's elves find enough wrapping paper for all the gifts.

Headed off the Westmont Plaza on Uber after the cartoon ended. No trouble here. The Uber going there came in 6 minutes. The one taking me home got there in 8. No traffic anywhere, not even on Cuthbert Road. 

I had enough time before my dental appointment to drop off my L.L Bean boots at the UPS Store in the mall. Mom sent me a beautiful pair of L.L Bean boots, but they're too small. I'm exchanging them for a larger pair in a different color. I went in, handed them the exchange, and went back out again. The entire transaction took less than a minute.

Since I still had a little time, I browsed in Dollar Tree next. I found this really sweet flower-themed calendar that was just as cute as and a heck of a lot cheaper than anything at Go! Calendars and Toys. That took me longer to get than I would have liked. The cashier held up the line asking the woman to write down the place where she worked and see if she could get a job. 

Thankfully, even running in five minutes or so ahead of schedule, I had no trouble at the dental office. I wasn't there two minutes when they brought me in. Took a half-hour to get my teeth cleaned and another ten minutes for the doctor to tell me I have no cavities and absolutely nothing wrong with me this time. Even my gums are perfectly healthy. It took them longer to find a doctor to look at my teeth than for him to look at them. I was out in less than an hour after making a regular cleaning appointment for late March.

Dropped by Sprouts really quick after I got out of the dentist's office. I'm not doing any kind of shopping at Westmont Plaza next week. Between last-minute Christmas shoppers at Target and Dollar Tree and the kids being out of school for Christmas break, the place will likely be a madhouse. Grabbed coconut milk, a box of those breakfast sandwich cookies I like, and a can of Zevia Ginger Root Beer, then admired their gingerbread house display. My favorites were the Eagles-themed house with the photos of players stuck on gingerbread men with icing and the house decorated with natural ingredients like dried fruit and herbs.

After I got home, I watched Tattletales while having lunch. Buzzr stuck to the week with Betty and Allen, Bill and Ann, and Chuck and Jo Ann from 1974. I'd seen the first episode before, including during other Betty White marathons. Allen got the best story in the first episode when he recalled how his wife insisted on stopping to pet a cow. She not only pet the cow, she crooned so nicely to it, cows eventually lined up to be petted by her. This story is so funny, it's also mentioned in the Allen and Betty biography. Chuck and Jo Ann also have a hilarious story about how he spent their New Year's Eve honeymoon in the Florida Keys serenading her girlfriends under the moonlight.

Got organized while watching the first Facts of Life Christmas episode. "The Christmas Show" from the fifth season has Tootie and Natalie excited to be going home together for the holidays as Jewish Natalie celebrates her first Christmas. Jo is very upset when she can't go visit her mother in Miami for Christmas, but she's not happy when Tootie and Blair try to rig up a phony raffle to give her tickets, either. Meanwhile, Mrs. Garrett would just be happy to sell the 75 fruitcakes she baked. 

Switched to Ernest Saves Christmas as I made Ginger Molasses Cookies and Cherry Coconut Bars. Ernest (Jim Varney) may live in warm Orlando, Florida, but he's a huge Christmas fan. He's as shocked as anyone when none other than Santa Claus (Douglas Seale) shows up in his cab, claiming he's in Orlando looking for his replacement. He figures Joe Carruthers (Oliver Clark), a former children's show host, would be perfect. Joe's sleazy agent (Robert Lesser) is pressuring him into appearing in a Z-grade Christmas horror film, but he's reluctant to do or say anything that would frighten children. Ernest also finds himself dealing with Harmony Starr (Noelle Parker), a selfish runaway whose frequent lying and acting older than her age hides the pain over her parents' divorce, and then having to drive the sleigh with two sarcastic elves before midnight arrives!

Wacky Christmas comedy is one of Ernest's best vehicles, and one of the best movies about the existence of Santa. Seale is so good in his role, he was the man I imagined when I thought of Santa well into the 2000's. If you ever wanted to give one of Ernest's movies a try, this isn't a bad place to start.

And no trouble finishing the cookies this time. All of the Ginger Molasses batches came out perfectly and smelled incredible while baking. The Cherry Coconut Bars were slightly crumbly on the bottom, but not so much that I wasn't able to cut them and get them into boxes. 

Went upstairs to watch The Polar Express. I go further into this creepy motion capture adventure with Tom Hanks playing, among other characters, a conductor on a train taking children to the North Pole at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Worked on writing for a little bit. I returned to Nutcracker Blank, the Match Game Nutcracker retelling I began last year. Betty, the queen of the snow fairies and of Toyland, brings the others to the castle. Her husband King Allen and daughter Princess Clara Marie are still under spells that turned them into toys. The Sugar Plum Fairy (Brett) and her cavalier (Charles) have vanished all together.

Broke at 7 PM for a quick dinner, then to make chocolate fudge while watching Match Game Syndicated. The first episode got especially wild. Bill Daily threw his chair when Gene had the panel vote on whether or not to cut to a commercial. (Bart Braverman was the only one in favor of it.) Brett's more nervous when she has to answer "Prince and __" for the Head-to-Head in the second episode.

Finished the night back upstairs with the original 1947 Miracle on 34th Street, another comedy about the existence of Santa. This time, Santa is in chilly New York City, and he's not looking for a replacement. He ends up getting a job when he goes over so well in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, their event director Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) hires him to be their store Santa. 

Thing is, Kris also believes himself to be the real Santa Claus. Doris in particular is disturbed by this. She raised her daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) to not believe in any kind of fantasy after her difficulties with a nasty divorce. When Santa is put on trial for lunacy, he's defended by Fred Gailey (John Payne), who turns the hearing into the talk of the Big Apple...and teaches Doris, Susan, and every law official in New York a lesson about the real spirit of the holiday season.

Edmund Gwenn made such a perfect Santa, he won a supporting actor Oscar. The adapted screenplay won as well. I do appreciate that all those law officials aren't played as bad guys. They're normal lawyers and judges with nothing against Kris - the defense lawyer (Jerome Cowan) admits he actually likes him - but are just doing thankless jobs. O'Hara is lovely as Doris, charming and matter-of-fact Wood plays beautifully off her and Gwenn, and Payne is a lot happier and more comfortable here than he ever was trilling with Fox blondes in their musicals. Still a highly recommended holiday favorite. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Cookies and Comedy

Began the morning with breakfast and Christmas sitcom episodes, starting with "Oh Come All Ye Bums" from the fourth season of Laverne & Shirley. After he's fired from his job as a department store Santa, Laverne's dad Frank declares he can't afford to hold his annual Christmas dinner for the homeless in their area. The girls and Carmine at first try to earn the money singing on street corners, but when that doesn't work, they and the homeless people end up bringing dinner to Frank.

Joanie Cunningham of Happy Days spends her "Christmas Time" in the sixth season complaining about her father Howard bringing home a tinsel tree from his hardware store instead of a real tree. Fonzie's more upset about his estranged father suddenly appearing out of the blue and giving him a gift. Meanwhile, Rich, Potsie, Ralph, and Rich's girl Laurie Beth argue over how much they should spend on gifts for each other.

The Monkees' "Christmas Show" from the second season has the groovy quartet babysitting a wealthy young boy while his aunt is on a cruise. The kid is unimpressed with either the holidays or the guys' antics as they try to buy him gifts and a tree on their meager budget. It's Mike Nesmith who finally figures out what it is that the boy really needs.

After I got organized, I started the cookies. I always make five kinds of cookies to give as gifts and bring to the Acme's Christmas employee luncheon. I don't have either my cookie cutters or enough room for the cut out cookies, so all of them but one this year are drop cookies. The Chocolate Chip came out well enough. The Mint Chocolate Chip was amazing, rich and very chocolaty! By the time I worked on the Cake Mix Peanut Butter, it was late and I was tired. It took me so long to do these because I only had one cookie sheet on hand. I burned the last batch and ended up throwing a lot of them away. 

Moved downstairs for Match Game '78. Buzzr continues its Betty White Christmas with the week she appeared with Avery Schriber and Barbara Rhodes. The first episode was one of my favorites of that year. Betty started by giving by far the best answer to a question about how the member of the barber shop quartet managed to hit a high note, then did a "stripping" routine when Gene asked her to "show us your G-string!" Richard Dawson had far less luck in the second episode figuring out "Whip __" in the Audience Match.

I'd seen the first episode of Tattletales before, but not the second one. This week with Betty and Allen, Bill Cullen and his wife Ann, and Jo Ann Pflug and her then-husband Chuck Woolery is from very early in the show's run, when they were still doing the longer questions. My favorite story was how Chuck, who started out as a country singer, wound up with perky Jo Ann. They were on a blind date, and not only did he feel intimidated, but he mistook her for Sally Kellerman who also appeared in the film version of MASH. Betty and Allen's best story was about the truly lovely surprise birthday party he gave her with all their friends at Chasen's in Los Angeles. 

Went upstairs and did the second Christmas episode of WKRP In Cincinnati from the third season. Arthur Carlson says "Bah Humbug!" when he gives minuscule holiday bonuses, despite everyone's complaints. After eating one of Johnny Fever's brownies, he has a very strange and familiar dream about encountering four ghosts who tell him what will happen if he doesn't change his ways.

Went back downstairs to finish the Mint Chocolate Chips and watch Benson. In their first Christmas episode from the fourth season, "Mary and Her Lambs" are an assistant cook and the two foster kids she adores. After they're taken away by court order, Mary keeps insisting that Benson will think of something. He claims the law isn't on her side, until he finds a way for Governor Gatling to intervene. 

Moved on to That Girl when they were in the oven. While working as an elf for a department store Santa, Ann-Marie explains how "Christmas and the Hard Luck Kid" left her befriending one little boy. She had been a teacher at an exclusive school, but the child's parents couldn't pick him up, and he had nowhere else to go for the holidays. Ann-Marie ended up spending the holiday at the school with him.

Switched to What's Happening! next. Half the neighborhood donates food when they find out Dee and Raj are going to be alone on "Christmas." Their father insists on them coming over and having dinner with his girlfriend. Their mother is disappointed. She'd left her job early to be with her children. When his girlfriend's turkey winds up being charred beyond repair, they end up eating at home with their mother anyway.

Turned off the TV for a while to focus on the cookies. Turned it back on for Match Game PM as I got rid of the burnt cookies. I'm a bit surprised they didn't save this one for the Bob Barker marathon two weeks ago. This is the episode where Eva Gabor claimed he was considered a sex symbol in her native Hungary. Needless to say, that made Bob very happy! 

(Oh, and it looks like the next Buzzr marathon will be a late 60th anniversary salute to Let's Make a Deal in mid-January. I'm wondering what happened to their Lost & Found marathon, which ran in mid-January this year. Maybe they couldn't find or restore enough shows in time.)

After the trouble with the last batch and standing over a hot stove all day, I needed some air and to get out of the house. It rained this morning, but by quarter of 7, it was just cloudy, very windy, and pleasantly cold. I love all the light displays in Oaklyn. Everyone around here gets so festive. I saw everything from a few twinkling red and gold lights on two tiny bushes to houses and yards almost totally covered in lights Clark Grizwauld-style. Some of the inflatables had been blown over, but of the ones I could see, my favorites were elves holding cookies and a giant milk bottle and an elf in a snow globe. There were houses that surrounded their roofs with big shiny lights, and those who had tiny little white ones that glittered like stars in the dark night. 

Stopped at Capital Pizza for dinner. Had a slice of broccoli and mushroom, a slice of cheese, and a bottle of Diet Pepsi while watching the second half of the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions. The guy who led the entire episode was the only one who got the final question right, and ended up winning the Tournament. The man who gave me my pizza was more impressed that I was able to answer a question about Douglas Fairbanks Sr.

Stayed for the first puzzle on Wheel of Fortune. I was a bit surprised to see Pat Sajak hosting. I thought he announced his retirement. I guess that's next season. At any rate, I got to play along with the first two toss-up puzzles and the first two puzzles, mainly because the first actual puzzle was solved in less than five minutes.

Went straight in the shower when I got home. Finished up the night on YouTube with Christmas game show episodes. I've Got a Secret was known for doing a big show every year right before Christmas. I went with the earliest existing one from 1953. The first secret, about a man who collected a massive ball of string, was really funny. The one with the man who adopted a little Korean boy while stationed overseas was extremely sweet. They saved the best for last. Henry Morgan's mother came on the show after having not seen her son in two years, and she got to kiss Santa Claus!

The first two versions of Family Feud always did holiday episodes. The 1982 Richard Dawson Christmas week shows finally reappeared on Buzzr after having been lost for 40 years. Ray Combs lead two energetic families through holiday questions on the syndicated show during Christmas 1988.

Match Game was also known for celebrating the holidays. I went with the episode from Christmas Eve and day 1973. Charles turned up dressed as Santa in the second episode, and answered all his questions as Santa, too. 

Family Feud wasn't the onl show doing holiday episodes in the 80's. Jamie Farr and Gary Burghoff had a mini-MASH reunion during Christmas week 1985 on Super Password. The Bob Eubanks Card Sharks celebrated their holidays with ten married women who seemed to know a bit about relationships. The contestant had an easier time with the Money Board than she did with winning the car. 

Stunt shows got even wilder with their holiday cheer. A reluctant Monty Hall led Johnny Brown, Patti Deustch, Ronnie Schell, and Joyce Bulifant through wacky Christmas-themed stunts on Beat the Clock. Patti and Johnny played very well and won for their section, with the former being far better at stunts than she is at matching contestants.

Kids got in on the holiday games, too. I'm Telling was a short-lived kids' game show that ran on NBC Saturday mornings in 1987. Basically, it was Junior Tattletales with a Supermarket Sweep-like final bonus round. Brother and sister pairs answer questions about each other. The ones who get the most  points move on to a big bonus round. They have to match certain prizes. If they can match 10, they win all the prizes. The few people who saw it in 1987 seem to have fond memories, and no wonder. The kids' stories were hilarious, and they were even funnier running around, trying to make those matches!

Classic Concentration also did Christmas episodes every year, with holiday prize packages and elaborate decorations. The contestant in the ugly sweater kept winning, but he couldn't figure out the bonus round. Marjorie Goodson made a very funny Mrs. Claus, especially hauling around her darling doggy friend!

Celebrate Christmas game show style with these classic shows!