Sunday, March 31, 2024

A Little Easter Magic

Began the morning with Colliers Harvest of Holidays. Since April Fool's Day is tomorrow, I started with the really cute April Fool's story about two boys who find a giraffe in their backyard and try to figure out how to keep him there and collect a reward. "Nino's Easter" follows the holiday traditions - and huge feast - of a peasant boy living with his parents in northern Italy. "The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes" wants badly to deliver Easter eggs. After she proves her babies are capable of taking care of themselves, the head Bunny gives her a chance. He's so impressed with her, he gives her special golden shoes to get a beautiful egg to a sick little boy. 

"Grandpa Bunny" is a sweet short from the Disney Storybookland anthology. It's supposedly based on the Silly Symphony short "Funny Little Bunnies," but has nothing in common with it besides rabbits. Grandpa Bunny presides over all the rabbits in the woods, making sure they keep nature extra bright and colorful. The adult bunnies miss him when he's gone, but the children know Grandpa left one last spectacular surprise in the morning sunrise.

Put on It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown while I got dressed and organized. The Peanuts are excited for their own holiday festivities. Sally goes shopping for new shoes, while Snoopy buys a birdhouse for Woodstock. Peppermint Patty wants to teach Marcie how to color eggs, but her best friend has a hard time grasping that you have to boil them. Lucy's more interested in pestering Schroder for gifts and coloring and hiding her own eggs. Don't bother with all the fuss, says Linus. The Easter Beagle does that. Sally's skeptical after the incident with the Great Pumpkin at Halloween, but Easter morning brings more than one surprise for the kids.

Called Mom while the Peanuts were on. She, Keefe, and Julia were having an egg hunt for Aurora and her friends. Aurora was also delighted with her many treats this morning. They were briefly having Julia's family over, but it sounded like they'd mainly have a small dinner with them and some friends. 

Headed out after that for Easter brunch. It was sunny, windy, and cool but not cold, in the upper 50's. Just about as nice of an Easter as one could wish. If there's one thing I like about an early Easter, it's that all the spring flowers are still out. Usually, by the time we get to Easter, the daffodils are gone and the hyacinths are almost there. Almost every yard in Oaklyn and Haddon Township was a sea of yellow, white, and purple as I rode through the local neighborhoods, and it smelled so good! I even saw early irises.

As I did last year, I had brunch at the Westmont Diner on the hill under the Haddon Township Library. Since they were pretty busy, I sat at the counter to have lemon ricotta pancakes and a cup of fruit. A little boy and his dad sat next to me. The little boy was darling. He brought along a stuffed red bull, a cocker spaniel, and a plastic dinosaur who naturally got their own seat next to me. 

Rose finally got around to texting me while I waited for brunch to arrive. She and her family weren't planning on doing anything after the kids opened their Easter basket goodies. I told her I'd come around later with my treats for her family.

Innergroove Records is open every day but Monday and on all major holidays but Christmas Day. I headed there next. They were busy with record lovers on their spring breaks and looking for things to do before Easter dinner. I dodged the browsers long enough to find: 

The original Broadway cast of The Magic Show with magician Doug Henning

The soundtrack of the 1965 comedy The Great Race

Johnny Mathis - The First 25 Years

Waldo's Ragtime Orchestra - Spectacular Ragtime

Elvis Presley - Elvis' Golden Records

Michael Nesmith & The First National Band - Nevada Fighter (This one cost $9.99. The others all came out of the 1 and 2 dollar bins.)

Went home, put the records upstairs, got the treats for Rose and her family, and went right back out again. It took me a while to actually get their attention. I didn't want to ring the doorbell and rile up their dogs, but that was the only way anyone heard me. I knocked on the door for almost five minutes with no results.

I can't believe how big Khai is getting! He'll be 14 in three weeks. He definitely looks like a teenager now. Finley was taking a nap when I came in, but her mother got her up. She spent most of the time I was there showing me her new Marine Biologist Barbie doll that the Easter Bunny brought her. Honestly, that doll was pretty darn awesome. She came with a trunk filled with nifty accessories, including an underwater camera, fins, a snorkel, and tiny plastic water animals. Rose mentioned she found her a Paleontologist Barbie, too. 

Rose herself just looked tired when she brought me mint tea. She's a lawyer, and her husband Craig works two jobs. I suspect they were just happy to rest today. Apparently, they had their big Easter dinner with Craig's family in Westmont yesterday. Craig was watching the Phillies play the Braves with their dogs Oreo and Cider. Lynx the cat climbed up on the dining room table (where he is not allowed) to mew his two cents, too. (Oh, and the Phillies beat the Braves 5 - 4 for their first win of the season.)

Made a brief stop at WaWa for a treat. I had no idea Mountain Dew made a zero version of their Baja Blast. Since they do the 2 for $4 sale, I got Mountain Dew Zero for later, too. Tried a strawberry birthday cake smoothie. It tasted a lot less like birthday cake than an ordinary strawberry smoothie. Good, but not what I thought it would be.

After I got home, a friend brought me a big ham dinner while I watched Easter Parade. I went further into this classic MGM musical with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog the day before Easter 2019.

Switched to the closest thing Happy Days has to an Easter episode while finishing dinner. Ralph, Potsie, and Richie become "Three On a Porch" during the third season when they rent the front of a cabin during spring break. They lie to the three college girls renting the inside and tell them they're big businessmen from Tunsia, but the arrival of Fonzie knocks big holes in their story.

Did "Funny Little Bunnies" next. This simple Silly Symphonies short depicts the Easter bunnies who dye eggs and make candy and baskets for the holiday. Some of the details are really charming, though, especially how the entire bunny community, from the oldest grandpa to the tiniest bunny, find a way to help out. 

Tonight's Match Game marathon was a short one devoted to original Hollywood Squares host Peter Marshall, who turned 98 yesterday. Marshall only did two weeks during the syndicated run in 1980, but they were among the most memorable of the year. A wacky Bill Daily and fairly annoyed Marcia Wallace joined in during the first week. Of the panel on his second week, only Brett Somers had never been a host and would never be one. In addition to Bill Cullen's dense resume, Dick Martin hosted the short-lived Mindbenders and The Cheap Show in the late 70's, Betty White had hosted a week of Password '75 and would go on to host another short-lived show, Just Men, and Elaine Joyce briefly hosted The Dating Game in the 80's. 

See the Master of the Squares have fun on his show's rival for hilarity in this nutty marathon!

Finished out the night on YouTube before and after the marathon with vintage Disney World Easter parades. I might have seen the one in 1987 on Easter morning as an 8-year-old. Ben Vereen and Joan Lunden hosted, while Regis Philbin interviewed tourists. The Disney Cruise Line got the biggest push here, with a goofy storyline involving Alan Thicke being chased by pirates, namely Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, before ending up with the Disney characters on a tropical island, listening to a Beach Boys tribute band. We also got a very brief bit of Snow White and a Snow White float for its 50th anniversary.

Philbin moved up to the host's chair by 1998; Lunden was replaced by Ann Jillian. With Disney in the thick of its Renaissance, the emphasis here was almost entirely on its animated features. Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid all had floats, and Hercules was seen at the Disney MGM Studios. Jillian even showed Mulan being made. The other big push in '98 was for the Animal Kingdom, which opened 10 days after this special debuted. Philbin even rode Countdown to Extinction, now known as Dinosaur. 

Celebrate Easter with a little vintage Disney springtime magic!

And I hope you had a wonderful Easter and an absolutely wonderful start of spring!

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Springtime Matches

Started off the morning with breakfast and a pair of animated spring specials on YouTube. I go further into the Easter tale Peter and the Magic Egg and the last Berenstain Bears special, The Berenstain Bears Play Ball, at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Hurried out to work right as Play Ball ended. Spent most of a busy afternoon pushing carts. The head bagger kept ending up in a register or going in for someone's break, so I was alone for most of the afternoon. I have no idea who won the hot dog eating contest. I had to sweep when it was going on. Oh, and as it turned out, they just had leftover hot dogs in the back. Despite the flyer saying people could bring sides, no one brought any. 

(I also found out why I got so many hours next week. Eight people took off for Easter break, including the head bagger. I do want to take my birthday weekend off in two weeks, but I'm mostly going to wait until Lauren visits in June for long vacations.) 

It was sunny and windy when I rode to work. Silvery clouds moved in around 1:30. It showered lightly off and on for the rest of the day. Thankfully, the rain held off as I hurried home, though it remained a bit windy and chilly.

Soon as I got in, I took a shower, then cut up what I could salvage of the strawberry loaf cake and brought that and dinner upstairs. Watched tonight's Match Game marathon while I ate. Tonight, we saw some of the biggest winners ever on the syndicated nighttime show. And considering the contestants could win up to $21,000, there were some big winners. 

Bill Daily actually managed to come up a winner twice later in the series, once with a $20,000. He was so excited about it! One contestant told Richard she wanted four kisses for her and her family. He gave her those four kisses, then dipped her for one more! Gene's crack to a Japanese-American man who was in World War II would have gotten him into more trouble nowadays. Joey Bishop was a little annoyed in 1976 that a contestant who claimed she wanted money to fly home actually lived in Burbank, where the show was filmed.

See who came up a big winner this Easter weekend in this wild marathon! 

My second Amazon package arrived while I was upstairs. Yes, my new record player came! I love it. It's bright red and has shiny chrome trim and cool vintage knobs for the volume and to turn it off and on. I had to turn it sideways to get it where the old one was, but other than that, it's awesome. I also bought a new record set to play on it, which arrived yesterday. If you can believe it, at press time there is a musical version of Back to the Future on Broadway and in London. Considering how big those movies were in my childhood, I had to hear it. I gave the old record player to a friend who says her daughter now collects records.

Lawrence Welk and his musical family also had big Easter parties this weekend. Their '69 show started with everyone singing "A Tisket, a Tasket" in a yellow basket. Then-popular country singer Charley Pride joins in as Cissy King and Bobby Burgess dances a bunny hop in rather goofy costumes. Norma Zimmer and Jimmy Roberts are waiting "After the Shower Is  Done," while Roberts leads the "Easter Parade." A very pregnant Jo Anne Castle is a female Easter bunny playing "Here Comes Peter Cottontail" while fellow bunny Arthur Duncan taps along.

1978 began with the Easter parade in Victorian costumes. Bobby and Cissy do "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" in fancy dress here. Kathie Sullivan reminds everyone why we'll be worshipping "Next Sunday Morning." Ken Delo has more fun with "It's a Lovely Day Today." Anacani gets "This Little Light of Mine," while Arthur's tap number is "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise." 

Anacani and Delo get my favorite number from the 1980 Easter episode. Anacani's an adorably hilarious little girl singing "Peter Cottontail" while Easter Bunny Delo hides the eggs in the background. We also get a nice "Tip Toe Through the Tulips" with Jack Imel and Mary Lou Metzinger, while trumpeter Bobby Zell gives us the instrumental jazz solo "My Tribute." Burgess encores "Sunday Clothes" with his new partner Elaine Niverson. 

Celebrate Easter with your family and Lawrence Welk's!

And here's even more vintage holiday specials to tide you over until it's time to find the eggs!

Friday, March 29, 2024

Good and Windy Friday

I slept so late, by the time I finally got moving and had brunch, the second episode of Press Your Luck was on. The ladies started off well here. One picked up a car in the second round, but lost it to a Whammy. The other got a trip...but the guy made slightly more than she did and ended up winning.

Split Second was a little more interesting than yesterday. This time, everyone was a bit closer, though one of the ladies pulled ahead most of the time. She just managed to get the Countdown Round, but had less luck with the bonus round and decided to come back.

Headed out after Split Second ended. I wanted to get my grocery shopping done. Thanks to everyone getting off early on Good Friday, Cuthbert was really busy when I got there. A gorgeous day may have brought people out of the woodwork, too. It was windy, yes, but also sunny and in the mid-50's. It was lovely when you could get out of the wind!

The local high school and middle school kids who'd just gotten off for their Easter break had already invaded Westmont Plaza by the time I arrived. I passed by at least three girls riding bikes on my way and saw a gaggle of boys on bikes chatting and blasting music in Target's parking lot. Good thing kids aren't interested in Sprouts. They don't have a section for toys or a dedicated seasonal aisle. Any seasonal goodies are on displays around the store. Decided to try Minneola Tangelos. Found Cascade Farms vanilla chip granola bars on clearance for $1.98 and Kodiak bars for $4.49. 

Blew down Cuthbert to the Westmont Acme next. Unlike Sprouts, they were really busy with adults who got off work early for Easter weekend and were picking up their candy and holiday dinners. Bought chocolate chips and strawberries for the cake I wanted to make for the employee hot dog luncheon. Restocked honeycrisp apples, yogurt, Coke Zero, and Kind granola bars on sale with an online coupon. Bought birthday cards for Rose and Khai next month, since I had an online coupon for cards that ends on Easter Day.

Cut across Cuthbert and down Atlantic to the  PNC Bank in Collingswood next. The drive-up ATM machines had long lines, so I went inside. Went in, got money, got out with no trouble.

After I made it home, I got organized and put everything away while letting Super Password run. Saw the tail end of an episode featuring Gloria Loring and David Doyle. Considering Doye isn't always that great at Match Game, he seemed to do really well with Password, helping his contestant get the last puzzle before the episode ended.

After Super Password ended, I gathered my cake ingredients while watching The First Easter Egg! One the Bunny (so named because his mother had so many children, she ran out of names and started giving them numbers) wants to make her a special Easter dinner. He tries gathering apples, but a robin reminds him that they're out of season. His attempt to ask the Three Little Pigs for ham only ends with them becoming even more paranoid than they already were. A kindly chicken gives him her egg. After a weasel tries stealing it, a pink-obsessed flamingo suggests hard-boiling it. His pink dye inspires One to make it look fancy, which so pleases his mother, he decides to make colored eggs for everyone. 

Apparently a TV special from 1999, this isn't great, but it has its fun moments. Honestly, I feel sorry for One. Considering some of the obnoxious characters he met while trying to do something nice for his mother, no wonder he got upset half-way through the cartoon. You can understand why the hen felt bad for him, too. The flamingo and his number are too goofy for words, and the paranoid pigs get old fast. And One's mother must have been too busy to teach him about much of anything, considering he didn't know apples grow in fall and mentioning ham to pigs would likely make them very nervous! It works as what it was likely intended to be, cute filler for younger kids before the Easter egg hunt.

Making the strawberry loaf cake went less well. I put all the ingredients together the way it said on the box and used the temperature it required. I had so much batter, I ended up using one large and one small loaf pan. The cakes ended up browning on the edges, and the larger one never cooked in the middle. I don't know what I'm going to do about them. I can't take them to the Acme. They fell apart when I removed them.

Went back upstairs to watch The Easter Bunny Is Coming to Town while job searching. I went further into this 1977 Rankin-Bass stop-motion Easter tale at my Musical Dream Movie Reviews blog back in 2019.

Got my schedule at this point. In good news, Easter and Thursday off as requested (the latter using up a vacation day) and far more hours. Thing is, Easter and Thursday are the only days I got off. In fact, the reason I asked for Thursday off was I figured it was the only way I'd get two days off next week! I work early the entire rest of the week, including 8 1/2 hours on Wednesday and Friday. I suspect a lot of people very likely used up their own vacation days for Easter break. 

Worked on writing next. Mrs. Rowland reveals that Prince Jordan is already late getting home from university. He's supposed to arrive when the Spring Festival begins and choose a bride, but he hasn't gotten back yet, and his parents are worried. Kathleen has read about the handsome, quiet, and intelligent prince, and she wishes she could meet him. 

Broke for dinner and Match Game '90 at 7 PM. No clue why Buzzr skipped ahead a decade, but while I do hope they finish the syndicated run eventually, I'm glad they're giving this version a chance. Betty White and Charles Nelson Reilly join Vicki Lawrence and Joe Alaskey (who was listed as being from Out of This World but may be best-known by kids who grew up when I did as the voice of Plucky Duck from Tiny Toon Adventures) to answer a joke about a certain businessman with a toupee that may hit a little harder now than it would have then. I don't mind the host Ross Shafer, either. He's funny and really cute. Yes, I miss Gene Rayburn, but I was also 11 in 1990. I have fond memories of either seeing or, in the case of Alaskey, hearing these people often on TV. 

Put on The Easter Promise next. Addie Mills (Lisa Lucas) and her friends are excited when former Broadway star Constance Payne (Jean Simmons) comes home to Clear River for Easter 1947. She boasts that Constance once dated her father James (Jason Robards), but he thinks she's snobby. Addie manages to talk Constance into dinner at her house and judging the school style show, but she overdoes the wine at dinner and turns up at the show drunk. The girls do have a good time learning about acting from Constance, but when they come for their second lesson, she's drunk again. Addie's ready to give up, but her grandmother (Mildred Natwick) reminds her that you should never abandon a friend in need, and spring is the perfect time to start over.  

Other than I wish they'd shot on location instead of soundstages, this may be my favorite of the four Addie movies. Seeing Addie and her friends laugh and giggle at a slumber party and prepare to color eggs reminds me so much of all the fun my sisters and I had at Easter when we were 12. (Mr. Mills would probably be happy to know that we used boiled eggs instead of blown ones.) Her relationship with Constance and how she and her family help her out is really sweet, too. Lovely Easter viewing, especially for families with girls Addie's age.

Finished the night at Tubi for two unique and rare Easter specials. The Great Easter Egg Hunt is very charming for something intended to go direct to DVD in 2000. Sweet stuffed bunny Whiskers is the envy of all the toys in Peter's room because he gets to go to school with him. Whiskers doesn't think he's so lucky when a dog runs off with him. After he escapes the dog, a group of real rabbits tell him about the Great Easter Egg, a special and magical egg that can grant the finder one wish. When Peter gets sick, Whiskers and the other toys go off in search of the egg. 

Cliched, yes, but also sweet. Whiskers and the toys are fun to watch, and I enjoyed their adventures. The songs seem unnecessary and the animation on the real rabbits seems a bit odd, but otherwise, this is worth checking out for families with younger kids who are looking for something different to watch before the egg hunt this year.

An Easter Story is one of two puppet holiday specials done by Paul Fusco, who would go on to create Alf. The Easter Bunny is worried that he can't meet egg production this year. His magic-obsessed son tries to help, but all he can conjure up is jelly beans. It looks like Easter might be canceled, until two worried boys come up with the perfect solution. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Dolls On a Rainy Spring Day

Began the morning with breakfast and the series finale of The Busy World of Richard Scarry. The kids find a "Message In a Bottle" and take a rubber raft out to rescue the sailor shipwrecked on a nearby island. However, they forgot to tell their parents where they were going, which becomes an issue when they too are stranded. Hilda writes a story about how "Santa Needs Help" for the other kids in her class that has residents of "Sleepytown" aiding Santa when the runners on his sleigh break. Sally and her friends insist "Yes, There Is an Easter Bunny" when Huckle and Billy Dog claim there's no such thing. They hide eggs to make them believe otherwise. Hilda once again tries to help, but she's not the one who ultimately makes them change their minds...

Spent the next few hours dressing the dolls for Easter and the spring holidays. Samantha wears her lovely pink and magenta Flower Picking Dress. Kit may not be a fan of ruffles, but she still looks cute in her shell pink Candy Making Dress. Josefina celebrates her feast day last week in her Feast Day Outfit with the pretty turquoise skirt, ruffled camisa, and orange sash. Jessa gets the purple fruit-print Birthday Outfit T-shirt and jumper from 1998. Felicity and Molly have birthdays next month. Lissie gets to wear her salmon pink Birthday Dress and the floral Pinner Apron, but Molly's Birthday Pinafore is short-sleeved and too thin for early spring. She's in her aqua Polka-Dot Outfit and white t-straps instead. 

Ariel looks really good in Julie's original Birthday Dress with the pale blue, yellow, and tan flower trim and the straw hat with the blue flower. Whitney and Barbara Jean wear hand-made creations from eBay. Whitney's is white with pastel polka-dots, a full skirt, lace and ribbon trim on the bodice, and shiny purple shoes. Barbara Jean has a geometric-print mini-dress in purple, pink, magenta, and yellow with yellow ruffled trim. She wears it with her pink vinyl heels from her prom dress and a magenta ribbon and headband. Since the dress is sleeveless, she has a white lace jacket over it. 

Ran Buzzr while I dressed the dolls. The ladies dominated Press Your Luck today. On the first episode, one of the ladies beat the one guy when he hit a Whammy on his last turn and won a billiard table, a trip to Boston, and a camera. She in turn was beat in the next episode by a woman who was more than happy to pick up cash, a motorcycle, and a trip to Japan.

Split Second wasn't nearly that exciting. The college student who said he badly needed something to drive to school dominated both episodes with no trouble. He finally got his wish and picked up the car outright in the second show.

Let's Make a Deal began well, with another deal where people either kept the money or took a prize and passed the money to the next person. In this case, the guy got the zonk, but the ladies ended up with appliances and cash, respectively. A Nigerian gentleman in traditional African garb opted to keep his Door 4 money, rather than go for the wheel. He and another lady traded their money for the Big Deal of the Day. While she got kitchen appliances, he ended up with a gorgeous piano, a stereo, TV, and living room furniture.

(Oh, and it looks like Buzzr's next weekday marathon will be "Spring Break Getaway," starting the day after my birthday next month. From the looks of things, that means episodes of shows that feature vacations to exotic ports of call as prizes, like Sale of the Century, Classic Concentration, Press Your Luck, and Let's Make a Deal.)

Headed out for a short walk after Deal ended. It rained early in the morning, but by 2:30, the rain had long subsided. It remained cloudy, windy, and cool as I strolled down to the pretzel shop. I wanted soft pretzels and a cheesesteak-stuffed pretzel, but despite the stuffed ones being on display, they were apparently out of them. They did give me one more regular pretzel than I asked for.

Ate lunch while watching The Berenstain Bears' Easter Surprise. I went further into this and The First Easter Rabbit at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog last year. 

After lunch, I did job hunting and watched Joyful Noise. I go further into the story of two women and their differing views on how their choir should perform at an upcoming contest at my Musical Dreams blog.

Worked on writing after the movie ended. Shy Kathleen is busy making arrangements in the floral shop when Mrs. Rowland reminds her that the Spring Festival is coming. Kathleen just wishes the weather would behave. It's cold and dreary, though the snow is slowly melting. Mrs. Rowland would rather focus on the orders, especially for the royal castle. The King and Queen will be having several visitors, including a Duchess who is rumored to be a sorceress. Kathleen is more excited that the handsome and gentle prince will be returning from college when the spring arrives.

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. Bit surprised Buzzr ran this episode. They're usually sensitive to the word "midgets" and either skip or mute questions that feature that word, but it was heard quite prominently from Scoey and Brett as the answer to a question near the end of the show. 

Finished out the night listening to records while I worked on the Joyful Noise review. Began with another Columbia seasonal collection, Tune Up For Spring. While we do hear the Ray Conniff "Younger Than Springtime" again, other songs are new to this collection. Favorites include "April Showers" by Al Jolson, "I'll Remember April" by Jo Stafford, "Everything's Coming Up Roses" by The Hi-Los, and two darker spring songs by Polly Bergan, "Spring Is Here" and "Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year."

I didn't realize the LP soundtrack for Easter Parade only had about half the songs. Admittedly, we do get my favorites from this charming score, including Judy Garland and Fred Astaire's hilarious "A Couple of Swells," Peter Lawford's charming "A Fella With an Umbrella," and Astaire's "It Only Happens When I Dance With You" and "Steppin' Out With My Baby." It's missing Garland's first solo "I Want to Go Back to Michigan," Astaire's "Happy Easter" and "Drum Crazy," and the big chorus routine "The Girl On the Magazine Cover." 

I've heard R&B group the Stylistics' music all my life without really realizing they made some of my favorite songs. Though apparently their popularity was on the wane in the US by the time The Best of the Stylistics came out in 1975, it still did relatively well here, and even better in England. Some of my favorite songs from the early 70's can be found here, including "You are Everything," "Break Up to Make Up," "Betcha By Golly Wow," and "Stoned In Love With You." 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Dodging the Spring Rain

Began the morning with breakfast and The Busy World of Richard Scarry. All the kids in Busytown say "Count On Us!" when they get pledges for a bikeathon. After Billy Dog's mother accidentally runs over his bike, he tries to get a second-hand replacement. Even working hard, he comes up short, but the other kids in town lend their paws. After a Bavarian family is rescued by their king, they vow to give him a special gift. Nothing seems right until the little girl hits on giving him "The First Easter Egg Ever." Hilda says "Be My Valentine" to Lowly Worm when she thinks he's giving her something...and is upset when he gives all his friends, including her, a cookie and she makes the biggest Valentine she can think of.

It was only cloudy, cool, and a bit breezy at that point. I figured I was fine riding to work. Dropped Easter cards in the mail box on the way there and just made it in time. It was a little busier today than it was on Monday, maybe because we're starting to get closer to Easter. I had to return another Walmart electric cart, too. Found this over by the traffic light, well away from any parking lot. Someone mentioned they drove home the old woman who tried to steal it. According to them, she had a lot of things and was angry when it stalled. It stalled because it wasn't supposed to be off Walmart property! What she did was really stealing. Other than that, I swept the store, gathered carts, and shelved cold items.

Oh, and I texted Mom. She called me yesterday to ask if there's anything I wanted for my birthday. I finally found the perfect thing. My record player is nine years old, and was a cheap turntable I bought from Amazon to begin with. I'm shocked it lasted this long, including through two moves. I fell in love with a really cute retro-style portable player that was only fifty dollars on Amazon. It even came in red. She sent me a gift card to buy it. 

I rushed out the second my shift ended. The clouds had darkened during the course of the morning, and though it was actually a little warmer, the wind had picked up, too. I had been home for 20 minutes when it started pouring. It's poured off and on ever since.

Started watching Let's Make a Deal, but decided to put on F-Troop instead while I finished The Kitchen Front. Agarn says "That's Show Biz" when he retires from the Army yet again, this time to manage a music group called The Bedbugs that has a very odd new sound. The troop's attempt to bring him back somehow ends with Parameter and Jane posing as a hippie-esque group and singing for the Hikawis.

We learn how 'The Day They Shot Agarn" began from a balladeer (John Mitchum). Agarn was supposed to be keeping track of a prisoner, but they escaped. Since he lost the prisoner, he has to carry out his sentence, which puts him in front of a firing squad. Good thing none of the men at Fort Courage can shoot straight to save their lives...

Jane's thrilled to announce "Only One Russian Is Coming! Only One Russian Is Coming!" when yet another foreign relative of Agarn's visits Fort Courage. She's truly impressed with Russian cossack Dimitri Agarnoff's trick riding and claims she'll marry him, which makes Parameter quite jealous for once. O'Rourke and Agarn, however, know he has a weakness for gypsies.

Parameter and an inspector general wonder "Guns, Guns, Who's Got the Guns?" when someone at Fort Courage is suspected of selling guns to the Apaches. Suddenly, everyone's pointing fingers at each other, even O'Rourke and Agarn. Parameter, however, isn't sure it's even one of their men.

It's "Marriage, Fort Courage Style" when Jane gets desperate for Parameter to notice her and calls in a matchmaker (Mary Wickes) to put them together. "Marrying Sam," however, keeps pairing off other troopers at Fort Courage, including Agarn.

Fort Courage itself is in trouble when a greedy land developer buys up the town. The troops say "Carpetbagging, Anyone?" when they have to trick the guy to get their land and O'Rourke Enterprises back.

Worked on writing next. Kathleen's frustrated. She wishes badly to buy a home of her own, but she has little money and knows no one else she can stay with. Mrs. Rowland has many older friends, but she feels awkward among them.

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. Charles sported a white ten-gallon cowboy hat in the first episode that he claimed to have borrowed from Marc Breslow, the show's director. After he joked about how silly it was, Breslow ended up pointing the camera over his head, only showing the top of the hat! Things got really wild in the second show with Bill Daily, Dolly Martin, and Scoey Mitchilll. Dolly comes up with "Armstrong" as an answer to "Bess __" on the Audience Match. No one believes her...until it actually comes up...

Returned to F-Troop to finish off that show. Parameter has a nasty cold that may interfere with his test to become a major. The others give him so many alcohol-based cold medications, he ends up drunk. Even then, "The Majority of Wilton" may not be as exciting if he really does move up and have to leave the fort.

Chief Wild Eagle becomes "Our Brave In F-Troop" when the guys sneak  him in to have a tooth pulled. All the officers think he's a real trooper, and he quickly rises through the ranks. Crazy Cat works with the guys to get him back with his tribe where he belongs.

Everyone's worried that an officer (Charles Drake) who is notorious for closing unnecessary forts may wonder "Is This Fort Really Necessary?" when he arrives to marry his attractive fiancee (Patrice Wymore). The Hikaris try to distract him by kidnapping the lady and her less-than-lovely sister, but O'Rourke wonders if it's a good idea when he falls for her himself.

And that's that. I am going to say that I really enjoy the black-and-white first season more than the goofier second season in color. While this is pretty much a spoof through and through, the first season feels a little more like a western and a little less like they're trying to throw every 60's cliche and available guest star they can get their hands on into the script. Oh, and this is not a show for the easily offended. The Natives are Jewish comedians in bad red makeup, and every guy in the show, regardless of their skin color, is shifty, dumb, greedy, or just too nice for their own good. 

On the other hand, the women are treated surprisingly well. Wrangler Jane is the only one who can shoot straight, even if she does try to chase Parameter a little too much. Other smart ladies who turn up during the course of the series include O'Reilly who ran the saloon, the black widow who went after Agarn, tall, strong Yellow Bird, that officer's fiancee in the series finale, and the strong-willed mothers of Parameter and Flaming Arrow. Even the Native women were clearly more intelligent than the men in their tribe. 

Once again, this is not for the easily offended. If you're expecting real Natives and a real exploration of the actual west, you're in the wrong show. If you're looking for a frequently funny satire of western cliches and 60's sitcom tropes, grab the first season set and ride on down to Fort Courage for a rollicking good time.

Finished the night at Disney Plus with the Easter episode of Muppet Babies. Kermit and Fozzie are thrilled to team up for the egg hunt, but Fozzie keeps rushing ahead, and the others get there first. Kermit has to remind them that on "Kermit and Fozzie's Egg-cellent Adventure," it's best to go slow and plan your moves first. Animal is so excited about seeing Ratlantis, he refuses to go to the bathroom. He's embarrassed when he has "Animal's Little Accident," but the others admit that they've had accidents when they wouldn't stop playing to use the bathroom, too. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

It's a Wonderful World

Began a late morning with breakfast and Paw Patrol. "Pups Save the Easter Egg Hunt" when Mayor Goodway breaks her arm and can't decorate enough eggs in time. Alex has an extra big egg to that turns out to belong to a bald eagle! She flies away with the eggs, Rocky, and Chickaletta, prompting the remaining Patrol pups to go after them.

Switched to Press Your Luck as I got organized. One guy just kept getting hit with Whammies in the first round. The lady and the bigger gentleman did much better. They were just starting the second round when I finally headed out.

Wanted to run to Dollar General for the last of my Easter shopping. Bought light-up bracelets for Olivia and Penny's Easter treat bags and a dinosaur-themed water bottle for Khai's, along with strawberry Jello mix for the cake I'm going to make later in the week. They had the Kind granola bars in again, so I grabbed a box.

Though it was a bit cloudy by the time I was out and about, it was also much warmer, probably into the upper 50's, and the wind had died down to a pleasant breeze. I was fine in a sweater and my light suede jacket. Celebrated the lovely spring weather with lunch at Phillies Phatties. All they had available were cheese and pepperoni pies, so that's what I had. Watched GMA3 on Channel 6 as I ate my slices and sipped a can of Diet Pepsi. Frankly, the dad who came in with the most adorable little girl who couldn't have been more than two was vastly more entertaining. 

I've been wanting to try Heartbeat Nutrition across the street again for a while, but they're only open from 11 to 2 on weekdays (and are closed Wednesday and Thursday). They focus on shakes, iced tea, and juice drinks made from the freshest and healthiest ingredients. I had an Irish Potato milkshake, which I believe was oat or nut milk with coconut, cinnamon, and coconut flavoring. Not bad. The nut milk made it slightly bland, but I love coconut in anything. They're expensive - the shake cost me $10 - but tasty. 

On my way down West Clinton, I saw a narrow white dresser with gray cloth drawers on the sidewalk. The cloth containers were pilled and ripped, but they could be replaced. The actual shelf was in perfect shape. I thought they'd be perfect to hold my socks, underthings, and pads and get the last-named off the floor in my bedroom. 

After I got home and organized my new dresser, I went downstairs to make my big Easter surprise. I thought I'd try my own version of the Acme's candy cookies with pastel M&Ms. I couldn't find the baking powder, so I hoped a tablespoon of Pepsi would give a similar lift and add a nice, sweet flavor. Oh yum! Must have worked, because these wound up being possibly the best cookies I ever made. They spread just enough, and were soft, chewy, and sweet. If it's not too warm for baking and I can find red, white, and blue M&Ms, maybe I'll do these for Memorial Day, too. 

After I loaded the cookies into bags for Easter, I went back upstairs to do job hunting and watch The Singing Nun. I go further into this semi-biography of the Belgian sister who became a sensation with her song "Dominique" at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Switched to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse at Disney Plus after the movie ended. "Mickey's Springtime Surprise" is an egg hunt for all of his friends. Mickey and Minnie give clues that send the others off looking for eggs with decorations that match the shapes described. They have to watch out for Funny Bunny Pete, who is determined to snitch and hide their eggs.

Worked on writing for a while next. Kathleen is tired of winter. She's hoping to start making enough money to buy a home of her own once the weather improves. All of the homes in her town are taken or too expensive. Mrs. Rowland says she can stay there indefinitely, but she wants a place of her own. 

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. The next episode has an offensive answer and is now banned on regular television (though it is on YouTube), so Buzzr skipped to the one after that. We kick off with everyone being flummoxed after Mary Ann Mobley gives the obvious answer to "Chef __" on the Audience Match. Richard Kiel has the best - or at least the most creative - answer to who would make the biggest crater falling out of the sky.

Finished the night working on the review for The Singing Nun while listening to spring-themed records. There probably isn't a better time to listen to George Benson's gentle piano album Winter Into Spring than right now. The opening tracks "January Stars" and "February Sea" are especially pretty.

The Music of Spring is one of two early 60's Columbia Masterworks collections I have that are centered around spring-themed music. My favorite song here is the lively instrumental version of "Younger Than Springtime" by Ray Conniff and His Orchestra and Chorus. We also have a lovely "April In Paris" by Leslie Uggams, Jerry Vale's bouncy "Camelot," "The Sweetest Sounds" by Patti Page, and a charming "It's a Wonderful World" by Vic Damone. 

Monday, March 25, 2024

Families and Games

Began the morning with breakfast and Green Eggs and Ham. Turns out that Guy and E.B were kidnapped by two Zookians who assume they're with Pam. When they finally get it through their heads that they aren't, they not only let them go, but the Duchess of Zookia (Rita Moreno) gives Guy full reign over their Institute of Technology. Sam thinks he's a "Goldenguy" when he stows away on his mother's ship, but he proves to be more of a hindrance than a help. Pam maroons him on a buoy, only to realize she might need a partner after all when her boat capsizes in shark-infested waters.

Rushed off to work after that. Work was fairly quiet for the week before a major holiday. People are either waiting for the weekend or next week, or they came in later. I did have to sweep the store, and I gathered trash inside at one point, but once again, I mainly spent the day pushing carts and enjoying a sunny, windy day in the lower 50's. 

A paper at the sign-in clock says the Acme will be having a hot-dog eating contest the day before Easter. I have no desire to join the contest or make bets on how much the winner will eat, but I'm willing to bring a side dish. I bought strawberry confetti cake mix to make a loaf cake, along with a few other things for Easter.

Went straight home after that. Let's Make a Deal had already begun when I got in. A woman dressed as a sack of money and her handsome husband opted to take a trip to Hawaii instead of trying to guess prices and win a car. Turns out they made the right decision, as their final guess was way off. Three people in a row handed off money to a lady gardener when they opted for good prizes on the stage instead. The lady kept the money, which proved to be equally wise. The couple and a sock hopper who reminded me of an adult Maryellen went for the Big Deal of the Day. The couple traded down, getting appliances instead of a trip...but Maryellen not only traded way up, she got the big deal, game board carpeting and a cookie jar stuffed full of money.

Let it run into Super Password while I took the laundry downstairs and got organized. I think saw this episode with Nicholle Nichols and Tom Kennedy before on Buzzr during one of their African-American Greats marathons.  Nichols started off very nervous, but got much better as the games went along.

Switched to the fourth disc of F-Troop after the show ended and I put the laundry in the dryer. "The Loco Brothers" literally sweep Parameter off his feet. The renegade Native pair really just want someone to be friends with them. Parameter's men and Wrangler Jane wish they'd be a lot less friendly and go after him.

Eastern and western culture collide in "From Karate With Love" when a Japanese girl flees to Fort Courage. She's trying to evade an arranged marriage she doesn't want. Parameter is willing to let her stay there and learn about America, until a samurai who is equally out of place comes looking for her.

O'Rourke's not thrilled that fort's newest recruit is a 10-year-old boy (Peter Robbins) who is obsessed with military life. He and the boy's mother tries to discourage him. "The Sergeant and the Kid" end up defending the boy's home from two different troops of Natives, one of whom looks an awful lot like the troopers from Fort Courage...

Parameter's wondering "What are You Doing After the Massacre?" when a flaming arrow with a note attached is shot into Fort Courage. Turns out 147-year-old Native Flaming Arrow (Phil Harris) still holds a grudge against the American Army going back to the Revolution and wants revenge. He tries to lead an attack on Fort Courage, but neither the Natives nor the troopers are interested in anything besides selling souvenirs.

It's "A Horse of Another Color" when O'Rourke and Agorn try to capture a handsome stallion to sell at market. Parameter is interested in the animal too, but as a birthday present for Wrangler Jane. They all learn a lesson in why wild animals should stay in the wild when not only does the stallion evade capture, but a sweet mare falls for him.

The Japanese aren't the only foreigners invading Fort Courage. A Transylvanian count (Vincent Price) and his ghoulish looks have everyone on edge. Agorn says it's "V for Vampire," but the others don't believe him until Wrangler Jane goes missing. They follow him to a spooky mansion in order to rescue her.

Did some job hunting, brought my laundry upstairs, then worked on writing. Kathleen is very worried about the shop and the weather. It's been cold and windy, not very spring-like. They need more flowers to make orders for the upcoming feast to welcome spring. Even Mrs. Rowland is beginning to wonder if something isn't out of order...

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. The final episode of the week with Eva Gabor, Bart Braverman, and Betty White begins with Eva admiring Gene's suit, and Gene remembering what Eva's current husband looks like. Eva reminds everyone where Count Dracula came from, while Charles ends up handling "Drawing __" on the Audience Match.

Things really get weird the next week when character actor Richard Kiel, the tallest panelist the show ever had, sits in the first seat next to Brett. Gene takes one look at him standing up and tells him he can write whatever he wants! There's also the irony of diminutive Paul Williams sitting in the fifth seat that week...

Finished the night at YouTube. The only game show episode I could find for Easter was a 1975 Match Game show. Brett Somers and Fannie Flagg showed off their Easter bonnets, which somehow migrated onto the heads of Tom Bosley and Gene Rayburn.

Since Easter is mostly a family holiday, I went with game shows that had the whole family playing instead. Family Double Dare from 1990, for instance, had parents join their kids in answering trivia questions and taking part in messy stunts. It plays pretty much the same as the usual format, with expanded stunts that everyone can take part in, and a car as the final big prize on the obstacle course instead of a trip to Space Camp or Disney World.

Family game shows go way back on the networks. Baby Game from 1968 was basically an early form of the 80's series Child's Play, only instead of seeing kids explain a word, they have to guess how they'll react in certain situations. There's a baby race near the middle of the episode that gets rather silly. Otherwise, this is kind of cute, even if you can pretty much guess how the kids will react before the adults do.

The champ among family games is Family Feud, which is still going strong today in syndication. I went with episodes from the first two runs. Richard Dawson celebrated his birthday in 1977 with the help of his own family, his sons Gary and Mark. Ray Combs hosted a 1989 daytime episode I might have watched as a 10-year-old.

The Hub Network (now Discovery Family) pushed game shows in a big way after it was purchased by Hasbro in 2011. The Game of Life and Scrabble Showdown were based after two of their most popular games. Life had a parent or relative and two kids drive through a wacky CGI landscape, answering questions about a certain "career path." The ones with the most points after two drives would move on to doing stunts. Scrabble Showdown had a parent and child either rearranging letters on a board, trying to figure out how a word fit together, or making words from boxes with letters on them left on the table.

Honestly, neither of them are masterpieces, but they'd probably amuse the target audience. I like the simpler Scrabble for it's slightly more challenging game play. Game of Life has very strange gameplay and hideously dated special effects when they're "driving."

By far the best and most popular of the Hub shows from its debut is Family Game Night. Two families play each other at a series of events based on favorite Hasbro games. This ran for four years on the strength of the sheer variety of games it offered, from a "Bop-It" tournament that could get pretty intense to their own "Scrabble Flash" that had contestants jump on letters on a board to make a word. Addictive and a lot of fun to watch, no wonder this ran for four years.

Celebrate Easter with your family as they cheer on the families in these hilarious and heartfelt shows!

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Perfectly Springtime

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and some classic Miles Davis. Sketches of Spain was apparently inspired by the music his wife used for her act with a flamenco dancer. The bravura opening piece, "Concierto de Aranjuez," takes up more than a quarter of the CD alone. Other good ones include "Will O' the Wisp" and "The Pan Piper."

Headed out after that. I pushed carts the entire day, and I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. It remained windy, but it was also sunny and warmer, in the lower 50's, much closer to usual for this time of year. It was busy when I arrived, but it slowed down once everyone got to their birthday parties and family get-togethers. I did have to fix the trash can, which had somehow ended up half-way across the front of the store. Other than that, I handled the carts and enjoyed the weather. Even used an online coupon to get a free bag of store brand blue corn chips on the way out. 

Soon as I got home, I hit the shower, then grabbed dinner and went upstairs for tonight's Match Game marathon. Grumpy character actor Jack Klugman had an off-and-on affiliation with the 70's Match Game. He was in the pilot episode and the first week, where he frequently talked about (and complained about) his then-wife Brett Somers. Tired of her hanging around the house, he suggested she appear on the show. Jack's off-the-cuff idea proved to be more fitting than anyone could have guessed. Witty, party-loving Brett was a natural for the panel. Unlike her husband, she stuck around for the entire remaining nine-year-run. 

They appeared together frequently during 1973, with Jack sitting next to her on the upper tier. She had to stop him from running off when he disapproved of a question during the week with "Mama" Cass Elliott, and he heard her answer that would have gotten her into a lot of trouble nowadays during the week with stand-up comedian Stu Gillian. They frequently fought and joked and insisted that their marriage was doing just fine now, thank you.

Truth be told, it wasn't. According to Brett later, all they did was fight, off and on-screen. They were separated by 1974, and by 1977, had either divorced or separated permanently. That didn't stop Goodson-Todman from bringing Jack back to sit in Richard Dawson's old seat in 1978, a few weeks after Dawson left the show. Jack and Brett proceeded to prove why they split up when they got into a fight over whether Hallmark Hall of Fame was a legitimate answer for "__ Hall of Fame" on the Audience Match. By the end of the week, they warmed up enough to each other that the others held a mock wedding for them, complete with champagne and a napkin "veil" for Brett.

That would be Jack's last appearance with Brett on Match Game, but he did turn up solo near the end of its run in 1981. He sat in Brett's usual seat while she was out doing a play, mainly so he wouldn't have to pay her alimony. As he had during the week in 1978, he complained on the PM episode that the panelists don't get prizes. They finally gave him a nifty maroon jacket. He got so excited near the end of the episode when the contestant won, he ran all over the stage, spinning the Star Wheel and dashing into the audience!

Given his volatile relationship with Brett, there would occasionally be references to Jack even when he wasn't physically present. He was the answer to a question in 1974 about how Will Rogers said he never met a man he didn't like, but he hadn't met Jack. There was also the two times during the syndicated run when Charles made fun of the absurdly tiny diamond pendant Jack bought Brett. 

You don't need an autopsy or a cleaning-obsessed best friend to enjoy this wild marathon featuring one of TV's most notorious grouches and his relationship with one of its tipsiest actresses!

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Rain and Matches

Awoke to pouring rain that would continue in some form until late afternoon. Even when the rain finally ended, it continued to be gale-force windy. No doubt about it. I couldn't go anywhere in that mess. I stayed at home today. 

Watched Bugs Bunny's Easter Funnies and had breakfast when I finally got moving. The Easter Bunny gets sick, so Granny looks for a replacement among the Toons when Bugs proves to be too busy. Despite the tenuous Easter theme, this is really a showcase for some of Termite Terrace's Oscar-winning shorts, including bits of "Birds Anonymous," "Knighty Knight Bugs," and "For Scentimental Reasons." 

Quickly made the bed after breakfast and before a neighbor came to fix a light in my bedroom. After he left and the cartoon ended, I did some job searching. Applied as an inspections clerk in Willingboro, an e-commerce writer in Philly, and a copywriter for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Once again, I don't know if I'll get any of these, but I figured it was worth trying. (And I was turned down by Power Home Remodeling.)

After I finished, I put on Matilda: The Musical. I go further into this adaptation of the hit British stage show and Roald Dahl book at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Put on Here Comes Peter Cottontail after the movie ended. I went further into this at my blog in 2019, along with The Easter Bunny Is Coming to Town.

Finished the night at YouTube with the Match Game marathon. Comedienne and comedy writer Ann Elder had just come off appearing on and writing for the last few seasons of Laugh-In when she turned up on Match Game. She was one of the earliest women to be a hit in the sixth "comedienne" seat, and possibly one of the best players in that seat along with Betty White. She appeared fairly frequently from 1973 through late '74, with one last appearance in mid-'75. 

Ann's natural warmth - and tight sweaters and blouses that nearly matched Fannie Flagg's for how well they showed off her decollage - made her a favorite among panelists and viewers alike. She showed off the life-sized Emmy statue charm Richard Dawson gave her in one 1974 episode after she won a real Emmy for writing a Lily Tomlin comedy special. She saw a young gentleman with a huge Afro claim he wanted to become a game show host, and another with sideburns give some really interesting answers. In her last week, she got to meet Brett's very pretty grown daughter Leslie when she sat in the audience to watch her mother on the show - she basically looked like a redheaded version of her mother.

You couldn't write a better script than the off-the-cuff gags that come out of the mind of this sweet and very funny lady!

Friday, March 22, 2024

School Trip Before the Storms

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Charlie and Lola. Lola thinks she is "Lucky, Lucky Me" when her grandparents send them money to see the big new movie Batcat in the theater. The day doesn't begin well. Lola gets food on her lucky dress, she loses her rain hat during a downpour, and the theater sells out before they can get seats. Lola worries that she'll never be lucky again, but Charlie encourages her to make her own luck.

Karen picked me up for the Rowan University Job Fair at about twenty after 8. One lady who was coming with us met us in Oaklyn. We picked up the other two, a quiet young man and a pretty Turkish college student, at the Abilities Solutions offices in Westville. The lady kept chattering on and on until Karen pulled into Rowan's main parking lot around 9 AM. 

I actually did a bit better here than I did the last couple of times I went to a job fair. The Emerson Group and The Wyanoke Group are basically communications companies that mostly deal with health care. I left resumes with them and with Comcast. I also picked up information on other forms of public transportation from NJ Transit. Everything else was once again mostly health care companies, though I did see Goodwill, Shop Rite, an online casino, a glass company, a steel mill, the Army, many local police companies, and local  theme park Diggerland. They were even busier today than they were last October, with more than half the tables full and people milling everywhere. 

At least it was a gorgeous day at that point for long trips. We took a small jitney-type vehicle to the job fair, but it was such a nice day, I suggested we walk back. Honestly, it took less time than waiting for the jitneys anyway. The sun was out, the sky was a radiant blue, and though it was bitter cold in the morning, by 11, the temperatures rose to around the lower 50's. 

It took longer to get home than I planned. First of all, the one older lady insisted on stopping for lunch at a little bagel shop in front of the Abilities Solutions offices. Which would have been nice if the rest of us wanted to join her. The Turkish girl was fasting for Ramadan, the boy wasn't hungry, and I snared muffins for lunch at home at the job fair. When we got going again, she had to drive him to Moorestown and her to Haddonfield. I didn't get home until almost 1 PM.

Got organized and ate carrots and those muffins while watching Split Second. The first one got pretty close, but one of the ladies made a comeback and won the Countdown Round...and she chose the car on the very first try! Three new contestants were half-way through the second round when I ran out again.

Had an appointment with PNC at 2; just got there in time. I only had to wait a minute or two for the finance counselor to be available. We mostly ended up calling another finance counselor who was better with investments. I still want to make enough money to buy some kind of small dwelling. I don't need the starter homes most families are after nowadays. I'm fine with a condo, a small apartment, or even a mobile home. Thing is, my John Hancock account is now making money, rather than losing it. I suspect I might be better off leaving it alone. I made an appointment to see the investment counselor the week after Easter and moved on.

Since it was past 2:30 by the time I got out of PNC, I kept my grocery trips brief. Restocked yogurt, apples, popcorn, and the mozzarella cheese I like to snack on at the Westmont Acme. The oranges weren't on sale at Sprouts anymore, but I did find a bag of orange-sized grapefruit for $1.98. Also grabbed more of those Bobo's granola bars and found white chocolate-macadamia nut cookies on clearance. Didn't have nearly as much luck finding Easter goodies at a mostly picked-clean Target and walked out with nothing. I wasn't at any store longer than 20 minutes. 

The weather had deteriorated considerably since I got back from Rowan. Clouds began to creep up during the long drive home. By the time I rode home, it was cloudy, windy, and cool again. Dodged traffic on Cuthbert Road, but I figured it would be quicker to just take the main roads.

Went straight upstairs and into F-Troop when I got in. Things get really confusing when the bandit Kid Vicious holds up the Fort Courage bank. Thing is, he looks exactly like Captain Parameter. An elderly and almost-blind sheriff (Sterling Holloway) is convinced that "Wilton the Kid" is his man. O'Rourke and Argon know better, especially once the right man starts tripping all over the place.

Everyone is terrified over "The Return of Wrongo Starr" (Henry Gibson), the sweet but jinxed private who wrecked havoc in the first season. He's probably the worst possible person to be looking after a load of dynamite. When he runs after the Fort's goat mascot, the others go after him...right into the path of the dynamite...

It's "Survival of the Fittest" when Parameter and Agarn are selected for a survival training course. Jane and O'Rourke are worried about their friends and try to make sure they have all they need out there in the wilderness. First, however, they'll have to get past the officer who selected them to begin with.

The men of Fort Courage say "Bring On the Dancing Girls" when O'Rourke and Agarn hire a troupe of lovely ladies to perform at their saloon. Wrangler Jane is furious that Parameter might be checking out someone else...and then a far more ruthless con man blackmails the saloon out from under them. O'Rourke isn't about to take this lying down. After all, the saloon might be looking a bit unsafe these days...

Got my schedule while the show was running. In good news, far more hours next week and still three days off. My only concern is it's all bagging. I figured I'd be doing at least one floral department day on the week before Easter.

Worked on writing next. Mrs. Rowland, the kindly owner of the flower shop where Kathleen lives and works, tells her about Mother Nature and her many helpers who keep the seasons on track. Fairies are in charge of the spring, she says, but they seem to be late doing their job this year. Kathleen wonders if there's another explanation besides fairy-tale characters.

Took a quick shower at 7, then had dinner while watching Match Game Syndicated. The show began with the last of many, many tiebreakers that carried over from the previous episode. They'd been doing it for so long, Charles cracked that the young officer playing was probably AWOL by now. After Brett finally matched someone, Dick Martin, Bart Braverman, and Eva Gabor joined in to help them figure out "Monterey __" in the Audience Match.

Finished the night at Tubi with The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice. Flynn Carsen (Noah Wylie) is not having a good day. He broke a priceless Ming vase that he accidentally bid a million on and lost his girlfriend while keeping men from stealing the Philosopher's Stone found inside it. After he has a meltdown over the incident, Judson (Bob Newhart) suggests he take a vacation, and Charlene (Jane Curtin) suggests he "follow his dreams." 

His dreams lead him to New Orleans, where he encounters beautiful singer Simone Renior (Stana Katic) in a church-turned nightclub. Turns out she's the guardian for the Judas Chalice, a kind of holy grail for vampires. Flynn falls for her, but she's not what she seems. A group of Russian men are also after the Chalice to create an army of vampires, but the professor of vampire lore they force to work with them might be even more dangerous.

The vampire theme makes this one slightly darker and sexier than the other movies in this series. Simone's story is certainly a bit different, and a lot more tragic. The New Orleans setting gives it more of a mystical tinge, too. It's telling that this is the only time we don't see Flynn's home or his mother (though he does mention the latter). Recommended for fans of the first two films...but see at least the first movie before this to get a better handle on the characters and universe.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Three In the Wind

Overslept so much this morning, I barely had the time to write in my journal, grab my breakfast, and rush off to work. At least the weather was decent. It was much colder and gale-force windy, but it was also at least sunny. The threatening clouds that hung around yesterday had long since vanished. I dodged the wind and just barely got to work in time.

Not that anyone really noticed. We were dead the entire day again. I once again spent the morning sweeping and pushing carts. I even had the chance to gather the trash. There just wasn't that much to do. I was in and out with no trouble whatsoever. 

Soon as I got home, I changed and went down for a nap. I can't remember the last time I took one. Finally dropped off around quarter after three and didn't get up until after five. 

Went straight into The Color Purple from last Christmas after I finally rolled out of bed. I went further into the most recent version of the epic tale about the lives of three black women in the early 20th century south at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Applied for two jobs while I was on, a senior writing job with a company in Philly, and a secretarial job in Cherry Hill. I don't really think I have the qualifications for either, but wanted to try anyway.

Switched to the second Match Game Syndicated episode while eating leftovers for dinner. We're now at the week with Bart Braverman, Eva Gabor, and Betty White. The episode opens with Gene's rather amusing "Thought for the Day" and the contestant's joke about why her voice was hoarse. Charles does manage to get the last laugh with "__ Buckets" in the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night listening to some of my most recent record acquisitions. The World of Swing two disc set from 1974 is apparently supposed to accompany the book of the same name. I've never seen the book, but there's some terrific songs here, some of which are among the most famous of the swing era. Favorites from this one include "Stompin' at the Savoy" by Chick Webb and His Orchestra, "Where are You?" by one of the few female outfits, Mildred Bailey and Her Orchestra, "Ebony Silhouette" by Cab Calloway and His Orchestra, "Scarecrow" by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, and "Beluah's Boogie" by Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra.

Slowed things down with Expressions, a K-Tel light rock collection from 1980. "Please Don't Go" by KC and the Sunshine Band seems like an odd choice, but most of the other songs on the album are soft ballads that are far more suited to the theme. I have fond early childhood memories of "A Little Bit More" by Dr. Hook, "Where Were You When I Was Falling In Love" by Lobo, "Still" by the Commodores, and "I'll Never Love This Way Again" by Dionne Warwick. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Memories of Spring

Kicked off the day with breakfast and Green Eggs and Ham. Sam, Guy, and E.B are rescued by Sam's "Tinker Tailor Mother Spy" Pam-I-Am (Patricia Clarkson). Sam's thrilled to have found her, but Pam and Guy try to point out that she's too busy being a spy to do all the things she used to do for him. Pam is trying to rescue a substance called Moo-Lacka-Moo for the country of Yookia. They stop in a local village, but end up having to get out of town fast. Pam tries to send them all home, but Sam wants to stay, and Guy and E.B are caught by goons from the other side.

Headed off to work not long after that. Work was quiet the entire morning. It's the middle of the week, the middle of the month, and we're between holidays. Most people probably won't start thinking Easter until this weekend or next week. I did have to drive an electric cart back to WalMart that put me behind bringing carts back in the last hour. Other than that, no trouble whatsoever. The clouds were in and out, it's still windy, and it sprinkled slightly this morning. The sun is nice when you can get out of the wind.

Went straight home after I got off. Watched Let's Make a Deal while changing and having a snack. Came in just as two people opted to take money instead of boxes on the floor...which proved to be a bad choice, as the boxes held golf equipment and appliances, and the money didn't even amount to $100. A couple didn't do much better trying to win a trip to London, though they did get $400. A cat hung onto her $1,000 rather than spend it on the Door 4 Wheel. One of the people who won a low sum of money early on ended up being one of the Big Deal traders. The $800 he got from the Cookie Jar was still better than the $99 he started with. A maid and her hubby were equally happy with appliances and a gorgeous fur jacket for her.

Switched to F-Troop as I read about ADHD and did research on blog writing. "Yellow Bird" (Julie Newmar) is the long lost daughter of a wealthy Texan who was raised by Natives. Yellow Bird falls for Parameter, upsetting Wrangler Jane, while Agorn and O'Rourke think her father seems to have a pretty sweet deal.

It's an election year at Fort Courage, too. "The Ballot of Corporal Agorn" is the only one left that could decide the mayoral race in his home town of Passaic in North Jersey. The two candidates come out west to try to persuade Agorn that they're the ones he should vote for.

The others wonder "Did Your Father Come From Ireland?" when O'Rourke's Irish dad (Forest Tucker) arrives at the Fort. His obsession is bucket brigades and firefighting...and if there isn't a fire around to fight, he'll start one. Parameter tries to get him out, before everyone gets too hot under the collar.

Corporal Dobbs (James Hampton) wonders "For Whom the Bugle Tolls" when a camp inspector who is obsessed with buglers comes to Fort Courage. The others try to help him practice, then find a way to let the inspector hear music that's far sweeter than anything that ever came from Dobbs' instrument.

"Miss Parameter" (Patty Regan) is Wilton's equally clumsy and sweet-natured sister. She falls for Corporal Dobbs and tries to get him to marry her. Her brother and O'Rourke find her true calling when White Eagle falls sick, and there's no one else who can nurse him.

O'Rourke and Agorn are hoping for pasta galore when two Italians open a restaurant at the Fort. Turns out they're on the run from a gangster in their hometown and need hide in "La Dolce Courage." Parameter tries to find a way to keep the boss from running off with the daughter and blowing Fort Courage to heck and gone.

Worked on writing after that. Kathleen works in a flower shop, which she also lives above. Kindly Mrs. Kirkland teaches her how to run the shop and make arrangements. Kathleen has many wishes - to become a real writer, to have a home of her own - but right now, she's mostly worried that spring seems very late this year. Mrs. Kirkland tells her about Mother Nature and the different supernatural creatures under her care who look after the seasons. Perhaps something happened with one of them...

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. Things got pretty goofy in these episodes. In the first, Gary Crosby and Joyce Bulifant pick up Betty White's old gag of rolling up Gene's pant legs when he's talking to the upper tier. Gene also slipped and said "Charles" Cossell during one of their numerous jokes about Howard Cosell's obvious toupee.  In the second, Gene breaks out a poster of a musical Gary appeared in during the early 60's, Two Tickets to Paris. (Which reminds me, I need to review that.) The music department kicked in with "There's No Business Like Show Business," which sent the entire panel marching around the desks.

Finished off the night at YouTube with some old childhood favorites that were slightly less weird. From about 1979 through 1985, every year in the spring and early summer, toy companies would release animated specials based around a new doll line or new products in an existing line. For instance, Strawberry Shortcake's Housewarming Surprise likely existed to promote their new line of "international" dolls and Strawberry's larger Victorian mansion-style dollhouse. There's also a really cute story about Strawberry moving and the Peculiar Purple Pieman and Sour Grapes wanting to steal the recipes those international friends brought. 

The Care Bears made their animated debuts in The Care Bears In the Land Without Feeling. This is also the first of many times the Bears deal with a villain who comes off a lot scarier than you'd expect for this franchise. Professor Coldheart was their original antagonist. A little boy who is upset that he has to move stumbles straight into his trap and is turned into a slave. The Bears do their best to rescue him, but Wish Bear turns out to have the real solution to their problem.

For every Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake who are frequently revived and still talked about today, there's a Rose Petal Place or Herself the Elf only toy collectors and animation historians remember. Both of these lines began with much hype and barely lasted a year or two. In fact, several of the characters seen in the Rose Petal Place special here were supposed to have been dolls, but the line was canceled before they made it into full production. 

The Charmkins was one of two videos my family rented after we got our first VCR around 1985. (The other was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.) The Charmkins were little figures intended to be jewelry who smelled like flowers. This special is the closest we came to having any of the toys. I still have a soft spot for the adventures of sassy Brown Eyed Susan (Aileen Quinn) and her brother Wee Winkie as they rescue Lady Slipper from a group of evil trolls who want her to dance and brighten up their swamp.

On the other hand, we had several Star Fairies dolls (and Rose still has her blue hard plastic lunch box based around the line), but I had no idea there was a special based on them until I found it on YouTube. Princess Sparkle creates four more fairies to help her create sweet dreams for kids. They bring one bored girl along in an attempt to grant her wish - a life of adventure. She gets a lot more than she bargained for when three silly elves steal Sparkle's wand in an attempt to grant their own wishes. 

Poochie was also huge during my younger years. The fluffy pink and white dog with the puffy ears and dark sunglasses turned up everywhere in the early-mid 80's, on every toy and item that could be sold to a girl. I always thought Poochie was a random character without a backstory, but apparently, someone did put out a Poochie special in 1984...and it's an odd one. Poochie and her robot butler help a boy and his father escape a lost Egyptian city and convince its girl high priestess not to sacrifice them. 

Peppermint Rose debuted in 1993, well after most dolls and fanciful animation of this type had gone out of style. I don't think the dolls or the special did well at the time, but it's actually pretty fun. Rose learns how great it is to do things yourself - or get help from a good friend - when she's brought by a wizard to help rescue a magical peppermint rose bush from a group of stinky bugs. Despite the dainty nature of the story, this one reeks of the early 90's, from Rose's attitude to the random rap sequence that has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story and is never mentioned again. 

If like me, you can't remember a spring without singing flowers, rapping teen girls, taking pink dogs, and wish-granting fairies, here's the shows for a trip down a springtime memory lane.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The First Day of Spring

Began the morning with breakfast and a series of Silly Symphony shorts that took place during the spring or had spring-ish themes in honor of the first day of Spring. "Flowers and Trees," the first three-strip Technicolor animated short, won an Oscar in 1933. Two trees are in love, until a mean old tree nearly burns the forest down to get the girl. "Farmyard Symphony" gives us a mini-opera as a rooster pursues a pretty white hen and the other members of the barn yard wait for breakfast. A gingerbread man helps a pretty cookie become the queen of "The Cookie Carnival," then hopes she'll make him her king.

"Springtime" is one of the earliest black and white shorts. It's pretty much just flowers dancing and animals eating each other in time to classical music. "Birds In the Spring" is equally simple. Three baby birds fall out of the nest. Mama and Papa catch two, but a cheeky little fellow decides to start out on his own, until he's chased by a snake and bees and his parents rescue him. "The Goddess of Spring" is an operatic retelling of Persephone and Hades myth that Walt intended as a trial run for Snow White. The animation isn't quite there yet - Persephone moves like she's made of rubber - but there's some nice music, and the story itself is well done.

Headed out after "The Goddess of Spring" ended. Walked to the Westmont Plaza, since I wasn't going home afterwards. While the weather isn't warm like it was last week, it could be worse. It's windy, yes, but the sun is nice when you can get into it. At least it looks like the first day of spring. Cherry trees and magnolias are in bloom now; every garden bursts with daffodils and jonquils. 

Got into Westmont with a little under fifteen minutes left before my dental appointment. Thankfully, the lady who cleans my teeth could take me seconds after I arrived. I went in, she scraped and polished my teeth, and went out. The entire process took less than a half-hour, including making my next appointment for late June. 

Had lunch at the Westmont Bagel Shop. Apparently, the lady did really good work. An older woman complimented me on my smile while I was waiting for my spinach and feta omelet and multi-grain bagel. That made me feel even better than the delicious lunch. 

It was getting late by the time I finished, so I figured I'd take Uber to Somerdale. The chatty guy arrived in four minutes and got me to the Cinemark 16 in ten. Thankfully, there was no traffic on the way. He arrived just as the ads began.

First of all, along with the live-action comedy If (Imaginary Friends), there's some cool animated movies coming out this summer. No interest in another Despicable Me whatsoever. I liked the first three, but not enough to get me into a theater. If I see it at all, I'll stream it or rent it later in the year. Inside Out 2, on the other hand, looks genuinely intriguing. The girl the emotions are inside of is growing into her teen years, so there might actually be a story here. Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire definitely isn't my thing, but the visual effects on the previous Godzilla movie did just win an Oscar. The Wild Robot gives me Iron Giant vibes and looks like it'll be beautifully animated and very sweet. 

I ended up seeing Kung Fu Panda 4. I'm not going into spoilers here while the film is in theaters, but I did enjoy it. Maybe not as much as the previous films, but I still love this franchise. Jack Black still has fun as Po the Dragon Warrior, and Awkwarfina does better than you might think as the fox thief he trains. Bryan Cranston and James Hong as Poe's two very different fathers are hilarious, and Lori Tann Chinn has a few good moments as a female boar who manages the bar where Po looks for someone who can take him across the sea. Some terrific animation too, especially near the end, when the villain is taking everyone's moves. 

The villain, however, is a lot less interesting here, and some of the action sequences seem a bit perfunctory. This also lacks a lot of the warmth of the previous films, especially the third one that emphasized Po's family. I'd say if you love this franchise like I do, come check this out too. If you haven't seen the other movies yet, please do so before you come anywhere near here.

Went straight over the hill to WalMart after the movie ended. They didn't have any interesting records, but I did find The Wild Wild West: The Complete Series for $19.99. Though Pluto TV currently has it, that was too cheap to pass on. Finally found the Listerine Gum Therapy mouthwash; Target's been out of it for ages in the smaller size. Grabbed more of those Junkless granola bars too. They had D vitamins in gummy form for a decent price. Picked up large colored pencils for the kids' Easter bags.

Got down to the Black Horse Pike in more than enough time for the bus to arrive. It was a little late, not bad for the height of rush hour. Thankfully, the traffic was going in the opposite direction. The bus made only two stops and got into Oaklyn within 20 minutes. 

Did job hunting after I got everything put away, then began another fairy tale idea. I keep stalling on the Match Game fanfics. I'm hoping I might actually be able to finish another short. This one begins with a woman who lives above a flower shop and works for a kindly older lady, though she feels awkward learning the things the woman already knows and living in her home. 

Watched I'll Cry Tomorrow while I worked. I go further into this harrowing adaptation of vaudevillian and early talkie star Lillian Roth's autobiography at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. Rita Moreno made her first appearance on the show this week since the lost 60's series, along with Gary Crosby, Joyce Bulifant, and David Doyle. No one really had much luck with "__ Hairs" in the Audience Match. They did better in the second episode, as David helped the contestant with "__ Plaza" in the Head-to-Head.

Put on records while I worked on my I'll Cry Tomorrow review. The Ronco Get It On! collection has some of my favorite songs from 1974. Classics here include the original "Drift Away" by Dobie Gray, "Ain't No Woman Like the One I've Got" by the Four Tops, "The Morning After" by Maureen McGovern, "Playground In My Mind" by Clint Holmes, and a disco-esque version of "Also Sprach Zarathrusta" by Deodato. 

The Unforgettable Fire is one of the earliest hits from Irish band U2. It's mostly known today for the massive hit singles "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and "Pride (In the Name of Love)." They went far more atmospheric than their earlier records, and this may have been their biggest success yet. 

Finished the night at YouTube with more animated spring shorts. "Springtime Serenade" is one of the very few color shorts made with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit at Universal. He and his sister Fanny are eagerly cleaning their summer resort for warmer weather. They ignore a groundhog's dire prediction...until the snow arrives...

Though credited to directors Harman and Ising, the public domain Happy Harmonies short "To Spring" was some of the earliest work by William Hanna. Little men who live underground mine rainbow pillars to produce all the color for spring. They have to work overtime when Old Man Winter creates a storm to keep him around a little longer.

"Pastry Town Wedding" was the first cartoon from the RKO Van Beuren Studios. It has a lot in common with "Cookie Carnival." Two tiny pastry people who help the larger chef with his work opt to get married. Very light on plot, but there's some imaginative animation, especially when they're making the wedding cake.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Winds and Games

Began the morning with breakfast and It's the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. Sally is mostly excited about getting new clothes for the holiday, while Snoopy buys Woodstock a birdhouse. Peppermint Patty tries to teach Marcie how to color eggs, but she has a hard time grasping that you don't open the shells beforehand. Lucy's more interested in getting gifts from Schroder and coloring and hiding her own eggs. Linus claims they don't need to bother with the fuss. The Easter Beagle does that. Sally's skeptical after getting stuck in a "sincere" pumpkin patch with him at Halloween, but Easter morning brings more than one surprise for the kids!

Spent the next hour and a half taking down the St. Patrick's Day decorations and putting up the ones for Easter. There's the big resin statue Patchy Bunny and the porcelain bunny in the purple dress and the bunny candy holder Mom gave me years ago. Flora the Bunny and Freddie the Frog are roly poly toys that used to play music (though they haven't worked in ages). Mom made the small raffia wire garland hung with the tiny wooden bunnies and carrots and the larger one with the painted wooden eggs that hang down. She sent me the two egg-shaped Sees' Candies tins and boxes, too. 

The bunnies in the bright floral outfits with the dangling beaded legs and the little blue calico bunny were tucked into a glittery mylar garland in front of the TV. The lop-eared pink Beanie Baby bunny I found at a yard sale is hanging out with the collectible bears. The two small blue chicks came from Build-a-Bear and are on the children's book shelves. 

Watched Press Your Luck while I ate and pulled the decorations out of the closet. These episodes belonged to a dark-haired lady with big tortoiseshell rimmed glasses and a wider smile. She came from behind twice. Got a trip and a billiard table in the first episode and beat the champ. In the second one, she barely won a motorcycle when the lady who was amassing more money ran into a Whammy on her last turn.

I think I've seen the Split Second episodes before, but that didn't make them less exciting. The first episode was especially cool. A young woman who wanted to be a screenwriter and director was behind the entire episode, getting less money than the other contestants. She still managed to beat the Countdown Round with the most questions. She did even better in the second, just getting past the guy.

Soon as she won and I got the spring decorations container back in the closet, I headed out the door. I had to run a few errands today, beginning with the post office. I just needed stamps there. Waited for an older woman to finish sending out her package, then bought the pretty tulip stamps the cheerful lady behind the counter suggested.

Dollar General is a block down from the post office, so I went there next. Picked up Kind bars and stuffed toys for the kids' Easter bags. They're the only other place besides the Acme I've seen the 4-gallon trash bags. Grabbed a box of those as well. (And forgot the pads I went there for. I'll get them tomorrow.)

Had a nice walk home, too. Though it was much chillier and far windier than it has been, it also wasn't the Arctic weather I assumed we'd be hit with. It was still fairly warm if you could get out of the wind, probably in the upper 40's, lower 50's. It's certainly looking like spring now. Every garden sports sunny daffodils, golden forsythia blooms, and pastel hyacinths. Thick carpets of green grass have mostly replaced the dry tan lawns.

Put on the second season of F-Troop as I had lunch, and then while I applied for a job in Hamilton. There's two big changes at Fort Courage as we open the second season. First of all, the show is now filmed in color. Second, the theme song dropped its lyrics and replaced the montage of sequences from episodes with comic artwork depicting all the strange goings-on at the Fort. 

The stories get a little more fantastical, too, like the season opener "The Singing Mountie." The crooning Canadian policeman (Paul Lynde) arrives in a rolling dog cart to capture Sneaky Pierre (Larry Storch in another dual role), a fur trapper who stole his latest finds. The Singing Mountie, however, isn't what he claims to be, while Pierre is less of a sneak than the Mountie claims.

Agorn is horrified when all of the men but him are transferred out of Fort Courage. Even worse, they have to train their replacements, G-Troop. They learn "How to Be F-Troop Without Really Trying" when it turns out G-Troop is even more incompetent than the men they're replacing.

The arrival of a Prussian soldier (Harvey Korman) and his hot hair balloon sends O'Rourke into expansive daydreams of never having to patrol on foot ever again. Those dreams end abruptly when it turns out the German has something far more sinister in mind for his flying invention. O'Rourke and Agorn end up saying "Bye Bye Balloon" to warn the Hikawis of the Prussian's plans.

After the payroll train is robbed, Agorn and O'Rourke are assigned to make sure it doesn't happen again. They're supposed to protect the money, but really would rather be anywhere else. Bandits saying "Reach for the Sky, Pardner" have them thinking of creative ways to keep that loot out of their hands.

O'Rourke is horrified when Agorn loses his memory after falling off his horse. Wild Eagle suggests a local medicine man (Milton Berle) who functions as a Native psychiatrist. Turns out the guy has a lot more in mind than figuring out where Agorn's brain is. Agorn's scrambled mind makes him the perfect patsy for "The Great Troop Robbery."

O'Rourke, Agorn, Dobbs, and Vanderbilt are excited to resign their posts and homestead a real ghost town, one that's said to have a real ghost. They're skeptical, until the ghost starts showing up everywhere. Parameter and Jane also notes that "The Ghost Goes West" when they try to find a way to bring their wayward troops home.

Switched to Match Game '77 while eating dinner. The first episode started off with Brett admiring Gene's gray suit and red tie. (And I have to admit, I did rather like that scarlet tie with the stripes myself.) Elaine Joyce is less amused when Gene tries to move his microphone cable and avoid knocking her off like he did to Trish Stewart that one time. In the second episode, the new champ gets to ask Gene the question when she totally blanked on the Head-to-Head.

Let it run into Match Game Syndicated. Charles tries advocating for Bess Myerson in Brett's place again, something that would turn into a running gag with him during the 1980 syndicated episodes. Marcia Wallace does better, first joking about her and Judy Landers being similar, then making a surprising match on the Head-to-Head "He's So __."

Took a shower, then finished the night at YouTube honoring the 74th birthday of Beat the Clock. This is another beloved format that goes way back. It started on radio in 1948 as Time's a Wastin'...but if there was a genre of game show made for TV, it was the stunt show. Beat the Clock debuted on CBS in 1950 and was an instant sensation. Couples do wacky stunts in 60 seconds or less to earn money and prizes. Only the woman takes part in the Super Bonus Round that has her rearranging tiles with words to form a saying. 

This was one of the biggest hits of early TV, and as far as I can tell, it changed very little over the course of its original 1950-1961 run. Bud Collyer was the enthusiastic host on both the night and short-lived daytime CBS runs and stayed when the show moved to ABC's afternoon schedule in 1958. His first co-hostess Roxanne was so popular, she had a doll made that looked like her. 

Beat the Clock returned in 1969, this time to syndication. The stunts and young couples playing were pretty much the same as before, but the bonus round was replaced by a celebrity doing a solo stunt on their own. The contestants won an extra $50 if they guessed correctly whether the star could do the stunt or not. Jack Narz was the original host, but by 1972, the commuting to Canada to film the show got to be too much for him. Announcer Gene Wood took over for the show's remaining two years, and did quite well, too. Robert Morse is the celebrity on Narz's episode; Giselle McKenzie helped inaugurate Wood's run.

CBS brought Clock back to its daytime lineup in 1979. The main game returned to its original contours, but there was yet another bonus round. This time, the contestants slide pucks on a shuffleboard. Whatever money it lands on is what they get. Monty Hall was the host for this one pretty much under protest - it was the first show he'd done for a company other than his own since 1961. Narz had largely retired from hosting by this point and moved to the announcer's booth. 

Wish Hall and CBS had more faith in this. Apparently, despite still being a lot of fun to watch, even wacky stunts couldn't beat the red-hot Card Sharks. They turned it to all celebrities playing for the audience, which did absolutely nothing to help the ratings. Ironically, the show has had the last laugh. It's probably the version of Beat the Clock most likely to turn up today, including occasionally on Buzzr. 

It would be 2002 before another network took a chance on this format. Family-oriented PAX TV added a third couple and asked trivia questions to decide who would perform each stunt. There's yet another bonus round. The winners step into a booth and try to catch money and prizes slips blowing around. Yeah, it's cheap and absurd as it sounds, and doesn't work any better than it did in The Diamond Head Game in 1975. The trivia questions don't really add much, either. Once again, this version didn't last a year.

(The show's most recent revival was on Universal Kids in 2018, this time with kids and their parents playing. Alas, it only ran a year despite being a relatively faithful adaptation and is nearly impossible to find now. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw Beat the Clock again in the near future, maybe in another children's version. The simple stunts are still a heck of a lot of fun to watch after all these years.) 

At any rate, hope you have as much fun watching the original slime time game show as I did!