Tuesday, April 30, 2024

A Lovely Way to Spend an Afternoon

I slept in so late and got so caught up finishing Rhythm and Clues, it was past noon when I got going. I ate a quick breakfast while watching Press Your Luck. Came in during the second half, just in time to see one guy Whammy out. The lady did too, leaving one guy to play against the house. He eventually won over $2,600, not bad after he hit two Whammies himself. His luck ran out in the next show when a Nebraska law school student managed to be the only one to pick up any cash.

Headed out as the second episode was ending. I had to run a few errands in Collingswood, and it had been a while since I had a nice walk there. Since I've visited Innergroove Records several times over the past few months, I decided to give equal time to the other record store about two blocks away. Collingswood Music is mainly a musical instrument and music lessons store, but it also has a darn good selection of records. I ended up with:

They had a lot of vintage James Bond soundtracks. It was a hard choice, but I finally went with Moonraker (still sealed!), The Spy Who Loved Me, and Octopussy

Bernadette Peters - Bernadette Peters (The kid at the desk said he was waiting to see who finally bought this one, considering they had three copies of it in the dollar racks.) 

The Age of Television 

Hooray for Hollywood (Collection of songs and some dialogue from Busby Berkeley Warners movies of the 30's.) 

Ralph Marterie and His Marlboro Men - Music for a Private Eye (themes from 60's detective shows)

Four episodes from The Adventures of Superman old-time radio show

Made my way down Haddon Avenue after I finally made my selection. It was such a lovely day, bright blue, sunny, and still really warm, it made up for a lot of stores in Collingswood being closed on Tuesdays. Thankfully, their library was open. I checked out their shelves and bins of books and DVDs for sale and  ended up with two recent hardback mysteries, Steeped In Malice by Vicky Delany and A Streetcar Named Murder by T.G Herren. 

Backtracked a block to Sabrina's Cafe for lunch. I'm glad I went when I did. I got there around quarter after 2, and they close at 3. They were still surprisingly busy for so late in the afternoon, with several of the long, blocky wooden and metal tables remaining full. I went with one of their seasonal specials, Wheels French Toast, a coconut French toast with blueberry-lemon compote. I was expecting two slices of French toast and some blueberries. What I got was four perfectly-cooked slices of thick coconut French toast swimming in sweet blueberry-lemon compote and topped with whipped cream, toasted coconut, and crunchy coconut streusel. Oh, yum! Sweet, fruity, and just heavenly. 

Had one last stop to make at PNC Bank on the way out. By the time I doubled back two blocks to the banks, there was a line for the outside ATM machines. There was a shorter one inside, too, but I opted to wait there instead. Went in, got my money, and went out.

Headed home after that. I noticed when I locked my bike at the rack behind the Senior Center that it was starting to look grimy. It was time to give it a good scrub. I can't remember the last time I washed my bike. I took it around the back with one of my new washcloths bought from Marshalls and Pine-Sol and gave it as good of a cleaning as I could. It looks a little less dusty, at any rate.

Went upstairs to rest and watch It Ain't Hay. I go further into this Abbott and Costello race track vehicle based on a Damon Runyon story at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Had no luck with job searching, so I worked on writing instead after the movie ended. Kathleen is surprised when the snow starts. It had been relatively warm just moments before! She hurries off to find shelter as the snow gets worse.

(Oh, and at this point, I saw glimpses of two new Julie outfits at Instagram and on an American Girl blog. One has her in blue shorts and a rainbow pastel heart-print t-shirt that honestly looks more appropriate for 80's girl Courtney. The other, a lavender and teal granny-square crocheted vest and purple skirt, screams 70's as loudly as possible. I might have to get both for Ariel, or at least the granny square one.) 

Broke for dinner and Match Game '77 at 7 PM. The first episode began with Charles joking about Brett's white jacket making her look like a nurse. The others are more interested in commenting on the lady wearing a shirt that said "Baby" with an arrow pointing at her stomach. The second show has everyone singing "On Top of Old Smokey" as an answer to a question about where Ranger Smith ends up when he falls out of his tower.

Finished the night listening to some of my recent record finds as I worked on my It Ain't Hay review. The Johnny Mathis album I Just Found Out About Love would seem to be a special collection of songs with music by Jimmy McHugh intended for the Columbia Music Club. I do have "Sunny Side of the Street" elsewhere, but the other songs are new to me. My favorites were the opening "A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening" and "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street." 

Hooray for Hollywood brings together many songs and some bits of dialogue from Busby Berkeley/Warner Bros musicals of the 1930's. I was pleased to see that they didn't always go with the obvious choices, here. Among the rarer songs are "Spin a Little Web of Dreams" from the semi-musical Fashions of 1934, "The Lady In Red" from In Caliente, and "I'm Going Shopping With You" and "The Words are the Music In My Heart" from Gold Diggers of 1935. Surprisingly, two major Berkeley films of the period - Gold Diggers of 1933 and my favorite, Footlight Parade - are not represented. Still, it's nice to have songs from movies that don't turn up as often nowadays. 

Monday, April 29, 2024

Flowers and Angels

Began the morning with breakfast and The Busy World of Richard Scarry. Billy Dog loves his mother's job at the Observatory, and so do his friends. When she announces they're moving, he's disappointed. They've moved a lot, and he likes Busytown. "The Big Move," however, isn't as big as he thinks. "Sneef In Russia" searches for the mastermind behind the theft of diamonds off a picture frame on the Orient Express. He keeps jumping on the wrong suspects, but the criminal is a lot more obvious than he believes. "Mr. Frumble Gets a Job" doing lawn work for Mr. Armadillo. He thinks it'll be easy, until he loses control of the lawn mower.

Rushed out soon as the cartoon ended. This was my only floral department day this week...and the manager really needed the extra help. There were almost no rose bouquets left on the floor, scattered spring flower bouquets, and only a few arrangements. I watered the plants on the tables when I came in, then wiped down the tables and dusted the shelves with the vases and stuffed animals. Spent the rest of my shift pulling out as many flower and greens bouquets as I could and quickly setting them out on the floor. The floral manager re-inflated droopy birthday and number balloons that belonged in the card aisle. 

Went straight home after I finished. Changed, then rested while watching Charlie's Angels. After attempts are made on the Angels' lives, Charlie hires "Toni's Boys" to be their bodyguard. Antonia "Toni" Blake (Barbara Stanwyck) is the owner of a private detective agency, with three hunky guys - champion rodeo rider Cotton (Stephen Shortridge), former Olympic athlete Bob (Bob Seagren), and master of disguise Matt (Bruce Bauer) - who work for her. The ladies would rather solve the case themselves and ditch the guys whenever possible, but when Tiffany vanishes, they realize this case is too big for them alone.

(And apparently, this was supposed to be the pilot to a spin-off that never got past the planning stage. I can kind of understand why. I love the idea of Stanwyck as a more hands-on Charlie, but her boys were pretty dull. No wonder the Angels kept trying to get rid of them.)

Switched to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse next. The original "Minnie's Bow-Tique" is ready to open! Minnie is delighted to sell hair bows and bow ties of many colors and prints to her friends. There's someone behind the scenes, sneaking around and knocking over bow displays and accidentally letting bow butterflies loose. For once, a certain fat cat isn't trying to be a bad kitty. He's just not sure how to go about buying a bow. 

I went online to do a job search and some writing. Truthfully, I was too tired to do a whole lot. Kathleen is about to go home when, to her surprise, it starts to snow. It was too cold for snow earlier! She hurries off to find shelter somewhere...

Broke for dinner and to take my laundry downstairs at 7 PM. Match Game '77 is up to one of my favorite weeks of the entire year. Grand Ol' Opry comedienne Minnie Pearl was a charming delight that week. She played well and seemed to have a good time. I wish they'd gotten her back from Tennessee again. She even turned up in her flowered hat and ruffled dress for the first day. While Gene tries to get a "new kid on the block" kiss from her, Joyce Bulifant sits on Fannie Flagg in the opening, then appears in the contestant's seat, claiming she was supposed to be on the show. Actually, she was supposed to be doing Three's Company in another studio. Brett wore her own flowered hat in the second episode, only for Minnie to dress in a normal shirt and sweater.

Finished the night on YouTube after a shower and bringing my laundry up with episodes of Concentration, in honor of Classic Concentration's birthday on May 4th. Concentration was originally conceived by Jack Barry and Dan Enright in 1958 and hosted by Hugh Downs. Two people try to match prizes found under squares on a rotating board. Also under the squares are parts of a rebus puzzle. The person who solves the puzzle wins their prizes. Some squares have nonsense prizes, like "Donald's Duck," but most hold regular prizes like furniture and fine food. They can also hit a Wild Card, which will automatically uncover a match, a Forfeit 1 Prize, which they have to give up a prize to the other player, or a Take a Prize, which had them stealing a prize from the other player.

Unlike other early Barry-Enright shows, there was no cheating here, and none necessary. The real fun was in solving the puzzle, not what you can win. (Even so, NBC ended up buying the rights to this and Twenty-One after the quiz show disasters.) Downs hosted until 1969, when he decided he'd rather concentrate on being a TV journalist and turned the reigns over to Bob Clayton. This would run on daytime from 1958 through 1973, and it was one of NBC's most popular shows through most of that long run. In fact, it remains their longest-running game show. It's a shame that most of the show is now gone, either junked or wiped. The first episode seen here is the earliest known to exist. Fortunately, the series finale also exists, giving us a glimpse of Clayton and the show in color.

There was enough interest in Concentration for it to reappear in syndication later in '73, this time produced by Goodson-Todman. Jack Narz took over as host here. The board and the set largely remained the same, but the gag prizes were eliminated, and they added an actual bonus round. Double Play had people solving three puzzles in 10 seconds; if they won, they picked up a car. This was pretty tough; I think I saw it happen maybe once or twice when Concentration ran on Buzzr in 2020-2021. 

Mark Goodson (Todman passed away in 1979) tried again with Concentration in 1985. Orson Bean hosted a series of pilots where people matched clues to the prize instead of the name of the prize. The bonus round has them matching prizes. Even if they don't match all the prizes, they do get a consolation 100 dollars. Some really good things here, like the nifty set and board that actually looks better and moves more smoothly than the later Alex Trebek show, are overshadowed by the clues-matching being way too hard figure out. Bean, a long-time Goodson-Todman panelist, does well enough, and I do like that people actually come away with something from the bonus round, even if they don't match every square.

The Orson Bean version didn't get far, but Goodson was finally able to sell NBC on a relaunch in 1987 as Classic Concentration. Alex Trebek was in charge of this one. Once again, it basically plays the same, only with the Forfeit cards eliminated. The Orson Bean bonus round is carried over, with contestants matching spaces for a car instead of random prizes and no extra cash. The Takes were returned in 1988 as red and green cards that the contestant could use right away, or save for when their opponent found a prize they wanted. Diana Taylor was the original model, but she was replaced within two months by the far warmer Marjorie Goodson-Cott. 

Considering Classic Concentration is one of the most popular and frequently-ran shows on Buzzr and many people I've talked to (including my best friend Lauren) have fond memories of its original run, I'm surprised this is the last version of Concentration to date. You'd think NBC would have at least revived it during the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire big-money fad era, or as counter-programming to ABC's "Summer Fun and Games" block a decade ago. I think they should dig up a computer artist who can pull off goofy rebuses and give this one another shot. It's deceptively simple, but there's still a lot of fun in figuring out just what's under that square.

You'll want to "concentrate" on figuring out these difficult rebuses and making matches in these classic episodes! (The 1958 episode has numbers on the bottom and the 1973 and '78 shows are not in the best shape, but the original Concentration was wiped and doesn't have a lot left, and the revival only got to 1977 before Buzzr dropped it from the schedule.)

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Walking On Sunshine

Started off the morning with a quick breakfast and the soundtrack from the Judy Garland A Star Is Born. The major hit here was the torch song "The Man That Got Away," which Garland introduced on a piano early in the movie. My favorite number is actually a medley. "Born In a Trunk" is supposed to be the big song for the movie that makes Esther a star, but it's really a series of older songs that represent the usual upwards trajectory in lavish movie musicals of the 1940's and 50's, from born into a vaudeville act to struggling through nightclubs and lower-end theaters. The fact that Garland actually lived through a lot of this adds layers of authenticity.

Headed out soon as the CD ended. Work was off-and-on steady. We were a little busy when I came in and at noon, but other than that, it wasn't bad. It's the end of a quiet month, and the weather was really too gorgeous for shopping. The clouds from last night lingered when I got to work, but they began clearing around 11. By the time I finished, it was an absolutely gorgeous, sunny, very warm and breezy day in the upper 70's. 

It was so nice, I didn't want to sit inside all day. I changed, read Rhythm and Clues a little bit, then went back out. Strolled down to WaWa for a treat. It was too hot by 3:30 for anything but a smoothie. Their Pina Colada was a little sweet, but it did taste like pineapple and coconut. I wasn't the only one enjoying the day, either. Teenagers and adults stopped by WaWa for cold treats of their own. Children rode their bikes and shot plastic guns that spewed many bubbles into the air as they chased each other around their yards.

Worked on writing for an hour or so when I got in. Kathleen is about to start down the path to the town when she hears a noise. As she follows the noise, it begins to snow. She finds this surprising, since it was relatively warm just moments ago. She has to find shelter, before the storm gets worse...

Listened to Great Day! Rare Recordings from the Judy Garland Show while I worked. I don't know how rare these are nowadays, but they're songs from Judy's 1963-1964 variety show that, for the most part, she didn't otherwise record. Mel Torme added new material to "This Could Be the Start of Something" and "A Lot of Livin' to Do" so Judy could announce that week's guests. We also get a medley of songs from World War I (plus the slightly later "My Buddy"). She also got Torme to write her daughter Lorna Luft her own song when she realized there was no song named "Lorna." Other good numbers here include the title song, "Poor Butterfly," "Make Someone Happy," "Time After Time," and "Seventy-Six Trombones."

Finished the night at YouTube with tonight's Match Game marathon. You never know what crazy clothes the panelists and contestants would be wearing...or not wearing. McLean Stevenson showed up in a 1973 episode naked from the waist up except his bow tie, claiming the other men didn't want to lend him any clothes. Gene gave him his jacket. Gene and Betty did stripping routines several times. Gene took off his tie and jacket to show off his body in one episode; Betty kept her clothes on, but still joined him. He removed his jacket in a later episode to show off the gold brocade someone made for him from Chinese silk.

Gene wasn't the only one who swapped clothes. Bill Daily gave Charles Nelson Reilly his tan plaid jacket in a syndicated episode, even though it badly clashed with Charles' plaid shirt and lime green pants. Mitzi McCall and Elaine Joyce filled out halter and tie-front floral tops rather well in a 1974 show. Gene went casual in another episode with a gray jacket and turtleneck. Betty showed up in a notorious syndicated episode sporting a short red and gold dress that amply showed off her still-excellent legs. Sharon Farrell later revealed a friend of hers made Betty's dress and her pink outfit. Sharon showed off her outfit by landing on Richard Paul as an answer to what a farmer wishes what kind of wrestling would become an Olympic sport. 

The shirtless incident wasn't the last time McLean admitted fashion wasn't his strong suit. He turned up in a pale blue jacket and shirt in a later syndicated episode, and Brett pointed out that he still had no sense of fashion. Patty Duke, Brett Somers, and Charlene Tilton showed up in another syndicated episode with Brett in and off-the-shoulder caftan and Charlene in an extremely brief halter dress that amounted to barely wearing anything. Charles would turn up in a later syndicated episode sporting a cowboy hat with a feather that was about as close to the Wild West as he was going to get. Jon "Bowser" Bauman's idea of dressing up for a nighttime episode was wearing a giant polka-dot clown bow tie with his usual leather chain jacket.

You never know what your favorite celebrity will be wearing on this show...or not wearing. Take it all off for this hilarious marathon! 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

It's Fun to Be a Human

Started off the morning with breakfast and The Busy World of Richard Scarry. Aviator Rudolph Von Flugle takes Huckle and Lowly up in his plane. The boys learn to become "High Flyers" in a hurry when he forgets his seatbelt and falls out. Dudley and Sam solve "The Steamboat Mystery" when a wealthy lady pig's pearl necklace is stolen during a masquerade party. Louie the French restaurant owner hopes the Hoboes are "The Best Waiters Ever" when he invites Mayor Fox and another mayor to his establishment.

Messed around online a bit before heading out. There was a lot going on today, starting with Audubon Day at the Audubon Recreational Center. Not hard to tell there was something going on over there! The traffic got bad as I rounded the school. People dodged the cars as they pushed strollers down to the park.

I had no idea Audubon Day was this huge. I expected a few craft tables and games for the kids. It was noisy and sprawling, almost on a par with some of the bigger events in Collingswood. There were thousands of kids running around in the playgrounds alone. I did manage to make my way through the throngs long enough to pick up free copies of Strangers On a Train and The Color Purple on DVD from the Audubon Library's booth and a rock painted like a cute ladybug from their environmental center. (And I think I inadvertently gave them my $20 for their donation can. I meant to give them $1. At least it went to a good cause. The young woman in charge said they were raising money to plant trees.)

Frankly, that mess got to be too much for me. I was there for less than 20 minutes before I hurried off again. This time, I made my way across King's Highway and through Haddon Lake Park to Haddon Heights. I read last night that they were having their Town-Wide Yard Sale today. 

Alas, they proved to be disappointing. There weren't that many yard sales out there, and the few I did run into mostly sold junk. I wonder if the weather scared some folks off. It was gloomy, cloudy, windy, and much cooler, barely in the 60's. It didn't make it less busy. Even as I kept going in circles and getting turned around, I had to dodge people in cars looking for good bargains. All I found was The Best of the Flamingos on CD and Rose's Christmas Cookies, a collection of holiday cookie recipes. Tried to hit the Haddon Heights Library, but they were closing as I arrived.

Had lunch when I got tired of going in circles. I've wanted to try the Market Links Cafe for years. They were a small storefront on the first block of Station Avenue that sold smoothies, salads, tacos, burritos, and basic sandwiches. I had a huge burrito at a blocky wooden table, along with a big bottle of water. The burrito was very filling, with lots of cheese, black beans, chicken, and vegetables. The chipotle mayo also made it a bit spicy. I downed quite a bit of that water.

Since I had no luck at the yard sales, I thought I'd check out Station Avenue Antiques. I did slightly better here. Found a Raggedy Andy hanging on the wall who would go perfectly with the Raggedy Ann I picked up from a yard sale five or so years ago. I also grabbed three records: 

The original Broadway cast of The Robber Bridegroom (Would you believe this one was only a dollar? And the show was a flop on Broadway. This album is pretty rare.)

Two episodes of the radio show The Shadow with Orson Welles (This was the five dollar splurge, but my Orson Welles Shadow episodes are in storage.) 

The George Shearing Orchestra - When the Lights are Low (Also a dollar.) 

Headed back towards Oaklyn after I got out, and made two quick stops on the way home. I was hoping to hit the bathroom at the Pine Street WaWa in Audubon, but they're not big enough to have a public bathroom. I did get two bottles of Dr. Pepper Zero and Coke Spiced Zero. Treated myself to a Neapolitan Cookie (banana, vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry) from Las Amigos Bakery.

After I got in, I had my giant cookie while watching The Lorax and The Hoober-Bloob Highway. I go further into these Seuss specials from the 70's at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Spent the next few hours working on the reviews and writing. Took a shower, then had dinner and finished the night with today's Match Game marathon. I suspect we got an encore of the Happy Days marathon from a while back in honor of its 50th anniversary this year. 

Anson Williams would be the first cast member to turn up on the show. He appeared in 1974, in 1977, and during a week of The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour in 1983. Brett heavily drooled over him both weeks he was on in the 70's. Tom Bosley celebrated Easter on the show early in 1975 by wearing Brett's pink flowered bonnet. Pat Moriata endured a lot of Japanese jokes during his only week later in '75. Williams' then-wife Laurie McCafferty appeared in 1979 and during syndication, while Erin Moran and Lori Goodhead turned up on a later Match Game-Hollywood Squares episode. 

Actually, the Happy Days cast member who got the most out of Match Game was the one who appeared the least on Happy Days. Roz Kelly only did a few episodes as Fonzie's girlfriend Pinky Tuskedero, but that didn't stop Goodson-Todman from announcing her as being from the show. She got really into Gene's "New Kid on the Block" kiss, and would grab him for another one later that week when an overly excited contestant smooched Richard. When she came back in 1977, Gene brought a guy out of the audience to kiss her. She declared him to be even better than Henry Winkler, and Gene called him "the new Fonz."

Rock around the clock with all your favorite Happy Days cast members in this hilarious marathon!

(Oh, and after it being dark and cloudy all day, it did finally rain...and hard...around 1 AM. Doesn't sound like it's doing anything now.)

Friday, April 26, 2024

Welcome to Oaklyn

Started off the morning with breakfast and Paw Patrol. Marshall falls asleep right before he and his friends are putting on a fairy-tale play and dreams that the "Pups Save a Dragon." More specifically, they save Katie, who was put to sleep and is being guarded on top of the Pups' tower by a dragon. "Pups Save the Three Little Pigs" when their homes keep getting knocked over. Farmer Yumi swears she hears a wolf, but Ryder has a more practical explanation for where the howling comes from.

Switched to The Busy World of Richard Scarry next. Sprout the goat is disappointed when he has to work on his father's farm instead of going on "The Field Trip" with his scout group. He learns how much fun his job really is when Sergeant Murphy breaks down near the farm and the kids help him in the fields, and he shows them around. Two of my favorite Scarry characters, detectives Dudley and Sam, solve "The Great Pie Robbery" in Paris when thieves make off with Madame Dog's cherry pies. Mr. Cat wants a "Clean Garage" to have room for the car, but Mrs. Cat's not so eager to get rid of their stuff.

Headed out to hit the grocery stores next. First stop was Sprouts before the high school kids started coming over to the Westmont Plaza for lunch. This time, the Minneola Tangelos were two for a dollar. Decided to try Annie's Organic Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie granola bars along with the Olyra blueberry breakfast sandwich cookies. The unsweetened vanilla coconut milk I like is still on sale there, too. 

Went down the hill and past Haddon Township High School to the Westmont Acme after I finished at Sprouts. Restocked apples, mozzarella cheese for snacking, the big box of Jolly Time Simply Popped popcorn, Kind granola bars, and yogurt; had online coupons for the latter two. Found a bag of coconut macaroons on clearance in the Jewish food section that were so cheap, I thought they'd be worth trying. Grabbed bagels for lunch this week. Propel hasn't been on sale, but I haven't been able to find the mixes cheaper anywhere else.

Cut through Newton Lake Park going home. I wasn't the only one who had that thought. It couldn't have been a nicer day in late April. Sunny, breezy, and warm but not too hot, with a sky so blue, it hurt to look at it. I took the back path and still dodged many people out for jogs, walks, and strolls with friends. The park is looking very spring now, too, with tiny lime green leaves, brilliant pink-white flowering dogwoods, and bright yellow buttercups and dandelions.

Had lunch and watched Let's Make a Deal when I got home. Monty offered people a sporty red coupe four times...and four times, they opted for something else or didn't win it. Three people in the opening opted for furniture and money instead of the car. A spunky young cowgirl and an older gentleman dressed as Rooster Cogburn from True Grit kept money and handed appliances over to a big man in a cowboy's hat. Another lady in a lavender headband kept her $1,000 rather than use it on the Door 4 Wheel. She and the cowboy ended up trading in for the Big Deals of the Day. She got appliances worth a bit more than the $1,000 she gave up; he got furniture worth probably about what he gave up. The Big Deal, however, wound up being both their deals, plus the car seen earlier.

Switched to Vega$ while getting organized, dusting my rooms, and cleaning all reflective surfaces. Seemingly mild-mannered butcher Jack Schulman (is obsessed with becoming the "Ghost of the Ripper" and repeating the Jack the Ripper murders. Dan gets on the case after the man kills a prostitute who asked for his protection. He and his friend on the force Lieutenant David Nelson (Greg Morris) get the help of a professor and criminologist to figure out Jack's patterns. Then the female cop  Dan is dating offers herself as bait, and Dan worries that she may be in over her head.

"The Eleventh Event" is a sadder story. Dan's close friend Leon Hazlett (Clifton Davies) was a five-time Olympic gold medalist who lost the use of his legs in a car crash. He's a little embarrassed to return for a telethon in his honor. Rock singer Paul Baker is supposed to be the host, but he's kidnapped shortly before the broadcast. Dan has to figure out who really wanted Paul out of the way while assuring Leon that there's a lot of things he can still do in a wheelchair, and he may be down, but not out.

Fiddled online for a while before putting on my new Taylor Swift 1989 (Taylor's Version) record and doing some writing. I hear hits like "Welcome to New York" and "Wildest Dreams" everywhere from the Acme to blasting through the open windows of cars. Of the older material, the wild and upbeat "Shake It Off" has always been my favorite; I also like "This Love." "Now That We Don't Talk" is my favorite of the newer "vault" songs she added for this re-release.

Got my schedule at this point as well. In good news, far more hours than I have been getting, and I still have three days off. They're all pretty early, though one is a floral department day. I figured the only reason my hours have been so lousy was April really didn't have much going on. There are a ton of holidays and events in May, including prom season, Mother's Day, college graduations, Cinco De Mayo, the Kentucky Derby, and Memorial Day. 

Worked on writing for a little bit next. Kathleen realizes that the lady and Lord are definitely up to no good, especially when she looks down and realizes that the cold has made the flowers in her basket wilt. She wants to follow them back to the village and warn the town council, but it's getting very cold, and kind of dark...

Broke for dinner and Match Game '77 around 7PM. Buzzr skipped way ahead to one of my favorite episodes of that year. In the opening, we see Betty doing a very funny imitation of Charles in his seat, including his pipe, scarf, and hat, and Charles in Betty's seat. They remain in those seats through the first half of the episode. Hans Conried and Sarah Kennedy join in as they help a contestant with "Practice __" in the Audience Match.

Finished the night at YouTube with a special short Match Game marathon. Long-time soap star and writer for General Hospital, among others, Meg Bennett passed away on April 11th. Match Game Productions put together the two weeks she appeared in during 1977. I didn't realize he did the first week last night, but I did catch the second week and that week's nighttime episode today. By far the most notable event of that week was Richard Dawson arguing over whether "plastic baggie" matched "bag" when "paper sack" matched. He tried to start a riot like he had a few weeks before, but no one was on board with him this time.

At any rate, honor a lovely woman and a very good Match Game player with this delightful marathon!

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Getting It Together

Began the day with breakfast and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Goofy Babysitter" finds himself taking care of five tiny Disney characters when his friends all walk through the same time machine that turned him into a baby two seasons before. Clarabelle helps out by encouraging the toddlers to help her act out famous nursery rhymes.

Bluey and her friends Snickers and Coco are having fun playing what they call "Shadowlands." They have to follow the shadows and not fall into the non-shadowed "crocodile-infested water," no matter what. Coco keeps wanting to change the rules when she has a hard time, but Bluey won't let her. The fluffy pink poodle finally understands why rules are important when they all make use of fleeting cloud shadows to race to their parents' picnic blanket.

Took my comforter and fuzzy deer print blanket downstairs to be washed, then came back up and spent the next hour re-organizing the larger closet. Move the other air conditioner as best I could to make room for more plastic crates. I put the baskets with the dust cloths and microfiber cloths on top of them, then filled the crates with cleaning and laundry supplies. The bag with my linens now went on top of the old air conditioner.

Put on Buzzr as I worked. Press Your Luck began with two guys and a female Naval officer. Alas, she got hit with Whammies in the second round. One of the guys won a huge trip and money. He promptly lost in the next episode to a perky young woman who picked up a gambling table and a trip to London.

Vacuumed and Swiftered my rooms while Split Second was on. The one man and two ladies were neck and neck most of the episode. After he made it to the Bonus Round, he actually got the car on his first try. Ironically, he admitted he didn't drive, but the lady who was with him sure seemed happy! The next episode wasn't nearly as close. The one guy was ahead the whole round. This time, he missed the car and said he'd come back and try again.

Headed out after I put the blankets in the dryer. I'd been hanging out inside all day and wanted to get some fresh air. Strolled down to Dollar General first. Looked for Propel-type electrolyte drink mix, but they were out. I ended up with lightly salted mixed nuts, a Cherry Coke Zero, and a small box of tissues. I spent the morning sneezing from all the dust I stirred up in the closet and went through most of the remaining box in my bedroom. 

Stopped at the Pretzel Shop on the way home for a treat. This time, they did have the stuffed cheese steak pretzel. Asked for two pretzels for later...and the nice gentleman gave me three additional ones. 

I'd already seen the Let's Make a Deal episode, so I put on Vega$ instead while eating pretzels and an orange for lunch. It's "Serve, Volley, and Kill" when Dan Tanna is hired to keep an eye on a temperamental tennis star (Robert Mantooth) who keeps insisting he's fine. Turns out he's far from fine. Two gangsters want him to throw the big tournament, and they do everything from tossing a pretty girl (Lynda Day George) at him to kidnapping his little sister (Pamela Ferdyn). Meanwhile, Bitzer insists that con artist Tommy Cirko (Red Buttons) seems to have traded his con artists ways for becoming a minister in a Vegas chapel, but Dan knows that once a con, always a con.

Made my bed and did some bills while watching Give a Girl a Break. I go further into this small-scale MGM dance-a-thon about three talented young women who audition for the part in a Broadway revue after the star quits at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Did some job hunting, then worked on writing for a while. Lord Jerrick more-or-less hits on mousy Kathleen, insinuating that he wants her to be a lot more than a florist for him. She turns him down cold, claiming she'd rather be caught in snow than with a jerk like him.

Broke for dinner at 7 PM. Watched Match Game '76 as I worked. The first week of 1976 featured Isobel Sanford and the only appearance of songwriter Marvin Hamlisch, who is best-known today for A Chorus Line and his work on The Sting and The Way We Were. At one point, Richard got up and actually tucked Gene's shirt in for him. Marvin was more interested in playing the show's think music on a tinkly toy piano.

Finished the night after a shower listening to Sinatra albums while I worked on the Give a Girl a Break review. Apparently, Sinatra Sings...Of Love and Things is a collection of random singles and B-sides from his Capitol years. That would explain two stereo numbers, "Chicago" and "Something Wonderful Happens In Summer," mixed in with the regular songs. Other good ones here include "The Nearness of You" and "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues."

Point of No Return would be his last album of new material for Capitol before he moved to Reprise for more control over his work. That explains some of the darker songs here, like "When the World Was Young" and "I'll Be Seeing You." I'm fonder of the slightly lighter ballads "There Will Never Be Another You" and "These Foolish Things." 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Spring Harts

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Charlie and Lola. Lola learns to "Look After Your Planet" when Charlie tells her to recycle her unwanted things instead of throwing them away. They're excited when they see a competition to win a tree mentioned in a magazine. Even getting their whole school involved, they're still short what they need...until Marv's brother Morton steps in, having braved their older brother's smelly room to get the last bits of recycling.

Headed to work after that. No wonder my hours have been so bad lately. We were dead almost the entire morning. I was able to easily gather the carts and sweep the store, and the trash didn't need to be done. I cleaned the bathrooms and wiped down the tables and counter in the employee room. The fact that it was a decent day may have helped there, too. It was supposed to rain late this morning. If it did, I didn't see it. It remained cloudy, windy, and warm for most of the morning. By the time I went home, the clouds had even cleared.

Changed and had a snack while watching Let's Make a Deal. The deals didn't begin that well. Three people were given a purse that might have had 1, 2, or 3 dollars. Only one ended up with a trip to Hawaii. One got a Zonk, and the other 2 dollars. A woman baseball player did better, also winning a trip. Little Red Riding Hood played the same game and ended up with an organ. They both traded their items in for the Big Deal of the Day. Red likely wasn't complaining about more than $3,000 in cash, while the baseball player got the big deal of the day, furniture, a huge projection TV, and a stereo system her whole family could enjoy. 

Relaxed and napped while watching They Died With Their Boots On. George Armstrong Custer (Errol Flynn) is a rebel from the moment he steps into West Point in his own lavish home-made uniform. His pranks and general disregard for rules doesn't make him popular in the Army. Libby Bacon (Olivia De Havilland) asks him for directions while he's on a silent punishment and ends up falling for him. He's called out to Washington before he can see her. He then becomes a Civil War hero first when he defends a bridge, and then in the Battle of Gettysburg.

Bored with civilian life after he marries Libby, Custer is assigned to the 7th Calvary in the Dakota Territories, which he proceeds to whip into fighting shape. He even makes a treaty with Lakota Native American Chief Crazy Horse (Anthony Quinn). Not everyone is happy with the impending peace. Ned Sharp (Arthur Kennedy), who was at West Point with Custer, is in charge of the trading post and saloon at the fort and is selling rifles to the Natives. He and several corrupt politicians promote a fake gold rush in the Black Hills, The settlers who stream in are in violation of the treaty, but Custer won't let them cause trouble.

 Sharp gives his men liquor to embarrass them in front of politicians, which ends with Custer being relieved of his office, He tries to get the government to see reason, but they won't listen. President Grant (Joseph Crehan) is more understanding. Custer finally goes to battle with his men at Little Big Horn...but while he won't survive, Crazy Horse and Libby do, and they make sure that the right people get charged with having started the whole mess.

Um, yeah. This about as fanciful a depiction of history as you'll see in a western. Custer may have been a rogue, but he wasn't exactly a champion of Native rights. Even now, he's considered a colorful and highly controversial figure. Flynn and DeHavilland do very well with both the glory-seeking Custer and sensible Libby in their last of eight films together, Quinn is about as Native as I am, but he still does relatively well as Crazy Horse. The production is long, epic, and unwieldy, and goes on for way longer than it should. It's still recommended for fans of Flynn, DeHaviland, or those who are willing to take a ton of historical fudging with their westerns.

Tried writing for a while, but I was so tired, I ended up going out to dinner instead. Went around the corner to Crown Chicken and Gyro and picked up a tilapia sandwich with fries and a can of Diet Pepsi. Brought it home and ate it while watching Match Game '75. We got to meet Richard Dawson's then-girlfriend Jody Donovan in these episodes. Rich wasn't happy when Gene tried to give a kiss to the "new kid on the block" he happened to be dating! Fannie's post office-style outfit in the second episode prompted many jokes about the post office and postal services.

Finished the night online with more TV episodes. "Murder Among Friends" in the first season of Hart to Hart gets sticky when a lawyer and his sweet wife become suspects in the murder of a divorce lawyer who failed to promote the husband to partner. Johnathan thinks she did it. Jennifer thinks he did it. Even as they follow the duo, they discover that someone else may have had a hand in the murders, someone a lot closer to the victim than they think.

In the seventh season of The Love Boat, a mountain man (Dan Haggardy) hires a local girl (Elaine Joyce) to find out which of the officers is "The World's Greatest Kisser" who stole his fiancee. A kindly salesman (William Christopher) is "The Reluctant Father" who is awkward around his teen daughter (Danielle Briesbois). After he claims he'll send her to boarding school, she almost doesn't return to the ship. Vicki finally convinces her to talk to him. An executive (Parker Stevenson) wasn't supposed to bring his new wife (Kirstie Alley, who actually did marry him shortly after this episode aired) on this trip...and he's saying "Don't Take My Wife, Please" when his boss (David Doyle) flirts with her without realizing she's married.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Of Sunshine and Things

I slept so late, it was nearly noon before I finished my journal and got going. Ran The Backyardigans on Paramount Plus as I had brunch. "The Legend of the Volcano Sisters" has Legendary Luau Brothers Pablo the Swift, Tyrone the Strong, and Just Austin having to figure out how to appease the goddesses of the title (Uniqua and Tasha). If they can't figure out what they want, they'll make the volcano blow and destroy their luau! Pablo and Tyrone bring them large or lavish gifts, but they're not impressed until Austin figures out what it is they're really after.

Let it run into Press Your Luck as I got moving. Got to hear the questions and most of the Whammy-laden first round. I left as soon as the commercials came on.

Once again, it was too beautiful of a day to sit around and do nothing. The sun was out, the sky was blue, and it was even warmer, probably into the upper 60's-lower 70's. I decided to try another long bike ride. I had a bag of things I didn't want that I was originally going to drop off at the church in Audubon. I forgot to do it on Saturday, and since they won't be open again for another two weeks, I decided on Goodwill instead. 

Having already brought at least two bags of donations to the Audubon Goodwill this year alone, I thought I'd give the one in Pennsauken on Route 70 a try. Cut across Collingswood, hoping to avoid having to go over the Cooper River. Turned out there was no way around it. If I wanted to ride to Route 70, I'd have to cross the bridge.

Thankfully, I really only needed to cross the smaller one that went over the river, not the higher and more traffic-laden one that goes over the highway. I got turned around on the tiny streets in Collingswood looking for Cooper River Park. Finally rode to the end of a street and cut across what turned out to be a charming little park and playground. It even had thick modern versions of a merry-go-round and balance beam. I couldn't resist giving them a quick try before moving on.

I wasn't the only person who decided to walk or ride to Pennsauken today. I saw many joggers or people pushing strollers over the bridge and continuing into the park. I made the mistake of passing the park and walking on the narrow dirt path next to the exit ramp. That got me to Route 70, but it was nerve-wracking, and I kept running into low hanging branches. At any rate, I rode two blocks down from the ramp and found myself across from the Goodwill.

The Pennsauken Goodwill is twice the size of the one in Audubon. It even has a whole room for furniture. Unfortunately, the rest of the building is given over to racks and racks of clothes. There's some racks of housewares and toys as you come in and a wall of CDs, but barely any books, and one small pile of records. Despite that, I managed to walk out with three T-shirts in a pretty coral and blue flower print, a blue sea-print, and a pink Winnie the Pooh, two records, and four CDs. 

By the time I left, it was past 2:30. I did see a Dunkin' Donuts and a pizzeria about two blocks away in a small shopping center, but I ultimately decided I wanted to get back across Route 70 before the rush hour traffic started. This time, I cut through one of the modern apartment and townhouse communities bordering Cooper River Park and past the Park itself. It was really beautiful, almost glowing with the soft lime greens and cotton candy pinks of mid-spring. Needless to say, there were still a lot of people out walking the dogs, strolling with friends, or jogging as I rode past. 

Came out on Haddon Avenue across from the Genesis Counseling Center. I originally planned on eating at the Pop Shop, but not only was it 3:30 by then and too late for a big lunch, but they're a lot further down Haddon. I ended up at Grooveground Coffee Bar instead. Had a tasty egg sandwich on a bagel and a blueberry matcha, a slightly gritty blueberry green milk tea. They have a small selection of records there as well; ended up with two older Sinatra albums and one from Taylor Swift that was just released in October. 

Incidentally, between Grooveground and the Goodwill, I ended up with an awful lot of Sinatra:

Frank Sinatra - Sinatra and Swingin' Brass, Point of No Return, Sinatra Sings...Of Love and Things, and In the Wee Small Hours

Johnny Mathis - I Just Found Out About Love

Taylor Swift - 1989 (Taylor's Version)

The CDs are mainly collections in one way or another, along with a beloved jazz album:

Miles Davis - Kind of Blue

Malt Shop Memories: All I Have to Do Is Dream

This Is Jazz Sampler 21

Jump n' Jive (A swing and jazz collection made during the height of the late 90's neo-swing fad for, of all companies, Bed Bath and Beyond.) 

Ironically, my musical review for today also features Sinatra. He's one of three hopefuls looking for love and romance in post-war Brooklyn in this underrated MGM charmer, one of two lesser-known MGM musicals I'm covering this week in honor of TCM's 30th anniversary.

Worked on the computer a bit, then had dinner while watching Match Game '74. The year ended with the second and last appearance of magic-loving Juliet Mills and the only week for Philadelphia singer and TV director James Darren. At one point early in the proceedings, Jack Narz literally popped up from under Darren's desk to promote his word-based show Now You See It, which was also on CBS at that point. 

Finished the night after a shower listening to more of the records I've acquired recently. Bing, Bing, Bing! is apparently the second album by jazz group The Charlie Hunter Trio, from all the way back in 1995. I wonder if I heard this then. Some of it seems familiar. Hunter lends his guitar to bluesy compositions with nifty titles like "Greasy Granny" and "Wornell's Yorkies." I liked some of the slightly darker songs on the second disc, especially the title number and "Elbo Room."

I was feeling too upbeat after my fun ride earlier for moody ballads, so I ended with Sinatra and Swingin' Brass. Cheerfully uptempo numbers like "Goody Goody," "At Long Last Love," and "Pick Yourself Up" were way more enjoyable on a lovely evening. My favorites were a nice "I'm Beginning to See the Light" and the sweet "Love Is Just Around the Corner." 

Monday, April 22, 2024

Dolls and Interviews

Got a quick start this morning with breakfast and Charlie and Lola. "I am Going to Save a Panda" says Lola when her brother explains that they're in danger of going extinct. The kids in their school are going to do stunts to earn money. Lola wants to do it, too, but then she comes down with the chicken pox and can't go. She's badly disappointed, until Charlie comes up with a brilliant idea to use her spots to earn money.

Rushed out with my laptop the second the cartoon ended. Since Karen and I had a session this morning today anyway, we decided to do that online job interview with Camden Housing Authority together, or at least, that she would be there when I did it. The Haddon Township Library opens at 10, and then I had to get online with my laptop. That meant we signed in nearly 10 minutes late. 

At least they were really understanding when we did get there. It was pretty much your standard interview. The gentleman and lady asked me a few questions about my background, why I wanted to work there, and if I'd be willing to brush up my computer skills. I mainly asked them how you got to Camden Housing Authority and what it was like to work there. Karen said I did very well and was extremely calm and focused, considering how agitated I was when we were late. We spent the second half-hour checking Indeed, but there really hasn't been much there lately.

(And even if I don't get the job, at least I know how to use Microsoft Teams, and that I can do well in interviews when people actually give me a chance to get to them.)

When I got home, I messed around on the laptop after I got it set up again, then dressed the dolls for May. Samantha's birthday is in May, so she's in her pink striped birthday dress and white lace pinafore. Kit is in her Photographer Outfit, with its coral, white, and turquoise print skirt, yellow top, and cute crocheted cardigan. Josefina looks lovely in her Dress and Vest for Cinco Del Mayo. It pairs well with her gold wrap from the Feast Day Finery outfit. Molly's in a hand-made recreation of her hard-to-find Victory Garden Dress I found on eBay. Ariel gets to wear her new Julie outfit, Julie's second meet outfit with the "Flower Power" tank top and yellow crocheted vest. 

Felicity is ready to help me clean in her green-striped Work Gown. Her apron is actually the lower half of a pinafore I bought Samantha years ago, but rarely had her wear. Jessa mixes and matches in the magenta T-shirt and white long-sleeved shirt from the original 1995 modern doll meet outfit with Springfield Collection jean capris and the turquoise sneakers and striped socks from the 2003 meet outfits. Whitney loves her pretty purple and white Our Generation Retro rose-print dress and shiny purple shoes. Barbara Jean is the queen of Cherry Hill High East's first prom in the pink fringe-and-sequin dress and fur stole originally intended to be a play outfit for Melody and a pink princess headband "crown." 

Let Buzzr run in the background while I worked on the dolls. Press Your Luck was wild with Whammies today, particularly in the first episode. One of the guys Whammied out early in the second round, leaving the other guy and the one lady to battle it out. The guy just barely won a trip to Japan and cash. A lady hit the big time in the second.

Split Second was even more exciting, especially in the first episode. One of the women came from behind in the Countdown Round to win. I suspected she didn't want to go through that again and went home with cash and a fur coat. The next episode wasn't quite so wild. One woman dominated the entire show through the Countdown Round and opted to return for the car when she didn't choose the right numbers in the Bonus Round.

Continued into Let's Make a Deal as I cleaned up the doll mess and had lunch. I believe I'd seen both of these episodes before. The second one was familiar, at least. A lady dressed as a tourist in mixed plaids and florals and a bucket hat won a trip, then lost $1,000 on the Door 4 Wheel. She and a couple dressed as (and in) garbage bags gave up a fur for the Big Deal of the Day. The couple got gorgeous living room furniture and a TV that I'm sure he appreciated a lot more than a fur coat, and I don't think the tourist was complaining over a refrigerator and a trip to the Caribbean.

I'd seen the Super Password episodes recently, so I headed out next to run errands. I was hoping Dollar General would have Propel mixes, but they haven't in two years. I did get new hair bands, though, and bottles of Coke Zero and Cherry Coke Zero for later. 

It was such a beautiful day, I pretty much had to go for a walk in the park. Took the back paths to avoid kids coming out of school. Thankfully, they've long since dried. Someone put planks over the really muddy parts, too. The weather couldn't have been nicer here, lower 60's, warm, breezy, and sunny as can be. I was disappointed to notice someone cleared trees and brush from a short section in front of the lake. It wasn't in the main part of the park, but still. People come here to enjoy nature. They'd better have done that because the trees were in bad shape. Not the best find on Earth Day.

Speaking of Earth Day, I watched a few cartoons on being kind to our planet when I got in. "Usagi's Panic: Rei's First Date" in the first season of Sailor Moon has the Fire Guardian setting her sights on Mamoru and convincing him to take her on an outing to a local park. Jealous and annoyed, Usagi grabs Umino and follows them. Ami's more worried about the old gardener who is upset over the park being closed and paved over for a new office building. She has every right to be concerned. Nephrite intends to use the old man and every creature in the park to gather energy for his dark mistress.

Switched to YouTube for the original 80's-early 90's Muppet Babies. Gonzo insists that the future will be like something out of Star Wars, with battles and monsters. Piggy thinks it'll be more everyday, like The Jetsons. Rolf's not happy with having to play Astro in the latter, or with Nanny insisting on him taking a bath. He dodges his impending washing to learn that the future may be more like "Muppet Babies: The Next Generation" because he and the others took care of the Earth and its creatures...until the others, and at least three or four other action franchises, inadvertently end up on the Enterprise as well. 

Worked on writing for a while after that. Kathleen is shocked when Lady Jacqueline point-blank states that spring won't be coming this year. Why even bother with spring when everything is fine the way it is? Kathleen tries to stammer that they need the warm weather before the carriage moves along, leaving her sputtering and staring after it.

Broke for dinner and Match Game '74 at 7 PM. For some reason, we skipped way ahead into the next year. The first episode was from after Gary Burghoff took over Charles Nelson Reilly's seat while he directed a show in New York. Poor Gary is so embarrassed when he blurts an answer and they have to start the question over, he goes shirtless for the next question. Avery Schreiber and Phyllis Newman join in for the second episode. Avery is the only one who has to answer the first question, and surprises everyone by doing very well at it.

Finished the night at YouTube with kids' game shows from the 80's and 90's. By the time I was growing up, Saturday mornings were increasingly given over to cartoons or, more rarely, live-action shows. Game shows for kids now mostly showed up in syndication or cable, like The Disney Channel's first game show Contraption. Two teams of young kids, some as young as 5 or 6, watch a clip from a Disney movie revolving around a subject, like "Animals" or "Magic." The one who answers the most questions earns the most "Contrapt-Tiles." After answering questions, the kids ride little cars or hamster wheels in a mini-race. The kids who have the most tiles after the last round wins. 

My sisters and I loved this show when we were little. I'm surprised Disney has never tried anything like this again with updated clips and vehicles. If you're a Disney fan, it's still pretty cute to watch.

The premiere kids' game show of the 1980's also came from cable. Nickelodeon's messy stunt show Double Dare was a massive success, spawning two spin-offs and two revivals to date and providing the basis for almost every other game show on the network. My sisters and I were big fans of this one too, partially because it was filmed for its first four years at WHYY Studios in Philly and kids from South Jersey would frequently appear.

Think Fast is a less-messy variation on Double Dare. The stunts here revolve less around throwing slime and gunk at people and more about using your head and figuring out patterns. The questions would lead to removing pieces of a rebus puzzle, almost making this Junior Concentration. For the bonus round, the winners are given a crazy character popping out of a locker and having to find the identical person or object in another locker. 

Double Dare was so huge, almost every kids' game show from the mid-80's through the late 90's pretty much copied it. My favorite of the imitators was Fun House. It's basically a cross between Double Dare and Contraption, with the Disney trivia replaced by general knowledge questions and no daring. The stunts frequently followed a theme - it's all things related to the sea in the episode I chose from 1988. I actually liked the run through the Fun House better than the Double Dare obstacle course. The obstacle course was so difficult, kids frequently couldn't get more than three or four prizes out of it. Here, kids could roam wherever they wanted, and all but the slowest would walk out with cash or a few good prizes.

I never heard of Treasure Mall, another syndicated Double Dare imitator from the late 80's, until tonight. Here, the kids answer questions, then run through the store in a "mall" with stunts based around the store's theme. The Bonus Round had them going through boxes to collect as many keys to open the big treasure chest as they could. Other than it being the first shopping show for kids, there's nothing really outstanding about this one. In fact, the treasure chest bonus round seems kind of chintzy.

Kids' game shows could be educational, too, and not just from trivia questions. Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego, a PBS show from the early 90's, taught geography and world history at a time when they were changing daily, sometimes seemingly overnight. Lynne "The Chief" Thigpen had a more personal connection to Double Trouble stealing the Tony Awards in "Bad Day On Broadway." She had been nominated for a Tony in the early 80's and would actually win one five years after this. (We even got to see a clip of her in the short-lived revue Tintypes. Host Greg Lee immediately made fun of the feathered hat she wore.) 

Every kids' channel got in on the games in the early-mid 90's. J.D Roth hosted the first season of Masters of the Maze on what was then The Family Channel. Three kids answer questions. The two who do the best gets to lead their partner through a twisty maze that includes a hall of mirrors and honeycombs and a room where the Guardians of the Maze asks them questions. The Bonus Round consists of the kids laser "shooting" TVs; get three prize TVs, and they win a shopping spree. The maze itself is honestly pretty nifty, though the bonus round is lame. (Apparently, Roth and the bonus round were replaced by Mario Lopez and more time in the maze in the second season.)

Nickelodeon did away with the questions all together for Guts. The 90's extreme sports fad is seen here as kids run through huge obstacle courses and tug their way across strong jets of water in a pool on a surfboard. I kind of wish I could have seen this as a young teen. No wonder this was one of Nick's bigger game show hits and would be revived in 2008 as a family competition. The kids are fun to watch, and the stunts are genuinely challenging.

Teenagers got in on the action in the 1997 show Click. This internet-based program was the last game show developed by Merv Griffin. Three pairs of teens run to answer different questions based on sections of the internet - "E- Mail" has them guessing which famous character or person wrote it, "Click Pix" and "Click Video" were photo and video questions, "Sound Bytes" was an audio clue, and "Home Page" had them guessing a topic. The Speed Round had one of each team member running to a board to answer questions. If they couldn't, someone from an opposing team had the chance to try. The Bonus Round was the Speed Round with an even shorter time limit.

The pre-social media internet theme does date this show a bit, but it's still fun to watch the kids run to all those stations and answer trivia, and for those who remember when the internet was just beginning, it's a major blast of nostalgia. 

If you grew up when I did, you'll want to relieve some fond childhood memories too with these enjoyable blasts from the past!

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Winds of Spring

Slept in this morning. Started off the day with breakfast and the soundtrack from The Three Amigos. The last thing I expected to find was Elmer Bernstein's score and three songs by Randy Newman from this hilarious 1986 cult western comedy. It's an old favorite in my family. My sisters and I used to do the Amigos' "My Little Buttercup" act, with me miming playing the piano like Chevy Chase and my sisters ending up on each other's backs. I forgot how good Bernstein's score is, too, as sweeping as any actual western.

I also didn't know David Rose wrote the instrumental standard "The Stripper." Whomever named The Stripper and Other Fun Songs for the Family definitely had a sense of humor. Along with the brassy title number, we have either songs that, like "The Stripper," are associated with naughty doings ("Banned In Boston," "What Is This Thing Called Love?"), or are just more sophisticated than usual ("Mood Indigo," "Night Train"). My favorites here, along with the title number, are "St. James Infirmary" and "Black and Tan Fantasy."

Headed off to work after David Rose ended. Spent most of a chilly, cloudy, windy afternoon pushing carts. We were off-and-on steady, though it could have been a lot worse for a Sunday afternoon. The parking lot was busy. I had a hard time keeping up with the carts early in the afternoon. By the time the morning bagger went home and I took over the sweeping, it had slowed down considerably. I even had time to do the outside trash. No problems whatsoever.

Went home, took a shower, had dinner, and spent the rest of the night watching the Sunday Match Game marathon. Dumb Dora and her masculine equivalent Dumb Donald were two more characters created when the questions started getting longer in late '73 - early '74. They popped up whenever the question revolved around something someone wouldn't normally do or would probably kill anyone else. There was a Dumb Dora question in the episode where Scoey took off to hit the bathroom in the middle of an episode in 1976 and in 1974 when the cute British contestant with the perky pigtails certainly proved she was no dummy. 

The "Dumb" questions also carried over into other Match Game shows. A Dumb Dora question was heard during the wacky week with the cast of Too Close for Comfort (and Arsenio Hall and Bart Braverman) in Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. There were also Dumb Dora and Donald questions during the Marines week on Match Game '90, one of which prompted answers that were so sexually-charged, two of them were censored. 

You won't be dumb if you join two of the most famous characters on Match Game for this wild marathon!

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Library Matches

Got a quick start with breakfast and A Pup Named Scooby Doo on Tubi. Daphne and Scooby are besotted with handsome young rock star Buddy Chillner, to the point where Daphne buys out his latest concert. They're both horrified when he's kidnapped by "The Spirit of Rock and Roll," aka the ghost of vanished rock legend Purvis Parker. Searching for clues at Parker's former home reveals an obsessed fan who wants to be like Purvis and a cranky caretaker who resents Chillner for overshadowing his lost employer. Even after they find Buddy, they still need to figure out what the ghost is really after.

Called Uber shortly after the cartoon ended. I did so well at last year's Mt. Laurel Library book sale, I thought I'd check it out again. No trouble getting there. The driver going there arrived in less than a minute. Mt. Laurel is kind of out in the middle of nowhere, which is probably why the driver going home took seven minutes. No traffic either way, not even in Cherry Hill or on the White Horse Pike.

Unlike Cherry Hill, the Mt. Laurel Library has their sale in a tiny windowless meeting room on your left as you enter the building. It was hard to move around in there. Tables were two and three deep with older people and families with screaming children searching for great bargains in books, DVDs, CDs, and one box of records. Shelves in the center of the room held diminishing piles of textbooks and hardback novels. I had an easier time finding books as it cleared out and people went to lunch or took their children home. No interesting DVDs this time, but I did finally come up with six CDs:

Diana Krall - Love Scenes

Danny Wright - Autumn Dreams

Summer Sounds, a collection of recent songs (and the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun") that, if its amateurish computer-printed liner notes are any indication, is likely someone's home-made CD

Those Wonderful Years Disc 1 and 2

A Winter Solstice III

One record: David Rose and His Orchestra - The Stripper and Other Fun Songs for the Family 

Three hardbacks: Captain from Castile by Samuel Shelbarger

Teddy's World, a coffee table book with photos of vintage teddies in real-life settings

Woman's Day Celebrating Christmas, a 1979 collection of Christmas stories, crafts, and recipes. 

Two paperbacks: The Candymakers by Wendy Mass

You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?! by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo, on ADHD in teens and adults and how to deal with it. 

Headed straight home after I finished. The Mt. Laurel Library is surrounded by other government buildings, but is nowhere near their downtown or anywhere you can get lunch. Besides, it was too nice to stay in once I got home. I put my books upstairs and took my bike back out again. 

Ended up riding down to Phillies Phatties for pizza. They were busy with families and a big group of pre-teen and young teen boys in black cursing at each other and goofing off. I listened to the boys chatter while eating a slice of cheese, a slice of tomato-mozzarella-basil, and a bottle of Diet Pepsi.

Dodged the boys and another group of girls enough to get ice cream at Phillies Yummies next door. They had a lot of unique home-made flavors, but I thought I'd try their banana puddin'. Oh yum. Sweet and creamy and very banana, with thick cookie pieces. I'm not sure it was worth four dollars for two big scoops, but it was tasty. I sat at a small table in front of Common Grounds Coffee House while a little girl and her mother and sister enjoyed their treats at the other table.

Made one last stop at the pretzel shop on the White Horse Pike about a half-hour before they closed. I wanted a snack for later. I bought two pretzels, but it was so late, the girl taking my order threw in three more.

Besides, it was too nice to go home right away. The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Mid-60's, sunny as can be, breezy, warm. Spring just doesn't get any nicer than this. No wonder all the kids were out riding bikes and people were walking their dogs and toddlers in strollers.

Went home next and watched Wish on Disney Plus. I go further into their newest animated film that was intended as a homage to their earlier movies at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Finished the night back at YouTube with the Saturday Match Game marathon. After the writers started increasing the length and complexity of the questions, they began to create "characters" around them. One of the most famous was "Old Man Periwinkle," who usually anchored jokes about randy old men or old folks' homes or what old people were and weren't capable of. Gene Rayburn got really into his characterization, especially later in the series, often walking in tiny steps and using a gravely old man voice. 

This often lead to a lot of jokes in and of itself. Once, he got a little too close to Fannie Flagg while doing his schtick, and she accidentally pushed him onto Elaine Joyce. Another time during the syndicated series, he wore a white wig he was going to use as Scrooge when doing Christmas Carol in Boston and came in claiming to be Mr. Periwinkle. 

"Mr. Periwinkle" proved to be so popular, the character carried over to later versions of Match Game. Gene did a Mr. Periwinkle question during the Match Game half of my favorite episode of The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour. Things went off the rails spectacularly during the second half when the Xs and Os board broke down. All of the panelists had to hold their arms across their chest or over their heads in an X or an O shape; Jay Leno in particular loudly protested this. There was also Brian Stokes Mitchell and his massive boutonniere. Ellen Bry of St. Elsewhere gave him a whole plant to wear on his jacket. 

Mr. Periwinkle even turned up on Match Game '90, after Gene had been pushed out. Although Ross Schafer would attempt to do the character in later episodes, he doesn't here. That doesn't stop the other panelists, including Brad Garrett and Vicki Lawrence, from doing their best old person impressions.

See what that dirty old man Mr. Periwinkle is up to next in this salacious marathon!

Friday, April 19, 2024

April Showers Bring Spring Flowers

Began the morning with breakfast and the series finale of Green Eggs and Ham. "The Mom Who Loved Me" is really trying to dismantle the bomb, not harm her son. Meanwhile, Guy has his own problems when Michellee goes into labor for real. The ladies can only hold off the Dookess for so long, while Sam can't keep the Moo-Lacka-Moo out of the Dooka's hands. Sam and his mom literally ride the missiles as they use the Goo-Lacka-Goo to stop the explosion from destroying the two countries, while E.B and Looka finally prove to the citizens that they aren't so different after all.

And that's that. I really wish they'd continued this series. I would love to have seen what other Seuss books Sam, Guy, and E.B could have gotten involved in, like helping The Lorax replant trees, showing the Sneeches that they're not all that different inside, and finding out what really happens on Mulberry Street. I did end up liking the first season slightly more than the second. Guy and Sam's interactions really made those episodes, and the B.A.D Guys were a riot. That said, the entire series is worth checking out if you're a fan of Seuss, want to see a really creative book adaption, or are looking for something fun and unique to check out with your elementary schoolers. 

Left a little bit early. Today is my nephew Khai's fourteenth birthday, and I wanted to drop off his card. He was probably in school when I came down Kendall, and his parents were likely at work. I dropped the card in their mail box again. 

Headed to work after that. There's a reason I haven't had many hours lately...and the reason is, we haven't been that busy. The floral department has nothing going on. The next holiday involving people giving gifts and flowers isn't until next month. It was so quiet, the head floral department manager left almost as soon as I came in. I helped the other manager unload bouquets of bright-colored spring flowers, dust around the newly-organized vases and stuffed animals, water the potted plants and ferns, and wipe up after the ferns when I over-watered them and they leaked. 

By the last hour, I'd cleaned everything that could be cleaned, swept the floor, dusted all the shelves, and watered everything that needed it. I spent that last hour making arrangements. Two white roses from a mixed bouquet became a lovely arrangement with additional greens and baby's breath. Likewise, three ruffly yellow roses made a fine, fancy arrangement with lots of ferns and baby's breath added. One of the rose and lily bouquets we put out earlier were added to a big vase with baby's breath and a few large, leafy greens. 

My hours are pretty much the same this week...which is to say, I barely have any. I work in the afternoon on Sunday and the morning on Wednesday, and likely only because the head bagger takes those days off. And this time, I only had one extra vacation day left, which means my paycheck won't be quite as good.

Did some grocery shopping after work. Mainly needed to restock apples and oranges. Individual navels and tangelos were on a good sale with online coupons. Grabbed some bagels for the few days I do work next week. Got yogurt for breakfast next week, too. Had an online coupon for Made Good granola bars, and the drizzled Kind bars are still on clearance.

Went straight home, then put everything away while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Minnie's Pajama Party" brings everyone together for a night at the clubhouse. Trouble is, they're all so excited, they can't sleep. They try to dance off their energy. When that doesn't work, Goofy tells a scary story. Trouble is, Goofy keeps taking his own story seriously when the gang hears three different noises that sound a lot more frightening than they are.

(My last birthday present arrived this afternoon. Lauren and her parents always send me 20 dollars for my birthday. Lauren sent it out on Monday, and she was getting worried. Thankfully, it got here just fine, though a bit late.)

(Incidentally, it was cloudy and cool again today. I think it did rain a little around this point, but it doesn't seem to have amounted to much. I'm guessing it was a light shower like the other day again.) 

Worked on writing next. Kathleen wonders what happened to Sir Michael. If Lady Jacqueline is his fiance, he should be with her. The lady gets snippy, telling Kathleen that it's none of her business, and that she will be handling all of his affairs from now on.

Put on Match Game '73 while eating dinner. Match Game celebrated its first Christmas Day episode with the arrival of Santa Claus, aka Charles Nelson Reilly. Charles remained in costume and in character for the rest of the episode. June Lockhart and Jack Cassidy join in to help with "Common __" in the Audience Match during the opening sequence.

Finished the night at Shout! TV for the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode The Screaming Skull. This 1958 horror drama about a man whose wife keeps seeing and hearing the skull from his deceased first wife everywhere is very dark and atmospheric, but is also horribly slow, stiffly acted, with terrible dialogue and a first-time director who was actually an actor and only just figuring out what he was doing. The robots were right to make fun of how slow this was and how long it took everyone to react to anything. This one is only recommended for ardent fans of mid-century horror. 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Cold Spring

Began the morning with breakfast and Green Eggs and Ham. Pam is "On Her Dookness' Secret Service" when she's given her next big assignment - to take down Sam. Meanwhile, Michellee does an expert bit of acting when she distracts the Guy Watcher long enough for her husband to attempt to disarm the bomb. E.B and Looka have far less luck convincing his father the Dooka to not launch his missile, but Sam does manage to rescue them from Looka's room.

Did a few things online, then headed out to run some quick errands in the Westmont Plaza before the kids got out of school. I found the right D3 vitamins, but the color-safe bleach was either too expensive, or came in huge bottles I couldn't carry home. Did better at Sprouts. Grabbed Bobo's and Kodiak granola bars, coconut milk, and coconut cookies. Looked for bleach at Dollar Tree, but they didn't have anything color-safe. Ducked out just as the kids started coming over from the high schools and middle school for lunch.

I did finally find color-safe bleach in smaller containers at Family Dollar. I was in and out there once I got what I was looking for. Considered picking up pretzels for lunch, but finally decided I wasn't really that hungry and just rode home. The weather wasn't really appropriate for running around, either. It was cloudy and cold, in the upper 50's, far chillier than it has been lately. 

Had a smaller lunch while watching Classic Concentration. The first episode took place during a tournament to win a South Seas vacation. The male contestant won a Windjammer Caribbean cruise, among many other prizes, which is likely why this was part of the Spring Break marathon. I wish they'd stuck to that; I wanted to see who won the South Seas trip. Two more women started on a totally different, non-tournament week in the next episode. 

I was so tired, I went down for a nap after the shows ended. I wanted to yesterday, but I ended up curtailing it when I went out with Jessa. Passed out for over 2 hours, until 4:30, and was still tired afterwards.

Put on Sweet Kitty Bellairs while I tried to wake up. I go further into this charming and underrated operetta from the early 30's at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Worked a little bit on writing next. Kathleen is so nervous, she can barely talk to the lady. Jacqueline dismisses her fears, insisting that she is Sir Michael's new fiancee. Her husband to be is...in dispose...and has sent her to manage his affairs.

Broke for dinner at 7 PM. Watched Match Game '73 while I worked. Game show host Robert Q. Lewis joined in for his only week on the show, along with Morey Amsterdam, comedy writer Ann Elder, and in her first week, sweetly silly comedienne Joyce Bulifant. I really wish Morey had turned up more on the show after 1974. His hilarious quips added a lot in the first and third seats, including the rather morbid "fat and skinny" poem in the second episode.

Finished the night working on my review while listening to Disney soundtracks on LP. Encanto is one of several recent Disney films that have found far more success on home media than in the theater. It's a shame, because this story of a magical Colombian family and the power-less daughter who tries to find out what happened to that magic has some terrific Lin Manuel Miranda songs. The soundtrack went over far better than the film, with the rollicking "We Don't Talk About Bruno" hitting number one. Other good numbers here include the opening "The Family Madrigal," the other hit "Surface Pressure," and beautiful sister Isobel wondering "What Else Can I Do?"

The Aristocats also came out at a difficult time for Disney. It would be the last movie Walt greenlit in his lifetime, though it was released in 1970, well after he passed on. It's slight and charming, but some of the songs aren't bad. The jazzy "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" is the standard here; Louis Prima's performance on my album may be even better than the one in the film. Surprisingly, it also includes a song written for the film, but not used, the sweet "She Never Felt Alone." 

Actually, the best song on the album wasn't written for Aristocats. Since Aristocats doesn't have much of a score, it includes three songs about cats written for Disney films of the 50's and 60's. My favorite by far of these is the Sherman Brothers' comic jazz title song for the original That Darn Cat, which I believe isn't available anywhere else besides here and that movie. (The others are "Thomasina," from the odd fantasy drama The Three Lives Of Thomasina, and "The Siamese Cat Song.")

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

High Hopes

Began the morning with breakfast and Charlie and Lola. He has to remind his sister that "This Is Actually My Party," and he wants a monster theme, loud music, and a scary cake. Lola would rather he had pink cupcakes, classical music, and a ballerina theme. He's not happy with the changes, but she goes too far when she starts opening his cards and his presents for him. When he argues with her, she decides she has to make things right. 

Hurried to work soon as the cartoon ended. We were steady off and on for most of the morning. That was a bit of a surprise. There's really nothing going on right now besides sports. Maybe everyone wanted to dodge the weather. It started showering lightly around 12:30, which cleared out our customers. Thankfully, it was never heavy enough to make me more than damp. By the time I rode home, the rain was vanishing, though the clouds remained.

Watched Press Your Luck as changed and had a snack. Whammies slammed everyone in this episode. The two women hit two each in the first round. They didn't get the guy until the second, but then they got him three times. He Whammied out on his last turn, allowing the champ to come out on top. Her prizes are likely the reason this was included with Buzzr's Spring Break marathon - trips to New York and Hong Kong.

Rested while watching The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex. Queen Elizabeth I (Bette Davis) is more than a little worried about Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex (Errol Flynn). Sure, he's one of her best fighters, but he's also ambitious and wouldn't mind having the throne for himself. She praises everyone but him, which angers him enough to leave for his estate. She calls him back to route an uprising in Ireland. 

He thinks she's scorning and ignoring him when she doesn't answer his letters. Turns out the letters were intercepted by Lady Penelope Gray (Olivia De Havilland), who also loves Robert. Elizabeth equally thinks he's ignoring her and calls him back to London. He leads an army against her, then assumes they'll rule together. But Elizabeth isn't the type of woman to share with anyone, and Robert's more likely to lose his head than rule beside her.

Strong acting from everyone here, from Davis playing Elizabeth for the first of two times to Flynn as the nobleman who is too caught up in his own ambition to realize the queen has no desire to let him sit on the throne. DeHavilland gets to play a slightly stronger character than usual in these dramas as the lady-in-waiting whose love for Robert leads her come between him and Elizabeth. Look for half the character actors on the Warners lot at the time as members of the Queen's court, including Vincent Price as Sir Walter Raleigh and Donald Crisp as Sir Francis Bacon.

The Elizabeth and Essex DVD came with several extras, including the Warners musical short The Royal Rodeo. John Payne, still a few years away from his Fox musicals, here plays a singing cowboy whose wild west show delights a boy king (Scotty Beckett) when it visits his country. He and his sidekick Shorty (Cliff Edwards) rescue him and his Aunt Marianne (Lucile Fairbanks) from conspirators who want to take over the country. 

Jessa texted me during work. She apparently had extra tickets to the Phillies-Rockies game this evening and couldn't find anyone to go with her. Did I want to come? Sure, why not? Beat sitting at home, messing around on the laptop. 

She picked me up at 5:30 to catch the 6:05 game. Fortunately, the traffic wasn't bad, not even around the stadium. Once we actually got into the parking lot, it was a different story. The Phillies weren't the only team playing this evening. The Sixers were at the Wells Fargo Center as well, playing the Miami Heat. Jess parked in the back, which means it took a while for us to dodge cars and people heading to both venues.

Citizens Bank Park is huge, with tons of food and shopping options. We walked around a bit before getting in line at a Shake Shack. She wanted a hot dog later, so she just bought fries and the "MVP Shake" - vanilla ice cream with various cookie bits and red, white, and blue sprinkles. I got the Shake with a single burger. 

We sat at the tables next to the booth as the game began. The Phillies couldn't have started off stronger against a team that's currently one of the worst in the National League. Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner hit home-runs almost as soon as the game began. The Rockies couldn't get anywhere near them. By the time we'd joined 35,000 screaming fans in the stands, the Phils were up 2-1.

Jess got great seats, too, 108 on the right outfield. I could clearly see all the pitching and current batters. That was actually the last scoring anyone did for a while. At least the game moved quickly. I worried it would drag on, especially given it remained cloudy and windy all evening. Far from it. Pitcher Cristopher Sanchez struck out most of the Rockies up to bat...until a disastrous 7th inning, when he allowed 5 guys to make it through. 

Maybe the weather distracted him. The clouds that had hung on since I got home from work finally burst around 8 PM. At least the rain was neither heavy, nor did it last long. It showered lightly for about twenty minutes. By that point, it was almost the 8th inning, too late to call the game. Thankfully, the Phils managed to hang on and win the game 7-6.

The crowds were a lot of fun, too. Considering tonight is a school night, I'm surprised how many families with kids I saw in the stands. If the kids were ecstatic, the adults around them were even more so, especially once they had a few dozen yards of beer in them. The guys two rows behind us kept yelling at right fielder Nick Castallan. (Frankly, considering some of it wasn't complimentary, I hope he didn't hear them.) 

I got up during the 7th inning stretch to use the bathroom and get a snack. Jessa had done a similar run about two innings before. I liked the nifty souvenir cup she brought back, so I thought I'd get one, too. I also wasn't leaving a Philadelphia sports venue without having a soft pretzel. I found a booth that sold Aaron Nola Coke Zero cups and huge pretzels in the shape of a P.  

It once again took us a little while to get out of there. Jessa stopped for a second bathroom break before we headed out for good. When we got into the parking lot and found Jess' car, everyone was trying to leave at the same time. We pulled out at the same time as two other cars, and everyone was inching along.

Once we got away from Citizen's Bank Park, it was smooth sailing. There was no traffic anywhere going home, not even in South Philly. Jessa's husband Joe even called and gave us the play-by-play on the Sixers game, which was literally in its last seconds. Oh, yeah, and the Sixers also just barely won over the Heat by one point, 105-104, which apparently gives them the seventh seed in the playoffs. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

On the Road Again

Began a beautiful and sunny morning with Green Eggs and Ham. "The Sam Who Came In From the Cold" is proud to deliver the Moo-Lacka-Moo to the Dooka (Hector Elizondo) with his mother. Even though he's glad to be eating green eggs and ham with her again, he's not as thrilled when he learns that the Moo-Lacka-Moo will be used to destroy the Yookia...and by extension, his friends. Meanwhile, Guy makes up with E.B by helping her to get Looka out of the dungeon.

Did some things online, then headed out. After I got sunburned on my arms and took a longer walk than planned yesterday, I debated taking a long ride today. The weather was just so nice, though, I couldn't bring myself to sit inside.

I was cutting through Audubon and across from Haddon Lake Park when I got a phone call. It was the Camden Housing Authority. They wanted to do a virtual interview with me and several other people...but they wanted to do it tomorrow morning, when I had work. And apparently, they hadn't gotten my college transcripts, even though I sent them. I said I'd try sending them again, and that we'd have to reschedule my interview for next week. I had so few hours this week, I really couldn't call out.

After checking Google Maps on my phone, I finally made my way through Haddon Heights and down to the Black Horse Pike. As I rode down the Pike, I saw a huge black horse statue with Del Buono's Bakery painted on it that was very hard to miss! In fact, the plain white building was surrounded by huge statues of the Blues Brothers, Pinocchio, a pink pig dressed as a baker, and enough animals to start a farm. 

The inside was equally interesting. An enormous machine in the very back spit hot, fresh rolls onto a conveyor belt. Shelves were jammed full of rolls, soft bagels, butter and chocolate chip cookies, cake, cannoli, soft pretzels, eclairs, and pastries. There was a deli in the main room as well. I ended up with a bag of two soft bagels and a raisin roll and two containers of Italian butter and chocolate cookies buy-one, get-one.

It took me a few more wrong turns (including my nerve-wracking cross over busy i-295), but I finally made it to Bellmawr around quarter of 1. After getting turned around near their massive library, I finally found what I'd come to see. The Community Thrift Store was tucked away in a random shopping center with a Mexican restaurant and dry cleaners. Frankly, they were a total mess. The clothes on the racks didn't look bad, but every other piece of junk had been dumped onto shelves every which way. There were only a few DVDs and no books, and all of the records were 12-inch-singles or damp and ruined. I was barely there for five minutes before I walked back out again with nothing.

It wasn't a total loss. In addition to the bakery, I passed the Club Diner on my way up the Pike. The red, blue, and chrome building was worth crossing the street for. I slid into a small booth and had a tasty Monte Cristo ham and turkey sandwich on French toast, with fries, an iced tea, and a salad. (There was also a tiny cup of cole slaw, but it was kind of sour.)

Backtracked a block to Royal Farms. They're pretty much identical to WaWa, down to the gas station and the exact same set-up for their self checkout kiosks. They even have identical sales. I bought a Strawberry Lemonade Propel for the ride home and the buy Mountain Dew Zero and Baja Blast Zero, get them for 2 each for later.

This time, I stuck to the Black Horse Pike going home. Checked out a party store in Mt. Ephraim on my way down the road. They were better-organized, with what amounted to a dollar store in front and a party store in back. Once again, there was nothing interesting.

Followed the Black Horse Pike all the way down to the exit into Oaklyn. Thought about getting ice cream, but Phillies Yummies was two and three deep with kids just out of school. I opted for a tart elderberry hibiscus iced tea at Common Grounds Coffee House instead.

Went straight into today's movie for review when I got home. I go further into the Paramount early sound musical Honey at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Rebought the transcripts while the movie was on. This time, I send them to my e-mail, then e-mailed it to the Camden Housing Authority. I hope it worked this time. I haven't heard otherwise, at any rate.

Switched to writing after the movie ended. Kathleen can't help noticing that all of the spring flowers and leaves retreat when Lady Jacqueline and Lord Jerrick appear, and the temperature drops at least ten degrees. She wonders where Sir Michael is, as he's nowhere to be found in the coach. Jacqueline claims he'll join them at a later date.

Broke for dinner and Match Game '73. Buzzr is now on the wild week that introduced "Dean of Game Shows" Bill Cullen to the show. We also have Loretta Swit, and one of the few rock stars to appear on the show, jovial Cass Elliot. I really wish Cass could have turned up again. Despite the barrage of weight jokes she got from Richard and Brett, she was laid-back, very funny, and a good player. It's too bad she passed away before she could come back.

Finished the night listening to some of the record collections I acquired this weekend, starting with Make Believe Ballroom Time. As I mentioned a few days ago, I first heard this in college, when someone donated a pile of old records to the Stockton Media Center.  I'd only read about songs like the movie theme song waltz "Jeannie, I Dream of Lilac Time" and the sweet "I'll Always Be In Love With You" in books before I found this. Other songs are less obscure today, including the original "Charleston," "The Sheik of Araby," "Me and My Shadow," and "Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye." (And one, "Happy Days are Here Again," is actually a cheat - it's from the 1930 movie Chasing Rainbows.)  

Lovely to Look At is MGM's 1954 version of the 30's musical-operetta hybrid Roberta. It wasn't a hit at the time, but some of its songs live up to the title. Ann Miller has fun with "I'll Be Hard to Handle." Howard Keel does well by the title song and is joined by a supremely sarcastic Kathryn Grayson for "You're Devastating." Grayson also gets this show's major standard, the ballad "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," while Marge and Gower Champion do a lively "I Won't Dance."

Brigadoon is also an MGM Broadway adaptation from 1954 and also wasn't a hit at the time. Otherwise, this bittersweet Scottish fantasy is about as different from Lovely to Look At as you can get. Though you can't see Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse's stunning ballet to "The Heather On the Hill," you can hear Kelly sing my favorite song from this score, "Almost Like Being In Love."