Friday, May 31, 2024

They Didn't Believe Me

Began the morning with breakfast and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Minnie's Mystery" is finding out who stole her just-baked blueberry muffins. The culprit also ate Daisy's apples, broke Dale's chair, and left muddy pawprints in Donald's hammock. Minnie follows the clues to find the culprit...but those of you who were paying attention to the Picture Puzzle during the start of the episode will figure out whodunnit long before she does.

Let it run into the 1986 Card Sharks while I got organized and made a grocery list. I came in for the second half of a game played by a college girl and the teeniest, tiniest older lady I'd ever seen. Turned out size really doesn't matter. The lady won the previous four games and had no problems winning this one. She didn't pick up a ton at the Money Cards, but she did find the car.

Headed out shortly after the show ended. I had a lot of errands to run today, starting with a quick dash to behind the Audubon Goodwill. I wanted to go there yesterday, but decided I wasn't up to it. Rode in the back, dropped the small bag in the bin with the rest of the bags, and headed off.

Took the back way past the baseball field and down Market Street. I was originally going to get a drink at WaWa, but then I passed the Brown Dog Cafe and saw that it was actually open. Turns out they close early, with 3 being the latest they're open on weekdays. They're pretty much the same deal as Common Ground Coffee House in Oaklyn with a slightly larger seating area and less varied menu. The peanut butter chocolate banana protein smoothie I had was very yummy, though! Hit the spot on a warm day.

The other reason I wanted to run errands on my bike today was the gorgeous weather. While it was warmer than yesterday, it was also windier, with a bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds. I took the long way down Market Street to Hopkins Road to avoid the lunch traffic. 

My next stop was Sprouts. I'll do my shopping at the Acme with Lauren on Monday. Grabbed the usual coconut milk. They had buy one, get one half-off with blueberries and strawberries. Got one of each. Found blueberry lemon cookies on clearance. Their yogurt prices weren't all that much higher than the Acme's. I bought five Chobani sugar free or low sugar and decided to try two of their own brand. Had online coupons for the Ollipop sodas and Lemon Perfect water. A lady at a sample booth offered me blueberries in a cup and two Biscoff sandwich cookies. 

Cut across Collingswood this time to avoid the traffic. Needed to make one last stop at PNC Bank to get money for the rent. Rode up to one of the outdoor ATMs, got the money I needed, and headed home.

Had lunch while watching Sale of the Century. These episodes completed the run of the young man who won big the other day. He bought three prizes during the first episode, including a TV and a really cool modular desk-shelving unit, but still earned the last $10,000 prize in the end. He bought nothing else in the second episode, but still won with points to spare and picked up $50,000 more. 

Let The Price Is Right run while I thoroughly dusted the front room, making sure to go under all the books, DVDs, and stuffed animals. This episode featured an odd pricing game I didn't remember. Apparently, "On the Nose" was in the rotation for a little over a year. The contestant guesses which one of four prices came closest to being the price of a car or large prize. The closer they get, the more balls they receive for a sport - basketball in this episode. While the lady here got lucky and sunk her very first basket, not everyone is all that great at sports, and this would be one of the few times it was won. 

Switched to Strangers On a Train after finishing the dusting and putting away the CDs. Tennis star Guy Haines (Farley Granger) first meets seemingly amiable Bruno Antony (Robert Walker) on a train going to his hometown Metcalf. Bruno suggests they "swap" murders. He'll kill Guy's controlling wife Miriam (Kasey Rogers) who won't divorce him and let him marry Anne Morton (Ruth Roman), and Guy will kill his father (Johnathan Hale) who stiffles his lavish lifestyle. 

Guy thinks Bruno is kidding, but it turns out to be no joke when Bruno does kill Miriam. Guy can't bring himself to murder Mr. Antony and backs out of the deal. Now the police think Guy did it, and Bruno's stalking him, including almost killing Anne's sister Barbara (Patricia Hitchcock) who looks like Miriam at a party. Guy manages to avoid the police after a tennis match, following Bruno out of town. While Anne tries to tell Bruno's mother (Marion Lorne) that she's raised a psychopath, Guy and Bruno's showdown at the same carnival where he killed Miriam ends up being far more tragic than either would ever have suspected.

Tense Hitchcock thriller benefits from the moody black and white cinematography and the strong performances by its two leads. It's too bad Wagner already had major problems with drugs and alcohol and died a little over two months after the film's release. He usually played sweet, boyish young men like Jerome Kern in 'Til the Clouds Roll By, but here, he's absolutely chilling as the handsome but obviously insane young man who will literally kill - and have others kill for him - to keep up his lavish lifestyle. 

If you're a Hitchcock fan or love a good thriller, this one is highly recommended and really interesting to watch.

Checked my schedule next after taking a shower. Yep, I got next week off for vacation, starting Sunday. Good. If nothing else, it'll be nice to have a full Sunday off. I almost never get Sunday off. Lauren's not arriving until 6:30. 

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. Buzzr keeps jumping around. In the first episode, Rita Moreno's actually happy to get that "new kid on the block" kiss from Gene, but she gets into trouble when she accidentally blurts an answer and they have to throw out the question. In the second episode, Gene's more than thrilled to welcome Randi Oakes from ChiPs with a kiss that he claims is going to take a full minute! The others try to figure out "All You Need Is ___" in the Audience Match.

Finished the night on Tubi with my old favorite One Crazy Summer. Hoops McCann (John Cusack) joins his best friend George (Joel Murray) and his sister at their grandmother's (Billie Bird) house on Nantucket Island, hoping to learn about love so he can illustrate a romance comic and get into design school. He falls for Cassandra Eldridge (Demi Moore) on the way to Nantucket and vows to help when he learns that smarmy seafood restaurant owner Aguilla Beckersted (Mark Metcalf) wants to tear down her grandfather's boarding house. 

Even when they do manage to earn the money for the house, he still buys it out from under them. George, Hoops, Cassandra, and their friends the Stork twins (Bob Goldthwait and Tom Villard) and Ack Ack (Curtis Armstrong) join the local Regatta in order to trade the first prize cup with Aguilla's spoiled son Teddy (Matt Mulhern)...if Hoops can even go out on the water due to his fear of boats!

Cusack ably helms this spoofy variation on the slobs-vs-snobs comedies of the 80's and early 90's. Villard and Goldthwait steal the show as the very unalike Stork twins, while Metcalf has some nice moments as the scheming villain. Recommended if you love Cusack, similar comedies from this era, or director "Savage" Steve Holland's other work. 

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Dolls at Home

I didn't feel very well when I rolled out of bed this morning. I had the chills last night, I was achy, and my back was really sore. I slept fitfully off and on until about 8:30. Finished Little Black Book by Kate Carlisle and wrote in my journal, then watched PAW Patrol at Paramount Plus. "Pups Save a Blimp" when they retrieve Cap'n Turnbot's weather-recording blimp after Mayor Humdinger steals it to change the weather in Foggy Bottom. "Pups Save the Chili Cook-Off" after Mr. Porter's oven blows up, spewing chili and making him sneeze uncontrollably. The pups decide to make Mr. Porter's delicious chili recipe outside. Mayor Humdinger thinks that's a great idea, too, but something seems a little off about his chili...

I found the most adorable little rolly-poly stuffed porcupine in a bag of unwanted toys in front of the Lutheran Church preschool yesterday. I'm not going to keep her, but I can give her to a nice family via Goodwill. I washed her, then fixed a hole near the top of her gray fur. Watched The Heat's On while I worked. I go further into the last movie Mae West made for 27 years at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Switched to Split Second after the movie ended. I forgot Buzzr pushed this show back to noon. Came in during the second half of the first episode. It was close, but one lady finally forged ahead in what proved to be a very short Countdown Round. I was surprised as her when she chose the car on her very first try! They skipped ahead quite a bit, as they mentioned one of the two women in the next episode was a returning champion. This time, the other lady and the one guy were close for much of the game, but he got ahead on the Countdown Round. Once again, he chose the car on his first try.

After that, I switched to dressing the dolls for June and warmer weather. Samantha is in her tight pink Frilly Frock with the lacy skirt and pearly lilac boots. Josefina looks lovely in her Weaving Outfit with the tan and maroon flowered print on the skirt and maroon trim. Whitney wears the red, white, and blue bow themed Back to School Outfit with the blue cardigan and the adorable red strap shoes with the polka-dot bows. Jessa just wears a pair of jean shorts with the pink and yellow tye-dye flower t-shirt and the leather sandals from Ariel's birthday dress. 

Ariel is trying on the pretty flowered Walmart sundress Lauren sent for Christmas with the turquoise windbreaker. Felicity's in the white gown with the blue cabbage roses I found at a booth in the Deptford Mall years ago. Molly's Birthday Pinafore with the rick-rack trimmed ruffled sleeves is more appropriate for early summer than her April birthday. Kit is in her yellow Floral Print Dress. The white shoes from her birthday dress look better with this than the beige shoes that came with it. Put Barbara Jean in what amounts to her "Meet" outfit, the purple and magenta paisley mini dress she came in. Her original stockings are too fragile to wear, so she's in a pair of bright pink stocking with her own white strap shoes. 

Listened to the remaining two Judy Garland CDs while I worked. The first one was worth the entire four-disc set. Judy joins Bing Crosby for a batch of hilarious numbers I suspect were mainly recorded for his Kraft Music Hall radio show. The duo have a great time singing "Wait 'Till the Sun Shines Nellie," "Connecticut," "Who," and "Sam's Song." Bob Hope joins them for a satirical "Goodnight Irene." The fourth disc featured one of Judy's many appearances at the Palace Theater in New York. I liked her medley of songs from famous vaudeville performers who had headlined at the Palace when it was the hub for variety in New York and a hilarious "Couple of Swells." 

After that, I went down for a nap. I was too tired to do anything else. I had a temperature of 99.7 when I got up this morning! If I'd had work today, I would have called out. At least it cooled off considerably overnight. There was a wonderful, fresh breeze coming in my window that made sleeping a pleasure. I passed out around 2:30 and didn't open my eyes until after 6. 

After I finally rolled out of bed, I checked my temperature. It was now a perfectly normal 97.3. I was still tired, but I felt a lot less woozy, and the chills were gone. It was likely a reaction to the Covid shot I got yesterday. 

I still wasn't up to cooking, so I headed out to find dinner. Besides, it was too nice to be inside the entire day. The bright sunshine and soft blue skies were joined by those wonderful winds and far cooler temperatures, barely in the 70's. Grabbed a fish sandwich and Diet Pepsi at a busy Crown Chicken and Gyro and oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies at Los Amigos Bakery.

Had dinner at home while watching Match Game Syndicated. Foster Brooks, Scoey Mitchilll, and Real People hostess Sarah Purcell joined in here. Gene teased Scoey about actually smiling during the intro. (Which he should have done more often - he had a lovely smile.) The contestant surprisingly had more trouble with "___ Madison" in the Audience Match, considering Brett had been married to the man who played Oscar Madison.

Finished the night with the last of the CDs I've dug up lately. Malt Shop Memories was a series of 2-disc CD sets put out by Time-Life during the mid-2000's. The first disc in the "All I Have to Do Is Dream" set goes for teen drama, with sad ballads like "Teen Angel" and "Raindrops." I prefer more upbeat numbers like "Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen" and "Little Bitty Pretty One." The second one is all about Motown and 60's R&B and soul, with hits like "Baby Love" by the Supremes, "Dancing In the Street" and "Love Is LIke a Heat Wave," by Martha and the Vandellas and "Twilight Time" by the Platters. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Paradise Isn't What It's Cracked Up to Be

Began the morning with breakfast and The Busy World of Richard Scarry. Mrs. Cat is a "Newspaper Mom" so she can help Huckle with his new delivery job. He was originally earning enough money for a CD player, but he knows who really deserves something special. "Cucumber In Rio" arrives at Carnival to find everyone's costumes have been stolen! When a mouse shows up with the only costume, Cucumber ends up following him on parade floats. Mr. Frumble wins the big "Donut Raffle," but he's lost his hat, the ticket, and Huckle's lucky card! He searches all over town for it, but it's in the least-likely place.

Headed out to work after the cartoon ended. No trouble whatsoever here. It's the middle of the week and the end of the month, we're between holidays, and no Philly teams made the basketball or hockey finals this year. I barely even had carts to gather. Even the floral department manager said she didn't have that much to do. Mostly spent the morning outside, enjoying the glorious sunshine, cool wind, and mid-70's temperatures. Clouds moved in later in the morning, but they didn't amount to much besides cooling things off even further.

Had a quick appointment with the Acme's pharmacy after work. I wanted to get an updated Covid shot. The last time I got one was late October 2022. It was long past time for an upgrade. I work around people, and I don't want to get sick or make others sick. It took a few minutes while the pharmacist checked my account to see when I last had it done. After about five minutes or so, she brought me in and gave me a shot in my left arm. Took less than ten minutes. I also grabbed pain pads for my back, which has been sore since this weekend. 

Stopped at Common Grounds Coffee House on the way home for a drink. Ended up with an iced "Lavender Fog." Milky iced English breakfast tea with a hint of lavender and lemon. Ohh, yummy! Sweet and earthy and a little citrusy. I had it outside at the metal tables...and noticed that the barber shop across the street that had been there for decades closed suddenly. Apparently, they moved to Virginia, which seems kind of odd to me. There's also a "community-based boutique" replacing the make-your-own-beer store next to Phillies Phatties. 

Watched Sale of the Century when I got home. I'd seen this episode before, several times. The long-running champ got a run for his money from the other gentleman. In the end, he only won because he picked up an extra $10 on the Fame Game. At this point, the bonus game was still the match-the-prize. He finally ended up with some really nice Italian leather luggage.

Let it run into The Price Is Right while I had a snack and went through everything in my rooms to see if there's anything else I want to donate tomorrow. Buzzr just started running the Bob Barker 80's episodes yesterday. While I used to love Price when I was a kid, I have fonder memories of the episodes from the late 80's-early 90's, when Rod Roddy announced and Bob had white hair. I have enjoyed seeing these too on The Barker Era, and it's nice to catch them here. 

Switched to Sorrowful Jones from 1949 after I cleared a few last items out of the small closet in the front of the main room. Cheapskate Sorrowful (Bob Hope) runs a horse betting operation behind a barber shop. He's flummoxed when one of his gamblers leaves his little daughter Martha Jane (Mary Jane Saunders) as collateral and then never returns. Sorrowful's boss Big Steve (Bruce Cabot) has been using the horse Dreamy Joe to fix races. He first forces all his bookies, including Sorrowful, to pay him $1,000 for telling them, then gives Joe to Martha Jane to get the cops off his back. 

Trouble is, no one expected Martha to fall hard for Dreamy Joe...or for Sorrowful and Steve's sarcastic girlfriend Gladys (Lucille Ball) to like having a kid around. Sorrowful is horrified when he learns that Steve intends to send Martha to an orphanage and kill Joe after his next race. Martha flees, but falls off a balcony and is badly hurt. The only thing that will bring her out of it is her favorite horse being nearby. Sorrowful has to save Joe, then somehow sneak a horse into a hospital without anyone thinking he's crazier than usual!

While probably not Hope's absolute best, this is at least a lot better than the two wartime comedies I watched on Monday and last week. A colorful story based on Damon Runyon's Little Miss Marker helps. So does the nifty supporting cast, including William Demarest as one of the bet takers at Sorrowful's establishment and Cabot as the menacing and accurately-named Big Steve. Lucy does get a few funny lines, mostly at Sorrowful's expense, but she'd have more to do in Fancy Pants the year after this. Still worth checking out if you love Hope or Damon Runyon's evocative tales of New York's underground citizens.

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated around 6:30. Joe Santos and Donna Pescow join in for these episodes from late 1979. In the first episode, Charles tries on a plaid jacket Bill Daily gave him, despite the fact that he's bigger and taller than Bill and it badly clashed with his lime-green pants. The second has Gene joking about a contestant's dark eyebrows against his white hair and him and Bill really getting into their little music routine, to the point where Gene forgets to read the question!

Oh, and after the clouds built up all day, it did finally raiin a little around this point. It wasn't huge, and while the precipitation didn't amount to much, it was windy enough for me to briefly close my window. 

Finished the night at Tubi with two comedies from 1986 about bad vacations, starting with Last Resort. Harried Chicago ad salesman George Lollar (Charles Grodin) is initially excited to take his family to tropical Club Sand during the week between Christmas and New Year's. He immediately regrets taking his family there  when he discovers that the rest of the people at the resort are either high, gay, drunk, or some combination thereof. The children's camp is run like a military compound by a lazy and nasty French woman. His teen daughter (Megan Mullally) and son  (Christopher Ames) basically make out with the opposite sex the whole time. His wife Sheila (Robin Pearson Rose) ingests hallucinogenic mushrooms and drinks to the point of passing out. He's the only one not having a good time...but he's also the only one who sees the real reason the club is surrounded  by barbed wire...

Club Paradise is a nearly identical story with a better cast. Once again, we have a stressed Chicago worker fleeing to tropical climes and discovering that paradise isn't what it's cracked up to be. Firefighter Jack Moniker (Robin Williams) is tired of his stressful job and uses his disability insurance payout to buy property on the small Caribbean island of St. Nicholas, where he and local reggae musician Ernest Reed (real-life reggae musician Jimmy Cliff) buy a failing nightclub and build it up into a low-rent Club Med-style resort.

Among the wacky tourists they manage to attract are high-strung couple Linda (Andrea Martin) and Randy (Steve Kampmann) White, nerdy Barry Steinberg (Eugene Levy) and Barry Nye (Rick Moranis), pretty Brit Phillipa Lloyd (Twiggy), and photojournalist Terry Hamlin (Joanna Cassidy). Governor Hayes (Peter O'Toole) is content to let tourists be tourists and befriends Jack. However, a developer (Brian Doyle-Murphy) wants the island for himself and recruits Prime Minister Solomon Gundy (Adolph Caesar) and his men to drive Jack, Ernest, and the tourists off the island. Jack's not about to let paradise go that easily, but it'll take help from the locals themselves - and the Governor's people - to prove that tropical hideaways are for everyone.

Club Paradise does get some marks for a decent cast of favorite Canadian comics, actual location shooting in Jamaica and Chicago, and a nice reggae score by Cliff. Last Resort was a low-budget Roger Corman production, and it shows in the obvious cheap sets and shooting in LA, the barely-there script that's awash in annoying gay, teen, and international stereotypes, and unlikable and obnoxious characters. Frankly, the whole affair gets so ridiculous that you have to agree with Grodin at the end when he asks how anyone could enjoy this. By that time, the viewer is more than likely wondering the same thing.

Club Paradise is mildly better, but I really don't recommend either of these unless you're a huge fan of Grodin, Williams, Corman, director Harold Ramis, or any of the comics involved, or you really love the slobs vs snobs or "family on bad vacation" movies of the 80's.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Step In Time

Since I got up early, I had the time for breakfast and a couple of cartoons, starting with Garfield and Friends. It's a "Trial and Error" when Garfield accuses Odie of stealing his pie, and Odie insists on a trial. He's about to get blamed for it when Nermal catches the real culprits. Orson reveals how he found and hatched Booker and Sheldon and why Sheldon remains in his egg in "An Egg-Citing Story." "Supermarket Mania" has Jon lured to a big new grocery store with promises of huge sales. Not only is everything marked up outrageously, but the owner treats  his employees badly and his food isn't nearly as fresh as Gramp's across the street.

Stayed at Tubi for The Busy World of Richard Scarry. "Lowly Breaks His Leg" when he falls out of a tree. As he only has one leg, he keeps demanding Huckle get him everything, including a just-so strawberry milkshake. He finally learns his lesson when the tables get turned and it's Huckle who is hurt. "Cucumber in Machu Picchu" takes the intrepid photographer and her assistant to the Andes mountains. They must find out who is stealing the gold rings from a sacred temple, before they're locked in the temple forever. Huckle and Lowly worry about "The Plight of Penelope Parrot" when Helga's beloved pet flies out a window and they have to chase her all over Busytown.

Headed out to the movies after that. I'm tired and my back aches, so I thought I'd take Uber there. The driver arrived in 8 minutes. There was no traffic whatsoever...but when we pulled into what will be the new Amy's Omelet House in Somerdale, it was empty, and the windows were covered in paper. They announced the remodeling back in December! I assumed they'd be long done by now.

It was such a nice day, I decided I would walk the remaining four blocks to the movie theater and see what I could find for lunch. Two blocks down on the White Horse Pike, Mia Tierra Columbia was supposedly opening in "early 2024," but it's now mid-2024, and their windows and doors were boarded. I ended up at Soprano Pizza by default. I think I made the right choice. Their pizza was amazing. The girl behind the counter kept recommending the vegetable, and no wonder. It was covered in huge pieces of vegetables. I tried that and cheese steak, cheese steak meat covered in American Cheese. The slices were enormous, bigger than the plate. I had them with a Coke Zero as I admired the Sopranos TV show and Frank Sinatra photos and posters on the wall. 

As I crossed over the White Horse Pike, I heard the sound of children's laughter. I noticed kids happily running around a playground. Walking down a quiet residential street brought me to the Somerdale Park School. I'm glad the kids seemed to be on their recess. This was no day to be inside, even for schoolchildren. 

Cutting through the road going past the school grounds took me to a back service road that was mainly industrial parks and a baseball field for the kids. I'm so glad I had off today. The weather couldn't have been more perfect, especially after yesterday. It was sunny and warm but not overly so, with a wonderfully fresh wind. It did remain a bit humid, but not nearly to the degree of yesterday! 

The road conveniently took me past the nursery (with its sharp-smelling hills of manure) to the huge WalMart in front of the movie theater shopping center. I skipped them for the time being and headed down to the shopping center to pick up a soda from Dollar General for the movie. Since I had time, I peered around in Snipes, a hip urban sneaker store. I did see a pair of New Balances I liked, but they were way beyond my budget.

I still got into the theater more than 20 minutes early. Showed them my ticket, then used the bathroom and peeked at other theaters before walking into the one for The Garfield Movie. I settled down to enjoy the show...for less than 10 minutes. They had almost finished a commercial for Inside Out 2 when suddenly, the screen went blank and lights began to flash. No one knew what was going on. 

Turns out the fire alarm had gone off. I was eventually evacuated outside with not only everyone from Garfield, but dozens of children on field trips. I have no idea what happened. I couldn't see any smoke rising from the theater, or much of anything at all. After one of the employees gave me a free pass to make up for the incident, I decided it was too nice to hang around and listen to the kids scream at each other and just walked up the hill to WalMart early.

WalMart was even busier. Good thing I didn't need a whole lot. I once again had luck with finding a complete series set for a good price here. McHale's Navy was $30, not as cheap as The Wild Wild West, but not bad for four seasons and two TV movies. My stepfather used to love that show. I watched it with him all the time as a kid. And unlike Wild Wild West, it's not easy to find on streaming. I also picked up Orange Raspberry Propel mix and those cinnamon Junkless bars, neither of which I can find anywhere else.

Since I had time, I doubled back down the Pike to WaWa. They were also busy, but I wanted something to drink besides a soda and to make change. Picked up a watermelon Propel and a pretzel...then got a second pretzel for tomorrow when I still didn't have enough change.

The bus arrived right on time around 3 PM. There was a little early rush hour traffic on the White Horse Pike in Haddon Heights and Audubon, but it wasn't enough to be a major delay. The bus wasn't full, and I had no trouble getting home.

Put on There's No Business Like Show Business after I got in and took out the trash and recycling. I go further into this massive vehicle for Ethel Merman, Dan Dailey, and Marilyn Monroe at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

Worked on writing for a while after the movie ended. Sir Michael is a handsome, gentle man who loves his magical mother. He was also considered a threat to Lady Jacqueline when he refused to help her overthrow his mother, so she cursed him into being a rabbit everywhere but his mother's domain.

Broke for dinner at 7 PM. Watched Match Game Syndicated while I worked. Patty Duke and comedian Alfie Wise joined in this week. I wish Alfie had come more often. He obviously enjoyed himself and didn't play too badly. He did get to see Charles go down to soak up the audience's adulation when he was certain his answer to "__ Shoulder" would be on top...and his reaction when it wasn't.

Finished the night with soundtracks featuring music by the Sherman Brothers in honor of Richard Sherman, who passed away on Sunday. If you grew up between the early 60's and the early 2000's, you're probably familiar with at least one song of theirs. They mainly worked for Disney, but they also did music for other studios, usually specializing in family shows. 

Probably their best-known score is Mary Poppins. No matter what P.L Travers thought of their music, they actually helped shape the screenplay, making sure song and story matched unusually well. The catchy "Chim-Chim-Cheree" won the Oscar, but I'm going to agree with Walt Disney himself and say my favorite song from Poppins is the gorgeous ballad "Feed the Birds." It ably demonstrated the Shermans' ability to write slow numbers for musicals without traditional girl-meets-boy plots. Other songs I love here include the chorus number for Bert and his chimney sweep buddies "Step In Time" and Mary's "Spoonful of Sugar." 

Disney tried for something similar with Bedknobs and Broomsticks. In some ways, I enjoy this more than Poppins. The story is less meandering, Angela Lansbury is delightful as apprentice witch Eglantine Price, and the backdrop of London and the English countryside during World War II gives it an air of danger and grit that Poppins lacks. Lansbury gets the non-romantic ballad here, the touching Oscar nominated "Age of Not Believing." I also enjoy "The Beautiful Briny Sea" and "With a Flair" for an unusually roguish David Tomlinson.

The charming Summer Magic is one of Disney's more underrated live-action musicals. Haley Mills and Burl Ives head a cast of bucolic character actors making the most of a slight but sweet story about a now-broke Boston family who move to a big yellow house in Maine, where they befriend the locals and deal with the arrival of a snooty cousin. "Femininity" revels in the Sherman Brothers' fondness for long words as it spoofs the courtship rituals of the early 20th century, while Ives scores with "On the Front Porch" and "The Ugly Bug Ball." 

The Shermans moved to United Artists for another underrated family musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The lengthy story of an eccentric inventor who spins stories about a fantastic car for his children and lady friend tends to annoy critics, but I've always had a soft spot for it. "Truly Scrumptious," the children singing to the title heroine about how much they appreciate her, is my favorite song here. I also like "Posh" and "The Roses of Success" for Grandpa and the big chorus routine "Toot Sweets" that anticipates another candy factory-set family musical, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Monday, May 27, 2024

Flowers for Memorial Day

Began my Memorial Day with material from Colliers Harvest of Holidays. Started with the stories from Mother's Day, since I forgot to do it then. The primary title here is "My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman In the World." A little Ukrainian girl is scared when she loses her peasant mama and papa in the wheat fields. She keeps insisting to others that "my mother is the most beautiful woman in the world!" She may not be in the eyes of others, but she's beautiful to the girl. 

Memorial Day began as a way to honor the dead of the Civil War, which is likely why all of the material for the holiday revolves around that conflict. A young Union solider helps a Confederate mother with her chores and gains her utmost respect in return in "Light Bread and Apple Butter." We also get a lot of poetry on the Civil War, including "Barbara Frietchie," "Sheridan's Ride," and "The Blue and the Gray."

Watched All-Star Laff-a-Lympics while having breakfast and getting ready for work. To celebrate the holiday, I ran the second-season episode that had everyone in Morocco and Washington DC. The Blue Falcon knows something is up with Daisy Mayhem when she hitches a ride during the scooter race through Casablanca. The Rottens don't get away with cheating there, but the Baron does manage to win the desert chariot race. The Great Fondoo doesn't have nearly that much luck in Washington when his magic constantly backfires, turning Yacky Doodle into one big duckling! Octy Octopus does far better in the Marine Corps Obstacle Race...actually allowing the Rottens to win the whole show for a change.

Headed to work after that. It was just cloudy, cooler, and very windy at that point, so I opted to take the bike. Work was busy with holiday shoppers when I came in, but I did manage to gather all the carts this time. I was just about to go on lunch when I was told to do the sweeping. Turns out no one checked the schedule and realized there was someone coming in at noon who had already swept the store. I was not happy about that.

After all that, I was glad the floral department manager said she needed help watering plants and cleaning up her work area. Right now, the focus is on potted plants for barbecues and birthdays. After she left and I swept around the work area, I made two arrangements, a larger chop and drop with tight, ruffly white-green roses, and a smaller bud vase with an orange rose, a white rose, a single lilly, and a lot of greens.

There's another reason I was happy to help in the floral department. It started raining just minutes before she pulled me. It was still showering, though not as heavily, when I rode home. I arrived damp but not soaked. It would shower off and on, sometimes hard, until the clouds finally started breaking up som around 6 PM. (We never did get the advertised thunderstorms, though.)

Switched to The New Scooby Doo Mysteries as I changed into dry clothes and got organized. Velma joins in for "A Night Louse at the White House." She's invited Daphne, Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy to a big NASA banquet in honor of a top secret formula they're working on. When the ghosts of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln join the festivities and cause chaos, Mystery Inc is on the case to find out who these all-American spooks are and what they're really after.

Took the laundry downstairs, then rested while watching Caught In the Draft. Movie star Don Bolton (Bob Hope) is horrified when the peacetime draft is announced. He doesn't want to get anywhere near the military. He panics whenever he hears loud noises, even fake gunshots on the sets of his films. 

His assistant Bert Sparks (Eddie Bracken) and agent Steve Riggs (Lynne Overman) try to get him married to general's daughter Toni Fairbanks (Dorothy Lamour) in order to avoid the draft. The scheme backfires, and they end up in the Army anyway. Don is determined to show Toni that he can be the brave soldier she wants, but whether working kitchen duty or losing his uniform, he's constantly in trouble. It takes a genuine act of bravery during a war game to prove that Don and his friends have what it takes to be real soldiers.

It's kind of easy to tell this pre-wartime comedy is from summer 1941, six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. They never leave the US; an enemy is never mentioned. The focus here is on Hope and his wacky brand of cowardly comedy. Lamour also does well as the spirited and intelligent young woman who inspires Don to join the military to begin with. I'm less fond of Bracken and Riggs, who both come off as whiny, annoying, and a bit dumb. Not my favorite of Hope's comedies. This is mainly for big fans of him or war movies.

Moved the laundry to the dryer, then put on classic wartime animated shorts for the rest of the afternoon. Donald Duck turned up in a series of war-related shorts from 1942 through 1944. "Donald Gets Drafted," and like Hope, is lured by the promise of glamor and girls. Unlike Hope, all he gets is Sergeant Pete giving him extra drills on an ant hill. "Sky Trooper" has Pete finally send him in the air as a paratrooper. The last thing that Donald wants is to jump out of the plane, leading to an explosive confrontation between him and Pete. Donald is "The Vanishing Private" after he gets himself and a cannon covered in invisible paint. He leads Pete on a merry chase after "the little man you can't see" all around the base.

"Der Fuehrer's Face" dives further into World War II propaganda. Donald finds himself forced to make bombs in a surreal nightmare of a Nazi factory. "Fall Out, Fall In" is a lot less scary. Donald wants nothing more than a hot meal after a long trek, but first his tent won't cooperate, then his fellow soldiers' snoring keeps him awake. "Commando Duck" is sent into the heart of Japan, where he proceeds to, wash...out the enemy.

Mickey Mouse didn't figure heavily into World War II shorts, but he did do a war-themed short during his first flush of popularity in the late 20's. "The Barnyard Battle" pits Mickey and his fellow farm animals against bloodthirsty hun cats. Mickey manages to come out on top, of course, thanks to a piano used as bullets and his own can-do spirit.

The Looney Tunes also found themselves in the middle of World War II. Bugs is a "Super Rabbit" who turns into a superhero when he eats a chemically-enhanced carrot. He dodges a rabbit-hating cowboy and his horse until, when push comes to shove, he turns into a real hero...a Marines officer. Like Don Bolton, "Draftee Daffy" would do anything to avoid that persistent Little Man From the Draft Board, even send them both into the underworld. "Falling Hare" is one of the rare shorts where Bugs deals with an antagonist who gives as good as they get, in this case a Gremlin he catches sabotaging planes. The Gremlin manages to dodge him until they both end up on a plane that's sent into a major free fall!

Watched Match Game Syndicated during dinner. I wasn't going to miss it. It was the infamous show where the very sweet contestant Ginger gave an incredibly odd answer to "Cuckoo __" on the Head-to-Head. Her partner Robert Walden was a bit embarrassed. Everyone else is literally falling over the stage laughing, including Gene. According to Bill Daily over 40 years later, everyone laughed so hard, they had to stop taping. Meanwhile, Joyce Bulifant sports a shiny black pageboy that she insisted made her look like Cher. Gene thought she looked more like Carolyn Jones (from The Addams Family), but I thought she looked like Didi Conn. 

Finished the night after a shower with the Family Feud Armed Forces week from 1989. Every year from 1989 through 1991, the syndicated Feud did a week where all of the branches of the Armed Forces played each other in a week-long tournament. The biggest winners came back the following Monday to see who gets the big pot for their charity. Though the Army and Navy played very well, the Marines had the best answers, the most expert trash-talking, and were just too much fun to watch. I loved how they swung the lone female office off her feet at least twice; I don't think her feet ever touched the ground after the Fast Money in the last episode.

Honor the men and women who fought and died for our country with this week of Armed Forces Feuds!

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Patriotic Matches

Slept in after a late night last night. When I did get moving, I started the morning with breakfast and the Those Wonderful Years CDs I picked up at the Mt. Laurel Library last month. This is a 1990 collection of what appears to mainly be pop songs from the 50's and early 60's. There's a few instrumental titles, notably one of my favorite film themes, "Theme From A Summer Place," but it's mainly vocal numbers. Favorites include the Platters' gorgeous version of "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," "Allegheny Moon" by Patti Page, "Standing On the Corner" by the Four Lads, "Rags to Riches" by Tony Bennett, "Marianne" by Terry Gilkyson and The Easy Riders, "Blueberry Hill" by Fats Domino, "It Takes Two to Tango" by Pearl Bailey, and the lovely "Vaya Con Dios" by Les Paul and Mary Ford.

Went straight to work after the second CD ended. On one hand, work went a little better than it did last Sunday. At least I wasn't ready to tear out my hair by the end of the evening. I did have to clean up two broken soda 12-packs early on that put me behind in gathering carts when we were still really busy. I wasn't able to catch up until the end of the night, and I never did get to the trash. 

At least it was a nice day for all this. It remains hot, sunny, windy, and very humid. There were dark clouds on the horizon, but they never did more than look threatening. No wonder it cleared out by 4 PM when everyone finally went to their barbecues and family get-togethers.

Rushed home as fast as I could after that. Grabbed dinner, took out the trash and recycling, changed, and dashed upstairs for tonight's Match Game marathon. This time, Match Game Productions honors the Armed Services with episodes featuring soldiers or sailors as contestants. Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour had a lot of service-people as contestants. One turned up for the tail end of a young Butch Hartman as champ. Another saw Arsenio Hall come onstage with a motorcycle helmet (despite not riding a motorcycle) while one of the soap stars played with a stuffed Frog (from the Frog & Toad books), and we see a photo of a young and gorgeous Nedra Voltz. 

They had fun on the original show, too. An Army Champlain heard Charles fuss about Brett's lacy poncho in episode from 1976, while an officer on a PM episode was so eager to greet Eva Gabor, he accidentally hit her foot and took her toenail off! Good thing she took it well. The Navy did well on PM episodes. One Naval officer played a pretty Israeli woman in a close game in 1979. Another played with a nervous Brian Patrick Clark in the second-to-last nighttime episode. Jack Klugman demanded gifts and got a jacket. He was so excited with the outcome of the Head-to-Head, he ran around the studio, hugging audience members, spinning the Star Wheel, and lifting the pretty fiancee of the Naval officer into the air! 

My favorite Match Game episodes revolving around service people came from Match Game '90. With Desert Storm raging even as they filmed the episodes, they not only had Marines as contestants, but in the audience. The boys in khaki were totally besotted with One Life to Live stars Karen Whittier and Fiona Hutchinson and cheered on every single thing they said or did. Karen showed why she deserved their cheers by doing well at the Head-to-Head three times, twice in a row. Fiona was happier flirting with Ronn Lucas and his dragon puppet Scorch, while Bruce Baum demonstrated his very weird inventions and showed off his "baby pictures." 

Honor the men and women who fought and died for our country with this patriotic marathon!

Saturday, May 25, 2024

May Fair Matches

I actually got up relatively early for a change. Finished off the Howard Pyle Robin Hood and wrote in my journal, then watched Charlie & Lola. We're not the only ones who have been dealing with abnormally hot temperatures. "I am Extremely Boiling" complains Lola as she, Charlie, and her friend Arnold try to figure out how to cool off. She gets upset with Arnold when he knocks her ice cream off the cone and won't share his, but changes her mind when she sees how much fun he's having in his inflatable pool.

Headed out around 10:30. I made a quick stop at one of the book kiosks to drop off a few I didn't want, then went back towards Collingswood. Stopped at the Collingswood Bike Share first. My back tire has a slow leak. It keeps deflating, and I keep needing to pump it. I left it with one of the gentlemen there, then went a block down to the Farm Market. 

The Farm Market is blended into the May Fair for the Saturday before Memorial Day. By quarter of 11, it was teeming with people buying produce for their Memorial Day Weekend barbecues and family get-togethers. I saw zucchini and green beans for the first time. Just ended up with North Carolina blueberries and very sweet and tasty strawberries. 

They were still working on my tire when I returned to the Bike Share lot. Turns out the tire had a teeny-tiny piece of metal in it that must have pierced the inner tube. Thankfully, the tire was otherwise fine, and the metal didn't do that much damage to it. He did say there was a spoke broke that needed to be fixed, but I'll do that another time. 

Parked the bike at the rack in front of the Senior Center after it was fixed, then headed down a block to the May Fair. This is Collingswood's huge spring festival, encompassing most of Haddon Avenue. Since Lauren won't be coming until June this year, I promised her I'd take photos of the classic cars at the huge car show. The rows and rows of vintage vehicles were endless. They ranged from a 1920's-era Tin Lizzie to a truck from the 90's. Most of the cars dated to between 1950 and 1975. My favorite was a sleek red and white Ford Crestline and a pretty bittersweet Mercury that was said to be one of only two available in that color. I saw two purple cars Lauren would have loved. 

In addition to the classic car show and the farm market (which closes at noon), the May Fair has a small midway for the kids at the end of Haddon near Westmont. There was a spinning cup-type ride, an adorable mini-merry-go-round, a rock climbing wall for the older kids, and tons of bounce houses. My favorite of the bounce houses were a nifty alien-themed one that seemed to be an inflatable arena for Laser Tag. 

The rest of the fair is given over to many, many different types of craft booths. I saw at least four knitted stuffed animal sellers, but I ended up at my favorite, the one who embroiders such cute faces on her wares. I bought a lovely brick red dragon with crimson wings for myself and something for Lauren. They also had a booth with stuffed animals made from flannel or knit fabric. I bought myself the most adorable flannel cat made from soft white and gray dotted fabric and got Lauren a smaller knit stuffed animal. One of the local banks sold really neat wooden toys that made noise when you shook them for a mere five dollars. I bought a polar bear for me and another for Lauren.

(Incidentally, I named the dragon Persephone and the cat Tabitha.)

The church on Haddon Avenue across from Bank of America and PNC was having a yard sale. One older lady sold beautiful doll dresses with hand smocking trimmed with pearls. I bought Whitney a sweet pink polka dot dress. My favorite find was Christmas Is Coming! 1987, a collection of kid-friendly projects to make for the holidays. This one even includes several intriguing cookie recipes. Mom had - and may still have - all of the Christmas Is Coming! books released between 1985 and 1994. I fondly remember making several of the projects in these books. I know we did the construction paper angels in the '87 book. Mom hung them up around the house until they got too faded to put up anymore. 

Had lunch at Cafe Antonio's Pizza a few doors down from the church. Not only were most of the food trucks and booths way too expensive, but I used the last of my paper money on the dress and book. I ended up with a tasty slice of mushroom, slice of tomato drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette, and Diet Coke. Ate it while watching people stroll by outside.

The fair had already been busy, with tons of people jostling to see jewelry, home-made wooden and metal items, hand-stitched clothes and accessories, beautiful local artwork, and toys for the kids. It was getting even busier as I made my way down to WaWa, probably helped by the sun vanishing behind clouds briefly. Surprisingly, WaWa was busy but not overwhelmingly so. I was able to get my Coke Spiced Zero and get out quickly.

Took the long way home across Newton Lake Park. The sun had returned by this point, and it was incredibly hot and humid, into the mid-80's. That's probably why I saw maybe two other people out in the park. Pushed up the hill and ducked down to Johnson. Everyone must have been either at the May Fair, on vacation at the Shore, or avoiding the heat.

Put on Sale of the Century when I arrived while I got organized. A very sweet woman dominated the episodes between Christmas and New Year's in 1988. Only the charming short guy got anything along with her in the first episode. In the second, she bought a gorgeous hutch (and I couldn't blame her - it really was a stunning piece), and all three contestants picked up something on the Fame Game. She only won the Bonus Round in the second episode, though.

Switched to Give Me a Sailor while relaxing for a while. I go further into this romantic comedy vehicle for Martha Raye and Bob Hope at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Took a shower, then listened to Best Loved Bands of All Time while finishing the blog. Jukebox Saturday Night gives us the flashier bands of the 40's. Big bands were at their height of popularity during the war years, when they provided needed morale boosting. Once the war ended, however, they started to lose ground to more intimate forms of music like rock and hotter, sharper forms of jazz. Among the hits that made the 40's swing were "Now Is the Hour" by Eddy Howard, "Ghost Riders In the Sky" by Vaughan Monroe, "Perfida" by Xavier Cugat, the title song by Glenn Miller, and "One O'Clock Jump" by Count Basie.

Jazz in the 50's tended to skewer more Sweet and Lovely or sharper and hotter as adults searched for the nostalgic music of their 20's and 30's childhoods and their children abandoned the big band sound for rock and smaller combos. Some of the band music that did make waves in the 50's included "So Rare" by Jimmy Dorsey, "Unchained Melody" by Les Baxter, "Mona Lisa" by Victor Young, "Melancholy Serenade" by Jackie Gleason, "The Syncopated Clock" by Arthur Fielder and the Boston Pops, and "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" by Perez Prado.

Switched to the second Judy Garland Quadromania disc next. This one picked up with her big number from Ziegfeld Girl, "Minnie from Trinidad," and a series of songs from her movies with Mickey Rooney. We also get "The Trolley Song," "The Boy Next Door," and the title number from Meet Me In St. Louis and "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe" from The Harvey Girls. Non-movie songs including "On the Sunny Side of the Street," "Aren't You Kind of Glad We Did?," and "Blues In the Night."

The owner of the channel that posts the Match Game and Password chat episodes had trouble with YouTube and couldn't get the episode going until past 9:15. No matter. The random episodes he selected tonight were as much fun as any theme would have been. We mainly saw shows from between 1973 and 1977. We'd just seen the one with Clifton Davies and Brett's shirt with the police patches in strategic places, but it was a cute episode and I was happy to see it again. 

A young redheaded man in 1974 kept chasing Fannie, Brett, and Adrienne Barbeau every time he won. Charles and Richard had to hold him off. Pat Harrington and Brett teased Gene about his checked suit making him look like half of a vaudeville team in another '74 episode. Pat makes a crack about a question being "more than Diana (Dors, Richard's ex-wife) ever did." Far from being angry, Richard ruefully agreed. Robert Urich got to kiss Brett and meet Earl, the little fellow behind the Audience Match board, during his one week. Big ex-football player Rosey Greer got to hear some pretty hilarious answers to what happened when the audience cheered because Gene Rayburn __ Richard Dawson. 

You never know what you'll see next on this hilariously surprising marathon!

Friday, May 24, 2024

Red Hot Spring

Began the morning with breakfast and Laff-a-Lympics. Everyone starts off in the Sahara Desert with a wacky dune buggy race. The next even has the teams filling up holes in the sand to form an oasis. As usual, the Really Rottens do their best to cheat, but Babu has his own way of dealing with them. Surprisingly, Daisy Mayhem manages to legitimately win the race to photograph the Lochness Monster in Scotland. Too bad her win is negated by not only the Rottens, but pretty much everyone cheating on the Three-Legged Kilt Race (although the Rottens are the most blatant about it). 

Switched briefly to the 1986 Card Sharks on Buzzr before heading to Westmont for an errand run. My first stop was Dollar Tree. I've been meaning to buy those charcoal moisture eliminators for ages. Living in an attic does get a bit humid. Grabbed two and some sugar-free cotton candy mints I wanted to try. Didn't see what I wanted at Target, but I did pick up more Secret deodorant with an online coupon and Body Armor hydration individual packs. The line at Target's self-checkout area was so long, I switched to another long line before a third register finally opened.

The Westmont Acme was nearly as busy. I dodged a lot of people as I picked up snacks for the week. Just bought blood oranges for work, since I'll be hitting the farm market tomorrow. Had online coupons for Kind Granola Bars, Made Good bars, and Chobani yogurt. Restocked bagels for lunch next week and oatmeal cookies. Found the Listerine Clinical Solution Gum Therapy Mouthwash that I couldn't find at Target there, and with a paper coupon on the cap, too. Decided to try Culture Pop, another kombucha soda that was on sale and had even less sugar. 

Cut through Newton Lake Park going home. Given it was nearly 1 PM and in the lower 90's, even the back path was busy with people out for walks or returning to work from lunch. I opted to push my bike up the path over the hill to the Haddon Township Environmental and Historical Center instead. It's really beautiful in the park now. Spring flowers have been replaced by huge nearly-grown leaves. We must not have had much rain from that storm yesterday morning. The path wasn't really that muddy or hard to walk over.

When I got home, I went straight into Split Second while having lunch. Once again, the ladies dominated the first episode. I came in during the second half of the second round, and the two women were far above the guys. The lady who won beat everyone by a mile and a half. She missed the car and returned. This time, though the guy did much better, the winner was a sweet lady with a charming accent who collected elephant figures. She too missed the car and would try again.

Went online for an hour to putter around and check my schedule. In good news, more hours and three days off. Sunday's late again, though, which I'm not looking forward to after last Sunday. I'm also working Memorial Day and next Saturday. I'll have to miss Oaklyn's town-wide yard sale.

Had one more errand to run after I got off the computer. I realized when I got home that I forgot to pick up one of the big things I really needed - suntan lotion. Strolled down to the CVS across from Newton Lake Park, on the border of Oaklyn and Collingswood to see what they had. They had a buy one, get one 50 percent off sale on Coppertone, and I found two bottles with coupons attached. It came to almost $15 all together, not great, but better than the $12 each they originally were. 

Spent the next few hours going through the closet and baskets that held my toiletries, pulling out anything I didn't need. Watched the rest of the Peanuts: School Days episodes as I worked. Peppermint Patty and Sally got most of the attention here. Everyone needs "A Little Nap" when they can't stay awake for school, including Peppermint Patty, Sally, and Linus. Snoopy's own attempts to sleep are disrupted by bad weather in "It's Raining, It's Pouring." 

Peppermint Patty gets stuck on her back in "School Chums" and can't move her head when she passes out in front of Marcie. "Marcie" for her part seemed unusually vicious in several of these episodes. Peppermint Patty complains about Marcie being cranky after she records her sleeping habits, ending in a fight that lands them both in the principal's office. Patty also gets upset when her "Best Friend" is named Student of the Year instead of her. Sally's not great at school, either. "It's Just No Good" she says when no one appreciates her bringing leaves for show and tell, she breaks a crayon, and her report on oceans goes badly. She's happier  enjoying bean bag camp before going "Back to School' and talking to the school building in "Go to School!"

Switched to He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown after the shorts ended, since I hadn't gotten around to watching that DVD collection yet. Snoopy's driving all of the kids batty during their summer vacation. He sends him to obedience school, but Snoopy decides he'd rather have Peppermint Patty wait on him hand and foot. Eventually, he gets fed up with demanding Patty and decides Chuck isn't so bad after all.

Worked on writing for an hour after this. Michael appears to Kathleen and thanks her for getting his foot out of the snare. He also apologized for eating the flower bed earlier, but he was hungry after fleeing Jacqueline. Lady Jacqueline was angry that he wouldn't marry her or go along with her plans to prolong winter, so she turned him into a harmless rabbit and told everyone they were engaged anyway.

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at quarter after 7. Came in for the second game with Robert Pine, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Betty White. Gene bursts into laughter at one point over Betty White's rather amusing quip in response to a question about Queen Guinevere. Charles gets to play the game with the audience in the end, but for some reason, they all kept dancing around the obvious answer to "___ of Sugar." Dear Abby made her only appearance in the second episode, while Jack Carter tosses out the quips and Bill Daily jokes about his then-recent marriage.

Finished the night with They Got Me Covered for free at YouTube. Kit Kittredge (Bob Hope) may as well be a kid reporter. The American Girl Kit would probably be smarter than him, despite his Pulitzer Prize. He's fired for failing to notice that Germany invaded Russia. His stenographer girlfriend Christina (Dorothy Lamour) wishes he'd remember their engagement. Kit's excited when his Romanian informant Vanescu has big news, but he's shot and flees into the night. He asks for a stenographer to be sent to him, but they send Christina's friend Sally (Phyllis Ruth) and intend to follow her. Kit, of course, mixes up his meeting places and she ends up kidnapped to transcribe their notes. 

It turns out that Axis agents are plotting to attack Washington. They first send a female agent, Olga (Lenore Aubert), but Kit gets around her. They then try to drug him into an unwanted marriage, but Christina sees through that. It's Christina and her friends who discover where Sally's really being held and lead Kit to a whole nest of spies that could make his reputation...or break his body.

Normally I get a kick out of Hope running around and being cowardly, but this one got way too complicated. Even reviews in 1943 were less than kind, and frankly, this has not dated well. Kit comes off less like a lovable idiot and more like a dumb jerk who cares less about his fiancee or her feelings than his scoop. Even he admits it near the end. The plot has too much going on and is just way to difficult to figure out. No wonder Kit can't solve it. The audience might not be able to, either. And while the scene with Hope trying to dodge a murderous old man (Donald Meek) who thinks the Civil War is still on is funny, it doesn't have a whole lot to do with the rest of the movie.

All in all, this one is strictly for fans of Hope or wartime capers. Casual fans would be better off starting with one of his late 30's comedies like The Ghost Breakers or late 40's-early 50's comedies like The Paleface

Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Music and the Peanuts Go 'Round and 'Round

I awoke to a huge, noisy thunderstorm and a phone call. It was Karen. Another client had a sudden interview out of town that was going to run over. She wouldn't make it for our appointment, and she'll be on vacation next week and won't be able to do it then. We just won't be able to get together until next month after my vacation, then. I haven't really been doing all that great with finding anything on Indeed anyway.

Finished Treasure Island, then got moving around 10 AM. Watched Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood while I had breakfast and got organized. Daniel draws a picture and writes "I love you" for "Something Special for Dad." His mother takes him to the post office to see how it's delivered. Dan and Dan Sr. knows that Mrs. Tiger loves banana bread. They go to Baker Aker to help them say "I Love You, Mom" with her favorite treat.

Headed out for a short errand run after that. By 10:30, it was cloudy, humid, breezy, and slightly cooler than yesterday, but not raining. Headed to Family Dollar first. Didn't find what I was looking for there, but I did pick up a bag of red, white, and blue tortilla chips and Peanuts by Schultz: School Days, the latter of which was half-off. (The chips proved to be excellent, thick, crunchy, and just salty enough. I don't think they were real blue chips - they looked dyed - but they still tasted good.) 

Found what I was looking for at Dollar General. I wanted their cheaper generic brand Propel-style hydration drink mix. The seasonal aisle had it in grape and a new Sonic Limeade. Picked up that and a pecan log, which I haven't had in ages, and was off again. I checked out mouthwash at CVS, but their prices weren't very good.

Stopped at the pretzel shop on the way home. Yes, they had the stuffed cheesesteak pretzels in. I bought one of those, two regular pretzels for later, and a can of Diet Pepsi while two other people waited for their larger order.

Put on Press Your Luck when I got home. They finished up their Back to School week for teen contestants with four young women totally dominating the game. In the first show, the one boy (who didn't look more than 13) Whammied out early in the second round. The girls played well and kept switching turns, until the one with braces finally hit a Whammy. The other girl won a speedboat and a Windjammer Caribbean cruise. 

The second show was almost identical. Though the boy lasted a little longer this time, he still was out by mid-way through the second round. The sophisticated senior girl who won picked up limonene rides to a fine restaurant in Los Angeles' Chinatown and Knott's Berry Farm. 

Let it run into Split Second while I made the bed and did chores. The women dominated here, too. The four-time champ got a run for her money from a young student who also did photography and calligraphy, but she easily made it through the Countdown Round. She finally managed to guess the right number for the car, too. The women absolutely killed in the second game as well. This time, one lady just managed to get through the Countdown Round...and to her shock and mine, she guessed the right number for the car on her very first try!

Switched to The Five Pennies after Split Second ended. I go further into another big band biography, this time with Danny Kaye playing early band leader Red Nichols, at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Moved on to the Peanuts after the movie ended. This is another collection of super-short episodes taken from a French-made Peanuts series released in 2014. Most of them repeated gags seen in the specials, but there were some unique plots and titles. Peppermint Patty likes numbers well enough, but not math "Problems," gets really into her "True or False" test, and asks Charlie Brown if she's good enough for a beauty pageant in "Eye of the Beholder." Curly-locked "Frieda" gets her chance at the spotlight when she begs the gang to look after her cat and encourages Snoopy to chase rabbits. Snoopy gets criticism from Linus and Lucy on "A Novel Idea." We see how Linus and Lucy reacted to "The Last of the Bunch" being born, and how they helped Re-Run out as he grew older.

Worked on writing next. I went back and added a scene where Kathleen gained the rabbit's trust by helping its foot out of a snare. Later, Mother Nature explains that snow sorceress Lady Jacqueline's spell will only allow him to change into his human self at night.

Watched Match Game Syndicated during dinner. Big George Kennedy was the one who did really well with "__ Movies" in the Head-to-Head. Later on, Richard Paul defends Judy Landers' answer. Near the end of the episode, Charles gets to play "__ Too Late" with the audience.

Finished the night listening to more big band music on one of my recently-acquired CD sets. Best Loved Bands of All Time is a 4-disc Readers Digest collection. In the Mood featured beloved bands in general, with songs like "Tangerine" by Jimmy Dorsey, "I'm In the Mood for Love" by Louis Armstrong, "Ballerina" by Vaughn Monroe, and the title song by The Glenn Miller Orchestra. Soft Lights and Sweet Music specifically covers bands from the 1930's. Favorites here include "I Can't Get Started" by Bunny Berigan, "Three Little Fishes" by Kay Kyser, "Moonglow" by Cab Calloway, and "Whispers In the Dark" by Bob Crosby.

(Oh, and while it showered lightly on my way home and early in the afternoon, it hasn't done anything since then. In fact, the sun came out around 5 PM.) 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Darkness In the Sunshine

Kicked off the morning with breakfast and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. "Mickey's Silly Problem" is that the Clubhouse's silly switch gets stuck, and now everything inside is extremely weird. Even Toodles is affected, with all of the tools being blanked-out "Mystery Mouse-ketools." The others first have to figure out which tools are used where, and then how to get in when the Clubhouse just keeps making doors. 

Headed off to work after the cartoon ended. We were even quieter today than yesterday. It was sunny, breezy, cloudless, and very hot, into the lower 90's. This was no day for shopping. I swept, pushed the carts, and put cold items away. Once again, no trouble whatsoever.

Went home, changed, and relaxed while watching Let's Make a Deal. Only one woman did well in the opening deal, which involved taking three wallets that might have money or a door. The first two doors turned out to have zonks and the wallets had money. The lady rightly deduced that there would be something better behind the third door...and she was right. Another woman insisted on keeping her 500 dollar bill, not even trading it for a car. Her mother-in-law got the Door 4 wheel and didn't trade her money in, either...which proved to be smart. The Big Deal of the Day went to a nurse in a brief red outfit and her goofy patient husband. They traded in money and got gorgeous kitchen appliances and furniture and a fur that looked great on her.

Switched to the considerably darker Leave Her to Heaven next. Novelist Richard Harland (Cornel Wilde) is traveling by train to New Mexico when he encounters gorgeous Ellen Berent (Gene Tierney) on her way to her father's funeral. Sparks fly almost immediately...maybe a little too hard for Ellen. She breaks it off with her current fiancee, lawyer Russell Quinton (Vincent Price), to suddenly announce that she and Richard are engaged. They're happy for a time after their marriage, but Richard is never alone. First his crippled brother Danny (Daryl Hickman) visits, then her mother (Mary Philips) and adopted sister Ruth (Jeanne Crain), and then she learns she's going to have a child. Ellen won't let anyone stand in her way of having Richard all to herself. She will do anything, including kill, to have her man truly to herself.

Stunning cinematography, a tense screenplay, and Tierney's performance as the ultimate controlling wife are the thing here. Technicolor never looked more vibrant...or more terrifying. The scene where Ellen lets Danny drown is a perfect contrast between a lovely, sunny lake, and beautiful Ellen all in white, with those scarlet lips, and the scary things she's doing. Melodrama normally isn't my thing, but the excellent screenplay and tense direction helps make this a lot more palatable. Highly recommended for fans of Tierney, psychological thrillers, or those who wonder if anyone could pull off film noir in color. 

Did some job hunting and reading online, then had dinner while watching Match Game Syndicated. We skip ahead to the week with David Doyle, Debralee Scott, and Patty Duke. David attempts imitations towards the end of the first episode, but Brett and Charles just can't figure out whom he's supposed to be. The second brings in a very funny older woman with a charming British accent who apparently wrote poetry and "dirt," as she put it.

Finished the night online with Treasure Planet at Disney Plus. I just started reading the original Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island yesterday and wanted to watch at least one version, but I just did the more traditional 1950 film recently. Here, Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a troubled teen who saw his father walk away as a child. After a spaceship crashes near their inn and a dying pirate gives him a sphere, he learns it's the map to Treasure Planet, the world where old Captain Flint buried his fabled loot. Traveling onboard the flying galleon RSL Legacy with dog-man Dr. Doppler (David Hyde-Pierce) and tough feline Captain Amelia (Emma Thompson), he initial bonds with the ship's cook Long John Silver (Brian Murray) before learning that Silver has his own plans for the treasure. Now Jim has to get that map and figure out what it leads to, before Silver and his band of cutthroats shiver his timbers for good.

This is one of the many action films Disney made in the 2000's that bombed or underperformed at the box office. I think they were just too associated with musical princess fantasies at the time. This is possibly their most unique film, a blend of traditional animation, CGI, swashbuckling action and sci-fi opera that works pretty well most of the time. Gordon-Levitt and Murray anchor the film as a slightly darker Jim and more sympathetic Silver than usual for this story. Hyde-Pierce and Thompson are also hilarious as the seemingly mismatched canine doctor and tough feline air captain. 

Sometimes, though, the movie can get a little too weird for its own good. There are places where the CGI and 2 D animation just don't mix (like in space), and Martin Short as the broken-down navigational robot B.E.N gets annoying after a while. Still, there's enough of interest here for fans of pirate yarns, the original  books, or for families looking for really cool animated movies for older elementary and pre-teen boys. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Swinging In the Spring

Started off the morning with breakfast and The Busy World of Richard Scarry. Travel agent Mr. Cat wants to review the "Grand Hotel," but twists his ankle on arrival. He assigns Lowly and his children to do it in his place. They not only love it, but give high marks to a friendly new female bell hop, despite the misgivings of her manager. "Couscous On the Nile" has to deal with Pepe and his Dirty Rats breaking out again. This time, he lures them with the promise of buried treasure in a pyramid. Mr. Cat wants the "Cat Family Ski Trip" to bring them all together, but he keeps falling off his skis and embarrassing himself. His attempts at showing off his skiing and skating may end with him on his rear, but they also remind his family how much they love him.

Thankfully, work went far better today than it did on Sunday. In fact, we were dead almost the entire morning. Most people are likely waiting for Memorial Day Weekend to hit the grocery store, and it was really too nice of a day for shopping. I pushed carts on a gorgeous, warm, breezy, sunny day in the lower 80's, and wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere else. There was barely anything else for me to do. No trouble whatsoever.

Took the long way home down Nicholson Road. That might have been a mistake. It was a lot busier on Nicholson than it had been at the Acme. I dodged cars until I pushed my bike over the hill and into Oaklyn. At least it's really looking like spring now. Bright pink, crimson, and coral roses bloom in gardens, and the leaves are getting bigger and greener every day.

Watched Let's Make a Deal while changing and doing a few chores. Monty let two women play each other in a pricing game, then two men. The winner played each other to get cash. A pregnant lady dressed as a doctor and her husband joined a woman in a red diner waitress uniform for the Big Deal of the Day. While the waitress likely wasn't fussing over a nice range and dishwasher and kitchen appliances, the doctor was delighted to get the Big Deal, a gorgeous grand piano, along with cash. 

Watched The Benny Goodman Story next. I go further into this biography of "The King of Swing" with Steve Allen and Donna Reed at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

Switched to Vega$ after Benny Goodman ended. This time, it's Binzer (Bart Braverman) who is on the warpath after the blind girl he fell hard for is killed by a desperate savings and loan president (Leslie Nielson). Dan tries to insist that he find another way to deal with this, but he insists on killing the man, even though he's a "Doubtful Target" at best.

Worked on writing for a while after the show ended. Mother Nature explains that Lady Jacqueline put a spell on her son Michael when he threatened to tell her what she was doing and tried to stop her. Michael was turned into a harmless rabbit, and only changing the seasons and getting Jacqueline to retreat and let spring go on will break the spell.

Broke for dinner and Match Game Syndicated at 7 PM. They skipped waaaayy ahead again, this time to the second episode of the first syndicated season in 1979. Ironically, Braverman was on this week as well, along with Bill Daily and Eva Gabor. He helps a contestant with "__ Cake" on the Head-to-Head, while Charles makes fun of Brett's inexpensive jewelry collection.

Took a shower, then finished the night listening to my recently acquired jazz records and soundtracks while working on the Benny Goodman review. Get Crazy was an accurately-titled comedy from 1983 set around a huge New Year's Eve rock concert. As weird as the movie is, some of the songs are genuinely good. I really like "I'm Not Going to Take It" by Laurie Eastside, "Little Sister" by Lou Reed, and Malcolm McDowell's decadent "Hot Shot."

The other two albums were more traditional jazz collections. Modern New Orleans Masters from 1988 weds 80's synthesizers to Dixieland and blues in numbers like "Come On Home" by The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, "Gemini Rising" by The New Orleans Saxophone Ensemble, and a nice version of "A Foggy Day" by Germaine Bazzle and Friends. Among the hits in The Best of Basie, Vol. 2 are "Broadway," "Tickle Toes," "Lester Leaps In," "Time Out," and "9:20 Special." 

Monday, May 20, 2024

Hot for Games

Slept in this morning. Finished Stuart Little and wrote in my journal, then watched an episode of What's New, Scooby Doo while eating breakfast. Scooby's saying "Riva Ras Regas" when he and Shaggy win tickets to see the debut of real-life teen singer Lindsay Pagano at a newly-built Vegas casino. After Lindsay's rehearsal is attacked by the ghost of a magician who died when the previous hotel on the property was imploded, Mystery Inc is on the case to figure out why he doesn't want the show to go on.

Switched to Press Your Luck next after taking the laundry downstairs. Whammies swarmed around the contestants on both episodes. One of the women in the first episode got knocked out in the second round. The champ was defeated by a young man who ended up with a craps game table and money and had the least Whammies. He didn't have nearly that much luck in the next episode. A pretty young model attracted way too many Whammies and was out early in the second round. The other man followed her. The one guy ended up playing the house and finally picked up a trip for his trouble.

Put the laundry in the dryer, then came back up for Split Second. By the time of the current episodes, they switched the bonus round from choosing three screens to choosing one. If it wasn't a car, that one will be blocked off the next time the person wins. They now earn money instead of another prize if they don't win the bonus round, and leaving and taking the other prize is no longer an option. One woman dominated the first round, as she apparently had for the previous four days. Alas, she was beaten on her fifth day by a curly-haired young man. He didn't pick the car, but would return.

Headed out after Split Second ended. I had one last bag of stuff and a cooler I didn't need that went to Goodwill. Rode over there, handed the bag and cooler to a gentleman who was helping another man with his larger donation items, and left. 

Took the back way past the baseball field into Audubon. Had lunch at the Legacy Diner. They were relatively busy, despite it being quarter of 3 at that point. I tried their Waffle Napoleon, which turned out to be sliced strawberries and bananas with whipped cream on top of a waffle. The berry and banana slices were so big, I ate it like a fruit salad. The waffle was incredible, light and tender on the inside, just crispy enough on the outside, and very filling. 

Stopped at the WaWa on the way home to cool off. I wanted to try more of those Olipop sodas. They had root beer along with strawberry vanilla. They were also busy, mainly because their self-checkout screens didn't seem to be working. At least the line wasn't too bad. Picked up assorted sugar-free and oatmeal cookies from Los Amigos Bakery.

It was a gorgeous day to run errands, too. Hot, yes, in the lower 80's, but breezy and sunny as can be, with a bright blue sky overhead. I wasn't the only one out and about, either. I dodged a lot of people out for walks, running their own errands, or heading home from work or school. 

Put on more of The Persuaders! while putting away the laundry and extra blankets I no longer needed and doing job searching. Danny and Britt stop on the road to help a girl who doesn't seem to need help. While Britt deals with her, Danny wanders onto the grounds of a country estate and discovers a dead man. Turns out the estate belongs to an extreme right-wing politician, and the man is a journalist who is supposedly alive. "The Time and the Place" turns out to be a lot more sinister than anyone could guess when they learn that not only is the politician's views extreme to the point where he considers taking over the government, but there's radicals on the opposite side who would love to get rid of him.

Britt's the one in trouble when he's abducted by two figures who want to make an exact double of him. Seems "Someone Like Me" is the only one who can get them through to an infamously reclusive millionaire (Bernard Lee). Danny has to figure out if the real Britt can stand up, and what happened to his friend. 

Worked on writing for a while after the show ended. Mother Nature explains that the rabbit who led Kathleen to her is her son Michael. Lady Jacqueline is the Lady of Winter, who wants winter to last forever so she and her kingdom will never change and she'll always have full control over the seasons. Michael opposed her plan and refused to let her use his resources, so she transformed him into something that wouldn't fight with her.

Broke for dinner and Match Game '78 at 7 PM. For some reason, they skipped to nearly the end of the year, after CBS added the Star Wheel and upgraded the set. Though Richard Dawson had already quit by that point, Nipsey Russell, who sat in his "smart guy" seat that week, still made a rhymed quip about him. (Incidentally, this would be the last time Nipsey sat in that seat. He apparently preferred the first seat and asked to go back there after this taping.) In the second episode, Gene showed how out-of-touch he tended to be when he didn't know that Superman was the "__ of Steel." 

Finished the night with flop game shows from my teen years. Honestly, successful shows were a lot thinner on the ground in the 90's than hits. The rabid popularity of talk shows chased all game shows but The Price Is Right off daytime. Caesar's Challenge, a Greek-themed word game filmed at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and hosted by Ahmad Rashad, lasted six months from 1993 through early 1994 and is the last daytime show to run on NBC to date. 

Even Price had its troubles in this era. Its 1994 syndicated version The New Price Is Right with Doug Davidson didn't do a whole lot better and expired after four months. The half-hour format eliminated the Wheel and replaced bidding for the two Showcases in the end with one Showcase and a bonus round that was similar to The Range Game. While Price has done many nighttime specials since then, this has been its last try at a full nighttime show. 

Price wasn't the only game show revival or syndicated version to flop badly in the 90's. Despite being a worthy successor to the original, the 1990-91 version of To Tell the Truth only lasted eight months on NBC. It's too bad. I've seen a few episodes of this online and on Buzzr, and the guests were as interesting and unique as anything on the original and syndicated program. The very busy Alex Trebek helps Orson Bean, Kitty Carlisle, Dana Hill, and producer David Niven Jr. figure out which game show-addicted older man won a backstage pass to the show and a date with Kitty, and which younger man wrote a book on recovering from drug addiction and gang involvement. 

Match Game had an even rougher time during the decade. The 1990-91 version actually wasn't bad. It had some great moments and a lot of enjoyable panelists, but it didn't last a year on ABC. The syndicated show from 1998 was far worse. It reduced the number of panelists to five and added weird subjects to draw the questions from. The panelists weren't that bad - Nell Carter and Vicki Lawrence could be counted on a quip or two, and even Judy Tenuta could be fun when she wasn't being shrill - but Michael Berger was hardly the host to reign them all in, the pastel set was ugly as heck, and the questions could get a little too heavy on the sexual references.

Nickelodeon's success with their game shows in this decade inspired other networks to try kids' stunt shows. The Family Channel's hour-long Family Challenge debuted in late 1995 and ran through fall 1997. Ray Combs was the original host as two families competed in a series of wacky stunts. One of those stunts, the dads having a kissing contest, seemed kind of risque for a show of this stripe. Otherwise, this was really kind of fun. Apparently, after Combs' death, they moved the taping, replaced him with Michael Burger, and brought in more audience participation stunts. 

Game shows being used as filler during the summer months goes back as far as the 50's and continues today with ABC's "Summer Fun & Games" block. The Hollywood Game from June 1992 would be the last such programming to air on the networks in prime time until the short-lived Big Deal in 1996. Bob Goen asks contestants questions about their knowledge of not only current and vintage movies, but also TV shows and gossip. It's simple, but kind of fun to watch, especially if you're a movie buff like me.

That wouldn't be the last pop culture trivia show to bomb in the 90's. VH1 ran My Generation briefly in 1998. Two pairs of contestants from different eras chose questions about music from the opposing side's era from five categories. A speed round had band names from both eras combined with one word that the contestants had to guess. Winners went on to basically play VH1 Password and give clues about the name of a band. It sort of resembles the 60's show The Generation Gap with music videos instead of live numbers, and once again isn't bad if you're into vintage rock.

The wild success of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in late 1999 forever changed what game shows looked like and how they were played. Greed was one of the first imitators to debut in its wake. After five people move on from the qualifying round, their captain has to guess a multiple-choice question. His teammates decide if all of his answers are right. If they are, they move to the next round, and the captain can choose to either quit the game or move to the next round. At one point, a random "terminator" is chosen to challenge one of their teammates. If they win the question, they stay in the game. If their opponent wins, they stay. Chuck Woolery keeps things flowing.

Despite my fondness for trivia, I found the Millionaire imitators to be kind of boring in college. They all looked alike to me then, and the intense play was more depressing than fun. This is actually a little bit more interesting today, thanks to the group play and the ability to pit teammates against each other. Apparently, it did pull in decent ratings, but struggling Fox wanted to focus on scripted programming and ended it after barely seven months. 

Explore how game shows fell out of favor during my teen years with these rare flops!

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Classic Rockin' Matches

I was up so late last night, it was past 11 when I finally got up and finished The Three Emperors. Listened to the AM Gold CDs I picked up on my yard sale run last week while I ate breakfast and messed around online. The 60's Generation is a more general collection of songs from 1966 through 1969, while 1968 collects songs from that year. (60's Generation is also one of the last titles released in the series in 1998, according to Wikipedia.) I bought these for songs that were unfamiliar to me, like "Cry Like a Baby" by The Box Tops, "1-2-3" by Len Barry, and "The Pied Piper" by Crispian St. Peters on Generation, and "Like to Get to Know You" by Spanky and Our Gang, "Grazing In the Grass" by Hugh Masekela, and "Turn Around, Look at Me" by The Vogues in '68

Hurried off to work at quarter of 2. Got there just in time. Wish I hadn't. Work was a royal pain in the rear today. Every time I tried to sweep or get the carts done, I got pulled to do six other things. They wanted me to clean up a spilled fruit bowl by the carts next to the back door near the pharmacy...and I discovered something so disgusting over there, I didn't want to have anything to do with it for the rest of the day. I had to sweep under the carts on the other side. One of the flower buckets in the floral department fell over, and there's no one there on Sundays to clean up the mess. The drain in front of the employee lounge was overflowing and kept making a huge puddle there.

After all that, I was more than happy to rush home, jump in the shower, grab dinner, and spend the rest of the night watching today's Match Game marathon. This time, we jumped into the best episodes from 1975. In fact, some of the most memorable episodes of the entire series came out during that year. This is when Match Game cemented its status as the biggest hit show of daytime, pulling in better ratings than some prime-time offerings then. 

I came in for the only week to feature Grand Ol' Opry legend Buck Owens and MGM musical legend Gloria DeHaven. Neither of them played especially well, though she seemed to get the show a little better than he did. Charles Nelson Reilly, who had been away from the show to direct a play on Broadway, made a memorable return a few weeks later via a wire and a stuffed bird. Johnny Olsen got to announce a hilarious question about the first game show featuring Cleopatra and the reptile that was usually the answer to anything involving her. 

The show had it's share of memorable contestants in 1975, too. Handsome phys-ed teacher Ron Valenti turned a lot of heads during his run on the show, but especially Fannie Flagg's. She spent a hilarious episode flirting with him, including when she answered "Atomic __" in the Head-to-Head. Carol Bartos became the show's all-time biggest winner at that point, thanks to Fannie's Head-to-Head answer to "__ Tie." Poor Evie was so terribly shy early in the year, everyone had to spend her episodes coaxing answers out of her. One girl got so excited on the week with William Shatner and Julie Harris, Gene said she actually broke the set jumping up and down so much.

If anything, things got even crazier after Charles came back. There was the time Gene's boot broke, and he had to fix it on the air. Or when the contestant was supposed to belly dance, but the music department played the Star Spangled Banner. Brett and Betty had no trouble doing their own versions of belly dancing! Or when Betty rolled up Gene's pants legs, exposing argyle socks he eventually gave to a woman in the audience. There was also when Gene's microphone started acting up and they had to find his spare, or when he used a fancy glitter-covered microphone a fan sent him. And the time the panel all changed seats during the week with an otherwise-bored Alex Karras. Or when Joan Collins appeared, and Gene got mad at the cameraman and literally climbed over the audience to get at him. 

Goodson-Todman debuted a nighttime version mid-way through the year that added even more chaos. There was the one where Charles and Richard turned up in wide-brimmed straw hats to promote "Your Basic Big Picture Hat Society." Or the time Gene bet Richard his "Admiral Color TV" answer wouldn't be on the Audience Match board for "Admiral __." Shatner also turned up with Lee Merriweather for one of the earliest PM episodes.

Keep matching in '75 with some of the funniest game show episodes ever on TV!

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Night of the Pink Pony

Began the morning with breakfast and a quick episode of Bluey. Bluey and Bingo are joined by fluffy Judo when they pretend to be "Butterflies." Judo, however, would rather play with Bluey and leave Bingo behind. Bingo is upset, until Bluey realizes how disappointed she is and returns to her. 

Overslept and was late getting out the door this morning. Of course, I took the bike, and of course, it started raining almost the moment I left. The heavy shower would continue in some form for the rest of the day. I barely got to work on time. We were busy when I arrived, but the weather cleared out a lot of customers, and it wasn't as bad later. I still had a hard time getting out to the carts. I was the only one there to do the trash, put away cold items, and clean up water overflowing from the drain in the women's bathroom.

Needless to say, I rushed home soon as I finished and used my online coupon for free sea-salt chocolate truffles. Watched Sale of the Century while I changed and had a snack. They were on the Pep Rally college student week. The one boy absolutely killed the girls, getting twice as much money as them and buying a really cool word processor. One of the girls did manage to win a Fame Game and pick up a bread maker that made her happy, but the other only got a little money. Though the boy did win a trip to Hawaii, he didn't do as well with the Bonus Game to pick up some money for it.

Switched to Thelma the Unicorn on Netflix while job hunting and making my bed. I go further into this Netflix animated film released on Friday about a horse who gets the stardom she craves when she's mistaken for a unicorn at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

My friend loved that heavy book shelf I gave her earlier this week so much and thought it looked so good in her living room, she gave me the smaller black shelf that used to be where the big one is now. I moved the children's records, cookbooks, and Star Wars and Indiana Jones paperbacks to the shelf and put the baskets of magazines on top of it. Moved the metal food shelf to the other side of the entertainment center. 

Watched The Wild Wild West while I worked. It's "The Night of the Dancing Death" in the first season when the Princess of Armenia is replaced by an impostor when Jim and Artie are supposed to be guarding her. Their attempt to figure out what happened to her leads them to the Camorra, a real-life criminal gang that dates back centuries in Italy and the Princess' brother Prince Gio Carlotica (Peter Mark Richman), who wants to rule in her place.

Listened to the first disc of the Judy Garland Quadromania Japanese set while working on the Thelma review. The first disc features songs from her early MGM films prior to and just after The Wizard of Oz, including "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart," "Embraceable You," "I'm Nobody's Baby," "Our Love Affair," and "It's a Great Day for the Irish." We also get some non-movie songs like "Stompin' at the Savoy" (I've never even heard lyrics to that one), "It Never Rains but It Pours,"  and two from Marx Brothers movies, "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm" and "Alone." 

Finished the night on YouTube with dinner and today's Match Game marathon. 1974 is when Match Game really began to pick up steam. It was already the most popular show in daytime as the year began. Some of its most famous episodes come from its second year on the air. In fact, the year began with two of the show's most memorable contestants, overly energetic Dorothy and squeaky-voiced Marlena, who was so thrilled after Morey Amsterdam helped her in the Head-to-Head, she lost her shoe giving him a hug! 

Other contestants were less scary. Cop CB Farnsworth did so well and was such a doll, Richard and Charles sang a song about him. Charles also got to help sweetheart Janet Finn become the top money-winner at that point, to the annoyance of the others when he dragged it out to the point of Janet nearly having a heart attack. Bert Reynolds made a cameo appearance later in the summer to say "hi" to Gene and promote his buddy Charles' appearance on the Tonys. 

Sometimes, things just got plain wild. There was the time Gene didn't like Elaine Joyce answering him in a question, so he undid the strings on her halter, to her surprise! That was the week with Don Adams trying to get Richard's seat and Charles running out and flashing his shirt to everyone. Or when Gene accidentally yanked soap star Trish Stewart off her seat! She took it well, but Brett and Kaye Stevens chewed him out for that one. Or at least two walk-outs, once when a contestant answered "boobs" during the week with Steve Allen, and another time when a misogynic answer sent Fannie, Brett, and Abby Dalton strolling out of the studio. Or the riot during the week with Jackie Joseph when the contestant answered "friend" and everyone said "girlfriend." 

There's more for you in '74! Come check out the antics fifty years ago on this hilarious marathon!