Category Archives: TV

Lamb Chop Chomped

I think I watched television as a kid about the same as others.  Captain Kangaroo, Romper Room.  Too old for Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers, but just the right age for Shari Lewis and her puppets, especially Lamb Chop. I knew it was Shari doing the voices but I was fascinated by hearing Lamb Chop speak without seeing Shari’s lips moving.

So imagine my dismay when YA came home today with a Lamb Chop chew toy for the dog!  And as if that’s not bad enough, it has a main squeaker along with a squeaker in each foot for a total of five!  The din is awful and it gives me a sick feeling in my stomach seeing Lamb Chop getting chomped.

Do you have a favorite character from your childhood that you would hate to see turned into a dog toy?

RIP Johnny Crawford

Johnny Crawford was one of my idols when I was a kid.  Although he is best known for his role as Mark McCain on The Rifleman, he was a very busy young man, appearing in not just Mickey Mouse Clubhouse but a myriad of other movies and tv shows.

He also had a musical career with several of his songs making it to the top ten on the charts.  His most famous was Cindy’s Birthday.

He appeared on the rodeo circuit for a time; apparently he was a master at rope tricks, which he had learned during his years on western/cowboy pictures.  He served in the armed forces for a few years as well, but kept returning to acting.  His last picture was a piece with Chuck Conners in which the roles from The Rifleman were reprised.  Apparently Johnny and Chuck had remained close in all the years since their television show.

Crawford’s career was cut off when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2019.  Sadly he passed away from complications of Covid last week.  He was apparently a really nice person and had a beautiful smile right up until the end.

Who did you have a crush on when you were younger?  (Or now for that matter!)

Humming Along

On Sunday, the last long-haul day for my Ukrainian egg production, I binge-watched Peter Gunn with Craig Stevens.  When you binge-watch a series, you get to know the theme music pretty well and I looked up at one point as the credits were rolling to see that Henry Mancini wrote the theme music. 

I don’t know much about Henry Mancini except that he wrote the music for Breakfast at Tiffany’s including Moon River.  So being me, I took a break from eggs and googled him.  I was surprised to find that he was the composer for a lot of shows that I know: Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Pink Panther movies, Charades and Hatari.  I remember doing a skit in elementary school using the music Baby Elephant Walk but I had never known it was by Henry Mancini.

All this new knowledge made me think about other very recognizable theme music: Ghostbusters, Hawaii Five-O, Green Acres (for better or worse), Lara’s Theme (from Doctor Zhivago) and you know me – Perry Mason.  I could probably keep this list going for quite some time.

Any theme music that you’ll cop to liking?

Birthday Bash

Our 5 year old gardening buddy has a birthday next week, and asked his parents for a Gunsmoke themed party. He likes dressing up like a cowboy, and I assume his parents let him watch Gunsmoke reruns. His parents agreed, and his dad found a bunch of wooden pallets he is transforming into a boardwalk. There is a large sign the says Long Branch Saloon. I can hardly wait to see if anyone dresses up like Miss Kitty.

Our daughter also has a birthday in a couple of weeks. She always has anxiety over birthdays, I think stemming from anticipation over childhood parties. We never went so far as to recreate a film set, but she had some nice parties. She stated she has a number of birthday events scheduled by friends in the next two weeks. She is celebrating personally by having a different kind of hot dog a day for her birthday week. We never knew she even liked hot dogs.

My childhood parties were pretty tame, but I will never forget my heartbreak on my 8th birthday when my parents told me that we were moving to a new house in a different part of town, meaning I wouldn’t be next door to my best friend anymore.

What are some of your more memorable birthday parties? What events or celebrations do you dread? What would you wear to a Gunsmoke themed party? Plan your next birthday bash.

It’s Statuette Time

One of my close friends is a big fan of the Oscars.  I think I’ve mentioned that every year when the list comes out, she makes a copy, checks of which movies she has seen and then spends the next month or so trying to fill in the blanks by watching as many as she can.  I love her dearly but just cannot bring myself to join her in this mania; I’ve thought for years that the film industry is the most insecure industry – the amount of self-adulation in the way of awards that it needs amazes me.

But because she’s a friend, I did click open the announcement today of what films will be up for Oscars this year.  It’s no surprise that I haven’t seen any of them (I quit reading when we got down to costumes) since I haven’t been to a movie theatre since December of 2019.  However it was a surprise that I had only heard of two of them.  I’ve noticed “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix and I did read a YouTube review of “Mulan” but none of the other movies in any category even rang a small bell.  Normally I’ve heard of a lot of Oscar nominees because I’ve seen the commercials on TV but not this past year.

Did these movies come out in theatres?  If so, who went to see them?  Have they all been out on TV on subscription channels (of which YA and I have only Disney+, because it’s free right now)?  Have other people heard of these films and I’m just more clueless than usual?  Do we even need Oscars this year?

Have you seen any of the nominees for this year?  Will you?  Anything you think the Academy has overlooked?

Holes

I’m not a critical movie watcher.  You’ll guess this when I tell you that my favorites include How to Steal a Million Dollars, Sneakers, Laura, People Will Talk, Dial M for Murder, Sahara, Hopscotch, Moonstruck….  If you can find any pattern here, let me know.

Last week I came across Ghostbusters (the original) and although I wouldn’t call it a favorite, I like it enough to watch it again.  About 2/3 of the way through the movie, Bill Murray’s character shows up for a date at the apartment of the Sigourney Weaver character.  She has been taken over by an evil spirit and is waiting for the “key master”.  Bill Murray calls his ghostbuster colleague and during the conversation he says “I’ve got her whacked up with 300 cc of Thorazine”.  I’ve heard the line before in previous viewings but never thought much about it.  Now I’m thinking “why does this guy have Thorazine on him to go on a date”?  (And, of course, he’s a psychologist, so where would he even GET Thorazine?)

This made me think about other plot holes that I’ve willfully ignored over the years.  In To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant gets dropped off at the beach club at Cannes in swim trunks.  How does he get home with no clothing, no shoes, no money?

In Sneakers, all the bad guys are hanging out at their fake company in the middle of the night but for some reason the head bad guy isn’t hanging out in his office (which the good guys are breaking into).  Why?

In Sahara, the bad guy is about to blow up his solar energy plant and is escaping in his helicopter.  His henchman is left behind and instead of wondering why his boss has abandoned him and trying to get away from the plant, he’s still trying to throw Matthew McConaughey off the tower. Why?

In Dial M for Murder, Ray Milland says to Swann (the man he wants to murder his wife) that they only attended college together for a year, since Milland started during Swann’s final year.  Then Milland pulls a photo off the wall, saying it’s a reunion photo and it shows Milland and Swann sitting at a table together.  Why would they be at the same reunion if they were not in the same class?

Obviously these plot holes don’t keep me from watching these movies (repeatedly); I guess I get more from the movies than the logic of plot.  But I do wonder how many plot holes I’ve missed over the years.

Do plot holes bother you?  Can you watch something after you caught an error?

Casting Call

Well, we have had non-stop national drama for the past four years,  and I am so looking forward to a respite.  I was imagining the other day what political figures I would cast in plays by Shakespeare, imagining who on the national scene would make a good Lear, Lady Macbeth, or Beatrice. The possibilities are endless and amusing, so go to it, Baboons!

 What roles would you cast current national or international political figures in plays, movies, musicals, or operas? Don’t limit yourself to Shakespeare.  What are your favorite  political dramas or comedies?

Hoarding Grapenuts

I am ashamed to admit it. This weekend I bought a box of Grapenuts when I didn’t need it.  I was hoarding.  It is all the fault of a recent news story that the Post company was having a hard time keeping up with demand for Grapenuts.  People are apparently snarfing them down at an increased rate due to staying home so much.  There is only one manufacturing plant for the cereal. It seems to require specialized manufacturing equipment on which the the Post company has a patent.  There have apparently been Grape nut shortages across the country,  and people are upset.

I don’t eat much cold cereal, but Grapenuts with milk and some golden raisins or currants are a big comfort food for me.  I shudder at the lurid colors of the cereals I ate as a child at the urging of commercials on Saturday  morning.

What were your favorite cereals as a child?  What would you hoard if you thought there might be a shortage?

It’s a Mystery

You all know that I turn the tv on for background and comfort; I rarely watch anything “new”.  In the last few weeks, I’ve turned even more to my oldies but goodies.  Not sure if it’s the weather or the holidays being over or even 2021 being a buzz-kill for the time being.

So I’ve been happy that a couple of movies that I really like have been available on demand through my cable company.  The World of Henry Orient is one and two old Agatha Christie’s as well: Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun.  Knowing that these won’t be around forever on demand, I’ve been watching them quite a bit, as if I can fill myself up with them before they’re gone.  Yesterday, I not only watched all three of these while I was working in my studio, I followed them up by watching Murder on the Orient Express (the old one), which I actually own.  I love Agatha Christie, although she breaks one of my “rules”; she almost always leaves out one or two necessary clues for the reader to figure out the mystery. 

YA came into my studio while Death on the Nile was playing and she commented that I should know the whole movie by heart by now.  She might be right – I can do most of the dialog right along with the actors.  One of my favorite scenes contains this bit:

  • Hercule Poirot: Do not allow evil into your heart, it will make a home there.
  • Jacqueline de Bellfort:  If love can’t live there, evil will do just as well.

So melodramatic – I love it.  I’ve searched for a couple other Agatha Christie movies with the library – can’t wait for those either. 

Tell me a movie you’ve watched more than once.  Way more than once??

The Chess Gambit

Several baboons responded on Tuesday to a comment about the 6-part Netflix mini-series called The Queen’s Gambit. It’s based on a book by Walter Tevis (who is also author of three other books which became movies: The Hustler, The Color of Money and The Man Who Fell to Earth).

Apparently chess sets have been flying off the shelves, both in-store and online. I have located our set here, a Christmas gift years ago from son Joel. I’ve never really taken to chess – though Husband has tried to teach me, I never thought I had enough…  desire, mental acuity, or stamina to be a competitive player.

Because of this movie, I’ve become aware that women have been serious chess players for centuries first documented during the Middle Ages – this from Wikipedia:    “Chess games between men and women were a common theme of European art[2][3] and literature in the fourteenth through 18th centuries.” By the 19th Century, the field was dominated by men, and “during the 20th century, female players made significant progress in breaking male dominance on the game.” The first female International Grandmaster was Nona Gaprindashvilli, who received the title in 1978.

Back on the home front:  It wasn’t that I thought women in general wouldn’t be good at chess, just me. I am willing to rethink that and, with a long and at-home winter facing me, I think I just might take another stab at chess. I will, however, need to do a quick room-arrange to accommodate a table where we can leave a chess board up. And wouldn’t it be fun to paint our own chess board right on some old table?   

Here’s a puzzle:  Imagine you’ve decided you need a chess set and there are none to be had in all the land. By what art or craft would you create the board?

What found objects around the house could stand in for the various pieces – pawns, rooks, bishops, knights, king, queen ?

OR:

Because you may be home-bound for several weeks (or months), what other sort of learning might you tackle, that you would otherwise not have attempted?