Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.


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» Monday, February 16, 2009
Holiday Weekend
A quiet Sunday during which we put pleasure before business—we went to Barnes & Noble, since we hadn't been for a while. When we finished browsing there, we had a coupon for a twofer beverage at Borders, so we treated ourselves to a Cocoa Trio. James bought an orange cake, about the size of a large muffin, for us to share as well. It was quite good, not overly sweet like most purchased cakes. Also made a stop at Michaels; found some supplies for something I could use as a gift.

Michaels is next door to Petsmart, which was doing pet adoptions. For once they had small dogs! They had two darling little terriers there, both females, one a particolor Cairn and the other a wirehair mix. The little Cairn looked a lot like Willow with folded ears and more white on her. She was even undershot and smiled at us with that little upside down grin that Wil has. Awww. Gosh, I would have taken either or both of them home in a minute. Pity Wil doesn't like other dogs.

Finally we got back to business: went to Lowes so that James could look for some piping, and then to Kroger to stock up on the usual weekly things and also some birdseed (which we nearly forgot) for the ravening flock. We refilled the birdseed container and almost immediately a fluttering flotilla came gathering around.

It was after four by then and we spent the rest of the afternoon reading the newspaper and catching up on some things we had recorded. Got a real surprise watching Antiques Roadshow—this was the episode we missed on account of Westminster and I had recorded the second showing—about fifteen minutes into this showing (part 3 from Dallas), a very familiar woman showed up with an unusual rocking chair made in 1884 in Italy. She had bought it in Pennsylvania five years ago and was told it was from the estate of P.T. Barnum, and the appraiser told her it was probably worth about $15,000, more if she could prove it actually was Barnum's. Anyway, I kept squinting at her and finally rolled the DVR back a little and said to James "Isn't that Ronnie Claire Edwards?" [Corabeth Godsey from The Waltons]. He said it sure looked and sounded like her, so I did a little web surfing and found out she did indeed appear on this installment. Too Cool.

This particular edition of Antiques Roadshow also featured Frances Hodgson Burnett memorabilia (including the first page of her manuscript for Little Lord Fauntleroy) owned by her great-granddaughter—the woman's grandfather was Vivian Burnett, who inspired the Cedric Errol character!

We also watched some What's My Line? and the final two episodes of the first disk of the third series (there, that should be enough numbers...LOL!) of Rosemary and Thyme.

We had found some thick pork chops on the markdown shelf at Kroger a week or two back and James grilled them for supper tonight after marinating them in teriyaki sauce. Oh, gosh, they were delicious. I could have eaten all of mine since we never did have any lunch, but put some back for a lunch for work. Yum!

James asked at one point, "What are you going to do tomorrow?" Well, I had no plans for today. I did sweep and then wash the kitchen floor, ditto for the hall bath, did a load of towels, swept the foyer and the downstairs hall, and thawed and cooked some chicken for supper (men goof off on their day off; women do housework <g>). We had Michaels and JoAnn coupons, but I couldn't see going off to look for things I really don't need. Between Gatlinburg and fall and Thanksgiving and Christmas and the party, I spent a ton of money. Not good. I'm trying to be better this year.

So I settled in and watched two of the Region 2 Disney films I bought a few months ago: Big Red and The Moon-Spinners. I had the latter recorded off the Disney Channel (back when they showed real Disney programming) and had never bought the DVD because it was done in full screen. Big Red and That Darn Cat were also released in full screen in the U.S., but all three were widescreen in their Region 2 incarnations.

I may have seen Big Red in widescreen in a theatre, but I don't remember it. I chiefly remember it from airing on The Wonderful World of Color. The only resemblance that this film has to the Jim Kjelgaard story is that there is a boy who loves an Irish setter named "Red," who belongs to a Mr. Haggin who lives on the Wintapi estate. Usually I hate it when they change the story of a book, but Disney's Big Red is good enough to stand on its own. It's the story of 13-year-old French-Canadian orphan Renè Dumont (the original character is a 17-year-old backwoods boy named Danny Pickett whose father is still alive) who, after the death of his guardian uncle, seeks work at the Wintapi kennel of Mr. Haggin, a cold man obsessed with money. We find out indirectly that he has never gotten over the death of his son, who was in the military. Today multiple "morses" would probably be made over Haggin's withdrawn state and there would be this big sappy ending where he breaks down crying, but back then movies were more subtle. We find out about the son only because of a photo picked up and briefly commented on by the housekeeper; everything else is implied. This isn't a big flashy movie, just a plain tale of a boy and a dog in the vein of Kevin Sullivan's Anne of Green Gables. Just lovely, and even better in the original widescreen.

The Moon-Spinners is based on a romantic suspense novel by Mary Stewart and is basically "Stewart-lite," with her heroine reduced to being a teenager (Hayley Mills in her first adult role for Disney) and the story altered somewhat (Lambis in the film is one of the villains, in the book is one of the "good guys.") Still, there is certain charm in the Cretan setting, and suspenseful moments (I still jumped when the hand appeared in the crypt!) and it looks great in widescreen (I would only have seen it widescreen in a theatre, but that was long ago). The Region 2 edition is definitely not restored—quite a bit of dust and threads, including one that skitters right in a scene with Nikky and her aunt—but the color is bright and true.

When I finished with Disney I put on the copy of Misty I bought Saturday. This film is from 1961, and I probably never saw it in a movie theatre; I only saw it for the first time on videotape, and, sadly, that experience was terrible. There was something wrong with the tape and it jumped and shimmied, so I didn't really get to enjoy it until I bought the full-screen DVD, and even that was a bit of a disappointment since it was definitely not meant to be viewed fullscreen (it was originally done in Cinemascope) and the print was a bit faded as well. The new widescreen version is great. I'm still ambivalent about how the story was filmed—it's pretty close to the original novel, but the business with everyone thinking the family was on hard times because the kids were working so hard always set badly with me.

Something cool, though; I found the DVD company's e-mail address online and sent them a note complimenting them on the widescreen release and asking if they could possibly release a widescreen edition of A Dog of Flanders (the David Ladd version). I actually received an e-mail in return a few hours later! They said they are looking into re-releasing the film, but it being widescreen would depend on if they could find a widescreen print. I hope there's one somewhere, especially as that movie was filmed in Antwerp and has some very beautiful location footage, including that of a cathedral and some Peter Paul Rubens paintings.

I cooked chicken thighs for supper, which we had with mushroom-flavor rice, and watched Jeopardy, House, and Antiques Roadshow.

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