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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» Sunday, June 14, 2009
On a Sunday Afternoon
Mr. Headache did not cease after I ate breakfast. I took two Tylenol and laid down on the futon for twenty minutes and not only didn't it get better, it was worse. I finally had to get back into bed for an hour and almost fall asleep before my neck muscles relaxed enough to let it go.

Finally I was able to get dressed and go up to JoAnn as I had intended. On the way I stopped at the QT for a paper. They had another JoAnn coupon to add to the two I already had.

Most of the stuff I bought was already on sale: a red-white-and-blue bell for the Fourth, some cute recycled scrapbooking papers I can use for cards, a cross-stitch magazine, and some sampler packs of unusual glitter colors. I also got a combination 4-in-1 corner punch/embosser, double-sided tape, and a little recipe book that I may gift or keep.

Came home through the park (Kennesaw National Battlefield). Despite the fact that it was already 2 o'clock, some people were still arriving with picnic baskets. Took the usual right turn to go down Kennesaw Avenue to discover it was blocked about halfway down for more bridge construction. (And when they say the bridge is being replaced, they mean it—there's a dirt pile there right now.)

Got home to finish cleaning up downstairs: vacuumed inside the closet and also in the library, put the cases of vegetables under the coats, swept the hall and the laundry room and then vacuumed up the sweepings, vacuumed the hall rug and then put everything back in place; tidied up a couple of other things, too.

Finally, in a belated tribute to the digital changeover, I decided to sit down and watch The Big Time, a movie about the early days of television that aired on TNT back in October of 2002. It was a prospective pilot for a series that didn't make it, and here nearly seven years later, I'm still sorry it didn't happen. I would categorize this movie as "a television version of Remember WENN," as there were similar plot points: a brilliant, driven manager; a naïve (but not stupid) young woman from the Midwest who has come to the big city for a job; and a go-getter who's not above wheeling/dealing and going behind people's backs.

There were several plots going during the movie. The first is the arrival of Audrey Drummond, who becomes secretary to R.T. Sloan, "the Colonel," who runs the day-to-day operations at Empire Television, a smaller network competing against the big three of 1948: NBC, CBS, and Dumont. Empire is owned by "Doc" Powers, the millionaire electronics genius, played by Christopher Lloyd in a well-done serious role. Powers is late showing up at Empire and when he arrives, he does so with a surprise companion: a bottle-blonde, new young wife named Marion, played by Molly Ringwald, whom everyone assumes is a golddigger. In the meantime, young floor manager Walt Kaplan (who's dying to direct) and advertising agent Timothy Wilkison are involved in a live broadcast of Thornton Wilder's Our Town with prima donna radio actor Vaughn Clay (played delightfully by John DeLancie), who's never worked in television. Yet a fourth part of the story involves African-American jazz musician Joe Royal and his quintet, who audition for a spot on Empire and unexpectedly get the chance to perform on something more than the sign-on musical interlude every morning.

Oh, and comedian John Byner had a small part as Ed Wynn, and does a nice job of imitating him.

There was so much to be explored had this gone to series: Audrey's rising involvement in working in television, the hidden facets behind Marion Powers, Joe Royal's experiences with the bigotry of the time (already evidenced in the film where Powers chews out Royal about something he does during an emergency), and the secrets behind Sloan (the movie very gently hints that Sloan is gay, in an era when the exposure of that secret would have cost him his career). It's a pity we never got a chance to learn more about these characters, especially Marion, who is definitely not who she seems to be!

(TNT hasn't shown the film in years, but they still have the page up about it: The Big Time. The Q&A with the cast and writers is interesting, although I laughed at something Michael Silver says—he refers to Walt as a former fighter pilot. No...he says he flew B-17s and then a Liberator; those are bombers. And here's a photo of Doc and Marion, and a review of the film

James was home promptly at five. We had chicken thighs basted in wine and fried-rice flavor Rice-a-Roni.

Oh, cool...we haven't missed the final Wallander...

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