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.

 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Saturday, June 29, 2002
Highly recommend a delightful--if occasionally sad--biography, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, by Terry Ryan, about the efforts of Terry's mom to raise 10 kids with an alcoholic husband. To feed and clothe the family and furnish the house, Evelyn Ryan entered jingle and slogan contests, keeping the family's head above water with her winnings. Wonderful portrait of a woman who kept things going despite the odds with humor and cleverness.


» Thursday, June 27, 2002
Ode to Upcoming Smog Days

(sung to the tune of "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma!)

There’s a nasty grey haze on the city,
There’s a nasty grey haze on the city.
The smog is as high as a skyscraper’s eye,
And some folks are coughin’ like they’re gonna die...

Oh, what a smog-filled morning,
A summery At-lanta day,
And we have a horrible feeling
More smog is comin’ our way.

New people move in by the dozens,
Bringing children, their mothers and cousins.
They build all new houses, chop down all the trees
And add to the smog with yet more SUVs...

Oh, what a smog-filled morning,
A summery At-lanta day,
And we have a horrible feeling
More smog is comin’ our way.

We warn them of heat, gals and fellas–
Add the smog–well, now they know what hell is.
Still they want to live here and no more to roam,
While we’re all just wishing they all would go home!

Oh, what a smog-filled morning,
A summery At-lanta day,
And we have a horrible feeling
More smog is comin’ our... more smog is comin’ our...more smog is comin’ our waaaay.


Now here's something odd. I've been toying for months with the idea of creating a "favicon" for our web site. (For y'all saying "Huh?" a "favicon" is that little image that shows up to the left of your URL in the address bar if you're using Internet Explorer. Most websites just show Microslop's little IE logo, the small "swirly e" in front of a sheet of paper with a turned-down corner. But some websites have their own individual icon.) When the browsers of people surfing your website with IE don't find a favicon, the result turns up as an error when you run your website statistics (it doesn't bother your website, it just shows up as an error). I was getting a bit tired of seeing all these favicon.ico errors every time I requested my site stats.

Besides, face it, I was intrigued with the idea of having to create some type of logo in a 16x16 spot.

Creating the .ico file was problematic. I did not have any software that created an icon file and I couldn't imagine spending $30-$40 (prices of icon creators I saw advertised on the web) just to create one silly image. Then I found a British website that allowed you to create one icon for free. I did so. It wasn't very imaginative: "FD" in a white bullet. They e-mailed it to me, I uploaded it, and according to my FTP program, it sits there on the server right now.

The odd thing is that ever since I did so, all the favicons seem to have disappeared, both on my IE browser at work and the one at home! Zap2It had one, as well as CNN, and several other sites I had bookmarked, and now they're all showing up as the little IE icon. Bizarre.


» Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Sigh. I never wanted to kvetch in my blog, but I’m freakin’ frustrated at this point. I haven’t had a decent night’s rest in three nights. Bandit was feeling better last night–for a while he was trying to be hell-on-wheels (wings?) and even landed on the dog’s head--and you would have thought I’d have been able to relax. Even Betty’s remedy of taking aspirin before bed didn’t work. So here I sit, feeling shellshocked. The remaining fluorescent light is boring a hole in my brain and between that and the glare off the computer screen I feel like hell. I know it’s the damn fluorescent lights; I can work hours at home on the computer and my eyes get tired, but they don’t hurt, nor does my head.

One thing I probably need is new glasses, but having looked at frames at places I can afford, I note with dismay that those horrid, narrow John Lennon-type glasses are back “in.” I didn’t even like them back when he first made them popular; why would I want the nasty things now?


» Tuesday, June 25, 2002
If the wretched pop-up ads aren't bad enough (if you're "allergic" to them, for heaven's sake, don't go to a Fortune City site, where they pop up four and five at the time), they now have one that runs away from your mouse for a few seconds. It's enough to make you snatch up a fly swatter and try to kill it...


Intended to post some last night, despite still being dazed from lack of sleep and some very sobering news from a friend late Sunday night. Then I arrived home and found Bandit quiet and without appetite. Couldn't rouse enough energy to even eat or talk very long to my mother; we both retreated upstairs to watch Apollo 13. He seemed to be doing better by bedtime and I left him upstairs today. I'm hoping that's what's best.


» Friday, June 21, 2002
Thought I'd do a Friday Five:

1. Do you live in a house, an apartment or a condo?
Three-bedroom house.

2. Do you rent or own?
Own. Ah, yes, the joys of the money pit. Last year it required aluminum sidings, now we need new windows. Of course, it's better than living in the apartment with the downstairs neighbor whose stereo made the pictures on the wall rattle (and the next door neighbors, whose stereo went kerthump! kerthump! and the roaches).

3. Does anyone else live with you?
"The mister," one neurotic terrier-mix, and a budgie who's pretty sure he's the head of the household. (Do the stuffed animals count? :-D )

4. How many times have you moved in your life?
Seven. Most of the time in midsummer. Ugh.

5. What are your plans for this weekend?
Groan. Going out for milk and bread for the week as always. However, James has his IPMS meeting and there's a computer show at the Cobb County Civic Center. (At least it's not next weekend. The grass is due for cutting again.)


Grrr. If banner ads and pop-up ads weren't bad enough, now the wretched advertisers are doing them in Flash and I'm sitting here waiting ages for a page to load, only to have a message pop up that I don't have the latest version of Flash. I don't give a damn that I don't have the latest version of Flash. I'm not on the web to watch singing-and-dancing web pages. If I never buy anything that has been advertised in a Flash ad, that will still be too soon...


Library Blues

Sigh. I'm hacked at the library. Again.

This is the first time I've been since December. I was looking for the book about The Mike Douglas Show and Tom Kelly's Moon Lander, and I also found Mary Jane Higby's book about working on radio and Harlan Ellison's Watching (another book of rants; I love to read Harlan's rantings...). Went off on a delightful tangent in the reference section: they had a great book of children's TV series, a great big radio encyclopedia, and bound issues of the Reader's Digest going back to 1936. Alas, of course reference books are not eligible for withdrawal.

When I got to the checkout counter I was informed I owed the library $3.60 in late book fines.

I exploded (quietly, grant you, but I exploded). Look, I'm not Miss Perfect. I'm rarely late returning library books, but I've been late twice using the Central Cobb County Library, and both times on my next visit when I took my books to checkout, I told them I owed them money, and paid uncomplainingly. Both times it was a matter of one day.

But this is the third time this has happened at the Central Library in the past couple of years and it's driving me crazy. One of the times they sent me a card and told me that I still hadn't returned a book that was due a month earlier. I marched over to the library next day and there was the book sitting on the shelf! When I reported it to the librarian, she gave me a snooty look and said, "We could have two copies of that book." Oh, sure, an obscure book about advertising symbols. Uh-huh. (I later looked the book up in their online catalog. Sure enough, they had only one copy of the book.)

Ironically, I'd borrowed four books from the library on that visit, of which that book was one, and all four were returned at the same time. Yet this one was the only one that had turned up "missing."

It happens every time I put books into the book return drop outside instead of bringing them inside. After the last occurrence (the incident listed above), I was resolved to go inside every time I visited. But on the January trip to return the books, we were in a hurry to be somewhere, so again they were dropped in the outside book return bin. Voilà--it's happened again. Look, if someone at checkout is careless about logging in returned books, that's the library's fault, it isn't mine, and I'm tired of being blamed for it.

To add insult to injury, this time they said the books were six days late! My God, I've been going to the library for over 35 years and I've never brought back library books six days late!


» Thursday, June 20, 2002
I suppose I should be glad that things are so quiet that idiocy like this gets published as "news," but does anyone really care that producer Steve Bing is the father of Elizabeth Hurley's baby? This is National Enquirer trash, guys. Why is it being reported as legitimate news?


» Wednesday, June 19, 2002
My Live-Action Disney “Vault Disney” Wish List:

The Moon-Spinners
Only vaguely resembles the original Mary Stewart novel, but I don’t really care.. Doesn’t everyone remember Hayley Mills and the windmill?

Summer Magic
Sheer fluff I can watch again and again. Watch for funky Michael J. Pollard in a normal role!

In Search of the Castaways
More Michael Anderson Jr. and Maurice Chevalier and all the Jules Verne-type adventure you could ever want.

The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh
Of course the ultimate dream would be that Patrick McGoohan would do commentary on this one. Fat chance, but a nice dream nevertheless. Great adventure story about English smugglers. (Done for The Wonderful World of Color, released theatrically in Europe.)

The Three Lives of Thomasina
More McGoohan, Susan Hampshire, the two children from Mary Poppins, and another Disney kid star standard, Vincent Winter. Not just a kids’ story about a girl and her cat--surprisingly mature look at the nature of love between parents and children, children and animals, men and women.

The Horse Without A Head
Here’s a longshot...another story made for the television series and released theatrically in Europe. Five French slum children thwart bank robbers with the curious help of their only toy, a headless hobbyhorse they race through the streets. Early appearance by Pamela Franklin, the dog lover whose canine menagerie provides a memorable climax.

Mary Poppins
‘Nuff said.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Besides just the look of this movie, two words: James Mason.

Victory Through Air Power
A great re-release in this time of World War II retrospectives--how about packaging it with Disney wartime cartoons, UNCUT!, and documentaries? It can carry notes that it sometimes isn’t politically correct, if necessary.

Follow Me, Boys!
Because I’m a sentimental slob, that’s why.

Collections of some of the short subjects that either later ended up on the television show or were made for the television show:

  • ”The Horse with the Flying Tail”
  • ”Stormy the Thoroughbred”
  • ”The Tattooed Police Horse”
  • ”Run, Appaloosa, Run”
  • ”The Little Shepherd Dog of Catalina”
  • ”Three on the Run”
  • ”Little Dog Lost”
  • ”Greta the Misfit Greyhound”
  • ”Pablo and the Dancing Chihuahua”

etc. (Maybe released as a “Horse Lovers’ DVD” and a “Dog Lover’s DVD”?)

The collected True-Life Adventures

Collections of:
The Swamp Fox
Elfego Baca
Texas John Slaughter
(Why not? They’ve already done Davy Crockett!)

And Always the Choice Du Jour

A box set of the best Disney television hero of all time, Gallegher, the copyboy turned reporter. Gallgher. The Further Adventures of Gallegher. Gallegher Goes West. The Mystery of Edward Sims. With Roger Mobley commentary, if he’d do so. And Peter Graves and Harvey Korman and Anne Francis and perhaps Tim McIntyre talking about his parents... Now there would be a dream come true!


From Disney’s Vault: Pollyanna

Taken another dip into “Vault Disney” and this time bought one of my all time favorites, Pollyanna.

I have the original Eleanor Porter novel and actually Disney may have improved the original: Pollyanna, like her Canadian sister Anne Shirley, is an incessant talker, while the movie character is more thoughtful. Of course Pollyanna has had a bad rep for years, with her “Glad Game,” yet the reason for the existence of the Glad Game is rather sad: Pollyanna has always wanted a doll, but her missionary father cannot afford one. He asks his congregation back in the States if they might send a small doll for his daughter; instead crutches are sent. Instead of allowing Pollyanna to whine about this development, her father develops the game: to find something good in an event, no matter how bad it is.

Think of it: here’s a child who has little of what we think of as comforts in her life. She is not deluged in toys, her clothing comes from donations to the missions, she has few playmates. Yet she savors the things she finds in nature and in the people around her. She should be seen as gallant rather than simpering, but the foolish “Pollyanna” of legend has replaced the sturdy little girl who faces the world with her chin up; like Heidi her reputation has gotten a “bad rap.”

Disney’s gorgeous version of this story is well served by the DVD. The print has been meticulously restored, and there’s an accompanying short that talks about it: the original negative had yellowed, destroying the carefully-crafted 1912 atmosphere, and the color separations, which Disney insisted be done on all his color movies, and which should have restored the movie, had been left with a mistake in them (two blue separations were made, one labeled green, so no green stock existed).

I found the commentary on the disk fun, but not quite as good as that on Old Yeller. David Swift and Hayley Mills evidently had a good time watching this again, but occasionally they went off on tangents when I would have preferred to hear how certain shots were done. Some facts I found interesting:

  • Aunt Polly’s house was a real home in Santa Rosa, California, but only the first two storys of it actually exist. The third story is a matte painting by Peter Ellenshaw.
  • The little boy jumping in the pond at the opening of the movie really is naked—he was embarrassed to be jumping nude in front of the little girls on the set, so they made him a little “fig leaf” for his front parts that was glued on.
  • The first scene filmed for the movie was of Pollyanna delivering the message to Reverend Ford and his discovery of “nobody owns a church.” The Abraham Lincoln saying on Pollyanna’s locket is false—David Swift made it up! After the movie came out, they sold replicas of the locket at Disneyland and David Swift, horrified, called up Roy Disney Sr. and had to confess what he did. Roy didn’t care and no one ever called them on it!

I was amused by the fact that, while I enjoyed the commentary, at times I was tempted to yell “Shut up so I can watch the movie!”

David Swift also complained several times about how Walt Disney wouldn’t allow him to edit anything; how he would have taken out Pollyanna mimicking the cow, Jimmy Bean’s face underwater, and many scenes at the bazaar (he also would have cut it differently, leading up to the doll sequence), etc.—about 20 minutes of the movie all told. I understand his reasoning and think the edits would have told a shorter, perhaps even better, story, but I think that, for Walt, he wasn’t just telling a story, he was going for a feeling, a mood, the fabric of 1912. He was from that era and wanted you to feel as if you were there, right then. For people like myself, it works. When I watch Pollyanna I never think of it as being too long. I love being back there.


» Thursday, June 13, 2002
Every so often I get a letter urging me to continue to subscribe to TV Guide again and I toss it without opening it.

I finally broke myself of the TVG habit a couple of years ago. As a kid I would have collected them. Last fall I even forgot about the Fall Preview edition that used to be the highlight of the first week of school when I was a kid. It was the only TVG my mom would allow me to keep and I’d walk over a mile to the only grocery store in town that got it on a Tuesday to buy one without having to wait until Saturday. At one time it was even fun collecting them from different parts of the country. You could see all the local programming and easily guess what the chief business and climate of each place was: midwestern states had farm reports, coastal states maritime series. Now with the advent of cable, all the programs are the same and it’s no fun any longer.

One reason for dropping the subscription was simply that a lot of the things we watch on television just aren’t listed in TVG anymore. We have an adequate program guide by pressing the satellite “guide” button, and if that’s not enough, I can look the evening’s programs up on (while still mourning, which was less cluttered and quicker in response). Either the channels we watch aren’t there or they just give the series title. Big deal. Why pay an ever increasing price simply to know that a certain series is on every week at nine?

The biggest reason were the articles. Once upon a time, can you believe it, articles in TVG were actually...gasp!...about television! They actually even did in-depth serious probes on various issues, besides just fluff pieces on various series and celebrities. But now...pray tell will you explain to me why movies like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Men in Black are covered in TVG? I can see TV remakes like Charlie’s Angels and Mission: Impossible: with the opening of the movie, do a retrospective on the series. Fair enough. But Potter and Padme aren’t from television. Neither are rock bands. I suppose NASCAR and other sports things count because they are watched on TV--but TVG isn’t a sports magazine either, so it’s a bit tiresome.

For my own part, I had a third reason: reading the listings were just as bad as seeing the commercials for these programs. They all look and sound alike. A luscious young woman in skimpy clothing or in something covering but clinging appears, perhaps. Her swollen lips pucker at the screen. A young man bares his chest. Or a couple fiercely kiss. Shoulders and bodies are shown as clothing slips off. Even the WB promotions for Angel at its darkest featured the series female characters in cut-offs and tight jeans posing provocatively for the camera. And what do the TVG summaries and the broadcast promos all speak breathlessly of? “Tonight, will Felicity lose her virginity?” “Will their families find out that they slept together?” “Temptation is too strong to resist for Dawson and his girlfriend!” “Caught together--what will they say?”

Modern television has managed to do the one thing that thousands of years of whispers, illicit books, burlesque, and raunchy comics could never achieve: they’ve made sex...boring.

If you read the synopses and listen to the promos, no one ever seems to do anything but either get laid, get over being laid, or suffers the consequences of being laid. Human beings can do thousands of things--yet the characters on television seem capable of doing nothing but thinking about and having sex. Or rather should I say the writers of these characters and the producers who push the plotlines seem to have no original ideas besides a couple of people having a tumble in the hay. When they’re not doing it, they’re leering over it or mooning about it.

Even kids are no longer immune. Pre-teens on kids’ programs are even concerned about their sexuality. Girls moon over boys at ages ten and eleven. Even 8-year-olds leer at the buxom babysitter. Do we really need one more precocious kid making sexual innuendoes? Yawn. Big deal. Creativity is dead. Just slip in the prospect of “the big bang” and you don’t have to write a decent script.

This may be why I’ve retreated to e-books and old issues of St. Nicholas, preferring to read 80- and 90-year old young adult stories. Even today’s best selling books seem to be obsessed with sex. If someone’s not doing it, they’re regretting it, getting violent over it, committing suicide due to it, destroying marriages for it.

The spunky teens of 1910 and 1915 don’t worry about how good their bod looks, if their sexual organs are big enough or if certain grown-up sexual signs have shown up yet (like Judy Blume’s insufferable Margaret and her friends), if they’re going to be too late “doing it” and how they’ll do it. They swim, sail, horseback ride, hike, camp, drive, fish, hunt, have wonderful parties, dance, sing, play cards, enjoy each other’s company, have motorboat races, take part in regattas, celebrate holidays with costume balls, hold school fundraisers, put on plays, take dares, race cars, overcome obstacles, solve mysteries, participate in contests, take care of mischievous siblings, have taffy pulls, learn new skills. Instead of having sex--they actually honest-to-God have fun!

Would that television would start having fun again, too.


» Wednesday, June 12, 2002
I hear they dropped one of the charges against the “shoe bomber” on the grounds that the airplane he was on was not considered “mass transportation.” Eh? It’s not a subway or a crosstown bus, granted, but people do commute on them. Heck, a plane leaves Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta about every hour going to New York...and that’s just going to New York, loaded to the brim with over 100 passengers. If that ain’t “mass transportation,” I don’t know what is.


I'm sure this happens every day, but it was the first time I'd seen it and it took me aback: while wandering about Borders yesterday I saw a darling little boy, probably about seven, tow-headed and as cute as a button--yapping into his own personal cell phone in kid-friendly colors...


In Other Blogs...

The Pet Psychic: Animal Planet has been bombarding the world with ads for this show and after a weblog comment I decided to surf by on Monday and see what the fur-or was all about. :-)

I suppose as much as I'd like to believe this lady reads animal's minds (since I would sure like to know why on earth Willow backs down from a chihuahua half her size), they don't even seem to be paying attention to her when she does this mind-reading trick. I'm probably judging from human reaction, but if the animal can understand her well enough to know what she's thinking and then answer her question, wouldn't they be intently interested in this woman? ("My God! A human who understands! Tell them to give me more bacon and steak!")

She also tells owners of deceased pets how they are in the afterlife by looking at a photo--or in the case of the one I saw, the sibling of a late guinea pig. Of course people are surprised and delighted when she gives them such an accurate reading. Wonder what kind of interviews and questions are asked before you go on this series?

Self-Checkouts at Stores: Greatest thing since sliced bread. No, I don't think of standing at a supermarket checkout line eight hours a day as my idea of the ideal job. On the other hand, if I've only five or six items and all the lines are chock-full of people doing their weekly shopping, why should I waste my time waiting?

I enthused about self-checkout to a dour-looking gentleman at Kroger a few months back and encouraged him not to wait because it was "kinda fun" and he gave me the same look the Queen's butler might have given me had I dropped a dead mouse in the ballroom in Buckingham Palace. Be like that. I prefer checking myself out to standing idle while I could be reading, interacting with my family, or cleaning house. Either there are two cashiers for 20 people, or the cashier is gabbing with the bag boy, or there I am in the 10-items-or-less lane behind some twit who can't count, or, worst of all, you wait endlessly while (1) the cashier finds someone who can tell him/her how to change the register tape, (2) the cashier attempts to correctly ring up your order because you have confused him/her with discount coupons, (3) the person ahead of you picked up an item without a price tag and they can't find someone to do a price check (I sympathize; I've been in the position and it's embarrassing and annoying), or (4) worst of all, the cashier goes on endless safari to find the key to get several cartons of cancer sticks out of the locked cage.


» Thursday, June 06, 2002
Don’t Get a Headache Here

Among the other annoying things in life, I have allergies to many things, including various flowers and plants. (James is more succinct: “Is it green and growing outside? Then she’s allergic to it.”) My sinuses tend to stuff up at night making it hard to sleep.

I’d heard ads for these Breathe-Right nasal strips for months on TV, but when a friend (thanks, Clair!) recommended them, I figured I’d try them. I bought a small pack in case they didn’t work, but on the whole I thought they had helped. So yesterday I stopped to buy a fresh pack.

I thought I’d try Food Depot, which, if we felt like it, is in walking distance of our house, although I was almost certain I wouldn’t find them there. Food Depot is pretty much no frills, a “cost plus 10 percent” markup. Instead of the now-ubiquitous in-store pharmacy, they have a check-cashing counter. (They’re not anywhere near as “no frills” as Aldi Foods, which is a trip to walk through; even Sam’s and Costco aren’t that stark--but they are cheap!)

But boy was I surprised when I hit their health-and-beauty-aid area, two half-aisles facing each other.

No, they don’t have Breathe-Right strips. Okay. They are sort of an “exotic” item.

They have barrettes, shampoo, and conditioner, but no aspirin, Ibuprofin, Tylenol (generic or otherwise), Naproxin or Anacin. They have Kotex, but no cough medicine. There are Band-Aids, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide, but no Neosporin or Bacitracin. They have Pepto Bismol but no Pepcid-AC. There’s hair dye, hair spray, shaving cream, and deodorant, but nothing for allergies and nothing for colds. Anything that vaguely resembles a “medicine”--they don’t carry!

Man, I’ve never been in a supermarket before that didn’t at least carry aspirin! Talk about a shock.

[05/2003: a month or two ago, while paying for some items at their express checkout, which is also the service desk, I noticed where they keep the aspirin, etc.--behind the counter next to the cigarettes!]


» Tuesday, June 04, 2002
Frontier House Redux

The television scene looking like the vast wasteland it is, after the obligatory stop at BBC America for Changing Rooms/Ground Force, we put on the tape of Frontier House the other night--I’d only seen the first part and the last part, and James the last part. So we watched until halfway through part four, after Nate and Katherine’s honeymoon and she is adjusting to pioneer life (and can’t stand the way her hair feels).

After all these weeks I still want to bean everyone. The kids whine, Karen Glenn is a martinet, the Clunes don’t do what they need to and then they complain. Nate and his dad are the only ones who stay reasonably likable.

I kept laughing aloud, too: everyone except Nate said they didn’t know it was going to be so much work. Sheesh. Evidently they’ve never read any books about real life on the frontier, even something as elementary as the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, and have subsisted on Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman and the TV version of Little House on the Prairie. One of the historical advisors said as much earlier: they think they’re out here on a camping trip--but they can’t pack up after a couple of days and go get a shower. Gordon Clune goes to the general store and buys a bunch of expensive tinned peaches because the family complains about the bland food (well, duh, guys, sometimes all they ate was cornmeal mush and potatoes, and when the sweetening was gone, they went without for months), then realizes he's put himself in debt to get it. Even sillier, Mrs. Clune was even mourning the lack of intimacy—she thought they’d have time to creep out into the woods occasionally and have romantic trysts! Does this woman subsist on nothing but bad romance novels or what?

And please tell me why, after finding their cow that had wandered away in the snow and that they had nothing to go outside in except underwear and blankets because their clothes were still wet from laundry day, did the Clune girls insist on milking the animal near the Glenns’ corral? Wouldn’t the more sensible idea have been to take the critter home posthaste, warm yourself up in front of the stove for a few minutes, then go back out to milk her? Why on earth drag the cow and a full bucket of milk the entire mile home? These girls are not little kids; they’re both in their teens and should have learned some type of reasoning by now.


» Saturday, June 01, 2002
Old Yeller Redux

While wandering about Costco today found a new series of Disney DVDs from "Vault Disney." The four movies I saw were Old Yeller, Pollyanna, The Parent Trap, and Swiss Family Robinson. I dearly wanted Pollyanna, but I just bought Old Yeller for now.

These are 2-DVD sets. The second disk has goodies, in this case a Tommy Kirk interview, trailers, radio ads, a documentary revisiting the movie and the making of the movie, a few short clips on how the movie is put together, a photo album, Fess Parker telling the story of the movie, and, neatest of all, a news story from Mason, Texas, where Beck Gipson (son of Fred Gipson who wrote the original novel) unveils a statue of Travis and Old Yeller. The first DVD also has the Pluto cartoon "Bone Trouble."

Watched the film with the commentary on; the "commentators" were Fess Parker, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran--and Bob Weatherwax, son of Rudd Weatherwax, who trained Lassie, and nephew of Frank Weatherwax, who trained "Spike," a.k.a. Yeller. Kirk and Weatherwax had not seen the film in years and were pretty much rediscovering the finer plot points. While all the commentary was fun, with many insights, I most enjoyed Weatherwax talking about how his dad and uncle would have gotten Spike to do the various stunts he completes in the movie.

Having seen Star Wars: Attack of the Clones earlier in the week and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron yesterday, watching Old Yeller today made me recall our chat with Tommy Kirk one year at DragonCon. Of course we mentioned Old Yeller, and I told him I was afraid with all the remakes Disney has been doing, they would do a remake of Old Yeller as well. I told him frankly that I didn't think the original movie could be made today. And in fact, the idea of an Old Yeller remake turns my blood cold.

I can see it now. In this version, Travis is a sullen, angry teenager in the vein of Anakin Skywalker, resentful of the fact his father must spend so much time farming and now even angrier that he is leaving on the cattle drive. He slouches around and mutters about "this crummy farm."

One of the reasons he is so angry is that his father hates the local Native American population, so he must hide his friendship with a local Indian boy. He prefers living an idyllic life with the boy in the forest rather than the labor of the farm.

Arliss, instead of being a young scamp, is a withdrawn and mute child, silent since he saw his father shoot an intruder in the house. Along comes Old Yeller, who miraculously helps the little boy emerge out of his muteness and also tempers some of Travis' anger.

Due to the rabid animals the careless settlers brought to the virgin land out west, the wild animals are now also cursed with rabies. A wolf bites Old Yeller! Mother convinces Travis nothing will save the dog! He will have to shoot him!

Along comes Travis' faithful Indian friend. He just happens to have a miraculous organic poultice that cures the dog!

When his father comes home, Travis explains to him about the miracles wrought by the dog and by his new friend. His father understands and agrees to give up the farm so the whole family can live more naturally in the wilderness, rejoicing in the harmony of nature. Yeller licks everyone's faces and they laugh. The end.

Cold shudder time, folks...