Blogathons · Classic Movies · Movies · Stuff You Should Know

Doofus of the Year Award and a few other items of importance…


I was boasting Saturday—boasting, mind you—of my astounding technological prowess because I managed to put together the new Rancho Yesteryear entertainment system (TV, cable box, DVD/VCR recorder and spare DVD player) in a New York minute…but as I have often said (both on and off the blog) cocky will bite you in the ass every single time.  For you see—I made plans to record Working Girl (1988) off the Fox Movie Channel late Sunday night/early Monday morning…and I hit a teensy weensy little snag.

I couldn’t get the darn recorder to…well, record.

When I turn on my DVD recorder, there appears (or should, anyway) on the TV screen a reminder that I own a Toshiba (and I’m surprised it doesn’t editorialize with something like: “And you should be so fortunate”)…and when I switched on the recorder, I wasn’t getting that onscreen welcome message.  So I went back to my handiwork to see if I had hooked up something incorrectly.

connectorsAs it turns out, I did—one of the connecting cables was missing, but this was not a problem because I knew where they were since I wondered at the time of the hooking up why I had a set left over.  So I secure the cables and turn on the recorder again…nothing!

have instructions to the Toshiba but the credo of the Shreve family has always been: “Never read the directions unless something’s on fire.”  And besides, I’d packed them in a box and didn’t remember where.  (This shouldn’t be too surprising—and for those people who won the Bergen-McCarthy CD sets, let me just state I’m slowly making progress in locating them and hope to have them out to you soon.)  But again, this was just a minor setback—for I simply located a manual for my model online and downloaded the .PDF file, whereupon I scrutinized every inch of the diagram in an effort to figure out what I had done wrong.

vcrdvrBut here’s the thing—everything was now connected correctly.  And still, I couldn’t get verification via the onscreen Toshiba “howdy.”  So I decided to hit the hay, reasoning that a little sack time might clear my head and in the morning I could retrace my steps to figure out where I screwed up.

The next morning…no such luck.  I stewed about it a great deal, and of course Mom served her proper parental function by assuring me “You’ll figure it out.”  I had breakfast, and then stewed some more (fortunately I did not have stew for breakfast).  And then suddenly it hit me.  The TV set has a “TV/Video” button on its remote…and all I needed to do was to make sure it was on “Video.”  Voila! (French for “There it is!”)  The message appeared onscreen, and the Great DVD Recorder Crisis of 2011 had finally come to an end.

Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in Keeper of the Flame (1942)

Now, here’s the reason why I’m the frontrunner in the race to be crowned Lord of the Morons…I have experienced this problem before.  I tried to record Keeper of the Flame (1942) off TCM many, many months back and was frustrated because the recorder didn’t appear to be working…and that’s when I first encountered my little remote button nemesis.  What I’m still trying to dope out is why this wasn’t the first avenue I went down when I was stymied by why I couldn’t get anything to work.  (It might have something to do with the fact that I often have to wear head protection around the new place to keep from accidentally hitting my cranium against a wall.)

queerBut enough about my idiocy.  Fellow CMBA member Caroline of Garbo Laughs will be hosting a Queer Film Blogathon (or as I have been taking to call it, “Queer Eye for the Film Guy”) on June 27th in honor of LGBT Pride Month.  The event will focus on films that feature, in her words, “lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or otherwise non-heterosexual, non-gender-binary depictions or personages in film.”  She goes on to state: “Furthermore, I am not only looking for reviews of films, but also biographies of queer performers and filmmakers, reviews of nonfiction books on the subject of LGBTs in Hollywood, or even photo pictorials! Anything that you can imagine and interpret as applicable to this topic is welcome – and if you’re not sure if what you want to do will fit, just ask me.”

Caged (1950)

I’ve already e-mailed Caroline to let her know I’d like to be dealt in, and I’ve chosen the definitive “chicks-in-chains” classic Caged (1950) as my entry because I said to myself as I was putting it on one of the myriad shelves scattered about the new Rancho Yesteryear (a pictorial is due to follow in the next day or so), “I need to sit down and watch this again.”  Caroline stressed to me that it wasn’t necessary to limit one’s participation to a single movie so if I can find the energy (and where the dickens it’s packed) I might also do a write-up on the sleeper hit Different for Girls (1996).

Caroline’s Garbo Laughs blog is one dedicated to classic film and while she’s encouraging all her fellow vintage movie mavens to participate this doesn’t mean bloggers who discuss films of a more modern stripe can’t join in as well.  Suffice it to say, I think this blogathon is going to be a lot of fun and I’m thrilled to be able to kick in my support.

Lucille Ball and Richard Denning from radio’s My Favorite Husband

I mentioned the August 6th Loving Lucy Blogathon being assembled by Brandie, Nikki and Carrie at True Classics: The ABCs of Classic Film in an earlier post but after giving the matter a lot of thought I let the True Classics Trio know that I will contribute an essay on the radio sitcom My Favorite Husband in lieu of a Lucy film review.  I picked this because I’d love to revisit MFH and it has been a while since I’ve tackled some OTR on the blog.

And though it hasn’t been officially announced, another CMBA member in good standing will sponsor a Roger Corman blogathon from June 17-19—yes, Nathaniel at Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear is currently finishing up his studies (“Bright boy…very bright boy,” as Mr. Silvers might say) but once he’s done putting a half-nelson on academia he’ill devote his copious free time coordinating a tribute to “the King of the B’s”—and because he’d like to have only one person cover each entry in Rog’s oeuvre I’ve already e-mailed him to put me down for A Bucket of Blood (1959).  As you’re no doubt aware, Mr. Corman looms very large as a major influence here at TDOY so I’m equally stoked about this blogathon as well.  (By the way, I whipped up the banner below because Nathaniel is busy being outfitted for his cap and gown.)


One final note: The Classic Films of 1939 Blogathon sponsored by the CMBA’s own ClassicBecky at ClassicBecky’s Brain Food (“If I only had a brain…”) and Page at My Love of Old Hollywood fame gets underway this Sunday and although you can check out the lineup here I’ll let you know that Thrilling Days of Yesteryear will set sail for Treasure Island with the great detective Charlie Chan (“Number One Son like convenience store…never shut up”) when I review what many consider to be the crème de la crème of Chan mysteries, Charlie Chan at Treasure Island (1939).  (My personal preference is for Charlie Chan at the Opera [1936]—which I did for the Boris Karloff blogathon back in 2009.)  So make sure you allocate enough time after the Sunday paper to tool around to the participating blogs for what will definitely be a blogathon to remember.

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