Born on this date: Agnes Moorehead

Agnes Moorehead as EndoraActress Agnes Moorehead would have celebrated her 114th birthday today, December 6. Moorehead, of course, played Endora on Bewitched, as well as many other roles over the course of a career that spanned more than three decades. Some memorable roles were Velma in Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte, and the woman who battles miniature intruders in the Twilight Zone episode “The Invaders.”

Below, it’s Endora’s birthday as well, and her daughter Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) is going to surprise her with a Kodak Instamatic camera. Darn! That’s what I was going to get her.

Though initially underwhelmed by the gift—after all, what need would she have for such a device—Endora ultimately concedes, “These poor mortals are getting rather clever.” Taking pictures with the Kodak Instamatic Camera is easier than witchcraft!


Bewitched Kodak commercial (1968)

Samantha: I just bought the most marvelous birthday present for Mother.

[Endora pops in]

Endora: Did you, darling? How nice. What is it?

Samatha: It was supposed to be a surprise.

Endora: [Sees gift.] A camera? Whatever for? I can always conjure up pictures if I want to without all that fuss.

Samantha: Well that’s why I chose it. There is no fuss with a Kodak Instamatic Camera!

Today on the tray: Pie in the face

pie in handDecember 1 is National Pie Day. So is January 23. And March 14 is Pi Day, commemorating the mathematical constant π (pi).

There is also National Apple Pie Day, National Blueberry Pie DayNational Coconut Cream Pie Day, National Banana Cream Pie Day, and National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day. So many pies, so little time.

Eating pie is fun, but throwing one in someone’s face is even more fun. Or so it would seem from many classic comedy routines.

As you would expect, Lucy gets pie in the face in several episodes of I Love Lucy. Here’s a great one in which a vaudeville comic pies Lucy while performing a piece called “Slowly I Turn.”


Clip from “The Ballet,” I Love Lucy (Feb. 18, 1952)

On The Brady Bunch, the whole family (including the wretched Cousin Oliver) goes to a movie studio where they are cast as extras. They all wind up with pies in their faces. See it at 2:50 below.


Clip from “Welcome Aboard,” The Brady Bunch (Jan. 25, 1974)

And someone has put together this lovely compilation of pies in faces on Gilligan’s Island:


Pies in faces on Gilligan's Island

Had enough? Well, then, have a happy National Pie Day—and make sure to duck.

 

For Thanksgiving: A Waltons episode about shooting a turkey

In this classic episode, 16-year-old John Boy tries to prove his manhood by shooting a turkey. But when the time comes, he can’t bring himself to do it. Is he a coward? No, he shows his bravery when his father is attacked by a bear. Then everyone says goodnight. Watch the whole thing in 30 seconds!


“The Hunt” in 30 seconds, The Waltons (Oct. 5, 1972)


Sadly, they have omitted my favorite line, when Mama, wanting John Boy to opt out of the hunt, declares, “One Walton man bangin’ away at turkeys is plenty!” (Come on, I can’t be the only dirty-minded person out there who thinks that’s hilarious.) So when I saw that “The Hunt” was going to be rerun, I made it my business to record the line and post it on YouTube.


“One Walton man bangin' away at turkeys is plenty!”

Today on the tray: Sardines

sardinesNovember 24 is National Sardine Day.

According to Wikipedia, “Sardines are a common type of fish consumed by humans, as sardines are rich in nutrients. They are commonly served in cans, but fresh sardines are often grilled, pickled or smoked…The term sardine was first used in English during the early 15th century, and may come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, around which sardines were once abundant.”

I think sardines are gross, and I wouldn’t eat them under any circumstances. But then I’ve never been pregnant, like Lucy was when she poured sardines over pistachio ice cream and hot fudge to satisfy a 4 a.m. craving. See it at 01:05 below.


Lucy eats sardines, “Ricky Has Labor Pains,” I Love Lucy (Jan. 5, 1953)

Here’s some trivia from Ultimate I Love Lucy Wiki:

For the end scene, the pistachio ice cream with hot fudge is really mashed potatoes with gravy. The sardines were real, though. Lucille Ball was utterly disgusted by sardines, but she ate them for the sake of the episode’s comedy. As soon as the director yelled “cut” at the end of the scene, Lucy ran off-stage and threw up from the repulsive sardines.

Of course, these pregnancy cravings took place at a time when no one was allowed to use the word “pregnant” on TV to refer to Lucy’s condition. Nor, I imagine, were they allowed to say “preggers,” “knocked up,” “up the duff,” “bun in the oven,” or “bat in the cave.” Here’s more about the whole I Love Lucy pregnancy controversy.

Lucy might have been onto something with the sardines. According to this article in the Daily Mail, a study showed that “mothers-to-be who tucked into oily fish like tuna, sardines and salmon produced infants who scored better in various tests of skill and intelligence.”

This Thanksgiving, butter-bake your turkey

Join the fun as this cloying family reminiscent of Father Knows Best butter-bakes their turkey. Because “even more than your guests, your family deserves real butter!” Throughout this strange commercial, they refer to the turkey as “he” while they spread butter all over “him” and talk about how plump and juicy he will be.


Turkey and butter Thanksgiving, American Dairy Association (1956)

Annoying Girl: Mommy? Why do we put put butter all over the turkey?

Mother: To keep him from drying out.

Girl: Then put butter on the drumstick too!

Mother: Lots of butter makes him golden brown.

Girl: Gosh, I’ll bet he’s going to be good! [picks at uncooked turkey]

Mother: Ahhh! Wait ’til he’s done, dear!

I’d like to teach the world to lip-sync

November 19 is National Carbonated Beverage with Caffeine Day. And for most people, the first carbonated beverage with caffeine that comes to mind is Coke.

people on hillside with Coke bottles

In 1971, Coca Cola used the idea of world peace to sell their product, assembling a bunch of idealistic-looking young people on a hillside in Rome. Ironically, they are lip-syncing the song about teaching the world to sing. Read the full story behind the commercial here.


Coca Cola commercial, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” (1971)

By coincidence, November 19 is World Toilet Day, which is fitting, since Coke is a diuretic.

Today on the tray: Pickles! And more pickles!

November 14 is National Pickle Day.

I’m in a dilly of a pickle. You see, I’ve posted a lot about pickles in the past, and I’m plum out of pickle post ideas for National Pickle Day. So here are some pickles I’ve highlighted in previous posts.

Pickles SorrellFirst, there is Pickles Sorrell, a character from The Dick Van Dyke Show. Pickles was married to Buddy Sorrell (Morey Amsterdam). She was a former showgirl whose real name was Fiona. Though mentioned often, Pickles only appeared in a few episodes. She was played by Barbara Perry in two episodes (1961-62) and by Joan Shawlee, pictured left, in three (1963).

Next, let’s turn our attention to pickles that yodel. It’s possible you may have seen or heard of the yodeling pickle marketed by Archie McPhee. But have you ever done the Yodeling Pickle Dance? Below, two people perform it unabashedly in their kitchen.


The Yodeling Pickle Dance

Do you like storks? Do you like Groucho Marx? Then you’ll love this vintage Vlasic pickle commercial, which features the Vlasic Stork and other animated characters doing Groucho Marx impressions — including a little old lady and a Japanese man (who does his impression in Japanese). Each takes a noisy bite out a pickle, then wags it like a cigar and says “Now that’s the best tasting pickle I ever heard!”


Vlasic pickle commercial (1983)

Ruth McDevitt

Ruth McDevitt is about to find out that her pickle is limp and soggy.

Some people get pretty darn upset over pickles that aren’t crisp. In the Heinz pickle commercial below, a pickle lover goes berserk and completely trashes a restaurant when presented with a dull, soggy pickle. The violent pickle lover is played by Ruth McDevitt, who played a million character roles in the 60s, including the pet store lady in The Birds, the summer camp leader in the original version of The Parent Trap, and a neighborhood cat lady in Bewitched.


Heinz pickle commercial (1965)

You know who doesn’t want any kind of pickle at all? Arlo Guthrie. That’s right, the folksinger-songwriter famously expresses his indifference to pickles in “The Motorcycle Song.”


Arlo Guthrie, “The Motorcycle Song,” Alice's Restaurant (1967)

I don’t want a pickle
I just want to ride on my motor-cicle
And I don’t want a tickle
I’d rather ride on my motor-cicle
And I don’t want to die
I just want to ride on my motor-cy-cle

But if, unlike Arlo, you do want a pickle, go ahead and have one! And have a happy National Pickle Day.

cut pickles

Today on the tray: Vinegar

vinegarNovember 1 is National Vinegar Day.

Vinegar can be used for so many things! You can put it on a salad. You can clean carpet stains with it. You can use it to ease the pain of jellyfish stings.

You can be full of piss and vinegar, like Grandpa Simpson.

Grandpa Simpson“I’m filled with piss and vinegar! At first, I was just filled with vinegar.”

You can also use vinegar to make your lady parts feel fresh (or so I’m told). Just ask these two.


Massengill Disposable Vinegar and Water Douche commercial (1978)

Woman #1: Jane, look! Massengill has a new vinegar and water disposable douche! It’s convenient.

Woman #2: No artificial anything? Just vinegar and water?

Woman #1: The ingredients many doctors recommend. But this is premixed, pre-measured, sanitary.

Woman #2: No more bother! Look how cleverly it’s designed!

Woman #1: [Stroking the bottle] Only Massengill has this special design.

Today on the tray: Oatmeal

oatmeal

October 29 is National Oatmeal Day.

Here are “7 Fun Oatmeal Facts for National Oatmeal Day” from Health.com. For example, did you know that oatmeal is a whole grain? Or that oatmeal is good for your heart? Yeah, those facts don’t sound all that fun to me.

You know what I think is fun? Watching old geezers talk about oatmeal. So here’s Wilford Brimley in a commercial for Quaker Extra Instant Oatmeal.

Hey Wilford, did you ever think that all that sweetened oatmeal is what gave you “diabetus”?


Quaker Extra Instant Oatmeal commercial (1988)

Today on the tray: Greasy foods

October 25 is National Greasy Foods Day.

How will you celebrate? A nice way would be to visit your favorite greasy-spoon restaurant. If you’re really lucky, maybe a gum-chewing waitress with a beehive will tell you to kiss her grits!

As you may have heard, greasy food is bad for you. Nevertheless, TODAY suggests nine “phenomenally decadent dishes, which celebrate grease in all its crunchy, bacony, cheesy, buttery, not-so-good-for-you glory,” including sweet potato fries wrapped in bacon and chicken-fried steak fingers.

Not sure if your food is greasy enough? Take a tip from Dr. Nick Riviera from The Simpsons. In the episode “King-Size Homer,” Homer tries to gain 61 pounds so that he can qualify as disabled and work from home. Dr. Nick, eager to help, explains the paper test: “If you’re not sure about something, rub it against a piece of paper. If the paper turns clear, it’s your window to weight gain!”

But it doesn’t matter what you eat today, as long as you remember: Grease is the word!


Opening credits to the motion picture Grease, title song performed by Frankie Valli

Grease is the word, is the word, that you heard
It’s got a groove, it’s got a meaning
Grease is the time, is the place, is the motion
Grease is the way we are feeling

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