Put on your Easter bonnet

Armorettes Easter Drag Races, Atlanta

Armorettes Easter Drag Races, Atlanta

In your Easter bonnet
with all the frills upon it
You’ll be the grandest lady
in the Easter parade!

I’ll be all in clover
and when they look you over
I’ll be the proudest fella
in the Easter Parade!

What style of Easter bonnet do you favor? Is yours creative and original like the one worn by these gents, or more traditional and classic, like Dianne Lennon’s, below?

Dianne Lennon and Larry Dean, “Easter Parade,” The Lawrence Welk Show (1961)

This special Easter post is brought to you by Cadbury Creme Eggs, the grossest Easter confection since Peeps.

Cadbury Creme Egg commercial (1980s)

Here’s a very unusual kind of egg that’s only around ’til Easter: the original creme egg from Cadbury, made from Cadbury’s rich smooth dairy milk chocolate.

Inside this thick shell, a creamy yellow yolk surrounded by delicious white filling.

Cadbury’s creme eggs. Why, they’re the best thing to come along since the Easter bunny. And when he’s gone, they’re gone.

Today on the tray: Animal crackers

animal crackersApril 18 is National Animal Crackers Day.

“Nothing tugs on your nostalgia like the innocent sweetness of animal crackers,” says CNN Eatocracy. “Perhaps they were your favorite snack at lunchtime in elementary school, or they still offer comfort to you at the end of a bad day.”

For National Animal Crackers Day, here is a strange performance of a strange song, “Animal Crackers,” by Melanie.

Melanie (aka Melanie Safka) performs “Animal Crackers” on the German TV show Beat Club (March 29, 1969)

Oh, eat your animal crackers
‘Cause my mother told me so long ago
If you eat your animal crackers
The children in Europe won’t starve anymore
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Once I went on a diet
A carbohydrate diet ain’t nice
‘Cause you can’t eat animal crackers
So I’m gonna stay a fatty for all of my life
Ha ha ha ha ha ha 
But some people think that fatties are nice.

“You smell like cobbler”

peach cobblerApril 13 is National Peach Cobbler Day.

“A cobbler is a deep-dish fruit pie covered with a thick crust made from biscuit dough. This delicious dessert originated in the American West during the 19th century,” says Punchbowl.com. “Although for many years people did not consider cobbler fashionable enough to serve to guests, it has now earned a permanent place in the pantheon of wholesome American desserts.”

Cobbler always reminds me of the following bit of dialog from The Simpsons. It’s from the episode where Homer delivers Meals on Wheels after being sentenced to community service.

old man from SimpsonsOld Man: Didn’t these meals used to have a cobbler?

Homer: Uh, they discontinued the cobbler.

Old Man: You smell like cobbler.

Homer: Now, let’s not get into who smells like what.

Listen to audio

Today on the tray: Cheese fondue

fondue pot April 11 is National Cheese Fondue Day.

You might think you have to travel back to the 1970s to enjoy this hot, cheesy snack, but it’s just as good today as it was then.

Given a choice, who would you rather bond with over fondue—Mary and friends on Mary Tyler Moore, or Brittany and Lord Tubbington on Glee? It’s a tough decision.

Below, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda and Georgette offer emotional support to Mary while sharing fondue in Mary’s adorable studio apartment. The reason Mary needs support is that she’s been suspended from her job at the newsroom and is out job-hunting. Georgette keeps losing her bread in the fondue. (Sorry for the terrible video quality.)

“Better Late…That’s a Pun…Than Never,” The Mary Tyler Moore Show (Feb. 2, 1974)

On Glee, Brittany interviews Tina and Mercedes on her Internet talk show, Fondue for Two, which is podcast from Brittany’s bedroom. Brittany’s corpulent cat, Lord Tubbington, also shares in the fondue. The theme song goes “Fondue for two! Fondue for two! Some! Hot! Dish! Fondue for two!”

“Rumours,” Glee ( May 3, 2011)

I think I’d choose to have fondue at Mary’s. Much as I love cats, I don’t like the idea of cat hair in the cheese.

Born on this date: Miss Michael Learned

Miss Michael LearnedMichael Learned, known to many as “Mama” on The Waltons (1972-79), turns 75 today, April 9, 2014. She was billed as “Miss” to make sure viewers understood it wasn’t a man in drag playing the Walton mother. Or at least that’s what I’m guessing.

Today on the tray: Cracker Jack

Cracker Jack packageApril 6 is National Caramel Popcorn Day.

“There’s something exhilarating about salty, crunchy popcorn that’s been coated with sweet, amber caramel. Maybe that’s why a particular brand of the stuff is a mainstay at ballpark concession stands across America,” writes CD Kitchen—referring, I’m sure, to Cracker Jack.

Cracker Jack commercial

“What have you got there, little boy?” Man reaches for sleeping boy’s Cracker Jacks in creepy commercial.

This Cracker Jack commercial from 1965 just screams pedophilia, as the strange man furtively reaches over towards the sleeping child to grab his… Cracker Jacks. Or maybe he’s going for the boy’s toy surprise. Seriously, I can’t imagine that they would ever make this commercial today. (I don’t mean to cast any aspersions on the actor, Jack Gilford, whom you might recognize from Cocoon.)

Vintage Cracker Jack commercial (1965)

Today on the tray: Caramels

wrapped caramelsApril 5 is National Caramel Day.

According to punchbowl.com, “Americans began making sugary syrups in the 1600s, but the delicious chewy caramel we know and love today was a more recent innovation. Caramel candy emerged during the 18th century and quickly became one of the most popular sweets on the market.”

I don’t know what year National Caramel Day was established, but let’s get into the spirit with this 1955 Kraft Caramel commercial:

Vintage commercial for Kraft Caramels (1955)

“Wouldn’t it be swell if you had a bowl of Kraft Caramels right near the TV set so you could help yourself right now?

“Why don’t you ask Mother to get some?… It’s easy for Mother to buy Kraft Caramels when she does her regular marketing — no extra stops, because candy counters everywhere feature Kraft Caramels.”

It’s a great early example of what food marketers actually call the “pester factor,” the strategy of getting kids to drive their parents crazy until the parents buy the kids a product just to shut them up.

Oh, and caramels are “actually good for you,” according to this commercial, because there is “a pint and two-thirds—nearly a quart—of wholesome milk in every single pound of Kraft Caramels.” Well, I’m convinced! Are you?

Born on this date: Doris Day

Ad for Pillow TalkThe legendary actress and singer Doris Day turns 90 today, April 3, 2014.

Most people know her from her classic films like Pillow Talk (for which she got an Oscar nomination), and from her hit recordings like “Secret Love.” She is also an outspoken animal rights activist. Since this is a TV site, however, I’m going to write about her 1968-73  TV series, The Doris Day Show.

The fourth season opening sequence of The Doris Day Show is among my favorite TV show openings. I could watch it a thousand times. You’ve got Doris wearing outlandish hats and hairstyles; you’ve got the San Francisco scenery, the ’70s style film editing with quick zoom-ins, and Doris singing her signature song, “Que Sera, Sera.” I really dig the spiral staircase she descends and the leopard print hat. What do you call the hairstyle towards the end with the braid that comes out of the top of her head? It makes her look like an alien from Lost in Space.

Fourth season opening credits, The Doris Day Show (1971-72)

Doris Day and Rose Marie

Doris Day with co-star Rose Marie on The Doris Day Show

If you are the kind of viewer who is bothered by lack of continuity, The Doris Day Show will drive you crazy. Entire supporting casts simply disappear; Doris inexplicably changes careers several times; and though she begins the series as a widow with two children, by the end she becomes a swinging single. Since no explanation is given, I have to assume that Child Protective Services took the kids away.

The revolving cast includes some great second bananas, including Rose Marie, Kaye Ballard, and Bernie Kopell.

The show is notorious for the fact that Doris was forced into doing the series when her husband/agent mismanaged her money and then committed her to it without her consent. “Despite grave misgivings, and a dislike of television, the ultimate need to clear her debts convinced Doris to go ahead with The Doris Day Show, netting her a Golden Globe (1969) for Best Actress in a Television Series,” according to DorisDay.com.

Today on the tray: Peanut butter and jelly

peanut butter and jellyApril 2 is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day.

According to some sources, American soldiers in World War II invented peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by combining the peanut butter, jelly, and bread in their rations. So if World War II had never happened, we might be putting some other kind of sandwich in kids’ lunchboxes.

For me, it’s hard to hear the phrase “peanut butter and jelly” without thinking of the dancing banana that sings “Peanut Butter Jelly Time.”

“Peanut Butter Jelly Time” is a Flash animation that first emerged at the early part of this century and quickly became an Internet phenomenon. The animation is based on a song of the same name recorded by DJ Chipman of the Buckwheat Boyz. The best known version of the animation which can be seen above shows a highly pixelated Dancing Banana moving back and forth to the song’s chorus.”  (Read more at peanutbutterjellytime.net.)

Family Guy parodied “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” twice: The first time, Brian dresses like a banana and performs the song to cheer Peter up. In a subsequent episode, Stewie time-travels back to that point and steals Brian’s thunder by beating him to it.

Brian performs “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” on Family Guy.

Today on the tray: Oranges and lemons

oranges and lemonsMarch 31 is Oranges and Lemons Day.

According to cooksinfo.com, on this day in London, “Children who go to the St Clement Danes Church of England Primary School attend a service, after which the church’s bells are rung and the children are given each an orange and a lemon.” But you can celebrate this citrus-y holiday wherever you are.

Do you remember the old song/rhyme, “Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement’s. You owe me five farthings, say the bells of St. Martin’s…”? Here are the full lyrics. It closes with, “Here comes a candle to light you to bed, here comes a chopper to chop off your head.”

Oranges and Lemons, English children's song

If you watched TV in the ’70s or ’80s, you might recognize the tune from this Chef Boyardee commercial. In their version, the lyrics are not about oranges and lemons, but about children rushing home at lunchtime to eat canned pasta. And the whole head-chopping-off thing has also been omitted. Watch it and see if it “rings a bell.”

Chef Boyardee commercial with bells (1986)


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