Friday, December 9, 2016

The John Wayne Blogathon Has Arrived!

The John Wayne Blogathon 

The John Wayne Blogathon begins in earnest today!!!

Quiggy and Hamlette are proud to welcome you to the festivities.  We begin our weekend long tribute to John Wayne, one of the greatest cowboys of all time, an an all around great actor.  Here then are mine, Hamlette's  and some fellow bloggers opinions on some of the best movies and TV appearances of one of the most memorable he-man actors ever to don a drawl.  Over the weekend keep coming back to this page and you'll see new additions to the roll call as I get the chance to add them.

If you have signed up (or are interested in getting in a last minute entry) leave your blog post data at one of your two hosts sign-up sites:  Quiggy or Hamlette.  

And remember, it's never too late to join up.  I'll add them as they come in.  And as an added bonus, don't forget one lucky blogger will win a copy of American Titan: Searching for John Wayne by Marc Eliot.  The drawing will occur sometime next week after I've made sure all wanna-be winners have entered their blog posts in the bowl.  Everyone who posts a blog entry for the John Wayne Blogathon  is eligible (except me, of course... I already have a copy...)

And the winner is: (check back here for the finalist)!

The Blog Roll:

OUR first entry!!!
Two late in life entries epitomize the Duke for Thoughts All Sorts

Hamlette hosts Ektarina who gives us some insight into Rooster Cogburn

Silver Screenings takes a good hard look at  Operation Pacific

Hamlette's Soliloquy delves into the tumultuous relationship portrayed in The Quiet Man

Movies Meet Their Match investigates the "grit"tiness of True Grit

The Big Trail receives its due from High Noon

Caftan Woman reveals the harrowing adventure behind Island in the Sky

A tribute to Wayne as an aging cavalryman is Old Hollywood Films's entry on She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

High Noon presents a loving tribute to Rio Bravo

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance gets a nod from Coffee, Classics and Craziness


Sidewalk Crossings has a thing for Jorge Rivero (and Rio Lobo...)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Time and Tide

This is my entry in the Kirk Doulas 100th Birthday Blogathon hosted by Shadows and Satin

If you could go back in time and change history, would you?

Before you answer that question, just think about this.  There is a theory called "The Butterfly Effect" which, in essence for the layman, says that even such minor things as the flapping of the wings of a butterfly, can, in a few weeks, have changed the details in a hurricane.  (it's chaos theory, and trust me, I have made it as simple as I can, but the details are even more complex).

The best example I can give you of how that affects time and history is a great story by Ray Bradbury, "A Sound of Thunder", in which a time traveler, going back to the Jurassic age on a safari, inadvertently kills a butterfly, and, upon his return to the present, finds drastic changes in the current time, as well as what he knows as history.  All from just the killing of one little butterfly millions of years ago.

Time travel has been a mother lode for both the science fiction enthusiast as well as the history buff (of which I am both). A favorite novel of mine, "The Guns of the South" by Harry Turtledove postulates how history could have been changed if a white supremacist band of South Africans used a time machine and gave Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy a supply of AK-47s.  Just theoretical musings on the topic of "What If", without the influence of outside sources like time travelers,  can cause some serious discussions; What if the German conspirators had managed to assassinate Hitler? (Not all conjectures along that line end up with a good outcome).  What if the Romans had succeeded in preventing the invasion of barbarian tribes in the 5th century?

For a really fascinating look at how history can be changed down though the years, stemming from a single event, try to find a copy For Want of a Nail: If Burgoyne had Won at Saratoga by Robert Sobel (1973).  The book, which reads like a non-fiction history, traces the history of the United States of Mexico and the Confederation of North America after a failed attempt to defend the independence of the Colonies in 1777.

The Final Countdown (1980)

The USS Nimitz is on maneuvers in the Pacific Ocean.  A civilian  efficiency expert and a representative of the mysterious Mr. Tideman (who engineered the Nimitz), Warren Lassky (Martin Sheen) comes aboard as a guest to see what can be done to improve the ship.  A reluctant Capt. Yelland (Kirk Douglas) welcomes him aboard but is suspicious of Lassky's motives.  He boards Lassky in a private room which is next to the CAG (Commander of the Air Force attachment to the ship) Dick Owens (James Farrentino).

Lassky, Owens and Yelland

While curiously investigating his neighbor's quarters, Lassky is caught by Owens reading some history that Owens is writing about the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Owens and Lassky start out on a bad step, obviously.  While this is going on, there is some strange goings on topside.  A strange storm has materialized, one that shows up on radar intermittently; one pass it's there, the next it's not.  Yelland calls in all planes to come in before the "storm" can become a problem.

Strage storm

And here's where it gets strange.  The storm it turns out is some kind of time portal.  After encountering the portal, the ship and crew find themselves in calm waters.  But not the calm waters of 1980.  The calm waters of December 7, 1941, just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Once the crew realizes their predicament there is an intense debate among the officers and Lassky on what their duties should be.  Some vote for stopping the invasion,  while other heads debate how history could be changed, maybe for the worst by their intervention.  One thing is certain, if they are able to return to the present, if they change the outcome of the event, the world WILL be entirely different.

Into this mix, the crew rescue a Senator (Charles Durning) and his secretary, Laurel (Katherine Ross)  from a shipwreck caused by two Japanese Zeros which spotted them and bombed them. They also rescue one of the Japanese pilots after they destroyed the two in air combat.   It turns out that the Senator was the top potential candidate to be Roosevelt's VP in the next election.  (Think about that for a moment, because the next election would have been 1944, the one which Harry S. Truman was the VP.)  The Senator finds out that the crew knows about the imminent bombing and demands to be able to radio Washington.

Laurel and the Senator

That is enough to get you interested, I'm sure.  Does the crew go ahead and try to stop the attack?  Does the Senator convince Yelland to let him warn Washington?  Does the crew eventually get back to the present?  You'll have to watch the movie to find out...I'm going to be cryptic on this one, but be sure to watch it all the way to the end for that final denouement.

Kirk Douglas as Captain Matthew Yelland is a typical Hollywood movie officer, one who has his men and his command foremost in his mind at all times.  I love how he lets his facial expression convey his feelings as much as what he is saying in those scenes in which he is present.   Admittedly, this is not one of his best performances, but it is one that really shows his ability to take a presence in the scene.  And it's one that quite a number of you have probably never even heard of unless you are a Kirk Douglas devotee who has actively sought out every movie in which he was an actor.

Well, folks, must be off for home.  Looks like a storm is brewing out there.  This is Quiggy, signing off.    I'll see you next.................

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Nightmare on the Farm

This is my entry in the Agnes Moorehead Blogathon hosted by In the Good Old Days of Hollywood

Agnes Moorehead made a name for herself for being a witch.  If you have never heard of Moorehead except for her role as "Endora", Samantha Stephens mother and Darren's mother-in-law, you would find her memorable.  But that is not the extent of her career.  She started out on radio, back when radio broadcasts were what prime-time TV is today.

According to wikipedia she became a voice in demand, and after meeting Helen Hayes, was encouraged to try film acting, but early efforts were not very fruitful, so she returned to radio.  It was her fortuitous meeting with Orson Welles that seems to have been the spur of her career, however.  Working with Welles on his Mercury Theater, and also as the voice of Margo Lane on his radio show "The Shadow", she began to get regular exposure.  Welles also took her with him to RKO and cast her in his Citizen Kane, as Kane's mother.

Moorehead continued to work with Welles, and as result, became a character actress, appearing in many films during the 40's and 50's, including some notable evil roles (see Dark Passage).  But she also played many sympathetic roles and comedic ones.  Beginning in the early 50's she also found a niche as a guest star on numerous TV shows, as well as the co-starring role as the previously mentioned Endora.

Although her voice was a big draw for he career, perhaps one of her best roles involved her not saying a single word, rather instead supplying a few frustrated grunts and whines to accompany a pantomime exhibit as "the Woman" in the Twilight Zone episode "The Invaders".

"The Invaders" (An episode of The Twilight Zone)

"The Invaders" was the 51st episode (the 15th episode of the 2nd season) of the classic anthology series, The Twilight Zone.

It was written by Richard Matheson, an icon of the series, having written 16 episodes, and at least 2 or 3 of those episodes are included on any TZ favorites list, including one of favorites, Once Upon a Time, in which Buster Keaton stars as an 1890's janitor who longs for a quieter world, and uses his boss' time travel hat to go to the late 20th century.  Matheson also authored numerous novels and short stories which were adapted as films and other TV series episodes.  (I Am Legend was filmed at least three times, including one version, The Omega Man, with Charlton Heston).

The episode was directed by Douglas Heyes.  Heyes directed 9 episodes of the series, and was also prolific as a director on numerous other TV series over his career.  He also directed the John Forsythe/Ann-Margaret drive-in classic Kitten with a Whip, which I hope to review someday...

Agnes Moorehead stars in the "Invaders" episode, and is, in fact, the only acor we see on screen for the duration of the episode (not including the usual appearance of Rod Serling as the host of the series).  Moorehead plays a woman who is isolated in a remote place in the country, in a house unfettered by such trappings of modernity like a phone or electricity,  As the episode begins Moorehead (hereafter referred to by the appellation "the woman", which is how she is credited) is fixing up a dinner on her primitive stove, by candlelight.

She begins to hear an odd whirring sound which causes her to wince in pain.  She hears a thump in her attic and goes to investigate.  When she opens the attic door she finds a saucer spaceship there.  (How the spaceship was able to get into her attic is not explained, but it is a question I asked myself.  I tend to nitpick things like that...)

While the woman is looking at the spaceship in curiosity, a door in the side opens and a robotic figure shambles out.  (These robots we see in the picture are just essentially toy robots you could find at any toy store in the 60's, but God, the way Heyes used them to enhance the fear and frustration of the show is pretty phenomenal.)

Thus begins a showdown between the woman and these robots.  Two robots eventually come out of the spaceship and the panicky woman, confused by the situation, desperately tries to, alternately,  avoid, contain or kill the invaders.  Moorehead deserves kudos for being able to pull all of this off without uttering a single word.  You can almost watch the entire episode without even realizing that she stays mute (aside from the grunts and groans) throughout the episode.

Spoiler alert:  At this point I am going to reveal the ending, so if you are among those few who have never heard how this episode ends, and want to watch it first, stop reading.

The woman finally disposes of one of the robots and goes up to the attic and attacks and destroys the spaceship (with an AXE!  Must've been some shoddy workmanship on that spaceship...)

At this point a voice is heard, a distress call by the remaining invader still on board (the voice of director Heyes, and the only words spoken in the entire episode):

"Central Control... Come in Central Control.  Do you read me?  Gresham is dead.  Repeat, Gresham is dead!  The ship is destroyed.  Incredible race of giants here...race of giants!  No, Central Control, no counterattack, too much for us...too powerful.  Stay away!  Gresham and I, we're finished...Finished!  Stay away! Stay away!"

And then the camera pans away to reveal that this spaceship is from....Earth!  (da da dah dah! da da dah dah....)  BTW, if that spaceship looks familiar, it's the same one they used in the movie Forbidden Planet.

It's my personal opinion that Moorehead should have been at least acknowledged with a nomination for an Emmy for "Single Performance" for  this episode.  It can't be easy to pull off what she did without uttering even a single word or even having to interact with another actor on screen.

That's it from the couch this week.  Your humble blogger will be back viewing stuff on the big screen next time.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Diamonds and Lust

This is my entry in the Cary Grant blogathon hosted by Phyllis Loves Classic Movies.

This is the one with the famous Mae West line "Why don't you come up sometime and see me?"  To paraphrase a comment made by Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson) in Ghostbusters, when Mae West invites you up to her room, you say YES!

She Done Him Wrong (1933)

This movie was based on a hit Broadway production called Diamond Lil, which had been written by West herself.  The play was full of double entendres and risque and bawdy language.  The fairly new Hays Production Code committee told West and the production crew in no uncertain terms that the play could and would not be accepted. The Hays code committee made demands for many changes to the play before it would be approved, including having the main character's name changed from Lil to Lou.  I have no idea how bawdy the original play was, but it must have been something to see.

Even so, the movie is still quite risque for it's time.  One line early in the movie has one woman saying that Lou (Mae West) is "a fine woman", to which Lou's insouciant reply is "the finest woman to ever walk the streets."  (If you need that one explained, go home, your mama's calling you.)

The movie takes place in New York in the 1890's.  Lou is currently the love interest of a bar owner Gus (Noah Beery).  Gus gives her diamonds and does his best to keep her happy.  He is so infatuated with her he has a full length portrait of her put over the bar.  (Cover the kids' eyes for the brief moment the painting is shown, or you'll be up all night explaining it).

Gus has a rival who also wants a piece of Lou.  Dan (David Landau) keeps trying to lure Lou away from Gus and tells her Gus is into some crooked stuff.  To his credit, he is right.  Gus is behind a counterfeit ring which includes a Russian woman, Rita  (Raffaela Ottiano) and her lover, Sergei (Gilbert Rowland).  Sergei also has the hots for Lou.

About the only one who doesn't seem to be after Lou is Capt. Cummings (Cary Grant), the leader of a mission next door to the saloon (something like the Salvation Army, but it isn't called that in the movie).  Cummings keeps showing up and,  although his mission seems to be to try to reform some of the patrons of the bar, he doesn't seem very active in trying to do so.

Gus is also wrapped up in the prostitution business. A girl named Sally (Rochelle Hudson) is hustled off to learn the trade, but this being 1933 (the time the movie was made) you have to extrapolate what is being done with her.

Dan warns that an undercover police detective code named 'the Hawk" is snooping around the district looking for illegal activity.  (And if you don't immediately figure out who the Hawk is, then what kind of movies have you been watching up til now???)

There's still some story left to interest you.  For one thing, Lou's former boyfriend Chick (Owen Moore), who was in jail, has escaped and is looking for her because he thinks she betrayed him.  Meanwhile Lou is still trying to get Cummings to come up to her room.  (You say YES here, Cap...)

In 1933, movies always had happy endings.  This one doesn't fail.  Although we still don't get to see the Captain up in Lou's room...

Although the star is, of course, West, Cary Grant makes a pretty impressive debut. Grant had been on Broadway before this, and did appear in a few films, including once with Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus and with Sylvia Sidney in Madame Butterfly.  West, in her typical self-promoting style, always claimed to have discovered Grant, saying that the previous work had just been some "screen tests".

Well, I've just been invited up to Mae West's room, and I have no time to dilly-dally.  Have a safe ride home folks.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Do the 'du

It's August of 1980.  I have, just earlier that year, graduated from high school, and I now have the freedom to go to whatever movies I want without having to have my parents' permission.  (Understand that I was brought up in a remote location, so even if I had a mind to do it, I couldn't just sneak out and go to one on my own. The nearest movie theater was 10 miles away.  I had to wait until I had my driver's license and some semblance of autonomy.)

I was still an idealistic young 18-year-old then.  I hadn't been jaded by years of observation of the reality of life.  Life still had the potential of being idyllic.  So one of the first movies I went to see on my own was Xanadu.  The plot itself did not draw me, however.  I had no clue what the movie was about.  I went because I had a carefree spirit, and the music of Electric Light Orchestra, also known by their initials, ELO , which was used in the movie, was one of my favorite bands of the time.

Even now I can recall being thrilled by the "feel good" theme of the movie, and the hope for a life somewhat like the main character Sonny achieved.  Reviews at the time didn't dissuade me from my initial reaction.  (One particular reviewer summed it up, rather snarkily, "In a word---Xana-don't")

I didn't see it again until one Saturday afternoon 10 years later, when I was stuck in the apartment where I was living and nothing else that was on TV appealed to me.  So I watched it.  And I was astounded.  This was a piece of crap!  How could I have possibly liked this movie?  Then came the scene within the movie where the characters Sonny and Danny envision two separate bandstands, one featuring a 40's swing band, the other an 80's  new wave rock band.  Both bands are playing separate tunes, but eventually blend together so that at the end, both are, while still playing their separate tunes, blend together so seamlessly that it seems to fit.  And I thought, well, that must have been the reason I liked it.

It was another 10 years before I finally broke down and watched it again.  My reaction was much the same as the one I had 10 years before.  It is definitely one of the worst movies ever made, I thought.  But, of course, when it got to the dual bands scene, I found I still liked that part.  By this time I had run across the Golden Raspberry Awards, an award that is given out for the worst movies of the year (done  just prior to the day they give out the Oscars).  And I found out that John Wilson, the founder of the "Razzies", had watched a 99 cents  double feature that had Xanadu paired with Can't Stop the Music, the faux-biographical movie on the origin of the disco group The Village People (still haven't seen that one), which was the genesis for his inspired award.

Xanadu had it's detractors, but it also had a cult following of people who thoroughly enjoyed it and still enjoy it.  I know, because a few years after that third viewing, someone created and put on Broadway a stage musical version of Xanadu: The Musical.  (Which seems to me to be redundant since the original movie was a musical in its own right.)  Anyway, on the heels of the Broadway show, Universal Studios, the producers of the original, released a 30th anniversary edition, complete with a special feature interviewing some of the avid enthusiasts for the original movie.  By this time I have grown to appreciate crappy movies, just for their crappiness, so I bought a copy.

Lo and behold, something has changed!  Not only do I still enjoy the dual band scene, I actually liked the whole movie (or at least most of it.  I still think the overall optimism is a bit cheesy, but it has taken less of a level of importance in my opinion.)  So without further ado, I'll give you a rundown of the movie.  If you haven't seen it, and feel brave, go ahead and check it out.  Or maybe you are one of those who holds it near and dear to your heart, here even 36 years later.  That's OK, to each his own.

Xanadu (1980)

The original movie is really essentially a remake, reworked with some nods to modern times.  The movie was Down to Earth (1947), which starred Rita Hayworth and Larry Parks, a movie which itself was a sequel to Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941).  There are a lot of parallels across the board, and I won't detail them all, but you might find this webpage interesting (20 Facts about Xanadu)  [Mel Gibson as Sonny??]

Sonny (Michael Beck) is a struggling artist as the opening credits run.  He has quit his job to become freelance, but it's not working out.  He rips up his final try and throws the shreds out the window, admitting defeat.  As the strains of ELO's song "I'm Alive" play, the shreds float across town and fall to the Earth in front of a painting of the nine Muses of mythology.  They come to life and dance.

Eight of the muses disappear into shining lights into the heavens but one remains.  Kira (Olivia Newton-John) remains and turns this movie into the beginnings of a roller-disco movie, as she roller skates through the park and bumps into Sonny and kisses him then disappears.  Sonny goes back to his old job, that of painting enlarged reproductions of album covers for a company owned by a half jovial-half tyrannical owner named Simpson (James Sloyan)

Sonny sees, on the album he is supposed to reproduce, the elusive girl who kissed him and begins a systematic search to find out who she is, but no one seems to know.  Sonny ends up finding her at the abandoned auditorium from the same album cover.  She talks to him as she skates but disappears again just as she has given him her names as "Kira".

Later, Sonny is on the beach where he strikes up a friendship with Danny McGuire (Gene Kelly), a jazz clarinetist who has long since retired to take up a job as the boss of a construction company, but still retains his love of the music of his past.  He tells Sonny of his dream to start up a new club, and Sonny encourages him.

Danny makes Sonny his partner in the endeavor.  Kira, who has become more available to Sonny over this time, encourages Sonny to bring Danny to the abandoned auditorium.  While the two are discussing options, this is where the great scene I mentioned above occurs.

There is some background that reveals that Kira was also a Muse for Danny in an earlier time.  Eventually Kira has to reveal the truth about herself to Danny, that she is a Muse, not a real girl, and that she must return to heaven.  Sonny has fallen in love and does not want to lose her.  His love takes on the form of a cartoon (drawn by Don Bluth, an acclaimed animation artist of the day, and this is one of the parts of the movie I find unbearably cheesy...)

Sonny eventually finds the wall where the Muses were drawn and his determination ends up catapulting him through the wall into the heavenly dimension, where he argues with Zeus (voiced by Wilfred Hyde-White) about the efficacy of true love.

After sending Sonny back to reality Kira pleads with Zeus to allow her to return with him.   Zeus, with the determined encouraging of his wife, allows Kira to return to Earth "just for a moment.  Or maybe forever... I keep getting them mixed up..."   The finale involves every kind of extravagant show imaginable, with mimes and dancers and trapeze artists and tightrope walkers and God knows what else.  Newton-John performs the title track "Xanadu", appearing in, alternating, a tight tiger-skin mini skirt, a fringe heavy western outfit and a Roman goddess headdress.

This movie is a lot more fun these days.  I couldn't begin to explain why my attitude has changed, but it has.  Now if only I could have my very own personal muse to fall in love with me and make it heaven here on Earth.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

Period? Period! Period.

Rachel @ Hamelette's Soliloquy tagged me for this Period Drama series of questions.  As always I like talking about me and my interests, but this one threw me for a loop.

First I had to define just what the heck is meant by a "period drama".  My initial thought was only in terms of Victorian romances, which I would have had to wholeheartedly decline participation if that was the case.  My romance movie catalog begins and ends with The Princess Bride.  Not that I don't appreciate the Victorian novel, but even then, most of my Victorian literature reading is of the kind that shocked the average Victorian housewife.  (Dracula, The Woman in White, etc.)

Wikipedia, however, in its introduction to the article on historical period drama states that period drama "covers all countries, all periods and all genres".  The basic gist is that it involves an earlier time period, sometimes halcyon (but not always).  As I understand it, a period drama is one that takes place in a different time than the present, and not necessarily a Victorian time period.  Thus, concerning my favorite genre, film noir, none of the classic film noir movies would be considered period dramas because they took place in the same time period as the one in which the movies were filmed.  But Chinatown, which portrayed life ca. 1938, but was filmed in 1974, could fit in the category.

If the only criteria were to be a historical setting for the movie, it does open up a wide array of possibilities.  I particularly enjoyed Around the World in 80 Days, which fits the category by the criteria we established.  However, one thing I left out in the description above is that, according to the same wikipedia article, the costumes are as much a draw to the viewer as the plot or setting.  Not that I've EVER watched a movie just to see the costumes, but I guess there are people who would.  (The questionnaire that Rachel gave me has a decidedly feminine slant to it, so I can assume that that group of people would be predominantly women).

Because I am not limited to just Victorian or Edwardian era movies, I tended to gravitate to more manly historical epochs.  I did avoid writing strictly about war movies, though towards those it would be my major natural inclination to gravitate.  (I like the fact that Rachel picked a couple of classic Westerns for a couple of the categories, which gives me leave to indulge in another of my favorite genres).

So, now on with the questionnaire:

1. What's your favorite Period Drama movie?

How about Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid?

2. What's your favorite Period Drama series?

Penny Dreadful.  I only got to see this after they released the series on DVD, since I don't have cable,  but I found the series to be extremely entertaining.  And you could binge watch them over the Thanksgiving holiday (since the whole series only encompasses 27 episodes).

3.  Which Period Drama do you dislike the most?

I was not entirely impressed with Gangs of New York (and I am a devotee of Scorsese...)

4.  Anne of Green Gables or Little Dorrit?

Never seen either, but I imagine, being the Dickens fan that I am, I'd probably choose Little Dorrit.

5. Your favorite Period Drama dresses?

Most of the dresses in Gone With the Wind were pretty elegant, as far as dresses go.

6.  Who's your favorite Period Drama character (Okay, pick at least five)

Alan Quartermain:  Whether played as a younger dashing adventurer by Richard Chamberlain or Patrick Swayze,  or as an elderly, but still active man by Sean Connery, you just gotta love his panache.  (Stewart Granger played him, too, but I like this couplet of pics...)

Sherlock Holmes:  Preferably the ones that put him in his proper timeline.  The fact that some studios appropriated him to combat the Nazis, while entertaining, just irked me slightly.  The only time that taking him out of his normal milieu has been OK, is the new BBC Benedict Cumberbatch series.

Phileas Fogg:  If David Niven is playing him.  Please, oh please, don't make me watch the Jackie Chan remake again.

Henry Jones, Jr.:  But don't call him "junior".  He prefers the name "Indiana" (after the family dog)

John Bernard Books:  A man who has reached the end of his life, but will not go silently into that good night.

7. If you could join a royal ball, which dress would you wear? (Pick a Period Drama dress)

Looks like it would be hard as hell to dance in, but I like the dress Elsa Lanchester is wearing at the beginning of The Bride of Frankenstein.

8. What's your favorite Jane Austen movie?

Does "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" count?  (You knew I couldn't go the whole blog entry without an oddball entry, didn't you, Rachel...?)

9. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife?

Haven't seen any episodes of the first and never even heard of the second.

10.  Sybil Crawley, Jenny Lee, Emma Woodhouse or Marian of Knighton?

Have not seen any of these characters in action, and thus based solely on my opinion of which actress is the most attractive I'd choose Marian (Lucy Griffiths).

11. Which couples of a Period Drama do you like the most? (Pick at least four)

"Pip" and Estella (Note: if you still haven't seen David Lean's adaptation of "Great Expectations" stop reading this post and go find a copy and watch it.

Bonnie and Clyde

Count Dracula and Lucy Seward (from the 1979 film version of Dracula with Frank Langella and Kate Nelligan)

Oh, what the hell, OK.... Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara.

12. And last, which Period Drama villain do you like the most?

I'm going to go with "the Fantom" from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Hope it was enjoyable, if not educational.