Thursday, January 31, 2013

TCM in February: 31 Days of Oscar Highlights

Groundhog Day is just around the corner, which means it's time to check out the February schedule on Turner Classic Movies!

February means it's time for 31 Days of Oscar, and there's a special page on the TCM website where you can print a .pdf schedule for the month. This year the movies will be grouped by studio, and the .pdf document, unlike the regular online schedule, lists each studio.

Here are just a few of the interesting titles airing on TCM during 31 Days of Oscar:

...The month leads off with films from Warner Bros., and one of the first titles is LITTLE CAESAR (1931) on February 1st. If you'd like to join me watching the film and then blog about it anytime in the month of February, check out this post; I'd love to share your link with my readers!

...DESTINATION TOKYO (1943) is a highly regarded WWII film set on a submarine, starring the unique team of Cary Grant and John Garfield. I'm not certain I've actually seen this one all the way through and really should do that! Delmer Daves directed. It airs February 2nd.

...If you're not a Super Bowl fan, TCM has some great counterprogramming, airing THE MUSIC MAN (1962) this Sunday, the 3rd. It starts at 5:00 p.m. Pacific/8:00 p.m. Eastern, about 90 minutes after the kickoff.

...Over at 50 Westerns From the 50s, Toby reviewed Gary Cooper in THE HANGING TREE (1959) a few months ago. You can see the movie on February 4th.

...An interesting evening of Universal movies on the 6th includes Claudette Colbert in the original IMITATION OF LIFE (1934), Arthur Kennedy as a blind vet in BRIGHT VICTORY (1951), the great docu-noir THE NAKED CITY (1948), and, overnight, Susan Hayward in SMASH-UP: THE STORY OF A WOMAN (1947), costarring Lee Bowman and Marsha Hunt.

...I've always liked George O'Brien in his supporting roles in later John Ford films, and I really enjoyed seeing him in the "B" Western GUN LAW (1938). I plan to record SUNRISE (1928) on the 8th so I can check out some of his earlier work as a leading man.

...On February 8th I'll be recording the 20th Century-Fox film WILSON (1944) with Alexander Knox and Geraldine Fitzgerald. It's a TCM premiere. Based on comments a few weeks ago, this one isn't very popular despite its Oscar nominations and wins, but I'll have to check it out! I've particularly enjoyed catching up with several of Fitzgerald's films for the first time over the past year.

...You can also catch four Tyrone Power films on the 8th: THE RAINS CAME (1939), THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940), BLOOD AND SAND (1941), and CAPTAIN FROM CASTILE (1947). A great lineup.

...ORCHESTRA WIVES (1942) is a real favorite in our house; it stars George Montgomery, Ann Rutherford, Cesar Romero, and Glenn Miller, not to mention Lynn Bari, Carole Landis, and the Nicholas Brothers! It's a TCM premiere which is part of a lineup of Fox films on February 9th.

...There's another TCM premiere on February 9th, the enjoyable and very scenic THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN (1954). Jean Peters, Maggie McNamara, and Dorothy McGuire play three women looking for love in beautiful Rome.

...TCM devotes the 11th through 13th to films from RKO Radio Pictures. There's one great movie after another, including Fred and Ginger in SWING TIME (1936) on the 11th, Dorothy McGuire and Robert Young in THE ENCHANTED COTTAGE on the 12th, and Arthur Kennedy, Barbara Hale, Ruth Roman, and Bobby Driscoll in THE WINDOW (1949) on the 13th. And if you'd like to watch Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine in Hitchcock's SUSPICION (1941) and compare your thoughts to mine, it's on on the 12th.

...Another great day of movies, on Valentine's Day, includes a Selznick International lineup which features THE PRISONER OF ZENDA (1937), GONE WITH THE WIND (1939), REBECCA (1940), SPELLBOUND (1945), and PORTRAIT OF JENNIE (1948). These films are all fantastic and worth a marathon if you have the time!

...It's been a long time since I saw Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon in MRS. MINIVER (1942), but it had a huge impact on me when I was a teen. It's one of a number of significant films seen at an impressionable age which I believe helped make me the classic film fan I am today. Time for a fresh look? It's on the 15th.

...February 16th features a lineup of Oscar-winning MGM musicals including my favorite, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS (1954). I've watched that barn-raising dance countless times. If you haven't seen it, now's the time!

...More MGM on Sunday, the 17th, includes THE BAD AND THE BEAUTIFUL (1952), with Vincente Minnelli directing a cast which included Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Dick Powell, Walter Pidgeon, and Gloria Grahame.

...HOLD BACK THE DAWN (1941), which I just saw on a big screen as part of UCLA's great Mitchell Leisen festival, is a rarely seen, not-on-DVD must-see on February 20th. This Paramount film was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actress (Olivia de Havilland). Charles Boyer and Paulette Goddard costar, with a moving supporting performance by Rosemary DeCamp.

...Joel McCrea and George Sanders battle the bad guys in Alfred Hitchcock's FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940) on the 21st. Of all Hithcock's U.S. films, this one feels the most like his British movies. It's filled with marvelous set pieces, such as the assassination amidst a sea of black umbrellas, the investigation at an unusual windmill, and a spectacular plane crash.

...I just saw ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS (1939) and thought it was really terrific. Howard Hawks directed Cary Grant, Jean Arthur, and a marvelous cast. It airs February 22nd.

...ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959) is a movie I need to revisit. I remember really liking it roughly a decade ago. James Stewart, Lee Remick, George C. Scott, Eve Arden, and Ben Gazzara star, directed by Otto Preminger. It's on February 23rd.

...Every time I've seen KRAMER VS. KRAMER (1979) over the years, I've reacted a little differently, which might be one mark of a good movie. One thing, however, has never changed: I can't understand Meryl Streep's character simply walking out on her little boy. A worthwhile newer drama -- if the '70s can still be considered "newer" (I hope?!) -- which airs on the 24th.  Side note: It has a good role for Howard Duff, seen here grilling Streep on the witness stand.

...I just paid tribute to Victor Mature on the centennial of his birth. You can catch one of his earliest films, ONE MILLION B.C. (1940), on February 26th.

...Howard Hawks' BALL OF FIRE (1941), starring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck, is a lot of fun. It's on the 27th.

...I'm intrigued by SARABAND FOR DEAD LOVERS (1948) on February 28th, starring Stewart Granger.

...March 1st there's yet another Howard Hawks film, RED RIVER (1948), with John Wayne, Joanne Dru, Montgomery Clift, and -- in her first major screen role, though it was released after a couple other films -- Coleen Gray.

The above are but a few suggestions for a month in which the vast majority of the titles are worth watching. 31 Days of Oscar may be missing some of the unknown "discoveries" and "B" movies fans such as myself enjoy exploring, but on the other hand, this month provides a great introduction to the classics for newer film fans, plus an opportunity to revisit old favorites.

My friend Ivan has even more suggestions for the month over at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, and you can also find some great tips at The Hollywood Revue and Journeys in Classic Film. Update: And here's more from Cliff at Immortal Ephemera, and Kristina has even more TCM picks and links at Speakeasy.

Finally, if you're a classic film blogger, be sure to check out the 31 Days of Oscar Blogathon. Somehow I missed learning about this sooner. Looking forward to reading what I'm sure will be a lot of great posts!

Previously: Quick Preview of TCM in February: 31 Days of Oscar.

Update: For more classic films on cable in February, please visit Fox Movie Channel in February: Highlights.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Classic for February: Little Caesar (1931)

Earlier this month I watched SAFETY LAST! (1923), the first film on my list of 10 Classics to see for the first time in 2013.

Although that film is surprisingly hard to get ahold of, given its reputation, I was delighted that a couple of bloggers were able to respond to my invitation and join me in watching the movie and blogging about it; links to their terrific posts can be found at the bottom of my review.

This month I plan to watch LITTLE CAESAR, directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Edward G. Robinson and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and I'd like to extend the same invitation: If you'd like to watch LITTLE CAESAR and blog about it any time in the month of February, send me the link and I'll add it to my post!

You can send me your link via a comment to this post, by email, or in the comments to my review, which will hopefully be posted around the middle of the month. In addition to including the links at the end of my post, I'll send out a Tweet each time I update the post with a new link.

LITTLE CAESAR is, happily, much easier to obtain than SAFETY LAST! For starters, it will be shown on Turner Classic Movies this Friday morning, February 1st, at 6:00 a.m. Pacific Time/9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, so set those DVRs!

It's also available for purchase as a single-title DVD; the DVD is available for rental from either Netflix or ClassicFlix.

LITTLE CAESAR can also be rented to stream from Amazon Instant Video for $2.99.

Whether it's your first viewing or your 50th, I'd love to have you join me enjoying LITTLE CAESAR in February!

Update: My review of LITTLE CAESAR has now been posted!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Victor Mature Centennial

Actor Victor Mature was born January 29, 1913, in Louisville, Kentucky.

What looks to be a fine new book on the actor, THE FILMS OF VICTOR MATURE, has been published to coincide with the centennial of Mature's birth. It was preordered for me as a Christmas gift and just arrived a few days ago.

This softcover book by James McKay, which is over 200 pages including an index, is an excellent read thus far. It starts with a short biography and then details each of Mature's films, with production information, an analysis of Mature's performance, and information on how the film was received upon its release. Many -- but not all -- of the films are accompanied by a well-reproduced still. From a quick scan, the author's opinions of Mature's films and performances largely coincide with mine.

It's funny to think that years ago I didn't really like Mature all that much; maybe it's because the first films I saw him in as a child were musicals, MY GAL SAL (1942) and MILLION DOLLAR MERMAID (1952), and at the time he struck me as a bit awkward being the leading man in a musical. Little did I know then that he had appeared in the original Broadway cast of LADY IN THE DARK! And though he wasn't known for his musical talent, he appeared in several other musicals over the course of his career, including NO, NO, NANETTE (1940), FOOTLIGHT SERENADE (1942), and WABASH AVENUE (1950), among others.

In recent years Mature has become a real favorite of mine, appearing in some of the film noir titles I've enjoyed the most, I WAKE UP SCREAMING (1941), KISS OF DEATH (1947), and CRY OF THE CITY (1948), not to mention a much-loved Betty Grable musical, SONG OF THE ISLANDS (1942).

His relatively little-known Western ESCORT WEST (1958) was an unsung pleasure I look forward to watching again, and the football drama EASY LIVING (1949) was a favorite discovery last year. I also got a big kick out of the somewhat cartoonish but highly entertaining DANGEROUS MISSION (1954).

And I haven't yet mentioned his very fine Doc Holliday in John Ford's MY DARLING CLEMENTINE (1946)! (Update: A new review of MY DARLING CLEMENTINE is here.)

A list of just some of Mature's additional well-known films: ONE MILLION B.C. (1940), THE SHANGHAI GESTURE (1941), MOSS ROSE (1947), FURY AT FURNACE CREEK (1948), SAMSON AND DELILAH (1949), THE LAS VEGAS STORY (1952), THE ROBE (1953), DEMETRIUS AND THE GLADIATORS (1954), THE EGYPTIAN (1954), and CHIEF CRAZY HORSE (1955). He had a terrific career filled with entertaining movies.

Mature never took himself seriously; there's a well-known anecdote that when a country club told him they didn't accept actors as members, he replied that he was no actor and had the reviews to prove it. The truth, however, is that Mature was a very fine, underrated actor who seems to be more appreciated in recent years. He was capable of conveying a great deal simply with his soulful eyes and his body language. KISS OF DEATH, in particular, would not be the superb movie it is without Mature's contribution. (He's seen at the right in a publicity still with costar Coleen Gray.)

Mature was smart with his money and worked infrequently after the early '60s. He enjoyed relaxing on the golf course and became a father for the first time when he was in his early 60s.

Victor Mature passed away in Rancho Sante Fe, California, on August 4, 1999. He was 86 years old.


2020 Update: A Birthday Tribute to Victor Mature.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Tonight's Movie: The Falcon in Mexico (1944)

THE FALCON IN MEXICO has a promising start, with the opening credits featuring jaunty music and stock footage of Mexico, followed by the Falcon romancing his latest ladylove, Isabel (Greta Christensen), and promising to settle down to be a stockbroker and stop solving mysteries.

Overall, the quality of the FALCON series has been quite consistent, but this entry proves to be on the tired side, though it does have its moments. Tom Lawrence (Tom Conway), aka the Falcon, quickly forgets all about Isabel when he becomes involved in a mystery involving a new painting by a long-dead artist and the murder of an art gallery owner. Tom ends up flying to Mexico with the artist's daughter Barbara (Martha Vickers of THE BIG SLEEP, billed as Martha MacVicar) in search of answers about the painting and her father.

There are mysterious characters floating about, including Barbara's exotic stepmother (Mona Maris, last seen in LAW OF THE TROPICS), an art collector (Emory Parnell), and a bumbling taxi driver (Nestor Paiva).

The film's biggest flaw is its overly extensive use of process shots, which get to be distracting. The process photography is used in shots even if not much of the background is seen, such as when characters are standing next to a taxi, and it gives the film a strange look at times. It's hard to believe it was easier and more acceptable to the filmmakers to use back projections than to shoot simple backgrounds somewhere on the studio lot. The straight stock footage, when it's not being used as a background to the action, is more attractive. Leonard Maltin rumors that the footage of Mexico came from the unfinished Orson Welles film IT'S ALL TRUE.

On the plus side, Martha Vickers is lovely, there's a neat twist with the taxi driver, and the music is pleasant. Singers Ruth Alvarez and Nita Hunter, who entertain diners at the hotel, also appeared in THE FALCON AND THE CO-EDS (1943); Hunter was billed as Juanita Alvarez in that film.

The movie was directed by William Berke and filmed in black and white by Frank Redman. It runs 70 minutes.

THE FALCON IN MEXICO is available in Europe on a Region 2 DVD. It is not yet on DVD in the U.S., but George Feltenstein of the Warner Archive said in an interview that it will be releasing those FALCON films not already out later this year.

February 2013 Update: THE FALCON IN MEXICO is now available from the Warner Archive as part of The Falcon Mystery Movie Collection, Vol. 2.

In the meantime, the movie has been shown on Turner Classic Movies.

Reviews of the earlier films in the series: THE GAY FALCON (1941), A DATE WITH THE FALCON (1942), THE FALCON TAKES OVER (1942), THE FALCON'S BROTHER (1942), THE FALCON STRIKES BACK (1943), THE FALCON IN DANGER (1943), THE FALCON AND THE CO-EDS (1943), and THE FALCON OUT WEST (1944).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tonight's Movie: Man in the Dark (1953)

MAN IN THE DARK (1953) is another film from "B" movie director Lew Landers, but it's something a little different. Instead of a programmer from the '30s or '40s, MAN IN THE DARK is a film noir from the early '50s. It's one of the last feature films Landers directed, as he switched to doing mostly TV work in the '50s.

Unfortunately MAN IN THE DARK was a bit of a disappointment, with an interesting premise but a weak script. Nonetheless, the movie has its worthwhile aspects, including its history as a 3D film and its extensive location shooting.

MAN IN THE DARK is a loose remake of THE MAN WHO LIVED TWICE (1936) and CRIME DOCTOR (1943). Edmond O'Brien plays Steve Rawley, a crook who agrees to undergo experimental brain surgery to remove his criminal impulses. There's just one problem -- the surgery also erases his memory. Steve is told he's an amnesia victim named Jim, which is fine until Steve's old cohorts (led by Ted de Corsia) kidnap him from the hospital.

The men don't believe the confused Steve has lost his memory, and they are determined that he lead them to the $130,000 they stole together before his surgery. Steve's girl Peg (Audrey Totter) initially believes Steve is faking it as well, but after a while she realizes Steve really has no memory...and she likes the new Steve just fine. But then Steve starts having nightmares involving an amusement park...

The makings of a good film are here, if only the script had been better. An inordinate amount of screen time is spent with Steve's former partners in crime trying to pummel the whereabouts of the money out of him. These scenes go on too long, and the three gangsters tend to blend into an indistinguishable mass; on the other hand, an insurance man on Steve's tail goes AWOL for way too long, simply showing up at the end to collect the dough. Meanwhile the fabulous Audrey Totter spends much of the movie simply sighing "Oh, Steve..."

MAN IN THE DARK was the first Columbia film shot in 3D, and it would definitely be interesting to see it in that format. Watching the flat version, it's easy to spot various moments which must have been startling in 3D, including a roller coaster barreling straight toward a man standing on the tracks. The lucky folks at the 11th annual Noir City Festival in San Francisco have the chance to see this film in 3D on Friday night, February 1st. Although the movie could have been better, I'd definitely watch it again on a big screen if it happens to come to the Noir City festival in Hollywood!

The last 20 minutes or so make this 70-minute film worth watching, featuring both a dream sequence and then the grand finale which were shot on location at Santa Monica's Ocean Park, the predecessor to what would be known as Pacific Ocean Park. Ocean Park, which looks rather seedy, was also seen in GUN CRAZY (1950). The High Boy roller coaster seen in the film went by that name from 1925 until 1957, when it was renamed the Sea Serpent.

The scary laughing character which terrorizes Steve in his dreams is named a Laffing Sal.

The supporting cast includes Nick Dennis, Horace McMahon, Dayton Lummis, Dan Riss, and Paul Bryar. It was filmed by Floyd Crosby. For those who don't know, Crosby was the father of rock star David Crosby.

MAN IN THE DARK has been shown on Turner Classic Movies. To my knowledge it has not had a video or DVD release. February 2014 Update: This film is now available on a limited edition 3-D Blu-ray from Twilight Time.

Films directed by Lew Landers which have previously been reviewed at this site: NIGHT WAITRESS (1936), WITHOUT ORDERS (1936), FLIGHT FROM GLORY (1937), THEY WANTED TO MARRY (1937), THE MAN WHO FOUND HIMSELF (1937), DOUBLE DANGER (1938), CRASHING HOLLYWOOD (1938), SKY GIANT (1938), SMASHING THE RACKETS (1938), TWELVE CROWDED HOURS (1939), CONSPIRACY (1939), STAND BY ALL NETWORKS (1942), and THUNDER MOUNTAIN (1947).

Around the Blogosphere This Week

Miscellaneous bits of news and fun stuff from around the Internet...

...Leading off this week with some great news for those of us in Southern California: LAURA (1944) will be screening at the Egyptian Theatre on February 20th. It will be introduced by Dana Andrews' daughter, Susan. Carl Rollyson will be there that evening signing copies of his excellent biography, HOLLYWOOD ENIGMA: DANA ANDREWS. LAURA will be screened in digital format.

...I love the evocative still from DAY OF THE OUTLAW (1959) Toby posted at 50 Westerns From the 50s. Hope those of you in snowy regions are staying warm!

...A new cookbook coming in mid-February: NIGELLISSIMA: EASY ITALIAN-INSPIRED RECIPES by Nigella Lawson. Lawson's FEAST is one of my favorite cookbooks; her recipe for Sticky Garlic Potatoes is a family favorite.

...And a new-to-me cooking blog I recently started exploring: Cooking the Books with Kelly-Jane, written by a Scottish cook.

...Blockbuster announced last week it's closing 300 more stores. Can the end be far off?

...Netflix, on the other hand, has had better news for its investors of late.

...ARGO (2012) comes out on DVD February 19th.

...Kim of GlamAmor has a photo report on the Loretta Young Centennial celebration at the Hollywood Museum.

...For anyone who may have missed the news, Disney has confirmed that J.J. Abrams will direct the upcoming STAR WARS film.

...The script for Season 1 of DOWNTON ABBEY comes out on February 5th, with Season 2 to follow.

...If the New York Times can be believed -- not always a given -- some restaurants aren't too happy with the trend to photograph meals. You'd think the publicity would be welcome.  I had a sense the issue was exaggerrated for the sake of the article; the facts were pretty thin, but I was interested the issue was raised.

...Reviews, reviews, and more reviews: Kevin writes about THE LAST HUNT (1956), starring Robert Taylor and Stewart Granger, at Kevin's Movie Corner...Riding the High Country reviews John Garfield and Maureen O'Hara in THE FALLEN SPARROW (1943)...Judy compares the original OKLAHOMA! (1955) with the 1999 Hugh Jackman version at Movie Classics...Classic Movies Digest reviews the excellent HOLD BACK THE DAWN (1941), which will be shown on TCM in February. It stars Charles Boyer, Olivia de Havilland, and Paulette Goddard...The recent reviews at Vienna's Classic Hollywood include Richard Conte in THE SPIDER (1945) and a B Movie Roundup. Dorothy Patrick in LONELY HEART BANDITS (1950) sounds like fun!

...New book: WHITE BREAD: A SOCIAL HISTORY OF THE STORE-BOUGHT LOAF by Aaron Bobrow-Strain just came out last week. Sounds rather interesting.

...A list of 50 films not nominated for Best Picture includes iconic titles such as SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952), REAR WINDOW (1954), VERTIGO (1958), and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980).

...More reviews! I was delighted Raquel recently enjoyed the MGM "college musical" DANCING CO-ED (1939). It's a cute movie with a great cast including Lana Turner, Ann Rutherford, Richard Carlson, and Artie Shaw...Jacqueline writes about PARRISH (1961), with Claudette Colbert and Troy Donahue, at Another Old Movie Blog...Over at Where Danger Lives, Mark reviews William Holden and Nancy Olson in UNION STATION (1950)...Jennifer discusses Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire in the lovely film THE ENCHANTED COTTAGE (1945) at Virtual Virago...Paul keeps up an amazing pace at Lasso the Movies, be sure to drop in regularly to read about his latest viewing...and I loved the review of Loretta Young and Brian Aherne in A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (1943) at Grand Old Movies. It's a delightful film I'd like to rewatch soon.

...Thanks to Raquel for passing on word of this upcoming title, MUSICALS ON THE SILVER SCREEN: A GUIDE TO THE MUST-SEE MOVIE MUSICALS by Leonard Kniffel. It's due in June.

...The Noir City fest is underway in San Francisco. Lara at Backlots writes about opening night, which featured an appearance by Peggy Cummins at GUN CRAZY (1950). I'm so glad I had a similar opportunity last April at the TCM Classic Film Festival! Cummins returned for a double bill of HELL DRIVERS (1957) and CURSE OF THE DEMON (1957). There's more info on the series at Hell on Frisco Bay. I'm anxious to hear what titles will be shown at Noir City Hollywood this spring!!

...Glenn Erickson's latest reviews at DVD Savant include INDISCREET (1958) from Olive Films and EXPERIMENT IN TERROR (1962) from Twilight Time. I saw INDISCREET countless times growing up but haven't seen it in many years. Time for a fresh look? I really loved EXPERIMENT IN TERROR last May at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

...Notable Passings: Boot Hill shared the news that actress Merry Anders passed on last October at the age of 80. Anders guest-starred in four episodes of my favorite MAVERICK series and did a great deal of other TV work. Her film THE DALTON GIRLS (1957) is available on DVD-R from MGM...Former Cal State Long Beach choral director Frank Pooler, who served as a mentor to Karen and Richard Carpenter and cowrote the holiday classic "Merry Christmas, Darling," has died at 86.

Have a great week!

Today at Disneyland: Golden Horseshoe Review

This month Disneyland has revived the show at Frontierland's Golden Horseshoe as part of its "Limited Time Magic" promotion.

The "Salute to the Golden Horseshoe Review" is slated to close on February 4th -- though I've heard a rumor from a source in the know that it's possible the successful revival will continue a while longer. We headed out there today to be certain we'd have a chance to see the show if it does close permamently on the 4th!

We obtained tickets for the first show of the day...

The beautiful interior of the Golden Horseshoe is said to have been inspired by the set design of the 1953 Warner Bros. musical CALAMITY JANE, which starred Doris Day and Howard Keel.

The show was quite entertaining. It felt slightly abridged, without some of the old comedy routines, but the cast was energetic and the actress playing Miss Lily was excellent. (And is it just me, or did I recognize a Princess Tiana among the singers?)

There's construction and remodeling going on all over the park at the moment. I'm not sure I remember seeing a crane in Disneyland before! It's there for this year's remodel of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

The Mark Twain is docked for rehab...

...and construction continues on Fantasy Faire on Main Street. Truth to tell, I think extending Fantasyland in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle is a mistake which clashes with the Main Street theming, and I've also been sorry to see Carnation Gardens disappear into Yesterland.

The park was very uncrowded today, with rain overnight having perhaps encouraged some folks to stay at home.

This ceramic cup is so might be coming home with me on a future visit!

The Mardi Gras celebrations have begun taking place in New Orleans Square:

On the calendar at the Disneyland Resort: This year the Chinese New Year will be celebrated at California Adventure rather than Disneyland. Special events, including Mulan's Chinese New Year Procession, will be held February 8th through 11th near San Francisco Street.

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