Thursday, December 25, 2008


As the Sleepover Friends - Kate , Lauren , Patti & Stephanie gather at Patti’s
for a sleepover , she tells them to close their eyes - she’s got a surprise for them. But the girls are impatient , in a hurry to get a pizza at the mall and have left Roger , Lauren’s brother and part time chauffeur , waiting. When they open their eyes they find a robot in front of them - an exile from Short Circuit I suppose what with the fact that his feet are like bulldozer treads. His name is Oddjob and he’s designed by Patti’s Uncle Nick and can do anything like vacuum or mop the floor or save the day and he’s their’s for the weekend. After a quick dash through the mall , given only fifteen minutes by Roger who’s growling about not being late for his hot date with Linda , Stephanie - the shopaholic says if we have time left over we can dash past Just Juniors ( their favorite clothing store ) While they skid across the icy parking lot discussing the Winter Carnival ( okay okay so technically this isn’t exact a Christmas book per say but it’s always hard to peg down anyone actually declaring it’s Christmas in a series cause then , the jig would be up and kids would be saying we’re half way through the school year , schools gotta end sometime - but it never does. ) and also Stephanie’s mom is getting ready to deliver. What names has Stephanie come up with? The trendy Vanessa , the aristocratic - Cedric or maybe Sting. Sting Green? Kate quips. That’s when they spot an adorable little denim jacket covered with satin patches in a baby shop which is sponsoring the Winter Carnival. Hmmm. As they are getting their usual at the Pizza Palace - Wayne Miller alias the burper - who lets loose with a belch usually in Lauren’s ear , makes his presence known and gets the normally shy Patti in a froth when he starts picking on her beloved Quarks club. She challenges him saying she’ll do his next Science project if they don’t win more events at the winter carnival then him , he agrees. Though the girls don’t immediately protest , later they ask Patti if she’s crazy? - Bullwinkle as a sled dog? But then Lauren - the goofball suggests they have Oddjob pull the sled. Odddog -Stephanie cracks. But after pigging out on pizza , chips , chocolate bark from Sweet Stuff , and listening to requests on WBRM of which they send in - Fools can never Win to Wayne Miller , the girls agree to help out Patti and see if they can train Bullwinkle - in the middle of the night?! The goofiest scene is perhaps thinking that Bullwinkle will respond to their urging of Mush , then when they turn to the cartoon reasoning of dangling a dog treat on the end of a fishing pole trick and get Bullwinkle racing around in such a tight circle with Kate on the sled behind him hollaring help! Lauren’s dad catches them outside having been awakened by a phone call that Steph’s mother was off to the hospital ( a false alarm ) , as they describe the contest to Lauren’s dad he grins and says if I was a boy your age I sure wouldn’t want to have you girls mad at me - but then he says no more practicing tonight or Mrs. Green won’t be the only one at the hospital - I could never tell if that was an implied threat - or a warning cause Bullwinkle was so reckless? I love the part where the girls catch Wayne Miller and his dog Killer - hooked up to a sled mushing along past their house , He sure is ugly - Kate says staring at Killer , He looks like a hyena , Lauren agreed. Who? Killer or Wayne - Stephanie giggles. As they agree they’ll have to diversify and try other contests Stephanie offers to sing in the Snow Maiden contest but the others can only look at each other knowing Steph , is not as good as she thinks she is. At another Sleepover , Oddjob plays butler pouring them Cokes.( this was a usual scene for most 80's robots probably from seeing R2D2 reduced to waiter on Jabba the Hut’s hover-boat in Return of the Jedi - Radio Shack , Sears and other toy companys like Tomy put out all kinds of ‘robots’ basically little remote control dustbins that could do little more than hold a tray of drinks - they could definitely not pour them , occasionally they could be taught to say a few words , but other than that most cute robots were fictional. ) As some of the boys in their class get wind of the contest they begin bettingWayne things ( like baseball hats ) that the girls will win - making the girls more determined than ever. Catastrophe! The snow is melting what to do? Their little penguins they’d counted on are slumped and melting. Oddjob to the rescue - they program him to cut blocks of ice and they stack them into a castle shape , while Wayne battling soggy snow throws a temper tantrum as his snow fort collapses. Steph’s mother goes into labor early leaving one of them to take her place lip syncing and dancing in the Snow Maiden contest , Patti the shyest person of them all agrees to do it and guess what - another nod to Short Circuit , hands down wins the contest when Oddjob rolls up onto the stage and dances with Patti. As they celebrate winning enough gift certificates to buy the jacket - they get a call from Steph and learns Mrs. Green had twins and Patti has solved the problem of using Bullwinkle in the sled dog race by getting him to
follow the only command he listens to - Get your Ball. While Patti throws rubber balls from a bag full of them on her lap , Wayne’s dog chases after a rabbit. Pleased with their victory they are unsure about the baby present until Steph says so we’ll buy two regular jackets and decorate them , you’re supped to be the brains here , she kids Patti. Sleepover Friends forever. Oh and the twins they were named the popular 80's up and coming name of Emma and Jeremy.

For another 80's Christmas robot check out the t.v. classic The Night they Saved Christmas - if you can get your hands on it. The movie is a spectacular hoot - when I was little I must've watched it a hundred times. It's about a man Michael Baldwin living in Alaska near the north pole with his family on an oil drilling operation - His wife Claudia ( Jacklyn Smith ) is ready to leave him and head back to L.A with their kids , serious minded David , C.B. a whiny troublemaker with Masters of the Universe bedsheets, and quiet Mary Anne. While Michael is in crunch time to bring in oil he gets a vist from a short ( not quite dwarf ) man named Ed , chief elf asking would he stop drilling on site B or he'll blow up Santa Claus in Northpole City. Michael thinks it's his competition and laughs uproariously as does his family with the exception of C.B. But when the elf drops by and invites the family to visit Santa at Northpole city - Claudia can't resist even if it is a joke. The elf drives them in a reindeer zephyr ( a self propelled sled parked near a candy cane telephone post- with a candy-cane telephone ) into Northpole city hidden behind a huge ice wall. The elves give them quilted overall jumpsuits to wear like everyone else ( all of them embroidered with a reindeer on the front.) Some of the stuff seems to be out of a Sears catalog - I could swear the snowman mugs they drink cocoa out of at Northpole city were readily available - I even think one of my teachers had one. As for the robot I think he too was available. Art Carney makes a good non-typical Santa who gets grumpy over his elves singing Jingle Bells ( after a hundred years he's had it.) There's a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo about molecular disintergration machines , time slowing machines to explain how Santa does everything but most of the fun lay in the colorful sets and the distinctive music. And Santa trying to convince Claudia he's real so she can convince her hubby to stop dynamiting. She comes home with a gift from the Claus's a beautiful star treetopper but can't convince anyone to stop dynamiting everyone thinks they were kidnaped and drugged! Even her husband! The kids of course take the situation into their own hands and head to Northpole city and Claudia follows them telling Santa that the dynamiting has not been canceled. Pal the robot makes his entrance
he knows riddles , and can help with homework ( but won't cheat! ) and unlike real robots can carry on a conversation following which is a jazzy country song 'Gotta be ready by Christmas Eve' sung by the elves in the toy work shop. Tremors threaten the fun that the North Pole is going to be dynamited on Christmas eve and is only stopped in a matter of minutes when they learn they struck oil on site A. Claudia , David and MaryAnne are dropped off by Santa on Christmas eve with Pal for C.B. and when Michael's stuffy boss hears sleigh bells outside and asks whats that? Pal answers Santa Claus! Great Fun!

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The real Bruce Patman

The real Bruce Patman
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The Real Lila

The Real Lila
Same soft , dreamy look!