It was sad news this morning when I awoke to hear Rue McClanahan had passed away very early in the morning hours today. Rue is best known for her role as Blanche Devereaux on the television series Golden Girls. Hard to believe now, but at the time the show was very controversial for its depicting an older generation of women as being sexually active, and the character Blanche was the most hot-to-trot of the four women in the cast.
Rue started appearing in film and television roles in the early 1960’s and had become a staple on television since the 1970s where she joined Bea Arthur on Maude as Vivian Harmon. She later became a regular for first season of Mama’s Family which was spun off of the Carol Burnett Show before Rue landed the role she would most be recognized for. Initially the producers of the show wanted Rue for the role of Rose as the character was similar to the one she played in Maude. Betty White was originally courted for the role of Blanche as it was very similar to her role as Sue Ann Nivans in the legendary Mary Tyler Moore Show. Fortunately, Rue and Betty weren’t interested in retreading characters similar to what they’ve done in the past and swapped the roles and the show and the show became legendary reaching audiences well outside of just the older crowd.
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Last night I attended an “Ugly Sweater Party” at the home of a local friend, Mike Kurtz. The premise of the party is that you’re suppose to find an ugly sweater or sweatshirt to wear to the party. You have the option of buying something new that’s hideous or comb the racks of the local thrift stores to find something ugly. It’s just a fun excuse to have a great theme party.
The party is also a pot luck of sorts and I brought some cookies. I didn’t have time to make some sugar free ones so I just bought some pre-made cookie dough packages from the supermarket and baked those up for the party. Pretty quick and easy. Some people did some creative things, such as one person brought a whole plate of olives that were creatively stacked and stuffed with some carrots and cream to look like penguins. Mike and his partner Ian had wonderful meatballs for the party.
To compliment the theme of ugly sweaters, one of the worst television holiday specials ever was screened. It’s the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. It’s so bad that George Lucas has said if he had the time and a hammer he would track down every bootleg recording of it and smash it. And yes, it was horrible. I’m amazed they got the original actors to consent to making this steaming pile of crap holiday special. The sets looked terrible. The costumes were pretty bad, especially the Wookies that made up the rest of Chewbacca’s family. Even the animation for the cartoon segment introducing Boba Fett was bad too.
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