These titles are scrambled

Back in the olden days, news used to arrive via some very loud, hot, clickety-clackety Teletype machines that seemed to operate with an invisible typist. In reality, someone in the paper’s main bureau was writing and rewriting the day’s news, which arrived locally on sometimes-unattended machines. The Optic had its own Teletype machine, and back in the days when delivery of the hot topics from the local sources was spotty, we used much more “wire” copy, that is, news with out-of-area datelines.

Teletype machines were set to turn on at midnight, and by around 5 a.m., the blooming attached tape puncher would jam, forcing us to retype all the copy, or to decipher what arrived on rolls of perforated tape.

By the way, we saved the millions of perforations in a huge box that made perfect filling for Easter eggs, which revelers would crack on people’s heads during the church’s annual “ˆCascaron Dance” at the armory. (What’s a cascaron? Go ask grandma.)

My new shift began at 5 a.m., and the Teletype was guaranteed to jam around the time I arrived. Once, a paper jam wreaked havoc with some tabular matter, and the listings of the year’s top movies and TV programs arrived jumbled.

That reminded me of a Top 40 hit of the day that had the then-African leader “La Mumba doing the rhumba to the tune of the Blue Tango,” and “President Ike up at the mike singing ‘Are you lonesome tonight?’”

Now, as a challenge, I present a series of movies that contain unlikely combinations of lyrics and titles. In past columns of this type, titles and authors contained only a one-letter change. But this time, the changes may be in synonyms, substitutions, sound-alikes and puns. Figuring out the actual title may be easy, but the real challenge is determining how the titles changed.

If you believe you’re up to the challenge, please email your guesses before Monday, June 26. My address appears at the end of this column.

  1. Out-of-country invaders landed at our Memorial Middle School hoping to take over. The leader of an invasion was a Mexican-American who unfortunately stood out in the sun for several hours before takeoff. He was severely sunburned, and his scarlet complexion made him noticed by all.
  2. In this swashbuckling adventure movie, Tyrone Power plays an avenger in southern California. But his teacher doesn’t care for his performance and marks his performance with a big goose egg.
  3. Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t keep his hands off other people’s hair. In this action-filled movie, everyone who visits Arnold’s shop leaves with a new hairdo.
  4. A New Mexico curandera comes to spend her declining years with a family composed of people whose surnames are Luna and Mares (moon and seas). The youngsters in the host houses are unable to get themselves ready for school each day and start each morning with a plea to the Anciana to help them prepare for school.
  5. You see, these two rival gangs decide to duke it out in a playground in New York City. But they postpone their plans because all it ever does in that city is rain. The Jets and the Sharks decide on a rain check, as nobody, especially Maria, wants to go home drenched.
  6. Two other rival gangs in the Big Apple decide on a rumble, but to make things balanced, they all agree to comb their hair forward and trim it just enough to conceal part of their foreheads.
  7. This movie, directed by Philip Kaufman, features Ed Harris and John Glenn, who crash-land in theaters. About the only thing we could decipher from the movie’s title is “The Night Fluff.”
  8. Only a few seconds into this movie we see Charlton Heston’s bare bottom. Fortunately, co-star Roddy McDowall locates several bunches of purple fruit on this planet to provide some cover.
  9. Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline visit an unusual downtown restaurant to feast on A Dish Called Panda.
  10. This 1978 thriller flick by Robin Cook needed the help of a proofreader, someone with knowledge of punctuation. The producers failed to put, commas in, the right, places. Imagine, misusing a comma, so frequently!
  11. Bill Murray stars in this film about a family who chews pork but eschews hamburger. The family devotes a day in February to enjoy a meal of ham, pork and bacon, not sliced, riced or diced, but ground up.
  12. Marlon Brando gives up killing in favor of running a restaurant that features the best salads in town. Customer’s pay extra for a bit of fish tossed in.
  13. A battle that involves three sides: Native Americans, the British and the French, is featured in a novel by James Fenimore Cooper. The skirmish comes to a halt when a fourth army, joins the action. The Kansas leader soon begs for mercy when he says, “Please don’t hurt us. We come all the way from the Kansas state capital, and there’s just a few of us left.”

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