‘Dress Me, Ultima,’ ‘Last of the Topekans’ quite popular flicks

Last week’s column about scrambled movie titles drew some interesting emails from local readers. We heard from Geri Herrera and Chad Boliek. And though it shames me to admit it, some of their responses were cleverer than mine.

  1. The first item dealt with an invasion at our own Memorial Middle School and featured a leader whose body received extra pigment because of exposure to the sun. According to Boliek, the movie, “Red Dawn,” featured Red Juan or Big Red Juan.
  2. This item was about a swordsman whose performance earned him low grades. Both Geri and Chad correctly came up with The Mark of Zero. Strange, but “The Mark of Zero” was a term I became familiar with early in my school days, studying under a nun named Sister Mary Muchos Zeros.
  3. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a beautician? Chåad titled that movie “The Triminator” and Geri called it “Conan the Barber.” My entry was “The Permanator.”
  4. This film dealt with the almost-local film, based on Rudolfo Anaya’s novel, “Bless Me, Ultima.” I mentioned the difficulty the curandera, Ultima, had in preparing the kids for school each morning. A guess by Chad was “Bless Me, Mrs. Doubtfire.” Though it’s clever, it’s off. Geri wins that round, with “Dress Me, Ultima.”
  5. The movie based on New York City teenaged gangs drew “Wet Side Story” from both Chad and Geri. Chad added “West Side Stormy,” which is much cleverer than some of the Run of DeMille titles I could have submitted.
  6. Another film featuring New York City scuffles dealt with how the hooligans styled their hair before a rumble. Geri suggested “Gang Bang,” which is close. I had chosen “Bangs of New York.
  7. This movie, directed by Philip Kaufman, features Ed Harris and John Glenn, who crash-landed in theaters. About the only thing we could decipher from the movie’s title is “The Night Fluff.” But both readers corrected the title and made it “The Right Stuff.”
  8. Roddy McDowall made sure to provide coverage for Charlton Heston’s bare behind in this movie. McDowall located clusters of low-hanging fruit to make Heston appear decent. Chad and Geri correctly answered “Planet of the Grapes.
  9. This item refers to an unusual fish dish wish in a classy restaurant, and an answer that was way too easy. The clue was about eating a dish of barbecued panda, and both participants posited “A Dish Called Panda.”
  10. A movie that tested readers’ spelling and punctuation skills dealt with commas. And in yet another too-easy item both Geri and Chad came up with “Coma.”
  11. Bill Murray starred as a member of a pork-chewing family that eschews beef but digs bacon and ham. These ingredients were best served after being run through a grinder. Hence, “Ground Hog Day.” Both readers received an “A” for this guess.
  12. Both readers correctly guessed the title of this item that starred Marlon Brando as a restaurant owner whose customers like a bit of fish added to their Cobb salads. And appropriately, both readers came up with “The Codfather.”
  13. This item I had hoped would stump all because it requires extensive knowledge of American History and geography. It deals with a novel by James Fenimore Cooper and covers a battle that went bad for one of the sides. The military leaders recruited their army from residents of the capital city of Kansas.

Geri offered a close-enough guess in titling the movie, “The Last of the Chiefs,” (isn’t the Kansas City Chiefs football team always last?) but Chad came closer with “The Last of the Topekans.”

• • •

One of my tri-monthly pleasures is donating blood at the Santa Fe U.B.S. center. The pleasure generally comes after I’ve been drained, as I will forever be queasy about the needle, the sight of blood and my exaggerating tendencies that make me think of the needle as the size of a garden hose.

I got into the habit of donating blood about 30 years ago. I’d received a transfusion for a bleeding ulcer, and accordingly the personnel at what was then Northeast Regional Hospital knew my blood type.

I don’t usually receive 3 a.m. phone calls, but this time it was serious. An elderly man was in urgent need of my type of blood. The phlebotomist phoned and asked me to rush to the hospital.

As I drove there, I imagined people like Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather waiting with a battery of cameramen. But all I saw was a dingy-looking man with a needle whose girth was like that of a hula-hoop.

Although I soon learned my donation hadn’t been enough to save the recipient, I felt good in trying to help another. My donation record exceeds 100 units, almost all at the Santa Fe center.
In addition to being able to joke with two of the employees, Consuelo and James, I like the experience of trying to help.

I mentioned how many young people have turned their bodies into billboards, with scores of tattoos covering large portions of their bodies. She explained that professionally applied tattoos seldom present risks. It’s the markings applied through less sterile means that sometimes disqualify potential donors.

That’s comforting, regardless of the perceived size of the needle.

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