Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Mister Rogers Museum Exhibit

Before he died, Mister Rogers created an exhibit for the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh.

The exhibit has been on tour and I caught it recently at the Port Discovery Museum in Baltimore.

When you enter you are greeted by Mister Rogers himself via videocassette. He talks to kids and parents about why this exhibit was created. Luckily I arrived right when the museum opened so I got to hear the whole thing. Exactly five minutes after I arrived, the place was swarming with children and the place was as loud as Herb's jacket (sorry, I have been watching too much WKRP in Cincinnati.)
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Then there is a full sized replica of the Mister Rogers set.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Sitting on the replica bench seat was a GENUINE pair of Mister Rogers shoes! Good lord! It's like seeing John Lennon's guitar or Ty Cobb's bat.

A pair of Mister Rogers' shoes! This very pair was tossed into the air as he sung "it's such a good feeling."

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Over in the closet were a bunch of replica sweaters for the kids to try on, but there was also a GENUINE Mister Rogers sweater! Wow! First the shoes and now THIS! This was like seeing John Lennon's drug stash or the gun Ty Cobb used to kill the elevator operator that got too "sassy" for his tastes.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

This exhibit was probably great for kids, but it was also very cool for anyone who has a nostalgic connection to Fred Rogers.

Check out Mister Rogers' front porch:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Near the front porch was a familiar sight:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
It's a traffic light, just like the one in Fred's TV house. It had a sign above it asking "why is there a traffic light in your living room?"
Fred's answer was a simple one: he had gotten it as a gift and didn't know what else to do with it.

The question of "why did 4 teenagers have to die because your friends stole a traffic signal creating an uncontrolled intersection snuffing out 4 potentially bright futures?" was thankfully unanswered.

Also on hand was Lady Elaine's Museum Go Round and a floor that looked like a giant Twister game:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

If you go, don't try "left hand red, right foot purple." It really, really hurts.

Daniel Striped Tiger's "hand-less" clock is also recreated at the museum. I got on the other side and started mixing drinks for the kids.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

There was also a lot to learn on signs displayed throughout the museum.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
This one explains why they show so many factory tours on Mister Rogers. Another explains why Union factory workers are so grumpy.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
I am pretty goofy.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Inside the castle were doors for every letter of the alphabet. Behind "A" was an apple. Behind "B" was the body of a guy who crossed a Union factory picket line.

Behind letter "D" was my favorite (get ready to say "awwwww"):
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Darling Daniel.

Hey, remember when we talked about the Mister Rogers episode where he soaked his feet? There was a sign about THAT episode in the museum:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Rogers and neighbor Officer Francois had soaked their feet TWICE on the show, a few decades apart.

After the shock of learning of the OTHER foot soaking episode I headed off to X the Owl and Henrietta Pussycats tree house.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

After scaring a bunch of kids I headed off to the trolley:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

A push of a button moved trolley around his hermetically sealed bubble.

And on the other side of the museum a full sized trolley stood for kids to explore and grown men without shame to pose for pictures in.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

I didn't see anything else in the museum, but I really liked this museum. It was a bunch of fun and gave me lots of insight into factories and foot soaking.

Since I really can't think of a good way to close this article, let me leave you with another foot soaking picture:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Visit to the Cheers Bar

It's a pretty simple mistake. I bet everyone has done it at some point.

Haven't you confused Maryland and Massachusetts?

Well, I did.

After watching a marathon session of "Cheers" episodes I decided to make a pilgrimage to the REAL Cheers bar: The bar that was used for exterior shots and was the inspiration for the TV show.

I grabbed a handful of CDs (Kenny Rogers, Roy Rogers and Mister Rogers - THE ROGERS HOLY TRINITY), dove into my car and drove like a duke boy toward "THE" Cheers Bar.
Actually, the GPS system just said it was "A" Cheers bar.

I should have been more specific.

After a long drive I wound up here:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

It was a nice friendly tavern just outside of Baltimore shamelessly stealing the name Cheers. Here is one of their ads:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Boy, that reminds me of the show! Not Cheers, but the Ed Sullivan Show. He once had a guy on that could spin a mug on a fork as they played circus music.

It also reminds me of Cub Scout camp when would toast mugs of beer over a fire.

Or maybe that was marshmallow...

No, I think it was Cub Scout camp. I don't even know what marshmallow camp is.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

In conclusion, I liked the Cheers bar. It was fun. The interior did remind me of Cheers, and they had lots of pool tables.

Sadly they did not have a know-it-all mailman.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Pinocchio's Daring Journey

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Here is a neat little dark ride that is at Disneyland Park in fabulous Anaheim California. It opened back in May of 1983.

There are two other "Pinocchio's Daring Journey" rides.

One, in Tokyo Disneyland, opened April 1983. The other is in Paris and opened in 1992.

As you walk up to the building you see a small Pinocchio puppet standing above you. He might dance. I don't quite remember. I usually see him for the briefest of moments simply because "Pinocchio's Daring Journey" rarely has any line.

This makes it one of my favorites.

I am always surprised the line isn't longer. You usually walk up and jump right on.

As you enter your vehicle (a "wooden" toy car) you pass by an awesome painting of Pinocchio and company.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The painting depicts Pinocchio being greeted by Honest John, Gideon and the evil coachman. In the background we see a coach headed toward Pleasure Island.

The ride itself is relatively fast moving and clocks in at around 2 minutes. It starts with Pinocchio working as a puppet in a show. Soon Stromboli puts him in a cage next to what appears to be one of the puppets from "It's a small world."

He puts us in a cage too.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Now we are off to Pleasure Island where we see Mona Lisa with a mustache. I guess she's Italian.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Honest John and Gideon are here, too. They are playing that carnival game where you hit that thing with a hammer... uh... not whack-a-mole... uh... lets just call it Hammer Time.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Stop - Hammer Time!

Soon the coachman says "go ahead, make a jackass outta yourself" and sure enough Lampwick turns into one. Pinocchio thinks this is funny.

I should take him to a burn ward. He'd get some good chuckles there.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

If only we had paid attention to the overall "donkey theming" Pleasure Island we could have avoided this!

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Then the donkeys are taken to the salt mines.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

We escape at the last second (I don't know if we ever became donkeys) and we then narrowly escape being eaten by Monstro the whale.

Then we are home free. We get a visit from the blue fairy and Figaro is so happy he wiggles his feet.

I am a bit confused at this point weather we were supposed to BE Pinocchio, or just someone following him.

And we might still be donkeys.

And I bet that game wasn't actually called Hammer Time.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

It's a fun couple of minutes full of awesome black light effects and it was the first Disney attraction to use holographic technology.

I don't actually know what that is (except that I had a Trapper Keeper with a hologram on it and it was also used as a plot device in every episode of Scooby Doo.)

I give "Pinocchio's Daring Journey" 4 stars.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Disney's Angels in the Outfield Theme Park attraction

Sure, we all remember the classic Disney live action romp Angels in the Outfield. It was a classic tale of good and evil with everything a movie goer could ask for.

We get a look at spirituality. We learn that while angels can help crappy ball teams cheat, they can't interfere in championship play.

God is sneaky like that.

We get to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt two years before he played a young Tommy Solomon on "3rd Rock from the Sun" and six years before we all forgot about him completely.

And, as a special bonus, they killed off Tony Danza.

Yeah, Angels in the Outfield rocked.

So, it was only fitting that Disney turn it into a mega theme park attraction:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Yeah, that's it.

The Angels in the Outfield attraction is one of those boardwalk games where you throw baseballs at a bunch of wooden targets in the hopes of knocking down two with only three balls.

You will notice in the photo that THREE of the targets are down.

Yeah, I am that damn good.

Anyway, this game is located in the Paradise Pier section of Disney's California Adventure park in fabulous Anaheim California.

California Adventure is located just across from Disneyland in space that was once the Disneyland parking lot. You could throw a stone from California Adventure to Disneyland park, but they won't let you.

Stupid Disney security force.

Anyway, Paradise Pier is one of the themed "lands" of California Adventure. It resembles a Southern California boardwalk, complete with a roller coaster and a fake tattoo parlor. The Angels in the Outfield themed booth is one of the many booths you can try your luck at for a couple bucks (after you pay $50 to get in.)

The targets are all painted to look like catchers extending their mitts. Lined up side by side, it looks like an army of Benito Santiagos are staring you down.

Then you toss the baseballs, and, if you are lucky you leave with a monkey.

They have monkeys in blue, green and pink.

After I won I took home the blue monkey. I like to pretend that he is not getting enough oxygen and is dangerously sick.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Philadelphia goes Hollywood

Los Angeles is a great place to eat. You can find almost every kind of cuisine imaginable.

Whenever I am in L.A. I always try and find some new cuisine I have never tried. This year I found an Ethiopian restaurant. But, after sitting there for 40 minutes with no food and flies buzzing around my eyes I decided to dine elsewhere.

On this day that was South Street.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

South Street is the name of the restaurant, not the name of the street. There are actually three South Streets in L.A. One in Westwood, one in Burbank and a third location inside Dodger Stadium. None of them are on a street called South Street. There are also 2 streets named South Street in Southern California. Neither of them house a restaurant called South Street.

Anyway, the one I visited was in Burbank, just outside of Hollywood. The restaurant is pretty plain from the outside. But once you enter, it's like you are transported to Philadelphia - but I mean that in a good way.

I knew I was going to like the place when I found poster sized print of the Phillie Phanatic on the wall.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The Phanatic visited the restaurant as part of his recent DVD The Phanatic Goes Hollywood. He certainly made a great impression, they added a special menu item just for him.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Unfortunately, they spelled his first name wrong. The lovable green mascot spells his first name "Phillie" not "Philly."

Anyway, the "Philly Phanatic is a pizza with pepperoni, sausage, peppers, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes and onions.

But, pizza is not the signature item at South Street.

That would be the cheese steak.

So, that is what I ordered. It was pretty good. The bun to meat ratio was a bit lopsided (too much bun, not enough meat) but other than that it was fine.

The coolest thing about South Street for me was the Philadelphia sports memorabilia.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

They had pennants and photos on the walls, and a couple glass display cases filled to the brim with awesome knick knacks.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

My favorite was two seats from Veterans Stadium which hosted the Phillies and the Eagles from the early 1970s until the early 2000s.

It was replaced by two other stadiums, nether was named in tribute to America's Veterans. They were named after banks. Hey, maybe some of the vets own a bank. Then they can get a stadium named after them.

The new stadiums were great, as for Veteran's Stadium, it was a drab ugly stadium. Still, I felt a pang of nostalgia as I sat down in the chair for a moment.

Then the surfer dude behind the counter said "Hey, those are for display only."

To which I responded "I'm displayin'."

"Displayin' what?"

"Displayin' around."

Then we laughed and laughed.

Aside from the sports memorabilia, a few other nods to Philadelphia are on the walls. A large list of facts about the city is displayed, some Liberty Bell photos and a few Frankie Avalon records.

Outside hung another long list, a list of famous Philadelphians.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Overall, the place was a blast. The food was good and it had a good atmosphere. I definitely recommend it over the REAL South Street which is located in a rather scary section of Philadelphia.

Even the Phanatic stays away from there.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Movie Marathons - The Criterion Edition

A long time ago bunchojunk.com presented a silly little article called "Movie Marathons." You can read the original version here .

Get ready for some fun! I have completely re-mastered and spell checked the article Movie Marathons. For this special Criterion Edition I have added the following:

-Directors commentary
-Photo Gallery
-Behind the scenes
-Deleted scenes

Have you ever been to a movie marathon?
A movie marathon is when a bunch of movies are shown back-to-back-to-back.

A marathon can be held at home, or in a theater. There are very few rules to the movie marathon.

One unbendable rule is THERE MUST BE AT LEAST THREE FILMS. Really, that's a must. Two films is just a double feature, and one film is just ONE FILM. Unless it's MARATHON MAN, then I guess it's sort of a marathon, but not really.

Director's Commentary:
This is a pretty strong opening. It was kind of difficult to do. I figured most people reading already knew what a movie marathon was. Still, I decided to put in an explanation for anyone who didn't know. Then for those who wanted comedy I threw in the Marathon Man line. It's not actually funny, but it SEEMS like it is. That is always more important.

The other rule is that the movies should have some kind of a theme. This is more pliable than the 'three film' rule.

Director's Commentary:
I had heard someone say pliable earlier that day. That's why I threw it in. I am still not sure I used it correctly.

I suppose you could run:
The Butterfly Effect
Apollo 13
Care Bears The Motion Picture
& Hoop Dreams

You could pretend that that was movie marathon. Now a true veteran of the movie marathon would make a theme to connect these movies:
The Butterfly Effect: Butterflies have wings and can FLY.
Apollo 13: About a ship that is LAUNCHED into space.
Care Bears The Motion Picture: A bunch of bears that live on a CLOUD.
& Hoop Dreams: A documentary about basketball players with a HIGH vertical leap.

SEE! This could be the Sky High Marathon!

Another way to pick the films is to go with a series of films. This is easy to do, and the movies are pre-selected. There are obvious choices for this kind of marathon, like the Jurassic Park Trilogy, The Godfather Trilogy or Legally Blonde, Legally Blonde 2, and then just shooting yourself in the head.

-Photo Gallery
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Last year select theaters showed all three Lord Of The Rings films in a marathon fashion. This was sold-out QUICKLY. I assume this is because there is no joy in the world more profound then watching NINE hours of Elijah Wood while sitting next to an unemployed, date-less creep, who smells like cheese doodles and is dressed up as Elijah Wood.

Director's Commentary:
I know it sounds cruel, but most nerds do smell like cheese doodles. If you sensed a bit of bitterness in that paragraph it's because I really wanted to go to the Lord of the Rings marathon. I wanted to experience the action, the drama AND the cheese doodle odor.

I once went to a marathon of Smokey and the Bandit films. It was AWESOME. We all wore fake mustaches and played travel bingo. It was like being a young girl in Italy (except for the travel bingo and the Smokey and the Bandit films.)

You can also do a marathon of three films with the same STAR or DIRECTOR. I attended a marathon of Mr. T films, a marathon of Stallone films and a marathon of films directed by Paul Verhoven.

Whatever films are chosen, it is a good idea to have plenty of food, beverages and no FIREARMS (see Legally Blonde marathon above.)

Soleil Moon Frye began acting at the age of two, after seeing her father and brother on TV. It is interesting to note that although her dad had a normal moniker, her brother, like Soleil, had a silly name.
She then became famous by doing commercials and playing "Punky Brewster" (1984) on NBC.

Here are some marathon suggestions:
The Hamburger Marathon:
1. Good Burger: One of the funniest DUMB movies ever made. The film is about two guys working at a fast food restaurant who uncover an evil plot.
2. Hamburger The Motion Picture: A film about a guy who has to go to a college run by a fast food restaurant. He then uncovers an evil plot.
3. Fast Food: Jim Varney plays an evil fast food owner. Lord knows, he has an evil plot. I bet someone uncovers it.
4. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle: This film is coming soon to a theater near you. I wasn't able to find a plot summary, but I bet it is an EVIL plot summary.

-Behind the scenes
This article was originally published a few weeks before Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. The film was a huge hit eventually ending up at #2 on the list of all time box office grosses. Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle grossed $600,788,187.45- just 55 cents less than Titanic, the #1 film of all time.


The Boy Scout Marathon (featuring movies that have nothing to do with Boy Scouts)
1. The Last Boy Scout: Damon Wayans sasses Bruce Willis.
2. For The Boys: Bette Midler sasses James Caan.
3. The Scout: Albert Brooks coaches a baseball playing Brendan Fraser, and then sasses him.
4. Sleepaway Camp 3: A camp counselor kills campers that sassed her.

Have you ever attended a movie marathon?

-Deleted Scenes
Originally there was a description of Kevin Smith's Vulgarthon film festival that mirrored the Lord of the Rings sequence. It even contained the cheese doodle line. It was removed because test audiences found it dull.

Also, one other marathon was featured:
The Star Wars Marathon:
1. Star Wars (1977)
2. A Star Is Born (1954)
3. The War of the Roses (1989)
4. Yentl (1983)

Monday, August 14, 2006


I loved Clerks II so much. It's a hysterical film from director Kevin Smith and most of it takes place at a burger joint called Mooby's.

Being a big fan of the movie and a bigger fan of burger joints I decided to put on a giant pair of sunglasses and drive to Mooby's.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Notice anything unusual about that photo? (Other than my giant sunglasses?)

Mooby's isn't there anymore.

But it WAS there during the fall of 2005 when the movie was being filmed.

Here is a photo of actress Rosario Dawson on the set during filming:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Note the Days Inn in the background. That's how I found the place. I knew they were filming in an abandoned Burger King next to a Days Inn and near Knotts Berry Farm (a Six Flags-esque theme park 15 minutes north of Disneyland.

With this knowledge and my fantastic sleuthing skills I went to Google Earth...

... where I found this:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

In the top left you see Knotts, in the bottom right you see the Days Inn.

After studying this image for about 45 minutes I found Mooby's:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Then I spent another 45 minutes trying to draw an "arrow" in Photoshop:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

The parking lot is pretty big for a Burger King:
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
This was probably very helpful in giving the crew room to shoot. But, at some point after filming the whole place was demolished, and taken away. Or, it could have been take away in one piece and displayed inside Kevin Smith's comic book store in Red Bank NJ.

That sounds possible, but I was never good at math.

Speaking of Kevin, here is a photo of he and Jason Mewes chatting on the set.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
And here is one more photo of the lot I took from the reverse angle.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
You can see the same trees in both shots.

At least you can if you aren't wearing giant, dark sunglasses.