Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Disney Classic #9: Fun and Fancy Free

This one is one of the "package films" that I think really works. Like "Ichabod and Mister Toad" this has two stories combined to make a movie.

The film starts off with Jimminy Cricket putting on a record of the story Bongo. I love how that instantly dates the film. If this was a George Lucas film they would digitally insert an iPod.

Bongo is about a circus bear that leaves the circus and falls in love.

But then the object of his affection slaps the taste out of his mouth.

He's confused and sad. But this is only because he doesn't know that's how wild bears show affection.

Bears like to show love with a slap.

Just like Chris Brown.

Actually, I'm kidding. Chris Brown likes to show love with repeated violent blows to the face.

No, that's not really true. Chris Brown doesn't know a thing about love. Ahhh, I'm picturing Chris getting eaten by a circus bear. Yum, team breezy!

I like the Bongo story! It's funny, cute and well made.

Next there is a great live action segment. See Jimminy is in Luana Patten's house and he finds out she is at a party with Charlie McCarthy:
We get some really fun footage of Charlie and Mortimer Snerd telling jokes and hamming it up then Edgar Bergen tells the story of Jack and the Beanstalk and we see Mickey, Donald and Goofy act it out:
Throughout this half of the movie Charlie occasionally interrupts and the film wraps up back in the live action world.

This film really works for me. The two segments run about 30 minutes each and, although the connection is pretty loose, Jimminy ties it all together and it feels like a movie.

I give this 5 bear slaps out of 5.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Disney Classic #8 Make Mine Music

This is another one of those "package films" where a bunch of shorts are put together in... a... package.

 First short is called Blue Bayou:



This is a bit on the dull side. Pretty to look at and the music is good, but it really doesn't start the film off with a bang.

Oddly the film was supposed to start off with a bang: with The Martins and the Coys:


If ya saw this film in theaters this hillbilly hootenanny would have started things off. For some reason (likely the booze and gun play) this was cut from the DVD. Too bad. It's fun in a Tom and Jerry way and really would have set a different tone to start this off.

Next after Blue Bayou was All the Cats Join In:


This short was sexy! Take a look at the screen caps:


Sexy naked cartoon lady!



Next is Without You


I would have called this boring a few minutes ago but I think I get the idea of this film, now. We go from upbeat to relaxing. It's fun!

Casey at the Bat is next. Home run!


 This means of course we have a snoozefest next. It's called Two Silhouettes:



Next we get one of my favorites! Peter and the Wolf:


I had the book/record of this when I was a kid. It changed me. To this day I still wait for chimes to turn a page.


After You've Gone is next. Even the title is boring:


Next is the delightful Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet  about hats in love:


Finally we get Willie The Operatic Whale which combines the silliness of 1/2 of the shorts with the somberness of the other half.
 

It's a fun movie and easy to watch. But it doesn't need to be watched as a feature at all. You could certainly break this up and watch whichever short you like at any time. I would not say the same thing about Saludos Amigos or Fantasia.

So, I give it five yawns out of a possible five. Yawns are good in this scenario, btw.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Presidents at Disneyland

I love Disneyland. I constantly search for new books and video on the subject. When I am there I spend way too long looking to find something new.

I also love Presidents. Not romantically. Not yet at least.

So it was utter joy when I found a video that showed several still pictures of U.S. Presidents at the fabled park. Then I went to the Disneyland Hotel where they had a few other photos of Presidents who went to Disneyland.

Here is President Reagan:

This is a shot of him in 1990, just after leaving the presidency. He was giving a speech to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Disneyland.

Of course Reagan was also at Disneyland for the opening day:


And he was there as Governor of California:


His successor, George H. Bush was also shown in the video:

This was an undated clip, and it was possibly taken at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. However, the neat thing is that this may have been taken during his term as President of the United States.

None of Reagan's photos were taken when he was president, just before or after his presidency. Reagan did send video taped messages to Disneyland for specials and Christmas parades during his two terms. But most of his visits were before he was in office.

George H. Bush had also been there before he was president as this photo proves:

Of course this photo, like the one of Governor Reagan was at the Disneyland Hotel. This is an odd photo. You have the future President of the United States sitting with the hotel manager, Jose Arias. But something seems wrong. Look at how Bush is twisting his arm all the way around... notice how large his head appears and notice his lack of neck.

I think Jose cut and pasted this whole picture just to impress his friends.

Or it could just be an awkward photo... but I am keeping an eye on Jose.

Here is President Jimmy Carter in a photo that appeared on the wall of the Disneyland Hotel:

Jimmy is jogging through Disneyland, right past the (then) current home of America Sings, it was the former home of The Carousel of Progress and the future home of Innoventions.
Wow. I am not sure what I am more impressed by, President Jimmy Carter or that plot of land. They have both accomplished so much.

President Nixon also visited Disneyland quite a few times in his life:

This photo shows him getting into one of the Submarines. Nixon was a close friend of Walt Disney's apparently, and he appeared in a number of specials going back to the early days of Disneyland.

I have also seen photos of Nixon at Epcot, years after his presidency and Ive read of his visits to Disneyland's Club 33 (a members only club) during his term in office.

John F. Kennedy also visited Disneyland... maybe.

This photo appears in the montage at the beginning of the Disneyland 35th Anniversary special. It appears among a handful of pictures of other Presidents who were clearly at Disneyland. This photo, however, could have been taken in any hallway in the country. If Jose was in it I would be able to say it was a fake for sure.

Wait! I found another photo and more info:
This was indeed during Kennedy's term as a US Senator,  he was touring with the President of the Republic of Guinea in 1959. Plus we can see he is in front of the Disneyland Railroad.

Eisenhower, was filmed on the Mine Train Thru Natures Wonderland:

...and on Main Street:


Here is Harry Truman in front of one of Disney's steam trains:

Most recently, in January 2012, President Obama, gave a speech in front of the castle:

So, those are the photos. Now, let's recap:
The following Presidents had the opportunity to visit Disneyland (or it's hotel/resort area):
Herbert Hoover (d. 1964)
Harry Truman (d. 1974)
Dwight D. Eisenhower (d. 1969)
John F. Kennedy (d. 1963)
Lyndon B. Johnson (d. 1973)
Richard Nixon (d 1994)
Gerald Ford (d. 2006)
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan (d. 2004)
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

We have photographic proof that the following attended at some point in their lives:
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Barack Obama

The remaining presidents are:
Herbert Hoover
Lyndon B. Johnson
Gerald Ford
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush

I need to find out more! So, I wrote to the libraries of the remaining ex-presidents. Here is the responses I got:
Dear Mr. Hutchinson:

Thank you for contacting the Clinton Presidential Library. Unfortunately, I was not able to find any information about President Clinton appearing at any of the Disney parks.

If we can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,
Kelly Hendren
Archivist



No Clinton. I like that she used the word "appearing" like he was going to be playing his sax in a lounge behind the castle.

Mr. Hutchinson:

Thank you for your interest in Herbert Hoover. Mr. Hoover never visited Disneyland, though he was acquainted with Walt Disney through their mutual work with the Boys Clubs of America.

Sincerely,
Spencer Howard
Archives Technician
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

Notice that Spencer Howard is not an "archivist" like Kelly. He is an "Archives Technician"! That sounds so much cooler.

Dear Mr. Hutchinson:
Thank you very much for contacting the Ford Library with your question. I did not locate documentation that President Ford participated at a public event at a Disney Park while he was president.

However, his daughter made two visits to Walt Disney World while her father was in the White House. First, on 6/28/1975, she made a semi-private visit to the park when she was in Florida for an event in Tampa. The Library has a few documents that mention the Disney portion of the trip in Box 5 of the Peter Sorum Papers. On June 20, 1976, Susan opened the new "River Country" area of Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL. In Box 44 of the Sheila Weidenfeld Files there are approximately 25 pages of material related to this event, including schedules, press releases from Disney, and newspaper and magazine coverage.

Mickey Mouse was at the White House for a Christmas party for children of diplomats and when Susan Ford was crowned Queen Shenandoah in May 1975. Disney executives were at the White House for a couple of additional occasions.

The Library does have photographs of many of these events as well. If you are interested in photos, please contact Ken Hafeli at kenneth.hafeli@nara.gov or (734) 205-0568.

If you would more information or would like photocopies of documents related to the above events, I can select and photocopy up to 10 pages at no charge. For photocopy orders over 10 pages, I can photocopy the entire contents of any folder for $0.75/page.

Also, in September 1978 (after he left office), President Ford went to Walt Disney Studios to participate in a congratulatory message for Mickey Mouse for his 50th birthday. I suggest that you contact Disney for more information about this.

I hope that this information is helpful to your project. Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions.

Sincerely,

Stacy Davis
Archivist

Gerald R. Ford Library
1000 Beal Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Telephone: (734)205-0563
Fax (734) 205-0571
E-mail: stacy.davis@nara.gov
Library website: http://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov

Look at the big brain on Stacy! Wow! Really, maybe "archivists" are better.

That is a whole bunch of info.

Anyway, we are left with the knowledge that a majority of U.S. Presidents have been to a Disney park.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Giant Gonzalez


Go ahead... drink that in.

That tall drink of water in the bigfoot costume was a professional wrestler in the WWF in 1993. That tall drink of water started out as a basketball player, but when he wasn't able to make the NBA he made it to the ring. (I like the expression "tall drink of water" plus I am thirsty right now.)

He is also the only asterisk in The Undertaker's "Wrestlemania Streak". Yes, in the pantheon of fake matches that The Undertaker has had at Wrestlemania he has been selected to win all of them in a decisive fashion- except when he fought this dude.

Here he is in the later modification of his costume:
 Yep. Look at that lady standing next to his furry area. Now look away! Quick!

THE END.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hello, can I get a pepperoni and banana pizza?


R2D2 & C3PO on Sesame Street

Here's weird pop culture mashup: in 1980 the 2 droids from Star Wars appeared on Sesame Street.

This was truly an epic meeting! Big Bird and C3PO together on the same screen! Not since Pacino and De Niro in The Godfather had such a thing been... ah... whatever.

 The show starts off with Big Bird spotting a glowing orb in the sky. Clearly Lucas had nothing to do with the effects here.

I assume one day he will redo this will a CGI spaceship and a motion capture Big Bird.

The episode featured the standard Sesame Street vignettes of the day with an ongoing story of R2D2 delivering a message to Oscar the Grouch.
A full write up can be found here.

A few months later they returned. Since the budget for the year had been used up on the floating orb they arrived in a bus:
 I am pretty sure there is something in Dianetics about robots arriving from outer space in buses. I can only imagine this was put in the show because Snufalupagus is a hard core scientologist.
R2D2 fell in love with a fire hydrant.Yep. He's an sophisticated robot and he thinks fire hydrants are too. Hey look "are too" like R2! Ha!

Yes, I am a sophisticated person and I think "are too" was funny.

You can read about the second episode here

Sadly, the full episode isn't online, but you can see a couple clips below:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pretty mediocre photographic fakery, they cut off Gonzo's head

Here's the poster for the recent Muppets film.



The poster is full of obscure Muppets like "the big blue guy" and "the blonde hippie muppet chick".

Plus upfront we get the two human stars and the new Walter puppet.

The movie was very successful as far as Muppet films go... but Disney had poured so much money into promotion that, when it was outgrossed by Chipwrecked, it was just a moderate success.

So, the promotion department at Disney made some changes to the art for the DVD:





Jason Segel has been cast off to the bottom corner. Amy Adams fares slightly better... but Walter? He's squashed into the top.

Obscure Muppets have been banished and, worst of all:




Look above Amy's head. See Gonzo's arms? Yep. Do you see his head?

Nope.
Headless Gonzo=DVD sales.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentines Marathon

As has become my way to celebrate any and all holidays I cranked up my DVD player on Valentines Day and started watching Valentine's themed shows:



Hey look! Conan O'Brien was the producer on this one! I think that means you have a thin mustache and you talk with a cigar in your mouth... as opposed to a director, for that you need a beard and a talk into a megaphone.



This is the one where Ralph gets a Valentine from Lisa and misinterprets her intentions. I love it because it has lots of Ralph in it. Most of the show actually has to do with Presidents Day so I will probably watch it again this Monday.



I watched this "classic" cartoon. By classic I mean old and public domain.



Animated W.C. Fields in the hizzouzze!




I watched a Punky Brewster show. She gets a kiss from a boy on Valentines Day and then blackens his eye.



She then dreams she grows old alone. Henry is 140 in the dream sequence. The dog grows a bear and wears glasses because he is old. Yep.



Pink Panther graced my TV in an 80s special called Pink at First Sight.



We also saw a sexy lady panther.



I watched a King of Queens episode. Oddly it was before Gary Valentine was a cast member.
 Alf! Alf Alf Alf, Alf Alf Alf. (sing to the tune of the Rocky theme.)
I also watched two Charlie Brown specials. I may have just watched one twice. It's hard to tell.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sega CD Cowboys vs 49ers

Heres an odd game I bought in a Superbowl frenzy.




It's a Sega CD game that reminds me of the Micro League titles from Commodore 64. Does that make sense to anyone? Probably not.

I used to say I was "more Commodore 64 than Nintendo 64" but now both are so ridiculously old the comparison seems pointless.

Here's how you play:


First you get to choose a play. Sorta like Madden... assuming that's still a relevant title. I haven't been to CompUSA in a few years...




After choosing a play you watch some pixelated video of your play. Did it work? Stare at the screen and find out!




After you get a touchdown you see cheerleaders and hear a Hank Williams Jr. sound alike.

They don't make em like this anymore.

With good reason.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Q-Tip head

Every time I watch Star Wars The Phantom Menace (so like twice) I wonder about this dude:


No, not the guy on the right who looks like Lebowski, the other dude:


What's up with this guy? How is that neck possible in any universe?

A simple case of whiplash would turn his head into a tether ball.

Even a beer helmet would be too heavy for that neck! It would snap like a Slim Jim.



Actually what if they don't HAVE beer helmets in Star Wars? That makes me sadder than when Spock died and Yoda was stuck training Luke Skywalker to be as nasty as he wanted to be.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Wiarton Willy

I was so excited by Groundhog Day this year I spent almost $40 on a board game based on the Willy, the groundhog who predicts the weather in Wiarton.

Wiarton is somewhere in Canada and Willy is albino. I couldn't think of a witty way to insert that info into the last paragraph.




This game is a pretty small time affair. I couldn't find much on the net about it.



This photo on the back of the box. This was a clue that the game wasn't made this year.



This was another clue! A certificate stating that I have an "early" printing of the game. Yep.

It's dated march 1999. I guess Wiarton Willy's Great Adventure never swept the nation.

Or maybe it did. I don't know much about Canada.



It's a simple roll, move & look at cards game. I enjoyed it.

According to the cards Wiarton is a dangerous place.


Rattlesnakes and bobcats roam the street.


Plus Fox is sniffing around everywhere. They probably wanted to make a show to replace Married With Children. 1999 was a rough year for Fox.




On the back of the rule sheet an address has been crossed out and erased.

Some poor schlep probably had to do this on each copy.

Must have taken at least 2 minutes.