Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vintage Wonderful World Book Ad

This ad appeared in the back of a Little Golden Book. This particular book has been sitting on the used book sale shelf at my local library since October. It's missing the back cover and several pages inside, but for a dime I figured it was worth salvaging just to scan this ad. However, the title page of the book is among the many pages missing. Therefore, it's hard to date this ad. The latest movie mentioned in the books is Robin Hood which would make this ad mid-70's, however if they are talking about the live-action Robin Hood and not the 1973 animated feature this ad could date back to the early 60's as Sword in the Stone and 101 Dalmatians is mentioned. Either way, it's a neat 4-page ad with some vintage character art work. These books are pretty easy to find at an antique mall or flea market. I've even seen the whole set, with the box, for $20.00.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Baby Gyro

Baby versions of the Disney Characters (known oddly enough as Disney Babies) have been around for almost 25 years now helping sell baby clothes, baby furniture, baby bedding and anything else you might need for a baby. They've also appeared in a number of books geared towards the under 4 set. Usually the Disney Babies consist of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto. Of all the other Disney characters out there, it's kind of strange to find Gyro Gearloose presented in his younger years. In the 1991 book, Safety First, you'll find Baby Mickey along with his good buddy Baby Gyro getting ready for a day at the park. It's odd that they chose Gyro Gearloose for this story, as he's an inventor and yet there are no inventions, gizmos or gadgets in the book.

Here we see Baby Gyro and Baby Mickey, apparently home without adult supervision, enjoying some delicious scalding hot soup. Careful guys, that soup is hot! Always wait for a grown up to fill your bowl with soup! What...no grown ups!? OK, go ahead!

Here Baby Gyro and Baby Mickey head off to the park in the big city all by themselves. At least they remember to stay on the sidewalk and always use the crosswalk!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Disney Nieces

Everybody knows that Donald Duck has three nephews: Huey, Dewey, and Louie. They've appeared in animated shorts, comic books, and they've even had two television series. And most Disney fans are familiar with Mickey Mouse's nephews Mortie and Ferdy, having also appeared in comic books as well as one brief screen appearance plus dozens of children's books. But a group of relatively unknown and low-key group of characters in the Disney universe are The Disney Nieces.

Yes, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck also have young relatives whose exploits are not as well known as their male counterparts. Daisy Duck is actually "Aunt Daisy" to three feisty little gals named April, May and June. According to the official Duck Family Tree, the girls are daughters of Daisy's brother Fred. They first appeared in a 1953 story "Flip Decision" featured in issue 149 of Walt Disney Comics and Stories. As with many of the early Disney characters there seems to be no organized or pre-planned history and background of the characters. An entry from the website HooZoo seems to have best captured the girls history...

April, May and June first appeared as three unnamed nieces of Daisy Duck (WDC&S #149 in the "Donald Duck" Flippism story, Feb. 1953). April was the first to be named ("Dell Giant" #35 in "The Course in Confusion,"1960), and the others were probably assigned names in the "Dell Giant: Uncle Donald and His Nephews, Family Fun" #38 (1960) where they are clearly listed on the Duck Family Tree, as well as being in attendance at Grandma Duck's ranch house. While we do not know who their parents are, it can be assumed that they are probably the daughters of a sister of Daisy Duck's, as was shown in their first appearance. Even at family gatherings their parents are not present, and Daisy usually brings them with her. Unlike the Nephews, they do not live with their Aunt Daisy, though they do visit her quite frequently. The Nephews, their cousins, have a 'love-hate' relationship with the Nieces. Sometimes the boys are fawning over them (i.e., "Dell Giant" #35 in "The Course in Confusion,"1960 or Dell 4C "Daisy Duck's Diary" #1055 in "The Double Date," 1959), while other times the girls are fawning over the boys (i.e., Dell Giant" #38 in "Clubhouse Crashers," 1960); but most times they seem to dislike each other (i.e., "Dell Giant: Donald Duck, Merry Christmas" #53 in "Tough Sledding," 1961). The girls are members of the Junior Chickadee Patrol under the brawny mistress Captain Ramrod, and are often in competition with the boys in the Junior Woodchucks. Most of their adventures concern Daisy or the Nephews, but the have had their own adventures as well (i.e., "Dell Giant: Merry Christmas" #39 in "April, May and June: The Bewitched Dolls," 1960).

The folks at Disney also recognize Millie and Melody as two nieces of Minnie Mouse. They made their first appearance in the Gold Key Comic "Mickey Mouse Album" issue 1 from 1963. The name of the story was "The Late Show." It is also considered that Millie and Melody made their only screen appearance in 1983's "Mickey's Christmas Carol" as the daughters of Bob Cratchit.

There isn't a whole lot of information about Minnie or Daisy's nieces available as they are only bit-players in the grand scheme of the Disney Universe. Perhaps if you've got some old comic books you can do a little hunting and find some tales of April, May, June, Millie and Melody.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hidden Mickeys: Homemade Edition

This is the kind of thing that separates the casual Disney fan from the kind of Disney fan that names their child after Walt Disney. This is also the kind of thing that could have gotten a fella on the Johnny Carson program. Perhaps you do this too, but my family and I see Hidden Mickeys everywhere. Not just in the Disney theme parks but in the world around us. Like this slice of green pepper here on the right. That's one whole slice, don't ask me how it came out that way!? I just took the picture! Here's some more...

You can make Mickey shaped fried eggs, but it's not every day the yolk just plops right out of the egg and onto the frying pan in a perfect Mickey shape.

This Mickey cloud is extra special. Not only is a big ol' Mickey looking down on us from the heavens, but we spotted this happy cloud at Walt Disney World on the first day of our trip last year as we were heading to the parks for the first time. How cool is that?

I guess this one is kind of a stretch, but this is the way the salad was handed to me at a local restaurant. The dimensions of this Hidden Mickey are too perfect to just overlook...and then eat!

I probably would have not even noticed this parking lot oil slick slightly reminiscent of Mickey except that the parking lot in question is the Disney Cruise Line parking lot. We spotted this "out-of-shape" Mickey after a 4-night cruise back in 2005.

Got any Homemade Hidden Mickeys of your own? Send `em in and we'll run another segment on this topic! discomickeymouse@yahoo.com

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The National Toy Train Museum

Last month we looked at Geppi's Entertainment Museum, in Baltimore, which is overflowing with Disney history on every wall of the building. The next stop in our "Disney Outside of Disney" series doesn't offer an overwhelming amount of Disneyana but it does offer a subject near and dear to Walt's heart as well as a few fun touches of Disney.

The small town of Strasburg, PA offers quite a number of world class railroading attractions from full size historic locomotives to the only officially licenced Thomas the Tank Engine Store. There's even a hotel where you can spend the night in an actual caboose. Strasburg is also home to the national headquarters of the Train Collectors Association and their National Toy Train Museum. The museum houses five detailed toy train layouts with plenty of buttons to operate trains and various other elements within the layouts. While the subject of Walt Disney and his love of trains is not a subject explored at the museum, where ever you find an exploration into pop culture you're bound to find a little Disney magic somewhere.

Here's some pics of great Disney items that me and my one track mind (pun intended) took while visiting the museum.

The name Lionel is synonymous with model railroading but in their early days they produced an assortment of children's playthings. Some of those items are on display at the museum including this vintage Mickey Mouse Club record player. If you look slightly to the left of the top of the needle arm you'll see the Lionel "L" logo.

Here's a wall of handcars featuring some famous friends of ours.

These Mickey & Minnie handcars debuted at Christmas 1934. They were produced in orange, red, green and maroon by the Lionel Corporation. They sold for $1.00 each which ended up being the perfect price for families who couldn't afford an electric train during the Great Depression. Sales of the handcars were so astronomical that Mickey Mouse is credited with saving the Lionel Corp. from bankruptcy.

One of the layouts has a train that travels into a mine. If you follow the tracks you'll find an opening in the side of the mine where you can spot this vintage Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs mine train set.

Last we have a few snapshots of some engines and cars on display. These are mostly from a large series of models produced in the mid-90's. At a nearby attraction, Choo-Choo Barn, you can see many of these pieces in action.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not Just Any Disney Joke Book

Get ready for some big time comedy, folks! This isn't just any ol' joke book - this is The ULTIMATE Disney Joke Book by Chip Lovitt (1995, Disney Press). I dug this out of a used book store this weekend. It's 64 pages of zingers and puns featuring a who's who of Disney animated characters. Most of these jokes have probably been printed 1,000 times before in slightly different forms in books like 101 Best Hamburger Jokes and Super Silly Sports Riddles. But ya gotta give this book credit for including characters from just about all the classic Disney animated features. A good deal of Disney's output in the mid-90's centered on "the new Disney" characters from The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Lion King. You'll find all them here along with Mickey and the gang, Snow White, Pinocchio and even Prince Philip.

Get ready to dust off your funny bone for a sampling of comedy Disney-style:

What's Mickey's favorite type of TV show?
A Minnie-series.

Why is the movie Bambi like ninety-nine cents?

Both are about a buck.

Why won't Cinderella ever be a great soccer player?

She runs away from the ball.

One more...

What has sixteen legs and catches flies?

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs playing baseball.

You can go get a tissue now to wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

To Stroller or Not To Stroller

Word on the street has it that Walt Disney World has raised the price of stroller rentals at it's theme parks. Where a one child stroller used to set you back ten bucks a day, and a double eighteen Disney Dollars, they'll now empty out your wallet at $15 and $31 a day, respectively. That's crazy!

First, let me say that my family and I are road trippers when it comes to traveling to Walt Disney World. We make the 14 - 16 hour drive in a non-stop overnight run and we love it. Last year was our first trip to WDW with the need of the assistance of a double stroller. My two boys were 15 months and 3 1/2 at the time of our trip. Their Graco DuoGlider double stroller took up the majority of the storage space in our Plymouth Grand Voyager mini-van. Actually, let me correct that...my wife's luggage took up the majority of the space, when you added the double stroller there wasn't much room left for anything else.

We love having our own stroller while at Disney World. Sure, it's a small pain to fold it up and get on and off the Disney buses quickly. However, once you get back to your resort you can pop open the stroller again, plop the kids in it and make your way back to your room which can often be quite a hike. When you rent a stroller at the parks, you've got to leave it at the gate on your way out. You are on your own from the turnstiles for the rest of the night. But even though we really like having our own stroller with us we also like having clothes to wear and space for all the souvenirs we're going to go home with. So this got us to thinking about other options for our stroller needs.

Of course our first solution was to rent a stroller. A quick hop over to the internet to look at stroller rental prices revealed that we'd be paying $126.00 for the use of Disney's strollers. That was a good deal of our merchandise budget having to be redirected towards something boring. Plus I wasn't too thrilled about having to deal with getting in line to get a stroller each day. For $126 you can buy a pretty nice stroller.

That got us to thinking back to a 2005 visit to WDW where we had to stop at a K-Mart near Universal Studios and buy a new stroller because in a rush to pack the car an hour before we left home I broke the stroller trying to shove to much stuff into the trunk. There's plenty of places in the Disney area to buy a stroller - cheap. There's Wal-Marts, K-Marts and other kinds of Marts all over I-4, 192, and International Drive. The K-Mart near Universal had a lovely selection of strollers. At the time, we only needed a single and found a real nice one for around $50. We liked it better than the Graco one we got as a Baby Shower gift and we still use it, while the Graco still sits, broken, in the garage. So, buying a stroller in Florida is always an option.

However, to solve our dilemma we opted to get a storage unit for the top of our van. You know, one of those "turtle shell" things. We figured, even if we only use it for Disney World once, we could still use it for trips to the beach and other family outings. In the end, buying the storage unit and having the guys at Sears put in on the van for us cost us $124.00. So we saved two dollars, and we still have the unit if we need it for future trips. Which is good because a week with a double stroller would now set us back $217.00.

O.K....so, my point?! There's options to shelling out big bucks to lug around some Mickey Mouse stroller for a week. Think about adding storage space to your vehicle. Explore the possibility of getting a smaller stroller than your normal one. You only need to use it for a few days. An umbrella stroller (even a double) can fold up pretty tight.

If you're in Orlando without a car, it might even be worth it to call a cab and have them take you to a near-by shopping establishment of your choice to grab a low-price set of wheels.

There can be many advantages to having your own stroller while touring Walt Disney World. If you think outside the box you might be able to save yourself a few dollars in the process.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Preview of 10 Upcoming Disney Films

Here's a quick link to a brief (but to the point) article at Yahoo Movies about 10 films on the horizon from Walt Disney Pictures. Oddly enough, the one I'm most excited to hear about is a reissue!

Adventureland & Frontierland - 1972

Here's another round of unspectacular, but fun, photographs from Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in their first summer of operation.

I thought the interesting aspect of this picture is how minimal the Jungle Cruise boat is. Just from this point of view it seems very plain and certainly not as "themed out" as it is today.

As with many of these old photos, the most striking thing in this photo from the Jungle Cruise is the lack of foliage around the set pieces.

Interesting vantage point, I would assume taken from the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House.

Is this whole get-up still there...or did we take that land too!?

First of all, when is the last time you saw a character in a gift shop? Second, notice the store doesn't seem to be stocked with just pins, snow globes, photo albums and plush.

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Doggone Memory

Every visit to Walt Disney World is full of magical moments that leave you with magical memories for years to come.
One that comes to mind for me is the time good ol' Pluto used my son's head as a chew toy.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Mickey Is Happy

Here's another one of those great used book store finds! MICKEY IS HAPPY (1992, Disney Press) is a very simple book made up of only five sentences. Each sentence tells how one of the Fab Five is feeling, and each feeling is accompanied by a fabulous illustration by Richard Buerrstein. The pictures are bold, colorful and full of expression! My kids love this book and even though it's only 12 pages long we spend quite a bit of time with this book when we read it. Each of the kids shows off their happy, sad or scared face with the turn of every page.
I could easily scan the whole book, but I'll just share with you a few of the wonderful graphics that make this book special in our home:

There's two other books in this series; In-Out A Disney Book of Opposites and One Mickey Mouse A Disney Book of Numbers.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Simple Disney Board Games

Back in the day all ya needed to do was simply slap pictures of Mickey and his pals on a tried and true game and you had yourself hours of fun. I grew up learning how to play checkers with Disney Checkers. Each piece had a different Disney character on it. I spent hours playing that game with my family. Such a simple little joyful childhood memory!

This early 80's comic book ad plugs three very simple Disney games: Mickey Mouse Tic-Tac-Toe, Goofy Game, and Disney Checkers. Each one of these probably only a few bucks when they were brand new and you can still find them reasonably cheap on E-bay, although Goofy Game seems to be the most rare of the trio.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Il Libro della Giungla

Today's little offering is some unusual depictions of characters from The Jungle Book by Italian Disney comic artist Giovan Battista Carpi and Claudio Mazzoli. These appeared in an English translation of an Italian Disney Encyclopedia series back in the early 70's. First up is King Louie dressed for either a night out on the town or an audition for a local dinner theatre production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Down below we have a cool picture of Chip n' Dale grabbing a ride on Bageria's back. This picture isn't all that crazy, but I always love when characters from different films interact. (How cool would a cartoon of Chip n' Dale annoying Bageria be?!)

And last we have this picture...I'm not sure what the scenario is supposed to be here. It appears Donald Duck is dressed as a Canadian Mountie and raking Baloo's back. I'm sure Baloo appreciates a good back raking, but I don't thing this would make as good a cartoon as Bageria and Chip n' Dale.