Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas in Sweden with Donald Duck

My friend Andy pointed me to this very interesting article about Donald Duck and his major role in Sweden's Christmas traditions. The article is called Nordic Quack: Sweden's Bizarre Tradition of Watching Donald Duck Cartoons on Christmas Eve. Apparently, every year on Christmas Eve the country comes to a stand still so that everybody can watch a telecast of a 1959 Christmas themed episode of Wonderful World of Disney. If you ask me, that's the way to celebrate any holiday! Read the article for all the details of this neat custom that is a sacred tradition with families in Sweden.

As a die-hard Disney fan, I was surprised that I had never heard of this ritual. I was so intrigued by it that I actually went searching on line and found a few photos related to the tradition...

Here's an authentic Swedish family sitting down at 3:00pm to watch the annual airing of Sverige, Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul.

Every year a different actor plays the role of Walt Disney and introduces the show. It's nice that even though Sweden has only had television since the late 50's they too have upgraded their broadcast system to HD.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Book Club Invoice - 1976

The Wonderful World of Reading book club is still alive and kicking today. Here's a look at a bill from 33 years ago...

The strange thing is, this invoice is still around but I haven't seen those books in years!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Another Weekend, Another Disney Sketch

Last week Scrooge McDuck turned up on Saturday Night Live. In this week's show, the writers again turned to the world of Disney for inspiration. Host Gerard Butler plays the Beast to Kristen Wiig's Beauty in this skit which looks like it might have been more inspired by the Broadway show than the animated film. Either way, it's a funny sketch.

This is Saturday Night Live however. Viewer discretion: this skit is one of the reasons SNL is rated TV-14.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Scrooge McDuck on SNL

From this past weekend's Saturday Night Live...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Toy Story Mania for Wii

Toy Story Mania is not the first attempt to turn the theme park experience into a video game. These's been Adventures in the Magic Kingdom for the NES and Walt Disney World Quest: Magical Racing Tour for the Playstation. But Toy Story Mania promised to really bring a Disney World ride into my living room. If you haven't been on the Toy Story ride it's basically a ride that zips you around from screen to screen where you play very brief video game versions of popular midway games. (For more, you can check out a post I did when the ride opened: Hangin' Out In Andy's Room.)

So, obviously when you play this new Wii version you're not going to be riding around, you'll most likely be sitting on your living room sofa. And also unlike the theme park attraction, you won't be waiting in line for at least an hour before your chance to play for a couple of minutes. Video games are designed to give you an experience that
will engage you for hours of game play. Toy Story Mania works hard to further the experience of the ride.

The games featured in the ride are faithfully recreated here. Almost all the games in the ride involve simply shooting or tossing things onto the screen to collect points as quickly as possible. The Wii adaptation also adds to the mix a set of additional objectives to each game. In addition to scoring a certain amount of points, there are more intricate goals like shooting five of the same target in a row, or looking for a special colored target or simply wiping out all of one kind of target. Completing all of the given objectives will unlock the game in a free play mode, otherwise you must experience the different games in a preselected lineup divided into five themes.

In addition to the shoot `em games from the ride, the game designers have added a handful of new games to the mix which use the Wii technology to their benefit. Some of these games have been thrown in to give the smallest of Wii players the chance to master a game. A few of the new games require nothing more than shaking the Wii remote to master the game. In one instance, Toy Story's resident swine Hamm is seen dancing on a stage and players are asked to mimic his actions by shaking their Wiimote in a certain direction. Even with the Wii controller sitting on a table in another room of the house, you're guaranteed to rack up a hefty amount of points. The games are pretty simple and not very challenging. Other new games like a labyrinth maze where you'll need to tilt your controller to move the maze table are quite unique.

All the gang from the Toy Story movies are here and each of the games fall into a theme connected to one of the characters. There's plenty of outer space fun with Buzz Lightyear and the aliens, Woody and Jessie host a variety of wild west games, Bo Peep, Rex, and most of the rest of the gang are all on hand as well. Some of the character voices are the same, most notably Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear but Tom Hank's brother Jim stands in to provide Woody's voice. Since many people have seen the Toy Story films numerous times over the years, the voice substitutes are quite noticeable.

There's also five 3-D games that you can unlock. The disc comes with two pairs of the old fashioned red-blue 3-D glasses. The effect is not nearly as effective as the polarized grey lens glasses used at the theme parks (and at your local multiplex).

While this new disc does transfer the imagery and the game play of the theme park ride very well, it does not give you the same overall experience. To achieve a complete experience like the ride you'll need to unlock all the shooting gallery style games and then set up your own lineup of games in the Free Play Mode.

Overall, it's a fun game - not really worth the $50.00 MSRP - but it's a good game for kids and fun disc to have at a party. The various games are all simple to learn and play. Those not looking to duplicate a recent vacation memory and more interested in playing with the Toy Story characters would probably be better off waiting for the Toy Story 3 game hitting shelves next summer with the release of the new movie.

Have A Drink With Mickey

I'm guessing from the early 80's:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Judge Roy Hofheinz

Here's an article from the June 14, 1968 issue of Time magazine which mentions Walt Disney and his influence and participation in the building of Texas' Astroland theme park. Click article to enlarge

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jim Cummings Article

I'm not religious and I'm certainly not trying to push religion on anyone, but here's an article from the Catholic News Service, which appeared locally in The Catholic Review (my mom showed me the article!) It's a brief piece on voice actor Jim Cummings who we all know as Tigger AND Pooh as well as Darkwing Duck, Pete, Monterey Jack, the guard from Aladdin and about 100 other Disney characters. This article doesn't offer much, but it's always nice to see one of the behind the scenes guys get the spotlight...

You can click here to read the article in text form or click the article below to enlarge.

By the way, we are going to attempt to resume posting here at The Blog Wore Tennis Shoes. It won't be everyday, but it will be frequently. We hope you will add us to your regular blog reading again!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Donald Duck's Speedboat

Here's a video of a never-released Donald Duck video game for the old school Atari 2600. Watch for the cameo by Donald's nephews at the end of the clip...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cliff Edwards

It seems there's a handful of old time Hollywood stars who had a long distinguished career and yet the only credit they are known for today is their involvement with a timeless Walt Disney production...