Thursday, October 2, 2014
The "monster kids" era of the famed Aurora model kits featuring the Universal Monsters. Introduced in 1962 with the Frankenstein Monster, these plastic model sets created a sensation so by 1964 the phfrightful phenomenon was satirized by Mad magazine—and can there be any other greater honor? Painted by prolific Mad cover artist Norman Mingo, this September 1964 cover for Issue 89 amusingly portrays the Monster who started it all as a monster kid deeply immersed in his hobby: assembling the truly "scary" figure of Mad mascot Alfred E. Neuman. For me, one of the best details is the Monster (remember, he's not Frankenstein—that's the name of his creator) wearing that strange, furry vest/jacket/overcoat/life-prserver that he first wears in House of Frankenstein. This monstrously mad Mad cover is part of the 2014 Countdown to Halloween blogathon. Stop by Tulgey Wood all through October for more Halloween madness.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Welcome to the 2014 Countdown To Halloween blogathon! To regular readers—thanks as always for dropping by. To new visitors—I hope you find Tulgey Wood to be full of treats and only the best kind of tricks! To get things started, let's party like a princess. This Disney Catalog cover depicts a fancy dress ball theme that reminds us that Halloween needn't always be monsters, ghosts and ghouls. It does help to have a pumpkin on hand, however, especially if you are Gus. And by the way, who better to carve your jack-o-lantern than the very mice who pulled Cinderella's pumpkin coach? At the same time, the designer and artist behind this lovely piece found a way to subtly include a touch of Halloween spookiness with the bats circling the castle turret in the background. I hope this touch of Disney enchantment gets October off to a good start for you. Be sure and check out all the blogs—197 as of this writing, including Tulgey Wood—who are "crypt keepers" in this year blogathon. These are the houses giving out the best candy this year. It's also a great way to discover new blogs you will keep reading all year long. I have found new favorites through Countdown to Halloween—a number of them have been added to the blogroll at the right. And be sure and stop by throughout October right through October 31st itself as we Countdown to Halloween here at Tulgey Wood.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Have you noticed the new badge at the right? The Creature from the Black Lagoon celebrates 60 years since he first surfaced on the silver screen. So this classic Universal monster is this year's mascot for the Countdown to Halloween 2014 blogathon! That's right, it's creeping up on us tomorrow, October 1. I participated in this epic internet event in 2012 and 2013, and I'm horrifically happy to be a "crypt keeper" again this year. Last year almost 200 blogs had tricky Halloween treats, so this Halloween-time there will be plenty of candy corn and popcorn balls for all, as well. (As usual, be aware that some of these blogs sometimes use less-than-family language and content, dealing as they do with the truly "horrific" side of Halloween, so blog-cruiser discretion is advised.) All through October, right up through the 31st itself, I hope to have some fun visuals and interesting info for you along the way, along with a few spooky surprises. Do come by and countdown to Halloween with Tulgey Wood, but as, I noted last year, as Dr. Waldman (Edward Van Sloan) says in the "friendly word of warning" at the start of Frankenstein (1931), "I think it will thrill you. It may shock you. It might even horrify you." So don't say you weren't warned. The Countdown to Halloween begins tomorrow—step right up and ring the doorbell by for some Halloween fun, Tulgey Wood-style.
Monday, September 29, 2014
September is back-to-school time, as we have seen here in Tulgey Wood, and that means lunch-box time. Of all the many classic lunch boxes created over the years, do you know which was the top-selling "lunch kit" of all time? It's the dome-style Disney School Bus, first issued in 1961. Cleverly designed by Disney artist and Disney Legend Al Konetzni, the unique lunch box features children (Alice, Donald's nephews) or childlike (such as Thumper, Dumbo and Bambi, who is actually carrying the lunch box on which he appears) characters boarding the yellow bus. The adult characters are on hand to see the kids off or in the case of Goofy drive the bus. Perhaps the most interesting inclusion is Jiminy Cricket, not because of his presence—Pinocchio is one of the students aboard the bus—but because of his size. Instead of his usual cricket size, Jiminy is seen out of scale as the same height as Mickey and Donald. This amusing anomaly was corrected in the Canadian version of this box on which Jiminy was replaced by Practical Pig. How big a seller was this little school bus? By 1976, 9 million of these cheerful boxes had been manufacture by lunch-box giant and Disney licensee Aladdin.
When I think of Aurora I think of the classic Universal Monsters, but as you know (from this and this, if nothing else), that outstanding model-kit creating company issued some super comic-book inspired kits. Below is the box for the 1966 plastic personification of the spectacular Peter Parker capturing Kraven the Hunter in his web. No question, the Aurora models were sold on the strength of their box art and for the comic book super heroes, the company signed on top comic artists to create the cover illustrations. The Spider-Man art was drawn by Neal Adams, well-known at the time for his DC art but he well captures this Marvel character (and would go on to draw for Marvel as well). Great as it is, this superhero model is no monster—or is it? After all, Peter Parker is transformed into a human spider through the bite of a radioactive spider. If that doesn't sound like a horror movie, what does? And certainly J. Jonah Jameson thinks Spidey is a monster or at least a criminal. Want more monsters? Be sure and stop by Tulgey Wood in October for our annual Halloween celebration. It's all part of the Countdown to Halloween 2014 blogathon, starting on October 1. 'Nuff Said!
Sunday, September 28, 2014
The Hanna-Barbera characters of the early 1960s, such as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Snagglepuss, appeared on boxes of Kellogg's cereal. Today, that tradition continues with Scooby Doo. The Great Dane detective carries on the H-B/Kellogg's tradition in a supermarket cereal aisle near you. Just don't mistake them for dog biscuits.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Above I posted about the top-selling lunch-box of all time. Now here's one of the most delightful, featuring Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts characters. Not sure why, but I always liked the vinyl classic lunch boxes. Maybe because they are so different than the metal ones. Whatever the reason, the Schulz graphics work so well on the white vinyl. And there's a certain irony to having Chuck and newsprint pals on a lunch kit—in the strip, Charlie Brown was always a brown bagger.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
When Marvel became part of Disney, Spider-Man (and some of the other Marvel heroes, such as Captain America) began appearing in Little Golden Books. Below is the first one starring Spidey—there have been two more. Spider-Man has long been my favorite superhero. Created to be "the superhero with real problems," Spider-Man was more than a character that was developed to appeal to comic-book readers—Peter Parker is in a sense is a comic book readers, or at least like some comic fans. In a word, a geek, a nerd, a reject, an outsider. (Okay, that was more than a word.) A comic-book reader who actually becomes a superhero. Over at the excellent Dial B For Blog blog, Robby Reed has an extensive "giant-sized" article(s) about the "secret origin" of the web-crawler, including a special in-depth report on artist Steve Ditko's role in the creation of the character. Swing by and take a look—it's an amazing (to choose a very Spidey adjective) work of comic-book history. Don't miss it, true believer!
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Let's celebrate back-to-school time with Charlie Brown. Well-known as a brown-bagger (he didn't carry a lunch box let alone a Peanuts lunch box), good ol' Charlie Brown was the perfect choice to recommend a Dolly Madison treat to go along with those peanut butter sandwiches. This wonderful art on this sign created to be displayed in stores carrying those certain "Cakes Pies Donuts" is smile inducing smile, which is of course exactly what the Dolly Madison people had in mind when they tied in with the Peanuts characters in turn for sponsoring the famed Peanuts TV specials.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Every visitor to Tulgey Wood undoubtedly already knows about the recently published book from Walt Disney Family Foundation and Wheldon Owen Press, The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis and The Secrets of Walt Disney's Movie Magic. This lavish art book by master animation historian John Canemaker is bursting at the seams with rich Disney art, unique early studio photos and a rare look into early special effects innovations that breathed life into the beloved classics from the Disney Golden Age, including Bambi, Pinocchio and Fantasia. In addition to the secrets behind the amazing special effects in these films, The Lost Notebook also details the astounding life of Herman Schultheis. (As another animation history great, Jerry Beck, has said, "You can't make stuff like this up.") Aside from the beautifully reproduced art and the behind-the-scenes account, all that animation fans and indeed anyone interested in filmmaking and Hollywood history need know is that this extensive book is written by John Canemaker. His as-always excellent research and writing is reason enough to make this oversized tome a must-have for everyone's library.