Monday, November 30, 2009
If you're looking for classy, classic and unexpected Christmas gifts, look no farther than the enchanted Tiki art by wondrous Disney artists (and awesome guys) Kevin Kidney and Jody Daly. Their spectacular "Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room" collection of utterly artful and authentic art inspired by the classic Disneyland Park attraction is a treat for the eyes and a treasure for any collector's trove. To see and discover more enchanting artistry, visit Kevin's blog "Where Fantasy and Legend Walk Hand in Hand With Tiki Talk"—a legendary tropical paradise that I'm sure any Tulgey Wood reader visits on a regular basis anyhow! (Kevin reports that my Disneyland Challenge book, which you can read about here, is displayed right next to the wonderful Tiki Room artifacts by Kevin and Jody at the new Disney Gallery at The Bank of Main Street at Disneyland. That's quite an honor for me and my book.)
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Tonight, November 29, 2009, the Hallmark Hall of Fame broadcasts its 237th presentation, "A Dog Named Christmas." This venerable television instituation of course has an annual December (or in the case of tonight's installment, late November) presentation to promote its excellent line of Christmas cards (including licensed Disney and Peanuts greetings and other creations), so in the spirit of the Spirit of Christmas Past, let's take a look back at a Yuletide Hall of Fame broadcast from December 14, 1973 (at which point the Hallmark Hall of Fame had already been on TV for 22 years), The Borrowers, featuring a typically stellar and eclectic cast, including Eddie Albert, Tammy Grimes, Beatrice Straight, Barnard Hughes, and Dame Judith Anderson. Nominated for a slew of Emmy Awards, The Borrowers took home the Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children's Programming for Art Direction and Set Decoration. The interiors were filmed on location in a one-hundred-year-old Victorian mansion—an elegant setting for the special effects-laden story of the tiny people who "borrow" items from the giant world around them to construct a world of their own underneath the floorboards of an eccentric old woman's house. Interestingly, the program was produced by two of Charles Schulz's Peanuts associates—Walt DeFaria and Warren Lockhart (Warren was president of Charles M. Schulz Creative Development, a role in which we can well imagine he dealt with Hallmark Cards)—but most notably here at Tulgey Wood, The Borrowers was based on the book by British author Mary Norton, who also wrote The Magic Bedknob and Bonfires and Broomsticks, which were combined into Bed-knob and Broomstick, upon which Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) was based. You can still read my online article about Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the D23 website. Check it out here.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Thanks to Jack and Jill magazine, here's a glimpse of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1965. Since this issue of the magazine was published for November 1966, we can assume that the photographs are from the previous year's parade. One interesting thing is who's hosting the parade for its colorcast on NBC: Lorne Green (star of the enormously popular in-living-color NBC hit Bonanza) and TV favorite (and recently appointed Disney Legend) Betty White. Also check out the wonderful Donald Duck balloon which had been introduced I believe in 1962. Whether you are about to watch the parade or have already experienced the 2009 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, enjoy these pages out of Thanksgiving parade history. (Click on any of the pages for a larger view.)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Here's the annual poster for the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and as always it's as spectacular as the parade itself. (Click the poster for a larger view.) You'll notice Mickey Mouse is a prominent part of the poster for the new 60-foot "Sailor Mickey" makes its debut at the parade tomorrow. Before or after the parade, be sure and stop by here at Tulgey Wood tomorrow, November 26, for a Thanksgiving Day treat that I think will enhance your enjoyment of this great American tradition.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Here's another Thanksgiving cover from Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, # 63 (December 1945). Drawn by comics great Walt Kelly this fun art reminds us that good ol' Donald has been as much of the Thanksgiving scene as tom turkey. After all Donald has flown many times in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, starting I believe in 1936 when he was soaring to ever greater heights of popularity. As you enjoy turkey (or tofurkey) on Thursday, remember to give thanks for balloon and comic-book star Donald Duck—and stop by on Thanksgiving Day for another rarely-seen photo of the Donald Macy's balloon from the 1960s.
Monday, November 23, 2009
A turkey gets the best of the Duck on this Thanksgiving-themed cover from the November 1940 issue of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories. This was only the second issue of this long-running title—all the more remarkable given it just published its 700 issue. Word is that the new publisher, Boom! Comics, will start running more comics in the classic tradition of this great comic book that will be celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2010. Reason enough to give thanks.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Bugs Bunny is bypassing the bird to feast on his favorite vegan Thanksgiving (or anytime) treat in this cover from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies comic book (#122 1955). I love how pushed the art was in this era, giving the characters a look that was both cute and a bit manic—looney, one might say. Enjoy this classic Warner Bros, cover as you plan on what veggies you will serve (or eat) on Thursday.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
As we await the annual feast of balloons, floats, bands and stars that is the 2009 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, let's celebrate the return of Mickey Mouse to this great American tradition. Mickey first flew over 34th Street in 1934, when the Mouse became one of the first character balloons just in time to help Macy's have a successful Christmas season in the depths of the Great Depression. (Proof that Mickey went all out for Macy's that year is evidenced by the famed Macy's star on the balloon's chest, visible in some photos.) That early version of Mickey was part of the parade for several years, and a new Mickey balloon was added decades later, in the 1970s (the Donald Duck balloon seen here first flew in the 1960s), while a spectacular, beautifully designed Bandleader Mickey soared over Manhattan as Macy's mascot in 2000. Now 2009 sees Mickey return in a fourth helium-filled incarnation as Sailor Mickey—and once again this merry Mouse serves as Macy's official Holiday Ambassador. Perhaps it's no surprise that Macy's is again turning to Mickey in these troubled times just as the nation's most famous department store did during the Depression. See the all-new Mickey soar once more in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this Thursday on NBC.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thanksgiving Day is less than a week away so it's about time we saw some classic Thanksgiving art here at Tulgey Wood. One more reason to be thankful for comic books: the number of classic funny-book covers that have a Thanksgiving theme, such as this issue of the long-running Walter Lantz monthly anthology title New Funnies (#70, December 1942), here putting Andy Panda as a pilgrim in the center of attention. (By the way, you'll note that one Andy's co-star in the title's trademark left-hand border is Oswald the formerly lucky Rabbit). Between now and next Thursday I will try and post a Thanksgiving treat, so come back and check out the parade of celebrating character right here at Tulgey Wood.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
As has been mentioned on Mark Evanier's blog and elsewhere, today marks the 50th anniversary of the debut of Rocky and His Friends, also known as The Bullwinkle Show. Jay Ward's animated masterpiece emphasized design and sharp, satirical writing (one of the scribes was Allan Burns, who went on to co-create and co-produce The Mary Tyler Moore Show with James L. Brooks), demonstrating that low-budgets and limited animation need not mean low creativity and limited imagination. To celebrate here's a grand Rocky and His Friends comic cover from 1961 (the year The Bullwinkle Show moved to prime time as the "in-living-color" lead-in to Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.
Have you checked out the 13 "bewitching" facts all about Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the D23 website? If so, did you notice the link under the photo of the film's stars with the Sherman Brothers? That link brings up a window showcasing seven intriguing images all about that magical musical fantasy. The photos include several of the props (including the magic bedknob) on display at the Walt Disney Archives. the front and back covers of the original soundtrack LP, and the lobby card shown above. Be sure and read the article. "The Eternally Bewitching Bedknobs and Broomsticks", written by Jim Fanning (that's me), at the D23 website—and while there be sure and click through the fascinating photos (complete with captions also written by me).
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Today, November 18, is the date used as the anniversary of Mickey Mouse's introduction to the world, as it was on this day in 1928 Steamboat Willie premiered at the Colony Theatre in New York City. That's a mighty big place for such a little guy to make his debut but as we all know Mickey turned out to be a mighty big Mouse. In celebration of the day, here's a comic book (Mickey Mouse #188) from 1978 featuring a great and oft-reprinted cover (originally from #73, 1960) by Mouse comic-book master Paul Murry. Look closely (next to the unfortunate UPC code) and you'll see the fun "Happy Birthday, Mickey" logo that was created for Mickey's 50th that year. (Click on the comic cover for a larger view.) Happy Birthday to the Mouse who started it all.
Monday, November 16, 2009
October 2, 2010 will mark the 60th anniversary of Charles Schulz's brilliant Peanuts comic strip and the celebration has already started, complete with a Schulz-worthy logo featuring a sublime 1960s Snoopy. As you can see from this article (at left) from the Hallmark Keepsake Club newsletter (click on the image for a larger view), longtime Peanuts (and Disney) licensee Hallmark is kicking things off with a Christmas ornament utilizing the original design of Charlie Brown and Snoopy and featuring the Peanuts daily strip from December 28, 1951. Keep your eyes open for lots more 60th celebration stuff, both out there and in here, at Tulgey Wood.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Just in time for those early-birds making Christmas gift lists (or wish lists, for that matter), D23 has created a campaign suggesting a membership in the Official Community for Disney Fans as a holiday gift. Having started very appropriately with Mickey and Minnie, the campaign has expanded to Huey, Dewey and Louie giving Uncle Scrooge the gift of a D23 membership. I'm of course behind anything with Uncle Scrooge, and the seasonal use of this classic character is entirely apt as he was created by Carl Barks as a take-off on the famed lead character in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol for the 1948 Donald Duck comic book story "Christmas on Bear Mountain." (I also love the fact that the D23 symbol held by the nephews resembles Uncle Scrooge's Number One Dime.) I assume there will be more of these fun artworks (drawn I'm sure by Dave Pachecco, who drew the original campaign for D23 and the equally clever art for the D23 Expo campaign) as the holiday season kicks into high gear. A D23 membership would indeed make a great gift for any Disney fan on your list. Head on over to the D23 website for more details.
Starting tomorrow, Monday November 15, the 2009 Nickelodeon Animation Festival will be broadcast over Nickelodeon. This festival spotlights international animators and their films. There's bound to be a lot of creativity and innovation from these fresh artists, so it should be well worth checking out. In fact, animator, DC Comics flat colorist, Disney writer, and all-around good guy Carlos Barata has had his short film Ultra Super Sudden Death accepted (out of thousands of submissions) into the Nick Fest, and it will be shown tomorrow at 1:00 (Pacific Time). You can then go to the Festival website and vote for the film of your choice to win. Find out more about the Nickelodeon Animation Festival here .
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Compared to Eglantine Price, Harry Potter is a wizard wannabe. Before the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was a gleam in the eye of J.K. Rowling, Miss Price learned the art of magic through the Emelius Browne Correspondence College of Witchcraft in Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). As readers of this blog well know I have a great appreciation of, affection for and fascination with this spectacular musical fantasy, conjured up by the terrific team of Bill Walsh, Don DaGradi, Robert Stevenson and the Sherman Brothers (not to mention Walt Disney). Today, November 11, there's a new article by me on the D23 website. Focusing on thirteen "lucky" fascinating facts about this Disney classic, the piece is as of now up as the lead article on the D23 home page, where you will see my credit, "D23's Jim Fanning uncovers 13 spellbinding facts behind Disney's magical musical fantasy." (If you are looking for my byline, you will find it here as opposed to the article itself.) The photo you see there, of Angela Lansbury as Miss Price unwillingly wearing a gaudy hat placed on her head by Prof. Browne (David Tomlinson) at Portobello Road, is one of the many moments cut from the film before its premiere but reinstated for the extensive restoration of the film—and it's this nearly complete "producer's/director's cut" that's on the recently released DVD, pictured above. Be sure and check out the online article, "The Eternally Bewitching Bedknobs and Broomsticks" by Jim Fanning on the D23 website.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
There's a new (or relatively) new book at Disneyland® Park that's all about Disneyland itself. Filled with fun facts and tantalizing tidbits about the Happiest Place on Earth and its neighbor Disney's California Adventure, Disneyland Challenge is also full of colorful photos of everyone's favorite attractions. Readers of this blog might be interested to know that this overflowing-with-information book was written by me—and I'm very proud to say this Disney Editions book is released under the D23 (The Official Community For Disney Fans) imprint. The D23 logo can be seen on the back cover pictured here. You can also see my byline in small print (always read the small print) on the copyright page—click on the image, or any image, for a larger view. If you are visiting Disneyland, please look for my book—in fact, ask for it by name, Disneyland Challenge by Jim Fanning. And if you won't be visiting Disneyland anytime soon you can call Disneyland Park's DeliverEars Service (800) 362-4533 and ask if they can send you this fun-filled book.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Just the other day, on Tuesday, November 3, the latest "wave" of the Walt Disney Treasures DVDs was released, featuring the entire series (in two sets) of Walt Disney's Zorro. When the series originally aired in prime time on ABC from 1957 through 1959 (the DVDs also include the rarely seen hour-long episodes that aired on the Walt Disney Presents anthology series), Zorro was all the rage with viewers, including Donald Duck, and (as Carl Barks might say) so too Hu, Dew and Lou, as evidenced by this May 1959 cover of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, Number 224, drawn by Tony Strobl.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Have you ever longed to hang out with the Big Bang Theory boys? A recent layout of Entertainment Weekly is the next best thing, as it provides a detailed look at the main set, which is Sheldon and Leonard's Pasadena apartment, as fascinatingly appointed by set decorator Ann Shea. Unfortunately, there is no mention of the comic related art seen throughout the various rooms of the apartment (as mentioned here ) but then the details called out are quite intriguing in their own right, especially the vintage scientific equipment (and the cereal boxes, changed each week to make it look as if the set is an actual apartment in which real people actually live). Take a close look at the set (click on the image for a larger view) and you'll feel your IQ rising—or at the very least feel like gaming or playing Rock-Scissors-Spock.