Monday, December 26, 2011
Under The Christmas Tree
What did Mickey and Donald and Pluto find under the Christmas tree for Christmas 1961? Toys, toy soldiers to be exact, marching their way straight out of Babes in Toyland, Walt Disney's big holiday release for that year. This art adorned the front cover of the annual Disney Christmas card for that year, and since we are celebrating all things Babes in Toyland here at Tulgey Wood, I thought I'd include it here in honor of any treat large or small we might have found under our own trees Christmas. For another Yuletide-type treat, don't forget to read my Babes in Toyland article on the free D23 website.
Posted by Jim at 9:05 PM No comments:
Labels: Babes in Toyland, Christmas, Disney Christmas card
Sunday, December 25, 2011
How Beautiful Upon The Mountains Are The Feet Of Him Who Brings Glad Tidings
I have already posted some of the art from the deluxe program for Ben-Hur (1959), Painted by Ben Stahl, the distinguished artist who both wrote and illustrated Blackbeard's Ghost, this glowing artistic interpretation (click on the image for a larger view) of the Nativity adorned the Ben-Hur program, and now here it is to celebrate this Christmas Day. As you enjoy this art, consider the words of the prophet Isaiah: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings glad tidings, announcing peace, bearing good news, announcing salvation, and saying to Zion, "Your God is King!" Merry Christmas.
Posted by Jim at 1:44 PM No comments:
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Have You Seen A Child The Color Of Wheat...The Color Of Dawn?
"Amahl and the Night Visitors" has already been featured here in Tulgey Wood but Christmas calls out for another look at this wondrous TV special. In December 1953, one year after the opera (the first ever to be commissioned especially for television) was presented as the first installment of the Hallmark Hall of Fame, Life magazine ran this spectacular full-color spread. Posted here at the right is a unique glimpse (in color yet) of the original production. Since its first live telecast on Christmas Eve 1951, Amahl had been re-presented on NBC once again, broadcast live with the original cast on Easter Sunday (April 13) 1952. That same month Rosemary Kuhlmann (Amahl's mother) and Chet Allen (Amahl; the boy soprano was proclaimed a star on the historic page-one New York Times review of the original broadcast) reprised their roles in a New York City Opera production, conducted by Thomas Schippers and sets by Eugene Berman (both from the first telecast); it was this stage production of which Life took the photographs for the article reproduced at the right. Enjoy these historical and very rare photos (click on the images for a larger view) of Gian Carlo Menotti's TV opera as a Christmas Eve treat.
Posted by Jim at 2:09 PM No comments:
Sunday, December 18, 2011
Karloff The Uncanny
As mentioned back here, Boris Karloff brought his considerable acting skill to his vocalizations in Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, which made its debut on CBS this night, December 18, in 1966. The great Karloff was born on November 23, 1887, so the Grinch special debuted less than a month after the master actor's 79th birthday. (By the way, Karloff's star-making triumph, Frankenstein, turned 80 in 2011.) To celebrate Karloff's uncannily good voice performances in this Christmas classic here's the TV Guide Close-Up listing celebrating its December 1966 debut. (Click on the image for a larger view.) It's interesting to note that Thurl Ravenscroft is credited here whereas he is not in the special itself. Both Dr. Seuss and producer-director Chuck Jones felt terrible about this accidental omission so we can assume they made sure Thurl received mention in TV Guide. (And by the way, watch Tulgey Wood for more about Frankenstein—or at least one of its many related productions—sometime in the future.)
Posted by Jim at 2:08 AM 1 comment:
Labels: Boris Karloff, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Frankenstein, Thurl Ravenscroft, TV Guide
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Just A Toy
Walt Disney's Babes in Toyland (1961)not only inspired toys; it also featured toys such as the pretty doll Annette and Tommy Sands play with in one of the film's loveliest numbers, "Just a Toy." The doll seen in this charming scene was designed by Uneeda Doll Company. A Disney licensee of the time, Uneeda created the doll as both as a prop and as a toy that would be available in retail stores. Crowned with not only with, well, a crown but also with pink (not blonde) hair and wearing a tutu and ballet shoes (for isn't every princess a dancer?), the Princess doll had the same body as the Disney Pollyanna doll Uneeda issued just a year earlier. (Interestingly, the Princess doll hangtag was was designed as an alphabet block, in keeping with the Toyland theme, and the letters shown are "U" (often the only "name" stamped on Uneeda's toys along with the trademark info) and "D" (for "Disney," we can assume). Wonder how many children received the Princess doll for Christmas in 1961? As the Disney Character Merchandising Division said through one of its signature "Hustlegram" news releases, "Every little princess will want to own the 'Princess' doll."
Posted by Jim at 12:42 AM No comments:
Labels: Annette Funicello, Babes in Toyland, Hustlegram, Tommy Sands, Uneeda
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
A Babes Premiere
On this day, December 14, in 1961, Walt Disney's Babes in Toyland was released to theaters nationwide. The movie musical played at the "Nation's Showcase" Radio City Music Hall as part of the mammoth theatre's annual Christmas spectacular. To commemorate the date, the D23 website features today in its daily This Day in Disney feature the Babes in Toyland debut. You can read the D23 article above; click on the image for a larger view. And while you're at it, don't forget to read the article I wrote for D23 all about Walt Disney's first live-action musical.
Posted by Jim at 10:20 PM No comments:
Labels: Babes in Toyland, D23, Radio City Music Hall
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
When Walt Disney's Babes in Toyland was released in 1961, it was accompanied by what the Disney Character Merchandising Division described as "the best co-ordinated merchandising effort that we have ever staged at Christmas"—and no wonder, for Babes in Toyland is all about, well, toys. The promotional campaign for the musical fantasy started in September with $718,000 with of TV commercials publicizing the film, including those broadcast as part of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color (then its first season on "the color network," NBC). There were 367 separate Babes in Toyland playthings and other merchandise manufactured by 45 companies in what Disney called "the giant Christmas promotion." These licensees included Dolly Toy Co., Parker Brothers, Louis Marx and Company, and Hassenfeld Brothers (now known as Hasbro). Colorforms was also in on the action, presenting an Annette Dress Designer Kit (available in two sizes, including the deluxe version seen here). The spread at top from the 1961 Sears "Wish Book" Christmas catalog also boasts some Toyland toys (naturally Sears was part of the big push), including the classic Gund hand puppets. To read more about Walt Disney's Babes in Toyland check out my article on the D23 website.
Posted by Jim at 2:10 AM No comments:
Labels: Babes in Toyland, Gund
Monday, December 12, 2011
Classic Christmas Cards From Hallmark
In yesterday's post I mentioned Christmas cards as big business, and there's no bigger greeting card business than Hallmark. The Hallmark website has a slide show of some charming Christmas cards featuring Santa Claus —not the one here, from 1945 featuring a feather for Santa's beard, but an amazing se;action from the 1920s through 2010. See them here—and for vintage Hallmark cards you can actually obtain vintage Hallmark cards here, the website at which I found the Santa card pictured here.
Posted by Jim at 12:13 AM No comments:
Sunday, December 11, 2011
A Fortune Magazine Christmas Cover
We may not think of beautiful covers when we think of Fortune, but years ago, the famous finacial magazine featured elaborate covers that were often art for art's sake. Here's a seasonal example from Dcember 1936 by influential designer and illustrator Erik Nitsche. Though the Fortune holiday covers often have nothing to do with Christmas, this one more than qualifies, as Christmas cards are big business.
Posted by Jim at 2:02 AM No comments:
Labels: Christmas, Erik Nitsche, Fortune magazine
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Christmas In (The) New York(er)
The New Yorker magazine has a long tradition of delightful Christmas covers, and here's one from Abe Birnbaum. This prolific artist painted nearly 150 covers for the magazine from the 1940s through the 1970s, with an additional 500 black-and-white drawings and paintings for the interior starting in the 1930s. Enjoy this cozy Birnbaum charmer from December 23, 1961.
Posted by Jim at 1:11 AM No comments:
Labels: Abe Birnbaum, Christmas, The New Yorker
Friday, December 9, 2011
A Green Christmas For Uncle Scrooge
What better time than Christmastime to feature some Christmas art from Carl Barks? Here's a classic cover from Uncle Scrooge # 16 December 1956. In creating the character of Scrooge McDuck, Barks of course was inspired by Ebeneezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, using the Dickens character's last name as Donald's uncle's first. The difference between E. Scrooge and Uncle Scrooge is that, as seen in this cover art, Uncle Scrooge enjoys Christmas as long as it's done right. Speaking of Carl Barks, Peter Kylling's extensive Barks website has posted an interview I conducted with the "Good Artist." It's not necessarily Christmastime reading but then again 'tis always the season for the creator of Uncle Scrooge.
Posted by Jim at 11:12 PM No comments:
Labels: Carl Barks, Christmas comics, Jim Fanning
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Babes In Toyland, Sunday Comics Style
To both celebrate and promote the release of Walt Disney's Babes in Toyland (1961), the Sunday comic page Walt Disney's Treasury of Classic Tales showcased an adaption of the film. However, unlike most installments of the Sunday newspaper comic in that era, the Babes in Toyland pages were not drawn by regular Classic Tales illustrator Jessie Marsh but by veteran Disney artist Joe Hale. Joe spent more than 35 years at Disney, as an animator, special effects artist, story artist, layout man, and producer, spanning everything from Sleeping Beauty (1959) to The Back Cauldron (1985). Apparently Joe was enlisted as the artist for the Toyland installments of Classic Tales because the broad fantasy of the film called for a cartoony style for the strip. Enjoy this fanciful installment (click on the above image for a larger view) from November 12, 1961—and don't forget to check out the Babes in Toyland article, written by Jim Fanning, on the D23 website.
Posted by Jim at 1:05 AM No comments:
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
An Eyvind Earle Christmas
Here is the album cover the original soundtrack recording (in stereo, no less) from the television holiday "spectacular" The Story of Christmas, originally broadcast (or colorcast, I should say) over NBC on December 22, 1963, this was one of the few (in fact, it was reportedly the first) network specials ever broadcast without commercial interruptions. The very special TV special was sponsored by General Mills, which opted to dispense with commercials entirely so as to avoid interrupting the content—especially the magnificent eighteen minute animation segment retelling the Gospel Nativity accounts (the Christmas story, in other words) conceived and produced by Eyvind Earle, the artistic mastermind behind the styling of Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty (1959). Eyvind's distinctive art adorns this album cover, making a fine reminder of what the season is all about. The recording itself boasts the stirring vocal arrangements written and conducted by choral master Roger Wagner, and the vocal stylings of "Tennessee" Ernie Ford, whose lifelong dream this reportedly was. The Story of Christmas is as regarded one of the highest rated, critically acclaimed Christmas specials ever broadcast, and although all but forgotten today, we can glimpse a bit of the Eyvind Earle magic here...and long for the days when great showmanship even extended to take-home treasures such as this soundtrack LP.
Posted by Jim at 12:49 AM No comments:
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
What better way (in a sort of opposite way) to celebrate St. Nicholas Day (today, December 6) than to spotlight that outrageous anti-St. Nick himself, the Grinch? The fake-Santy Claus of the classic animated TV special Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is everything good ol' St. Nicholas is not—until of course his Scrooge-like conversion at the end of the tale. Can we take a moment and appreciate how creatively impressive it is that Dr. Seuss created his own character and his own story, rather than doing something lazy and lame like producing another adaption/parody/version of A Christmas Carol—and in so doing, created a character that is equally well-known as Dickens' Grinch? This article from the December 1966 issue of Jack and Jill both celebrates and illuminates the creation of the then-new animated special. What color should the Grinch be in a sparkling new color TV special? The Grinch had been nobly portrayed in black-and-white book, published in 1957—but, as this article reveals, the ant-Santa could only be portrayed as a Grinchy-green.
Posted by Jim at 12:19 AM No comments:
Monday, December 5, 2011
Walt Disney Meets Santa Claus
Originally broadcast on December 23, 1962, "Holiday Time at Disneyland" is one of the most delightful Disneyland-centered episodes of the Disney anthology series. First shown on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, this colorful (naturally) episode showed off holiday celebrations at Walt's Magic Kingdom, kicked off with a simultaneously surreal and altogether appropriate meeting between Santa Claus and Walt. Did I say "meet"? Walt and Santa greet each other as if they are old friends. Well, why wouldn't they be? First off, Walt made Santa into a Disney character in two Silly Symphony cartoons, Santa's Toy Shop (1932) and The Night Before Christmas (1933). Secondly, in the conversation between the two magic-makers, Walt clearly expresses his dominion by stating that while Mr. Claus has one day a year, Walt has the other 364—an incredible statement when you think about it. Even Santa is impressed when Walt calls upon Tinker Bell to turn off the unusual Southern Californian snowfall and she obliges with a flick of her magic wand. After all, who is more important in the world of childhood than Walt Disney? I say this as someone who firmly believes (as I'm sure anyone who regularly reads this blog also believes) that Walt Disney is not just for the kids. And neither is Santa. I post all of this (including this still from "Holiday Time at Disneyland" taken from the Storyboard blog of the Walt Disney Family Museum) as a birthday tribute to Walter Elias Disney, born this day in 1901. Surely a bit of Christmas magic must have rubbed off on this December-born baby who would grow up to rival even Santa Claus as a master magic-maker.
Posted by Jim at 4:09 AM 1 comment:
Labels: Disneyland, Holiday Time at Disneyland, Santa Claus, Tinker Bell, Walt Disney, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Spotted At A Recent Visit To Disneyland
It's the Disneyland Challenge book (written by me) I mentioned back here. Still available, still on sale, I'm proud and thrilled to say, at the Disney Gallery on Main Street, U.S.A. at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom (in other words, Disneyland).
Posted by Jim at 1:00 AM No comments:
Labels: Disneyland, Disneyland Challenge book, Jim Fanning
Saturday, December 3, 2011
The Grinch On The Record
The witty, tuneful songs composed for Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! are one of the many reasons the TV holiday special has been a Christmas classic since its premiere on CBS on December 18, 1966. The Seussian lyrics are authentic Seuss, written as they were by the good doctor himself; the wonderfully melodic music, a perfect match for Seuss' satisfyingly strange lyrics, were composed by Albert Hague, who later gained onscreen fame as the music teacher in both the movie and TV-series versions of Fame. The songs were recorded with a thirty-four-piece orchestra and twelve-voice-chorus—and surely lyrics such as "Fahoo fores yahoo dores" from "Welcome, Christmas" were the most unusual words those studio singers were ever asked to sing...except for the rest of that song's lyrics...and the lyrics to the other Grinch songs. (Dr. Seuss later explained that the "Welcome, Christmas" lyrics were penned to resemble a Latin chant.) As with the ultra-popular A Charlie Brown Christmas TV special, the first half-hour prime time animated special ever (and the success of which CBS obviously hoped to duplicate by bringing the classic Dr. Seuss book to the small screen in half-hour animated form) an original soundtrack recording was released by the time the special aired, as evidenced by this ad (above; click on the image for an enlarged version) for the LP that ran in TV Guide the week in which Grinch made its debut. The soundtrack album was released on King Leo Records (a subsidiary of MGM Records, MGM having produced the special) in 1966, the same label incidentally on which the You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown concept album (which inspired the 1967 off-Broadway stage hit) was released that same year. The Grinch LP was issued in mono (LE-901) and stereo (LES-901), and featured the complete soundtrack of the special (approximately 15 minutes per album side). No surprise that Seuss's own favorite of the Grinch songs was "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch." One can only speculate at the delight Dr. Seuss would have taken in how that tune, with lyrics expressing how appalling the anti-Christmas creature is, has been adopted as a Christmastime standard.
Posted by Jim at 2:16 AM No comments:
Friday, December 2, 2011
It's a Babes in Toyland Christmas!
What's Christmastime without Babes in Toyland? Walt Disney's 1961 classic has become a Yuletide classic over the years, and to celebrate this "50 and Fabulous" fantasy film, I've written a behind-the-scenes article that's now up on the D23 website. There's Annette and Ray Bolger, Ed Wynn and Henry Calvin, Tommy Sands and Tommy Kirk... and of course those unmistakably Disney Wooden Soldiers. Be sure and read "A Very Merry Musical: Walt Disney’s Babes in Toyland" by Jim Fanning. It's marching your way on the FREE D23 website.
Posted by Jim at 5:01 AM No comments:
Labels: Babes in Toyland, D23
Thursday, December 1, 2011
What's Green And Fuzzy And Mean All Over?
We've seen lots of Kermit the Frog lately here at Tulgey Wood, but now it's time to let someone else of a different shade of green entirely take center stage... and I'm afraid he's not quite as warm and fuzzy (though he is fuzzy) as Kermit. Check in here at Tulgey Wood all through Christmastime and find out just who this guy (who would be the first to agree it's not easy being green) is.
Posted by Jim at 4:42 AM No comments:
A Pooh "Speshal" For Christmas
Tulgey Wood's Christmas celebration gets off to a merry start with this rarely-seen ad from 1970. Once upon a time, Sears was the sole purveyor of just about everything related to Winnie the Pooh—and it was their desire to promote their Pooh line of merchandise and (especially) clothes that led Pooh to become a television star. as you can see from the newspaper ad reproduced here, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day made its television debut on Monday November 30, 1970. "Pooh-ites" everywhere rejoiced as this Oscar-winning featurette brought Pooh's "frolics, songs, and fun, fun, fun, fun" (that last bit of the list undoubtedly a nod to Tigger's line from the Sherman Brothers' "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers") came to TV, just in time for Sears (the sole sponsor of this Disney special) to display all their wares for the Christmas season. Disney animation on TV in 1970 was rare indeed (especially when broadcast outside the regular Disney Sunday night showcase), as was the elaborate newspaper announcement. (Click on the image for a larger view. This unique advertisement, with its charmingly somewhat-off-model drawing of Pooh was, I would guess, not prepared by Disney but by Sears, which was the Pooh powerhouse behind this holiday treat.
Posted by Jim at 12:57 AM No comments:
Labels: NBC, Sears, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Muppet Month Merriment
It's been Muppets Month all November long here at Tulgey Wood, and to mark the last day, here's the first page of one of the articles I wrote for the latest edition of Disney twenty-three magazine. (Look closely and you can see my byline; click on the image for a larger view.) Does this mean that the Muppet madness is over? Of course not—there will be more Muppety goodness in Tulgey Wood's future, so be sure and check back. In the meantime, be sure and pick up your own copy of the special Muppets issue of Disney twenty-three magazine, on sale now. I was very honored to write an article about the history of the Muppets and especially to author the tribute to one of my heroes, the great Jim Henson.
Posted by Jim at 3:19 AM No comments:
Labels: D23, disney twenty-three, Jim Henson, The Muppets
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Welcome To The Muppet Theatre
Tulgey Wood's Muppet Month brings us this wonderful piece of Muppet merchandise. As always, Hallmark created some beautiful products and this elaborate Muppet Show centerpiece is no exception. This three-dimensional table decoration (which stands over a foot tall when assembled) not only wonderfully features many Muppets, but it also showcases the Muppet theatre (stage and back stage) itself —an appropriate theme for this centerpiece, for the theatre is the centerpiece of both The Muppet Show and the new Muppets movie. This 1978 Hallmark gem is a true celebration of Jim Henson's Muppets.
Posted by Jim at 3:33 AM No comments:
Labels: Hallmark, The Muppets
Sunday, November 27, 2011
The Password Is "Fuzzy"
Back here I mentioned the recreation of the classic 1960s TV game show Password that is occasionally seen on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. So what did Jimmy do when his guests were Martin Short, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy on November 16? He had them play Password, of course! Just in time to promote the new Muppet movie—and to be part of Muppets Month here at Tulgey Wood. It was as you can imagine a fun and fantastic game—even though Miss Piggy was not happy when one of the passwords turned out to be "bacon."
Posted by Jim at 3:34 AM No comments:
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Miss Piggy: Post-Thanksgiving Shopping Pro
We couldn't have Tulgey Wood's Muppet Month without putting Miss Piggy front and center, and the Divine Miss P would have it no other way. (In fact, she would say, "It's about time!"). Miss Piggy graced the cover of this recent issue of New York magazine to usher in the holiday shopping season, for there is no bigger (or plumper) shopping pro than Piggy. Of course for many shopping is a big part of the post-Thanksgiving fun, but be careful out there—there are shoppers who want to make pigs of themselves.
Posted by Jim at 4:07 PM No comments:
Labels: Miss Piggy, New York magazine, The Muppets
Thanksgiving Leftovers: Sesame Street Songs
Back here I posted the cover of a Captain Kangaroo record to illustrate that show's Thanksgiving celebration. Did you happen to notice that the credit "Words and Music by Jeffrey Moss"? After composing a number of charming songs for Captain Kangaroo (on which he started as a production assistant), Jeff became one of the leading creative forces on Sesame Street, which debuted in 1969 (a year after the Captain Kangaroo record was released). In addition ti being head writer, Jeff composed many songs for the show, including "I Love Trash" and most famously the Sesame Street standard "Rubber Duckie," which became a mainstream hit (sung by Jim Henson as Ernie). A winner of 14 Emmy Awards for his Sesame Street work, Jeff Ross created many memorable music Muppets moments, including the Oscar-nominated score and songs for The Muppets Take Manhattan. We just couldn't have Muppets Month here at Tulgey Wood without the Sesame Street songs of Jeff Moss.
Posted by Jim at 1:43 AM No comments:
Labels: Captain Kangaroo, Ernie, Jeff Ross, Rubber Duckie, Sesame Street, The Muppets
Friday, November 25, 2011
Thanksgiving Leftovers: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Poster
Each year there's an artful poster prepared to publicize the "Macy's Day Parade" (as some call it, no doubt to Macy's delight). Here is this year's poster promoting Macy's main event. As compared to the last ten years or so, this year's edition takes the emphasis off the licensed character balloons. As I've pointed out before, when so many properties are displayed, there must be a great many approvals...and maybe Macy's just grew weary of it. The giant balloon versions of the characters were in the parade though, and that's all that counts. Disney was certainly well represented, what with all the properties they now own: besides Mickey Mouse, there was Buzz Lightyear (Pixar), Spider-Man (Marvel) and Kermit the Frog (The Muppets), all owned by Disney. And Tim Burton had a ballon this year, and Tim of course came from/still occasionally makes films for Disney. Anyhow, this year's parade poster has quite a story behind it. It was painted by illustrator Melissa Sweet in the style of 1920s Macy's artist Tony Sarg. Melissa also wrote and illustrated a book Balloons Over Broadway, in the same style...for the book tells the story of Tony Sarg, “the puppeteer of Macy’s Parade.” You can read more about Melissa, her work and the book at the Macy's website and at MelissaSweet.net.
Posted by Jim at 11:15 AM No comments:
Labels: Kermit the Frog, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Melissa Sweet, Mickey Mouse, Tim Burton, Tony Sarg
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Let Us Give Thanks
Here's a heartwarming artwork created by Disney artist Russell Schroeder (author of Disney Lost Chords, which you can purchase here) that was published on the cover of the November 24, 1983 issue of Walt Disney World Eyes & Ears (the cast member newsletter). (Click on the image for a larger view.) Leave it to heartfelt Mickey Mouse—and of course Minnie—to so cozily, so simply, yet so profoundly remind us that Thanksgiving Day is all about counting our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Posted by Jim at 2:31 AM 2 comments:
Labels: DIsney's Lost Chords, Mickey Mouse, Russell Schroeder, Thanksgiving, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears
Thanksgiving At The Treasure House
Hospitality and welcoming. These qualities were a big part of Captain Kangaroo, the classic TV series that ran for decades every weekday morning on CBS, and I think this photo is an illustration of some of those attributes, in both setting (the most charming, most "real" version of the Treasure House, seen on the show 1965 through 1971) and cast (both people and puppets). Some associate the Thanksgiving holiday with Captain Kangaroo because from 1959 through 1965 (perhaps even later), Captain and his friends hosted the Thanksgiving Day parade coverage on CBS. But in what was an annual tradition for a good number of years, Captain would celebrate Thanksgiving within the show broadcast on that particular November Thursday. The conclusion of the Thanksgiving show was particularly powerful: To illustrate that for which we as a country should be grateful on this national day of thanks, Captain would display Norman Rockwell's famed series of paintings, The Four Freedoms. Then, as the Perry Como version of the hymn "Prayer for Thanksgiving (We Gather Together)" played, the Captain, Mr. Green Jeans, Dancing Bear, Bunny Rabbit and Mister Moose (the very characters seen on this record cover) gathered at a festive Thanksgiving table and reverently bowed their heads in prayer. The hymn ended with Perry and chorus powerfully singing the compelling lyric "Lord, make us free." Silence. Fade to black. There were no closing credits and no closing theme music... just a dramatic reminder of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about: giving thanks.
Posted by Jim at 12:24 AM 6 comments:
Labels: Captain Kangaroo, Norman Rockwell, Perry Como, Thanksgiving
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The FIRST Muppet Movie
In celebration of Muppet Month here at Tulgey Wood... and to honor the release of the new Muppets movie to theaters today... here's the LP album for the the first Muppet movie, which was entitled... The Muppet Movie (1979). The charming album-cover artwork was created by master Muppet artist Michael K. Frith. The designer of such characters as Fozzie Bear and Dr. Teeth, Michael was an important creative force for the Muppets, as his ultimate title, Executive Vice President and Creative Director for Jim Henson Productions, indicated. The LP cover art seen here is Frith at his most delightful and Muppet-licious; the album itself won a Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children.
Posted by Jim at 9:49 PM No comments:
Labels: Frith, Michael K, The Muppet Movie, The Muppets
Walt's Child Stars
Doesn't So Dear to My Heart just seem like a Thanksgiving kind of a movie? For you to enjoy as you prepare for the big day, here's the poster from the 1949 film's 1964 re-release featuring Bobby Driscoll. To discover more about Bobby and the rest of Walt's child stars, check out the newly posted article, written by me, on the Walt Disney Family Museum blog. You'll read about Hayley Mills, the Mouseketeers and of course Spin and Marty. Be sure and read "Childhood Personified: Walt's Child Stars"by Jim Fanning at the Walt Disney Family Museum's blog. And if you like the article, please leave a comment!
Posted by Jim at 1:00 PM 2 comments:
Monday, November 21, 2011
Kermit The Frog Flies Again
Since it's Muppets Month all November long here at Tulgey Wood, it seemed like a good time to point out that the lovable leader of the Muppets will be once again seen as a giant balloon in Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Kermit first flew in America's favorite Thanksgiving spectacular in 1977. If you want to know more about the Macy's parade as it celebrates its 85th performance this year be sure and check out this great story on the D23 website written by Sarah Smith. And on Thanksgiving evening, there's a special all about the parade on NBC. It's a veritable feast of facts about Macy's annual Turkey Day parade, this year featuring once again everyone's favorite frog.
Posted by Jim at 1:50 AM No comments:
Labels: D23, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, NBC, The Muppets
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
What's Green And Fuzzy And "Read" All Over?
Back here I asked what else is green and fuzzy besides Kermit the Frog? Now it's time to reveal the answer: it's the new Winter 2011 issue of Disney twenty-three Magazine! It's true that the cover and many articles therein feature Kermit and his puppet pals... but thats not the reason I had in mind. You see (or feel), the back cover of each issue is covered with green and fuzzy felt, as are the words "twenty-three" on the front cover. That fun touch of green fuzz is just the beginning, as there is Muppets madness a-plenty between the covers, including two Muppet articles written by me. This warm and fuzzy issue hits the stands today— so if you aren't a D23 Member be sure and get your copy at select Barnes & Noble bookstores, DisneyShopping.com or at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Posted by Jim at 4:45 AM No comments:
Labels: D23, disney twenty-three, The Muppets
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Kermit Goes To The Head(s) Of The D23 Expo
Muppet Month continues here at Tulgey Wood! Kermit the Frog not only turned heads at the D23 Expo in August 2011, he topped heads. That's right, this Kermit the Frog "crown" was given out by Muppet licensee Mighty Fine, utilizing the simple yet dynamic design of Kermit's happy face (a design from Muppet founder and creator Jim Henson that's right up there with Mickey Mouse in terms of uncomplicated but enormous appeal). This happy headwear was given out free and many D23-ers must have felt it was easy to be green after all because a good number of the Expo attendees were proudly wearing the Frog above their foreheads. Be sure and check back here at Tulgey Wood all month for more Muppet madness.
Posted by Jim at 7:32 PM No comments:
Labels: D23 Expo, Jim Henson, Kermit the Frog, The Muppets
Saturday, November 12, 2011
At Precisely 10:04 p.m....
...the Hill Valley clock tower was struck by lightening on November 12, 1955, in Back to the Future. To celebrate that day (and by the way, check out the time of this post), here's a glimpse of the Hot Wheels Back to the Future DeLorean that was made exclusively for the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con in a limited edition of 500. The model DeLorean was cased in a plutonium container fashioned after the one Doc Brown has in the film, also contains a diorama of Hill Valley town square, complete with courthouse and clock tower. More Back to the Future to come, so be sure and check back...in the future.
Posted by Jim at 10:04 PM No comments:
Labels: 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, Back to the Future, Christopher Lloyd), Hot Wheels, Michael J. Fox
Happy November 12 (1955)
As every Back to the Future fan knows, November 12, 1955, is the day on which the clock tower was struck by lightning in Hill Valley, California—and Doctor Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) used that (for him) future knowledge to harness the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to send Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) back to, well, back to the future. Here for your enjoyment is the flyer from the film, which reproduced the historic Hill Valley Telegraph front page story about the lightning strike on...on what date? I don't know if you can tell from the flyer, but the filmmakers decided not to put a date on the newspaper (even though another use of the newspaper in the film clearly shows the paper prints the date on the front page). Why did the filmmakers decide to replace the date with the words "Published Daily"? My best guess is that this edition wouldn't have published until Monday, November 14 (even if the paper was published on Sunday November 13, the clock tower incident probably happened too late for the story to make a Sunday morning edition) and the filmmakers didn't want to confuse the audience by featuring a date other than November 12...as that's the date the viewer needs to keep in their heads in order to follow the film's story. So Happy November 12...which by the way, in 1955 was also a Saturday, as here in 2011.
Posted by Jim at 2:43 PM No comments:
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Kermit Went Green Before Going Green Was Cool
Muppet month practically demands a salute to the color green in honor of the fuzzy green guy himself. But what else besides Kermit the Frog is green and fuzzy? Stop by later this month and find out.
Posted by Jim at 4:29 AM No comments:
Labels: Kermit the Frog, The Muppets
Monday, November 7, 2011
We'll Never Forget The Triple-R
Did you know that the Walt Disney Family Museum has a blog? It's entitled Storyboard and it's free and accessible to everyone. All sorts of fascinating articles have been posted by such Disney historians as Jeff Kurtti, Paula Sigman Lowery, Jim Korkis and others. Now I have the great honor of having an article I wrote posted on the Walt Disney Family Museum blog. It's all about one of my favorite Walt Disney productions, "The Adventures of Spin and Marty" from Mickey Mouse Club. In the article I mention the excellent comic book published in conjunction with the TV serial about the dude ranch duo, so I thought I would include one of the nicely done, specially photographed covers here, featuring Tim Considine (Spin) and David Stollery (Marty) from Issue 6 published in 1958 (also pictured on the Storyboard blog). Check out the new Spin and Marty article, "Spin and Marty…and Walt: Nice Guys Finish First," written by JIm Fanning... and while you are there, be sure and check out the many fine articles also posted there.
Posted by Jim at 5:42 AM No comments:
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
It's Muppets Month...
...here at Tulgey Wood. In celebration of the new Muppet movie being released at Thanksgiving, and all the accompanying Muppet frenzy, I'll be posting some Muppet fun that I hope you will enjoy. To get things started here are the front and back covers to the program for The Muppets Take Manhattan. Released in 1984, this third Muppet movie was directed (and co-written) by master Muppet-teer Frank Oz. Part of the appeal of this film was the introduction of the Muppet Babies, so it makes sense that these fuzzy toddlers were featured on the movie program's back cover. (Click on either image for a larger view.)
Posted by Jim at 5:19 AM No comments:
Monday, October 31, 2011
Happy Halloween with Blackbeard's Ghost
What could be better for Halloween than ghosts and pirates? How about a ghost who is a pirate, or vice versa? One of the most striking things about Walt Disney's sly-and-spooky comedy Blackbeard's Ghost (1968) is the magnificent painting of Blackbeard (seen below in a still from the film). Many Disney fans are well aware that the full-length portrait (painted by David Jonas) was for a time featured in the climax of Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland Park, but how many folks know that the painting was reproduced on the back cover of the Blackbeard's Ghost coloring book? Looking for a Halloween (or anytime) treat that's not a trick? Check out the article written by me all about Blackbeard's Ghost on the free D23 website. Be sure and read "Blackbeard Haunts Again" written by Jim Fanning.
Posted by Jim at 3:27 AM No comments:
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