Mickey Mouse Month continues here at Tulgey Wood, and today Mickey helps us celebrate Thanksgiving Day. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade always brightens things up. Today, the annual pageant will undoubtedly lift the spirits of those in New York and new Jersey and throughout the East who were so badly impacted by Superstorm Sandy. In 1934, the parade brought a smile to spectators in the depths of the Great Depression with the addition of the spectacular Mickey Mouse balloon, seen below. Designed by Walt Disney and his artists and built by Goodyear, Mickey soared over Manhattan, sending spirits soaring too, if only for a few moments. (Look closely—click on the image for a larger view—and you can see the Macy's trademark star on Mickey's chest.) Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and that means the Annual (the 86th Annual, mind you) Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Below is the new poster for the "Macy's Day Parade," and though I am not crazy about the change in style to something more primitive than the decade or so but it's certainly festive and fun. As you can see, one of the new balloons is the Companion character by the artist known as KAWS. (Frankly I thought it was Krusty the Clown at first.) There's always something new at the big parade and I'm sure tomorrow will be no exception.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
As you might recall from last November, and posts such as this, this and this, the Muppets are mighty popular here at Tulgey Wood. And since the Muppets mean monsters, here's a timely and monstrous treat for Thanksgiving. Published in 1997, The Thanksgiving Monster is a charming story wherein a monster steals Kermit's Thanksgiving feast. Does that get Kermit or his guests Miss Piggy and her nephews Randy and Andy, and the Elvises down? Of course not. Instead they decide to be thankful for what they have instead of what they don't have, like enjoying the "teensy-weensey snack" (her words) of candy, doughnuts, cupcakes and an entire regular-sized cake that she just happens to have in her purse. After observing the friends' thankfulness, the monster sees the errors of his ways for a Muppety ending that's full of the Thanksgiving spirit. (As the Elvises put it, "Thank you, thank you very much.")
Sunday, November 18, 2012
It's Mickey Mouse Month here in Tulgey Wood—and today's the big day. It's Mickey's birthday, or more accurately the anniversary of the debut of the Mouse's first cartoon release, Steamboat Willie, on November 1928. To celebrate, here's the sheet music cover—complete with art of the birthday boy (and girl) drawn by Mickey's designer and first animator, Ub Iwerks—of Mickey's first theme song, "Minnie's Yoo Hoo," composed by Disney's then-music maven Carl Stalling (who went onto a brilliant career as composer of Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes cartoons). For the "Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show" TV show I mentioned in yesterday's post, producer Ward Kimball found, as he put it, a “wild little tune in Mickey’s Follies, a 1929 short in which the principle action is a barnyard review. The song was great. It had wonderful antiquey, tinny quality about it. Then I realized that it had been our official Mickey Mouse song in the early thirties. These were clubs organized by theaters for special Saturday showings for the kids. We had badges and membership cards, our own greetings and code of behavior, secret handshake and this tune was our club song." [Ward himself led a marching band of Mickey Mouse Club members on Saturdays at Santa Barbara's Fox Arlington Theatre before being hired at the Walt Disney Studios in 1934.] "But I couldn’t remember the [song's] title. With a little sleuthing, we learned that Carl Stalling had written it. He had been a songwriter, gagman and musician in the early days. He still lived near the studio so I called him.” [It's fascinating that in his account of this meeting with Stalling, Ward never mentions Carl's decades-long Warner Bros. career—although the fact that this was all reported via Disney studio publicity might have something to do with it.] “What do you want with that old thing,” Carl Stalling, then in his 70’s, replied, according to Kimball, when Ward contacted him about the song. “It’s called ‘Minnie’s Yoo Hoo’ and was written for Mickey’s 10th picture. I just made it up. Nothing special about it.” The song was of course special to the many children who belonged to the Club. When publicity on Mickey’s 40th birthday began, Disney received hundreds of letters from people who were Mouse Club members during the Great Depression., and many of the letters mentioned “Minnie’s Yoo Hoo.” One letter from Chalmer Wire, the Fire Dept. Chief of El Monte, California, listed all the lyrics accurately, writing that “the high point of our afternoon cartoon time was singing our Mickey Mouse song." Ward fell in love with the song (he had it on a tape recorder in his office during production of the "Anniversary Show," and played it for all visitors, according to Studio publicity), Ward included “Minnie’s Yoo Hoo” in the “Anniversary Show” for the sequence showcasing Mickey memorabilia. In 1972, as producer and director of the syndicated TV series The Mouse Factory (a sort of Disney Laugh-In, the show was created to capitalize on the nostalgia craze and on Mickey's "in" status), Ward used "Minnie's Yoo Hoo" as the show's theme song, bringing what is perhaps the first original Disney song to gain a mass popularity to a whole new audience. (And though the sheet music cover doesn't include credits, the song's lyrics were contributed by a little known lyricist named Walt Disney.) Be sure and stop by Tulgey Wood all through November, there's more Mickey ahead.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
On December 22, 1968, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color featured a 40th birthday salute to Mickey Mouse, more than a month after the big day—November 18—itself. As reported in this TV Guide article, the Disney anthology episode was produced by Ward Kimball, "a Disney animator since 1934." The article also notes that Ward was surrounded by vintage Mickey memorabilia but what it doesn't mention is that the collection belonged to Ward, who collected Disney merchandise long before it was fashionable (or profitable). In fact, Ward obtained his Mickey merchandise when it was first issued, in the 1930s. As the uncredited writer reports, the celebratory Mickey was "in" thanks to a renewed interest in Mouse merchandise, especially the famous Mickey watch. It was considered "camp" according to this article, but the "mod" status of Mickey went far beyond, central to the ignition of the nostalgia craze that blazed in the 1970s and in a way continues to this day. Why wasn't this show "colorcast" closer to the actual day of Mickey's birth? The date on which it actually aired clues us in that this very special episode was the Wonderful World of Color's Christmas offering for 1968. (And also Disney wasn't certain of the exact date of Mickey's debut unto Disney Archivist Dave Smith nailed it down in the 1970s.) Enjoy this article (below; click on each image for a larger view) about "The Mickey Mouse Anniversary Show," and stop by again for more Mickey Mouse all this month.
Friday, November 16, 2012
I'm certainly not the only one posting one or another of the many Hostess comic-book ads in the wake of the news the badly mismanaged Hostess company's demise. Whatever Hostess's financial woes have been in recent years (and dubious nutritional value always), the company was obviously a big supporter of the comic-book industry in the 1970s as just about every family of comic-book characters (except Disney, but these ads were published in Disney comics) participated in these advertisements (drawn by artists from their respective houses), including Marvel, DC, Archie and Harvey. Here's a Casper ad from 1978.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Mickey Mouse Month continues here at Tulgey Wood as we join the Mouse with the Most as he hosts a trip through Disneyland Park, 1967. Some of the more intriguing photographs include Mickey dancing up a storm (maybe it's a rain dance) with the Native Americans at the long-gone Indian Village, and the Mouse in a "shoot out" with the legendary Wally Boag in front of the Golden Horseshoe. Enjoy this Disneyland photo essay starring the world's most famous Mouse from Jack and Jill magazine, May 1967.
Monday, November 12, 2012
On this date, November 12, 1955, at exactly 10:04 pm, according to Back to the Future lore, the Hill Valley clock tower was hit by lightening, and hasn't worked since. To celebrate that jigowatt-worthy event—which also sent time traveling teen Marty McFly back to, well, the future, here's a a rare Back to the Future artifact from my own collection. This 45 RPM release was released by Universal’s parent company MCA to promote the film. It featured “Johnny B. Goode” by Marty McFly with The Starlighters (fronted by Chuck Berry’s cousin Marvin) and backed with the "Back To The Future Overture" performed by The Outatime Orchestra. In reality, the voice heard on the record (and in the film) isn't Michael J. Fox's (though it sure sounds like him) but is actually that of Mark Campbell's and the frenetically futuristic guitar solo is by Tim May. (PS Check out the time and date of this post.)
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Thanks to then-exclusive Winnie the Pooh licensee Sears, Disney's Winnie the Pooh for President campaign was well outfitted with buttons, balloons, photos, special glassware and even a colorful, full-sized poster, pictured below. As you enjoy this primo Pooh placard this Election Day, be sure and also check out D23's in-depth account of the best "pooh-litical" campaign ever. (In some of the accompanying D23 photos you can spot the very poster pictured below.)
Monday, November 5, 2012
Promising "hunny" in every pot and puppies for everyone, Winnie the Pooh was the "children's choice" in the "Winnie the Pooh for President" campaign that started in 1968 and was repeated in the following election years of 1972, 1976 and 1980. In cooperation with Sears —then the exclusive Winnie the Pooh licensee—Disneyland Park ran Pooh as a cuddly candidate focusing on the "youth vote." This delightful letterhead topped Pooh's press release in the 1972 campaign, which was kicked off at the Children's Party convention at the Contemporary Resort Hotel at Walt Disney World Resort. (Ironically, Pooh's opponent—and ultimate victor—Richard M. Nixon delivered his infamous "I am not a crook" speech at the same Disney venue in 1973.) Naturally, Pooh is seen with his press secretary Tigger and political advisor Eeyore in this charming art, depicting the silly old bear's October 21 whistle-stop tour which started in Oakland and ran down the California coast to Disneyland. Stop by tomorrow, Election Day, to see one of Pooh's most prized campaign materials.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
At the end of the 1960 Huckleberry Hound For President comic book, Yogi Bear decides that he will run for President—and sure enough, four years later, Yogi was in the running—opposed by another Hanna-Barbera character! That's right, Hanna-Barbera doubled the fun in Magilla Gorilla #3 (December 1964), in which the newest H-B TV character took on the well-established star in the fun-filled story, "Magilla Gorilla vs. Yogi Bear For President." (You can read all about the comic book in H-B expert Joe Torcivia excellent account.) The Yogi vs. Magilla campaign went beyond the comic book to recordings and buttons—and as seen here, in a super-sized coloring book, Yogi vs. Magilla For President (here the smarter-than-the-average-bear star gets top billing over newcomer Magilla, as opposed to the comic book, where that "mighty nice" gorilla was listed first —which after all was Magilla's own publication!) This deluxe publication is worthy of the two oversized opponents and their comical campaign buttons were published on the back cover... print 'em out (click on the images for a larger view) and support your favorite cartoon candidate!
Friday, November 2, 2012
Fictional characters running for president is a time-honored bit of fun for election year: Popeye and Pogo campaigned and even Gracie Allen (of the George Burns and Gracie Allen comedy team of radio and TV fame) threw her hat into the ring. And Mickey Mouse remains a popular write-in "candidate." As I mentioned back here, the Hanna-Barbera gang ran a candidate or two of their over the years, starting with their first big star of the small screen, Huckleberry Hound. In addition to this 1960 Harvey Eisenberg-drawn comic book, Huck's campaign also included buttons and an LP complete with campaign songs. You can read all about it (and read the comic book) at Hanna-Barbera expert Yowp's blog. Also be sure and check out Hanna-Barbera/Gold Key expert Joe Torcivia's report on true-blue Huck's run for the White House.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Happy November! This year, the 11th month on the calendar brings us many special events such as a Presidential Election Day and (as usual) Thanksgiving Day. But as always November also brings us Mickey's birthday on November 18th. To start off Mickey Mouse Month right here's a charming book of paper dolls that includes Minnie Mouse. (Let's not forget that it's Minnie's birthday this month too.) Published by Whitman (an imprint of longtime Disney licensee Western Publishing), these "Steppin' Out" dolls were issued in 1977 (it has the "new" Mickey Mouse Club logo, in case you weren't sure) and were part of the 1970s nostalgia craze—a craze Mickey himself did much to start with the renewed popularity of the classic Mickey Mouse watch in 1968. These Mickey and Minnie dolls are 1920s stylish, an interesting theme this birthday boy and girl were born in the 1920s. Check back after Election Day for more Mickey merriment throughout November right here in Tulgey Wood.