It starts tomorrow, October 1—The 2013 Countdown to Halloween blogathon! I had the pleasure of participating in this internet event last year and am glad to be aboard again. Go here to see all the participants—there are over 190 blogs shaking their chains and tossing out candy corn left and right, so be sure and stop by and check out their tricks and treats. (As always, 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 user discretion is advised.) And to welcome regular readers and new visitors alike to Tulgey Wood, here is a famous and beloved comic-book cover—from Carl Barks 1952 adaptation (Donald Duck, Issue 26) of Walt Disney's animated short, Trick or Treat. Though Unca Donald is less than forthcoming with his stash of treats (until he encounters some tricks from Witch Hazel), there will be someone here at Tulgey Wood to answer the door as you shout "Tricks or Treats!" (as Charlie Brown and his pals put it) and reward your clever costume with some candy (even if its Peeps leftover from Easter) all through October, right up through the 31st itself. I hope to have some fun visuals and info for you along the way, along with a few spooky surprises. Do come Countdown to Halloween with Tulgey Wood, but as Edward Van Sloan (who plays Dr. Waldman) intones in the "friendly word of warning" prelude to 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—stop by for some Halloween fun.
Thursday, September 26, 2013
As I've mentioned before, although I love superhero comics, I wish there were more comic books about our favorite characters, as back in the time when multi-paneled magazines such as Woody Woodpecker, The Flintstones, Pogo, Tom and Jerry—and of course all the Disney comic books—crammed the newsstands and spinner racks. Today, there are a few, such as Looney Tunes, Spongebob Squarepants, Peanuts and Garfield, for which we are very thankful. And we are also most grateful for Popeye and Classic Popeye. Published by one of the current premier comics publisher, IDW, these punched-up periodicals features classic (drawn by Bud Sagendorf, the artist who carried on the Popeye newspaper comic strip and comic book after the untimely death of Popeye creator E. C. Segar in 1938) and newly created Popeye adventures. Word was that the Popeye titles had been cancelled—but now the (better) word is that the Popeye comic books will continue. Enjoy this cover from Issue 5, September 2012, featuring the mighty Sailor Man himself actually drawing a comic-book story (drawn by contemporary artist Bruce Ozella —and don't forget to pick up a copy of Classic Popeye and Popeye online at your comic book shop. (IDW is also collecting the Popeye comic-book classics into hard cover.)
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
If we can have Christmas in July, why not Halloween in September? To start us off on the right Halloween foot of fright, here's a vintage ad for one of those great Aurora monster model kits. But this isn't just any monster—it's the terrifying cyclops from the classic TV series, Lost in Space—and that makes it "REALLY Far out!" Not so coincidentally, today marks the 48th anniversary of the premiere of that science-fantasy odyssey on CBS on September 15, 1965. The cyclops made for one of the best Aurora monster hobby kits (be sure and click on the ad for a larger view) ever released by that classic company. Aftear all, Aurora was "The Official Kit of the TV Show!" The Lost in Space monster also makes for a hard-to-miss warning sign that Halloween is coming...as is a certain Halloween blogathon too. Or as the B9 Robot himself might say, "Warning! Warning, Will Robinson!"
The cyclops originally appeared in the "There Were Giants in The Earth" episode, October 6, 1965
Be sure and "stay tuned" to Tulgey Wood for more info on the upcoming blogathon.
Be sure and "stay tuned" to Tulgey Wood for more info on the upcoming blogathon.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Here is some fun publicity art for The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show, which debuted on the CBS Saturday Morning schedule in 1971. Although there are a few problems with this series (more on that another time), it was a delightful sequel to The Flintstones prime time series, with the emphasis shifted from Fred and Wilma and Barney and Betty (they appear as supporting characters) to their now-teenage son and daughter, friends since infancy (as seen on the original Flintstones show). There is often a lot of ancillary art created to publicize an animated production that is often unseen for the most part, so it's fun to feature this personality-rich publicity piece (click on it for a larger view) here in Tulgey Wood.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Labor Day is over but Summer still has a while to go, seeing as the season actually ends on September 21. To celebrate these waining days of sun and fun, here is some Kool-Aid. More specifically, these are packets of pre-sweetned Kool-Aid boasting Bugs Bunny engaged in all kinds of fun activities, accompanied by an icy pitcher (the smiling Kool-Aid man pitcher pitch-character). It was a real coup for Kool-Aid to sign such a big cartoon star to endorse their drink mix; Bugs exclusively promoted the then-new pre-sweetened version of the long-popular Kool-Aid, and the art on these packets is so well drawn, beautifully capturing Bugs' personality in these different situations. Bugs also appeared in animated Kool-Aid commercials in which he wasn't necessarily drawn as well. You can find out more about the animated Bugs Bunny Kool-Aid commercials at this edition of Animation Anecdotes on Cartoon Research by animation historian Jim Korkis. In fact, Jim writes about all kinds of fun animation facts each and every Friday. Don't miss Jim's fascinating weekly column at Cartoon Research.
Monday, September 9, 2013
The charming Summer Magic recording below is one of the most unusual Disney records made available in that it was not released on Disneyland nor Vista—Disney's two labels in 1963, the year Summer Magic was issued to theaters. Instead, as you can see from the front cover of this EP, it was released by Alcoa Wrap as a premium tied-in with the release of the film on July 7, 1963. Alcoa had previously offered a Babes in Toyland premium (a punch-out that formed "6 table decorations") and this time around, as the Summer Magic press book put it, "Alcoa will bring the sound of 'Magic' into millions of homes." The aluminum giant promoted the Summer Magic record (and Alcoa Wrap) in full-color ads run throughout the summer (when else) in such publications as TV Guide, Family Circle, Women's Day and Reader's Digest. The special Alcoa recording of course promoted not only the film but the new songs by Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman—and included recordings off the Cast Recording (not a true Original Soundtrack Recording but new performances with new orchestrations with the film's cast) off the official Vista Records release. (Interesting that Hayley received top billing in the film but on the recordings—and sheet music—it was Burl whose name was headlined above hers—most likely because such charted recordings as The Versatile Burl Ives!, a big selling 1961 LP. Want more Summer Magic? See my new article on D23.com all about "Walt Disney's New Movie," replete with charming nostalgia, heartwarming cast chemistry, seven Sherman Brothers songs—and let's not forget "That Wonderful Hayley!" (This is a D23 Members Only article—but now D23 offers a FREE Membership level. Details are here.) Celebrate summer in these final weeks of the season with "The Pink of Perfection: Walt Disney's Summer Magic" by Jim Fanning, newly posted on D23.com.
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Have you seen the "Muppetology" article on D23.com written by me about that beloved Muppet known as Kermit the Frog? It's all about the cool, green leader of the kooky Muppet clan, celebrated on screen both silver and small), in song and in much more than a smattering of memorabilia. Below is a wonderful example from the always-excellent "cartoon kits" produced by Colorforms. This set was first issued in 1980, the first year Colorforms had the Muppets license. As you enjoy this kool Kermit kit, why not hop on over to D23.com and read "Kermit's Shocking Transformation!" written by Jim Fanning...and look for more Muppetology from me on D23.com soon.
Back here I mentioned wonderful character actor Frank Morgan (real name: Francis Phillip Wuppermann) and his most famous role as the title character in The Wizard of Oz. Here he is again in one of the most famous stills from the classic film—certainly the most famous still from the black-and-white Kansas sequences. It’s no wonder this still is so often seen; it’s the only scene where the film’s principals are gathered (including Charley Grapewin as Uncle Henry and Clara Blandick as Aunt Em but sadly no Toto “too”). (It also gives us a glimpse of the poppy flower wallpaper pattern; it's not mentioned in the film but it's there.) Note the Prince Albert-style coat worn by Frank Morgan in his Kansas role as Professor Marvel. Incredibly, the great Morgan discovered one day during filming that the coat—an actual garment purchased by the MGM Wardrobe Department from a second-hand store as opposed to a handmade costume—had a label inside that read “L. Frank Baum.” This is of course the name of the famed author of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900. The coat was shown to the Chicago tailor who had made it and Baum’s widow both of whom confirmed that it had actually belonged to the Oz author; once filming was finished, MGM presented the coat to Maud Baum. So unbelievable was this almost magical coincidence that the MGM Publicity Department—not exactly shy about hyperbolic exaggerations and out-and-out fabrications—decided not to publicize the fantastic fact that the Great Morgan was wearing the very coat that the Great Baum had himself donned, simply because they felt no one would believe this story. The strange connection between Professor Marvel, Francis Phillip Wuppermann and L. Frank Baum is just one of the many wonderful things on the screen and behind the scenes that makes The Wizard of Oz a whiz of a movie.
Monday, September 2, 2013
I have posted before (such as here) about MGM's animated TV series Off To See the Wizard. The now little-remembered anthology series generated a fair amount of merchandise and give-away premiums, such as this fun mini-coloring book given away free by Curtiss Candy Company, maker of Butterfinger and Baby Ruth candy bars. (Did the candy company sponsor the show when it was running in prime time on ABC in 1967-1968?) Here's a few sample pages from Dorothy Meets the Wizard (click on the images for a larger view), one of three coloring books available.