The Wizard of Oz was released 75 years ago today, on August 15, 1939. Though it inspired a fair amount of memorabilia at the time, more merchandise based this classic film seems to have been created in the decades since. A relatively recent example of Oz memorabilia are the figures offered by Blockbuster Video (remember them?) as a premium to coincide with the 1997 release of the classic film on DVD. These well-designed and crafted toys were designed to fit together and in so doing formed a Yellow Brick Road "train." Push the train and each of the famous foursome perform an action. One reason I like these figures is that, though faithful likenesses of these iconic characters, the actions are not necessarily literal to action in the film. For example, the Cowardly Lion pops up and down from behind a shrub. These relatively simple toys, basically giveaways, capture not only the colorful characters but the essence of The Wizard of Oz.
Friday, August 15, 2014
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
The "READ" posters from the American Library Association (ALA) are well-known to just about anyone who wanders the aisles of volumes in their local library. Over the years, the READ campaign has enlisted sports figures, movie stars and musicians such as R.E.M, Paul Newman, Ewan McGregor, David Bowie and Oprah Winfrey, among many others, to promote READing as something desirable and, yes, even cool. Recent celebrities enlisted in this noble cause include Spider-Man, Nathan Fillion, and Taylor Swift, but one of my absolute favorites is from 1980. Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy (elegantly costumed as an old-fashioned librarian) are showcased browsing books in a library. These lovable characters are of course fun and very effective spokes-Muppets for this important promotion. After all, when Miss Piggy says READ—you read.
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
This creative artwork, created especially for the Disney Catalog Summer 2003 "Summer Fun" issue, conveys a splashy sense of fun. When it was in existence, the Disney Catalog offered a good "guest" experience if only because of these beautiful covers, created in many different styles and media. Dive right in!
Monday, August 4, 2014
Even though Dolly Madison Cakes and Treats are now owned by Hostess (which died but is back from the grave), Lucy Van Pelt relaxingly reminds us how to enjoy the summer. This wonderful piece of advertising art (courtesy of Jason Beard) is a throwback to the wonderful Peanuts print ads and animated commercials for Dolly Madison, for which Snoopy and company were the mascots through several decades.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
"Summer Fun" was a warm-weather staple of the classic "funny animal" comics. This wraparound cover, by Jukka Murtosaari, is from June 1991. Part of the fun of this Summer Fun cover is the inclusion of such comic-book faves as Li'l Bad Wolf, Scamp and Super Goof. And it's perhaps a throwback to classic comics of yore that the setting combines a beach party (well, a swimming-hole party, anyhow) and a picnic party. Come on in, the comics are fine.
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Here's some summer-type fun. The Flintstones featured a number of rarely-seen cast members and despite his appearance in the opening and closing titles, Baby Puss is chief among them. For Baby Puss fans, it's heartwarming to see this prehistoric pet numbered among the Flintstone family members on this fun-at-the-beach Gold Key comic-book cover (issue # 29) cover dated September 1965.
Friday, August 1, 2014
Happy August 1st! And if it's August that must mean it's time for—Christmas in July! That's right, the festivities at the Christmas in July blogfest over at Christmas TV History have been extended into its 32nd day—just in time for my turn to participate. Be sure and stop by the Christmas TV Party and see some of my favorite Christmas movies, and specials. (Hint: one of them stars Michael J. Fox, seen here on the cover of a 1986 Family Ties tie-in book, pictured with future wife Tracy Pollen as Alex P. Keaton's girlfriend, Ellen). While you are at the Christmas TV History blog check out all the other fine and fascinating participants too. After all, it's never too late for Christmas in July—even if it's August. And for all you Back to the Future fans who wonder what Marty McFly might have looked like two years prior to that infamous year of 1985, no need to find a flux capacitor...just see the image at the bottom of this post from the 1983 Christmas episode of Family Ties (from the must-see Holiday Film Reviews blog).