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Formula Juan Racer: Numero Uno!

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's Time For Peanuts Pumpkin Carols, Charlie Brown!

Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts characters created by Charles Schulz have long been associated with Halloween. The animated TV special "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" has been a holiday tradition since it debuted in 1966. Snoopy and Halloween go together like chocolate and peanut butter.

This book was actually a Hallmark card, and it was given to my older brother by my Grandma. This card is at least 30 years old (probably older). How did I end up with this? I'm not sure, but my brother knew how much I liked Charlie Brown and Snoopy, so maybe I just asked him if I could keep it.

Pumpkin Carols were not exclusive to the Peanuts characters. I remember singing "The Twelve Days of Halloween" in elementary school. The lyrics were a little different---I remember singing "and an owl in a dead oak tree" as well as "and a dead owl in an oak tree." Ghastly!

This card was re-released with different artwork (maybe it still is). I have another version, but it lacks the cool pumpkin die-cut treatment.

I love this drawing of the Peanuts gang in their costumes.

As folks start getting ready for Halloween, it won't be long before you may see an inflatable Snoopy in a Halloween costume on someone's front lawn.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Disney's Haunted Mansion Parade of Homes

Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion. Well, a resin, light-up version of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. This was available from The Disney Catalog and the online Disney Store years ago. Later, it could be found at a reduced price through the Disney Outlet on eBay.

Some of the 999 "Happy Haunts," like the Hitchhiking Ghosts, are just dying to have new visitors.

A few Grim, Grinning Ghosts have materialized to socialize. Don't close your eyes and don't try to hide.

Fans of Disney's Haunted Mansion have been able to get their mitts on replicas of their beloved attraction for some time now.

The original 1967 Disneyland Mansion is represented here it all its Southern, New Orleans Square glory.

Here we find spirited characters based on the original Marc Davis designs.

The fat lady may have sung, but there's more to see here.

Here we find the original version of the Bride from the attic.

She was originally a faceless, ghostly figure, with a loud, red beating heart.

The Bride has changed quite a bit over the years. The newest version is really cool, but I miss the simple charm of the original. The picture above is from the Haunted Mansion book and record. I still have the book, but the record went missing years ago. Side B of the LP featured Haunted sound effects, which I taped and used as sound effects for my own Halloween displays for Trick Or Treaters when I was a kid.

Also present is the legendary Hatbox Ghost character. He vanished from the ride before its grand opening.

Apparently, the character's gimmick (his head vanished and reappeared in his hatbox) was not convincing enough, so he was removed.

Here the character is seen in the Haunted Mansion book and record. He has been featured in quite a bit of merchandise. Maybe he will be back in the Mansion someday.

A resin version of Phantom Manor from Disneyland Paris was also available in the Disney Catalog and online. The famous Hitchhiking Ghosts are represented here, though I don't believe they are featured in the attraction in France.

A hinged-box resin Haunted Mansion was sold at Disneyland and Walt Disney World in the late 1990s. This is Walt Disney World's version, found at the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square.

Open the box to discover the Hitchhiking Ghosts and the Corridor of Doors, with Goofy and a Ghost in a Doombuggy ride vehicle.

Here we get a rare glimpse at the back of the Mansion. Really, this is what it looks like. Haven't you always wondered?

A playset version of the Haunted Mansion could also be found at the Disney Parks. This is Walt Disney World's Mansion. It also includes accessories, and the Hitchhiking Ghosts. The Mansion facade seen at Walt Disney World can also be found at the Tokyo Disneyland version of the Haunted Mansion, located in that park's Fantasyland.

Like all the Haunted Mansions, it is equipped with wall-to-wall creeps and hot and cold running chills!

Jack Skellington and his crew from Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas have been taking over Disneyland's Haunted Mansion at Halloween and Christmas for 10 years now. "Haunted Mansion Holiday" is quite popular, and was also adapted for Tokyo Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

Disney recently unveiled concept art for Haunted Mansion themed hotel rooms. This is probably an idea for rooms at an existing resort (a good guess could be for Disney's Port Orleans Resort at Walt Disney World in Florida). I'd love to see an entire hotel based on the Haunted Mansion.

I have been having difficulty posting photos on my blog recently, and have discovered I'm not alone. The new photo upload system does not work for everyone. I was able to find a way to revert back to the old editor, but it will be eliminated soon. Hopefully, the photo upload problems will be addressed.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Snow White at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

In late 1994, I was lucky enough to visit a special exhibit focused on the creation of Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  Collector Steve Ison provided artwork for the display.  There was also a film shown featuring lost and deleted scenes, some of which had been colored, with some new voice work provided by actor Jim Cummings for the dwarfs.

Click on the pictures, then click them again to zoom in and read all the details (don't strain your eyes!).
The Education Division and the Publications Department from the Indianapolis Museum of Art created a great booklet for this event.
I sent one of these booklets to the Walt Disney Archives shortly after visiting the Museum.
More rejected Dwarf names:  Psycho, Sleazy, Klepto, Gassy and Grabby.  OK, maybe I made those up.
 At Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs are featured in a dark ride called "Snow White's Scary Adventures."  The Disneyland version recently got some new effects and upgrades.

At Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Hong Kong Disneyland, you can escape the madness of the theme park crowds at the serene "Snow White Grotto" (complete with Wishing Well).

These days, there's quite a bit of buzz about a planned Seven Dwarfs Mine Car ride for Walt Disney World's Fantasyland.  Hopefully there will be spiffy animatronic Dwarfs, shining diamonds, and careening through some caverns.

Friday, September 10, 2010

In Memory of William Glenn Scott (Glenn Shadix)

This week at work, I met an artist named Lisa Opielinski.  She was creating something to honor the memory of her friend, William Glenn Scott, who died September 7, 2010.  Today I learned from Lisa that her friend had a successful career as an actor, and went by the name Glenn Shadix.  He played Otho in the movie "Beetlejuice" and provided the voice of the Mayor in "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," among many other memorable film and television roles.  Much to my surprise, he was an Alabama native, and he died in his house in Birmingham.

I felt very fortunate that Lisa decided to tell me about Glenn, and very sad that he had passed away.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Aloha, Mickey: Honolulu's Ala Moana Disney Store

In 1990, I got to go on a trip to Hawaii.  Yes, it was just as wonderful as I had imagined.  At the time, I knew there was a fairly new Disney Store at the Ala Moana Center, a shopping district serving Honolulu/Waikiki on the island of Oahu (I knew about it because the Disney Catalog listed all the Disney Stores).  I made sure I was able to see Honolulu's Disney Store, even though I ended up not buying anything.  The Ala Moana Center was different from any shopping mall I'd seen.  It was a traditional looking mall, except it did not have a roof.  We entered the mall through a large souvenir store, then rode the escalator to the second level, which was home to the Disney Store.
I think there was an opportunity missed here.  This could have had a cool Hawaiian theme, but it did not.  Instead, it was themed to various Disney shorts.  Maybe the idea was to make the local visitors feel like they'd left Hawaii.
Fantasia was a popular theme for the Disney Store.  The brooms from "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" help Mickey get ready for his close-up.
This Disney Store was fairly spacious, and it had a front and back entrance.  The back entrance was just a simple glass door.
This display was on a turntable.  The animated displays were a nice touch, and I cannot understand the logic in their removal from the Disney Store concept.
Mickey's Nephews were often seen in animated displays, but rarely seen on any merchandise sold at the stores.
The characters in scenes like this one featuring "Mickey and the Beanstalk" had nice costumes.  Later display figures were totally made of fiberglass (I'm guessing it was easier to maintain and clean them without cloth clothing).
I wonder how many people tried to jump up to touch Donald Duck?
These displays were very detailed (there's even a little bird in the tree).  It's nice to see Pete and Chip and Dale here. 

I had a wonderful time seeing Oahu, and got to visit a place called Sea Life Park, which featured a "Wholphin" (the offspring of a bottle-nose dolphin and a false killer whale).

I also got visit Maui on this trip.  This was amazing!  We stayed at the Aston Kaanapali Shores in Lahaina (right next to an Embassy Suites that had a waterfall running down the middle of the building).

Apparently, the Disney Store at the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu shut down and reopened as a much smaller, less themed location.  Too bad!

Of course, Disney is working on something exciting and new in Oahu.  In 2011, the Aulani Disney Resort in Ko Olina will debut.  Mahalo, Mickey!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Wicked Awesome Beantown Disney Store

At some point in 1992 or 1993 (I think) someone I know took pictures for me of a highly themed Disney Store that I believe was in Boston, Massachusetts (it may still be around).  I've never been to Boston, so I'm not sure about that.  This is not great reporting on my part.
The Disney Store used to feature fiberglass display figures of various Disney characters.  The earlier versions had fabric costumes, and some had limited motion.
Visitors to this multi-level Disney Store see Mickey dressed up as the Sorcerer's Apprentice at the entrance.
Climbing up the stairs, shoppers could get a good view of the Sorcerer's Apprentice castle.
How lucky are horseshoes?  Not so lucky for often-forgotten Horace Horsecollar.
I'm not sure if this is Dr. Ludwig Von Drake or Scrooge McDuck.
Clarabelle Cow does her best imitation of Cleopatra.  Horace Horsecollar is also here (lots of love for Horace at this store) along with Daisy Duck and Daisy Duck.  This scene serves as the backdrop for Plush Mountain.
I really like the background mural here.
Dr. Ludwig Von Drake and Minnie Mouse work on Goofenstein!  I had no idea of what year these pictures were from until I noticed the Aladdin merchandise here.
Donald Duck and one of his Nephews (we'll say it is Huey) in a Roman scene.  The Cast Member here is a Manager (we know this because of the color of her sweater).
Mickey's Nephews, Impy and Chimpy, I mean Morty and Ferdie, play with Triceratops babies.
It looks like the characters in this scene were animated.  I'm guessing Pluto's head may have moved, one of the Nephews rode a vehicle, and perhaps a dinosaur "hatched."
Mickey Mouse and Pluto go West, where they find a Cintas truck.

The original Disney Stores had themes that reflected local interests (for example, the Birmingham, Alabama location originally had a football theme).  This idea was eventually dropped.  The Boston store may have shared its theme with other Disney Stores.

Many Disney Stores have closed or eliminated their display figures.  These items are frequently found for sale on eBay.