I recently found some of my Kindergarten artwork. What is interesting is that I vividly remember working on these drawings.
This alligator was supposed to have glasses. A classmate saw what I was doing, took my paper, and added the eyelashes. I was not happy about this. However, Mrs. Chapman, my teacher, really liked my alligator. She liked it so much that she had me work on a special project. She had me make a much larger version of this picture, which was framed and put in one of the hallways of the school. It was on display for years, but I don't know if it is still there.
"The Book of Me" was one of those assignments where you had to draw your family members, your pet, and your house. The cover was a xerox copy, but the students created the artwork for the rest of the book. It looks like Mrs. Chapman helped us by writing the text.
Okay, so here I am. It looks like I forgot to draw my hands. I do like my use of complementary colors here.
This is my mother. I gave her a groovy dress and an animal print shirt. I have to say that my use of red and green here is nice. I did not know about the color wheel in kindergarten. Are you getting a bizarre vibe from these drawings? Just wait.
This is my father. I can explain. I thought that drawing my family members was very boring. I started off drawing my dad as a snowman (hence the top hat and round body segments). Then I thought, why not keep adding round segments and make him a caterpillar? So I did. And I'd do it again. This prompted Mrs. Chapman to contact my parents.
This is my brother. I actually think this is a good representation of him (for a 5 year old's drawing, that is). I like the use of black and purple here.
This is our family cat, Cupcake. I loved drawing animals, but I admit that this does not look very much like her.
Here is our house, which is being attacked by a giant bird. Exciting!
Many years ago, I collected Topps Wacky Packages. This was a line of trading card stickers that got started in 1967. Wacky Packages were spoofs of everyday products. I still have a book of my 1980s era Wacky Packages somewhere.
Here we have Headhunter Helper from Betty Chopper (Shrunken Head Sauce Mix! Just Add Noggins!).
"You've Been Served" Count Funkula from Gangsta Shizzle. Enjoy the Bits of Bling Bling!
These two stickers are from a 2005 release that my sister-in-law gave me. I have more from this run, but these two just struck me as being really funny for some reason. This is a clever twist on Hamburger Helper and Count Chocula.
I also collected Topps Garbage Pail Kids. My mother hated Garbage Pail Kids, and she got rid of mine very quickly when she heard I wasn't interested in buying any more. I had a ton of them! I really should have kept my big mouth shut, because I think it would be fun to look at those again.
Now little Billy and little Susie can have their very own cuddly plush toy of Chernabog, their favorite demon from the 1940 Disney animated film, Fantasia.
Yes, this bean-filled plush was available at some point in the last decade at Walt Disney World in Florida. This was one of my last eBay impulse buys before I decided that I was dangerously close to being on a Hoarders TV show.
It is not unusual to see Chernabog on souvenir items at the Disney Parks, as he is associated with nighttime shows like Spectromagic and Fantasmic. This stuffed toy debuted at the end of the "beanie" craze.
Also available at this time was a bean bag toy of the hunter that shot Bambi's Mom.
Now you can get Lucky with a cheap trick. Lucky the Leprechaun, that is!
The gang from the "Big G Cereals" is featured here in Magic Show tricks created by Dan Witkowski. There were 6 of these books available inside specially marked boxes of General Mills Cereals back in 1987. I only got this one.
There used to be three Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal baker characters, but only Wendell, the one with glasses, survived (and became much cartoonier).
This version of Lucky the Leprechaun was cute. I believe they'd sell more Lucky Charms with this appealing character design. Time to go retro, General Mills!
Of course, you can't have a General Mills Magic Show without the Trix Rabbit. Count Chocula, Frankenberry, the Honey Nut Cheerios Bee (before he got named BuzzBee), Lucky the Lucky Charms Leprechaun, Sonny the Cuckoo Bird from Cocoa Puffs, and Ice Cream Jones are represented here. There's also a character that I can't identify--the guy with the white beard. Who is this?
New for 1987 was Ice Cream Cones Cereal, with a new character named Ice Cream Jones. This cereal was available in Chocolate Chip or Vanilla (sold separately).
I always liked the "Big G" characters. Many years ago, they were also the mascots of the now-closed Opryland theme park in Tennessee.
My first trip to Walt Disney World in Florida was in 1981. My parents, my older brother and I had just weathered a hurricane during our visit to Venice, Florida. We drove the two hours from Venice to Walt Disney World, and were very excited about what was in store for us at the Magic Kingdom.
The first thing we did was visit the Walt Disney World Shopping Village. The best part of this place was the Character Shop. At the time, an animated figure of Winnie the Pooh holding a balloon could be seen floating through the store. I was allowed to get a small, inexpensive souvenir, and I chose a Disney Book Pet of Winnie the Pooh. This was a 3-inch tall bean-filled plush toy with a vinyl head that was packaged in a small, book-shaped box that could slide open to reveal the character.
My choice probably had a lot to do with the animated decor in the store. Also, at that time, Winnie the Pooh merchandise was not easy to find, as it was exclusive to Sears stores, as well as the stores in the Disney theme parks.
The box encourages children to collect all the Disney Book Pets. I can remember seeing Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and possibly Donald Duck. I'm not sure what other characters were offered. Thanks to TokyoMagic! over at Meet The World, I know that Disney Book Pets were also available at Disneyland in California.
Here we can see the scuffed-up Winnie the Pooh toy. He is nowhere close to being Mint in the Box.
After our visit to the Walt Disney World Shopping Village, we returned to our hotel in Orlando. We stayed right across from the long-closed Circus World theme park (we did not visit Circus World, but it did look like fun).
My brother woke up that night with a severe ear infection (he got it from swimming in unclean, post-hurricane pool water). We left the hotel and went to the Emergency Room. Then we went home. So we didn't get to experience the Magic Kingdom theme park. Since I behaved myself, and didn't complain, my parents got me five Disney records when we got back home. Jackpot!
In 1983, we returned to Walt Disney World and got to experience the Magic Kingdom AND the brand-new Epcot! So, it was worth the wait.
Aladdin's Royal Caravan was based on the "Prince Ali" segment of the film, which was ideal for a theme park parade.
The camels on this float turn their heads and spit on the crowds of people. These spitting camels (or copies of them) became part of the decor for the Magic Carpets of Aladdin ride in Adventureland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom in Florida in 2001.
For the finale, Aladdin (as Prince Ali) and Jasmine wave at everyone from the top of a large, impressive puppet of Abu as an Elephant.
Aladdin's Royal Caravan was great fun, and could also be seen at Walt Disney World in Florida at The Disney MGM Studios.
Last year (May 1, 2009, to be exact) I was lucky enough to see 311, one of my favorite bands, live in concert. They were playing at a local event called the Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil. No, I did not eat any of the "mud bugs" sold there, but I did have a blast seeing 311, one of the many groups that performed during the two-day event.
The Nebraska-based 311 got started in the early 1990s. In 1995, their "311" record with the popular song, "All Mixed Up" became a big hit.
"Don't Tread on Me" from the 2005 album of the same name is one of my favorites (I also love "Speak Easy" from this same record).
311's sound is very unique. Their music can be calming and soothing, and also very intense, exciting and vibrant.
311's lead singer is Nick Hexum. For the Crawfish Boil, he had a spiky blond Mohawk.
Doug "SA" Martinez also provides vocals, and is a very energetic performer, constantly moving about the stage.
Tim Mahoney is on guitar, Chad Sexton plays the drums, and Aaron "P-Nut" Wills plays the bass guitar. They all clearly enjoy what they are doing.
The decal and picture of the band shown here are from 311's great 2009 album, "Uplifter."
I listen to music all the time these days, and I often check out Internet-based radio stations. I frequently visit Pandora Radio, and there I have set up a 311 Radio station. Pandora selects songs that it thinks you may like based on your music preferences. This has expanded my horizons quite a bit (here I found a great song called "Your Face" by Pepper).
Those familiar with MAD Magazine Fold-Ins should appreciate this wonderful 1997 ad for Cheetos. It's really too bad that the artist responsible for this image did not get a credit here. This ad is from a Cartoon Network Dexter's Laboratory comic book.
Per the request of Darrin at Dad's Dish Retro Blog, I included the folded image (through the magic of Photoshop, I did not have to bend up my comic book).
Chester Cheetah was introduced as an animated character in 1986. He's in good company with characters like the Pink Panther and the Warner Brothers character, Cool Cat.
I can remember a Chester Cheetah set of toys available at Kentucky Fried Chicken years ago. This was fitting, since Pepsi owns Frito-Lay (the maker of Cheetos) and KFC. Synergy at its finest!
These days, Chester Cheetah can be seen as a puppet character in some new TV commercials.
It's not easy being cheesy, so Chester Cheetah has been willing to adapt to change over the years.
The marketing machine for the 1984 Steven Spielberg movie "Gremlins" worked well on me. I was obsessed with Gizmo, the cute Mogwai, and Stripe, the scary Gremlin.
The character of Mrs. Deagle in "Gremlins" was played by actress Polly Holliday (she was "Flo" in the TV series "Alice"). I went to college where she went to school, and she visited the campus when I was there. I am happy to report that she was very nice and friendly!
I have a Gremlins activity book that has some outstanding drawings. The artist is not credited, which is a real shame.
This illustration recreates a scene with Gizmo, Billy (Zach Galligan) and Pete (played by Corey Feldman).
There was talk years ago of Warner Brothers developing an animated version of "Gremlins" into a TV series, and I had wondered if they would use the great character designs shown in this book.
Corey Feldman is great at playing rascals, but he was also the innocent voice of young Copper the dog in the 1981 animated feature, "The Fox and the Hound" (which is one of my all-time favorite Disney cartoons).
This ad for a candy called Candilicious is from a 1989 Alf comic book. Candilicious was a chewy candy that I never tried, and was not a big hit, but the animated commercial is something I do remember.
Animator Sally Cruikshank let her imagination run wild with this creative ad. She was responsible for main title animation in a number of live action films, including "Ruthless People" and "Mannequin." She also had some cartoons featured on Sesame Street, like "Your Feets Too Big." Sometimes her work has a dream-like or nightmare-like quality that is fascinating.
I have lost count of how many times I have played this commercial. I love the song!