Welcome to Dan Alexander Dizmentia

Welcome to Dan Alexander Dizmentia
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They're Dying To Serve You

Meet the Sea Dragons of OZ and the Yeti Crab

Meet the Sea Dragons of OZ and the Yeti Crab
OZ is shorthand for Australia, and not related to a Wizard


Join the Crime Wave

Bad Biker Kitties Are On The Prowl

Bad Biker Kitties Are On The Prowl
Join The Kitten Motorcycle Gang

Formula Juan Racer: Numero Uno!

Formula Juan Racer: Numero Uno!
El Coche Es Muy Loco!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Disney's Mighty Ducks At McDonald's

What toy did you get in your Mighty Ducks McDonald's Happy Meal? Emilio Eztevez? Joshua Jackson? Nope, because this was all about the animated TV series.

The Mighty Ducks cartoon from 1996 was sort of a mad mix of The Mighty Ducks movies, Howard the Duck, Darkwing Duck, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Beverly Hills 90210.

This series shared little in common with the 1992 live action film besides the name and the logo on the team jersey.

The Mighty Ducks cartoon followed the adventures of a team of alien, hockey playing ducks living in the human world. And they also fought a race of alien dragon bad guys.

My favorite thing about the show was the theme song, performed by Mickey Thomas from Jefferson Starship.

The leader of the Mighty Ducks is Wildwing, voiced by Ian Ziering (of Beverly Hills 90210 fame). This masked duck was also the mascot for the real Disney hockey team, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, which debuted in 1993.

Wildwing's younger brother is Nosedive, voiced by Steve Mackall. Nosedive reminds me of Steven Weber's character "Brian" from the "Cheers" TV show spin-off, "Wings."

Mighty Ducks aired in syndication and Saturday Mornings on Disney's then-newly purchased ABC network.

Had this show been developed a year later as part of the 1997 "Disney's One Saturday Morning" on ABC, I wonder if it would have been a "kids in school" version of the Mighty Ducks along the lines of "Recess" and "Pepper Ann." I'm glad it wasn't, because I really like the outrageous premise of the Mighty Ducks from another galaxy.

Mallory, voiced by Jennifer Hale (a prolific actress who is currently the voice of Cinderella for Disney) looks a bit like an adult version of Gosalyn from Disney's 1991 TV series, "Darkwing Duck."

Duke L'Orange (voiced by Jeff Bennett) gets the award for the best named character on the show.

Gentle giant Grin is voiced by Brad Garrett (from "Everybody Loves Raymond").

Like all smart geniuses, Tanya (voiced by April Winchell) wears glasses.

Step back in time to November 1996 and see the Ducks in action.

It's hockey! It's ducks! It's a setup for another flashback!

Here we see how the space dragons were taking over the planet belonging to the space ducks. We don't see him here, but Tim Curry is the voice of Lord Dragaunus.

Wait, the ducks are in a comic book and are looking for comics at the same time? That, like, makes you think.

A Saurian (that's what the space dragons are called) henchman named Chameleon (voiced by Frank Welker) is up to no good.

In Anaheim, California, the Mighty Ducks played hockey at a rink called The Pond.

Wildwing wears a mood mask that changes color.

Disney Ducks were insanely popular on TV in the Eighties and Nineties.

The Mighty Ducks each have their own numbered jersey. I understand Wildwing's "00" and Duke's "13" but I don't know the significance of the others.

An "Ice A Zoni" Zamboni? Love that.

No Hockey Game is complete until there's a fight.

The Mighty Ducks don't have to worry about losing teeth.

This is a comic that doesn't take itself too seriously.

When you are talking about hockey playing space ducks, though, things could never be taken too seriously.

Did they ever play "Disco Duck" on that organ? Probably.

Disney sold the Mighty Ducks Hockey team in 2005. I guess these animated cold ducks will spend a lot of time chilling on ice.

After a long day of cleaning up the streets, the Mighty Ducks are now ready to fight grime (with Mighty Ducks Bubble Bath).

Revving up his motorcycle and popping a wheelie, Wildwing is the baddest rubber duckie I've ever seen.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Hello Wizard Of Oz

Many years ago, when The Wizard of Oz aired on TV, it was a special event. These days, you can probably watch The Wizard of Oz on your phone while you are driving and eating an Egg McMuffin. I'm guessing that's what some people are doing in their cars when they nearly crash into me.

The classic Oz story by L. Frank Baum was turned into a famous MGM film in 1939.

The Wizard of Oz was not a popular movie when it debuted, but it gradually found an audience.

In 1986, the rights to The Wizard of Oz and many other films in the MGM library were purchased by Ted Turner.

Not long after that, all sorts of Wizard of Oz collectibles were available.

If you got The Disney Channel Magazine in the mail, you could see ads for Oz-some items.

Display a tiny, scary, apple-throwing tree figure with a tiny Auntie Em and a tiny Flying Monkey and a tiny "Oh-Wee-Oh" Guard on a custom shelf in your living room.

Ted Turner enjoyed airing The Wizard of Oz on his numerous channels over the years.

Note the Flying Monkey TCM logo. I think the Flying Monkeys are among the best movie henchmen ever. I was terrified and fascinated by monkeys as a kid, and it was no doubt due to these horrific, fun characters.

To quote that goofy little kid wearing goggles in the 1983 MGM movie "A Christmas Story" (which airs 24 hours on Turner's TBS station on Christmas Eve): "I like the Wizard of Oz!"

"A Christmas Story" was an MGM movie that featured Wizard of Oz characters and a special guest appearance by Mickey Mouse. This movie kind of predicts the future, since Mickey and the Oz characters would team up again in 1989 (in sunny Florida).

Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) and her little dog, too (Toto) get swept up in a Tornado and discover they aren't in Kansas anymore.

As a kid, I did not ever think that Dorothy's trip to Oz was all a dream, like season nine of the TV show "Dallas."

Dorothy lands in Munchkinland and is told to follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Wizard of Oz so she can get home. She meets some characters along the way that remind her of people she knows back in Kansas.

On her bump-induced trip to Oz, Dorothy is joined by the Scarecrow (Dorothy's favorite), the Tin Man (not her favorite) and the Cowardly Lion (also not her favorite).

The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Tin Man (Jack Haley) and Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) all need something from the Wizard, and they each have a song about what they want prepared for Dorothy.

Look, it's a King Kong watch! You know, the Wicked Witch of the West could have easily taken down Oz with a flying gorilla.

As Dorothy and her crew follow the Yellow Brick Road, they listen to Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" album on their Smart Phones because it seems to be in sync with everything they are doing.

The Pink Floyd connection is apparently just a coincidence, and the joke from the band is that they were not inspired by The Wizard of Oz in any way, but they were inspired by the Julie Andrews movie "The Sound of Music."

On the Journey to Oz, Dorothy must deal with the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton).

Dorothy accidentally feeds the Witch after Midnight, shines bright light on the Witch, and then gets water on the Witch (causing the Witch to melt). Then an old Asian man grabs Gizmo the Mogwai and tells Dorothy that she is ready to see the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.

The Wizard is an imposing figure with a large, disembodied head.

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Yep, the Wizard is all smoke and mirrors.

When it is time for Dorothy to return to Kansas, it is also time for some awkward moments. For starters, Dorothy tells the Scarecrow that she'll miss him the most. Yes, right in front of the Tin Man and Cowardly Lion. That's cold, Dorothy.

The Good Witch tells Dorothy that all she needs to do to get back home is to click her heels together and say "There's No Place Like Home." Say what?!?

Dorothy's response, "That would have been nice to know when I crash landed in Oz, b**ch!" was cut from the film.

The 1996 merger between Warner Brothers and Turner Entertainment resulted in characters like Superman and Batman rubbing elbows with characters from The Wizard of Oz at Warner Brothers Studio Stores across the world.

The arrival of the Wizard of Oz characters at the Warner Brothers Stores was like a breath of fresh air. Or a gust of wind. Or a tornado.

By the time the Warner Brothers Studios Stores were shut down in 2001, they were selling a mix of items that also included characters like Scooby Doo (a Hanna Barbera character that Warner Brothers also inherited in the Turner merger), Pokemon and (somehow) Sesame Street characters.

Many other studios have used Oz characters for movies and theme parks. There was also a TV show set in a prison.

In 2013, Disney releases Sam Raimi's "Oz: The Great and Powerful" starring James Franco. Disney also made a live action movie released in 1985 called "Return to Oz" (I saw this scary movie by myself as a kid in a movie theater and remember wishing that I had joined my dad and brother who were watching "The Goonies" next door).

Before Disney's "Return to Oz" there was Filmation's "Journey Back to Oz" in 1974.

"Journey Back to Oz" stars Liza Minnelli, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, and Danny Thomas. I've never seen the movie, but I played the record countless times.

This movie was made by Filmation, the same studio that created TV shows like "He-Man" and "She-Ra." I have to admit that I really like the Journey Back To Oz character designs, especially the Green Elephant.

As a kid in Birmingham, Alabama, I would often get to visit our local Oz record store (closed down long ago) which included a terrifying mechanical flying monkey.

For many years, Disney sold Book and Record (or Cassette Tape) sets, and one standard title was a Disney version of "The Story of The Wizard of Oz". In 1994, Disneyland Paris opened the Storybook Land Canal Boats (Le Pays des Contes de Fees) which featured the Disney Oz characters in the Emerald City.

In 1991, The Disney Channel aired a Wizard of Oz animated series, which was produced by the same studio that created shows like Inspector Gadget and Heathcliff.

In 1989, The Wizard of Oz came to life in The Great Movie Ride at the Disney MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) at Walt Disney World in Florida.

The Wicked Witch Audio Animatronics figure seen in The Great Movie Ride is one of the most lifelike robotic characters Disney has done.

A Wizard of Oz theme park was rumored for many years for a location in Kansas, but was never built. There was also a short-lived Land of Oz section at Universal Studios Japan (unrelated to the MGM movie).

The simple 1939 movie made without flashy special effects is still the one most people think of when you talk about the Wizard of Oz.

Conquer your childhood fears and cuddle up with an evil Flying Monkey.

Have you ever asked yourself, "What Would the Wizard Drive?" Well, wonder no more!

Dorothy is ready to stop walking and do some Off-Yellow-Brick-Roading.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Disney's One Saturday Morning On ABC (Circa 1997)

Monday morning, wake up time, get to work and you stand in line. What would make you feel real fine? One Saturday Morning!

Coming up next is Tuesday's grind, the week is young, but I'm out of my mind! What would make you feel real fine? One Saturday Morning!

Wednesday, Thursday jammed in the middle, once again make you pose a riddle. What's strung real loose, but plays like a fiddle? One Saturday Morning!

Friday has an exit sign, but getting there still takes some time. What would make you feel real fine? One Saturday Morning!

(Illuminating Television!)

Five hours of Summer, once a week---One Saturday Morning! Yeah! Five hours of Summer is what we need---One Saturday Morning! Five hours of Summer, once a week---One Saturday Morning! Whoa! Five hours of Summer---One Saturday Morning!

That's the theme song (or something close to it) to Disney's One Saturday Morning, the block of shows that aired on ABC TV in the Fall of 1997. If I remember correctly, during summertime, the word "Summer" was changed to "Sunshine."

After enjoying that intro, real actor kids (some of whom I remember seeing on David E. Kelley's "Boston Public" TV show from 2000), often joined by the wacky costume character, Miss Moose or a live African elephant named Jellyroll (voiced by Brad Garrett as part of a segment called "How Much Stuff Could An Elephant Crush?") and the wild and wacky Manny the Uncanny (Paul Rugg, known for his writing and voice work on "Freakazoid" and "Animaniacs" for Warner Brothers) hosted live action and animated segments linking the cartoons of One Saturday Morning.

So after a week of school, what do kids get to watch on One Saturday Morning? Well, they get to watch cartoons about kids in school. Doug, Pepper Ann and Recess were the first shows to be part of the One Saturday Morning block. The one non-Disney show on the ABC Saturday morning schedule was The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show from Warner Brothers.

Warner Brothers would later make their own "Kids In School" cartoon for their Kids' WB lineup called "Detention" in 1999.

101 Dalmatians: The Series was produced by Disney TV and Jumbo Pictures, the same company that created the series "Doug" for Nickelodeon. We'll get to Doug in a minute.

101 Dalmatians followed the adventures of pups Lucky, Rolly and Cadpig, plus their chicken friend, Spot. Of course, there were a bunch of other Dalmatians in the series (but unlike "The Smurfs" we did not really get to know many of them), and they were always trying to avoid their neighbor, Cruella De Vil. This show also aired in syndication.

When Disney bought animation company Jumbo Pictures in 1996, Doug became a character somehow shared by Nickelodeon and Disney. For Nick, Doug Funnie was voiced by Billy West on the show "Doug" (1991-1994). For Disney's "Brand Spanking New! Doug" the character was voiced by Tom McHugh.

In 1999, Doug starred in "Doug's 1st Movie" and appeared a stage show called "Doug Live!" at Disney MGM Studios (now Disney's Hollywood Studios) at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Disney's Recess, created by Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere, somehow reminded me of the Jon Lovitz animated series "The Critic" (1994) in its character design and comic timing. The show had an impressive voice cast, including Dabney Coleman as Mr. Prickly.

This "Where's Waldo?" type game is interesting because it looks like the artist who created it never actually saw an episode of "Recess." All the "extras" seen playing with the Recess kids look like characters from old Dennis the Menace comic strips.

Recess was popular enough to get a McDonald's Happy Meal promotion, and I think it may have been the only One Saturday Morning show to get one.

Recess later hit the big screen with the movie "Recess: School's Out" in 2001. The characters also appeared on a few direct to DVD releases in 2003 and on an episode of "Lilo and Stitch: The Series."

Who's that girl? What's her name? Is she cool? Is she lame? Oh, you're talking about "what's-her-name"---Pepper Ann! Pepper Ann was created by Sue Rose, and originally appeared as a comic strip character. Sue Rose was responsible for another popular character named "Fido Dido" who appeared on all sorts of merchandise and on animated bumpers for CBS Saturday Morning cartoons in the 1990s.

Pepper Ann was voiced (and her theme song was sung) by actress Kathleen Wilhoite (who also voiced comic strip character Cathy in animated specials in the 1980s). P.A's pal, Milo, was voiced by Danny Cooksey, who starred on Diff'rent Strokes and Tiny Toon Adventures (as Montana Max). Pepper Ann and her Mom (April Winchell) were the only characters from One Saturday Morning to make a cameo appearance on Disney's House of Mouse TV series (2001) starring Mickey Mouse.

I think that the characters in the Pepper Ann "world" are the most fun to draw of all the One Saturday Morning shows.

Disney's Jungle Cubs was the second TV show to spin-off from Disney's 1967 animated feature, "The Jungle Book." The first was Disney's "TaleSpin" (1990). The two shows were totally different.

When Jungle Cubs debuted, Baloo (Pamela Segall Adlon), Bagheera (Elizabeth Daily), Hathi (Rob Paulsen), Shere Khan (Jason Marsden), Kaa (Jim Cummings) and Louie (Jason Marsden) were young friends with minor squabbles.

Jungle Cubs is a show that, as they say in "the biz" went through "re-tooling" in its second season. Characters were re-designed and the whole tone of the series changed as friendships faded away. Some voices were re-cast, including Louie (Cree Summer), Bagheera (Dee Bradley Baker) and Hathi (Stephen Furst).

The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh were hardly new by 1997.

The show had its Saturday Morning premiere on ABC way back in 1988.

Nobody has to tell animated TV stars that life isn't always fair. Since many of these shows are no longer seen, their characters risk being forgotten or totally unknown.

Jungle Cubs had not been seen on TV for many years, but it looks like it recently started airing again on Disney Junior. Maybe some more of these characters will return to TV so they can be introduced to a new generation.

Per regulations of movie theater chains, the trailer for any new possible One Saturday Morning spin-off movie made must include Tone-Loc's song, "Wild Thing."

Phineas and Ferb, start saving your money right now. You just never know what could happen to you in ten years.

Just ask Kim Possible. I know some people may be wondering, "Kim Who?"