Welcome to Dan Alexander Dizmentia

Welcome to Dan Alexander Dizmentia
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Frighten Inn Haunted Bed & Breakfast Is A Proud Sponsor of Dan Alexander Dizmentia

Frighten Inn Haunted Bed & Breakfast Is A Proud Sponsor of Dan Alexander Dizmentia
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


Catch Man-Atee And Woman-TaRay, Surfacing Soon

Bad Biker Kitties Are On The Prowl

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

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Disney's Tarzan At McDonald's

In 1999, Disney and Edgar Rice Burroughs joined forces for the animated feature Tarzan.  The film was directed by Kevin Lima (A Goofy Movie) and Chris Buck (Frozen).  The radio-ready songs were created by Phil Collins.  McDonald's provided some promotional partner muscle.  There were 8 Happy Meal Action Toys and 3 different Sound Straws.  I'm pretty sure there was a Banana Milkshake somewhere to promote the movie, too.

Glenn Close provided the voice of Tarzan's adoptive gorilla mom, Kala.

Early in the film, Kala does battle with the ferocious leopard, Sabor.

Sabor kills Tarzan's parents and Kala's baby gorilla in the first few minutes of Tarzan.

The character of Sabor is a relentless predator.  When watching James Cameron's 2009 film AVATAR, the destructive, panther-like Thanator creature reminded me of Sabor.

Instead of simply swinging on vines, Disney's extreme sports Tarzan "surfs" through the trees.

You would think that Tarzan would have a beard, but I guess the gorillas taught him how to shave.

In Tarzan, Jane is a refreshing comical character.

One of the highlights of the film is the extensive "Baboon Chase" sequence, which starts with Jane sketching a Baby Baboon.

Jane's loving father is Professor Porter.

The Porter toy rides a bike, which is pretty impressive.

Clayton guides Jane and Porter, and he has facial hair, so you know he's the villain.

Clayton has a rather gruesome death by vines.

Terk the Gorilla (voiced by Rosie O'Donnell) sings a song called "Trashin' the Camp."

"Trashin the Camp" was also covered by 'N Sync for the film's soundtrack.

Tantor the Elephant was voiced by Wayne Knight (Newman from Seinfeld).

The Tantor McDonald's toy is appropriately LARGE.

Tarzan inspired different McDonald's Happy Meal toys around the world.

There are 10 toys in the Tarzan McDonald's Happy Meal set from Australia.

The Australian set of toys seems a bit "low cost" compared to the American set, but I think the Australian set is charming and unique.

Jane enjoys sketching detailed drawings of Jungle animals and a wild man wearing a loincloth.

Though the Australian set of toys isn't lavish, it is nice that it mixes materials.  Jane has a real paper sketchbook.

Baby Tarzan will always be in Kala's heart.

I think there was a missed opportunity with Kala's voice.  Carol Burnett could have voiced Kala, and performed her famous "Tarzan Yell", giving a new twist to the origin of the Tarzan Yell.

The Sabor action figure is easy to spot.

Sabor may very well be the most feral Disney character ever created.

Clayton seems tame compared to Sabor.

Clayton uses antlers in all of his decorating, in addition to Gorilla Fur accent pillows (we can assume).

The Australian Tarzan McDonald's Happy Meal has a tree full of Baby Baboons.

Though there was only one Baby Baboon in the film, some of the International McDonald's Happy Meals featured multiple baby baboons.  Perhaps they did this to represent the mob of baboons in the movie in a kinder, cuter way.

Professor Porter sets up an elaborate camp that is just waiting to be trashed.

The gorillas will have to teach Porter and Clayton how to shave, just like they taught Tarzan.

Terk enjoys playing songs using pots and pans.

Terk, of course, is a New Yorker, so she's seen STOMP on Broadway.

Some very interesting character choices were made for the Australian McDonald's Tarzan Happy Meal.  Tantor the Elephant is not represented, but Flynt the Gorilla has a toy.

Flynt and his friend Mungo are Terk's cronies.

Young Mungo was voiced by Jason Marsden (Max in A Goofy Movie).

The Mungo "record player" is one of the most elaborate toys in the Australian set, yet Mungo is one of the most minor characters in the Tarzan movie.  Things really are upside-down in Australia.

Would you fancy a spot of tea with your Happy Meal?  Jane, Porter and Clayton's local McDonald's in England had a different set of Tarzan toys.  The Tantor toy looks the same as the American set, but all the others are slightly different.  Kerchak is featured here, climbing a tree that is about a foot tall when assembled.

Three magnetic Baby Baboons can be attached to Jane.  Clayton has a cloth jacket.  Tarzan's pose and vine are a bit different from the USA set, as is Clayton's bike.  The Kala/Tarzan toy and the Terk toy are also significantly different from the American set.

The U.K. Tarzan McDonald's Happy Meal had some beautiful boxes.  If I remember correctly, McDonald's in the USA used simple bags.
In addition to the Happy Meal, McDonald's in the U.K. had a Jungle Chicken meal, a Jungle McDouble and a toffee and banana sundae.

Tarzan was one of the last hand-drawn Disney animated films to have a great deal of merchandise, including Jungle Bachelorette Party Tarzan and Jane dolls (includes stacks of tiny $1 bills).

I bet Barbie would ditch Ken in an instant if the Tarzan doll appeared near her toybox.

Years before the TV series Scandal, Tony Goldwyn played Tarzan.  I wonder if that information has or will inspire any sort of Tarzan/Scandal FanFiction.

Minnie Driver provided a very fun (and funny) version of Jane.

For the video release of Tarzan, McDonald's had a chain-reaction "Mouse-Trap" type set of McDonald's Happy Meal toys.  When joined together, the toys created a jungle playset.

I used this Tarzan McDonald's playset to create Disney's Animal Kingdom Pandora AVATAR McDonald's Happy Meal.  (Click the link to see that).

Quite a bit of Tarzan McDonald's Happy Meal toys were created.  I will be adding more here gradually.  Stay tuned!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Kitten Motorcycle Gang

I get sidetracked very easily.  That is how I came up Kitten Motorcycle Gang, some ridiculous new characters that I hope to turn into an empire.  I envision plush toys, action figures, a movie, cat food, and a theme park attraction.  I'm still trying to name these bad biker kitties.  From Left to Right, there's Tiger (or Tommy), Sheba (or Kitty) and Hairball.

Part of the inspiration for Kitten Motorcycle Gang is an old picture from the early 1990s I found of our family cat, Bud, lounging on a motorcycle.  I based KMG member Hairball on Bud.

We really should have dressed up Bud in a vest and put a bandana on his head.

Besides the fact that cats are popular on the Internet, and shows like Sons of Anarchy are big right now, I also had inspiration for Kitten Motorcycle Gang from something from the past.  That would be Topps Perlorian Cats Trading Cards.

Back in 2010, I wrote a Dizmentia post called Bad Biker Kitties: Topps Perlorian Cats (click the link to see that) and I noticed from the responses that some people were obsessed with those motorcycle cats.

Watch for Kitten Motorcycle Gang to rev up their cycles and roar (and purr) sooner that nine lives from now.  I'm thinking of songs that need to appear in a KMG movie.  Definitely Rock this Town by the Stray Cats and maybe Puss n' Boots by Atom Ant, and possibly Kitty by the Presidents of the United States of America.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Disney's Splash Mountain Goes On A Western River Expedition With Brer Roadrunner

This vexes me.  I'm terribly vexed.  I need a mystery solved.

I recently found this very interesting concept art for Disney's Splash Mountain.  I happen to think this is the most interesting version of Splash Mountain that I've seen.  It's too bad it was never built.  It looks like the perfect match for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

At Walt Disney World in Florida, you'll find Splash Mountain in Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom, right next to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Frontierland is based on the Wild (South) West.  The source material for Splash Mountain is Song of the South, a movie based in the South East of the United States.  How do you create a mountain for Song of the South in the middle of Frontierland?  Another logical question might be, "Why would you do that in the first place?"

In this case, it was a place where a water-based attraction had always been planned for Frontierland.  Instead of southern rabbits and foxes, it would have had some kick-a$$ cowboys, designed by legendary Disney artist Marc Davis.

The look of the Western Splash Mountain seems to take inspiration from The Western River Expedition, a cowboy version of Pirates of the Caribbean that was planned for Walt Disney World's Frontierland (where Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain currently exist).

The Western River Expedition is famous among Disney enthusiasts.  This attraction was teased for years in the 1970s, and even appeared on early maps of the Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom.  How cool is that Pecos Bill type cowboy, by the way?

Instead of cowboys, the park got a copy of Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland.

Is this Western Splash Mountain artwork for real?

I decided to ask someone I know (a former Disney Imagineer who worked on Florida's Splash Mountain, which opened in 1992) about this mysterious version of the attraction.  The Imagineer had never seen this art before, but noted that it looked too much like the Southwest to fit a ride based on Brer Rabbit.

The most shocking thing mentioned is that Florida's Splash Mountain was considered early on to be part of Adventureland.  If that is true, it is totally F***ing Insane.

To make things even crazier, Walt Disney World's Splash Mountain features a character named Brer Roadrunner.

In case you wondered, there was not a character named Brer Roadrunner in Song of the South.  Because roadrunners do not live in the southeast.  But they can live in a cartoon southern mountain right next to a southwest mountain in a wild western town in a theme park in central Florida.  That's logical.

Brer Roadrunner is actually a copy of an animatronic roadrunner from the Western "Home on the Range" section of a show called America Sings that played at Disneyland in California from 1974 to 1988.  Most of the animal cast (who were designed by artist Marc Davis) became secondary characters in Disneyland's Splash Mountain in 1989.  Then many of the America Sings animal characters were duplicated for versions of Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland (both opened in 1992).

Note that the roadrunner's color was changed to blue when he was duplicated for Florida's Splash Mountain.  I am guessing that many people riding Splash Mountain think that Brer Roadrunner is Mr. Bluebird.  Then again, most people probably have no idea who Mr. Bluebird is, either.

It's kind of amazing that Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Bear and all their southern friends have not yet been evicted from Splash Mountain by a much more merchandise-friendly cowboy.

Could there ever be a Splash Mountain starring Woody, Bullseye, and Jessie?

Would Stinky Pete ever invade Frontierland and threaten Woody, Jessie and their desert animal friends?  Could the interior of the mountain contain just a handful of animatronic characters, and use digital mapping technology (seen in Hong Kong Disneyland's Mystic Manor and Tokyo Disneyland's Jungle Cruise) to bring sweeping Western vistas and critters to life?  Would a TNT explosion caused by Stinky Pete send the Splash Mountain logs down the final drop?

Could the Splash Mountain finale change from Zip A Dee Doo Dah to You've Got a Friend in Me?

Brer Rabbit is probably safe, but you have to wonder if someday we'll be hearing Woody and Jessie sing "Cool Clear Water" as part of a new Western River Expedition for Splash Mountain.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Kristoff And Sven's Reindeer Ranch At Disney's Animal Kingdom

Frozen has been such a hit that the characters from the film are making a home for themselves at Walt Disney World in Florida.  Anna and Elsa greet guests in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.  In 2016, the Frozen gang returns to Norway in Epcot with a ride and a revival of their famous 2013 World Showcase meeting location.  Frozen Summer Fun (complete with a parade, store, skating venue, sing-along-show and fireworks) hit Disney's Hollywood Studios in the summer of 2014 and took the park by (Winter) storm.

Why should Disney's Animal Kingdom be left out of the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of success the Frozen characters can bring?

I would like to suggest Kristoff and Sven's Reindeer Ranch at Disney's Animal Kingdom, replacing Rafiki's Planet Watch.  The new Sven attraction could feature live reindeer (of course) and a chance to meet Kristoff.

There's no doubt that the line to meet Kristoff could exceed the wait time for Expedition Everest.  You'd think Kristoff was Elvis the way people reacted to him at Frozen Summer Fun.

Kristoff and Sven's Reindeer Ranch would also need an indoor snow arena, where you could build a snowman or ice skate.  And an indoor merchandise location, too, of course!

Have you ever been to Disney's Animal Kingdom on a Summer Day?  A snow attraction at Animal Kingdom would be the most popular thing the park has ever had.

And it would be funny if Kristoff and Sven's Reindeer Ranch also had a flat ride starring Marshmallow the Snow Monster (as a nod to the Yeti from Expedition Everest).

Guests of Kristoff and Sven's Reindeer Ranch may purchase a package of Olaf Noses (carrots) as a snack or to feed to the reindeer.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Anime Olaf, Elsa and Anna: Disney's Frozen In Japan

Frozen has been a global smash hit for Disney, especially in Japan, where the film's title is Anna and the Snow Queen.  Japan knows how to make cool toys, and put a new twist on the movie's merchandise.

Let's be blunt, the merchandise in Japan (made by companies like Takara/Tomy) is insanely cute, especially for Olaf the Snowman.

This a snowman that is easy to hug.

Anime backpack Olaf has got your back!

Olaf will keep your drinks cold inside his boneless body.

Like Elsa, you can give life to Olaf (in puppet form).

This snowman won't give you frostbitten hands.

Anime Anna is just as friendly as her computer animated American counterpart.

Anna is eager to flee the palace and have fun with you.

When this Elsa grabs on to your keys or cell phone, she won't Let It Go.

Elsa is the warmest Ice Princess you'll ever meet.

Here is a very different Anime Elsa, on a stylish cloth bag.

This stunning artwork makes me wonder if we'll ever see a hand-drawn animated Japanese Snow Queen series from Disney (I really hope so!).  Hey, it happened for Lilo and Stitch!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Upset, Icy Waterbirds: An Angry Birds Parody

Sometimes my mind comes up with really unusual things, like this Penguin parody of the hit Angry Birds.  My nephew is (was?) obsessed with this very popular game.

Why not make fun of it with some ticked-off female penguins, and some inconsiderate walrus characters replacing the green pigs?

Angry Birds currently has their own take on Star Wars.  Maybe the PMS Penguins could do their own take on The Real Housewives franchise or Designing Women or The Golden Girls.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Tasmanian Devil Went Down To Georgia

This past weekend, I went to a wedding in Scottsboro, Alabama, and it got me thinking about the Tasmanian Devil.  Let me explain.  The Bride grew up in Alabama, and the Groom is Australian.  I have always been fascinated by Aussie wildlife, and animation, so naturally I'm familiar with the Warner Brothers Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil (or "Taz").  The character, voiced by Mel Blanc, debuted in 1954.  The appearance of the Tasmanian Devil has changed drastically over the years, particularly on merchandise.  I especially like this stuffed animal version of the character, sold in the 1970s (it actually looks a bit like a real Tasmanian Devil).

Taz has been a very popular merchandising character for Warner Brothers.  Over the years, stuffed animals of the Tasmanian Devil were produced by a company called Mighty Star.

The memorable Tasmanian Devil only appeared in a few animated Looney Tunes shorts from 1954 to 1964.

It seems Mighty Star began producing Taz stuffed animals in 1971.

Mighty Star plush toys were sold in many toy stores and theme parks.  Believe it or not, for a short time in the 1990s, the Mighty Star Looney Tunes plush were sold at the Looney Bin Roger Rabbit "toon" store at the Disney MGM Studios (now called Disney's Hollywood Studios) at Walt Disney World in Florida.

In 1976, Marriott's Great America amusement parks opened in Illinois and California.

The Tasmanian Devil and the rest of the Looney Tunes served as mascots for the parks.

The shops inside Marriott's Great America sold souvenirs featuring the Warner Brothers characters.

The Marriott Corporation sold the Great America parks in 1984.  The park in Illinois was purchased by Six Flags, which inherited the Looney Tunes characters.  The Great America Park in California eventually became part of the now-defunct Paramount Parks chain (which featured Hanna Barbera and Nickelodeon characters and included Kings Island in Ohio, Carowinds in North Carolina, and Kings Dominion in Virginia).

By 1985, Looney Tunes "lands" took over the kid sections in the Six Flags parks chain.

Growing up in Alabama, my "home park" was Six Flags Over Georgia.  Taz enjoyed taking the park's Mind Bender roller coaster for a spin.

Looney Tunes merchandise invaded Six Flags gift shops.  I made sure to get this five inch tall vinyl Tasmanian Devil figure (made in Hong Kong) in 1985.

The Tasmanian Devil of 1985 looks very different from the Tasmanian Devil of 2014.

Mighty Star plush Looney Tunes toys were sold inside Six Flags parks during the 1980s.

Mighty Star continued to tinker with the design of the Tasmanian Devil.

Gradually, the nose and mouth on the Taz toy got larger.

Taz became the "go-to" tough guy character for Warner Brothers.

The Tasmanian Devil stuffed toy gradually got shorter and stockier.

The 1979 Stephen King short story The Crate was apparently inspired by the Warner Brothers Tasmanian Devil.

By 1991, Taz got his own animated TV series, Taz-Mania.  The Tasmanian Devil was the star of the show, which was set in Australia.  Jim Cummings (the voice of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger for the past few decades) played Taz (and some other characters) on Taz-Mania.

This is what Mighty Star's Tasmanian Devil plush toy looked like in stores at Six Flags parks in the 1990s.  This version could also be found in Warner Brothers Studios Stores in shopping malls around the world, until Warner Brothers started designing their own plush toys in the mid-Nineties.  Then the stores closed.  Poor Taz!

Very different looking versions of Taz plush toys can be found today, even in "Claw" Machine Games at the grocery store or Walmart.

For more fun, check out Taz the Biker: Tasmanian Devil or Angel?