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Sunday, October 31, 2010

When Two Holidays Collide-Nightmare Before Christmas Treats

This is Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!

When Tim Burton's stop-motion animated film, The Nightmare Before Christmas, debuted in 1993, there wasn't much merchandise tied to the film. There were watches at Burger King, gift items from Applause, and a line of action figures. A good bit of that merchandise wound up getting marked down. Times have changed, and Jack Skellington and his crew are quite popular among collectors. The Jack plush toy above was a Disney Gram sold through the Disney Catalog.

When "Nightmare" debuted, it was actually released by Disney's Touchstone Pictures. There was some concern that the film was too dark. I believe the film was originally a Walt Disney Pictures release, but executives got cold feet and switched it to Touchstone.

The Disney Catalog has released a huge assortment of merchandise over the years. This cover featuring Lock, Shock and Barrel is from 2005.

I love seeing Halloween inflatables in neighborhoods. I have yet to see these, but I like them (especially Jack's flailing arms!).

Sally was also available. It looks like she and Oogie Boogie were stationary.

If you wanted, you could really give your home a Halloweentown makeover.

How about dressing up like Nightmare Before Christmas characters for Halloween? You can even dress up your dog, though your dog may not appreciate that.

It looks like it would be really tough to see out of that Jack Skellington mask.

Don't forget to decorate your front porch!

Those carved pumpkins look really impressive! There's lots of designs to choose from...

I really like these eerie lights.

How about decorating your Christmas tree with Jack Skellington heads? The animators working on the movie had different heads to pop on to the puppets. These ornaments show a few of Jack's facial expressions.

How about an Oogie Boogie candy dish for Halloween? Maybe you could fill it with gummy worms.

You can make your own Halloweentown with different miniature buildings.

It takes a village to create Halloween.

In 2005, Hawthorne Village created their own version of Halloween Town.

Hawthorne Village brought many of the buildings and characters from the movie to life (in light-up form).

I'm not sure if that cool moonlit background was included with the set.

Go ahead and get every piece in the set.  It's only money.

Hawthorne Village created other town themed collectibles, too.

You may want to check out It Takes A Universal Studios Monsters Halloween Village.

High-end collectors should not feel left out. The Disney Catalog offered limited edition pieces, too, like a Jack Skellington mask.

How about a mirror for your haunted dining room?

I like the character designs used for this nesting doll set.

I also think these felt ornaments are great...

As are these fun Christmas stockings!

Here's a great cuckoo clock by artist Addis Zaryan (he created some fantastic stylized Lion King merchandise for the Disney Catalog, too).

I've seen lots of Nightmare Before Christmas snow globes.

This one features the song "What's This?" I love the Christmastown Carousel with its Beluga Whale and other critters.

Ten years ago, Disneyland in California started changing its Haunted Mansion for Halloween and Christmas (Tokyo Disneyland in Japan also does this).

In October 2008, I got to visit Disneyland in California to experience "Haunted Mansion Holiday" for myself. It was one of my favorite parts about the trip.

New Orleans Square got mighty crowded with folks eager to see what was going on in the Haunted Mansion.

I did not even try to take pictures inside the attraction. I especially love how the Stretching Room is changed, and the Gingerbread House in the Grand Hall sequence (it is animated and smells wonderful).

I did manage to get some souvenirs!

Jack and his ghost dog, Zero, replace the Haunted Mansion's Caretaker and dog in the wonderful winter wonderland Graveyard scene. The Singing Busts have pumpkins on their heads.

Disneyland also had a great Jack Skellington bobblehead. Actually, I only saw this at the Disneyland Hotel, which is a short walk from Disneyland.

This bobblehead can also be found at Walt Disney World.

The hot item at Disneyland was a pair of Jack Skellington Mickey Mouse ears. I got a pair, of course!

Yes, I even had it personalized!

Happy Halloween, and Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Disney's Haunted Mansion: Watch For Hitchhiking Ghosts!

Disney's Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite theme park attractions. The Mansion's famous "Hitchhiking Ghosts" have quite a few followers, and many are eager to have these spirited characters represented in their home. The image above is from a Haunted Mansion record and book set from 1970.

I bought this Disneyland Haunted Mansion key chain far from Disneyland in California. This is from a temporary Disney theme park liquidation store in Louisville, Kentucky that I visited in 2000 (I think). Most of the merchandise for sale was from California. I also got a glow-in-the-dark Haunted Mansion shirt here.

In 2008, I got some unique pins at Walt Disney Imagineering in California.

I'm surprised these character designs haven't shown up more often. They are great!

Remember the bean bag craze? All sorts of characters were turned into beanies, including the Hitchhiking Ghosts. I think I got these in 1999, and they were from Disneyland. They were also sold at Walt Disney World, The Disney Catalog, and online.

From left to right, this is "Happy Haunt #998, Happy Haunt #997, and Happy Haunt #999." These ghosts now are known by individual names. They are (from left to right) Ezra, Gus and Phineas. These toys feature glow-in-the-dark eyes.

In November 2009, I found these great bobblehead figures at Walt Disney World.

These were only available at The Magic Kingdom. I bought these at a gift cart near the Haunted Mansion, and I also saw them for sale at the Emporium on Main Street. Yes, these glow in the dark!

On this same trip, I got this Disney Racers Haunted Mansion Ghost.

I love this collection. On that trip, the toughest character to find was Kermit the Frog. Kermit was apparently exclusive to Disney's Hollywood Studios.

In 2005, the Disney Catalog had some really nice Haunted Mansion collectibles.

This stunning pewter set closely follows the original Marc Davis character designs. Note the use of color on the characters and the fact that Ezra used to be a ghost (also seen in the Haunted Mansion book and record image). This set also features the mysterious Hatbox Ghost that vanished from the Mansion before the ride opened to the public.

Here's some more limited edition Mansion memorabilia.

One of the most memorable parts of the Haunted Mansion is the Stretch Room. Here we encounter some creepy gargoyles.

Of course, we also witness the room and the paintings within stretching!

Spoiler alert: At Disneyland, the stretching gallery is actually an elevator. The misguided souls running Disneyland's website years ago actually described this feature as the "haunted elevator." At Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, the stretch room elevator takes visitors down so they can go through a tunnel under the parks' railroad tracks.

At Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland, it is NOT an elevator at all. The ceiling rises.

Here is one of the stretching portraits made into a lamp. This is strictly for collectors. Don't give this to any random grandmother, please (unless she's a Haunted Mansion fan).

Ooh, I like the bat detail at the top of the lamp.

Have you ever experienced the Lion King version of the Haunted Mansion? Notice the stretching portraits of Timon and Pumbaa and the hyena versions of the gargoyles.

This was part of Timon & Pumbaa's Virtual Safari 1.5 on the DVD of "The Lion King 1 1/2." I'm not crazy about sequels in general, but this was a funny movie and the Safari was a hilarious trip through Timon and Pumbaa's "new ride." This included spoofs of Pirates of the Caribbean and the Matterhorn's Abominable Snowman.

In 1998, Disney and Golden Books released a fantastic Haunted Mansion coloring book. This featured illustrations by Len Smith and Arkadia (the cover illustration was done by Scott Tilley and Thomas Phong). The story followed Mickey and the gang working as a cleaning crew in the Haunted Mansion.

This book features some very animated drawings!

The character designs of the Hitchhiking Ghosts seen in the coloring book have been seen elsewhere, too! I got these Halloween pins on my October 2008 trip to Disneyland in California.

Here are the dueling ghosts (from the Great Hall scene) and the Bride from the Attic.

Ironically, the Hitchhiking Ghosts and the Bride cannot be found at Disneyland on Halloween! Why? Because the Mansion becomes "Haunted Mansion Holiday" for Halloween and Christmas at Disneyland in California (and Tokyo Disneyland in Japan). As much as I love the Haunted Mansion, I have to say that "Haunted Mansion Holiday" was easily one of the best parts of my Disneyland visit.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween With Chernabog And The Disney Villains

The Disney Catalog frequently featured some pretty amazing cover artwork. This Halloween 2004 image features Snow White's Witch conjuring up some sinister Disney Villains. There's Chernabog, Captain Hook, Scar, Ursula, Hades, Maleficent, Jafar and Cruella. Spooky!

I had a post called Snuggle With Chernabog showcasing an unusual item featuring Fantasia's famous demon. Here's another. Now little Timmy can dress up like Chernabog and go Trick Or Treating!

This outfit was available in 1999. Costumes are typically expensive, but this one looks well made and doesn't seem to be very pricey.

Also from 1999: some nice witchy Halloween decor for your front porch.

The Ursula the Sea Witch Door Sculpt and the Hag Witch Windsock were made by Windsport. If I spent that kind of money on decorations, I wouldn't want to put them outside.

A co-worker of mine told a story to me about how one of her high school teachers looked exactly like Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid. I think of this every time I see Ursula now.

Windsport also made a Maleficent (from Sleeping Beauty) flag to terrorize the neighborhood.

Maleficient seems to be a very popular merchandise character. This year, she is the mascot of the Halloween festivities at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Trick Or Treat, Smell The Halloween Decorations

With a witch air freshener, your can fill your home with the smell of a wretched old woman.

This Wizard brand witch air freshener has survived years of storage in hot attics without melting. This (wax?) figure is missing a sliver of her back, but considering she is from the early 1980s, that's not too shabby. She only has a tiny bit of fragrance left. This kind of air freshener used to be quite common, and there were other holiday pieces to "collect."

For some reason, my Halloween decorations have a very distinct "Halloween" aroma. I cannot explain this phenomenon. Accordingly, my Easter decorations have an "Easter" scent, and my Christmas decorations have a "Christmas" aroma.

Of course, my Halloween decorations include fast food toys. Among my favorites are a set of small, stuffed characters from Hardee's that can be squished into their plastic environments.

This Cat, Goblin and Ghost were created by Hallmark Cards and distributed in Hardee's kid's meals in 1989. There was also a Bat, but I did not get him. Yes, I frequently had the cat's eyes peering out of the pumpkin's eyes.

In 1991, McDonald's had a Happy Meal featuring the animated NBC Saturday Morning series, "Gravedale High." I actually got these at a flea market around the time they were first released.

This short-lived show starred Rick Moranis as a teacher at a high school populated by monsters. The vampire is Vinnie Stoker, a cool "Fonzie" type character, and with the turn of a knob, he swivels back into his coffin. Frankentyke sticks out his tongue when you push his arms. Cleofatra the mummy is a weeble-wobble style toy. Sid the Invisible Kid's hands and feet move when you push a lever on the back of his locker.

In 1984, a company called Mark 1 in Chicago released Scratch & Sniff Iron-ables. These have "3M Microfragrance Coatings."

This Werewolf and Frankenstein Monster still smell like---something. I could never pinpoint what the scent was supposed to be. I got these from a long-closed dime store chain called TG&Y. Mark 1 did a lot of great character artwork, including cards and stickers for Q*bert and other characters.

Scratch 'n sniff stuff was really big when I was a kid. The most popular item was easily stickers. The ones people remember the most were Stinky Stickers from Trend Enterprises.

This checklist is from a time when the line had 88 stickers. All sorts of holidays were represented, including Halloween. The Ghost had a coconut smell (of course!). The Witch had a Licorice Stick scent (I'm not a fan of licorice). The Skeleton allegedly smelled like "Bone" and the Bat smelled like "Cave." Um, what?!?!

I did not encounter all the stickers on this list. Click on the picture, then click again to zoom in. My "WTF?" list includes "Space," "Phone," "Crab," and "Rope."