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Friday, November 25, 2011

Disney's Bathing Beauty Beast For The Christmas Tree

It just isn't the holiday season without an ornament of the Beast taking a bubble bath hanging on the Christmas tree. This may be the most comical item I've seen featuring Disney's Beauty and the Beast characters.

It's time for the Disney Enesco Christmas Ornament Spectacular! These ornaments were sold in card stores and in catalogs during 1994, 1995 and 1996.

No Christmas special would be complete without some great commercials. Luckily, Enesco also made some ornaments featuring some popular advertising mascots.

Mr. Peanut from Planter's joins Lifesaver's, Hershey's and Campbell's to sponsor this event.

Beauty and the Beast have been celebrating Christmas since 1997. That's when their "mid-quel" movie, "Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas" debuted.

The film featured new characters that were never seen again, including a Tree Topper Angel named Angelique (voiced by Bernadette Peters), a pipe organ named Forte (Tim Curry) and Forte's assistant, Fife (Paul "Pee-Wee Herman" Reubens).

Some of the Enesco ornaments were re-released over the years.

Beauty and the Beast will soon have their own village in Fantasyland at Walt Disney World in Florida (complete with Beast's Castle on a snow-capped mountain).

It's time for Holiday Cheer from Puppy Chow, Tootsie Roll and McDonald's.

This McDonald's ornament celebrates the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

It's time to go Under the Sea for a Little Mermaid Christmas.

The Little Mermaid has a new dark ride at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim, which is also under construction at Walt Disney World in Florida. Could these rides ever get a Holiday makeover? I say YES!

It's time to cool off with refreshing Coca-Cola ornaments.

One thing I love about writing Dizmentia is that I have readers all over the world. This ornament celebrates a popular Coca-Cola campaign that I can remember seeing on TV when I was three years old.

Coca-Cola has some very creative ornaments.

Coca-Cola is the official soft drink of Santa's Workshop.

Santa's workforce also includes Polar Bears.

The Polar Bears are cute, but they sometimes drink on the job.

Santa also drops Coca-Cola from his plane. Look out below!

Santa Claus washes down the millions of cookies he eats using Diet Coke.

Enesco artists even came up with a Coca-Cola train!

The train was sold in limited quantities. I wonder how much it is worth these days.

Coca-Cola has been around for a long time!

Some of the artwork in this trunk reminds me of the opening titles to the sitcom "Cheers."

As we stroll down memory lane, we see Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse in the 1928 cartoon "Plane Crazy."

I love this version of Mickey Mouse. Notice his large, goggle-like eyes, which were eventually redesigned.

Mickey and Minnie ring in 1995, and celebrate the past with 1928's Steamboat Willie.

Squeaky-clean Minnie Mouse also enjoys a Christmas bubble bath (but not with the Beast).

Mickey's Toontown opened at Disneyland in California in 1993, so it was still pretty new when these ornaments debuted.

It looks like Mickey bought Minnie something from Victoria's Secret.

If you plan on driving across the country for Christmas, why not do it in style?

Driving a 1957 Chevy Bel Air and wearing shades and a black leather jacket, Santa Claus redefines cool in the North Pole.

Santa makes sure the elves have a jukebox.

It would have been amazing if this ornament actually played music.

Kris Kringle has a stylin' 1965 Corvette Stingray.

Here, Kris Kringle looks a bit like Guy Fieri from Food Network's TV show "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."

Mr. Kringle loves to sample food as he travels. He really digs McDonald's! He loves it so much, he had the elves make him a helicopter out of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

The Polar Bears are in charge of preparing Santa's McDonald's lunches. The elves make him Campbell's soup for dinner.

As you travel during the holidays, be aware that the elves are busy all around you. They are making you French Fry Trees at McDonald's. They are even delivering pizzas at Pizza Hut.

Did you win a free sandwich when you played the Monopoly game at McDonald's? Bring your winning game piece with you when you travel for the holidays to save money. Take a can of Campbell's soup with you when you visit your Grama's house, and tell her "I brought you dinner!" Don't forget to leave a big bowl of Kitten Chow for Mittens while you are gone.

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas (so the saying goes).

LifeSavers make a charming Christmas Tree if you don't have room for an actual tree. Mr. Peanut doesn't mind if you eat peanuts, so don't feel guilty about gobbling them up during the Holidays.

It's time for some treats, courtesy of Coca-Cola, Hershey's, and Wrigleys!

A Coca-Cola bird feeder provides an oasis of refreshment for our fine, feathered friends.

It's time for Christmas with Aladdin! The Genie is a one-man caroling band.

Jasmine and Rajah probably won't see any snow, but they may find themselves in a sandstorm.

The Genie is often imitated but never duplicated.

Except when he is duplicated.

You won't find a magic lamp buried inside a box of Cracker Jacks, but you will find a treasure of some kind. It may be a piece of plastic, though.

Someone did get a diamond ring as part of a special promotion.

Santa wants you to leave him Hershey's brand hot chocolate.

If you don't get him Hershey's, you may end up with a lump of coal in your stocking.

Hershey's has their own amusement park (with roller coasters!) in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

We have yet to see the Nestle company build their Nestle Thrillville theme park located in Nestle Crunch, Wyoming.*

*This is just a joke. There are no plans, to my knowledge, of a Nestle Thrillville theme park. There is also not a town called Nestle Crunch in Wyoming. Yet.

Kids love getting toys at Christmas, and Disney has their own living toy. It's Pinocchio, the little wooden boy carved by puppet master Geppetto.

The hot new toy for 2011 is Tell No Lies Pinocchio made by Mattel. That's a lie right there.

Gather the family together to play a game...of MURDER! It's Clue from Parker Brothers!

Disney has special Haunted Mansion and Tower of Terror versions of Clue that I really would love to play. I do own the Simpsons version of Clue, which is pretty funny.

I spent countless hours playing SEGA's Sonic the Hedgehog game years ago.

I was happy to see a Sonic balloon in the 2011 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

You can play Monopoly at McDonald's or the real game in your home.

Rich Uncle Pennybags dances around his Monopoly Money Tree, decorated with game pieces.

There have been many versions of Monopoly, but the classic everyone remembers includes Park Place and Boardwalk.

I'd like to see a Hasbro version of A Christmas Carol starring Rich Uncle Pennybags as Ebenezer Scrooge. Mr. Potato Head could be Bob Cratchit.

It's playtime with Tinkertoy and Monopoly!

I thought these advertising ornaments were pretty interesting years ago, but after becoming a fan of AMC's "Mad Men" ad agency-based TV show, I'm even more fascinated by them. Enesco made Juicy Fruit Gum and Wrigley's Gum ornaments and people actually paid to put them on their Christmas tree.

The Enesco artists are incredibly talented, because I would have bought these ornaments if I could have!

A chewing gum plane and tree? Brilliant!

I've just spotted Disney's 101 Dalmatians.

I especially like the dalmatian "tree."

Maybe Santa will bring a dalmatian puppy to your house for Christmas.

Maybe he'll bring 101 dalmatians. Better stock up on Purina Puppy Chow.

Mickey and his dog Pluto lead a pack of nifty Mickey and Minnie ornaments.

It's time for the Mickey Mouse finale of the Disney Enesco Christmas Ornament Spectacular.

I think I'm running out of things to say.

There's a firetruck, a car and a sleigh.

Mickey goes postal at Christmas!

Mickey takes a train (it is NOT the Polar Express).

Donald should have ducked.

Goofy goofed up and ordered too many of these Mickey Mouse ornaments, so some of these were available for several years.

The Enesco shop is closing up now. Mrs. Mouse has some stirring to do when she gets home.

Not shown here are delightful, cute ornaments with mice and elves featuring brands like Charmin, Tampax, Metamucil and Pepto-Bismol. Maybe next time.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Muppets And Pee-Wee Herman: The Great Big Christmas Caper Adventure

I can probably recite the movie "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" and I obviously like the Muppets, so I was thrilled to see Kermit and Pee-Wee on the Winter 1987 cover of Muppet Magazine.

Kermit visits and interviews Pee-Wee at his Playhouse.

It looks like Kermit told his experiences to a writer named Fred Newman.

I wonder if this is the same Fred Newman from The Disney Channel's late 1980s/early 1990s version of The Mickey Mouse Club?

My guess is yes.

Muppet Magazine often featured a fold-out parody poster. In Fall 1987, it was Ker-Mee Herman and some biker pigs in "Kermie's Pig Adventure."

This is genius.

Ask Dr. Honeydew was a hysterical column in Muppet Magazine.

Gotta love the "fun" fruit cake suggestions.

Back in the 1980s, stickers were so popular, they actually made magazines about them. This Pee-Wee's Playhouse story is from a magazine called "Stickers & Stuff." I kid you not.

This article is pretty informative.

Pee-Wee's Playhouse debuted on CBS in 1986.

The show was kind of a spin-off of the 1985 Tim Burton-directed film, "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure."

Pee-Wee's Playhouse featured live actors, puppets and animation.

One of my favorite segments was "Penny," a cartoon about a clay girl with pennies for eyes.

Penny animator Craig Bartlett also created Nickelodeon's animated series "Hey Arnold!"

In 1988, Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special debuted. Penny got her own Christmas mini-episode.

All the Playhouse characters were celebrating the holidays, even the food in the fridge!

These stop-motion animated sequences are incredibly charming and fun, and so full of character and imagination.

The freezer upstairs is "ice-fishing" for party refreshments from downstairs.

The characters here among the frozen fried chicken are red and green popsicles! Note that the green popsicle is one of those "break and share" popsicles with two sticks.

Pee-Wee forces Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello to make his Christmas Cards, and offers to give them bread and water when they are finished.

From the Christmas Special DVD commentary, we know that Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee) and Frankie and Annette became friends working on the 1987 film, "Back to the Beach."

The Christmas Special includes many guest stars, including Dinah Shore, Oprah Winfrey, Charo and Cher.

Cher tells everyone the Secret Word and leaves to work on her perfume line, presumably.

Pee-Wee's Playhouse was on the CBS Saturday Morning schedule with Jim Henson's Muppet Babies.

In 1990, you could also find Garfield and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on CBS. You could also watch Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: the cartoon. Yes, that existed.

In the Winter 1987 Muppet Magazine, the Muppet Babies starred in a hilarious version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.

This clever take on the Christmas classic was illustrated by Bruce McNally and written by Louise Gikow.

The Muppet Babies animated series, created by Jim Henson and Marvel, debuted on CBS in the Fall of 1984.

A new character named Skeeter (Scooter's twin sister) was created for the show to give the series a female character to balance out the often outlandish Miss Piggy. I guess maybe they forgot about the rather mellow Janice when they were developing the TV series.

Skeeter and Animal were originally voiced by Howie Mandel.

Kermit was voiced by legendary voice-over actor Frank Welker. Gonzo was voiced by Russi Taylor (the voice of Minnie Mouse and Huey, Dewey and Louie on Disney's DuckTales).

Muppet Babies won many awards, and it is a shame that it is not aired regularly on television.

One of the big problems may be that Muppet Babies frequently used film clips from popular movies like Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

Now it's time for our very special guest star, Steve Martin. Yaaay!!

In the Spring of 1985, Steve Martin appeared in a special Muppet Babies story in Muppet Magazine.

This story was also written by Fred Newman.

Making a rare appearance here is a puppet version of Animal.

Animal did not appear in the Muppet Babies sequence in "The Muppets Take Manhattan."

Also making her puppet debut here is Skeeter.

Steve Martin gives Nanny a break and takes care of the Muppet Babies.

The Muppet Babies cartoon did not really portray the characters as "babies" in this way.

Steve Martin is one wild and crazy guy!

I like the special baby bottles for the different characters. I'm guessing the TNT is for Animal.

Animal was the only member of the Electric Mayhem to be regularly featured in the Muppet Babies cartoon.

Janice eventually made an appearance in an episode of the series (as a toddler). I would have loved to see Baby Floyd.

Younger readers may not know this, but MTV used to show videos all the time. That's why the Electric Mayhem was featured in this special MMTV Christmas poster in the 1987 Muppet Magazine.

It doesn't get much more 1980s than this.

The Muppets were never aimed just at kids, as seen in the 1984 Muppet comic strip (created by Guy and Brad Gilchrist).

What a dirty pig.

The Muppets always had an absurd sense of humor.

Bo, bless your little heart.

Wouldn't Kermit typically fit in at a beach like this?

In "The Muppets Take Manhattan" an amnesia-stricken Kermit is told by a doctor (played by Linda Lavin) that due to his lack of clothing and lack of wallet, they can't identify him, but he is most likely "Mr. Enrico Tortellini of Passaic, New Jersey."

In 1992, Walt Disney Pictures released The Muppet Christmas Carol. Hardee's restaurants had a special Muppet Funmeal Pack tied to the film.

To my knowledge, there were no commercials for this promotion.

I was able to get all of these finger puppets during one visit to a Hardee's in North Carolina.

I'm guessing that on the West Coast, you could find these at Carl's Jr. restaurants.

In 1998, the Muppets could be found at Blockbuster Video.

I don't know why they were dressed up. Was this for that Muppets Tonight TV show?

I found these at a flea market. I'm not sure how they were distributed. Did you get one with a kids movie rental?

Gonzo and Fozzie look like they are ready to do stand-up comedy in the late 1980s.

In 2004, Disney finally bought the Muppets.

Kermit and the gang had been appearing at Walt Disney World since 1990. Now they were officially part of the Disney family.

By 2005, you could find the Muppets on merchandise in the Disney Catalog.

Kermit dressed in a Santa suit really could be Disney's answer to the Grinch. I'd love to see a Kermit's Hoppy Holidays stop-motion animated Muppets special, done in the style of the old Rankin-Bass shows. I can see Macy's selling a Kermit the frog plush that ribbits and croaks Christmas songs.

Hopefully Disney's Muppets film starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams will be a new beginning for Jim Henson's famous characters.

Now it is time for something shocking.

Kermit, don't let your boss see this!