House Industries: A Type of Learning REVIEW

Once again The Henry Ford Museum has delivered a fun and entertaining exhibit, this time presented by House Industries. And who is House Industries, and what is the purpose of this exhibit?

Well, Inspiration is everywhere, especially when you are obsessively curious. The artists of House Industries have followed their curiosity to earn international acclaim for a diverse body of work that ranges from fonts and fashion to ceramics and space travel. What has been created here is a multisensory exhibition that will inform, teach and, most important, empower people of all ages to follow their interests and never stop learning from what they like.

House Industries Logo

House Industries is known throughout the world for its eclectic fonts and far-reaching creative exploits.

A Type of Learning beautifully celebrates House’s method of design-thinking and encourages guests to think about their own curiosity, leaving them with an intoxicating sense of endless possibility. Such as:

House Industries Robot 2House Industries Robot 1

Crow T. Robot & Tom Servo (MST3K)

House Industries Evel Jumpsuit

Snake River Canyon Jumpsuit

I thoroughly enjoyed this eclectic exhibit! I hope to revisit it often during its run from May 27th to September 4th, 2017.

COOL RATING: 5/5 STARS

Few of the cool nouns I review on this site get a full 5 stars but this is deserved exception for sure. Truly something for everyone!

House Industries Bicycles

Velo (French for ‘Bicycle’) is a House Industries font

Inspiration really can come from anywhere!

The Wonderful Worlds of Walt Disney Book Set

Once again the idle thought to stop at a yard sale has yielded yet another great addition to my growing Disney book collection. This time I’ve found a beautiful set of four hardcover volumes from 1965. Complete and with the original cover sleeve no less! This is especially precious to me as that is the year I was born and I love finding things from my birth date.

Wonderful Worlds of WD Books 1

Wonderful Worlds of WD Books 2

From Golden Press

As mentioned, there are four volumes to this set. And they are:

Wonderful Worlds of WD Books 3

This volume starts out with Disney animated and live-action movies that are set in other lands. It then segways into chapters adapted from the motion pictures series ‘People and Places’ and then goes back to Disney’s library of fictitious characters from around the world.

Wonderful Worlds of WD Books 4

This volume mostly focuses on Disney animated and live-action films depicting historical characters.

Fun Fact: This volume has a picture of Br’er Rabbit on the cover who is from Disney’s ‘banned’ Song of the South movie. What is even more interesting is that it contains the Tar Baby story which is one of the main reasons the movie will never be released. There are so many examples of bits and pieces of the Song of the South being released in video compilations and in print, so why not just release the movie?

Wonderful Worlds of WD Books 5

This volume focuses on creatures from the ‘True-Life Adventures’ series and also contains chapters containing pictures of many strange and unusual animals.

Wonderful Worlds of WD Books 6

This volume contains mostly stories from Disney’s animated fables. Here is the title page:

Wonderful Worlds of WD Books 8

Each volume has a similar title page as well as a contents page with a forward like this one:

Wonderful Worlds of WD Books 9

Each of the four volumes have the same inner sleeve design:

Wonderful Worlds of WD Books 7

 All in all this is a very nice set which must have delighted children back in 1965!

Fun Fact: This set of books contain stories that have been published before and after its production date. One such duplication is the stories of Mother Goose done over with a Disney twist. You can also read these stories in the book entitled Walt Disney’s Mother Goose. I guess if a story works, why not keep publishing it?

Top 5 Reasons for Disney-themed Top 5 Lists

Who doesn’t love a Top 5 list? Throw Disney into the mix and you’ve got yourself a piece of Internet Heaven on a stick. Or… something really, really, good!

So sit back and be amazed at the Top Five Reasons you didn’t know existed for every website and blog in the universe to continually post Top Five Lists:

Reason Numero Five-0

Counting Practice

Counting

With the deterioration of today’s educational system, more and more children are finding it hard to do even the most basic of academics, such as counting. But thanks to the draw of Disney and Top 5 Lists, children the world over can now count to five!

And thanks to Disney Nouns, and our Top 5 Lists, they can do it backwards too!

Reason Numero Four-0

I Got Nothin’

Nope. Still nothing.

Reason Numero Three-0

Education

Education

Who has time to break out the old Encyclopedia Britannica set in this busy day and age? And one can only Google so much! So Top 5 Lists are a perfect way to get a small piece of highly-biased information about a nonsensical subject in just two minutes or less.

You’re welcome, Internet!

Reason Numero Two-0

Fun

Fun

Hey, if Walt Disney says it’s fun… it’s fun dagnab it! Of course, for this reason to be valid, you have to replace ‘family park’ with ‘Top 5 List‘. But you can work with me here, right?

Reason Numero One-0

Traffic

Traffic

Let’s be honest, we bloggers are egocentric glory-seeking megalomaniacs with a desperate need for attention and… you guessed it: Traffic!

We don’t care why you come to our sites as long as you come! So we’ll post a Top 5 List about anything. Seriously. Anything. But only a complete nut would post a Top 5 List about the Top 5 Reasons for Top 5 Lists!

Hey, at least I’m honest.

Book Review: Disney’s Wonderful World of Reading

This series of books consisted of new stories and adventures and special adaptions of the Disney classics. Many favorite characters were used to assist youngsters in exploring the wonderful world of reading (appropriate, eh?)

By using simple vocabulary and exciting new illustrations that fully explained the text, these books were designed to encourage youngsters to read by themselves.

I have two from this series to share with you today. First is a continuation of the world created in the Devil’s Bayou for The Rescuers:

WWoR Books 001

The swamp folks return

This story rewrites the ending of the original movie to leave Madame Medusa and Mr. Snoops in the Bayou, still looking for treasure.

WWoR Books 005  WWoR Books 006

Beautiful artwork

Let’s have a look at the story as it unfolds:

WWoR Books 007

Still looking for treasure, no matter who it hurts

As the dastardly duo dig here and there, they uproot and/or bury the swamp folks! This must stop…

WWoR Books 008

Evinrude flies again!

Evinrude flies to the affected folks and promises to go to The Rescuers for help. A change from the original movie is that this character can now talk…

WWoR Books 009

Captain Orville at your service

So Bianca and Bernard race off to the Bayou once more to see what they can do…

WWoR Books 010

“Thank you for flying Albatross Air!”

So as not to spoil the book for you and your youngsters, suffice to say that Bianca and Bernard are able to foil and chase away Madame Medusa and Mr. Snoops so that the swamp folks are safe once again. Until the next book anyway!

WWoR Books 011

Time to leave

All’s well that ends well! To see more of The Rescuers, check out this earlier post featuring a read-along book.

Now let’s have a look at the second book:

WWoR Books 003

Another fine mess he’s gotten himself into!

Mr. Toad just can’t help himself! He’s always getting into trouble and hurting his friends along the way. This book is about a bicycle, some hurt feelings, an apology, and maybe a new beginning for Mr. Toad…

WWoR Books 012  WWoR Books 013

Again, nice simplified artwork

So the story all begins with the need to mail a letter…

WWoR Books 014

That’s not his bike!

Even though Mr. Toad is warned that MacBadger’s bike has no brakes, he just can’t resist the call of the open road…

WWoR Books 015

And it doesn’t end well!

After having wrecked MacBadger’s bike, Mr. Toad faces the loss of his friend…

WWoR Books 016

Mr. Toad tries to do his own paperwork

Soon Mr. Toad realizes just how much he needs his trusted friend…

WWoR Books 017

It was a dark and stormy night

Mr. Toad heads out into the Wild Wood to find MacBadger and bring him back…

WWoR Books 018

Time to apologize

Mr. Toad convinces MacBadger to come back to Toad Hall…

WWoR Books 019

Will he or won’t he?

After buying MacBadger a new bike, Mr. Toad is tempted to steal it again, but he doesn’t… for now!

Both books are well done with nice artwork and simple stories that are fun and educational. I would give them a 4.5 out of 5 Stars.

There are literally dozens of these books in the series, as the lady I picked these up from (at a yard sale) said she had over 70 in her collection. These two were doubles she was selling off to buy more she didn’t have yet. You can still find these books on eBay and Amazon.

These books came from The Disney Book Club back in the day, and this club is still going. Simply click the link and you can get your youngsters started in the wonderful world of reading today!

Book Review: Life – Special Magazine on Walt Disney

I saw many of my friends on social media publishing pictures of the cover of this magazine, but wasn’t really planning on picking it up myself. I have so many hard-cover books on Walt Disney, it’s hard to find any contemporary publication that can offer me anything new.

Life Mag 1

At $16.99 CAN, it had better be good!

But one day I had to wait for my wife and found myself trolling a magazine rack in a local pharmacy and there it was. So I broke down and picked it up. But seriously, $16.99? It had better be ‘special’ indeed!

Obviously the magazine basically contains an overview of Walt’s journey, as reported on in the pages of Life Magazine over the years. So every reference comes from Life archives. A main source of quotes comes from an author and animator named Stephen Cavalier. His bio reads as follows: He has worked in the animation and games industries for two decades. An animator, writer, and director, he has worked as an Animation Director for Disney TV shows and been part of the animation team at Steven Spielberg’s Amblimation. He also works as an animator, writer, and director through his own company, Spy Pictures.

I found his insights to be a bit critical, with even positive comments being followed with a negative point. Of course, Walt was no saint, so one expects this in any publication about him.

Again, I’m always looking for that one image I haven’t seen, or fact I didn’t know. Here are some of the few new things, for me, from this publication:

Life Mag 2

Walt Crockett and Son

Life Mag 3

Roy E. Disney in 1950 with awesome merchandise

Life Mag 4

Pinocchio Walt

The last picture was worth buying the magazine for on its own! It features Walt Disney dressed as Pinocchio as he tells the story to his two daughters. Pure cuteness, and a side of Disney we don’t always get to see.

Overall, a sound publication. I’d give it 4 out of 5 Stars, as it does give a competent overview of Walt Disney’s journey. But it doesn’t offer many new things for the seasoned Disney fan. And the price was ridiculous!

Book Review: Donald and the Big Cheese – Netherlands

There’s a title for ya! This book is part of Disney’s Small World Library series which featured original stories based on the geography and customs of twenty-eight different countries. You can view the covers and read reviews for each book on goodreads. But only I will bring you a review with pictures!

So please read my very own review of one of these books, featuring the Netherlands:

Donald Cheese 1

7 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ with 36 pages

This series is very well illustrated and inserts some of your favorite Disney characters into a storyline created to highlight the nation being featured.

Donald Cheese 2

Inside leaf, back and front

Donald Cheese 3

Owner page and Title page

I was happy to see that the child who owned this previously didn’t believe in marking up books, so the owner page is not filled in with a name.

So time to look at the story: Daisy wins a trip to the Netherlands by entering a cheese recipe in a contest. She sculpts the cheese into a windmill! Soon her and Donald are on their way on the plane:

Donald Cheese 4

Once there, a handsome tour guide meets them. Daisy is smitten and Donald is jealous! Hans, the tour guide, takes them on a journey throughout the Netherlands.

Donald Cheese 5

Hans is making quite an impression on Daisy leaving poor Donald to struggle just to be noticed. He ends up getting into all kinds of trouble as he shows off for attention, usually ending with Hans saving him, much to Donald’s chagrin. He begins to dislike Hans!

Donald Cheese 6

But when Donald makes yet another mistake and Hans covers it up so that Daisy doesn’t see it, Donald has to reassess his thoughts about the tour guide.

Donald Cheese 7

Near the end of their tour, a big cheese (hence the book title) ‘escapes’ from its handlers and is going to crush Daisy, but Donald trips into its path and saves her. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type!

Donald is a hero and once again he has the complete affection of his love, Daisy. And so the story ends.

A nice feature of these books is the four-page spread of Did You Know? facts about the country being featured. So let’s see how many facts you know about the Netherlands:

Donald Cheese 8

Donald Cheese 9

Well, I guess if your cows can produce a lake of milk, you may as well make cheese!

Donald Cheese 10

Back Cover

I would give this book, and by extension this series, a 4 out of 5 Stars. I’m not impressed with how stereotypical some of the titles are, playing on common perceptions and using outdated myths for many of the countries. For example, we have the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland, Mounties in Canada, leprechauns in Ireland, and painting in France, just to name a few offenders. Although these things are a part of each country’s heritage, it would have been nice to see a less obvious approach to creating the stories.

Overall though I would highly recommend this series for your children! Many of the titles can still be found on Amazon and eBay.

Sinclair Oil Corporation Inspired Pixar’s Dinoco

The Sinclair Oil Corporation is an American petroleum corporation, founded by Harry F. Sinclair on May 1, 1916, by combining the assets of 11 small petroleum companies. Originally a New York corporation, Sinclair Oil reincorporated in Wyoming in 1976. The corporation’s logo features the silhouette of a large green dinosaur. And there is where the Disney/Pixar tie-in begins!

Sinclair Sales Video 011

Dinoco is an oil company/gas station that has been seen in Toy Story and Cars. In Toy Story, the logo is an Apatosaurus. In Cars, the logo is a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Dinoco may have been based on the Sinclair Oil Corporation, because it also uses an Apatosaurus as its logo (above).

I recently came across a vintage promotional film for Sinclair service station owners entitled Sinclair: You Are a Retailer. It likely dates from the early 1960’s if the vehicles in it are any indication.

Sinclair Sales Video 001

This was an extremely well done film for an in-house effort! And it yielded many interesting images…

Sinclair Sales Video 004     Sinclair Sales Video 006

Sinclair Sales Video 008

Directly above, you can see what a typical Sinclair service station looked like back in the days of full-service and friendly attendants. Below is what a Dinoco service station looked like in Toy Story:

Dinoco Station Toy Story

Let’s compare all three dinosaur logos side by side. First will be Sinclair, then Dinoco from Toy Story, and last Dinoco from Cars:

Sinclair Sales Video 011     Dinoco Toy Story     Dinoco Cars

The first two dinosaur logos are very close, but it appears the Dinoco of the Cars franchise decided to power up their Dino!

It was a real treat to find this vintage promotional film from Sinclair! And it is good to see that Disney/Pixar is paying homage to companies that have helped to shape the landscape we pass through on a daily basis.

Ding Ding! Fill’er up please!

Top Five Disney Misconceptions That ‘Everyone’ Believes

We know everything about Disney, right? With so many books written and so many more websites sharing insights and information, the ‘truth’ is out there, right? Not really.

Sometimes urban legend and rumor can overshadow simple fact. So here is my list of the Top Five misconceptions about Walt Disney, his company, and his characters:

NUMBER FIVE

DISNEY PARKS ARE ‘DYING BY DEGREES’

Disney Park Maintenance

This is true-ish, but mostly false, for all intents and purposes. Many Internet sites point out every burned-out light bulb, notice every piece of blowing garbage, and pick away at the overall cleanliness of the parks. I admit these things are present, but no more-so, and probably less-so, than at any other competing theme park.

Are Disneyland and Walt Disney World less maintained than when they first opened? Yes. Are there less new rides being added year after year? Yes. Are there less extra offerings than in past times? Yes. Hmm, It seems I’m discrediting my own case!

But is it really that bad? Park attendance is at an all-time high with the off-season all but gone. Disney parks still have a rabid following. Internet sites about the parks are growing in number and readership. What are we to conclude from this?

That a Disney park is still better than any other theme park… period. But admittedly, that could change. Universal Studios has had enormous success with the Harry Potter franchise and many other parks have better roller coasters and thrill rides. As the demographics of theme park attendees grows younger, this could cause a change from wholesome entertainment (Disney) to more vibrant and exciting offerings (the competition).

For now though, Disney parks are not dying, by degrees or otherwise!

NUMBER FOUR

TOM HANKS IS WALT DISNEY’S LOVE CHILD

Question Man

What, am I the only one who’s heard this rumor? To sum it up: It’s not true.

NUMBER THREE

DISNEY IS JUST ABOUT THE MONEY

Walt Disney Dollar Bill

OK, at times, The Walt Disney Company can seem a little money-hungry. OK, maybe a lot money-hungry! Many criticize the company as having lost the focus of its founder, Walt Disney, for he himself famously said:

“You reach a point where you don’t work for money.” “We don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies.” “Money doesn’t excite me, my ideas excite me.” “Disneyland is a work of love. We did not go into Disneyland just with the idea of making money.”

This orgy of evidence seems to damn the billion-dollar corporation that is Disney today. But there is something people are missing, and it’s exposed in this last quote about money from Walt Disney: “I’d say it’s been my biggest problem all my life… it’s money. It takes a lot of money to make these dreams come true.” (italics mine)

So with that in mind, what way do we want it? Do we want The Walt Disney Company to cut profits and make less money for its shareholders so as to appear to be more Walt-like, or do we want the magic to continue? Times have changed and things aren’t financed on a shoe-string and a handshake, like in Walt’s day. Now there are Unions demanding higher salaries, contractors with higher running expenses, skyrocketing costs of goods, and many more building codes and hoops to jump through than in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Could Disney pay their front-line Cast Members more? Yes. Does Disney need to charge so much for admission tickets? No. Could the company learn more from its founder? Yes. Are any of these things going to happen? Not likely.

But dreams cost money. Even Walt admitted that. So yes, The Walt Disney Company is about the money, because it has to be to survive in these modern times.

NUMBER TWO

IT ALL STARTED WITH A MOUSE

Mickey vs Oswald

Not quite. Oswald, whose hand you see holding the sign on the t-shirt above, would have something to say about that! But even Oswald has to take second place to Alice from the Alice Comedies, the little live-action girl who played in a cartoon world.

But even before these two competitors, Walt was working on Laugh-O-Grams, re-making old fairy tales into modern stories. Oh yeah, and he did advertising before that. So Mickey wasn’t first in the chronological sense.

But… he did ‘start’ the ascension of Walt Disney as the premier genius of animation. With Mickey Mouse came a whole new era of character and innovation that set the rest of the animation studios scrambling to keep up! And without Mickey Mouse, there wouldn’t have been a Snow White feature-length film. Without that, there wouldn’t have been a Disneyland.

So Mickey Mouse did start a lot, but he just wasn’t the very first something that Walt Disney created.

NUMBER ONE

WALT DISNEY IS CRYOGENICALLY FROZEN

Cryo Tanks

Picture by David Kadlubowski

This urban legend needs to die. Seriously. I heard a speaker state this as an absolute fact during a lecture once, which caused me to doubt his authority in anything else he had to say!

It is true that Walt Disney loved technology and perhaps he researched this possibility at one point, but there doesn’t seem to be any conclusive evidence to support this. I’ve read many books by people who were close to him during his last days and none mentioned cryogenic freezing as Walt’s final resting place.

His family state that he was interned, and that’s good enough for me!

So why do rumors like this get started? Perhaps it’s because people like to believe the incredible, especially if it involves a negative or strange thing about a celebrity. Walt-bashers like to use this to show how weird Walt was and as an excuse to mock him. Although Walt wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t given to unrealistic fancies. The technology he used had to be tested and true, and then perfected, before it was used anywhere in his empire. Therefore, it is very unlikely that he would have placed his very life in the hands of such an uncertain technology.

So what do you think of my list? Would you add anything? Or do you disagree with anything I’ve included? After all, I could be wrong about Tom Hanks. If so, let us know in the comment section below.