Easter Egg: Finding Dory Swims with Herbie

Disney/Pixar animators love to add little inside jokes to all of their theatrical releases and Finding Dory is no exception. Each of these inside jokes are called an ‘easter egg’ because you have to really look to find them!

So somewhere near the beginning of the movie and in the end credits of Finding Dory we see a little white Volkswagen who could be no other than the famous Herbie the Love Bug himself. First, we see him with Dory just while she is trying to find someone to help her:

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And then we see Herbie being test driven by Hank:

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But how did Herbie get there? If you remember the film Herbie Goes Bananas you’ll recall that Herbie is punished by the Captain of The Sun Princess cruise ship by being made to ‘walk the plank’, or in reality, by being tipped overboard. Re-live the sad moment by watching the video below:

FUN FACT: The car that “walks the plank” in the movie was never recovered from the sea. It was tossed overboard from the SS Cozumel ferry ship. The car is somewhere between La Paz and Baja California. The car thrown overboard was not a proper car and had many wooden parts.

But for the purpose of this easter egg, we’re saying it is actually Herbie himself chillin’ at the bottom of The Big Blue. And although his trademark stripes and number 54 are worn off by years under the sea, he looks like he is still ready for one last drive with Hank:

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So is the initial pass in the night with Dory and this chance meeting between Hank the septapus and Herbie the Love Bug really possible? Would they end up in the same part of the Ocean? Well, consider the following map:

nemo-trip-mapIn Finding Dory, she, along with Marlin and Nemo, once again leave the Great Barrier Reef and would again need to use the East Australian Current (EAC, dude) as a highway. This time they would need to travel across the entire Pacific Ocean to a point just off the North-West tip of Africa where the EAC completes its circle and heads back to Australia. From there, they would have to swim up to California where the Marine Life Institute is located, in a picturesque Bay.

Now in the film, it is claimed that they simply use the California Current to make the entire trip, but this current doesn’t start over near Australia. And… it also flows South, so it would be going the wrong way to carry our characters up to California. But hey, it’s a movie, so lighten up!

As mentioned earlier, the cruise ship The Sun Princess dumped Herbie somewhere between La Paz and Baja California. So Hank and Herbie could definitely end up in the same part of the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of California.

Hypothesis: Proven! At least in my mind.

Book Review: Flying Cars – The True Story

When you first heard the lyrics “Off we go, into the wild, blue, yonder! Off we go…” you probably weren’t thinking of doing so in flying cars. Standard airplanes are the vehicles of choice for the sky! But that was not always the plan.

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Publisher: Clarion Books

ISBN: 978-0-618-98482-4

Type: Hardcover

Pages: 118

Price: $17.99 US

Andrew Glass has put together an interesting chronological listing of flying cars starting from 1901 to the present. He accompanies the facts with little asides about the inventors and the times they lived in, their successes and oft-times spectacular failures.

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How could you not want one of these?

Famous people like the Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, and famous classical conductor Leopold Stokowski (of Fantasia fame) all followed the progress of the technology with the last two names actually ordering their own flying cars! Unfortunately, the models they ordered were never put into production. In fact, no flying car has ever been put into production.

But that hasn’t stopped inventors from continuing to design and build prototypes right down to our day.

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If you can drive, why not fly?

The thing that stood out for me in this book is just how close North America came to having flying cars in every garage. Plans were made to position runways next to major highways so commuters could take off and land right next to their freeway exit. One visionary even claimed that rush hour traffic would be eliminated as more and more motorists took to the skies!

I guess no one envisioned traffic jams in the clouds.

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Claims were made that flying one of these babies was as easy as driving your family car. After you learned how to attach and detach the wings and flying controls of course!

I first became aware of flying cars while watching the Disney/Pixar movie Planes which featured a German flying car named Franz Fliegenhosen. He is rendered to be a German 1954 Taylor Aerocar:

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Real or ‘invented’ by Pixar?

Below is a picture of an actual Aerocar from 1949 designed by Moulton B. Taylor:

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Real. But Pixar gussied it up a bit for the movie

What is the same between this real flying car and the one Pixar ‘invented’ is that the Aerocar was the only flying car to carry its plane components behind it on a trailer, like Franz does in the movie. All other models were designed to leave the fuselage behind at an airstrip.

So there you go. For over 100 years inventors have been working on a way to get your Hyundai airborne. The book is chock full of freaky-tiki examples, including my favorite idea, the flying Ford Pinto (it crashed. The idea was abandoned.)

Review: I would give this book a 5 out of 5 Stars but perhaps only 4 Stars for the average reader. It is basically just a chronological look at flying cars, so if you are not interested in the subject matter, you won’t likely be entertained. However, Glass does find the humor in flying cars, if you can imagine that.

My conclusion after reading the book? I. Want. A. Flying. Car.

Book Review: Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull

I was minding my own business (pun intended) while browsing the shelves of my local Chapters book store when I saw a huge poster on the wall advertising Creativity Inc. and I recognized right away that it featured an image from Pixar Studios! Immediately I went on a hunt for the book it was advertising.

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Publisher: Random House Canada

Pages: 340

Type: Hardcover

ISBN: 978-0-307-36117-2

Date: 2014

And what a book it was! Most Disney/Pixar fans will pick up just about anything that is related to these companies. This book however may not find its way onto as many home bookshelves as say, The Art of Tangled or The Story of Walt Disney. Why?

Fair warning: You really need to love reading and the inner workings of business to enjoy, or even understand, this book. But that’s not a bad thing! Stick with it and you will learn some fascinating history behind the making of your favorite Pixar films along with some insights into the characters of the men and women who made them.

But especially this guy:

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Ed Catmull

We all know about John Lasseter and Steve Jobs and their contributions to Pixar’s success. But there are many more people who have made the company’s continued growth and profit possible. Ed Catmull is among these people. And he is generous in noting the hard work of others!

I can’t say much more about the contents of this book. To quote anything would be to print it so radically out of context that it would be impossible to understand. I think the book needs to be considered as a whole by readers who get the medal for finishing it!

Review: I’d give the book a 4 out of 5 Stars. I think many will find it a tad dry and a bit of a slog to get through. But I also think this is due to the nature of the material, and its primary focus on business, and not due to Catmull’s writing. However, it isn’t a book for every Disney/Pixar fan so I have to lower its mark because of this hampered appeal.

Personally though I’d say ‘buy Creativity Inc.’ because if you’ve ever worked for a company that was abusive to employees and made you wonder where common sense went, you’ll be uplifted to see how Pixar became a company that put people first.

Book Review: Funny! (The Pixar Story Room)

Twenty-five Years of Laughter from the Pixar Story Room

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Forward by John Lasseter / Intro by Jason Katz

Right out of the gate I will say this book was a disappointment. ‘Not Very Funny!’ would probably have been a more appropriate title.

The book covers the first sixteen animated movies released by Pixar up to The Good Dinosaur. It contains sketches from the story department that were used to pitch gags to the various directors of the productions. I have no doubt that it must be very funny, and fun, to work in the story department at Pixar, but no real hilarity comes across in this publication.

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Cute, but no belly laugh

Each film is featured in a chapter with brief snippets of wit and wisdom from one of the story persons who worked on it.

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OK, I would buy this in die-cast!

Some of the ideas, pictured in this post, are amusing. But I wouldn’t consider the majority of them to be ‘funny!’ at any stretch.

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It took all of one hour to read through and digest the images in this book making the purchase price of $29.95 US feel a bit high. I’m glad it wasn’t priced at the much higher figures of similar books from Disney Press. Perhaps being manufactured in China by Chronicle Books brought the price down?

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My expression after finishing the book

Final Review: I’m not always gushing with my praise for Disney books and I certainly rarely pan a Disney book so thoroughly! But I can only give this effort a 2 out of 5 Stars.

The potential was high but the reality ranged from boring to disturbing with only a few chuckles in-between.

Book Review: Disney-Pixar Comics Treasury

I was going to be away from home for a while and wanted something to take with me to read. So I went to my local Chapters and found this book in the discount section:

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HarperCollins Publishers Inc. 2014

It contains 14 adaptions of the Pixar films with 1 extra bonus story involving Wall-E. I’ve read about half so far and have found a pattern developing, even though different writers are responsible for some of the titles.

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Being as I know the stories inside-out, I can follow the edited versions presented in the book reasonably well. But for first-time readers, many panels would not make sense, as crucial details are left out. It is obvious that these adaptions were not penned by seasoned comic book writers, individuals with a consummate knowledge of conveying a bigger story into the sometimes limiting space of comic book boxes.

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Now is as good a time as any to mention the bonus story entitled Wall-E: Recharge. As you would expect, there is no dialogue to help you understand what is happening, and because of the aforementioned inexperience of the writers with this medium the story is all-but incomprehensible!

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The best part of this treasury is the artwork! Every artist brought a great sense of the original story to each title with some truly breath-taking visuals. As a comic book fan from way back, this was a treat to read based only on the pictures (yup, I’m a picture guy).

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Not to be too tough on this treasury, it’s still a fun read with good work done by all of the creative talent involved. I would definitely recommend it to any Disney parent who would like a nice book of bedtime stories to share with their little Disney fans-to-be!

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Pixar’s Luxo Jr. LED Articulating Book Light

One of Pixar’s earliest successes was with a little character called Luxo Jr., the little lamp who just couldn’t contain his enthusiasm!

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Luxo Jr. was a 1986 American computer-animated short film produced by Pixar and directed by John Lasseter. The two-minute short film revolves around one larger and one smaller desk lamp. The larger lamp, named Luxo Sr., looks on while the smaller, “younger” Luxo Jr. plays exuberantly with a ball that it accidentally deflates. It is the source of the hopping desk lamp included in Pixar’s corporate logo.

And now in a case of life imitating art imitating life, I bring you Luxo Jr. the LED Articulating Book Light:

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A dollar store find

OK, I admit this is not a piece of official Disney-Pixar merchandise, but it is an accurate representation of the original Luxo lamps that the Pixar Short was based on. So in my book, it counts! And you can see what products Luxo is producing now by clicking here. For a short history of the famous Luxo lamp, click here.

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Luxo stands about 3″ tall, if he stands up straight

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So what do you think? Can I let this little guy join my Disney collection? Or should I brand him an imposter?

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I hope you can find it in your hearts to accept him, because he’s already made himself at home!