SMALL FRY Buzz Lightyear and Zurg Action Figures

Just when I think I have found every version of Buzz Lightyear I could possibly find, another one appears on a store shelf. This time it’s Mini-Buzz from the Pixar Short, Small Fry:

Small Fry Title Card

Here is the condensed synopsis: At a fast-food chicken restaurant called Poultry Palace,  Mini-Buzz Lightyear complains that he will never be played with because he’s just a display toy. Mini-Zurg (who actually prefers to stay) wants nothing to do with any attempt to change the way things are.

Small Fry Display

Bonnie is playing with the real Buzz in a ball pit when Mini-Buzz secretly climbs in and pulls the real Buzz underneath the balls so that Bonnie ends up picking up Mini-Buzz when she leaves the restaurant. Once Mini-Buzz gets home, he explains to the other toys that the balls in the ball pit shrunk him, and proceeds to generally annoy the whole gang.

Small Fry Confrontation

In the end, the real Buzz makes his way home, where his friends have already subdued the annoying Mini-Buzz.

Small Fry Buzz and Buzz

He is returned to the restaurant and all is back to ‘normal’. Of course, lots of other stuff happens along the way!

The Toy Story franchise has teased us with many toys within the movies, especially Toy Story 2, that you just can’t buy in the real world. So it was thrilling (yes, I’m that big of a Nerd) to find these fictitious fast-food toys in my local Toys-R-Us!

Small Fry Toy Set

2.5″ of Fun!

I love my full-sized Buzz Lightyear action figures (yes, I have more than one, and yes, I’m still that big of a Nerd) but I just can’t resist these little versions! They came in a companion pack:

Small Fry Package FrontSmall Fry Package Back

Let’s look at Buzz first:

Small Fry Mini BuzzSmall Fry Mini Buzz Back

Small Fry Mini Buzz Posed

And He’s Posable, Too!

Now let’s have a look at Emperor Zurg:

Small Fry Zurg Front

Small Fry Zurg Side LeftSmall Fry Zurg BackSmall Fry Side Right

Only His Arms are Posable

So these guys may be Small Fry, but are they awesome, or what?

Now we all know that Buzz Lightyear is a Space Ranger (at least, I think that’s the term we’re looking for). But would you like to meet The Original Space Ranger? Just click the link!

Sketchbook Ornament: Donald Duck OUT OF SCALE

Donald Duck starred in the 1951 theatrical Short entitled Out of Scale. In this film Donald has built a little town in his backyard complete with a model steam locomotive no less. But pesky Chip and Dale move in and the war is on! You see, the tree the little chipmunks live in is just not the right scale. Well, a new Sketchbook Ornament released by The Disney Store commemorates this great Short, and here it is:

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Choo-Choo!

When I purchased this ornament the Cast Member commented that I must like the classics. Do I? You bet!

ctf-exhibitors-021ctf-exhibitors-020     The train will be on time!

It’s no secret that Walt Disney loved steam locomotives and I guess I’ve been bitten by the same bug.

Have you seen the Short yourself? If not, why not enjoy it now:

Now did that video star Donald Duck or Walt Disney in disguise? I can almost imagine Walt fusing over his backyard layout to the same degree! But I doubt Lillian would have let him cut down any real trees just for scale.

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I’m glad The Disney Store is keeping these old Shorts alive with these great ornaments! To see more of my Disney Store ornament collection, check out Scooter Mickey from the new Short Croissant de Triomphe. I also have one depicting Basil of Baker Street from The Great Mouse Detective. Enjoy!

Walt Disney’s Stories from the Mouse Factory LP

A long title for a short entry in the catalogue of Disneyland Records. These story records are indeed short on content but perfect for little ones with short attention spans. This offering even has eleven storybook pages to help focus the listener.

Mouse Factory LP 1  Mouse Factory LP 2

Front and back of the sleeve

The four stories that are narrated for us are The Little House (1952), Susie the Little Blue Coupe (1952), Johnny Appleseed (1948), and Lambert the Sheepish Lion (1952). These are all Disney Shorts. This album was produced in 1972.

Now let’s have a look at the storybook pages within:

Mouse Factory LP 3

Mouse Factory LP 4

Mouse Factory LP 5

Mouse Factory LP 6

Mouse Factory LP 7

Mouse Factory LP 8

I was very glad to see no coloring or children’s name scrawled on these pages! Also, there is no hole punch through the top right corner. This was a technique practiced by retail stores to identify discounted LP’s that could not be returned for a refund. Most of my Disney record collection has just such a hole punched in the corners. Boo retailers!

Mouse Factory LP 9     Mouse Factory LP 10

Disneyland Records label

Just for a bit of fun, take a look at the time on the punch clock at The Mouse Factory where Mickey works:

Mickey Time Clock

Who starts or ends their shift at 2:50 in the morning or afternoon? I guess when it’s your image on the clock, you can punch in or out any time you want!

For more LP fun, check out Tubby the Tuba and Walt Disney Presents by clicking the links!

DMR: Goofy How-To Printables

I’ve really enjoyed redeeming rewards from Disney Movie Rewards! Every time I go to a movie or buy it in the stores I can collect points towards exclusive Disney merchandise. Some of these items would be quite elaborate and expensive if you had to buy them, but others can just be fun.

And that brings us to the printables of today’s post. For only 5 points you can download pages to your computer and then simply print them out. I just did this and received three 8 1/2″ by 11″ mini-posters depicting some of Goofy’s best How-to Shorts.

Let’s have a look at the first one:

Goofy Sports Printables 001

Released in September of 1942

How to Play Baseball was produced at the request of Samuel Goldwyn and first shown to accompany the 1942 feature film The Pride of the Yankees. This is also the very first of the Goofy How-to series of Shorts. It was directed by Jack Kinney.

Goofy Sports Printables 003

Released in 1942

In this cartoon, Goofy provides an educational treatise on swimming and diving with questionable results. The Short was also directed by Jack Kinney.

Goofy Sports Printables 002

Released in September of 1944

The Goofies of Taxidermy Tech take on the Goofies of Anthropology A and M. The seven and a half minute film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It was directed by Charles Nichols.

After the success of How to Play Baseball,  nine more How-to Shorts were produced in Walt Disney’s lifetime: How to Swim and How to Fish; (both also in 1942); How to Be a Sailor, How to Play Football, and How to Play Golf (1944); How to Ride a Horse (1950, originally included in The Reluctant Dragon in 1941); How to Be a Detective (1952); and How to Sleep and How to Dance (both 1953).

A similar How-to Short was released in 2007 called How to Hook Up Your Home Theater directed by Kevin Deters and co-directed by Stevie Wermers-Skelton. This is the first theatrical Goofy solo cartoon short made in 46 years, since Aquamania. This short follows Goofy as he buys and then sets up his home cinema system, to watch football (nod, nod.)

These printables are great ways to get your Disney fix without depleting your Disney Reward points!

Book Review: The Grasshopper and the Ants

This is one of my favorite Silly Symphonies (1934) and I have a few items of memorabilia featuring it in my collection. It’s a classic tale of industriousness versus laziness with the lead character, the Grasshopper, learning a sobering lesson… the hard way!

Grasshopper Ants 1

Let’s have a look at the story along with some of the artwork by Larry Moore:

Grasshopper Ants  2

Title Page

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The Grasshopper is a happy-go-lucky fellow who thinks the world owes him a living, so he does nothing all summer but play his fiddle, dance, and eat whatever is within easy reach. In contrast, the ants are busy collecting food for the winter. They have no time to play!

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The summer is quickly passing, but the Grasshopper just doesn’t care. He continues to play and dance.

Grasshopper Ants  5

After getting an ant to goof off with him, the Queen ant arrives and warns him of his folly. But the Grasshopper doesn’t listen and dances away.

Grasshopper Ants  6

Winter finally arrives and the Grasshopper finds himself without food and shelter. Near collapse, he comes upon the ants’ home. The ants are warm and safe, enjoying the fruits (literally and figuratively) of their summer-long labor.

When the Grasshopper knocks on their door, ten sympathetic ants help him in and care for him. But then he has to face the Queen!

Grasshopper Ants 7

He begs forgiveness for not listening to her warnings and promises to change. The Queen has mercy on him and charges him to play for the ants as payment for sharing their bounty. In the end, all are happy!

The book contains the following page about the author:

Grasshopper Ants  8

Brown

May 23, 1910 – November 13, 1952

I would give this book a 4.5 out of 5 Stars as it covers the story well and has a very good moral for children, but without being overly preachy about it. The artwork is beautiful and rendered in a soft way. I take a half-star off because it may not have characters that children of today would warm up to.

As I said, this is not the only Grasshopper/Ants item in my collection. For more, please read the post entitled The Grasshopper and the Ants Record-Reader.

Vintage Disney VHS Tapes

Who remembers the war between VHS and Betamax? Well, you may remember that the Video Home System won and brought movie entertainment into the homes of millions. And Disney wasn’t long cashing in on its extensive backlog of animation and feature films!

The Video Home System (VHS) was the standard for consumer-level use of analog recording on videotape cassettes from the 1970’s to the 1990’s. It was developed by Victor Company of Japan (JVC). When DVD discs became the standard in 2008, nothing was released on the old VHS format any longer (play ‘Taps’ here.)

But thanks to flea markets and charity shops, some old gems that are not available in modern formats can be picked up for pennies. This is especially true of many of Disney’s lesser known live-action movies.

But today I have two video tapes that show how good Disney is at making money from new technology, in this case – VHS:

Bongo VHS Front

Disney made a few package movies and as well as releasing these on VHS in their entirety, it was decided to break the segments up onto individual tapes and call them Mini Classics, or Cash Grabs.

Fun and Fancy Free was released on September 27, 1947 as Disney’s ninth animated feature. It included two segments: “Mickey and the Beanstalk” and of course, “Bongo”.

This segment is based on the tale “Little Bear Bongo” by Sinclair Lewis, which follows the adventures of a circus bear named Bongo who wishes he could live free in the wild. Bongo does escape the circus, but finds he is ill-equipped to survive.  He meets a female bear named Lulubelle and the two fall in love but face an obstacle in the form of a romantic rival named Lumpjaw. Bongo fails to interpret Lulubelle slapping him as a sign of affection and the two are separated with Lulubelle being claimed by Lumpjaw. But Bongo returns to claim his love and win the day (cue applause!)

Bongo VHS Back

This story never really worked as it contained some discrepancies. Most noticeably is that in the circus Bongo is credited as being some sort of Wonder Bear. He can fight a bull, is a boxing champion, can do all sorts of high-wire acts, and can even dive hundreds of feet into a wet sponge. If a bear can do all of that, he can survive in the wild! For whatever reason, however, Bongo didn’t connect with audiences and the character quickly became a one-off player.

If you’re wondering, I would give Bongo a 2.5 out of 5 Stars. It is a basic story which was dragged out a bit and is lacking in real character development or emotion. Not one of the best animated efforts from the Disney studio.

My charity shop find was two-fold as I also found:

Fun on the Job Front

Here is a nice example of how Disney exploited its extensive animation library. This VHS tape contains four Shorts with a similar theme, in this case, working or Fun on the Job.

31 minutes of vintage hilarity as Disney’s Big Three tackle jobs they just aren’t qualified to handle! The tape contains Clock Cleaners (1937), Baggage Buster (1941), Mickey’s Fire Brigade (1935), and The Big Wash (1948). Mickey, Donald, and Goofy give it the old college try, but end up proving they probably didn’t graduate grade school!

Although these Shorts are available on various editions of the Walt Disney Treasures series, it was neat to find this VHS copy still in its original wrapping:

Fun on the Job 3 001

Should I open it?

Many have given up their VHS players as they have moved on to DVD and Blu-ray discs. But I keep mine around because you just never know when a blast-from-the-past is going to turn up!

Just love VHS? Then why not check out our other posts entitled Fantasia VHS Box Set and Beauty and the Beast VHS Box Set. You will see that some of the original VHS releases came with lots of cool extras!

Also, as mentioned in this post, VHS allows us to see live-action films not available in any other format. For an example, please read the post entitled Movie Review: Greyfriars Bobby.

Disney-fied Wall Clock

I had to create a new word for this post: Disney-fied. It’s what I’ve done to an old wall clock that we found upon moving into our new place. The previous inhabitant had the good idea of putting a little collector plate behind the glass where the pendulum would normally be. But we decided to swap out the plate for one of our own!

Let’s have a look so that you can see what I mean:

Disney Wall Clock 004

We’ve had this little collector plate for years, but never really had a proper place to display it. Until now!

Disney Wall Clock 005

At this point I have affixed it in place rather crudely with some folded-up cardboard. Obviously I’ll have to figure out a more decorative way to keep the plate centered.

The plate itself is rather interesting. It was sold at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World and features a moment from the 1941 Disney Short called the ‘Nifty Nineties’.

Disney Wall Clock 002

Released June 30th of 1941, this Short follows Mickey Mouse as he takes his best girl Minnie out to a vaudeville show, and then out for a wild drive in an antique car. Running time is 7:33 and you can see the whole thing below:

Apart from Mickey and Minnie, the Short also features Goofy (cameo), Donald Duck (cameo), Daisy Duck (cameo), Huey (cameo), Dewey (cameo), Louie (cameo), Fred (Moore), Ward (Kimball). Fred Moore and Ward Kimball also animated parts of the Short, perhaps their own parodies as second-rate vaudeville comedians. Oh, and there’s a cow.

What do you think of our disney-fied idea?

Goofy Baseball Figurine

Goofy has tried his hand at almost every sport throughout his illustrious career. He has not succeeded in any of them, but you have to give him points for trying!

I was delighted to find this bisque figurine of the man (dog?) in (one) of his many uniforms:

Goofy Figurine 1

Optimism before the game begins

This figurine is likely a nod to the Goofy Short entitled How to Play Baseball:

How to Play Baseball

Batter Up     He looks determined!

The uniform color is wrong, but the style is spot on     Goofy Figurine 3

Goofy Figurine 4     Goofy Figurine 2     Game on!

Goofy Figurine 5

Pre-1986 Walt Disney Productions

So if you ever want to learn how to play baseball… don’t ask Goofy!

The Grasshopper and the Ants Record-Reader

From WDP comes a Capitol Records release of a truly entertaining Silly Symphony: The Grasshopper and the Ants. Released in 1934, this was one of Aesop’s fables, reimagined by the animators of Walt Disney.

Silly Symphonies Record 001

A Capitol Record-Reader was a cherished item for any child of the pre-TV era. They came with two double-sided 78″ (unbreakable) records which enabled the child to hear the story being read by announcer Don Wilson while reading along by turning pages when the sound of a bell was heard.

Grasshopper and the Ants 003

Pinto Colvig was the voice of the grasshopper, whom you might better remember as the first voice actor behind Goofy. His distinctive voice is clearly heard here, along with Goofy’s signature song ‘The World Owes Me a Living‘. But the Grasshopper sung it first! Goofy wouldn’t warble the tune until 1935 in the Disney Short entitled On Ice.

The record-reader is filled with many illustrated full-color pages, such as these:

Grasshopper and the Ants 004 Grasshopper and the Ants 005

Grasshopper and the Ants 006 Grasshopper and the Ants 007

Just as an aside, the ants sound a lot like Chip and Dale. And if you think about it, maybe this silly symphony was on the minds of the animators at Pixar when they thought up A Bug’s Life. There we have the similar theme of industrious ants storing up food for the winter, and lazy grasshoppers who just want to have fun, leaving the hard work of preparing for the winter to others. Of course, the outcome is different, but the bones are there!

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Walt Disney Treasures released a complete DVD collection of the Silly Symphonies on December 4th, 2001.

Grasshopper and the Ants 009

You can find The Grasshopper and the Ants on disc one under the heading of Fables and Fairy Tales. Or… watch it below:

I found this record-reader at a local antique shop and was able to purchase it for just $30.00 CAN. It is in near-mint condition with only natural yellowing of the paper. It was released in 1949, so a little yellowing is to be expected, and I doubt a better copy exists! There are some scratches on the records, but none that cause the records to skip.

Here is an image of the original poster for the theatrical release in 1934:

Theatrical Poster

If you’d like to further research this particular Silly Symphony, you can read a condensed version in the 360-page coffee table book Walt Disney’s Mickey and the Gang: Classic Stories In Verse (2005, Gemstone, ISBN: 1888472065). On pages 14 and 15, you can read the history of the film, and of its place as the first installment of the Good Housekeeping series of full-page illustrated versions of the classic Disney films (1934-1944).

GH Grasshopper Page 001

Each version of this fable is different, although all rendered by Disney animators and artists. The most detail is found in the film version, of course, but one detail is added in the record-reader: The Queen offers the Grasshopper a chance to join the ant colony and work along with them, living with them through the long winter. She does not do this in the theatrical version. He refuses, is reminded of his poor choice later, where he admits his mistake. The Good Housekeeping version strips the tale of almost all details, leaving only the basic moral in tact.