It’s back to the Dixieland Flea Market to have a look at a cookie jar that we broke down and bought. Pinocchio just captured our hearts!
But let’s have a look at our beautiful cookie jar by Treasure Craft featuring Pinocchio:
Just look at that smile!
From the sides
From the back
This cookie jar is unique in that the receptacle for holding the cookies is separate from the ceramic figure. Instead of having a head that lifts off to access the contents, there is a glass jar that can be removed and passed around:
This makes it easier to clean and less likely to damage the main figure. Cleo the fish is perched up top to form the handle for the lid, but she is hard to grasp hold of, so we lift the whole lid with two hands.
Shouldn’t Cleo be inside the bowl?
The effect here is to have Cleo floating on top of the water at the top of her fish bowl. Clever!
This detachable feature is what sold us on this particular cookie jar. It’s such a unique idea!
It’s hard to see, but the words ‘Disney’ and ‘Treasure Craft’ are carved into the base of the main figure. The bowl would have had a sticker with another name on it, but ours has been washed away.
We won’t be using Pinocchio for cookies as we find that they go stale if left in such a vessel, so it has become our candy jar instead. I don’t think anyone will complain.
We always find something new to see and experience at The Henry Ford Museum (of American Innovation, if we use the new, fuller name). On our last trip, we found this permanent timepieces exhibit:
Personally, I feel we have become slaves of time. I hope for a day when we can enjoy a slower pace without the heightened sense of urgency that almost everything has these days.
But I digress. On to the timepieces in this exhibit:
No. They don’t play Dixieland music.
One of the first truly American clock designs coming from the early 1800’s.
Gallery Clock: 1800-1805
This brass clock would have been displayed in a church or public building, as most common people of the day would not have had personal timepieces. It features 8-day weight-powered movement. And… it has an eagle!
The railroad was one of the major reasons people needed a more exact way to tell time. If you were late, the train would leave without you! We got the time zone system because of the need for standardizing time between cities, and to avoid disastrous collisions due to time discrepancies.
Enlarge and read the many reasons why New England became a major clockmaking center.
Pendulum swing like a pendulum do!
Someone should put that line to music. Did you know that Galileo helped to develop the pendulum? The test above is designed to show that no matter where you start the swing of the pendulum, it will take about the same time to swing back and forth. I tried it and it’s true!
COOL FACT: Christian Huygens was the first to use pendulums to regulate clocks in 1657.
Inside that Grandfather Clock
This featured an 8-day weight-powered movement and was used in a variety of tall clocks. It also had an hour strike and a quarter chime. The example pictured was manufactured between 1682 and 1709.
Telling time old-school
This one only lasted 5 seconds (I guessed 6 seconds).
COOL FACT: Signage for this item also mentioned that our inner sense of time is not as accurate as many animals.
More Cool Facts
This exhibit also covered sundials and many other traditional forms of timepieces. Even one digital alarm clock that many of us may still punch every morning. Love that snooze feature!
I hope you enjoyed this brief visit to The Henry Ford Museum. It can be found at 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, Michigan.
Everyone knows Paul McCartney from his time in the Beatles, and afterwards, his own efforts and popular work with Wings. He has also dabbled in scoring movies and writing classical music. Enough for anyone, right?
Enter the Paul McCartney – The Music and Animation Collection:
Enchanted Animated Tales with Original Music
This set contains three original animated tales featuring one famous bear (who is not named Pooh), one book adaption, and one completely original effort (my favorite!)
But before we go on, below is some information about the two men who led the teams that created these wonderful pieces:
McCartney was definitely the man behind the music but equally important was the man behind the animation, Geoff Dunbar. Between them, I believe they produced some Oscar-worthy material!
Here you can select to play all three animated films in sequence, or select them one by one. There are also many extras to choose from, which we will touch on later.
You can choose from Rupert & The Frog Song (1984), Tropic Island Hum (1997), and Tuesday (2002).
Let’s have a look at each in turn:
Rupert Bear is a children’s comic strip character created by the English artist Mary Tourtel. He first appearing in the Daily Express newspaper on 8 November 1920. Rupert was a childhood favorite of McCartney and a natural selection for his first foray into animation.
Perhaps not as well know outside of the British Isles as Winnie the Pooh or Paddington Bear, Rupert is still a very popular character.
McCartney himself introduces the tale:
The book he is dusting off is presumably his own childhood copy of the original children’s book.
Shush! ‘The Frog Song’ is about to begin…
The Frog Song, actually called We All Stand Together, happens only once every 200 years or so, so listen now for you won’t have a chance to hear it again! It was released and reached number three in the UK Singles Chart in 1984.
This animated film about Rupert stumbling upon the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of hearing The Frog Song is animated in a simplified style but with beautiful imagery. The highlight of the film, however, is the music.
One scene of the frogs swimming to the music is reminiscent of some of the work done for Disney’s Fantasia. Given how both collaborators praise Disney in the Special Features section, this homage is not surprising!
I just wonder why McCartney never did any more of the Rupert Shorts?
The next film is:
A squirrel is saved by a hot air ballooning frog and taken to a tropical island where animals of all sorts have gone to escape slaughter by man. Upon arriving, the two new friends are welcomed with a song.
Tropic Island Hum is a catchy, imaginative, animated musical romp! By far my favorite of the set. The single of the title song reached #21 in the UK. The animated Short accompanied Disney’s Hercules movie in theaters in 1997.
The final film in this set is:
This film is based on a children’s book by David Wiesner but contains no words, only images to convey the story. Other than croaking and a few comments from confused humans at the end of the story, and a final piece of narration by Dustin Hoffman, the film pretty much follows that storytelling device.
Flying Lilly Pads
The story takes place on a Tuesday around 8pm. Frogs are lifted into the air, much to their surprise, and enabled to fly. They do so, right into town, where they cause all sorts of mischief.
Like knocking on windows…
… and crashing houses to watch TV.
The town is left littered with debris and lily pads. The mystery is never solved. But this is not the end! It seems that this occurs every Tuesday, but not just with frogs:
Even pigs get a turn to fly!
And why now pigs? The closing narration tells us:
“The events recorded here are verified by an undisclosed source to have happened somewhere, U.S.A.. on Tuesday. All those in doubt are reminded that there is always another Tuesday.” So… why not, I guess?
The Special Features are interesting:
This is a nice collection of extras that round out the DVD collection. The set comes with a 16-page booklet with details about the production:
COOL FACTOR: 5/5
I love Paul McCartney’s music. I love animation. So having the two together is just amazing! The quality of animation is Disney-worthy and the soundtracks and original songs are obviously good. McCartney himself provides most of the voices for all three films with an assist by wife Linda for one female character.
If you are a Disney fan, an animation fan, or a music fan, this collection is for you! If only to hear Tropic Island Hum. Man, that’s one catchy tune! See for yourself:
Now we all know that the more days you purchase for fun in the parks, the less each day costs you. But does Disney get that money back by upselling you on options you don’t need? Like the Park Hopper option? Let’s find out!
Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are sharing aspects of a Disney vacation that make people ask: Is it worth it?
So many Park choices!
Again, we all realize that buying admission days in bulk is the best option. The more days you buy, the cheaper each day becomes. But as with everything in life, it’s the extras that’ll kill you!
Let’s assume you are going to take your family of four to Walt Disney World for four days. Basic admission tickets for everyone would basically cost you $1,400 US (ouch!)
Now add the Park Hopper option to all four tickets for all four days and now you will spend $1,700 US (OUCH!)
So basically you will spend an additional $300.00 US just for the privilege of jumping around from park to park in the same day. Is that an extra that really adds value? Here are some reasons why I believe it does not:
You could probably spend that $300.00 on something else (dining, souvenirs)
There is more than enough to do in each park for a day without jumping
Precious vacation time will be lost travelling between parks
Got grumpy kids? Park hop. Nuff said!
This option makes more sense for a single visitor or for couples who visit often and know what they want to see and can thus plan to make the most of the Park Hopper option. For families, and those on a budget, this option is one best left off your basic ticket!
For more opinions on what is and isn’t worth the splurge at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
The Walt Disney Studio is best known for its achievements in both Shorts and feature-length animations. Live-action movies aren’t far behind. But after those must come music! Because for almost every Disney movie you know, you can probably hum a tune that you identify with that movie. Yes?
Hence, we have The Magical Music of Walt Disney box set, brought to you with glorious 8-Track tape quality:
Ahhh… 1978 lives!
I found this set at a charity shop for just $5.99 CAN and just had to have it, even though I don’t have an 8-track player. Who does?
Front and Back of the Box Set
This commemorative box set was released to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the creation of Mickey Mouse, who you might remember, first appeared on-screen in the 1928 Short entitled Steamboat Willie.
So it all started with a mouse and ended, in 1978, with this glorious tribute.
Who remembers these?
My father bought an old Fargo van when I was still a teenager and it actually had an 8-track player in it (along with a 3-on-the-tree shifter) and I would borrow it to ‘cruise.’ I cranked the two tapes I found on the floor of the van. One was Burton Cummings, I think. Good times in rural Ontario!
Big. Bulky. And beautiful!
Apart from just wanting an unusual piece for my disneyana collection, I also bought this set because it has a 52-page full-color book included. It starts with an introduction to both Dick Schory, the producer of this set, and the book itself. Next, there is a two-page spread about Walt Disney. Let’s have a look at one page from that spread:
This montage shows Walt from his beginnings up to just months before his death (center picture, on the set of The Happiest Millionaire).
Next is a two-page spread featuring the art of Disney animation. Below is one page from that spread:
The next several pages cover Mickey’s early years in Shorts as well as the Silly Symphonies, and Mickey’s later years.
The book moves into the feature-length feature films starting with Snow White and including Pinocchio, Dumbo (below), and Bambi.
Next we are treated to some of the great animated classics of the Forties:
Following is Song of the South, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Fantasia, Lady and the Tramp, and Sleeping Beauty. Then the True-Life Adventures series is covered as are the later animated years with 101 Dalmatians and The Rescuers, among others.
The live-action movies are covered next with Mary Poppins and Pete’s Dragon, both known for their excellent use of music.
Below are pages showing the music and sound effects departments:
The book concludes with a look at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World parks. Both have a long history of musical storytelling!
So maybe some day in the distant future, 8-track tapes will make the same comeback journey that vinyl has today… but I doubt it! Oh well. This set makes a great keepsake, a conversation piece, and definitely provides a cool slice of Disney history.
I have followed the work of Jack Kirby for years and thought of him only in terms of his career with Marvel Comics, and somewhat with his brief work for DC Comics. But I never realized that those times weren’t the beginning of his story. Enter Joe Simon and the Simon and Kirby Studio.
I’ll leave the details of how these two creative geniuses met for when you read the book, but safe to say it is one of those ‘meant-to-be’ stories! They started out in the 1930’s and definitely left their mark.
The Simon and Kirby Studio was prolific, employing many artists as needed, and covering such material as:
Superheroes (The Fly, pictured above)
I learned that Simon would go out and get jobs for the studio by promising any kind of story that was needed to fill publications at the time. They were primarily a studio-for-hire at this point. Then Kirby would burn the midnight oil to churn out the images. Although Simon was more of a writer and business man, he also did artwork and other duties. In fact, everyone at the studio was expected to do whatever it took to meet a deadline!
Superheroes are probably what most readers buying this book will know Jack Kirby for. Perhaps thinking of Captain America or the later characters co-created by Stan Lee, like The Mighty Thor, among others. But in the early days it was The Sandman, Fighting American, and The Fly.
This book is mostly a reprinting of classic Simon and Kirby stories, in part or in their entirety. The book starts with a brief introduction by Mark Evanier and concludes with an even briefer afterward by Jim Simon.
COOL FACTOR: 3.5/5
I was expecting more of an in-depth look at the men and the studio they created, but instead got over 300 pages of comic strip panels. The artwork was amazing (if you appreciate the drawing style of Jack Kirby, as I do) but most of the stories were very dated. I didn’t know most of the characters, as they came from the 30’s and 40’s, so this too was a bit disappointing.
The Cool Factor will be much higher for diehard Kirby fans, and completests, but for the average comic book fan, it may not be what is expected.
For more on Jack Kirby, check out this blog entitled the Jack Kirby Museum. The curator has stopped posting new material, but it is still filled with many posts that delve into Kirby’s life and art.
Snoopy has a had quite the career. When not sleeping atop his doghouse he takes to the skies in his Sopwith Camel to do battle with the Red Baron. Now that’s exciting, but especially for a dog!
We’d better have a look at this prestigious pooch:
Always on top of something!
Charles M. Shultz created the Peanuts comic strip which ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000, continuing in reruns afterward. And although the star of the strip was good ‘ol Charlie Brown, it was his dog that really rose to the top.
Snoopy joined the comic strip two days in on October 4th, 1950.
Snoopy is a loyal, innocent, imaginative and good-natured beagle who is prone to imagining fantasy lives, including being an author, a college student known as “Joe Cool” and a World War I Royal Flying Ace.
The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter aircraft introduced on the Western Front in 1917. It had been developed by the Sopwith Aviation Company as a successor to the earlier Sopwith Pup and would become one of the most iconic fighter aircraft of the First World War.
Snoopy is perhaps best known for his fighter ace persona, wearing an aviator’s helmet and goggles and a scarf.
This little PVC (plastic) figurine was produced by the Schleich company and is a current release available in stores now.
Schleich was founded by Friedrich Schleich in 1935. Its figurines were first released in the 1950s with the development, production and marketing of comic figurines such as Snoopy and The Smurfs. In the early 1980’s they added animal figurines and Muppet characters to their range of products.
So is Fighter Ace Snoopy your favorite, or is Joe Cool more your speed? Either way, you have to agree this is one canny canine!
Back in 1977 I was twelve years old and very shy. I hated being in groups and had problems fitting in. So you can imagine how I felt when my teacher announced that every student was required to pick from a selection of craft-based group activities as an extra class. The list was diverse, and although I can’t quite remember them all, most had to do with handmade efforts. One was guitar lessons, but you had to have your own guitar. I didn’t.
I had a friend who was of like mind and interest, so we decided to choose the most unlikely activity: Handmade Dolls! It was close to Mother’s Day and we thought it would make a nice gift. So we two boys and a room full of girls (!!!) started sewing and stitching, and I eventually came out with this:
I thought she was cute!
She used to have a little bonnet but it has since been lost. She is now 40 years old and looking a bit faded.
Not to brag, but I do remember the teacher saying that I was one of the best students and I remember helping many of the girls with their stitching. Where that came from I can’t imagine!
This doll was made using a large pop bottle as a base. I think I used a Pepsi or Coke bottle. The bottle was filled with sand to weigh it down and keep it from tipping over. A cloth sock was pulled over the bottle as well as the Styrofoam ball which was used for the head.
The cloth was cotton:
Here is a closer look at my fine-stitched hemline:
Still holding after all this time!
My mother taped a note on the bottom to remind her of when the doll was made:
My mother is now suffering the early effects of Alzheimer’s disease and has forgotten all about the doll made by her son so long ago. It used to be displayed in her kitchen but I recently found it on the floor in a corner as I was helping my parents pack for their recent move. My mother looked at it without recognition and asked if I’d like to have it.
She’s still smiling!
I reclaimed it as a memento to remember the better times and it now belongs to my wife.
I’m glad I was able to go against character way back when and produce this wonderful keepsake!
So most cartoon bunnies look alike. Male or female, they all look alike. So what do animators do to differentiate one from another? Sometimes they will use color changes, size, or most often eye lashes. We will consider some of these techniques and others to determine if the ceramic figurine we have in this post is Thumper or his girlfriend, Miss Bunny.
Before we get into our investigation, let’s have a look at the suspect:
Suspect: Bucktoothed and Cute
CLUE No. 1
When we purchased this figurine the Seller gave us a card that was given to him when he himself obtained it. Such provenance is often helpful in determining exactly what an object is. Take a look:
After some research we were able to determine that these ceramic figurines, made by Evan K. Shaw Pottery, were indeed produced in the early 1940’s. But we were still unconvinced that what we had was ‘Thumper’s Girl’.
We began our investigation by checking the Internet for other examples of the piece to see what online Sellers were claiming it was. Some said ‘Thumper’ while others said ‘Miss Bunny’, or ‘Bixbi’, as some Disney fans have named her (she is not given a name in the original movie).
We also found other small ceramic figurines that were definitely depicting a female bunny, that were brown, and posed differently than ours. It was this figurine that was consistently called ‘Miss Bunny’ and not the version we have. So we now had a majority consensus.
But our figurine could still be another version of Miss Bunny, as some were claiming.
CLUE No. 2
Next we need to consider the color of the piece. Let’s have another look at it:
This is a confusing clue, but stay with us. Thumper, in the movie Bambi, was gray, not brown. So we could arbitrarily pronounce this character to be Miss Bunny, who was brown, based solely on that parameter. However, pottery companies were notorious for going off-model when creating their pieces, getting features and colors wrong more often than not. It wasn’t until later that Disney started to tighten up on its demands for standardization of its character merchandise.
So this clue is inconclusive.
CLUE NO. 3
Eyelashes have been the stereotypical way of depicting a female character in the world of animation since the beginning of the medium. Our figurine has three short upward eyelashes, and not the multiple swept-back lashes of a female character.
CLUE NO. 4
Sometimes, if you know the character well enough, you can recognize them by body language. Of course, in the case of a sculpture, this technique will depend on the artist portraying such characteristics in his artistry.
Thumper was very expressive with his ears. Many times he would have one ear up with the other ear down. This was a way of distinguishing him from his many brothers and sisters in the film.
The ceramic figurine we have exhibits this trait.
CLUE NO. 5
Lastly, we checked the figurine for any markings that could help us to identify it.
No such luck!
Ceramic figurines are either stamped with black ink, engraved, or sport a sticker, usually on the bottom of the piece. This example has none of these markings, so no help there for our investigation.
We believe this figurine to be Thumper. And here’s why:
General consensus gathered from Internet Sellers
Frequency of wrong use of color for Disney characters by manufacturers
Eyelashes are consistent with male characters
Body language, specifically the ears, is consistent with the character
We hope the techniques of this detailed investigation will help you to identify your treasured pieces of merchandise!
There are a lot of things in this world that we want but don’t need. And that is why we invented the word ‘Splurge’! And when we go to a Disney resort or theme park, we just might splurge on a piece of specialty apparel.
Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing fun ways to splurge at Disney.
T-shirts for all!
Now let’s get serious. A t-shirt would never qualify as a ‘splurge’ but rather an indulgence we all partake of due to the relatively inexpensive cost of such a piece of Disney clothing. Well, until Disney cranks up the retail price!
No, to qualify as a true ‘splurge’ the item must be frivolous, ridiculous, or unreasonably expensive. Let’s look at something frivolous first:
Frivolous:Not having any serious purpose or value. I think we can all agree that a rainbow sombrero would qualify as a frivolous clothing purchase! You can splurge on one of these beauties at the Mexico Pavilion in Epcot at Walt Disney World.
Besides, you know you couldn’t look as good as I do in one, so why invite disappointment? Next, we look at something ridiculous:
Ridiculous:Deserving or inviting derision or mockery; absurd. This little Minnie Mouse ensemble might work for a costume party but outside of that it would have very little value in anyone’s wardrobe! Unless you were a young girl with a strong sense of self. For anyone else, buying this would be a ridiculous waste of money, invite mockery, but… constitute a definite ‘splurge’!
Now let’s look at something expensive:
Expensive:Costing a lot of money. Buying anything from a source country while visiting the pavilions in Epcot is definitely one way to spend a lot of money. So perhaps this would be the ultimate splurge when it comes to specialty apparel!
At the Japan Pavilion, a Cast Member will help you pick out a custom Kimono Robe with all the accessories. When we went to Walt Disney World in 2006, we could afford to splurge on the above picture!
So what piece of specialty apparel at Disney do you splurge on?
For more ways to splurge at Disney,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!