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

Grasshopper Ants  3

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!

Grasshopper Ants  4

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 Not-So Good Dinosaur

Usually I don’t bother doing reviews of movies, because by the time I see them, the Internet is filled with preview-reviews and opening night thoughts. But I have been surprised with the lack of buzz about this film on almost all social media platforms.

And I think I know why. And maybe you would like to know why too.

TGD 1

But before we delve into the film itself, I’d like to make just a few brief remarks about the Short that preceded it on the big screen:

TGD Short

Sanjay’s Super Team

As always, this Short was well crafted and well realized visually. For example, it had some amazing shots of the Hindu gods displaying their powers while fighting. The story is a simple one where a young boy finally finds a way to connect with his family’s religion.

Kudos to Pixar for diversifying. But when the Short was over, the entire cinema was quiet. Usually after a Pixar Short, many in the audience will applaud, cheer, or talk out loud about how they enjoyed it. For Sanjay’s Super Team… silence.

This may be because, although some people like a message in their entertainment, rarely will they respond to a religious one. I’m not saying this is right or wrong, I merely make an observation. Sanjay’s Super Team certainly didn’t have the impact that LAVA had, and so didn’t build any momentum for the film to follow.

So with this slow start, The Good Dinosaur lumbered onto the screen:

TGD 3

Again, visually, this film was stunning. Certainly this was true of the backdrops and scenery! But against this hyper-realistic scenery was placed a cartoon dinosaur. An artistic decision which every individual can pass their own judgment on. I had no real problem with it.

What I did have a problem with was the derivative story. Cross The Lion King with The Incredible Journey and you can put this film in the can! Here is the basic plot in a nutshell: Boy disappoints Father. Father dies. Boy gets lost and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Boy finds himself and his way home.

Been there. Done that. But what could this film have been? I believe the answer to this question will give us the reason why The Good Dinosaur isn’t getting an Internet buzz.

TGD 2

The ultimate ‘ What If ‘ in history

I was super excited when I saw the above images of a meteor missing the earth. It was hilarious to see the dinosaurs look up, see it pass, and then just go back to eating! It left one pondering the great question: “What would have happened if the dinosaurs hadn’t been wiped out by the meteor?”

Yes, what kind of world would we be living in today if the meteor had missed us? Sadly, we’ll never know thanks to The Good Dinosaur. And that is the main failing of this film – Pixar missed a golden opportunity. The film has a 76% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. They include the comments “it doesn’t quite live up to the lofty standards set by Pixar” but “still adds up to charming, family friendly entertainment.” Most people I talked to said it was ‘cute’ but that their children got restless during the film.

Be that as all of the preceding may be, there is some cool merchandise:

TGD 4  TGD 5

My final word is that this won’t be a film that I will add to my personal Pixar movie collection. And if you haven’t seen it yet, I would recommend you wait and buy it on DVD (especially if you have a large family). Or better yet, borrow it from a friend. I can only give this film a 2.5 stars out of 5.

On the upside, Disney’s new movie Zootopia is an upcoming film that will show us what the world would be like if humans never appeared. Similar premise. And if the previews are any indication, it looks like Disney has gotten this one right!

So in conclusion: Skip The Good Dinosaur. Wait for Zootopia.

Update: March 8th, 2016 – Now that Zootopia has been released, you may like to read my review entitled Movie Review: Zootopia.