Minnie Mouse is Bosom Buddies w/Fannie Flagg

It was all just one big happy (dysfunctional) family on the Match Game during the 1970’s. Game shows were all the rage and many stars were eager to gain the exposer they could provide. One such star was the American actress, comedian and author, Fannie Flagg.

COOL FACT: Flagg wrote the original book and did the Academy-Nominated screenplay for the movie adaption of Fried Green Tomatoes.

I’ve seen her on the show dozens of times, but this time I noticed something a little different:

Fannie Flagg Match Game Set

Match Game Set w/Stars

This game featured Gary Burghoff from M.A.S.H. (upper right) and of course, the man who would later host The Family Feud, Richard Dawson (lower center).

But take a look at Fannie Flagg in the anchor position (bottom right). She is sporting a Minnie Mouse sweater! I guess they must be bosom buddies.

Fannie Flagg Pic TwoFannie Flagg Pic One

She Got a Match!

At the beginning of the show, there was some discussion as to whether her sweater had Mickey or Minnie on it. But all agreed it was indeed Minnie.

You can watch vintage game shows like Match Game and the Family Feud on the Buzzer channel.

ILLUSION OF LIFE Plugged on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson

Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life is a book by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two Disney Legends of animation counted among the famous group of Walt Disney’s  Nine Old Men. The book topped the list of “best animation books of all time” in a poll at AWN, and is still used as a reference for inspiration on character animation.

Illusion of Life Cover

I have this book and can’t recommend it highly enough for anyone who wants to better understand the animation process. After reading it, my own drawing skills improved noticeably!

In 1980, they appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to plug the book and chat about animation. Here they are on stage:

Illusion of Life On Stage

During the interview, Carson mentions that they are almost unknown, despite the fact that they had worked on some of the most famous animated films of all time. They replied that they liked it that way!

Illusion of Life Frank

Frank Thomas

They mentioned that when they would sit in a theatre to watch their films with children, they would almost die. Why? Because children could be so cruel! No wonder they preferred to hide back in the studio.

Illusion of Life Ollie

Ollie Johnston

Carson asked about the rumors that Walt Disney was a cold man and hard to work for, among other things. Both men answered that he was all of those things. However, they clarified that it was also a great pleasure to work for Walt because he was so inspiring, albeit awfully tough! Perfection was expected at all times.

Carson next marvels at how animators are able to give life to even inanimate objects, so Frank and Ollie pulled out the following drawings to illustrate the point:

Illusion of Life Sad SackIllusion of Life Happy SackIllusion of Life Nosey SackIllusion of Life Tickled Sack

And last but not least:

Illusion of Life Tired Sack

Who Wouldn’t Be?

It was great to see these Disney Legends chat about their passion for animation. But it almost wasn’t to be! Frank wanted to be a landscape artist and Ollie was heading towards a career in magazine illustration. But Disney put out a casting call and both answered, arriving at the studio to become lowly In-betweeners before rising in the ranks to full-fledged animators.

Illusion of Life Wrap Up

The Interview Ends

Look to the left in the above picture and you’ll notice another Disney Alumni, Suzanne Pleshette (January 31, 1937 – January 19, 2008). You may remember her for her roles in The Ugly Dachshund, Blackbeard’s Ghost, and The Shaggy D.A.

Also, if you look to the far right in the above picture, you can see Carson holding up the book in question (blurry though it is).

For the full interview (5:54), please take a listen. It’s well worth it:

Frank and Ollie on Carson

Mr Bean Tells Time with Mickey Mouse

I recently purchased a DVD set of the complete Mr. Bean shorts. You’ll recognize this name as the mime-like character created by Rowan Atkinson. And of course I noticed immediately that there was a Disney tie-in!

In the very first episode, where Mr. Bean has to take a math test, he begins to empty his briefcase, bringing out three funny objects. One is (perhaps) an English Bobby, the second thing is a bendable Pink Panther figure, and the third is:

mr-bean-and-mickey-002

Well, hello Mickey!

Yes, even Mr. Bean is a Disney fan! He brings out a vintage Mickey Mouse alarm clock to time his test. Of course he messes up the whole affair but the alarm clock does go off right on time!

The Windsor Star Weekend Magazine

This large format 28-page magazine supplement was quite an impressive publication in its day! The two copies that I have were inserted into the weekend edition of The Windsor Star newspaper in the late 1970’s. It had both black and white and color pages.

Weekend Magazine Covers 001

September 17th and November 5th, 1977

I found these at a yard sale just outside of Windsor, ON. I paid $2.00 a piece for them which is funny when you consider that they were given away free with a newspaper almost 40 years ago!

But I think you can guess why I bought them?

Weekend Magazine 008     Weekend Magazine 009

10 1/2″ x 12″

Obviously Mickey and Minnie caught my eye and so buying that issue was a no-brainer. I also love vintage television programs so the other issue also became a must-have.

So let’s take a look at the content of the article entitled 50 Years of Mickey Mouse:

Weekend Magazine 010

Weekend Magazine 011

Weekend Magazine 012

This was a fun but brief article which you are welcome to read by enlarging the pictures above. I especially enjoyed page 11 as I have some of the merchandise pictured there!

Apart from the cover story in the second issue of this set, I found another Disney reference inside. Disney placed an advertisement on pages 14 and 15:

Weekend Magazine 002

Who wants some cookies?

The contest would award 40 vacation trips to Walt Disney World, 100 authentic Mickey Mouse watches, and 200 Fantasia soundtracks. All you had to do was state how many cookies you could see in the jar. Disney even made it easier by giving the possible answers in the form of multiple choice on the entry form.

Weekend Magazine 003          Weekend Magazine 004

Enlarge and read those rules!

Unfortunately we are all 39 years too late to enter. Just our luck, eh! But it is still fun to see these old promotions and product tie-ins.

So just how many cookies were in the jar? Was it 9, 14, 21, 35, or 49? Who cares, just give me one! Hey, stale or not, I love me some cookies!

Disney’s Dopey the Dwarf on Match Game 78

Disney celebrities show up in the strangest places. In 1978, Dopey hadn’t had a movie gig in over 50 years and was looking to promote himself. It was common in the 70’s to do the game show circuit to maintain or resurrect a career, so:

Match Game 78 Logo

The “all-new, star-studded, big-money” Match Game 73 returned to TV on CBS, with Gene Rayburn returning as host. The year in the title was updated on the New Year’s Eve broadcast for the next six years. This run of the game ended in 1979. The game play for this version had two solo contestants attempting to match the answers given by a six-celebrity panel.

Of course, Dopey can’t talk, so he needed an interpreter:

Match Game 78

They made a great team

Unfortunately, this appearance didn’t do much for Dopey’s career but it is a nice addition to his body of work!

Mouseketeer Bobby Burgess on the Lawrence Welk Show

And here we have yet another Disney reference popping up on television. We all remember the Merry Marching Mouseketeers with everyone’s favorite female performer, Annette. But who was your favorite male performer?

Perhaps it was Robert Wilkie “Bobby” Burgess (born May 19, 1941), who was one of only nine Mouseketeers who stayed for the entire run of the show:

Bobby Burgess

Later he would continue his dancing career on the long-running Lawrence Welk Show. Here he is as he appeared in a LW clip show some time after the original run was completed:

Bobby Mouseketeer Welk 004

And here he is with his full-time dance partner on the original LW show:

Bobby Mouseketeer Welk 006     Bobby Mouseketeer Welk 012

With so many of the original Mouseketeers ending their careers after the Club disbanded, and others falling into trouble, it is so nice to know that some were able to go on to continued success, both as people, and performers!

Mickey Mouse Visits Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In

Well, I’ve found some obscure and freaky Disney references in old television shows before, but this one has an extra dimension of creepy! And this installment comes from

Laugh in Title Card

Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in was a comedy sketch show that ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968 to March 12, 1973 on the NBC television network. It was hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin:

Mickey & RM 1

If featured many later-to-be famous stars (like Goldie Hawn and Lilly Tomlin) and hosted many already-minted stars, like, er… Mickey Mouse.

WARNING: Please put the children to bed and the horses in the barn, as the following images are likely to scare both parties!

Mickey & RM 2

Mickey Mouse?

Nothing gets my attention faster than a man in a Mickey Mouse costume talking about toxic waste, in rhyme yet!

Mickey & RM 4     Mickey & RM 5

Mickey & RM 6     Mickey & RM 7

Creepy, ain’t he?

This strange Disney reference comes from Season Three of Laugh-In in case you want to troll YouTube and find it. That’s where I came across it.

Mickey Mouse Meets Carol Burnett and Her Watch

Once again I have found a Disney reference in an unexpected place. My wife and I have been watching the lost episodes of The Carol Burnett Show:

Carol Mickey Mouse Watch 002

Episode #108 – November 4th, 1968

The above episode started with a Q&A session between Carol and the audience. For some reason, an audience member asked “Why is everyone wearing Mickey Mouse watches?” In answer, Carol extends her left arm and shows that she is indeed wearing a vintage Bradley MM watch:

Carol Mickey Mouse Watch 001

That is very hard (ne: impossible) to see, so here is an image of what a Bradley Mickey Mouse watch looks like:

Bradley MM Watch

She informs the audience that Soupy Sales had given it to her the year previous when he was a guest star on the show. For those unfamiliar with this man, Milton Supman (January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009), was an American comedian, actor, radio/television personality, and jazz aficionado. But I digress…

She goes on to give a little history of the watch and some advice. We are told that an original Bradley MM watch sold for just $2.95 US but now (in 1968) could fetch a price between $150 and $175.00 US.

Her advice? If you had one at home: Keep it safe!

Today you can pick up a Bradley MM watch for between $40 and $75.00 US on eBay. The drop in price is due to the availability of merchandise from around the world on sites such as eBay, and also due to the fact that literally millions were made. So they aren’t as rare as one might suppose.

You can get a less-than-mint version without its original strap for under $10.00 US.

Book Review: Mickey Mouse Club Scrapbook

I’ve reviewed the Special Souvenir Edition (SSE) of this book, but in this post I will focus on the regular edition, as it were.

MMC Scrapbook 1975 014

This book was compiled by Keith Keller and published by Grosset & Dunlap of New York.

MMC Scrapbook 1975 015

Back Cover

This version of the scrapbook is essentially the same but does contain some more interesting pictures than its SSE sibling. The regular version starts out with an introduction to the Producer of the show, Bill Walsh. This is new to this version. He spends a few pages telling the story of how the Mickey Mouse Club got on the air. Remember, this was about the same time that Disneyland was being built, as seen below:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 016

There are many wonderful full-page spreads of vintage ads and bulletin pages that were distributed to fan clubs:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 017

MMC Scrapbook 1975 018

Next we meet the Mouseketeers, and see how they spent some of their off-screen time, and the rehearsal process:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 019

MMC Scrapbook 1975 022

  Call Sheet

Next we learn about the production of the show, its format, about the Serials, and then about Mouseketeer Mania! There were jumpsuits, ring promotions, records, and:

MMC Scrapbook 1975 020

And who was everyone’s favorite Mouseketeer?

MMC Scrapbook 1975 021

Who’s the little lady that we never will forget? – Annette!

The book closely follows the SSE version from here. There is the songbook, the Mouseketeers today (or at least, as of 1975), a call to find a few missing Mouseketeers, and a final dedication to Jimmie Dodd (1910-1964).

Here is what two Mouseketeers thought of the book:

“It’s such a thrill to see a book like this. It’s like reliving my childhood.” – Annette Funicello

“A terrific record of the good times!” – Bobby Burgess (later, of the Lawerence Welk Show)

I would give this book a 5 out of 5 stars for being so full of nostalgia, just like its SSE sibling! Any fan of the show, Annette, or early Disney lore will love it!

Bing Crosby Likes the Face of Mickey Mouse

Picture this: Bing Crosby is in a cherry picker (a bucket on a hydraulic boom) being lifted up to and past huge pictures of the faces of famous personalities from yesteryear. As they say, you can’t make this stuff up, folks!

This could only happen on a TV special in 1968. Bing was joined by Bob Hope and the Supremes, among others, for what could only be described as… OK, just weird. Here is a still from the show:

 Bing and the girls     Supremes in Western leather, Bing… in?

But now let’s have a look at the moment when things got really weird:

     Bing in a bucket 40 feet in the air!     Bing Crosy Show Image 002

I wish I had been fast enough to grab the camera to get a picture of the long-shot of Bing and the complete machine. It was… again, weird!

And what did he see?

Bing Crosy Show Image 001

Mickey Mouse

Bing was singing about famous faces so I guess the mouse was bound to be included.

You know, I don’t see any other sites covering things like this. I’m beginning to worry about my sanity. Maybe I’m not really seeing this stuff. Bing in a bucket singing about the face of a fictional mouse? Nah, couldn’t have happened! Could it?

Curse you GetTV, stop messing with my reality!