Minnie Mouse Walt Disney World Back Scratcher

There just isn’t anyone around when you get that itch in a place you can’t reach! It’s a first-world problem, but a real annoyance, none the less.

Minnie Mouse has always been a helpful ‘person’. She wants to make everyone’s day a little bit brighter no matter what she has to do to make it happen. Even… scratching your back:

This would have been an inexpensive souvenir to remember your visit to Walt Disney World. It’s made of a light weight plastic and not the heavier Bakelite material that earlier versions seem to be made of. I do have two Mickey Mouse back scratchers made of that material.

Older back scratchers had the WDW Globe logo in this spot. But this later version has this rather generic Castle Logo instead. Original versions sold for just over a buck in the Parks but I had to pay $8.00 CAN to pick this one up in a local Antique Mall. So who has an itch?

Please check out my matching Mickey Mouse Back Scratcher from Walt Disney World with an alternate version included. Will I ever find a Donald Duck or Goofy version? Possibly, as I found these versions on an image site:

Different in style, but similar in character and function. I will have to redouble my efforts to complete my Disney back scratcher collection!

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Walt Disney Presents ‘The Little Engine that Could’ Record

This endearing story began as an American folktale that became widely known in the United States after publication in 1930 by the Platt & Munk Company. The story is used to teach children the value of optimism and hard work. If you’ve ever said “I think I can!” then you were quoting the little engine that did.

Walt Disney Productions released this wonderful vinyl version of the story in 1964:

Casey Jones and John Henry are also folktales that involve trains, and so they are included on this record to fill out Side One.

Side Two switches things up and deviates from a train to a streetcar. A streetcar that goes underwater. The motorman and conductor are taken into the sea by a merman and promptly get into a fight with an octopus. Soon they are back on dry land with a red herring in the conductor’s pipe (get it?) and a suspicion that it might all have been a dream.

Laura Olsher narrates the tales and Bill Kannady sings the songs.

Another Disney tie-in to this story is found in the 1941 Disney movie Dumbo. When the circus train named Casey Jr. puffs up a hill, he chants “I think I can!” and when going down the hill he chants “I thought I could!”

It appears that the images used on the back cover of the sleeve are of the circus train from Dumbo. I don’t believe Disney ever did a cartoon of The Little Engine that Could. I doubt a child would know the difference between the two trains.

I have another version of this record that was released in 1969 but with the inclusion of an 11-page book of full-colour illustrations. Disney believes if it’s worth doing once, it’s worth doing again and again until people stop spending money to buy it!

I’ll be doing a post on that album later, but I thought I’d make just one observation about it here:

Disney doesn’t just recycle the artwork for this later release. Instead, a sketchier style is used to depict The Little Engine, giving him his own look apart from the circus train in Dumbo. He’s given glasses and an Engineer. If you revisit the picture on the album cover featured in this post, you’ll see the train is pulling a circus organ. But the cars this new train pulls are open and filled with toys, more in keeping with the original story.

And now, please disembark the post!

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Hallmark Keepsake ‘Disney Autopia’ Ornament

A Futuristic Freeway to Fun!

The ongoing debate surrounding Autopia in Disneyland (1956) and the Tomorrowland Speedway in Walt Disney World (1971) is just how is a gas-powered engine something of the future? And in 2021, the issue is even more relevant!

But who cares. They’re both fun.

Yes, I never miss the opportunity to breathe in the noxious fumes as I’m deafened by the noisy putt-putt engine. I thrill to the pedestrian pace of my ‘race’ car as I have no choice but to follow the path laid out for me. Ah, the not-so open road! Fun.

It may not make sense, but I’m obsessed with this attraction! I collect anything related to it, such as this wonderful Hallmark Keepsake Ornament:

See? Even Mickey loves it!

Hallmark used to release a series of ornaments based on various intellectual properties a few months before Christmas each year. Now it seems that there is always a selection. I just picked up this 2021 release in July. A tad before the season!

I’m not a big fan of holidays (vacations yes, holidays no). What I like about these ornaments is that they can be displayed year round. With no Santa hats or celebratory slogans scrawled on them, they really can be collected as a work of art.

I usually find many of these ornaments attractive. But they can range in price from an entry level offering like this one at $18.99 US / $23.00 CAN to well over $40.00 or more! Ouch.

The level of detail on these ornaments is always impressive. They constitute a true representation of the intellectual property being rendered. And Hallmark ensures that the quality matches anything Disney might be releasing through the Disney Store or any of its Parks.

Each new release is crafted by an artist. I wish the artist’s name was imprinted on the piece as is the case with Disney Vinylmations. Credit where credit is due!

Even the inside of the piece is detailed. Mickey has his foot on the gas pedal, his hand on the steering wheel, and his butt firmly planted in a seat.

For more fun with the Disneyland Autopia cars, or the Walt Disney World Tomorrowland Speedway cars, just click the links!

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Found Disney: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In Mickey Ears

The show: Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in. The time: 3/2 of 1970. The premise: A man is trying to get out of a traffic ticket by utilizing name dropping.

And the name he first chooses to drop gives us our Disney tie-in: Annette Funicello. And just before he utters the moniker of the famous Mouseketeer, he says:

Artie Johnson Sports the Ears

Would it do any good to mention that I’m a personal friend of Annette Funicello?

As he does so, he dons an appropriate set of Mickey Ears! Yes, it just goes to show once again that you just don’t know when something Disney will show up.

Artie Johnson (January 20, 1929 – July 3, 2019) starred on Laugh-In from 1968 to 1973 where he received billing above most of the other members of the cast. He played characters as diverse as a confused German army soldier to a dirty old man who mumbled. But now we know his most prestigious role was as a middle-aged Mouseketeer!

Before you go, check out another Found Disney moment from this psychedelic show as Mickey Mouse Visits Laugh-In. It’ll creep you out, but you’ve come this far, so there’s no turning back now!

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Disney Jewellery from Pixar and Swarovski

It’s all about the accessories in fashion! From matching the belt with the shoes (for the guys, a la Herb Tarlek) to making sure your dog matches your outfit (for the gals, a la Hilton) you just can’t afford to be seen with anything out of place.

Disney fans are no less slaves to fashion than the common folk. So our favorite juggernaut has provided all manner of things to compliment even the most challenging of outfits. And one way to truly perk up an otherwise dreary ensemble is to add a splash of… Jewellery:

Disney pairs with Swarovski to provide these Hidden Mickey birthstone earrings. February is amethyst – the purple variety of quartz that has captivated mankind for millennia. Its lilac to deep purple hues can be cut into many shapes and sizes, and it can be manufactured in a lab as well as mined.

A nice feature of this set is that it comes attached to a little gift bag! How cute is that? You can see the pricing for both the USA and Canada.

Next on my wife’s ‘must-have’ list (during our recent trip to a local Disney Store) was this Grape Soda Bag Charm:

I bought her a DUG Loungefly Mini Backpack / Bag for our recent Wedding Anniversary and she needed something to increase its ‘Bling Factor’. Here’s how it looks:

“You have just bought me, and you love me!”

Finally, a little something to spruce up the blouse:

This is actually a part of the Official Pin Trading program. But I think it could also be considered a broach?

All in all, not a bad haul! We wanted to visit the Disney Store again before they close later this year. How do you feel about Disney switching to a primarily on-line shopping presence? As they don’t have a true Canadian shopping platform, it’s going to make things hard for us, primarily due to high shipping costs. We also don’t have Target stores in Canada, so the pop-up shops contained within them won’t be a substitute unless a Canadian is close enough to a border to jump over for a perusal.

Oh well. Time will tell how it all works out!

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Pop! Animation Inspector Gadget Vinyl Figure

The cartoon version of Inspector Gadget first premiered on September 12, 1983 and starred the voice of Don Adams as the lead character. The program originally ran until 1986, broadcasting 86 episodes over two seasons. It seems like it was longer than that when you think back on how popular it was!

The show revolves around the adventures of a clumsy, dim-witted detective named Inspector Gadget. It’s obvious that he was created to be a cross between Peter Seller’s Inspector Clouseau and Don Adam’s Maxwell Smart. The big difference though is that Gadget is a cyborg / human combination with various bionic tools built into his body. His main nemesis is Dr. Claw, the leader of an evil organization known as “M.A.D.” Fortunately, just like his inspiration counterparts, he unknowingly benefits from the assistance of a more competent ‘subordinate’, in this case, his niece Penny and their dog, Brain.

It was only a matter of time before Funko immortalized this bumbling buffoon!

WOWZERS!

Inspector Gadget is pretty much a continuation of the popular 60s comedy GET SMART. Don Adams is best known for his portrayal of inept spy, Maxwell Smart, who still somehow manages to complete his missions successfully. It’s not uncommon for animated cartoons to copy old, live-action, television shows. The Flintstones was definitely a carbon copy of the Honeymooners, much to Jackie Gleason’s ire. But if a formula works, the entertainment business will work and rework it to milk the ratings!

As always, the box is fun! Above you can see the right side, back, and left sides respectively. There are two versions of Gadget available and one of Penny. I wish they would have skipped the flying version in favor of a Brain figurine.

This release is not a special or limited edition of any kind and sells for the usual $12.99 CAN. If you can wait until a particular figure has been available for a time, there is always a clearance sale! However, there is a Limited Chase Edition:

I have to admit: I wish I had this version! “Go-Go-Gadget Badge!” But now, back to the version that I do have…

He’s ‘Always on Duty!’

Bringing the Fedora back! No detective ever dressed so… so.

Yeah, because that always works…

It’s unusual that this Funko box doesn’t have a backing card with an image depicting a location relevant to the character. In other releases, this card is present and can be removed. Instead, this box has one of Inspector Gadget’s famous sayings on the flap of the top lid. I miss the backing card, but do like the addition of the catch phrase.

“Go-Go-Gadget Link!” Click on over to Original Radio Broadcast Long Play Records to continue your time with detectives like The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Sherlock Holmes, The Fat Man, and of course, The Thin Man. All of which are more competent than Gadget! Really, how could they be anything else?

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Hayley Mills ‘That Darn Cat’ Cut Out Doll and Wardrobe

The year is 1965. Two momentous events happen to make the world a better place: I am born. And Hayley Mills stars in That Darn Cat. The rest of the year isn’t much to write home about!

I can’t imagine why there wasn’t more merchandise of me produced, but Hayley certainly filled the void. Both she and her movie saturated the year and many years afterwards. But I’m not jealous. I’m happy for her success. Although a collectible Trading Card with my baby picture on it would have been nice.

Instead, we got, among other pieces of merchandise, this:

Cover

Whitman is best known for games and puzzles, but books and novelty items were also produced by this prolific company. That Darn Cat did well at the Box Office and so spawned, or sired, many unique promotional gimmicks. This is a cut out doll and wardrobe folder.

Open Folder with Hayley Cutout and Wardrobe Pieces

Hayley would be popped out of her niche and dressed with many different outfits which are kept in the ‘handy carry-pocket’. No doubt this enabled young girls to carry the folder and its contents over to their friends houses for awesome Hayley-themed sleepovers and pajama parties.

Hayley Ready for Costuming

I always found these ‘toys’ a bit creepy. Basically you have a character in their underwear and you can dress and undress them at will. Most sets would feature families (like the Partridges) or superheroes. In the case of families, you could be costuming very young persons. I don’t know… just seems sketchy to me!

Back Cover

The back cover of the folder has stills from the movie and a transcription of Hayley Mills autograph. This isn’t a ‘live’ autograph.

For more Hayley and Darn Cat fun, check out my book review of Walt Disney Presents: That Darn Cat by Golden Press. Or if you’d like to know where I placed Hayley on the list of Top Five Live-Action Disney Actresses, you can check out that link. Either way, or both, they prove that you just can’t get enough Hayley!

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Walt Disney’s Multiplication and Division Long Play Record

Walt Disney coined a phrase: Edutainment. It was a combination of ‘education’ and ‘entertainment’ that he hoped would draw young children to new thoughts or complex problems. To make this prospect more likely to succeed, he usually had well known and popular animated characters be the ‘teachers’, or guides, to distract the little ones from figuring out that they were being tricked into learning something.

Ludwig Von Drake was a popular choice, but before him, we had the esteemed Jiminy Cricket. Conscience. Friend. Know-it-All! He was an excellent character to explain the intricacies of math. Specifically multiplication and division.

And so we have a wonderful long play record from 1969 starring Jiminy along with his Teaching Assistant: Rica Moore.

Who’s first at the blackboard?

Rica Moore’s full name was Frederica Owen Moore (3 January 1929 – 12 April 1999). She was an actress, singer and composer. Her discography shows that she sang on many of Walt Disney’s albums aimed at children. You can see a listing of these efforts here.

I also learned that this record had no less than seven versions released. This would be why there is a 1963 copyright on the front of the sleeve, and a 1969 copyright on the back. There was a companion album featuring addition and subtraction, also having seven versions:

A real standout feature of this record is the original songs, composed by Moore, designed to make the principles of mathematics easier for children to remember. I have included enlarged images of four of the songs as they appear on the back cover of the sleeve:

Mathematics and Sex Education all on one record. What parent could ask for anything more comprehensive than that?!?

Seriously, I’m an adult and had no idea how ‘gazinta’ relates to division. But apparently it is by definition a humorous Eye dialect spelling of ‘goes into’. To explain more clearly, an electrical plug and a light bulb are gazintas. Generally. any device that goes into any other device fits the definition. An electric plug goes into a wall outlet, a light bulb goes into a socket, so the plug and the light bulb are gazintas. Just as one number would go into another = division.

Class dismissed. Go get some ice cream. You’ve earned it!

Back Cover

Other song titles from the record include The Latin Eskimo, The Multiple Waltz, The Switch-Hitch, and the ever-popular Number One hit-with-a-bullet: The Division Riffle. The songs are sung equally between an uncredited male singer and Rica Moore. Jiminy Cricket chimes in to re-sing a verse or provide instructions to the children so that they can participate. Each song is pretty much interactive.

After listening to these songs, what would be my evaluation of their content, musicality, and educational value? Overall, they seem to be simple, fun, and functional. But why take my word for it? Below is an audio clip of one of the catchiest tunes called ‘Go To the Top of the Class’:

Conclusion: This is a fun vintage romp through Walt’s most engaging Edutainment. Obviously it isn’t available for purchase today outside of eBay or other selling sites. But if you do come across it at your local Charity Shop, as I did, and have just $2.99 CAN, you can sing along with Rica and finally learn how to multiply like the rabbits!

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Disney Novelty Plates by Gibson

Another day at the Thrift Store and another day of Disney finds. I did buy a few things but decided these two plates only warranted a photograph and a mention on the blog. I left them on the shelf to become part of someone else’s collection.

However, I was sorely tempted! But I noticed some slight wear on the images of both plates, and that was the deal breaker for me. I imagine these were part of a bigger set with other images, but can’t say for sure.

Roller Coaster Fun!

This was the plate I wanted the most, but you can see some wear on Minnie’s face, which got it placed back on the shelf. But what’s not to love about this image? Roller Coaster fun with four of our favorite Disney characters!

Here’s what the official website for Gibson USA has to say about the company today: “Gibson is the nation’ s leading producer of dinnerware, flatware, cookware, glassware, coffee and tea accessories, kitchen tools and gadgets, and other tabletop and housewares products. Through its family of national brands and private label collections, Gibson provides customized programs to the world’s largest retailers in every class of trade. We offer product development and creative design expertise, sourcing based on decades of experience, production management and industry-leading quality control.

It doesn’t appear that they have a Disney license anymore, but do have branding for Coca-Cola and the Peanuts characters.

Farming Hijinks!

Each plate was only $3.99 CAN. This is a pretty good price, but maybe a bit high for an incomplete set of plates with some wear. You can see that Minnie has taken the brunt of the abuse on the plate above. But hey, farming is a tough job. And dangerous if you’re trying to wrangle geese, as Mickey is finding out!

When I don’t decide to add items to my personal collection, I like to document them so as to preserve them, at least digitally, on the blog.

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Book Review: Dick Clark’s American Bandstand

Publisher: Collins Publishers / HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

Year: 1997

Pages: 194

Type: Hardcover

ISBN: 0-00-649184-7

I’m Dick Clark. I’ve got the job as the new host of Bandstand.”

Nothing says Americana quite like American Bandstand! Teenagers dancing to the latest hit records while a friendly authority figure oversees the wholesome fun. Dick Clark rocketed to stardom almost overnight when he took over the hosting of what was at the time only a regional program. But with drive and ambition, he pushed the show into primetime and nationwide! And the rest, as they say, is rock and roll history.

Although this was now Dick Clark’s show, he had to make do with the old set. The dated music store backdrop needed to go, and did eventually, but the podium? It followed him throughout the years and right up until the end! The show ran from 1952 to 1989, with Dick taking over the hosting duties from Bob Horn in 1956.

Contents Page

The book is divided into four sections. First, we revisit the 50s and get the story of how Dick got the gig in Let the Good Times Roll. Next, A Hard Days Night tells how Dick got caught up in the payola scams of the 60s, but wasn’t involved, so survived to rock on! Disco Fever drags us kicking and screaming into the 70s where bell bottoms and happy, frivolous beats ruled. Dick admits that Disco music was his favorite of all the genres he played. Lastly, We Got the Beat drums us into the 80s where Dick realizes that he is no longer a brotherly influence on the kids, but now a fatherly figure! John Mellencamp is the first musical guest of the decade. But before the decade would end, Bandstand would be gone!

Television Screen Captures

Dick Clark was now referred to as the world’s oldest teenager but was feeling his age as he looked around at the younger and younger faces of the kids attending the shows. American Bandstand tried to hold on to its audience by transferring to cable television, but the new format just didn’t work, and it was time to say goodbye.

A New Dance for Bandstand

There were many things that came out of this iconic program. Perhaps best remembered are the kids that danced as regulars on the program and became minor celebrities in their own rights. But a dance show just had to have its own dance, and The Cha-Lypso was born! So put on an old 50s record, check out the diagram above, and cut those rugs, kids!

Dick Clark’s last words on camera for Bandstand were: “American Bandstand. It’s got a great beat, and it’s easy to dance to. Thanks for watching. For now, this is Dick Clark… so long.”

Other places to see Dick Clark are on Game Shows that he hosted and years of New Year’s Eve specials. But on April 18, 2012, Clark died from a heart attack at the age of 82, bringing an entertainment institution to a sad end.

I highly recommend this book and you can still obtain a copy on Amazon for just over $20 US. Well worth the price for just the pictures alone! But you also get a rich history of the show from the man who made it what it was for four decades. But for now, this is DisLee… signing off!

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