Book Review: Walt Disney’s Motion Picture Mary Poppins

Publisher: Whitman Publishing Company

Year: 1964

Pages: 218

Type: Hardcover

ISBN: N/A – First Edition

It seemed to be a person.! A person floating down out of the sky!

And so Mary Poppins comes into the lives of the Banks family. A Nanny of special caliber and uncanny power, she is about to turn their world upside down!

This book is an official adaption of the Motion Picture produced by Walt Disney. It was released in 1964 along with the movie itself. Mary Carey rewrote the story to better fit into the pages of a book, and in so doing, had to change some things. We’ll note these differences as we go along.

The book begins with a two-page introduction about the story behind the Motion Picture. You can read it for yourself below:

We are treated to a condensed version of the film fitted into fourteen chapters:

Right from the first chapter you can start to see some of the changes that Carey made to adapt the screen play into book form. For instance, Bert doesn’t appear as the narrator, but instead we have a standard telling of events by the writer. Mrs. Banks involvement with the Suffragettes is fleshed out more. And the chaos within the Bank’s home due to Admiral Boom and his ‘Time Cannon’ is not as well described.

Throughout the book you will find many other examples.

Although the book attributes the artwork to Bob Totten and Jason Studios, the full-colour page spreads are signed ‘Edwards’.

So one would assume that Totten and Studios did the black and white images, perhaps one doing the line drawings with the other focusing on the ink renderings. I will say that the ink renderings give a more accurate portrayal of the actors from the film while the line drawings are more interpretive.

If you are a fan of the movie you will enjoy this Authorized Edition retelling of the story. It is written in simple terms so that even a youngster could read it alone, or it would be perfect to read to younger children.

I can find no fault with this book so I have to give it a solid 5 Out of 5 Stars.

If you think Mary Poppins is ‘Practically Perfect in Every Way’ and would like to go on a ‘Jolly Holiday’ with her, and Bert, why not check out my Precious Moments figurine featuring the vacationing duo?

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Dopey Dwarf Ceramic Planter with Pipe

It wasn’t oh so long ago that smoking wasn’t considered taboo. Almost every movie, even cartoons, featured characters happily puffing away on the weed of their choice. Disney was no different and animated many cartoon creations with a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, in their mouth.

And as this Dopey dwarf ceramic planter (yes, with a pipe!) shows, the vice even made it prominently into merchandise:

I can find no information about the manufacturer or dating for this piece. It likely predates the 60s but I can’t say for sure. The cracking of the glazing does indicate a certain amount of age.

For the most part Dopey is depicted ‘on model’. He appears childlike and innocent, just as he does in the movie Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Usually you would find a brand sticker on the bottom. It could have been washed off in this case. But also there should be the word ‘Disney’ engraved somewhere on the base of the piece, but there is not. It does appear to be an officially licensed product however.

For a more modern ceramic planter, check out my Mini Mickey version by clicking the link!

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Places: Hawaiian Holiday and Paradise LPs

On August 21st of 1959 the island chain known as Hawaii became the 50th State of America. And then began the other 49 State’s love affair with all things Polynesian!

Americans flocked to Hawaii in droves to soak up the local flavors and to experience the music and culture. And then they went overboard in exploiting that very culture for fun and profit! With that said, I bring you not one, but two, Hawaiian-themed long-play records.

First we have Hawaiian Holiday by Leni Okehu and His Surfboarders:

Now that’s a Vintage Party!

And this party took place all the way back in 1959 no less! I knew this was an older record by the sticker on the front cover. Older LP jackets had the image glued on instead of printed directed on the jacket itself. The picture of the Luau was also a dead giveaway!

One of the most festive experiences to be had on a visit to the Hawaiian Islands was the luau – a Hawaiian feast featuring lively music and vibrant cultural performances from Hawaii and greater Polynesia. With pretty girls. Luau’s were popular. Duh.

Who were Leni Okehu and His Surfboarders? After a bit of research where I turned up absolutely nothing of interest about them, one Internet source mentioned that they were likely just a studio band employed by Pickwick International.  

But did ‘they’ sound good? You be the judge:

Hawaiian War Chant

The 101 Strings group got into the action not much later with this 1961 offering entitled Hawaiian Paradise:

What a View!

This time we have an actual orchestra playing the music. The 101 Strings Orchestra was a brand for a highly successful easy listening symphonic music organization, with a discography exceeding 150 albums and a creative lifetime of around 30 years beginning in 1957. 101 Strings had a trademark sound, focusing on melody with a laid-back ambiance most often featuring 124 stringed instruments, which were conducted by Wilhelm Stephan.

Somerset Records was a German-based label which was bought out and subsequently has its name changed. You won’t find the label around today.

The music on this LP is more Americanized and thus less traditional in sound than the Hawaiian Holiday LP. It feels like a group of musicians trying to sound authentic but basically just sounding like a typical Big Band doing Polynesian.

I bought these at a local charity shop for just $2.99 CAN each. I do like traditional Hawaiian music but picked these up primarily for the artwork on the covers.

For more fun in the sun, check out my ‘Aloha from Hawaii’ promotional booklet.

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Mickey Mouse Promo Card & Postcard Set

These pieces of paper ephemera were sold, given away, sent, and then thrown away, by the millions. So it’s not uncommon to come across them, and usually some examples that are in pretty nice condition. Like this Mickey Mouse promo card and postcard set:

Size: 5″ x 7″

This larger promo card was probably included in a vacation advertisement package as a free premium for inquiring. It has a stock image of Mickey Mouse in front of Cinderella Castle in The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. It’s not simply a larger post card for the back is blank.

More common is the smaller postcard:

The interesting thing with this card is the message. At first you might think that it was also a promotional piece due to the content itself, a nice inscription from Mickey Mouse himself to someone who was having a birthday at the Park. Maybe something you could pick up at Customer Service just inside the Park. But looking closer, you see that ‘Mickey’ left out the word ‘you’ in the second sentence, which means it is more likely that Mom or Dad was trying to make their child’s day more magical by pretending to be the Mouse. And they would have gotten away with it to if some pesky blogger hadn’t spotted the mistake!

For fun, let’s end by comparing the images on the cards. At first glance it could appear that these shots were made during the same photo session. But then you look closer and notice that the tree behind Mickey (bottom left) is blooming in the postcard but not the promo card.

It’s the details that show all!

Posted in Characters, Ephemera, Postcards, Souvenirs, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mickey Mouse Mold-A-Rama Plastic Figurine

When Mold-A-Rama debuted at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the molds included such wonders as the Space Needle, a monorail, and other fair-related designs. The production process, which remains the same to this day, also wowed the crowds! I think watching the process today still has that ‘Wow!’ factor. After inserting payment, you watch two sides of an aluminum mold close together so that heated polyethylene pellets can be injected into it. In less than a minute, the mold opens, releasing the plastic figure. The signature smell of wax hangs in the air as the hollow figurine slowly cools. But be careful! It’s HOT!

The machine I used to create my plastic souvenir was found at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI. And this is what fell out of the shoot:

For a very detailed account of the Mold-A-Rama machine, it’s history, and the people keeping it alive today, check out this link. The article was originally written in 2018 but has been updated since.

Moldville.com has a nice article covering the Disneyland TOY FACTORY machine that produced, not only Mickey Mouse, but many other popular Disney characters as well. Such as:

Note that the original design for Mickey Mouse is identical to the one I received in this modern day. Obviously it would not be necessary to change the molds as they would last a very long time without wear or damage. Note the variety of colours. Each machine would produce one colour and that colour was arbitrarily chosen by the individual setting up the machine. So mine is red while the classic version above is pink.

I want this whole set!

It looks like each Disney figure had the characters name on the base. You can just about see the name on mine in the image above.

I made a short video of the machine in action:

Mold-A-Rama in Action

The figure drops out of the mold into a shoot where you retrieve it. It is hot but not so hot really. You can handle it right away, but it is definitely warm!

You can see the holes in the base. These are likely a part of the injection process as well as used to allow the hot air to escape and aid in the cooling of the plastic.

Mickey is 5″ tall and super light. The figures produced by a Mold-A-Rama machine are hollow. Have you used one of these machines?

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Schmid Winnie the Pooh & Piglet Musical Figurine

Some collectors prefer classic Pooh while others prefer Disney Pooh, but whichever Pooh is for you, this Schmid Winnie the Pooh and Piglet musical figurine should make you smile!

The classic character designs by E. H. Shepard definitely have a charm all of their own and seem to appeal more to a mature taste. The Disney versions are more cartoonish and appeal to a younger audience.

The base of this musical figurine is decorated with some of the more famous inhabitants of the 100-Acre Wood, such as Tigger and Eeyore, along with Pooh and Piglet, of course. However, I wonder why the pair that features so prominently on the top of the stand are repeated below when characters like Owl, Rabbit, or Kanga and Roo could have been used?

One would expect a tune from the original animated Shorts to be used for the music here, but instead, we have an excerpt from Mozart’s famous Opera entitled The Magic Flute:

The Magic Flute

The plot of this Opera follows Prince Tamino and Papageno as they are sent by the Queen of Night to save her daughter Pamina from the clutches of the evil lord Sarastro. Which obviously parallels the adventures of Pooh and Piglet in the 100-Acre Wood. He says sarcastically.

Yeah. I don’t get it either.

I picked this up at a local charity shop for under $10.00 CAN. I was delighted to find that it was in perfect working order with no chips or other damage. It’s always good to check that such a collectible hasn’t been over wound before you purchase, and that should be the first question you ask if buying one unseen and untested from the Internet.

NARRATOR: “And now the day was ending for Pooh and Piglet. The strange music they had been hearing had stopped. So they discussed what they should do next…”

POOH: “Well, Piglet. It seems we’ve twisted and twirled so much that we’ve turned and dizzied ourselves right to the end of the Blog.”

PIGLET: “Oh de-de-dear! So what do we do now, Pooh?”

POOH: “Well, I think we should likely just… fall down!”

NARRATOR: “And so they did.”

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Funko Vynl Dumbo & Timothy Mouse Figurines

Dumbo certainly has lived up to his reputation of being The Ninth Wonder of the Universe, as described by his friend and agent, Timothy Q. Mouse. This does leave us with a bit of a mystery however. You see, the seven traditional Wonders of the World are the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Temple of Artemis, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. If Dumbo is believed to be the ninth, who or what was the eighth?!?

We may never know. But we can wonder.

Speaking of wonderful, this pair of Funko Vynl collectible figures fits that bill. Dumbo has always had the market cornered on cuteness but I think this little plastic Timothy may be giving him a run for his feather!

I like how Funko put each characters name on the side of the box next to the figures themselves. And the circus motif is spot on.

It seems that all new Funko releases do not insert a backing card behind the figures in the boxes. But they used to do this with every figure to give it an appropriate setting. This set was produced in 2019 so does have a backing card (above).

These figures were designed by Ashley Anderson:

Dumbo is one of the few characters that doesn’t age (much) or change in his movie and so is represented in much the same way from the end of his movie to this day. By comparison, Bambi grows from a fawn into a buck by the end of his adventure, but then is returned to his youthful appearance thereafter in subsequent appearances and media. To learn about four more Disney characters that are frozen in time, check out the link!

Timothy is a replacement for Red the robin from the original novel. He was used because elephants are supposed to be afraid of mice. But how could Dumbo be afraid of this little guy?

I picked this set up from a local seller for just $5.00 CAN which is much less than the original retail price of $19.99. However, Amazon is currently asking just under $100.00! While some Funko figures do skyrocket in value, I don’t think this is one of them, so the Amazon ask is unreasonably high. That said, any collectible is worth what a person is willing to pay.

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Book Review: Charlie Brown’s Super Book

Publisher: Random House

Year: 1975

Pages: 80

Type: Softcover

ISBN: 0-394-83165-9

Even three red pencils make a collection.”

This is a really fun book! Going all the way back to 1975 we are treated to old-timey arts and crafts from the days when children did things instead of played things. I mean digital things. Yes, there was a time when children actually played together, in person, and created their own fun! Who knew?

If you’re one of those children all grown up, and now have children of your own who need to learn how to experience the world around them, then this book is for you!

This book is ostensibly about collecting, but predominantly adds an element of hands-on arts and crafts to the mix. So it makes a great tool for teaching your children about the world around them and how to interact with it. It should also build confidence and dexterity as they complete each project.

There are fifteen things that can be collected and that are featured in this book. Let’s have a look at the first six:

It’s appropriate that Charlie Brown has taken up the collecting of Rocks as he generally gets lots of them in his treat bag on Halloween! Dolls and Puppets are perhaps one of most common things to collect. You can click the link to see some of my Dolls, which I call ‘Female Action Figures’. Just go with me on that. Buttons, Flowers, Bottles, and Bottle Caps can also be fun to collect. I have a vintage Donald Duck bottle from the 1950s that you can see by clicking the link.

Collecting Stamps was all the rage back in the day. Every kid was on the hunt for that rare, cancelled, stamp from the weird country they’d never heard of! I too have an extensive Disney stamp collection which you can see part of by clicking the link. To see more, simply type ‘Stamps’ into the ‘Search’ box at the top of this Blog.

Seven down and six more to see:

Shells, Place Mats & Menus, Leaves, and Fingerprints (is that even legal?) are also recommended in this book. I do collect Maps in a way by keeping my Disney Guide Maps after I visit a Disney Park. Most Disney fans will have collected Pressed Pennies at some point, and I am no exception! I think that would count as collecting Coins?

And now we are on to our last two collectibles:

Do you like your Postcards to have writing on them or to be blank? That is a major discussion between collectors of these pieces of ephemera. I have dozens of Disney Postcards, and I do prefer mine to be blank, although I do enjoy ‘snooping’ into someone’s vacation by reading the messages you can sometimes find on the backs! I’m a hopeless collector, if this Blog wasn’t a dead giveaway (LOL), so it should come as no surprise that I also collect Hats. Check our my partial collection of Disney-themed Baseball Caps by clicking the link.

The book ends by listing resource materials that parents can use to further engage their children in the wonderful world of collecting and the arts and crafts movement.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 Stars. Whether you decide to work on the craft projects with your child or not, just reading the book for the pure nostalgia is well worth it! But if you can involve your children and get them engaged with something other than their Xbox, I think you will have earned a Gold Star on your fridge!

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Pictopia Disney Edition Picture-Trivia Game

Ravensburger is a company that produces puzzles, games, and something called Gravitrax. They hold licenses to not only Disney, but also Dr. Seuss, The Beatles, and Thomas & Friends. But mostly Disney!

According to the official description, this game lets you discover playful trivia spanning decades of the Disney company, from animated classics and blockbuster movies, to television hits and dazzling theme park destinations. It’s a game of teamwork but with a competitive twist! Along the way are guess-my-answer questions that reveal how much you know about the other players.

There are some really cool elements to this game. I like the Hidden Mickey answer dials, for sure! The game board is fairly straight forward with game play following a basically straight path to the finish line.

There is a betting element where you can decide how many spaces you will move forward if you get a question right, from 1 to 5. The answer dials have windows to show your selection for multiple choice questions from A to D and also contain 6 colour choices.

I didn’t include a complete game card. The examples above are two different set of clues and questions. The questions are quite simple and most Disney fans should have a good chance of answering. The most challenging question would be the guess-my-answer option where you have to guess what one of the other players would choose.

You can read for yourself the complete game rules below:

Game play follows the basic premise of roll the die, move the number of spaces, try to answer the question, get to the end first! That’s basically it.

The back of the box shows a family with young children playing along with adults. Ages 7 and up are invited to play. I believe even the youngest Disney fan would have a sporting chance of winning, especially if they have watched Disney movies hundreds of times and Dad is just along for the ride!

For another modern family game, check out the ‘Something Wild!’ Card Game from Funko.

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Photo Spot: A Pictorial Study in Perspective

I like to play with perspective when I take pictures. Sometimes that means the art of showing objects so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other, and other times it’s to play with the viewers way of regarding something.

This image is an example of the latter. At first glance, it may appear to be a stone walkway. But upon closer examination, or the proper perspective, the true reality is revealed:

To make this warping of perspective possible, I shot an extreme close up of a stone wall. The illusion of a stone walkway only lasts for a brief moment until one notices the light fixture.

Such a study may not yield a frameable image for one’s wall, but it does create a fun, albeit brief, diversion from reality!

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