Walt Disney World ‘Hanging Mickey’ Bell and Spoon

“If it’s worth doing once it’s worth doing thrice or more!” – Disney Merchandising

And with that philosophy, we have seen the proliferation of single images appearing across multiple items like t-shirts, mugs, hats, snow globes, picture frames, banners, etc. This is most common with the year logos or Park Icon logos.

But before the simplification of merchandising offerings, we had some other unusual items that would duplicate the same theme. Such as:

What does a spoon and a bell have in common? I guess they both make tinkling sounds (for the spoon, you know, when you stir your tea?), but in this case, it’s the Hanging Mickey:

Or Dangling Mickey, whatever you prefer! Either way it’s a unique feature.

I don’t believe this spoon is silverplated but simply a stamped metal of some kind.

This Walt Disney World logo helps us to date the pieces although with a wide spread of years: The complex in Florida used this logo (the ‘D’ encircling the globe) from 1971 to 1996. So this spoon and bell could have been produced within this time, but I would narrow it down to during the 70’s or very early 80’s. Why?

The Walt Disney Productions trademark also helps me make that guess as it was discontinued on products in 1986. So now the production time has to be between 1971 and 1986.

These two items are identical in every way from the base of the stem up. They only differ in that one has a spoon scoop at the bottom and the other a bell housing with a clapper.

I love finding multiple items sporting the same imagery!

Do you have items in your Disney collection that have the same pictures on them?

Posted in Characters, Collectibles, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ambiguous Image of a Bird at Rest and In Flight

In art, it’s fun and challenging to create images that can be viewed from different angles or can be understood as two or more different ‘things’.

Before this gets too confusing, let me show you an example I drew back in the mid-1980’s:

Bird Horizontal

Above you can clearly see a bird flying with its wings in the down beat position. But if we pivot the picture 90 degrees clockwise:

Bird Vertical

Now another bird is seen at rest with its wings still.

This is what is called an Ambiguous Image. Such visual forms ‘create ambiguity by exploiting graphical similarities and other properties of visual system interpretation between two or more distinct image forms. These are famous for inducing the phenomenon of multistable perception. Multistable perception is the occurrence of an image being able to provide multiple, although stable, perceptions‘. Thank you Professor, you can take the rest of the post off!

Ambiguous images are important to the field of psychology because they are often used as research tools used in experiments on the mind.

Well, my mind is blown! I didn’t realize I was creating something so profound with a simple doodle.

Posted in Artwork | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Collectible Mickey Mouse Shovel Spoon

Why a Shovel Spoon? I don’t think we’ll ever know! I did some research and couldn’t find much about this unusual collectible, other than you can pick them up on eBay for about 10 bucks.

Let’s just dig right in (see what I did there?) and see what we uncover:

So we know it is a Little Present, it is made of Engravable Genuine Pewter, and was produced in the USA by Walt Disney Productions. That’s a lot of information to pile onto the front of a package! But at least we now know that it was released before 1986 (WDP).

The Gang’s all Represented

“A Fort Product”. I couldn’t find anything about this company. Interesting logo, though!

Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy also got their own shovel to stand on. Why? We still don’t know!

No one is this happy to use a shovel!

It’s nice to see such a high level of detail on the backside of Mickey, er… the shovel. The spoon!

Trademark Stamp

Would you like to see what the other characters look like?

Yup, they are all too happy to be digging with shovels! What’s with these people?!?

One unfortunate thing is the use of Mickey on all four of the characters’ packaging. This is a method used by many companies to lower production costs by reusing the packaging designs, but I think it cheapens the line. What do you think?

Do you know what characters this Shovel Spoon concept would have been a perfect fit for? The Seven Dwarfs! It’s even in their theme song:

We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig in our mine the whole day through
To dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig is what we really like to do
It ain't no trick to get rich quick
If you dig dig dig with a SHOVEL or a pick
In a mine! In a mine! In a mine! In a mine!
Where a million diamonds shine!

We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig from early morn till night
We dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, dig up everything in sight
We dig up diamonds by the score
A thousand rubies, sometimes more
But we don't know what we dig 'em for
We dig dig dig a-dig dig

Am I right, or am I right? They even admit it’s what they ‘really like to do’! Oh well, what do I know. Heigh-Ho, it’s time to go!

Posted in Characters, Collectibles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mickey Mouse Races into 2021 in a Porsche

And a Formula 1 Car

As I’ve mentioned before, I love it when Mickey gets behind the wheel! And you know when he does it, he’s going to do it in style!

Case in point is this sweet ride, a canary yellow Porsche:

Dig the license plate!

M-1989 gives us the year this toy was made, and identifies the car as a 1989 Porsche 911, one of the most iconic models on the planet! And what else would Mickey cruise around in?

Unlike most of the cars Mickey drives, this one is not powered by friction. You have to wind this one up.

I think he took the corner too fast!

This toy was made in Japan by the Masudaya Corporation. Masudaya, also known as Masudaya Modern Toys, is a Japanese toy maker which is one of the leading builders of mechanical and battery operated toys. The trademark is Walt Disney Company.

But Mickey doesn’t limit his driving to the open roads. Sometimes he likes to take some laps on the track. And for that, he drives:

Looking cool in his racing suit, Mickey is ready to hit the circuit for the win in 1928! And you all know why that year is significant, right?

This car returns to the friction locomotion we are used to with Mickey’s rides. And in case you weren’t aware, Mickey is both a Champion and a Disney Character.

M-1 stands for Mickey-1 instead of Formula 1. See what they did there?

And again Mickey takes the corner too fast!

We learn from the undercarriage that this car was also made in Japan by the Masudaya Corporation, but this time, in 1988.

Both of these cars still work. The condition would be considered ‘good’, as there are many scratches and signs of wear. Durn kids! Why do they have to play with the toys I’m trying to collect?

You can find more Disney-related cars in the post entitled Chevron Autopia Die-cast Model Cars. Race ya there!

Posted in Characters, Collectibles, Transportation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1982 Newspaper Article featuring Me and Marvel Comics

And with three of my friends! Yes, back in the day, I had youth and much more hair. And hundreds of valuable comic books. Time moved on, I grew older, my hairline receded, and my comic book collection got sold off. But this embarrassing newspaper article still remains to remind me of it all!

Published on July 28th of 1982 my friends and I made Page 3 with a full-page spread and an additional overflow on Page 17. For the small town of Havelock, ON, we were Big News!

The dialogue balloons are pretty lame! I’m on the far left, top

Jim, Scott, and Bob were three fellow comic book readers that I swapped and traded copies with. If you enlarge and read the article you will see that we were passionate about collecting but not always accurate in our information about pricing, dates, and other ‘facts’ about comics. But hey, we were teenagers! Who did research?

It’s funny to read how we all hated on DC Comics and gushed over Marvel Comics. The opposite of the boys on The Big Bang Theory!

Fun and Cash! I’m on the left again

The article also mentions how each of us liked to draw our favorite characters. About myself, the article said: “… this ability to draw seems to be inherent in most comic book fans, with some, like Lee Beatens, showing remarkable talent.” I’m blushing! Just a year later I did go to art college, so there’s that. You can barely see some of my artwork in the first picture posted in the article.

The article concluded by mentioning that we kids were planning a trip to Toronto to visit the comic book stores on Queen Street. We did do that, with Bob and Jim joining me for the long train trip.

So this article was written 38 years ago! I still have my copy, yellow and flimsy, but still preserving a small slice of my youth. Below I’ve included a picture of a comic-style character I drew while still in college, in 1984:

I hope you enjoyed this trip down my memory lane. Maybe you know me just a little bit better now! My condolences.

BONUS MATERIAL: How about a little ‘Then and Now’?

Posted in Artwork, Comic Books, Ephemera, History, Interviews, Viewpoint | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disney-themed Baseball Caps

It’s interesting that although we only have one head, we seem to accumulate more than one hat. And it’s not just because there are different seasons! No, we seem to need dozens of hats for every season!

And a Disney collector is even worse! Case in point, let me show you some more of my Disney-themed baseball caps. I don’t even like baseball caps. I look ridiculous in them! But:

Theme: The Walt Disney Studios

This is a cap I do wear if I’m having a bad hair day (one hair, as I don’t have much left!). It’s a classic look in basic black with a nice detail on the back:

The next cap is still rocking the blackness but with a more colorful patch:

Theme: Pizza Planet

It may not surprise you to learn that I have a Pizza Planet shirt to go with this. I’m nothing if not well put together!

This cap has a nice little logo of the actual Pizza Planet, complete with (condiment?) rings, under the brim.

The Disney Store made this available in one-size-fits-all.

Now we leave the basic black for a more colorful and character-centric cap:

Theme: The Enchanted Tiki Room

I image this is José sitting on his perch. Can you hear him saying: “Ah, buenos dias, señorita. My siestas are getting are getting chorter and chorter. Oh, look at all the people! Welcome to Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room.”

Are you ready for the chorus? Here it is: “All the birds sing words, and the flowers croon,
In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room!

This cap was released by the Disney Parks line and so was likely originally sold in the Parks, but also later in the Disney Store locations that are allowed to liquidate old Park stock. This cap is sized as ‘Adult’.

And now for even more color, with one of Disney’s most colorful characters:

Theme: The Orange Bird

Little Orange Bird, (Little Orange Bird)

In the Sunshine Tree (in the Sunshine Tree)

Won’t you think of something sunny just for me?

Another Disney Parks original.

If you’d like to see even more of my hat collection, just click this link. And if you wouldn’t mind, could you tell me how many hats one head needs? I really think I need to know!

Posted in Characters, Clothing, Pixar | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dueling Guitars of Big Al – Money Banks

The Country Bear Jamboree has got to be one of the corniest shows ever to appear in a Disney Park… and I love it!

Big Al is definitely a stand-out character as he drawls his way through Blood on the Saddle and gives a little chuckle when he’s done. Classic!

Happy Version

In this post I’m featuring two different versions of a Big Al Money Bank. Both are made of a bisque or ceramic substance and have some nice detailing. This version is certainly the more colorful of the two!

Note the ‘Big Al’ moniker on his guitar? Even a bear knows that branding is the key to success in the music business!

I wonder if he knows that he has a slot in his back?
Handsome from any angle!

Bottoms up:

As you can see, he is missing his plug. That sounds deeply personal and unfortunate. Moving on, I always feel that it devalues a money bank if it is missing the plug, even though it is quite common.

And now to my favorite of the Dueling Guitars:

Gloomy Version

This version has a monochrome palate making him seem like he is made out of wood, which is fitting for a bear that lives and… does other things in the woods.

XXX

Oh, Big Al! Is that moonshine down beside ya thare? You’d think he’d be a happpier bear with that kind of stimulation near by!

I HAVE A HOLE IN MY HEAD!

Ouch! But we need to get the money in somehow.

Walt Disney Productions
This image just seems wrong!

Yes ladies and gentlemen, we have found a plug in the wild!

Is this not enough Big Al for ya? Then check out a Plush Version and a Big Al Patch I got from my D23 Membership.

We hope that you’ll be coming back again.
That you’ll drop in and see us now and then.
We’ve done our very best to please
With just the “bear” necessities.
We hope that you’ll be coming back again.

Posted in Attractions, Characters, Collectibles, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tomorrowland Speedway Friction Model Cars

I love seeing Mickey and his friends in vehicles. Many of the original Shorts feature some kind of transportation theme and so it seems like a natural fit to carry this over into merchandise.

Many believe that the Tomorrowland Speedway in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World doesn’t quite fit the whole ‘future’ theme of the Land it’s in. And being as it features gas-powered go carts, it’s hard to argue the point! Recently, I heard a Vlogger opine that the attraction could be converted to electric cars with a sponsorship from Tesla. Now that would be a better fit!

But until that does or doesn’t happen we still have a really cool ride, with some awesome merchandise. Behold the Tomorrowland Speedway friction cars:

Number 45

This version would have been sold in the Park closer to when it opened. It is made in Japan and features better fit and finish than the later version. Both versions have a metal body sitting on a plastic base.

I only have Mickey in the driver’s seat, but there are versions with Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck as well. Although I haven’t seen one, I imagine Goofy must also take the wheel!

1970’s Mickey

Mickey sports his 1970’s clothing here. Red pants and a blue shirt with yellow shoes and white gloves to finish off the look. He wears this outfit in other collectibles of the period and so it helps to date such pieces.

Number 60

Most versions of these cars I’ve found or seen have the number 45 on them. So I was happy to find a variant with a 60, even though it’s fit and finish is somewhat lacking. Maybe this Mickey isn’t as good a driver as Number 45! He’s even lost his steering wheel!

Undercarriage Detail

Again, the Japanese models are much better made, as you can see from the level of detail in the undercarriage. Some effort was made to simulate what the bottom of a real car actually looks like.

This car still has its original price tag of $12.95 US affixed to the axle. I feel this adds to the collectability.

Now let’s have a look at the versions that came out later in the ride’s history:

Still Number 45

Notice he has also moved to the center of the car for some reason. And the car itself is slightly wider and shorter. Obviously the new manufacturer created their own tooling for the process.

Stripped Down

So here Mickey has changed back to his classic red shorts, yellow shoes and white gloves.

Still Number 45, but in Red

Yellow, Blue, and Red are the only colors I’ve seen these cars painted. So far. But I’m on the hunt for more variations!

Undercarriage Detail

This later model is made in China, obviously to cut the cost of manufacturing. The cars are now lighter, but still with metal bodies on a plastic base.

Now the fun thing about these cars is the friction movement. You simply pull them back and they will shoot off across the floor a good 20′ or more. Pedal to the metal!

Is the Tomorrowland Speedway (or Autopia in Disneyland) a must-do during your Disney Theme Park visits? It definitely is for me!

Posted in Attractions, Characters, Collectibles, Die Cast, Theme Parks, Toys, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Everything is Satisfactual” Collector Plate

The Song of the South full-length film will never see the light of movie theaters again or even grace the small screens in our homes. But Disney does still seem to want to keep the animated portions of the movie, and it’s characters, alive!

For an interesting viewpoint on this movie and its troubled history, you can read Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South by Jim Korkis, a noted Disney historian.

Little nods to the banned movie pop up from time to time, like this one that I found in Disney Springs:

Yes it is!

Although this plate doesn’t feature a character from the film it does have a famous line from Uncle Remus himself from his signature song: “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”. The song was composed in 1946 by Allie Wrubel with lyrics by Ray Gilbert, and was sung by James Baskett. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song that year. Another little piece of the film that seems to have survived the purge!

6 1/2″ Diameter

This plate is for decoration or display only and shouldn’t be used to serve food.

For just $12.95 US I thought it was quite reasonably priced. And for the man who has just about everything Disney (not really, but it seems like it to my wife!) it makes an interesting and different piece of Disneyana to display.

I hope everything is satisfactual with you and your family!

Posted in Animation, Collectibles, Movies, Music, Walt Disney World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The World of Miss Mindy Lumiere and Cogsworth Figurines

Beauty and the Beast is a classic story that is both loved and criticized. Stockholm Syndrome, anyone? But if you put the critical eye under a patch, you can begin to relax and simply enjoy the interesting characters and touching storyline.

Two standout characters from the film are Lumiere (Jerry Orbach) and Cogsworth (David Ogden Stiers). So be my guest as we take a look at these two frenemies as depicted from the Disney Showcase Collection as imagined by Miss Mindy and produced by Enesco… made in China:

Frenemies

It’s obvious early on in the movie that these opposites, although not attracted to each other, are certainly more appreciative of each other than they would ever admit! Just look at those smiles and winks.

Colorful Box

Again, we see Enesco producing standard boxes that vary only in size from one another, but in every other way are identical.

Designed by Miss Mindy

Who is Miss Mindy? From the Miss Mindy website: “Miss Mindy creates in her home studio in Eagle Rock, CA. ‘Cartoon Folk Art’ is how many describe her work due to the old-timey feel, big eyes, and exaggerated proportions.” And now you know!

Lumiere, the Candelabra

I think the style of Miss Mindy really suits Lumiere due to his flirty personality and bigger-than-life theatrics.

Generic Box with Side Panel Label

Each box, although the same in design, does have a label on the side to identify the character within.

Note the Flames. No red!

I like the simplicity of the sculpt here. From the back the detail is scaled down but still beautiful.

So many brands…

On to the second of our Dynamic Duo:

Cogsworth, the Mantle Clock

Here is where I think the Miss Mindy style fails the character a bit. Cogsworth isn’t really known for happy or cheeky moods, rather tending towards tense and argumentative. And this can be a problem when an artist interprets Disney characters into their signature style (think also of Jim Shore or Romero Britto). Some characters will yield themselves very well to the treatment while others… no so much!

Same generic box, with different label
Wind Me Up!

I really like the added detail for Cogsworth, especially from behind, where we get to see the woodgrain, winding key, and other accouterments.

Don’t play with my toys!

And labels like this are how I manage not to share my toys… er, collectibles, with children who visit my home. Yes, I’ve always had a problem with sharing!

Wow! That price!

This line is quite extensive and expensive! I picked these two examples up for 50% off at a moving sale for a local collectibles retailer. Otherwise, they would not be a part of my collection!

If you can say nothing else about this line of figurines, it’s that they are not ‘gloomy or complaining’ but rather ‘bubbling and brewing’. Now if you’ll just shout “Enough, I’m done!” I’ll be able to end this post…

Thank you!

Posted in Animation, Ceramics, Characters, Collectibles, Figurines, Movies, Princesses | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment