Thursday, September 13, 2018

Deadstocked: random toy-and-junk cleanout

Hey. It's been a while. Between work, more work, the tasks and chores that come with homeownership and work, I haven't had time to write in quite some time. But, You know what I have been able to do? Clean out all the junk and stuff I've accumulated over the years.

When I started running my online business, I sold a few of the old Mcdonald's and Burger King toys to collectors. I didn't get much and they were few and far between that I could get a toy with all the components that were clean and looked good. With the closedown of the business, I had a few boxes of the stuff sitting around and I decided, I need to get rid of this stuff. So, here we go:

Pair of (creepy) Chuck E. Cheese figures

I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I never liked the big arcades like Chuck E. Cheese. Even from what I remember as a kid, they were loud, the pizza wasn't that good and the shows with the animatronic animals were just outdated.
I picked up these two as part of some big collection of random toys for maybe 3$ thinking that since Chuck E cheese had been redesigned that the old ones might be worth something. 
         For me, they're downright creepy. They have bedroom eyes and they're not wearing pants. 

Bow from She-Ra
I never caught on to the transformers/TMNT/He-man, She-ra craze. He was in a bag of other junk that I bought at one point as a kid. His magic ability is a button on his back that makes the heart shaped hole in his chest turn red. Big whoop.

Figment the dragon figurines
I didn't know who this was until I stumbled upon a much better blog than mine. Figment is a dragon from Disney. That's all she wrote...
Looney tunes cars
My grandfather was a big fan of Looney tunes thought I'm not sure why. I remember he had quite a few of these. They are from Mcdonalds and they all have a special feature. Porky's car has a ghost pop out of the back, Daffy's car falls apart exposing that daffy is riding on the engine and Taz spins around when the bumper is pushed in. Here's a commercial

Looney Tunes superheroes (Sans superhero costumes, except taz)

More Looney tunes stuff. This was some superhero promotion or something. As usual, I had bugs bunny but almost instantly lost his costume, leaving me with a bugs bunny figurine permanently with his arms raised in the "Y" of YMCA. 
I don't think these really did anything outside of having a costume you could put on them. Again, as a kid I remembered the commercials.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Steppin' into Spring Part 2: Adventures in wonderland : Pie Noon

Easter is just around the corner. Easter has Rabbits in it. Know what else has rabbits in it? Alice in Wonderland. It's a shoddy connection, but dammit, that's how I roll.

Today, I'm going to review an old show that I caught a few episodes of growing up back in the 90s.
I remember watching it at a babysitter's house before school. Most of the time we were out the door before the end of the show.
Much like the Sing me a story song with Belle, it's Disney in flavor, but not as lazy as taking clips from movies and cartoons and dubbing them over. (And I promise, there's no gingerbread porn here.)
There's actually some humor in the show that is funny, even for adults.

Watch along: Part 1  part 2 part 3

To start, This show has been recommended by the American Federation of Teachers and the  National Education association.
 So it has that going for it.

The show begins in typical 90s fashion of a midi theme with our Heroine Alice walking into her room after school. She's complaining to her cat Dina about a bully at school that keeps taking her desserts. The cat reacts appropriately.(I mean, for a cat)
I quit taking advice from my cats years ago... Except for tax stuff. They're into that.

Needing time to think about her problem, Alice steps through the mirror and whisks off to wonderland.
Fun fact: The actress that played alice grew up to play Morgan Brody from CSI

The intro to this show has more effort put into it than sing me a story. Most of it is green screen, shows the cast of characters and has an upbeat song that is a little catchy. Okay, Enough with that. Let's get to the show.

We're introduced to a mysterious bard strumming a guitar singing about the March Hare. Who is this bard?
Willie Friggin' Nelson!
I normally don't like country music at all, but I make exceptions for the classics. Hank Williams, Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson are Awesome. (I also like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton too. but don't tell anyone.) 
When I was a radio DJ in college I wanted to do an interview with him after he put on a concert at our college but I had learned that someone took blinding photos of him during the concert. I later learned those photos were taken by my sister.

Back to the show, the Mad Hatter is wondering where the March hare is because he's never missed a tea party. Hare shows up saying he's leaving town. But why? A bully from his High school is coming to visit wonderland!
A bully that pied him repeatedly.
Alice and the Hatter tell Hare to stand up to the bully. This point gets made again by Willie who comes strumming along.
For what it's worth, I think WIllie Nelson is the only celebrity musician appropriate for this show.

The Hatter, Alice and the Hare recruit Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum for their posse to stand up to the bully.

Unfortunately this leads to a musical number about being true friends. When Hare explains to the group that even in a group, the bully is too strong. When the group finds out about this, they split, leaving Hare alone with Willie Nelson.
I... I've got nothing.
Hare runs off and talks to the white rabbit and the Queen of hearts.
Okay, this show DID have good makeup and costumes.
There, the White rabbit tells Hare to bring the Queen with him as an authority figure. The Queen initially agrees but then backs out when she figures it will be a full time job defending the Hare.
As these go on, they're shorter and Willie keeps looking like "When will this end?"
I mean, the way I see it, He was going through financial trouble at the time and if Disney wants to hire you, are you going to say no?

Hare runs off and debates whether or not he should leave town. He talks to the caterpillar who reads him a story.
Just a caterpillar reading a book to a Hare. Nothing to see here, folks.
The caterpillar tells the story of a bully fish that leaves his pond only to be bullied by bigger fish. The fish returns to his pond to never be a bully again. (This segment was actually nicely animated!)
Fire my agent...
We finally get to the moment of truth. NOON. The bully steps off the train. Who is this bully that has everyone in a tizzy? Why it's...
Gilbert Gottfried!
He actually plays this part well. Another song is sung, this time by Gottfried (A true bullying move) Willie shows up again, sings a line and walks offstage.
Gilbert makes the best "Is that Willie Nelson?" look ever.
At long last, we come to the showdown between the Hare and the Bully. The bully intimidates the hare by quickly pulling combs out of his outfit and combing his hair. (Just watch it. I don't feel like clipping stuff together.)
The Hare and the bully have a standoff and the Hare gets a pie away from the bully but decides not to pie him because that would make him a bully and "Two wrongs don't make a right." But that doesn't matter because the Queen and everyone else has Hare's back.
So, the group pies Gottfried, and he runs off exclaiming he hates lemon meringue (Wouldn't that burn like hell if it got in your eyes???)
We're treated to another awkward musical number... And then the biggest travesty occurs...
Willie is pied, but he smiles it off, so no harm no foul? Anyways. Alice comes back through the mirror to her world, Tells her cat that she's going to stand up to the bully and the credits roll. 
So, there you have it. another weird show spun off from Disney that (supposedly) is used for teaching. The costumes look cool, the humor is funny at times (even for adults).

Well, that's all for now. I'm waiting for the spring thaw to happen. See ya next time.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Steppin' Into Spring Part 1: Sing me a story with Belle

Woo! Happy Spring Everyone! Hot Damn! This was a BEAST of a winter! Yep. I hope this spring is a real BEAUTY! Okay, enough of this segue. Today, we're going to talk about an old show I watched a few times called "sing me a story with Belle" What does this have to do with spring? Just about as much as the show had to do with the movie. Other than a few similar characters and "borrowed" animations, the show is stand alone from the animated film.

Feel free to watch along here

The plot is simple enough. Belle from Beauty and the Beast owns a bookstore now and sings stories to kids to teach lessons. The show starts with a live action Belle walking through her cartoon hometown from the movie.
Just another day in France.
I always felt bad for this guy and wondered why he was in the stockade. For the show, he was probably the only person in the animated town to refuse to go along with a live action belle because it's witchcraft. He was summarily stockaded. 

So Bell goes through town singing along (like she did in the movie, but the song isn't nearly as catchy.) This goes on until she reaches her bookstore. This is where the horror begins.

This is "Big Book" Voice by Jim Cummings who did pretty much every awesome voice known to man whether it be a movie or video game. To me he'll always be the Super Mutant Master from the original fallout.

The other horrors of Belle's bookstore include:
I normally like cats, but NO.
This is "Harmony" the singing cat. Harmony sounds like Herbert the pervert from Family Guy. That's all I'm saying for now.

Lewis and Carol, The bookworms.
These fraggle rock extras are Lewis and Carol (Get it? Lewis Carroll, who wrote Alice in Wonderland?) 2 bookworms that live in the bookstore, presumably eating away at Belle's profits.
Lewis is voiced by Jim Cummings (Awesome!) and Carol is voiced by the late Christine Cavanaugh who voiced characters like Dexter from Dexter's lab and Chuckie from Rugrats.

The episode starts with the bookworms reading "BQ" magazine (Bookworm Quarterly) Where they ogle the ads inside wishing they could look like the buff muppet on the cover. Belle tells them that they have "Inner Beauty" and they shouldn't worry about what they look like.

The next thing that happens is the kids that frequent the bookstore say that they're putting on a magic show but no one will come... But why is this?

Yep. Gaston is alive and well and seemingly cool with Belle blowing him off to hang out with a talking book, cat and kids. In fact, Gaston has a strange tic where he constantly laughs.
Anyways, He's having a party for himself at THE SAME TIME OF THE MAGIC SHOW AND EVERYONE'S INVITED.

oh no... what a tragedy...

The kids start splitting up, Picking sides of who wants to go to Gaston's party and who wants to go to the magic show. The situation reminds Belle of a story which she starts to sing about. We then get into the meat and potatoes of the show.
Basically, the premise was to take old Disney cartoons that the studio had rights to and dub music and voices over the cartoon. The show took the Mickey mouse cartoon "Mickey's Rival" and tried to have a loose association with the show's plot.
Because I'm lazy, here's the rundown of the cartoon: Mickey and Minnie go have a picnic that gets interrupted by Minnie's Ex, Mortimer. 
Mortimer tries to show off to Minnie by pissing off a bull. Mickey saves Minnie after Mortimer runs off like a coward. The end.

So the kids decide that maybe they should go to their friend's magic show because inner beauty trumps Gaston (I guess.) 
Gaston goes on about his party and starts talking about the food that will be there. This makes the cat switch sides.
This is the look of a man acknowledging the fact he just invited a cat puppet to a party.

Bell explains that as nice as the party sounds, it's still what's inside that counts and the kids should side with their friends.

Gaston laughs like an idiot and Belle yells out "He's impossible!"
I think she was talking to the film crew, not the kids...

So it goes on, Gaston talks about his party some more. He brings up his trophy room full of animals he's killed so the cat switches sides. He then pulls out all the stops to get everyone to go to his party:
A mirror covered with rhinestones...
Gaston makes a big deal that he needs someone important to hold the mirror for him during his party. A kid volunteers to be the mirror holder and brushes off the magic show.

Belle then tells the cat to sing about the "cookie carnival" to make another lesson. The story is about a cookie man who finds a sad cookie girl and she becomes cookie queen.
 This is where things get X-rated, based on context.

Y-You're not helping.
Any angry e-mails can be sent to:

So, the cookie boy that squirted his cream donut on the cookie girl became king. (I swear, it's what really happened!)

We're taken back to the bookshop where the kid that volunteered the mirror job takes it back to work with his friend. They perform a garden variety magic trick and Gaston is dumbfounded.

The last part of the story, Gaston comes back and announced that he cancelled his party and is instead taking everyone to the magic show. He then asks the bookworms how to get inner beauty. End of Show. ....
Okay, not quite. The cat shows up again and gives a list of books to read so you can feel better about yourself or something.
Think of it like reading rainbow, but not as hands on. But you don't have to take my word for it.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need bleach for my computer and my eyes.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Mr. CC's CHRISTMAS SPECIAL: Depressing depression era Christmas cartoons

Yo, What's up? It's been a while. What have you been up to? Oh, me? Not much. Just working... Anyways, Welcome! With the holiday season fast approaching, it's time for christmasy things... Music on the radio, fist fights at Wal-marts for junk on sale and the creepy crawly feeling of family togetherness.

There's also all the damn holiday movies. While I have my favorites (National Lampoon's Christmas vacation, How the Grinch stole Christmas, the snowman, and Long kiss goodnight (YES THIS IS A CHRISTMAS MOVIE!)) We're gonna talk about something a little different.

A long time ago, I had a VHS tape that had maybe 6 or 7 cartoons on it and sometimes a live action segment. This was from a time when most VHS tapes cost quite a bit. These cartoons however were past their copyright expiration, making them pretty cheap. You can still find DVD collections of public domain cartoons and movies at dollar stores or Wal marts.

Most of the cartoons on these tapes are from the 30s through the 50s, but we're gonna focus on the ones from the 1930s because I'm the one writing the article, dammit.

For the most part, the cartoons from the 30s all feature a concept of hope and/or charity. It was the depression. People didn't have much and what they had

So, let's get started!

#1- Christmas Comes But Once a Year-1934

I remember this one because it was usually the first one on the tapes and because of the music. It starts out with a melancholic voice belting out "Noel" and a revolutionary (for the time) 3 dimentional view of the outside of the orphanage. We then see the rundown orphanage typical of everything in the 30s era.
Broken down crappy  tree with broken ornaments? Check, dirty socks used as stockings? Check
Weird picture of miserly egg-headed mr burns on the wall? Check. Okay, let's go!

Now we see the orphans get up and start their Christmas morning with... GARBAGE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS!!! The kids all get toys that are one play away from breaking and when they get them out, all break. This results in the kids all crying in droves.

Merry Christmas! Enjoy your new toys from Walmart! We'll just sit here and cry.

Enter Macgyver claus:

This character always bothered me. Maybe it was okay back in the 30s to be a strange old man that goes up and fixing orphan kids Christmases, but there's just something odd about the whole thing. He literally breaks into the orphanage and starts making toys out of stuff sitting around the orphanage.
 The part that always made me wonder was the part when he sits on the steps and puts on his thinking cap. He comes up with several unspoken ideas but the most convoluted one makes the light light up.
For what it's worth, after seeing this cartoon, I would hear "Put on your thinking cap" and imagine this thing.

What were his first two ideas that got beat by breaking in and building stuff out of the utensils and dishes??? Go back in time and prevent each kid from becoming an orphan? Gah, I would think if you had enough money to buy a powered sleigh in the 30s you would have more than enough money to buy each of the kids at least one toy... But I digress, let's keep going.

Macgyver Clause goes into the kitchen, piles up every bit of junk he can find and proceeds to make toys out of all of it, inluding a sled made from a washboard, a flying airplane made from a spoon, a spool and a dowel rod... And then this thing:
 I should add that he's laughing maniacally while building these contraptions.
Yes, using a feather duster, a sock, an alarm clock mechanism and 2 forks, he made this... abomination. What the hell is it? How is this going to be any fun for a kid to play with? It smells like dirty feet, it's dusty and the forks are sharp. Anyways, 

The professor decorates the orphanage, dismantles the stove to make boots, and gets the kids up to play with their new "Toys". He then creates a sledding hill on the stairs, builds a christmas tree using umbrellas and it slowly fades to a 3d spinning christmas tree then to this:
No children were harmed in the making of this cartoon simply because they felt no pain as they went.-creepy white santa
Annoyance level-4/5- You might not ever get the damn song out of your head once you hear it.
Sadness level-2/5-Starts out sad but everything works out... I guess... But can you imagine what happens when the orphanage owners come back the next day and they see all the stuff used to run the orphanage has been broken or used to make toys?

#2 Somewhere in Dreamland
So, here we are again. This time we have two unemployed Campbell's soup kids that gather wood out in the street.They pass by several storefronts where the shopowners see their plight

Unlike the kids in the first cartoon, these kids actually have a living parent!
It's Olive Oyl's missing sister, Canola!
The kids are served a meal of what looks like a brick with icing.

Kids, finish your mortor or you won't get any stucco!
The two then go to bed because, hey, it's the depression, what else are you going to do? Then they start their trip into dreamland
Kirby Not included!
There, the kids find trees with new clothes, fields of ice cream cones, popcorn fields and new toys.
 The kids wake up to see that the three shopowners dug into their profits and gave the kids a decent meal complete with toys. the boy jabs a fork into his backside to make sure he's not dreaming.

Annoyance level-4/5- Both of these kids suffer from "Popeye mumble syndrome" throughout the entire cartoon talking in a low whiny mumble that gets stifled by the music. Granted, what they're saying isn't really necessary to the plot, but it's noticeable.
Saddness level-4/5- As a kid, it's a happy ending. The kids wake up and have a nice morning. As an adult that understands finances better than a 5 year old, it raises all sorts of questions and makes some points, The kids will be fine for this morning and maybe a few days afterwards when they can have leftovers, but then they'll still be in the same plight. If one of the store owners had offered the mother a job it might help.
I just counted a few things... I'm not gonna get obsessive.
The other part is how much money went into this spread. Granted, it's 3 storeowners, but they're still in a smaller neighborhood. I researched a little and figured out the food on the table and toys left for the kids would all amount to much more than the 3 storeowners could possibly afford unless the food is all day-old and the toys are of the same quality that were in the orphanage in the last cartoon.

#3 Peace on Earth- 1939

Ah, war. This one tops them all. We start off with the ruins of civilization, complete with ruined church window, cannons dilapidated from years of disuse

We then pan over to a little city made out of soldier helmets and other military junk.
We then meet our narrarator, an old squirrel that tells the story of the last of man.
I didn't catch it the first time, but the lamp post is a bayonet.
The old squirrel tells the story of why there's no men left on earth. Apparently we killed each other to the point that no one is left. With the demise of man, the animals of the forest come out to wrecked society and find a book.
 SYMBOLISM! Also, could you imagine if another book were found? 
Imagine if the owl found a nature guide and read that his species was supposed to be eating the other animals and not rebuilding the world with them.
Yep, our furry creatures apparently know how to read, comprehend English and go about rebuilding society as well as repopulating the earth.
That's the story kids, Everyone's dead except the animals and its all our fault we couldn't get along.

Annoyance level 1/5- This one has some history. It makes a good point and has been remade a few times. It's actually not a bad cartoon.
Sadness level- 35/5 - Being told of humanity's demise because of our inability to get along by sentient talking animals kinda hits hard.

Bonus: Creepy Silouette of 12 days of Christmas, FEATURING OSCAR BRAND!!

So, this isn't a cartoon and it's not from the 30s, but I remember it being on one of the VHS Christmas tapes I had. I remember it being the last feature on the tape which was a good thing because I shut the VCR off before it had a chance to scare me. There shouldn't be anything scary about this. It's just a guy playing a guitar while a woman dance, but it's all silhouette.

So, that's it for this time around. Happy Holidays!