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Category Archives: Amusements

The Who What Why Where When And How Day

Nostalgia time: The Mouseketeers at Walt Disney World was a 1977 episode of The Wonderful World of Disney starring the jump suited, semi-forgotten ’70s edition of the Mickey Mouse Club — you know, the one with Blair from The Facts of Life in the cast. As a tyke, I was obsessed with the mouseketeers and afternoons would find me a) watching the show, or b) reenacting skits from the show with the kids who lived across the street. We also owned the record album (which contained a white-bread rendition of “Walking the Dog,” I recall) and wore it out.

This Disney World outing was a special memory for me, since the Florida park seemed like such a mystical, faraway place. Disneyland was semi-accessible, but Disney World might as well have been Paris or London. Watching the show now, it looks like one long (and cheesy) commercial. Three years ago, I finally got to go. Didn’t see River Country, however.

She’s Got Legs

A couple of months ago, I took all of the Hasbro Toys commercials in the Duke University AdViews Archive and burnt them onto two DVDs for the household to enjoy. As far as I can tell, all of the commercials are from the ’70s. Multiple ads for iconic toys like G.I. Joe, Weebles, Mr. Potato Head, the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine, Charlie’s Angels dolls and Hungry Hungry Hippos make up a big chunk of the set. There are also quite a few delightful obscurities, however, including the commercial below (which I also uploaded to YouTube). According to their Wikipedia page, Leggy Fashion Dolls were on the market for just one year, in 1972-73. Sue, Jill, Nan and Kate dress in different groovy styles, but what they all share in common are their freakishly long legs. Love it!

It’s a Mod, Mod World

Just a note to say that I’ve posted my little piece at Joyce Compton News & Notes about the Marian Marsh/Warren William Pre-Code flick Under 18 and Joyce’s brief appearance in it. Please check it out!

Today’s video comes via The Video Beat, an online retailer of offbeat ’50s and ’60s video. This is French Ye-Ye singer Sylvie Vartan in a Japanese commercial for a mod clothing purveyor called Renown. Dig that groovy Op Art:

Weblogs of Note 2

When it comes down to it, I don’t leave much time for reading weblogs anymore. Blame Facebook and Twitter (where I follow my fave bloggers anyhow), but a weblog has to be something truly special nowadays to catch my eye. The experience of running a weblog and finding topics to write about makes me appreciate even more when someone else does it well. Like, f’rinstance, these three:

  • Dear Old Hollywood is the handiwork of Los Angeles resident and classic movie fan Robby Cress. This is a very nostalgic weblog to this reader, not just for the films and stars he writes about (obviously) but for our love of L.A. and the luster it holds even today. A former studio page, Cress covers a variety of Old Hollywood topics with enthusiasm and a friendly vibe (hallmarks of many a great blog). Most impressive are his posts examining various filming locations of flicks both legendary and obscure around the L.A. area. Astonishing legwork in action!
  • The Obscurity Factor is a relatively new enterprise from Ben Sander, the New York-based performer better known as domestic doyenne Brini Maxwell. The weblog chronicles Ben’s celluloid discoveries, rated on an “Obscurity Factor” scale of 1 (easy to find but unsung amongst the general public) to 10 (a filmic hen’s tooth). Many of the films covered are studio-backed dramas and comedies of the ’60s-’80s lost in the shuffle of passing time, territory very similar to what I’m doing on my weekly Flick Clique posts. I’ve found a lot of stuff to watch on Netflix and such via Ben’s posts, and urge others to check it out as well.
  • The Second Disc is a fantastic music reissues weblog curated by two diehard fans, Mike Duquette and Joe Marchese. For those of us whose consumption of Classic Pop albums also encompass finding as many b-sides, remixes and outtakes related to said album, this place is a goldmine (it’s also somewhat disillusioning, since in a roundabout way it reveals how routinely the major labels neglect their own back catalogs). My favorite parts are the Reissue Theory posts delving into what could be included on deluxe reissues of various beloved albums. Earlier this week, stuck in the waiting process of jury duty, I spent hours delving into those Reissue Theory archived posts — they’re delightful.

P.S. I wasn’t picked for jury duty.

Byrrh and Fluffo

Yesterday I came across AdViews, an archive of high quality digitized vintage TV commercials, on Boing Boing and seemingly have never left. They have a ton of ads dating from the ’50s up through the ’80s. Although one has to go through iTunes to view them, it’s easy enough to download a huge batch and burn ’em onto a DVD. That’s exactly what I did with their 100 or so Grape Nuts ads (why I started with Grape Nuts, who knows).

The cereal commercials alone are fascinating. This one shills a Post product called Size 8, a cereal packaged in a uniquely mod swirl festooned cylinder. How very ’60s!

Window Into the ’50s

Old Super 8 home movie footage is so fascinating, especially when it covers Old Hollywood. That in mind, let’s check out some remarkable video I stumbled across on YouTube. The first half of this silent color footage is of Fred MacMurray and a chic Barbra Stanwyck filming Douglas Sirk’s 1956 melodrama There’s Always Tomorrow in Apple Valley, California. The second half is of Ann Blyth’s wedding day, which according to her IMDb bio happened in June 1953. In the final bit of footage, a parade of well-dressed famous folk appear (at Ann’s wedding?) which include Jeanne Crain, Danny Thomas, Irene Dunne and Jack Benny. Who filmed this, and where did it come from?