Thursday, December 28, 2006
Dune Buggys were awesome! What ever happened to them!? They were all the rage in the 70's but sadly they've gone the way of the CB radio, the pet rock and other great 70's inventions.
Remember the old Family Channel logo? I liked them better when they used to show reruns of THE PATTY DUKE SHOW, now they show too much WB leftovers.
Does this look good to you? It does to me, and that might be part of the problem! There is an awesome restaurant in Gettysburg, PA called The Dogg House that serves up about 35 different kinds of hot dogs! Good Eats! My favorite is the Hawaiian with ham, mozzarella, pineapple and sweet mustard!
JAWS 3 is one of my all-time favorite movies. I've never seen it in 3-D as it was intended to be seen, but I've still seen it on TV about 300 times!
What ever happened to all the McDonaldland Characters? They were fun! Only Grimace and the Hamburglar have seemed to survive along with Ronald. A Big Mac just ain't a Big Mac without some McDonaldland cookies!
Why does everyone pick on Paris Hilton so much? She's nice, she's pretty...her show THE SIMPLE LIFE used to be pretty funny. Even her single this summer was pretty good? I don't get everyone's hatred toward her!? I like her!
Play-Doh perfume - How cool is that! I wish I had someone to give a bottle to! I'm sure if my wife had found this in her stocking on Christmas day she would have pelted the glass bottle upside my head!
I'm a loyal customer to UTZ potato chips, but I gotta say these Rt. 11 brand Crab Chips are fantastic! I discovered them in a little gas station in Hagerstown. Track `em down and try them! Yummy! (They've got a website!)
This is another one of my bizarre cherished memories of Kings Dominion. This was a little audio-animatronic show of a frog playing piano and some mushrooms singing along with him. I used to love that thing! It was right infront of the Sky Ride station in Hanna-Barbera Land. Sadly, the frog and the Sky Ride are both gone now!
"Weird Al's" new album is fantastic!
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The festivities kicked off on Christmas Eve. Usually we go to Jen's dad's house on the 24th, but this year we decided to host the affair at our pad. So we had Jen's dad and his wife Marie, plus Jen's brother Mike and his girlfriend, Jen's sister Karen and her husband and three kids, plus Marie's daughter and her husband and two kids. That's 18 people in our house along with enough food for 37 people!
Now all season long, Elias has been talking about Doggie Doctor. All he wanted from Santa was Doggie Doctor. It's a Play-Doh set with a plastic dog and you can make band-aids for him, or make fleas and like a half-dozen other stuff. He started talking about it in September and we told him that it would be a good thing to ask Santa for...figuring he would forget about it by Christmas and we wouldn't have to have the messy Play-Doh in our house. Well, he didn't forget and he didn't let Santa forget in his numerous visits to St. Nick between mid-November and Christmas Eve.
So, we cut to Christmas Eve night and the first round of gift giving. Pop Pop and Marie hand Elias a gift. Apparently in Elias' head he thought this was it...this was the moment of truth...this was the ONE Christmas gift he was getting. He starts to unwrap the present. Suddenly he stops. "No, No, No," he shouts. "This is not my Christmas present! I asked for Doggie Doctor! Not a Cars toy! This is not right at all! This is not the present I wanted." Now I guess this sounds a bit rude, but he wasn't rude/upset as much as he was sad...and he's only three years old - He just didn't understand! So we explained to him that this was the first in a long string of gifts he would be getting and that Santa hadn't come yet and that's who he asked to bring him Doggie Doctor. Elias tried to fight back the tears but after a couple of go-arounds explaining the process to him, he finally understood. He apologized to Pop Pop and Marie and then went about happily playing with his Lighting Strike McQueen toy! The whole senerio was very cute!
When your a little kid, you come down the stairs Christmas morning and all the presents are under the tree and it's all just picture perfect. What kids (and adults without kids) don't realize is that Santa just drops the stuff off at the house. It's up to mom and dad to put it all together and set it all up nice. (And when I say "mom and dad" I mean "DAD!") After our guests left on Christmas eve, and I got Elias to bed (Tanner was already out for the evening) I got started on the "living room transformation" at around 11:00pm.
How long to you think it takes to put together a Little Tykes Work Bench for a one year old? The answer: the better part of an hour! Not only did I have to dig out my tool box, I ended up having to take the whole project down to the basement so I could hammer the pieces together and not wake up the kids! Elias got a work bench too! His is a My First Craftsman comprised of 66 parts...there was another hour! Remember all those Sit n' Spins everyone had when we were kids? Apparently someone had to put all those together! Another 20 minutes down the tube.
The Fisher Price Little People Castle: removing it from the box and the 900 wires holding it to the box and then putting it together - half hour! T. J. Bearytales box and 500 wires removal plus dead battery/malfunction scare - 45 minutes. After all was said and done, I hit the sack at 3:30am! (I let Jen off the hook around 2:30)
Of course it was all worth it Christmas morning! Elias was delighted that Santa ate his cookies and Rudolph enjoyed the carrots we left out for him! Elias and Tanner both made a b-line for some of the toys that were unwrapped and set up while Joey eyed up his pile and did some last minute praying for his Nintendo Wii.
Elias, of course, got his Doggie Doctor! He rejoiced when he opened it and wanted to play with it immediately. However it was easy to sidetrack him with all the presents under the tree. Elias was also most pleased when he opened a box that was full of Cars (from the Disney movie CARS). We finally completed the set! We had been picking up a car here and there as we saw them while shopping, but we still didn't have Lizzie. We finally found a Lizzie the Friday before Christmas at an Antique Mall. We also got Elias the Fisher Price FP3 player, which is a kiddie version of an iPod. It's pretty cool. I loaded up with songs from his CD's plus some Disney music from my CD's. He can listen to it with headphones or a little set of speakers. He's spent the last two days listening to Beethoven's 5th (from FANTASIA 2000) over and over again! Oh, and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Playset that I bought back in September (and was really excited about) is perhaps the biggest piece of crap I've ever encountered bearing the likeness of the good mouse!
Joey unwrapped his usual collection of CD's and DVD's along with a couple of other items. He was most excited about getting a digital camera and a Nintnedo Wii. Jennifer and I were excited about getting the Wii as well. We had checked many stores many times over the holiday season and to no luck. Last Wednesday, Jen's stepdad (who owns a computer shop) came through for us by snatching one of two up from his distributor! And by the way...that thing is cool too! The controller that you just point at the TV and move around is super cool. And you can get online with it...and you can watch You Tube...on your TV, laying on your sofa. That's the greatest...I gotta get one!
Tanner didn't really know what the heck was going on all day! He liked opening presents but he seemed to be more interested in what everybody else had got. His favorite present turned out to be a set of board books featuring the characters from the CARS movie. His two favorite words to say are "car" and "book" so I guess that was the prefect marriage of the two for him. Tanner also got a T. J. Bearytales, which is an audio-animatronic teddy bear that tells stories and sings songs. A Mickey Mouse toy cell phone and some Little People were also among the presents Tanner had waiting for him from Santa.
My wife got her favorite thing - diamonds, in the form of some ear rings that supposedly match a bracelet I gave her at some point. (I should pay better attention to all that stuff.) I think Jen also really like her Dance Dance Revolution Disney Mix Plug n Play that I got her! Oh, and don't forget the Can Opener!
Myself, I'm currently listening to my 6 CD set "A Musical History of Disneyland" which as you can imagine is sweet! I also got some DVD's like ALF Season Four, and SOAP Season Two. And I got a life size replica of Kermit the Frog! It's freakin' huge. I have no idea where I'm going to put it!
Christmas night we went over to Jen's mom's house for diner and more gifts! You can't go wrong with too many gifts!?
Well...that's enough of this! You can check out the pictures at our new picture site on Flickr. Hope you had a Merry Christmas and all that good stuff too!
Another year, another photo album! The folks at TextAmerica.com, where I house all the family photos, have decided to start charging $100 bucks for the privilege of using their site. So I hit the information super highway looking for a new my photos can call home. The winner of this illusive contract is Flickr.com. I haven't poked around the site too much yet, but it seems to be the choice of many a blogger so we'll give it a try. Most importantly, it's free!
So please change your bookmarks, favorites, whatever it is you have too.... www.flickr.com/photos/edsouth and join us over there for all the photographic fun!
There's pictures of our Christmas holiday there now. They are a little out of order since I was just experimenting with the site, but I'll get the hang of it soon! I hope to have a full write-up on all of our family holiday happenings later this evening or as soon as I get another break from putting toys together!
Happy Holidays and Thanks for Reading!
Saturday, December 23, 2006
ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS is the 2nd of the nine Ernest films, released to theatres November 11, 1988. This time around Ernest is a taxi driver in Orlando, Florida. As it turns out Santa Claus has traveled to Orlando to recruit his replacement and he ends up in the back of Ernest's cab. Of course Santa-to-be, Joe Curruthers, needs some convincing that he should be the next Santa Claus, and that's where Ernest comes to the rescue!
Along with the help of a homeless girl (?) named Harmony, Ernest dons many costumes and disguises in order to help Mr. Claus in his mission. Here we see Ernest and Harmony pulling one over on the police by posing as the govenor's daughter and assistant. Later in the film, Ernest pretends to be a snake wrangler in order to get into a movie studio where Joe Curruthers is about to film the movie "Christmas Slay". Doesn't it all sound great!?
Ernest does indeed save Christmas, by personally delivering Santa's sleigh to him. Silliness aside, there really is a sweet story at the heart of this fantastic movie. I must have seen it at least 20 times. It's definitely my favorite Ernest film and easily one of my favorite Christmas movies (along with THE MUPPETS CHRISTMAS CAROL). I meant to post this article earlier so you had time to catch it before the holiday, but you've still got time to go to a place where video cassettes and DVD's are sold and rented and buy it...or rent it!
And now for the film buffs and nerds... ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS was partially filmed in Walt Disney World. This scene here, (Blogger lost the picture!) where Ernest and Harmony pull up to Vern's house, was shot at the Disney/MGM Studios Residential Street...Part of the Backlot Tour Ride. Vern's house is in the foreground with the colored Christmas lights. Across the street, the house with the white lights on it, is the house that was used for the exterior shots on the TV show EMPTY NEST. Both houses were visible on the Backlot Tour ride at the park up until two years ago when they tore Residential Street down to build a new attraction.
Early in the film, Ernest picks up Santa in his cab and is taking him to downtown Orlando. These highway scenes were actually filmed on the road system inside Walt Disney World. In this shot, even though you can't read the road signs you can see the signs painted brown, a color usually reserved for indicating attractions.
In this shot you could obviously read what it said on the sign so the filmmakers blacked out the sign. Most viewers probably don't realize it while all the action is taking place.
And here you can see the back of the sign, which reveals that the road signs were covered up with tarps.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I was one of the boys who worked at Sewell's Orchards. The quantity of us putting time in there probably amounted to a few hundred, as each spring brought a fresh batch of sixteen to seventeen year olds (farm labor was allotted an exemption to the minimum age and wage law) to work at Sewell's Orchard. The labor intensive period started the late spring, peaked in the summer, and (for the survivors considered really dedicated) into early fall.
The passing of time has cast a filter over memories of those times, casting them in a golden glow. However, I do vaguely recall ten-hour days (with paid lunch!) in sweltering weather under sunny blue skies with peach fuzz grinding into the skin like asbestos. So I returned several years ago, after the landscape was covered with houses to see the changes.
It was sort of a surrealistic experience. I recognized where the irrigation ponds had been, the names of the streets roughly approximated where the different varieties of fruit trees had stood, and the hills and the dales remained in place. I even found Donald Sewell's and Ronald Sewell's houses were still present.
I knocked on what used to be the home of Donold Sewell. I expected a tall, strongly built man with dark sunglasses to open the door and tell me that the hired labor couldn't come up to the house. Instead, a teenager opened the door and patiently listened to me tell of my days on the Orchard. He gave me a tour of the house and I gave him an address and phone to contact (his mother was intending to write a book about the Orchard, I never received a letter or phone call, so I guess it didn't happen.)
I took a final look around the development with a bit of sadness (but to be honest, I didn't miss that peach fuzz) and went on to visit family who continued to live in the region. -David Arnett
Thanks David! We're sending you a Wonderful World of Blog T-shirt! (offer void in all 50 states)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
THE FLINTSTONES along with so many other cartoons that I hold near and dear to my heart were the product of the great Hanna-Barbera animation studio. The Barbera half of the team, Joe Barbera, passed away yesterday at the age of 95. He died from natural causes in his California home with his wife by his side. Along side his partner William Hanna (who passed on several years ago) Hanna-Barbera redefined animation by creating limited animation, a cost effective way to produced animation and bring original productions to television. Hanna and Barbera started at the MGM studios in the 1930's, directing tons of TOM & JERRY theatrical shorts. When MGM shut down their studio, H-B went into production for themselves creating RUFF & READY, the first animated series on television. Things really started to take off when HUCKLEBERRY HOUND hit the scene in 1959. From there, H-B introduced the world to YOGI BEAR, QUICK DRAW McGRAW, SNAGGLEPUSS, PIXIE & DIXIE, WALLY GATOR and the list literally goes on and on...! They created THE FLINTSTONES, the first ever prime-time animated series. They also made Scooby-Doo, which went on to be one of the most popular cartoon characters in animation history.
Joe Barbera is probably responsible for half of the nonsense in my head! Thanks Joe!
Monday, December 18, 2006
They kind of draw the characters a little differently in Italy, and they even have a few of their own characters that we don't see in the U.S. This issue of Topolino starts with a comic about a kid version of Donald Duck. There's also another character popular over there called P.K. who is actually a Super-Hero who's secret identity is Donald Duck. As you can see from the table of contents here, tucked in among the comics is a nice little article on everyone's favorite ex-Spice Girl Geri Hallwell. It was probably big news for Geri the day the Topolino offices called her and asked for an interview.
For bonus fun today, here's a scan for a cell phone wallpaper service off the back cover of the Topolino magazine. It's nice that all the wallpapers are Mickey and Pooh. If this ad were to run in a U.S. magazine, there would be one Mickey Mouse wallpaper and the rest would be High School Musical and Power Rangers!
Friday, December 15, 2006
I've never had these Chocolate-Coconut Confection Bars from the Yacht & Beach Club resort but if Woman's World says they are worth seeking out then who am I to not take their advise. Woman's World also says a French-rolled ponytail will make my hair look romantic and flirty but I'll take their word on that one!
Disney's Pop Century Resort is where we have called home the last few times we've been to WDW. Their awesome food court is one of the reasons we love this resort so much. There are alot of great menu items and everyone in my family has at least two or three favorites. This Tie-Dyed Cheesecake is a popular hit with many visitors and I've heard more than one person swear by the Twinkie Tiramisu. I haven't had the Tiramisu, the cheesecake was a little too much in the cheese department for my liking, but I'm sure you could adapt the recipe to fit your own cheesecake recipe. The recipe for these three goodies were printed in the magazine along with a Chocolate-Crusted Key Lime Tart from the Grand Floridian and a Apple-Cranberry Pie from Epcot. If you'd like the recipes, zap me an e-mail and I'll send you a scan of the entire page!
For those of you in the Northern most part of our audience may I recommend you visit Christmas Magic at Rocky Ridge County Park. (It's near the York Galleria Mall) It's a big Christmas light display, similar to the big ones that you drive through, except you walk through it. It really puts you in the middle of everything as you walk through the woods surrounded by 300,000 lights. It's really cool. And it has a much more homemade touch to it than the big drive through displays. It's not all big light sculptures, there's decorated trees and special effects and all a wide variety of uses of Christmas lights.
The half-mile walking trail takes you not only through the woods but also into little buildings with winter displays, refreshments and even entertainment. There was a model train display and also an audio-animatronic polar bear singing Christmas tunes with penguin backup singers. And yes, we even saw the big guy himself - Santa. (Who apparently has nothing better to do 11 days before Christmas than sit in an empty shack in the middle of nowhere!) It was very cool!
Here's all the information you'll need to check it out!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Let's journey back to a time when Smurfs ruled the world and it was too difficult to buy record albums in stores. People in the 70's and 80's certainly enjoyed buying their record albums from commercials on TV. Disney made a boatload of cash selling DISCO MICKEY MOUSE on TV at the close of the 70's, so soon every children's record was being hawked on TV between the cartoons. The Smurfs recorded a handful of albums starting with THE SMURFS ALL STAR SHOW in 1981. It was a popular title and sold well. By the time the Smurfs got around to doing a Christmas album, most people bailed. The thing with the Smurf albums is that they weren't produced by the same people that made the American TV version of the Smurfs. The shows seen in America were made by Hanna-Barbera, but the record albums (and the 1982 film THE SMURFS AND THE MAGIC FLUTE) came from overseas. The voices didn't sound anything like the Smurfs on TV, instead they sounded like British Chipmunks!? (In the movie they sound like Gay British Chipmunks!) But nobody really cared, it was the 80's...we were too busy playing the Smurfs Ahoy boardgame or trading Smurf Puffy Stickers.
Anysmurf...take a look at the commercial for MERRY CHRISTMAS WITH THE SMURFS from 1983. Check out the awesome production values when a Smurf rides by in his open sleigh! It's breathtaking...or should I say Smurftaking...or Breathsmurfing....!?
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Today I was changing Elias and he happened to notice a quarter sitting in the wipey box. "Hey! I see a money in the wipey box! That doesn't belong there," he says. "You're right," I replied, "Where should we put money?" I was expecting him to answer "the bank" because earlier when we were out he correctly identified a building as a bank, even though we'd never been to that bank!
So, Elias thought about it for a moment and said, "We should put the money in a....," he paused. A light bulb went off inside his head, "We should put the money in a Candy Machine at the mall!"
Monday, December 04, 2006
From brand new projects to one of Walt Disney's first projects, Oswald The Lucky Rabbit makes his home video debut early next year. Walt Disney first worked on the Oswald cartoons when he arrived in Hollywood in the mid 1920's. Through some underhanded business dealings, Walt lost the rights to his creation and Oswald has been the property of Universal Pictures for the last 75 (or so) years. Recently, Oswald returned home to the Disney studios when he was traded for Al Michaels from ABC's Monday Night Football. (Disney owns ABC, Universal owns NBC) The Oswald cartoons have not been seen by the public at large for decades! Disney plans to change that by releasing a double disc DVD housing Walt Disney's original Oswald cartoons beautifully remastered. I've seen the restoration work and they look gorgeous! Can't wait to finally see these cartoons I've read so much about over the years!
Sunday, December 03, 2006
SNOWBALL EXPRESS is another one of my all time favorite films. The movie is 90 minutes of Dean Jones accidentally skiing down hills backwards. Sounds like a hard concept to translate onto paper, but not when you've got author Joe Claro at the helm. He also had the task of bringing MEATBALLS to paperback form, so you know he's good! The funny thing is, the movie SNOWBALL EXPRESS was already based on a book called CHATEAU BON VIVANT, so this is really a book based on a movie based on a book. Kind of makes your head hurt, don't it!? Only in the 70's would you find this tag line on the back of a book: "A fast, funny slalom through Laughland, based on the zany movie from Walt Disney Productions..." That's gold, right there!