Monday, April 30, 2007

Syndicated Series - "Out of this World"

During the later half of the 80's there was a popular trend in television of first-run syndicated sitcoms. These shows weren't on the networks, but instead were sold to local channels to air whenever they wanted. At that point in time the only sitcoms on local channels were reruns of former networks hits, it was very unusual to have original programing debuting on non-network channels. Anywho....I used to love all these syndicated sitcoms for two reasons: they were mostly crappy and I could watch the same episode more than once in a given week. Where I grew up, we got the Baltimore and Washington D.C. channels, so I was able to watch the shows at two different times each week, and on top of that...the DC channels aired the shows a week later than the Baltimore stations so each weekend I had two different episodes (even though I had seen one of the episodes six days earlier) I know....whatever...I didn't have a lot of friends growing up so this kind of thing was exciting to me!

One of my favorite shows that was on every weekend was OUT OF THE WORLD. I almost forgot about this show until I stumbled across some clips of it on good ol' YouTube the other day. OUT OF THIS WORLD told the story of a young girl named Evie who was the daughter of an alien father and an earthling mother. Her father was away fighting a war in space, but she could communicate with her dad via a little box that glowed and opened up by itself. We never saw her dad, but his voice was supplied by Burt Reynolds. (I didn't know that at the time, but thanks Wikipedia!) Since Evie was half human, half alien she has some alien powers. Her coolest power was the ability to stop time. Whenever Evie wanted, she could point her two fingers at each other and everything around her would freeze. Then if she wanted to, she could touch someone or something and unfreeze just them. Clapping her hands together one time would unfreeze everything else. You can imagine the wacky times Evie had with those powers!

Great, great show that I used to watch ALL the time! It ran for four seasons from 1987 to 1991, in fact it's first episode aired a few weeks after I started high school and the last episode aired around the time I graduated! It also debuted a year after ALF started, I suppose it was inspired by that great sitcom as well! Anywho...someone needs to pick OUT OF THIS WORLD up and start running it again. Or better yet, how about a little DVD box set treatment!??? Who's with me!?

Honest to goodness, they just don't make `em like that anymore!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

American Idol Toys at McDonald's

Ronald's latest Happy Meal prizes are toys inspired by AMERICAN IDOL. Kind of an odd property to base a Happy Meal on, but I guess now that Disney doesn't want to be associated with the Golden Arches they have to come up with some creative ways to keep filling those Happy Meal boxes. Anywho...the first toy we got is a microphone with the American Idol logo on it. It's supposed to make your voice echo, but that feature doesn't work to well. After you sing a song in the mic there is a button to push to get the judges feedback...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Let's Not Forget Universal

We talk alot about Walt Disney World here at WWoB, but Disney's neighbor, Universal Studios, is also a resort filled with great experiences. News today from the Orlando Sentinel announces that The Simpsons will be joining the Universal family sometime next year. The new ride will be a motion simulator ride and will replace their 15 year old Back to the Future ride. The new Simpsons ride will use the same movie screen and ride vehicles as the Back to the Future ride did, but new technology will be used to control the ride. The ride will take guests (along with the Simpsons) to the grand opening of "Krusty Land Amusement Park". Sounds like it's going to be a fun ride!

Universal Studios Florida is made up of two parks: Universal Studios Orlando and Islands of Adventure. Both parks pretty much take non-Disney owned properties and build Disney-style rides based on them. Some of their other great rides that I love are The Cat in the Hat, where you ride a sofa through the original Dr. Seuss story; Popeye's BilgeRats, the best white-water-rafting ride at any park and Jaws, a boat ride where you come face to face with the great white. They also have an Amazing Spider-Man ride which is simply the coolest ride operating at any theme park (sorry, Disney!)

No More Tears

Today was a major milestone for my son Elias. This afternoon Elias had a tear-free visit to the Barber Shop. Usually a trip to get his hair cut involves kicking, screaming, tears of pure terror, hyper-ventilating, and hair flying in every direction. Elias begs and pleads to avoid getting his haircut at any cost. Recently I told him that if he could get a haircut without screaming and crying that he could pick out any toy that he wanted. His response was "I don't want any toys!" So I explained to him, "You can either get your hair cut, not cry and get a toy out of it or you can scream and cry and you're still getting your haircut and you don't get a toy!" He swore he didn't want a toy until we pulled into the parking lot of the barber shop today. Suddenly, he was ok with getting his hair cut and he did a great job....didn't shed a tear, was very cooperative and pleasant and actually said he had a good time. I was very proud of him!

So then we went across the street to Wal-Mart and let him pick out a toy. Elias chose this red Power Ranger on a motorcycle toy!? He's never seen the Power Rangers show, his only exposure to them was seeing them in a parade in Disney World, but he really wanted a Power Rangers toy. So now he's got one, and he did not put that toy down from the time we got home from Wal-Mart until three hours later! Elias was one happy camper, or should I say Ranger!?! Ha Ha Ha

Monday, April 23, 2007

Table Trouble

Tanner, 16 months, has graduated from the high chair to the dining room table. It's not that we think he's ready for the move... because he's not, it's just that he won't sit in his high chair anymore. One day a couple of weeks ago, he decided that he's had it with the high chair. When placed in the high chair, Tanner will thrash about wildly, screaming bloody murder until he is released. So we've gone out and bought a new booster seat and another Winnie the Pooh floor mat to protect the carpet, and moved Tanner into the dining room with the rest of us. Now there is five of us crammed around our little dining room table that we bought at Ames when it was just three of us. But not to worry, we've got an Amish farmer building us a fancy new high-quality table that he's going to deliver to us sometime mid-summer. Until then, whoever is sitting next to Tanner (usually Mom) should plan on having her left arm covered in ketchup or other various sauces everytime we sit down to eat!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Boss Hogg In Baltimore

Yet another reason YouTube is one of the greatest inventions of all time!

The major television stations in Baltimore have switched network affiliations a few times. This is actually kind of rare in the world of television, but it's happened at least twice in B'moe. WMAR Channel 2 has been all three of the major networks at one time or another. WBAL 11 went from NBC to CBS and then back again to NBC in 1995! the early 80's when WBAL and WMAR flipfloped networks, CBS flew a handful of their stars out to Baltimore to film some promos to make sure people knew where CBS was going to be. Don't ask me how I find this stuff on YouTube, just enjoy! You'll see Mrs. Jefferson at HarborPlace and see Boss Hogg driving past the Washington Monument and all over the rest of downtown Baltimore. This is good stuff!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Win A Sears Cartridge Tele-Games System

This vintage ad is great for so many reasons. First, it features the Sears Tele-Games System. Tele-Games is the system you got when you purchased your Atari 2600 at at Sears. Exact same console, except it said Sears on it instead of Atari and the cartridges didn't have any artwork on them. Fun! Then you also have all the great Kellogg's characters huddled around the contest logo. You've got the Apple Jack Kids, the Sugar Pops Cowboy dude with the comically large hat, and even the nerdy elephant from Coco Krispies. Ahhh...good times! Most of those cereals pictured at the bottom are still around but most of the mascots are not! Oh, and the contest is real fun...if you don't win the state of the art video game system you might get second prize: A Sears Coloring book and 5 Magic Markers! Wow-wee! These Magic Markers are great for coloring AND marking! As corny as all this looks, I'd still rather play VIDEO OLYMPICS than HALO 2 any day!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

10 Words/Phrases That Make Me Want To Eat/Buy a Food Item

  1. Smoked
  2. Steakhouse
  3. Cajun
  4. Fire Roasted
  5. Applewood
  6. Hawaiian
  7. Citrus Salsa
  8. Blackened
  9. Canadian
  10. Mickey Shaped

Friday, April 13, 2007

More Disney Pictures

While you are visiting the Walt Disney World resort you can get a Disney's Photopass card. Disney has photographers stationed all over ready to take your picture. After they've snapped a few shots of you and your family, the photographer will scan your Photopass card. You can use your Photopass card to later retrieve you pictures either at the park or when you get home using the internet. It's a neat service they offer, even though it could get expensive. We tend to just snap away on our own camera. However, here's a few special pictures that we did bring home from our trip a few weeks ago that I finally got around to scanning.

Here's the boys with Cinderella in her castle. The look on Elias' face sums up how he felt about having his picture taken with princesses!

Here's the whole gang before we chow down on a fantastic all you can eat breakfast at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Resort.

And here's Elias and I on Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, one of his favorite rides!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sign You're Getting Old #324

As you get older, the world around you continues to remind you how long you've been on this planet. Sometimes it's a friendly reminder and other times it's a giant punch in the gut! This one left a big black and blue mark! During the 1994-95 school year I had a great job at a day care center where I was a teacher's assistant in the 4 & 5-year old class. Can you see where this is going!? Yes, this was one of the girls that was in my class! Apparently she went on to become a model and these pictures are from a magazine, where she's also on the cover. Since these are going to be in a magazine I'm sure her folks won't mind me posting them here for the 7 or 8 of you that drop by here still! This girl used to sit on my lap while I read her "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" and "Cookie Monster and the Magic Cookie Tree". Twelve years later she's trottin' `round the globe doing photo shoots for magazines and I'm still reading "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" and "Cookie Monster and the Magic Tree!"

Moral of the story: I should have become a model.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Ant and The Aardvark

There's so many great cartoon characters from the past that are being completely forgotten about. Nowadays some kids don't even know who Popeye or Mighty Mouse is! That's why I was thrilled last week when MGM released THE ANT AND THE AARDVARK on DVD. Produced by the same team that created THE PINK PANTHER shorts, THE ANT AND THE AARDVARK stared in 17 animated theatrical shorts produced between 1969 and 1971. I became familiar with them from a syndicated package of shorts simply called THE PINK PANTHER SHOW. This DVD collects all 17 cartoons featuring the Aardvarks pursuits of a single Ant. Patterned after such classic cartoons as Tom & Jerry and Road Runner & the coyote, the Aardvark spends his day trying to come up with wacky plans to capture the little ant. The all blue aardvark is voiced in the style of Jewish comedian Jackie Mason, while the ant sounds an awful lot like Dean Martin. They are both actually played by comedian and actor John Byner.

I picked up the DVD last week but just got around to watching a handful of the cartoons last night. In one of the cartoons the aardvark accidentally sprays himself in the face with ant killer, he then drops to the ground and turns all different colors including plaid and polka dot. When seeing this, the ant turns to the camera and says, "Man, he must be having a bad trip!" Gotta love the 60's!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Long Live the Ghost of Ann Jillian

The other day in the shower I started singing the theme to JENNIFER SLEPT HERE, and why not...right? What the heck is JENNIFER SLEPT HERE? It's an old sitcom from the 80's about an actress named Jennifer (played by Ann Jillian) who gets run over by an ice cream truck, dies, and then continues to reside in her Hollywood mansion as a ghost while a family from New York moves in. Oh...any only the teenage son can see Jennifer. It's comedy gold, I tell you! I remember watching this show often when I was younger, but according to my crack Internet research only 13 episodes ever aired, back in the 1983-84 television series. I must have just been on the right channel at the right time. Apparently the ratings were pretty good, and it even popped up in the Top 10 shows for the summer of `84. But NBC yanked it after it's initial run. Still, it was a good show and I'd be first in line to buy a DVD set of the entire series. Ya think that might happen!?

Honestly, beyond the catchy theme song and the fact that the boy usually talked to Jennifer in the attic, I don't remember much about the show. But here's my favorite episode titles:
  • Boo
  • One of Our Jars is Missing
  • Rebel With a Cause
  • Do You Take This Ghost
  • The Tutor Who Came to Dinner
  • This was Ann Jillian's big role after appearing in the very successful film MR. MOM. After this show, it was pretty much TV movies, guest appearances and another great forgotten sitcom IT'S A LIVING - where she played a waitress working at a fancy restaurant on the top floor of a skyscraper. That was a great show too!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Disney Easter Egg Kits

One of my favorite parts of any holiday is working my favorite cartoon characters into the picture somehow. There's always lots of cartoon candy and cartoon Easter Eggs to go around. One of the nice things about being so obsessed with Disney and in particular Mickey Mouse, is that people give me Disney stuff all the time. My mother-in-law found this old Mickey Mouse Easter Egg Color Kit at an antique mall and picked it up for me a few years back. This item was produced by SunHill Industries of Stamford, CT. There's no date on it, but I'm guessing it's from the early 80's based on the artwork and the Walt Disney Productions copyright on the back. (They changed their name to The Walt Disney Company in the later 80's.)
All the box contains is four standard dye tablets and the traditional "egg dipper". The Disney fun comes on the back of the box where you can cut out two pairs of nifty little Mickey Mouse Club hats for your eggs, and the two Egg Holders. At the most, you would have had two Mickey eared eggs and two more eggs sitting on the little cardboard rings. Still, a fun item and a reminder of more innocent times.

SunHill also produced these Little Mermaid Instant Egg Art beauties. Sadly, my ownership of this item does not come from a flea market or antique store. My mom recently found this tucked away somewhere from when I had bought it sometime in the early 90's. And yes, I made a batch of Little Mermaid eggs back then too. But these suckers were cool. This kit comes with 12 egg wrappers which are basically little plastic sleeves that you put the eggs into and then you dunk the eggs into boiling water for 3 seconds and the wrapper shrinks around the egg making very clear and pretty eggs with different characters from the movie. The package doesn't lie..."Prettiest Eggs in Only 3 Seconds!" Then when you cracked the egg the picture just came apart with the shell as if you had hand painted it on the egg! Very cool item! I remember taking some over to my friend Chris' house for dinner Easter night. I'm sure his parents and their other guests thought I was out of my mind!

Here's this years entry into the Disney Easter Egg Decorating Kit cannon. Cars and Winnie the Pooh were the only two Disney themed egg kits I saw anywhere this year! I found them at Dollar Tree of all places! These bad boys come to us from The Paper Magic Company of Scranton, PA. (Rivals of Dunder Mifflin, no doubt!) Here we get FIVE dyes and the bent coat hanger...I mean, egg dipper, plus we get 48 stickers featuring all the four wheeled friends from the CARS movie. The package also promises "9 Fun Tops" and a "Punch Out Drying Tray". The tray, is the box itself with little perforated circles that you can punch out on the back to lay your wet eggs in. The "Fun Tops" are the little cardboard circles that you punched out to make the tray. The box instructs you to "Punch out the circles from the back of the box and push a toothpick into the center, then spin like a top!" lame is that? I'm sure our CARS eggs will impress the Easter Bunny though!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Behold The Waffle Robot

Today we present Elias' artistic vision: "Waffle Robot". My son took a piece of frozen waffle and clamped it into the claw/hand of this Happy Meal toy robot, showed it to me, and then proceeded to laugh for the next five minutes. That, boys and girls, is pure parenthood goodness right there! The thing that cracks me up the most is that I would have done the same thing if I were presented with an uneaten Eggo and a robot toy with a pincher claw!
In unrelated news, Elias asked me today if American Idol was a good guy or bad guy!??

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Ed's Bookshelf #3 Earthquake Preparedness

If ever an earthquake were to hit our small town I would first gather the family up and make sure they were safe and secure in the basement or a sturdy doorway. Then I would selflessly risk my very own life to rush to my bookshelf and grab my copy of "Earthquake Preparedness for the Family" hosted by Yogi, the Be-Prepared Bear. Who doesn't remember all the earthquakes Yogi and Boo-Boo endured on the classic cartoon show!? Actually, this is a series of three public service books that I have put out by the State of California and featuring one of my all-time favorite cartoon characters: Yogi Bear. It seems kind of odd to use Yogi as a spokesbear for earthquake safety. I mean, perhaps his priorities are different than my own. All I'm saying is, I don't know if I'd save my picnic baskets before members of my own family!

This book is filled with all sorts of bizarre illustrations like this one (to the left) of Yogi Bear attaching a hot water heater to the wall. There's just something funny about Yogi Bear and a hot water heater, I don't know what it is!? But seriously, if you live somewhere that securing your hot water heater to the wall, before an earthquake strikes, is a good idea than maybe it's time you looked for a new house!

I'm looking forward to the next two books in this series: "The Jetsons Prepare for Avian Flu" and "Captain Caveman Prevents Identity Theft"

Monday, April 02, 2007

Peace, Love & Automatic Pencil Sharpeners

Take a look at this ad for a Snoopy Automatic Pencil Sharpener. The ad is from a late 70's comic book. From the look of the ad, one would assume that this pencil sharpener was to revolutionize the way we, as a nation, would transcribe information to paper! Look at Mom's reaction when her freshly sharpened pencil emerges from the top of Snoopy's dog house. "My phone messages are easier to read with a sharp pencil!" she exclaims! Yes...a new dawn of sharp pencils was on the horizon in the late 1970's. And who better to lead us into this new era of fine writing instruments than Snoopy! Because when you think of pencils two things come to mind: the 1972 Miami Dolphins and Snoopy!

Not only did the Snoopy Pencil Sharpener call for the extinction of dull pencils, it also brought families together. Witness for yourself in the next to last panel of this ad. This family was once torn apart by the effects of infidelity and spousal abuse. Now, the family spends happy nights gathered around their electric pencil sharpener bringing meaning to their life, and sharp points to their Number 2's.

Perhaps in this crazy time of Middle East Conflict, cell phones, and Dancing with the Stars we could all use a little Snoopy Automatic Pencil Sharpener in our lives to remind us of what is important!
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