Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I'm Sorry, Is That the Shirt Tales?

I visited Six Flags Over Georgia in the summer of 1984. I know it was 1984 because that was the summer of Gremlins and I got a super-cool Gremlins painters cap (that I still have) at the park that year. One of the things I remember about the park but don't really have any memories of is an attraction called "Pac-Man Play Port" which was one of those nets n' tunnels and ball pit kind of play structures for kids and it was all inspired by Pac-Man. Well, I haven't been able to find much information about it online so I dug out my collection of vintage amusement park brochures to see if I could find some pictures or publicity regarding ol' Pac-Man. I found nothing. But who did I find tucked away inside the 1984 brochure? Yes, none other than those T-shirt wearing Shirt Tales. If you don't remember the Shirt Tales than you can check out a post I did in October about them. Simply put: they were awesome and one of the best Saturday morning cartoons of my childhood. I have to admit I'm a little ashamed that the presence of Shirt Tales costumed characters slipped my mind. I'm sure driving to Atlanta I was looking at the brochure and imagining myself hanging with Bogey, Digger, Pammy and the rest of the gang! Alas, there are no pictures in the family album of me with any of the Shirt Tales. My shirt is flashing a sad face right now...

Monday, July 30, 2007

Victoria Gardens/Victoria Pizza

On my recent picture filled trip to Kings Dominion I wanted to grab a few photos of this pizza place. It's a big building that I know has been there for a long time, possibly since the beginning. In the older days it was known as Victoria Gardens, now it's simply referred to as Victoria Pizza. It's one of the few dining spots at the theme park that has stayed almost the same all these years. There's a spot in the Old Virginia section of the park known as Country Kitchen that's still the same, and Victoria's neighbor The Sweet Tooth has been called that since the opening days of the park...except now The Sweet Tooth is also a Subway sandwich shop as well!? Anywho...I really like the untouched 1970's theme park feel of this building and glad to see it still around!

Just to illustrate how things have changed in the last 30 years, here's the description of Victoria Gardens from the 1981 KD Park Guide: "Tantalizing cheese and pepperoni pizzas, lasagna, meatball subs, tossed salad, various desserts, soft drinks and beer. Relax in air-conditioned seating." Here's the 2007 Park Guide's two cents on the same place: "Pizza, lasagna, salads, beer, drinks". Not quite as inviting, eh!?

On our visit to the park a couple of weeks ago we stopped here for dinner: 2 pizzas and 6 large sodas. Cost of our meal: $67!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Whoooo Cares?

I've read not a word of any Harry Potter book, nor have I seen frame-one of any of the films yet I suspect that the infamous death that occurs in the new book is the owl? Right? Am I right? The owl gets it in the end? Is that who dies!?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sit On Some Fries!

A couple of weeks ago while traveling in parts previously uncharted by myself, I spotted a McDonalds playground that still had outdoor seating featuring the old McDonaldland characters. Today I loaded the kids up in the car for a tasty McDonald's lunch at that very same McDonalds some thirty minutes away from my home just so I could snap some pictures of these classic table and chairs. As with everything else this age, I'm sure they will be ripped out soon and replaced with something shiny and modern and boring. I'd love to find a Mickey D's that still had the Mayor McCheese and Big Mac climbing structures.

French Fry Happy Meal Guy

Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers

Grimace (sans pupils)

Female Fry Guy

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Scooby Doo! and the Haunted Mansion

When they put their minds to it Kings Dominion can really come up with a nice attraction. In 1994 Scooby Doo! and the Haunted Mansion was the latest addition to the park's lineup. Nestled in the back corner of the kiddie section of the park, KD removed a kids parachute ride and relocated a space ship ride to make way for this nicely themed ride. I first experienced this neat ride on my recent trip and was really impressed with the way they paid attention to detail. The entrance area to the ride sets the mood with the theme song to several different versions of the Scooby Doo cartoon playing. There is also a gift shop, photo booth and a large statue of "our hero" Scooby perfect for picture takin'.

The line for the ride takes you out of the park and into a small swampy area with a handful of gags to keep you entertained while you wait for your ride.

>>>Before you enter the Haunted Mansion to begin your journey, you'll notice a small graveyard. Not only does this remind me of the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World, the tombstones have bad jokes and puns on them just like their Florida counterparts. Still a nice touch, and you can never blame anyone for copying Disney.

Stuck in the mud out front of the Mansion is the Myster Machine - the perfered mode of transportation for Scooby and the gang. Every couple of minutes you can hear the engine try to turn over as the back wheels spin in the mud. Nice touch!

>>>Here's the loading station where you can get a glimpse of the ride vehicles. They are also designed to look like the Mystery Machine van owned by Scooby and the gang. The vehicles take you on a rather lengthy dark ride through Ghastey Manor. Each seat in the Mystery Machine is equipped with a "fright light" which you can use to point at different targets throughout the ride and collect points. This is very similar to another Disney World attraction, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. But instead of just collecting points, like the Buzz Lightyear ride, the targets on the Scooby Doo ride also become animated when you shoot them. This makes it all like a ride through shooting gallery. It's a very fun and unique ride. Here's some more pictures I snapped of the interior of the ride:

We've still got the former Yogi's Cave to explore plus more lost Hanna-Barbera of Kings Dominion and more old buildings.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hanna-Barbera and the Shadow of Kings Dominion

We visited Kings Dominion this past Friday and even though we had a good time, it's sad to say but Kings Dominion is really only a shadow of it's former self. There's still lots of fun things to do there but it seems that so many of the things that made Kings Dominion unique have been ripped out and replaced with thrill rides or something or other to promote a Paramount owned movie or TV show. The park isn't even owned by Paramount anymore, it's now owned by Cedar Fair (a company that also runs Cedar Point, Dorney Park, and Knott's Berry Farm). They've done very little yet to change the park or get rid of the Paramount logo plastered everywhere.

While I was there I took plenty of pictures to supply me with about a week's worth of bloggin'! My first subject is the use of the Hanna-Barbera characters. The childrens section of the park used to be known as Hanna-Barbera Land/ Yogi Bear was practically the park's mascot throughout the 70's and 80's. While Paramount owned the park they slowly started to take Hanna-Barbera stuff out, replacing it with Nickelodeon themed stuff. Now, instead of Hanna-Barbera Land, we've got Nickelodeon Central. (Lame!)

However, some of the very small kiddie rides have kept their Hanna-Barbera Land names all this time. The rides are pretty generic, but the signs are cool little blasts from the past:

More KD to come....

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes

Is this not a fantastic movie poster or what!? In 1969 Kurt Russell stared in the campus comedy THE COMPUTER WORE TENNIS SHOES. Russell plays all-American college kid Dexter Reilly who attends Medfield University (the same fictitious school featured in THE ABSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR.) Medfield gets their very first computer for the students to start learning computer programing. Since this was 1969, the computer was indeed the size of half the class room. Through some not too wacky circumstances that would actually kill a person, Dexter ends up absorbing all the computers knowledge and input capacities and becomes a human computer...who wears tennis shoes, don't forget. Too bad for Dexter, it turns out the computer was once owned by corrupt business man A.J. Arno, played by the wonderful Cesar Romero. Now Dexter unknowingly knows all about Arno's illegal gambling houses. It all boils down to a madcap chase scene involving Dune Buggies (I LOVE Dune Buggies) and several gallons of paint!

This is a somewhat forgotten gem from the Disney library although there are references to the film made in the EPCOT ride Journey Into Your Imagination with Figment. A.J. Arno chased Reilly and his buddies through two more films during the 1970's: NOW YOU SEE HIM, NOW YOU DON'T in which Reilly becomes invisible and THE STRONGEST MAN IN THE WORLD. Guess what happens to him in that one!?

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Ice Cream in the Ice Maker Incident

We have one of those ice/water dispensers in our refrigerator. The automatic ice maker quite literally takes up half of the freezer side of the unit, so we have very little storage space in our freezer. Often I will put something on the edge of the ice maker if I can't fit it on one of the lower shelves. Last week I put a half eaten container of Ben & Jerry's Half Baked flavored ice cream on the edge of the ice maker. Over the course of the week I managed to forget about the ice cream and so it ended up falling into the automatic ice maker. It then got buried deep into the ice holder with new ice on top and then today we started getting mysterious brown and white chunks of goo frozen on our ice...

This is the kitchen sink filled with an automatic ice maker full of chocolate tainted ice!

Here's half of the Ben & Jerry's container completely twisted around the spinning blade at the bottom of the ice holder.

And here's the other half of the Ben & Jerry's container, ripped to shreds and embedded with ice cubes.

Moral of the Story: Don't put things in an automatic ice maker!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Spell It: Awesome

Three reasons why the Speak & Spell rocked:
1) It talked.
2) You could play Hangman on it.
3) E.T. used one to phone home.

Texas Instruments made some sweet consumer electronics back in the 80's like the "Speak &..." family of toys. Speak & Spell would command you to spell out 10 different words before you were either congratulated on a perfect score or sternly instructed to try again for a perfect score. I would sit for hours and hours playing with my Speak & Spell trying to master all the words on the A level game. If the word "valiant" or "honor" came around I knew I could kiss my perfect score goodbye.

You know what else was awesome that Texas Instruments used to make...their early version of a personal computer. The "TI" was basically an Atari 2600 with a keyboard. It had a little runway to slide the cartridges into the slot and it had games like Munchman (not to be confused with Pac-Man) and TI Invaders which no one would confuse with Space Invaders. In Space Invaders you shot at little menacing aliens from outer space, in TI Invaders you shot at little Texas Instruments Corporate Logos. Ahh...good times!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Get Your Simpsons On

To celebrate the release of THE SIMPSONS MOVIE, which comes out later this month, 7-Eleven stores have all kinds of neat stuff waiting for ya. The Slurpee machines have been "replaced" with machines dispensing Bart's beverage of choice: Squishee. There's even Squishee cups and plastic souvenir Simpsons cups and Crazy Straws for your fountain soda. In their pastry cabinet you'll find Homer's favorite pink frosted donuts with sprinkles on top just like the one featured in the movie poster. They even have all kinds of little toys, shirts and other little odd n' ends you can buy with all the residents of Springfield featured. At some stores you can but boxes of Crusty-O's cereal, Buzz Cola, and Radioactive Man Comic Books. If all that isn't cool enough, a small handful of 7-11's have been completely transformed into Kwike Marts (including the one in Bladensburg, MD.)

Here's a Flickr set of one of the converted stores.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Oh Colorforms!

You'd probably expect to find an article here along the lines of: "Hey remember Colorforms? They were awesome. I had a Smurf set and a Dukes of Hazzard set!" But this here post is to inform you that you can actually still get your hands on a box of Colorforms! First of all, I hope you remember what Colorforms are!? They are reusable vinyl stickers that come with their own colorful background. You can use the stickers which feature characters and props from different TV shows to make your own scene. It's simple and old fashioned but it still works. I stumbled upon a whole selection of new Colorforms sets at a small toy store in Delaware a few weeks ago. I picked up a Spider-Man set for the boys, they also had several sets based on Nickelodeon shows, some girly stuff like Strawberry Shortcake and books like the Very Hungry Caterpillar. Elias loves the set and will play with it for a very long period of time, having Spider-Man shoot his web at all the different bad guys. Of course, everytime Elias adds a new element to his picture I have to come look at it but it's cool that he's into the same simple toy that I loved so much as a kid.

I haven't seen Colorforms in stores around me but you can order them at AreYouGame.com.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th - Alf for Prez

Slide the high quality paper stock into your printer and rev up the color ink cartridge! You can print out these Alf for President campaign materials and wear them to the fireworks tonight. Drum up some interest in getting the ol' Alfer into office. Actually, this is an insert from an early issue of Marvel's Alf Comic Book. The comic book told stories of Alf's life on Earth with the Tanner family and also of his life on his home planet Melmac (before it blew up.) Not surprisingly, I still have the first 50 issues or so.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ed's Recipe Box

I love when someone has the bright idea of mixing the wonders of two great foods into one. I love all foods pizza related and I'm also a big fan of putting peanut butter & jelly into anything. So of course, I'm just crazy about Peanut Butter & Jelly Pizza. This right here is good eats, my friend! It's served at one of my favorite spots in the whole world, Chef Mickey's Restaurant at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL.

Peanut Butter, Jelly, Chocolate Chips and Marshmallow are quite literally four of the greatest ingredients you can add to anything. So, to have them all come together in this single dish is a delight unlike any other!

I might just have to try and whip some up myself soon! Here's the recipe if you wanna try it yourself!
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