Thursday, December 26, 2013
Aside from being the Feast of Stephen, the day after Christmas Day is all about playing with the gifts —and in this fun cover from Woody Woodpecker Issue 88 December 1965, Woody, Knothead and Splinter enjoy their new toys. This cover art (drawn I believe by Paul Murry) was originally published for the Walter Lantz anthology title New Funnies, Issue 246, cover date January 1955. But whatever the year, this cover with the classic wind-up men (make that wind-up Woodpeckers) is a Christmas treat.
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
It's now Christmas Day, and to celebrate here's the View-Master set retelling the story of Birth of Jesus. This unique set, while covering the same territory as the View-Master set entitled The Christmas Story, stages the scenes with costumed actors. The scenes were created and photographed by Church-Craft Pictures, Inc., and reportedly Hollywood's favorite Biblical epic director Cecil DeMille actually directed at least some of the three-dimensional tableaux. Originally produced in 1947, this timeless View-Master set was in print for decades, and apparently still is available. Merry Christmas, everyone.
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Christmas Eve is the perfect time for The Muppet Christmas Carol. (The Spirits did it all in one night, remember?) Our celebration of that very merry Muppet movie continues with one of the charming tie-ins issued at the time the film was in movie houses, the A Merry Muppet Christmas picture book. Though created for little people, Muppet fans of all ages can appreciate the delightful art of this "Through the Window" book that conveys the coziness of an old-fashioned Christmas Eve. And don't forget to check out the articles I wrote about The Muppet Christmas Carol for D23.com, including "A Closer Look at the Dickens Village in The Muppet Christmas Carol." written by Jim Fanning.
Monday, December 23, 2013
Who makes a better Santa Claus than Sebastian Cabot? Just about no one, as perhaps you can tell from this publicity still from the Family Affair TV series, which featured three Disney favorites: Mr. Cabot (who played gentleman's gentleman Mr. French), Johnnie Whitaker (who played Jody) and Brian Keith (Uncle Bill). Stay tuned to Tulgey Wood for more Family Affair fun soon. And also check out Embarrassing Treasures, an entertaining blog that is currently reviewing each episode of this classic TV show. Bonus Christmas Fun Fact: Sebastian Cabot portrayed Kris Kringle (the role made famous by Edmund Gwenn in the 1947 original) in the 1970s TV remake of Miracle on 34th Street.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
From Christmas Past (but not long past) comes this stained glass-like cover art from The Disney Catalog for Christmas 2003. The festive colors speak of holiday cheer and beauty as does the fact that it features all three of Walt Disney's original princesses (added and abetted by Cinderella's mice friends), dressed in holiday finery.
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Thanks to this issue of Marvel's Giant Superhero Holiday Grab Bag from 1975, we have what may be the most unlikely Christmas party ever on the front cover, drawn by John Romita. Does that little girl realize that Santa is green? At least it's not the Grinch. (The back cover is also fun in its festive oddness.)
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Looking for some (mostly) new Peanuts Christmas cheer? Look no further than Kaboom's title starring Charlie Brown, Snoopy and (as some commercial sussed to say and some folks still do) "all the Peanuts."Issue #14 features December-themed stories that add old-fashioned Christmas comic-book fun to the festivities.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
D23.com is running the five-part series I wrote about The Muppet Christmas Carol. Be sure and check out part two (and the other parts as they are posted), "It's Not Easy Being Mean" (focusing on Michael Caine who plays Scrooge in the Muppet movie) written by Jim Fanning for D23. In the meantime, from Dizmentia, the blog of Dan Alexander, here are some Christmas ornaments given away by Taco Bell as a tie-in with the movie.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Today D23 posted the first part of a five part article I wrote about The Muppet Christmas Carol. As a continuation of the celebration, here's the charming cover of the coloring-book adaptation of the film. Enjoy, and be sure and check out the first part (followed by the next four parts) of the The Muppet Christmas Carol at D23.com, "What it was Like to Cast 280 Muppets in Dickens' A Christmas Carol," written by Jim Fanning.
Saturday, December 14, 2013
Yuletide always puts us in the mind of Walt Disney's Babes in Toyland. The movie was widely and wildly promoted and among the treasures created to tie-in with the film's 1961 release were not one but two Little Golden Books. The one pictured here, The Toy Soldiers (art by Robert Thompson) focuses on the climatic battle between brave Tom Piper and the villain Barnaby, with the miniaturized Tom (played in the movie Tommy Sands) leading the Toymaker's Wooden Soldiers to victory. Speaking of Babes in Toyland, be sure and check out the article I wrote about the musical fantasy for D23.
Friday, December 13, 2013
From December 1977: on this cover of the Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids comic book (Issue 22), William H. Crosby Jr.'s plus-sized character pays Santa a visit to give jolly Old St. Nick (who seems more distressed than jolly at this particular moment) his wish list, which undoubtedly includes a good number of sugar plums. Does anyone know who is the artist of this delicious cover? If so please leave your answer (or even an educated guess) in the comments.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
In this festive cover by, I believe, Harvey Eisnberg, Tom trims a Christmas tree (with a little "help" from Jerry and Tuffy) in this comic book cover from Issue #90, cover dated January 1952), which of course means that it was on the stands for Christmas 1951.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
For Christmas 2013, the Charles M. Schulz Museum has sent out this peaceful, colorful and charming holiday card featuring Snoopy's brother Spike. The hermit-like beagle, who lives in Needles, California, is decorating his cactus as a Christmas tree. (In one of the classic comic strips, Spike is defeated in this project when he realizes his extension cord won't reach to the nearest electrical outlet many miles away.) I hope this special card makes your Christmastide a little brighter. And Merry Christmas, Mom.
Monday, December 9, 2013
I've noted before that there isn't as wide variety of family-friendly comic books (in other words, more than super heroes), but lately there's Garfield. The always hungry tabby even came out with his own Christmas comic book (Issue #8) last year (2012), complete with this festive cover drawn by Gary Barker. He may be lazy, but the comic-strip kitty knows how to uphold at least two grand comic book traditions at once.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Archie Andrews is a Christmastime perennial here at Tulgey Wood but it's high time we made room for his comic company's contemporary, Sabrina Spellman. Part of the Archie Giant Series, Sabrina's Christmas Magic featured the teenage witch conjuring up some holiday enchantment from 1972 (she was then a popular Saturday morning animated star on CBS) through 1982. In this fun example of holiday annual's covers, Sabrina and her family (and Salem) show they were years ahead of Tim Burton's the Nightmare Before Christmas (1993).
Saturday, December 7, 2013
A little known Peanuts publication, Snoopy Magazine was published from 1988 through 1990. The Winter 1989 issue of this fun-filled quarterly featured a large and delightfully Christmasy centerfold, featuring a Victorian-garbed Snoopy in a one-Woodstock open sleigh. Though it's very unlikely this centerfold was drawn by Schulz himself (be sure and click on this large artwork for an even bigger view), it sure looks like his work, right down to the somewhat shaky line used at the time by the great cartoonist. In any event, this is a rare piece of Peanuts art, sweetly evoking sentiments of the season.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Today is Saint Nicholas Day, December 6 being the feast day of the inspiration for Santa Claus on the Church calendar. To celebrate St. Nick, let's visit several different versions of "A Visit From St. Nicholas" as published by Golden Books. The first Little Golden Book to feature Clement C. Moore's classic poem (one of the most reprinted poems ever penned, the festive verse was written in 1822 and first published in 1823), entitled The Night Before Christmas, as all the Golden versions were, was originally published in 1946, at least with this cover. New illustrations were created in 1949 and this edition was in print for decades, selling in the millions. (The edition shown here is from the 1970s.) Other editions with different illustrations were published in 1955, 1987 and 2001. Whatever the season, whatever the style, Saint Nicholas never goes out of fashion.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
In honor of Walt Disney's birth date, December 5, 1901, here is the cover (art by Disney artist Al Dempster) of the biography written by Diane Disney Miller (as told to journalist Pete Martin—who, Diane was forever pointing out, did most of the work and the writing that produced the biography). Diane was of course Walt's daughter, who sadly and all too soon died on November 18. This story of Walt's life, published in 1956, is a fitting tribute to the man who started it all and the daughter who tirelessly reminded the world of the value and legacy of that man. The Walt Disney Family Museum stands as a monument to both dad and daughter. (The ad for the book is from the apparently and unfortunately defunct Disney-centered blog, 2719 Hyperion.)
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
As you know from previous posts, Yogi Bear is a festive Christmas fave here in Tulgey Wood. Designed to make the reader feel all Christmasy and cozy what with sleighs, woods, caves and Christmas trees, Yogi Bear: A Christmas Visit is an enchanting Little Golden Book from Yogi's heyday (make that hey-hey-hey) in 1961. And attention, Disney fans: the entrancing illustrations are by Disney Legend Burny Mattinson and his wife Sylvia. (Click on the illustrations for a larger view.) To see even more of this classic seasonal storybook, check out the must-see blog of our favorite Hanna-Barbera pal (well, our favorite after Yogi Bear…and Huck Hound…and the Jetsons…and the Flintstones…), Yowp!
Monday, December 2, 2013
Comic books and comic book covers are always a favorite here at Tulgey Wood and so is Christmas, so what could be more fun and festive than Christmas-themed comic book covers? This early Superboy cover from Adventure Comics Issue 113, February 1947 was drawn by Stan Kaye and George Roussos. Who needs a sleigh when you have Superboy to offer an assist? This festively outfitted comic—it actually hit the streets in time for Christmas 1946—came out just two years after the Superboy character was introduced in late 1944. As you can see here, Superboy was usually portrayed as a young kid as opposed to the teenager with which most readers/viewers are familiar (as in the Smallville TV series, for example). More Yuletide treats ahead in Tulgey Wood for Christmas 2013!
Sunday, December 1, 2013
It's December so here comes Tulgey Wood's Christmas Extravaganza 2013! To start off, here's a charming Victorian-style scene from The Disney Catalog. This 1998 illustration by master Mouse maven John Loter combines old-fashioned charm with the vintage look of "antique" Mickey and Minnie. It moon-and candle-lit glow evokes a seasonal warmth and cheerfulness that's perfect for getting December off on the right foot. Check back here at Tulgey Wood all month and into January for more Yuletide treasure.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Though it isn't the best television special Rankin/Bass ever produced (see here for evidence), The Mouse on the Mayflower is held afloat a lot of charm, autumnal atmosphere and wonderful songs, many of them sung by the great Tennessee Ernie Ford. For a bit more info, here is the TV Guide Close Up salute to the animated program from its debut on November 23, 1968. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Tomorrow, the 87th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade once again marches through NYC—and once again features that world famous beagle, Snoopy. The imaginative pooch, created by Charles M. Schulz, has been featured in the parade as a ballon in seven different designs, more than any other character.
In what has become a Tulgey Wood tradition, here is the poster for this year's parade, the colorful design of which puts Snoopy (and Woodstock) front and center.
In what has become a Tulgey Wood tradition, here is the poster for this year's parade, the colorful design of which puts Snoopy (and Woodstock) front and center.
Friday, November 22, 2013
To mark the 50th anniversary of the tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy, here is the special issue TV Guide published two months later, on January 25, 1964. It is fitting that this is perhaps the most unusual issue of TV Guide ever published, for that weekend in November was the most unusual ever experienced on TV (at least until 9/11). The "special section you will want to keep" featured an excellent account of what and how network television covered. (You can read the article here.) As part of this historic and truly unique issue, JFK's successor, President Lyndon Johnson wrote a piece praising TV's coverage of the assassination and its aftermath. For a fascinating interview with Marc Ryan, the author of a richly detailed look at television coverage of that November weekend, Three Shots Rang Out: JFK's Assassination and TV's First Global Story, visit Mitchell Hadley's excellent TV blog.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Forty years ago today, the Peanuts TV special A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving made its debut. A fan favorite and an Emmy Award-winner, this animated special features some Snoopy slapstick as Charlie Brown's beagle battles an quarrelsome lawn chair. Charles Schulz wanted the sequence—a real novelty in the Charlie Brown specials—as a tribute to the animation seen in Walt Disney's cartoons; we can assume that Sparky was thinking in particular of the classic 1940 short, Donald's Vacation in which the Duck takes on a somewhat similarly stubborn folding chair. Ever wonder who's warbling the "Llttle Birdie" number composed by Peanuts animation maestro Vince Guaraldi to honor Snoopy's pal, Woodstock, in this special? It's none other than the jazz great himself.
Monday, November 18, 2013
It's Mickey Mouse's birthday and to mark the occasion (as I did for Donald Duck's birthday) here is part of the profile I wrote for the Disney Standard Character Guidebook. It was a great honor to write this "bible" used by Disney Consumer Products and Disney Licensees throughout the world in creating just about any type of memorabilia involving these beloved characters. (How incredible that 85 years on, Mickey remains one of the most—many would say the most—well-known and well-loved characters. (Just look at that smiling face—irresitable.) Hopefully, I have done Mr. Mouse justice in writing this profile. Happy B-day, MM, and many more.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
'Tis the season for the classic Peanuts TV specials so here, thanks to TV Guide, is a look at the kids (along with Peanuts animation director Bill Melendez as the"voice" of Snoopy) who performed the voices for He's Your Dog, Charlie Brown (1968). Included are Peter Robbins and Chris Shea are the original voices of their respective characters, having originated the vocal roles even before A Charlie Brown Christmas in the Ford commercials of the early 1960s. I like the way TV Guide had the actors mimic the facial expressions and physical attitudes of the animated characters. (Peter Robbins expression in the color photo is especially good—you can really see, as Andy Griffith might say, the actor in the man, er, boy.) The talents of these young actors are one reason the special as featuring their voices are so outstanding—they weren't simply kids cast to get a certain sound, Peter and Chris were actually actors with true performing skill. Just think of Linus proclaiming the Gospel's Nativity story or Charlie Brown saying, "I got a rock,"and you'll see—and hear—why their original vocalizations remain the gold standard.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Once upon a time at least, Colorforms was a primo licensee, creating all kinds of celebratory play sets centering on Disney, Snoopy, Marvel (Spider-man), DC (Superman) and more. In 1981, Colorforms started releasing a wonderful line of Muppets toys and sets starring the white-hot troupe of fuzzy and furry players. Everything was of course created in associate n with Jim Henson and the Muppets Worksop, this assuring imagination, "play value" and quality. One of their most creative (and unusual for Colorforms) releases was the Miss Piggy Paper Doll. The Muppet Workshop created six different outrageous outfits (as well as six fashion wigs) for that glam gal Piggy (a large 16 inch Stand Up Doll) to wear. These were real costumes that were photographed to be placed on the Miss Piggy "paper" doll (an actual photograph, not a drawing or painting); as Colorforms put it, "Miss Piggy, herself, modeled all the fashions in-person." This is believed to be the first paper doll to ever use a photographic image as the doll, as opposed to an illustrated figure. Piggy's Theatrical Trunk on the back of the package (also a real object that was photographed) served as an envelope to hold the dresses and wigs; look closely (as always click on the image for a larger view) at the trunk's travel stickers, also created by the Muppet Workshop, and you'll see some fun touches, such as the patch from "Frogstaff," Arizona. Enjoy this classic Colorforms creation and Muppets memorabilia, and be sure and check out my regularly published Muppetology articles at D23.com, including this profile of Miss Piggy.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Here is another piece of merchandise released as a tie-in with the 1968-69 CBS TV series adaptation of the Blondie comic strip. This comic book features a larger version of the color publicity photo seen on the "Trace and Color" box in yesterday's post. You can see the cast, including Peter Robbins (the original voice of Charlie Brown) and Pamelyn Ferdin (one of the original voices of Lucy) as the Bumstead kids, Alexander and Cookie, and Jim Backus as Mr. Dithers. Interestingly, Backus's wife, Henny, played Mrs. Dithers on the series. She's not pictured here, but she was included in the back-cover of the Blondie paperback, seen here.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
From my collection, here's an unusual and fun item using art from the Blondie comic strip as mini-coloring books of sorts. (I like the "animated" drawings of Daisy on the side of the box.) As you can see (under the plastic wrap—this 1968 issued activity has never been opened), this was a tie-in with short-lived Blondie TV series I mentioned in the previous post. In the color publicity photo featured on the box you can see Peter Robbins (the original voice of Charlie Brown) and Pamelyn Ferdin (one of the original voices of Lucy) of the Peanuts specials. Stay tuned to Tulgey Wood for more about the vocal cast of the classic Peanuts TV specials.
The venerable Blondie comic strip is currently the subject of a deluxe hardcover reprinting project by IDW's Library of American Comics—but once upon a time, Chic Young's popular comic was the subject of another, more modest republishing. This 1968 paperback went back to the beginnings of the strip (it debuted in 1930), publishing early strips detailing (no doubt to the surprise of many) the courtship and wedding of Blondie Boopadoop, a flapper, and Dagwood Bumstead (heir to the Bumstead millions). What was the reason for this unusual paperback? The back cover answers that question: it was a tie-in with the CBS live-action TV series based on the strip that premiered in 1968. (The fact that only two of these Blondie reprints were published had something to do with the show lasting only one season.) ]A closer look at the photo on the back cover reveals TV favorite Jim Backus (this was the year after Gilligan's Island ended) as Mr. Dithers, but also young actors Peter Robbins and Pamelyn Ferdin as the Bumstead kids, Alexander and Cookie. This presents another entire dimension of comic-strip/animation interest as at the time, Peter was in the midst of providing the voice of Charlie Brown in the Peanuts animated specials (he originated the vocal role of good ol' Chuck in the first special, A Charlie Brown Christmas, in 1965, but Peter had vocally portrayed the character in the early 1960s Ford commercials which predated the holiday special). As for Pamelyn, she was about to join Peter as one of the Peanuts players, vocalizing Lucy Van Pelt for several productions starting in 1969. Doesn't their roles in the Blondie series and the Peanuts productions make these child actors the only two performers who together portrayed two sets of famous comic-strip characters in two separate sets of productions?
The season for the classic Peanuts television specials is here! Ushered in with the annual broadcast of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for Halloween, the seasonal specials will continue with A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and A Charlie Brown Christmas. To celebrate, here is a 1968 classic print ad—starring a delightfully in-character Lucy Van Pelt—from one of the Peanuts specials's sponsor mainstays, Dolly Madison. The Peanuts characters even appeared in animated commercials for Dolly Madison baked goods, such as Zingers (for which, in the 1980s, Snoopy appeared as the insatiable Zinger Zapper).
Friday, November 1, 2013
If Halloween is All Hallow's Eve, then today, November 1st, is of course All Hallow's, or All Saint's Day. In honor of this occasion, we bring you this Mary Poppins sheet music booklet, featuring "Feed the Birds." The hymn-like song by the Sherman Brothers is perfect for All Saint's Day because of its reference to "all around the cathedral, the Saints and the Apostles..." as well as its gentle theme of giving and charity, and how kindness in reality costs very little. "Feed the Birds" was famously Walt Disney's favorite song. What is my favorite Sherman Brothers song? I know you are simply dying to find out... Do you think you can guess? I will reveal the answer in an early 2014 post here at Tulgey Wood.