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The Hatbox Ghost - Haunted Mansion - DisneyParks Blog

Family Circus Visits Disney’s Haunted Mansion

I know that Marvel Comics and Slave Labor Graphics have published comic books about The Haunted Mansion, but this cute Family Circus cartoon is the only place I’ve ever seen where it was mentioned in a comic strip.

This cartoon is a part of a long story where the family travels to Disneyland for a vacation.

The story begins with this cartoon and runs for a few weeks.

I realize that a comic strip from 2015 isn’t really retro, but the Haunted Mansion and Family Circus have both been around since the 1960s.

Want more Haunted Mansion goodies?

Please stop by my pop culture food blog – Between the Pages. I’ve featured tons of cool Haunted Mansion treats.

All images courtesy of the Family Circus.Com


Celebrate Atari Day With The Art Of Atari!

Art of Atari I think is possibly the best way to celebrate Atari Day. Then again I admit I am biased in that viewpoint.
Art of Atari - Vic Sage

Although this may be true it doesn’t detract from the importance of the Art of Atari to gaming enthusiasts. Tim Lapetino’s retrospective on Atari gives us an insiders look at the four decades of the company. Additionally he has amassed artwork from private collections and museums for his 352 page tome – moreover it’s official. Lapetino has also included interviews and sometimes never before published artwork of those artists that were part of the Golden Age of Atari!

Images courtesy of Atari I/O.

Images courtesy of Atari I/O.

I want to point out that Tim has sort of been working out the idea of the book since 2012. Captivated like many of us by the beautiful box art that graced the 2600 titles. Missile Command, Adventure, and Centipede to name but a few. Lapetino that year was able to obtain from another collector, slides, negatives and transparencies of such Atari artwork.

Equally important of that purchase to Tim was coming into contact with Cliff Spohn. The freelance illustrator responsible for some of Atari’s early uniquely beautiful covers.

I cannot stress how important these illustrations for the games were. In fact it helped to set the art style of those original releases. But it also acted as a portal of sorts to the “World” that the game on the cartridge offered. Stoking the fires of the imagination – it is easy to see how children might add an element of role-playing with Codebreaker.

You aren’t merely attempting to find the hidden code in as few as moves possible. Thanks to that artwork by Spohn you are now a shadowy agent trying to obtain the location of enemy ships!

Don’t just take my word for it. Here is the Art of Atari‘s Tim Lapetino on Atari’s early approach to advertising:

“I can say that Atari’s approach really was a product of its time. In the late 70s and early 80s, illustration was still widely used in advertising, design, and commercially. Photography was just starting to supplant hand-rendered illustration, but it was sort of natural that the folks at Atari would draw from existing, parallel industries to drawn inspiration for their package design and art. There were no video game standards, so they borrowed from paperback novel covers, LP album art, and movie posters – and expanded upon it. Cliff Spohn’s art really served as a working template of how to approach the art, and they grew from there.”

That quote like nearly all the photos in this article are from an EXCLUSIVE interview over at Atari I/O. Between Rob Wanechak and Tim Lapetino. Make sure to take a moment out of your busy schedule and read that interview – it is well worth your time.

The Art of Atari is available right this moment at better book dealers as well as at Dynamite.Com!

Remind me again what Atari Day is!

Image courtesy of Atari I/O's Facebook page.

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.

To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O’s site by following the link here!

ALF for President

Vote ALF for President

Did you ever wonder what the world would be like if ALF ran for President? Sure we all have had those thoughts. Picture the countless commercials, the ALF for President signs and bumper stickers. Not to mention the resurgence of talking ALF dolls. It would be heaven on earth for ALF fans. While this reality is impossible, we know how in real life ALF shuns politics. We did get a glimpse of it in season 2, episode 11 of the ALF TV series titled, “Hail to the Chief.”

In this classic episode Kate watches the debate and dreams that she and ALF are rival presidential candidates. It’s all great fantasy fun, with Kate constantly waking to a very innocent ALF. Yet, every time she goes to sleep she has a fevered ALF political nightmare.

My recollections of this episode from my younger days were pretty positive. Now I just enjoy it for its disjointedness. It feels a little like an ALF political sketch comedy show, but without any strong punchlines. If this is true, then the best sketch in the bit is the debates hosted by John McLaughlin. In it, ALF demonstrates that he knows how to win a debate.

Enjoy this ALF debate

If you were to ask me when I was a kid if I would have wanted ALF for President, I would have said maybe. Nowadays though, I would say definitely. ALF knows what to do with all those Washington Fat Cats. He will eat them!


1989 Mug Root Beer Ad Featuring Elvira!

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark – is a perfect spokeswoman for the Season. After making her debut in September of 1981 with Elvira’s Movie Macabre she quickly became an icon. For one thing I think viewers appreciated the self-depreciating humor of the character. In addition there were the puns…those wonderfully horrible puns.

[Via] karpinterodx

Furthermore by the time this particular Mug TV commercial aired – Elvira had already appeared in her 1988 movie. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark of course!
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

I am afraid the film didn’t exactly set the box office on fire with its ticket sales. In spite of attempting to do that very thing to her in the movie.

Elvira though proved you can’t keep a good ghoul down!

I doubt that way back in 1981 when Cassandra Peterson came up with the character, she ever thought that she would be featured in comic books, video games, and two Bally/Midway pinball tables.

On the other hand – her natural charm makes her the go to gal for Halloween, right? I can recall seeing this ad back in 1989. I drank a lot of Mugs Root Beer. Owing to the fact that I really wanted that chance to visit Universal Studios and see the Bates motel. The opportunity to hang out with Elvira…that was totally a cherry on top.

In spite of guzzling gallons of Mugs – I didn’t win. On the other hand we are all winners thanks to Dinosaur Dracula uploading this commercial!

Did you happen to spy The Hills Have Eyes Michael Berryman in that ad? You can see him at around the 15 second mark!

AT&T Telephone Tunes

Remember AT&T Telephone Tunes?

When I call people nowadays, very rarely does anyone pick up the phone. People who know me will often text me back very quickly with an answer after listening to my message. We are living in a world that has shifted away from using voice to communicate and I am fine with it. Still, I do miss a few relics of our more vocal near past. For example, the telephone message. I am not talking about the bland short messages you still occasionally here even now. When people decide to actually record a message. No, I am talking about the grand creative ones of people doing skits or even singing. Yes, this wasn’t all that easy for un-creative types. Luckily for them, things like AT&T Telephone Tunes existed.

AT&T Telephone Tunes was one of many products that promised to spice up your otherwise drab answering machine message. In this case of AT&T Telephone Tunes that spiciness was added with clever music done in various styles. You could also buy funny voices or even tapes with celebrities on them. They were a fun addition to a then relatively new piece of technology. That unfortunately quickly got very tedious after you kept having to listen to the same message whenever you called your friend. You know the one who was constantly screening the calls. Not sure what this was like? Let me illustrate.

These tapes were pretty simple to use, although you did need a tape player to do it properly. You simply popped the tape into your player, held it a few inches from your answering machine and hit play on one and record on the other. I know many people would get frustrated trying to use the actual tape in their answering machine. Happily it was just frustration and not a ruined tape. Because they often made these tapes with the safety piece that prevented overdubbing.

So, do you have a phone and want to spice up your outgoing message? Maybe just want to annoy some people with a crazy lengthy message? Then grab your phone now and put it about 6 inches away from your speakers. Then after you find the AT&T Telephone Tunes song you like, just hit record. It is guaranteed to get a memorable reaction from anyone who might call you.

Listen to AT&T Telephone Tunes

Haunted Mansion - Knight

A Knight For A Fright In Disney’s Haunted Mansion

I’ve ridden the Haunted Mansion dozens of times. But one time I rode it was different from any other. I vaguely remember that one of the very first times I rode Haunted Mansion, there was someone in costume that jumped out at you.

Turns out my memory is correct. In the 1980s, Disneyland had a cast member dressed up a knight in armor. They were part of the ride and would jump out at guests.

All images courtesy of DoomBuggies.Com

All images courtesy of DoomBuggies.Com

The wonderful Haunted Mansion site DoomBuggies has an interview with one of the cast members who played the knight.

Want more Haunted Mansion goodies?

Please stop by my pop culture food blog – Between the Pages. I’ve featured tons of cool Haunted Mansion treats.

(One of my favorite posts from Karen’s site is this Hatbox Ghost by Dan Szczepanski – Vic)

The Sealed Book

Retro Radio Memories Ep. 82 (The Sealed Book)

The Sealed Book was a short lived old time radio series from 1945. It began airing on the Mutual Radio Network on March 18th and lasted only to September 9th. Our episode today is entitled “I’ll Die Laughing”!

Produced and directed by Jock MacGregor, the show is a bit like the Tales from the Crypt comic books. Equally important the stories were written by David Kogan and Robert Arthur Jr. The two also scripted The Mysterious Traveler. In addition to being a long running radio series you can of course see it was developed into a comic book!
Mysterious Traveler - Sealed Book

To say nothing of the fact that many of the scripts for The Sealed Book were actually rehashed from the latter!

Now what is The Sealed Book about?

Each week would find a new tale of horror and suspense being introduced by Phillip Clarke. Who was the show’s host in addition to being the character of the Keeper of the Book. Although this was heard in episodes later than the one today.

In spite of that I think you will dig this episode. It concerns a man by the name of John Drayton who learns of a secret Aztec treasure. Furthermore it was “lost” in a place called the Devil’s Cave. Thankfully for John, his Wife Laura, and their best friend Harvey. A prospector has managed to locate the stash – dying after warning them of the curse on it. Surprisingly the trio go in search of the treasure…but two of the protagonists are not on the level.

If you have any comments or feedback for the show you can e-mail them to at You can also reach me on Twitter and of course on Facebook.

The music on the podcast was graciously provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at

Subscribe To The Retro Radio Memories Podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes.

Directly download the Retro Radio Memories Podcast:
Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)
Episode Mirror #2 (OGG)