The other day I was doing a bit of research for the Diary of an Arcade Employee Facebook page. I was actually looking up some British gaming magazines, in particular a publication known as TV Gamer. That is of course when I stumbled on a most interesting advertisement indeed. An ad for the Walt Disney Storytime Collection – a magazine and cassette tape from 1984.
As you can certainly read in that advertisement. The Walt Disney Storytime Collection offered fans all manner of Disney treats. Coloring pages as well as puzzles and it appears that stickers were included too. Add to that stories taken from different Disney shorts and movies in serialized form.
On top of everything of course you have the likes of Dame Penelope Keith, John Alderton, and Paul Daneman narrating said stories. This to say the very least was an incredible pool of actors. Dame Penelope Keith is best known for To the Manor Born as well as Good Neighbors. With John Alderton appearing in Zardoz and Upstairs, Downstairs. Paul Daneman was probably best known for his role in 1964’s Zulu with Michael Cane and Not in Front of the Children.
Furthermore this naturally forced me to head to YouTube in the hopes of finding a video. Sadly those hopes were dashed but at the very least I was able to stumble on some images of the magazines itself.
It probably goes without saying that the 24 issue run of the Walt Disney Storytime Collection was only published in the UK. The publisher appears to be Whinfrey Strachan and in addition they produced 2 specials.
I know that it certainly isn’t part of the Walt Disney Storytime Collection…
But how about you take a few minutes to enjoy The Haunted House? From the Fisher-Price library of storytapes and books?
Recently I asked the podcast RetroWDW to investigate the short lived Disney Channel news magazine, EPCOT Magazine. Naturally they were able to uncover some wonderful details about the production of the show and shared it in their episode, Polynesian Dreams – Part I. It is a great episode if you love the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World and if you are interested in hearing what they found out about EPCOT Magazine.
Listen to RetroWDW answer my question about EPCOT Magazine
If you are not a fan of high quality Disney podcasts, here is what they said in their show notes:
Garry was up next and asked all about EPCOT Magazine. He felt he was on the show at one point, so we inform him all about this daily digest style show from The Disney Channel. This show ran from 1983 – 1986 and was hosted by Michael Young. Brian gives all the details on this gone, but not forgotten shows. We restored a 16mm film that shows some of the filming, behind the scenes. Check the 3:00 minute mark in this video.
That is right, I might have been on EPCOT Magazine as a kid. I thought I would use this opportunity to write-up a more thorough description of my appearance on the show.
In late Winter/early Spring of 1983 my family visited EPCOT Center for the first time. We did not take many trips, but my Mother was obsessed with Florida and Disney. So we saved for the entire year to make this trip.
We drove down from New Jersey and were in Florida for a week. We stayed in Ft. Lauderdale and then at the end of the week we would drive up to Orlando and check into the Days Inn and checked in for two days. Day one we went to EPCOT Center and day two, the Magic Kingdom.
My Mom and I were over the moon for EPCOT Center. The rest of my family, not so much. Being raised on a steady diet of Disney mythology, I could not get over that I was in a NEW DISNEY PARK. At the time I thought this was a once in a lifetime experience. At the park, I was shot out of a cannon, nothing could contain me as I ran from attraction to attraction and place to place.
I discover WorldKey
Being a tech fan, how could I not be excited? Then I found the WorldKey Touchscreen info kiosks. This was my first time interacting with the screens and I was set on mastering it. Since few attractions were open and we had a whole day to kill, my family indulged my love of the kiosks while they spent time in shops or hiding in the shade.
I was very young at a the time, just a child, and my enthusiasm grabbed the attention of a nice person who asked me to talk them through the use of the kiosks. Little did I know that I was auditioning for an appearance on a television show.
After 15 minutes of poking at the screen and talking non-stop, I noticed a few other people were watching me. They then asked to talk to my parents and I brought them to my Mother.
I would later find out they were from EPCOT Magazine and wanted to film me for the show. So after my Mom signed a few documents, they set up the cameras, filmed for about 45 minutes, and that was it.
We got copies of the docs, but no info about when or if the footage would air. Despite my sisters making fun of me for the rest of the day, I was on Cloud nine.
When we went home, I was sure that this was the start of my career in television and fell asleep on the cot at the Days Inn dreaming of my inevitable move to Hollywood.
When we got home, we did not have access to the Disney Channel. This caused much consternation on my part. After all, I did not want to miss my big moment.
Eventually the Disney Channel would be available, but it was very pricey. It did not seem like we would be able to afford it, but fate would lend a hand.
My awesome rebellious sister lends a hand
My sister, fed up with having only basic cable, took it upon herself to order the MOST expensive cable package by pretending to be my Mom. The fallout from it was explosive, but somehow when the smoke cleared, we kept the cable!
I would tune into the Disney Channel every day and would consult my Disney Channel guide for broadcasts of EPCOT Magazine. Episodes would come and go, but I would never see myself. Which means that they might have never used the footage or I missed the episode that aired it.
Sadly info about the show is scant online. So I have not been able to find episode descriptions. The bits of footage available are just as scarce, so I am forced to look for clues and information wherever I can.
Watch the intro to EPCOT Magazine
When my Mother passed away, I inherited a lot of paperwork, I could not find the release forms, but I have not given hope up that they are in some other box. Perhaps if I find them, I will get more clues or a name of someone I could try to track down.
The internet is a magical place. You never know what someone is going to upload or sell. So I keep my eyes open.
This is the closest I have come to being a part of “Disney” and as fans of Disney will tell you, being part of the magic is something we all secretly dream about.
Back before I did the Retroist, I used to blog about Disney. One of my odd passions was for the themed garbage cans in the parks. When I started going to the parks as an adult, you could often find me laying down or crouched in front of a garbage can, snapping photos.
This weekend, I scanned a bunch of old photos and found a drive full of earlier digital photos from my park visits. In that drive was a folder called, “The Best.” What was in it was a couple of photos of an austere, but adorable garbage can that lived in the Photo Supply Co. store on Main Street. These photos had originally been posted on the Disney site I did, along with a gallery of several hundred other shots.
I will spare you the larger gallery, but this fella is so cute and retro enough, that I thought I would share it here.
Gallery of the best garbage can in Disneyland
put this little guy on wheels and have him talk
Should be a meet and greet
Oooh. Look at the detailing
Showing age, but still nice
Tucked away to the side.
It has been a while since I have been back to Disneyland. So I was not sure the Photo Supply store was still there, but according to the Disneyland website, it is!
So if you are in the area and like to look at garbage cans, keep an eye out for this slim little gem. It was always kind of tucked to the side, but not hard to spot.
Unless you lived in the 1930s or are a fan of vintage comic strips you might not be aware of the attempted Mickey Mouse suicide. But it was a very real thing that ran in the Mickey Mouse comic strip from October 8th to the 24th of 1930. It is a grim series of strips, with a happy ending, that really demonstrate how culture and entertainment, especially surrounding death, have changed over the years.
The story revolves around Minnie leaving Mickey for another rodent, could be a mouse or a rat, named Mr. Slicker. Mickey is despondent and then attempts to take his life through various methods. Each time failing. Eventually he decides that life is worth living, but it is a pretty wild ride.
The strip was written and drawn by Floyd Gottfredson. In April 1930, Gottfredson started work on the just four-month-old Mickey Mouse daily comic strip. A strip that until then had heavy involvement from Walt himself. But Floyd took to it and he would define the Mickey Mouse cartoon world in the same way that Carl Barks would the world of Donald Duck.
From what I have read online, the story-line did not originate with Gottfredson, but with Walt Disney. If that is true, it is more than fascinating. We are seeing a dark side to Mickey’s life, that came straight from his creator. My guess is that this is not Mickey Mouse canon, but it might be the most “real” I have seen Mickey. So maybe it should be. I will let you decide. Here are the strips for your reading pleasure.
Mickey Mouse Suicide series of Comic Strips
In the first few days of the strip, we meet Mr. Slicker at the Mickey Mouse Miniature Golf Course. This is where he meets both Mickey and Minnie. They go out for food and Mr. Slicker defends Minnie’s honor, which impresses her. Even though Mickey tried to do that same. Sadly he failed.
Like a lot of early stories with Minnie Mouse, she is more of a prop than a real character.
On Days five through seven, Mickey is pushed out. Mr. Slicker has made his move and Minnie seems to be smitten. Gotta admit, this Slicker guy is kind of…slick.
Mickey is about to do something about it and Horsecollar comes along with some terrible advice. Not saying Mickey should have knocked Mr. Slicker’s block off, but he should have talked to Minnie.
Now it is too late and Mr. Slicker and Minnie are thing now. Poor Mickey. I really like that sad last frame.
Now come the Mickey Mouse suicide attempts. Mickey tries via gun, drowning, leaping from a bridge, gas and hanging. Each time he fails with mild comic hi-jinks resulting.
The final comic is the one where Mickey decides to hang himself from a tree. While doing so he encounters some happy smiling squirrels. Their natural happiness makes him feel better and he decides that life is worth living. Instead of using the rope to hang himself. Mickey turns it into a swing. Now this is the Mickey I know!
This was a fascinating run of a great comic strip. If you are interested in more Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson, please check out the compilations that have been printed of his work.
In 1985 they broadcast a very memorable celebration for Disneyland’s 30th Anniversary. I cannot recall where I got a VHS copy of this special, but at some point in the 1980s it started getting heavy play in my VCR. The special has a lot of great moments, but my favorite is when the Pointer Sisters sing Neutron Dance.
It is a great 80’s moment filled with high energy and Neutron Dance is the perfect song to capture that energy. Two things make it even more special. First is the addition of the floats and characters from Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade. Second is what looks to be a chorus line of TRON dancers!
Okay, so I am not sure if they are really supposed to be TRON dancers. But it would be so perfect. You know Disney had a lot of TRON costumes lying around and using TRON in the Neutron dance is just too perfect. It is just the perfect amount of inspired wordplay-based laziness that I would hope for from an 80’s television special.
Are you curious about what the Neutron Dance is all about? According to Allee Willis who wrote the song,
Neutron Dance” was written in hopes of being placed on the soundtrack of the film Streets of Fire. “We were told that there was a scene on a bus that was leaving town after there had been this nuclear holocaust, and that a ’50s doo-wop black group was going to be at the back of the bus that the lead couple was escaping on. Danny Sembello and I just met that day. I was very disinterested in songwriting at that point, and I’m writing with this kid who’s never had a record before, and I just wanted to get him in and out.
He was a phenomenal keyboard player, and I just said: ‘Play the most common sounding old-fashioned ’50s black music bass line that you can think of.’ And he just started doing the rhythm for “Neutron Dance”. And I’m someone who could write a melody to a spoon falling on the table. So I literally sang that melody down. First time down, he just kind of followed and went to the right places. And then I said, Let’s just write this quick lyric. We’re taking a half an hour on the lyric, and this thing’s gonna get done.
The song would be featured in Beverly Hill Cop and would chart. Eventually topping out at number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Not bad for 30 minutes of work.
Watch the Pointer Sisters sing Neutron Dance at Disneyland