“What Retroist Means to Me…” By Allison Venezio

In salute to the ongoing and unending appreciation for Retroist by the people that are the heart and soul of the site, I (among others) was asked to tell the world (preach from the rooftops, if you will!) what Retroist means to me. Give me eleven minutes, and I’ll be happy to tell you why!

Not exactly short, sweet, and to the point, but it is important to remind our readers and contributors about why we do this.

As we move into 2017, I’d love to continue to give unending thanks for the opportunity that has challenged me, made me excited to write, and given me a huge source of pride and contributed to the happiness I was able to find within myself.

And if my response wasn’t short, this one is:

Allison has been contributing to Retroist since July 2015, and has published a new article almost weekly since then. She has bragger’s rights to a large collection of retro commercials, plus she has a knack for finding the obscure nostalgia we may have forgotten…or never knew about. If you like everything you’ve seen here (check out her Retroist writer’s profile), she has her own blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Please express your appreciation for Retroist (and what it means to you) with #ThankYouRetroist. She is huge on solidarity, and feels this is a great step in that direction. She’ll see you in 2017!

A Christmas Carol

Toon In: Enjoy 1971’s A Christmas Carol!

I mentioned in the last of the Retro Radio Memories Podcasts – I love A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens 1843 novella really gets to me. I’ve as a matter of fact have pretty much loved all adaptations of the classic tale. Just a few of my favorites include 1951’s Scrooge, 1983’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol, 1984’s overlooked made for TV version featuring George C. Scott and of course 1970’s version of Scrooge!

[Via] Plains Video

It most certainly has a bit to do with the supernatural elements…I mean I AM a monster kid. But more than that is the message that a person can be saved from a destructive path, they can better themselves. The act of redemption of course is what keeps me coming back to A Christmas Carol again and again.

Now having said all of that. There appears to be a version of the story that I’ve not seen before. An 1971 animated special that aired on ABC on December 21. But proved so popular that it was later given a theatrical release. Then secured an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1972!

Which by the way the Academy changed the rules right after that win – so a made for TV short film cannot be eligible. A bit of humbug with that, right?

While the stunning animation style was based on the illustrations provided by John Leech and Milo Winter. Who in fact provided the artwork for the 1930’s version of Dickens’ novella. The short film also had legendary Chuck Jones as a producer with direction by Richard Williams.

Another key point to remember about this adaptation of A Christmas Carol is the sometimes frightening images. Whether it be the likes of Jacob Marley – shocking Ebenezer to keep him silent.
A Christmas Carol

Or the Ghost of Christmas Present’s charges Ignorance and Want. Memorable and visually striking to say the least.

Another feature in the short film’s cap is the vocal talent they secured. For example you have Michael Redgrave as the narrator, Michael Hordren as Jacob Marley, Joan Sims as Mrs. Cratchit, and Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. Yes, it is true that Sim reprises the role he played in 1951’s film adaption!

So sit back and Toon In for 1971’s A Christmas Carol – and from all of us at The Retroist have a Happy Holiday!

Just Jeff 53

Christmas Carol

Retro Radio Memories Podcast Ep. 087 (A Christmas Carol)

A Christmas Carol might be the most well known story of the Holiday season. Charles Dickens found himself with an immediate success on his hand upon it’s first publication in 1843. There have been no less than 20 film adaptations of A Christmas Carol starting in 1901 with Scrooge, or, Marley’s Ghost.
Christmas Carol - 1901

If I am being honest though, one of my favorites besides 1970’s Scrooge is 1983’s Mickey’s Christmas Carol. On the other hand even as a small child I felt it should have another title. Uncle Scrooge’s Christmas Carol. After all the part of Ebenezer is played by Scrooge McDuck , right?

Now for our latest episode of Retro Radio Memories we have something special. The 1939 adapation of A Christmas Carol on the Campbell Playhouse. Yes, that is indeed the radio program sponsored by Campbell’s Soup. Furthermore it boasts that talents of both Orson Welles as the narrator of the story and Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge.

So why not pour yourself a generous cup of eggnog and join us on Retro Radio Memories with A Christmas Carol?

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

The music on the podcast was provided by Peachy! You may contact him by e-mail at peachy@Retroist.com. And be sure to “Like” him on his Facebook page.

Subscribe To The Retro Radio Memories Podcast:
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Episode Mirror #1 (MP3)
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Now how would you like to see that 1901 short film for A Christmas Carol?


Thanks to the BFI National Archive you can do that very thing. Bear in mind after all that it’s only three and a half minutes long and silent.

Phantasm Ornament

Mondo’s Phantasm Ornament Is A Ball. Madballs Too!

I should absolutely clarify that statement. Mondo is totally offering the Sentinel Sphere as an ornament for your Christmas tree. I ask you, what is more festive than a Phantasm ornament? Who wouldn’t want to hang the deadly flying device of the Tall Man from 1979’s cult classic Phantasm on their bough? How can it get any better than that?

In this case I suppose the answer might be an ornament of the Tall Man himself. Although a strong argument could be made of course for the addition of the deadly Dwarves from the film.
phantasm-angus-scrimm-sentinels

However, it IS the time of year to be thankful. As always of course Mondo gives plenty of reasons for that.

Phantasm Ornament

All images courtesy of Mondo.


This has been given the blessing of the creator of Phantasm, Don Coscarelli. Of course. Which is why Mondo teamed up with Middle of Beyond to produce the Sentinel Sphere ornament.
Phantasm ornament
Seriously. How can you not want Phantasm’s Sentinel Sphere on your tree? Now you can hop right on over to Mondo’s Official shop site to order your very own.

Now how do you top the Phantasm ornament? With Madballs of course!

[Via] American Greetings Entertainment

Madballs was created in 1985 by American Greetings – that is totally right. The same company that dreamed up the Care Bears had a hand in this 80’s merchandising property. Why were these goofy balls so popular to kids in the mid-80s? For one thing all sorts of gross-out properties were popular at that time. I give you the Garbage Pail Kids as an prime example!
Garbage-Pail-Kids-cover

Now thanks to Mondo and Middle of Beyond you too can proudly display Horn Head, Slobulus, Dust Brain, and Skull Face on your tree! You can click here to visit Middle of the Beyond’s official site to purchase the Madballs ornaments.
madballs-christmas-ornaments-mondo

I can only presume by next year we will be able to purchase Inhumanoids and Beetlejuice ornaments!

Remembering The Mouse on the Mayflower

I am a creature of habit.

Every year when November 1st rolls around, I open the Holiday Special Cabinet in my entertainment center. (Yes, I have a Holiday Special Cabinet. Don’t you)? I put away my Halloween specials and bring my Thanksgiving specials to the forefront. The Mouse on the Mayflower

My favorite is 1968’s The Mouse on the Mayflower. The Mouse on the Mayflower was a staple of my Thanksgiving viewing during my elementary school days. I can hardly remember a Thanksgiving where we didn’t watch that particular Rankin-Bass special during class. It’s stuck with me all these years. Rankin-Bass owns a good portion of the holiday special landscape in my head, but The Mouse on the Mayflower is special to me. I am most taken by the narration and songs performed by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

There’s something comforting to me about the special. It hearkens back to a time when things were simpler. Thanksgiving meant good food, cartoon specials, a few days off from school, and playing with my cousins after the feast.

Unfortunately, I think The Mouse on the Mayflower has gone by the wayside in recent memory.  I’ve not seen it on the air since the 90s and it has never seen a DVD release. According to Wikipedia, the last VHS release of the film was by Sony Wonder and Golden Books Family Entertainment in 1998. I have a copy of the VHS, which I found by pure accident in a free bin outside one of my favorite used book/movie stores. Fortunately for us, we have YouTube.

[Via] Kevin Burns

Do you remember The Mouse on the Mayflower? What is your favorite part? Do you have another Thanksgiving special that’s been forgotten? However you celebrate, I hope your Thanksgiving is full of nostalgia and good food.

(I have to chime in here and admit that the very first time I watched this special was at school as well. On actual film in fact! -Vic)

A Day of Thanksgiving…For Short Films (And People Who Riff Them!)

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving, Retroist Readers!

As you bow your heads and express your thankfulness for everything you have right here and now, remind yourself of how lucky you are for the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and the people you have in your life. Not everyone is as fortunate, and it is important to keep all of that in mind as you eat your turkey and fixings.

I don’t say all of this to make you feel guilty, of course.

screenshot-615

Parents always set out with the best intentions when teaching their children to be grateful for the things they have in life, whether they be material pleasures or their given talents. As for me, I’m grateful for my family, friends, boyfriend, my job, and the things I have – both material and talent-wise. As a nostalgia writer, I tend to live in the past, but try not to dwell too much on anything negative that happened in the past. It isn’t always easy to forget things, but it is easy to remember the good things of the past.

screenshot-611

Also good about the present (and the past)? Having Brad Jones (The Cinema Snob) to riff on a few educational shorts to remind us how thankful we are and that there really is more than one way to cook and carve a turkey.

screenshot-612 screenshot-616

I’d say I’m making all this up, but there it is, cooking and carving.

Enjoy a few riffed shorts courtesy of the snobbish host who thinks “Gee wiz!” is a profanity, makes ramen noodles for Thanksgiving, and proclaims that 35 cents an hour in the 1950s is “the 1%.”

I expected his kitchen to be more snob-like.

These shorts are guaranteed to tickle the wishbone, and not just because they are hokey without the riffing.

It is easy to think of the good things of life, as not demonstrated (initially) by the kids in this short film about Thanksgiving. When the Johnson family is not able to have a turkey for Thanksgiving, the family reflects on what they are thankful for in the short film A Day of Thanksgiving.

Let’s talk turkey! No really, let’s talk about all the ways to prepare turkey, and the kinds that exist, in this short film called – wait for it – Let’s Talk Turkey!

All Uploaded by Stoned Gremlin Productions

Turkey as a luxury foodstuff of the gods? Well, this short film seems to think so, and then they carve it all up like that’s a socially acceptable and humane way to treat a turkey!

Well, it is…once the bird has been killed and plucked!

BARBARIAN!

Uploaded by Valerie Garcia

Gee wiz, with all of these wonderful shorts, we have a bountiful feast with all the fixings and all the family time we’ll ever need…until Christmas.

Hey, can the people in Carving Magic share some of that turkey with the Johnsons? Those kids really hate going without.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Allison is a lover and consumer of all things nostalgic and geeky, but holiday nostalgia holds a very special place in her heart. Combine that with riffing, and you’ve got one happy geek. If you like what you’ve seen here, she loves to share holiday nostalgia over on her blog, Allison’s Written Words. You can follow her blog on Facebook, and her Twitter handle, @AllisonGeeksOut, is afire with, well, hashtagging fun everyday.

Gee wiz!

LANGUAGE!

Did you go as the PUSHMI-PULLYU for Halloween?

pushmi-pullyu-box-angle

What’s a Pushmi-Pullyu, you ask?

It is none other than the fabled double-headed llama from the 1967 musical motion picture DOCTOR DOLITTLE.

doolittle-pushmi-pullyu

Who is Doctor Dolittle, you ask further?

Take a moment to watch this one minute trailer for the 1967 musical motion picture starring Rex Harrison in the title role.

[source: youtube: robatsea2009]

“A double-headed llama”, you continue to ask, “does that mean this is a costume for two?!”

That would be amazing, but impractical so, no, the Collegeville Costumes’ Pushmi-Pullyu is a typical dimestore boxed costume for just one child to wear.

pushmi-pullyu-box-top

This is a late ’60s, cloth-material jumper costume with long sleeves and long pant legs. This is a good example of the better quality costumes of the ’50s and ’60s (as opposed to the stiff, sleeveless vinyl smocks manufactured for costumes in the ’70s and ’80s). What makes the Pushmi-Pullyu costume really stand out is the uniqueness of the mask!

pushmi-pullyu-costume-mask

That’s right, you wore a Pushmi-Pullyu on your face.

Covering just the eyes and the bridge of the nose, this partial-face mask is a wonderful modeling of the two-headed, circus-performing llama with the dual heads rising above the costume wearer’s own head like a pair of beast-of-burden-shaped antennae.

pushmi-pullyu-mask

This mask is one of the most unique designs in mass-produced children’s costuming. It is both wonderful and ridiculous at the same time; that’s why I think it’s so great. The costume that goes with this awesome mask is great in its own right too.

pushmi-pullyu-costume

The cloth costume, seen here with the pant legs folded up underneath, has a wonderfully stylish illustration of the Pushmi-Pullyu on the torso and the animal’s name right below it to help the more befuddled trick-or-treaters figure out exactly what you were dressed up as. The DOCTOR DOLITTLE film was fairly popular in 1967 so I wonder if the lack of knowledge about the Pushmi-Pullyu was even an issue that year. Nevertheless it was all spelled out all over your body to inform everyone who saw you.

pushmi-pullyu-costume-detail

The Pushmi-Pullyu costume, is altogether charming and quite special with its unique approach in representing its unique subject, which I credit completely to its double-headed llama mask. This was the main reason why I wished to add the Pushmi-Pullyu to my vintage Halloween costume collection. After all, how often does one get a chance to dress up with two heads?