The Mouse on the Mayflower

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.


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.


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!


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!



Did you go as the PUSHMI-PULLYU for Halloween?


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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?

Screenshot (36)

May the 4th Be With These 1978 Commercials!

There’s a bit of an overkill vibe of “May the 4th Be With You” floating around the interwebs today. You’d think it’s some kind of official holiday, wouldn’t you?

I think we can all agree to disagree,The Star Wars Holiday Special made a great case for why we don’t celebrate Life Day, but actual Star Wars cannon makes a great case for why we celebrate May 4th as Star Wars Day.

Another thing we can all agree on? How great these 1978 commercials that aired during the holiday special are…when riffed by Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy of RiffTrax and Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame.

Both uploaded by Torgo Fury

Oh, and…you want Tobor. Because he’s probably some long-lost scrapped Star Wars character who got his own toy, complete with not-so-subliminal advertising pitch from Michael J. Nelson!

Allison is the collector of commercials, and commercials with RiffTrax commentary on them? They’re even better! She’d love for you to stop by her blog, Allison’s Written Words to see some of what she has in her collection, and would love for you to follow her blog on Facebook, if you like a little randomness and geekiness in your Facebook feed. And who doesn’t? You can also find her on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.

Allison doesn’t want Tobor.

Star Wars - Return of the Jedi - Nien Nunb

May The 4th Be With You As You Watch This 1982 Kenner Return Of The Jedi Sales Video!

There is never a bad time to take a moment and celebrate the legacy of the Star Wars franchise but I personally enjoy May 4th being selected as a worldwide day to loudly profess our love of the films, comics, books, games and of course toys that have brought us so much happiness.

For myself while I was able to pick up a Marvel Star Wars comic now and again off the spinner rack at my local gas station it was those wonderful action figures and vehicles that I spent many, many a hour of my youth with on the living room floor that kept my love of the films alive. By the time the products talked about in this video below were released it is fair to say that Kenner truly had done an amazing job of helping us young fans reenact our favorite moments from Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back as well as forge our own adventures that couldn’t be considered canon…like that time when I decided that Luke, Leia, and Han needed to be rescued by He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

Kenner was understandably devoted to keeping the toy line going strong as you can see from this wonderful 1982 internal sales video…and you will NEVER find an announcer so excited as the one in this video. I so very much wish this guy was narrating my daily life because I would feel so much more heroic and successful at my job.

[Via] MOTU Classics

Now even though May the 4th is a great time to celebrate the past movies, as is evident from this video that just went online featuring Daisy Ridley and a few friends, wishing everyone a Happy Star Wars Day…we fans of the franchise have taken to heart the true message of these films so we might all unite and be a Force for Change.

Star Wars

So from all of us at the Retroist…May the 4th be with you!

Elf - Marc Allie

Did You Make Dough Ornaments in the 1980s?

The holidays are a time of tradition for many of us, particularly as we get older. These traditions will vary from family to family, but there are some that most of us share. Maybe it’s a big family meal, followed by the adults napping while the kids play with toys. Perhaps it’s watching a beloved Christmas movie together. It could be as simple as hanging stockings or singing carols with friends.

One tradition I remember from when I was a kid was making ornaments in art class. While we made clothespin reindeer or tree-shaped felt picture frames during our school parties, it was the dough ornaments we made in art class that I looked forward to every year. I get extremely excited planning out what to ornaments to make each year.

Here are some pictures of a few of these old ornaments that I still have to this day. Each one is special to me, and given the references to the pop culture of the 80s on display here, I imagine other Retroist readers will enjoy taking a look as well.

Elf - Marc Alliesnowman - Marc Allie

The oldest of the ornaments I have are these. These date back to my first grade year back in 1980. Perhaps I was feeling sentimental, as I stayed close to the traditional holiday characters, with few if any alterations. This elf was ahead of his time flashing the duck lips, and dressed in the long-established Christmas colors of…blue and yellow? His partner the snowman appears to have been through some sort of traumatic experience, if his haggard look and half-broken arm are any indication.

smurf - Marc Alliesmurfette - Marc Allie

By second grade, I had abandoned all pretense of a holiday theme and was now clearly focused on the Smurfs. In fall of 1981 their cartoon began showing on Saturday mornings, and as a breakfast-cereal smurfing connoisseur of the animated arts, I found the antics of the Smurfs to my liking. I’m not sure what was up with the orange ball on the hat of Generic Smurf, nor the Popeye-esque forearms of Smurfette, but in my defense, I was only seven. Might not Papa Smurf, with his red outfit and white beard, have been a better choice?

ET - Marc AllieGarfield - Marc Allie

Third grade, in 1982, was a year of split priorities for me. I was torn between my favorite cat-based comic strip and a diminutive stellar visitor with a Speak & Spell. Thankfully, I was able to make two ornaments yet again. Regrettably, E.T.’s glowing finger broke off many years ago, meaning the adorable alien’s ornament aged far worse than Garfield’s. The opposite is true for my feelings for these characters as an adult. Does anyone still read Garfield these days?

ghostbusters - Marc Allie

While I saw it in the summer of 1984, Ghostbusters made a big impression on me, one that would last through a Halloween costume in the fall to an ornament in the winter. As a fifth grader, my skills and techniques for dough ornament making had advanced considerably. I was able to sculpt a fair approximation of the iconic Ghostbusters symbol, complete with Santa hat. I wonder how many times I sang “who ya gonna call?” in my head as I made it.

Unfortunately, these are the only remaining ornaments from my elementary school art career. I can’t recall what I created my fourth grade year in 1983. We had a new art teacher sometime around then; perhaps she didn’t include the dough ornaments in her lesson planning? In any event, I recall with crystal clarity my sixth grade ornament. In 1985, I wanted nothing more than to be an astronaut or astronomer, and there would only be one choice for my ornament that year. Alas, it was damaged and discarded, or simply lost, at some point in the three decades since. But I like to think that in a landfill somewhere, my anthropomorphized art dough representation of Halley’s Comet wearing a Santa hat is still around.

Smurf Pajamas - Sears Wish Book 1985

Check Out These Smurfy 1985 Wish Book Pajamas!

While I admit that these neat looking Smurf pajamas that were offered in the 1985 Sears Wishbook are just Smurfy…it’s those hats the kids are wearing that make me want to Smurf back in time and snatch them off their heads for my own!

Smurf Pajamas - Text

But it wasn’t just Smurf pajamas that were up for grabs from the 1985 Wish Book, not by a long shot, you also had My Little Pony and the Cabbage Patch Kids!
Cabbage Patch Kids - My Little Pony - Smurfs - Sears Wish Book 1985
Cabbage Patch Kids Text

Or you could go with the correct choice and choose these awesome Optimus Prime and Megatron blanket Pajamas.
Transformers - Sears Wish Book 1985
Transformers pajamas Text