“One Magic Christmas” in my basement (movie review)

There’s a Disney holiday film that many find disturbing. It’s called One Magic Christmas and stars Mary Steenburgen and Harry Dean Stanton. In this video, Robie Juinor (1980s robot from Radio Shack) and I discuss this film. There are plenty of spoilers, heck, I basically tell the whole story of the movie in just under ten minutes. I try to explain why I like the film. There’s some silly stuff in the video outside of the fact that I’m having a conversation with a toy robot…

[Via] Justin Salvato

Why not Water-Ski at Walt Disney World?

Walt Disney World, as everyone is told, is a magical place. During your visit you can meet Mickey Mouse, visit the famous castle and maybe catch a ride or two… oh and of course you can water-ski too.

That last part was true in 1976 when this wonderful map was produced. As you’ll see in some of the close-ups below, the Magic Kingdom was a very different place in the 70’s with as much emphasis placed on enjoying a round of golf as looping around the park on the monorail.

walt disney golf

I found this great map and lots more over at the now-defunct Imaginerding Blog. Thankfully the creator of the site has kept the Blogger-powered site available after upgrading to a full website.

magic kingdom

I wonder if the latest Magic Kingdom map reflects the era of the “selfie” that we now live in? Gone are the innocent times of simply standing back and taking a picture of Mickey with your proper camera, like the picture above!

Disney’s Condorman

Condorman

One summer, many many years ago during a lazy, end-of-term school day, my class teacher suggested we give up on the notion of learning and watch a movie instead. My classmates and I were thrilled at this suggestions and immediately took to the school video library to find a suitable film. Between us we narrowed the choice to either The Last Unicorn or Condorman, and The Last Unicorn came a distant second as the boys of our group made themselves heard!

I hadn’t seen the 1981 Disney film before and was understandably excited about watching a superhero flick during school time. Michael Crawford didn’t disappoint that day. His antics whilst assisting Barbara Carrera’s KGB spy were amazing – he could fly, he had a cool boat called the Condorboat and best of all he had a car that, to me, was better than anything James Bond drove.

This fan-made Condorman trailer by Adam Perry does a great job of introducing you to the character:

The films part-animated intro is also worth a watch:

Since that summer afternoon, I’ve seen Condorman many times. It is for me the very definition of a guilty pleasure – it’s very silly, very dated and it is easy to understand why it bombed with critics and audiences. Despite all that, I still return to it every few years, mostly because of the sublime soundtrack by Henry Mancini, but also because Michael Crawford does such a wonderful job as the lead. Oh, and did I mention that Oliver Reed is in it too?

I watched the film again last night whilst researching the film and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the film has lost none of its charm to me and now has something of a cult following. There are many clips and video reviews on Youtube but one that caught my attention was Chapter 20 of the Superhero Series from Haphazard Stuff. This two-parter video is great as it gives you plenty of insight into the creation of the film as well as plenty of footage to hook you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to hunt down some Condor Crunch ice cream…

The opening of Euro Disney in 1992

Euro Disney

As I type this, it is for me the eve of a family visit to Disneyland Paris. I’ve visited the French parks several times already but this is the first time with my two young children and everyone is very excited.

Opening in 1992 with the moniker “Euro Disney”, this was a big deal for Europe, and Disney pulled out all the stops to make sure the event and the park were successful. This included a fantastic British televised show of the opening ceremony.

There is much to love about this show, from the very British presenting team of Pat Sharp and Matthew Kelly to the star-studded guests including Cher and Tina Turner. In typical Disney style, everything about the ceremony is sugary sweet so be prepared for the constant stream of happiness and hype that we’ve come to expect from the House of Mouse!

Unfortunately Youtube has a block on the third part of the show so why not take a look at this alternative view of the day instead.

Finally, to see a little of the history of the park since 1992, check out this “Remember the Magic” video which charts 20 years of park life in a brisk 9 minutes.

Watching 20 years unfold is interesting as you see the park move from pure Disney Magic Kingdom to the 1996 introduction of Pixar’s Toy Story, to the 2002 opening of second park Walt Disney Studios.

I think my 2014 visit will be more Pixar than Disney as my children have grown up in the era of Cars and Toy Story but thankfully they’ve also been delighted by the mischief of Lilo & Stitch too. I’m hopeful that they’ll also be enchanted by the vast cast of older Disney characters but failing that, there is always Star Tours…

Have a Disney Afternoon with James Silvani

One of many websites I enjoy visiting for its retro art is that of Dark Ink Art which is usually well stocked with Super Heroes, Star Wars and other delights. Today was no exception when I found this wonderful Disney piece from artist James Silvani.

Without looking at the cheat sheet below, how many can you identify?

Disney Afternoon Guide

I love the art style here and the choice of shows and characters is great. I like that Scrooge McDuck is so prominent, but I’m not sure that Gargoyles mixes too well with Gummi Bears, Tailspin, Ducktales, Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Goof Troop or Darkwing Duck. I guess the same can be said for Mickey Mouse and Timon & Pumbaa too, but who cares when the art looks so lovely?