Tag Archives: disney

Five Things – 3.20.17 – What They Call a Ronald Ray-gun

1989 Disney-MGM Studios Grand Opening

The decision to make a Disney-MGM (now Disney Hollywood) Studios theme park was an odd one for the company. This 1989 television special celebrating the opening of the park is filled with similarly odd decisions.

Disney-MGM was the third Florida park, coming after EPCOT but before Animal Kingdom. Where the Magic Kingdom focused on Americana, Fantasy, Futurism, and Adventure and EPCOT focused on a more expanded Futurism and International appreciation, Disney-MGM was centered around Hollywood, moviemaking, and their acquired interests like the Muppets and their stake in Star Wars.  The park beat its most direct competition, Universal Studios Orlando, to the market by a year, but the actual offering of attractions – you know, the things that people go to theme parks to enjoy – were a bit iffy.

Like Universal, the intent of the MGM studio was to be an actual production lot.  Florida was rising as a destination for film and television production in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and Central Florida was leading the cyarge. It didn’t work out so well for Universal, and only worked out slightly better for Disney-MGM; large, loud, open-air parks don’t lend themselves well to delicate filming.  The production aspect of both parks was ultimately shuttered, with the exception of a few television studios that held out for another decade or so. This special is dripping with the optimism of the promise of that idea, though.

The special opens with a big production number led by Smokey Robinson, some fancy special effects, and a whole bunch of iconic movie characters in an elaborate dance number.

John Ritter hosts the special, for lack of a better word, as a director who has just learned that the park opens in two hours (gulp!). To get an idea of how he reacts to this news, watch any episode of Three’s Company, ever. Copy and paste this gag about twenty times throughout the special, as he clumsily pulls everything together for the grand opening, just happening to show off all of the park’s features along the way.

He stumbles across a ton of celebrities in the process.  There are bits, songs, or pre-recorded well-wishes from Harry Anderson, George Burns, Jane Fonda, Rue Maclanahan, Willie Nelson, John Ritter, Smokey Robinson, Dick van Dyke, the Pointer Sisters, and tons more.

Harry Anderson shows off the magic of blue screen technology and other special effects, complete with a bag full of “bee” puns and dad jokes.

President Reagan’s a natural fit for a well-wish to the new park, given his Hollywood background. Thatcher, though?

Dick van Dyke and the Creel triplets show off some of the actual attractions of the park, like the flagship Great Movie Ride, in an impressive attempt to chew up some runtime.

The highlight of this special is, without a doubt, the music.  In addition to the aforementioned Smokey Robinson number, the Pointer Sisters kill it, Buster Poindexter’s got a big number (right?)  and Suzanne Somers even pulls of an amazing, yet confusing, version of “Rhythm of the Night”.

Two hours, about twenty celebrity well-wishes, a dozen physical gags, and six musical numbers later the park is officially open.  A replica of old-timey and modern Hollywood in Central Florida. Was anyone asking for this? It’s difficult to get an accurate gauge of the actual appeal of this theme of a park. Growing up in Central Florida at the time, I know that the local reception was lukewarm. Star Tours was the main draw, and it was a great one, but one swallow does not make a Summer. I did meet Kid ‘n Play at the park one night as part of the 1992 NBA All Star Weekend, so there’s that.

Here’s the special.  Make sure to watch the commercials and promos – that spot for the Bionic Woman/Six-Million-Dollar Man crossover looks flat out bananas.

 

1969 IHOP Commercial

I can’t imagine the conversation that led to the approval of this voice singing this song in this commercial.  And the food just looks awful! Outside of that, though, gorgeous commercial.

 

MicroPro Ad

Before we had computers that could do multiple tasks and take up a reasonable amount of space, we had unitasker machines like word processors.  Not going to lie, I get so easily distracted that I kind of miss those days.. This print ad for MicroPro word processors has a clean look to it that makes me miss word processors even more.

Grins & Smiles & Giggles & Laughs

It’s interesting to see how fierce the cereal war was in the 1970s and 1980s.  There are so many flashes in the pan, so many unnecessary variations on successful formulas, and so many tacky TV Show/Movie tie-ins on the playing field during this time.  Case in point: 1976’s Grins & Smiles & Giggles & Laughs, a weird smiley-face cereal featuring five mascots – the aforementioned Grins, Smiles, Giggles, Laughs, and a grumpy robot named Cecil that produces the cereal if something makes him laugh.

It didn’t last long.

 

Lynda Carter’s Rock & Roll Fantasy

Where was Lynda Carter when Michael Eisner was casting for the Disney-MGM opening ceremony? This is such a delightful cringe.

 

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Five Things – 2.20.17 – Say Hello To Michael Jordan For Me

Gamepro Video Game Secret Tips, Tactics & Passwords, Vol. 1

Our old friend J.D. Roth from Gamepro TV takes us on a journey to sap all of the fun out of video games by using cheat codes and exploits!

This video covers the Super Nintendo, Genesis, and TurboGrafx generation of games, and features some pretty B-list games for a “Volume 1”.  While most videos of this type gave viewers hints and strategies around tough parts of games, with the occasional game-breaking code or exploit, this video delivers hack after hack, with the objective seeming to be to get you to the end of the game as quickly as possible.  I guess that’s what you’d be paying for?

There’s a LOT of “attitude” here, fueled by Roth and his arsenal of slang.  I did not age well, but I will say that it sets this video apart from its drier, more straightforward competition.  Roth is also awkwardly superimposed on top of game footage for much of the video. Does that make it more fun?

At the end of the day, this video is a pretty interesting snapshot of early ’90s video gaming technology, early ’90s video technology, and…well, just early ’90s technology in general. Back then it would have taken several weeks for someone to mail in a payment for a non-trivial amount for the VHS, wait for it to arrive, watch it, and then apply a learning from the video to a game that they owned.  I achieved the same thing this morning in about 30 seconds, for free. FUTURE.

Here you go.  Enjoy skipping straight to the end-game ceremony in Bulls vs Lakers And The NBA Playoffs. Seriously, who wants that?

 

Saturday Superstore

This ultra-charming Saturday morning kids show ran on the BBC from 1982-1987.  It featured several different segments, some with kids, others with pop stars, scripted bits and the occasional call-in.  Margaret Thatcher was on the show in 1987, and was repeatedly asked by a little girl where Thatcher planned to go if nuclear war broke out.  Ultra Charming!

Here’s the 1982 Christmas episode.

 

Vanilly Crunch

The Cap’n continued to experiment in the early 1970s with variations on what was already the perfect cereal. This iteration, called “Vanilly Crunch”, featured Wilma the White Whale as the mascot.  Better her than La Foote, I guess.

 

Palitoy Star Wars Ad

I love everything about this hand-drawn ad for Palitoys’ Star Wars line.

 

1992 Lincoln Malfunction

In honor of President’s Day, here’s Abraham Lincoln from Disney’s Hall of Presidents shorting out and taking a little robot nap.

 

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Five Things – 01.23.17 – Hit The Play Button And Go Blow Up Some Spaceships

Pioneer LaserActive Infomercial

In 1993 Pioneer released a sort of megadevice that combined CDs, Laserdiscs, video games, and  interactive karaoke CDs.  Called “LaserActive”, it retailed for just under $1000 and in a result that shocked nobody, was largely unsuccessful.

This 1993 “issue” of Zoom, the “Video Magazine” (what?) features the ins-and-outs of the LaserActive.  It’s a showcase of the technology itself, the software featured, and an awkward technical section that describes how to set the thing up.  Not sure that last part is “video magazine”-worthy but hey, I’m not a “video magazine” editor.

This video is about 40% content and 60% stock ’90s introspective flash and graphics. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The LaserActive software is impressive; games like Pyramid Patrol, Quiz Econosaurus, and I Will demonstrate the different types of game options available, and the quality of the (then) high technology is evident.

Here’s the thing: it’s actually a pretty impressive machine. In the early-to-mid nineties, in the aftermath of the VHS/Beta war, in the middle of the CD/Laserdisc/VHS landscape, and on the cusp of DVD’s entry into the foray (not to mention minidiscs and mp3s), a device that could do it all was a pretty novel idea.  And in that light, $970’s actually a value.  Still, that’s a high price point to rationalize.

An interesting experiment, albeit a failed one.  What do you think? Here’s the “video magazine”.

 

Cinnamon Crunch

In my day, Cap’n Crunch battled the Soggies. These white, wet embodiments of too much milk goofily tried to thwart the Cap’n and his child companions, to no success.  In the 1970s, though, the Cap’ns nemesis was a fellow pirate named Jean LaFoote. He had his own cereal, Cinnamon Crunch, years before Wendell and the bakers would come along and stake a claim on cinnamon-flavored cereal with their Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Here’s LaFoote’s finest hour.

 

EPCOT Horizons Commercial

It’s not often that I come across something about Horizons that’s new to me, so I’m excited to share this sedate 1980s EPCOT commercial focused entirely on Horizons.  Everything about it is great, but for some reason the music doesn’t feel like a total match.  Still, so good!

 

Mason Shoe Recruitment

This ad ran in men’s magazines in the 1960s, recruiting would-be door-to-door salesmen across the country.

 

1940s Band-Aid Commercial

This commercial features a fascinating and unsettling proof-of-concept, testing the band-aid’s adhesiveness on an egg. That glue is way too powerful.

Way too powerful. Man was not meant for this level of adhesion.

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Five Things – 10.10.16 – Wallow In A Sea of Emotionalism

Follow Us To Disney World

Last time we took a look at a 1984 video brochure for EPCOT Center. This one, called “Follow Us”, came out at the same time but has an expanded scope to the entire Disney World area.  At the time this included the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Discovery Island, and the resorts. The video starts off with a pretty sassy dance number.

disney-dance

Interestingly, the video is completely hosted by cast members – Disney’s term for in-costume park employees.  Different cast members take the viewer through the various areas of each park, speaking to what is presumably their area of expertise. Snow White even pops in to talk up Fantasyland.

cast-member

The EPCOT focus is mostly a shortened version of what we saw last week.  The mime and that Mexican pavilion pair of diners who are in all EPCOT promo media show up here, too.

disney-mime mexican-diners

The last third or so of the video is about the resorts – a pretty large amount of time to dedicate to that sort of thing. It’s easy to forget that at this time the hospitality aspect of Disney World was still pretty new territory for them – everything else was (mostly) old hat.

contemporary sign-language

The video wraps up in a cheesy inspirational singalong, complete with sign language. I feel the same way about this that I did with the EPCOT video – it captures a moment in time of WDW’s history that doesn’t exist anymore, and it’s worth watching just for that.  Throw in an ’80s sensibility about how to sell this sort of idealistic experience and it’s a pretty satisfying watch.

 

The Magical Burger King

The creepily-smiling masked Burger King of the 2000s is iconic enough in his own right, but he’s actually a reboot of an earlier fully-human magician mascot called The Magical Burger King.  Here he is in all of his glory, performing basic magic tricks to a crowd of tolerant children.

 

Jim Henson – Robot

In the early 1960s, Jim Henson was hired to make a short film for Bell Labs exploring the relationship between man and machine. I’d say he nailed it.

 

Coors Light Ad

Does it get more eighties?

 

New Jell-O Flavors

I’m in! This vintage Jell-O Ad gives Jell-O the class it deserves.

jell-o

 

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Five Things – 09.26.16 – Find The Future And Touch Tomorrow

1984 EPCOT Video Brochure

It’s been a minute since I scratched the EPCOT itch here, but this video brochure from 1984 certainly makes up for lost time.

epcot universe-of-energyhorizons

The focus of this extended commercial, as usual, skews more toward the World Showcase than it does on Future World, a strategy that always baffled me.  Were/are people really that interested in the World Showcase? As a kid it felt like a waste of half of the park and while I don’t feel that strongly as an adult I still wonder about it.  I think this shot from the Mexico pavilion has been in every piece of EPCOT promotional material from the ’80s that I’ve ever seen:

mexico

They don’t miss the chance to tell you that you can drink booze at EPCOT, either.  There’s also a strange interlude with a stuffy elderly woman and a mime who go on a date?

world-showcase-uk mime

The back (less-than) half of the video focuses on Future World, with some great glimpses of the attractions that aren’t there anymore.  The entire layout of the park just makes more sense with Horizons poking up.  Lousy sinkholes.

smrt-1 communicore

fountain

Also a little love for the oft-neglected World of Motion attraction.

world-of-motion

This video probably captures “old” EPCOT better than any other I’ve seen. It doesn’t go into a ton of detail and it doesn’t need to – it’s just a big promo, after all. The wide shots of the park, the carefully staged in-attraction shots, and the elements of the World Showcase they included really paint the picture of a day that’s gone by. For better or worse.

For worse.

Here’s the video. So good.

 

Mighty Marvel Cookbook

Last week we looked at the DC Superhero Cookbook. Marvel beat them to the punch in 1977 with their cookbook, but it wasn’t really aimed at being healthy or anything. It was still a cute idea, and the art is great.

marvel-superheroes-cookbook desserts clobbered-omelet

I’m usually more of a Marvel guy, but I gotta give the win to DC on the cookbook front.

 

Star Trek: TNG Makeup Test

Watch the core cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation hold poses for an awkward amount of time.  Did anyone other than Geordi wear a visor in the show? It’s strange to see other characters here wearing one.

Of course Riker can’t hold his pose.

 

Super Bomberman 2 Commercials

This collection of Japanese commercials for 1994’s Super Bomberman 2 is an assault on the senses; there’s no shame if you can’t make it all the way through.  The live action Bomberman costumes are pretty great.

 

What Kind Of Man Owns His Own Computer?

Kind of crazy to imagine a time in which this question needed to be asked and answered.

apple-1979-ad

 

 

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Five Things – 09.14.15 – The Faint Pressure Of Starlight

1. Mars and Beyond – This episode of Disneyland, the ABC show that would eventually become The Wonderful World of Disney, Walt Disney Presents, and about a dozen other variations on that title, presents the history and future of speculation on the rest of the Solar System and man’s eventual place in it.

Mars and BeyondThis episode is similar in structure to “Man in Space”, but really ups the ante in just about every way with its ambition.  It opens with Walt and his robot pal named Garco:

Walt and GarcoNo real reason is given for Garco’s presence, and he’s not featured in the rest of the special, but just look at him!.  In typical Disney fashion we’re then taken through the history of man’s speculation of just what was out there in the cosmos, back when all we could do with space was to just look at it with the naked eye.

ShepherdThere’s a ton of gorgeous original animation in this special -it fills the majority of the first half hour and a good chunk of the second. We’re guided through our evolving view of the cosmos; the uncannily accurate, the charmingly inaccurate, and the downright embarrassing branches our views took. My favorites are the interpretations of Bernard De Fontenelle’s visions of what life was like on other planets.  Here’s Venus:

VenusSaturn:

SaturnAnd Mars:

MarsAbout halfway through the special, it shifts gears to what we think might really be out there given our current knowledge of the world around us.  It starts this section off with a slightly cruder animation of how the Solar System was formed, how Earth was formed, and eventually, how we were formed – beings capable of living within a wide range of temperatures given the right equipment.

160 DegreesWe’re then told about the specific ways each planet would kill us. Saturn’s my favorite, because it looks like a beautiful way to go.

Man on SaturnThe special then turns to Mars specifically, emphasizing that Man could actually make a go of things there in contrast to the other planets.  E.C. Slipher is brought in to give a little more color to the idea, which includes the suggestion that life may already exist on Mars…

EC Slipher…and we’re brought back into more animated speculation on how life might have evolved there.

What Might Be On MarsWhat MIght Be On Mars 2DiggerThe last third or so of the special drills down on our efforts to get to Mars.  This thing aired in 1957, and seeing this sorted of plan formulated at that point in time both inspires and depresses me.  Here’s the spacecraft suggested, an atomic powered saucer 500 feet in diameter and supporting a crew of 20 people.

Proposed Mars CraftThe reactor is on the bottom of the stem, and the landing vessel is attached to it.  On the opposite end of the stem from the vessel is the thruster.  The special concludes with a view of the proposed mission, with several of these craft taking the trip to the red planet together.

Mars MissionPersonal CraftThis special is really well done and captures just about everything I love about Disney the futurist.  Like most of his futurism, there’s not a lot of time spent on what wouldn’t work about these ideas or the incredible costs they’d rack up or the dozen other things that would prevent this and I’d make the argument that there doesn’t really need to be.  Not here, at least – these specials were meant to inspire first and inform second. And they certainly do that.

Here it is. Enjoy!

 

2.  St. Nicholas Magazine CoversSt. Nicholas was a children’s magazine from the late 19th and early 20th century, published by Scribners.  Their covers are beautiful; here are some that caught my eye. Tree Tiger Halloween Fall

And here’s a promotional poster for the magazine that I also love.

St Nicholas Poster

 

3.  Starriors – Here’s a commercial for Starriors, a robot toy from the ’80s that featured an old-school wind-up mechanic in a then-modern way.  That’s a lot of dashes in one sentence!

 

4.  Columbia House Games – Did you know Columbia House had a branch that extended their rip-off service to include computer games? Now you do! Here’s an ad from the early ’80s with the available titles and platforms.

Columbia House GamesFull disclosure: I could not get enough of that Cabbage Patch Kids game as a kid.  As far as ColecoVision goes, that one was a system-seller.

 

5.  Chee-tos Ad – And finally, an odd ad for Chee-tos.  I wonder if they really got the Duke of Cheddar to say that. I do miss that old logo and those old bag designs.  Why did we stop letting the customer see the chips inside of the bag?

Cheeto Wealth

Five Things – 08.24.15 – Now Man Will Bet His Life Against The Unknown Dangers Of Space Travel

1. Man in Space – Futurist Disney is, without a doubt, my favorite kind of Disney.  Here’s a documentary from the early side of the futurist Disney era, featured on the Wonderful World of Disney.

Man in SpaceMan in Space is a pretty earnest effort to educate (presumably) children about the mechanics involved in getting a man into space and keeping him alive there for an extended period of time.  It combines live action clips and scenes animated just for this film, and both aspects are remarkable.

Walt Rocket Walt sets us up for what we’re about to see, explaining that in just the next few years the impossible will become possible.  He then turns it over to Ward Kimball, one of the Nine Old Men, to take us through it. Ward also holds a rocket.

Ward KimballThe first segment of Man in Space gives us the history of rocket technology, complete with beautiful-yet-occasionally-offensive-these-days animation.  Newton makes an appearance, too, and the idea of action and reaction is introduced which will play significantly through the film.

Action Reaction

Action ReactionThe next section focuses on then-current efforts to get a rocket into space and keep it there.  Willy Ley takes over, giving a rundown of what they expect to achieve over the next few years with rocket-stage technology.

Three Stage RocketHeinz Haber takes the reins for the third segment of the film, discussing the complexities of keeping a man alive and mentally stable in “the incomprehensible nothingness of space”. There are some pretty great animations in this segment featuring the average Joe in space, dealing with things like weightlessness, cosmic rays, and meteorites. Spoiler: the meteorite kills him and then his body boils on one side and freezes on the other. Seriously. This happens in the film.

Cosmic RaysWeightlessBoiled and FrozenWerner Von Braun brings it home in the final segment to discuss the future of the American space program, detailing a ‘what-if’ scenario for the next few years that hits surprisingly close to the mark. That’s the thing about this film – for something produced and released in 1955 there’s a lot of dreaming and stuff that never materialized, but also a lot of practical thinking and stuff that did.  I think you can say that about a lot of Disney’s futurist thinking, and whenever I read about guys like Elon Musk and their enthusiasm and ideas for the future I get a whiff of the same scent.  It’s encouraging, and I wish there were more of it.

Here’s the film.

 

2.  Grill Skill – We’ve recently learned that Chili Can Be Served With Cheese, but here’s a training video from Wendy’s in 1989 that goes into just how that huge grill should be managed.  As expected, it’s song-based.

Grill SkillThe video follows Bill, a young up-and-comer at Wendy’s, who’s getting promoted to grill duty that day. His manager sits him in front of a television mounted in what I assume to be a corner of the restaurant and gives him a VHS to place into the television. He does so and the TV goes haywire….revealing a rapper!

Rapper in the MachineBill gets sucked into the TV and ends up in some sort of strange nether region with the rapper and a grill and a supply of fresh ground beef and NOTHING ELSE.

RapThe rapper takes Bill through a five minute song that goes into great detail on how to properly cook a Wendy’s burger.  There’s a neat segment where the ground beef itself has cartoon faces and sings about its various cycles of life on the grill.

Singing MeatDid I say neat? I meant horrifying.

Once the rap is done, Bill recites the rap back to the rapper without the benefit of the music.  The rapper gently corrects him on a few missteps.

Choke UpThen (and this was a reveal for me on the level of the ending of Soylent Green or Se7en), the rapper casually mentions that botched/over/undercooked burgers end up IN THE CHILI.  Seriously?! Why does that gross me out so much?

Upon proving his mastery of Grill Skills to the unnamed rapper, Bill is sent back out into the real world where he has to prove his mastery to his unnamed manager.  There’s a weird sequence of them forming what appears to be a love connection over the grill.

SmilingSmilingThe video then becomes a music video of a bunch of Wendy’s employees singing about Grill Skills.  There’s no real value or message or instruction to take away from this video; it seems to be there just to pad the length. Also, a guy plays air guitar on a spatula.

Air SpatulaWhere “Chili Can Be Served With Cheese” exhausted viewers at 4 minutes, “Grill Skill” runs fifteen!  Yet it must be viewed. Do so now.

Don’t miss Dave Thomas there at the end, sitting down to a table with a bowl full of REJECTED MEAT CHILI.

Dave

 

3.  Fairfield – Gorgeous ad here from Curtis Mathes for the Fairfield, an elegant combination television, AM/FM Radio, and Stereo.

Curtis Mathes FairfieldThat Curtis Mathes logo is no slouch, either!

 

4.  Major Matt Mason – Speaking of Man in Space, here’s Mattel’s Major Matt Mason.  That’s a pretty nifty spider crawler he’s sporting there on the moon.

 

5.  Meat for Babies – This one makes me shudder.  It can’t be real, right? An appalling yet beautifully laid out ad.

Meat for BabiesDon’t miss those “New! Ready to serve egg yolks!” either!

 

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Five Things – 08.17.15 – Taskbars and Email and Shortcuts, Oh My

1.  Microsoft Windows 95 Video Guide – Microsoft really went overboard with this goofy tutorial video on the then-new features of Windows 95.  There were a lot of changes from Windows 3.1, and what better way to display those changes than through an overacted, borderline offensive corporate training video? I’m sorry, I mean a cyber-sitcom. That’s what they call it.  The world’s first.

Windows GuideWho better to bring us into the brave new world of cyber sitcoms than the do-no-wrong stars of Friends, Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry? Nobody, that’s who.  And do-no-wrong? They did wrong.

Matthew Perry and Jennifer AnistonThe premise of the sitcom is that these two show up to audition for a Windows 95 training video. How Seinfeld-esque! The writers of this bit seem to be keenly aware of that fact, as there’s a funky bassline that provides the ‘rimshot’ to just about every joke in this video.

Anyway, Matt and Jen show up to Bill Gates’ office and Bill’s not there, but his personal assistant tells them to just go right into Bill’s office and use his computer. Because that’s what would happen.  This is Bill’s office.

Bill's OfficeI have a hard time believing his screen is that small.  The assistant seats the two down at Bill’s desk, and they get down to business.  “Business” being explaining the basic functions of Windows 95 as Matthew Perry coughs out one-liners on any term or phrase he can get a hold of.

TrioEventually the cast expands, and this is where it gets a little offensive.  There’s an Eastern European window washer (Microsoft’s “windows expert”. Get it?) who shows how to use plug and play, a Chinese food delivery guy named Jeff Li who demonstrates right clicking (?) by use of an overly halting tone of voice, a kid named Joystick Joey who can’t be beat at 3D Pinball and the Chipster, Microsoft’s email expert.

Chipster

There’s also a grunge band and a music video and some other stuff.  It’s pretty ridiculous.  Early on in the video they introduce a big red button, which Jennifer Aniston is warned not to touch under any circumstances.  They forget about it for about twenty minutes and then out of nowhere Aniston decides to push it.  This Tron’s the secondary cast into the computer and Matt and Jen leave.  The secondary cast is pretty excited about this development, which begs the question of why the button shouldn’t be pressed in the first place?

InsideThen there’s about 30 minutes of legitimate tutorial explaining the things discussed in the “cyber-sitcom” and 20 or so Frequently Asked Questions.  A real snoozefest after the gold of the first half-hour. Here it is.

 

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Five Things – 08.10.15 – And The Appearance Of Everything Begins To Change

1.  Just Say Julie – Late-1980s MTV had two Julie Browns.  There was Downtown Julie Brown, the cool Club MTV host and then there was Miss Julie Brown, the goofy comedienne. The latter Brown’s show was Just Say Julie, a mostly one-woman show that drew heavily on her celebrity-mocking stand-up act.

Just Say JulieBrown played a valley girl with a bit of an agenda against pop stars like Tiffany and Debbie Gibson, and a bit more of an agenda against Madonna.

Julie

The show was an unintentionally beautifully sort of clunky stream of consciousness, with Brown’s monologues taking up the bulk of the time.  There were also music videos but these were mocked in a proto-Beavis-and-Butthead style.  Sometimes she’d even show up in them!

Walk the Dinosaur

She played up a rivalry between herself and Downtown Julie Brown, the “Evil” Julie Brown.  Her unrequited love for Jon Bon Jove was a recurringtheme as well.  Both running gags resulted in payoffs later in the series!

Here’s an episode. It’s almost hard to tell from the grainy, hiss quality here but this was a pretty popular show and managed to upset a lot of celebrities!

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Five Things – 08.03.15 – Chili Can Be Served With Cheese

1.  Disneyland Haunted Mansion Special – In typical Disney fashion, here’s a special produced to celebrate the 1970 debut of the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland.  This one’s a little more sedate than some of the other specials I’ve featured in Five Things; it seems a little more natural than the overblown specials of the 1980s and 1990s.

OsmondsThis one features the Osmond Brothers, E.J. Peaker, and a very young Kurt Russell.  The Osmonds and Peaker arrive to perform at the park and Donny and Jay quickly run off to ride some rides and check out the new Haunted Mansion ride.  The bulk of the special consists of the rest of them scouring the park to find Donny and Jay.  The odd thing about this show is that it assumes that you already know all about Disneyland; the cast travels around to the different attractions but no effort is made to point them out and explain what they are.  Like I said, sedate – something they’d quickly remedy in later specials.

Kids of the KingdomThere are about five musical numbers in the special plus a really cool featurette at the end about the construction and design behind the Haunted Mansion ride.  Then the Osmonds and E.J. go through the ride.

All in all, pretty fun.  A beautiful look at the park in 1970, if nothing else.

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