Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Regifted Christmas

For the holiday season I've always tried to do something uniquely special to show my love for my fellow humans at this joyous time of year. Nothing store bought will do. Oh no, it has to be something merry and festive that was created personally by me.

In the past I created my own Christmas cards, and in recent years, Christmas animations. I fully intended to carry on the tradition this year, but for various reasons I just never got around to making something.

So not to disappoint, I dug up something from the distant past I made. It's a video created on antiquated 3/4 inch equipment - which is now a completely extinct format. In a dark time when everything was analog, and the idea of digital non-linear editing was the stuff of science fiction.

I bring you the Channel 12 Community Access Christmas promo...

video

This was probably the first creative thing I ever got paid to do, and I made a channel promo for every major holiday. I thought about enhancing it with some flashy new graphics, or something, but except for the use of the Dr. Frankenstein ID I left this in all its questionable VHS quality glory.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Claus Land 1978


Just when you thought it was safe, Santa Claus Land strikes back!

On the cover of this 1978 brochure the actual photo of Santa used in the 1976 version has been replaced with a cartoon representation of a gigantic Santa overlooking his kingdom. Also free parking is prominently featured.




If you've been wondering what has happened to Santa Claus Land, well you won't find it anymore.

But good news everybody, that's because Santa Claus Land became Holiday World in 1984. Holiday World is a very popular amusement park with various lands themed to a different holiday.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Story Book Fantasy at Deer Acres

My next brochure isn't technically Christmas related, but if you accept it in the vein of Babes in Toyland which is something of a Christmas classic, it sorta fits a Christmas theme.

Hey I'm trying here...


This Story Book Fantasy at Deer Acres brochure is from the late 1970's, but sure looks like it could be from the 1950's.


I'm always suspicious of brochures that don't have actual photography of the attractions. If they're only using illustrations, I think what are they trying to hide?


Actually Deer Acres Storybook Amusement Park (it's current official name) seems like a modest old fashioned park which by all accounts is clean and run well. The park recently celebrated it's 50th season. Although the current owners wish to sell, and if you read this article the 2008 season might have been its last.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Santa Claus Land 1976


Just in time for the 2008 Holiday season here's part one of my Christmas themed brochure-a-palooza!

First up is that jolly old fat man himself, the one and only Santa Claus, and the Santa Claus Land amusement park located in the appropriately named Santa Claus, Indiana.

Check out the inside of the brochure in all its bicentennial-era glory...





Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Celebrate The Season With Kraft

Two things have come to my attention:

1. The holidays are upon us.

2. This blog is so very neglected.

Well to rectify this situation, and offer a little pre-holiday helpful information I present to you a collection of classic Kraft recipe commercials.

Kind YouTubers have posted these wonderful commercials for which I'm very Thankful. Kraft doesn't make these special holiday recipe spots anymore, and if you're anything like me watching these is pure 110% nostalgia. Just the sound of the narrator's voice, Ed Herlihy, makes me all warm and fuzzy.




After watching these spots it makes me want to try the recipes. If any of you reading this give the recipes a try be sure to let me know how it turned out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist Promo

Such an incredible discovery, and on Halloween no less!

Last night a mysterious small roll of 16MM movie film was delivered to me by carrier pigeon. With curiously getting the better of me, I immediately dashed off to our local all night film-to-DVD transfer services to find our what was on the film.

Much to my delight it looks to be a promo for a long lost Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist TV show. Just like what I wrote about in my blog a while back. Wow, imagine that!

Here check it out...


Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist from David Witt on Vimeo.

Some may question the authenticity of this since there's no record of the show ever existing, and I can't blame them. A few things seem a bit off, and not at all like a true Hanna-Barbera cartoon from the 1960's. Those voices for example... What was Jean Vander Pyl busy or something?

Well, like Linus and the Great Pumpkin I choose to beleve this is true. It's more fun that way. If you wish to believe too, I'm not going to stop you, and I'll save a spot for you in the pumpkin patch.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Retro Haunted House Newspaper Article

Check out this page from the October 24-25 1973 edition of the Northville Record. It's about the local Jaycee Haunted House which are now a thing of the past around here.


Here's a close-up of the "giant spook" they placed outside of the haunted house...


OK Michigan peeps, here's a nice close up of beloved horror host Sir Graves Ghastly who made an appearance at the haunted house.



Sadly, here's the YouTube video of Sir Graves obit on Fox 2 ...




One last Halloween-ish video for all Michigan folks, a Highland Appliance commercial for the Electronic Thing...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist & Friends

Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist are possibly Hanna-Barbera's strangest creations.

They're not strange because they are obscure, or creepy Addams Family-like creations. They're strange because they only appeared as supporting characters in three Hanna-Barbera shorts, never had a show of their own, and yet still managed to get their own comic book "series."

Let's take a look at the three Hanna-Barbera cartoons that Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist appeared in. For comparison sake I've included a frame grab of each character. This way you can see how the designs change from cartoon to cartoon.  Once upon a time I embedded a YouTube video of each cartoon, but they inevitably got yanked.  So now I've simply posted the title cards from each cartoon - you're on your own if you want to watch these somewhere.

The Evil family's first appearance in Surprised Party 12/03/1960



_______________________________

Looking very green in Fraidy Cat Lion 02/20/1961



_______________________________


The design of the "Evil" family changes once again in Chilly Chiller 10/6/1961


Junior seems to be the only one doing any science


It's funny, for a family named Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist, the toddler Junior, is the only one depicted doing any sort of "evil scientist" type stuff in any of their cartoon appearances.

All the Hanna-Barbera cartoons featuring Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist were written by the famous cartoon writer Michael Maltese. Michael Maltese worked with Chuck Jones on some of the most memorable Bugs Bunny cartoons, and it's here I suspect some of the roots of the J.Evil Scientist character began. Oh sure, the Addams Family single panel cartoon in The New Yorker are certainly the biggest influence (the Evil's were on on the tube years before the ABC TV show), but not the only I think.

Chuck Jones directed Hair Raising Hare in 1946. It was written by Ted Pierce, and featured a Evil Scientist without a name that looked and sounded exactly like Peter Lorre.

Hair Raising Hare 1946


In 1952 Jones directs Water, Water Every Hare which was written by Michael Maltese. The Evil Scientist in this cartoon no longer looks and sounds like Peter Lorre. Nope the Scientist is now short and greenish, and sounds like Boris Karloff. Although the Evil Scienti still has a flashing neon sign outside on his castle.

Water, Water Every Hair 1952


Take these two Evil Scientist characters mix together, take the "J" from Michigan J. Frog, from One Froggy Evening which is another cartoon written by Michael Maltese, and you have J. Evil Scientist.

So is that a total crackpot theory for the origins of Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist or what?

All 4 covers grouped in one convenient picture

Now we come to my exclusive addition to the internet - an entire Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist comic book story. Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist had four issues of thier own comic published right around Halloween time from 1963 to 1966.

However, I don't know which comic this story originally appeared in. "A Visit from Granny" was reprinted in a issue of a Flintstones comic from 1970. Here I present it to you in all its four page glory.





Well there you have it. It's a shame Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist never had their very own show. It's certainly fun to think what it might have been like. I don't know maybe some animation historian will turn up some lost footage or something one day about these almost forgotten characters.

If you wish to read more about Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist, you can check the Wiki entry,  fellow blogger I'm Learning To Share post, and last but certainly not least, there's a number of posts over on Monsterama.

UPDATE:  I've come across mysterious evidence of a lost Mr. and Mrs. J. Evil Scientist show, and I have the TV promo for it right here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Revenge of the Cobweb Machine

Last year I wrote about my homemade cobweb machine, but unfortunately wasn't able to properly demonstrate what it could do since my can of ancient cobweb fluid had dried out. If you haven't read my original post you can click here to read it if you wish.

Surprisingly that little post of mine has turned into one of my most popular pages. So to kick off the Halloween season I thought I should revisit my machine, and hopefully really show what it can do.

Since professional cobweb fluid those big shot Hollywood types use is essentially thinned rubber cement, I had the idea why don't I try using plain old rubber cement in the cobweb machine.


I bought a 4 oz jar of regular and readily available rubber cement at Home Depot for $2.19. Poured about half of it into my web machine, and let the machine loose on a old garden lattice.

It worked great! As you can see from the above picture I got very good coverage, and even managed to bridge the gap between the garden lattice and the step ladders I used to support it.

At first glance the webs look almost perfect, but on closer inspection I found a minor flaw.

If you carefully examine the picture above you'll notice little drops of rubber cement throughout the web. Maybe most people wouldn't notice this, but I thought I could do better.


Another flaw I found was with my machine itself. You see that threaded rod sticking out almost four inches from the top. The webbing was getting caught on it, but that's nothing a few minutes with a hacksaw wouldn't fix. I sawed the rod off flush with the top of the wing nut.


Next I mixed the the remaining rubber cement with some thinner. I didn't measure at all, but I'd say I had about 40% thinner to 60% rubber cement mixture. Also if you're keeping an eye on cost, my 16 oz can of thinner was purchased years ago at Michels for $7.25.

Again, I filled my machine, and let it do it's thing. I got some very nice and delicate webs.

A wasn't able to rid the webs of droplets completely, but I do believe they were much smaller and less noticeable.

So the you have it. Both regular rubber cement and thinned rubber cement will make excellent realistic spider webs. Well, spider webs that look like they we made by spiders used in those famous drug experiments.



I checked online, and a pint of professional web fluid was going for around $20. If cost is a big concern you might be able to come out ahead my mixing your own fluid. But frankly, if I were you I think might just buy a can of the professional stuff to save me the chore of mixing my own.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

More Ripley's Believe In Or Not Museum

Okay folks, prepare yourself for the "classic" souvenir postcard folder from the Ripley's Believe In Or Not Museum in St. Augustine, Florida...

Yeah it's pretty hit and miss if you ask me. It seems they could have picked a stronger selection of oddities. "End Of Trail," really?

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