Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

My final post of the 2007 holiday season; my final post of all of 2007, for that matter. I started this blog back on October 30th, and I've had an absolute blast sharing all of this great material with you. Since the blog's inception, almost every post has been related to a holiday, be it Halloween, Thanksgiving, or Christmas (or other). With the start of a new year upon us, I will be branching out of that small niche to bring you all kinds of great things on all kinds of subjects. Thanks to everyone that has given my blog a look the past two months, and I hope you continue to stop by throughout 2008 and beyond.

To ring out the old and ring in the new, here is one final Christmas clip, a unique take on "The 12 Days of Christmas" (sent in by friend Todd Mason):



Second, the happiest New Year's Day song ever--by U2. Well, maybe not the happiest, but it's a New Year's song.



Finally, count down to midnight amongst the company of Rhoda Morgenstern:



To everyone, I wish a year of health, happiness, and love.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Meet The Mummers

This is about a subject near and dear to my heart. Every New Year's Day, many Philadelphia citizens participate in and enjoy as spectators the Mummers Parade, something most people living outside the area aren't familiar with.

The Mummers Parade is one of the oldest continuing folk traditions in the country. The Parade consists of people dressed in various kinds of multicolored and speckled costumes, very similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. There are four different divisions of Mummers: comics, fancies, string bands, and fancy brigades.

The comics are simply that: clown-like in nature, and usually spoofing some type of social or pop cultural trend. Fancies are individuals arrayed in extravagant costumes of different categories, usually with a theme to their outfit. String bands are large groups of musicians (between 46 and 64 members) who march in ornate comstumes while playing their respective instruments: saxophone, banjo, bass fiddle, and drums, creating a unique sound not heard anywhere else on the planet. Finally, the fancy brigades perform similarly to the string bands, but to popular recorded music of the times rather than their own live music.

I was a Mummer myself for several years, and I was and currently am very proud to have been a part of it.

What I've said here doesn't do justice to the tradition. The best thing I can do is offer some clips.







The band seen directly above, The Joseph A. Ferko String Band, is one of the most popular bands of all time. Here is the band's titular founder on the game show "I've Got A Secret" from 1963:



For more information on the Mummers, visit these online sources:

The Mummers Museum: http://www.mummersmuseum.com/

Official Mummers Web site: http://mummers.com/

WPHL-TV Channel 17, Philadelphia, the local station airing the Parade: http://www.myphl17.com/community/mummers/

Finally, this longtime Mummer sums up why this great tradition continues:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Happy Kwanzaa!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas Day! The day after Christmas often feels like a downer compared to the big day beforehand, at least for me, but I perk up again as the week inches closer to New Year's Day. Until then, even though Christmas Day has passed, it's still the holiday season! Keep playing the Christmas music, keep watching Rudolph and Frosty on TV, and keep wearing handmade sweaters with gaudy Santas on them! Have at it!

And to prove it's still the holidays, below is a primer for a holiday that begins today--Kwanzaa.



Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Well, this is it: my last Christmas post. But not my last holiday post, and you'll see the difference throughout the upcoming week.

First, Ed Grimley, aka Martin Short, stars as "The Fella Who Couldn't Wait for Christmas."



Next, a delightul look at "Christmas 1950" around the world:



Finally, the reason for the season, courtesy of one of my all-time favorite voices of moral conscience:



And on that note, I wish everyone, Christian or not, all the blessings of Christmas, today, tomorrow, and through all the days of your life.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Santa, The Conquering Hero

Here are two very infamous outings starring Santa as hero. The first is Santa Claus Conquers The Martians, featuring Santa kidnapped by the titular beings, and the second is the conveniently named Santa Claus, featuring Santa versus none other than Satan. I couldn't find a pure version of the latter film; the only version I could find online is the Mystery Science Theater 3000 edition. Perhaps that will add to the experience of watching that dreadful film.

Martians at least has some quaint charms. I like the idea of Santa conquering not with weapons, but with love. I think a remake would do the concept justice.


One more post before the big day--stay tuned!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Irreverance Threeplay

I've kept this blog family-friendly from the beginning, but this post is an exception. Here I present the very first South Park cartoon ever--even before the famous Jesus vs. Santa version of "The Spirit of Christmas" (which can be found all over the Internet). This version is maybe less well known. It features Cartman being called Kenny and the world's most malicious snowman (aside from the non-Michael Keaton version of Jack Frost). Don't put the hat on the snowman! VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED!



Also for your enjoyment, a modern Christmas carol from Robert Smigel and his "TV Funhouse."



Keeping the SNL theme going, taste some "Schweddy Balls":

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Raymond Briggs' "The Snowman"

This is an Oscar-winning animated short about a boy's trip to the North Pole courtesy of a magical snowman. A beautiful film with a bittersweet ending. The narration at the very beginning is read by David Bowie. I'll have more from Raymond Briggs after the holidays.



Saturday, December 15, 2007

He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special


Here is an item that I'm especially psyched to present. Not because it's a particularly great special in itself (I haven't seen it in years), but because it's a part of one of my favorite TV programs growing up: He-Man and the Masters of the Universe!

Like most Generation X males, I clamored for every item of this awesome Mattel Toys franchise. The TV show was required viewing for everyone I knew. The line was so popular Mattel created a female spin-off: She-Ra, He-Man's twin sister (it's a long story). After she earned her own program, characters from both shows united for this Christmas special (which may only have aired for one Christmas season). Here it is in five parts, so kick off your shoes, sit back, and enjoy the ride!

"I HAVE THE POWERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Cosmic Christmas

This is an animated special created by the prolific Nelvana studios of Canada circa 1980. It's probably been that long since I last saw it. I thought this was very strange and trippy then, and my opinion hasn't changed now. Certainly not a classic, but a worthy trip down Memory Lane nonetheless.



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rudolph & Frosty Pre-Rankin/Bass

Here we have two cartoons featuring the most famous Christmas characters around (not counting Santa and Jesus Christ, of course). These cartoons precede the famous Rankin/Bass creations by, well, quite a few years. The Rudolph cartoon was created by the renowned Fleischer Studios (animators of Popeye and Superman); I don't know the origin of the Frosty cartoon. They rock!



Saturday, December 8, 2007

Star Wars Holiday Special

Alright, Christmas fans, now it's time to get serious! I'm bringing out the big guns, starting with this cult classic.

In fact, I'm probably the only creator and peruser of blogs like this that HASN'T seen this special. Even as I post it, I haven't seen it, but I hope to now that I've blogged it (courtesy of the fine folks at Google Video). It's two solid hours (!) of Star Wars "holiday" fun. I hope it's as kitschy as I expect it to be, but I also hope it's more entertaining than the God-awful Star Wars Christmas record by Meco. I just heard it for the first time this week--OMG!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Christmas Commercial Wrap-Up

Today I'd like to clear out the last of the Christmas commercials I've stockpiled so I can move on to more full-length Christmas programming. Time's a wastin'!

The most famous Coke commerical (aside from the one starring Mean Joe Green) is probably the one from circa 1970 featuring a multicultural cast singing the jingle "I'd Like To Teach the World to Sing." The one I grew up with, however, was this holiday version from several years later.



Speaking of soft drinks, remember the 7-Up dots? I loved them, and they shine in this fun clip.



Everybody loves Oreo cookies, and Santa is no different!



The late Michael Landon made a series of Kodak commercials in the early '80s. Here is a holiday-themed example.



Does anything embody Christmas better than Fruity Pebbles cereal? Yeah, many things do. But this commercial is as sweet as the cereal.



The person who uploaded this classic clip on YouTube says this is the best McDonald's commerical ever, and it's hard to argue. I dare you not to be moved!



This Herskey's Kiss commercial is still on the air today, and God bless'em for it. One of my absolute favorites!



Finally, this is an old bumper from CBS that I didn't know existed until yesterday, but I already adore it. A rare moment of tranquility on a major US network. Excellently done!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Hanukkah!

To usher in the Festival of Lights, beginning at sundown tonight, I have two celebratory clips. The first is a brief description of the holiday's origins.



Second, an energetic rendition of "Light One Candle" by Peter, Paul, and Mary.



Happy Hanukkah!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

M&Ms Christmas Commercials from the 80s

This post is a tribute of sorts to film editing. Here we have two different commercials for M&Ms candies--and yet they're not so different. Each commercial features the same film footage but different jingles. Two commercials for (almost) the price of one. Enjoy the recycled Christmas goodness!



Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Toys R Us Christmas Commercial

Here we have a Christmas commercial from a very important place this time of year. I remember this commercial from the very early 80s, but most sources date this campaign starting in 1976. Quite a different jingle from the one we're more familiar with (and what follows the Christmas commercial).


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Gimbel's Christmas Commercials from 1983

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Now the holiday season has officially begun! This is my absolute favorite time of year, and I've amassed some really cool holiday treats for everyone to enjoy throughout the season, so let's get right to it.

First up: two nostalgic commercials for those who fondly remember Gimbel's department store. Although they were a national chain, as a kid I thought they were a Philadelphia institution. They were the original sponsors of Philadelphia's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the oldest in the nation, and as sponsors, they had plenty of commericals for Gimbel's Black Friday sales, two of which are featured here. 'Tis the season!

A hundred bucks for a Walkman? Ouch!



Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thanksgiving Countdown 2007 Finale: A Day of Thanksgiving

Here is the last of the Thanksgiving programs I have to present to you this year. To be honest, I'm not sure of the origins of this short film, which I would date as late 40s/early 50s. Quite frankly, I'm too lazy to do the research :)

The film showcases a sterotypical postwar nuclear family learning and appreciating the true meaning of the holiday. Some may see this as heartwarming, others may see it as cloying, but regardless of personal interpretation, it's an engaging slice of postwar Americana. Enjoy!



I hope everyone has enjoyed my Thanksgiving Countdown; please send me feedback via the comments sections or email so I can prepare for next year. This will be my last post before the big day, but I plan on posting again either Saturday or Sunday. So until then, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

But wait--what's this!



Yes indeed, the holidays are coming, and I have plenty of great holiday stuff on the way. Stay tuned--the fun's just beginning!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving Countdown 2007: Perdue Oven Stuffer Roaster Commercial

Well, this isn't officially a holiday clip, but I think the situation demonstrated is very much a part of Thanksgiving: leftovers. The late Frank Perdue brags about the ability of his poultry to provide a steady supply of goodness for several days. The jingle in this commercial was often sung in my household when I was growing up when dining on leftover chicken. My family is weird.



I'll have one more Thanksgiving post before the big day, probably on Tuesday. See you then!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving Countdown 2007: B.C.: The First Thanksgiving

Next on our countdown (I feel like Casey Kasem) is the third and final cartoon of the series. B.C.: The First Thanksgiving originally aired on NBC in the early 70s, but I didn't see it until the late '80s in syndication. The entire cast of the comic strip goes hunting for a turkey for their Thanksgiving soup, even though they don't know what a turkey is. Thank the Internet gods for YouTube, as it's probably the only place you'll see this obscure special; I don't believe it's in print.



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thanksgiving Countdown 2007: Adam Sandler, "The Turkey Song"

An obvious choice, but an entertaining one nonetheless. Check out the song's debut on Saturday Night Live before Sandler made an official recording of it. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Thanksgiving Countdown 2007: Tom and Jerry, "The Little Orphan"

My third installment in the Countdown features another cartoon (and it won't be the last). This classic MGM Tom and Jerry short (an Academy Award winner) was the first to feature the character of Nibbles, who often played sidekick to Jerry. See them attempt to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast despite Tom's best efforts to twart them.

Speaking of Thanksgiving...

As long as this is intended to be a thankful time of year, I'd like to thank some folks you have made my earliest blogging days happy ones.

First I wish to thank Dave at the Mostly Ghostly Music Sharing BLAAAHHHGGG!!! and Rich "Dartman" Dart of Dartman's World of Wonder for including me in the links sections of their respective blogs. I appreciate the support (and traffic that will hopefully come my way).

I also want to thank Kirk at the Secret Fun Blog for his kind words and assistance. He informed me of some useful resources for growing my blog, and I will use those resources to make this a blog you'll return to time and again. He also gave me a mention regarding the Witch's Night Out video I posted on Halloween.

The great blogs these gentlemen have created helped inspire me to do what I'm doing now, and if you enjoy what I've done so far, they deserve your thanks as well. You can find all of their blogs in my favorite links section.

Happy holidays, guys, and thanks again!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thanksgiving Countdown 2007: WKRP in Cincinnati, "Turkeys Away"

Next up on our Thanksgiving Countdown: the most famous episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, "Turkeys Away." This will make you look up before venturing outside for the next couple of weeks!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Thanksgiving Countdown 2007: Daffy Duck, "Holiday for Drumsticks"

Today begins the first of my Thanksgiving posts to usher in the holiday season.

First up: Daffy Duck in the Warner Bros. cartoon "Holiday for Drumsticks." Daffy tricks a turkey into staying trim to avoid becoming Thanksgiving dinner, while Daffy enjoys the turkey's fattening food--with unintended results. A treat for Daffy fans such as myself who prefer the earlier wacky Daffy instead of the curmudgeon he became later. Thanks for watching!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Hey Ya, Charlie Brown!

In keeping with the Peanuts theme, here is, as of this date, the funniest thing I've ever seen! I won't say much else except sit back and invest four minutes in this great clip. I thought about posting this closer to Christmas, as the footage is from the classic Peanuts Christmas special, but it's just too funny to hold onto.
Enjoy!

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Peanuts Gang as manga

I'm a HUGE Peanuts comic strip fan, and I came across a very cool reimagining of the characters in Japanese manga format making their way around the 'Net. What an awesome job!

http://that.animeblogger.net/2007/04/13/what-if-charlie-brown-became-an-anime/

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Witch's Night Out

My Halloween treat for everyone: The 1978 animated television special, Witch's Night Out. Celebrity voices include Gilda Radnor and Catherine O'Hara. I remember this special vividly from my childhood but haven't seen it since.  Enjoy!


Watch Witch's Night Out in Family  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Your Halloween Headquarters--Woolworth's!

Still need to do some last-minute Halloween shopping? Go to your local Woolworth's or Woolco store!

Nostalgic Candy

Do you long to go out with the kiddies in your Halloween best this year and collect that sweet candy you loved so much as a child? Well don't , because you're too old and you'd look ridiculous. But you can, however, go to this site and get the beloved candy of your youth. It's Nostalgic Candy.com! Enjoy those Reese's Cups and Clark Bars!

http://www.nostalgiccandy.com/

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog! Here you'll find musings, ruminations, tripe, dreck, and hopefully some fun stuff. Do yourself a favor and bookmark this blog so you don't have to type the ridiculously long URL again. This is very much a work in progress, so please bare with me as I get the hang of this blogging thing. Stay tuned!

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