Whitman grew through the 1920s primarily as a publisher and distributor of children’s books, puzzles, and board games, eventually publishing some Disney titles.
You can find many examples of Whitman puzzles featuring Disney personalities, often engaged in some fun activity or form of mischief, depending on the character.
But my favorite puzzles to find are those that feature a tie-in to the theme parks, such as the one I’m sharing in this post:
Unlike most depictions of Walt Disney World on products like this, this one accurately portrays the location and activity as it would be experienced by any guest. It captures Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy enjoying a friendly sail on Bay Lake with the monorail and Cinderella’s Castle in the background. Pure vintage gold!
If you compare the image above with the one on the box cover you will notice roughly where you would experience such a sailing adventure in real life. If the above picture panned to the left, it would approximate the angle used by Whitman.
And speaking of the box, all four sides are identical, and appear as seen below:
I won’t buy a puzzle that has been opened because you can’t be sure all of the pieces are there to complete the image. That’s why finding a factory sealed product is so exciting!
To seal the puzzle box, Whitman used a wrap-around sticker which tells you it has been unopened.
To be honest, I rarely do puzzles, buying them mainly for the colorful box art. I find they make great display pieces! How about you? Would you open the box and put the puzzle together, or keep it in the box as a collectible?
Although Walt Disney was more of a Polo man himself, it seems his progeny lean more towards the gentleman’s game of golf.
And if you’re going to play, it’s not just the clubs and balls you need to be a success.
Golfers also need markers. They place markers behind their balls on putting greens to allow players to pick up and clean their balls without losing their spots. Markers also help fellow golfers by removing the distracting presence of another ball in their line of sight. If a marker is in the way of another golfer’s putting line, it can be removed, as long as it is moved back afterward in accordance with the rules.
So whether you’re marking your ball position or helping out a fellow golfer, you may as well do it in style!
I wonder if they use these in the professional games played on the Disney courses?
This is a wonderful set of four brass golf ball markers. There are many different types of markers to choose from. They can be personalized or embellished with Swarovski crystals, glitz, glitter and divot tools! Or just with some Disney characters.
Mickey cuts a classic figure as he tees off.
Pluto clears the hole ready for Mickey’s umpteen-yard putt!
And one might assume that Donald has just hooked or sliced his way to another over-par round.
Is Goofy winning? Will this putt earn him the Gold Jacket? It likely doesn’t matter for this good natured sportsman!
To conclude, I would just like to say: “FORE!”
FUN FACTS: “Fore” was originally a Scot’s interjection that was used to warn anyone standing or moving in the flight of an errant golf ball. The mention of the term in an 1881 British Golf Museum indicates that the term was in use at least as early as that period. One might assume that a golfer like Donald Duck would use this term often.
Who remembers the old Disney Movie Rewards program? As with so many other Disney programs, this one was reworked and then renamed, in this case as Disney Movie Insiders. Is it better? It appears to me to offer way fewer rewards. So it’s off to the ‘Fungeon’ for whoever green-lit the change! (“Fun-Dungeon. It’s a play on words. Get it?”)
But back in the day when the program was new and growing you could get some awesome rewards, such as:
I was bummed that this wasn’t actually a miniature version (just 6″ high) of the ‘actual’ video game found in the movie Wreck-It Ralph. Then I began to think about how hard it would be to play such a small game and so I accepted it for what it was: an Alarm Clock.
The ‘real’ game in the movie was called Fix It Felix Jr. and featured Felix as the hero with Ralph as the villain. But Pixar named the movie after Ralph, so who got the last laugh?
Repeat after me: “I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be than me.” Even if his likeness is put on the back of the collectible? Now that’s the power of positive thinking! It’s better than ‘Going Turbo’!
Can you guess when I took the above photograph?
Well, I’ve finished my assignment and brought this post in under budget and on time. “It may not be as fancy as being president, but it’s my duty, and it’s a big duty.” (snicker snicker)
The Zorro television series only lasted for two seasons but made almost as much of a sensation as did the Davy Crocket series before it. But not quite! Based on the Zorro character created by Johnston McCulley, the series premiered on October 10, 1957 on ABC. The final network broadcast was July 2, 1959. Seventy-eight episodes were produced along with four hour-long specials. And then the character and the series rode off into the blackness that is cancellation!
Guy Williams rocketed to stardom as Zorro and later became another cult favorite when he played Professor John Robinson from 1965 – 1968 in the popular science fiction epic Lost in Space.
But going back to the 50s, we have this great not-so LP record featuring songs from the series:
LP stands for Long Play which usually refers to the 33 1/3 rpm format, or 12″ records. This disc is only 10″ in size and plays at 78 rpm. So, Medium Play?
If you are a fan of the show then one of your favorite characters is likely Sergeant Garcia, played by Henry Calvin. He had a wonderful singing voice and often broke out into song during the episodes.
This record features a popular selection entitled ‘Here’s to a Soldier of the King’. The A-side contains the famous Zorro television theme.
This record is not labeled as a Disneyland Records product, that company being started in 1956. Zorro came out in 1957 with versions of this record appearing on the Disneyland Records label in 1958.
As you can see from the label, this version was released by Simon and Schuster in Canada. I can’t find the year of release. It may be that although Disneyland Records started in 1956, it may not have taken over exclusive release rights for Disney music and soundtracks in every territory until later, making this version possible.
Henry Calvin’s rich baritone voice was used for singing everything from drinking songs to serenades, and even a duet with Annette Funicello in one episode of the series. He also sang the children’s song “Never Smile at a Crocodile” for Disneyland Records, and “We Won’t Be Happy Till We Get It” with Ray Bolger and “Slowly He Sank To The Bottom of the Sea” on the Babes in Toyland soundtrack.
I’m always amazed to find out how much some of the lesser-known stars of various Disney series and films did for the company. We often know certain stars for one role or performance, forgetting how much Walt Disney liked to recycle his talent!
You can watch both seasons of Zorro in their entirety thanks to the Walt Disney Treasures DVD releases.
Let’s end this post with an excerpt from the well-known lyrics of the Zorro theme song… sort of:
Out of the (post), when the full (page is scrolled), (Goes the album) known as Zorro. This bold (recording) carves a ‘Z’ with (the player’s needle), A ‘Z’ that stands for Zorro.
Time to sail the Seven Seas and perhaps the Spanish Main as we board Captain Hook’s pirate ship. Will we arrive in Never Never Land or will we have to scuttle our vessel along the way? Either way, it’s too late to turn back now!
We join our protagonists with a duel already in progress:
Have you ever wondered why the sides of a ship are called starboard and port? Obviously if we just use ‘left’ and ‘right’, it could cause confusion because such designations depend on the orientation of the one calling out those directions. Are they facing forward or backwards? According to Naval tradition, when looking from the bow (front) to the stern (rear) of the ship, the port lies on the right side while the starboard side lies on the left.
FUN FACTS: Do you remember the wench auction in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride? The Auctioneer tells a larger woman to show her ‘larboard side’, which coincides to the starboard side of a ship, or the left side. She is facing to the right, showing the bidders (and you in the boats) her right side. So he is asking her to turn around to show her other side. The fact that the woman is ‘big boned’ means this is essentially a fat joke, due to the use of a nautical term for a ship.
And now you know!
The bow can also be called the fore, which is the front of the ship.
To further confuse which side is which, we get into the designated areas or zones for marker lights. For what it’s worth, I found this diagram to explain that Port and Starboard aren’t always absolute ‘left’ and ‘right’ designations, but can exist also in degrees:
My brain hurts so I’m going to move on and just show the collectible for the rest of the post!
The stern, or aft, refers to the rear of the ship. This is also where the Captain’s Quarters are found. You can see Captain Hook’s quarters through the windows in the ship.
Yes, the duel between Peter Pan and Captain Hook that started at the beginning of this post is still raging on! Of course, it’s been fought for years, perhaps untold decades, so it won’t likely end anytime soon.
The Lost Boys, along with Wendy, John, and Michael, are tied to the Mast. But from the looks on their faces, I’d say they don’t feel the day is lost just yet!
I love finding pieces with the original price displayed. This collectible originally sold for $95.00. Appropriately the music played upon winding the key is “You Can Fly” from the 1953 animated classic Disney film, Peter Pan.
As with any Disney collectible, you can find many examples of each piece on the Net. Usually the Seller will claim that what they have is ‘rare’. Then you find dozens more as you scroll down through the site pages! This Captain Hook Pirate Ship Snow Globe is no exception. If you want one for yourself, there are many for sale on eBay and other selling sites, with asking prices ranging from $70.00 to over $500.00. So shop around!
Although this collectible may be well loved by Disney fans, pirates in general don’t receive similar love. But don’t feel too sorry for them! Just review these lyrics from the song ‘A Pirates Life for Me’:
“We’re beggars and blighters, ne’er-do-well cads… Aye, but we’re loved by our mommies and dads!”
Disney is no stranger to exploiting the child market with various types of content. This is perhaps nowhere more truthful than with the many LP releases of Disneyland Records.
Although I may not listen to such offerings, I do collect them and enjoy the cover art and playful nature of the presentations! Let’s look at a typical example:
Many Disney records aimed at children are educational in nature. This LP features songs that teach the alphabet and counting. It also gets children up on their feet to do some fun acting-out games.
This LP features the more common yellow label.
Both sides of the LP feature time-honored children’s songs. This is likely because these selections are out of copyright and can be used for free, making an LP like this inexpensive to produce.
The introductory text works hard to assure children that the LP isn’t about learning arithmetic or numbers, but is just about having fun… while learning arithmetic and numbers. Nice try, Disney!
The song ‘Acting Out the ABC’s’ is a fun little number that makes no sense at times. For example, “He’s an O for an onion that cried” and “You’re an N like a tilting house.” What?!? Well, how about “He’s a G for a grasshopper’s glide” or “He’s a W for a walrus lost.” And children are supposed to act out this gibberish?
American Graffiti did much to romanticize the 50s. Like it needed any help! I love that era and always appreciate a good movie set in the period or a piece of merchandise that celebrates the cars, culture, and good times.
However, most of these movies and merchandizing promote a 50s that never was.
That being said, here is a nice collectible from 1988 that definitely was and apparently still is:
We’re eight minutes late! They’ve crammed in a lot of stereotypical 50s stuff on this piece. Waitresses and Soda Jerks, cool cars and Hot Rods, and that uncomfortable first date – it’s all here. Oh, and so are the burgers and fries!
BONUS POINTS if you can identify the make and model of each car parked out front.
Old 50s architecture and signage is so stylized and iconic. I love the script lettering and the ‘i’ dotted with a star!
New Haven Quartz wall clocks are still being manufactured. You can click the link for a look at what’s new but also to see some more vintage offerings from the 70s and later.
More of the great script signage along with some of the menu. But now let’s take a closer look inside the diner itself:
So what are the Specials today? We have spaghetti and meatballs with a nice salad. You can’t go wrong with the grilled steak and fries! Or you can keep it traditional 50s with the hamburger deluxe.
What ‘Fountain Concoction’ is this Soda Jerk serving to his customer? We will never know viewing the scene from this angle!
FUN FACTS: The term soda jerk was a pun on soda clerk, the formal job title of the drugstore assistants who operated soda fountains. It was inspired by the “jerking” action the server would use to swing the soda fountain handle back and forth when adding the soda water to those wonderful ‘Fountain Concoctions’.
Was anything more popular than an ice-cold Coca-Cola back in the 50s? Maybe, as it looks like our leather-jacketed patron is drinking coffee. And here comes his burger!
FUN FACTS: Coca-Cola with ice was called “scratch one” in Soda Jerkese. And if a drink was ordered with extra ice it was called out as “heavy on the hail”. I’m so going to use that the next time I visit a fast food drive thru!
This diner clock is powered by a AA battery and also has a convenient hook for hanging.
FUN FACTS: The practice of operating a soda fountain complete with a Soda Jerk reached its peak popularity in the 40s but was popular from the 20s through the 50s. The introduction of drive-ins and fast food restaurants replaced the Jerk with fry cooks. Somehow, it just hasn’t been the same!
To conclude, let’s meet the Maker:
It’s the Burwood Products Company. Who were you expecting?
A rare find in that this collectible is actually made in the USA.
INFORMATIVEFACTS: Burwood Products Company is no longer active. This corporation was filed on Tuesday, February 14, 1978 , in the State of Texas by an entity already operating outside of that State. You can find many more examples of similar clocks on eBay and other sites. You can also find a page for Burwood Products Company enthusiasts on Facebook. Seriously. I didn’t make that up!
This post may contain material that could be deemed culturally insensitive by today’s standards. Any such material is presented in its original context and form and is intended to preserve a piece of history so we can hopefully learn from it.
Fantasia was a ground-breaking animated film produced by Walt Disney in 1940. It consisted of eight segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski, seven of which are performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. The music selections on this LP are direct tracks from the film by the above artists.
But Fantasia isn’t without controversy, especially when viewed by a modern audience. From subservient Centaurs to naked nymphs (both from The Pastoral Symphony segment), it would struggle to hold up in today’s market! But we will focus only on the segments of the film showcased by the LP below.
This LP contains music from two segments: The Nutcracker Suite and the Dance of the Hours.
From the image on the cover, depicting a scene from The Nutcracker Suite, you can likely see one of the other culturally insensitive aspects of the film. Selections from the ballet suite underscore scenes depicting the changing of the seasons from summer to autumn to winter. A variety of dances are presented with fairies, fish, flowers, mushrooms, and leaves, including “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy”, “Chinese Dance“, “Dance of the Reed Flutes”, “Arabian Dance” – “Russian Dance”, and “Waltz of the Flowers”.
Stereotypical Depiction, anyone? From the slanted eyes to the hat shapes, long Fu Manchu mustaches and arm positions, this image has its share of problems! This was simply seen as a cute segment in 1940 where a little mushroom tries to participate in a dance but mostly fails to do so, with comedic effect. Seen today, what stands out the most is the perpetuation of Asian stereotypes.
The labels for Disneyland Records are mostly yellow in color, as seen below, so it was interesting to find this version in gray.
Acting Out the ABC’s was originally released in the US in 1962, one year before The Nutcracker Suite. The label above is from the 1964 Canadian pressing. But this doesn’t help us with our label color issue! According to Disney Wiki, most of the DQ Series LPs had a plain yellow label, however some had a blue, green or red label (notice they don’t mention our gray label). Beginning in 1976, the records were pressed with a yellow “rainbow” label. So this information doesn’t exactly help us with our gray label mystery.
FUN FACTS: The DQ Series seems to have been a value-oriented LP series with new and re-released versions of soundtracks. Some of the albums, however, were cover versions of the songs in the various films, and not true soundtracks. (Disney Wiki)
But let’s get back to the real matter at hand with a look at the other side of this album:
Dance of the Hours is a comic ballet in four sections: Madame Upanova and her ostriches (Morning); Hyacinth Hippo and her servants (Afternoon); Elephanchine and her bubble-blowing elephant troupe (Evening); and Ben Ali Gator and his troop of alligators (Night). The finale finds all of the characters dancing together until their palace collapses.
This is one of the more entertaining segments of the film. However, one could question the use of overweight dancers (hippos and elephants) for comedic effect, such as when a slimmer alligator performs a lift with a hippo, albeit with some difficulty!
The problem with a work like this, as I see it, is how to address these issues. Do we simply remove the offending pieces, such as was done with the black centaur servant, or remove the entire product from circulation? Admittedly, there might not be much left of Fantasia if the latter option is chosen!
Debate rages on over these issues. Song of the South is gone. Gone With the Wind has been annotated. Other films are under scrutiny. Fantasia remains… for now. And as many focus on the films or images themselves, I wonder how all of this should, does, and will affect the collectibles market. It’s an aspect that I’m sure will enter the debate before long!
History has given us some interesting options when it comes to sound and video recordings. From the phonograph cylinder to shellac and then vinyl discs, read by means of stylus and eventually lasers, mankind has tried just about everything to reproduce the human voice and image.
I love collecting rare records and movies and so have many unusual examples of content and formats. Today, I thought we’d look at some of my collection with a focus on the format angle.
Let’s start with the medium that we are likely most familiar with. It started around the 1880s and is enjoying a renaissance today:
Vinyl Records are an analog sound storage medium in the form of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove. Records are generally described by their diameter in inches (12-inch, 10-inch, 7-inch) and by the rotational speed in revolutions per minute (rpm) at which they are played (33 1⁄3, 78, 45).
At first, the discs were commonly made from shellac, perhaps like this example from 1948:
I’m almost certain that the above example is shellac as it is thicker and heavier than modern vinyl discs. Starting sometime in the 1940s polyvinyl chloride became common, hence the name vinyl. Both materials would have overlapped in use for a time.
Little Toot is a 10-inch record played at 33 1⁄3 rpm. It should be noted that most commonly this size of record would be played at 78 rpm. But exceptions do appear.
Over the lifespan of this format, we have seen black vinyl, colored vinyl, and picture discs that display an image right on the record instead of on a paper sleeve. You can see an example of colored vinyl in the first image. It comes from this unusual exception to almost every vinyl rule:
Black vinyl? No, it’s yellow! 7-inch size played at 45 rpm? No, it’s 6-inches in size and is played at 78 rpm! Oh, how crazy the record companies were in 1961.
One constant seems to be the beloved and very popular 7-inch size played at 45 rpm:
Who remembers collecting just one favorite song on this size of record? And how about those ‘B’ sides? And you remember what you needed to play these, don’t you?
The most collectible thing about vinyl records is arguably the cover (and inner sleeves) because of the space given for visual expression, especially in the case of the 12-inch format. But even the smaller 10-inch covers gave plenty of room for visuals:
To add to my earlier supposition, this record could be an example of first-generation vinyl as it’s tooted (if you will) as being ‘unbreakable’ (in normal use, so don’t use it as a Frisbee) due to its SUPERFLEX design.
Now let’s move on to the next format that almost everyone has likely long forgotten! Except me, the Compulsive Collector, who buys, researches, and displays just about anything:
The Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) is an analog video disc playback system developed by RCA, in which video and audio could be played back on a TV set using a special needle and high-density groove system similar to phonograph records.
First conceived in 1964, the CED system was widely seen as a great idea but soon fell victim to poor planning, various conflicts with RCA management, and several technical difficulties that slowed development and stalled production of the system for 17 years. I remember renting movies in this format along with the player. You would push the entire thing, cover and all, into the player, flick a switch, and then pull the cover out which would leave the disc inside, ready to play. Push play and watch half the movie. At the halfway point, you’d have to reinsert the cover, flick the switch, pull everything out, flip it over, push it back in (I’m getting tired!), flick the switch again, pull out the cover, and push play. Simple. I can’t imagine why this format didn’t catch on.
By the mid-80s it had already been made obsolete by laser videodiscs as well as Betamax and VHS video cassette formats. The ability to record onto the tape formats is what really killed any type of solid disc format.
So let’s move on to one such solid disc format, the Laserdisc:
LaserDisc (abbreviated as LD) is a home video format and the first commercial optical disc storage medium, initially licensed, sold and marketed as MCA DiscoVision in the United States in 1978. Unlike the formats we’ve already covered that used some sort of stylus to play back the content, this format utilized a 780 nm wavelength semiconductor laser.
My Toy Story LaserDisc is an example of the Constant linear velocity (CLV) version, or Extended Play disc (60-64 minutes per side), which offered simple playback on all but the high-end LaserDisc players incorporating a digital frame store.
Although the format was capable of offering higher quality video and audio than its consumer rivals, those pesky upstarts VHS and Betamax, LaserDisc never managed to gain widespread use in North America. This was largely due to the high costs for the players and the video titles themselves and the inability to record TV programs. Interesting how this last flaw seems to be the main reason so many formats failed!
My Toy Story LaserDisc also brags a Letterboxing format. This is the practice of transferring film shot in a widescreen aspect ratio to standard-width video formats while preserving the film’s original aspect ratio. The resulting videographic image has mattes (black bars) above and below it; these mattes are part of the image.
I love the look of these discs but will never shell out the money to buy a vintage player! So this disc will forever be for display only.
I hope you enjoyed our brief look through the history of the formats that have brought us music to soothe the savage breast and images to entertain the discerning eye. Which formats have you had experience with?
I’m always on the lookout for Disney-related items or references that show up in unusual places. Old periodicals, television commercials, or movies all yield strange sightings!
Blue Peter is a British children’s television program that was first broadcast in 1958. The program, which has had continuous seasons since it was first aired, is now the longest-running children’s TV show in the world. Its content, which follows a magazine/entertainment format, features viewer and presenter challenges, competitions, celebrity interviews, popular culture and sections on making arts and crafts from household items.
And that’s where the Comic Strip belt comes from. It started as a piece of fabric. On that were laid pieces of comics cut out from the Sunday Funnies. Clear tape was carefully stuck over and behind the belt to protect it from damage. And a found buckle from an old garment was used to complete the project.
I believe this arts and crafts item came from the 1970s. It didn’t look too hardy to me but would be fine for a younger child. And fun!
Let’s move on to our second Found Disney item:
It’s hard to make out but this is a picture of a robot hand turning on a bathroom faucet.
This surprise appearance of Donald Duck comes from the 1966 BBC Archives segment entitled Tomorrow’s World: Mabel. It features a domestic robot that the inventor claimed would ‘soon’ be available if someone would give him one million dollars for development. Do you have a Mabel robot in your home? I guess he didn’t get his funding.