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Disneyland Vacation, Circa 1976

16 Aug

When my parents packed up our red Volkswagen bus and drove us down to Anaheim, they could not possibly have known that 31 years later I’d be blogging about it. But man, I wish they could have . . . maybe they would have saved that awesome Mickey Mouse shirt I’m wearing!

I’ve uploaded a handful of photos from that trip to Flickr, including a shot of Tomorrowland Plaza that we think was taken from the Skyway. Or maybe Astro Orbiter? Also, we’re not entirely sure these photos were taken in 1976, so if any Disney geeks out there can confirm or deny that year based on details from the photos, please do.

I love these old pictures of Disneyland, and will admit to the narcissistic joy of seeing my cute little 1970s self, complete with coke-bottle glasses. But the truly embarrassing moment? Realizing that this is also the trip I talked about a couple months back on Mouse Guest Weekly, where I hid in terror through the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, terrified from that long first drop (which admittedly is much scarier in Anaheim than Orlando). Given how spooked I was, I thought I’d been 5 or 6 on that trip! But no, based on some family details in the photos I’ve got to be at least 8, but probably closer to 10.

Ahh, the Skyway, the Peoplemover! I shall never grow tired of the tomorrow we dreamed about yesterday.

Nara Dreamland: Another Disney Clone Park

16 Jun

Thank goodness for the Interweb. How else would I have friends like Eric from MouseGuest, who send me links to awesome things I may have otherwise missed?

Nara Dreamland is another Asian Disney clone park, this time in Nara, Japan. The illustrated trip review at ThemeParkInsider presents it as a wonderful mass of contradictions. One minute you’re in Disneyland, the next you’re in that haunted, abandoned theme park from Spirited Away. And Hello Kitty is there too!

Haven’t had enough? Need a little spin on the Screw Coaster? Here’s a YouTube for you, from the same good people:

New Copyright Alliance Formed In D.C.

12 Jun

Fans of the Mickey Mouse Protection Act will be glad to hear that a new copyright alliance has been formed, intending to further strengthen copyright laws. (Regular slashdot readers will not be surprised to hear . . . “I for one welcome our copyright-law-promoting overlords!”)

Those of us who are not great fans of the MMPA, on the other hand, may be a tad concerned that things are going too far. Lautreamont once wrote “Plagiarism is necessary. Progress demands it.” The Qlipoth blog has an interesting commentary on this quote:

The type of plagiarism needed is taking up, a making one’s own of ideas. Just as in the best experiences of drugs, riots, music, sex, and perhaps others – the boundaries of where one begins and another ends become blurred, but not erased – plagiarism must do the same. Plagiarism as detournement, but directed less at changing the original than at producing the new.

As society becomes increasingly post-modern, so must art. Did Andy Warhol commit plagiarism by re-appropriating the famous Campbell Soup can? Are mash-up videos inherently plagiarist? Where is the line, and who gets to draw it?

Disney Beaten by British Porn Producer

3 Mar


Entertainment giant Disney has been forced to back down over its ‘dreams come true’ slogan – as it’s already used by a British porn producer.

45-year-old Michael Wightman from Newcastle, has trademarked ‘A Place Where Dreams Come True’ for his mobile phone blue film company.

I’m a little unclear on the implications here, as I’m not well-versed in trademark law. But it’s my hunch that this only affects European operations (ie, Disneyland Paris but not Walt Disney World).

Dreams display

Will Disney actually stop using the slogan? The article says they’ll be switching over to “The Place Where Dreams Come True.” Or will it try to buy the rights from Wightman? Seems to me they’ve probably invested a certain amount in merchandise, banners, press kits, etc, which they’d have to re-print and replace, a costly matter even if it’s just adding a couple words.

Disneyland Memorial Orgy: A 1967 Paul Krasner Satire

16 Jan

Are you sure you want to see this? I’m not sure I did . . . but I couldn’t very well call myself an irreverent fan if I didn’t at least take a quick glance. (I’m sure I needn’t warn you that this may well not be “safe for work,” even if it is just a comic.)

From the Atlantic Free Press, the story behind an image of Disney characters engaging in unspeakable acts, conceptualized by Paul Krasner and created by Wally Wood.

Disney had been their Creator, and he had repressed all their baser instincts, but now that he had departed, they could finally shed their cumulative inhibitions and participate together in an unspeakable Roman binge, to signify the crumbling of an empire. I contacted Wally Wood — who had illustrated the first piece I sold to Mad magazine — “If Comic Strip Characters Answered Those Little Ads in the Back of Comic Books” — and, without mentioning any specific details, I told him my general notion of a memorial orgy at Disneyland to be published in The Realist. He accepted the assignment and presented me with a magnificently degenerate montage.

Well, at least I won’t speak of those acts here . . . consider yourself to have been forewarned if you choose to follow the link to the story, with the image.

The article goes on to discuss a bit about Disney’s decision not to pursue the artist for damages. Would Disney really want to take on such a well-known, well-prepared satirist in court? It also mentions a few other unapproved uses of Disney licensed characters, including those famously removed from a daycare center in Florida (subsequently replaced by Hanna Barbara characters).

What are the acceptable limits of satire? Who decides? And once again, what ironies lay in any uproar about borrowing (for example) Disney’s image of Snow White, a character who emerged from The Brothers’ Grimm’s collection of folk tales?

Mickey vs. Spocko

6 Jan

Mickey News reports this morning about Disney shutting down a blogger named Spocko.

THE MOUSE IS ROARING AGAINST a blogger named “Spocko” who has been waging a one-man campaign against ABC Radio. So far, Disney has managed to get Spocko’s Internet service provider to take down his blog–but Spocko isn’t giving up the fight just yet.

The conflict stems from Spocko’s criticism of a right-wing talk show airing on KSFO-AM in San Francisco. Even by notorious talk-show-standards, the comments on KSFO stand out as particularly venomous. Consider, this summer, host Melanie Morgan called for New York Times editor Bill Keller to be executed for having okayed the paper’s expose on governments’ attempt to suss out financial records of suspected terrorists. “I really do believe that anybody who publishes classified information that results in a charge of treason should be fried! Fry ’em! Trial, conviction, death penalty!” she said this summer, according to Salon.

Mickey News goes on to note that Spocko’s taking his fight public . . . and he is.

The Daai Tou Laam blog had the initial story January 4, and now has links to the audio files that Disney doesn’t want you to hear.

How Can Disney Own “Bollywood”???

5 Jan

I’ve had this article in my blogreader for a while, and I just keep re-reading it in disbelief: reports that Disney now owns the word Bollywood.

First it was neem and Basmati that US companies wanted to register. Now it’s ‘Bollywood’ which has been granted as a trademark to Disney Enterprises Inc. It got the ‘Bollywood’ trademark from the Indian Trademarks Registry.

So, you can soon be drinking Bollywood beer wearing a Bollywood branded sweat shirt and shoes — all owned by US-based Disney. Thus, all sites on the internet containing the word Bollywood, makers of films like Bollywood Hollywood, all albums containing the Bollywood name, and magazines like Bollywood Masala could also be in for a legal battle.

Disney has filed for registration under 7 classes of Schedule 4 of the Indian Trade Mark rules as well which pertain to paper products and film and film equipment. The patent was filed by Delhi-based Anand & Anand Associates for Disney Enterprises, Inc.

(Confused? Don’t know what Bollywood is? Check out this wikipedia article for some context.)

Now, I’m no expert on US copyright law . . . much less Indian copyright law. But I can’t help seeing this in the context of the 1998 Mickey Mouse Protection Act.

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