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Disneyana at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum

6 Aug
Sleeping Beauty's Sewing Set

You have got to be kidding me. Does it include its own spindle?

Baltimore’s an odd little city in some ways. For one thing, who thought it was a good idea to put a large convention center across the street from the baseball stadium? Throughout Otakon, cosplaying anime fans and befuddled Orioles fans competed for space on the sidewalks.

My family flew into town the day before Otakon, knowing that we’d be able to pick up our pre-registered badges that evening. (We didn’t get into the crazy long line that snaked around the convention center all afternoon; we just waited until we saw someone tweet that there was only a 10-minute wait. Shazam, done.)

But maybe it’s not so bad that the stadium is so close to the convention center, because the Sports Legends museum shares a building with a great find for any fan of vintage Disney comics and merchandise: Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, which a friend was kind enough to suggest we visit that afternoon.

The Geppi’s web site explains their mission:

Geppi’s Entertainment Museum is dedicated to presenting the story of popular culture since the nation’s earliest days in an entertaining and educational fashion so that our guests have the unique opportunity to walk through a timeline that parallels and is entwined with history as a whole.

I’m not sure how well they accomplish the entwinement of history; I didn’t notice any references to historical events other than those specifically referenced in the pop culture materials they’ve archived. But they’ve done a great job of collecting and displaying nostalgic ephemera, from comic books to underpants. We spent an hour or so working our way through the collections, constantly tugging at each others’ sleeves and exclaiming, “You’ve got to see this one!”

My only disappointment in the museum is that their Local Heroes collection only has a small John Waters section. Museum staff explained that this is because they’d like to keep the museum family-friendly, which means they really can’t reference most of his films (they did have a couple of pink flamingos, referencing his least family-friendly movie).

Below is a photo gallery of just a few of the Disney items I saw at the Geppi Museum on July 26, 2012. If you’re in Baltimore, with or without tens of thousands of anime fans, I’d encourage you to drop in and visit the collections.

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I’ve also got to include one non-Disney image, because it makes me giggle.

Foxy Grandpa Hat Party

If Foxy Grandpa Hat Party isn’t already a euphemism, it should be.

A Short Early History of Pluto

13 Feb

Yesterday, my fourteen-year old boy turns to me and asks, “Mom, why is Mickey’s dog named after the Roman god of the underworld?” So, let’s review the early days, with a little help from the Disney Archives and Cartoon Shorts Club:

We see Pluto for the first time in the 1930 short, The Chain Gang. He doesn’t have a name, though. And he looks so little like the Pluto we know today, I’m just gonna have to take Disney’s word for it that this is the same character. Plus, he seems to have been twins. (And hey, there’s a short section right around 7:00 that reminds me of Trolly Troubles with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.)

Watching The Chain Gang this morning made me wish even more that we could see old-school hard-times Mickey Mouse facing today’s economic troubles.

When we see him next in The Picnic, also released in 1930, his name is Rover. Plus, he’s Minnie’s dog, not Mickey’s, as my friend Eliyanna points out in an early episode of Those Darn Cats, A Room of Minnie’s Own.

When The Moose Hunt is released, the pup is now named Pluto, and belongs to Mickey.


The Disney Archives are silent on the reason for the name change. Wikipedia reports what is also widely speculated elsewhere:

Although it has been claimed that the Disney studio named the dog after the planet (rather than after the mythical god of the underworld), this has not been verified. Disney animator Ben Sharpsteen has said: “We thought the name [Rover] was too common, so we had to look for something else. […] We changed it to Pluto the Pup, […] but I don’t honestly remember why.”[9]

And, in turn, this then-newly-discovered (and now recently-demoted) planet had been named by an eleven-year-old girl in the UK. According to Wikipedia:

The name Pluto was proposed by Venetia Burney (1918–2009), an eleven-year-old schoolgirl in Oxford, England.[27]Venetia was interested in classical mythology as well as astronomy, and considered the name, that of the Roman god of the underworld, appropriate for such a presumably dark and cold world.

So there you have it, kid. The best I can tell you is that Mickey’s dog is named after the Roman god of the underworld? Because Venetia and Ben said so. But Eliyanna, I still don’t know why Mickey stole Minnie’s dog.

 

What I Believe

13 Oct

Mr Broke Hoedown (aka Collateral Damage, aka the author of The Ministry of Culture) tagged me in a blog meme this week: What are five things you believe? So, I believe that:

  1. we ultimately do not choose who we are, we can only choose whether to embrace or resist.
  2. I do not know how the story ends.
  3. pleasure and joy are important parts of the spiritual journey.
  4. it is not in my child’s best interests to be sheltered from every possible frustration.
  5. love is not enough, but it is in fact an essential ingredient.

And now, I must tag five people! Lisa, Dani, Bonnie, Doc Terminus, and La Pixie.

And hey, while I’m mentioning Mr. Broke Hoedown, I cannot resist shamelessly plugging this week’s Those Darn Cats, which features a discussion with Mr. BH about the World War II propoganda and entertainment videos in the DVD Walt Disney Treasures: On the Front Lines.

Disney Tells “The Story of Menstruation”

16 Sep

Personally,I’m waiting for Disney to release “The Story of Menopause,” even if it is a cheapquel. I’m not getting any younger here, y’know.

Hat tip: BoingBoing.

And in response to a question posited by a BoingBoing reader….no, young men should not head out to recess while we ladies watch the film. Stick around and get learned.

Disney Animation Backgrounds

25 Jul

How’s this for cool? The Animation Backgrounds blog has a bunch of beautiful images from Cinderella, Bambi, and a bunch of other Disney (and other) flicks. I like the one above, from the 1935 cartoon, Musicland. There are also some stunning images from Pinocchio.

Hat tip: Dark Roasted Blend.

Thursday Morning Cartoon: Donald Duck and the Cheerio Kid

28 Feb

Hat tip: Cartoon Brew, via Disney History.

Invasion of Evil, Unauthorized Mickey Clones

25 Feb

From Pink Tentacle (via Cartoon Brew via Needcoffee):

Toy Box Series, Episode 3: Picture Book 1936” (Omocha-Bako Series, Dai-3-Wa: Ehon 1936) is a 1934 propaganda-ish film about a future (1936) conflict started by a swarm of evil, bat-riding Mickey Mouse clones that descend on a tiny island inhabited by peace-loving dolls and cats (including a Felix lookalike). Overwhelmed by the attack, the desperate island residents bang on the cover of a large picture book to enlist the help of Momotaro, Urashima Taro (the Japanese version of Rip Van Winkle), and other traditional fairy tale heroes and characters.

And hey, speaking of anime . . . this week on the MouseGuest Weekly podcast, Dan! put out a call for anybody interested in a MouseGuest mini-meet at Anime Boston next month, maybe noon Saturday at a nearby coffee shop (so those who aren’t registered for the anime con can still bask in the company of their fellow MouseGuest listeners, and maybe a Broke Hoedown reader or two). If you’re interested in getting together, drop a note or leave a comment here to let us know if that day/time works for you.

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