1st October 2007

Halloween’s around the corner …

Here’s one of my favorite Halloween memories of all time: the Halloween Toys R Us commercial. I love the moody music, the animation style, and the top-shelf voiceover. Watching it makes me feel like a kid again. I know it’s a blatant rip off of the It’s Halloween Charlie Brown! “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!”* opening credits, which is even more of a favorite of mine … but I can’t find a clip of that on Youtube. Happy Halloween everybody!

*OMG I Got the title of the Charlie Brown special wrong. GREAT PUMPKIN WILL YOU FORGIVE ME? … I’m doomed …

posted in Animation | 1 Comment

1st July 2007

Kwik-E-Mart Comes to Mountain View

A 7-Eleven right here in our stomping grounds has been transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart. Twelve 7-Elevens in total got this treatment, and this is the only one here in the Bay Area (View location on Google Maps):

Mountain View Kwik-E-Mart
Grade-A use of duct tape
Grade-A use of duct tape

I was a little disappointed to see Bart & Milhouse flanking the Kwik-E-Mart logo, it kind of took away from any authenticity, but it’s a silly quibble, really. They did a better and more thorough job than I was expecting. One nice touch is that a bunch of paper signs have been hung up all over the store using scraps of duct tape. I have no idea if the haphazard appearance was intentional, I prefer to think it was not.

Another nice touch — pink frosted donuts with sprinkles, watched over by Chief Wiggum:

Today's pastries at tomorrow's prices

And of course, Comic Book Guy at the porn stand:

Worst. Juggs. Ever.

Ralph at the popsicle case:

My dongue ith thtuckh.
My dongue ith thtuckh.
Blue Woo Hoo Squishee
Blue Woo Hoo Squishee

There was no shortage of Buzz Cola, Krusty-Os or Squishees, but sadly Duff Beer was nowhere to be found (nor the German import, Düff).

There are a number of other strange Simpson products as part of the tie-in, including a Turkish Bathhouse Homer Simpson doll, and a Homer Simpson cookie that was baked in China and looks utterly inedible. I’ll try to add pics of those later.

Buy 3 for the price of 3!
Buz Cola 2.99
Buz Cola 2.99

This soda fountain was extra fancy — each spigot had an option to add a dollop of cherry, vanilla or lemon flavoring to the soda. Snazzy!

Apu says “Please loiter again soon!”

Apu greets customers

You can see the complete photo tour at Humuhumu’s Life in Photos.

posted in Animation, Television | 31 Comments

29th May 2007

After These Messages …

… we’ll be right back!

posted in Animation | 2 Comments

19th May 2007

A Fair(y) Use Tale

This is simply outstanding:

A Fair(y) Use Tale, by Eric Faden

This is a short film, by Eric Faden, illustrating how copyright and fair use work (and more importantly, how they don’t work). What makes it exceptionally clever is that it is completely composed of short snippets of Disney animated films. Not only is Disney notoriously thorough in their defense of their intellectual property (as is their right), they have thrown immense lobbying dollars and efforts into getting the term of copyright extended (which kinda stinks).

It’s interesting to note that the music used in this piece is not from Disney, and has been used with permission. After you’ve viewed this clip, you’ll understand why — the music does not play a role in parody, or in teaching, and would not have fallen under fair use. If the subject of the clip was the fair use specifically of music, then the use of music as illustration could possibly have been supported.

I have this come up all the time, when my website clients ask about using music on their websites. This clip does a better job of explaining it all than I have done in the past (and I learned a bit about fair use while watching it, too). I’m so glad I can now point my clients to this to answer some of their questions about copyright and fair use.

[Via Boing Boing]

posted in Animation, Disney | 2 Comments

2nd May 2007

Ben & Jerry’s Steals the Banana Splits Logo?

JYC EXCLUSIVE: Yesterday Humu and I were strolling down the frozen dessert aisle of Whole Foods when we both spotted a new Ben & Jerry’s flavor: Banana Split. We noticed immediately how the logo on the ice cream container was a spot-on copy of the Hanna-Barbera Banana Splits band logo, minus the last S in the word “Splits”. Just compare the Banana Split package to the cover of the Banana Splits album I have:

Banana Splits logo
Ben and Jerry’s ice cream on the left; Album from the 1960s band Banana Splits on the right

Here’s a closeup of both logos:

Banana Splits logo closeup

Since Ben & Jerry’s are (A) known for exploiting the nostalgia of the 60s to sell ice cream, and (B) unforgiving in their endless barrage of shameless product tie-ins, I wouldn’t put it past them to license the classic bubble-gum band to shill for them. I’m sure the Splits would do it.

I picked up the carton and scanned the entire package to see if there was any credit or trademark assignment to Hanna-Barbera, who signed the Banana Splits supergroup to their label and gave them a show back in the 1970s. I did find a copyright notice for the cow illustration that appears on the back of the carton, but I found nothing to indicate that Ben and Jerry’s had licensed the Banana Splits logo.

Is is possible that Ben & Jerry’s is the most recent company to pull a Todd Goldman and appropriate someone else’s art to pass off as their own? I contacted Ben & Jerry’s to find out more, but I have not heard back from them yet. So I decided to go straight to the source and talk to the Banana Splits themselves.

Not The First Time

Bingo from the Banana Splits

I got in touch Bingo, the enigmatic second-banana of the Banana Splits (although most music scholars agree he was the “John Lennon” of the group), for his comments. Perhaps not surprisingly, he was unaware of the situation. Like most bands from the 70s, the Splits signed over all of their rights to their record label in exchange for fame and fortune, and lost control of their image.

“We have no say any more, and Hanna-Barbera doesn’t really care about us. They cater to your every whim if you can make them some coin, but once the money stops coming in, they forget about you! It’s like you’re off the bus” Bingo commented. “And so they just let golden opportunities like this slip past them. This is not the first time it has happened. We’ve been trying for years to get royalties from Bob Marley’s estate, who lifted the chorus melody of Buffalo Soldier directly from our theme song. But Hanna-Barbera just hasn’t bothered. They don’t realize the gold mine they’re sitting on” Bingo lamented. He then hit me in the face with a pie.

So what’s the verdict? Well, the jury is still out on this one, so stick with us here at JYC for full scoop (har har) as this story unfolds. If I see that Ben & Jerry’s is planning a Sour Grape flavor, you will be the first to know.

Note: All images in this post were lifted from various places on the Internet without permission or credit

posted in Animation, Design, Food, Television | 7 Comments

25th April 2007

Fat Albert and the Junk Yard Band!

Here at Junkyard Clubhouse we love all things junkyard, and right at the top of our list are Junkyard bands.

And the Junkyard Band!

And Fat Albert has one of the rockin’est Junkyard bands ever. The groovy kids record blog Way Out Junk has gifted the Internet with not one, but TWO rips of classic Fat Albert and the Junk Yard Band albums: Creativity and Rock N’ Roll Disco.

Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
The famous junk yard band is organized when the kids are unable to afford musical instruments

Listening to these records will convince you that real-life junkyard instruments can sound just like the smooth sounds of studio musicians! Actually, while the pictures of the Junkyard band are pretty sweet, there’s not much in the way of classic Fat Albert music on either of these albums. The Rock N’ Roll Disco in particular is pretty bad. Hmmm. Now I’m wondering why I even bothered bringing it up. Here, watch the opening of the Fat Albert Show instead.

posted in Animation, Music, Television | Comments Off

8th April 2007

More Rankin/Bass Easter Art

Here comes Peter Cottontail

The Rankin/Bass Historian has posted some excellent art from Here Comes Peter Cottontail. First we have the character sheet by Paul Coker Jr, who did a lot of art and design work for Rankin/Bass specials. Also on the blog is a high-resolution black and white still of Sassafrass and his cart, it’s got some incredible detail to it. Make sure you check out the link to see the whole thing. Happy Easter everyone!

Here comes Peter Cottontail

posted in Animation, Rankin/Bass | Comments Off

29th March 2007

Peter Cottontail, and a Rankin/Bass Comin’ to Town Expose

Easter’s just around the corner, and another holiday brings more Rankin/Bass. Yay! Rankin/Bass made two Easter-themed specials: 1971′s “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” and 1977′s “The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town”.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail
Here Comes Peter Cottontail

I haven’t seen “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” since I was a kid. I don’t remember it very well, but it’s probably the better of the two, and I’m really eager to see it again. It’s available on DVD, and I’m going to try to get it before Easter.

Watch out: there’s an utterly despicable 2005 sequel called “Here Comes Peter Cottontail: The Movie.” About 20 minutes into trying to watch it, I developed Tourette’s. If you’ve seen the 2001 sequel to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, “Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys,” then you have an idea of how bad the Peter Cottontail sequel is. If you haven’t heard of either of them, just do whatever you can to steer clear of them.

The Easter Bunny Is Comin' to Town
The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town

“The Easter Bunny Is Comin’ to Town” is a whole ‘nother egg hunt… and it’s actually just a re-tread of “Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town.” Just as the Santa Claus in that special bears little resemblance to the Santa seen in the Rudolph special, this tale has nothing in common with the Peter Cottontail special — the protaganist here is Sunny the Bunny.

In both “Comin’ to Town”s: the narrator is a postman played by Fred Astaire; the holiday icon (Sunny in “Easter Bunny”, Kris Kringle in “Santa Claus”) lives in one town, and wants to deliver their holiday gifts to children in another town; delivery of the gifts is thwarted by the authority figure in the town, and sneaky ways to get the gifts delivered in the dark of night are developed; and along the way, today’s well-known traditions are spawned. Oh — and both figures also have trouble getting over a mountain between the two towns, because of a big scary monster type of obstruction that by the end of the special has learned to be good. It’s like they just took one script and filled it in Mad Libs-style to get two specials out of it.

Despite the strange deja vu feeling of watching “Easter Bunny,” it’s not half bad. The thing that bugs me is that the jelly beans look more like jelly noodles. It’s kind of weird.

posted in Animation, Rankin/Bass | 2 Comments

29th March 2007

Bobbing Along on the Bottom of the Beautiful Briny Sea

Vintage plaster fish, from Bowling Trophy
Vintage plaster fish, from Bowling Trophy

These are just some of the lovely vintage plaster wall fish that have been posted on the new blog, Bowling Trophy. There’s no name attached to the blog, but if it is who I think it is, then his one-two punch of excellent photography skills matched with uncanny thrifting ability should combine into a really swell blog.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Bedknobs and Broomsticks

I think these fish are great; they often have really great shaded paint jobs that make them look almost like sugar candy or marzipan. Their happy and alluring demeanor always reminds me of the underwater sequence in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

Fishing for a Compliment, by Dale Sizer
Fishing for a Compliment, by Dale Sizer

My friend Dale Sizer did this cool painting of plaster wall fish on a slice of a log a few years ago.

posted in Animation, Art, Design, Midcentury | 3 Comments

27th March 2007

J. Audubon Woodlore


The great Disney blog 2719 Hyperion has a wonderful post about one of my favorite overlooked Disney characters J. Audubon Woodlore, the park ranger. I fell in love with him as a kid when I saw the classic “In The Bag”, where he makes up a little song and dance to convince the bears to clean up the park. Apparently In The Bag was such a hit that it inspired a record called the “Humphrey Hop.”

Disney Rarities

The short is available on a Disney DVD called Disney Rarities. Check out 2719 Hyperion’s overview of this great oft-forgotten Disney character.
UPDATE: I need to remember to search Youtube before making any post. In The Bag is on Youtube right now. I’m not sure how long it will be on there, but for now, enjoy!

posted in Animation, Art, Disney | 1 Comment