Sunday, September 09, 2012

Windows to the Past: The Mickey Mouse Weather House

Forget about the Weather Channel and all those high-tech weather apps on your smart phones and tablets.  In 1948, people predicted the weather the good old fashioned, common sense way--they relied on cartoon characters.  "Watch for balmy days when Mickey is out--beware of rain when Donald's about."

It was as simple as this:
"There is no difficult mechanism to get out of order--nothing complicated to study.  You'll love the beloved Disney clan--Figaro the Cat, the rooster weather vane and Pluto the Pup. The Mickey Mouse Weather House is sturdy, works indoors or out, is made of brightly colored plastic all hand painted."
The Weatherman company out of Chicago sold these types of devices via mail order and advertised primarily in general interest magazines and comic books.  It appears to employ a very basic hygrometer.  For $1.49, it was likely more gimmick than science.  They must have been rather disposable.  I have never ever seen one and a quick eBay search produced no results. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Lady and the Tramp Arrives on Blu-Ray

Lady and the Tramp is truly a top tier Disney classic.  Characters and story combine with very best of Disney animated technique; it is both an engaging tale and a stunning visual masterpiece.  And it has now been so deservedly migrated to a high definition home entertainment format; its Blu-ray Diamond edition arrived in stores this week.

Seeing Lady and the Tramp a number of years back in its original widescreen aspect ratio (via its first DVD release) was a revelation.  Combine that now with high definition picture and sound and it quickly becomes a Disney enthusiast's dream.  It remains to this day one of Walt Disney's most beautiful animated achievements.  

As with the other releases in the Diamond line, Disney is generous with bonus features although most have been transferred from the previous Platinum Edition.  These include the making-of featurette Lady's Pedigree, Finding Lady; The Art of the Storyboard, the 1943 storyboard version, and various excerpts from the Disneyland television program.  New to the Diamond edition is a sentimental remembrance by Diane Miller Disney entitled Remembering Dad, that focuses primarily on Walt's firehouse apartment at Disneyland.  Also new are three additional deleted scenes from very early in the development process and a deleted song entitled "I'm Free as the Breeze."

The most notable edition to the package is the Disney Second Screen feature that has been included on the previous Diamond editions of Bambi and The Lion King.  To recap once again, Second Screen is an additional interactive platform that provides supplemental content that is synchronized to the actual presentation of the film.  Two such platforms are currently available, either an Apple iPad or a laptop computer.  Second Screen comes to the iPad by way of a free application downloaded via the App Store.  For the Mac or PC, it is a Flash-based interface streamed through Disney's web site.  Second Screen provides a veritable treasure trove of archive materials including production art, photographs and studio history. 

Explore the 2719 Hyperion Archives:
What a Character! - Scamp
Windows to the Past: Lady at the Lowes Grand
Walt Disney's Surprise Package: Lady