Category Archives: mickey mouse

The New Mouse


Annette Funicello 1942-2013

April has been lousy with famous deaths, and today we lost another great one. I grew up with Annette Funicello, and no, I’m not that old. In the 1970s, there were reruns of the original “Mickey Mouse Club” on TV every weekday afternoon, and the 1960s Beach Party movies ran quite often on the UHF channels. I was very familiar with who she was, and even dug her when she would appear on talk shows and variety shows, and even Skippy peanut butter commercials, of the era at her current age.

Annette was a regular on “MMC” as well as appearing in their serials and several other Disney television series and movies. Later she moved on to the popular Beach Party films with Frankie Avalon, as well as having many top ten hits as a singer, one of them eventually becoming the theme to “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. She made a comeback in 1987 starring with Avalon in Back to the Beach, a clever homage to the Beach Party movies.

Continuing to sing, act, and make appearances over the next decade, Annette was eventually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, complications of which finally took her life earlier today in California. We have truly lost another legend today, of many media. Annette Funicello will be missed.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice ~ I am not a Nicholas Cage fan, and usually the words “starring Nicholas Cage” translate for me as ‘skip this film.’ I liked him in Leaving Las Vegas of course, and Wild at Heart, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High where he barely spoke, and I am probably one of the few folks who will admit to liking him in Ghost Rider – but for the most part, I think he’s crap. He’s a one note, one joke actor who got lucky with one or two roles and has a talented family to help him along, nothing more.

All that said, I really enjoyed his latest flick The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. It’s a different kind of Disney vehicle. Rather than build a film around a ride a la Pirates of Caribbean, this time Jerry Bruckheimer and company have constructed a movie around an animated short from 1940’s Fantasia, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” starring Mickey Mouse. What at first, like the ride idea, sounds ridiculous actually comes off rather well. And surprisingly, the sequence in the film that reenacts the cartoon is one of the weakest, and yet still holds up.

This is a pretty simple and clichéd fantasy story. Merlin vs. Morgan le Fay in ancient times continues today on the streets of New York City with their seconds-in-command and their apprentices. Nicholas Cage is Merlin’s apprentice, charged with finding the next Merlin, Jay Baruchel, who just wants to impress his potential girlfriend who he’s crushed on since he was a kid. The relationship between Cage and Baruchel is a warm lock, like quarreling brothers who really do care about each other.

Alfred Molina, who is becoming more and more chameleon-like in Gary Oldman fashion, brings the heat as the bad guy. Tony Kebbell does a hilarious take on a Criss Angel-type magician. The girlfriend, Teresa Palmer, is kind of bland, but the rest of the cast makes up for it. And there is far too little Monica Bellucci. The special effects are top tier, and the ending is a bit predictable if you’re paying attention.

This was a pleasant surprise, might be intense in some places for the kids, but definitely family fare. Also look for hidden Mickeys and other references to the original cartoon. Lots of fun, recommended.

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Pop Half-Century

Most of the time when one thinks of Walt Disney World and where to stay – places like the Grand Floridian, the Contemporary and the Polynesian come to mind, but those aren’t you’re only choices, and certainly not your only price range. Economy, low rent, even called white trash by some folks, Disney offers several less expensive places to stay while visiting.

Pop Century is one of the economy resorts along with the All-Stars and a few others. My most recent stay was there, mostly because we were only crashing for a long weekend. It’s a place with a theme right up my alley, pop culture. The place is consumed and decorated by all manner of trivia and nostalgia. And like the All-Star resorts, the buildings are adorned with gigantic knick-knacks. The building we stayed in, the “70s,” was surrounded by giant 8-tracks, a huge foozball table and a really big Big Wheel, among other things. Fun.

My problem with the resort, other than the other patrons, which I suppose just can’t be helped, is the name of it – Pop Century. It’s all set up by decade – the 1970s, the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s and the 1980s. Isn’t there like half a century missing there? Did the 20th century start in 1950? No, but pop culture kinda did. Still, it’s a bit misleading, and not to mention disinformative to kids learning about the passage of time. Not sure if we’ll be staying here again, but still, fun.

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The Mouse Turns 80

Eighty years ago, on November 18th, one of the world’s major cartoon icons was born – Mickey Mouse!

The cartoon short, “Steamboat Willie,” was released theatrically on this day and was notable for being the first syncronized sound cartoon.

The creation of animation genius Walt Disney as well as a few of his friends, Mickey has gone on to worldwide fame. Surely there are not many in this world who don’t know the Mouse.

More info can be found here.

Happy Birthday, Mickey!