Welcome to another installment of ‘Where On Earth Did You Find This‘ on Disney Nouns! The blog that seeks to share the most obscure Disney references imaginable.
Case in point:
This is a 1942 American film directed by Edward F. Cline and starring Bud Duncan as Snuffy Smith. It was actually a comic strip made into a movie, and done quite well, I might add.
Synopsis: Inspired by and envious of the $21 a month and free khaki britches and gold buttons of his friend Don Elbie (our man Jimmie Dodd), Snuffy Smith joins the US Army with his dog, Mr. Carson, concealed by an invisibility potion. As fate would have it, his company First Sergeant is Ed Cooper, a former revenuer who had unsuccessfully attempted to locate and destroy Snuffy’s still.
The clever Don Elbie (yup, Jimmie Dodd) has invented a new rangefinder that he hopes to have adopted by the army. General Rosewater hopes to test the new rangefinder in war games with a rival general. A pair of Fifth columnists hope to steal the rangefinder but are defeated by Snuffy’s wife Lowizie, Snuffy’s invisible dog and his hillbilly neighbours.
Sounds sane enough. And here is what the title cards have to say about Jimmie Dodd:
Jimmie Dodd actually cares for the only three tunes in the film:
Times a-Wastin, which is Snuffy Smith’s battle cry, was written by four men but sung by Dodd.
The Yard Bird, which referred to the Smith character once inducted, was written and performed by Dodd.
I Don’t Know What To Do Blues was also written and performed by Dodd.
Now here are some stills of Jimmie Dodd as Don Elbie from the film:
Keep in mind that this film was released in 1942, so it is a full 13 years before Dodd became the leader of the Mouseketeers. But we can see that he was already a musical player and songwriter. It was nice to find him in such a substantial role!
Jimmie Dodd (March 28, 1910 – November 10, 1964)
Dodd did many turns in the movies before linking up with Disney, usually uncredited, but Private Snuffy Smith is seldom mentioned.
Our friends over at Love Our Crazy Life have asked some of their blogging friends (like me) to participate in a Blogging Challenge. So for four weeks in April, on every Monday morning, I will be covering a different Disney-related topic. You can click the link above to find all of the other participants and their entries. Enjoy!
The Back Side
I struggled with this topic, so it was fortunate for me that it came last in the series! I thought of doing a comparison of Disney then and now, but that would take too much time. I thought of doing a pictorial of me in 1972 at Walt Disney World versus me in modern times. But I have too few images for such a post. So what to do?
Why not do the unexpected, or inexplicable? So welcome to my post that looks at the back side of Disney!
Back Side of Sleeping Beauty Castle (Disneyland model)
Disney Legend and Imagineer Herb Ryman designed Disneyland’s iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. Now, the infamous story of how this castle got turned around may be apocryphal, or it may be true, but it certainly is entertaining. Herb says:
“One thing that he (Walt) insisted upon was that there be a very, very conspicuous castle, because the castle is going to be the symbol of this whole place. Fred Joerger had done a beautiful model of this castle. When I saw it I said, ‘I don’t like it.’ So I took a look at the castle model, grabbed a hold of the upper portion of the model, and turned it around so that the back of the upper portion now faced the front. ‘Dick said, ‘Now, Herbie, quit playing with it. Put it back. He said ‘Walt’s going to be here any minute, and Walt won’t like it. Turn it around. Put it back.’”
But time ran out and Walt saw the altered version. And loved it! So the whole thing was built around the wrong way. So when you visit Disneyland and take a picture of the front of the castle, your picture will turn out backwards!
Back Side of Water (Jungle Cruise)
I’m constantly amazed at how many times Disney is able to get us excited about simple and common things. Millions of us take pictures of trash cans just because they are color-coded to the Land they are in. Many of us enjoy a bus ride, even though we have to wait too long to get on one and they take forever to get anywhere!
And then there is the back side of water.
A simple gag line from a corny attraction has caused more cameras to click and more people to groan than any other naturally occurring substance in the World!
Back Side of Disney Cruise Ships (Disney Wonder)
Each of the ships in the Disney Cruise Line have a distinctive character tableau attached to the back. Historically, most sailing ships would stick a figure on the front, such as Pirate ships. But Disney just had to be different!
They are almost impossible to see from the ship themselves, so take your pictures before you board. I guess Disney just wants to give those ocean-going tailgaters something to look at!
Back Side of Disney Clothing (Mickey T-shirt)
OK, that’s just rude! But I’m sure Mickey is just being playful as he takes a backwards peek at us. There are many different designs in this theme, showing us the back of characters instead of just another view of the more familiar fronts.
But be careful: You may not know if you’re coming or going when wearing one of these!
And there you have my look back at the back side of Disney. I wonder who else would have thought of this angle for Looking Back at Disney?!
Although I love Disney, it doesn’t have a stranglehold on my interests. My attention turns to anything interesting and especially vintage!
This post contains no less than ten LPs I found at a local flea market. And what they contain is pure entertainment gold:
The Shadow Knows!
The Shadow is a vigilante crimefighter and one of the most famous adventure heroes of the twentieth century. He has been featured on the radio, in a long-running pulp magazine series, in comic books, comic strips, television, serials, video games, and at least five films.
The character debuted on July 31, 1930, as the mysterious narrator of the Street and Smith radio program Detective Story Hour developed in an effort to boost sales of Detective Story Magazine. Later a magazine based around The Shadow was created. The first issue of The Shadow Magazine went on sale on April 1, 1931. On September 26, 1937, The Shadow radio drama, a new radio series based on the character, debuted. And the rest is history!
The most famous man to voice The Shadow was Orson Welles. And by coincidence, the next two LPs I found feature him:
Many may not know that Welles got his start in radio. He did a little show with The Mercury Theatre on the Air called War of the Worlds (October 30, 1938) which threw a whole nation into panic and chaos. But it certainly got Welles some attention!
The copy of War of the Worlds that I have is not the original broadcast, but a reproduction of the play by The Lux Radio Theatre done on February 8, 1955.
Keeping with the science fiction and adventure genre:
The Green Hornet visits Germany?
The Green Hornet and Kato
A masked crime-fighter created 1936 who first appeared on radio. The character appeared in film serials in the 1940s, a network television program in the 1960s (co-starring Bruce Lee as Kato), multiple comic book series from the 1940s on, and a feature film in 2011.
The Green Hornet is the alter ego of Britt Reid, wealthy young publisher of the Daily Sentinel newspaper. By night Reid dons a long green overcoat, green fedora hat and green mask to fight crime as a vigilante. He is accompanied by Kato who drives their technologically advanced car, the “Black Beauty”. The twist for this character is that he is believed to be a criminal, a cover he uses to infiltrate the underworld and foil their plans.
Let’s continue with another fictional character that focuses more on thinking than punching:
Basil Rathbone played Holmes and Nigel Bruce played Watson in fourteen U.S. films from 1939 to 1946, and in The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on the Mutual radio network from 1939 to 1946.
The top LP features two half-hour episodes from the radio New Adventures series and features some nice, if simplified, artwork on the cover. For many of these old LPs it is the covers that draw in the collectors!
The bottom two LPs feature a more generic cover with only the text changing. Not as interesting for collectors, but easier to produce for the art department!
Next I have two LPs that feature some of the finest non-Sherlockian mystery shows:
Many A-list actors and actresses took a turn at radio in the early days, some even lending their names to the programs, such as Mystery in the Air with Peter Lorre.
Other times, the radio program was popular enough to be made into a movie:
The Fat Man was popular during the 1940s and early 1950s. The detective started out anonymous but rapidly acquired the name ‘Brad Runyon’. Broadcast from the studios of WJZ in Newark, New Jersey, the series premiered on the ABC Radio Network on Monday, January 21, 1946, and ran until 1951. In that year, 1951, it was finally made into a movie for the silver screen.
The first Thin Man movie was released in 1934 and spawned many successful sequels. The movies were popular because of the volatile relationship between the main leads. It was a natural to recreate this chemistry on radio!
OK, let’s lighten up things a bit!
My favorite comedy duo of all time! From silent films to talkies, these two comedians had no equal. Their low-key approach stood in stark contrast to the frantic antics of other popular acts of the day which only served to endear them to fans and critics alike!
This LP features some skits taken from movies and short subjects filmed between 1929 and 1940. Think of it as more of a comedy album than a soundtrack.
Fun Line: “Well, you can’t fool the doctor some of the time, and you can’t fool the doctor part of the time, because you’ll only be fooling yourself all of the time!” – Stan
I look forward to sitting in the dark and listening to these great old programs! Now, at the end of this post, I’d just like to remind my readers that “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay… The Shadow knows!”
The Sinclair Oil Corporation is an American petroleum corporation, founded by Harry F. Sinclair on May 1, 1916, by combining the assets of 11 small petroleum companies. Originally a New York corporation, Sinclair Oil reincorporated in Wyoming in 1976. The corporation’s logo features the silhouette of a large green dinosaur. And there is where the Disney/Pixar tie-in begins!
Dinoco is an oil company/gas station that has been seen in Toy Story and Cars. In Toy Story, the logo is an Apatosaurus. In Cars, the logo is a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Dinoco may have been based on the Sinclair Oil Corporation, because it also uses an Apatosaurus as its logo (above).
I recently came across a vintage promotional film for Sinclair service station owners entitled Sinclair: You Are a Retailer. It likely dates from the early 1960’s if the vehicles in it are any indication.
This was an extremely well done film for an in-house effort! And it yielded many interesting images…
Directly above, you can see what a typical Sinclair service station looked like back in the days of full-service and friendly attendants. Below is what a Dinoco service station looked like in Toy Story:
Let’s compare all three dinosaur logos side by side. First will be Sinclair, then Dinoco from Toy Story, and last Dinoco from Cars:
The first two dinosaur logos are very close, but it appears the Dinoco of the Cars franchise decided to power up their Dino!
It was a real treat to find this vintage promotional film from Sinclair! And it is good to see that Disney/Pixar is paying homage to companies that have helped to shape the landscape we pass through on a daily basis.
We usually associate Walt Disney with the ABC network due to the fact that they sponsored Disneyland in return for a program called Disneyland (1954-1959). But ABC was not set up to broadcast in color, so although the basic format remained the same, the series moved to NBC on September 24, 1961.
We all know and love Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (1961–1969).
All of this was brought to my mind while I was watching bonus content on a Johnny Carson DVD. And this is what I saw:
Notice a familiar face? I’ll highlight it for you:
As you walk into the Artists Entrance of NBC Studio 1 you see these renderings of famous personalities that were associated with the network. After Walt Disney (circled), there is Jimmy Durante, Jack Benny, Groucho Marx, Don Rickles, Chico and the Man, and Steve Allen (the first host of The Tonight Show, and the man who was instrumental in innovating the concept of the television talk show), among others.
I just love it when I catch a Disney reference in unexpected places!