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Here's something else interesting I feel like sharing on my blog. It's an electricity safety film from England entited "Play Safe," dated 1978.

Don't let the cutely-designed cartoon robin and owl (the latter voiced by Brian Wilde!) fool you. There are a lot of moments in this film that are quite grim, upsetting or nightmarish. The 70s synthesized music can get rather ominous at times. And there are some (pardon the pun) SHOCKING moments here. There's a teenage boy who is helping roll a boat with a long metal mast on land, and the mast touches a power line and knocks the boy unconscious with an electrical shock as the girl with him screams. According to the owl, the boy was OK after a few days, to the relief of his robin friend.
Then we have a boy fly his kite right into a high-voltage power line carried by electrical towers (or "pylons" as they're called in the UK), and he is also zapped, and was burned in the process, but thankfully not fatally. We get the message that if your kite or model airplane is heading right towards power lines, let go right away before they touch, and if you need to get them back, let the police or the electric company handle it.
Then this leads to the most famous part of the film, about substations (which is what they call transformer power stations in the UK). Two kids, a boy named Jimmy and his female friend, accidentally toss a Frisbee into a substation, and the girl orders Jimmy to go break into the substation and retrieve it ("There's a gap down there! A gang of kids broke in yesterday. I saw them!" the girl says.) The music gets spookier, as the boy runs around the intimidating electrical equipment, ignoring the "DANGER" sign, but right as he attempts to retrieve the Frisbee, he is graphically and fatally shocked (we see his pants catch fire, too!) as his friend yells "JIMMYYYYYYY!" This upsets the robin as well, and vows to play safe.
And then there's a bit where it's not always the stupid people fooling around with electricity that are victims, and we see a group of rowdy teenagers toss a chain at an electrical tower, causing a nasty mini-explosion and short circuit that causes a power failure in the area, and with the streetlights and traffic lights out, the lead teenage boy's younger sister is hit and killed by a car while riding her bicycle in the darkness. This angers the robin, saying he'd like to get his claws on the rebellious teenage boy that did it.
The main message the film conveys is to play safe, i.e. stay away from power lines and substations; don't fish or boat in water near them, and don't fly kites or model aircraft near them, and don't play in or near substations.

60-second excerpts from this film (starting at the 2:35, 4:00 and of course 6:30) were also televised in the UK as individual public information films, well into the 1980s. The latter "JIMMYYYYYYY!" one was deemed as the most shocking (no pun intended this time) and unnerving...

Of course, we had a few different electrical safety films and presentations when I was in school, and I learned "DANGER" at an early age thanks to this Sesame Street music video that screams 80s!

I apologize for any nightmares I cause with that public information film!
Current Music: "Danger's No Stranger" from Sesame Street
15 July 2016 @ 10:54 pm

So today I rented from iTunes the new indie movie "Characterz." It's about Tucker, an aspiring animator and theme park designer, who gets a job at a local amusement park (filmed on location at Old Town USA in Kissimmee, Florida) as a costumed character: the park's mascot Hoppy the Kangaroo.


He befriends other fellow costumed character actors, such as Jerry, who plays a pirate parrot (suspiciously named "Captain Jack's Parrot"), Stu, a sweaty man who enjoys cosplaying and plays Paws the pink Polar Bear (who looks like a pink version of Maxie from the "Chilly Willy" cartoons), and Samantha, a girl Tucker gets a crush on whom plays Bowzer the bulldog. Some pretty interesting capers occur, such as the park introducing a whale character, whom gets in trouble for smoking dope inside his big whale suit, a fun scene where Tucker devises a fun mini-park for elderly people with the help of some park employees, a bit where Tucker (having to play Paws) and Jerry perform for a FURRY party, and a Hanna-Barbera -style plot where the characters are framed for committing crimes and robberies. They even reference Scooby-Doo in the process, where the villain (I won't reveal it here) says "And I would've gotten away with it, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids." To which Jerry says "Ruh-roh!"

I could really relate with Tucker here, playing a kangaroo mascot. In some ways, it's almost as if the writers were sneaking around Campanelli Staduim when I was performing K-O for research. I enjoyed a recurring bit where tourists wouldn't know what Hoppy was supposed to be; they'd think he is a dog or a rabbit or armadillo. That sure reminds me of people thinking K-O is supposed to be a rabbit or a camel or something. And I did see at least one tail-puller on Hoppy. And they have no escorts around, unlike other parks usually do. Lately with K-O, due to the new management, they rarely have an escort or something with him. But fortunately since I've done this practically a hundred times, I knew all the tricks.

When Tucker can't believe he is now Hoppy for the first time. Reminds me of how I felt. He even briefly speaks in an Australian accent, like I sometimes can't help doing when in costume and away from the public (like when I'm on break or something.)

Hoppy gets mobbed by a ton of kids! At least when this happens to K-O, things are a bit more under control.

A "unicorn" at the furry party, wearing one of those full rubber unicorn masks you can easily find online or at Newbury Comics.

A cool punk bulldog.

A couple of "real" furries as well, including Dante (a client of my friend Kodi Pup's fursuit business) and a husky I don't know.

It's a little borderline stereotypical, but at least it's not as bad as CSI portrayed us...

They try a gimmick with a baby 'roo plushie being in Hoppy's pouch. I seriously doubt we'd have K-O do that, puppeting the kangaroo in the pouch like that.

Heck, I even watched some of this movie as my new fursona, Sydney Kangaroo! And no, I did NOT get the costume together as a tie-in to this movie...

This must be quite a year for furry movies. First "Zootopia," and now this!

Current Music: "I Know You're Out There Somewhere" by the Moody Blues
14 July 2016 @ 11:01 pm
Well, here it is: my initial fursuit of my new boxing kangaroo fursona, Sydney!

I pieced together from costume parts I got online. I am rather pleased with how he looks so far, though I could probably improve it a bit.
Yeah, being K-O the Kangaroo has inspired me quite a bit to come up with my own boxing kangaroo fursona!

And speaking of kangaroo mascots, I'm going to check out the movie "CharacterZ" when I get the chance. Sure looks good!
Current Music: "Dr. Zaius" from the Simpsons "Planet of the Apes" musical!
12 July 2016 @ 10:57 pm
As I mentioned last month, we're having a pretty bad gypsy moth infestation this year. They are widespread across the state, and are doing massive damage. Right now, the caterpillars have turned into moths, but are still a nuisance. Here are some photos I took from this infestation...

A couple of enormous caterpillars.

And another one. I accidentally touched one when it was on one of our yard waste barrels, but I quickly washed off where I touched it on my fingers, and averted a nasty rash (due to the caterpillars having poison in their hairs.)

Ewww, look at all the caterpillar poop! It was NOT fun cleaning up after them. Sometimes when it was quiet, you could HEAR their feces dropping.

These trees were affected pretty badly by the caterpillars.

From nearly four weeks ago, a caterpillar begins to pupate on our fence...

Here's the cocoon a couple of days later.

The moth after hatching from the cocoon two weeks later. It turned out to be a male moth, which fly around eratically and have been swarming around lately, even during the daytime (an oddity, as most moths only fly at night.) They're pretty annoying, and they're not very smart either. I've often seen them fly right into oncoming vehicles where they are killed. Heck, a few MBTA crew members in Boston told me they often had to clean splattered gypsy moths off the front of their locomotives!

As I said, the female moths can't fly, even though they have wings. They are able to crawl and flap their wings while doing so, but that's it.

Yes, this is basically gypsy moth porn I am posting, but it's to show that the moths will often mate after hatching. It's hard to believe they are both the same specimen, since their genders look so different from each other.

One of them actually pupated on our back porch. She emerged on the fourth of July, and mated a few hours after hatching. Then I had to move her off the house before she could lay eggs on it; I had her crawl onto a branch and I carried her to one of the trees the moths had damaged. Also, she cooperated as I moved her, unlike some other bugs I would try to get out of the house or anything like that.

I also learned from the Rox when I picked up my paycheck last Friday that the previous night, the male moths were swarming around the stadium, especially at the lights!

I've seen moths fly around those lights before, but this is ridiculous! Though I'm sure when they shoot off fireworks on Friday and Saturday nights, it would scare the moths away, but only temporarily.

I'm thinking we should spray any egg masses we can reach, to try and cut down the number of them for next year (if there's another massive outbreak next year, which I hope there isn't!)
02 July 2016 @ 09:43 pm
Today marks the 30th anniversary of one of my top favorite Disney animated movies, "The Great Mouse Detective!" It's one of their surprisingly underrated titles, and still is today, despite the film having a pretty large fanbase.

The film stars Basil of Baker Street, the Sherlock Holmes of the mouse world, whom is a little crazy at times but extremely intelligent, making him one of the smartest of the Disney heroes. And the film has a great villain: Professor Ratigan, voiced by Vincent Price, whom did a GREAT job with the role, and you could tell he was clearly having fun with it (he even got top billing in the voice cast credits!) For an 80s Disney animated movie that came out of their "dark" era, it's actually really good. It has a very classic look and feel to it, great characters, one of their best music scores (by Henry Mancini, no less!), and a fun story. In fact, after "The Black Cauldron" flopped miserably when it came out the previous year, this movie was a refreshing change; it did pretty well at the box-office and got good reviews. And while it wasn't as successful as Don Bluth's "An American Tail" months later, it convinced Disney their Feature Animation department had a future after all, and this helped make way for the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s. Here's a great article about this subject.
(I think a crossover of "The Great Mouse Detective" and "An American Tail" would be pretty cool, but that's just me.)

I also made a pretty funny YouTube Poop of this movie...

Today I also re-filmed my Big Bad Wolf review of the "Great Mouse Detective" book-and-audio read-along Disney Records released in 1986 (one of their last read-alongs released on vinyl record, no less!)

So here's to thirty years of the Great Mouse Detective!
Current Music: "Goodbye So Soon" by Vincent Price (from "The Great Mouse Detective!")
25 June 2016 @ 11:46 pm
Last week I got a Sony TCM-359V compact cassette recorder! It has a nice built-in speaker and mic, and variable speed control (handy for recording funny voices!) This means I could start doing review videos of book-and-tape read-alongs as well, in addition to the records!

And I already did! I got a neat Fisher-Price book-and-audio read-along of Walt Disney's "Three Little Pigs," from 1981 (using the 1972 "Wonderful World of Reading" book adaptation!)

The tape uses the actual background music from the original cartoon, and the voice cast features Hal Smith as the narrator, Will Ryan as the Big Bad Wolf (who's pretty much spot-on), and Tony Pope as Practical Pig (who doesn't sound that great.) At the end, we hear a snippet of that 1958 re-recording of "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" (the ending part with just the pigs singing.) Hear it for yourself!
In the 80s, Fisher-Price had a line of read-along book-and-audio sets, mostly on cassette tapes, including some Disney titles that sound like they were co-produced with Disneyland Records.

I shot a video of the Big Bad Wolf himself listening to the tape and giving his comments on it...

I also got the 1987 "Disney Presents Your Favorite Fairy Tales" read-along book and tape: "Little Red Riding Hood," which is a reissue of the original 1968 book-and-record version...

The two different editions side-by-side.

They both have the same UPA-influenced interior illustrations, but a bit of the wording is changed in the 1987 version, and the cassette has a completely-new audio program compared to the 1968 version, with a different story reader, background music and sound effects, and new songs. Disney came out with the "Your Favorite Fairy Tales" line of read-alongs in 1987, after they discontinued their vinyl record read-alongs that included generic fairy tale adaptations done in the older read-along style (with a single narrator reading the whole story without any music or sound effects, like the original "Little Red Riding Hood" read-along) and updated them for cassette.

So today I filmed a review of the Big Bad Wolf listening to that as well...

I still have a couple other read-along record review videos planned as well.
Hmm, next weekend I think I will make a few touch-ups and minor repairs to the head, so it'll be in great shape for Boston Comic Con this August!
18 June 2016 @ 11:58 pm
Today was a busy day for me. I had to get up early (and it didn't help that there was a sudden unexpected thunderstorm last night that prevented me from getting a good night's sleep; I had to calm down my dog during it around midnight!), and arrive at Campanelli Stadium. Yup, to my surprise, they had me be K-O there again, first for a "Brockton Knocks Out Diabetes" walk, and then for their double-header games that day!

I had the boxing gloves on for the walk, also in memory of Muhammad Ali (another loss of 2016...) And it felt great dancing in front of the crowd, participating in promotional events on the field, posing for photos, and of course high-fiving and hugging fans!

And of course here's K-O reading that sport mascotting book, "Yes, It's Hot in Here."

In between games, I was able to head home and relax for a bit and shower, before the second game, where my friend attended (the same one that went with me to Anime Boston.) She had a lot of fun, and I am glad. The Rox lost both games, but I still enjoyed myself anyway.

Here's K-O the Kangaroo at the second Brockton Rox double header game this evening, dancing it up during his introduction! It's so much fun to be the center of attention like this. I had fun dancing to songs I enjoyed, even though I had to hear the very ear-wormy "Best Day of My Life" by American Authors, a song I had to hear ad-nauseum during my days at Sprawl-mart and Kohl's (I thought I could go a whole year without hearing That Song, but I guess it will never happen!)
No matter, that didn't stop me from having a fun evening. And plus, this is a job I really enjoy!

I did enjoy high-fiving and hugging the kids (and older fans), signing autographs and posing for pictures! At first they were kind of wearing me out, but after a quick cool-down break it went more smoothly. It felt great entertaining the little ones, even though there was one kid that pulled my tail (not surprisingly.)
There was also a birthday party going on in the open area between the stadium and the adjacent conference center, for a boy who had just turned thirteen (yep, the big 1-3), and K-O helped to liven up the party as well.

Me and my friend hug at one point during the game. When it wrapped up, both of us watched the fireworks together, with me in costume (heh heh...) They don't allow K-O on the field anymore during the fireworks display, so I can't do the old "Sorcerer Mickey" routine at them anymore. But I thought it was a little more fun watching them with my friend anyway.

Either way, it sure was lots of fun, and I hope I get to do it again soon!
Current Mood: proud
I found out this morning that 2016 has taken yet another victim: this time it's Janet Waldo, whom was a great cartoon voice actress. She was 96 years old, and died of a brain tumor.
Her most famous role was Judy Jetson...

She did a LOT of voices for Hanna-Barbera, including Penelope Pitstop...

(Remember her funny run cycle?)

Josie of "Josie and the Pussycats" (her speaking voice)...

even Scooby-Doo's actress cousin Scooby-Dee!

(In her lone appearance, there was also a male dog that disguised as her and flawlessly imitated her voice!)

So long, Judy Jetson. You've joined the rest of the original cast in Heaven now...
07 June 2016 @ 10:25 pm
Due to "Zootopia" coming out on home video today, I thought I'd bring this up.
Lately, there's been a trend online saying that VHS tapes of Disney animated movies that were released in the "Black Diamond" Classics collection in the 80s and early 90s are worth a lot of money. If you look on eBay, you can see them selling in the thousands price range. A popular one is the 1992 VHS release of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast," reported to have sold on eBay for $9,000 on one occasion!

As I said, they are often referred to as the "Black Diamond" Classics releases, due to the VHS cases having a black diamond logo with "THE CLASSICS" on it. An animated version would also appear before the film begins on the tape:

I don't know how this really started, but I find it to be a lot of malarkey. For one thing, I've often seen them sold online and any shops, sales or flea markets selling used videos for WAY less than that, often under $5. And this is mainly for used copies in great shape. New unopened copies can sell a bit more, but nowhere into the thousands normally.
Also, the 1992 "Beauty and the Beast" VHS is in no way "rare." It happens to be one of the most common "Black Diamond Classic" VHS tapes out there, along with "Aladdin." They claim early printings of "Beauty and the Beast" had the "Human Again" song on it, but it never did. The song was indeed written for the film in 1990-1991, but it didn't get used. That bit never got recorded and animated until 2002, when it was added to the IMAX "special edition" release of the film and the subsequent "Platinum" DVD edition. So that whole thing about "Human Again" being on the original VHS prints of the film is completely false.

I have a ton of those "Black Diamond" Disney Classic VHS tapes from my childhood. And now I got another one for the collection!

...Just kidding. It's actually a combination of a Photoshopped VHS tape label, and a custom VHS cover made by my Facebook friend Kyle on his Disney video blog!
But I DID get the Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack today, since I liked the film so much.
04 June 2016 @ 11:52 pm
For the past week, and maybe last as well, there have been a LOT of gypsy moth caterpillars out.

They've been appearing almost anywhere there are trees, and as each day goes by, they seem to get a little bigger. They are major pests, as they are known to do extensive damage to trees. They suspend themselves on thin silk strings to get down somewhere. They crap a lot. And if you touch one, you can get a rash from it.
These caterpillars are everywhere now. They're crawling along the sides of our house. And there are a LOT of them crawling all over our garage!

Since June started a few days ago, I imagine we'll have to deal with these caterpillars for a few more weeks, before they finally make their cocoons and begin pupation. Then in July, we'll have to deal with once they've actually become moths. But at least only the males can fly, as the female gypsy moths in our area are unable to fly. Hence, they only lay eggs near where they hatched. They're NOTHING like the Gypsy Moth from "A Bug's Life," whom had striking colors on her wings (almost like a butterfly's wings) and could fly really well, unlike the female North American gypsy moths and their lacking the ability to fly.

Quite a difference between the two, showing how art imitates (maybe exaggerates) life?