Friday, December 6, 2019

Sears Christmas Catalog / Wish Book - 1972

In 1972, the Sears Christmas Catalog (or "Wish Book," as they used to call the Christmas version of their catalog), featured the characters from Disney's "Winnie the Pooh."

Not only were the characters on the cover of the catalog, but they were also on the first several pages, along with stories of what Christmas was like for children in various countries around the world.

First up was Holland:






Let's go back to those pages with the Sesame Street puppets. I had that Roosevelt Franklin Puppet (and the Ernie and Big Bird too). My brother had Bert and the Cookie Monster (and also Oscar the Grouch and Grover, which aren't pictured). We briefly saw Roosevelt Franklin on the Sesame Street float in my 1971 Rose Parade post, back in January of 2017. Roosevelt Franklin was the first black-influenced Muppet and was co-created by Jim Henson and Matt Robinson, who played the role of "Gordon" on Sesame Street.

My brother and I still have all of our old Sesame Street puppets. Here is what my Roosevelt Franklin puppet looks like today:

Out of all of the original boxes that the puppets came in, the one for Roosevelt Franklin, is the only box that managed to survive. And incidentally, he didn't come from Sears. The top of the box still has it's original "Gemco" price tag of $5.19!

It's interesting for me to go through this catalog now and see what other items my brother and I had, and in some cases, still have. My brother had both the Pinocchio marionette and Danny O'Day ventriloquist dummy, shown below. He even had the ventriloquism instructional record that is listed on the same page (but not shown).

Here is a shot of my brother playing with his Pinocchio marionette on Christmas morning. I still have that stuffed Santa Claus visible in the background and that red wagon (which had "SEARS 300" painted on the side of it). I wish we still had that portable record player!

And here is my brother the following year, with his Danny O'Day ventriloquist dummy.

I remember him listening to this record and trying to master "Instant Ventriloquism."

I had the Disney "Shaker Maker" figure set, pictured below. And my brother had the "Cool Cast Very Scarys." In fact, he got that at the same time that I got my Roosevelt Franklin puppet. I remember we were both playing with our new toys and some of his "RUBBERGOO" accidentally shot out of the squeeze bottle and landed on Roosevelt Franklin's shirt. Even though there was an attempt to wash it out, it left a stain that is still detectable today!

For the Shaker Maker figures, you added water to the provided powder mixes and mixed them in sort of a plastic cocktail shaker. The character mold was down inside the shaker, so after shaking you just turned it over and let the mixed material partially dry, before pulling the mold apart.

After the figure dried, you could paint them....or like the side of the box says, "Paint Like Wild!" What does that mean?

The original instruction sheet even managed to survive all these years.

"Over 5 million little girls have learned how Kenner's Easy-Bake Oven earned it's name!" What about all the boys, huh? How about some non-gender-specific advertising? Okay, was the seventies. And no, I didn't have one of these Easy-Bake Ovens! However, I did have an "Incredible Edibles" gummy candy maker. The metal cooker was sort of in the shape of a flying saucer and it would get REALLY hot. When I ran out of the gel that was used to make the candy, my mom took me to the local "Karl's Toys" store to purchase refills, but we were told that it had been discontinued, because too many kids were burning themselves on the metal cooker. I never got burned! It had a big plastic knob on top to open the lid and plastic tongs for lifting the metal candy molds out. I'll have to post some pics of it in the future.

Anyway....I did have the Hasbro "Frosty Sno-Man" sno-cone maker, pictured below the Easy-Bake Oven.

And here is what it looks like today.

The catalog featured many Pooh-themed items for children:

I was given the Winnie The Pooh "Grab Bag Game" (pictured below) for my 5th birthday.

In this late 1960's/early 1970's picture taken inside of a Sears store, the sign for the Catalog Sales desk can be seen on the far wall. Other interesting things to note in the photo, are the cameras in the glass case, and the typewriters on display just beyond the cameras. What's a typewriter?

If we zoom in, we can see Polaroid's "Big Swinger" camera on sale for $9.88, and there are movie projectors in the glass case below them. There are also greeting cards visible off to the right, in the stationary department. At one time, Sears sold almost EVERYTHING! There is also a sign in the background for "Karnival Korner," which was a snack counter that sold hot dogs, soft-serve ice cream, large pretzels and Icee's. Popcorn and warm nuts were sold over at the candy counter, which would have been located directly behind the person who took this photo.

And for anyone who's interested, here is what the Sears candy counter looked like. This photo was taken around Easter time. Notice the Easter baskets, plush bunnies and other furry critters for sale!

We will end today, with the back cover of the 1972 Sears Christmas catalog. The Kenmore (Sears' brand) appliances were available in "Tawny Gold" and "Avocado" for only $5.00 more than the standard "White." My mom's appliances were all "Avocado" green....and so was our shag carpet!

Happy holidays, everyone!

*****POST UPDATE*****

While looking around on ebay, I came across the same Hasbro Frosty Sno-Cone Machine that I had, still in it's original sealed box! The seller states that it is "Old Stock" and is asking a "Buy It Now" price of $399! (It can be found here, if anyone is interested: New/Sealed - In Original Box)

Someone else is selling a used one, but with it's original box, for $115! (That one can be found here: Used - In Original Box)

Friday, November 1, 2019

Merlin's Magic Shop, Mickey's Christmas Chalet, Disney Villains & More!

The Castle courtyard area of Disneyland's Fantasyland, hasn't changed very much over the least, not the exteriors. In the past, I wrote about the former Tinkerbell Toy Shop on the west side of the courtyard. Today, we will take a look at the little shop across the way.

Originally opening in 1955 as Merlin's Magic Shop, the store was operated by Taylor and Hume, Inc. and carried a variety of items, including magic tricks, rubber masks, and practical jokes.

My dad really liked the architecture on this shop and photographed it on more than one occasion. Here's a photo he took in 1966. I always loved those scroll-like "To Tomorrowland" and "To Frontierland" signs that hung in the Castle archways.

One year later (1967), my dad took this pic of my aunt, using the Disneyland mailbox out in front of the shop. By the way, that mailbox is still there today!

I'm not sure if this was just a publicity shot or if they actually held magic shows in front of the shop. I have only ever seen this one photo showing any such activity in the courtyard.

That photo and the following info, were included in a 1981 Disneyland cast member publication. I don't remember ever seeing the color-changing iguana. However, I do remember the giant rubber spiders on strings, which cast members would release from the rafters inside the shop, down onto unsuspecting guests below!

This "Secret Panel Chest" is the only item that I ever purchased in Merlin's Magic Shop. I included a couple more photos of it in my Haunted Mansion 50th Anniversary post, from two months ago.

My dad took this next pic of the shop in 1982. A pink construction wall is visible on the far left. This was taken during the earliest stages of the New Fantasyland Construction.

After the completion of the New Fantasyland in May of 1983, the shop was renamed Mickey's Christmas Chalet and carried Christmas merchandise year round. Notice the new sign hanging outside of the shop. By the way, that Christmas tree and Snowman costume were from Disneyland's "Fantasy On Parade."

This character vignette was on display inside Mickey's Christmas Chalet:

I purchased this plush Mickey Mouse in the shop, shortly after it opened in 1983.

Here is the original tag for the item.

The animated short, Mickey's Christmas Carol, was released just seven months after the shop opened, and they carried quite a bit of merchandise related to the film. I bought a small ceramic ornament of Minnie Mouse, dressed as Bob Crachit's wife, but I was not able to locate it in time for this post. When I do find it, I will photograph it and add it here.

In 1991, the Villains Shop took over this space. Over the next five years, various Disney villains would be featured in the shop's window displays.

The animated "Caged Witch" figure from the old Disneyana shop on Main Street, was relocated inside the Villains Shop.

This Cruella figure was also on display inside the store. I'm thinking that she might have originally been from one of the Emporium window displays on Main St., but I'm not sure. The Cruella and Dalmatian figurines (on the top of the window frame), were glazed ceramic pieces. These could be found in various shops throughout the park, along with ceramic figurines of many other Disney characters.

Here's a close-up of Cruella, along with some other Disney villain figurines which were available at the time.

Small PVC (plastic) versions of the villains were also sold in the shop.

And here is a selection of other Villain items, which were available at the time.

Villain Mugs:

Pin-back buttons:

Cloisonne Disney Villain pins: (This was in the days BEFORE the start of the "Official Disney Pin Trading" program.)

Fantasmic! postcards:

Maleficent horns/cowl:

Here's a close-up of that price tag, from the photo above. After they marked these down for clearance (below fifty percent off!), I decided to buy them.

This framed pic of the Evil Queen was on display in the Villains Shop, and I believe it was also for sale.

In 1996, the Villains Shop in Fantasyland was converted into "The Sanctuary of Quasimodo" and a Hunchback of Notre Dame vignette was placed in the store window. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the store's interior, from this time period.

The last retail store that occupied this space, was the Castle Heraldry Shoppe.

This shop had originally been located inside the Castle (just inside the main archway), in the former Castle Candy Shoppe location. In fact, I believe this shield-shaped sign is the same one that hung outside of the Castle Candy Shoppe.

Here are some close-ups of the Castle Heraldry Shoppe's window displays:

A suit of armor stood guard, just outside the main entrance to the shop:

And a "headless" version was on display, inside:

Some close-up shots of the interior displays:

In 2017, this shop space was converted once again, into a year-round Christmas shop. Maybe if we wait long enough, it will become Merlin's Magic Shop again!

We will end today with some VERY brief video of the Villains Shop, which I shot back in the nineties. Keep an eye out for the caged Witch display and also a figure of Stromboli, trapped in a hanging cage just like the one that he put Pinocchio in! If you blink, you will miss both of them! I wish I had shot more footage of this shop's interior!