Friday, November 10, 2023

Mickey's 50th Birthday Celebration!

Mickey Mouse is turning 95 this month!  Back in 1978, the little guy was turning 50, and there was a lot of hoopla about it.

The Fall 1978 issue of Disney News Magazine featured an article, about Mickey's milestone birthday.

Ub Iwerks was given credit in the article, as the co-creator of Mickey....or at least, for his and Walt's "combined talent."

The article mentioned "The Mickey Mouse 50th Birthday Parade," which was running at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

My dad took these next two pics of the parade, during a 1978 visit to Disneyland:

If we zoom in on the photo above, we can see part of a construction/refurbishment sign for the Matterhorn.  These pics were most likely taken prior to the attraction's May '78 reopening as, "The New Matterhorn."

That Disney News article also mentioned the birthday celebration ending on the weekend of November 18 & 19, with a special climax.  This pic from the book Disneyland: The First Quarter Century, was taken that very weekend.  I have a friend who was at the park that day, and he said that it was so miserably crowded, that there weren't any vacant benches available, to sit down and take a break.  He also shared a story with me, about how free pieces of birthday cake were being handed out to guests.  However, as he and his friend got near the cake, they noticed that there were some guys hanging around the cake, who kept spitting on it!  So, of course, they "passed" on the free cake!

Until just recently, I had never heard of the theatrical film, "Mickey's Birthday Party Show."  Apparently, it played in movie theaters as a feature-length compilation film.  Released on September 30, 1978, the film contained five classic cartoons starring Mickey and his friends (including Mickey's Birthday Party from 1942), as well as a special guest appearance by the New Mouseketeers. Also included, was the 1955 live-action feature Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.

Here's the official trailer for the film:


On November 19, 1978, NBC was airing a special 90-minute version of The Wonderful World of Disney, in honor of Mickey's 50th.  I like the artwork in this TV Guide advertisement, which used the names of all the stars appearing on the show, to create the image of Mickey.

(I've attempted to list here, all of the stars who were appearing;  Anne Bancroft, Jonathan Winters, Jodie Foster, Bruce Jenner, Anne Murray, Dean Jones, Mickey Rooney, Raquel Welch, Elliot Gould, Annette Funicello, Doc Severinsen, U.S. Marine Corps Band, Joe Namath, O.J. Simpson, Alex Karras, Peter Strauss, Rev. Billy Graham, Jacqueline Bisset, R2-D2, Johnny Carson, Burt Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Charo, Kenny Rogers, Ruth Buzzi, Red Buttons, Sally Field, Helen Reddy, Gary Owens, Ken Berry, Helen Hayes, Susan Clark, Bob Hope, Goldie Hawn, Gerald Ford, Roy Rogers, Eva Gabor, Mel Brooks, Bette Davis, Steve Garvey, Lawrence Welk, Kermit The Frog, Elton John, Rich Little, Edward Asner, Jack Albertson, Roger Miller, Chewbacca, Ronnie Schell, Dyan Cannon, Adam Rich, Cheryl Ladd, Cantinflas, Gregory Peck, Dick Clark, James Stewart, Hans Conreid, Christopher Lee, Dale Evans, Henry Winkler, Shields & Yarnell (what, no Mummenschanz?), Dick Van Patten, International Children's Choir, Peter Sellers, Sterling Holloway, Jan-Michael Vincent, Shirley Jones, Barbara Walters, Willie Nelson & Band, Phyllis Diller, Jo Anne Worley, Carol Burnett, and Karen and Richard Carpenter.)

Four days later, on Thanksgiving Day, Mickey was making his annual appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Here is a color view of that same balloon, going down the parade route.

As for that special episode of The Wonderful World of Disney, I've searched for it on YouTube for years, and someone finally uploaded it, just a couple months ago!


To use a Lucy Ricardo quote, "Happy birthday, Mickey Mouse.....and I hope you live another 95 years!"

****** BONUS ITEM! ******

I thought I would include this birthday-themed Colorforms "Cartoon Kit" in the post, even though it is not specifically a "Mickey's 50th Birthday" item.  This originally belonged to my brother.  It's undated, but it was given to him in the early 1970s.

The board:

The pieces:

The instruction booklet:


Monday, November 6, 2023

Rest in Peace, Suzanne Somers (1946 - 2023)

This is an "in memoriam" post for actress, author, and businesswoman, Suzanne Somers, who passed away just last month.  I will be sharing a few related TV Guide covers and articles, from my personal collection.

This first one is from May 20, 1978.  I believe this was the first time she appeared on the cover of TV Guide.  Also on the cover were Joyce DeWitt and John Ritter, her costars in the classic TV show, Three's Company.  The show had debuted just about 1 year earlier.  The cover art was created by famed artist, Richard Amsel.

I didn't include the cover story article from the issue above, because it was exclusively about John Ritter (nothing against John Ritter, however!).

Just six month later, Miss Somers appeared solo, on the cover of this November 25, 1978 issue.

This time, the cover story was exclusively about her.

Here is that Newsweek Cover, that was mentioned in the article:

A little over two years later, there was a lot of coverage about her being "let go" from Three's Company, by the show's producers.  The article in this March 14, 1981 issue, covers both sides of the story.

On Tuesday of that same week, the characters "Mr. and Mrs. Roper" were making a return visit to Three's Company.  This was almost a year after their spinoff show, The Ropers, had been canceled.  Suzanne Somers' character of "Chrissy Snow," had made her final appearance on Three's Company, the previous week.  She was replaced by Jenilee Harrison (pictured below), who played "Cindy Snow," the cousin of Suzanne Somers' character.

I was able to be in the audience for a live taping of Three's Company, on January 26, 1982. However, this was about 10 months after Suzanne Somers had already left the show.  I just thought I would include the ticket, here.

Rest in peace, Suzanne Somers.