Archive for October, 2009


I have been busy updating the Cartoons & Comic Books Amazon Store. Here is a post that I have updated about the upcoming Zorro set.


Here is a special offer that is too good to miss. The Ultimate 70th Anniversary Edition of the Wizard of OZ.

#Please note that this is a region 1 DVD and a region free DVD player is needed to view this DVD outside of North America

The Wizard of Oz (70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition with Digital Copy and Amazon Exclusive Set of 4 Collectible 8×10 Character Posters)
Price: US$48.49


Product Description

In this charming film based on the popular L.Frank Baum novel, Dorothy and her dog Toto are caught in a tornado’s path and somehow end up in the land of Oz. Here she encounters some memorable friends and foes in her journey to meet the Wizard of Oz who everyone says can help her return home and possibly grant her new friends their goals of a brain, heart and courage.

DVD Features: 
Over 16 Hours of Wonderful Wizardry About This Movie Classic, the Life and Times of Original Author L. Frank Baum and Other Early Screen Adaptations of the Oz Books – With Such New-to-DVD Delights As a Documentary Profile of Director Victor Fleming, the TV-Movie The Dreamer of Oz Starring John Ritter, Annette O’Toole and Rue McClanahan and the 2007 Hollywood Walk of Fame Salute to the Munchkins.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #499 in DVD
  • Released on: 2009-09-29
  • Aspect ratio: 1.33:1
  • Formats: Box set, Color, Full Screen, Limited Collector’s Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Subtitled in: English, French, Spanish

Editorial Reviews
When it was released during Hollywood’s golden year of 1939, The Wizard of Oz didn’t start out as the perennial classic it has since become. The film did respectable business, but it wasn’t until its debut on television that this family favorite saw its popularity soar. And while Oz‘s TV broadcasts are now controlled by media mogul Ted Turner (who owns the rights), the advent of home video has made this lively musical a mainstay in the staple diet of great American films. Young Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), her dog, Toto, and her three companions on the yellow brick road to Oz–the Tin Man (Jack Haley), the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), and the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger)–have become pop-culture icons and central figures in the legacy of fantasy for children. As the Wicked Witch who covets Dorothy’s enchanted ruby slippers, Margaret Hamilton has had the singular honor of scaring the wits out of children for more than six decades. The film’s still as fresh, frightening, and funny as it was when first released. It may take some liberal detours from the original story by L. Frank Baum, but it’s loyal to the Baum legacy while charting its own course as a spectacular film. Shot in glorious Technicolor, befitting its dynamic production design (Munchkinland alone is a psychedelic explosion of color and decor), The Wizard of Oz may not appeal to every taste as the years go by, but it’s required viewing for kids of all ages. –Jeff Shannon

On the discs
The 2009 Wizard of Oz Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD has all of the material from the 2005 three-disc edition plus more. The first disc has the sharp 2005 restoration using Warner’s Ultra Resolution process and an accompanying featurette on how it’s done. The technicians also discuss how the sound was remixed, though that would have been more effective had it included surround-sound demonstrations (the featurette is in 2.0). Other features include a commentary track by critic John Fricke supplemented by vintage cast interviews (he offers a lot of trivia, and debunks the myth that Shirley Temple was ever close to getting the Dorothy role); profiles of nine cast members and clips of other movies they appeared in (including Toto); and the original mono track and a music-and-effects track. New for 2009 is a sing-along track that you can turn on as you watch the movie or you can select from 10 numbers to sing along with karaoke-style subtitles. The second disc has all the same material as the 2005 second disc: the Angela Lansbury-hosted documentary The Making of a Movie Classic; the outtakes and deleted scenes, including Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” reprise and the home-movie recording of “The Jitterbug”; the sketches and stills and composer Harold Arlen’s home movies; the audio underscores and radio programs; the 1979 interviews with Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, and Jack Haley; a lightly animated 10-minute storybook again narrated by Lansbury; 2001 and 2005 behind-the-scenes featurettes; a 1950 Lux Radio Theater broadcast; and other items too numerous to mention.

The material from the 2005 third disc is now on discs 3 and 4. New for 2009 is a 34-minute documentary on the director of The Wizard of Oz (and many other films), Victor Fleming: Master Craftsman; “Hollywood Celebrates Its Biggest Little Stars,” a featurette on how the Munchkins got their star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2007; The Dreamer of Oz, a a 1990 television movie dramatizing the life of author L. Frank Baum, played by John Ritter, and also featuring Annette O’Toole and Rue McClanahan (poor picture quality might have relegated it to the bonus material instead of being released on its own); and a 51-minute silent film from 1951, The Patchwork Girl of Oz. These new materials complement the 38-minute biography of L. Frank Baum, and the other early treatments of The Wizard of Oz: Of the four silent films–The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910, 13 min.), The Magic Cloak of Oz (1914, 38 min.), His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914, 59 min., written and directed by Baum himself), and The Wizard of Oz (1925, 72 min., Larry Semon)–“Scarecrow” and the 1925 film are wonderfully enhanced by newly composed and performed soundtracks that re-create what a silent-movie hall might have sounded like. The sixth treatment is Ted Eshbaum’s 1933 Technicolor cartoon short which has songs and sound, and is the first depiction of Kansas in black and white and Oz in color. A fifth disc has a Digital Copy of the film (compatible with iTunes and Windows Media; download code expires 9/22/10).

The limited-edition (243,000 numbered editions) packaging is very attractive, though a bit awkward for shelf space (it’s taller than a normal DVD). The large box opens to reveal a 52-page book Behind the Curtain of Production 1060 with cast bios and production notes and photos, a copy of the film’s budget, a 70th-anniversary watch, and a replica campaign booklet that was intended to hype the film’s release to theater owners. It’s a fascinating time capsule of advance publicity for a film that is still being watched and discussed 70 years later. –David Horiuchi

The RRP to buy this is Australia is AU $70 but you can buy it from Amazon for AU $53.50. With the basic shipping added it comes to $59, which is $11 dollars cheaper than what you pay to buy it in Australia.

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Here is a post that I have been trying to make for a while, but it seems that WordPress, Firefox, AOL and Photobucket have all conspired against me to make posting this as difficult as possible. I have had all sorts of problems with this post and it has taken me two and a bit days to finally get everything posted.

Last Sunday Priscilla and I set of for the A Day In Pompeii exhibition at the Melbourne Museum.

Picture 156

First of all I have posted a photo of the criminally underutilised Royal Exhibition Building. This building which was built especially for the grand exhibition of 1880, and was the federal parliament house of Australia between 1901 and 1927, is really beautiful, especially when compared to the modern museum building that stands beside it.

Picture 151

The Exhibition Building did once serve as the Melbourne Museum, and I feel that it should be used in some way for a museum type purpose. The current premises cannot display the whole of the Museum’s collection, so perhaps it could display items relating to Melbourne in the 19th and early 20th century. (Items that don’t get much love by the current museum’s curators!)


Here is a piece of the Colonial Mutual building that stood on the corner of Elizabeth and Collins Street between 1896 and 1960, when it was demolished to make way for the current National Australia Bank building. It is very surprising how many grand old buildings were demolished between 1950 and 1980. We tend to think that this sort of barbarism is a more modern thing but at least now we try to recognise a buildings historical value, rather than just call in Whelan the Wrecker.

There were a lot of interesting items in the Pompeii exhibition.

Image courtesy Museum Victoria

Image courtesy Melbourne Museum

dog cast

Image courtesy Melbourne Museum

The sadest thing at the Pompeii exhibition were the casts of the people and animals that died after the explosion of Vesuvius. Especially the cast of the dog (at right) and of the slave who was still in his shackles.

Image courtesy Melbourne Museum

It was a really interesting exhibition.

Going through some old photos that I have taken but never posted, I thought that it would be good to perhaps post the picture of one of Melbourne’s unique landmarks once a week.

magic pudding

Here is a statue of the character’s from Norman Lindsay’s classic Australian children’s book, The Magic Pudding. Featured are Bunyip Bluegum, Bill Barnacle, the Magic Pudding and Sam Sawnoff. This statue is in the children’s garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

My name is Bertie. I am one of Australia’s most famous advertisements, for a food called Aeroplane Jelly.”

One of the problems with animation in this country is that it is not taken seriously. It is considered to be something purely for the amusement of children. Case in point is this article on Aeroplane Jelly by the National Film and Sound Archive. While there is all sorts of information on the jelly and on the famous jingle, nothing is mentioned of who directed the animated commercials that are now such a huge part of our popular culture.

What I have been listening to lately…

I know that everyone in the whole wide world is interested in what songs I listen to on my iPod on the way to work. Well, here they are…

1. Big Ten Inch Record – Aerosmith
2. Mama Kin – Aerosmith
3. Shake Your Moneymaker – Fleetwood Mac
4. Three Button Hand Me Down – The Faces
5. Stay With Me – The Faces
6. Long Live Rock – The Who
7. Born Under A Bad Sign – Albert King
8. Comin’ Home – Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
9. Happy – The Rolling Stones
10. Smokey Joe’s Café – The Robins
11. John The Revelator – Son House
12. How High The Moon – Les Paul & Mary Ford
13. Right Place, Wrong Time – Dr John
14. Clean Up Your Own Backyard – Elvis Presley
15. Burning Love – Elvis Presley
16. I’d Rather Go Blind – Chicken Shack
17. Give Me Back My Wig – Hound Dog Taylor & The Houserockers
18. Ain’t Superstitious – The Jeff Beck Group
19. Hey Joe – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
20. Please Send Me Someone To Love – Percy Mayfield

There is a point that I want to make about things music. Firstly I read a letter in the newspaper complaining about the lack of Elvis Presley songs on the radio. This letter writer actually spoke to someone from Gold 104 who told them that their station only plays rock and roll music. Huh! I always thought that Elvis was the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Gold 104 cannot use the argument that they only play modern music as they are known as ‘the good time oldies’ station and play lots of Beatles, Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac. I do know that they don’t play too many songs from before 1970, but Elvis still had a lot of good songs from after his 1968 comeback that would be a good fit on their playlist, as songs such as Burning Love and Suspicious Minds are two of the greatest rock songs ever recorded.

Here’s an unusal commercial for KFC featuring Warner Bros’ own Foghorn Leghorn.

Is ole Foggy the Looney Tunes equivallent of Adolf Hitler? How many poor innocent chickens has he lead to their doom (and our stomachs) by hocking KFC? Why isn’t there a WB version of Oskar Schindler to save all this innocent poultry? What will it be next… ducks? So many questions and so few answers. I haven’t been this flabbergasted by a cartoon character since I learnt that Porky Pig’s sister works in a butchery smoking hams.


Posted: October 26, 2009 in Australian TV
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I read an article in the H-un the other day that reported about how television viewers are flocking to watch reruns on the box. Seinfeld, old episodes of The Simpsons, The Flintstones and Bewitched are just some of the shows that are scoring good ratings. The reason why this is so is very simple. These are good, enjoyable shows that the whole family can watch, not stupid, cheaply made reality shows that seem to proliferate on TV today.

Does anyone really care if some Z-list celebrity can cook? Do we care if some computer nerd can hook up a date with some bimbo stripper? Do we care if some scrubbers attend an English boarding school where the snobbish pommy teachers are so judgemental that the average viewer wants to punch them in the nose? I can’t be the only one bored of all these pathetic reality shows.

I wonder why Walt never made that series of Oz films that he wanted to.

It would be quite interesting to see the Disney/Animated version of the Wizard of Oz.

Here’s a clip from the Disneyland anthology TV show showing Fess Parker singing the ballad of Davy Crockett.

It’s amazing the things that you can find on the internet. The other day I was looking to download old radio programs when I came across the Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air. I have since listened to a couple of episodes and find it fascinating. The show ran from January to May 1938 and was created to promote the theatrical release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In fact there is one episode that features Snow White and the Dwarfs whilst the Magic Mirror figures prominently in others. Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy also appear in the series as does Walt Disney himself. Disney’s top voice talent appeared on the show including Walt as Mickey Mouse, Clarence Nash as Donald Duck and Florence Gill as Clara Cluck, but I am not sure if Pinto Colvig is doing the voice of Goofy. One voice that I did recognise is that on the great Mel Blanc, who voices a lot of the incidental characters.

Twenty episodes of the program were made but there are only seven available for download at the Internet Archive. These wonderful pieces of entertainment are things that I really recommend that you download whether you are a nostalgia buff like me, or are looking for something that your kids can listen to and enjoy. They really don’t make radio programs like this anymore!