Ghostbusters POP

Posted on: July 24, 2014

I saw these the other day.  They didn’ have Winston Zeddmore, but they’re really cool.

Dr. Egon Spengler & Dr. Ray Stantz

Egon Ray

“Slimer” & Dr. Peter Venkman

Slimer Peter

 

Filed under: Blogs — admin @ 11:29 pm

Hotwheels Star Trek Spock

Posted on: July 19, 2014
Hotwheels Star Trek

I finally found the Hotwheels Mr. Spock car.  I don’t know if Rich would like these, but they still remind me of him. I don’t think he would have bought it even if he did like it.  Rich was a smart collector, much smarter than me who would go for anything that had the name of something I collected. Rich preferred “Quality over Quantity” as Old man Olaf would day.

summer 2014 045

So, this blog is for Rich.  I miss you. I’d like to end it with a few lyrics from Bowling For Soup’s song BFFF

You are my best friend in the world

And I hope that you know

When we hang out together

It’s freaking awesome

Filed under: Blogs — admin @ 1:30 am

Toy-Lines – You say potato I say Mr. Potato Head

Posted on: July 16, 2014
Hasbro-Headquarters-Building-Toys

One of the most iconic toys in a child’s toy box, Mr. Potato Head has been a part of the world for the last 62 years and it looks like he has no signs of stopping. Created by George Lerner in 1950 as nothing more than face pieces with push pins to stick into fruit, Lerner pitched the product to every toy company who flat out refused to buy it, which resulted in him finally selling the concept to a cereal company as a prize to be given away in their boxes. Lerner knew his concept was a good one and soon found himself in a meeting with Rhode Island brothers Henry & Merrill Hassenfeld (who would go on to create Hasbro Toys). The brothers liked the idea and bought the toy from the cereal company.

On April 30th, 1952, the “Mr. Potato Head Funny Face Kit” was sold in stores for less than one dollar, consisting of over 20 pieces, one of which was a pipe. That same year Mr. Potato Head starred in his own TV commercial which helped sell $4 million in play sets. In 1953 Mrs. Potato Head was released and soon play sets for Mr.  & Mrs. Potato Head were released like a toy convertible, boat and other items as well as new characters like Brother Spud and Sister Yam.  They even made sets to create pets.

In 1964 Government safety regulations had Hasbro change the push pin.  Since the pins were no longer sharp they couldn’t pierce the fruit, so a plastic potato with round holes for the pieces was built. New characters also came out that year under the “Toothy Frosty Friends” toy line with characters like: Oscar Orange, Pete the Pepper, Cooky the Cucumber and Kati Carrot. Also that year was the “Picnic Pal” line which included: Frenchy Fry, Mr. Soda Pop Head, Mr. Mustard Head, Willy Burger, Franky Frank and Mr. Ketchup Head. The arms and legs were the color of ketchup and mustard and the facial features were pickles and onions. Play sets includes the likes of a railroad, parade, circus and the wild West.

In 1966 “Jumpin’ Mr. Potato Head” was created. The potato was larger to fit the wind up mechanism that could make Mr. Potato Head flip.  With the jumping feature Mr. Potato Head came with items that could make him go fishing, use a jack hammer, fly a kite or just jump. Mrs. Potato Head also was made with this feature though her items helped her dust, clean or ring a dinner bell.

1970 brought a few more friends to the Potato Head line in Potato Head Bird, Potato Head Fish and Potato Head Bug, but by 1973 the only toy on the shelves was Mr. Potato Head. Changes were made with a darker shade of brown for the potato while Government safety regulations stepped in once more and had Hasbro change the round holes for the pieces to be slots. Mrs. Potato Head was only available as a box of parts to be used on the Mr. Potato Head. But by 1983 Hasbro finally found the right shade of brown to color the potato as well as the right shape, which was more like an egg. His arms could bend but not be taken out of the potato, the round holes returned and a new feature was created, a place to put his parts in his back.

On February 11th, 1985 Baby Potato Head was introduced to the world, a much smaller, baby-like version of Mr. Potato Head which could be dressed as either a baby or child. 1986 saw the Potato Head Kids toys, these were smaller than Baby Potato Head, had removable hands and feet, and there were twelve of them. More Potato Head Kids were offered a year later sold through Avon as well as offered in fast food places as toys like McDonalds’ and Wendy’s.

Mr. Potato head was 35 years old as a toy in 1987 and finally got removable (and still bendable) arms. His pipe was now gone and Mr. Potato Head became part of the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke Out when he gave his pipe to Surgeon General C. Everett Coop.

In 1992, for Mr. Potato Head’s 40th birthday he was awarded the Presidential Sports Award from The President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. The “Soft Stuff Potato Head” was also released that year, a plush version that had Velcro parts. Being part of the Great American Smoke Out and winning the Presidential Sports Award helped keep Mr. Potato Head in the public’s eye, but that was nothing compared to what was going to happen to him in 1995.

Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story hit theatres with Mr. Potato Head as one of the co-stars voiced by Don Rickels. Pixar legend has it that John Lasseter had Rickels in mind for the part from the start.  When Lasseter went to Rickels’ house to pitch the role to him he brought with him a Mr. Potato Head toy. As he explained the concept of the movie Lasseter accidentally knocked off Mr. Potato Head’s hat revealing his bald crown. The uncanny resemblance of the bald potato and the bald comedian had them both laughing and Rickels agreed to the part that day.

Mr. Potato Head continued to get involved in campaigns like in 1996 when he got political for the League of Women to help people “Get out and Vote”. 1998 saw him as a new kids toy to help promote Burger Kings new French fries. 2000 was a busy year for him when he not only was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame on March 4th, 2000, but also co-starred in Toy Story 2 with Rickels reprising his voice. Mrs. Potato Head became a co-star of the film voiced by Estelle Harris. Rickels also provided Mr. Potato Head’s voice for the 1999 Toy Story 2 video game as well as in 2001 for the Toy Story Racer video game. Mr. Potato Head was also named the official ambassador of the Rhode Island Tourism Board which resulted in over 40 6 foot statues of him placed around various tourist spots in Rhode Island.

2002 was the 50th anniversary for Mr. Potato Head and to celebrate he drove to over 250 Wal-marts in his “spuds-mobile” to celebrate. The state of Rhode Island, Mr. Potato Head’s home state, also made him part of the Rhode Island license plate. Several toys were released that year as well including the Retro 50th anniversary play set & collector tin, the limited edition Mr. Potato Heads from Wal-mart that featured one for each season of the year, a birthday version, and a baseball team themed giveaway.

Mr. Potato Head’s popularity as an icon continued in 2005 when he was made spokesman for the United States Potato Board and even became a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. With the popularity of the Disney/Pixar Toy Story films Mr. Potato Head returned in Toy Story Mid-way Mania, once more voiced by Don Rickels. In 2010 Toy Story became a trilogy with Toy Story 3 ending the toys life with Andy as he went off to college and left his toys with Bonnie. Both Rickels and Harris returned to voice their parts of Mr. &. Mrs. Potato Head respectively.

Fans might have thought that was the end of the Toy Story toys, but Pixar made made Toy Story cartoons for The Disney Channel featuring the toys in their new setting. In 2011’s Hawaiian Vacation Rickels & Harris returned, as they did in the hilarious 2011 short Small Fry, then once more in 2012’s Partysaurus Rex. In 2013 Rickels voiced Mr. Potato Head in the half-hour TV episode Toy Story of Terror and is set to return once more in 2014’s TV-movie Toy Story that Time Forgot.

If the past 62 years have taught us anything it’s that Mr. Potato Head will still be around for a long time, and with Disney/Pixar continuing the Toy Story gang’s new adventures, we’ll be hearing him for some time too.

Filed under: Blogs — admin @ 1:29 am

I Geek Disney: Sleeping Beauty Mickey Ears

Posted on: July 13, 2014
SBME

August 1st sees the release of Disney’s 16th animated feature, Sleeping Beauty (released on January 29, 1959) in the form of “Mickey Ears”.  The set of Sleeping Beauty figures will be priced at $12.95 each, sold blind boxed so you don’t know who you’ll be getting.  Included in the set are the following characters:

Princess Aurora/Sleeping Beauty

sleeping beaut

Voiced by Mary Costa in the movie (for a character whose name appears as the title of the movie, Aurora has only 18 lines of dialogue throughout the film & appears in only 18 minutes of footage)

Prince Philip

prince philip

Voiced by Bill Shirley

The Fairy Godmothers – Flora, Fauna, Merryweather

flora fauna merryweather

The best way to tell these three apart are by the colors they wear:

Flora voiced by Verna Felton wears red

Fauna voiced by Barbara Jo Allen wears green

Merryweather voiced by Barbara Luddy wears blue

Owl

owl

Voiced (uncredited) by Dal McKennon

Maleficent

maleficent

Voiced by Eleanor Audley (also supplied the voice of Lady Tremaine in Disney’s 1950 Cinderella)

Maleficent as dragon

maleficent dragon

Maleficent’s goon

goon

Voiced (uncredited) by Bill Amsber, Candy Candido & Pinto Colvig (the first voice of Goofy)

Filed under: Blogs,I Geek Disney — admin @ 2:12 am

Toy-Lines – The Oldest toy Store in the World

Posted on: July 13, 2014

If Santa Clause ever stopped giving out Christmas gifts and opened a toy store, FAO Schwarz would be it. There’s nowhere else in the world where you can be greeted by a real-life Toy Soldier or see more toys in one day than you can in a month in the stores in your home town. But how many people know the tale of FAO Schwarz was started over 150 years ago, making it the oldest toy store in the world, or how a giraffe took over?

The FAO in FAO Schwarz stands for Frederick August Otto Schwarz who was born on October 18th, 1836 in Herford, Westphalia Germany. He would go to school until he was 14, when he took an apprenticeship with a store merchant to learn about the world of business. In 1856, at the age of 20, Frederick immigrated to the United States to join his two older brothers in Baltimore, Maryland. His brothers were already successful in the toy business and Frederick served as an apprentice for them. The toys they carried in the store were “high-end” ones imported from Europe. Six years later in 1862 his brothers made him a partner and the brothers opened “Toy Bazaar” in Baltimore. That year he also married Caroline Clausen.

Frederick worked in “Toy Bazaar” for eight years, growing a family with Caroline (they would eventually have six children: Anna, Ida, Henry, Frederick, Emilie and H. Marshall) and working towards owning his own store. Then, in 1870, Frederick and his family moved to New York City where he would open “Schwarz Brothers – Importers” on 765 Broadway. Using the knowledge he learned from his apprenticeship in Germany, as well as that with his brothers, Frederick would run his store while seeking advice from his brothers on European toys, toymakers and contacts.

In 1875 Schwarz would start a tradition that he would carry on in his stores (and others would copy) when he would have a live Santa Clause in the store during the Christmas Season. By 1876 Schwarz was doing well enough to open his second store at 1159 Broadway and issue a mail order catalog for his clients.  In 1880 Frederick would combine his two stores, move to 42 East 14th Street in Union Square and rename the store “FAO Schwarz”.

In 1897 Schwarz was the most popular toy dealer in the world. The store moved to 39-41 West 23rd Street, a double building with seven floors and a basement a block long full of inventory. The store was well known for its extremely well crafted merchandise of handmade dolls, stuffed animals with real fur, toy soldiers, models of ships, working trains, carriages and other replicas of the then modern world. In 1910 the store moved once more to 303 5th Avenue and offered more than 16,000 items.

On May 17th, 1911 Frederick August Otto Schwartz, a man who dedicated his life to toys, died at the age of 75, due to illness. He was buried in Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. Frederick’s family would run the store after his death, moving it to 745 5th Ave, where it would remain for 55 years. The store had a grand marble staircase, a slide from the first floor to the main level, and window displays at Christmas that would draw crowds. It survived the “Great Depression” and put stores in other states making the New York store its “flagship store”.

By 1962 FAO Schwarz celebrated its 100th anniversary, but starting in 1963, when the Schwarz family sold the store, it would go to several owners starting with Parent’s Magazine in 1963. In 1970 Parent’s Magazine would sell the store to W.R. Grace & Co. who would sell it to Franz Carl Weber International of Zurich, Switzerland in 1974. By the 1980’s there were 33 stores which got cut down to 22, eliminating those, like ones in a hotel lobby, that weren’t making money. In 1985 FAO Schwarz was ahead of its competitors when it was the first store in the United States to carry the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). That same year Weber would sell the store to investment firm Christina Companies, Inc. for $10.5 million.

Month’s later CEO of Christina Companies Peter Harris and investment banker Peter C. Moore would buy FAO Schwarz. Together the two Peters formed a “brain trust” of retail experts to get the store out of the trouble it was in. Sparing no expense, in 1986 the Peters moved the store to its current location at 767 5th Ave & 58th Street. The new store would be two stories tall and 40,000 square feet. For its “Grand Opening” the store was covered in red cloth with a white bow like a present with a giant card that read, “Do Not Open Until November 6th”. Then New York Mayor Ed Koch led the opening ceremonies while tons of balloons and people dressed like famous toy characters stood in front of the store.

The store continued to carry one of a kind toy items (like a half-sized Ferrari that could reach 30 mph and cost $12,500.00), a toy finding service, home delivery of toys, new toys, and even re-issued the catalog which offered toys from the store as well as more exclusive items just for the catalog (like a 14-child overnight party at the store that included airfare, a stretch limousine, room at The Plaza and a tour of the city with the tour guide being a real-life toy Pinocchio for $18,000.00). In the middle of the store a 25 foot tall computer programmed animated clock would sing “Welcome to Our World” every 15 minutes (the clock remained in the store from 1986-2004).

In 1988 the movie “Big” filmed in the store featuring the giant electronic piano. Despite the shoppers the movie brought in, by 1990 FAO continued to close stores that were not selling well. The two Peters would sell FAO that year to NV Koninklijke Bijenkorf Beheer for $40 million.

During 1995 FAO Schwarz opened its website www.fao.com and began selling exclusive merchandise with The American Museum of Natural History. FAO also co-produced the Broadway Musical “Big”. Cable shopping network QVC teamed with FAO Schwarz in 1997 featuring a themed two hour episode around FAO Schwarz called “FAO Schwarz—The Premiere”. Plans were made to expand the store to 60,000 square feet while the company had 39 stores, 23 of which were in malls. The catalog was sent to 6 million people and more store exclusive FAO themed toys were made with toy companies like the FAO Barbie which came with a FAO bag and a credit card. When the movie Titanic hit theatres FAO carried an exclusive doll for $395.00 and a Baccarat crystal version of the ocean liner for $2,500.00

By 2001 FAO launched FAO Baby, first in the flagship store and then in malls, replacing the existing FAO stores that weren’t selling well. FAO Baby sold items from Baby Gund, Lamaze, Fisher Price and Playskool. The toy stores also carried exclusive toys for the PBS show “Caillou”.

By 2009, despite being a popular tourist destination FAO’s sales declined and the store was purchased by Toy ‘R’ Us (which that same year purchased mall toy store KB Toys). In 2012 FAO celebrated 150 years of being a toy store, the oldest in America. On February 11th, 2012, Frederick August Otto Schwarz was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame by the Toy Industry Association. Members of the Schwarz family were present including one great grandchild, three great-great grandchildren and one great-great-great grandchild.

Today the New York FAO Schwarz flagship store is a huge tourist stop bringing in millions of visitors yearly. Trips to the store are memorable the moment you walk through its front doors where you’re greeted by a real-life Toy Soldier. Besides all the toys and the “Big” piano there are two types of tours you can take through FAO with their Toy Soldiers.

One starts 1 hour before the store opens and has a Toy Solider take you through the store on a 45 minute private tour, talking about the store, giving you a chance to check out the toys, and ending with a Continental Breakfast on the “Big” piano. The second is a class trip or group trip tour during store hours, talking about the store and gives exclusive use of the “Big” piano. FAO also offers private parties, like the “Cookie Party” in the FAO Party Room with a Toy Soldier. All this can be found on their website where you can call for prices and more information.

Perhaps the best way to sum up Frederick August Otto Schwarz’s life and legacy is with his own words:

“I have made toys my life study. It is a splendid issue and aside from the commercial question, there is more solid satisfaction in dealing with childhood playthings, and in knowing the joy one is sending out into the hearts of the little ones, than in selling any other commodity in the world.”

Filed under: Blogs — admin @ 1:13 am

Harry Potter the books, films & the theme parks

Posted on: July 10, 2014

No, I don’t write for “The Daily Prophet” & I’m not Rita Skeeter, I’m just a humble-Muggle who is into the world of Harry Potter. I thought perhaps I would write down some information regarding the series turned movie turned theme park in case anyone doesn’t know about them.

There are seven Harry Potter books in total:

1)      Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

2)      Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

3)      Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

4)      Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

5)      Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

6)      Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

7)      Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The first book (and movie) is actually titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in Europe (Yes, I have a copy) but was changed for the states.  J.K. Rowling also wrote three books about the Harry Potter world where the proceeds went to charity, they are:

1)      Quidditch Through the Ages – Kennilworthy Whisp

2)      Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them – Newt Scamander

3)      The Tales of Beedle the Bard

While The Tales of Beedle the Bard is mentioned in The Deathly Hallows (with some great scenes in the movie) the book Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander is actually Warner Bros. next series of films that will take place in the Harry Potter world, only 70 years prior to the birth of Harry.  It will be a trilogy with J.K. Rowling writing the screenplays herself. The first film will be released in November 2016 and they’ll be filmed in London in the Leavesden Studios where the original seven films were filmed, which Warner Bros. now owns.  There will also be wizards from the states in the movie. Newt Scamander, who “wrote” the book, is a Magizoologist.

The 7.1 Harry Potter movies are as follows:

1)      Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

2)      Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

3)      Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

4)      Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

5)      Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

6)      Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

7)      Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2

There are two books written on the films which are extremely detailed, they are:

1)      Harry Potter: Film Wizardry – Brian Sibley

2)      Harry Potter: From Page to Screen – Bob McCabe

While filming the Potter movies, the director films the sets letting you see what he wants you to see, which means that most of the sets (those not filmed on an existing location) are built in the studio & are only half there.  When it came to making The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for Islands of Adventure and Diagon Alley for Universal Orlando, the problem they faced was that we could see everywhere, so they used set designer Stuart Craig from the actual film to expand the Potter world to make everything look consistent.  That way, from the moment you walk into The Wizarding World or Diagon Alley to the moment you leave, you’re completely immersed in the world.  Now, with the addition of the Hogwarts Express (remember, this requires a Park to Park pass) you never have to leave the Potter world since the train itself is part of the Potter world, not only appearing in the book & films, but being a ride in itself.  Universal created the very first ride from one park to the next.

While the Wizarding World was expanded on the previous existing island in Islands of Adventure, some of it was able to be converted to the new land.  Facts on The Wizarding World of Harry Potter:

Location – Islands of Adventure

Includes the following areas: Hogsmead, Hogwarts Castle, and the Forbidden Forest.

Opened – June 18th, 2010

Projected cost – between $235 – $265 million

Attractions:

The Dragon Challenge (originally “Dueling Dragons” in the old island) – on the line for this ride you will see the Goblet of Fire & Triwizard Cup

Flight of the Hippogriff (originally Flight of the Unicorn) – pass by Hagrid’s Hut & see a real Hippogriff

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – set in the Hogwarts Castle with actual cast from the Potter movies (Film composer John Williams, who scored the first 2 Potter films, scores the attraction inside Hogwarts Castle)

Shops: Dervish and Banges, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, Honeydukes, Ollivander’s Wand Shop – making fine wands since 382 BC (in the books & films located in Diagon Alley), Owl Post – send a postcard & it will receive an official Hogsmeade postmark.  Shop these stores for all your Harry Potter souvenirs.

Place to eat – The Three Broomsticks (replaced a former place to eat) located in the rear is the Hogs Head Pub

Favorite drink that has sold over 5 million – Butterbeer

Diagon Alley – Location Universal Studios Orlando in what was formerly the “Jaws” & “Amity Island” section.

Ride – Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s Bank – Enter the banks lobby & see Goblins at work, then go to the caverns bellow where the wizard money is kept.  Meet Harry, Ron & Hermione as you thrill to the latest ride. Sitting atop the bank is a dragon that breathes actual fire.

Shops: Visit Borgin & Burkes, Madam Matkins, Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Quality Quidditch Supplies, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment to buy souvenirs

Places to eat: Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream, The Leaky Cauldron

Diagon Alley features the following: Ollivander’s, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes, Quality Quidditch Supplies, The Leaky Cauldron, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream and Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringott’s Bank

Knockturn Alley features the following: a back street off Diagon Alley, here the dark arts are found in stores like Borgin & Burkes

King’s Cross Station – here you can board the Hogwarts Express (Park to Park Pass needed) experience the train ride & see characters & creatures from the films

Before entering the hidden Diagon Alley see the streets of London. Keep an eye out for the Knight Bus used by wizards, Sirius Black’s home and in a record shop a nod to Jaws?

Diagon Alley is built on what was previously the Jaws ride & Amity Island. While Jaws is now long gone, Jaws “Easter Eggs” did make it into the Diagon Alley.  So far they are:

On the London streets, look inside the shop window and see a record named The Quint Trio.  Quint is of course a character in Jaws played by Robert Shaw.  The song on the record is actually something Shaw’s character sings in the movie.

In Diagon Alley, take a look in the window of Mulpepper’s Apothecary and you will see a giant shark’s jaw hanging in the background. Inside the shop of Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment take a close look at the telescopes above.  These were made with parts from the Jaws ride.  Finally, if you go in Knockturn Alley take a moment to listen to the Shrunken Heads.  They sing a song from one of the most classic scenes in Jaws with Richard Dreyfuss as Matt Hooper, Robert Shaw, Quint, and Roy Scheider as Chief Brody. Need a hint; it stars “Show me the way to go home”.

Be sure to explore the shop windows in both Diagon Alley & Hogsmead, here if you purchase a special wand you can perform spells on the items in the window.  Just look for the icon on the ground which tells you the spell to cast & the motion of the wand.

Filed under: Blogs — admin @ 11:38 pm

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Posted on: July 6, 2014

Character posters of the four green guys for their new movies.  Like I’ve said, except for the accessories they wear I’m getting to like how they look.

michealanelo poster  leonardo poster  donatello poster  raphael poster

Filed under: Articles — admin @ 11:26 pm

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Posted on: July 6, 2014

I saw three of the four Ninja Turtle toys today.  Not sure what the others will look like or if there will be different types, but this is all they had. One picture is blurry, the rest are pretty good.

The new turtles movie is due next month.  While I’m still not crazy about the amount of accessories the turtles seem to be wearing, I must admit, I’m beginning to like how they look.  I still like how they looked in the first film (1990) that the Jim Henson Creature Shop created, I also liked how they looked in the 2007 CGI movie TMNT.

I’m trying to hold judgement on the film until I see it.  For now though, check it out:

michaelangelo  donatello  leonardo

Filed under: Blogs — admin @ 11:21 pm

I Geek Disney: Seekers of the Weird cover issues 4 & 5

Posted on: July 6, 2014

Here are the covers to the ending of The Seekers of the Weird series, 4 & 5.  I’m hoping they’ll do another mini-series with these characters.

 

SOW 4  SOW 5

Filed under: Blogs,I Geek Disney — admin @ 11:09 pm

I Geek Disney: Playing With a Full Deck

Posted on: July 6, 2014
mickey

I like playing cards, my favorite games being 500 & “Spit”.  I’m pretty sure  my father taught us to play 500, while we learned, I believe, “Spit” at my grandmother’s on those Friday’s my brother, sister and I stayed there.  My dad is great at 500, and as kids, we could never beat him.  Still can’t.  One year on vacation in Florida in the 90’s my brother, sister and I were in the condo late at night playing 500, whoever reached the 500 points would get the trophy, an empty bottle of Coke.  Why Coke?  Really because it was the only thing there to use as a trophy.

I remember playing cards a lot at my grandmother’s.  We’d build card houses too.  The decks of cards were always in this one dresser drawer & there were several decks with holes in the center, which later on in life I learned were used casino decks. While we would play 500 or “Spit”, my brother taught my sister and I a game called “52 Pick Up.”  The teaching went like this:

My brother, “You guys want to play ’52 Pick Up’?” he asks while holding a deck of cards.

My sister and I together, “OK.”

He then throws the deck of cards on the ground.  “Pick them up.”

52 cards in a deck.  “Pick them up”. We fell for this once.

Below are two decks of Disney cards.  The first is a deck of Pirates of the Caribbean cards. The back of the card has the pirates’ movie logo, while the front of the card has Marc Davis Pirate character sketches. The second is a deck of Haunted Mansion cards. The back of the card says The Haunted Mansion, while the front has the characters from the stretching room. This deck glows in the dark.

pirates 1    pirates 2   haunted mansion 1

Cards were something Rich & I used to play too.  In the 90’s when we were in our late teens, early twenties, we’d play games of “Spit” with our friend Keith.  He was the quickest at the game & the toughest to beat.  He was like the mutant Quicksilver from X-men, it was tough to beat him & when I did it would be a feeling of triumphant.  When I didn’t, he’d throw a card around the room like he was Gambit from the X-men.  When Rich & I were older we’d play 500.  He was very good at this game and pretty much always won & I finally found out why.  He never rushed.  While I’d be quick to get a match & try to get out, he’d pick from the pile making match after match, so even if I went out & he had cards left in his hand, not many points would be deducted from his total.

Playing with my family and Rich meant two things. With my family, whenever you went out you’d usually make a comment, laugh & threw the card down while you said, “I’m out”, which prompted us to throw ours down too in frustration.  With Rich we’d trash talk, the most famous clichéd line being, “Are we going to talk or play cards?” We never played for money, I knew how to play 21 of course, but I never really got the hang of poker. In fact the only two times I’ve been to a casino was with Rich & Keith.  Both were times when I was unemployed and we went after midnight.  Keith would play the tables; Rich & I stuck to the slot machines or walked around the hotel.

Cards were a great way to spend an evening and one thing we still do.  My sister and I recently started playing 500 again.  The usual throwing down the cards or shouting, “Come on” when we’d take from the pile messing the other players chance of getting a match happens.

One day I’d like to play 500 again with Rich.  But this time, I want the score to go to 500 million.

“I’m out”.

Filed under: Blogs,I Geek Disney — admin @ 11:04 pm
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