Category Archives: Nostalgia

Daffy Stardust takes on Haunted Mansion theories


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It’s just a few days after Christmas, so obviously the natural thing to do is to compose another post about Disney’s Haunted Mansion. The topics I’m going to cover here were touched on a bit in last year’s tour of the Walt Disney World version of the Mansion, but since I’m still finding these fan theories lingering I thought I’d talk about them in a little more detail than before. I’ll be asking three central questions, with a little bit of crossover. Who is Master Gracey? Is he the Ghost Host? Do you die on the ride? Some fans will give you a “yes” to those last two questions, but I’m not so sure. Let’s take a look, shall we?
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LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics: Rick Astley vs Starship


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Welcome to the next matchup in our continuing search for the most satisfyingly cheesy pop songs of all time! A LeBlog Cheestastic Classic should be both undeniably corny or over-the-top while also possessing some quality that makes some of us grin and pump our fists in gleeful irony. Some people might also use the term “guilty pleasure.” But I’m not going to. For our purposes here, these are “LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics.” The skill and talent involved in producing some of these songs may, in fact, be quite impressive and at their core these songs might actually be rather superior to some which are considered cool. But somewhere along the way the songwriter or performer took that wrong turn at Albuquerque and landed themselves in the land of cheese.

Okay people, here it is. The ultimate matchup of cheesy ’80s pop songs that have become more and more notorious as the years have worn on. If you had asked members of the graduating class of 1988 about these two songs you probably would have gotten one of a couple of responses. One would be some version of “Ugh. Those mass-produced pieces of fluff? Who cares about them. I’m trying to forget them.” The other would go something like “Oh, those are fun songs! Have you heard ‘Together Forever’ yet?” Both of these responses might have suggested that “We Built This City” and “Never Gonna Give You Up” would have relatively short lives in the collective pop culture consciousness…but that’s not what happened.
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Building my Movie Posters Puzzle: Creature From the Black Lagoon


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In late June I took advantage of some free days to visit my Mother in Virginia for her birthday. It was a fun long weekend that included meals out, a screening of Finding Dory, and an unexpected shared activity when I ran across a puzzle in the book store that was just too good to pass up. It consists of thirty-nine posters from a wide variety of classic films stretching from the silent era of the 1920s into the 1970s. It was an engrossing project to undertake alongside my Mother and we naturally discussed several of the featured movies as we built it. What stunned me a little was that I had actually only seen twenty-six of the thirty-nine films honored. I have vowed to fill these gaps in my knowledge of film and take you along for the ride as I reconstruct the puzzle in question. I’ll re-watch the movies I’ve already seen along with experiencing the ones that are new to me and share my thoughts on each one.

Up to this point in my coverage of this visual celebration of classic movies, what we’ve seen have been largely either legendarily great films, or top-notch examples of genre forms. Even something like Pillow Talk holds a significant place in the history of the romantic comedy and still stands as an excellent example of that kind of movie. Today’s entry Creature From the Black Lagoon, though plenty famous and possessing of some admirable qualities here and there is the first of a few flicks that will be part of this project which will mostly be considered memorable as just being fun.
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Disneyland Bingo with Daffystardust! Video


What’s this, you say? Didn’t you go to Disneyland more than a year ago?

Well, yes you’re right about that, so in a way this video is sorely behind schedule isn’t it? Well, the whole point here is for me to teach myself how to use the iMovie program on my computer so that I can make even more videos in the future to share here at LeBlog. Heck , I’ve got a return trip to Walt Disney World in Florida coming up the first weekend of October and I’m really hoping to shoot a bunch more video on that trip than I ever have before, which would make any resulting composition I’d present here even more dynamic than what I was able to put together to show you today. The above video is just my second attempt, after a seven minute jaunt focusing only on my dog whetted my appetite to give this a try.

If you’re new to the blog and you’re reading this, welcome! Everyone who wishes to can go ahead and grab the Disneyland Bingo card I created just below the break. It is up to date and should be fully possible to accomplish if you attend the California Disney parks anytime soon.
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LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics: Eric Carmen vs the Proclaimers


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Welcome to the next matchup in our continuing search for the most satisfyingly cheesy pop songs of all time! A LeBlog Cheestastic Classic should be both undeniably corny or over-the-top while also possessing some quality that makes some of us grin and pump our fists in gleeful irony. Some people might also use the term “guilty pleasure.” But I’m not going to. For our purposes here, these are “LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics.” The skill and talent involved in producing some of these songs may, in fact, be quite impressive and at their core these songs might actually be rather superior to some which are considered cool. But somewhere along the way the songwriter or performer took that wrong turn at Albuquerque and landed themselves in the land of cheese.

Depending on who you talk to, we might be dealing with a couple of Cheesetastic goliaths today. One is from the heart of the cheese era of the mid 1970s while the other didn’t appear until that golden age had mostly run its course in the late 1980s. Both have had lives in the popular consciousness far beyond the time of their initial release. But are they Cheesetastic Classics? Come join the conversation and vote your conscience!
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LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics: Harry Nilsson vs Elvis Presley


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Welcome to the next matchup in our continuing search for the most satisfyingly cheesy pop songs of all time! A LeBlog Cheestastic Classic should be both undeniably corny or over-the-top while also possessing some quality that makes some of us grin and pump our fists in gleeful irony. Some people might also use the term “guilty pleasure.” But I’m not going to. For our purposes here, these are “LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics.” The skill and talent involved in producing some of these songs may, in fact, be quite impressive and at their core these songs might actually be rather superior to some which are considered cool. But somewhere along the way the songwriter or performer took that wrong turn at Albuquerque and landed themselves in the land of cheese.

Today’s competitors were released just two years apart from one another, but also more than forty years ago so most of us probably don’t remember when they were current. To be honest, I find it a little bit alarming that these “oldies” were less than a decade old when I started hearing them on my little clock radio in the fourth grade. Time sure does speed up as it goes along. Another thing that both of these artists have in common is that they passed away well before their time. Let’s talk about both of these songs so we can decide if they belong on our list of wonderfully corny recordings!
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LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics: Melissa Manchester vs. Meatloaf


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Welcome to the next matchup in our continuing search for the most satisfyingly cheesy pop songs of all time! A LeBlog Cheestastic Classic should be both undeniably corny or over-the-top while also possessing some quality that makes some of us grin and pump our fists in gleeful irony. Some people might also use the term “guilty pleasure.” But I’m not going to. For our purposes here, these are “LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics.” The skill and talent involved in producing some of these songs may, in fact, be quite impressive and at their core these songs might actually be rather superior to some which are considered cool. But somewhere along the way the songwriter or performer took that wrong turn at Albuquerque and landed themselves in the land of cheese.

Today’s pairing features an over-the-top ballad from the 1970s and a comeback hit by a fellow ’70s artist who specialized in dramatic pop. Come help us decide which of these songs belongs on our list!
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Nope, Not a 1-hit Wonder/LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics: Dan Hill


You might have noticed that the “Nope, Not a 1-hit Wonder” parade has slowed down a little since its introductory burst onto the LeBlog scene a couple of years ago. Between Jeff the Wildman and I, we’ve covered more than twenty artists who common perception might have, through forgetfulness or some other whim of fate, inaccurately labeled as one with just a single claim to fame. While I’m hoping we’ll continue to cover these artists as the fancy strikes us, I also want to start up a new series that might help to soften the landing as Lebeau’s long-running analysis of the Golden Raspberries catches up with the current day in just a couple of weeks.

The schadenfreude associated with watching someone aim high (or very low) and somehow end up the target of derision is both personally shameful and undeniably delicious. What I’m hoping to do is to take that same experience, as is often delivered by Razzie winning movies, and apply it to popular music forms. This will manifest itself as “LeBlog’s Cheestastic Classics,” which will attempt to aim somewhere near that delectable spot that a movie like Mommie Dearest inhabits. A LeBlog Cheestastic Classic should be both undeniably corny or over-the-top while also possessing some quality that makes some of us grin and pump our fists in gleeful irony. Some people might also use the term “guilty pleasure.” But I’m not going to. For our purposes here, these are “LeBlog’s Cheesetastic Classics.”

The skill and talent involved in producing some of these songs may, in fact, be quite impressive and at their core these songs might actually be rather superior to some which are considered cool. But somewhere along the way the songwriter or performer took that wrong turn at Albuquerque and landed themselves in the land of cheese. This is almost certainly the case with our first case study, an artist who manages to fulfill the requirements to take a place in both the “Nope, Not a 1-hit Wonder” and “LeBlog’s Cheestastic Classics” canons, thereby becoming the ideal introduction to the new series through connection to the prior one. Here comes Dan Hill.
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Starlog Magazine Archives: Voltron Leads Japanimation Invasion


Last week, we looked at the cover story for the April 1986 issue of Starlog Magazine.  Regular reader gluserty commented “Forget Christopher Lambert, I’m digging that Voltron insert”.  So here it is!  Despite what the clover blurb says, the article wasn’t so much about Voltron specifically as it was a look at the arrival of Japanese animation in the US.  It also covers Astro Boy, Speed Racer and Star Blazers among others.

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Staying at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort


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The Universal hotel resorts in Orlando, Florida offer a range of appealing benefits to guests who stay there. These include the advantage of locations close by the popular Universal theme parks, with convenient complimentary transportation, quality on-site shops and restaurants, early entry to the parks, and even (for the more expensive resorts) the inclusion of the express pass for most attractions at the complex’s theme parks. For several years, while these benefits were certainly tempting for me, the price point attached to Universal’s resorts had been prohibitive, motivating me to stay elsewhere during both of my previous visits to the Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure parks.

For me, that meant flying in to the Orlando airport and renting a car so I could drive to an off-site hotel and then drive to the huge parking deck adjacent to the parks and CityWalk each day of the trip. It also meant gaining admission to the parks an hour later than on-site guests and paying extra for the Universal Express Pass if I wanted to make waits in most attraction lines shorter. I researched the pricing for the resorts and passes multiple times without ever feeling like the expense was within my grasp. I also never felt like any of the resort theming I was seeing featured by Universal on line was on the level of the best at Disney, with most of what I saw just reminding me of a really nice hotel. Then 2 years ago, Universal opened up their Cabana Bay Beach Resort and a lot of my objections to staying on site there disappeared. Finally, this March, my family and I spent a long weekend at Universal’s parks and spent our evenings in one of their resorts.
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10 Things I Loved about Universal Orlando’s Theme Parks


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My family and I recently spent a few days in Orlando at Universal’s theme park and entertainment complex, and there is plenty to like when a large company puts so much effort into drawing big crowds in with lively, exciting, and immersive attractions and environments. There are some obvious examples that people who have only thought about visiting Universal are probably already aware of. First and Foremost, there’s the twin Harry Potter lands. Also, there’s the expanded Simpsons area of the original Universal park. With a truly impressive group of properties like Shrek, Despicable Me, Jurassic Park, Transformers, Men in Black, and their legendary set of classic monsters to choose from, Universal has created a crowd-pleasing destination. This list will mostly avoid the more obvious examples of the attractions which pull people into the parks by the millions each year. Mostly. There will be little to no coverage of the new Diagon Alley area here and we’ll be sticking to the theme parks exclusively, so that means nothing about CityWalk or the resort where we stayed. You’ll have to wait for information on those topics in later posts.
Got it? Let’s begin!
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Rank the Oscar Winning Movies: the 1990s


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This set of Best Picture winners from the 1990s is a step up in my estimation from the previous decade, with two examples of outright great filmmaking and most of the rest of the winners at least doing a reasonable impression. By this point in my life I was finally old enough to see all of the nominated movies and to stay up late enough to see the whole ceremony. In fact, I’m pretty sure I attended a party on the night each of these films got crowned. I’ve slowed down in recent years in that respect. Staying up late on Sunday night is bad enough when you do it at home. Having to get in your car and drive home afterward would make rising and shining for work the next day even more difficult.

In case I haven’t explained how this series is going to work appropriately, let me detail it here. Once you guys have ranked the Best Picture winners of each decade, I’ll be presenting the top 20 vote-getters overall for you to rank against one another in two groups. Based on the results of that poll, I’ll be posting the final official list of our top 20 Best Picture winners of all time! I figure this approach should do the job of spreading the wealth through the decades while also pushing the films of certain eras up the ladder if they really deserve it.

For now, it’s time to consider the Best Picture winners of the ’90s!
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Rank the Oscar Winning Movies: the 1980s


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Hey, remember in the 1970s when just about every Best Picture winner was a classic? Yeeaaahh…not so much the case during the age of Reagan and Madonna. Don’t get me wrong, these are all good movies, but in more than half of their opportunities the Academy managed to overlook the actual classics that were sitting right there on the nominations list. To their credit, you have to acknowledge the positive fact that they actually did nominate populist fare like E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Tootsie to begin with.

The academy appeared to right the ship in the middle of the decade, but then fell back into the habit of making safe choices.

Let’s take a look and then find out if you readers play it safe, too!
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