Having finished pulling my focus together on Samurai Jack’s Birth of Evil two-parter, and I know it’s been twenty-five years since I was born in May 1991, but I have had pretty much a very good memory. I have undergone so many adventures and especially outside the internet whether they’re good or not.
But either way, here lies twenty five things that I may rather cherish from my collective memory lane paradigm, and they are as follows:
Number Twenty-Five is easy:
As in… the entertainment empire, not the man named Walt Disney. Like I have established earlier, I was born in 1991, at the height of the late 1980s and 1990s Disney Renaissance revival, the time that began with Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988 and Little Mermaid in 1989, and went from those two films and Rescuers Down Under in 1990, through Beauty and the Beast in 1991, Aladdin 1992, and Lion King in 1994 to Pocahontas in 1995, Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1996, Hercules in 1997, and Mulan in 1998, before ending with their animated Tarzan in 1999.
Pictured Below are Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin and Lion King:
Now, Disney is usually synonymous with the animation art form, and for good, high quality reason.
Disney is also the master of innovation as far as animation technology, too, from the multiplane camera in 1937, to CAPS (Short for Computer Animation Paint/Production System), developed in association with PIXAR in 1986, to Deep Canvas for the 1999 animated Tarzan, all the way to their Hyperion rendering farms beginning with 2014’s Big Hero 6.
Creeping in Numbah Twenty-Four is MGM’s 1939 musical movie, The Wizard of Oz.
You know like, the very movie from the 1930s that would also be AVATAR and TITANIC director (and creator of the first two TERMINATOR movies) James Cameron’s MOST FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME!
The movie’s story sees Dorothy (played in the 1939 MGM movie by a 17 year old teenage girl who goes by the name of Judy Garland), a young Midwestern girl growing up on a Kansas farmland, caught in the powerful eye of a tornado and magically transported (in her dreams, BTW) to the Land of Oz.
It is here that she–along with a ragtag trio of misfits consisting of a living Scarecrow, a Metallic Tin Woodsman, and a Cowardly Lion who couldn’t count sheep in his sleep–must travel along the legendary Yellow Brick Road all the while having to avoid the attentions of the spooky Wicked Witch of the West (who, along with Oz the Great and Powerful himself, are both accused of scaring the living shit out of so many children for more than 75+ years).
Her destination: The Emerald City, where the mysterious and aforementioned Oz the Great and Powerful–The Wizard of Oz referred to in the title–resides–usually in the form of a big scary green head surrounded by explosives whenever he screams “SILENCE!” in a pissed off way.
Yep, the story’s probably familiar to all of us, but what really, really, REALLY sets The Wizard of Oz apart from all the rest isn’t really the what as the how so much. It’s actually a movie done in service of spectacle, a movie that–like James Cameron’s AVATAR tried to do 70 years later–sets out to test the limits of the then-newly born medium of cinema in each and every frame of said movie. So when Dorothy and her dog Toto arrives in Oz, viewers would see her opening her eyes in faded sepia toned black and white film complete with a frame crackling with the technical imperfections of the time in which Wizard of Oz was made and released (the 1930s to say the least).
However, as the Kansas farm girl opens the door and steps outside, they glimpse Oz (or at least a part of Oz called Munchkinland) and are completely overwhelmed with Technicolor, which is the 1930s equivalent of the very kind of modern 21st century digital stereoscopic 3D CGI technology that is worthy of and which is pioneered by the likes of James Cameron’s AVATAR (2009) 70 years later.
Even though the story is crafted to be the perfect vehicle to show off the wonderful new toys that 1930s Hollywood had at its disposal, it’s actually deeply rooted in both character and emotion. So while we discover a new world, we all do so through the prism of a distinct framing device.
And unlike most adventure movies that featured a group of characters who were all united by one common goal, in the Wizard of Oz, each of our four heroes is searching for something that said hero lack. And it isn’t fame or fortune, ladies and gentlemen, but rather something personal that they believe will make them whole.
1) Dorothy Gale lacks a home or her Kansas farmstead
2) The Scarecrow lacks intelligence or a brain
3) The Tin Man lacks human emotions or a heart
4) The Cowardly Lion lacks his courage, or rather, the nerve for bravery
And each character in the magical world of Oz is introduced to the audience in a location where they are all vulnerable, where they all think the Wizard’s help is the only thing that can save them from certain doom.
You see, all four travelers are on their very own hero’s journey or their very own agenda, so it’s just as important to any viewer that the Tin Woodsman should get a heart for human emotions as it is to see the Wicked Witch of the West defeated by melting thanks to a bucketful of water being splashed on her face.
Even though the Wizard of Oz movie from 1939 marked a groundbreaking step in terms of technical achievements, I think that–no doubt about it–its success also lies in keeping close to the principles of simple storytelling and in its universal appeal as some kind of quest movie that follows some kind of rite of passage or something like that. So the audience will get to see the Kansas orphan Dorothy Gale undergoing a trans-formative transition that transform her from a child who is protected in her home to a heroine navigating a new and dangerous world all the while relying on a traveling trio of companions who symbolically needs emotions, intellect, and courage, respectively.
Throughout the 1939 movie of Wizard of Oz, the action stays more and more intimate even as it becomes more and more epic, and each and every character is already strangely familiar to you and me. For example, The Wicked Witch of the West is an ABSOLUTE dead ringer for Dorothy’s equally evil neighbor Miss Gulch who wants to have Dorothy’s dog Toto destroyed. The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion, respectively, all strongly resemble the three farmhands from back home in Kansas, while Oz the Great and Powerful himself turns out to be Professor Marvel Who Excels In Fortune Telling.
So the most prominent characters in the Technicolor Land of Oz all mirror characters back home in Kansas, which in the American Midwest, making it all too clear that Oz is just Dorothy’s dream world JUST as AVATAR’s alien moon of Pandora is allegedly the dream world of a disabled, wheelchair-bound former military soldier whose name is Jake Sully (aka Sam Worthington).
Yes, MGM’s 1939 The Wizard of Oz revels in spectacle, whether THAT spectacle comes in witches and woods or in ‘lions and tigers and bears, oh my!’, but at its very core, Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic tale that deals with the themes of friendship and of personal growth, the secret to Wizard of Oz’s longevity for 75+ years or so may be its balance between the theme of personal growth and the theme of friendship.
And not only is The Wizard of Oz a memorable story told both in a vivid kind of splendor and with imagination, but it’s also a movie that had transcended its time to become not only James Cameron’s absolute most favorite movie of all time, but also the absolute most beloved and the most cherished and the most watched movie that the 20th Century has ever, ever, EVER produced!
Numboo Twenty-Three is the one you should all pay close attention to:
Happy Happy Joy Joy from the Ren and Stimpy episode Stimpy’s Invention.
Now, Twenty-Two is something that’s now been a thing of the past in this tumultuous day and age:
The video rental store, such as Blockbuster...
Or the one West Coast video rental place on Old Mill Road in Millersville that I’ve frequented when I was a child growing up in Maryland.
And another thing of the past for Number Twenty One:
Where I used to play in the ball pit and even participate in birthday parties or pizza parties or whatever fun people usually have for those who are children back in the 1990s.
And number twenty:
The Rabbit Ears books and audio and video tapes, you know like:
Rip Van Winkle! Rip Van Winkle! Get out of bed! You’re sleeping your LIFE AWAY!!
The late great comedian Robin Williams narrating a hilariously bizarre take on an old Russian folk story which concerns The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, put out on videotape a year before Robin Williams voices the Genie animated by animator Eric Goldberg for Disney’s Aladdin (1992).
Stanley and the Dinosaurs from 1989, which is a fifteen minute plus stop motion animated short about some cave guy who, with the help of some dinosaurs, manages to annoy his elderly cave critics/detractors with civilized stuff like this:
“Work SMARTER, Not HARDER!” indeed!
Number Eighteen is NICK-NICK-NICK-NICK-A-NICK-NICK-NICK! NICKELODEOOOOONNNN!!!
The original home of the Rugrats, Doug, Ren and Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, AVATAR: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, Spongebob, Dora the Explorer (which is technically Nick Jr.), etc.
Now, numbah seventeen and numboo sixteen (which would be a tie) made up this fun fact that I have discovered far along even while browsing through the website Behind the Voice Actors or something:
That this Catherine Cavadini woman….
… Is not only the original voice of the Powerpuff Girls’ leader Blossom, at least in the original Powerpuff Girls TV show (1998-2005) and movie (2002)...
But Twenty-Five Years ago, Cathy Cavadini is also the voice of Fievel’s sister Tanya in another thing that I used to watch in my early boyhood, 1991’s An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (which came out the same day and date as Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which is the first animated movie ever to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards)...
And she also sang three songs in the movie (with backup underscoring by the late great Titanic and AVATAR composer James Horner): A failed attempt at a reprise of Somewhere Out There in the beginning (where she was bombarded by tomatoes thrown at her by screaming humans demanding that she shut the fuck up!), Dreams to Dreams (sung over the end credits by Linda Ronstadt) and last but not least: The Girl You Left Behind, which she sang in a saloon full of cats (and preceded by Tanya singing so high and so loud, that she can shatter glass!)
I knew it.
I really knew it.
I really, really, really, REALLY and DEFINITELY knew it far along!
Cathy Cavadini does voice Tanya in Fievel Goes West and Blossom in the original PPG respectively!
I knew it!
Here’s some fan art that mashes up Fievel’s sister Tanya (who looks rather gorgeous in a rather sexy saloon outfit and pretty makeup) with PPG’s Blossom (even though it is not something that I created, for it is actually done by a DeviantArt user named RaggyRabbit94), therefore illustrating the Cathy Cavadini fun fact discovered by me:
Incidentally, as far as Catherine Cavadini’s voice acting and singing chops, not just in cartoons, but also in video games like the Final Fantasy series, I think Catherine Cavadini’s vocal contributions not only to the Powerpuff Girls’ leader Blossom in the original PPG TV show and movie, but also to Fievel’s sister Tanya in Fievel Goes West back in ’91, will always stand out as part of my collective childhood memory lane and boyhood paradigm.
And may God definitely bless Catherine Cavadini’s voice acting chops, and not to mention, how just plain beautiful that girl mouse Tanya’s singing chops can really get in Fievel Goes West!
Anyhow, Number Fifteen comes after Blossom (the brains of the Powerpuff Girls) and Tanya (Fievel’s sister), and here it goes:
The Midwich Dinosaurs/Prehistoric Life specials with the late Gary Owens and Eric Broadman, like More Dinosaurs, Prehistoric World, Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs!, the Son of Dinosaurs two parter and the Return of Dinosaurs.
Fourteen is a Phil Collins song that comes from the Disney Tarzan:
You’ll be in My Heart, a lullaby that a motherly ape named Kala sang to the baby Tarzan.
Well, that song would earn Phil Collins a best song Oscar at the 1999-2000 Academy Awards, which scared the creators of South Park enough to spoof him in a season four episode of South Park called Timmy 2000!
Number Thirteen is the infamous THX logo and deep note sound accompanying that I’ve fondly remembered seeing on VHS and some DVDs back in the 90s and early 2000s.
Like this Tex Moo Can trailer for example...
Or this spoof of the original mix for the Cimarron trailer that debuted in 1988 with Willow (from Star Wars creator George Lucas and Apollo 13 director Ron Howard) from Tiny Toons Adventures: How I Spent my Vacation.
The Lion King’s Timon and Pumbaa, the animal world’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
And most famous for their motto: Hakuna Matata, or no worries in African.
For your entertainment, here’s a deleted song cut from Lion King (and replaced with the now familiar Hakuna Matata song in the finished film) called Warthog Rhapsody (also heard in the Lion King Companion soundtrack, Rhythm of the Pride Lands, in 1995).
Complete with Tim Rice’s intro as ripped from a 1995 deluxe laserdisc boxed set release.
Now, let’s climb up to eleven, my fellow readers.
Number eleven is my love of books, which represents knowledge to me.
But it also contains all kinds of stories, from the oldest story known to man, The Epic of Gilgamesh to Don Quxiote to War and Peace to Moby Dick to Huckleberry Finn to Tolkien’s three volume book Lord of the Rings to the Harry Potter books.
For number 10, do you remember The Disney Channel back in its prime?
Well, I do, but do you?
Creeping in at Number nine is definitely my most favorite Christmas Special ever to be stuck in my collective childhood memories:
Chuck Jones’ take on How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, in which the Grinch decides, after 50 years plus three more, decides to steal everything from the Whos down in Whoville in order to put an end to Christmas, but thanks to some foreshadowing by the Cindy Lou Who with the voice of June Foray, when the Grinch was in the throes of triumph at the summit of Mount Crumpet, the Grinch underestimates the Whos down in Whoville celebrating Christmas morning without their stuff, causing the Grinch’s heart to grow three times its size!
And who wouldn’t forget about Thurl Ravenscroft’s message in song to the Grinch, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch!”?
Well, here’s Albert Hague’s piano demo of the You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch song from a 20 minute 1994 behind the scenes short with the late Phil Hartman (before he was killed by his wife in 1998, of course!).
Numboo Eight is my memories of Cartoon Network, which began when I got it in my airwaves back in the spring of 2000.
Three things I’ve remembered out of the Cartoon Network back in its prime are:
Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack (by Genndy Tartakovsky) and the original Powerpuff Girls (by Craig McCracken.
Other things I’ve watched on CN back in the day are Looney Tunes, Tex Avery shorts for MGM and the Tom and Jerry series.
Here’s Bugs Bunny tricking a dim witted giant into falling off his land up in the sky while Bugs travels through the beanstalk as if he’s taking the elevator:
Incidentally, Bugs Bunny is number seven, for being the 20th century equivalent of the trickster hero, whose storytelling origins dates all the way back to primitive cultures around the world whether it be Brer Rabbit in the USA or whether it be Raven to the Native Americans.
Number six is Mickey Mouse, the most famous cartoon character in the whole wide world, who also happens to be a mouse.
His true debut, Steamboat Willie 1928, is also the first animated cartoon that uses synchronized sound design to enhance the visuals and the story.
But one of his most famous roles was in the third segment of Walt Disney’s 1940 ambitious experimental epic cartoon Fantasia. That segment would be the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.
And incidentally, Fantasia is also number five on my countdown list of things from my memory lane paradigm.
And number four is my taste for music, whether it is songs or movie music or especially those with world music textures and ethnic music sounds.
For example, Lion King composer Hans Zimmer went to South Africa so that he and his African buddy Lebo M. could record a choir of Africans singing and chanting over the soundtrack of Disney’s 1994 hand-drawn animated blockbuster mega-hit The Lion King.
That’s right. Sing Zulu Sing!
Sing your heart out!
Anyway, I must now get into the good ones:
Number three shall be my obsession with the nuts and bolts and bells and whistles and tricks and tools, etc. associated with live action film, animated cartoon, and special and visual effects-filled filmmaking throughout the entire 121-year history of projected cinema.
Not only is it my dream to pursue a career in live action, animated cartoon, special/visual effects filmmaking or any combination thereof, but I am also still on an epic quest for knowledge, you know.
Anyhow, slumming in at number two is Ricardo Delgado’s wordless dinosaur comics, Age of Reptiles.
Which is also my personal favorite comic book title in the world.
Unlike so many comic book series, this series of comic books not only has dinosaurs in it, but it has no words, not even a single line of dialogue in it at all!
Well, that's because the protagonists are dinosaurs and other Mesozoic creatures long gone from the earth!
The incredible art of Ricardo Delgado’s Age of Reptiles series can really tell all kinds and types of great stories–whether they be tales of vengeance or tales of loss or perhaps even a simple story of a dinosaur’s decaying body!
And it’s almost as if you all will be watching a silent nature documentary with the sound being muted, except that the wild animals in front of the documentary cameraman’s lens are creatures long gone from the world. Dinosaurs, in particular.
And the number one item to finish my countdown of twenty-five things from my memory lane is:
My favorite animal, especially from the history of this planet Earth.
Now, Imagine the whole wide world becoming a completely massive safari park with not a single human being in sight. But only instead of lions and zebras and rhinos and elephants and giraffes and the very like of them, the whole wide world is teeming with monsters from long ago.
And that’s what the world once used to be between 252 and 66 million years ago. In what is known as the Meszoic era, strange reptile-like creatures fought for dominance in the land, in the air, and in the sea. And on top of that, between 230 and 66 million years ago, it was the time of the dinosaurs.
And oh! Didn’t I mention to you that dinosaurs are the ancestor of birds?
Well, Birds are the last living branch of the dinosaur family, after all.
I really, definitely love dinosaurs!
And oh! Here’s two honorable mentions: one is my taste for adventure, the other would be:
Chicken and fries, my favorite food! No foolin', man. That stuff is G-O-O-D, good.
Anyway, I should really lose consciousness any second now, and if so, then…
Fievel get your gun and shoot me now!
I was just kidding.
But anyway, enjoy!
And I don’t care if you like this strangely hilarious article or not!