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Posts Tagged ‘Mickey Mouse

“The magician and the politician have much in common: they both have to draw our attention away from what they are really doing”*…

magic

Across his work as a designer and the publisher of CentreCentre books, London-based Patrick Fry is always looking for a stone unturned. This fascination with niche nuggets of cultural history has led to a unique selection of books, from a deep dive into Great British Rubbish, or forgotten postcards from South Yorkshire. His most recent venture, however, is into a subject a little more familiar – magic!

A long-time fan of traditional magic posters for their “lavish illustrations with magicians performing the impossible and their outrageous names written in fancy lettering,” surprisingly publishing a book on magic ephemera was something Patrick had never considered. This was largely due to it being “a world that has been recorded plenty” and against the criteria he would usually look for in a book, until he came across the vast magic collection of Philip David Treece.

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Found during a scroll through Twitter, Patrick came across Philip’s magic history blog, Collecting Magic, where he writes about his collection of ephemera and apparatus spanning the past 25 years. Thankfully for Patrick too, “Philip isn’t primarily concerned with the monetary value of the pieces, and as such has amassed a fascinating array that speaks more of the social history surrounding everyday working magicians.” Presented with a huge collection of gems “away from the large-scale stage magicians… it quickly became clear that the less famous and smaller-run design pieces would create a brilliant book.”…

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For fans of conjuring or design or (like your correspondent) both: “Magic Papers dives deep into the flamboyant design of magic ephemera.”

* Ben Okri

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As we say “abracadabra,” we might recall that it was on this date that Universal released “Trolley Trouble” from Walt Disney Studios.  The first Disney cartoon to spawn a series, it featured Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (the creation of Walt’s long-time collaborator Ub Iwerks).  Oswald featured in 27 successful animated shorts– but Disney lost the rights to Universal.  So, he and Iwerks created a new featured character, Mickey Mouse.

On this date three years later, Pluto made his debut (with Mickey) in the short, “The Chain Gang.”

“What exactly is postmodernism, except modernism without the anxiety?”*…

 

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Wonderful “vintage” covers of MIA, Radiohead, Coolio, Lady Gaga, Elvis, and more at Scott Bradlee‘s Postmodern Jukebox.

* Jonathan Lethem

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As we shed pump up the PoMo, we might recall that it was on this date in 1928 that Mickey Mouse made his debut.  Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks tested their new character in a silent black-and-white animated short called “Plane Crazy,” loosely based on Lindbergh’s trans-Atlantic flight and the furor it occasioned.  On that day, the cartoon was screened for distributors…  all of whom passed.  Later that year, Disney released Mickey’s first sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie– which was, of course, an enormous success.  Following two more Mickey vehicles (The Gallopin’ Gaucho, and The Barn Dance), Plane Crazy was tracked and released as a sound cartoon on March 17, 1929.

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Written by LW

May 15, 2015 at 1:01 am

Tap, tap, tap…

There’s a certain elegance in the the earliest typewriters–  all of that mechanical complexity wrestled into utility.

The first commercially successful typewriter– the “Sholes & Glidden Type Writer”– was brought to market in 1874 by Christopher Lathem Sholes, with backing from Carlos Glidden and manufacturing support by Remington & Sons.

The lure of the clear communications (and the market it could create) made possible by typewriters attracted inventors and tinkers by the dozens.  Over the next 25 years, dozens of variations were tried (e.g., curved keyboards, double keyboards, no keyboards…) were tired; but by the turn of the Twentieth Century, the basic parameters of the typewriter-as-our-parents-knew-them were settling into place.

Martin Howard is an Englishman, living in Toronto– and curating a marvelous collection of early typewriters.  (Martin came by his passion in the family way:  his dad was an academic who studied antique mechanical objects.)  Happily for those of us who share his passion, he has sublimated his collection onto the web. At Antique Typewriters: The Martin Howard Collection, one can find a veritable “Burgess Shale” of machines dating mostly from that last part of the Nineteenth Century…  machines like these:

As we limber our fingers, we might might wish an animated “Happy Birthday” to Ub Iwerks, who was born on this date in 1901.  Iwerks met Walt Disney when they were teenagers, working together at a Kansas City art studio.  Iwerks followed Disney to California, and spent most of his career as one of Disney’s lead animators (though Iwerks did do stints at MGM and Warner Bros.).

Iwerks created Disney’s first hit character, Oswald the Rabbit.  But Disney lost the rights to Universal, and had to ask Ub to go back to the drawing board.  Iwerks first came up with with a female cow (who later morphed into Clarabelle) and a male horse (who later became Horace), but Walt wanted something different.  So Iwerks created a mouse…

Ub Iwerks

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