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May 182016
 

We all enjoy a good audio book once in a while. Back when I was a kid the only kinds I preferred were the ones where you could follow along in a storybook while listening to a cassette tape or sometimes a vinyl record.

The main ones I still have are based on 80s pop culture I grew up on. That’s what made these books on tape so interesting and it’s very helpful that there’s always some sort of chime that lets you know when to turn the page. Usually audio books don’t have a book to follow let alone a signal to turn the page.

Let’s start with the series sets where each book was sold separately. The Smurfs had four different stories based on certain episodes; A Winter Smurf, The Smurf Champion, There’s a Smurf in my Soup, and The Smurf-Eating Bird. What really kept these interesting was the nice tune that played at the beginning and end of each story as well as the three-second tone that signals to turn the page. No other books on tape do that.

Ducktales had several stories as well based on particular episodes with the original voice actors and musical score. My favorite is Scrooge’s Treasure Hunt, which is basically from part 2 of the series pilot Treasure of the Golden Suns.

There was also a set of five stories on The Gremlins. I don’t remember these too well, mainly because I’m not as much into The Gremlins as I used to be. Moving on.

Next is a series of books based on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Unlike any other books on tape based on popular shows that stay loyal to their series, this group is nothing like the actual He-Man animated series. The stories and action are edgier. Some of which are featured in comic book style format. At first I struggled to get into these because they were so different, but now that I’m more into the fantasy genre these storybooks are awesome.

It wasn’t just TV shows that became books on tape. Movies have too, like The Muppets Take Manhattan and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Of course due to time, the story lines were trimmed down quite a bit, but still remain faithful to their source material.

There are other books on tape about 80s classics I’d like to blog about. So check my blog for part 2 for more.

Apr 222011
 

Like cats, rabbits are adorable creatures. Some of which are funny bunnies that have been around for years and still remain classic today, from the Energizer Bunny to the Cadbury Easter Bunny that clucks like a chicken.

As a special treat for Easter, these are my top ten favorite rabbits. Sorry, this doesn’t include Playboy bunnies.

#10) Hocus Pocus from Frosty the Snowman: This little rabbit used to work for Professor Hinkle the magician. A top hat can fit over most of his body, which is hilarious when he becomes a jumping hat. It didn’t take Hocus long to become friends with Frosty and the children, even after Hinkle threatens him with no carrots for Christmas.

#9) Bean Bunny from The Muppets franchise: He joined the Muppets in the 80s and even starred in the Muppet Easter special, Tale of the Bunny Picnic. It wasn’t until The Jim Henson Hour when I came to learn that Bean is more than just an underdog bunny, who always gets turned down by the other bunnies just because he’s little. Bean also focuses most of his image on cuteness. You can’t help but love him for it.

#8) Killer rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Don’t be fooled by its looks. This little rabbit guards the entrance to the Cave of Caerbannog and can easily bite a man’s head off by aiming for the jugular. Not even an army of knights is a match this bunny’s fearsome bite as it jumps from person to person. It’s so unlikely it’s hilarious.

#7) Buster Bunny from Tiny Toon Adventures: He was the start of a new generation of Looney Tunes in the 90s. Buster is the smooth talking leadership figure of the Tiny Toons much like his idol Bugs Bunny. It certainly suits his alter ego, Mr. Popular.

#6) Babs Bunny from Tiny Toon Adventures: She is Buster’s close friend and an impressionist, who sometimes struggles to contain herself. I find her likable in that sense, especially when she imitates Joan Rivers. It’s a classic.

#5) Bunny Rabbot from Sonic the Hedgehog (90s version): This southern belle is Princess Sally’s lady in waiting. Some of Bunny’s limbs were robotizised awhile back, but she uses them to her advantage with great strength and fighting skill. It’s all part of what makes her a valuable freedom fighter.

#4) Lola Bunny from Space Jam: She’s one of the newest Looney Tunes and is highly skilled in basketball. Whatever you do, never call her Doll because she hates it. Don’t worry, she won’t clobber you. She’ll just show you up with a slam-dunk.

#3) Bugs Bunny from Looney Tunes: Like Mickey Mouse is the face of Disney, this classic rabbit is the face of Looney Tunes and Warner Bros. animation. Of all the Looney Tunes, Bugs is clever, witty, and seems to have all the luck, which is why Daffy becomes so jealous of him. Bugs also loves to eat carrots with his catchphrase, “What’s up, Doc”.

#2) Usagi Yojimbo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 version): He is a skilled samurai warrior from a world much like ancient Japan, where all of the inhabitants are various animals. The name “Usagi Yojimbo” means Rabbit bodyguard. He becomes a good friend with the turtles, especially Leonardo, when they meet at the Battle Nexus tournament. Usagi also appeared on the 80s version of TMNT, but he wasn’t as likable. He means well, but often ends up stirring up trouble as a stranger in a strange world.

#1) Roger Rabbit (voice of Charles Fleischer) from Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Comedic skill, likability, a gorgeous wife, this rabbit has it all. Of course, what really sticks out is how Roger reacts to alcohol. He goes into a blast that’s so powerful it could destroy tons of glass. And let’s not forget his famous catchphrase, “P-pl-pl-pl-please”. Although it’s been years since we’ve seen Roger on the big screen, he is one rabbit I’ll never forget.

Honorable Mention: Oswald the lucky rabbit from Classic Disney cartoons: Believe it or not, he was Walt Disney’s very first creation. After awhile, Walt Disney lost the rights to this character. So he came up with Mickey Mouse, who soon became the face of Disney and continues to be today. Oswald wasn’t so lucky after that. It wasn’t until the release of Epic Mickey for the Nintendo Wii when Oswald made his comeback by seeking revenge on Mickey for stealing his spotlight. Now was it really Mickey’s fault that Oswald became a forgotten toon for so long?

Sep 052009
 

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Vista Series) stands out as one of my personal favorites and I consider it a classic with animated characters co-existing with humans. It’s very unlikely to have Disney characters, Looney Tunes, and MGM toons all together in the same movie.

The story takes place in Hollywood back in the 1940s and the toons are all actors. Roger is accused of murder after finding out about his wife Jessica (voice of Kathleen Turner) was having an affair with Marvin Acme (Stubby Kaye) the owner of Toon Town.

The only one who can help Roger prove his innocense is Private Detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins), who has helped many toons over the years. However, Eddie has some issues of his own. Years ago, a toon killed Eddie’s brother. Now he’s a drunk who hardly ever laughs anymore.

One of my favorite scenes was when Roger drinks a shot of alcohol he goes into a blast that destroys everything with a high-pitched steam whistle.  Lucky for Roger, as well as anyone around him, it doesn’t last long. Talk about not being able to hold your liquor.

It’s great to think that all of these toons come from the same community known as Toon Town. The road to Toon Town is incredible. At the end of the tunnel, curtains open and a variety of toons sing as they greet you.  It’s like everything is alive from trees to buildings.

The Acme Factory, which is right on the border of Toon Town, has many interesting toon items.  Such as portable holes, singing swords, and a hammer with a long range boxing glove in it. I guess anything is possible if it’s from Toon Town.

The “Dip” was an unusual and shockingly cruel substance used to kill a toon, considering that nothing else kills them. I used to always wonder how those Looney Tunes survive and recover quickly after falling down cliffs, being blown up, or just getting strangled. I guess part of being a toon includes being a glutton for physical punishment as a way to make people laugh. It’s a similar principle to being a video game character.

The “Dip” was created by Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd). With the help of the Weasels, Doom intends to sentence Roger to death. One thing I didn’t understand about the Weasels was that laughing can actually kill them. I mean, that’s not even “Dip” related. What gives?

I met Charles Fleischer (The voice of Roger Rabbit) at the FX Convention in Orlando in 2008. Not very talkative, but a good guy just the same. He drew a caricature of himself on the autograph I got.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit was such a favorite of mine I went to see it at the movie theatre more than once and I never do that. The closest this movie had to a sequel were the three Roger Rabbit short films, Tummy Trouble, Roller Coaster Rabbit, and Trail Mix-Up. Roger was great as ever. I’m still waiting for the sequel, if they ever decide to make one.