Category Archives: Best of Modern Kiddo

MK Rewind:: A Very Rankin Bass Christmas

Believe it or not, these two guys had one of the biggest impacts on our childhood holiday memories.

Meet Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass, the mastermind behind some of your favorite Christmas moments in front of the TV. These two gents bought us such delightful characters as:

I loves me some Yukon Cornelius!  My friend Jen and I joked that he was the uber cartoon dream husband.  Knew the importance of gold/silver for jewelry and was kind to animals. I loved his little team of mismatched doggies too!

And don’t forget about the most dapper snowman around!

Remember skinny Santa? EAT, PAPA, EAT!

I don’t know about you, but I was really frightened of the Abominable Snowman as a kid! That was some scary stuff to a five year old!

I so would have taken every toy on that island! A dolly for Suzy just broke my heart every time I saw her!

Oh, Hermie!  You made me actually want to go to the dentist! And of course RUDOLF!

I know not everyone is into letting their kids watch TV, but personally, I don’t consider Rankin Bass Christmas specials to be TV as much as an irresistible holiday memory in the making. Right up there with watching the Nutcracker or making Christmas cookies.

Arthur Rankin and his buddy Jules Bass came up with this wonderful animation technique they called “animagic” which included stop animation with these sassy dolls combined with cel animation for special backdrops like snowflakes.  He optimistically called his new animation technique “Animagic”. And it was more than enough to turn a Christmas novelty song and a felt-covered, lightbulb-nosed reindeer puppet into the most amazing hour on TV in December.

“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, the flagship Rankin/Bass production, remains the longest-running, highest-rated special ever aired on US network television. The special has appeared on one of the broadcast networks every year since its debut on NBC’s “General Electric Fantasy Hour” in 1964, routinely landing near the top of the Nielsen Ratings Top 10 — a feat unparalleled in television history.

Oh, I forgot one other thing that made “animagic” so, well, magical! Not pixie dust. Just hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of work slowly shifting the dolls around to make them move. Oof!

But the Rankin/Bass production team loved it and did it again and again to bring us such holiday characters as:

Seriously, have you watched this recently? Get ready to cry…

Clearly, they needed to get more use out of those desert backgrounds and came up with Nestor.  I love this little guy! what pluck. Again, sad at the beginning, but still so good!

I loved this little big eared and big hearted little baby! One of my favorites.

You already saw skinny Santa, but what about young Santa?

And of course these two brothers…

Of course Rank Bass Productions holiday specials are just the tippy tip tip of their wonderful work (hello Mad Monster Party…) but if you’d like more information, I highly suggest you check out Rick Goldschmidt’s amazing blog. He has a wonderful collection of images and literally wrote the book on Rankin Bass. And if you still want to see more Christmas specials inspired by Rankin Bass, check out this cool site dedicated to the best holiday specials out there.

Did you watch any Rankin Bass Christmas specials this year?


The most explosive 70s magazine!

When I was a kid, there was nothing amazing than Dynamite Magazine! All the cool kids had a copy in their lockers squished between the pages of their Social Studies book, which was wrapped in a a brown paper bag.  Although the magazine was published between 1974 to 1992 to me they had their best covers from 1978 to 1982. Pure awesomeness.

The covers of Dynamite magazine read like a totally random Who’s Who of the late seventies/early eighties. Like these:

And don’t forget about Shields and Yarnell. It’s SHIELDS and YARNELL!!!

But Dynamite Magazine wasn’t only about the covers.  Inside those shiny front pages were so sweet goodies, like magic tricks from MAGIC WANDA!

And amazing comic puzzles that were WAY cooler than the Daily Jumble!

And don’t forget about Bummers–the write in column where kids could send in their “bummers”. If a kid’s “bummer” of a story was used, they would get $5–sweet! Oh, to have those bummers instead of dealing with traffic or mortgage rates. Sigh!

Every now and then I spy that signature rainbow cursive logo at an estate sale or Flea Market and I can’t help but smile.

Did you read Dynamite Magazine? Do you remember any specific cover?  Were you lucky enough to actually SUBSCRIBE TO IT? Sigh…

It’s our Annual Creepy Cool Vintage Halloween Mask Tribute

A few year’s ago I was out and about and ended up in one of those Halloween Super Stores. I have to tell ya friends, it was a terrifying experience. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a little spooky action. But I was totally freaked out by all the ultra creepy masks. Psychotic clowns. Rotting zombie chain saw massacre guy. Random murderers. That creeper from the Saw movies. Besides being totally disturbing I was a little bummed. “Where are the cute costumes?? Who lets their kid dress up as a crazy axe murderer??!” I shook my head, “It’s not like back in the day when we were kids!”

Then again, hold up a second. Maybe I’m not totally remember things correctly. I mean, while most of the costumes back in the day were under the guise innocent characters, most of those old school Halloween masks were positively twisted. Case in point:

Of course creepy Raggedy Anne is still kinder than the Texas Chainsaw dude. The cheap plastic only adds to the charm.  Every year I like to round up some of my favorite Creepy Masks. Here are some of my favorites this year!

I know people have a problem with clowns, but how can you hate on these two cuties? That duck and leopard are another story. The leopard looks like he (she?) fell victim to the old, “It’s cold outside, you need to wear a coat under that costume!” syndrome.

While we’re talking leopard, this is a little more jolly looking….except what’s up with that leering pumpkin??

LOVE these guys. Bat Man looks so serious. And the crazy google eyed skull boy, casually munching cookies? Priceless.

Ahhhhhhhhh! These two would have scared the pants offa me.

Is it me, or does Superman have a mustache??

Hurray for the Halloween Parade! You Go, Paper Bag Owl!


I loooooove a good group shot. So much awesomeness going on here. He-Man has such delicate eyebrows. And Zorro is looking positively Zsa Zsa (looks like someone has had a little filler in them thar cheek bones, eh?? ). The lady ghost is so stylish with her little mask….and who is that purple fella? He looks familiar. Hmm.

Oh little Snoopy and those sweet little hands….he’s not too happy being next to Skeltor. Or whoever that dude is.

Ayyyyyyyyy!! These kids are all adorable, but I’m reaaallly liking The Fonz. I’m not really liking that creepy doll perched on the right back there.

I want to be Super Friends with THESE cuties!

Oh dear. I initially picked this for the faboosh “princess on the half shell” mask….and that werid thing on the end (is he in profile? is he facing straight forward? who knows!). How I failed to notice the, um, “tan” gent in the straw hat, I’ll never know. I’m going to have a little faith and assume he’s supposed to have been vacationing on a tropical island, hence his shoe polish face. Ack. Even the dog looks confused.

These lovely ladies are adorable….the twin pumpkin mask is so sweet! But I would have killed for the ice blue satin on the end…

This might be my favorite. I love the two beatniks (awesome!). The mantle figurines (rococo AND asian!). The saddle shoes on the snarky girl in the back (adorable). But the Voo Doo Jukebox???? Help me Rhonda!!!

I’m just realizing this is the same house as the girls on the couch! How did we miss the rogue corn cob placed “just so” on that side table??

And finally, the winner of the “Phoning It In” award…..

The Halloween Countdown is Officially ON!!!

CRAFTOBER: Swinging Seventies Crafting with McCall’s!

As you know, I love a good vintage craft book! And this one is a holy grail of awesomeness!

Published in 1975, this sweet craft book has the best seventies crafts one could imagine.  And some that really should be brought back–like this wonderful tissue paper lampshade designs.

There are some great pottery ideas–like this wee unicorn!

Am I’m head over heels over these royal little candle holders. Kinda want to make ’em!

But a seventies craft book couldn’t be a seventies craft book without a big chapter on MACRAME!!!

Check out these sweet knotted bits of crafty goodness!

I would die of joy to find this necklace at an estate sale…

Oh, but there are some goodies for the gents in the form of batik ties, natch!

I’d kinda want to get those sweet batik fishies too!

Oh seventies crafts, you are too good to be left in the seventies! When is macrame coming back?  All that is missing is a chapter on latch hook rugs.

Did you ever partake in macrame? Any of these crafts zinging with you?


Like a Teenage Dream // Vintage Bedroom

My sweet friend @virginiejolie posted this vintage bedroom set on Instagram a while back. It was in a thrift store she was shopping at and she (and I!) about DIED. This super bright and colorful fun house of a room was made by popular furniture company Drexel back in the 70s. The “Plus One” collection is insane….daisy drawer pulls, kooky cut outs, flower petal pedestals. It’s amazing. And even better? Many of the pieces are labeled, “Desk”, “Bed”, “Telephone” (YES! a phone nook!). And the colors are fun too, of course: “Green With Envy” and “Hello Yellow!”




Apparently the set was “designed” by teens (readers of Seventeen magazine who were consulted throughout the process!).

That a-frame vanity??? Oh yes.

{Thanks to Gold Country Girls for scanning those amazing images!}