Category Archives: Best of Dottie

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…

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?


It’s official: the Peach has entered the PRINCESS stage

Over the weekend Peach returned from visiting her friend down the street wearing the pinkest of pink princess creations. But what made it work was the absolute joy and huge smile the Peach was wearing along with this polyester pink outfit. She held up the sides as if she was wearing a wedding dress and whispered to me, “isn’t this beeeyootiful?”

And then she started spouting off the names of different princesses to movies she hadn’t seen–Ariel! Cinderella! Sleeping Beauty! Jasmine!

Well, I knew it was going to happen.

The Peach has discovered princesses and all the glamour that goes along with being one.    I know a lot of women (including myself) who roll their eyes when they see all the princess themed stuff out there. In fact, I didn’t like it when family members would call the Peach “a little princess” when she was a baby. For some reason I connoted the word “princess” with spoiled-have-daddy-buy-you-a-new-car-when-you-turn-16-never-earn-a-paycheck lifestyle. Where I got this, I honestly have no idea. Maybe some random movie or TV show? I’m not sure.  Princesses weren’t about being empowered and strong! They were simpering seconds who needed to be saved, right?

And let’s not forget the pink princesses who reign supreme and assault you as soon as you enter any toy section of a store—yeech!

But hang on a second… if you think about it, Disney princesses are all pretty good ladies. They’re always fighting for their rights, kind to others, never giving up, and oftentimes very humble.  Not bad role models, in my eyes.  I wouldn’t mind hanging out with Merida from Brave. And I have a feeling Cinderella and Snow White are probably good eggs as well as animal lovers.

And let’s face it—those princesses have great wardrobes.  The Peach admittedly seems more enthralled with the dresses than some Freudian review of what it means to be a princess—especially since she’s never even seen one of the movies.  Then I thought back to when I was a kid and I loved princesses too when I was her age!  I loved pretty pretty pretty dresses! I still do love a fabulous dress and it hasn’t hurt my I.Q. or made me less successful or less funny or employable!

I’ll take dressing like a princess any day of the week over the Peach wanting to dress like a teenager and wear skimpy clothing. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that I will miss this glittery, tiara loving, pretty dress stage when it is over. Especially when it is this darn cute!

Have you dealt with the dreaded princess obsession? Please tell me I’m not alone in my mixed up feelings about princesses.

Real Life:: A Date to the Bike Hop!

Confession: I love vintage bikes.

When I was in college, mountain bikes were all the rage, but I wanted a simple vintage bike to look like the young women that peddled around the campus in the fifties.

I was bemoaning this fact to one of the TAs in my dorm, who told me that in the basement of my dorm, there was the “bike jail” where they stashed confiscated bikes and there were bikes in there from the forties to last year.  And with a pair of scissors, I could easily “borrow” one of the bikes. No one knew what to do with them! One night I went down to the basement and “borrowed” the prettiest blue Schwinn from the sixties and peddled away. I like to think that its past owner was smiling somewhere.

And thus began my very long love affair with vintage bikes. I knew my sweetie Eric was meant for me when he professed a similar love.  In fact our first date was supposed to be a bike ride through golden gate park.

So, it was no surprise that Eric and I were determined to go to the local Bike Hop which was happening at our favorite tiki bar about a mile awhile from our house! We hired our next door neighbor to keep an eye on the Peach and peddled away on our little date.

Here is the magnificent steed I rode to the bike hop. Eric gave me this beauty as a Valentine’s Day present ages ago. I loved it so much that I refused to put it in the garage, but instead had it in our living room.  If a bike could be yar, this bike would be yar.

Here’s Eric on his faithful red beauty.

We biked off and were the first people at the hop. So, we ordered our “usuals” (Eric’s painkiller and my missionary’s downfall–with extra downfall) and snagged a great seated view to the bikes.

And, man, did we see some great old bikes.

And there was also a lot of great vintage dress watching too!

But the best (and biggest surprise) of the day was that I won for best girl’s bike!  Hot dog!

All in all a great date, to say the least.

Are you a fan of vintage bikes?