Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Come to the Kabaret!

I visited Walt Disney World for the first (and so far only) time in 1995 with my sister. I scrutinized guidebooks for weeks, or maybe even months, in advance to plan the best strategy to see all the sights and beat the crowds. When I go on vacation I like to see everything there is to see. In fact, more than one person has likened a vacation with me to a ‘death march.’ Say what you will, but we don’t miss anything.

After studying all the attractions Disney World had to offer, we made a bee-line for the top one. Space Mountain? The Tower of Terror? Pirates of the Caribbean? No, The Land at Epcot Center.

I read lengthy descriptions of an animatronic show at The Land called the Kitchen Kabaret. It featured singing food, of course, including the Cereal Sisters performing “Boogie Woogie Bakery Boy.” The thought of a single attraction that combined my loves of food with eyes and music of the 1940s was almost too much. So you can imagine my shock and disappointment to find the Kitchen Kabaret gone, and replaced with Food Rocks. Yes, it was still singing food, and yes, it was thoroughly enjoyable, but for all these years I’ve had a gnawing sense of disappointment about missing the original Kitchen Kabaret. All of my careful planning was for naught.

But now, thanks to the miracle of YouTube, I have been able to fulfill my dream and see the Kitchen Kabaret! The following is a two-part, painstakingly-edited video of the Kitchen Kabaret posted by YouTube user Scottof83:

Part I

Part II

And for those of you who prefer music from the second half of the 20th Century, here is a two-part video of the Food Rocks show courtesy of YouTube user TerryT1976:

Part I

Part II

One thing that always puzzled me about my Food Rocks experience was the lack of merchandising. Every attraction at Disney World shunts you into a shop of doo-dads at the end. In this case, when I was eager to snap up some Food Rocks gear there was nothing. My only souvenir was the following peapod magnet, not expressly made for the attraction:

I now must conclude that my visit was after the Kitchen Kabaret items were removed and before Food Rocks items were introduced, as I have found plenty of evidence for their existence. In fact, an informative website about Lost Epcot shows the merchandise that was available. Naturally, I took a look at eBay to see what I could find. I was amazed to see a complete set of 8 Kitchen Kabaret pins go for $215!! Needless to say I won’t be getting any Kitchen Kabaret items any time soon, but at least I’ve seen the show now.

I was saddened to learn that Food Rocks has itself been replaced, and not by singing food, but by some bird’s eye view of beautiful scenery called Soarin’. Why anyone would want to see that is beyond me. I’m sure a 21st century update with Jel.Lo, Pea Diddy, and the Food Fighters would have been a hit.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Curly Wurly!

Special Happy Birthday Greetings to Maria at Curly Wurly today!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Thanks a Bunch!

I’d like to say
for two recent holiday treats!

First, to Steven A. at Plastic Pumpkins for his special Valentine’s Day discourse on the mating rituals of the Busch Gardens/Old Country mascots. I’m sure this brilliant analysis will be studied by scholars for generations to come. Although, one has to wonder why animal mascots were chosen to represent the Old Country, when so many food mascots were available. Why not Bangers and Mash for England, Knockwurst and Strudel for Germany, Brie and Pâté for France and a jug of Maple Syrup for New France? Think about it.

A big thanks, also, to Sparkle Plenty at Dinosaur Casserole for this delightful Pres[id]ents’ Day present!

This amazing advertisement for Stokely’s grapefruit juice and canned fruits dates from 1937 and depicts a great moment in musical history: a young Rosemary Clooney leans out her window and hears this fruity band playing what would become her signature song, Come-On A My House.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mr. Peanut for President

Today is Presidents' Day here in the U.S.A., a day when we think back on the great leaders that shaped our country's history. One name inevitably comes to mind on this day: Mr. Peanut. While he was never actually president (the closest we've come was peanut farmer Jimmy Carter, although we do have a different sort of nut in the White House now), Mr. Peanut holds an important place in U.S. history as the following coloring book demonstrates.

Presidents of the United States to Color - A History from Washington to Johnson was a 1965 premium from Planters Peanuts, then part of Standard Brands.

Click on each picture for a full size image to print out and color. Be sure to have your "peanut tan" crayon handy. A word of caution: the following images may be disturbing to those with a phobia of life-sized, top hat-wearing peanuts.

Let's skip to the third president, Thomas Jefferson, because nothing involving Mr. Peanut happened during the terms of Washington and John Adams. Here Mr. Peanut comes on the scene in a big way, obliterating much of the original 13 colonies, which hold little interest after the Louisiana Purchase:

Also during Jefferson's presidency, Robert Fulton built the first steamboat. This feat isn't nearly as interesting as the eleven-foot-tall peanut at the helm:

Our fifth president, James Monroe, purchased Florida from Spain. He hoped it could contain the huge peanut creature which had now grown to the size of Rhode Island. Here Mr. Peanut dangles his feet in the Gulf of Mexico:

The presidency of John Quincy Adams saw the opening of the Erie Canal. Here's Mr. Peanut standing near Lock 9 in Rotterdam:

Very little of interest happened for 20 years, then Zachary Taylor became the 12th president. While you may remember him as "Old Rough and Ready," his greatest achievent was being born in Virgina, whose warm, sandy soil is excellent for growing peanuts:

Also during the term of Zachary Taylor, gold was discovered in California. The "Gold Rush" sent thousands of men and peanut men to seek their fortunes:

Nothing of importance happened for another 20 years, but then, in 1869 Mr. Peanut single-handedly built the Union Pacific Railroad:

Next, in a complete non sequitur, farmers dig up the peanut vines for shells to harden and nuts to firm:

A bunch more presidents did some stuff, culminating in the 1906 introduction of Planters Peanuts:

Suddenly going back in time, Mr. Peanut was on hand for the 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk. Although the Wright Brothers made the first "man-carrying airplane flight," Mr. Peanut was an accomplished aviator by this point:

Then a few world wars happened, a depression, some things were shot into space, and president #35 was assassinated, all of which pale in comparison to our last page - nutritious peanut products and the places Mr. Peanut grows best (everything really is bigger in Texas):

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Red Malicious

This ad for Comstock Pie Sliced Apples appeared in the September, 1944 issue of Woman's Day magazine.

Wouldn't this sinister apple glaring down at the finished pie make you want to buy ones already cut up in a jar? Or maybe it's just me who thinks this apple looks like PURE EVIL?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

I was hoping to get some cool vintage valentines on eBay like the ones Curly-Wurly posted last year, but I was too cheap. Instead we'll have to settle for two valentines I actually received plus two I made back in 1983.

From about 1980:

From 1987:
The Kool Aid Man Sings the Cole Porter Song Book

Two homemade valentines with the obligatory bad fruit and vegetable puns:

My heart 'beets' for you

We'd make a great 'pear'

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Bonduelle TV-Spots

An anonymous blog reader was kind enough to bring these fantastic TV-spots (that's a nice way of saying commercials!) to my attention. They are German commerials for products of the French company Bonduelle. Here's a sampling of the characters you'll see:

Click here to see these adorable commercials and more! Everything is in German, but the language of Food with Eyes is universal! Also check out the kids' section for some games including one featuring this cute pea:

A YouTube search brought up a few more Bonduelle gems:

I bet you never thought you would see vegetables singing in Polish to the tune of "Hit the Road, Jack."

In case you want to learn the words:

And here's a Polish pea doing his best Gene Kelly as other veggies look on: