Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Costumed Characters, April 1975

Here's a pair of fun scans featuring some costumed characters from the 1973 animated feature, "Robin Hood". Even though this was two years later, Disney wouldn't release "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" until 1977. So by some standards, it was still a relatively recent "classic". 

There's the scheming Prince John, I like his big nose and beady little eyes! He's hanging out next to a trash can, which is a bit odd. You're royalty, Prince John! Even if you are conniving and heartless. And probably stinky. Two young girls have been granted an audience with the Prince; check out that coat on the one to our left! Maybe it reflects her big personality. The girl on the right seems to be a bit more shy and demure.

Lovable Baloo - oops, I mean Little John - wears mostly green so that he can vanish into Sherwood Forest after robbing from the rich. I do that too! Maybe Baloo is a distant cousin? Kids seem to be drawn to him, though the one to the left (with the light blue shirt) is frustrated. "I'm Little John's biggest fan, and he doesn't even know I exist". Life is unfair, kid.


Nanook said...

I've always enjoyed how Prince John's crown is designed to sit atop of his ears. When I tried that idea with my crowns, I merely looked silly. Clearly, I'm not royalty-!

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

About the girl's coat: Somewhere there's a scarecrow hanging around in a field, shivering in the cold.
I agree, Major, Prince John's eyes are his best feature. I doubt that any other costumed character has eyes this small, or smaller, if that's possible.
I've never seen Disney's Robin Hood, just a few clips; enough that I decided I could get by quite well without it.

The frustrated kid looks a lot like Billy Mumy. He's wishing Little John into the cornfield.

Thanks for the Tuesday cosplay, Major.

DBenson said...

He looks like Baloo ... He SOUNDS like Baloo ...

TokyoMagic! said...

That little girl is wearing a coat from the exclusive Dolly Parton "Coat of Many Colors" line of children's wear.

I love the "Robin Hood" walk-around characters. Thanks for sharing these pics, Major!


They were “Bear” crazy at Walt Disney Productions in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s … Pooh Bear …. Baloo …. Country Bear Jamboree ….Little John …. And in also very similar to Baloo and Little John : Fisherman Bear ( voiced by Dallas McKinnon ) from the Isle of Naboomboo in “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” .

Major : did you know the British town where Bedknobs and Broomsticks took place was called PEPPERINGE ( PEPPERINGE EYE) very close to PEPPERINGE….,

Science function.???? No! SCIENCE FACT!!


Science Fiction ( my phone ruins everything)

Chuck said...

Neat photos of a now-lost experience - random encounters with costumed characters.

Note there are two blue, two turquoise, and one red PeopleMover trains in the first photo. A day without a PeopleMover is like a day without sunshine. We’ve had some pretty dark days since 1995.

Mike, I feel your pain. I personally believe Autocorrect is the genesis of the software that will mutate into Skynet. Judgement Day is coming. And in your list of bear-crazy Disney productions from that era, don’t forget the live action Yellowstone Cubs and The Bears and I, plus there’s a bear in Escape to Witch Mountain.

"Lou and Sue" said...

"There's the scheming Prince John, I like his big nose and beady little eyes! He's hanging out next to a trash can, which is a bit odd."

Major, you, too, would be leaning on a trash can if you had a big fat heavy head and could only see out of your nostrils (and maybe mouth).

Chuck, I miss those "random encounters with costumed characters." Half the fun was never knowing who you would bump into next.
Now, thanks to three-month-previously-made-reservations, you know exactly who you are going to see, where you are going to see them,
and at the exact time you will see them. Probably right after your three-month-previously-made-reservations for using the bathroom.

Cute pictures. Thanks, Major.

Stefano said...

The Disney animators put a lot of the vocal actors' features into the characters; Baloo and Little John have the likable mug look of Phil Harris, and in movies I've seen Peter Ustinov pulling pickle-puss faces that resemble Prince John here. Likewise Eleanor Audley is evident in Lady Tremaine and Maleficent, and once her dentures were out, Lucille LaVerne was the perfect model for the "Snow White" hag.

DrGoat said...

Sue, The random encounters were always fun because you never knew who was around the corner. It was always Mickey, Donald, Pluto or Goofy etc. That was Disney. That whole paragraph you wrote about the reservations nowadays made me depressed. The park is just a product now and not the Disneyland we all love and remember.
It does look like the kids are having a good time. Do like the coat-of-many-colors reference TM, 'cause that is one very colorful and cool jacket.
I am getting a weird vibe from that frustrated kid JB. Maybe the CM in that Little Johns costume really looks like that costume for the rest of his life.
To the Major.

K. Martinez said...

I always loved the "Robin Hood" park characters along with the "Aristocat" park characters. That was an era. Nice pics today. There's just something fun about seeing the Disney characters roaming the park.

Stu29573 said...

DrGoat, I'm an elementary school counselor and I was just discussing with a friend how students have become nothing more than products. It seems like people with no imagination just can't get their world vision any higher than the concrete. Imagination and knowledge are terribly intangible things. Simple minds can't market them effectively.
I shall now go yell at kids to get off my lawn.

DrGoat said...

Stu, well said. Now go give those kids something to remember.

Anonymous said...

I remember two character experiences from childhood, meeting Pinocchio, and seeing J. Worthington Foulfellow and Gideon. This may all have been from the same trip since they are all from the same movie.

Robin Hood was never a favorite movie either, by that time I was old enough to see the characters and animation were such a rip-off of Jungle Book that I lost patience with it. My kids loved it and I enjoyed watching them enjoy it, so I came around in the end.

Kids sure love these characters, seemingly regardless of what film they are in. Look at these little ones clamoring for attention. Little model buildings and people in funny suits are a universal draw.

Also, two trash cans in each pic, the Hub is trash can central.

Thanks Major.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I didn’t notice the “crown fits on his ears” thing, but I like it too!

JB, it’s an optical illusion, but it looks like the lighter orange squares on that girl’s coat stick out, as if they were applied orange sponges. Tiny eyes are very unusual in animation, probably because animators get so much expression out of big baby eyes. And to be honest, I’m not sure I’ve seen Robin Hood all the way through… it’s from that era when the animated features were not at their best (I have been spoiled by things like “Pinocchio”, the best one in my opinion)!

DBenson, not only did they reuse Phil Harris, but we know that they also managed to reuse old animation over and over for this movie. It seems like such a cheat, but I once worked with a guy who’d been in Feature Animation, and he said that Woolie Reitherman managed to keep the animation unit going when the company kept threatening to close it; maybe he’s right.

TokyoMagic! I can almost imagine a page in a Sears catalog, with a kid smiling at something off to the right.

Mike Cozart, hmmm, good boint, what was it about bears? Were there any bears in “America Sings”? Perhaps my genuine-and-not-at-all-made-up name is derived from “Pepperinge”!

Mike Cozart, the odd thing is that sometimes my phone does NOT correct things, and that’s almost as frustrating.

Chuck, while people are certainly hoping for a photo with both of these characters, it isn’t a scary mob scene. Was there a cast member nearby in case things got out of hand? With a can of mace? There have been rumors that the Peoplemover could return. I wish I could believe it, but hey, if it happened, I’d be thrilled. Hey, there are polar bears in “White Wilderness”!

Lou and Sue, I actually DO have a big fat heavy head, though I don’t see out of my nostrils. Anymore. Don’t forget, if you have a reservation to meet a character, you also must display your bar code tattoo (on your forehead), which will be scanned to automatically remove $50 for your bank account.

Stefano, I’m sure it’s super helpful to reference the faces of particularly expressive actors as they do their voices. Gosh, other than “Blackbeard’s Ghost” and “Logan’s Run” I can’t think of any other Peter Ustinov movies that I’ve seen! I might have seen him in “Death on the Nile”.

DrGoat, I feel like as a kid I just expected to see Mickey, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy, which is why it was extra fun to see somebody unusual, like these Robin Hood characters. In fact it would be fun if they brought out relatively obscure. I’d be thrilled to see Horace Horsecollar walking around! I wonder how many people would have no idea who he was?

K. Martinez, like I was saying to DrGoat, they should bring characters like Bernard and Bianca out regularly! Did they ever have walk-around Aristocats? I mean besides the jazz band?

Stu29573, to a degree I think that kids have always been commodities, with smart people trying to figure out how to squeeze the most money out of the younger demographic. Most movies are aimed at people in their 20s and younger (or so I’ve heard), because they actually GO and spend the dough. It’s just the way of the world, for better or worse. I like to tell kids to go get a haircut!

DrGoat, I’ll tell those kids about what things were like in MY day!

JG, it’s true, Pinocchio, Honest John and Gideon used to be seen in the park fairly regularly. I wonder if they ever had a walk around Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee? Those characters always kind of weirded me out. As young as some of those kids are, I can’t help wondering if they’d even seen “Robin Hood”.

"Lou and Sue" said...

JG, I think you rushed through your trash can count, today. I see 3 in #1, and 3 (with a possible 2 more) in #2. Sneaky little trash cans.

Dean Finder said...

I've heard from long time WDW people that the scheduled character meets grew out of parents who were frustrated that they spent the money on a trip and got pictures of their kids with the characters due to bad luck with the random meets. For a while, there was a phone number with the times and locations for characters, then the permanent locations. Eventually, it turned into fast passes and another chance to sell access, which I guess is why it infected DL as well.

I'm a subscriber to the theory that Baloo is a time traveler, like Sam Beckett in Quantum Leap.

JB said...

Although it's from the '50s, not the '60s or '70s, there's the animated short "In the Bag". Where the park ranger gets all the bears in Brownstone Park to pick up the trash to the catchy little tune- "put it in the bag, bump-bump."

Major, WDW had (has?) a Tweedle Dum & Tweedle Dee. Not sure about Disneyland though.


I didn’t include The Yellowstone Cubs … since that was the early 60’s. But I forgot about the The Bears and I. ….. it seems bears were an American craze in the early 70’s … the “Hair Bear Bunch” , “Santa And The Three Bears” , “The Berenstein Bears” …. The Beary family from “Knott’s Beary Tales” …..

I think in some of the earliest concepts AMERICA SINGS features sone bears … but they were completely omitted probably not to cause any REPETITIVE REDUNDANCIES with The Country Bear Jamboree.

I remember a Disney Channel show - About Disney animation ( I think Hayley Mills was the host) it must have been in the Early years of the channel as it had Hayley Mills doing sone voice overs for THE BLACK CAULDRON and the animators made the female character look like Hayley mills - but in the final film she dud not. Anyway , the animators talked about how fun Phil Harris was doing Baloo’s voice but at first it was very frustrating because Phil kept trying to do what he thought sounded like a “bear’s voice” and it took awhile for him to understand they wanted the bear to sound like Phil Harris!!

There is a Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecoller character but I think they are used in parades only. Tokyo Disneyland still featured full set families of walk around characters like Robin Hood and Pinocchio , Snow White and ALL seven Dwarfs ….

DrGoat said...

I waited to run into Mr. Toad and Cyril Proudbottom but alas, it was not to be. Did run into the Hunchback and 2 other characters from that movie in Goofy's Kitchen with Mom and Dad once. Mom was not impressed and asked for Mickey or Donald. Donald and Pluto did show up later. In the late 90s I think.

Chuck said...

Major, you've never seen Treasure of Matecumbe or One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing? And you call yourself a Disney fan...

Mike, I nearly left out Yellowstone Cubs because it was from 1964, but I didn't. My head is now hanging in shame.

Chuck said...

DrGoat, we ran into Big Al at Disneyland Paris in 1997. That was a little surreal - they don't even have a Country Bear Jamboree at Disneyland Paris.

DKoren said...

Meeting Prince John is one of my favorite memories of Disneyland, and it was probably even in 1975! My parents have a picture of me with Prince John's hand on my head from that visit with royalty.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, there’s nothing worse than a sneaky trash can!

Dean Finder, I feel like I would not be that upset if I didn’t happen to run into any characters if I took kids to the park, but I guess parents love to have stuff to send to grandma and grandpa, or to use on their next Christmas card. I never heard of the phone number that you could call for information about the characters! The concept of autograph books is always a little odd to me, but I guess I’m not very imaginative. I like the time traveler theory, I just thought that Baloo had a lot of descendants who looked exactly like him.

JB, I love those Ranger Woodlore/Humphrey the Bear cartoons! I’m also reminded of Bongo the Bear from “Fun and Fancy Free”. “Brownstone Park”, jeez, I didn’t remember that name at all. Now that you mention it, I think there is a postcard from WDW that shows the Tweedles.

Mike Cozart, I think that bears make good characters because it’s so easy to anthropomorphize them. I remember going to the L.A. Zoo, the tour guide would throw pieces of Wonder Bread to the bears (who stood there in a “begging” pose) and the bears would catch them skillfully. They had names like “Razz Bear”, “Blue Bear”, “Straw Bear”… you get the idea. Interesting about the Hayley Mills V/O for that Black Cauldron show, I wonder why they got rid of her character (or changed it)? People love Hayley! I’d love it if they really dug deep for walk-around characters. “Elmer the Elephant”. “Mortimer Mouse” from “Mickey’s Rival”. And so on!

DrGoat, oh man, I’ve NEVER seen Mr. Toad walking around the park. I think I have a slide of a Toad character driving a vehicle in a parade, but I can’t find it. Any of those characters would be amazing to meet! I love that your mom was not impressed by Hunchback and the others, she wanted the MAIN STARS!

Chuck, no, I have never seen those films! I’ve read the titles in books. I do call myself a Disney fan, but have many gaps in my knowledge and viewing.

Chuck, I have a few photos of various Country Bears in the park, including a couple of bears who were in Tomorrowland for some reason.

DKoren, what an awesome memory! I’m glad you have that photo, I’ll bet it all comes back to you vividly every time you look at it.

Chuck said...

Major, I was just messing with you. I think this site more than proves your Disney bona fides, whatever those are.

Melissa said...

I wish they would bring the Robin Hood characters back to the parks! It’s one of my all-time favorites. I remember in elementary school, we had an assembly where a touring group performed a sort of bastardized live action version that had to be violating every copyright in the book.

Bu said...

...Characters don't roam around anymore? I'm all for bastardized live action violations of copyrights! Sounds something I would do.