Flintheart Glomgold, you hipster. Or are you a Fan? You look like every one of my Dad’s hippie sci-fi friends from the 70s, plus a kilt.
These have become so rare lately that I’d probably be better off calling it “Obscure Disney Character of the Season” or “Obscure Disney Character of the Quarter”, but a name’s a name. I’ll still do these whenever I get the notion, because there are plenty of wonderful obscure characters left to cover.
This is a Theme Park Edition of Your Obscure Disney Character of the Day - I never said I’d exclusively stick to cartoon! - and this one’s in honor of my recent trip to Walt Disney World (trip #32, keeping one ahead of the number of years I’ve been on this earth.)
I almost always drop in on the Country Bears when I’m there - it’s an easy and amusing resting spot, and as I remarked to my mom, “The bears are always so happy to see you they put on a whole damn jamboree when you come a-calling’!”
The Country Bears are old friends, and although I find Trixie, the large, blue-ribboned she-bear who stars in the song “Every Guy Who Turns Me On Turns Me Down” (as sung by the Sun Bonnets) to be the most sympathetic, the real star of this show is Big Al.
Big Al is so popular that he’s one of the few Country Bear characters to be featured on character merchandise. I know that breaks one of my rules for what constitutes Obscure - but still, in terms of mainstream recognizability, I doubt your average Joe non-Disney-fanatic-on-the-street would be able to name him.
The Country Bear Jamboree, by the way, was one of the few attractions original to the Orlando park. It was so popular that they opened one up in Disneyland shortly thereafter, and the concept itself actually originates with the great animator and Old Man Marc Davis.
Big Al is a bear-itone, and his deep singing voice was provided by none other than country star Tex Ritter, father of the late John Ritter. Al is a crowd-pleaser and one of the few elements of this dated, dusty (but lovable) show that still elicits shrieks of laughter from contemporary children.
He sings a rather gory song, “Blood on the Saddle”, that is terrible earworm for me. I love Big Al.
Your Obscure Disney Character of the Day is Dinky the Finch from 1981’s The Fox and the Hound. His best friend is Boomer the Woodpecker, his mortal enemy is Squeaks, the caterpillar, and his main goal in life is to catch and destroy aforementioned caterpillar.
He was voiced by character actor Dick Bakalyan.
Your Obscure Disney Character of the Day is Red Rose from 1951’s Alice in Wonderland. Kindly at first, she’s the first to turn on Alice when she discovers that Alice is not, indeed a flower.
Her voice was provided by Doris Lloyd, who also played the Baroness in the film version of The Sound of Music.
In this slow week between Christmas and New Year’s, I offer you your Obscure Disney Character of the Day: Casey Junior from 1940’s Dumbo.
Casey Junior is, of course, the choo-choo train that takes Dumbo’s circus from town to town. He’s a vaguely creepy anthropomorphic object (as opposed to the vaguely adorable anthropomorphic animals that populate the picture.) According to Wikipedia, Casey was portrayed by “Margaret Wright and later Cathy Cavadini as Casey Junior, the tender engine hauling the circus train. Casey Junior has a 2-4-0 wheel arrangement, a small four-wheeled tender at the back, a big tall funnel, a little lamp hat, a short stumpy boiler, a short stumpy dome with a whistle on the top and a small cowcatcher at his front.”
He makes me think of Stephen King’s Blaine the Train. Blaine is a pain.
Merry Holidaysmas everyone! In honor of this slow last-day-at-work-before-the-holidays, today I bring you a special Obscure Disney Character of the Day: Santa Claus!
This is Santa Claus a la the 1932 Silly Symphony based on Clement Moore’s immortal poem, “The Night Before Christmas”. Santa is everything that poem says he is: a jolly old elf, belly like jelly, droll little mouth, dressed all in fur….
This short is a pretty straight re-telling, with a marvelous little easter egg to brand it as Disney.
Merry Christmas to all!
Happy Thanksgiving Week! After a long hiatus as I settle into my new job, I’m pleased to announce the return of Your Obscure Disney Character of the Day! I don’t know how often I’ll be able to update, but I sure do miss these.
Your Obscure Disney Character of the Day/Week/Month/Whatever is Flying Squirrel, a one-time Donald Duck adversary from the 1954 short The Flying Squirrel.
The character design is like an odd cross between Dale and, bizarrely, Mickey Mouse - check out those ears - with a floofy squirrel tale stuck on. He’s cute as hell, but I can see why this one never made a return appearance. He’s a little too-too, if you know what I mean.
Your Obscure Disney Character of the Day is Georges Hautecort from 1970’s The Aristocats. Georges is Madame’s lawyer and a dear, old friend of hers. There’s a romantic chemistry between them that’s both subtle and charming, a rarity in an animated film intended for the kiddies.
Georges was a delightful, spirited old coot, a character type that was quite a departure for his voice actor, Charles Lane, who was a well-established character known for his mean, miserly creations. (He played a rent collector in It’s A Wonderful Life.) It appears that Georges’ physical appearance was strongly modeled on Mr Lane.
At my sister’s suggestion, Your Obscure Disney Character of the day is this unnamed teenager from the “All the Cats Join In” segment of the 1946 package film Make Mine Music. This guy is sort of the “main” character, although they’re all unnamed, who gets all his little bobbysoxer friends together at the malt shop for quite the swingin’ time, as teenagers will do.
The design of this short was led by artist Freddie Moore, who was well-known for his appealing, curvy female characters, called “Freddie Moore Girls” (think nymphette centaurs from Fantasia, etc.)