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Fun Facts

You are never too old for Disney Christmas – Retro Festive Style!

Christmas was one of Walt Disney’s favourite holidays, and every year since Disney World was founded in 1971, the theme park has been transformed into a Christmas paradise. The parks are filled with fake snow, costumes, parades, parties and live holiday music. Disney World becomes every Christmas lover’s dream come true!

Disney Christmas Tyler and Jordie
Retro Festive Owners Tyler and Jordie in Disney Land!

Have no fear if you can’t make it out to a Disney theme park this holiday season. With our help, you can easily turn your home into a special “Disney Christmas” wonderland without having to trek all the way down south.

Just follow these three simple steps.

Step 1.

Every Disney Christmas-themed home should feature Disney Christmas figurines, and ornaments. Mickey and Minnie can bring joy to even the biggest of Scrooges during any Christmas celebration.

Step 2.

Watch Disney Christmas movies, of course! Our absolute favourite is Mickey’s Christmas Carol. It was filmed in 1983, and marked the return of Mickey Mouse and friends in their first film after almost 30 years. This fantastic film is an adorable adaptation of Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel A Christmas Carol.

Step 3.

You have your Disney figurines, and your Christmas movies, now all you need is a little Disney Christmas music. We definitely recommend John Denver and the Muppets. This is the soundtrack to the classic holiday 1979 TV special, A Christmas Together. Not only is the music fantastic, but it will bring you right back to your childhood, sitting on your parents couch watching the Muppets Family Christmas, Elf or Gremlins each and every holiday.

Well everybody that’s our show. Thank you for spending Christmas Eve at the House of Mouse. Here’s wishing everybody a Merry Christmas and a safe trip ho-home!” Mickey Mouse

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Star Wars Christmas

Since 1977, every Star Wars film has been a summer blockbuster release. On December 18, 2015 Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens will mark the first time in the franchise’s history where a film will see a Christmas release. Some fans have protested the decision to move the release of the film from the traditional May date, but many more have welcomed the change, feeling that Star Wars has always had a place at Christmastime.

Merry Force Be With You!

Beginning in 1978 with the Star Wars Holiday Special, Lucasfilm has embraced the holiday shopping season and released toys and special Christmas merchandise for fans of all ages.

Santa Darth Vader and Jawa Bobble Heads

A few years later, in 1981, George Lucas commissioned a painting by Star Wars artist, Ralph McQuarrie, for a personalized Christmas card that was to be sent out to the entire cast and crew on Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back. McQuarrie’s depiction of Yoda in a Santa outfit would become one of the most iconic Star Wars Christmas images ever produced.

Original painting created by Ralph McQuarrie for Lucasfilm Ltd. in 1981

This image is still used today for Christmas ornaments . . . and even a stocking or two.

Yoda Tapestry Stocking!

So, anyone who considers him or herself one with The Force will know that Christmas and Star Wars go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly . . . or Stormtroopers and candy canes!

Stormtrooper Nutcracker!

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Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer turns 50!

The Christmas TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer first aired 50 years ago on NBC on December 6, 1964 and is now an annual holiday tradition around the world. A little known fact about this beloved stop motion animation is that it features a Canadian cast!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer voice cast
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer voice cast 

A group of Canadian actors gathered in a downtown Toronto studio to create the voices for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer including Billie Mae Richards as Rudolph, Paul Soles as Hermey the Elf, Larry D Mann as Yukon Cornelius, and Carl Banas as Foreman Elf. Little did they know they would be creating the voices for some of the most popular Christmas characters in television history.

Here are our favourite moments from these four Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer characters:

Foreman Elf
Oh well, if that’s all . . . WHAT?! 

Foreman Elf has a lot of elves to manage, and when Hermey the Elf admits he doesn’t like to make toys he can’t believe his pointed ears!

 

 

Hermey the Elf
Hey, what do you say we both be independent together, huh?

After leaving the North Pole to become a dentist, Hermey finds another misfit in the snow!

 

Yukon Cornelius
Oh, well, now I’m off to get my life-sustaining supplies: cornmeal and gun powder and hamhocks and guitar strings.

Rudolph and Hermey were fortunate to meet Yukon Cornelius, the greatest prospector in the North, who taught them basic survival skills.

 

 

Rudolph
I’m cute! I’m cute! She said I’m cute!

Upon arrival at the reindeer games, Rudolph receives a compliment from Clarice the Doe, and his nerves melt away!

To celebrate 50 years of Rudolph, RetroFestive.ca has gathered the largest selection of Rudolph products this side of Hudson Bay!

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10 Doctor Who Christmas Connections

We meet a lot of fans at Retro Festive, pop-culture devotees and Christmas nuts. None are as fanatical as the fans of legendary BBC TV show, Doctor Who! For all you scifi fans, we would like to share some of our favourite Doctor Who Christmas connections. And check out the great Canadian connections too!

  1. Time-travelling Doctor Who was co-created in 1963 by Canadian film and television producer Sydney Newman (who, incidentally, also created The Avengers TV show). When the Doctor Who series re-launched in 2005, in co-production with the CBC, they also began a tradition of producing yearly Christmas Specials.
  1. The Christmas Invasion” was the first full episode with David Tennant starring as the Tenth Doctor. This episode, featuring Santa Robots and Killer Christmas Trees, was also the first Doctor Who episode produced specifically for Christmas.
  1. The Runaway Bride” was the first appearance of Catherine Tate as the season four companion Donna Noble and the Santa Robots come back!
Doctor Who Christmas TARDIS Globe
A charming Doctor Who Christmas snow globe featuring the legendary TARDIS.
  1. Voyage of the Damned“, the third Christmas special since the show’s revival, starred Kylie Minogue as a waitress named Astrid who must help The Doctor avoid a spaceship collision with the Titanic during a Christmas party.
  1. The End of Time Part 1” the last episode with David Tennant, who made his first visit to Canada last September, originally aired on December 25, 2009 and takes place on Christmas eve.

 

Dalek Doctor Who Christmas
A Snowman Dalek made by a Doctor Who fan
  1. A Christmas Carol”, the 2010 Doctor Who Christmas special, was the first Doctor Who episode to premiere on the same day in both the United Kingdom and the United States; December 25, 2010.
  1. The very first Doctor Who Christmas special aired on Christmas Day in 1965. At the end of the episode The Doctor now-famously breaks the fourth wall by saying: “… a happy Christmas to all of you at home.”
The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)
“Father Christmas, Santa Claus. Or, as I’ve always known him, Jeff.” – The Eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith)

 

  1. The 2012 Christmas special “The Snowmen” features a vicious army of snowmen, made of telepathic snow, commanded by the Great Intelligence to take over the world.

9. “The Time of the Doctor” was the 800th episode of Doctor Who, and the final regular appearance of the Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith. In the episode, The Doctor and his companion Clara visit a town called Christmas.

10.  As is the tradition to bring in a big guest star, British actor Nick Frost, “Shaun of the Dead” (we have zombies in Canada too) is set to guest star in the 2014 Doctor Who Christmas Special. He has said “I’m such a fan of the show. Every day on set I’ve had to silence my internal fan-boy squeals!”

Whovians can hop into their TARDIS and shop in person at Retro Festive in the Oakville Warehouse Store and the Toronto Christmas Market, or anytime at www.retrofestive.ca/doctor-who!

P.S. It has nothing to do with Christmas but the Doctor Who Information Network holds a monthly Doctor Who meet-up in downtown Toronto, in addition to their Doctor Who blog.

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Leg Lamp Trivia: 7 Things You Don’t Know

1. The leg lamp did not exist before the movie’s author (and narrator) Jean Shepherd  dreamt it up for his short story My Old Man and the Lascivious Special Award That Heralded the Birth of Pop Art (First published in 1966).

Jean Shepherd, Leg Lamp inventor.
Jean Shepherd invented the leg lamp and narrates A Christmas Story. (He has a cameo in the movie, too!)

2. The author imagined a soda pop company had unwittingly given birth to the “pop art” movement. He came up with the idea of a leg-shaped lamp after seeing a Nehi Cola ad featuring a woman’s stocking-clad leg.

Soda Pop Art
What if “pop art” was invented by a soda pop company? Would it be soda pop art?

3. The leg lamp has Canadian roots! The original was fabricated by Toronto prop-master Henry Piersig and rigged by special effects guru Martin Malivoire.

Peter Mansbridge is a leg man!
Revered Canadian broadcaster Peter Mansbridge is a leg man! (Click to watch CBC story)

4. Several versions of the leg lamp were made for use on-set.  Despite what has been reported elsewhere, at least one did survive the shoot and sat for years in the window of Martin Malivoire’s special effects shop in Toronto. It became dirty and dusty over the years, so he disposed of the forlorn lamp in the early 1990s, just a few years before A Christmas Story leg lamps became “a thing.”

Break a leg lamp!

5. Memorabilia company NECA was the first to license and mass produce A Christmas Story leg lamps as a novelty, starting in 2003. They were inspired by reports from around the country of people making their own leg lamp to display at Christmas time. Now leg lamps come in all shapes and sizes, including this nifty leg lamp light string!

Lots of Leg Lamps
Leg Lamps come in all shapes and sizes.

6. According to A Christmas Story Treasury, the leg lamp in the movie was created by casting  a mould of an actual woman’s leg. “The studio sent over a chubby model,” said effects wiz Martin Malivoire, who helped fabricate the lamp for the movie.

A Christmas Story Treasury
Great book about A Christmas Story

7. Although Jean Shepherd came up with the idea of the leg lamp itself, production designer Reuben Freed created its look. He based the lampshade on the “classic bell shape” of a lamp in his mother’s living room window.

Dying to put a leg lamp in your front window? RetroFestive.ca has lots of leg lamp options, from tall to tiny!

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