Take A Look at Disney


Month of The Mansion: The Story and Song From The Haunted Mansion (With The Creature)

Moviefan12: Welcome back foolish mortals, it is time to share a story with you as The Creature joins me once again as we look at an LP release that was released in 1969 to coincide with the opening of The Haunted Mansion.  Join us as we look at The Story and Song From The Haunted Mansion.    For those that remember the Read-Along Storybooks from the '90s, this was the predecessor to those. 

This too featured a storybook with illustrations that were done by Collin Campbell that would bring The Mansion to eerie life in a child's home.  

Of course, Campbell knew a thing or two about the Manor as we was one of the Imagineers that helped to bring The Haunted Mansion to life. And speaking of, there are ideas that are presented in this story that either never found their way into the Mansion or it took a while for them to appear.   So, Creature, what say you, are you  ready to give this frightful tale a listen? 

TC: I had heard of the Read Along Storybooks from Disney, but I had no idea they released one for the Haunted Mansion. So, I am definitely eager to hear this.

The Plot

Moviefan12: The plot to this story is admittedly so thin that you could see a skeleton through it. It is a dark and stormy night and two teenagers named Mike and Karen come across The Haunted Mansion and decide to take shelter in it and they soon meet the Ghost Host and are led on a tour of the Mansion until they find their way out. What make this work however is the presentation as the listener feels as though they are going on the tour of the Mansion with these two teenagers. And there are some rather standout moments such as the mention of The Hatbox Ghost in the Attic

Now dear Creature, were there any moments that especially jumped out at you?

TC: I would probably have to go with the Graveyard. It was a very descriptive account of what you would end up seeing on the ride which would be a nice detail for anyone that hasn’t been on the ride.

Now, let's move on to what I consider the highlight of this spooky tale, the narration.


Narrator - Thurl Ravenscroft

Moviefan12: Yes, dear readers, this spooky tale  of The Haunted Mansion by the same man that told us of why, you wouldn't want to touch The Grinch with a 10 foot pole.  Ravenscroft's voice is no stranger to the Disney Parks as he was also heard in The Enchanted Tiki Room and the now defunct Adventures Thru Inner Space among many other attractions.  And his voice can even be heard at The Mansion as he was the voice of the lead Singing Bust. 

A common misconception that many people have is that they assume that Thurl is the voice of Ghost Host. I do not know how that misconception has started but it's stuck.  Now, let's move on to his performance in this audio story, he was excellent. He put such vivid detail into the descriptions of everything that one would see in The Mansion.  Making the listener feel as though, they were going through the Mansion with every little detail that he went into. He brought it to such eerie life that even without Campbell's illustrations,  you can see the rooms perfectly in your head. 

TC: Thurl does a great job serving as the narrator. His deep voice is a perfect for the story and he does capture the feeling of the illustrations perfectly.


Mike voiced by Ron Howard 

Moviefan12: Our two teenage characters are voiced by two  young stars that would make their names later in life as Mike is played by Richie Cunningham or perhaps better known to today's audience, the award winning director for films such as Apollo 13. Yes, we have a young Ron Howard in the role of Mike and judging by his voice, this was clearly after The Andy Griffith Show and Howard is quite likable in the role of Mike and it was stated in multiple sources that he played this role before Happy Days and that somewhat shows in Howard's voice. On the surface, there isn't much to the character of Mike and that will also be true of Karen but Howard makes the character work.  And this is perhaps more interesting for the novelty of hearing an early voice role of one of America's best directors.

TC: I was actually a bit surprised that Ron Howard was on here. Regardless of the fact that the two main characters don’t have much of a personality to them, he still gave the character some life to him and it does, as you said, add to the novelty of the record.

Karen voiced by Robie Lester

Moviefan12: As my my associate pointed out, there isn't much on the surface to our two main characters on the surface but Robie Lester apparently made a career out of  being the voice for the Disneyland Storyteller readers such as this one and others such as Peter Cottontail and it came to the point, where she would narrate and act out all the parts.  If anyone of you have ever listened to a Disneyland reader, you heard Lester say this phrase.

When Tinker Bell rings her little bells like this (wind chimes)...turn the page

Her work on the storyteller albums even earned her a Grammy nomination.  But even if you never listened to any of the Disneyland Readers, there is someone else that you may have heard her lovely voice as she was the voice of Miss Jessica in Rankin-Bass' Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town.

Again, this quite the novelty and for what this performance is meant to be, Lester turns in a serviceable performance and it is quite interesting to hear this voice from such a beloved voice actress elsewhere.  

TC: I never knew she made a career out of narrating these stories. Her character reminded me a bit of B-Movie Actresses who are often easily frightened at the current situation (like Janet Weiss from Rocky Horror). Nevertheless, she also gave the character some life to it.

Ghost Host voiced by Pete Renaday

Moviefan12:  What is that dear reader, you were expecting Paul Frees.  Well no, he wasn't the voice as instead, we have Pete Renaday in the role and you see, he was an early choice to play Ghost Host and it's not hard to see why as next to Ravenscroft, he is the best part as Renaday makes the Ghost Host quite eerie and creepy as you never know, if you can trust him or not.  He plays him as someone that you aren't sure that what his motives are.  There seems to be something more sinister at foot with Renaday's Ghost Host. And just as Lester was known for other voice roles for various attractions at Disney Parks but perhaps is best known role is that of Master Splinter from the 1987 Ninja Turtles. 

Clearly, this is a very different role than Hamato Yoshi as the Ghost Host is quite creepy and very eerie. Because you never know, what he's going to do next.  I would not call him a villain, dear reader but he does come mighty close as you hear how he makes our two teenage protagonists quiver in fear.  

TC: He doesn’t seem much of a villain but more of a foreboding guide throughout the house. While he may be no Paul Frees (or Vincent Price) he still gave it his best and gave it some ghoulish delight.

Our Final Thoughts

Moviefan12: Dear reader, I would say that you are wise to go in not expecting too much from this.  As it perhaps best, just to take this for the sheer novelty that it is.  Does that make it bad? No, but there isn't a whole of life to the story of this LP, it is the cast that brings it to life.

TC: I agree with you. There really is not much to this and I found it to be a bit dull. The acting did livened the story a little bit although there’s not much else to really say about it. It’s definitely something that is more of a One-Time Listen.


A Look at Disney’s LGBTQ Characters: Mouse (Big Shot)



Big Shot is a new sports drama from David E. Kelley and Brad Garrett about a college basketball coach fired after losing his temper and is forced to coach a team at an all-girls private high school.  The show is pretty good, I binged the first eight episodes in a day.  And well, there is an LGBTQ character on the team.  That being Carolyn “Mouse” Smith.  I like her for the most part but there are some issues that I have noticed with Mouse. Mouse isn’t exactly the smartest girl on the team and that well,  I don’t know if dumb gay is a trope but it does feel like one.  And that is kind of the feeling that I was getting from the character of Mouse.


Putting it another way,  it kinda feeds into the gay best friend trope. Not completely but there are hints of it.


Almost as long as rom-coms and high school TV shows have existed, the Gay Best Friend™ has been a source of comedy and controversy. Often an important first step in introducing queer storylines to mainstream audiences, the GBF trope had a tendency to reinforce stereotypes about gay men: that their only interests are makeovers, shopping and drama, that their struggles and relationships fade into the background unless they’re supporting a straight person’s story,



Mouse has other interests and is allowed to develop feelings for another girl that we see her get with in the eighth episode and share a kiss.  Now Kelley is no stranger to TV as he also created Ally McBeal but I was curious about something about that show he created.  And this piece from Out goes into it better than I could.  It basically says that it hasn’t aged well and that is part of the feeling that I’m getting with Mouse that in a couple years,  even though she is a good character, she’ll feel dated.

Now, there is something else that I want to mention. In an episode, before the girls are about to take a biology test, Mouse says that colonels will kill her if she fails.  She was referring to her parents and that is something that I don’t think heard mentioned before.  She is an LGBTQ+ child of military parents and that is something I can relate to.  It’s not always the easiest thing in the world.


There have been strides made to make it feel more inclusive and welcoming, which is where MilPride comes in. 



A national group serving LGBT service members and their families has launched a new program to provide support for the LGBT kids of U.S. troops. Milpride was announced Saturday in Washington, D.C., at the American Military Partner Association’s annual gala.


I understand that the military isn’t looked at favorably by a lot of members of the community and I get it and things were worse back when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a thing.  The way that Mouse speaks of her parents made them sound rather strict and we haven’t met them yet.  We don’t even know if she’s out to them.


I would hope things would go well for her as she’s nice,  which is another trend I’m a bit tired of seeing, often you see LGBTQ characters but sometimes, that is all these characters are given.  On the other hand, her new girlfriend is I guess a little stuck up but not snobby.  They actually work well together.  And the kiss as I mentioned is cute.





Even if it was a little weird for me as her gf Harper is played by Darcy Rose Byrnes who I know for voicing Amber on Sofia The First.  




Just a side thing but focusing back on Mouse, I like her and she is a nice character but it does feel like the other girls on her team have received more development than her.  I hope more is done with her as I like her but it sometimes feels like the show forgets about her.


Still, I would recommend this show as it’s not a bad watch and has a lot of nice moments

A Look at Disney’s LGBTQ Characters: The Characters of MCU



I’ll be honest in saying that this is one of two entries that I have not been looking forward to covering (the other being Star Wars).  It’s less to do with the franchises and more so the toxic fans these franchises have.  I love superheroes and I do love the MCU  but it’s been lacking in the queer rep department.  When one looks to the Arrowverse, it can be observed that this is an area where they have been blowing the MCU out of the water.  For instance, they gave us the first trans superhero on tv played by trans actress, Nicole Maines as she plays Dreamer on Supergirl.


So, that is cool and this’ll be the last time I bring up the Arrowverse in comparison.  Also,  this is not a complete overview of every MCU character that identifies as LGBTQ as I didn’t watch Agents of Sheild nor the Netflix Marvel shows.  So, I do not know if any characters identified as part of the community on those shows.  With that said,  I will try my best to cover these characters.   With that out of the way, we are going to start with a character where it wasn’t confirmed but I hope that if he shows up in the future it is.


Billy – WandaVision




Now, this one is a little tricky as Billy is just a kid, and while sites like Digital Spy listed him as the MCU’s first openly gay superhero.  Thing is, that was never brought up in the show and on the one hand, I’m okay with that as he’s still a young kid.  Perhaps if he and his brother had been aged up to teens, this could be explored.  I wanted to start with Billy as his comics counterpart is gay and that is an important part of his character. 



Marvel has published same-sex weddings before, but Hulkling and Wiccan’s nuptials represent the first time that two gay superheroes have tied the knot.


So, I have hope that we could see this developed more in the future.  Now, let’s move onto a character whose identity was cut.





I hate Thor: Ragnarok.  It is my least favorite MCU film everything about it ticks me off.   Earlier this year I was watching a video from the YouTube channel about queer coding that I’ve referenced in this series before and that was the first time I learned that a scene was cut from the film that would’ve confirmed Valkirye as bisexual.  



It’s not unusual for entire storylines to be cut from the final version of a film, but the choice to cut out a key scene confirming Valkyrie’s attraction to women feeds into the larger Hollywood problem of bi-erasure and straightwashing that’s been a staple of big-screen adaptations of other source material for decades.



Now I did not know who this character was before this film but upon a simple Google search, it can be seen that she is bisexual in the comics.





Now, this ties into a larger issue and that is a bit more personal,  bi-erasure.  Often, the B in LGBTQ is forgotten and this is such a prominent example of that.  


Bisexual erasure or bisexual invisibility is a pervasive problem in which the existence or legitimacy of bisexuality (either in general or in regard to an individual) is questioned or denied outright.


Yeah, this stings and it honestly makes me hate the movie even more.   Now, let’s move on to another Thor character where promos for his self-titled show revealed him to be gender fluid.




To break it down,  it can be explained this way.   

Gender-fluid people are people whose gender changes over time. A gender-fluid person might identify as a woman one day and a man the next.

They might also identify as agender, bigender, or another nonbinary identity.


I can absolutely see this with Loki and I hope that this is explored in the show proper but I don’t have many hopes.  Now, there were also reports that Loki would be bisexual but that came from We Got This Covered and they are known for making stories up.  From what I understand, this is accurate to the comics and Tom Hiddleston when speaking on Loki being gender fluid had this to say. 


“It’s always been there, in the history of the character, in the mythology and in the comics. I was aware of it from the moment I was first cast. So it’s a thrill that we get to touch on that in some way,” he explains, though he’s hesitant to spoil anything. “How we do [touch on that], I think I want to leave the audience to find out.”



That does make me hopeful that more will be explored as the show goes but I’m not exactly holding my breath on this one.   Now onto the character that was the biggest joke in this regard.  In the opening scenes of Endgame, director Joe Russo cameoed in the therapy scene with Steve and reveals that his character’s husband was blipped out of existence when Thanos snapped his fingers.



You know what’s really frustrating, the same news outlets that were calling out the exclusively gay moment with LeFou praised this scene as a milestone.  When in reality, it’s no different than that.  It was the same thing really.  As pointed out by PinkNews.  



We don’t want scraps, or crumbs. Joe Russo’s character in Endgame is a crumb. What’s more, that crumb, in subsequent press interviews, has been dressed up as a golden nugget.



As put here this is a crumb that while it may have been well-intentioned but the community is tired of only getting scraps.  We deserve better than this.  This angered me on the same level as the LeFou moment.


Make no mistake, I like the MCU but in my opinion, when going over these characters and listing the ones I was going to look at for this retrospective, they have disappointed me the most.   Marvel is the biggest thing in entertainment right now and there are a lot of LGTBQ+ fans but time and again, those fans have been failed by the MCU.  And sad to say, I don’t see this stopping anytime soon

A Look at Disney’s LGBTQ Characters: Sherri and Paula (The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers)



What comes to mind when you think of Disney sports movies?  For many, it is probably The Mighty Ducks and its two sequels.   Now,  this past March a brand new show set in the world of Ducks debuted and at best, this show is an answer to Cobra Kai.  It’s cute and fun, however, we aren’t here to discuss the new team but rather two of the moms of one of the new players.


Yeah, I gotta be honest and say that these characters get nothing to do.  I give you Sherri and Paula, they are in so little of the show that I couldn’t even find a picture of them together online.




They seem nice but we really don’t get to know them,  I mean their blurbs on LezWatch are more about their son than them.  It’s frustrating.  I mean I get that parents want to be proud of their kid(s) but there should be more to them than that.  When the show first started, I was happy with the inclusion as it reflected the modern day but the problem there is that there are other Disney+ shows such as High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, Big Shot, and Diary of a Future President doing this better.  And you know why those characters are allowed to be their own characters and are able to explore who they are. Granted, all of those characters are teens whereas these two are already married but I still think something more could have been done with them.

So, what do we learn about them? They love Broadway showtunes and this is found out when Goob,  one of their son’s friends has a phone withdrawal while at a sleepover and he sings showtunes to distract the moms as a way to get his phone back.  Other than that, we don’t know anything about these two.  Sure, this is only the first season but seriously I think more could’ve been done.


Now, something that TV Tropes mention and something that I noticed is that their son could be bisexual because he does get a girlfriend in the end but also the way that he talks of his best friend, Evan comes off like a crush.  Doing a quick Google search brought me to thisNBC News piece that does tackle this.


As many as 6 million children and adults in the U.S. have lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender parents, according to the institute, and its study found that “the female and male offspring of lesbian parents were significantly more likely to report same-sex attraction, sexual minority identity, and same-sex experience.”


This is fine and a little interesting but once again, this is more about their son than them.  I do like this show and I get that these two are recurring characters but I do believe that more could have been done to establish who they are and what they want in life.  This is perhaps the one disappointing aspect of this otherwise decent show