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Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Mickey Mouse

1928-29 Mickey Mouse movie poster. Photo via TheHistoryBlog.com

Happy 85th birthday, Mickey Mouse! On November 18, 1928, the world’s most famous mouse made his debut in Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie at New York City’s Colony Theatre. Tonight, Film Forum is celebrating the occasion with a special “Disney Mouse Party” at 7pm. The program of rare 35mm prints from the Disney archive includes early b&w comedy classics (1928-1933) such as Puppy Love, Blue Rhythm, The Gorilla Mystery, and Building a Building, plus a bonus sing-a-long; Technicolor breakthroughs from 1936-1941 like Thru the Mirror, Mickey’s Trailer, Mickey’s Rival, and Nifty Nineties; plus what’s being billed (in all caps) as “AN ASTOUNDING SNEAK PREVIEW.” Could it be Potatoland, which is set to premiere today?

The Disney Channel will debut the new seven-minute cartoon titled Potatoland as part of a day of programming honoring Mickey Mouse’s birthday. The comedic film takes Mickey, Donald and Goofy on a road trip to Idaho to fulfill Goofy’s dream of visiting Potatoland theme park.

Being a carny kid, our favorite Mickey Mouse cartoon is The Karnival Kid from 1929 in which Mickey is a hot dog vendor at a carnival and Minnie is a shimmy dancer. It’s famous for being the first film in which Mickey talks but his voice is actually that of Walt Disney. Mickey yells “Hot Dogs! Hot Dogs!” Watch what happens when Minnie bites into a very animated frank…

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Harpo Marx at Ruby's Bar, Coney Island Boardwalk. April 16, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

“Harpo was exactly what harp actually means: Angel…,” George Jessel once said. “You know, there’s a church in Brussels, and on top are all little cherubs. And they all look like Harpo Marx.” The silent comedian and musician who made his stage debut at Coney Island’s Henderson Music Hall was born on this day in 1888. Last year we celebrated the occasion with quotes from Harpo Speaks and an assemblage of clips from Harpo’s film and television career: The Punch and Judy scene from Monkey Business, the mirror scene with Lucille Ball and other faves. You can watch the clips here.

Despite its rich association with vaudeville history, the Henderson was demolished by Thor Equities and a shopping mall is rising on the spot. If you’re looking for the quirky spirit of Harpo in Coney Island, look no further than Ruby’s Bar. His statuette has long stood guard by the cash register. He spends his spare time reading Charles Denson’s Coney Island: Lost and Found and eating Cracker Jacks.

Last time we dropped by, Harpo was still around, though almost everything else, including the wall of photos, was being packed up in anticipation of either a major rehab or closing down. Nobody knows yet which way it will go. We have the highest of hopes that Ruby’s summer family will be together for many more seasons to come and Harpo will keep his job.

Our Thanksgiving wish for Coney Island is that 2012 will bring plenty of sunshine and good fortune to all. Happy Thanksgiving to our readers. Enjoy the holiday weekend!

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Sammy

Sammy Rodriguez at Ruby's Bar, Coney Island. June 20, 2007. Photo © Kevin C Downs Photography

Last week a friend sent us this invite to Sammy Rodriguez’s 85th birthday party to be held on October 1st at Ruby’s Bar and Grill. Coney Island’s beloved dive bar, which will close forever at the end of October, is throwing a birthday bash for its beloved longtime bartender.

With all the changes the past few years it has been a while since we have all been out on a weekend and hung out for a few together. So let’s have a last gathering party with everyone ON SAM”S BIRTHDAY! This is our final year so — ONE LAST BIG HURRAH IS IN ORDER!!!!!!

Sat. Oct 1st 2pm til ???

This is a celebration for Sam and Ruby’s and the years they have had together in Coney. This is not a Save Coney Party or a Media party, this is a party of friends/summer family to celebrate our memories with Sam and Ruby’s.

Sam came from Puerto Rico and worked as a porter, fry cook and bartender in Coney Island for six decades. The story goes that he had a job at the spot “under the boardwalk” before Ruby Jacobs bought the place and kept him on. As one of my friends says, “He helped create Ruby’s as we know it.” Sam’s birthday is October 1st, which this year of all years luckily happens to fall on a weekend. Since he retired five years ago, it’s become a tradition for Sam to come up from Puerto Rico to celebrate his birthday at Ruby’s. We’ll be there to wish him a happy 85th birthday and many more to come, but the sad fact is it may be the last time for this get-together. Will Sam and friends make the trip to Coney Island once Ruby’s is gone? More than 450 attended the big bash when Sam turned 80.

Last call at Ruby’s Bar will be on Saturday, October 29 Sunday, October 30, 2011. Along with seven other Mom-and-Pop businesses, including Paul’s Daughter and the Suh family’s souvenir shop next door, Ruby’s was kicked to the curb by New York City’s Economic Development Corporation and Zamperla’s Central Amusement International to make way for a corporatized, gentrified Boardwalk. This is of course last year’s news (“Out With the Old in Coney Island: Only 2 of 11 Boardwalk Businesses Invited Back,” ATZ, November 1, 2010). As Valerio Ferrari, CEO of Zamperla USA/CAI told us that day: “They didn’t have the vision that we have for the Boardwalk. It’s a business decision.”

What else is there to say? Come out on October 1st and October 29th, and anytime in between to raise a glass to Sammy and Ruby’s and yes, sentimentality –a word that is not in the playbook of the powers that be. On New Year’s Day and Opening Day, we’ll especially miss our old friends. Ironically, these small, family-owned businesses on the Boardwalk managed to keep Coney Island alive and thriving through tough times, even when real estate speculator Joe Sitt was their landlord. It was only after the Bloomberg administration “saved” the People’s Playground by buying the property from Sitt for an astounding $95.7 million dollars of taxpayer money that the Mom-and-Pops got evicted en masse. This is just wrong.

Ruby's

Ruby's, Coney Island. May 28, 2010. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

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Cyclone Roller Coaster, View #3. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Cyclone Roller Coaster, View #3. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

We’re going to a birthday party today in Coney Island. The Cyclone Roller Coaster, which gave its first ride on June 26, 1927, is 82 years young. As Gerry Menditto, the operations manager for the coaster told the Daily News, “I’ve been here 34 years, and we’ve probably rebuilt this entire ride while I’ve been here. While most of the steel has been around since the beginning, the wood gets replaced regularly.” This season we started taking photos (like the one above) that highlight the architectural beauty of the National Register-listed New York City landmark.

According to the official history of the Cyclone:

Brothers Jack and Irving Rosenthal commissioned the legendary Vernan Keenan to design, and Harry C. Baker to construct, the preeminent wooden-tracked roller coaster. The design had to be exceptionally tight and steep because of the relatively small ground space that was available for the attraction. The construction of this masterpiece began on a historical site which was significant in the world of roller coasters — the Cyclone graces the place which contained the world’s very first roller coaster, LaMarcus A. Thompson’s Switchback Railway.

Thompson’s “Roller Coasting Structure,” the first coaster to be designed as a U.S. amusement ride, opened in June 1884. National Geographic is celebrating the 125th anniversary with pictures of the Switchback Railway, the Cyclone and other notable coasters.

Today’s birthday celebration begins at 11 am. On its 82nd birthday the first 100 people in line get to ride the Cyclone for free. The coaster opens at 12 noon but the line is expected to start forming early. Miss Cyclone Angie Pontani will be there to meet, greet, and dance with visitors. From 11 am to 1 pm, the Cranky DJ will spin 78rpm records on his 1923 Brunswick phonograph and 1921 Victor Victrola.

“These songs are from a very special time in the history of recorded music<” says the Michael Haar aka The Cranky DJ. Some of the selections that will be played at the Cyclone Roller Coaster’s birthday party are Irving Berlin’s “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” and “Everybody’s Doing It” from 1911 and 1912, “The Sidewalks of New York,” singing sensations Al Jolson and Nora Bayes, and the vocal comedian Billy Murray. The party takes place at the Coney Island History Project’sexhibition center on Surf Ave under the Cyclone.

AUG. 28 UPDATE: Due to the ongoing Coney Island redevelopment hoopla, ATZ is getting more than the usual number of queries that ask: Will the Cyclone be open in 2010? The answer is YES, THE CYCLONE WILL BE OPEN IN 2010 and for many years to come. The roller coaster’s designation as an official New York City Landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1988 is one of the strongest possible safeguards. The Cyclone is owned by the City, which leases it out to the Albert family (former owners of Astroland Park) to operate. The Cyclone is open daily, noon to closing, until September 7. Then it will be open weekends only through September 27.

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