It all started with a Mouse – Watch

August 3rd, 1933

The Original Mickey Mouse Watch

77 years ago today the first Mickey Mouse watch went on sale.  Disney had recently hired a new ‘merchandising man’  named Herman Kamen. His job was to market the Disney brand via Mickey Mouse. He put together a contract with the Ingersoll Waterbury Clock Co. of Waterbury, Connecticut — a dying and bankrupting company. The watch sold for about 3 bucks and was so successful it was solely responsible for saving the watch company from oblivion. They sold 11,000 the first day, and 900,000 in the first year. After 2 years they had sold 2.5 million Mickey Mouse Watches.

In the 60’s the company was renamed to US Time and now we know them simply as Timex.  Timex makes watches for many other companies and brands such as Ecko, Versace, Guess, Valentino, Ferragamo, Opex and Nautica. Yep, without Mickey and Walt, we’d have never had Timex.

Mickey Mouse: Then and Now

The history of the Mickey Mouse watch is even included in this video about Mickey Mouse. It amazes me how much of an impact Walt Disney had on the 20th century — especially in ways that you don’t often think of.

This post is in 3D!

Traditional 3D Methods (Passive)

There are many ways to create an image that will fool your brain into thinking a 2 dimensional surface has 3 dimensions.  Years ago, all we had were Red/Blue blocking 3D glasses a lá Match from Back to the Future. This technology involves filming in stereo where the camera has 2 lenses spaced apart to record video just like how your eyes see.  It’s kind of like looking through a periscope on a submarine but instead of bouncing the light down the tube with mirrors, it is bounced through time on film. Your left eye should only see what was recorded by the left lens and your right eye should only see what was recorded by the right lens. Your brain then uses all kinds of fancy geometry to assemble these two images back into one 3D view of the world

Match from Back to the Future

Similar technology is used these days with digital projection where you have polarized lenses where each lens is designed to block/permit light that is polarized in a certain way.    Whatever the left lens blocks is permitted to go through the right lens and vice versa. The easiest way to demo this is if you have a pair of leftover glasses from your last movie theater 3D outing,  put them on, look at yourself in a mirror, and close one eye.  You won’t be able to see your other eye behind the glasses in the reflection because the light that passes through the glasses has been fully blocked, neat huh? When you are in the movie theater, the projector swaps between polarization for the left and right eye something like 120 times a second (as opposed to a normal projector which only needs to flash frames at 29.97 frames per second to prevent flickering as detected by the human eye/brain).

Modern Polarized 3D Glasses

Older polarizing 3D attractions at places like Disneyland use a similar technique, but I have a feeling they use two separate projectors rather than just switching back and forth on one projector.  That’s why sometimes when one projector isn’t as bright as the other you get this really wonky effect where it feels like you can’t see through one eye and you think the glasses are dirty.

DCA Midway Mania 3D Glasses Pickup

3D Stereo Photography via “Jiggle Effect”

Another way to do it is by switching back and forth between two static images taken slightly apart from one another. You can see a bunch of cool examples of this method here. When I was going through the pictures from my recent Disneyland trip, I came across a couple pictures in a row that seemed by a jolly accident to work with this effect.

If you click to embiggen the image, the effect is easier to see.

Avast Matey’s I’m in 3D

Photo Tuesday: Disneyland Monorail Blue on a clear day

This picture was taken during my trip for Disneyland’s 55th anniversary weekend. While waiting to get onto the Matterhorn (which took quite a bit to convince my dad that it didn’t flip or have any crazy drops to make him lose his stomach) along came Monorail Blue. It’s amazing how much quieter the Mark VII monorails are than previous models.

Opening Day At Disneyland

B&W and Color Footage

While visiting Disneyland for its 55th Anniversary last weekend, one of the special things they did to commemorate the day was to replace the B&W Mickey and Minnie Cartoons in the Main Street Cinema with Disneyland Opening Day footage.  Some of the footage is black and white and some is in color. There were a few different reels they had playing, and I did my best to grab a few. This is the first reel that I captured.  I added some audio to the silent films and I hope you enjoy these seldom shown recordings.

Opening Day At Disneyland from John Giaconia on Vimeo.

Black and White and Color footage from the Main Street Cinema at Disneyland. On July 17th, 2010 they replaced the standard Mickey and Minnie B&W cartoons with opening day footage of Disneyland. Here’s one of the video loops with some added audio.