Dennis the Menace - Thursday, July 23, 2015

The American Treasure Tour is a great place to visit if you love Americana:  classic cars, automatic music machines, movies and movie posters.  Really, the list could go on forever. Today, we're here to discuss one of the animated store displays we have on display - the electronic characters that, when plugged in, move constantly.  Some of them tell a story, some are just silly. The blog today is dedicated to one honoring a famous character named Dennis the Menace.

The animation has Dennis constantly opening and closing a shuttered window.  The real character of Dennis, though, would have most likely never bothered closing it.  He was the creation of Hank Ketcham, who created Dennis Mitchell, his parents Henry and Alice, his dog Ruff, his cat Hot Dog, and other family members.  And then there's the Mitchells' cantankerous neighbor George Everett Wilson, Sr. and his wife Martha.  Dennis is a constant source of frustration for Mr. Wilson, but an object of affection for Mrs. Wilson and practically everyone else he runs into.  His sincere efforts to be of assistance more often than not become destructive, exasperate those around him.  But his lovable personality tends to win over even the most critical opponents. 

The Wilsons, the Mitchells, and Dennis' group of friends first appeared in comic strip form on March 12, 1951.  Ketcham, who got his early experience working for the Disney Studios, wrote and drew Dennis from then until his retirement in 1994, when he handed it off to assistants who maintain his tradition.  At the time of Ketcham's death in 2001, Dennis was published in over 1,000 newspapers in 48 countries, and translated into nineteen different languages.  In his sixty-plus years, Dennis has appeared not only in comic strips.  He has also shown up in television AND movies.  Of course, not to mention his appearances in animated characters.
QUESTION:  What is the name of the film character Dennis idolizes and tries to emulate?
A)  Cowboy Bob
B)  Bart Simpson
C)  Pirate Joe
D)  Fireman Bill
ANSWER BELOW

OH, VANESSA.  The Miss America pageant had its first competition in 1921.  The New Jersey-based Miss America Scholarship Organization is a non-profit that judges women from each state of the United States in a number of different categories, including a talent, on-stage questions, private interviews and, of course (but not officially acknowledged), physical beauty. Well, on this day in 1984, Miss America winner Vanessa Williams famously surrendered her crown when controversial photographs of her emerged that violated the moral code of the organization.  She was the first Miss America to do this; however, it does not seem to have damaged her career.  She is, after all, the voice of Ms. Brown, the brown M&M, in commercials for the delectable candy!

QUOTE:  Success is the sweetest revenge. - Vanessa Williams

ANSWER:  A)  Cowboy Bob