Rankin/Bass Productions When It Was Videocraft International

Tis the season for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, the 1964 stop-motion animated Christmas special from Rankin/Bass Productions when it was known as Videocraft International.

When Elliot Cowan visited me last April, he gave me an old Rankin/Bass brochure from his father, Bernard Cowan. You may recall all characters were portrayed by Canadian actors recorded at RCA studios in Toronto under the supervision of Bernard Cowan.

Here are pics I've taken of this old Videocraft International brochure.


Rankin/Bass Productions 2


Rankin/Bass Productions 4

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This and That

On Saturday morning I was bundling up the little one for a walk to a local brunch establishment when I couldn't stop myself from taking a picture. She'll be one on Wednesday and I know all too well how quickly they grow. So I snapped a picture with my LG G3, uploaded it to my Flickr account and put the phone back in my pocket.

Morgan's almost one

That was the last photo I took with that phone. During brunch, I whipped it out to check email and it was powered off. And it wouldn't power on. Even after ensuring it was fully charged and removing the battery and all that there was no life in that phone.

After brunch I bought groceries before calling Rogers. It's remarkable how it feels to be without a smartphone for even a few hours. Ten years ago, I didn't even own a cell phone, and now I consider it an essential service.

As usual, Rogers was willing to upgrade my phone, but it would cost me. They wanted to switch me to one of their new, more expensive plans, and I wanted to speak to their retention department. They were actually pretty decent, allowing me to keep my current plan and giving me an LG G4. I hopped on my bike and headed for Royal York and Bloor to pick it up.

No phone meant no use of my MapMyRide app to record the ride. It was my first unrecorded ride in five years. That also felt strange, as if I wasn't biking at all. I have completely gamified my daily exercise. If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

It was cold and windy and as I pedaled my way north on Royal York, in the bike lane, a man in a black pickup truck took the time to yell "get off the road!" at me. In all my years of cycling Toronto's streets I don't think I ever heard that sentiment in that tone. Heck, I was in a bike lane!

I also realized that my wireless Bluetooth headphones did a pretty great job of keeping my ears from getting cold. I normally wear them under a balaclava but without a phone didn't have them on. The cold air was flowing into my ear canal and I realized they're for more than just podcasts and tunes.

By 1pm on Saturday I had a working phone again. It was only four hours of inaccessibility and I didn't like it one bit. I kept thinking, if my 12-year old daughter needed me right now, I wouldn't be able to help her. I hated that feeling.

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Things that you don’t know about carpet cleaning

Carpet is one of the most vital things in the home. A good carpet can make your home elegant and beautiful. However, a good carpet does not really mean a costly designer carpet from a big brand. It is often indicated as a neat and tidy carpet. Carpet has the power to beautify your home but it attracts dirt and needs to be cleaned. However, it is not very easy to clean a carpet.


Traditional Approach
Carpet is nothing new and has been in fashion for many decades. Even before the technology came in, carpet used to be cleaned with a soft brush and baking soda. These are still considered as vital ingredients for carpet cleaning. However, you cannot make your carpet clean with only these. We know that these are very important but what we know is that these are not sufficient enough.

The first thing that comes into the mind for carpet cleaning is possibly the vacuum cleaner. It is indeed one of the greatest inventions and is frequently used for the cleaning purpose. We all know that. However, extensive use of the vacuum cleaner can actually damage the glow of the carpet. Also, it is very likely that the age and longevity of the carpet will be significantly reduced. Then what is the best way to remove the dirt and clean the carpet?

Professional services
Today, many professional services have mushroomed for the carpet cleaning. However, the best one follows a balanced and optimal approach to clean carpet. The first thing that we often miss is the pre-treatment of the carpet. Many can find this as an unnecessary step. However, frankly speaking, this is the most important thing of carpet cleaning. This basically prepares the carpet for the cleaning process. Also, this protects the carpet from the harm of over cleaning. The glow of the carpet remains intact and the longevity also gets increased. So, you get your same carpet after cleaning but with the new carpet like shine and contrast. We got this tip from Carpet Cleaning Oakville.

Cleaning the carpet is not only about making it suitable for the room again. However, the carpet cleaning basically removes all the particles so that nothing can affect your health as well. The professional services ensure that the carpet is ready for cleaning and it becomes easy for the cleaner to take out the particles.

In the modern world, carpet cleaning is one of the most underestimated household works. Many people remain under impression that home cleaning is sufficient for the carpet. However, they are actually ruining the carpet and also inviting health complications with it. It is therefore very important that carpet is properly cleaned. If you are not really sure that you can clean the carpet well, then contact professional services to do it for you. In longer time, this is budget friendly and also good for your carpet.

Remember, we know few things about cleaning carpet but what we don’t know can actually enhance the quality of cleaning.

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When a Marketing Plan Falters

The marketing folks at Budweiser Canada have red goal lights and glasses in homes across this country. With the World Cup of Hockey beginning for Canada last night, there was a mighty push to get people talking about these red lights. I was even sent a glass.

Setting up the glass was easy enough. I installed an app on my Android phone and connected to the glass via Bluetooth. I tested the connection and all was well. Then, instead of drinking from the glass, it was put in on display in the living room so the kids could enjoy the show when Canada scored.

With the youngest two asleep for the night, the rest of us tuned in Canada vs. Czech Republic and waited. It didn't take long for Sidney Crosby to score, and we all looked to the glass. Nothing happened.

I tested the connection again, and it worked fine. We ended up scoring six times and the red light went off precisely zero times. It became quite the humourous joke in our home.

I tweeted about it, and quickly learned I was not alone. Nobody's Budweiser red light glasses worked last night. I actually felt bad for the marketing team that worked so hard for this Saturday night only to have technology fail them.

Budweiser did tweet at me that the problem has been fixed and it should work next game, but that first impression is shot. There's a marketing lesson to be learnt here. Take notes, kids.

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Retro Apartment Signage on Lake Shore

Along Lake Shore, in the west end of the city, there's a series of apartment complexes just east of RoyalYork that continue to sport their original signage. This retro signage dons names like "The Deauville", "The Eldorado" and "Cornell Manor".

Yesterday, I decided to snap a few pictures before these apartments are razed for pricey waterfront condos. (Don't panic, tenants... this hasn't been announced, I'm just looking into my crystal ball.)





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Playing online real money games during the Canadian winter

Playing online real money games during the canadian winter is very popular today. In fact, many people in Canada will talk about how the climate of Canada and the fact that it is so cold there has managed to shape a good portion of Canadian culture and Canadian history. The famous Canadian love of hockey, for instance, is due to the fact that Canadian winters are so long and so cold that people are able to easily play ice hockey on the frozen lakes. Naturally, this is really only the case for rural Canadians, and this trend is starting to disappear in a world of mass indoor activities and supervised play. However, the establishment of the Canadian love of hockey has still managed to persist for a long time, and it all started as a result of the fact that Canada is very cold.


Playing online real money games during the canadian winter is particularly entertaining at websites like the Vegas Palms Online Casino. People can expect one hundred and fifty free spins at the Vegas Palms online casino. They can also expect to get one hundred dollars or euros free at the Vegas Palms online casino. As such, a lot of people are going to get an initial boost when it comes to playing more online casino games there, which is great news for the people who have a lot of time to spare in the Canadian rural areas of the world.

It is no secret that a lot of people who live in rural areas sometimes have a difficult time keeping themselves occupied. There is always something to do in big cities that have a lot of people and that attract a lot of different businesses. This is just not the case with rural areas, at least to the same extent. Canada actually has a lot of rural areas, even though people do not always think of Canada that way. This is a nation that has thirty-five million people total, which is less than the total population of California. While people are not going to feel as if Canada is underpopulated when they live in a place like Toronto, in the majority of Canada, it is going to feel as if there is a lot of open space, which is certainly the impression that people might get when looking at most images of Canada.

Playing online real money games during the canadian winter is something that people can do whether they live just outside of Halifax in the country or whether they live in the bustling metropolis of Toronto. The Vegas Palms online casino has mobile casino gaming options for them, and people can play these games in any location wherever they want for as long as they want. People used to have to live near casinos in order to play casino games, and many people wouldn't want to go there during a snowstorm. People can go to the Vegas Palms online casino website as long as they have a solid Internet connection.

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The Tenors Anthem Modification Doubly Offensive

As a kid, I loved the MLB All-Star Game. As an adult, I can take it or leave it. Tonight, I decided to take it.

The Canadian national anthem was performed by The Tenors. I must admit, the whole tenor thing confuses me. I don't know if these are the original Tenors, the Canadian Tenors, or what. At this point, I feel bad for all Tenors everywhere who will be confused with the quartet I saw tonight.

You see, they wanted to make a racist statement, and they decided O Canada was the place to do it. They decided to alter the anthem's lyrics from "with glowing hearts we see thee rise/the True North strong and free" to "we're all brothers and sisters/all lives matter to the brave."

Seriously, they thought it was a good idea insert a terribly gross message into our national anthem. Here's footage:

This is really, really offensive. The "all lives matter" message truly pisses me off the way "straight pride parades", "white history month" and "men's day" advocates piss me off. The "all lives matter" statement has nothing to do with all lives mattering and everything to do with white lives mattering. Give me a break.

Of course, The Tenors are entitled to such an opinion, but how offensive is it to all Canadians that they'd insert it into O Canada? I'm still shocked it happened...

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45 RPM Adapter

Former CFNY deejay Pete Fowler has a radio show entitled The Lost Indie City and he sells tee shirts with a big yellow 45 rpm adapter on it to promote the program. I've got one, and wear it often.

Jeff Woods and Me

It's a fantastic conversation piece. It never fails that when I go for a walk wearing this shirt some guy, usually in his 50s or 60s, will light up and tell me he remembers those. I myself used to buy 45 singles at my local Sam the Record Man so I always had such an adapter on hand.

The other day I was wearing this shirt and walking with my wife, who was born in the 1980s and had no idea what it was, and we wondered aloud if my 14 year old would know what it was. I was pretty sure he would and my wife was pretty sure he wouldn't. My wife was right.

The 45 rpm adapter is a dog whistle that can only be heard by those of a certain vintage. By the late 80s, it was all about the CD. Even in the mid-80s, cassette tapes were taking over among my peers. I'll bet few under the age of 40 have ever touched one of these.

If you smile when you see me wearing this shirt, you're 40+. I guarantee it.

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Midges

I hated the midges during my first spring living by the lake. At the time I didn't even know they had a name. I just knew there were swarms of annoying bugs everywhere and I even biked wearing a balaclava to avoid ingesting dozens of them at a time. Yes, even in twenty degree weather I donned a balaclava because of these damn bugs.

Last spring, they bothered me far less. I stopped wearing the balaclava and stopped complaining about the midges. After all, they're harmless.

This spring, I see them as a sign summer is indeed coming. It's a springtime tradition on and near the waterfront in this city, and I'm not going to let them bother me. I pick them out of my eyes and nose and consider it bonus protein when they get in my mouth.

The midges aren't going anywhere and neither am I, so I learned to stop worrying and embrace this slice of life in south Toronto.

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5 Things you must do when Visiting Toronto


There are few locations in this world that offer the diversity of Canada, which combines staggering natural beauty and wonders with bustling, metropolitan cities. This is why Canada remains popular not only among those with a desire to travel and see more of the world, but also individuals who wish to relocate for the purposes of work.

If there is one city or region of Canada that embodies this, it is Toronto. A central hub for both commerce and adventure for Canada, Toronto is home to some of Canada's most beautiful landmarks and it is one of the first ports of call for any international visitors (regardless of their origin).

1. The Toronto Islands

Just a quick ferry ride from the centre of the city, the Toronto Islands are a small chain of picturesque islands that provide the perfect break from a bustling town. With long stretches of golden coastline, sun-kissed shores and tranquil lakes, this is a wonderful site and one that is tailor-made for those who love nature.

2. St. Lawrence Market

This sensational marketplace has been a neighbourhood meeting place for more than 200 years, while it is surrounding by historic, restored buildings and some of the world's most famous speciality food stalls. The old city council chambers have also been remodelled as an exhibition centre, which includes rotating displays of paintings, iconic photography and some relevant, historical relics.

3. The Casino Rama

From the city centre, you can take a two hour trek to find Casino Rama, which is one of Canada's most popular gaming hubs. With over 2500 slot machines and an incredible diversity of daily, live entertainment, the Casino Rama is a bustling location that has plenty to offer visitors regardless of their preferences. For virtual gamblers who have benefited from the rise of trusted online casinos in the UK, this resort may offer the ideal chance to try out a bricks and mortar establishment.

4. The AGO, Art Gallery of Ontario

The AGO is an excellent example of a venerable city institution, and one which is working hard to become a central point for Toronto as a whole. With a number of thrilling exhibits and a growing range of national treasures, visitors can peruse a whole host of rooms and it is even home to quite stunning Henry Moore sculpture collection. There are few galleries where you can get so close to such beguiling pieces of work, so this is well worth a visit.

5. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

This resort sits at the heart of down-town Toronto, and it is arguably the cities most exciting family attraction. The largest aquarium in Canada, it provides a thrilling underwater adventure for everyone regardless of their age, tastes or preferences. The resort showcases more than 16,000 marine animals, while it is also home to the world's most expensive and revered jelly fish collections.

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