Category Archives: Toonerville

Updates in Downtown Toonerville

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Toonerville is really all about creating art with my HO model railroad toys.  So, here’s a picture of the newest arrangement of the downtown as it now sits in my bedroom/studio.

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The buildings are a combination of models I put together and plaster buildings that I bought unpainted and then painted them.

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The Ghost Busters van in front of Mike’s Farmer’s Market was recently bought for less than a dollar and added to collection.  Just in time too.  There is apparently a ghost in Mike’s clock tower.

The two Thomas the Tank Engine toys were recently added after they were recovered from a junk pile in the garage.

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Here’s a shot of the Toonerville Trolley that was the first trolley added to my HO train layout back in the early 70’s.

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So, this is a small bit of insight into the workings of a toy collector and artist with excessive amounts of hoarding disorder.  And I am sharing with you the most recent pictures I have made of the things in my collection.

 

 

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Filed under collecting, humor, photo paffoonies, Toonerville, Trains

Updates and Transitions

I still can’t believe my hockey team, the St. Louis Blues, lost to that upstart Nashville team whose logo is a cross between a cat and a beaver with really bad teeth problems.  But that was the other post for today.

I am probably going to kick the bucket soon.  I hate that bucket.  I just don’t like it. But in spite of impending doom for me and the world in general, I am making some changes.  After all, life is change.  We can either change or be dead.  And I am definitely not going to kick that bucket today, no matter how grumpy its existence makes me.

One change I have made is in Toonerville.  I finished snowing all over Al’s General Store.  I added two kids and their cat on the bench outside (in short pants during a winter scene… stupid kids) and fat old Huckleberry Wortle on the front steps looking for someone to play checkers with and tell lies to.  But don’t offer to be the one playing checkers with Huck.  He’s a conservative Republican with Tea Party leanings, and he will tell you things about Obama, government, and people in general that will make you so mad that you will want to go to the bench and kick the kids’ cat.

Toonerville is undergoing a winter renovation.  If I ever get to rebuild the layout, it will now have snow where grass used to be the plan.  It is still temporarily in storage on streets that are really book shelves.  And the Trolley goes nowhere.

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I have also been experimenting with shifting focus, as you can tell by the blurry trolley and track light in the foreground.

In addition to photography, I am making changes to my publishing directions.  I recently bought a subscription to a video-editing program and now intend to inflict Mickey-made videos to my blog.  To be completely honest, I made the purchase at the begging of my daughter who was using the free trial for a school project and ran out of free before she ran out of ideas.  Sound genetic to you, does it?

I have been forced to make publishing changes.  I am almost done paying the huge penance for publishing Magical Miss Morgan with Page Publishing.  That is a mistake that won’t be repeated.  I will self-publish from here on out.  After MMM, I will attempt to publish Snow Babies via Amazon.

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My current manuscript, The Baby Werewolf, is undergoing forced changes as well.  The primary factor here is my unique ability to lose things all together.  Two of the three parts of the original hand-written manuscript are now missing, and have been since we moved to Dallas in 2004.  Bummer.  Coatimundies from South Texas are probably reading it, laughing up a storm, and cursing me for not having lost part three along with the rest of it.  They surely can’t wait to find out what happens.  But since I have to do it all from memory, it will be different from what they read.

And even though writing a blog post every day is hard, I have decided it is worth it to continue.  After posting every day for thirty consecutive months, I have learned that the practice not only sharpens my basic writing skills, but also generates more ideas than it consumes.  I am a writer because I write.  And continuing to write makes me even more of a writer.  So the madness will continue.

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Filed under autobiography, feeling sorry for myself, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney, photo paffoonies, sharing from YouTube, Snow Babies, Toonerville, Trains, work in progress, writing, writing humor

Toonerville Traffic

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I had the good fortune recently to find some of my boxed-up HO train pieces that had been packed away since 2004 when we moved from South Texas to the Dallas area.  Now, in these photos I took of Toonerville, not all of it was part of the uncovered treasure.  But some of it most sincerely was.  The people out in front of Mike Minskey’s Tavern are from a set of unpainted 1/78th scale German townfolk from the 1880’s.  You see them posed here in front of the Batmobile parked in front of the Teapot Clockhouse.

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Here you can see the two F-9 Diesels from the SuperChief (I have a thing for Sante Fe Railroad engines and rolling stock).  I parked them next to the Snowflake Express which you may have seen before, since I bought it in a garage sale after we moved here.

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The multi-colored bus that you see behind the Miss Amy Wortle Boarding House is actually the Partridge Family tour bus from the TV show my sisters loved in the 1970’s.

c360_2017-02-18-17-48-44-663  Here’s a view of the front of that same TV bus as it sits between Miss Wortle’s place and Eggbert Egghead’s Egg House.  Dabney Egghead is the boy in the sailor suit showing off his brand new velocipede.

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The old lady crossing in front of the Toonerville Trolley is Granny Wortle (who controls all the money in the family… I named a lot of the residents after people in Fontaine Fox’s comic strip of the 1930’s).

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Here’s the back end of the trolley as it passes Digby Davies’ Pet Shop and the purple eggplant house where Gilbert Dornhoeffer and his seven vegetarian children live and build snowmen regularly.

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On the other side of Eggbert Egghead’s Egg House you can see Butch and Marcia Niland’s VW mini-bus next to the old shoe-woman’s house which she built from a gigantic pink-and-white high-topped sneaker.  Digby  moved his velocipede, either to get it in the picture once again, or to get closer to the Scary Clown’s Ice Cream Truck while they’re still serving Eskimo Pies in midwinter.

So now you can plainly see that Mickey finding old boxes of toys that he thought were lost is not a good thing for Toonerville traffic in general, and definitely not good for Toonerville rush hour.

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Filed under autobiography, humor, illustrations, photo paffoonies, strange and wonderful ideas about life, Toonerville, Trains

Inside Toonerville

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The Toonerville Post Office and Bert Buchanan’s Toy Store.

Toonerville is not only a wonderful cartoon place created by Fontaine Fox in the 1930’s, but the name of the town that inhabited my HO Train Layout when I lived in South Texas and had the Trolley actually running nearly on time.  The train layout has not been restored to working condition for over a decade now.  The buildings which I mostly built from kits or bought as plaster or ceramic sculptures and repainted have been sitting on bookshelves in all that time.  I still have delusions of rebuilding the train set in the garage, but it is becoming increasingly less and less likely as time goes on and my working parts continue to stiffen up and stop working.  So, what will I do with Toonerville?

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Wilma Wortle waits on the station platform for her train at the Toonerville Train station. I built this kit in the 1970’s, hence the accumulations of dust bunnies.

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Loew’s Theater has been awaiting the start of The African Queen for more than twenty years.

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Main Street Toonerville at 2:25 in the afternoon. Or is it three? The courthouse clock is often slow.

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Grandma Wortle who controls all the money in the family likes to park her car near the eggplant house when she visit’s Al’s General Store.

But I may yet have found a way to put Toonerville back together through computer-assisted artsy craftsy endeavors.

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A two-shot of Bill Freen’s house and Slappy Coogan’s place on the photo set to start production.

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Bill Freen’s house lit up with newfangled electricical. (and I do believe that is the way Bill spells it all good and proper.)

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Bill Freen’s house cut out in the paint program.

So I can make composite pictures of Toonerville with realistic photo-shopped backgrounds.  Now, I know only goofy old artsy fartsy geeks like me get excited about doofy little things like this, but my flabber is completely gasted with the possibilities.

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Bill Freen’s house at sunset… (but I don’t get why there’s snow on the roof when the grass is so green?)

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Filed under art editing, artwork, autobiography, farm boy, foolishness, humor, illustrations, photo paffoonies, Toonerville

A Toonerville Trolley Special Delivery

In honor of the unexpected snow day, and to mourn the death of the stupid daffodils, here’s an episode of Toonerville Trolley that I just had to share.   I need me a laughin’ place right about now, and Toonerville has always been that place.

Maybe tomorrow she will shout, “You no worry!  Katrinka fix!” just for me.

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Filed under cartoons, humor, Toonerville

Toonerville, a Place I Once Lived In

There is a place so like the place where my heart and mind were born that I feel as if I have always lived there.  That place is a cartoon panel that ran in newspapers throughout the country from 1913 to 1955 (a year before I was born in Mason City, Iowa).  It was called Toonerville Folks and was centered around the famous Toonerville Trolley.

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Fontaine Fox was born near Louisville Kentucky in 1884.  Louisville, of course is one of the two cities that claims to be the inspiration for Toonerville.  Apparently the old Brook Street Line Trolley in Louisville was always run-down, operating on balls of twine and bailing wire for repair parts.  The people of Pelham, New York, however, point to a trolley ride Fox took in 1909 on Pelham’s rickety little trolley car with a highly enterprising and gossip-dealing old reprobate for a conductor.  No matter which it was, Fox’s cartoon mastery took over and created Toonerville, where you find the famous trolley that “meets all trains”.

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I didn’t learn of the comic strip’s existence until I was in college, but once I found it (yes, I am the type of idiot who researches old comics in university libraries), I couldn’t get enough of it.  Characters like the Conductor, the Powerful (physically) Katrinka, and the terrible-tempered Mr. Bang can charm the neck hair off of any Midwestern farm-town boy who is too stupid to regret being born in the boring old rural Midwest.

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I fancied myself to be just like the infamous Mickey (himself) McGuire.  After all, we have the same first name… and I always lick any bully or boob who wants to put up a fight (at least in my daydreams).

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So, this is my tribute to the cartoonist who probably did more to warp my personality and make me funny (well, at least easy to laugh at! ) than any other influence.  All of the cartoons in this post can be credited to Fontaine Fox.  And all the people in them can be blamed on Toonerville, the town I used to live in, though I never really knew it until far too late.

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Filed under art my Grandpa loved, artists I admire, cartoons, Toonerville