Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Big Birthday Cake Bonanza! : Part 2

Be sure to check out Part 1 first if you haven't already....

Time for the conclusion of our sugary look back at my first 12 birthday cakes, as created by the talented Kid Glen's Mom. In part one we covered the baby, Cowboy & Indians, circus, Walt Disney, clown, and Panda themed cakes. Once we get by cake #7 we move on to the Space / Comic Book period, but more of that in a minute.

First up ( above ) is a bit of a holdover from the last batch... I was always a big fan of cartoons ( or as we adults call it, "animation" ). Often on weekdays before or after school, circa 1975, you could find me enjoying the wacky 7 minute adventures of classic cartoons of the 50, 60s and 70s compiled into programs with names like "Frisky Frolics" and "Fun-O-Rama".
Maybe it was with that in mind my mom went with this nice cartoon theme.

And now... "The Space Years" ( subtitled: "The Sorta Star Wars Years" ). By 1976 I was into space in big way. Space exploration, rockets, the moon, astronomy, Star Trek, Space 1999 - you name it. If it had something to do with space then I was on it. So it seems unsurprising that my mom came up with this groovy hemi-spherical moon shaped cake. Multi-coloured craters ( just like the real thing! ), scientifically correct sparklers and a cut-out Apollo astronaut festooned this great cake that that made a big impact at birthday party #8.

"Houston, Eagle has landed. And it tastes great!"

By September 1977 one thing was clear. I was a full blown Star Wars freak. SW had been out for 3 1/2 months and that was all I could think about. In fact, if you could pan left in the photo below you'd see I was proudly wearing my fairly new green Star Wars shirt . I think the adults around me might have been a little slower to realize the true extent of my Star Wars psychosis however. So a wonderful rocket cake with inch thick icing exhaust flames it is.

Star Wars would have to wait until the following year to make a sweet appearance.

1978. I hit the big One-O and celebrated with this excellent movie themed cake. A virtual role call of the main character's names ( with only two spelling mistakes - a good achievement for an adult in 1978! ), the Death Star, Darth Vader and the iconic logo. What more could you ask for. Thanks mom.

Below you'll find by far the most memorable of my birthday cakes from the 7 - 12 year old period of today's post. By September of 1979 the Incredible Hulk TV program was in the middle of it's popular 5 year run, and I was an avid viewer. Although my love for Star Wars would not wane for a few more years my fascination with comic books was coming on strong. I had always loved comics, especially Richie Rich when I was younger, but it was with the release of Marvel's Star Wars adaptation that I seriously started collecting comics. From this movie tie-in I moved on to television tie-ins like The Human Fly ( based on the real-life stuntman seen on "That's Incredible", and the Canadian game show "Definition" ) and The Man From Atlantis ( I loved trying to swim like him! ). From there it was a natural progression to super hero titles like Captain Canuck and Marvel comics like The Hulk, Captain America, and soon after The Uncanny X-Men. I had lots of Hulk merchandise at the time including a TV Hulk poster, poster magazine, bendable figures , plastic mug, slide puzzle, slot car set, etc ) along with my ever-growing Hulk comic book collection. In fact, the likeness of Ol' Green Eyes that my mom used for this cake was based on a Hulk finger puppet I had!

One reason why I'll remember this jade giant cake so well is that besides being close to life size it was decorated with what had to be, at least in my sugar addled memory, almost an inch thick of creamy icing all over. And since it took my mom a ton of black food colouring to make his hair jet black ( and not just gray ) all my fellow party participants had black tongues for the rest of the day, if not the week!

In the completely inane side note department: I met the very nice Lou Ferrigno, who played the tv Hulk, in 1999 and mentioned this cake to him ( yes, yes, I know... ). He seemed to be genuinely interested in it and said I should send him a picture. Most likely he was just trying to humour a clearly deranged man until he could make a hasty retreat, but on the off-chance this blog entry ever makes it to his still slightly green-ish make-up stained eyes - this one's for you Lou.

My birthday cakes were often a surprise. I rarely knew what my cake would look like or often what the theme would be until after the strains of "Happy Birthday To You" had begun.
So I remember, although I was very happy and grateful for the wonderful cake my mom had made, being little miffed days later when I noticed that the comic from my then treasured collection that my mom had secretly used to trace the image for the cake front from ( Captain America #250 to be precise ) had obvious and deep indentation marks on the cover from the process of tracing Cap's face with a ball-point pen onto tracing paper. I'm ashamed to report I was pretty upset for the downgrading of this comic from Mint condition to only Very Fine.

Yes, I was a comic book nerd. Sorry mom.

So there we have it. 12 very cool birthday cakes made with great skill and love by my mom. The following year I ended up decorating my 13th birthday cake myself ( with an portrait of E.T. wishing me a happy birthday. Go figure. ) and from that point on my cakes had a more adult look. More Black Forest than Dark Lord of the Sith.

I always appreciated ( especially when attending other kid's parties or ever having to eat a store-bought cake ) just how much I loved my mom's creations, so I'm glad to be able to share them again. Bon appetit!

For more of her excellent work, including some of the swell cakes she made for my younger sister's birthdays ( " who wants a piece of the Smurf's right buttock?" ) check out her cake decorating Flickr set.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Big Birthday Cake Bonanza!

As a child growing up in the late 1960s and 1970s I was lucky enough to have a talented mother who also just happened to be a part-time professional cake decorator. Come each September 10th after a fun birthday meal of hot dogs and potato chips I was assured of not just a great-tasting birthday dessert but a really fun looking one too. Childhood friends were always impressed with the time and skill my mom put into these sweet pieces of art, so I thought I'd give my first 12 cakes another opportunity to shine over these next two postings.

Up first ( above ) and starting in chronological order we have my first cake, September 1969. Clearly taking a cue from the fine folks at Wilton ( the cakes decorating suppliers that taught my mom the basics ) we see a fine example featuring a pastel shaded ( trust me ), classic child's building block design. For a variation on this creation check out my sister's birthday cake three and a half years later.

Below : Annos Duos. The sepia tone of this photo adds a touch of authenticity to this Cowboys and Indians and Totem Pole and... something ( it is a bit fuzzy ) themed cake. Eagle-eyed readers will have spotted the lenticular ( that 3-D to you and me ) paper punch-out birthday card badge I'm wearing proclaiming my age, in case anyone wasn't too clear on that point. I also appear to be wearing one in the first photo. "A trend?", you say?...
Possibly. But without further photographic evidence I'm afraid it'll just have to be left to the scholars and theorists to debate over for years to come.

Third time's the charm! With the assistance of my uncle my mom pulled off what has to rank as ( along with the Hulk cake from the next posting ) one of the most memorable of my mom's birthday cakes - "Glen Mullaly's Circus!"
Hand painted, ( with food colouring ) pressed sugar, exotic animals in cages with plastic straw bars, gumdrops and a hand lettered banner. Perfection.
A side note : I still have the molds that the animals were made in. Not sure why, but I couldn't throw them out.

Hey there, hi there, ho there - with birthday #4 ( 1972 ) mom shifts gears somewhat for a visit from Bandleader Mickey. The 70s weren't kind to Mr. Mouse's career, but even slumming on kids birthday cakes he came through like the true professional he was.

Bonne - fete cinq, jeune Glen! With a backdrop consisting of our cherry tree filled back yard this somewhat freaky ( and yet still fun - filled ) clown makes an affable appearance at my fifth birthday. If I'm correct those oversized feet and hands were completely edible. Anyone chowing down on Mr. Clown's plastic head would have won a free trip to the emergency ward however as his neck consisted of a very kid-friendly spike!

1974 - Rounding off the first half-dozen of my mom's most excellent birthday cakes we have one that was such a hit she created it again and again for other festive occasions. Combining moist cake and tasty trans-fat filled icing would suffice for most confectionery connoisseurs, but then adding jelly beans to mix? A stroke of pure genius! Wilton may have supplied the cake pan, but my mom added the love.

Check out more of my mom's cakey creations over at her Flickr.

Up next: The Star Wars years!


Time for another serving of vintage Dan Lawler children's magazine art over at Flickr.

Starting tomorrow: The Big Birthday Cake Bonanza! A two part look back at the swellerific decorated late 60s and 70s cakes of Kid Glen's childhood!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You!

It's time once again for a sneak peak at upcoming GLENMULLALY.COM... The Blog!!! & Flickr posts for the next month or two. In no particular order we have... ( above ) a great batch of Dan Lawler cover and interior art from late 50s and early 60s Humpty Dumpty magazines.

Below: A look inside the the mind of a man with incredible powers to locate goofy thrift store and swap meet finds and then who spends too much time photographing said finds to share with people he doesn't know that well, most of whom could likely care less that he paid a dollar at a church sale for this boss 1960s Kreskin game!

Another episode in the highly popular series... Vintage Kid Illustration Classics II : The Wrath of Smath.

A comprehensive two-part look back at the wonderful world of Kid Glen's birthday cakes. All lovingly and creatively brought to life in glorious 60s "Blur-Tastic " black & white, and super 70s "Cull-R Krectid" colour from the talented icing tubes of Kid Glen's Mom. ( Be sure to wear your party hat! )

A surprise find : Vintage Pete Hawley illustrated cards - Part Deux!

What would birthday cakes of the 70s be without Kid Glen's Toys of the 70s!

Once more we dive head first into the mixed-up land of Crazy Colouring Pages!

Yeah, that's right... I'm on a first name basis with B & E! You wanna make somthin' of it?!

"Do you have lots of pictures and ephemera pertaining to a long disappeared family slot car business from the late 1960s?", you ask? Indeed I do.

Indeed I do.

Plus stylized illustrations galore from the great Charles Harper, Kid Glen draws the Solitary Man, George of the Jungle... but not that George of the Jungle, freaky family portraits and much, much, more.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Safety Never Looked So Good.

Over at Flickr right now I'm sharing a few pictures of recent items from my collection including this shot of my Dad's vintage car racing helmet from his early days in the late 50s and early 60s. After it was retired I still found use for it though...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Seeing Through Arithmetic" ( Now there's an exciting title that'll be sure to draw hoards of traffic to this blog! )

It's library discard sale week here at GLENMULLALY.COM... The Blog! Up today is a page from a swell 1963 elementary school math textbook, illustrated with a great deal of stylization and fun by Chicago based Jerry Warshaw. For more scans from this nifty find and another of Jerry's books why not visit me at my Flickr account?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kinda Fresh, Kinda Wow, Charlie!

Time for another batch of vintage illustrations, Charles Harper style ( and I mean style ) from Ford Times magazines and it's related publications. Stylization at it's 1950s finest over at Flickr

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Learn to Draw by Mail!

This dicey selection is what you'd get had you signed up to the Continental Schools Inc's "Cartooning the Easy Way" course in 1959. Included in this plethora of high quality supplies is a "special pencil for drawing" ( as opposed to normal pencils which, as everyone knows, you can't draw with ), a goofy articulated model with very bulbous hips ( a feature of all the finest cartoon characters ) and a "Magic creator of Funny Faces"! I don't know how I've made it this far without these!

For more 1950s art-school-by-mail goodness send a self-addressed stamped envelope to The FLICKR College of Art School Brochures, #1 Internet Way, Cyberspace, 1010011.

Monday, May 5, 2008


I'm very happy to announce that talented artist ( and my very good friend since the first grade ) Tyler Hodgins has recently launched a classy website. Please feel free to visit to enjoy his award-winning sculpture and public art.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Robots, Robots, Robots!

The new issue of Know magazine hits the stands this week featuring a swanky cover by me and my regular puzzle spread "Know Fun". If you haven't already got your's in the mail then head on over to my latest Flickr post for a few more images from this swell kid's mag.
Domo origato, Mr. Roboto!