Forgotten Disney Movies To Liven Up A Kids’ Birthday Party!

At custom serenade, we’re all about birthdays and making them a success! Children’s birthday parties present a number of challenges and sometimes finding a good movie to show can be just the ticket. When one thinks about kids’ birthday parties and movies, Disney is probably the first thing that  comes to mind. Lots of kids have their favorite Disney movies but finding one they’ve never seen before can be exciting! So, here are some relatively obscure Disney comedies that will have the young ones (and possibly even you) in stitches. In this post we are focusing solely on live action comedies, and we’ve done the research to make sure they are all available for you to stream.

That Darn Cat (1965)

If the birthday boy or girl is a cat lover, then they’ll love this one! That Darn Cat  features uproarious feline antics aplenty! DC (short for Darn Cat) helps a clever and determined female protagonist (played by Haley Mills) catch two kidnappers/bankrobbers who have managed to elude law enforcement. There’s a priceless scene in which an FBI agent chases the cat at a drive-in movie,  and it’s pure slapstick gold! A silly beatnik neighbor, snappy dialogue, and a theme song by Bobby Darin round out this absolute gem of a movie. In addition to Haley Mills, the film also stars classic Disney actor Dean Smith and the always funny Ed Wynn. That Darn Cat was remade in 1997, but I haven’t seen it.

Blackbeard’s Ghost

I saw this one in the theater on my ninth birthday, and have probably watched it a dozen times since. The humor and the movie as a whole stands the test of time in a big way. The story begins when a mild mannered track coach (Dean Jones) unwittingly frees the ghost of Blackbeard the pirate (Peter Ustinov). After some joy-riding and numerous hi-jinks involving the invisible pirate, the two join forces to help save an historic inn from a local crime boss. Side-splitting sight gags, fantastic characters,  a well developed story, and splendid scenery are just a few of the things that make this one a winner. Be warned though, Blackbeard does appear drunk in the movie, so if this is something you don’t want your kids exposed to, you’ll have to cross this one off your list.

The Absent Minded Professor

Fred MacMurray of My Three Sons fame portrays an eccentric inventor with a one track mind, focused on his latest creation, flubber! Flubber is a rubbery substance with amazing qualities that can, among other things, make cars fly! If you have a young basketball player in the house they will love the scene in which flubber is placed on the souls of a team’s shoes, allowing them to bounce into the rafters and on to victory!  For its time this was a special effects powerhouse, and although things have come a long way, one can still marvel as things take flight in this charming laugh riot from yesteryear.

The Love Bug

This is probably the most famous movie on the list, and was so successful that it spawned five sequels over four decades. It’s the story of a Volkswagen bug named Herbie who has a mind of his own, and a mischievous one at that! He helps re-route the career of a down and out race car driver and has a lot of fun along the way. Racing, chasing and action are the icing on the cake in this gut-busting comedic tour-de-force. In addition to starring Dean Jones (again) the film also features the ever mirthful Buddy Hackett.

The Apple Dumpling Gang

There’s hardly a moment in The Apple Dumpling Gang that doesn’t induce a smile. Set in the old west during the gold rush, a wandering gambler is tricked into becoming the guardian of three scrappy children, which is pretty funny in and of itself, but when the kids discover a giant gold nugget things ramp up even more! Don Knotts and Tim Conway steal the show as a pair of bumbling criminals, and as if that weren’t enough, the legendary Slim Pickens is tremendous as their boisterous boss. There are a lot of re-curring gags that kids will latch on to, and you might even hear them quoting the film for a few days after seeing it. The allstar cast also includes Bill Bixby and Harry Morgan (best known as Col. Potter on M*A*S*H).

Here’s wishing all your birthday endeavors go well! If you ever want to take things up a notch, consider getting a custom song from us!

Failed Band Promo Photos!


A few years back, when  I first came across a blog post called  Ridiculous Indie Rock Band Photos  I lost it! I laughed so hard that my coffee came out my nose, which made me laugh even more (duh). These pictures were far more than just funny, they were FASCINATING! I became obsessed with failed band promo photos!

I started visiting pages like Awkward Band and Musician Photos and  and generally scouring the web for more and more weird band pics.  What I found was a virtual parade of 8×10 glossies gone wrong, featuring bellbottoms, big hair, steam punks, boy bands, and varied shades of metal!

I decided to start sharing some of my finds  on the Custom Serenade Facebook Page, and it turns out that I’m not the only one who finds these pictures amazing and comical. The pictures garnered lots of likes and comments. Before long, a trend started to emerge in which people would start making up fictitious names for the bands.  This added a whole new dimension to my enjoyment of these pictures, and I wanted MORE!  So, I began posting the pictures every Friday with the request “MAKE UP A NAME FOR THIS BAND”.

The following is a collection of some of my favorites. Each photo is accompanied by the band’s made up name, and also the Facebook friend that thought of it.

Thanks to everyone who has participated, and if you feel inclined to join us please do!

The Howling Mandels-Tom Vannaman

The Chewflaccas-Jason Edwards

Adam and the Cant’s-Robby Poore

The Mag-Lytes-Kirsten Snook

The Actuaries-Ned Norland

Iggy Poop-D.J. Dedtony

Chocolate Fondouche-Brian Risk

Spandex Ballet-Stuart Somer

Mirrorball Atlas-Pete Connolly

I Married a Makeup Artist-Brad Carver

Even Cheaper Trick-Kaari Snook

I like to keep up with past clients though the Custom Serenade Facebook Page. I post about music, holidays and even offer specials on custom songs from time to time. Feel free to join us!

Song of the week-“Glass Jar” by Tristen

When I’m not writing and recording custom songs just for you, I’m usually listening to music and I love to share what I’ve been listening to! My Song of the Week may or may not be a recent release. It might be the new discovery of a missed jewel, or a past love that has resurfaced. Regardless, it will always be the song that I listen to the most during any given week.

Tristen-Glass Jar

Anyone who has ever felt manipulated in a relationship will relate to the line “You put me in a glass jar and tap tap tap to see how I move”. It’s a thought provoking line, and when coupled with Tristen’s silky but strong voice it makes a fabulous ear-worm!

Glass Jar has a great feel.  I’d love to be able to describe it without playing the 60s card, but I’m just not that clever and it actually gives me some kind of unexplainable joy to say that it reminds me of the Byrds. It’s a text book toe tapper, head nodder and finger snapper—and if you find yourself alone in your room you might even want to dance to it. There are many things to like about this song, but the thing that gets me every time is the tambourine—which is just a straight beat, but so help me I play air tambourine every time I hear it.

Tristen has been on my radar since I was introduced to the  song “Baby Drugs” earlier this year.  She’s a versatile songwriter who isn’t content to settle for any specific style. Exploring her four full length albums will keep me busy for a while, and I like that kind of busy!

Song of the Week-“He’s Fine” by The Secret Sisters

When I’m not writing and recording custom songs just for you, I’m usually listening to music and I love to share what I’ve been listening to! My Song of the Week may or may not be a recent release. It might be the new discovery of a missed jewel, or a past love that has resurfaced. Regardless, it will always be the song that I listen to the most during any given week.

Upon hearing “He’s Fine” for the first time I wondered why it wasn’t on the news. Why was Lester Holt not telling the world about it? Why was there not a headline in the New York Times saying “Secret Sisters’ melodic new song will stop you in your tracks”?  I don’t know how something this amazing has escaped my social media feed for nearly a month, and the fact that I’ve never heard of the Secret Sisters until now indicates that my musical radar needs a serious recalibrating.

“He’s Fine” has it all. Lyrics that tell a story, a melody that swims then flies, vocal harmonies that find your soul and poke it, and even a memorable drum part. The Secret Sisters are in fact sisters, and there were a blood harmony hall of fame, they’d be in it. Comparisons to the Everly Brothers and First Aid Kit are inevitable, and fairly accurate.  But the Secret Sisters are 100% their own thing. A cursory listen to their new album You Don’t Own Me Any More shows a strong and uniquely southern identity as well as a passion for songwriting that seems crucial to the existence of the songwriters. It’s full of great work, but still it’s hard not to just listen to “He’s Fine” over and over again.


Song of the Week- “Raymond and the Wires” by Robyn Hitchcock

When I’m not writing and recording custom songs just for you, I’m usually listening to music and I love to share what I’ve been listening to! My Song of the Week may or may not be a recent release. It might be the new discovery of a missed jewel, or a past love that has resurfaced. Regardless, it will always be the song that I listen to the most during any given week.

The last few weeks have seen an avalanche of really good new material from some classic artists. Ray Davies has released the best work of his solo career, Blondie have a solid new pop song, and I also discovered that Cindy Wilson of the B-52s is releasing new material (and touring). But the grand slam of all the recent vintage delights is the latest from Robyn Hitchcock .



I occasionally encounter people who do not like the Beatles. One trait that all of them seem to have in common is that they’re itchin’ for a fight in regards to the Beatles being considered the greatest band in rock history. One can usually silence these naysayers by asking if they can name another musical acts that has;

  1. the sheer number of great songs that the Beatles have.
  2. never put out a bad album/recorded 13 great albums in a row.

This usually elicits a series of harrumphs and guffaws, but rarely does it elicit an actual answer. I always win these arguments—but that’s because no one has ever countered my query with Robyn Hitchcock.  Whether it be with The Egyptians, The Venus Three, or by his lonesome, he has never put out a bad album, and he is possibly unmatched as far as quantity of great songs is concerned.

Whereas the Beatles became the model for pretty much every rock band that came after them and spawned a billion imitators in terms of song writing style, Robyn Hitchcock’s music and his songs are unique to the point that they’re nearly impossible to imitate. I speak with authority here because I’ve tried. He is truly one of a kind. Deceptively complex, brilliantly strange.

As rockers age, they can fall into a number of traps. Trying to re-create something they’ve lost or evolving into something that no one wants to hear are two common pitfalls. But Robyn Hitchcock has managed to remain consistent in style and quality  throughout his long career. Proof in the pudding is his new song “Raymond and the Wires”. It sounds like it could have been on 1984’s I often Dream of Trains. It is a floating low key psychedelic affair.  Lyrically he knocks it out of the park again, infusing the mundane with  poetic surrealism— matching observations with words like no one else.

So, if you see me out somewhere, you should immediately start bad-mouthing the Beatles. When I come up to you and begin my smug routine—asking you to name an artist that can match the Beatles, come at  me with Robyn Hitchcock. I will yield and let ye pass.