Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Christopher Fair, Court Jester (part 2)

Today we get to see a dozen color photos from Christopher Fair's days as a Court Jester at Disneyland! As you can see in the images below, he often attracted some sizable crowds. I particularly like the first photo as he performed in front of the Midget Autopia.

I asked Christopher if he ever saw or performed for Walt Disney. He said that he did see somebody who he thought was Walt, and even spoke to him. But it's been many years since then, and he said that he can't be 100 percent certain!

He worked 40 minute shifts, with mandatory 20 minute breaks. That sounds like it could be tough on a scorching hot summer day! At one point he did an impromptu performance with the Tyrolean Band that played polkas around the Matterhorn. It was not part of his "official" act, but it was such a success that it became a regular event. It was only about 3 minutes long, but obviously people must have loved it!

Christopher's stint as a Court Jester lasted about 4 years, from late 1959 through around the end of 1963 (his younger brother assumed his duties as Court Jester after he left!). As a college student he studied ballet, and in 1964 he went to Utah to perform with their ballet company.

One of his most vivid memories of Disneyland actually occurred when he was there as a paying customer, years after his stint as a jester. He was there for the opening of the Haunted Mansion on August 9th, 1969! I can only imagine the crazy crowds on that day.

Today, Christopher still lives in Utah with his wife. He retired from ballet, knowing that, due to the physical demands, "it couldn't last forever", he returned to performing magic, which he still does today. He fondly remembers his years at Disneyland as "the experience of a lifetime".

Once again, I would like to thank Merlinsguy and Christopher Fair! I hope you enjoyed these photos and personal recollections as much as I did.


Tinker Bell said...

Wow, I had no idea there even was a jester at Disneyland. What a nice touch, and a great post! Thanks so much!

Merlinsguy said...

Great part of early Disney history. Christopher Fair was, and still is, a decent, talented man.

Major Pepperidge said...

I should have added that Christopher Fair could not have been nicer or more patient with my calls and questions! He sent me an email this morning, and said that he was pleased with the blog entries, which was great to hear.

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is a profile worthy of E-Ticket magazine! Thanks to you and Christopher for this look back at one of the little things that made the original Park so wonderful.

Unknown said...

I Googled Christopher this afternoon, and your blog from 2007 was just what I was looking for!

I met Chris at what was a combined convention of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Society of American Magicians in Chicago in 1959. That was actually the year he won the "juvenile" award.

I won third place in the "teen age" division at 16, beat out by two girls -- which was quite something for 1959!

I'd seen Chris on The Mickey Mouse Club well before the convention and was aware of his tremendous skill and presence. Had the contestants not been divided by age, he would have easily won first place overall. He was a real pro, even at 15. And what a nice guy! It was a pleasure to meet him and see him perform in person.