Friday, April 01, 2011

"Animatronic Day", January 1974

Back in the 70's, I went to several "Navy Nights" at Disneyland; other people were able to go to the park on days (and nights) set aside for employees of McDonnell Douglas, Frito-Lay, United Air Lines, the Carnation Company, and Hai Karate aftershave (to name but a few)

But for five years in a row, a day was set aside for the famous "audio animatronics" that received so much attention in the media. The park was closed for refurb, and various animatronic performers would bring their families and invite their friends, enjoying a day at Disneyland just like everyone else. Of course that left rides like the "Haunted Mansion" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" rather empty, but robots aren't picky. Even a few celebrity cyborgs would show up at the invitation of the Disney company.

As you can see in this rare photo, the animatronics left their space-age skins off; it was the equivalent of "letting their hair down".


Sadly, "Animatronic Day" was halted after 1976 - no specific reasons were offered by the Disney Company - and the robot performers have remained "in character" ever since.

19 comments:

Austin said...

I waited all year for this! Great work Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

Watch out, Jamie Sommers....I see a Fembot!

Excellent work, Major!

Katella Gate said...

Major, I'm not 100% sure about this one but I recall that "Animatronic Day" was quietly discontinued right after the release of the film "Westworld".

I'm not saying there's a link, but it's just too much of a coincidence.

Chuck said...

Is that Yul Brynner in the background?

Nancy said...

oh man, so sad i missed this!
wonder if Rowdy Roddy was there that day?

this is great! Happy April 1 to all!

stu29573 said...

Wow, I never knew Bender worked for Disney!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Its nice to see them "letting there hair down" and enjoying the park - too bad they don't do this anymore - or do they?

p.s. I spotted that Fembot right away!

Connie Moreno said...

You actually got to attend the Park for this? Dude, you are sooo lucky. I agree with Katella, though.

Major Pepperidge said...

It is great to know that Fembots are not forgotten by my readers. John Houseman would be touched!

Yul Brynner... you know I tried and tried to find a good picture of him from "Westworld", but believe it or not, I couldn't!!

Bender was one of the celebrities visiting that day, stu.... of course he is a Fox property.

Connie, I never saw this - I was just lucky enough to find this vintage slide!

thepicklebarrel said...

luv dat!!

Vaughn said...

The one up front, in the brown jacket looks like Homer Simpson!

Major Pepperidge said...

Vaughn, that is the Lincoln animatronic (scanned from the 1963 Nat'l Geographic)!

Okie said...

Man...so sad to see this one go away. I would love to have a chance to participate in an event like this. Maybe we can eventually see this brought back. One can only dream (of electric sheep, anyway)

Chuck said...

Finally had a few minutes to really look at this. Kudos, Major, for squeezing in Flying Robot/Giant Robo from "Johnny Sakko."

Vaughn said...

Well, they both lived in Springfield at the time they met their wives, coincidence? I think not!

The Viewliner Limited said...

I thought you would come up with something very cool Major! Nice job!

Meleanna said...

I love it!

JG said...

Bite my shiny metal a$$.

Sorry, Major, I know its a family blog, but the thought of Bender in Small World is too perfect.

JG

Fernanda said...

:O scary!