Thursday, June 09, 2011

Small World Clock, January 1975

It's a Small World is one of those attractions that you either love or hate, it seems. I happen to love it! The song doesn't get on my nerves the way it does for others. Anyway, even people who don't like the ride seem to appreciate the fanciful Mary Blair-inspired exterior with its ticking clock.

And as you probably already know, every 15 minutes the clock goes crazy! Gears turn, springs sproing, and doors open to reveal a parade of children from around the world.

Even I can tell what time it is! Wouldn't you love to be able to see the inner workings?

Here's one more view! I see a Scotsman, a Spanish flamenco dancer, a French cancan dancer, an Irishman, a vaquero from Argentina, and somebody in the background wearing a tutti-frutti hat (so... Brazil I guess). Not sure about the fellow with the accordion... does anybody know?


TokyoMagic! said...

Is the acordian guy from England, perhaps? It looks like his clothes might be outlined with "buttons" (like the Pearly Band from Mary Poppins).

stu29573 said...

The accordion guy is from Hell.

Just kidding, I actually like accordion music...sort of....a little.....maybe...

Anonymous said...

Defintely a cockney Pearly King.

Connie Moreno said...

stu: LOL!!!

I really like these pics. I always try to get similar shots but I am so darn short that my attempts are always disappointing. I think I need to lose 500 pounds and then someone can put me on their shoulders.

Thufer said...

I have mentioned before how much my dad loved this attraction. (I think more so to sit and rest.) Many times I remember sitting on the bench and watching the clock at the top of the hour. He really loved the clock opening up and watching the action.
Thanks for the memory explosion this morning.

Heidi Ann said...

Oh, I'm definitely a "Small World" lover - from way back! I get so excited when my timing is just right and I get to see the clock "dancers" on parade!

Anonymous said...

Love the boat ride and the song, and the fantastic clock outside on the façade is a bonus. Charm and whimsy!

Courtney Suzanne said...

I loved this ride as a kid, hated it as a young adult, and now I love it again. After learning about Mary Blair, I gained a new appreciation of the ride.

As a kid I had the album of the ride. A tour guide would announce what region you were entering, and then the music from that country would play. I must have driven my mother crazy playing that thing!

JG said...

What Thufer said, except my Mom.


Major Pepperidge said...

OK the consensus seems to be that the accordion guy is a Pearly!

I'm glad there's a lot of love for "Small World" out there.

Thufer, my dad was always in too much of a hurry, he didn't want to stop and watch.

Courtney, I know the album you mentioned; in fact I have an mp3 version of it now if I ever get in the mood to listen!

JG, Anon, Heidi Ann, and Connie, thank you for your comments!

Nancy said...

i remember going to Disneyland for the first time and seeing this, then feeling so jipped that we dont have this at WDW!! the remodel of a few years ago helped but there is nothing like coming around that corner and seeing this sight!! even if you claim to "hate it, cant get that dumb song out of my head now", you cant help but love the beauty of this attraction. i remember waiting for about 20 minutes so that i could see the "show" that first day we were ever there. thanks for these nice pictures!! :D

JG said...

Major, the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco has a nice exhibit on this feature of IASW.

Apparently, there is a church in Austria or Germany with a clock that does similar antics; figures on parade, music, displays, etc. Mr. D. was fascinated with the gadget and eventually decided to make it part of the Small World attraction. Making the figures represent people from all over the world is an innovation, since the original showed only local "prototypes".

I think this is an early effort at a "pre-show event". I have no evidence for this other than guesswork, but you can see the notion developing over the years, that the time spent waiting is perceptually shorter when there is something to watch.

Compare the old dark ride queues with Indiana Jones, for example. I almost want to wait so I can enjoy the elaborate queue settings.


Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I am hoping to go to the Walt Disney Family Museum one of these days!

I've seen the clock in Munich that you are referring to, it's pretty cool! You can see why Walt would be inspired.

And I agree, it does seem to be there mostly for the entertainment of the folks in line!

dennis said...

never get tired of the song!