Friday, March 23, 2012

Diorama Dinosaurs, 1980's

I just acquired a group of slides from the 1980's, which is considerably more recent than most of the photos that I share on this blog. The photographer used GAF film, which almost always looks grainy and awful, and the color leaves much to be desired (faded, shifted to magenta). But... there are still some pictures worth looking at.

The Grand Canyon Diorama (seen from the Disneyland Railroad) is a feature that I enjoy a lot; and the 1966 addition of the "Primeval World" section is still a highlight. In this first photo, we see a family of Triceratops; mom, dad (which is which?), and a trio of adorabobble just-hatched babies. I wanna take one home and feed it and walk it and wuv it.

This pair of Brontosauruses (Brontosaurii?) reenact a scene from "Fantasia" - you know, the "Rite of Spring" segment? Critters were always trying to grab food from one another. Haven't they learned anything from after-school specials? Scientists now use the term "Apatosaurus" rather than Brontosaurus, but then you wouldn't have Bronto burgers, and that ain't right.

These two dummies are so busy fighting that they don't even notice the erupting volcanos and flowing lava nearby. Head for ze hills, you dopes! You're going to be extinct soon anyway, so you might as well enjoy life.


Nancy said...

I have always loved this diorama that we also have at EPCOT Center in the Universe of Energy pavilion (they haven't gotten rid of it, thankfully), and it was great when I finally got to see the original when we first made it to Disneyland in 2001 ;-)

Dinos RULED (but not anymore)

Connie Moreno said...

I think your commentary does wonders and Disneyland should incorporate it into the attraction, LOL!

Mike said...

I've always wondered if Triceratops could really smile.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nancy, I had forgotten that there were similar dinosaur scenes at EPCOT. Hopefully I can see them some day....

Connie, thanks!

Mike, I know, those grinning faces are pretty silly; maybe the Imagineers wanted to make it clear that the adults weren't planning on eating the babies.

Rich T. said...

I second Connie's suggestion; the railroad would instantly become the best ride on property!

Douglas McEwan said...

The smiling dinosaurs were the result of the relentless Disney desire to cute-ify everything.

For some years now, the train has been playing Bernard Herrmann's music from the opening titles of The Mysterious Island as you go past the dinos. It's great music, but it always distracts me, taking me into Harryhausen's movie in my head instead of these lovely dinosaurs, which I first saw in the Ford Pavillion in New York. I've had music albums of Herrmann's scores most of my life, so the musical piece is one I know well.

Ironically enough, Mysterious Island is the rare Harryhausen movie with no dinosaurs in it, though it does have giant bees, and the largest crabs you'll ever see unless you sleep with a Kardashian.

Major Pepperidge said...

Rich T., I agree, the Disney Company should hire me immediately and pay me large sums of money! ;-)

Doug, I think Disney's desire to cute-ify everything goes back to waaay before Disneyland. I'm sure you've seen some of the animated movies!

I know about the use of the music from The Mysterious Island; it is perfectly serviceable; I've seen the film, but not since I was a kid. I think I prefer "First Men in the Moon"! I have a recording of the music that was used pre-Herrmann, and you can almost imagine the composer's instructions: "Make it sound as much like 'The Rite of Spring' as you can!".

Chiana_Chat said...

Question: when they added the Primeval World section, did they just add it to the Grand Canyon Diorama or did they shorten/replace any existing diorama?

I think it's great that the people at Disney are keeping up the dioramas, especially the Grand Canyon Diorama. It serves to remind us of the rewarding value of nature's splendor, reminds us of the potential of railroad travel as a scenic experience - and for an all around win, it is more useful than ever as it provides the more hurried passengers with a worthwhile diversion on the stretch back to the station.

Chiana_Chat said...

yay! No CAPTCHA?! Was that a setting you changed? If you're signed in anyway? Can see CAPTCHA for random anonymous comments to try and kill SPAM, but always thought it odd you'd be hit with a CAPTCHA if you're already signed into an account.

Chiana_Chat said...

PPS - "I wanna take one home and feed it and walk it and wuv it." - LOL! All we need is wuv. :)

Major Pepperidge said...

Chiana, I believe that the Grand Canyon diorama remained untouched when Primeval World was added. And I agree, the diorama looks great today; I can't help thinking about Knott's Berry Farm's log ride, with smaller tableaus looking faded and literally falling to pieces. Sad.

I think I can change the comment setting to only allow people who are signed in, but I do get some fairly regular comments from folks who do not seem to have a Google account. So far I've already been notified about several spam comments (via email) and it's only been 12 hours! Luckily I've had the option to delete them before they are added to the comments.

Douglas McEwan said...

"Major Pepperidge said...
Doug, I think Disney's desire to cute-ify everything goes back to waaay before Disneyland. I'm sure you've seen some of the animated movies!"

I wrote nothing to indicate that the Disney cute-ify desire was confined to Disneyland. Rather, I thought by simply saying "the relentless Disney desire to cute-ify everything," it was implicit that I referred to all things Disney. How did you get the impression I referred only to within Disneyland?

Of course I've seen "some" of the animated films. In fact, I've seen all of the animated films, and have most, not all, of the animated features made during Walt Disney's life on DVD.

I very much prefer Harryhausen's Mysterious Island to his First Men in the Moon. There's very little of Ray's stop-montion animation even in First Men, and it simplifies and childizes HG Wells's wonderful novel far too much for me, though Lionel Jeffries's performance as Professor Cavor is a total delight.

I enjoy the movie (Again, have both on DVD) but I actually prefer the remake of First Men in the Moon that the BBC did two years ago, written by Mark Gatis, who also plays Professor Cavor. (It's not out on American DVD yet, but a friend who lives in London recorded it for me, converted it from PAL to NTSC, and burned me a DVD of it.) They stuck far closer to the book, so much more of Wells's great concepts and his social satire is intact in the remake. It's for grown-ups. And also, sad to say, the remake's CGI Selenites are far superior to Harryhausen's children-in-antmen-suits Selenites.

Plus, I had just finished reading Verne's Mysterious Island as a kid when the movie originally came out, so I just latched on to it with my heart. I remember seeing First Men the first time on Christmas Day, 1964, and enjoying it, but not as much. I had not then yet read Wells's novel. I did read Wells's novel only 4 years ago, and Harryhausen's film truly pales next to it.

Frankly, why not just use Stravinski's Rite of Spring? It must be out-of-copyright by now, and it is heavily associated with Disney dinosaurs anyway. They must be paying to license the Herrmann music.

JG said...

@Chiana, I am old enough to remember the Dino additions, and AFAIK after 50+ years, the Dino's were just appended.

Also "Rite of Spring" was original soundtrack to the Fantasia Dino scene, or more appropriately, vice versa.

I always thought the Stegosaur in the last scene was the "victim" from the orchestral setting.

Disney could use their own soundtrack if they chose, since Fantasia either used public domain music or licensed Stravinsky's piece.

If it was released before 1925, it's PD anyway.

Beautiful pics, thanks for the post, Major.


JG said...

Also, Doug... Dude, chill out.


Douglas McEwan said...

"Chill out"? All I did was state my opinions like everyoine else here. I haven't heated up; I hardly need to, to use your cliched expression, "chill out."

Major Pepperidge said...

Doug, don't worry about it, I know sometimes things can read differently to different people.

Since I know you (in the email sense!), as far as I am concerned, all is cool.