Sunday, February 09, 2014

Special Guest Photos - Main Street Electrical Parade, 1995

Today's "Special Guest" photos come from Ken Martinez, who took these great images of the Main Street Electrical Parade in 1995 (the parade would leave Main Street in November 1996). I'd have to say that the MSEP was is my favorite Disneyland parade - and I think a lot of other people felt the same way. When I find photos of it, they tend to be blurry and awful, but Ken's turned out great!

First up is the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio. She's purdy! They could have just put her on a big float, but instead they made her dress enormous.

Elliott the dragon (from "Pete's Dragon") is possibly THE iconic float from the MSEP (to me, anyway). Fire extinguisher exhaust occasionally shot from his nostrils for added fun. Notice Pete himself up near Elliott's head.

The Seven Dwarfs have filled several mine carts full of gold and gems, because that's what they do. Like the swallows returning to Capistrano. 

Wowee, this patriotic float is pretty spectacular. Imagine how it looked in person! A giant bald eagle stands guard over an American flag, while 4th of July "fireworks" go off overhead. Cool.

I always particularly loved the little bugs that would zip around and spin, and go back and forth interacting with the people sitting on the curbs. They brought one out on stage at a Hollywood Bowl program celebrating Disneyland's 50th, and I was delighted.

Many thanks to Ken Martinez for sharing these great photos. He has more to share with GDB coming up!


Nanook said...


I couldn't agree more about the MSEP. It remains a one-of-a-kind experience without peer. Not to mention all the original behind-the-scenes technical ideas first developed for that parade.

Thanks, Ken, for sharing these great memories.

TokyoMagic! said...

Great shots, Ken! This parade needs to be back at Disneyland and if they aren't going to design all new floats for it then they need to bring back ALL of the old floats and not give us an abbreviated version of the parade like they did when it was over at DCA. Also, the Blue Fairy needs to lead the parade. It just seemed wrong to have Tinkerbell lead the parade that last year that it was here in California.

MRaymond said...

Creepy :0 . I found an old mini album of the MSEP yesterday, while going through some boxes. I wish I had a turntable to play it. Coincidence?

K. Martinez said...

It's kind of ironic that as a native Californian raised on Disneyland since the early 1960s, my first viewing of the MSEP would be at Walt Disney World in the 1970s.

I remember that evening being mesmerized by the all the twinkling lights for the first time. After the parade and fireworks were over, I departed the Magic Kingdom and took the ferry boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon and saw another classic; the Electrical Water Pageant. What a memory that evening was. After that experience I would see the MSEP at Disneyland so many times, I lost count.

Nanook, Thanks. I'm glad I was able to share them.

TokyoMagic!, I agree with you about the Blue Fairy being the lead. Why they messed with the MSEP and its traditions still baffles me.

Major, The "Pete's Dragon" unit is THE iconic float from MSEP to me as well. Your description of fire extinguisher exhaust captured it perfectly. Of course there are so many spectacular units of that parade. Again, thanks for allowing me to share these images with your readers.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

The MSEP is a classic and always a treat to cap off the day at the park (in the 70's when I saw it).

The music was diabolical though. You would have that crazy synth music stuck in your head for days afterward. Here it is (if you dare). You can curse me later.

Nanook said...

@ Alonzo P Hawk-

Let's not forget the source of the musical theme, which was written by Jean-Jacques Perrey & Gershon Kingsley. The song (Baroque Hoedown) was originally released on their 1967 album Kaleidoscopic Vibrations: Electronic Pop Music From Way Out, and very cleverly adapted to work with all the Disney tracks.

Several of their pieces have been sampled for hip hop, and also used as backing in commercials, etc. Their biggest pop hit (no pun intended) Popcorn, originally composed in 1969 became a hit in 1972 (#9 in the U.S.) by a group calling themselves Hot Butter. I remember Sid & Marty Krofft using that song in puppet shows they produced for 6 Flags Parks back in the 70's.

Melissa said...

These are awesome shots, Ken! It IS really hard to get good still images of the MSEP, but these are brilliant.

"I always particularly loved the little bugs that would zip around and spin, and go back and forth interacting with the people sitting on the curbs."

We call those the "blorpers," "blorping bugs," or sometimes "blorping snails." Nezt to Pete's Dragon, which is, of course, the highlight of the parade, they're my favorite, too.

Well, the ballroom dancers with the light-up costumes are pretty sweet, as well.

Melissa said...

Even the little kids whose parents are too young to remember Pete's Dragon (and I have no idea if it ever became a home video staple)love the Elliott float.

Chuck said...

When they discontinued the MSEP at Disneyland, they sold off individual bulbs in a decorative container for charity. I have one in my collection that I'll need to photograph and send to the Good Major for the "Souvenir Dungeon" (unless, of course, he already has one).

K. Martinez said...

I'm glad you like these Melissa. Those bugs were pretty cool.

Anyone remember the Hippo and King Leonidas Calliope unit from MSEP? That was another personal favorite. Such crazy circus music and blasts from the calliope on that float.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I don't know much about the behind the scenes technical details, but it's like a delicious meal… whatever's in it, I still like it!

TokyhoMagic!, I can't get too upset about Tinker Bell leading the parade, since she is all about sparkles. But I know what you mean, the Blue Fairy is so classic. I wonder if the MSEP will ever come back in one form or another?

MRaymond, not creepy at all. Oh wait, yes it is, I'll take that creepy record off of your hands for $5! How can you refuse?

K. Martinez, didn't the water pageant precede the MSEP? I seem to recall hearing that it was much simpler, with flat floats. Never saw it though, of course. THANKS again!

Alonzo, yeah, that song is infectious. But perfect! Thanks for the link.

Nanook, I had a 45 of that Popcorn song, I had NO idea it was done by the same people who did Baroque Hoedown!!

Melissa, oh yeah, I remember the light up ballroom dancers, those were cool! Maybe clothes that light up will become fashionable someday. And who doesn't love a big green dragon, even if you don't know his name??

Chuck, I never acquired any of the bulbs, though I remember them being sold. Are they pretty much just like regular small Christmas lights?

K. Martinez, I think there were many floats, as well as song variations that came and went over the years. Didn't the hippo sort of look like the one in "Small World"?

Chuck said...

Major - The actual bulb looks the same, although it has a decorative clear plastic "flower" around the base. What makes it unique is the clear pyramidal packaging with MSEK graphics that doubles as a display stand.

Chuck said...

Make that "MSEP"...

Anonymous said...

Thank you, K Martinez for sharing your memories. These are really special.

I remember this parade with great fondness. We always watched it all the way through, just a splendid show, and I love the music. Phooey to all you naysayers.... (JK). Happily, I have the soundtrack from some park CD's.

Like so many things at Disneyland, I thought it would last forever. It was strange not to have it, and now my kids never knew it.

Thank you for the YouTube post. I guess I should think to look there.

Now, the parades are an excuse to go do something else and take advantage of the smaller crowd for a shorter line.