Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It's a Small Instamatic World

I'm finishing up the last of the Small World Instamatics. It's the right thing to do.

The heat of Africa has me seeing things. Like pink elephants. Tiny native children ride on his tusks and trunk, which doesn't seem to please him. There's something about the "construction paper, feathers, and glitter" look of IASW that I still find extremely charming.

Now we are South of the Border, and everything is awash with vibrant color. Baskets of local produce, woven textiles, and clay (or papier-maché ?) figures are on display, as if we were at a busy marketplace.

The grand finale revisited all of our international friends, only this time they were all dressed in gleaming white - I interpret this as a way of showing that, even though the costumes and customs of the countries vary, people are basically the same all over the world. Here, a hyena makes an African quartet into a quintet.

Dang, that's a lotta kids!


Nanook said...


That story about pink elephants and 'tusk riding' certainly rings true with this imbiber. I think it had something to do with the power of suggestion, just before I passed out. Those final words spoken to me by the fine skinker who prepared those lush libations. Oh... those pink elephants, and my aching head...

Chuck said...

Nanook - that always happens to me just before I wake up in a tree. Stupid magic feather...

Major - There's something about iasw that always takes me back - waaaay back - to how the world looked to a kindergartener. I think that's how the world should be - a place where we recognize that we might look different on the outside, but we're all essentially the same on the inside with the same basic needs - food, water, shelter, and love - and then act accordingly.

Thanks for today's earworm - it's a message I need to hear time and again.

Nancy said...

I always enjoy this ride. especially Since rainbow is my favorite color! :-)

The song doesnt bug me like some people say it does for them, but personally, I think ppl like to jump on the "oh, not that dumb song again" bandwagon (you know, the ones who jump on every bandwagon)

Melissa said...

I’ve so enjoyed these Small World Instamatics™. That pink elephant shot in particular is a perfect example of the format’s foolproof framing (FFF™). (Foolproof Fuschia Felephant Framing Format (FFFFF™)?) Other than the official publicity stills from the World’s Fair, clear reference shots of the early attraction are as rare as hen’s teeth.

Speaking of hens, I am totally in love with the jolly, wavy-combed rooster in the middle of the second picture. I want to take him home and pet him and name him “Pico the Gallo.” He looks like something straight out of an early Mickey Mouse barnyard short, only in bold, Latin color. His pointy friend up in the top left is pretty impressive, too – I love how his comb, wings and tail evoke flames – but I’m not so sure I’d want him running around the yard in pecking distance.

I’m one of those sappy souls who love iasw unironically and consider it a great work of art, but one of my more cynical friends likes to joke that all the kids in the last room are in white and up in the ait because we didn’t send enough money to UNICEF and they all died waiting for aid.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, what in the world is a "skinker"?? That's a new one for me!

Chuck, the funny thing is that I can understand why people don't like (or mock) IASW, although I personally think that Walt Disney's goal was to portray a genuine understanding between children of the world. As corny as it sounds.

Nancy, I prefer gray, but when I am feeling especially daring, I will sometimes favor beige. Or even taupe!

Melissa, until I started posting Instamatics on this blog, I never thought about how the square format lent itself to easy (and good) compositions. It's so funny, I don't think I even noticed the rooster, or if I did it was for a fraction of a second. It just goes to show that everyone notices something different. Or that I am not observant? I like the idea that the "white room" is for the dead kids. It's not so white anymore, now they have so many colored lights that it doesn't really stand out from the rest of the ride the way it used to.

Melissa said...

It's so funny, I don't think I even noticed the rooster, or if I did it was for a fraction of a second. It just goes to show that everyone notices something different. Or that I am not observant?

That's one of the things I love about this ride - there are so many little things going on that I can usually spot something I don't remember noticing before.

Nanook said...


'Skinker' according to Merriam-Webster is: one that serves liquor: tapster. And I suppose if Webster really knew their grammar (make that 'its grammar'), they would have properly said - "...one who serves..." For shame.

It could come in handy when playing Scrabble and you've got a "K" tile and a "blank" tile. Other than that, just a piece of trivia that rolls around in my head occupying space better served by more important things, such as 'why is the sky blue'; or, where do babies come from'. I actually know the answer to the first one-!

And as for the IaSW theme, once again - it's a round - it's purpose is to repeat and repeat. Dick and Bob did a damn-swell job with it. It's unfortunate many folks don't find it a more enjoyable musical experience.

Anonymous said...

@Melissa, I agree. I am also a completely unironic fan of this attraction. I wish we could appreciate things just for what they are and for what they say they are, without looking for hidden meanings and subtexts.

I subscribe to the white room as the unification theme, since it is essentially the same as the original exterior architectural theme, but there are grounds for placing heaven or some fantasy location as the site of this projected unification. I think the topiary landscaping is meant to enforce this also. The white and gold and sculptured plantings are completely fantastic and not derived from any earthly culture, serving as a blank slate that allows all the human cultures to be presented at equal value.

This could not be done with the classic German/English fairytale format of the rest of Fantasyland.

At any rate, it certainly is meant to visually underwrite the central theme of the whole shebang. "We are more alike than different."

Alas that this is still so hard to believe IRL.


Rosie said...

I LOVE these pics SOOO much! IASW has been my fave attraction since I was 6. Not everyone appreciates the beauty of it...just ask my kids. :(
I vividly remember the end of the ride w/ all the dolls being bathed in WHITE (it was my FAVORITE part of the ride!) and couldn't believe it when they first changed it. Why. WHY! No one believed me when I told them it used to be white and now you have the photos to prove me right! ;) THANKS so much!