Monday, November 09, 2015

Jungle Cruise Elephants - August 1968

Some people prefer the Beatles, some people prefer the Rolling Stones. Or, there's east coast vs. west coast. Rihanna vs Nicki Minaj. McDonald's vs. Burger King. What about... hippos vs. elephants? 

Sure, hippos make great pets, but I like elephants. First of all, they look like they are from an alien world. Also, they never forget. And they are afraid of mice, and like peanuts. In other words, they are just like me. The Jungle Cruise added a whole bunch of pachyderms in 1963 for the sacred elephant bathing pool. As always, my favorite elephant scene is the one with Mama, her baby ("Little Squirt"), and a dopey crocodile.

I think that there was a part of my kid brain that wished I was an elephant with a fun pool to play in  (because my mean mom and dad never got a pool even though they totally had room for one and I promised I would clean it and would swim in it every day). Then I wanted to be Evel Knievel. Or was it The Fonz? I forget.

The sculpts for these critters is quite good; taken out of context, you probably could convince a person that this was really taken in India or Thailand.  Then you could reveal the truth and laugh at that person. It would be sweet!


Patrick Devlin said...

Yeah, I know what you mean about the pool, Major: I never got the parental units to put one in at our house either. And I didn't get the dog. And my Dad wouldn't move us to a farm. Boy it was brutal, I tell ya.

And speaking of hippos, I was just reminded of that seriously old song "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas". All ready to make a clever remark and link to an obscure YouTube video I saw that the song has 11 million views! Sheesh, are there that many old people on the internet?!

MRaymond said...

I loved the little squirt. As a kid I liked that water then came out of the crocs ears.

Melissa said...

Awww, that last picture with the eyes just above the water is so pretty.

We got the pool, but found out afterwards that the chemicals they sprayed the apple orchards that surrounded our house had some kind of weird interaction with the pool chemicals, and it was too much work every day to keep it from turning into The Black Lagoon.

K. Martinez said...

I love elephants! And I do have a bathing elephant statue fountain in it's own bathing pool in my garden along with a concrete statue of Ganesha. It's my little homage to the Jungle Cruise.

Major & Patrick, I must've been a lucky kid. I got the pool and the dog. Of course I had to share it with my dad and three sisters. It was amazing the amount of new "friends" I made because of that pool. Our house seemed to become the summer hangout for the neighborhood kids. And I do remember my dad spending lots of time cleaning that pool along with the hum of the machines that filtered the water. And the chlorine! Sometimes it would burn the eyes. All in all the best present my parents ever gave us kids.

Patrick Devlin, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" is also one of the songs on the audio loop for the queue area of the "Jingle Cruise".

Jungle Cruise is still my favorite after all these years. Thanks, Major!

K. Martinez said...

@Melissa, I do remember our pool turning into the Black Lagoon once and I also remember in winter/spring hitting the top layers of ice with my hand to break it.

Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick Devlin, I guess I’m lucky that we got a dog (and a cat)! I have heard the song, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”… years ago I was trying to put together the ultimate Christmas music CD set for my family, and at the time I had never heard that one before.

MRaymond, was it you who mentioned the water coming out of the croc’s ears before? That still amazes me, because I would think that I’d remember that. Maybe the effect was never working when I saw it? Or (more likely) I just forgot it.

Melissa, that’s what you get for living near apple orchards. What in the world were they spraying on those apples?!! Did it really turn your pool swampy and gross?

K. Martinez, I have always loved Ganesha statues! As for the pool, my mom and dad were wise to avoid one… as a teen, one of my first jobs was to take care of a neighbor’s pool. This was a rich guy who lived up on a hill, a millionaire (back when that was impressive!!) - my dad knew him from church. It became a real drag to deal with the chlorine and acid, and netting the leaves and junk out. One day there was a brush fire nearby, and they weren’t home, so I went up to their home and turned on their lawn sprinklers just in case. He was so impressed with my actions that he gave me FIVE dollars!

K. Martinez, was there a telephone pole near your Black Lagoon?!

K. Martinez said...

Major, You know there was a telephone pole near my Black Lagoon! And right now I live right next to four telephone/power poles; one next to my kitchen window, one directly across the street and two more, just one door down. It's life under the cats cradle for me.

So did Thurston Howell III let you swim in his pool from time to time?

Anonymous said...

Fine pachyderm pics, Major. I agree, the Disney models are excellent and they are often mistaken for real animals by people unfamiliar with the images.

This happens all the time on Twitter, what I call the "beautiful image" accounts that post scenic images of distant places. Usually these are recycled anonymous images of tourist destinations, but occasionally will be shots of wildlife.

The "Happy Elephant" in the waterfall of the DL Elephant Bathing Pool posted and reposted hundreds of times tagged as a picture of a real animal. Does no good to point it out, no one listens. I've been shouted down by people who claimed they took the picture in India, an obvious fabrication. The hippos appear occasionally, but less often since they are not as anthropomorphized in the popular press.


Chuck said...

Major, I had a similar experience with "I Want a Hippopopo-, er, Hippopata-, um, Hippopottum-, uh, River Horse for Christmas." I have no recollection of ever hearing it before about 2005.

I still hold a nagging suspicion that it was recorded on a secret Air Force sound-stage in late 2004, then quietly released the following year as a "found classic" while positronic x-waves were simultaneously broadcast from coastal antenna facilities, inserting false memories of its previous existence into the cranial computers of an unsuspecting American populace. Only a select few of us who had subcutaneous aluminum reflectors embedded beneath our scalps (wearing tin foil on your head all the time can be really cumbersome) appear to have been immune to the broadcasts.

Melissa said...

Some kind of pesticides. The farmer was supposed to notify us 24 hours before he sprayed but he never did. It was kind of cool to watch the cropduster planes fly so low, like in North by Northwest.

Matthew said...

Great photos today Major! Marc Davis once said that he modeled his drawings of these elephants based on dogs/puppies at play. Elephants don't normally sit, stand or squat like this; however, people can recognize dogs at play thus he modeled them as such to instantly communicate (one of Marc's many strengths!). Of course, their smiles help too. So Patrick please consider these pachyderms are your very own personal puppies (and thanks for sharing them with us).

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Nanook said...

@ Patrick Devlin & Chuck-

The kinescope of Gayla Peevey singing I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is from the Ed Sullivan Show (actually, it was still called The Toast of the Town, back then) from the November 15, 1953 broadcast. And as hard as it is for me to believe most folks could stomach more than about 60 seconds of Gayla attempting to [poorly] channel Brenda Lee, it was a #24 (Xmas) hit for Columbia Records that Christmas. Naturally, I own the original 45, and may now have to play the B-side: Are My Ears On Straight? - something I haven't heard easily for 20 years.

My personal favorite Novelty Christmas song is: Santa's Too Fat for the Hula Hoop - October, 1958 - Balboa Records of Van Nuys, no less. It was performed by The Pixies. "Santa's" voice was provided by none-other-than Thurl Ravenscroft - famously voicing Tony the Tiger, and the song You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch, and who can still be heard delivering the spiel to those guests riding aboard the DLRR, while taking the Grand Circle Tour of the Park.

Anonymous said...

Wait a minute...all those spiels...all those trips full of guests....and the animals weren't real? And I used blanks when shooting the charging hippos! Now I get it! :-)

KS (former JC skipper)

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I knew it! It’s funny, when I was a kid living in Virginia, we had a big field out beyond our back yard, and it had giant power line towers. I thought they were super neat! Now I would probably think they were an eyesore.

JG, I have seen that photo of the elephant beneath the waterfall listed as a real “animal at play”, which really surprised me… that one definitely has a LOT of Marc Davis’s style.

Chuck, hmmm, I just assume that song had been around forever. I wonder if it IS a “fake oldie”? There are a ZILLION Christmas songs that I’ve never heard. I suppose that if you write a Christmas song and it happens to take off, you could be set for life. I think I read that the guy who wrote “Silver Bells” (a song I do not like) continued to get a big fat check in the mail every year.

Melissa, I used to see helicopter crop dusters on the way one of my old jobs, they were very cool to watch as well.

Matthew, I wonder if folks see elephants (or photos of them) doing kooky things at circuses or other animal shows, and assume that they will stand on one foot, or two feet, or whatever, out in the wild? Marc Davis got Walt Disney’s attention with his appealing drawings of animals with strong draftsmanship.

Nanook, I think 1953 qualifies as a genuine oldie for sure. If songs from my own childhood are oldies, than 1953 DEFINITELY are! Ed Sullivan, boy that was a time when variety shows ruled the airwaves. I mostly recall cheesy 1970’s variety shows with folks like Sonny and Cher, Captain and Tennille, The Starland Vocal Band, John Denver, and so on.

KS, I choose to believe that the animals are real!

Mark H. Besotted said...

Re: the real vs. Fake debate: Some corners of the internet still, somehow, believe that Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life is a naturally-occurring phenomenon.