Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More Grand Prix Raceway, November 1971

I'm sad to report that these two photos are the last from Mr. X's first trip to Walt Disney World. They were fun while they lasted! I have a few hundred other photos from the Magic Kingdom, but admittedly they are generally nowhere near as nice as these.

Anyway, we're getting two additional views of the "Grand Prix Raceway"; the color is fantastic! I love the way the vehicles have been painted to resemble little race cars. Look at how little the kid in car #2 is! I'm surprised he can reach the gas pedal. His father (Drew Carey!) seems to be having fun. Way in the distance you can see how the Skyway makes a surprising left turn into Fantasyland; you can also see the rocks that were part of the "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction.

And here's one final photo; the Florida skies almost always look so beautiful. I would imagine that with Florida's frequent rains and high humidity, the foliage grew at an accelerated speed.

While the Magic Kingdom photos from Mr. X are done, I have some sweet Disneyland photos circa 1973 that I think you will really enjoy!


Nanook said...


Color, indeed. I believe the same magic allowing our (very) young friend's feet to reach the pedals in the Autopia vehicle, is the same one that allows the Skyway vehicles to make that radial change in direction.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Wow!! These are beautiful! I love the openness of the early views with grass and blue sky. Even the geodesic dome of the Tomorrowland Terrace is visible.

You have a few hundred other photos from the Magic Kingdom? I want to see them! Thanks, Major.

Scott Lane said...

Beautiful colors, indeed. I remember the early, disappointing, stripped-down version of Tomorrowland. ("That's why it's called Tomorrowland. It'll be finished some time in the future.")

However, I have a technical question: When I click on the first shot, as with some others, it opens up a full size version of the picture. Fine. That's what I want. But WHY does it some times, as when I click on the second picture, take me to that godawful, p.i.t.a., takes-forever-to-load PhotoBucket??

Chuck said...

You can see the original Grand Prix Raceway in action (albeit with a uncharacteristically uncongested track) in this 1977 episode of The Wonderful World of Disney (with the pre-WDW title sequence inexplicably tacked on to the beginning). The sequence runs from 16:03 - 16:51 and may feature the sound effects (or something similar) that were broadcast from hidden speakers around the track to enhance the illusion that this was an actual race track.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, hmmm, I never considered that they used ACTUAL magic. In the days of the Junior Autopia they just used blocks of wood on the gas pedal. Not sure which I approve of more!

K. Martinez, yes, several hundred, but many are not as nice as these. Still, there are a few nice ones in the mix. You’ll see them all, eventually!

Scott Lane, that Photobucket issue is one that I have been dealing with for a long time. They changed the way their service (which I pay for, by the way) works - rather than providing the best service for their paying customers, their #1 concern is advertising Photobucket and shilling unwanted products. They’ve even eliminated an way for customers to contact them and complain. It pisses me off, and as far as I can determine, the only solution will be to find another photo host. If anybody has any suggestions for a good host, please let me know!! It won’t fix the old pictures, but maybe I can eliminate the problem in the future.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I love the way the Mouseketeers jerk the steering wheels around, as if it makes any real difference. "I'd cut you off if I could, you scoundrel!". Meanwhile, so many of those Disney TV shows are just godawful - I suppose I would have enjoyed an episode in which they went to a park, but they always ruined it with a horrible "plot". Bonus points for Paul Lynde (Mr. Center Square!), however.

Melissa said...

Thankx, Mr. X! It's been a magical trip vicariously enjoying your vacation.

I love how the groovy long-haired teens in the other cars look practically glum, but the square Dad in the #2 car is grinning fit to split his face in two. He really knows how to enjoy himself!

Yes, in Florida, one always feels that the vegetation will take over given half a chance.

Chuck said...

Melissa, my wife and I tented at the Fort Wilderness campground for the 25th Anniversary weekend in 1996. I swear you could hear the kudzu growing at night.

Major, that particular episode was a wonderful memory until YouTube came along and ruined it. Poor Ronnie Schell and Jo Anne Worley are trying, but the cheesy script and production values just bog the whole thing down. A '70s chase sequence, complete with Dirty Harry-esque electric guitar accompaniment? "The Pooh Polka" - seriously? (Extra points for naming Pennsylvania and Lichtenstein in the lyrics, however.)

Still, the views of a six-year-old WDW are pretty neat, and it was fun for me on our first family visit in 1979 to pick out the things I'd seen in the show. And I'll confess, the mean way the Mouseketeers treated Nita (my secret 2nd & 3rd grade TV crush) really tugged at my barely-nine-year-old heartstrings; the emotional impact stayed with me long after I'd forgotten the plot.

Pegleg Pete said...

Ah, my beloved rockwork from the 20,000 Leagues attraction! Thanks for all the great photographs Mr X and Major! I'm looking forward to these 1973 photos as that was the year I first went to the park. And thanks for the link to the WWoD episode, Chuck; I must have somehow suppressed all memory of that episode as there's no way I would've missed it at the time.

Anonymous said...

I've never been to WDW, but it's fun to hear others favorite memories. Thanks everyone.


Melissa said...

I just noticed the green racer in the first picture; we finally know where Car 54 is!

TokyoMagic! said...

I have actually been wanting to ask that same question about photobucket for a long time. Sometimes in the early morning right after the pics get posted, they will only open in photobucket and you have to then click on "enlarge," but if I wait until later in the day to view them, usually the pics just open up without having to wait for the separate photobucket window. And yes, lately there is that pop up window ad that interrupts what you are doing when viewing them on photobucket. Having said that, I don't have any suggestions because I don't know enough about photo hosting!

Beautiful Grand Prix pics today. I'm looking forward to more vintage WDW photos. Thank you, Major and thank you Mr. "X"!!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Were the "Pooh Polka" and/or the "Big River Country" songs written by the Sherman Brothers, by any chance? I didn't see anyone credited at the end of the episode for them.

Nanook said...

Dear All-

The 'work-around' for the Photobucket annoyance is to allow the image to open within Photobucket, then back-up, then re-open the image - which most-likely will still take you to the Photobucket site, then back-up again, etc. Eventually the image will open in its own page.

Chuck said...

TM!, I see you watched the episode...

The lyrics for "The Pooh Polka" were written by Tom Adair, with some assistance from wife Frances, as Tom was suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's by this time. Adair had also been a writer on the original Mickey Mouse Club and had collaborated with other Studio writers on songs for the Zorro TV series and some lyrics for the music in Sleeping Beauty.

No clue (yet) as to who composed the tune for "Pooh Polka."

I've found an online reference that claims that sheet music was published for "Big River Country" which should tell us who wrote it, but I haven't been able to track it down.

I have to follow the same procedure as Nanook with Photobucket.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, I’m telling you, it’s Drew Carey in car #2! I sat next to him at a restaurant in Las Vegas, so we are practically best friends.

Chuck, I guess I never thought about the fact that campers could actually camp with tents at WDW. I figured they had cabins that people could rent. Even as a kid who loved Disney, I was always terribly disappointed with their “Let’s visit Disneyland/WDW” episodes. Step 1: Hire B-list celebs (Adam Rich! Tony Danza!). Step 2: Write a contrived, sticom-style plot that nobody cares about. Step 3: If possible, insert awful songs and dancing. Step 4: Film the episode in the park, but for heaven’s sake, don’t forget that this show is about unlikeable characters, and not Disneyland/WDW. It was a formula that they repeated over and over. Those shows made me embarrassed to be a Disney park fan.

Peglet Pete, my guess is that you saw that program, but the trauma of watching it caused your brain to wisely erase it.

JG, for some reason I thought you had been to WDW! You and I are in the same boat.

Melissa, I only know that show from the song.

TokyoMagic!, I once tried to find another photo host, but it turned out to be more difficult than I expected. There is Google’s Picasa, and Flickr, but both of those are problematic. I absolutely hate Photobucket and am so disappointed that they are so unconcerned with customers like me who have paid for their service for a decade. But I’m kind of stuck with them for now.

TokyoMagic! again, were the Shermans still writing songs for Disney in 1977?

Nanook, oh my gosh, if I had to go through that rigamarole every time, I would just stop looking at the blog. It shouldn’t be so complicated. Sorry everybody!

Nanook said...

Oh, Major - you know what they say...

Good things come to those who wait. And that certainly applies here-! This way I can work-in some additional finger exercises.

Nanook said...

@ Major-

"Bonus points for Paul Lynde (Mr. Center Square!), however". Oh no, no, no-! Make that Ronnie Schell. Whew.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I confess that I just clicked past the actor while trying to get to the 16:03 mark that Chuck mentioned, saw him (talking on the phone) and I thought, "Oh look, Paul Lynde!". And moved on to 16:03. My apologies to Ronnie Schell. I revise my "B-list" celebrity comment to "C-list"!

Anonymous said...

Major, The Sherman Bros. composed songs for Epcot and for Tokyo Disneyland and Richard Sherman just recently composed a song for the finale of the 60th Anniversary fireworks show at DL!

- TokyoMagic!

Nanook said...


It's an easy mistake. A quick glance at Schell's performance at the very beginning of the show in some way did 'ape' that of Paul Lynde - although there was only one Paul Lynde. RIP.