Monday, October 31, 2016
Happy Halloween, everybody! I'm sorry I don't have anything ghoulish to share with you. But I do have more fun stuff from Chuck!
It's time for PART 2 of Chuck Hansen's photos from the classic "Pooh for President" parade, circa 1976! Be sure to see last weeks "part 1" post. Today we get to see pictures of Chuck himself as a kid! As before, he has provided a very nice commentary to go with the photos. Here's Chuck:
Just because this is Pooh's parade doesn't mean that Mickey won't try to upstage him. Sort of like Bill with Hillary, I guess. Note that the sun came out as the Mouse arrived. Typical. He is flanked by a bodyguard from Kids of the Kingdom; the two girls facing away from us can be seen on either end of the stage in the first photo. Each of those smiling young people is trained in four different forms of unarmed combat and is willing to take a bullet for Mickey. The Duck is on his own, though.
The next picture shows the Main Event, no longer living quietly under the name of "Sanders" but out in the limelight on a recycled float from "America on Parade," surrounded by barrage balloons and escorted by adoring (and adorable) Pooh cheerleaders. Just as interesting as the Bear are the two blue-and-yellow-costumed parade wranglers crouching on either side of the parade route, carrying concealed cattle prods "just in case." Just give them a reason - I dare you!
Rounding out the parade were the Pooh's grass-root supporters, the backbone of the Children's Party, marching along in solidarity with the tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff. In the first photo, just to the right of the guy in the red sport coat, wearing my favorite Frontierland belt, carrying a yellow balloon and barely-readable "Pooh for President" sign, is yours truly, age 7 years, 11 months. I swear that sign increased in mass the farther down the parade route we went. My four-year-old sister is to my left (camera right), wearing a mustard yellow t-shirt and glasses and carrying a pink balloon. She made it about 50 yards with her sign before gravity intervened and a kindly cast member picked it up before a parade wrangler with a gleam in her eye could get her prod unholstered.
The next photo shows us continuing on around the Hub, with the original 1967 Tomorrowland entrance in the background.
The parade ended in Town Square in front of Main Street Station, where a "Pooh-litical Fun-raising rally" was held. I remember Pooh promising "hunny in every pot," and I'm certain they sang "Pooh for President," a new song by Larry Groce that was later nominated for a Grammy [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6dCIABevywQ]. While we don't have any pictures of the rally since it took a while for my parents to work their way through the crowd to Town Square, I did manage to find an short animated GIF on the Interwebs showing a snippet of the rally [no idea where it originated; it shows up all over the place].
Later that day, we ran into the candidate pressing flesh over by the Circle-Vision Theater. While you can see Pooh left a favorable impression on my dad, it had no effect on the electoral outcome as my dad had mailed his absentee ballot before we moved.
On the way out of the Park, every kid aged 12 and under received a large poster like the one below. This poster used the same design as the one for the '72 election and may have actually been stock left over from the 1972 event. Mine hung on the back of my bedroom door in the new house until we moved in 1981, at which point I think it went to Poster Heaven.
While Pooh lost this election, he did make one more unsuccessful bid for the White House in 1980 before leaving politics entirely, eventually starring in his own Saturday morning reality series and establishing a merchandising powerhouse.
Although he's been out of the political game for 36 years, after watching this year's slow-motion train wreck, I'm wondering if anyone can coax him out of retirement. I wouldn't mind a little Pooh in the Rose Garden.
I hope you've enjoyed today's photos. Thanks again to Major Pepperidge for allowing me to share my brush with history, and don't forget to vote on November 8th!
THANK YOU CHUCK for the time and work that went into creating both of the Pooh for President articles! I'm sure there are a few of you out there who remember when Pooh Bear ran for office. These photos are a great blast to the past.