Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Christopher Fair, Court Jester (part 1)

If you visited Fantasyland in the 1950's and 1960's, you might have been lucky enough to see a Court Jester, juggling and performing magic on his unicycle. Christopher Fair was that jester! These photos were sent to me by Merlinsguy, who used to work at the park and knew Christopher personally. The scrapbook pictured above was put together by Christopher's mother, who also created the wonderful hand-painted cover. The photo beside it is one of Christopher's personal favorites! Merlinsguy was able to get me in touch directly with Mr. Fair, and I had the opportunity to talk to him on the phone. It was great to hear his recollections about his years with Disneyland!

Christopher appeared on the Mickey Mouse Club for several "Talent Roundups", where he performed magic tricks. He was voted the "Juvenile Magician Champion"of the International Brotherhood of Magicians in 1958. Around 1959 (when he was a senior in high school) he received a call from the Disney Studio. They said that they needed a jester for Disneyland, and asked him if he would be interested in auditioning. The answer was yes!

The audition was at the studio in Burbank, and at the time Christopher did not specialize in "close up" magic, but he learned some illusions for the role. It was his idea to use the unicycle...the people at the park were reluctant about it, thinking that it might be dangerous in a crowded situation. But he demonstrated that it was very safe, and got the "O.K.".

His act consisted of simple magic tricks and juggling. It must have been fun to watch him interacting with surprised Disneyland guests, and even more fun if you were the participant!

The two photos below are neat "backstage" shots. In the first picture, I believe that the people posing with him are two members of the Gonzalez Trio, who performed in Frontierland for many years. Snow White dropped by to say "hello" in the second photo! These were almost certainly taken behind the castle.

Many thanks to Merlinsguy and Christopher Fair for sharing these photos and great memories. Look for Part Two tomorrow, with color photos!


Daveland said...

Major - What a fantastic post. You have outdone yourself! And the cover on that scrapbook is amazing!

Matterhorn1959 said...

Major- I agree with Dave- an amazing post. He is one of those characters that I have always wanted more information. Somewhere in the mess I call my collection, I have a fan card that Chris would give away in Fantasyland featuring him on his unicycle.

Merlinsguy said...

Very pleased to have particpated! Nice work on the text, too. I think Chris will be very happy.

Anonymous said...

What a treasure. The innocence of those days we will never see the like of again.