Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Burning Settler's Cabin, 1990's

Here are three more scans of snapshots graciously given to me by Irene and her brother!

While these are undated, I can only assume that these are from roughly the same time period as most of the other photos in this large lot - the mid to late 1990's, generally. As most of you know, the Burning Settler's Cabin on Tom Sawyer Island underwent a number of changes over the years; the dead guy with an arrow through his chest was replaced with a careless moonshiner. After deciding that even the suggestion of moonshine was too intense for some sensitive hearts, we got this scene:

In this iteration, there's no dead body to be seen at all. Instead, the settler went out hunting, completely forgetting that he had a pan of Jiffy Pop in the fireplace. And this was the result! "Hard facts", indeed. To add drama, the flames are threatening an eagle's nest. Look out!

This third photo shows the same scene, taken on another day. Only small changes near the cabin's fence are evident. 

In 2007, the cabin was changed once again - this time to a tidy little homestead, without flames of any kind. The story I've heard is that during some renovations, it was discovered that the gas pipes were too corroded, and the decision was made to remove them entirely. Because there's nothing more expensive to replace than gas pipes. Come on guys, if you're going to make up a story, at least make it believable. Such as, "We didn't want to keep paying for all of that natural gas". That's believable. 

Sorry for the snark! Thanks as always to Irene and her brother.


Graffer said...

This lost detail is a perfect example of 'Death by a Thousand Cuts'.

K. Martinez said...

Snark away, Major! You won't get any argument from me on the Burning Cabin story. Your reasoning on the gas pipes sounds more plausible than Disney's. I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't return with the "new' Rivers of America route. Why bother at this point.

These are kind of cool though because I don't think I've seen pics of it looking like this even though I remember it. Thank you, Irene & brother for sharing these. Always appreciated.

Nanook said...


You'd think the "taste makers" at Disney (otherwise known as the current-day 'Hays Office') would apply some silly lesson for burning cabins such as - "... see kids, this is what happens when you smoke in bed-!" Gotta agree with you Major, the 'worn-down' gas line excuse is really one for the books. Couldn't they at least just say 'it's a waste of energy'-?

Thanks again Irene - and The 'M'.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken's first three words, were going to be the first three words of my comment! My last three words were going to be, "Remember, DISNEY LIES!" But I'll just get that out of the way now.

Major, thanks for clearing that story up. I always thought that it was the eagles themselves, that started the fire.....sort of a la Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." When you think of it, they could have just put a blonde wig and a green tweed suit on the settler, and stuck him in a phone booth out in front of the cabin. I know, wrong theme park!

Nanook, I thought the last narration that went along with the cabin scene did include some lesson about the potential environmental hazards that can occur when you are careless with fires. I like your smoking lesson better, though. They could have tied it in with a park-wide smoking ban and the spiel on the river boats could have said, "And THIS, is why we no longer allow smoking in Disneyland!"

TokyoMagic! said...

P.S. Thank you for sharing these, Irene, Irene's brother, and Major!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Snark is the lifeblood of all human emotion. So snark your way to good health. What surprised me is that Disney seems to have been trying to take out as much oldtyme theme in the park in fear the younger generations have no connection and they won't sell enough tickets/merch. Adding all the movie related characters to POTC. Adding Star Wars to Tomorrowland and now Marvel to TOT.

Then they 180 and made me scratch my rapidly balding head adding the Mike Fink overlay to the cabin. Granted it goes with past history (ie:keel boats) but who under 50 even could even recognize the name/character?
Is it still themed this way? Being in AZ I haven't (sadly) been there in 2 years. What's next? Is it gonna be Wolverine's secret hide out?

Thanks to Irene and Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Graffer, you ain’t kiddin’!

K. Martinez, I will be curious to see what they do with that northern part of Tom Sawyer Island, if anything. As you suggested, they may do nothing at all.

Nanook, I definitely learned to never make moonshine. My mom and dad would ground me for a month if I burned down their log cabin! As you probably know, they did use the “waste of energy” excuse for a while, and used the same flame effect as is used for “Pirates of the Caribbean” - but then they went back to real flames.

TokyoMagic!, there was a time when I really believed that Disney was different from other big companies, but it has become clear over the years that I was being foolish. And maybe those eagles DID start the fire; the big one had a guilty look! And he was holding a Bic lighter. Unfortunately his ignorance of thermodynamics put his/her nest in danger. And you’re right, they could have come up with any number of stories to explain the burning cabin without offending anybody (even the powerful moonshiner’s lobby)!

Alonzo P Hawk, of smak is good for you, I must be the healthiest person in the world! It’s true that a lot of the old themes have vanished, in part because they claim that kids don’t get it anymore. Like the Swiss Family Treehouse; I guess Florida kids are more literate than SoCal kids? Also, most kids don’t CARE about the story tie-in if the attraction is interesting. Like that treehouse! I hope they start adding Marvel to Main Street; the Dapper Dans can all look like the Hulk. Meanwhile, I always kind of liked that Disneyland had rides that didn’t really have a movie tie-in, like “Pirates” and the Haunted Mansion.

Major Pepperidge said...

Alonzo, ha ha, SNARK, not "smak" (not to be confused with "smack", which is an altogether different thing). So much for my typing skills.

Anonymous said...

Major, Irene and Brother-of-Irene, thanks very much for these shots documenting the decline of a treasured visual story with a moral. At least this version tried to be humorous.

I do vaguely recall this version, since we only visited the park twice in the Pressler era, I agree with your general dating of the pictures. Also laughing at anyone who thinks an eagle would nest in proximity to people.

I admit I did like the Mike Fink version, if only for the return of the keelboat, and my general nostalgia for those characters (being well over 50). It had a kind of sweet "resolution and continuation" theme, kind of like watching the two legends in Valhalla, Asgard or wherever it is that Thor lives. Which is probably what the renovated Island will contain.

I repeat my guarded optimism that the restored River will be better than we all seem to fear. Cars Land and the renovated Big Thunder RR are encouraging, hoping that the River project won't be overshadowed for budget or talent by the big development over the hill.

Thanks Everyone.


Tom said...

When they put the burning cabin back in, they'll have animatronics of Kylo Ren and his posse standing out front, squaring off with Rey and Luke. I'm convinced of it.