Thursday, April 12, 2018

Presented By Wonder Bread!

I know a lot of Disneyland fans miss the old "Country Bear Jamboree" (closed since 2001); perhaps I was just at the wrong age to love it when I saw it (somewhere in my obnoxious teenage years). After my one viewing, I never went back, so I can't say that I miss it. But I know most people do!

Somebody took a series of photos while in the CBJ theater, circa 1979; by then the attraction had been in Disneyland for 7 years; debuting without a sponsor, Wonder Bread signed on in 1975. Wonder Bread, the softest, squishiest, most-fortified bread ever! While I generally prefer a good sourdough, whole wheat, or oat nut bread, the six year-old in me still loves some Wonder Bread once in a while.

I am posting these in the order in which they were taken (based on the number stamps), but that doesn't help much when trying to figure out what song the bears are playing. It might be the classic "Bear Band Serenade". Who can name all the bears? I sure can't!

I know enough to declare with 47% certainty that the bear just out of frame to our left is Henry, the host. And after 15 seconds of research, I can also tell you that the bear to our right is Wendell. Which means that the song "Mama, Don't Whip Little Buford" is what we would be hearing if we hadn't fallen asleep.

Uh oh - it's those guys again. Did I somehow mess up the order of the photos?

There's the "Sun Bonnet Trio"! Bunny, Bubbles, and Beulah. They actually rise from beneath the stage, hankies in hand - which means it's time for some tears. The song is "All The Guys That Turn Me On Turn Me Down". 

I only wish that this attraction had survived until today so that it could receive a "Star Wars" or Marvel overlay!


Nanook said...


I did enjoy the CBJ; but will have to admit that over time I was less enchanted with it. It was, as intended, pretty corny, and if you love that sorta thing, this is your ticket. But it is good to see these images from its heyday.

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...


It's one of our family's favorite attractions at WDW. The hillbilly music! The claw marks in the floor! The tribute to Evelyn Nesbit! Tex Ritter! That magical moment when the coonskin cap becomes a real, live, singing raccoon! The (now-missing) obscure references to sponsor Pepsi's dated ad campaign!

We never got to see the Disneyland or Wonder Bread-sponsored versions, though, so I'm particularly glad to see today's pictures, even if they weren't gorgeous in their own right, which they are.

“Mama, Don't Whip Little Buford" is one of those songs that if I start singing it, my sister is contractually obligated to come in on the harmony, and vice-versa.

I remember I used to have a picture of three Japanese girls dressed as the Sunbonnet Trio for Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Tokyo Disneyland. It was absolutely adorable. I just googled my eyes out, and still couldn't find another copy anywhere.

Melissa said...

I think you've got to have SOME corn in a balanced theme park diet, and it might as well be good, solid, Disney-level corn.

Maybe it's different here in the East, where your first visit as a little kid maymay your last one for a while. You need at least some attractions that the entire family can enjoy together, even if the level of enjoyment isn't the same for every family member. And if I ever get too jaded to laugh at "Blood on the Saddle," I can watch the reactions of the people who haven't seen it and have almost as much fun.

Anyway didn't mean to get so philosophical. That Wonder Bread curtain is really purty.


I always liked Bear Country and the Country Bear Jamboree. I liked that you felt far way somewhere really on the edge of the Frontier. I miss the original buildings and the Bear show and I always get excited when a train appears crossing the Bear Country Railroad trestle.

One time around 1984/85 we took a German exchange student from my high school to Disneyland - and we insisted she see Country Bear Jamboree... I don’t recall what she thought of it, but after the show and walking towards the RR trestle they had on of the old Frontierland stagecoaches out - the open Yellowstone Coaches - either as a photo-op or as the backdrop for s live band. ANYWAY I insisted on us getting into the coach and having a picture taken - there were no signs saying we couldn’t !! As I climbed up into the coach I felt something snag on my pants ( I was wearing those types of cargo pants that had zippers near the knees so you could remove the pant legs and wear them as shorts - gimme a break it was 1985!!
So the zipper and part of the pant leg tire ( no problem!!! I’ll just remove the other leg and wear the pants as shorts! -NO the zipper was stuck or broken so I had to walk around Disneyland the rest of the visit with one long pant leg and one short pant leg. Being completely aware when other people stared or were laughing at me.

K. Martinez said...

Country Bear Jamboree has an awesome soundtrack with some wonderful memorable songs. And yeah, if anybody did corn well, it was Disney.

I don't think a Star Wars or Marvel overlay would be any worse than the "Country Bear Vacation Hoedown" they did. I really didn't care for that version which replaced the original until it closed in 2001. I did love the "Country Bear Christmas Special" though. Thanks, Major.

MIKE COZART, Loved your story of the cargo pants with one long pant leg. That's too funny!

Patrick Devlin said...

Nice pictures, but I must confess I never had much love for the CBJ. I think it was mostly Big Al or whatever his name was and that creepy song about blood everywhere that gave me the creeps.

K. Martinez said...

FoxxFur from Passport to Dreams assembled a wonderful collection of tracks featuring the source music with original artists of songs that were featured in the original Country Bear Jamboree. Since she doesn't have a playlist for it, I've assembled one.

For anyone interested here's the playlist I created featuring the clips and songs that were gathered and assembled by Foxxfur.

Anonymous said...

"There was blood on the saddle and blood all around... and a great big pu-uh-ddle of blood on the ground..."

It's sad that I remember that, could have used those brain cells for something worthwhile, like the Black-Scholes formula.

The show was pretty much a one-shot deal, but Mom and Dad loved the CBJ.

For me, it was a comfy seat in air conditioning. The vibrating foot massagers in the lobby were a nice touch.

@Ken, thanks for the playlist.

@Mike, that is a funny story, I can relate.

Thanks Major, photos like these are rare due to the dark auditorium and poor cameras in the '70's.


Monica said...

Am I the only one here that loved and missed Country Bear Jambory? :) Big Al was my favorite.

I was so excited back in February when I was at Disneyland with my cousin and he told me there was still a bit of CBJ on the wall in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Of course we had to go look!

Chuck said...

This show has always had a special place in my heart, right next to the left ventricle. That probably explains the blood all around.

Chuck said...

Ken, forgot to thank you for the playlist. I was nearly 30 before I realized that most of the songs from the CBJ weren't Disney originals, but other than Johnny Horton's "Slue Foot Sue," I'd never bothered to track them down in their original, natural states. Many thanks to you and FoxxFur!

Chuck said...

Sorry - "Ole Slew Foot." Too many Disney connections in my head to keep straight today.

Jonathan said...

Never got to see CBJ, but I have heard from others that you either loved it or you didn't. I wish now that I could have experienced it with all of the comments today! Thanks Major for the pictures.

Jonathan said...

Major, You can say what you want about nut-wheat-13 grain-flaxseed healthy bread, but I can still taste the Wonderbread baloney sandwiches my Mom used to put in my Disneyland lunchbox. Yummmm. And I loved the red, yellow and blue balloons on the wrapper.


The red, yellow and blue “balloons” on the Wonderbread logo represented the three major vitamins the bread was fortified with.

dean finder said...

Foxxfurr's analysis of the CBJ's music is worthy of a PhD.

Melissa said...

OK, everybody on alert: check all Disneyland 1985 pictures for the teenager with mismate pantlegs!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the one time I saw the show, the audience had a large group of “older kids” (college age?) who were laughing way too hard and clapping way too fervently - I had the feeling it was done with maximum smart-assitude!

Melissa, hey, everybody loves it but the old Major. I do like the claw marks on the floor, that’s a cool detail. But it just didn’t click with me for some reason. I don’t know the soundtrack, really - except for that painful version of “Blood On the Saddle”. I can totally imagine how Japanese fans would want to cosplay as the Sunbonnet Trio!

Melissa, I can’t explain it, there are some corny things I enjoy at Disneyland, and others that I don’t. Who knows what the hell I’m thinking at any given time!

Mike Cozart, I was SUPER excited that there was a new “land” at the park - I was too young to remember New Orleans Square’s opening, so this was a big deal to me. And I’d heard lots of things about the “bear show”, etc. So I was looking forward to it. Maybe I was just having a bad day? Very cool that one of the Yellowstone Coaches was on display - I wonder if Disney still owns those (or at least one example)? Ha ha, I love the story about you and your pants. Maybe in 1985 people just thought you were “New Wave”?

K. Martinez, I think one of my issues is that I am not generally crazy about country music. Why couldn’t they have been the Punk Rock Bears? They could play behind a metal barrier, and spit on the audience, and smash their instruments. Now THAT I’d watch!

Patrick Devlin, ha ha, see my first comment to Melissa - I didn’t like that song either!

K. Martinez, FoxxFur is some kinda genius - I read her blog posts and suddenly feel very stupid! Thanks for the link to your playlist!

JG, air-conditioning was a selling point for more than one attraction at Disneyland. Like the Fantasyland Theater! So funny, it’s as if they admit that the show itself isn’t so great, but darn it, you’ll be comfortable. Foot massagers sound like something that they should have all over the park.

Monica, I guarantee that you are not the only one! Most people I know loved it, and write about it with much fondness on various blogs and message boards.

Chuck, new Tide will remove blood stains in a jiffy. Believe me, I use it all the time for that.

Chuck II, wait, I thought you were in your early 20’s?

Chuck III, you’re like that guy in “A Beautiful Mind” - so smart that you are kind of nutty.

Jonathan, all you have to do is go to Orlando, I guess. They still love it there!

Jonathan, I still remember winning a small loaf of Wonder Bread at a local carnival (throwing ping pong balls into glasses of water or some such nonsense), and when we got home my mom made me some toast. It was the best toast I ever ate! And yes, the Wonder Bread wrapper is a true work of art.

Mike Cozart, that is a factoid that I did not know!

dean finder, yes, ol’ Foxxy is pretty great.

Melissa, wouldn’t that be amazing?!