Monday, November 19, 2018

'Tis a Small World

When my friend "Mr. X" was young, he was a big fan of "It's a Small World"(he still is, as a matter of fact), and he took plenty of photos inside the ride back when it was fairly new. I've posted a bunch of his IASW pix in the past, but here are a few that slipped through the cracks.

It's jolly olde England, and a band made up of Grenadier Guardsmen plays their arrangement of the Sherman brother's classic tune. Note to self: buy bearskin hat at Target.

Oo-la-la, it's Gay Paree! These showgirls are flashing too much ankle for my tastes. Think of the children. In my day women covered their ankles with a two-inch layer of goose grease.

Any worthwhile European tour will visit Italy. This scene seems to mostly consist of a stylized Venice, along with a leaning tower. If the gondolas in Venice really were purple and sparkly, there would be no wars.

The next two scenes are from the Grand Finale, in which all the little children (and geese) of the world come together to sing a song of joy. 

The traditional costumes from earlier scenes are now in shades of white, which I believe Mary Blair considered to be the most joyful of colors. 

For all of the jokes leveled at IASW over the years, I have always loved it!


K. Martinez said...

An absolute Disney theme park classic from the Walt era. I enjoyed it as a child and as an adult. Saying that, I have been known to zone out during the ride thru. Nice pics today. Thanks Mr. X and Major.

Stefano said...

Looks like one of the Can-Can dancers took a French leave; one of the Buckingham Palace Royal Guards is AWOL also. Considering the agitated motion these dollies go through up to 14 hours a day, I remember the ride as usually in tip-top condition. I haven't seen the additions of the last big overhaul, but the message seems to be that now It's a Disney World after all.

A bit of trivia from The E-Ticket magazine: there are still stickers from Global Van Lines on the back of many of IASW's sets; that company schlepped the show from New York to California in 1965.

JC Shannon said...

I first rode it and enjoyed it as a kid. The only problem is, I get the music stuck in my head. It's a very catchy tune. You are right Major, alot of fun is poked at IASW, but it remains a favorite. It's hard to imagine Disneyland without it. Thanks to Mr X and Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, ha ha, I think anybody could be forgiven for zoning out on IASW! The boat moves so smoothly, and it’s cool inside the building; if you’d been out in the hot sun for most of the day, one could easily be hypnotized into a dream state.

Stefano, ah, good eye, I did not notice the missing dolls. I’d like to think that the Royal Guard and the Can-Can dancer ran off together! I love that bit of trivia from The E-Ticket Magazine - I’m surprised that people haven’t peeled those stickers off as souvenirs.

Jonathan, I know that the song is a real ear worm for many, but somehow it has never been a problem for me. Maybe my IQ is too low? As soon as I step out of the boat I am distracted by other things, the same way a dog is distracted by a squirrel.

Anonymous said...

My Mom always loved this ride.

I went through a period of being too cool to ride it, but now, it is a comforting reminder of Mom, a good memory. The A/C doesn't hurt either.

I must be in the minority not bothered by the addition of the Disney characters? I don't get the issue, it's a Disney attraction, why shouldn't it have Disney characters? At least there's no Johnny Depp.

I have always loved the song and can drive my family crazy by singing it.

Thanks Major and Mr. X.


Chuck said...

I must confess I've ALWAYS loved this ride and the accompanying song.

I remember walking through a night market in Korat, Thailand and being startled by hearing the song playing in a stall. I went to investigate and found a yellow, toy electronic keyboard (literally labeled "Electronic Keyboard With 1 Song") playing the tune automatically on demo mode. I was juuuust homesick enough to spend the ฿125 (about $5) to take it back to my room to play as a reminder for the next six weeks. Oddly, while it would play "it's a small world" perfectly on automatic, the tones the keys played in manual mode made it impossible to play the song in the same key.

Warren Nielsen said...

I too am one of those people that still enjoys this attraction, and enjoy zoning out riding through it. And while the tune can be stuck in my noggin sometimes, I usually don't have any problem with that. It provides another way to zone out in a way while doing the mundane chores of the day. Washing dishes? "It's a small dish after all . . . . ."

You are all singing it in your head now, aren't you?


Melissa said...

Wow, these are beautiful!

Matthew said...

I love that final shot of the African kids laughing with the hyena. A great little Marc Davis gag.

I think both scenes have been re-staged... maybe we couldn't take a joke anymore and someone said, "You know those animals are dangerous and we shouldn't be encouraging children from any nation to approach them." Not sure why they would have changed it.

Beautiful shots here Mr X. Thank you so very, very, much. Wonderful post. And for the record. I too love It's A Small World.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, your mom had good taste! I still remember riding IASW with my 8 year old niece 10 years ago, it was her first visit to Disneyland, and she absolutely loved the ride. It was so cute to hear her say “This is AMAZING!”. Meanwhile, she was “too old” to ride the Winnie the Pooh ride because it was for babies.

Chuck, that’s a great story about your time in Thailand! Did the version of the song have awesome electronic percussion? I hope so. I also hope you still have that keyboard.

Warren, considering that I used to listen to my Storyteller album with Winston Hibler’s comforting narration, I couldn’t get enough of that tune. I was thrilled when I finally found a digitized version of that album, and still listen to it once in a while. I still love it.

Melissa, Mr. X will be glad you like them!

Matthew, it’s sad when people are so literal that they can’t see the fun in kids and animals being happy together. I actually do think I heard something about how hyenas were considered, I don’t know, “filthy” or something. Yeesh. This is why we can’t have nice things!



Not to nit-pick, but those trumpeting soldiers represent Denmark and Tivoli Gardens .... Jolly Old England is across the flume up a way ..... England is represented by a single palace gaurd and a king and queen chess set pieces.
Incidedtly England and Canada feature the only adults in the It’s A Small World attraction.

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, well by golly. I guess when I see those bearskin hats I just immediately assume that they are from England. I remember the king and queen chess pieces... seems like a kind of odd representation of England! Thanks for the correction, though.

Anonymous said...

@Mike Cozart, always fascinating back-story. Do you have any idea why the chess pieces were selected for England?

Like the Major, I've always thought it an odd choice, especially when we could have had an infant Winston Churchill with a scotch glass and a cigar instead.



Well there are other elements in the England besides the King and Queen chess pieces - there’s Big Ben, a palace guard (as I mentioned one of only two adults represented in the attraction)and guard house and London Tower with a castle wall. There’s even suspended translucent panels representing fog.

Chuck said...

Major, no percussion...but I do still have it. :-) My kids played with it a lot when they came along. Hope to still have it for their kids.