Monday, January 07, 2019

It's a Small World Mechanical Clock, April 1969

I have made no secret of my love for "It's a Small World" over the years. And as wonderful as the inside of the ride is, the outside is amazing too! Walt and his Imagineers must have anticipated huge crowds for IASW, judging by the sheer size of the plaza in front of it (some of which has been repurposed for other things); and thanks to the smiling, ticking clock, everyone in line gets a fun little show every 15 minutes. Like in this first image... it's the top of the hour, and things are starting to happen.

Whoa, where did all those kids come from? They're all dressed in costumes representing their native lands. I think I see children from Ireland, Brazil, and Hawaii, along with others I am less certain about.

Cowboy-like figures might be Argentina or Venezuela. There's a Venetian gondolier, and perhaps an Eskimo girl (?), while another girl in a kimono (carrying a parasol) heads away from us.

Hooray for It's a Small World! 


Nanook said...

I think one of the countries of uncertainty is most-likely Franistan.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

I miss the old Small World Plaza when it was more park like and "it's a small world" was the only thing there looking regal as ever. Now it feels crowded out and the plaza junked up.

But you know what? They could change those topiary bushes and reshape then into Yoda, Chewbacca, C3-PO and Darth Vader. That would be swell.

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

Photo order should be 2, 3, and finally 1. Time announcement came last.

Stefano said...

Hip Hip Hooray for It's a Small World! The façade and clock tower are among the best designs ever created for the park. The Brazilian girl with the fruity hat may have reminded folks of Carmen Miranda, just as inside the attraction the baby Cleopatra referenced the biggest flick of 1963, when the ride was built. Lizpatra herself was a frequent visitor to Disneyland in its early years.

Melissa said...

@Nanook, it might be the Maharincess herself!

I love the little bird high atop The Carmen Miranda girl's headdress, and the gaucho boy's bolas.

Stu29573 said...

One of the biggest let downs of WDW was not having the Small World facade. Don't get me wrong, the ride itself is great, what with the "flooded room" look and all, but the lack of the happy facade was a huge error. They have added elements of the clock now, of course, but it still pales in comparison to the original!

JC Shannon said...

Franistan, good one Nanook, I love it. I first saw it at the Worlds Fair, and in 65, there was an optimism, long forgotten, that in the future, despite our differences, we could all learn from one another. To bad that ship sunk in port. But to me, that's what IASW represents. Every time I see it, or pics of it, I remember that hope. Maybe the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, huh? Thanks Major.

Chuck said...

I'm positive there's a Ruritanian kid up there somewhere.

Melissa, modern gauchos now catch livestock using electronic means. The specific implement is known as the e-bola.

JG said...

These are fun pictures of IASW. I think this clock is one of the earliest efforts at "Pre-Show", other than just the themed exterior of Disneyland in general. Getting a little show every 15 minutes helps make the queue seem shorter.

I remember at least once when we watched the clock show twice while waiting. But most of the time, the wait was much shorter. The boat load process really is a crowd-eater.

@Stuart Powley, wow, you mean there is no gold and white facade at WDW? What a terrible oversight. The exterior makes the ride for me. I still enjoy trying to identify various buildings and monuments on the facade. There were some gold whirligigs on the outside that resembled the sun effect seen in the interior in one of the desert places, I used to wonder if these items lined up somehow. Of course, they don't, but still fun.

I spent some time last week browsing through Daveland's picture album of IASW exterior. Interesting to follow how the facade evolves over time from white to blue to spumoni and finally back to white. The addition of the modern colored LED lighting seems to have solved the color application problem.

Overall, I think this attraction has aged well, and has sustained little damage from post-Walt management, now that the white facade has been restored.

Daveland also has a fun article on the topiary trees and the man responsible for their creation and maintenance. Worth a few minutes time.

Thank you, Major.


Anonymous said...

Nanook, HAIL TIGER!!!

-Tokyo Magic!

K. Martinez said...

I like the facade of IASW in Walt Disney World. It's different than the rest making it unique. I love the interior and how part of the Pinocchio Village Haus dining area overlooks the load area. That's variety to me. Wouldn't it be boring if every Disney theme park did it all the same way? In fact I don't like the way they tried to imitate the DL facade in the interior load area. Not everything has to be gold and white spires. Just my opinion of course.

stu29573 said...

I like the overlook...but that's it. To each his own, I guess!

Chuck said...

Each has their merits. The important thing is that in both iterations the canal water tastes the same.

JG said...

@Ken, I haven't seen the WDW version, so maybe I spoke too soon, but the DL version is home to me. Does WDW have the clock?

I read somewhere how Walt saw a Renaissance mechanical clock on a building somewhere in Europe and decided that Disneyland needed one too, no idea how they settled on IASW as the place to put one. I'm not sure how the clock is integral to the overall story of the ride, but it's so cool I never stopped to think about it.

@Chuck, as long as there is brain-eating amoeba in both canals, I'm good. Alligators would be a plus.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I refuse to recognize that country!

K. Martinez, I’m sure some suit looked at all of that empty space and started having heart palpitations. “We could clutter this up with all KINDS of stuff!”. And so it came to pass. I seem to remember that they actually did do some Star Wars topiaries in Florida, or maybe it was Tokyo?

Anon, I believe you!

Stefano, building a scale model of the façade is one of those projects that I’ve always wanted to do, but am intimidated about actually tackling. Still, it would be awesome! Make it 4 or 5 feet long, I think. I have no mechanical aptitude, or I would have the clock’s smiling face rotate back and forth as well.

Jonathan, wow, so lucky that you got to go to the NYWF. I wonder if Kennedy had lived, and if we had somehow stayed out of Vietnam, how different things would be today. No way to know of course. Nice reference to “The Mouse That Roared”!

Chuck, I had to look up Ruritania. That’s new to me! E-bola… oy vey!

JG, I think perhaps the Barker Bird outside of the Tiki Room might qualify as a “pre-show”… in fact, they actually have that whole pre-show area in which all of the tiki gods are introduced. But you are right, providing an entertaining exterior was a rare thing in those days. I’ll have to look up the exterior of the Florida IASW, because I don’t remember what it looks like. I was just given some photos of the “spumoni” IASW, which I never liked, though I know it was popular among some people.

TokyoMagic!, that will be just about enough of that.

K. Martinez, I remember when people in Florida were infuriated that they wouldn’t be getting a Carsland of their own. Wouldn’t they rather have their own cool thing? If I went to Florida, the things that I might consider skipping are the rides that are similar to what we already have here (though there might not be many of those left these days).

stu29573, I’m sorry, but you have to agree with me about everything!

Chuck, I see that, like me, you enjoy the sweet taste of canal water. Might I recommend irrigation ditches? Belissima!

JG, the WDW version has a digital clock with big red LED numbers, but most of the time they flash 12:00. I think Walt might have seen that famous clock in Munich, the Rathaus-Glockenspiel.

Anonymous said...

I'm always knocked out by the Disneyland landscape maintenance. The topiaries, the hedges, and check out the lawn. It's even perfectly cut around those spot lights!

K. Martinez said...

When the "Logger's Revenge" first opened at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in 1977 there was a drought going on so they imported water from the mountains for the flume. I remember it being kind of murky brown, but it was true to theme though.

K. Martinez said...

Major, I remember when people in Florida were upset because there was no "Pirates of the Caribbean". Well they got it alright. The short version of it that is, minus the "Western River Expedition". Personally, I'd rather they did the western attraction to give the Magic Kingdom something unique.

Major Pepperidge said...

Anon, even as a kid, those topiaries were some of my favorite things at Disneyland!

K. Martinez, at first I thought you were kidding, but I guess they really DID import water for that flume ride? It’s surprising that they didn’t filter it or chlorinate it, or something.

K. Martinez, YES, that is one of the most egregious examples. Orlando could have had an awesome and unique attraction (the “Western River Expedition”), and instead got a lesser “Pirates”. Such a shame!

K. Martinez said...

Yes, they really did import the water. It was kind of cool though because I never went on a log ride that looked like that. You could say it was almost authentic.