Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hercules Parade

Today's photos come courtesy of the Dream Team (aka Irene, Bruce, and James), and feature the "Hercules Victory Parade" which ran from June, 1997 to... sometime in 1998. Hercules replaced the "Lion King Celebration", which had been phenomenally popular.

I liked "Hercules" as a movie, but the bloom was off the rose for Disney animated features. After the success of "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", and "The Lion King", the company seemed to lose a little steam with the pretty-but-misguided "Pocahontas" film. Then they did "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", and then "Hercules"; both of those movies are artistically amazing, and have many amazing qualities, and yet... I just didn't love them.

Hercules and Megara vogue for the crowd! This movie had some of the wackiness and humor reminiscent of "Aladdin"; I definitely got the impression that the writers and directors were trying to break out of the forumla established by 60 years of animated features, and in some respects they were successful. 

There's Zeus himself, amid the swirling clouds of Mt. Olympus - I liked the "curl/swirl" motif that was found in much of the design (trees, clouds, even Herc's ears), and the background paintings were incredible. I guess that Zeus is supposed to resemble a tile mosaic? I'm not sure why he looks unfinished, with the exposed metal supports.

Pegasus! Come on, the idea of a magnificent winged horse is just cool. This parade version looks like one of Kevin Kidney's paper sculptures.

Many thanks to Irene, Bruce, and James!


"Lou and Sue" said...

I never saw the "Hercules" movie, and I know I never saw this parade, unfortunately. This had to be something to see, in person - what a fun, colorful parade!

In the 3rd picture, 'its a small world' is competing for attention - as a very colorful backdrop.

Thank you, Major, and our Dream Team!


TokyoMagic! said...

I liked the movie, "Hercules," but I agree that it wasn't on the same level as the other Disney films that you mentioned. However, I really loved this parade.....and now I have the "Zero to Hero" song from the parade soundtrack stuck in my head!

I also wondered why Zeus was left half-finished? Behind him, there is a carousel with two or three ride vehicles on it. We can see Narcissus riding in one of the vehicles and holding a mirror in front of his face. I don't remember who the other riders were. I'll have to go back and look at my photos or video footage. I remember the parade also had a giant Hades float, with a miniature roller coaster below him. Or maybe it was a fun house type of ride? "Pain" and "Panic" were in the little ride vehicle, going around on the track.

Thank you once again, for sharing these, Irene, Major and The Dream Team!

Andrew said...

According to Yesterland, this was one of nine different shows along the parade route in 1997 (Want a list? Here: Character Cavalcade, Cruisin’ the Kingdom Cavalcade, Lion King Celebration, Light Magic, Hunchback of Notre Dame Topsy Turvy Cavalcade, “Once Upon a Dream” Disney Princesses Cavalcade, Hunchback of Notre Dame Procession, Hercules Victory Parade, and A Christmas Fantasy Parade). I knew that there was at least one different parade every year back then based on what movie was in theaters, but I didn't understand the sheer turnover of the time! Compare that to today, when you're lucky to get three new parades in a decade! (Also, "cavalcade" is the definition of cheesy Disney lingo.) ;-)

stu29573 said...

I think that out of Pocahontas, Hunchback and Hercules, Hercules was the best. However, you're right that none lived up to what came immediately before them. I don't remember this parade, but since I'm a WDW guy and then only about every five years, there's every chance that I never saw it. Taken out of context, a giant Disney float to Hades seems....strange.

JC Shannon said...

I never saw the movie either, but I do enjoy seeing Disney characters in 3D. The newer movies just don't do it for me, except for The Lion King. Peter Pan is my fav and favorite dark ride as well. C'mon everybody, here we go! Thanks to the Dream Team and Major P.

Melissa said...

I've always loved the free-floating art style of Hercules. It's very evocative of Minoan art and the rock-em-sock-em atmosphere of Greek mythology. It translates better than I expected into parade form.

And nobody gets into the spirit of a parade like Disney cast members. It's like live theater times ten.

Melissa said...

Grr. I missed that autocorrect changed my "free-flowing" to "free-floating." Why, autocorrect? Why?

zach said...

I, too, never saw Hercules. I'm very out of touch with Disney films. Other than Moana and Frozen I haven't seen any since Mulan and Lion King! Disney+ will help me catch up.

I need to brush up on my Greek mythology, for sure. Who needs Cliff notes when you have Disney?

Is that a belly button? I'm not sure if that's unusual or not for a Disney Parade

Well, we're on our way to find bananas and dish soap. Wish us luck!


zach said...

Oh, and thanks to the Dream Team and Major,


K. Martinez said...

I did not care for Disney's "Hercules" at all. I thought it was a stinker. After "The Lion King" I didn't think most of their animated features were that good with the exception of "Mulan", "Lilo & Stitch" and "Treasure Planet. Things picked up again with "The Princess and the Frog" and "Tangled". Just my opinion of course.

Nice pics. I especially love the pic with IASW fa├žade colors blending in with the Zeus parade unit. Thinks Irene, Bruce and James!

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I think “Hercules” is perfectly fun and entertaining. Maybe expectations were too high, although I was not very fond of “Pocahontas” as a movie. Saw it once and have had no desire to revisit it. IASW isn’t doing very good competing against that colorful Zeus!

TokyoMagic!, it must be hard to follow up such massive hits as “The Lion King” and “Aladdin”. The pressure is on! It has to be even more fun and have even better songs, it needs to be both funnier and more moving. A tall order. I should look to see if other photos of the Zeus float show him looking so unfinished, or if he eventually got all filled in. The Hades float sounds like it was a lot of fun, were “Pain” and “Panic” people in costumes, or small toylike figures?

Andrew, wow, that’s a lot of shows, I had no idea; I’m sure those things cost a fortune to make, and yet… for me personally, the parades and shows were always a nice extra, I didn’t go to the park for those. I’d guess a lot of the locals who go to the park once a week loved those shows and parades though.

stu29573, I agree with you, and I kind of wonder why the movies started to decline in appeal. The quality of the animation was great, but I feel like Jeffrey Katzenberg wanted to try to stretch what an animated movie could do, which is admirable. “Pocahontas” could have just been a live action movie, except that they threw in the animal sidekicks. Hunchback had its moments, but the gargoyle sidekicks were so annoying. I want to see a photo of that Hades float now!

Jonathan, yeah, for sheer beauty, Peter Pan is hard to beat, and it lended itself to animation so well. The “flying over London” sequence is still amazing! And I love that “You Can Fly” song with the very 50’s chorus.

Melissa, I really liked the look of Hercules, at the time I was friends with a Disney background painter who showed me a lot of his work, it was amazing. He had these teeny tiny color roughs, smaller than a credit card, that were so incredible. I wish I had scans of those.

Melissa, I get embarrassed by autocorrect all the time!

dzacher, yeah, if you have Disney+, my understanding is that all of those movies are available to you. And what better time to catch up, now that we are all supposed to be indoors so much? I liked Mulan too; not perfect, but entertaining. I used to be fascinated with Greek myths, they are great stories. My grandma gave me her copy of “Bullfinch’s Mythology”, but it was hard reading for a young kid. I should revisit it!

K. Martinez, ha ha, I can totally get not liking “Hercules”. I can’t decide, would it have been better if they made it more reverent with less of that 90’s humor? I do like “Lilo and Stitch” a lot, they were working on that when I worked at the studio, and there were files on the computer at my work station, I had no idea what that movie was going to be. I wish I’d saved copies of all those files!! I admire “The Princess and the Frog” more than I like it. The story seems clunky to me, though I like the character of Tiana a lot. I like “Tangled” 100 times more than “Frozen”!

Melissa said...

I recently stayed with friends who have Disney+ and a TV screen the size of a small dining table. It was almost like seeing all these classic animated films in the theater.

When I was little, we lived near the drive-in and went almost every week during the summer. This was before hone video had really taken off, so a lot of Disney movies were regularly re-released to second-guessing theaters. I have very vivid memories of seeing "The Jungle Book" and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" as a double feature. I *thought* I remembered seeing "Song of the South" there, but when I look up the release history the dates just don't add up. I must have been confusing it with some other movie set in the South.

DrGoat said...

I agree with everyone. Pocahontas was especially cringe worthy in spots.
I do have a true story. In 1996 or 97, Mom decided we needed to go to the park. Mom and Dad were in their 80s so she wanted one last trip with us all. So the five of us did a 3 day, and ended up in Goofy's Kitchen the first morning. As we were pondering the menu, the Hunchback and two other characters came over to entertain us. We all stared at them and Mom asked who they were. Of course they couldn't talk, but they did try to make us laugh. Finally my Mom sent them back, courteously of course, and told them to send over someone from the old days. They did saunter off and 10 minutes later Goofy and Minnie, I think, came over and we had a great time. I'll never forget that. We had a great laugh. Mom and Dad are both gone now, but it is a wonderful memory.
Thank you Major!

K. Martinez said...

Major, I had a big long reply and when I submitted it to comments it said "OOPS!" and it was lost.

Since I don't want to type it all over again, I'll say that I agree with you about liking "Tangled" over "Frozen" a lot more.

Also, if I had to pick the Disney animated features I think are tops, they'd be "Pinocchio", "Dumbo", "Peter Pan" and "Lady and the Tramp". Those are the best to me.

The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

I knew Hercules appeared on his own float in the Electrical Parade during a special performance in NYC to help promote the movie. As for the movie itself, it certainly has it moments. What I find rather hilarious is that the plot and character takes direct inspiration from Superman. (Superpowered being gets sent to Earth from the heavens above, raised by elderly country farmers, learns of his heritage, learns to use his powers for good, and has a snarky ye gold-hearted love interest) You could almost say that it's a better Superman movie than Man of Steel. :D

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, did you watch TONS of Disney stuff? Sounds like fun! We used to go to a drive-in as well, I remember seeing certain films such as “Blackbeard’s Ghost” there. We had a station wagon and would put sleeping bags and blankets in the back, it was awesome.

DrGoat, ha ha, I love your story. It IS weird that you’re supposed to be thrilled to have Quasimodo at your table, no matter how nice he is. Your mom was smart when she asked them to send somebody else over! I’m glad you all had a great time and you have this great memory.

K. Martinez, comments said, “OOPS!”? Did you use the f-word again?? I keep telling you! Your ranking of Disney animated features is respectable. I’m a little surprised that Snow White didn’t even make the cut!

The Magic Ears Dudebro (welcome!), I remember when they debuted the Hercules parade in NYC. I don’t really know if the classic myth of Hercules has his back-story to when he was a child, otherwise you’re right, it does sound like they basically took the “Superman” model and tweaked it a little. “Man of Steel” is such a dour, ugly disappointment, I like Henry Cavill, but don’t care for Zack Snyder’s “dark” approach.

Melissa said...

I think the story of Superman was probably influenced more than a bit by the story of Hercules.