Sunday, November 29, 2020

Jungle Critters, June 1963

It's time for another sleepy Sunday blog post, and that means that I get to use up some less-than-amazing photos while most of you are off doing something else. 

Both of today's pictures are from June of 1963, and were taken from the Jungle Cruise. Most details from this ride are so familiar to us today - I wonder if there's anything that did not show up in photos, typically? 

Both of today's pix are more mundane. Here's "Old Smiley", a crocodile with a lively sense of humor. He's laughing out loud (in deep resonant tones much like James Earl Jones). I wonder if some of those trees with the "exposed roots" are actually trees placed upside-down, as has been mentioned in some books?

Elephants love to bathe, so it's lucky that they got a sacred bathing pool for Christmas and not that air fryer that the kids wanted (they love pizza rolls and French fries). It must have been some task to sculpt those huge animals - presumably they reused the same mold for all of the youngsters, and probably some of the other pachyderms as well. 


Nanook said...


You gotta admit that's a pretty impressive pool party in that second image. I certainly hope no one crashed the party-!

Happy Sunday, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

It's time for another sleepy Sunday blog post, and that means that I get to use up some less-than-amazing photos while most of you are off doing something else.

I'm right here, glued to your post, Major. Just waiting to hear some more fun stories from past Jungle Cruise skippers!

Thanks, Major! I'll check back later...

TokyoMagic! said...

Alternate pre-recorded tracks for Old Smiley (in addition to laughing out loud) were, "Luke, I am your father!" and "This is CNN!"

K. Martinez said...

I wonder if the story of the trees placed upside-down for the Jungle Cruise was told by the same person who told the story of the color blind bulldozer operator. You know how those stories goes.

I can see a teensy weensy bit of the Cambodian Ruins in the first image hidden by the jungle foliage. Always loves pics from my favorite Disneyland attraction. Thanks, Major.

Stu29573 said...

I was hoping you were going to post the seldom seen "Dogs Playing Poker" scene. Oh well, Smiley and the ephelants (great name for a band!) will do nicely. (Yes, I meant to misspell "elephants") Have a great Sunday!

Chuck said...

Sharp eye, Ken! I totally missed the ruins. That also completely reoriented the scene for me in my head.

Speaking of Disneyland legends, I guess this 1963 photo of the Sacred Elephant Bathing Pool puts the lie to the often-told story that the sunbathing elephant is a reskinned mammoth from the '64 World's Fair. A more likely story is that the mammoth and the elephant were cast from the same mold, used the same armature design, and probably shared a stockbroker.

Thanks, Major!

MRaymond said...

I'm happy they all had their trunks on or these could be some awkward photos.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the only thing they don’t have is a slide. Imagine an elephant going down a slide! Come on Walt, that’s what we want!

Lou and Sue, I appreciate your enthusiasm! But you have to admit that the photos aren’t that great today, even if the contributions of the commenters might turn out to be pure gold.

TokyoMagic!, yes, I would be all for those additions to Old Smiley’s recording. I would also be OK with some added burps.

K. Martinez, I know EXACTLY what you mean! Some of those crusty old stories sound like something made up by a creative PR person (“This’ll tickle the funny bone of John and Jane America!”). I guess that doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t true, but (for instance) Marty Sklar has made statements that we later learned were fiction. Gosh, good eye on seeing those Cambodian ruins!

Stu29573, I have to admit, if the painting showed elephants playing poker instead of dogs, it would jump from a “great” work of art to the GREATEST work of art. But sometimes we can only dream of such things. Happy Sunday!

Chuck, yes, the story about the reskinned mammoth is something that I’ve also heard. I guess I am too gullible, because I never questioned that one! It does make more sense that they just used the same mold (and stockbroker). I wonder if they still have some 65 year-old molds in a warehouse that are used now and then?

MRaymond, don’t worry, this is a “rated G” (or maybe “PG”?) blog, you’ll see no trunkless elephants here!

Nanook said...

Don't forget when the ratings first appeared in 1968, the identifiers were G; M; R; X. Then M changed to GP - 'General Audiences, Parental guidance suggested'. And as GP seemed backwards (duh-!), that was changed to PG in February, 1972. (And then PG-13 was added in July, 1984, and X was finally replaced by NC-17 in September, 1990). I think GDB should be rated GP, just to be confusing.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I did know about the old ratings system - I always thought it was odd when somebody would say "GP" instead of "PG", I assumed it was some form of dyslexia. Then I learned that "GP" used to be right! I know you know, but "Midnight Cowboy" was rated "X" - the only movie with that rating to win Best Picture. Crazy!

Anonymous said...

Oh's a JC flashback! I can smell the river and hear my voice over the PA as we round the turn and head toward "The Squirter" Now who do I want to get wet? KS

Chuck said...

I'd never questioned it, either. Then Ken's comment got me all suspicious, the photo revealed new truths, and now I don't believe anything. I strongly suspect I may be a figment of my own imagination.

Major Pepperidge said...

KS, I love that you can remember the river's smell. I don't, but totally believe that it had its own unique aroma. Could you actually get somebody wet from the squirting elephant?

Chuck, that Ken, always stirring things up! I have to admit that I believe less of what Disney announces than I used to in my innocent younger days. Once can only be fooled so many times.

"Lou and Sue" said...

“Eau de Ephelant Flora & Fauna” —
Just squirt it on!!

KS, I also want to know if you could control getting someone wet by the squirting elephant??

JG said...

Hello Everyone, I am late to the party and I apologize. My Sunday routine doesn't always allow for a GDB visit.

I love everything about the old JC, and these pictures. Thank you, Major.

I am going to chime in on the tree root comments. I just finished watching several fine documentaries on the construction of Disneyland, narrated by Tony Baxter, no less. They were very clear that the banyan trees were made up from walnut trees taken from the original Dominguez orchards, and pruned up and inverted to make up the "roots" of the prop trees. There was footage included of the work in progress. Today's pics are recognizably the same trees. If this is a "fable" made up for the public, it was certainly endorsed by the authorities.

However, I believe it to be accurate, as I can add from my own personal knowledge, gained from 30 plus years of farming walnut trees, that the bark visible in today's picture no. 1 is very much that of an old walnut tree. The white bark we see is very similar to the English walnut, of which several varieties are farmed in California today, usually grafted on to black walnut rootstock. The grafts are easily distinguished as the black walnut bark is very different in color and texture from the English.

The theory of the re-used mold and armature for the elephant are certainly believable. We have seen Disney do similar things with animatronic figures, for example, the figures from America Sings re-purposed as droids in Star Tours, and singers in Splash Mountain. As far as I know, all of these figures share the same stockbroker, and are completely invested in government bonds.

Thanks for the great photos today, Major. Much appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Folks it was all in the timing..between tripping the animation and speed of the boat. Worked well on hecklers! ;) KS

JG said...

@KS, that is wonderful to hear. Good to know there was a way to use the system to keep order.


"Lou and Sue" said...

KS, I LOVE it!! Thanks for sharing!