Tuesday, November 22, 2022

More "it's a small world", April 1975

Today I'm continuing a series of photos taken from inside the "it's a small world" attraction back in 1975. As in the previous post, I am using Winston Hibler's narration from the IASW album as a resource.

At this point we are just passing India (I believe) and heading into Bali: A many-armed golden goddess  silhouetted in a temple door, reigns over the beautiful land of Bali. The narration continues: Looking a bit like delicious birthday cakes, Balinese umbrellas shelter a variety of dancers and musicians - and one grinning Bengal tiger.

Africa, with all its color and exotic mystery, now comes into view...

Bashful giraffes, smiling hippos, carefree swinging monkeys, and other animals in their lush green jungle setting, join in the song.

Friendly llamas climb the peaks of the Andes mountains, as we start up the South American continent. We hear a little Chilean boy playing on his reed flute. Gauchos and SeƱoritas, balancing jars and fruit on their heads, add their Latin American rhythm to the theme.

Beautiful young flower vendors, pottery makers, burro-drawn carts, and towering shelves of familiar Mexican mementos are here for us to enjoy. Listen to the mariachi band!

IASW is such a dense and rich ride that our photographer did not capture even half of the countries, but (as a confirmed "it's a small world" lover), it makes me happy to see the scenes that he did capture.


Nanook said...

One certainly gets his money's worth when it comes to color and density of characters. It's always a treat.

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

1) At first I couldn't find hide nor hair of the grinning tiger. But I finally caught a glimpse of his banded tail in the center of the photo. That silhouetted Balinese goddess, constantly moving, is one of the iconic images of the ride. I added this photo to my collection.

3) I always liked the way the African women figures danced. Sort of a twisting motion as they twirled around their circular platform.

4) I wonder if those are meant to be pineapple tops in the foreground. Not sure what the 'doorknobs' are, on the Andes. Just fanciful decor, I guess.

Major, as you and Nanook said, this attraction bowls you over with shear volume of content. A sensory overload of color, motion, and music. And non-stop happiness. A wonderful experience. Thanks.

Chuck said...

The Balinese shadow puppet has always been one of my favorite images from the ride. As a kid, I thought it added a bit of “mystery” to the scene and the foreign cultures represented. As an adult, I appreciate the cultural representation of wayang puppetry.

Thanks again, Mr. X!

Stu29573 said...

Mr. Hibler's narraration is helpful. When I ride, I get general impressions of the countries, but other than the most obvious ones, I miss a lot of them!

Bu said...

The shear volume of research that had to be done for this ride is astounding. Even in these few photos the amount of real authentic detail, and tongue in cheek detail is very impressive. That it is 15 minutes of tableaux after tableaux...the facade dictates the grandness of the ride, and yes...it's in an unassuming shed next to a train and monorail garage and a livestock farm. Back in the day it was cool to "not like" it's a small world. I think over the past 40 years my "dislike" is rather unfounded, as looking at yesterday's post and today's post it hits the "mark" of anything that falls in my "like very much" box: historic attraction, Mary Blair, Rolly Crump, characters, some in the style and feeling of Marc Davis, boats, water, ingenious mechanics and engineering, Sherman Bros., seamless orchestrations with a Camarata feel, Walt touched it, had an amazing opening day and marketing campaign... So I feel kind of crappy this morning that I've hated on it's a small world for so long...it's not like it's the Autopia...but maybe I LIKE the Autopia too for all the same reasons? need to think that one out...(it's noisy and smelly)...even getting stuck in the closing scene for 45 minutes in it's a small world..... I guess things can get worse, and there were/are probably worse jobs than going on rides for a living...I rode this ride with Annette Funicello who was so graciously delighted with it...I've rode this ride, I think, and I might be right: over 500 times...This morning should be spent in gratitude and reflection. In this Thanksgiving week I am grateful for it's a small world, and will enjoy my next trip there (even though the ride queue is backwards and there is an ugly shop in front of it.) I won't say "ugh" anymore when someone mentions it. I looked up that Hibler album...you can get the vinyl today on Amazon Prime for 75.55. I think the memories seared into the hard drive of my mind are enough. Thanks for the introspective morning Major.

Chuck said...

$75.55? Holy cats! I think Mrs. Chuck bought that album used and in good condition at a thrift store three or four years ago for maybe $5.

Stefano said...

Thanks Major, Small World has always been a favorite, the sheer youthful, musical, colorful, kinetic abundance of it all. There is some poignance to it now, as it seems to represent an ideal most kids could conceive of, and many - most?-- adults can't.

There is always something new to discover in photos; I never before noticed that the Indian girl in the first pic is playing a Taus, or Mayuri, the string instrument with a bird on the end. The blossom shapes to the right and left of the African elephant are chicken wire stretched over a frame, which is another reason I've loved this ride: so many effects are very simply achieved. And all the fruit and vegetables in the Mexican marketplace! Muy sabroso, Feliz Dia de Gracias.

These pictures are also a fine tribute to the late Alice Davis, who designed the costumes with just the right childlike touch.

JG said...

One of my top, if not the top, dark ride, next to Pirates and HM. I’ve always enjoyed this ride, going with Mom and Dad and hearing them chuckle over the hippo with hippy flowers, to being the only guy in my high school group who would ride with the girls, right down to taking my own kids, and now riding by myself. I could see how “cool kids” could be too cool to enjoy it, but I’ve never been cool.

definitely a dense assemblage of scenes, I could ride it over and over, which is, I am sure, part of the goal of the design. I’m too simple to mind the addition of the Disney characters, in fact, I think it’s good. Underscores that no matter where you live, Disney wants to sell you a toy.

Thanks Major, these are very fine.


Chuck said...

"...Underscores that no matter where you live, Disney wants to sell you a toy..."

The next opportunity will be upon exiting this attraction.

Melissa said...

These photos are as good as anything in an official Pictorial Souvenir.

iasw is one of my all-time favorite attractions. It's a true work of art. And, like Stefano, I love that there's so much detail you can see new things every time. The Balinese section IS particularly nice; a performing group came to the museum where I worked once and did Balinese dancing and shadow puppets, and it struck me how well it's a small world captured that whole aesthetic.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, yes, and even the holiday version, which is despised by some, is a feast for the eyes. My 8 year old niece was mesmerized.

JB, yes, just a hint of the tiger’s tail. And I agree, I was always intrigued by the shadow of the Balinese figure, such a simple thing, and yet it really grabbed me. I know exactly what you mean about the dancing motion of the African women, those scenes are very joyous and fun. I don’t think those are supposed to be pineapple tops (do pineapples grow in Chile?), just random spiky plants. And the “doorknobs” make me think of the silver nonpareils that my mom used to put on Christmas cookies. I think the ones from my childhood had an actual microscopically-thin coating of real silver - they would definitely tarnish!

Chuck, I always looked to see the shadow puppet moving. I have no real idea how much movement the puppet does, if it’s just a minimal “back and forth” thing, but it still works wonderfully. Thanks for the link about wayang puppetry!

Stu29573, man, I listened to that Winston Hibler album so much, his narration has become a part of my brain. I love it!

Bu, it’s also astounding to think that IASW was sort of a rush job, designed from start to finish in less than a year. And this was while the Imagineers were working on Lincoln, the “Magic Skyway” ride, and “Carousel of Progress”. What a time! I guess I can sort of understand why some people don’t care for IASW, but I have always liked it, maybe in part because I liked the design aesthetic without even realizing it. My mom used to do simple paper sculptures, and mosaics, and other stuff, so we had books about various arts and crafts in our home, I liked to look at them and figure out how things were done. Do kids to paper mache in school any more? I think I like the Autopia more than you do, while acknowledging that it has “issues”. Meanwhile, I am on the record as liking the Sherman Bros. song, it has never driven me crazy the way it has for so many others. I’ll bet you can get that Winston Hibler album on eBay for a few bucks!

Chuck, Mrs. Chuck is thrifty, wise, and cool!

Stefano, its true, you can feel Walt’s optimism coming through, and how can anyone object to the “little children of the world” joining together in fellowship and song? Some people love to point out that Walt was not the most progressive person in the world, and yet… for someone born in 1901, I’d say he did OK. Who among us can claim to be perfect? I’ve never even heard of a Taus (or a Mayuri), so thanks for pinting that out. Thanks for mentioning Alice Davis too, I wrote this post when she was still with us, she should get so much credit.

JG, you make a good point about the “hippy flowers”, one of the things that appeals to me is the 1960s aesthetic that still survives even after many revisions and changes. I still think that riding IASW with my young niece is one of the best memories I have, she was so awed by it (and sang along). I don’t care for the fact that they reduced the “Polynesian” section in order to add the clunky “America” scene. I don’t hate the addition of the Disney characters, but it just feels kind of unnecessary to me. The original version felt more “pure” (like “Pirates”, pre-Johnny Depp).

Chuck, ugh, that big ugly souvenir stand! I’d love it if they tore that thing down.

Melissa, yes, the level of detail is pretty astonishing, not to mention the fact that the ride is LONG, and who doesn’t love a relaxing boat ride? It’s great.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I still have that happy feeling inside, whenever I ride iasw (IASW? Iasw?) -- like when I first experienced it when it opened in Disneyland. To me, it's still a "new attraction."

"even getting stuck in the closing scene for 45 minutes in it's a small world...."
Bu, I can't help but picture you in the sinking boat, rather soggy from the middle, down. hee hee

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, What did you think of the holiday version of IASW? While I often complain that the Disney people can go over the top, I feel like they did an impressive job with the Christmas version of IASW.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I love it, too!


That Winston Hibler album as classic as it is
Isn’t rare by any means . It was available at the NYWF and as a park and record dealer item from Walt Disney Records … the album was available in the company’s record album assortments and cataloged at DL & WDW into the early 1990’s. With all due respect this album is slightly more rare than beach sand . The album was also sold in Japan and Tokyo Disneyland under the Disney-PONY CANYON distribution. In the 1990’s the New York worlds fair cover was made available on CD on the CD on demand system as well as a pre-printed version as well. Tokyo Disneyland released the same album on CD with one side being the 1966 Disneyland album cover and the opposite side featuring the World’s Fair album cover . You can get a 1966 cover .. a 80’s or 90’s sealed version for about 40.00 on eBay if you look. The CD version runs around 50.00 to 100.00. ( this is not to be confused with the 5 cd set Walt Disney at the Worlds Fair. )

Disneyland Records sells a modern picture disc record album of restored attraction soundtrack material - some that was on the New York fair cd set.

Tokyo Disneyland features a new picture disc album with ride Thru arrangements of the full ITS A SMALL WORLD attraction side A is the 1983 opening version and side B is the current version that opened after an extensive overhaul and re-Art directing .

And in case you don’t know , Walt Disney Records recently released an anniversary record album picture disc for ADVENTURE THRU INNER SPACE … including some isolated music tracks never before available ( including book leg stuff!)

The inner space album should still be available on DISNEY MUSIC EMPORIUM .

Dean Finder said...

I saw the holiday overlay of iasw last week, and thought it wasn't that disruptive. I think the lights on the facade are the more significant change from the usual. It's not at all like the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay on the Haunted Mansion

JG said...

The IASW holiday overlay is nice, they should just do the lights, which are very good.

The “Nightmare” overlay on the Haunted Mansion is like a crayon mustache on the Mona Lisa.


Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I’m glad you got to see it!

Mike Cozart, yeah, that’s the trouble with Disney stuff, some sellers just assume (maybe rightly?) that collectors have no clue and will pay big bucks, even for common items. I’m not surprised that the album was available into the 1990s, I wonder if I drove my parents crazy by playing mine so much (on my little red record player)? My dad liked it when I played my Snow White “Storyteller” album because he loved that movie and the songs. If I wanted to get the IASW album on vinyl, I would want to be able to play it. You know, the charm of those pops and clicks and other artifacts. A sealed copy is nice, but you can only look at it. I did not know anything about the ATIS album with previously-unreleased tracks! I’ll have to look for that. I still have a record player at my mom’s house, though I think she unplugged all of the cables for some reason.

Dean Finder, yes, somehow I don’t find the IASW show quite as “sacred” as the Haunted Mansion. I don’t hate the Nightmare Before Christmas version of the Mansion, but good grief, it’s like that for what, five months? Too long!

JG, you would get along just fine with my brother, he dislikes the Nightmare version of the Mansion deeply!

Dean Finder said...

I thought the Nightmare decorations on the outside of the HM was interesting. The changes inside were OK at best. I didn't mind seeing it once, since I've only seen the Florida version. But if I got to DL again, it will be when the real HM is running. I'd really like to see the differences between the coasts.

Anonymous said...

Dean, from your earlier comment, I assumed you live near Disneyland—but your last comment now has me wondering??


Melissa said...

The Nightmare Before Christmas needs a dark ride of its own. It would never be out of season because it could take you on a tour of all the holiday lands.

Dean Finder said...

Sue, I live in NJ, but was in Cabo San Lucas for a family wedding earlier in the month. My wife and I decided to take advantage of our West Coast trip and visit DL before the holiday crowds arrive.

Anonymous said...

Dean, I hope you and your wife enjoyed Disneyland!!