Thursday, March 6, 2008
Disney and more Time machine - Back in time to 1974 : America Sings tribute : Artwork, photos and video !
Today, the Disney and more Time Machine bring you back in time to 1974 when the great America Sings attraction, a tribute to American music, opened in Disneyland, replacing the Carousel of Progress after the show moved to the Magic Kingdom Park WDW in 1973.
America Sings used the same Carousel Theater that its predecessor vacated, with its outer ring of six theaters, all connected by divider walls, revolving mechanically about every four minutes around the six fixed stages in the center of the building. Unlike Disneyland's Carousel of Progress, which rotated clockwise, America Sings went counter-clockwise. And just like Carousel of Progress, the show was full of great WDI Audio-animatronics.
The show's Masters of Ceremony were an American bald eagle named Sam (voiced by Burl Ives) and an unnamed owl rumored to be named Ollie (voiced by Sam Edwards). The image of Eagle Sam was designed by Disney animator Marc Davis, as were the other characters.
The great imagineer Jeff Burke, who, later, will be DLP's Frontierland show-producer, built the attraction in collaboration with Marc Davis. Composer Norman "Buddy" Baker arranged a selection of songs chosen to represent a panoramic view of American music.
The show had four acts, an intro and a epilogue, and between each act, as the theater rotated with the lights blacked out, Sam sang about the next era the audience was about to enter, reprising the chorus of "Yankee Doodle".
In the intro,the four acts, and the epilogue, the songs were:
* Yankee Doodle - Eagle Sam
* Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair - Eagle Sam
* Pop Goes the Weasel - Ollie and the weasel
Act 1 - The Deep South - with the songs:
* Dixie / L'il Liza Jane / Camptown Races - Geese Quartet
* My Old Kentucky Home - Colonel Houndstoothe (Bassett hound in rocking chair)
* Polly Wolly Doodle - The Swamp Boys (gator trio, frogs and harmonica-playing raccoon)
* Single Girl - Mother Possum
* The Birmingham Jail - Coyote
* Down By The Riverside - Hens, Foxes, Swamp Boy Frogs
Act 2 - Headin' West - with the songs:
* Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill / I've Been Working on the Railroad / Fireball Mail - Geese Quartet
* The Old Chisholm Trail - Saddlesore Swanson
* Who Shot That Hole in My Sombrero? - Sombrero-wearing dog
* Billy, the Bad Guy - The Boothill Boys (vulture duo)
* Home on the Range - Tex Ranger (dog)
Act 3 - The Gay '(18)90s - with the songs:
* She May Be Somebody's Mother / The Bowery / After the Ball is Over - Geese Quartet
* Where is my Wandering Boy Tonight? - Geese Quartet & Mother Rabbit
* Won't You Come Home Bill Bailey - Showgirl Pig
* Sweet Adeline - Blossom-Nose Murphy (goose) & Geese Quartet
* The Old Grey Mare - The Old Gray Mare & Geese Quartet
* Bird in a Gilded Cage - Bird in a Gilded Cage and Fox
* Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay - Storks, Geese Quartets (male and female), Pig, Bird in a Gilded Cage and Fox
Act 4 - Modern Times - with the songs:
* Ja-Da / At the Darktown Strutters' Ball / Singin' in the Rain - Geese Quartet
* A-Tisket, A-Tasket / Boo-Hoo - College Quartet (male wolf, male fox and two female cats)
* Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar - Piano Pig
* Hound Dog / See You Later Alligator - Rooster, Stork, Porcupine, Hound Dog and Alligator
* Shake, Rattle and Roll - Rooster and Frog
* Twistin' U.S.A. - Motorcycle storks
* Joy to the World - Modern Times cast (except Piano Pig and College Quartet)
* Yankee Doodle (reprise) - Eagle Sam
* Auld Lang Syne - Sam and Ollie
* Exit Music: Stars and Stripes Forever
Some of you, dear readers, were lucky enough to see the show. Others, and even me, didn't had the chance to enjoy it. So, for all of you, here is a great two-part youtube video of the whole show, thanks to scottof83. The video was taped on April 10th, 1988 by his father, on the last day of this beloved attraction!
America Sings closed on Sunday, April 10, 1988. According to Alice Davis, wife of the late Marc Davis, production of Disneyland's Splash Mountain had gone way over budget and the only way to recover was to close down America Sings and use the characters from that attraction.
America Sings was finally replaced by Innoventions, a version of the Epcot attraction of the same name, in 1998. Most of the Audio-Animatronic animals were moved to Disneyland's Splash Mountain log flume, which opened on Disneyland's 34th anniversary on July 17, 1989 and where Tony Baxter did the fantastic job that we all know with the America Sings AA characters.
Two goose Audio-Animatronics were taken out before America Sings even closed. In 1986, they had their "skin" removed, which left only a robotic skeleton, and had their heads replaced, and were used as two talkative G2 droids in the queue to Star Tours, which would open in early 1987. The rock and roll stork in the finale is now used by Imagineers for training new Animatronics programmers, acting as a final exam of sorts. The remainder of the show's Audio-Animatronics were recycled.
Artwork and photos : copyright Disney
Youtube video, thanks to scottof83
My thanks to Wikipedia for part of the text