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March 20, 2008

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Matthew Corey

You should check out "The Perfect American," by Peter Stephan Jungk.

The Lincoln robot figures pretty heavily in a couple of places.

I was actually kind of scared this post was going to be about somebody getting pounded or thrown across the room by it.

http://www.powells.com/review/2004_08_23.html

Brandon

My Disney humiliation came in the form of the Disneyworld Hall of Presidents. In the middle of the showing we were at the Abe Lincoln started to go off cue, bobbing when he wasn't speaking, not moving when he was speaking and generally acting like he had a degenerative disease. As an astonished audience watched on, he finally stopped trying to keep up with the audio tape and slowly slumped backwards at the knees until his head touched the ground. We were quickly shepherded out by the attendants with me crying and my parents pulling me by the arm. When we were outside my father asked me what my issue was. "What happened to that man!!!" I cried. "Man?, that was no man!! That was a robot!" I thought it was all real!

My parents laughed at me for days. Still do.

schlep

No lollipop for you! Great story though.

There's something Harryhausenesque about that roboLincoln, brrrr.

Kip W

I went to Disneyland twice before I was old enough to remember it. Then when I was two, we moved to Fort Collins, Colorado, my own private Disneyland. I used to dream of Disneyland -- in my dreams, it was closed up and there were frozen puddles in the planter boxes (even Donald Duck couldn't get me in). I had to leave Colorado in 1980, and have been dreaming of Fort Collins ever since.

Imagine my surprise to learn, a few years ago, that my Northern Colorado home town was a model for Main Street, USA. Co-designer Harper Goff patterned several of the buildings after models in FC. They tore down the courthouse in the 50s, but the Fire Station can still be seen, and the owners restored the old tower a while ago. (I got to visit the place with my second-grade class, while it was still a fire station, and one of the other boys got to slide down the pole.) It seems to me that the old bank building on the corner of Linden and Jefferson is in there too. When I was growing up, it spent most of its time being a semi-sleazy game room called "Pla-Mor."

We all wore onions on our belts, because that was the fashion in those days.

Kip W

ps to Abe Lincoln: Project Gutenberg has the script for "Our American Cousin." When you get to the line about the sockdalagizing old man-trap, say "Bang!"

Clinton McClung

Walt really did have a fondness for Colorado, and would vacation there often, so no surprise that he used Ft Collins for a model.

And speaking of Colorado (where I, too, was raised), I actually had the idea of doing this post because of an article I read a couple weeks ago about a complex that Walt Disney built in Denver: Celebrity Sports Center. This was one of my favorite places as a kid, a huge bowling alley/arcade/swimming pool (and for a time slot car racing) complex on Colorado Blvd. that opened in 1961.

Originally, it was not just Walt, but a slew of celebrity investors (including Jack Benny and Art Linklater), who opened the fun palace, hoping to expand it to a nationwide chain. By 1971, the other investors had backed out, and Disney owned it outright. It kept open and used as a training center for Disney World employees. By 1980, Disney was out, and it was privately owned. Now it is gone - razed and now housing the parking lot for Home Depot. Progress!

Anyway, that little factoid is what got me thinking about Disneyland...and my lollipop.

Clinton McClung

Brandon,

That story made this whole post worth doing. Amazing! I think if my Lincoln had freaked out like that, my head might have fallen off. There is nothing in the world quite as terrifying as malfunctioning animatronics.

PS - Did your parents realize that robots are even scarier?!

Brandon

To be honest I wasn't sure if my story about the malfunctioning Abe were true or not. I had an uneasy notion after seeing the Disneyland post that something had happened during my visit to The Hall of Presidents--something horrible. I had to call my father to confirm the worst which he did, and then he laughed at me yet again.

Talk about repressed memories.

Wandrew

In Philip K. Dick's novel WE CAN BUILD YOU, the main character has the same reaction when a robot Lincoln his company has made comes to "life." I would have reacted the same way too, I imagine.
I finally get to Disneyland and the damn thing's down for repairs. I ended up seing the same film you did. Which was OK, but...I never got a chance to say, "Help me, Lincoln!"

h.d reynolds

Oh lordy -- I had completely forgotten about this part of the CA Adventure~! Good times at the Tiki Room-check! Monte Cristo Sandwiches-check! Long-term Lolly Laments ... -uncheck! Thanks for dredging it up -- I'm buying you large candy next time I see you.
Now - where's your commentary on Captain Eo?

Sorcerer-mickey

You can revisit Disneyland at Sorcerer's Workshop.org - photos, audio tracks, and scripts of vintage, vanished, and evolving attractions.
http://sorcerersworkshop.org/

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