Monday, June 30, 2008

America Sings - 1985 - "Choir Practice"

A tradition was established among the sweepers in Tomorrowland in the mid-1980s. It involved the unique access we in Day Custodial had to certain "back stage" areas that were otherwise "off limits." Our friendship with maintenance crew and ride operators (as well as a healthy amount of curiosity) earned us access to many unique places, including the central theater stage of the "America Sings" attraction.

There was an underground access tunnel that connected the attraction, the Tomorrowland Terrace (Coke Terrace) and the Tomorrowland stage. Some sweepers were able to get to the stage area of "America Sings," which was stationary. The outer portion of the building rotated around the stage. Sadly, in 1974, a young female ride operator, Deborah Gail Stone, was killed when she was caught between the center stage and the large rotating theater portion of the building.

By our day, however, that danger had been addressed and when a group of sweepers went into the attraction, they were nowhere near the rotating wall located off the center stage. "Choir Practice" involved three or four sweepers crowding in the wings near the right side of the stage where "Blossom Nosed Murphy" sang "Sweet Adeline," along with the quartet of geese who were stationed on the left side of the stage. The song went like this:
MURPHY: (drunkenly) Sweeeeeet Aaaaaaaaduuuuuuhliiiiine.
GEESE: (echo) Sweet Adeline.
MURPHY: Mmmmmmmmy Aaaaaaduuuhliiiiiiiiiine.
GEESE: My Adeline.
MURPHY: Aaaaat niiiiiiiight, dear heaaaaaaaart.
GEESE: At night, dear heart.
MURPHY: Ffffffffffforrrrrrrr youuuuuuu I piiiiiiiine.
GEESE: For you I pine.
The covert sweepers would sing along with Murphy during his supposed "solo" portion of the song. They sang loudly and badly. The poor ride operator (who could see and hear the sweepers from her position) would be practically on the ground laughing during the performance. The guests never seemed to notice (maybe they thought it was part of the attraction), though I'm sure they wondered why the ride operator found the "Sweet Adeline" segment so amusing. The guests could not see the sweepers from their seats in the theater, but the sweepers could definitely be heard.

If you rode the attraction back then (about three years before it closed down and was replaced with the essentially worthless "Innoventions") and you thought something was amiss during "Sweet Adeline," you were right. Below is a video of this section of the attraction's show (thanks to scottof83 at YouTube. Check out time slot 2:15 through 2:45 on the video.


Namowal said...

I loved America Sings! That's why my blogger avatar is a gooselike creature. I have the soundtrack memorized.
Those mid-70s animatronics (including the silhouette of the saloon rabbit)are animated better than 97% of flash animation on the web.
Innovations is/was horrifying. About as exciting as the mechanics of a toilet tank.

Mike said...

Actually, Namowal, I think I prefer the typical toilet tank mechanism to the "marvels" of Innoventions---much more visual and substantive interest in the tank of a toilet. Wait. Was that too harsh? Sorry, Innoventions, that's reality.

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Katella Gate said...

"America Sings" is exactly Disney at its best - a superior, original show (Carousel of Progress) being retired and replaced by an equally superior, original show. Not a re-tread. No faux synergistic movie tie-ins.

And not somebody else's franchise smuggled in for a price like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Captain Eo, the Muppets -- a disturbing trend by the way.

Disney used to "Manufacture Happiness": Now the company seems to be nothing more than a brokerage that buys and sells other people's Entertainment Properties like landlords buy and sell office buildings. Walt is to Edison as Eisner is to Ted Turner.

As a footnote, all the songs used in "America Sings" are, of course, actual songs from the past, except "Where is my Wondering Boy Tonight?", which is based on a temperance hymn from the 1890, but the original is so leaden and plodding that "X" and Buddy Baker* sweetened the tune and got it to focus on the punchline, delivered in silhouette. That's classy monkey poop right there.

Well, I'm off to learn Chinese.

*(I'm guessing that's who did the script and musical arrangements - George Bruns had gotten out of Attraction music after the Tiki Room. He felt it was "too limiting").