Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Disneyland - More 80s Nostalgia - Jungle Cruise - Tiki - Orange Polyester - Merry Christmas!

Ok. Ok. I know---it's been a month since my last post. I have been, shall we say, remiss.

But hey, this isn't "Julie & Julia," or even "Mike & Walt." I never promised to post every single day or to cook every dish in Julia Child's first cookbook over the course of a year.

Still...if you're gonna be a blogger, I guess you have to actually blog occasionally. Even if you have but four (4), count them, four(4) readers to your name.

I have seen somewhere that "Jungle is 101" is described as being a bit on the nostalgic side. That's like saying the Boy Scouts are a bit on the "help-an-old-lady-to-cross-the-street-and-learn-how-to-tie-really-good-knots" side.

I confess, when it comes to the Park, nostalgia is my game (though I do seem to recall a post or two relating to my most recent stint as a cast member!).

Thanks to the magic of the Internet, I've been able to come across many old photographs from my first tour of duty at the Park. Today, we peek at a few more, starting with the Jungle Cruise crew from 1986-87-ish (thanks to Sue B. for originally sharing this photo). Two of my favorite old skippers (Jimm and Dougg) (they insist on the double consonants) a pictured in the group below (Jimm to the far left and Dougg smack in the middle). See? The hats, the costumes, the canopies, the old seat cushions, 7 cast members on a single boat (doing absolutely nothing but posing for a picture)---Jungle at its finest!
I remember the macrame-style belts were a bit cheesy, but overall, we cut a fine form in our Jungle gear, eh?

In our next photograph we have old-time skipper "Wally" taking a zip around the rivers of Adventureland on the world famous "skiff." I worked a lot of parade shifts and Mark Twain with Wally. He was a great Jungle captain. Back in the day, they actually trusted us skippers (at least a few of us anyway) to pilot a boat through the Jungle that was not connected to the riverbed. Imagine.

Of course, our old lead (Don) was known to pilot an unwitting skipper or two (seated at the front of the skiff) directly under Schweitzer falls for a ceremonial jungle baptism (one of several preferred forms of the ritual---others included: the squirter, the falls, the Spur side, the unload, the front switch, the rear switch, the "it's clear to cross the bow! (and then throttle into reverse suddenly)" to name but a few).

Of course, after several times around the Jungle (or more, if the rest of your rotation was mad at you for taking an "extended" break), you would retire to one of the many premier break areas available to Disneyland Cast Members.

Each break area came stocked with: (1) a 40-year old vending machine (complete with 40-year old snacks inside), (2) an inoperative change machine (that would instantly spit back any type of bill one attempted to feed into it---from a crisp, newly minted greenback to the more common crumpled single), (3) a bench or table (usually orange for some reason) and (4) a videogame.

In a photograph below (originally shared byfrom Lee S.), we see a fellow Thunder cast member (Henry D.) enjoying a few mushroom-shooting moments with Centipede (with an inoperative brown change machine in the background). The old Thunder costumes were also pretty cool (though the boots would absolutely KILL your feet after a typical shift).
Some attractions actually permitted the cast member to be both on the clock AND taking a break AT THE SAME TIME. This wonder of the modern workplace was available in many forms around the Park, but none so perfect as the Tiki Room:
Here (in another Lee S. photo---thanks Lee!), we see a graphic demonstration of the work/break principle in its purest form, with Dave P. as our Tiki Room attraction operator. Uh, Dave, first you wake up Jose and now THIS? By the way, I think that same chair is STILL at Tiki (though now it's in the "office" in the back and not on stage as depicted above).

The photograph of Dave also brings back memories of the Tiki costume. Slacks and an orange Hawaiian shirt made entirely of polyester. Those pants would literally tear the hair off of your legs. They also would not breathe! Nice combo once July and August hit, let me tell you.

We close today's post with a 1986 photograph (again thanks to Lee S.) of Jeff Cravello at the turnstile position leading to the Tiki lanai. It looks like the sun is setting and the lights are coming up in Adventureland. Soon Jeff will be hearing the drums of the Tahitian Terrace show rumbling into action behind him. Very 80s specs Jeff is sporting, no?Okay, there is one thing I do NOT miss about 1980s Adventure/Frontier Attractions: Tiki polyester.

It took 25 years, but the hair finally has grown back on the front of my thighs. Sheesh.

Oh, and in case I don't post between now and then, may each of you have a safe, happy and Merry Christmas!

"Jungle Bells! Jungle Bells! Jungle all the way! Oh what fun it is to run...from an elephant about to spray! Hey!!"