Monday, June 30, 2008

Rosa Brooks - "Resist The Princesses" A Witty Insight

Belated applause for the Los Angeles Times' Rosa Brooks and her stunningly insightful essay "Resist the Princesses," which appeared back on March 27, 2008. Loved it the moment I came across it at the breakfast table. I immediately shared it with my wife. Our youngest daughter is a headlong victim of the new "Cult of the Disney Princess." She dresses primarily in pink. She is blonde (like Cinderella). She has seen "Cinderella" umpty times. She fits the profile outlined by Rosa Brooks in her article. Or maybe we fit the profile as parents of a modern "Disney Princess!"

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.