Thursday, February 24, 2011

America Sings Weekend & Tomorrowland - 1981

Hey kids, it's time for another vintage newspaper ad from the Los Angeles Times! Thirty years ago this week, Disneyland was celebrating "America Sings Weekend."

One month earlier, Disneyland had "Small World Days". Now it was America Sings' turn in the spotlight and once again, park guests did not have to give up an "E" ticket in order to experience it (or was America Sings already a "D" ticket by 1981?) The ad reads, "Snap a souvenir photo with Sam the Eagle".....was there ever a walk-around character of Sam the Eagle? I miss America Sings. I would rather watch those characters perform in the Carousel Theater instead of just float past them briefly on Splash Mountain. Oh well, I guess that's PROGRESS!

One of the souvenirs being sold in the park at this time, were postcard books that included eight regular sized postcards attached to a mini version of the postcard. I guess the idea was that you could tear along the perforation, send the postcard to someone and still have the smaller version attached to the book to keep for yourself. There was a postcard book for each of the "lands" and there was also one with shots of the park's 25th Anniversary "Family Reunion Parade" from 1980. The Tomorrowland book featured two interior scenes from America Sings. Here is the entire postcard book.

The front cover was the only postcard that did not include the "mini version."

The back cover:

Wouldn't THIS monorail still look futuristic today?

By the 1980's, wasn't the Matterhorn considered strictly a Fantasyland attraction?

Too bad Space Mountain doesn't look like this anymore!

Geez, everything at Disneyland was better back then, wasn't it?

This group sang, "Hound Dog" and "See You Later, Alligator" in Act 4 of America Sings.

The Swamp Boys sang, "Polly Wolly Doodle" in Act 1.

I think it would be nice to see all of the buildings in Tomorrowland restored to their 1967 glory. I really don't have faith anymore that Disney could do anything that looks better. They wanted "retro" for the '98 Tomorrowland.....well, do retro again, but do THIS version of retro! It would also be nice to see the PeopleMover come back in some form and also some kind of rotating theater show in the former Carousel Theater building. I know, I know....IT AIN'T NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!

Happy America Sings Weekend, everyone!


Connie Moreno said...



I think what made the Tomorrowland 1967 (and the WDW Tomorrowland 1975) so beautiful and spectacular was that WED approached the overall design with serious design. On a larger scale, with full complete structures, those Tomorrowland structures could have held there own in any real architectural competition. The way the interiors flowed.....the passageways past planters and built-in benches....and the use or real art....tiles....murals.....textured panels......this was REAL. Today Disney's design for Tomorrowland far too hokey. And that Tomorrowland 1998 was the biggest disaster next to DCA #1!! I remember how John Hench couldn't find a kind word to say about that "Rusted-Taco-Bell Tomorrow" scheme. The color palate -and the design reasoning was ridiculous. And it didn't make anything in that land stand-out. Already browns and rusts were used in Frontierland, Adventureland.............and dark brass and weathered metals were being used on Main Street and Fantasyland!! was like serving a 10 course meal.......and all the courses were BROWN GRAVEY!! As a designer the way Tomorowland is handled in the past 15 years has really irritated me.

On a side note: in the final phases of Tokyo Disneyland's designing, WED had offered up both AMERICA SINGS (to be relocated from Disneyland) and If YOU HAD WINGS( to be relocated from WDW) for TDL's Tomorrowland opening. It was intended that once HORIZONS was opened at EPCOT, WDW's Carousel of Progress would be sent BACK to Disneyland!! This version would be called THE CENTURY OF PROGRESS and would have featured a whole new theme song I will eventually feature this on my TOMORROWLOUNGE Blog.

Anyway, OLC decided to take MEET THE WORLD of the EPCOT plate and America Sings and If You Had Wings stayed put in the USA. If You Had Wings would have been placed where Star Tours is today-between Space Mountain and Meet The World. Before Meet The World got selected , America Sings was being planed to go in a Carousel Theater with the Star Jets on top!!

Yes! there was a Sam The Eagle costume Character!! he was made for the opening in 1974. For years he was still kept in the character HEAD storage room---not to far from a Shaggy Dog and a Mr. Toad!!!

TokyoMagic! said...

Connie, thanks!

Mike, thank you for all that info! I love hearing all the Tokyo DL stuff. I agree with your comments about the design of the '67 and '98 Tomorrowland. What...John Hench didn't like Cosmic Waves or the Observatron? That's hard to believe! I hated seeing those earth-tones used in Tomorrowland and even on DCA's Tower of Terror. They seem to have a love affair with those colors right now. Tokyo DL's Monsters Inc. was painted the same color and wasn't the new Little Mermaid attraction building just painted a yellowish-beige?

I can't wait to see your post about the new version of Carousel of Progess that we might have had. I still wish they would bring that back to DL!

Major Pepperidge said...

The funny thing about the 1998 Tomorrowland redo is that, in theory, I think that a retro "steampunk" or Jules Verne Tomorrowland could be pretty neat, if they really went all-out.

But it would be completely different from the '67 Tomorrowland with all the white and splashes of bright colors... all of those dark bronzes and other muted metals, blue-green oxidation (verdigris), and even leather and velvet for interiors add up to something not especially happy or welcoming.

TokyoMagic! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I agree with you about it being a neat look if it's done right, but I don't know if it really belongs in Tomorrowland.

Tokyo DisneySea did this look and they did it right, but it's in a section of the park called Mysterious Island and it's completely devoted to Jules Verne. It has attractions based on "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" and "Journey To The Center Of The Earth." There is also a Nautilus docked in the water and a volcano looming over the entire land. I'm sure the Japanese (who actually own both Tokyo parks) were willing to spend far more money for it to be done right, than Disney management here in the U.S. ever would be.

Dan Alexander said...

Retro Tomorrowland sure looks like fun!

I love the America Sings characters (never got to see the show in person, but I saw it on video) and I'm happy that most of them survived the move to Splash Mountains around the world.

I have a Charles Boyer Splash Mountain poster that features many of the America Sings characters, including the Old Grey Mare (in the poster it was changed to a male character with a beard, top hat and bow tie). Was this figure ever really in Disneyland's Splash Mountain?

Cool information, Mr. Cozart--I'm curious what the Eagle and Toad costumes looked like!

Anonymous said...

I think the mood of our country was so optimistic then that it was reflected in the wonderful sleek Tomorrowland I remember from the 1960's. I naively believed that things would be better for my children. This hope is what needs to be restored not only in our nation, but in Tomorrowland.
Bring back the PeopleMover!

TokyoMagic! said...

Dan, I don't believe the "Old Grey Mare" figure was used in Splash Mt. There were a few others that weren't used in addition to all of the Sam the Eagle figures and his owl sidekick. I wonder what happened to all those A.A.s? And I would also LOVE to see what the walk-around Sam the Eagle character looked like...and the Mr. Toad character too!

Debbie V., I agree with you about the hope and optimism needing to be restored, and as for bringing back the PeopleMover....your singing my song!

Yellows said...

Discovery Bay was the place for the Jules Verne stuff. I still find it hard to believe that anyone signed off on the Tomorrowland disaster.

TokyoMagic! said...

Anne, whoever signed off on Tomorrowland '98 was probably the same person that signed off on Light Magic and California Adventure. For me, that time period was sort of the beginning of the end!

A Snow White Sanctum said...

I dig that pic of the monorail. And yes bring back the people mover in one form or another. I love Walt Disney's vision of transportation.

And I also want a shot at riding in an autopia car with a pig!

Terrific pics Tokyo!

Nancy said...

oh so gorgeous....Tomorrowland is MY land! thanks for these great shots :D