Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fowl Stuff At Disneyland - The Enchanted Tiki Room Barker Bird

(This is the first of a three-part series on "Fowl Stuff" at Disneyland.)

Today's post features The Enchanted Tiki Room's "barker bird", which sat on a perch over the entrance to the attraction when it first opened back in 1963. The idea was to have one of the audio-animatronic birds outside talking to the crowd below, trying to get them to come inside and see the show. Supposedly he was so popular, that he bogged down the flow of traffic through the area and was eventually removed. The photo below is courtesy of Major Pepperidge (thank you again, Major!) of Gorillas Don't Blog and shows one of the audio-animatronic birds that was used (there was also one with blue plumage).

For a while, one of the barker birds was on display inside The Walt Disney Story in the Opera House on Main St. He sat in this showcase which now contains a display of past, present and future Disneyland attractions.

Below, is a photo of the same showcase taken in 1997. The barker bird can be seen sitting on his perch at the bottom of the display.

Here's a closeup shot.

If we zoom in, we can see the cords that were used to provide the bird with sound and movement.

I was going to attempt to include footage of the barker bird doing his thing outside the Tiki Room, but being AV challenged, I just couldn't get it together. However, footage of the barker bird can be seen in the "Wonderful World of Color" episode, "Disneyland's 10th Anniversary" which aired in 1965 and is included in the DVD set, "Your Host, Walt Disney" (released in 2006 as part of the Walt Disney Treasures series.) There is also a short audio snippet available on one of the CDs from the "Musical History of Disneyland" boxed set (released in 2005 for Disneyland's 50th anniversary.) I should also mention that Wally Boag provided the voice of both the barker bird and the show's host, Jose.

***POST UPDATE*** - May 13, 2011:

Here is some footage that I found of the Barker Bird on display in The Walt Disney Story. I shot this footage in 1997.

And here is that footage from "Disneyland's 10th Anniversary" showing the Barker Bird in action.


A Snow White Sanctum said...

It's pretty interesting that the bird was outside. It's one thing to develop an animatronic that operates within the controlled environment of the Tiki Room. It something more involved to create one to function outside in the weather and elements.

But then again, what am I saying? Isn't that what the Jungle Cruise is all about?

I like the hat on "barker bird". Nice touch.

Major Pepperidge said...

I wonder if the blue barker bird is the exact same animatronic, just "re-skinned", or if they actually built another one? Love the two photos of the same display case from different years. The old display was definitely more interesting!

Looking forward to parts 2 & 3...

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

SWS, I thought the same thing. The Jungle Cruise Toucans and Hornbilled Bird (both removed from Anaheim when the Indy attraction was built) had hard exterior surfaces that were painted as if they were covered with feathers. The barker bird appeared to be covered with the same soft material as the birds inside the Tiki Room. I do wonder what happened to it when it rained? Maybe someone would climb up there, unplug him and bring him in out of the rain?

Major, I was also wondering if the blue and red birds could've been the same figure with just different coverings. I just assumed that they would've had at least one spare to put up there in case one of them broke down....but who knows for sure?

Connie Moreno said...

Great post!

Dan Alexander said...

Outdoor animatronics are amazing! I was wondering if the Mr. Potato Head barker figure at Toy Story Midway Mania in California gets covered behind his curtain when it rains.

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks, Connie!

Dan, That's a good question...I'm not sure about that. I wonder if they cover Mr. Potato Head after the park closes even if it isn't raining?