Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fowl Stuff At Disneyland! - The Walt Disney Story

Well, it's time for Part Three of my "Fowl Stuff At Disneyland!" series. To see Part One on the Enchanted Tiki Room Barker Bird, click here. (I just updated that post with some home video footage that I recently found). To see Part Two of this series, which featured the live birds that were located at the base of the Swiss Family Treehouse in the late nineties, click here.

On with today's post! Today, we're taking a look at the Audio-Animatronic owl that was a part of The Walt Disney Story for many years, starting back in 1973 when the attraction first opened in the Main Street Opera House.

He sat in an alcove just inside the entrance to the exhibit and was the host for a short film about the "animal actors" in Walt Disney's "True-Life Adventure" films. Notice the gold lettering above the stage reads, "Walt Disney, Naturalist".

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this owl was based on the Wise Old Owl from the 1948 Disney movie, "So Dear To My Heart."

Today, this alcove has been enclosed and houses the large model of Disneyland as it was in 1955.

I wonder what happened to that little Audio-Animatronic critter? Hopefully, he is being stored in a safe place somewhere, perhaps awaiting a return to the park for some future use. I know, I know....and Max, Buff and Melvin are just hangning around in the Pooh attraction awaiting some future use too, right? Hey, I can hope, can't I? By the way, the upholstered bench seats from this area were moved just across the room and are now available for guests that want to sit and watch the film "Disneyland, The First 50 Magical Years."

For those that were never able to see this presentation or don't remember it that well, here it is in it's entirety. I shot this footage myself back in 1997. I don't know who the actor was that supplied the voice for the owl, but it sure sounds like it could be Hans Conreid. Enjoy!


Major Pepperidge said...

WOW, this brings back memories! I had forgotten all about the owl, although I remember especially liking him at the time. Yes, I think you are correct about him being based on the owl from "So Dear To My Heart".

I tried to watch the video, but got a "this video is private" message, so now I am crying.

TokyoMagic! said...

Sorry, Major! I hadn't made the video "public" yet. Thanks for letting me know. You should be able to watch it now.

Daveland said...

As of 2006, the remains of this set still existed behind the wall (before the 50th model was moved here); not sure what happened to the owl.

Major Pepperidge said...

I think that could be Hans Conreid! I wondered if he originally did the voice of the owl in "So Dear to My Heart", but imdb says it was an actor named Ken Carson.

Connie Moreno said...

Awww, this post brought a BIG smile to my face!

Major Pepperidge said...

By the way, we all know that "naturalist" is a euphemism for NUDIST!

Snow White Archive said...

Now that's a bit of bygone Disneyland! Odds are there aren't many video recordings of this to be found. Once again Tokyo, I'm really enjoying the historical documentations from your personal video archives.

TokyoMagic! said...

Dave, maybe the set is STILL back there today....and maybe the owl WILL return someday!

Naturalist...Nudist? Major, you are too funny!

Connie & SWS, I'm glad you both enjoyed the video. I have a lot more video from this time period....stay tuned, please!

Dan Alexander said...

This owl also looks like Hoot Gibson, a character that would have hosted the Western River Expedition for Frontierland at Walt Disney World. And sort of like the little owl in Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland. Great post, whoever this owl is!

TokyoMagic! said...

Dan, I was thinking the same thing....I almost posted a pic of the owl from Tokyo Disneyland's Splash Mt. for a comparison! Here's a link to a previous post showing him: Tokyo DL Owl

Wasn't there an A.A. of Hoot Gibson that was part of the Western River Expedition preview in WDW's Walt Disney Story? I think I've seen pics of him and you're right...he really does look like the DL owl.