Saturday, December 29, 2007
"Plusing The Show,” 1955
Most Disney afficianados have heard the term “plusing the show,” and that it received its origin from Walt overhearing a mother tell her child that they didn’t need to ride the Jungle Cruise again because they’d already been on it once. Supposedly, from that day on, it reaffirmed Walt’s philosophy that the park should constantly change and evolve so that even the classic attractions like Jungle Cruise could provide a new experience with (almost) each visit. I know that each time I am on an attraction at the park, I scrutinize each corner to look for a new gag, prop, or even a slight change in an Audio Animatronic figure’s costume. So...bringing us back to the title of this post...from 1955, here is an example of “plusing the show,” even if it is a minor one. Photo one is a painted cutout of a grizzly bear, used for a kitschy photo opportunity. Photo #2 shows the same cutout in the same position, but this time, sparkly letters have been added. Not only did this provide a marketing opportunity for Disney (capitalizing on their TV show), but it also helps identify the location of the photo; future generations would have little idea of what carnival or fair this photo may have been from. It also makes it more exciting for someone to imagine themselves as Davy Crockett, and not some ordinary schmoe who is being attacked by a bear. If you’re Davy Crockett, chances are you’re gonna have a new rug soon!
Speaking of kitschy photo opps...here’s one from Frontierland, September 1955. This 3 kids were able to pose with Davy Crockett & George...well, maybe not the real guys (Fess Parker & Buddy Ebsen), but wax likenesses...which is the next best thing! The show took the country by storm; coon-skin caps were the rage, and kids ate it up. It must have been a thrill for children to have their picture taken with these 2.
The photo jacket that came with the photo included these 2 logos:
I’d like to make an informal request to Disneyland to bring back some kitsch, as I think it is sorely missing at the park. Looking at the photos of Bud & Betty, you can see an adult couple having fun and cutting loose in a way that they may not do outside of the park. This was part of Walt’s genius; creating a place that allows adults to be childlike again and leave the cares of the outside world behind. So, how about a little more corn? A little more kitsch? It can go hand-in-hand alongside all the new-fangled technical marvels that exist at the park today without detracting from them. See more vintage and current Disneyland photos on my regular website.