Sunday, April 07, 2013
King Tut and small world
You may wonder what King Tut and the small world attraction at Disneyland have in common. I couldn't have told you until I read the latest issue of Vanity Fair, which has an article titled "The King of New York" by David Kamp. Back in 1976, the world was overtaken by King Tut fever, as priceless artifacts from the boy King's tomb were put on display for all to see.
The first photo here shows the Gold Mask of Tutankhamnun, 21.75" height, gold inlaid with opaque polychrome glass, lapis lazuli, green feldspar, carnelian, calcite and obsidian.
The first stop in the U.S. was The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which hosted the exhibit from November 17, 1976 — April 15, 1979, drawing more than eight million guests. In anticipation of the record crowds (and a fear of how to handle them), Richard Morsches, the Metropolitan Museum's VP of Operations, sent his staff to Disneyland to learn how The Mouse handled crowd control. From the article:
"Morsches called his Tut Ops people," says Stuart Silver, former design director at The Met. "I heard 'It's a Small World' so many times that I still can't bear to hear it."
The next photo shows a statuette of the Goddess Selket, 30.75" high, made of Gilded Wood:
It is only natural that a cultural phenomenon as big as King Tut would produce a few satires, with the biggest one being Steve Martin's jazzy musical tribute. I wore out my vinyl Steve Martin album as a kid, listening to the saxophone solo. Here's Martin performing the song in a vintage youtube clip; the sax solo is not quite as fab as the album version:
So that I don't disappoint small world fans, here are a few vintage shots from August 1967, barely a year after the attraction first opened at Disneyland:
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