Monday, August 10, 2015

Let It Burn

For no other reason than just because, I am posting some images of the Burning Cabin at Disneyland. It's one of those little things that really made me appreciate Disneyland so much. Even though it has a family-friendly reputation, every now and then you would encounter a little dark twist that would make you think, Hey…this Walt guy is actually pretty cool. This first shot is one of my earliest and best, dating back to October 16, 1956.

Another 1956 shot. Can't you just imagine Walt at the story meeting for this one. "OK guys…I want a cabin on Tom Sawyer's Island. And I want it to burn. And let's put a dead guy with an arrow through his chest. Sounds good, right?" In these two 1956 shots, the dead settler appears to be rolled on his side.

A few from 1958:

Have to get a better look at the dead settler:

This November 1967 shot must have been taken from the train:

Talk about heartburn.

And here it is today. Positively snoozeville. No dead settler. No flames.

Light things up over at my main website with more Burning Cabin photos.

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K. Martinez said...
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K. Martinez said...

Yep! It ain't what it used to be. Is it?

Fifthrider said...

I love that the waving Indian chief is across the way, waving at the passengers of the Mark Twain. "Hey! Hi! Over here! Nothing to see on that bank! Look over here, at me! Hi!" (sigh) I miss those little dark touches that showed Walt's parks had an edge. I recently read an article about how the Wicked Witch in Snow White scared kids. Walt said his own daughters weren't afraid but years later Diane said no, it scared the hell out of her. Walt kept the witch in the movie as-is because like you said, he knew you had to have a dark side. It makes the light side that much brighter. Same goes for the burning cabin. What a great and dynamic surprise when you rounded the bend. Today it's a nice boat trip around a couple of animatronic people and animals, then back to port.

Matthew said...

It says it on the plaque, "Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the HARD FACTS that have created America."

Now, with that said, did the early settlers and the American Government break treaties with the Native Americans. Yes, they did, and when they did they were risking their life and the lives of many others. But I bet "some" of those early settlers knew when they were breaking a treaty... taking what did not rightfully belong to them.

That has always been the tableau Walt was telling here. This settler moved beyond the protection of Fort Wilderness into hostile Indian country (not like the Friendly Indians on the other side of the river waving "hi" (good one fifthrider!) : )Nor like the band "The Friendly Indians" voted Orange County's most widely entertaining band). And it is for this reason, I say, "let it burn!"

Now, some interesting side notes I wrote here one other time way back in 2000 something, was when I was asked to do an inspection of the river after a major rehab (1992 I think). I unlocked the gate by Fort Wilderness and was asked to ensure all the speakers and lighting were installed according to WDI's specifications. "I was a kid in a candy shop" I think I wrote. I was surprised to find out that the cabin was made out of metal not cement or fire proof logs (now I don't know if that is still true... but it was back then). That is also the rehab when they added the eagles outside of the "moonshiner's" cabin. There was a great sound effect of breaking glass and then a larger explosion of fire roaring out of the cabin. Really cool... but alas. No more.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

K. Martinez said...

That's a cool bit of info about the burning cabin being made out of metal. It does make sense. Thanks, Matthew/Amazon Belle!

Edward Allen said...

Man, that Cabin terrified me as a 7 year old. First time I saw it was on the Columbia at night when it still sailed around Tom Sawyer's Island after dark. You could see the glow of the fire before you actually saw the entire scene, and the crackle and roar of the flames was on the ship's loudspeaker, with some narration about hostile Indians on the warpath. Knowing it was a staged tableau and not real (although the fire itself certainly was) only made it more macabre and scary. An additional little touch was an entire war party of braves across the river bank watching the scene, all with warpaint, etc. I think they were still there as late as 1989.

Thanks for those photos, Dave.

Daveland said...

Matt - Thanks for sharing all of that great information!

Anonymous said...

Great perspective from Matthew. When we did the monologue on the Columbia or Keel Boats we always would note that the settler was wearing his Arrow shirt that day. KS