Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Where's My Wench Wednesday

Although I love her dearly, I have not seen her in over THREE YEARS! Who am I referring to? Why, the Redheaded Wench from Walt Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean dark ride attraction. The panoramic view of this scene opening today’s post was shot back in December 2015. The following shot was from the last one I took of her, June 2016.

What happened to her? As you may or may not know, the Marc Davis designed animatronic became a victim of misguided political correctness. Afraid of offending, the Disney Corporation replaced the “wench” with a redheaded female pirate...HOLDING A GUN. Yes...that’s so much better.

Here’s a brief history of our gal, beginning with this July 1967 publicity shot:

A guest shot from April 1970:

A few that I captured from October 2005, digitally:

…and with a film camera:

A nice juicy closeup from May 2008:

What happened to the original animatronic? Currently on display at the Walt Disney Archives, she looks damn good for her age! I’m not quite sure where the hairdo came from, but it was still good to see her. Perhaps they used beer cans to curl her hair?

Want to see her shoes? I knew you would:

Last one for today is a “behind-the-scenes” image taken by a former cast member, showing the bare-bones of the animatronic itself:

I have yet to see the new version, and can’t say I'm really anxious to.

See more Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean photos at my main website.

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Stefano said...

Arrgghh, I loved that buxom wench! She looked rather like Rhonda Fleming in her youth; and that lady is still lovely at age 96!

I have only seen pictures of this currently emasculated scene, having been warned that to watch the changes on YouTube could wreck memories of the original. Apparently Disney himself, near the end of his life, was worried that the auction might be going to far for family entertainment; but as show writer Xavier Atencio said at the time of the makeover, "Nobody asked me, but it isn't called "Boy Scouts of the Caribbean".

Wouldn't it have been easier to add a little vignette in the next section, two village maids conking out pirates with a rolling pin and tying them up? Grrl power, and all that. Why stop with Pirates; there are other attractions with powerful women behaving badly, Snow White and Alice in Wonderland and The Little Mermaid, and on and on.

Anonymous said...

Stefano, agreed. At some point, there will be no reason to go back.

Love that line, "Boy Scouts of the Caribbean". I literally cannot recall anyone, even my prudish Mom, ever having anything but enjoyment of the attraction. Absurd to call this offensive, IMHO.

Dave, thanks for the splendid panorama, that's really great.


Daveland said...

It's a slippery slope when you begin to mess with art (and let's face it, POTC was an artistic masterpiece) in order to make it "safe" for the masses. I believe Disneyland (and definitely the Disney Corporation) has become too safe, bland, and commercial.

Fifthrider said...


To quote Rolly Crump, the park is dead. ( to me ) I'm grateful for all who could experience it before the saccharine sweet "pixie dust" and other BS it's turned into today.

Matthew said...

Agreed with those who came before me. However, to take one look at that publicity shot... don't tell me that is not a woman in charge. Pirates, ye be warned!!!

@Stephano - Rhonda Fleming yes... with a little bit of Agnes Moorehead thrown in.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

HBG2 said...

If they HAD to "fix" the scene, they should have dispensed with the auction entirely and come up with something entirely different. Now we've got these cut-throat THIEVES shortly after taking over the town trying to buy chickens. Across the way they're waterboarding the mayor into revealing the whereabouts of the town treasure so they can STEAL it, but over here they're waiting to buy chickens. What stupidity. And while they were "fixing" the redhead, they took her down a few cup sizes and buttoned her up. Because pirate women were so modest, you know.