Thursday, September 07, 2006

Snow White's Scare the Hell Out of Little Kids Adventure!

Today's post is a follow up to Major Pepperidge's post about dark rides and queue areas.

The original Fantasyland was fairly cheap. But, what it lacked in financial wealth it overflowed with Barry White-esque soul!



Also, these rides often caused involuntary bladder release for little kids as the presentation magnified the DEATH themes featured in the movies. YIPES!


The queue areas for these dark rides were to act as a set-up for the story. As you wound around the chained queue line, you were treated to themed music and a large, hand painted mural of whatever the story featured was. Mr. Toad, Peter Pan and Snow White all featured one of these.
Generally, the artists who actually worked on the original films did the mural art. Ken Anderson, as art director for Fantasyland often did these himself.

The neat part about these murals was they were to approximate the travels you the rider would experience on the attraction.


The original Snow White queue mural was a great example and shows the neat detail put into something as seemingly mundane as loading backdrop.


If you look closely, the Snow White mural is actually a loose map. It shows four vignettes transitioned by dark trees. At the bottom of these is a roadway...the road which the rider will take as they move through the attraction.


The four scenes featured are The Dwarfs' Mine, The Dwarfs' Cottage, a group shot of Snow White and the cast and the Wicked Witch in her Jeffery Dahmer chamber. C'mon, kiddies!!!!

These murals were done by studio artists, generally from the animation department who were on loan to WED. They would be painted on illustration board and then projected onto the full size plywood surface much like old billboard sign painters. From there, the Disneyland scenic dept would paint over the enlarged projection full size.

Bruce Bushman, one of the earliest Disneyland art directors was the king of this technique. He singlehandedly did the entire Mickey Mouse Club TV show this way.

I've been lucky enough to find some rare Snow White stuff over the years.


Here's two original paintings done for the queue mural.

They were actually painted by Disney studio artist Paul Hartley under the direction of Ken Anderson. Because so many of the studio artists were working on Sleeping Beauty at the time of Disneyland's construction, the look of the paintings is very Eyvind Earle in style. Trees in the forrest are especially Sleeping Beauty-ish. Actually, these look very much like Golden Book art. you can see the black trees which frame the scenes...a half tree on each side. This way, the vignettes could be interchanged on the spot yet still transition into one another. You'll also see the roadway flow through the scenes. I'm still trying to find better pics and i'll post...

Here's the shield standard from the entrance to the ride. All of the Fantasyland ride exteriors were changed slightly in the late 1960's. Why, I don't know but this shield replaced the original, slightly more mideval styled shield.


Anyhow, there you have it! Next time you want to build an attraction that might fill some kid's diapers with fear, look only to the example set by Snow White's Adventures!!



Thanks to Chris Merritt and Major Pepperidge for image help on this one!
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