Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Randotti's Visit WDW Construction Site and The Country Bears!

Here's an interesting case study of how the original theme park souvenir products were created...

Many people remember the perennial skulls, snakes, tombstones and tiki plaques at Disneyland and Walt Disney World's various souvenir shops. Since the early 1960s, one company supplied these novelty items to the parks: Randotti Products of Stanton California. Chalkware and plaster items were their specialty and this small family owned company landed an extremely lucrative contract with the Walt Disney Company.

A Jungle Cruise bathing elephant maquette with tiki plaques on the wall.

They were especially lucky in that the subject matter of their Disney products could be themed price point items in several of the park's attractions. Their various skulls were sold on Main Street in the Magic Shop, The Advetureland Bazaar and The Tiki's Tropical Traders Tent, as well as The Haunted Mansion and Pirates related shops in New Orleans Square.

These shots are part of a collection of the Randotti's research tour of WDW and it's rarely seen Preview Center. Patrick Jenkins has some terrific shots that may be from the same collection here.

In late 1969 thru 1971, the Randotti's traveled to WDW to preview the new attractions and themed areas they would be providing souvenir products for. It seems they toured the property construction site and then headed to the Preview Center.

Passing the Polynesian Resort under construction

A model of the WDW Adventureland Sunshine Pavillion and Enchanted Tiki Room.

Here's the Randotti's molesting a bunch of original Country Bear maquettes...

It appears that these actual WED Model Shop maquettes were considered for replication at one point.

Here's the "WDW Temporary Merchandise Division" which was a trailer parked on dirt. I'll bet some fine times were had in that trailer!

It looks like they were especially interested in the new Country Bear Jamboree and the unrealized, Great Western River Expedition planned for WDW's Frontierland.

This series of pics are of the Marc Davis concept art that was posted around the Preview Center building.

Between this artwork and the maquettes, the Randotti's would produce figurals for mass production in chalk and plaster.

Here's some Great Western Expedition concept art.

More to come.....


Blogger Major Pepperidge said...

More awesome awesomeness! These are a wonderful addition to the "Stuff from the Park" photos, thanks for sharing.

11:02 AM  
Blogger Chris Merritt said...


4:10 PM  
Blogger LimaLimon said...

Hi, I was wondering how I might be able to find more information about Pirates of the Caribbean collectibles from the Randotti Company. I have a glow-in-the-dark skull plaque from 1968, and I'm wondering what it might be worth. My email address is lima_store@yahoo.com, and I would really appreciate any help! Thank You, -Aureen

9:29 PM  
Blogger Jeff Smith said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Jeff Smith said...

Hi, I am the son of Randy and Dotti Smith (Randotti Products). That is Randy and Dootti in the photographs. I can answer your questions regarding Randotti items. I was there from the beginning. Jeff Smith soapysmi@soapysmith.net

1:38 PM  

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