A Musical Souvenir of Walt Disney World – Tomorrowland Pt 2

By Keith Mahne

Welcome travels to our trip through Walt Disney World’s past. Today, we’ll continue our walk through vintage Tomorrowland with some Michael Iceberg songs, a ride on the 1975 version of the General Electric Carousel of Progress, and more. Let’s not waste another second, here now is part 2 of our vintage Tomorrowland tour as we continue on our Musical Souvenir of Walt Disney World

Part 11: Tomorrowland Pt. 2

(If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 and Part 10 of our musical journey of vintage Walt Disney World, please check them out before continuing. Also, be sure to pause the Disney Avenue Music Player in the top left-hand corner of this page if you are on a desktop computer.)

 
 
 
 
 
 


Here are Foxx’s notes on the creation of Track 11 – Tomorrowland Pt 2:

11) Tomorrowland, Part Two

This is the second track in the project which is entirely unaltered from version 1. Because why mess with perfection?

Michael Iceberg burst onto the Disney scene in mid-July 1976 and was from the first an immediate sensation. Rising from the Utilidor of the Magic Kingdom surrounded by buttons and knobs and backed by a huge reflective mirror, Iceberg (then Iseberg) looked the very definition of a “geek”: bottle cap glasses, scraggly hair, an absurd outfit that looked like it was swiped from Forbidden Planet between takes. As he sang and played rock ditties which flowed into each other like a stream of consciousness on his homemade synthesizer, he’d grimace and mumble lyrics amid swirling fog machines and strobing lights. Eyes and Ears had no idea how to describe the act: “…it is best for you to drop by and catch a performance yourself …then you try describing it to your friends!”

Iceberg was an immediate fixture of the Magic Kingdom. Gradually, his act was refined. He focused less on rock music and more on Disney tunes and classical numbers, played more gracefully. The glasses went away. His hair was neatly combed and he wore a black suit and tie, looking like a dignified mad scientist overseeing an experiment. Eventually the look of the Iceberg Machine was simplified into a mirrored pyramid, which opened at the top like an erupting volcano revealing Iceberg working the keyboard. Steve Birnbaum called Iceberg a “Disney superstar”. Hunter S. Thompson wryly observed: “Now there’s somebody crazier than I am.” It is all true, yet none of it is enough.

This sample Iceberg performance is edited down from his LP “Michael Iceberg Does It Live! 100th Week at Walt Disney World”. Because most of Iceberg’s act is a simple demonstration of what synthesizers can do, this record is quite dreadful and often unlistenable as Iceberg produces farm animal noises and wind effects for the amusement of his audience. In later years, one part of his act involved re-recording his synthesizer’s “audience boos”, encouraging his audience to jeer him and playing the sounds back with a satisfied comment about how enthusiastically they’ve booed him. But when Iceberg gets into the musical groove on this record, astonishingly strange and wonderful music can result. This track is the combined best parts of his concert. Other synthesizer adopters of the era produced music that was either frankly experimental and spare or in a classical style, taking advantage of the device’s ability to produce an entire symphony of sound. Iceberg plays music that seems to come from another dimension, simultaneously recalling 60s and 70s pop while looking forward to techno, electro-pop and house. It is a bizarre space-age mélange perched on the edge of hysteria.

Whether he be in the Tomorrowland Terrace or the Tomorrowland Theater built in 1980 south of the Carousel of Progress, Iceberg’s music was an essential part of night time at Walt Disney World, between dizzying spins on Space Mountain and laps on the Grand Prix. I am pleased to bring this unique sensory pleasure back to the world through this music set.

The General Electric Carousel of Progress – The 1975 version of the Carousel of Progress has never really gotten much attention. I don’t know if this is because it was moved out of Disneyland after only a short stay and ended up “down in Florida”, out of sight and mind. Maybe it was because this was the first attraction to depart significantly from a Walt Disney original, or perhaps it’s because of Richard Sherman’s disparaging remarks about the quality of the “Now is the Time” song – remarks which only ever reflected his affection for the original tune it replaced, which was bound up in his relationship to Walt Disney. It’s actually a shame that Sherman made those remarks, because they deflect attention away from the 1975 show itself, and it’s really good. It’s a very solid show which finds an amenable middle ground between the rosy-hued optimism of the 1964 version and the realities of post-Watergate, post-Vietnam America without descending into condescending sophistry like the 1994 version.

The truth is that the 1975 show was a very strong effort with a superb script, and put up against something like, say, the Shermans’ “Computer Song” for EPCOT Center, “Now Is The Time” has nothing to apologize for. Buddy Baker’s score is simply excellent, one of his best efforts, very much in the vein of the work he did for America Sings just a few months earlier. Probably the biggest problem with the 1975 show is that Andrew Duggan, the new actor in the “Father” role, simply isn’t very good at singing. His enthusiasm carries the show passably, but you’ll notice he occasionally lags somewhat behind the music. Then again, this may be the fault of the unknown mixer who compiled all this music somewhat carelessly. Recording sessions are available on WaltsMusic.Com, but I ended up using the versions uploaded to MouseBits.Com under the name “Carousel of Progress – Collection” uploaded by use poogy71, which have superior sound quality.

The final Carousel cue is unique to the ‘75 show, an arrangement of “Now Is the Time” performed in calliope style, which perhaps hits the “carousel” note too much on the head but which I find delightful anyway.  It circulates in some places as “exit music”; actually this incidental cue played under Father’s welcome in the Loading scene.

 
 
 
Wasn’t that wonderful?!? What I wouldn’t give to hear another live Michael Iceberg performance in Tomorrowland. Tomorrow we’ll take a ride on the beloved and long gone If You Had Wings attraction…
 
 
 
 
 
 
…I can’t wait! This wonderful Tomorrowland track has been added to the Disney Avenue Music Player for you to listen to whenever you’d like. See you right back here tomorrow where we’ll continue our tour of vintage Walt Disney World and revisit the If You Had Wings attraction!
 
 
 
 
*****
 
 
 
 
 
Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four.

Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true every day.

 
 

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A Musical Souvenir of Walt Disney World – Tomorrowland Pt 1

By Keith Mahne

As we continue our musical journey through Walt Disney World’s past, we enter Tomorrowland of yesteryear. For many Disney World patrons, this particular time in Tomorrowland history was a favorite. Today, we’ll revisit this moment in time with A Musical Souvenir of Walt Disney World as our vehicle to the past. Grab those headphones, sit back and relax as we enter Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland of old…

Part 10: Tomorrowland Pt. 1

(If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8 and Part 9 of our musical journey of vintage Walt Disney World, please check them out before continuing. Also, be sure to pause the Disney Avenue Music Player in the top left-hand corner of this page if you are on a desktop computer.)

Here are Foxx’s notes on the creation of Track 10 – Tomorrowland Pt 1:

10) Tomorrowland, Part One

Earlier in this piece, I called out the Frontierland track as one of the big reasons to move ahead with a second version of the audio project. The other big reason was my dissatisfaction with the first Tomorrowland track. It’s odd to think that as recently as three years ago, there was simply no information about the historical “sound” of Tomorrowland in existence. Enervated by the first version of this project, I was eventually able to fill these gaps and present a more or less complete chronology. This, as much as these tracks, represents some of my proudest moments as a WDW researcher.

The original Tomorrowland area music emanated from a scarce number of speakers; historical photos show speakers on the central light poles down the middle of the land, and we can be sure there were a few others stashed here and there too. As always with early MK BGM, just because something was playing, doesn’t mean everyone heard it.

The earliest Tomorrowland BGM was preserved by Mike Cozart on a typed playlist from Jack Wagner’s estate; he kindly provided me with the list and the information that he had already located several of the tracks in the Capitol Media Music line. From there, collaborating with Michael Sweeney, I was able to find enough internet listings of the Capitol Media Music line to determine where the tracks came from and begin to hunt down the source material.

The resulting loop is very reminiscent of early EPCOT Center. Probably inspired by photos and concept at of Tomorrowland’s grand, magisterial architecture, Wagner turned to Media Music tracks intended to accompany scenes of nature, National Parks, and science. The music has a disarming, sweeping quality quite unlike the synth-pop we’re now accustomed to. This project marks the Premiere of the 1972 music.

The project begins with a brief snippet from the launch sequence from Mission to Mars. This attraction and its predecessor lacked any real formal music score, but by including a bit here it was possible to ensure that the show at least had some sort of representation in the project.

This first selection, which played in the “Concourse” section of Tomorrowland (think of those huge sloping walls), is “Majestic Scenery” by Henrik Nielsen, and the second is “Roots Revisited” by Jack Mayborn. The sound of the Tomorrowland entrance waterfalls is based on a pitch-corrected version of the Cosmic Ray’s waterfalls recorded in January 2014 overlaid with a waterfall recorded at Animal Kingdom in late 2011. There’s next to no audio record of what those falls sounded like going at full blast, so this is a best guess approximation.

WEDway Area Music – The next selection represents the next “era” of Tomorrowland’s musical backdrop, which began when the WEDway Peoplemover began operation in summer 1975. The WEDway track wound through all of Tomorrowland and the track had its own unique music loop, effectively drowning out whatever music happened to play on the ground level of Tomorrowland.

Originally, the WEDway played the same music loop as her cousin in Disneyland, a simple loop of the Disney-scored Monorail Song and World on the Move, repeated endlessly. In 1976, Wagner licensed additional tracks from Capitol Media Music, creating the delightfully jazz-lounge loops which are still remembered today.

Michael Sweeney and myself identified the WEDway loop pieces through process of elimination since no playlist existed. The first selection is “Outdoor Life #2”, by Henrik Nielsen, sourced from the original LP.

Grand Prix Raceway – sadly, no source music exists for the original Jack Wagner Grand Prix loop, which is in the Mike Cozart collection and which he refers to as sounding a lot like the “theme from CHiPS”. The track I use here is taken from the load area of Disneyland’s Peoplemover, which was sponsored by Goodyear, and is an instrumental arrangement of their corporate jingle at the time. Goodyear also sponsored MK’s Grand Prix, so this track is used to represent the Goodyear sponsorship as much as the attraction.

The Grand Prix noises underneath were recorded in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Tomorrowland Terrace – much like Disneyland’s version, the restaurant which was re-themed into Cosmic Ray’s originally hosted a number of local and “resident” bands playing the “hits of today”. The original “Resident” group was Dallas Sound Track or DST, with frequent appearances by the Kids Next Door, a squeaky clean youth vocal group who Disney effectively bought out and re-named “The Kids of the Kingdom”. Sadly, there’s no real recorded performances by Dallas Sound Track and Kids of the Kingdom did cut a record in the late 60s, but the sound is totally inappropriate to the Tomorrowland atmosphere I wanted.

While looking through vintage WDW ephemera, I came across a Thanksgiving 1972 ad touting an appearance by “SAGE – Dancing to the “Now” Sound”. Most of my leads for these groups had been dead ends, but Sage turned out to be  a Tampa-based 60s-tinged garage rock group. Better yet, they had cut a record. Best of all, they were actually good!

The album is called “Sage by Sage” (I know), and it’s also been reissued on CD by Radioactive Records. It’s a terrific little indie record, and Sage provided exactly the keynote of atmosphere that I wanted – an era when Tomorrowland crazily juxtaposed smooth jazz, midcentury rock, and space fantasy to create a heady blend of youth and future unlike anything at Walt Disney World today.

Space Mountain presented by RCA – Rebuilding Space Mountain’s 1975 show accurately turned out to be one of this version’s major projects, perhaps unexpectedly. It wasn’t until I was receiving live recordings by Jerry Klatt and Mike Lee that I realized that the original soundscape was more complex than I thought, and that this was a challenge worth meeting.

The Jack Wagner safety spiel which kicks off the track originally played outside the attraction proper. It was added in 1976 after numerous guest injuries and remained there into the 1990s. This is a live recording provided by Mike Lee.

The entrance room of Space Mountain, where the floor slopes down into the railroad track tunnel, originally contained a unique ambient loop of tones – menacing “outer space” tones – which is almost a lost track. I became fascinated after hearing them in Jerry Klatt’s live recording (from 1975!) and tried to seek them out.

It turns out that this track is in common circulation – mixed into the background of another loop! It’s most commonly heard behind the “com chat” track, which plays in Florida’s boarding area. What seems to have happened is that for the Disneyland show in 1977, somebody decided to play the “com chat” in the attraction’s entrance area. Accompanying the com chat was the original “entrance tones”, placed at the entrance because, well, that’s where they were supposed to go. At some point it was forgotten that the two tracks were intended to be separate and somebody eventually replaced Florida’s unique load area mix with the Disneyland entrance mix.

I was able to separate the two tracks in Audacity and presented here is the sound of the original 1975 Space Mountain entrance area.

Underneath the train tracks, the first airing of Buddy Baker’s eccentric “RCA Leads the Way” theme was heard, alongside displays of RCA products. Baker’s 1975 Space Mountain music is very unique. It is of a piece with his other 70s compositions which experimented with “modern’ sound – America Sings and the Carousel of Progress – but is by far the least successful of this group. In the 70s, Space Mountain was a hornet’s nest of weird synth and guitar licks, and putting all that music in the proper order can yield interesting results.

Reconstructionists should be careful when building Space Mountain audio tracks, as two versions of the theme were recorded – one singing “RCA Leads the Way”, their corporate slogan at the time, and another with the refrain as “Let Your Dreams Lead the Way”, a forward-thinking admission on Disney’s part that they expected Space Mountain to far outlive its sponsorship agreement. The 1975 music dates much more badly than most Disney park music, and so when RCA renewed their sponsorship in 1985, all-new musical cues were commissioned. Some of these survive today, such as the classic “Star Tunnel” cue. (Hear my reconstruction of the 1983 score in the “Tomorrowland 1983” Bonus Track)

Thanks to Greg Maletic for sending along a higher-quality version of this first “RCA Leads the Way” track.

After the RCA tunnel, the Space Mountain queue slopes back upwards and zig-zags past a series of windows. Placing the appropriate keyboard-freakout synth in this area was made possible by recordings from 1983 made by Dave McCormick.

Originally, each window in the “zig zag corridor” had an accompanying narration, “explaining” the imagery seen outside each window. This is first-class scientific nonsense, and getting it back in the mix was made possible through a Mike Lee recording from 1990. There were originally five separate narration tracks, three male and two female. In Mike’s recording the second female narration was too low in volume to capture the whole thing, so a mere sample is represented here.

Once into the load area, the fourth distinct 1975 ambient piece, released on Walt Disney World Forever as “Warp”, can be heard in vintage recordings. This is also the proper location for our “Com Chat”, a track prefaced in the Zig Zag corridor by the last window announcement and also by the prominent placement of the ride’s control tower. The “Warp” track also played on the ride’s lift hill until 2009.

MK’s original “blue tunnel” sound effect sadly was retired before a clean copy of it could make it way online. The one heard here was recorded by Dave McCormick. The lift hill sounds were recorded by me in 2013, and the original safety announcement and “re-entry” sound effect comes from a track pack of Disneyland Space Mountain sounds that circulates amongst collectors.

The clanks and screams of the original on-ride experience comes from Martin’s Smith’s on-ride video from 2008.

The original RCA Home of Future Living exit song and music no longer exists in a quality copy. The best version is available on WaltsMusic.Com, in which the music and vocals are separated into left and right channels, allowing a reconstruction of the original 1975 loops. The version of “Here’s To the Future” without the pop vocals also played in the WEDway Peoplemover tunnel above the exit show.

The final track is “Neutral Strings in Motion #3” by Neil Amsterdam, from Capitol Media Music, representing more of the original WEDway loop. Thanks to Greg Maletic for suggesting the soundscape at the exit bleeding out to the sounds of the Speedway, a detail I had entirely forgotten since the ride has been enclosed by an arcade for twenty years now.

Tomorrow we’ll continue our walk through Tomorrowland with part 2 of this particular area. We’ll hear Michael Iceberg and his amazing Iceberg machine (anyone had the chance to see him live back then?), take a ride on the 1975 version of the General Electric Carousel of Progress, and more…

 
 
 
…it’s going to be a great time! This wonderful Tomorrowland track has been added to the Disney Avenue Music Player for you to listen to it whenever you’d like. See you right back here tomorrow where we’ll continue our tour of vintage Walt Disney World and part 2 of Tomorrowland!
 
 
 
 
 
 
*******

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four.

Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true every day.

 
 
 

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Tomorrowland 1967 Postcards

By Keith Mahne

As the summer of 1967 approached, public anticipation increased as news media and printed materials attempted to explain the “new” land. “With the tools of today, Disneyland creates a World of Tomorrow.” “Where the Dreams of the Future are Reality Today.” Its opening was advertised as “The most exciting celebration since Disneyland’s opening day July 17, 1955.” With a New Tomorrowland came a new fresh look. The colors were that of the space age.  Everything had a wonderful mid-century style. The architecture was a perfect blend of form and function. The façade of each attraction perfectly fit its surroundings. Tomorrowland soon became the most popular land at Disneyland. What better way to look back at such a wonderful moment in Disneyland history than to take a look at some beautiful postcards of the day. Continue after the page break and enjoy these Tomorrowland 1967 postcards…

A wide variety of themes were presented in this New Tomorrowland such as inner space, outer space, liquid space, progression of electricity, transportation, and yet everything was presented in a non-conflicting way. For one, everything fit within the theme of “World on the Move”. The story of each attraction was presented little-by-little as you approached each non-tacky, non-cluttered entrance. Upon entering, the theme was added upon in subtle yet effective ways. Once further inside, you were entirely immersed in the experience. The same experience happened in reverse as you made your way out the exit. It was an amazing part of Disneyland history and perhaps my personal favorite. I could stare at all those beautiful colors blending together so well for hours on end. What a great time in Disney history!

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Keith Michael Mahne is the owner and editor of Disney Avenue and the host of the Disney Avenue Podcast. He has made countless trips to the Walt Disney World resort since his first trip in 1989 at the age of four. Keith has a strong passion and respect for Walt Disney, the parks and resorts, and the men and women who help create them. He started Disney Avenue as a way to inform and entertain readers and to repay all those who make dreams come true everyday.
 



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Tomorrowland 2

By EPCOT Explorer

40 years ago, Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland finally opened it’s long awaited and much needed expansion that added highly valued and exemplary attractions to the Magic Kingdom’s roster. Adding Space Mountain, the Carousel of Progress, the Star Jets, and a few months later, the WEDWay PeopleMover, Tomorrowland was elevated from being a paltry afterthought, to a showplace for space age optimism, ideas, and fantastic aesthetics. Continue after the page break as we take a look back to Tommorrowland of 1975…

In 1971, Tomorrowland opened only with Mission to the Moon, CircleVision 360, and later, added If You Had Wings in 1972. 1975 would see Tomorrowland brought up to speed and standard in the Vacation Kingdom.

Space Mountain, a Walt Disney World original, would go on to be cloned around the world in all of Disney’s Magic Kingdoms.

 

The Carousel of Progress, originally a mainstay of the 1964 World’s Fair, came home to Disneyland once the fair packed up, and then, was shipped off to Florida, where it has played to more audiences than any other stage show, as often boasted by Disney public relations.

The WEDWay, of course, is a Disneyland original, but the Florida version utilized new technology, which, at one point was sold and brokered for actual industrial use. This attraction opened in July of 1975.

The Star Jets, although simple, remain a staple in Magic Kingdoms around the world.

A few years ago, Walt Disney World opened up a new section of Fantasyland, and hailed that as the largest expansion in the park’s history. In terms of acreage, this might be true. But in the terms of capacity, attractions, and experience added to the park, Tomorrowland, in 1975, holds the lion’s share of “expansion” titles.

Happy 40th, Tomorrowland! Here’s to the future and you and 40 more years of Great Big Beautiful Tomorrows!

 
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EPCOT Explorer has been visiting the Walt Disney World Resort since he was 2 years old and has recently just made his first visit to Disneyland. EPCOT Explorer’s first ‘Disney’ interest is the history of EPCOT Center of his youth and the brand of optimism, futurism, and culture that was originally found in the park. Other interests include the thematic interplay of design elements in Disneyland and the Magic Kingdoms that make these theme parks repositories of culture and Americana. EPCOT Explorer is also interested in the World’s Fairs for their connections to EPCOT and tiki culture, since the return of the Enchanted Tiki Room to Walt Disney World in 2011. EE’s writings often focus on the minutia of Disney’s enterprises and attempt to uncover how and why the parks function in the manner that they do. EPCOT Explorer is currently a graduate student and Teaching Assistant in History at Florida International University. EPCOTEXPLORER.TUMBLR.COM



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