March 16, 2017

The Why Behind Nine Years of Insights and Sounds

Unintentionally, I breezed past a significant milestone for the blog. March 7 marked nine years that the Insights and Sounds blog has been around. How time flies!

The concept art above has its origins in a 1990 visit, but the blog itself became a constant thought in my mind in 2005. It was the year of Disneyland's 50th anniversary, and we found ourselves in California during the time. We hadn't planned to be there, but life happens.

I noticed people were purchasing birthday / anniversary souvenirs like crazy. Flying off the shelves as it were. The thought hit- "I have tons of vintage Disneyland stuff. I bet there's folks out there that would love to see it." And so the blog began- and it got more personal and well rounded as time progressed.

So, back to this piece of concept art for an unbuilt Tomorrowland attraction-

The year was 1990, and I was strolling Disneyland one afternoon with my young family. We had walked into Tomorrowland to take in the Autopia and let the kiddos try their hands behind the wheel.

Next to the Carousel Theater, once home of the Carousel of Progress and America Sings, was a billboard for a new attraction called Plectu's Intergalactic Revue. For some strange reason, I snapped this photo of the concept art... and held on to it for many years.

When I began the Insights blog, I knew Disney fans would find this piece of unbuilt history of interest. Boy, was I right! Within days of first posting it in March of 2008, my humble photograph showed on on blogs and websites all over the world. And it's still being  reposted to this day. Glad I took the photo!

The model for the new Carousel building.
Photographer unknown.

I cannot tell you who did the artwork. I will say, I have enlarged it and attempted to fix some of the elements to be as close to the imagined piece of art I saw it in my mind to be. Click on it to enlarge it.

Much like the two shows before it- expertly designed by Imagineer Marc Davis- Plectu's was to be an Audio-Animatronic comedy musical show and a core but small part of a new alien infested Tomorrowland dubbed Tomorrowland 2055

The less friendly Alien Encounter.

In fact, the Magic Kingdom in Florida's beloved (or reviled) Alien Encounter was also planned for the redesign. (Is it just me, or does the top of the building look much like the centerpiece that replaced the Rockets Jets high in the sky in the 1998 version of the Land of the Future?)

Florida's Tomorrowland changed from this... this.

Disneyland was not so fortunate with their redo in 1998,
when plans for the much more expensive 2055 version were tossed out in favor of this.

One of few pieces of artwork seen for the Plectu characters.

Around this time, Michael Eisner and company took at long, hard look at the attractions that were crowd pleasers, and sad to say, but musical talking bears, tikis, and even Disney characters in robotic form were no longer a big draw. (Expanded history here.) 

Thanks to Mike Cozart from the Tomorrowland67 Lounge for this 2055 piece.

The plans were scrapped. Plectu's became a piece of Disney lore and history, and Tomorrowland stayed as was for almost another full decade as the plans for the 2055 version were shelved.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company. Top photo copyright Mark Taft.)


Debbie V. said...

Happy 9th blogiversary :)

Mark Taft said...

Thank you! And thank you for reading!