March 23, 2018

Country Bear Jamboree Opens Today!

Country Bear Jamboree is now finally open at Disneyland! At least that's what this great little advertisement says. 

Appearing in the Los Angeles Times in 1972, this nice little full color piece was there to entice visitors to come back to Bear Country and experience the Imagineers latest musical show. The revue's been there since opening day in 1971 at Walt Disney World, but West Coast Disney fans had to wait another half a year for Walt's park to transform the Indian Village into the back woods home to these critters.

Remember, Audio-Animatronics were still fairly new, just recently making its full impact in the mid-60s with Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room.  The pizza chain Chuck E Cheese had not arrived yet either, making these kid-friendly musical shows quite popular. 

Imagineering genius Marc Davis was a master at bringing humor into the parks. Serious attractions like the original Jungle River Cruise needed his humorous lift. So did the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland, the Pirates of the Caribbean, and of course, the Haunted Mansion.  All this not counting his influence in other parts of the park. 

With the Bears, he was starting from scratch and given full reign to play. The music was pretty good too! The show pleased crowds for many a year. Eventually, the attraction closed to bring in another little bear, but the singing crew almost made an appearance in a brand new thrill attraction, The Critter Country 500. (Go here for more details.)

Rumor's been around for awhile that the Jamboree in Florida's Magic Kingdom- the original and only one left on US soil- is due for an update. I think it can be done as long as they don't replace Teddi Barra with Miley Cyrus and her wrecking ball!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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