Saturday, August 28, 2010

Nametag archaeology: extinct theme parks of Florida

The year is 1973. The owners of Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus created a winter home for their organization in Florida. They also built a circus-themed resort, with all the trappings of the circus, including clowns, animals, and a huge striped big top. What did they name this place? Cirus World, of course!

This is where things get kind of sticky. The owners of Ringling Brothers, the Felds, sold Circus World to the Mattel Corportation, the same company that makes Barbie and Ken Dolls. Mattel added roller coasters and other theme park attractions to compete with Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in nearby Orlando, but it really didn't work. Mattel held on until 1986, when they sold the property to an investor named Jim Monaghan, who in turn sold it to Harcourt Brace and Jovanovich. HBJ had also recently purchased other properties in Florida, including Sea World and Cypress Gardens. HBJ, however didn't think there was much future in the Circus theme. So, the clowns and elephants were fired, the tent folded up, and in 1987 the property reopened as..

Boardwalk and Baseball!

The former circus theme was transformed into a shrine for baseball. A new practice field and spring training facilities for the Kansas City Royals was built, and exhibits and relics from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown were brought to the property. A vintage seaside boardwalk was build, complete with gas lighting and authentic wood boardwalk. However, the park was not a financial success, and in 1989 HBJ sold its theme park assets to Busch Entertainment. In January 1990, Boardwalk and Baseball closed, and the park was demolished. The property sat abandoned for ten years, until it was reclaimed for retail and residential space.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Walt Disney World Golf Tournament ephemera

Since it opened in 1971, Walt Disney World has been home to several championship-quality golf courses, including the Oak Trail and Magnolia courses. Many PGA and other tournaments have been held at Walt Disney World over the years as well. Today I present you with several badges used by staff and volunteers working said events.

The Oldsmobile Golf Classic:

The Professional Golders Association Merchandise Show:

The National Car Rental Golf Classic:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

EPCOT Center Opening press badges

It's 1982 all over again! Well, at least for the next few minutes. Today I present you with some of the badges issued to press at the grand opening of EPCOT Center, in October 1982. Why are these different colors? I think that each color enabled the bearer a different level of access to the opening events, like a VIP lounge or something like that. At least, that's how it's worked at all the other Disney event openings, so why break with tradition? And one other thing, there is a nametag worn by cast members at the EPCOT opening. It's a white oval, and features the EPCOT logo in dark blue or back. Anyone out there have one? I'll give you $$$ for it! =)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade

I'm going to be lazy and steal Wikipedia's text about the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade:

"The Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade is an American television special that airs on Christmas Day on the ABC, taped primarily inside the Magic Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, approximately one month prior to Christmas Day. Past shows have included segments featuring other Disney theme parks in Orlando, Florida, Anaheim, California, and around the world. The program has aired annually since 1983, with the exception of 2000 when Disney aired a Christmas Eve "Tracking Santa" special instead. In 1999, a nighttime version of the parade was shown on Christmas Day. In the 1980s and '90s, the program was known as The Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade or the Walt Disney World Christmas Day Parade. In 2009, the show was expanded to include parades at Disneyland."

So in keeping with the theme of our blog, here are a selection of the temporary badges issued to crew working behind the scenes of the Parade taping and telecast:

In 2005, Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa hosted the taping and broadcast...

Backstage, their dressing room doors were marked with a special "nametag"..

These "nametags" are very different from the regular ones worn at Walt Disney World. These are much larger, and are nearly 12 inches long. They are used at Walt Disney World in the Utilidors underneath the Magic Kingdom, to identify what a particular room is used for, and also as a personalization for a particular Cast Member's cubicle or office space.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Badges from the earliest days of Disneyland

Sorry about the long time since I posted last.. though of course since nobody reads me.. it doesn't matter... hahahah.. anywho...

Here are some truly unique pieces of early Disneyland history from my collection...

(you can click this image to see an ultra-high-rez-high-def version)

This is an original name badge from the opening days of Disneyland. This badge is quite different from the other original badges you might have seen. This badge has the Cast Member's full name engraved on it, where others just had a number. High-level WED Enterprises managers and executives working at Disneyland had their names engraved on their badge. This particular badge belonged to James Warrick, who was in charge of all the boats and water craft at Disneyland. The Coast Guard insisted that due to the large amounts of water at Disneyland, and the craft operating therein, that a skilled and licenced Captain be onsite at all times. Mr. Warrick was working at the Long Beach Boat Shop, who had been contracted to build some of the boats for Disneyland. He moved over to Disneyland to be the captain as required by the Coast Guard, and served in that capacity from 1955-1958. In 1958, the Coast Guard removed the captain requirement, and Mr. Warrick then moved to the Maintenance department, where he remained until his retirement. A bit of curious info about this badge, it is hallmarked by the Los Angeles Stamp and Stationery Company... (LAS&SCO on the back of the badge).

This next one is a piece of mystery meat...

I'm not exactly sure what it is. It's nearly identical to the above badge, just in a rougher condition. The backside of this item is still has some sharp edges, like it was just stamped from a sheet of brass. Why it wasn't ever finished, or perhaps served another purpose at Disneyland, is anyone's guess.

Next I present you the badge that was worn on the costumes of Cast Members working the new Submarine Voyage attraction at Disneyland, in 1959. From what I read, this badge was worn on the hats of the attraction costumes...

(you can click this image to see an ultra-high-rez-high-def version)

This badge is modeled after the badge that sailors in the Navy receive when they serve, or a qualified to serve, on a submarine. The Navy badge was customized for use at Disneyland, by adding the famous "D" crest to the conning tower of the sub.

Matterhorn1959 has another pair, which you can see in his post here...

These badges were made by the NS Meyer company. They are famous for making badges and jewelry for the military. Disneyland also used them to make the famous "D" badges worn by hostesses and tour guides. In case you wondered, the company that made plastic nametags for Disneyland, from the 1960's through the early 1980's was Western Plastics in Long Beach, California.