Thursday, August 7, 2014

Disney Reviews: Show Edition #1 - Country Bear Jamboree

Disney World isn't just all about the resorts, food, and rides, there are other things as well including shows and entertainment. I probably should have named my ride series "entertainment" so that I could cover both of these under one category, but what's done is done, and what's one more Disney series? After all these blog posts, I think it's safe to say that, once I return from Disney this year, my post-Disney depression might be worse than ever!

Howdy folks! Welcome to the one and only, o-riginal, Country Bear Jamboree featuring a bit of Americana, our musical heritage of the past. But enough of this chit-chat, yak-yak, and flim-flam, just refrain from hibernatin' and let's get on with the show (and NEVER has that quote been more apropo than here)!

The Bears have a strong Disney history (they were once destined for their very own resort that got waylaid for various reasons including Walt's death). Most people (or rather Disney people) know the story of the Bears; Walt visited the studios for his last time days before his death and stopped in to see how things were progressing including stopping by to visit Marc. He asked Marc what he was working on and Marc showed him his bear sketches and Walt laughed (which must have been very difficult for him at the time). He told Marc that he was doing a great job (which, according to Marc, he NEVER said to anyone) and that was the last time Marc Davis saw him alive, he died just a couple of days later.

There are those who don't like Country Bears, think they are outdated and boring and old. I question these people (and I see lots of them both in the parks and online). How can you know the history of the bears and not love them? It doesn't matter how outdated and old they get, they are still classic Disney and quite possibly the last thing Walt ever saw being planned. They are true, 100% Disney and I get very defensive of them (although the world could have done without the movie). I don't like country music in the least, but I'm singing right along with the show (and often in the "real world" you'll catch me humming a tune or two). So don't diss the bears, or this girl will be 'a howlin!

Located in Frontierland in the Magic Kingdom:
The Bears are a true Marc Davis creation through and through and it's apparent from the moment you walk inside the door (don't forget to look down...bear claws and hardwood floors DON'T go well together):
and there are photos of the perform-bears all over the entrance area:
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including the coolest bear of them all...Big Al!
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Once you step inside, even the wall decorations who are just "kinda hung up" there are members of the show...Melvin, Buff, and Max! And Buff's voice might sound familiar because it's the vocal wizard himself Thurl Ravenscroft.
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The theater itself is pretty cool,
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but the stage really is gorgeous just on its own with lots of bear-themed signs:
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The stage doesn't stay empty for very long because your Master of Bear-emonies (I'm never gonna get tired of this!), Henry is here to introduce himself and the other bears:
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Henry and Gomer open up the show with the intro song (showcasing Gomer's piano talents):
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Followed by The Five Bear Rugs (Zeke and Zeb and Ted and Fred and a bear named Tennessee) with Gomer on piano and Little Oscar offering moral support (and squeaks from his teddy bear) with the "Bear Band Serenade" song:
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Ernest chimes in with "If Ya Can't Bite, Don't Growl" which is one of the funniest songs (and a bit risque, but not the risque-est):
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Then you have a "heart renderin' ditty" from the "growler of songs", Liver Lips McGrowl and "My Woman Ain't Pretty But She Don't Swear None"
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Henry comes back with a very impatient Wendell with "Momma Don't Whup Little Buford" second favorite Bears song...'Momma don't whup little Buford, Momma don't pound on his head, Momma don't whup little Buford, I think you should shoot him instead, BANG!'
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Next up is Trixie, and they changed the spiel around her a few years ago as to not be offensive to fat people. In all my years of being fat, I have never found Trixie offensive or the comments that the other bears and the mounted heads said about her size, she's a BIG girl! It's that old PC argument again and I'm not going to go there on this review (people are just too bloody touchy these days). But here she is with "Tears Will Be The Chaser For Your Wine"
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Shaker's up next with "How Long Will My Baby Be Gone" (and boy does his name suit him!)
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Henry comes back to introduce those little sun bonnets from the Sunshine State, Bubbles, Bunny, and Be-ulah! And THIS is the most risque of all the songs (and, frankly, I'm surprised it didn't get the ax in the 2012 update)..."All The Guys That Turn Me On, Turn Me Down"
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Next up is the favorite of all the guy bears (especially Henry), that delightful, delicate, dedicated, and dimpled darlin' of the Dakota's, the last of the big-time Swingers, Swingin Teddi Berra with "Heart We Did All That We Could"
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It get's no better than Big Al! He is my family's absolute favorite with "Blood On The Saddle":
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Henry tries to follow up Big Al with "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" (with some altered lyrics, of course) and with the help of his "coon-skin" cap Sammy, but poor Al gets his queues mixed up and comes back out for another chorus of "Blood"
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So Henry enlists everyone to join in to try to drown out poor Al (and this is the only part of the show where flash photography is allowed - but really not needed):
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unless you are sitting way in the back (which I don't like to do), you definitely won't get all the bears in one shot.

And since they are just "one big happy family", Henry, Sammy, Melvin, Buff, and Max sing you out with "Come Again"!
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So thanks for 'bearin' with me till the 'bear' end and 'bear-al' around to see me sometime (God I love Country Bear quotes!).


Linda said...

Absolutely fantastic Keebles. I have a Big Al piggy bank that I've had for many many years.


Valerie said...

What a great tour of the bears! I love Big Al', and so does my son. I shared this with him and he loved it! Thanks so much for doing this. Brings back happy memories.