Friday, February 17, 2006
Carousel of Regression
There was no other theater quite like it when the Carousel Theater opened at the 1964 World's Fair with the GE sponsored show Carousel of Progress. Inside the audience actually revolved around six central stages, each showcasing a newer era in home living, from the turn of the century to modern times. After the fair the show moved to Disneyland, then on to Disney World in 1971 where word has it the show will be shuttered very soon. Back at Disneyland the audio animatronics extravaganza America Sings opened in its stead around 1974 and had a good run before closing down in 1988.
And then the Carousel Theater, one of only three in the world (the third is at Tokyo Disneyland) lay dormant for 10 years.
In 1998 the management geniuses at Imagineering re-opened the theater, only this time it was no longer a high tech stage show replete with great characters and timeless tunes, but a low-tech trade show akin to a noisy stroll through your local Best Buy Superstore. No more charm. No more magic. No more amazing audio animatronic performers. Just carny hucksters trying to sell you the latest Disney Software title. Dante's Inferno at Disneyland. Everything Walt strived to avoid in planning the original park.
It's time to gut the building once more and bring it back to life as as the true revolving theater it once was.
Perhaps Imagineers can put some spit and polish on the original Carousel of Progress show and bring it back to Disneyland as a fresh reminder of one of Walt's personal favorites. Or better yet, maybe they can inject the building with a newer and even more amazing audio animatronics extravaganza. The time has come for this one of a kind theater to enjoy a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.