When talking about Audio-Animatronics characters, Walt talked about plans of creating an attraction for “all of the Disney characters, so everyone can see them…I have in mind a theater, and the figures will not only put on the show but be sitting in the boxes with the visitors, heckling. I don’t know just when I’ll do that.”
With the recent closing of the Mickey Mouse Revue in Tokyo Disneyland, I thought it was interesting that a decade before its creation by Bill Justice at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, that Walt was already thinking of just such an attraction. Walt would always plus things, and it seems a natural progression for the characters just sitting in the audience to evolve into heckling the show as well. This of course is reminiscent of a Jim Henson idea for the original 1970s Muppet Show on TV, where two characters, Statler & Waldorf, indeed do heckle the show, and now do so for guests at the Disney theme parks in the Muppet*Vision 3D show. Beyond the two cranky old men, other Audio-Animatronic characters from the Muppet cosmos also make a cameo in the audience (Bean Bunny and the Swedish Chef–the latter being a personal favorite …. remember my last name). I also believe it was a strong possibility that Walt would have revisited this idea with the Bear Band show ultimately planned for Mineral King and realized first at Disneyland (Melvin, Buff, and Max, the “heckling heads”). Once again, Walt was years if not decades ahead in his thinking.
Could Walt Have Thought Of This?
Endnotes and Citations can be seen at: endnotes.