July 14, 2006


Years ago I wrote a rather poignant essay which posed the question "Where have all the pirates gone?" Frankly, the enitre premise is now obsolete. They are everywhere and on everything.. especially movie screens. I'm not sure why I've been drawn to these smelly anti-heroes since I was a toddler, but I just have. My parents first fed my pirate cravings with the Weebles Treasure Island set. Soon after, I was introduced to the fine record pictured above. It's easily in the top three "most played" on my lifetime playlist. And if you too would like to have an eighteen minute audio tour of a village in chaos that's narrated by the brilliant Thurl Ravenscroft then you can grab it here via Rapidshare (sorry.)

What really kept me coming back to the album was the picture book that was glued into the dust jacket (until it was inevitably ripped out.) It's full of awesome shots of the ride from 1967, the year that it opened. I thought I'd share some of my favorites here. These photos are best viewed while laying on your stomach with your fists holding up your head by your chin as your elbows dig into the shag carpet...

Just imagine the anticipation and the excitement of having zero knowledge of what was ahead. Not one of those ladies in the front had ever seen a home video of the entire Pirates ride posted on YouTube. At best they might have seen some behind the scenes footage on The Magical World of Disney on some Sunday night. (All of these enlarge slightly when clicked.)

Don't you see? The treasure is cursed! Yet you just ignore all of the warnings.

Disney World has one drop while Disneyland has two. This is mere trivia unless you really dislike drops.

I guess you really can't take it with you! (Haw! haw! haw!)

Oh, now I understand what this is all about.

I guess you really can't take it with--- nevermind.

I love it when the inside of buildings are designed to seem like the outdoors. Disney has certainly mastered this art.

Well, if all of that isn't enough to swash your buckles, take a listen to this marvelous 1967 radio commercial for the classic ride. Click, or do a "save as" on this link.

That's the way it was back when it was "an entirely new kind of family entertainment." Be sure to stop by the souvenir shop on your way out.


chuckbaris said...

I really enjoyed those pictures my friend. One of my greatest regrets has always been that I've never been to disneyland or disney world. As a child they were so hyped up on television that I came to beileive that visit this magical kingdom would be a life altering experience. Now that I am nearly a father I have this fantasy of experiencing it for the first time with my child. Though I doubt the idea of it packs the same punch as it did when I was a youngling.

Kirk D. said...

You're talking crazy talk. The disney parks were a blast as a child, but on many levels I appreaciate them even more now.

No need to wait for the little one to get old enough. I happen to know that you live a mere eight hours from Disneyland.. so I say go.

HarveyMidnight said...

Hey, yeah.. the Pirates of the Carribean ride! the Haunted Mansion's more shwashbucklin' cousin.

We went to Disneyworld twice when I was a kid.. once at age 5 then I think age 7 or 8. I loved the Haunted Mansion most, but I'd call Pirates... my second fave, definitely.

Good memories...

There is a little website where you can hear not only an mp3 rip of the album you've pictured.. but also the complete Pirates ride itself:


"No fear have ye of evil curses, says you?"

Rozum said...

Wow, Kirk, odd timing, I just posted a little affectionate reminiscence on a different aspect of Pirates of the Caribbean over at my site.

I didn't talk about the record, which I did in fact look at on the orange shag rug in the very position you describe. Thanks to you and harveymidnight above for the links so that I can listen to this once again.

and Chuck, don't worry about your kids being too young, it gives you an excuse to go again later. I'm planning to take my young'ns (current ages 5 and 7) next Spring.

AWG said...

Rides like these are always a pleasure. I only recently saw the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie and I really enjoyed it. I haven't seen the original. I've always enjoyed stories about outlaws, treasure and mystery.

Kirk D. said...

Harvey- that site has to be the most comprehensive Disney audio archive out there. It gave me one of those "only on the internet" moments.

Rozum- That's some sweet blogging synergy. I'll check out your post ASAP.

Awg- that's right, as I recall your favorite movie is The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Todd Franklin said...

I was first introduced to Pirates and HM from the New Orleans Square Viewmaster Reel. My brother and I wore those reels out dreaming about going to Disneyland.

John Schaefer said...

Kirk, I'm pretty sure that one big draw of piracy is their status as the original anarchists. Pirate ships were independent, pirate members were free people who joined the crew voluntarily, the sharing of booty was equitable, and the captain was often elected from among the crew. The pirate ship was a miniature proto-anarcho-syndicalist state.

Now, the question of zombie pirates is even more interesting. Why? Because zombies are the original communists: They don't eat, they don't work, they don't produce any external products... They merely reproduce themselves by creating more zombies.

(Zombies might appear similar to vampires, who create new vampires by biting, but vampires are actually on the other extreme from zombies. Vampires are individualized aristocrats, living for centuries like capitalist corporations, sucking the blood of workers... Meanwhile, zombies are the ultimate undifferentiated working-class joes.)

James Stephenson said...

I miss the original POTC ride. I went in the 70's when I was about 8 and again at like 9 and loved this and Haunted Mansion. Went again in the 90's as a teenager and still liked those two rides. But alas, went 2 years ago and they have really PC'd up the POTC ride. It is ok now, but Haunted Mansion was still pretty cool. My 5 year old niece was almost in tears when we left the mansion, but by the end of the trip I had totally turned her around it was her favorite ride.

Kirk D. said...

todd- disney rides and ViewMaster reels sound like a perfect combo.

yahya- I love your theories. Thanks for sharing them, however you have completely disregarded Ninjas.

james- yes the PC'd changes are interesting. I recall that they gave food to the women who are being chased by pirates to imply that the cutthroats are merely after a good meal.

Richard said...

My parents took me to Disneyworld in '76 or '77 and I loved it. This was one of my favorite rides, although the Haunted Mansion was pretty much tied.

My wife and I took all three of our kids last October and it was just as much fun. I could see the difference in how they viewed everything though, growing up with all of the technology. The only ones that were really WOWED by everything were myself and my three year old. Just didn't have enough time for everything either, it has grown so large.

Hucbald said...

Thanks for the memories!

I first rode the PotC ride at Disneyland in 1968. Three times, if I recall correcvtly. Best. Ride. EVER!

Kirk D. said...

richard- I can't wait to see how my kid responds to Pirates. Maybe I'll deprive him of all technology until then so that he'll appreciate it. :)

hucbald- You're welcome!
You're lucky to have ridden it in it's 'prime time.' What fun.

Anonymous said...

Alas from Michigan! Would love to be able to hear this POTC LP! Any chance for a re-up? ...rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (thats thanks in swashbuckler! :)

Muff Diver said...

The Pirates is my all-time favorite Disney ride!

Kirk, assuming you have the time and your original recording is intact, will you please re-up the Thurl Ravenscroft recording?

Thank you!