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Archive for February 20th, 2012

Presidents Day Special Reissue Theory: Walt Disney World’s “The Hall of Presidents”

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Welcome to another installment of Reissue Theory, where we focus on notable album and the reissues they could someday see. Today’s special holiday entry pays tribute to the 40th anniversary of a classic LP and beloved theme park attraction.  Welcome to the Hall of Presidents!

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

These immortal words, when first they were written, proclaimed to the world an idea new among men. They expressed a shining wish for a better way of life. This was the American dream. But that golden goal was not to be had without cost. It was born in adversity, tested by time, perfected and proven only after long experience and trial. This is the drama of a new concept of freedom, of the inspired code of law creating that freedom…

  – Original Introductory Dialogue, “The Hall of Presidents” at Walt Disney World

To many, the star of the 1964 New York World’s Fair was Walt Disney.  Attractions premiered by the restless visionary such as It’s a Small World and The Carousel of Progress were instant successes, and in the ensuing decades, they have become part of the American cultural firmament.  Near and dear as those attractions were to Disney, however, one stood out from the rest.  Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was designed for the State of Illinois Pavilion at the Fair, and included the most impressive display of Disney’s Audio-Animatronics ever seen.  As David Brinkley reported on television’s Huntley-Brinkley Report, “There will be a plastic Abraham Lincoln programmed by tape in a central control room, like a missile. Lincoln sits, stands, moves his tongue, moves his lips, clears his throat, frowns, smiles, looks skeptical, sad, happy, raises either or both eyebrows, registers a total of 15 facial expressions, makes a speech of six minutes and steps back to his chair, whereupon his motors are turned off and choirs burst into song.”  Science Digest took note of the marvelous new technology as it brought the 16th President of the United States of America back to vivid life.

Just one President wouldn’t be enough for Walt Disney Productions, however.  Based on the success of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, the design team for The Florida Project, or Walt Disney World, had something even more ambitious in mind: The Hall of Presidents.  Walt Disney himself didn’t live to see this attraction’s debut, but it’s been entertaining and educating visitors to the Lake Buena Vista, Florida park for over 40 years.

In celebration of Presidents’ Day, created for George Washington and first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1885, we’ll explore the The Hall of Presidents and its original soundtrack album in today’s special Reissue Theory!  Just hit the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

February 20, 2012 at 10:08