So why exactly did so many reporters & photographers
make a special trip out to Anaheim last Thursday? Was it because some star was
making a special appearance at Disneyland Park?
Photo by Noe Valladolid
Well, not a star per se. But -- rather seamstress to the
stars, Disney Legend Alice Davis. Who spent much of the 1960s creating colorful
costumes for the Audio-Animatronic figures found in "Flight to the
Moon," "Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress" and -- of course -- those
two theme park favorites: "it's a small world" and "Pirates of
Alice Davis back in the early 1960s working on the costumesfor Disneyland Park's "it's a small world" attraction. CopyrightDisney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Given that The Walt Disney Company had recently decided to
honor Alice with her very own Window on Main Street ... Well, it was only
appropriate that the staging area for this auspicious occasion be flanked by
two decorative displays. One which illustrated the care & artistry that Ms.
Davis put into the creation of each of the outfits that she created for the
150+ dolls that appeared in the original 1964 New York World's Fair version of
"it's a small world."
While the other display showcased perhaps the most famous
dress that Alice ever designed: the revealing outfit which that curvy redhead
in "Pirates of the Caribbean" 's auctioneer scene wore / still wears.
(This costume is a particular tribute to Ms. Davis' artistry. Given that -- in
the actual "Pirates" attraction -- this AA figure's famous curves
mostly come from a special corset that Alice designed back in the 1960s).
Anyway ... As the Dapper Dans performed a medley of Disney
favorites, Ms. Davis' friends & family filed in and filled that sea of
white chairs which had been set up in front of Disneyland's Disneyana Shop.
Then Disneyland President George Kalogridis stepped to the
podium and welcomed everyone who had come out to the Park for this
extra-special occasion. George then gave a brief history of Disneyland's Window
on Main Street program, explaining that these seemingly whimsical, hand-painted-on-glass
period pieces were actually the Company's way " ... of paying a permanent tribute to those (Cast
Members) whose passion and dedication have touched others and made a positive impact
on the Disneyland Resort."
Disneyland President George Kalogridis. Photo by Noe Valladolid
Kalogridis then ceded the podium to Tom Staggs, Chairman of
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. Who -- after talking briefly about how one of his
favorite parts of his job is being able to honor Imagineering pioneers like
Alice -- then launched into a Reader's Digest version of Ms. Davis' life story.
Recalling how ...
"... another person that you've probably heard of, Marc Davis
-- one of the Nine Old Men -- realized that he needed a costume designer for a
new animated feature that the Studio was working on, "Sleeping Beauty ." And I believe that -- at one point in one of the classes that he
used to teach -- (Marc) had come across Alice. So he thought to call her up and
see if she could make the costume for Briar Rose. And it turns out that the
costume was exactly what Marc was looking for. And so was Alice.
Walt Disney Parks & Resort Chairman Tom Staggs. Photo by Noe Valladolid
The two were married in 1956. So it's only fitting that we
unveil a window for Alice today here at Disneyland right next to the one that
we have for Marc."
Staggs was in the process of laying out the rest of Ms.
Davis' life story (i.e. how Walt had personally recruited Alice to come work
with another Disney Legend Mary Blair to -- in just nine months time -- create
all of the outfits in "it's a small world" for the 1964
World's Fair in New York) when the Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts
was rudely interrupted as a passel of pirates suddenly appeared on the street.
Lurching through the crowd with cries of "Where be
she?," "Where are you, woman? ," and "So where's the Alice
Davis," this motley crew searched high and low for this Window on Main
Street honoree before they eventually found Ms. Davis seated in the second row.
After Staggs tried to restore order, the Pirate Captain
turned to the Chairman and said " Excuse me, Mr. Tom. But we have some
urgent business regarding Miss Alice, if you don't mind." Then -- turning
on the charm -- the Pirate Captain turned to this 83 year-old Disney Legend and
said "Sweet Alice. Looking as pretty as the first day we met." Then
gesturing to his somewhat tattered & grubby outfit, the Pirate Captain then
went on to say "But seeing as we have been wearing these vestments for
nigh on half a century, perhaps you could be so kind as to stitch us up something
a bit more fashionable."
His Second-in-Command then chimed in "We won't be
paying ye. But we can sing you a song."
And then one of the real highlights of last Thursday
morning's event got underway. To the tune of the "Pirates of the
Caribbean" theme song (i.e. X Atencio's "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's
Life for Me"), the rogues then entertained the crowd with an alternative
version of this much-beloved tune. Which now started out with "Yo Ho, Yo Ho,
Miss Davis with a D."
The crowd on Main Street, U.S.A. really ate up this comical
tune. Especially the last verse, which wondered ...
"Without Alice, where would this lot be?
We'd all be berated and probably R-rated and couldn't sail the sea
But thanks to Miss Alice, we're fit for the palace, dressed like kings you see
Alice Davis, she put the pants on me."
Once their song was over, Staggs was finally able to shoo all
of these rascally rogues off the stage. Though -- as one of the pirates passed
the podium -- they made a somewhat disparaging comment about Tom's
no-tie-and-suit-jacket ensemble. Staggs responded to this pirate's comment by
saying "Well, Alice didn't dress me." This rogue's retort -- "We
can see that" -- got a huge laugh from Ms. Davis' friends & family.
At this point, it was time for the unveiling of Alice's
Window on Main Street. And -- with Mickey Mouse's help -- George Kalogridis
pulled the appropriate chord. And as that piece of purple drapery fell away and
purple & white streamers fell down from above, Ms. Davis' long-overdue
Window on Main Street was finally revealed. Its inscription reads:
"Small World Costumers. Seamstress to the Stars."
Alice herself then stepped to the podium and remarked that
Window on Main Street honoree Alice Davis.Photo by Noe Valladolid
"I was raised with the thought that the greatest thing
that you can have in your life are good friends. They're the wealth that you
have. You can raise all the money that you want but you can't enjoy money
without friends. And so I am most proud to see so many friends come (out for
All things good, you
have to wait a while for. And after 83 years, I got my wish because when I come
down Main Street and I'd look up at Marc's window and I'd think the one next to
him is not taken yet. And I was wishing for it and wishing for it and today the
day has come. And I couldn't be more happy. Except in knowing that for years
both Marc and I have had the great pleasure of bringing great fun and joy to
people and that was the jewelry of our hearts. And it will always be."
(L to R) Disneyland Resort President George Kalogridis, Mickey Mouse, Window on MainStreet honoree Alice Alice and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs.Photo by Noe Valladolid
Then Tom, George and Mickey presented Alice with a miniature
version of her Window on Main Street. And the Dapper Dans wrapped up this event
with an a capella version of "When You Wish Upon a Star," Ms. Davis
was heard to say to her friends & family that " ... many of you, I
haven't seen for a long time. So I'm going to get a lot of hugs today, I hope."
All in all, it was a very memorable morning at the Happiest
Place on Earth. And I'm so glad that I could be there to see Disney Legend
Alice Davis finally get the recognition she so richly deserved.
Disney Legend Alice Davis, seamstress to the starsPhoto by Noe Valladolid