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Davy Crockett & Georgie Russell rate a window at Disneyland? What a crock!

Jim Hill

Jim's musings on the history of and rumors about movies, TV shows, books and theme parks including Disneyland, Walt Disney World. Universal Orlando and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Davy Crockett & Georgie Russell rate a window at Disneyland? What a crock!

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Let's review the week (to date) here at JHM, shall we?

On Monday, I infuriated SaveDisney.com fans by daring to suggest that Roy Disney -- during the time that he was Chairman of Walt Disney Feature Animation -- could have done more to help save hand-drawn animation at Walt Disney Studios.

On Tuesday, I dashed the hopes of Muppets fans everywhere by revealing that the Walt Disney Company didn't quite have its act together when it came to Kermit & Co. And that -- thanks to budget cuts as well as meddling from Mouse House managers -- "The Muppet Wizard of Oz" may not be the high quality, high profile project that so many Henson fans were hoping for.

On Wednesday, I flew down to Orlando. Where I immediately began preparing for this week's series of JHM tours. Which tell a version of Disney World history that I'm sure Walt, Roy O. and/or Roy E. would NOT approve of

So -- this being Thursday and all -- I guess it's time that I started annoying Davy Crockett fans.

I mean, how many of you folks saw the announcement earlier this week that "The King of the Wild Frontier" and his longtime companion, Georgie Russell would be getting their very own window in the Frontierland section of Disneyland. And that Fess Parker himself would be making a special trip to the Anaheim theme park just to take part in the festivities.

Which (I know) sounds like a really fun event. Especially for all you baby boomers out there who spent some part of your youth running around in a coonskin cap.

But -- at the same time -- I can't help but wonder: Disney's awarding a window at the theme park to a historical figure (And -- by proxy -- the actor who played the part of this same historic figure in a series of TV programs for ABC back in the 1950s) ... And yet there are Imagineers, veteran Disneyland employees, people who had a real impact on "The Happiest Place on Earth" who have yet to singled out for this sort of honor.

Doesn't that seem sort of screwy to you?

Look, don't get me wrong, folks. I understand that the Davy Crockett phenomenon played an important part in Disney Company history. That those first three "Davy Crockett" TV shows helped to put "Disneyland" (I.E. The weekly TV series. NOT the theme park) on the map. Not to mention the millions that the Mouse made off of the sale of Davy Crockett merchandise back in the mid-1950s.

And I don't mean to slight Mr. Parker either. I realize that -- in addition to his duties as the "King of the Wild Frontier" -- Fess made a number of films for Walt Disney Productions. Two in 1956 ("The Great Locomotive Chase" and "Westward Ho the Wagons") as well as 1957's "Old Yeller" & 1958's "The Light in the Forest."

That impressive body of work obviously qualifies Mr. Parker for a Disney Legend award. Which Fess actually did already receive back in 1991. But a separate window at the Anaheim park? I don't think so.

Look, I know. The window in question doesn't actually feature Fess's name. It just reads "Crockett & Russell." But -- given that Disneyland has already had so many in-park tributes to Davy Crockett over the years -- doesn't this latest "honor" seem kind of redundant? Or -- even worse -- like overkill?

I mean, think about it, folks: Over the past 40+ years, the Anaheim theme park has had a number of attractions that have been inspired by and/or had direct ties to Disney's "Davy Crockett" TV shows & movies. The Mike Fink Keel Boats, for example. Not to mention the Davy Crockett Arcade, the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes as well as Crockett Mercantile.

So it's not as if Disneyland has been lacking in rides, shows and attractions that honored Davy Crockett. Frontierland is practically crawling with the things already. And yet Disneyland management still saw fit to shoehorn yet another Crockett tribute into the Anaheim theme park. To go forward with this window.

Which brings me back to my original question: Why a window for "Crockett & Russell," two characters from a TV program ... When there are real-life, flesh-and-blood people who actually made lasting contributions to Disneyland history -- folks like the late Sam McKim and (You knew that I'd eventually get around to this, didn't you?) C.V. Wood -- who still haven't been singled out for this sort of honor?

Again, I know, this all probably seems like a pretty minor matter to most JHM readers. A subject hardly worth mentioning. Let alone droning on and on -- for paragraphs at a time about.

But -- given that I'm still in the process of getting JHM's "I Wanna Window for Wood" campaign off the ground -- I've been trying to learn as much as I can about Disney's window awarding process. And -- to be honest -- what I've learned so far about how these things are done is that the process can be pretty arbitrary.

This whole "Window on Main Street" thing? Maybe once -- 20 years or so ago -- this was a sincere & unique way to honor those who helped make Walt's dream a reality. But sometime over the past two decades, this "honor" devolved into ... Well ... Some kind of a perk that Disney Company managers could dole out. Almost on a whim.

Which is how "Crockett & Russell" -- in spite of all the other rides, shows and attractions that, over the years, have already paid tribute to the legacy of Disney's "Davy Crockett" TV programs -- rate a window in the Anaheim theme park. While people like the late Sam McKim & C.V. Wood are still waiting.

Speaking of Mr. Wood ... In an effort to drum up support for JHM's "I Wanna Window for Wood" campaign (Get people on the bandwagon, if you will), I'll be handing out little wooden bandwagons at the Mega-Mouse Meet this coming Saturday at the Swan. So be sure to drop by the JHM table at Swan Room 10 and pick up yours.

Okay. That's enough yammering for one day. I'm sorry that today's column is so short. But I really gotta get ready for my Magic Kingdom tours as well as work up a new "Why For" column for Friday. Which (I'm sure), given how this past week has gone so far, will still manage to find some new way to offend JHM readers.

You folks have a good Thursday, okay?


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