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A Country Bear History Lesson

Over at the Magic Kingdom a month long refurbishment has been announced for the Country Bear Jamboree. That’s good news because the attraction has been neglected as of late. And with the refurbishment ending so close to the holidays there is hope that we might see the return of the holiday show, gone for two years now.

At the Passport to Dreams blog FoxxFur has posted a timely reminder about the importance of the CBJ to Disney’s legacy, and how its designers even snuck in a little American History education to the famed attraction:

Even more importantly, the show uses many of the performers who were actually there for the roots of that kind of music, including Ernest Van Stoneman, Dallas McKennon and Tex Ritter. And although the songs in the second half of the show are mostly from the decade surrounding the opening of the attraction, their vocalization and arrangement is clearly meant to insist on their status not as “Country Music”, which even back then tended to be garish and over processed, but as a continuation of the longer legacy of truly American music, folk music and cowboy music. When Bertino wrote in the introduction to the show that it would be “…songs from Americana”, he wasn’t kidding. To those who recognize that’s going on in the show in terms of instruction through entertainment, it is a remarkable panorama of American music.

FoxxFur has also included a recording of Tex Ritter talking about recording Blood On The Saddle and even better a YouTube video of him singing it. Amazing how close Marc Davis came with his “Big Al”.

So, let’s make a date and I’ll see you in November at the Country Bear Jamboree!

6 thoughts on “A Country Bear History Lesson”

  1. My family and I were just at the Magic Kingdom yesterday and we went to the CBJ while waiting for our Big Thunder Mountain FastPass window. We talked about how 1970’s the show looked and how an update is needed. But let’s hope it’s just an update, not an overhaul.

  2. “Mamma, don’t whup little Buford…”

    I love that show. :) I’ve never seen the holiday version (only heard it on Live365), so I hope it comes back so that I can!

  3. When does this referbishment start? Because I was looking forward to seeing it when I am there in September since they’ve closed the Disneyland version.

  4. I’d like to clarify here that the refurbishment is not going to eventually see the reinstallation of the holiday show, which I do admit I miss despite being pretty ho-hum. Ironically CBJ’s profile rose due to the removal of the holiday show – guests who only visit around Christmas and had never seen the real show gave the “new” show much higher marks. If you’d like to see the holiday show reinstated, write a nice letter and send it to:

    Walt Disney World Guest Communications
    PO Box 10040, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

    I repeat: do NOT complain in person, WDW has a policy of ignoring in person complaints. Write a letter.

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