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Disney's history of Pecos Bill


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  • Disney's history of Pecos Bill

    Story at :

    Sunday, February 25, 2007

    Peco Bill on the WDW Radio Show

    Beginning this week, I will be part of a recurring segment on Lou Mongello's new podcast, the WDW Radio Show. Similar in theme to my recent DSI: Disney Scene Investigation articles on Disney World, the segments will feature "scene investigations"from all over the 43 square miles of the Walt Disney World resort.

    In this week's segment, we take a look at one of Walt Disney World's most popular counter service restaurants, the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. To tie in to this, I've decided to reprint and expand my previous What a Character! post that detailed the background and history of one of Disney's lesser known, but still very notable characters.
    Melody Time. His story was told in both narrative and song by movie cowboy Roy Rogers, accompanied by the Sons of the Pioneers. Disney child actors Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten were on hand around the campfire to hear the tale.

    Reaction over the years has been mixed about both Melody Time. Personally, I feel Melody TimeMelody Time appearance. He did receive exposure over the next few decades on the Disney anthology television show. Like Johnny Appleseed, his Melody Time segment was an easy cut-and-paste into episodes with American folklore themes.

    Unlike many of his lower-tier contemporaries, Pecos Bill managed to make his presence felt at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The character of Slue Foot Sue, played originally by actress Betty Taylor, was the proprietress of the original Golden Horseshoe Revue at Disneyland when the park opened in 1955. That particular show went on to play for over 30 years and 39,000 performances.

    Among those articles and artifacts:
    • Melody Time.
    • John Henry's hammer and spikes. The famous steel-driving man was featured in an animated short produced by Disney in 2000, a couple of years after the restaurant's refurbishment.
    • The Brave Engineer. He was based on real life engineer John Luther Jones. Jones died in a locomotive crash in 1900 where he sacrificed his life to save the lives of the passengers on the train. Not surprisingly, in the Disney version he survives for a somewhat happier ending.
    Other artifacts include objects donated by Jim Bowie, Kit Carson, Wild Bill Hickok, Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody.

    Pecos found himself reinvented by Disney in 1995, this time as real flesh and blood, in the live action feature Tall Tale: The Unbelievable Adventures of Pecos Bill. The film starred Patrick Swayze as Bill, and also featured other characters such as Paul Bunyan, John Henry and Calamity Jane.

    While that cyclone bucked and flitted,
    Pecos rolled a smoke and lit it,
    And he tamed that ornery wind down to a breeze.Melody Time was released on DVD in 2000.

    Pecos Bill was quite a cowboy down in Texas,
    And a western superman to say the least.
    He was the roughest toughest critter,
    Never know to be a quitter,
    Cause he never had no fear of man nor beast!
    Growing older is manditory
    Growing up is however, optional

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