Thursday, December 29, 2016
"In a world of make believe, don't be throwing it all away."
It's my Darling Wife who pulled me out of my forgotten childhood and immersed me in her Forever Young obsession with the Magical Kingdom in particular, and all other venues of theme parkdom in general. It is she who reignited the inner child in me with our visit to Universal Studios, as related here.
Quite simply, as child to adult, she has never stopped going to these cathedrals of awe. Knott's Berry Farm. Magic Mountain. Six Flags Over Fullerton.
I think she may have felt similar impressions with our 1994 trip to Las Vegas and Treasure Island, but we weren't married then, so I also think she felt I might fall into my bachelor ways and the temptations of Caesar's Palace. Not to worry. That paradigm has shifted. But I always felt an E Ticket madness for anyone who stayed at the gravity defying Luxor Hotel.
Again, not to worry. The Treasure Island Hotel was a setting for a concept idea I had (I am the Space Pirate, after all) and we were there to see MYSTERE, the Cirque du Soleil show, which I adored!). I never called for an Escort. And I never gambled, ever. Still haven't. Though we walked through casino after casino, I have still never pretended to be James Bond in Monaco, or played 21 or tried the slots. Our gambling fever? The wife and I ambled down to the kid's section and found a vintage Doctor Who pinball machine. We played that.
So back to Disneyland. Or Dingyland, as listeners of SPACE PIRATE RADIO know I've called it. Home of Mickey Mafiosa. And his top hoodlum pal, Brother Orchid. My audio satires from 1974 to 2002 have not been kind. And anyone who has heard the original Mickey M satire, first aired, than committed to disc on the SPACE PIRATE RADIO long player knows: There Will Be Anthropomorphic Blood.
So here's the deal: Loving Disneyland is like living with an abusive parent. Or a molester in the family. I say this only as an Observer. I'm lucky to have survived my family as they weren't as dysfunctional as the graded curve. My Mother was a bit of a tyrant. If anyone was the current definition of bi-polar, it was she, but in a softer focus Doris Day sort of way. Ironic, as my Mother's name IS Doris. And my older sister Kay, now Katherine, a Leo like my Mother, had a profound influence on me. My first musical influences came from Mother and Sister. Couple that with the all electronic and strange score to FORBIDDEN PLANET and the theremin in THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. The primordial ooze is the musical mix that will become SPACE PIRATE RADIO. If my Father, Robert Guden had been a weaker man, I'm sure I would probably have been a homosexual. But thanks to the dynamic; a rare combination of familial alchemy, I am a ravenous heterosexual. Almost dangerously so, as some might attest. But that's another story. PEYTON PLACE by Grace Metalious. Well, that's another story, too.
So a semi-dysfunctional family is the perfect template for a semi-dysfunctional family theme park. Walt Disney. Genius? Or idea sucking vampyr? Of the old school. I'm not sure. All I know, is that he was borderline fascist, probably schizophrenic, definitely a snitch, an agent for J. Edgar Hoover, keeping an eye on Socialist leaning staff, a Jew hater. Salt of the Earth. Amerika's Finest.
A Janus. A lover of children. A hater of youth. And like Drumpf, someone who possibly had a Fueled of Dreams. Inspired by the cocoa leaf.
Like all of us Childers, Disneyland is a comfort zone of youth. But as the Intelligence grows, an awareness of Ulterior Motives comes into the picture. What is this thing called Power? Disney is an Empire, after all.
The Magic of Disney on the Glowing Cathode Tube...it drew us like lemmings to this Magical Place Incarnate, in Anaheim, just south of the railroad tracks and the remaining orange groves, of which this cursed county got its name, south of Fullerton, that magical place North, with hills beckoning from the flatlands. Let's go Daddy!
In Fullerton, on our house on Janet Place, my cool father would let us younglings climb up upon the dangerously shingled tract house roof and view the nightly fireworks display from this exalted kingdom. Nine PM.
After childhood visits with family, the teenage years, rebels without a cause, beatniks and ultimately hippies, would change the dynamic of "a day at the park." It got more confrontational. Lines were drawn. Unlike the Statue of Liberty, not all the huddled masses were welcome at the Shrine of Anaheim. Hell, they wouldn't let Nikita Khrushchev in. I bet Putin today owns stock and shares in many of Disney's hidden ventures. Someday, let me tell you about Hollywood Records and the Queen catalog. I'm not sure even Walt would be pleased. Walking in the newly developing Downtown Shopping area, the one built to compete with a successful Universal CityWalk, I'm sure Walt would be horrified and then thoroughly depressed.
So an irony begins, with Disney Security. A dress code is installed in those halcyon years. 1967, 1968, 1969. What started as my homage to the sartorial style of Illya Kuryakin, has now become a member of the little known Hullabaloos. Disney wonks refuse entrance to anyone who looks like they might be a member of Big Brother & The Holding Company. Don't want to freak out the tourists from Boise.
Of course all the Freaks want to go to the Park. Dropping acid and riding the Monsanto Shrinking Experience is High on the Franz (Liszt, that is). But not on the Matterhorn. The death rate on that ride is slowly approaching mini-Vietnam figures. No, No. We are talking the transcendent moments. Alice in Wonderland. Peter Pan. Most of Tomorrowland. And possibly the Tiki Room.
And as the time passes for those of us who were the children of the first wave of visitors to the park; the ones pulled in by the multiple magicks of the glowing cathode, the endless variety of dream images offered up by Uncle Walt...as time passes the experience is wrapped in ever changing layers of darkness. Like the feelings of Malevolence the very fairytale delivers. Something Lurks Within. What is behind the curtain? Or truly hidden under the tunnels that exist under the Main Streets and Park Walks. The box and foiled wrapping around the candied delights? The Men in the High Castle.
And now Disney has an army of Storm Troopers. You can't have TWO MAKERS. Lucas, like Poland, has been annexed. Or like Paris, is occupied. Lucasfilm is under Vichy control now.
This story is abridged. Like the day to day, year to year, decade to decade operation of this oddity nestled in Anna's Home, in Alternate Reich, Door Hinge County (Door Hinge being the only rhyme for Orange, as in Drumpf Orange. And would the newly created Orwellian word, "Alt-right", a softer substitute for neo-Nazi or fascist or racist, be easily substituted for "Walt-Right?").
So under unusual circumstances, I am in the Real Dingyland. Not the full park and not even the Dingy California Adventure. Those adventures await in Episodes 5 & 6 (or is it the prequels? I'm not quite sure. I think Doctor Who storylines might be creeping in here). No, I'm in the newly eminent domained Downtown Dingyland, or DTD. And the rampant Guden cynicism is absent or at least at bay, like it was at Universal Studios. Like the Major Maus, I am an agreeing lemming; enjoying the food, exploring the shops, buying stuff. "Gee Willikers, Pluto! I'm even in the Dingyland Starbucks!"
And tonight, with the woman I love, I will watch the fireworks in this wintery square. Not from a rooftop looking South in Fullerton. But from Within. Frodo at the Gates of Mordor.
Is a further exploration of the ever evolving Parks in the Cards?
Fan out. And Stay Tuned...