Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Extra Info on the Pirate Heads

Here is some extra information on the pirate heads from the Winter 2004-2005 Disney Magazine:

New Orleans was one of Walt Disney’s favorite vacation spots. He loved exploring the area’s antique shops, where he occasionally purchased props for his films and TV shows. The city’s rich history- it was once the headquarters of the infamous French pirate Jean Laffite – was Walt’s inspiration for New Orleans Square, the first section added to Disneyland since opening day.

In the square, which opened in July 1966, narrow streets meander around ironwork-clad buildings, each containing treasures that might have been found in New Orleans in the eighteenth century. During the square’s early years, there was an outdoor cafĂ©, a jewelry shop, an antique shop, and a store offering ladies’ hats.

In 1967, a spectacular new attraction made its debut in the square: Pirates of the Caribbean, which was packed with realistic Audio-Animatronics figures. Walt had approved all of the figures and introduced many of them in his TV show, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. Unfortunately, he didn’t live to see the attraction open to the public.

The opening of Pirates of the Caribbean brought new merchandise into the park: eye patches, plastic swords, and Jolly Rogers. Guest could find “pieces of eight” among the antiques and reproductions in the One-of-a-Kind shop, which stood where Le Bat En Rouge is now.

Some of my favorite pieces from the era are three pirate condiment containers.  These three-inch-tall ceramic heads are hand painted depictions of characters found in the attraction. The original New Orleans Square logo is stamped on the bottom. Of the three, the Auctioneer with his dark-blue hat is the most recognizable to guests. Avid Pirates fans will recognize the other two, which are stylized versions of characters from the jail scene (one has an added eye patch).

(Inset) Shiver me timbers: These condiment jars, sold at Disneyland in 1967, make an attractive addition to any landlubber’s dining table. They’re difficult to find today; a set could fetch $300.

Thanks to my reader sb-illustrations and the Phil Sears site for the lead! Now, I just need the Auctioneer to complete my collection!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Aarrrrgghh you ready for more from N’awlins??

You are?!? GOOD!! :) This makes me happy!

What we have here, folks, are two shrunken pirate heads! It could be assumed that they escaped from New Orleans and headed east to hijack a Jungle Cruise launch and this is what became of them. Trader Sam seems to have repurposed them for… something. Sugar bowls, perhaps. They could also be salt and pepper cellars, which I think makes more sense because the area with which to put something in them is quite shallow.

The great thing about these is that there remains a price tag on one of them. I am unsure if they came together as a set, or if each pirate was 50 cents (53 cents with tax!). How fantastic would it be to pick up something this wonderful now for 53 cents?! Pirates Tag

The one disappointment I have with these, much like the Mary Poppins spoon holder I blogged way back when, is that it doesn’t appear that these came with matching spoons of any kind. I’ve seen these before, but never with spoons. What’s the deal? Anyway, that aside, these are wonderful pieces.

Check out the character on them! The faces are so great, in my opinion. So reminiscent of the figures in Pirates of the Caribbean, and yet with all of that classic Marc Davis humor that was present in his sketches of the attraction.

As with most early Disneyland merchandise, the color has remained so beautiful and vibrant on these pieces which were manufactured, I believe, around the time of the attraction’s opening in 1967.

The only thing I think they lack are names. Does anyone have suggestions? :)