The “Lost” Photo of the Dedication of Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction in Walt Disney World in 1973 by Rock Hudson

On last week’s podcast (Top Ten Romantic Places, Spaces, and Things to Do in Walt Disney World), the Trivia Question of the Week asked you to tell me who dedicated the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction when it opened in Walt Disney World in December, 1973.

In the 16 years I have been asking weekly trivia questions, I can’t remember another one that not only had as many incorrect (yet hysterical) answers and guesses, but stumped as many people. (

Some fun and interested guesses I received included: Howard Cosell, Dorothy Lamour, Davy Jones (I’m not sure if they meant the The Monkee or the pirate), Lillian Disney, Florence Henderson, and Bob Hope.

The correct answer is Rock Hudson.

Who’s Rock Hudson?

First things first – who WAS Rock Hudson? Rock Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer Jr. in 1925, although his legal name became Roy Fitzgerald when his stepfather, Wallace Fitzgerald, adopted him. In 1947, he moved to Los Angeles and took on the name “Rock Hudson” – “Rock” comes from Rock of Gibraltar, and “Hudson” is for the Hudson River.

His fame skyrocketed in the 1950s, and he starred in the 1956 film “Giant” alongside Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean, earning him an Oscar nomination. By the time of his death in 1985, he’d been in more than 60 films, including “Ice Station Zebra,” “Pillow Talk,” and “The Undefeated” with John Wayne. He also starred in popular television series such as McMillan & Wife, Dynasty, and the series The Martian Chronicles.

But why was this question so difficult and tricky?

Because there is not much that The Google will tell you about this question or moment in Walt Disney World’s history.

In fact, some people even questioned whether my answer (and the question itself) was valid!

Let’s see the photo!

Well, ask and ye shall receive… as here is the (one and only as I can tell) photo of Rock Hudson cutting the ceremonial ribbon and sending the first bateau into the pirate-infested waters…

Rock Hudson had visited Walt Disney World to narrate the Candlelight Processional on December 15 and 16. Although Pirates of the Caribbean officially opened to the public on December 15, on December 17, 1973, Hudson cut the ceremonial ribbon at the entrance to the attraction during its dedication. He then went into the queue, and officially sent the first boat off into the pillaging and plundering 17th-century adventures of pirate-infested islands in ransacked Caribbean seaport towns.

Pretty cool, huh?

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About Lou Mongello

Lou Mongello is a former attorney who left the practice to pursue his passion, and is now a recognized Disney expert, author, speaker, and host of WDW Radio. Learn more…

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