From the WDW Radio Archives…
I visited the EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival this week, and love seeing old friends… not just wandering and grazing the promenade with me, but old friends from Walt Disney World’s past… and present. In recent years, we have seen a resurgence in nostalgia, sentiment, and love for our little purple friend with childlike innocence, Figment, as well as our favorite combination of fruit and fowl, the Little Orange Bird.
And in the past 50 years, we’ve seen some pretty interesting things at Walt Disney World: A waterskiing Goofy, gunfighters shooting it out in Frontierland, singing fruit, a rapping Mickey and much more. But until 2011, many people didn’t know who the Orange Bird was, let alone remember seeing a character walking around in Adventureland with a giant orange head, leaves for arms and a green stem sticking out of his head. It started with a slow release of retro merchandise in Magic Kingdom, and in 2012, the Orange Bird returned to Sunshine Tree Terrace signage and quirky drink cups, and a new line of Orange Bird merchandise started to appear on the shelves! Also, an Orange Bird statue that was on display at Sunshine Tree Terrace in the 1970s was retrieved from the Walt Disney Imagineering Sculpture Studio in California, and is now on display in full, orange glory.
This rekindled a sense of fond remembrance for our little orange friend, and now, he is not only present in our memories, hearts, and Adventureland, but is a huge fixture at this year’s Festival in Epcot. He has inspired not just a huge line of merchandise, but even some food items as well.
So I went back into the WDW Radio Archives this week to 2011 and Show #250, where Jim Korkis and I took a look back in time at the Sunshine Tree Terrace and it’s one-time host (and hostess). We explore the origins of the Orange Bird, the Sherman Brothers song, why he and Anita Bryant may have flown the coop, and the (then) recent resurgence of our little orange friend. I’ll then pose a question for you to share your thoughts on as well.
Do you remember seeing the little Orange Bird in Adventureland in the 70’s? Did you ever get a photo with the walk around character? Share your memories, and thoughts about this old and new unofficial mascot for the parks in the WDW Radio Clubhouse at WDWRadio.com/Clubhouse, or call the voicemail at 407-900-9391 (WDW1) and share your story on the show.
But for now… sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s episode from the Archives on the WDW Radio show.
You can listen to the original episode in it’s entirety at WDW Radio #250
Let me help you build your brand and business and turn your passion into your profession, or speak at your event, conference, or school! – Learn more at LouMongello.com
Thanks to Jim Korkis for joining me again this week! Find Jim’s new book, the FINAL Secret Stories of Walt Disney World, and all 35 of his titles on Amazon
Do you remember seeing the little Orange Bird in Adventureland in the 70’s? Did you ever get a photo with the walk around character? Share your memories, and thoughts about this old and new unofficial mascot for the parks in the WDW Radio Clubhouse at WDWRadio.com/Clubhouse, or call the voicemail at 407-900-9391 (WDW1) and share your story on the show.
Comment and share your questions, thoughts, and tips in our WDW Radio Clubhouse Community on Facebook or call the Voicemail and be heard “On the Air” at 407-900-9391
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What we gonna do right here is go back. Way back, back into time.
Welcome to another episode from the W DW Radio Archives. I am Lu Manillo and this is show number 714 and this, and each week I'm gonna select an evergreen episode from the archives. To share with you that maybe you've never heard before, or maybe it's not one that you've heard in a long time.
From interviews to top tens, reviews, guides way back machines and more, they're a great way to visit or revisit some of our favorite episodes, including ones that you've suggested I share from the Vault, and rather than me upload the episode in its entirety, I'll take out the relevant segment and cut out the intro and outro and contest and sometimes the out date news and rumor.
If you want to hear the full episode, I'll let you know the original show number so you can always go back into your podcast player or feed and listen to the full episode. I hope you enjoy this new old edition to your feed and some of the favorites that you may have missed or never heard before. So I'm gonna open up the archives again this week because I visited.
The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival earlier this week, and I love seeing old friends there. Not just wandering and grazing the promenade with me, but old friends from Walt Disney World's past and present. And in recent years, we've seen this resurgence in nostalgia and sentiment. For example, our little purple friend with Childlike Innocence.
Figment, as well as our favorite combination of fruit and foul. The little orange bird, and in the past 50 years, we've seen some pretty interesting things. In addition to the Purple Dragon and the Orange Bird in Walt Disney World, we've seen a water skiing, goofy gun fighters shooting it out in Frontier land, singing fruit in kitchen cabaret, a wrapping Mickey Mouse, and a lot more.
But until 2011. Many people didn't know who the orange bird was, let alone remember seeing a character walking around in Adventureland with this giant orange head, not just orange in color, but a head shaped like an orange, leaves her arms and a green stem sticking outta the top of his head. And it started with a slow release of retro merchandise in Magic Kingdom and in 20.
The orange bird returned to the Sunshine Tree Terrace signage and some quirky little drink cups, as well as a new line of orange bird merchandise that started to appear on shelves. Also, an orange bird statue that was on display at the Sunshine Tree Terrace in the 1970s. Was brought back from the Walt Disney imaginary sculpture studio in California and is now on display in his full orange glory.
And that rekindled a sense of fond remembrance for our little orange friend, not just in me, but in a lot of other people as well. And now he's not only present in our memories, hearts and adventure. But is a huge fixture at this year's festival in Epcot. He has inspired not just a huge line of merchandise, but even some food items as well.
So I went back into the W D W Radio archives this week to 2011 and show number two 50 where Jim Corcus, I took a look back in time at the Sunshine Tree Terrace, and its one-time host and hostess. We explore the origins of the orange. The Oso, very catchy Sherman Brothers song, why The Orange Bird and Anita Bryant may have Flown the Coop and the then recent resurgence of our little orange friend.
I also posed a question on the show for you to share your thoughts on as well, which you can still answer, but I also wanna know now, do you remember seeing the original little orange bird in Adventureland in the seventies? Did you ever get a photo with the walkaround character? Share your memories, your picture.
And your thoughts about this old and new unofficial mascot for the parks in the WW Radio clubhouse at ww radio.com/clubhouse. Or call the voicemail at (407) 900-9391. That's 4 0 7 900 w DW one, and share your story on the show. But for now, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week's episode from the archives on the WW Radio.
The timing of Walt Disney World's 40th anniversary on October 1st, 2011 coincided. With the return of one of those original attractions, or at least a tribute to such. And today I actually happened to be sitting in a nice, quiet, shady corner of adventure land, not specifically to talk about the return of those specific tiki birds, but another little orange cousin bird.
There he goes. A distant cousin. And I may be the little orange nerd, but a person who, uh, who like. Finally remembers, uh, that large orange headed gra is, uh, is Jim Corcus. He is the author of The Vault of Walt. He's a frequent guest on the show. He's a Disney historian, expert contributor, celebrations magazine, gentleman, scholar, um, and, and fan of the little orange.
And it's not gonna get any better than that. So I better leave right now while I'm ahead. It's only downhill from here. And, uh, yes, we're outside the, uh, what was the sunshine, uh, uh, tree terrace, uh, out here, the, uh, official home, uh, for the orange bird. And we're gonna talk a little bit today about the history of the orange bird and, uh, the fact that, uh, he's recently been, uh, re reintroduced.
Uh, a limited, uh, way. We were hoping to see even more of him for the, uh, 40th anniversary, but, uh, I'm thankful that, uh, he's still around after all of this time, so
thank, yeah. I think, uh, I think if a, if a couple of years ago I would've talked about the little Orange Bird and Anita Bryant, those probably would've been two names that most of the audience may not have rec remembered because of, back in the seventies, they were very popular here in Florida and very popular.
Uh, but for a long time, uh, had been outta the parks and certainly, uh, sort of off the radar until recently. And again, sort of tying into the return of the enchanted tiki room next door, I thought it would be a fun time to talk about, because this all sort of ties in together this whole sunshine pavilion and its connection to the Florida citrus growers that doesn't really start on October 1st, 1971, but really like four years
Uh, ab absolutely, you know, There was a great deal of excitement about, uh, the Disney company coming, uh, uh, to Florida. The expectations, of course, was there was going to be a a, a Disneyland East out here, and everybody knew how popular, uh, Disneyland. But, uh, very few people, uh, east of the Mississippi ever got around to visiting Disneyland.
Um, so this seemed to be a, uh, a perfect, uh, market, uh, for new customers for a variety of. Uh, different, uh, companies and corporations. One of those was the, uh, Florida Citrus Growers and they approached the Disney company as early as 1967, as, as Lou was, uh, alluding to, which is really pretty early in the game.
And by 1969, had officially signed off on the, uh, uh, contract to sponsor a, um, $3 million pavilion, uh, right here in uh, Adventureland. And certainly
the idea. Having sponsors for the park is not something that started and wasn't new to Walt Disney World. That's how Disney Land got built. So you say, well, where do Florida citrus growers come into Disney World?
That's part of how these, of how these
parks got built. Well, and, and actually, uh, something that, uh, some listeners may not be aware of is that the oldest surviving Disney, Disney licensee is Florida Orange. Uh, out at, uh, lake Wales, uh, that's where they produced Donald Duck, orange Juice. And what Donald Duck has to do with orange juice is beyond me, other than the fact that it, it's sold in 1941 and it continues to sell today.
And, um, in fact, it's been a long time since I've been out there, but at one time in the building, they actually had a statue of Donald Duck, uh, uh, in there. So Florida orange juice and Disney. Had had a long relationship even before 1969. Now in 1970, uh, working with the Disney uh, company, uh, the Florida Citrus Growers, uh, developed, uh, their own, uh, character, uh, the little Orange Bird and the design came, uh, from Sea Robert Moore, uh, better known as, uh, uh, Bob Moore.
He's a Disney legend, by the way, but one of those Disney legends that a lot of people don't know about because. Uh, Moore was basically, uh, a department to himself, uh, from 1951 for, uh, about 30 years. He was just a department of one and did an awful lot of, uh, uh, promotional artwork and special artwork. He did the, uh, the murals at the, um, elementary school, Walt Disney Elementary School in Marcine, Missouri.
Uh, he designed the, uh, mascot for the 1984, uh, uh, Olympics, Sam the Eagle. You know, uh, he, he was one of the, uh, few artists who were authorized, uh, to sign, uh, Walt Disney signature while Walt Disney was, uh, alive in the thirties and forties. That was Hank Porter who was doing all of that, but starting in 1951, that was Bob Moore.
So he came up with that design of the, the bigheaded, uh, bird and, uh, instead of feathers, the green leaves and all of that, the, the storyline came from. Vince Jeffs, who, uh, was in Disney Marketing, responsible for a lot of toys and, uh, promotions. He eventually wrote like about a dozen, uh, Disney children, uh, uh, related, uh, Uh, books and, uh, he's the one who came up with the, uh, original story.
Do you remember the story, Lou? I,
I remember it and it's funny cause we talk about the stories of the parks and the stories of the attractions, and sometimes you can piece them together by things that you see or little details. This storyline was so far removed from this little orange juice stand here in Adventureland because I remembered being very convoluted about this.
The orange bird obviously couldn't speak, and he was, he was sort of ridiculed by his other little, you know, bully friends, the bird. Uh, the only way he could communicate was by sort of, uh, his thoughts would come out in sort of a little orange puff of smoke. Um, but the storyline beyond that as to how he actually came to Florida.
Was something you never would've been able to piece together by looking at the pavilion, going into the tiki room. We're probably talking to
any cast member here. Uh, you're absolutely correct. And, and yes. And, and you've, you've got the, the basics there of yes, an orange bird, can't talk, can't sing, and so again, has no friends can only, uh, communicate through orange puffs of smoke.
Uh, very much like thought balloons that you'd find in a comic strip, uh, uh, character. But, but again, these things that he thought. We're very, uh, three-dimensional as well too. So very, uh, uh, realistic. And the storyline is, is, uh, birds were migrating south and, uh, since nobody liked the orange bird, nobody wanted to migrate with, with him.
And, uh, uh, a later, uh, revision was that, uh, they felt that he didn't even, uh, uh, get enough rest or have enough, uh, good nutrition and all of that so he wouldn't, uh, survive the journey. He did. He went, he went on his own. He had a bunch of, uh, misadventures at one time. He, he thought he had seen a birdhouse with another orange bird in it.
And as he flew to it turned out to be a traffic light. E. Eventually he, uh, uh, comes across a, uh, family, a mother or father and a. Son and a daughter having a picnic and he comes down and uh, instantly falls in love with them. But at the end of the picnic, the father goes, you know, we've got a long drive home.
We've already got too many pets at, at home. We don't need another one. And I'm worried too about, you know, him constantly thinking and filling up the inside of the car with orange smoke. Uh, what was his father thinking? I don't know. Um, so, uh, they leave the orange bird there. He's heart. But he decides to fly high in the sky, follow the car.
And from his high vantage point, he sees that just around this curve, a bridge has been washed out and he knows that the father is not gonna be able to see it in time. Um, to stop. So the orange bird, uh, flies down, creates this huge out of his thoughts, this huge orange stop sign. The father stops in time, the family is saved, and they take the little orange bird.
Uh, home, and that's the official story, although, um, there was also a song. Mm-hmm. . So the Sherman Brothers talk about heavy hitters. You bring in the Sherman Brothers, uh, to create a, uh, official song, uh, for the, uh, for the Orange Bird. And in fact, uh, uh, in the beginning at Walt Disney World, they sometimes had a little 45 of that that they gave away.
Which, which was, uh, very cool. Now, in, uh, 68, the Florida Citrus growers also hired, um, Anita Bryant as their, uh, spokesperson because again, the orange bird's not gonna be able to talk. You need somebody who says, you know, A day without Florida sunshine, uh, or Florida orange juice is a day without sunshine.
It's a day without, see, we're
showing our age because we know an, like, we remember
Anita Bryant. That's, that's right. And, uh, in fact, Anita Bryant is still. Um, and a lot of people forget how popular she was. She was a, uh, a former Miss America contestant, never a Miss America, but a former Miss America contestant.
But she was a very popular singer, had a lot of hits in the, uh, top 40, including, uh, paper Roses, which was later covered, uh, 13 years later by, uh, Marie Osmond. And so she came on board and she had a, a family and Anita Bryant. Was perky and clean. And she was the
All-American. She was the All-American
housewife, the all-American housewife.
And, uh, so she did these commercials and oftentimes with an animated little orange bird. The orange bird apparently lived in, in her house at at at one point. There was a little orange bird, uh, box. So when she was waking up her kids in the morning, she opens up the box and here's the ar, no holes for the orange bird to breathe, but that's okay.
Uh, and, and I guess not enough orange smoked to choke 'em to death, but a, anyway, so she sang the, uh, the, the song and, and uh, song was reasonably. Popular and, uh, so by golly things were, were going along, uh, uh, pretty, uh, uh, smoothly there. Orangeburg in the Sunshine Tree. Sunshine Tree. Won't you think something sunny just for me?
Well, and remember too, you, because you sort, we sort of alluded to obviously this song and this character. Bryant weren't confined to the Sunshine Pavilion. They were on tv, they were on billboards, they were at, I remember we always drove to Florida because unless my mother could actually fly the plane, she wasn't gonna fly.
We would drive to Florida and stop at the roadside places and the visitor centers. And that's where I. Seeing the Orange Bird and getting the, the, the 45 album was at some of those places. I still actually have, I have my Orange Bird, 45, I have my Orange Bird album too. Cause they released a two side
Yes, yes, there was. And I didn't get outta the house very much. . And there were orange bird, uh, plastic banks and, and bobble bobbleheads and, uh, everything. You can imagine. See, I, I didn't come to Florida. I was a, a California boy, so I would go to. Uh, Disney Ana conventions, you know, run by the Mouse club and the N ffc and I'd run across this merchandise.
And on the bottom it was, uh, stamped, you know, Disney. And I'm thinking, who is this character? What I have no clue. And, uh, it was all reasonably inexpensive because nobody knew. So yeah, I got a, a little Orangeburg bank and, uh, salt and pepper shakers and just about, uh, anything. Uh, you could, uh, you could imagine.
Well, and, and so two things to, to point out there is number one, um, Disney sort of, and I can't think of any other example, Jim, of another time that Disney creates a, a special character specifically for one of the Disney theme parks. They do it later on where they do it, you know, with, with creation of somebody like Figman.
But they had never sort of done this before, sort of creating a. For a sponsor for the theme box. And then two, we, I, I don't want to sort of presume that everybody in the audience knows who or what the orange bird actually looked like, because it didn't look like a traditional bird that happened to be orange.
It was a giant orange head with a little bird leafy
body and, and, and not just an orange color head, an actual fruit orange, uh, for that. But, but Disney had always been in the, uh, uh, business of creating. Uh, uh, characters, uh, for other, uh, places for in, in California. Uh, up in, uh, Sacramento, there's a newspaper called the Sacramento Bee, and Disney created the, the Bee for that.
Uh, they created Tommy Mohawk for Mohawk, uh, carpets and, uh, fresh up Freddy for seven Up. And, um, uh, Bucky, uh, beaver ipa. A toothpaste brush. Brush a brush, and that's the voice of Jimmy Dod sped up. So next time you listen to one of those commercials on YouTube or whatever, Jimmy Dod sped up doing Bucky Beaver, but never,
never one specifically for that would create, like specifically
Uh, no. The closest was in 1955 when Disneyland opened. They created Andy Anaheim for the City of Anaheim. And, uh, Andy Anaheim is still used to this day. And again, another big-headed uh, uh, character because I guess those things, uh, uh, were considered cute. So, so yes, this, this was a first. There's always been, um, that conflict of, is this a Disney character?
Is this a Florida citrus grower's character? As I said, I picked up merchandise and it was clearly, it was clearly stamped, you know, uh, copyright Disney. Right. You know, and, and yet, if the Florida Citrus growers had paid for this, shouldn't it be copyright, FCC or, uh, or F C G? I guess so. Uh, For that. And, uh, so the, uh, sunshine, uh, tree terrace, which was, uh, when you exited the tropical serenade, which was the enchanted tiki room, uh, you, you had the, uh, sunshine tree terrace, which, uh, sold things like orange swirl, which they don't today apparently.
We, we see over here. And, um, they serve lattes and raspberry lemonade, s lushes, but where they orange stuff I. Okay. So I remember, yes. And
this may be one of those, those, you know, false reconstructed memories that when you, and this was one of the places that when if you ordered an orange juice, it came in a container that was a plastic orange.
If you ordered grape juice, it came in a bunch of grape. It's one of. Uh, holy grails of collectibles to, because no, nobody ever kept those. But that's one of the things I remember as a kid getting orange juice in an actual orange with a straw in it.
And, and also the straw was done up like a stem, and at the top of the orange you had the, uh, green plastic leaves.
Mm-hmm. . So, yeah, it very cool. I would agree. Very, very cool. Again, not my experience. I, because I was not out in uh, uh, Florida or. Uh, uh, visiting, uh, at, uh, at that time. So missed all of that except in, in, uh, retrospect. And, uh, one of the other things, and we were looking today for the placement of that was they had a little, uh, three-dimensional orange bird.
And behind him was a, uh, a screen, a TV monitor screen that, that showed what he was thinking, which was basically think orange, or buy orange swir. Uh, uh, all of that. And in addition to that, uh, starting in 1971, there was a walk around Orange Bird character, uh, in, uh, uh, what is known, uh, primarily as a, uh, uh, a pajama suit.
Some of you may remember, uh, your footy PO pajamas and, and all of that. Uh, that's how, that's how you refer to a costume where, uh, even though there's, uh, you know, some extra space and. Basically it, it follows the contours of your own body as opposed to many of the Disney character costumes We have the fur costumes, at least you know, that, that have a framework or whatever that creates a different, uh, shape.
And so, so if
basically I wore, I would look like a little orange pear as as
opposed to, well, you're, you're actually, you're actually the size of the orange bird, so you're life size lu mongie, the life size orange bird. . So, uh, maybe one of your listeners out there will actually make you a costume. Oh, thank you for inviting.
Or or, uh, or, or maybe they have a couple of those orange sips out and I think there was only the orange sips. There may have been other fruit and apple or something like that. Somebody was saying, but I I, I just remember orange sippers and, uh, so you'd have the walk around character and, uh, so all was right with the world until, yeah.
Cause he, he,
the. He was almost like a, a visual barker bird cuz he literally, I remember him and I have a picture of him out in front of the tiki room, which at the time was the tropical serenade. Yeah. Um, so he was sort of the, the quiet barker bird that sort of was, um, enticing people to come. Remember adventure land looked very different than it did.
Now, this, this, uh, the magic carpets wasn't here. Sort of an open space with the tables and the benches. So I remember him standing out there sort of bringing over, um, to the tiki. Years before or later on, we end up getting Artemis and, and we'll talk about why the orange bird eventually flies the coop, as it
And that's true. And, and yes, we, we tend to forget that, uh, the park looked much different in 1971. So for instance, uh, the end of Adventure land, dead ended, there was no Pirates of the Caribbean. There was no crossover to Frontier Land. You had to go all the way back out to, you know, uh, mosey your way around cuz there was nothing down.
So, uh, so this was a, a, a huge, uh, uh, hit in chant, Tiki room, of course, a, a huge hit out in, uh, uh, California. Really the first use of, uh, uh, audio animatronics in a, in a Disney theme park. And, and again, just as popular out here because it, it, it was just such a funny, delightful, mellow show written by Wally Bogue, one of my personal, um, performing, uh, heroes.
Best known. For Pecos Bill in the Golden Horseshoe Review, one of my favorite Disney shows of all time with, uh, Wally Bogue in that. And, um, you had the, the, uh, different, uh, uh, parrots. You had, uh, uh, Fulton Burley, who was also in the Golden Horseshoe Show, uh, Fritz done by thorough Ravenscroft that most people just know from the, the Haunted Mansion.
So, so yes, this was a wonderful thing. And, and again, Disney tried to leverage the Orange Bird, uh, else. So, uh, in 1980, they made an educational film, um, uh, about, uh, food and nutrition starring the orange bird. And basically it told, uh, um, the, the story that, uh, Vince, Jeff said had wrote the narrator for that was Rex Allen, one of my all-time favorites, the original father.
Carousel progress known as the Arizona Cowboy. In fact, he only owned cowboy clothes and boots. So the very first time he met Walt Disney, he had to borrow a suit from a friend . And Walt's first remark was G Rex. I didn't notice you since you were in Cognito here. , uh, and, uh, June Faray, um, uh, voice actress did that, uh, the animation for this, uh, this little 15 minute.
Uh, short, which again, was, was done for schools. There were also film strips, uh, doing the, the same thing, uh, was done by a company called, uh, Rick Reiner. Rick Reinert had been a former, uh, Disney artist and had, uh, started his own small little, uh, uh, mom and pop animation studio, which a lot of, uh, um, What, uh, Disney artist did like, uh, Dale Bearer who did a lot of work on, uh, uh, uh, Roger Rabbit, who framed, uh, Roger Rabbit.
So anyway, they had them do the Orange Bird, uh, one, and it was a huge hit because it, uh, they had a minimum budget, but boy, they got their bang for their buck. Disney was so pleased that the next assignment they gave Rick Reiner productions was Winnie the Poo. And the Day for eor, which was the very.
Disney theatrical cartoon that was outsourced from Disney animation. And so, uh, although I take that back, back in the, in the forties, mayor babies were done by, uh, Carmen and Eing, uh, where Walt was, uh, helping them out, where they were between jobs, between, uh, Warner Brothers and mgm. But that was 1940. So here we are 40 years later and Disney outsources all of its animation.
For a theatrical short to Rick Reiner Productions. They also came out with a comic book, uh, only one issue of, uh, the Orange Bird in three adventures. And again, they're all, uh, nutrition like Orange Bird is trying to help on the farm. But because, you know, uh, he didn't have a, a healthy breakfast after he got up in the morning, he.
Poops out halfway through the day. So you give him Florida orange juice and that, and that'll do it. Help fight scurvy, drink Florida. Yeah. And uh, that was, uh, drawn by, uh, Tony Strobel. Very great, uh, uh, uh, Disney artist, oftentimes overshadowed by folks like Carl Barks and Paul Murray and Floyd Godson. But, uh, uh, a real good workmanship, uh, uh, artist who, uh, produced wonderful work for, for decades.
So there was a lot of orange bird, uh, stuff out there, and. Boy, Orangeburg, you know, people just love him. He's gonna last forever, and we get to, uh, unfortunately, um, in the, in the late seventies, uh, Anita Bryant becomes a figure of controversy. She has, uh, she has some, um, a personal philosophy, uh, that, uh, she voices, uh, aggressively and adamant.
And by becoming that figure of, uh, uh, controversy, uh, some people are so put off by that, that they start boycotting Florida orange juice. And so by 79, uh, the Florida Citrus growers, uh, do not renew her contract, but by that time, she was so closely connected with the orange bird that the orange bird started to fade as well, because whenever you saw the orange.
You immediately thought of Anita Bryant because you saw all the commercials, you saw the print ads, you saw, uh, all of this. And so, uh, initially the Florida, uh, citrus growers had a, a 10 year contract, uh, from 71 to 81, and then they renewed for an additional five years, 86. And then at that time, they, they dropped their sponsorship and, and the orange bird pretty much disappeared, except for, as you already pointed out, uh, a lot of the roadside stands and citrus growers and.
Uh, still kept producing, um, orange Bird merchandise, uh, into the, uh, uh, nineties, although less and less, and then a miracle happened to save the orange bird. Who do you think would've saved the orange bird ?
The Japanese. The
Japanese? Of course. My gosh. Uh, you know, I, I, I have yet to, to visit. Uh, Tokyo, Disneyland.
Really looking forward to doing that someday. And, uh, research trip. Me and you like a buddy movie? Oh, that's it. There you go. . Oh, Tokyo. Disney. Uh, Jim and Lou will tell you stories, but, uh, yeah, basically in 2004 the Japanese rediscovered the orange bird because it was, uh, very much in keeping with, uh, their great love of cuteness.
You know, large haired head characters with large. Uh, so you, you'd be very popular in Tokyo . I'd be very popular out there. I I'd be the Hello Kitty . I'd be the, I'd be the American Hello kitty kitty for there kitty. Hello Jimmy for that. Yes. And uh, so they started producing some of their own, uh, merchandise and it just, uh, took off.
And in fact, in Japan they even have a, um, a citrus day. I think it's what, April 14th or something like that. And so that if you're a friend with someone, you exchange citrus. What that has to do with anything. Is beyond me, but you know, if you can come up with a, a Valentine's Day or whatever, you can come up with a,
any reason to exchange gifts that involve food is a good day for me.
Well, I didn't, I think, I think that is a, a good thing. Which, which brings to mind, you shared one of your favorite, one of my favorite memories growing up in California was they had a flavor at 31 flavors that they have never brought back. It was called, um, Mandarin Chocolate. So it was a dark chocolate ice cream, but it had citrus.
Oh my gosh, it was good. But, but again, 31 flavors always rotated, so, and then it's gone. Now. I'm, I'm sure I could Google it and find the recipe on, on the internet there. Um, so anyway, um, uh, after seeing the success of this, Uh, just like seeing the success of Duffy the Bear. Mm-hmm. , uh, over stateside Disney said, well, obviously this has an, a appeal to, uh, uh, people.
We're gonna bring it here. And so within the last, uh, oh two, maybe three years, we've started to see a, a variety of, uh, uh, orange bird, uh, merchandise, uh, uh, some shirts. There's a vinyl mason, orange bird. Um, all of that, it, it's interesting here in adventure. And they're not selling any orange bird. I, I, I think they, they do, but, uh, I, I think both of us were hoping that, uh, uh, he was gonna pop up on October 1st there for the 40th.
it's been an interesting, over the last couple of years, like you said, because he sort of quietly became known again, especially to people who are very much interested in, in Disney World history, and maybe it's with the approach of the 40th or just that sense of nostalgia, the tiki room potentially coming back and looking for changes.
the merchandise that was coming back was sort of people posting online. Look at my little orange bird. I have a little orange bird, maybe. Mm-hmm. two inch plastic thing. It's been sitting on my desk for years. Other people say, oh, I have this Orange Bird album I've got, and so this, this sort of grassroots revival of the orange Bird comes back and as we start approaching the 40th anniversary, Disney starts to acknowledge it.
And the first time I really. And I have the shirt is at Destination d Walt Disney World. The official t-shirt was white and the piping on the sleeves and the neck was the orange bird. The writing was orange. So me being the little orange nerd that I am, the optimist that you are said, this is great. I think the orange bird may be coming back.
There's this dizzy seems to have this renewed sense of nostalgia, maybe seeing what the, what the enthusiasts online are interested. As the forties started to approach, they were having Orangeburg pins, like you said, Orangeburg vinyl Mason. And so I said, I'm, I feel it, Jim, I feel October 1st, we're gonna see that little orange bird is pajama footy pajamas.
Yeah. He's gonna walk right down the middle of Main Street USA and we got nothing. .
I, I, I know. And, and, and, and I think it's really, and again, there was been an awful lot of confusion too, because as I, I said after, you know, uh, he, he sort of disappeared from, uh, the magic. Uh, the Florida Citrus growers still produced merchandise, but oftentimes you'll find Florida orange, uh, bird merchandise that just says Florida on it, you know, in, in, in big letters and all.
So there's that confusion of, you know, what is that all about? But my gosh, the character, just like you, Lou, is lovable. Is lovable, is is always optimistic, always wants to help, but, Uh, other people. Some obviously at a loss for words, sometimes , but, but always thinking good orange thoughts. And, um, you know, I'd, I'd, I'd love to, uh, to see that, you know, what I'm surprised about too is like with the introduction of of Duffy, I'm surprised they just brought out Duffy and they didn't come up with a Duffy TV series or a Duffy theatrical short or a Duffy TV special, you know, to, to tie that in, because I still run into.
Uh, guess who are confused about Duffy and what, what movie is he from? Well,
they, they have, they have books. Cause my kids had, they had a book called, it was called The Disney Bear, and then he was sort of rebranded as Duffy. So they were able to make that connection from the stories. It was duff, it was sort of a Mickey and his Disney Bear and the Magic Kingdom and going to sleep.
And then when Duffy was brought over here from Japan, he was sort of given the, the, the name of Duffy. And going back to the. You talk about confusion. I think that maybe would've been it too, if you think about it, relatively speaking, D uh, dovey, the little orange bird wasn't around here a lot. He wasn't on Disney commercials, he was on Florida orange juice commercials.
So if he was sort of to parade down Main Street, I think a vast majority of guests probably wouldn't have known, they wouldn't have made that connection that we as mm-hmm. , Disney Geek. Cause I mean that in a good way know
of the Orangeburg. I, I think you're absolutely right because a, as I mentioned, Uh, I, I spent, uh, uh, my youth growing up in, uh, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, Southern California area.
And we were, uh, clueless because again, you weren't going to, uh, promote Florida orange juice in California that was creating its own orange juice for crying out loud. And, um, again, there, there, there was no, uh, in, in those days you didn't. You know, that access to the internet and to all of these, uh, Disney clubs and, uh, blogs and, and wonderful podcasts like this.
So, again, no, no clue, no con confusion. Uh, but I think, uh, you know, he, he, he's a delightful, uh, fun little character and uh, uh, ready to be, um, re-look. You know, because, uh, obviously when people see him, even though they don't know, uh, the backstory, they may never have heard the Sherman Brothers song, whatever.
There's just something about him that's sort of cute and and appealing, and you go, okay, I'll, I'll, I'll go with the, and, and obviously we've, we've touched a, uh, nerve with you because every time I, I mention orange bird, I, I, I see your eyes light up with that orange, orange glint of, of pixie dust there of, of such fond, fond.
And, and I don't think it was related just to your, your trips with your parents. It was, the character itself seemed to be
fun. Yeah, he was. And, and he was unique and he, and, and like Figman, he was, he was new and, and he was very specific to the park. So you associated him with Walt Disney World and yes, I associated him with my trips down here with my parents.
But I wonder now in 2011 and, and 2012 going forward, um, you know, could the orange Bird come back? Could he come back? Almost sort of be reintroduced to a new generat. Does that controversy from the late seventies, does it still sort of cast a little bit of a cloud over the character because of his association with her for the generation that does remember that and does maybe sort of have, um, strong feelings about that?
Or has enough time passed and the distance has been, uh, given that the Orangeburg didn't come back, the the Orangeburg could rise again like the
Phoenix? Well, I, I, I think, uh, he, it definitely could because. There has been, uh, enough, uh, uh, distance, you know, um, some of your, your listeners are just acute as a button, and, and when, when I'm hanging out with you and they, they come up and introduce themselves.
And, and I go, oh my, they're, they're just so perky and all this. Turns out they were born in 1991, , you know, 1991. Give me a break, you know, is my life already nostalgia in history, 1991? And, and again, there's no, um, recognition of anything before then really. You know, I, I run into an awful lot of, uh, college, uh, program.
Uh, age kids that, uh, basically anything that happened, uh, beyond five years ago, that's it, it's gone. It's the same as mixing it in with the dinosaurs, fighting the civil war is what they're concerned about. There's nothing, uh, uh, there. And I, I think Anita Bryant has, uh, fallen out of, um, public view for so long.
As I said, she's still alive, she's still singing and, you know, uh, more power to her there. Uh, she, she's had some. Uh, rough speed bumps, uh, uh, in, in her life. Uh, you know, uh, a, a divorce, a a couple of other things. So, uh, you know, I, I, and I think some of the things that she battled, uh, against so vehemently, I, in this day and age, are no longer, uh, uh, a fight.
You know, things, things that she argued against are, are now law in the, in the state of Florida. So it's. You know, no sense holding any hard feelings about that. And I think at this particular point, orange Bird has a separate identity from her. You know, I, I don't think, uh, it, it's just old timers like you and I.
Well, we remember, you know when Yeah, but
I saw you smile genuinely when I talked about the Destination D shirt. You're like, wait a minute. And so we wondered, like, as we walked through Adventure Land, what if there was a little orange bird shirt, you know, over at Zanzibar, or you know, over here some. Uh, if they sold little Orangeburg merchandise, you know, I, I think he has a nostalgic element for those that remember, and I think he's got a cute factor for those people who are gonna be introduced
And, and you know, one of the things, lots of things, uh, break my heart. You know what? I'm a sensitive guy. You know that a lot of things break my heart. Couple of years ago there was a special event out here in Florida called the, uh, hoki Lab, which celebrates tiki. And I only found out about this after the fact.
This is what broke my heart, is, uh, uh, two of the speakers there were Kevin Kidney and, uh, Jody Daley, who have done some wonderful, uh, merchandise and, and I think really captured the, the spirit of Disney. Obviously have a, a great love of Disney. And they did a presentation on Disney Tiki culture, including according to the, the blurb, telling more stories about the orange Bird than you have ever heard.
And to this day, I regret that I didn't get to hear, you know, uh, uh, those stories there. And, and I regret that Disney is just sort of tentatively dipping its toe in the water for, for the orange bird. Now is the time. Now is the best time. Well, there may be a
great big beautiful tomorrow because , sorry, it was there.
I had to take it because I think there's this, a lot of, this next generation of Imaginaries that seems to have an affinity. I, I see their tweets, I see their unofficial sketches that they post of the little orange bird. Mm-hmm. , you know, rot splash mountain, the little orange bird on the tta, little orange bird around the park.
So I think they would love to see it come back and I bet you there's an internal. From some of these guys, uh, to see, and especially in this sense of, of this nostalgic time that we have with Walt
Disney World's 40th here. And, and I, I agree with you. I, I think, uh, uh, some of the imagineers working for the company right now, some of the younger imagineers really do have, um, uh, that, uh, respect and affection for, uh, uh, the Disney company.
I, I think people like, uh, uh, Kim Irvine have done wonderful things in terms. Revitalizing classic attractions, but keeping the spirit, uh, of, uh, of Walt Disney, uh, in those, uh, revitalizations. I, I just hope we never see something like, uh, orange Bird, uh, battling figment , you know, in some video game or something like that, you know?
Oh my gosh. I, I, I just can't even imagine, uh, that, but orange and purple, that, that goes together. I think those are school colors of, of, of, uh, some. But, uh, we're over, over here and it took us, uh, forever to get, uh, uh, something to sit down and, and sip on while we were talking. Right. This is still a very, very popular, uh, location.
Absolutely. And, uh, you know, we even sort of peaked up, uh, in, in the trees behind the counter to see if maybe the little orange bird might have been peeking his, his, uh, his head out. But we will continue to look. We'll continue to look and see if the orange bird listen to, to see if we can. See some of his little orange thoughts coming back.
Uh, we'll also look to see more from you, Jim, back on the show, uh, in the future. Cause I love having you on. I love, especially now that I'm here mm-hmm. , we can come to the parks more often and, and eat our way around and, and talk about some of these details and stories. Of course, you also contribute some amazing stuff to Celebrations magazine.
I say that as a fan, not a publisher. And of course, you know that I sleep with the vault of Walt right next to my bed. Um, It is that good. And you tell the stories that nobody else can tell from such a personal, uh, a personal angle because you've met these people, you've talked to these people, and you're able to sort of capture that.
And, uh, I will put a link to the vault of Walt in this week's show notes. You gotta come back and remember, Jim, he's a little fluffy, puffy sight to see. He can turn your frown. So when you see him looking down, you know that that is a little orange bird and a sunshine tree. Thank
you again, my friend. Oh, my, my pleasure.
And for those people who have lasted this long through the, the podcast, I know you're always looking for, uh, in fact, just as Lou and I sat down, we had a listener come by and say, oh, I just love all those little things you guys share. So as a reward for those of you who listen through this entire podcast, when you come to the, uh, sunshine Tree Pavin, Uh, those are the original tikis out there holding the, uh, flame torches.
And when you look on the roof, you'll see that there's a carved water buffalo, but it's carved in such a way because they knew you'd be able to see it over in Frontier Land. So that if you're on the frontier land side, it looks like a longhorned, uh, uh, cattle. So those are two
little things. I thought when you said you were gonna have a surprise, the listeners you were gonna break out and song and take us out with a little orange bird go,
little orange bird in the sunshine tree.
And I wish I knew the lyrics. But that, oh, little orange bird in the sunshine tree. Won't you think of something sunny? Just for me? I can't even remember the, the, the tune. And, and, and again, you know, I couldn't, uh, uh, carry a tune even if it had a, a, a handle. But I, I appreciate that. Thank you again, Lou, for the option to share these stories and keep the stories alive.
And thanks to all the listeners who, who do the same. And I'm looking forward to the next podcast we do together. Luke, thank you so much. Absolutely.
And I will, uh, and I will leave it with. With not your rendition, but the original, uh, Richard Sherman song, Sherman Brothers song and Anita Bryant. Jim, thanks again.