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In 1973, this house had fewer trees. It was sparsely furnished. The bedroom in the rear had only a mattress in a sheet on the floor and a banjo in a case propped up into the corner, which I was not allowed to touch. Mrs. Martin was hired by my mother to provide after school supervision to my sister and myself. I had met her husband Steve much earlier in my life, he played the banjo on the platform of the Snake Oil wagon in front of the Bird Cage Theater at Knott's Berry Farm. I also remember cheering him when he played the hero of the melodrama's inside the theater, such as when he played the hero, cast as the Captain in "Riverboat Revenge" and boo and hissing (and my inclusion of the Bronx Cheer) when he played the Villain in such shows as "The Wreck of the Bluebelle Express or Don't Switch the Engine, It Has a Tender Behind!" and everyone's favorite, the unforgettable "The Drunkard"
Did you know Steve Martin never worked in the Main Street Magic shop at Disneyland?
The worst offender of perpetuating this myth is the show in the Opera House where once was seen Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. The current show features Donald Duck and stars Steve Martin "Disneyland: The First 50 Magical Years" It features Steve in front of a Green Screen which later inserted this shop, and a poorly executed set on a sound stage with grout between the bricks, trees in cages and a lack of interior for the Magic Shop. The framing of camera exploits the entire limit of the set in the "First 50 Magical Years" film. It's all wrong, and yet Steve does the deed of filming there, in the guise of himself, which thereby cements the falsehood into the matrix of history.
Later, although some would erroneously claim the Magic Shop was on Main Street, USA, I was in the magic shop franchised to a different company Merlin's, the one that was in the East wing of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The shop is largely the same today, heavy wooden beams in the ceiling that still bare the supporting eyelets of rubber spider string of a long time passed, and the name has changed from Merlin's Magic Shop to Villains, to being the latest location of the Heraldry Shop. But when it was Merlin's, and within the exterior wall, at the bottom of the stair, there was a smoothe 'disney rock' perhaps made of plaster and coated to look like granite, from which protruded the hilt of a full guard Spanish sword, which one could shake but not remove from the stone. When I asked the demonstration host behind the counter if he had a button or a lever that he could push to release the sword, he said 'come over here' 'further... more... right there!' 'Now, what was the question?' So I again asked "is there a string or something you release to free the sword?" then Steve Martin turned and let go a string run through eye hooks and dropped a big black rubber spider on my shoulder. I was unimpressed and angered that my question wasn't answered.
Now mind you it put me in a negative frame of mind such that I was unable to enjoy the fact that this young man, Steve Martin, would become the Jerk or keystone "Bringing Down the House."
Similarly, and not far away, once I asked if I could have a WHOLE TRAIN to myself, of the loader CM on "Matterhorn Bobsleds." Well, she said if I could wait for a few moments, that although normally that couldn't be arranged, he may be able to satisfy the request this time. I waited by the corner until called and they boarded me into the nose of a bobsled train, all alone. Well here I am, totally digging my own private ride as my restrain is checked, and I stop just at the tunnel entrance of the Fantasyland side of Matterhorn Bobsleds. And the car across from me entered the tunnel, but MY train didn't. Well, I'll just wait for the next cycle, again dispatch failed, and just after the third time a car is dispatched into the tunnel from the Tomorrowland side, I'm looking around in anger of suppressed anticipation, THREE MORE PEOPLE get in MY PRIVATE TRAIN! Well now I'm just boiling. "I don't think you're supposed to get on here! You're supposed to get on at the station." I protested. Two guys in black help the girl into the bobsled, first a guy gets in back and helps the girl in, while the other assists from the ground. THEY DIDN'T EVEN PUT ON THEIR SEATBELTS! They all just got in and sat down and ruined my private ride! Well, I was incensed fuming, needless to say! Then we were released and the chain dog ratcheted, percussively signaling the beginning of our assent. Then, just before the top, it stops. What the hell?! Oh, great, now the ride is broken, and I'm going to have to walk down this steep slope. There was a glimmer of consolation prize in that, for an evacuation from that point is pretty special, you have to admit. But that spark of fun was outshone by the stupid failure and halting, and halted anticipation, for we were a few yards away from the crest, the point of no return. So as I am wallowing in my self-pity, absorbed in my hatred, the extra passengers GET OUT!
"Um, you're not supposed to get off here!" "It's O.K., we have permission." and proceeded to do just that. They cleared the track, and for the remainder of my journey down the mount, I was seething how MY ride was ruined.
...when I should have been ecstatic to have been chosen to accompany Tiny Klien, Miss Tinkerbell herself, along her journey to peril - the slide for life to the farthest tree of Fantasyland, down a thin wire, almost two hundred feet above the ground, in a display for thousands of geeks a gawkin'.
Well, the same goes for my experience with Steve hosting Merlin's Magic; that, instead of being upset that I had a personal audience with a future living legend, a Jack of Mirth, I was bound up in my self absorbed anger about how things didn't go just the way I wanted.
"I knew every nook and cranny of the shop," Steve recalls.
Nearby Monsanto offered to manipulate your molecules and thereby enlarge your world, effectively shrinking you, with a trip through the Mighty Microscope in "Monsanto's Voyage through Inner-Space" encouraging us to enjoy and experience "Miracles from Molecules" with a song. And nearby an entire world of small, and titled properly in lower-case even, "it's a small world"
And the stock room is under the hookah smoking caterpillar of the Alice in Wonderland attraction. "Who 'R' you?" which leads me to believe
that repetition of introspective quest, along with nearby attractions may have influenced "Let's get small!" There's blue 'shroom juice here on the table and I have some red mushroom capcakes that will help you get small, small enough to follow the White Rabbit down, down, down… to ask Alice, when she's three feet small. Take the blue pill and wake up like nothing ever happened, go on with your life, or take the red pill and climb aboard the Nebuchadnezzar, my Jefferson Hovership, to find out how deep the rabbit hole goes. O.K. I can't stand the suspense, There's a sump pump in the floor of the castle, behind the wall of the stock room: it's there, about that deep, where the gravel lay.
Thanks Barry Wallis for the additional info, and hookah smokin' Steve for, well, for being Steve.
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