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ASings

An "America Sings" record album cover

America Sings was an attraction featuring an Audio-Animatronic show representing the history of American music. It opened on June 29, 1974, in the Carousel Theater (former home of the Carousel of Progress) at Disneyland's Tomorrowland and closed on April 10, 1988, since the purpose of celebrating the United States Bicentennial was outdated.

The show was hosted by Sam the Eagle (voiced by Burl Ives), who sang the attraction's theme song "Yankee Doodle", and Ollie the Owl (voiced by Sam Edwards). The rotating theater took park guests through four acts, each one representing a different era of American music: Going South (mid-19th century), Heading West (late 19th century), the Gay Nineties (1890s), and Modern Times (early to mid-20th century).

Musical selections included[]

Act I: Introduction[]

Act II: Going South[]

Act III: Heading West[]

Act IV: The Gay Nineties[]

Act V: Modern Times[]

Act VI: Conclusion[]

Closing[]

When the attraction closed in 1988, most of its audio-animatronic characters were moved to Splash Mountain, while two of the long-necked geese were transformed into the G2 droids in the queue area of Star Tours and the rock and roll stork is now used to train new animatronic programmers.

The building was used as office space until Innoventions opened in 1998. When Splash Mountain permanently closes on May 31st, 2023 in order to remove all references to Song of the South due to controversy surrounding the film which the attraction is based on to make way for a Tiana's Bayou Adventure, it’s unknown what would happened to the America Sings animatronics.

Voice cast[]

Scrapped songs for the attraction[]

  • "Gonna Shout All Over God's Heaven"
  • "Turkey in the Straw"
  • "Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms"
  • "Shortnin' Bread"
  • "Trees"
  • "Listen To The Mockingbird"
  • "Glow Worm"
  • "Hello! Ma Baby"
  • "On a Bicycle Built for Two"
  • "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here"
  • "Down went Mcginty to the bottom of the Sea"
  • "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep"
  • "Asleep in the Deep"

Incident[]

On July 8, 1974, nine days after the attraction opened, 18-year-old Disneyland cast member Deborah Gail Stone was accidentally crushed to death between the building's rotating wall and a stationary wall. She either fell, stepped backward, or tried to jump from one stage to the other as the rotating wall began to move (it moved every 2 to 4 minutes which was how long each act was). A guest in the adjacent theater heard her screams and notified the operators. By the time the guest and operators got to her, it was too late and she was pronounced dead at 11pm.

The main contributing factor to the accident was that, while the previous Carousel of Progress had rotated counterclockwise, America Sings rotated clockwise. This is important as the position the cast member took on the stages was the same in both. As a result, while in Carousel of Progress the turning stage moved the cast member away from the nearest wall and they merely had to step around to the next one, in America Sings they were being turned into the nearest wall and getting crushed was a much easier feat.

After the incident, a warning light was installed to alert the operator when someone was too close to a dangerous spot. Eventually, the solid walls were replaced with breakaway walls to prevent any similar accidents.

The death of Deborah has been considered to be the most gruesome incident in Disneyland history.

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • Unlike Carousel of Progress which rotated clockwise, America Sings rotated counter-clockwise. Also unlike its predecessor, America Sings only used the lower level. The lower level would again rotate clockwise as part of Innoventions, the successor to America Sings.
  • According to an interview with Alice Davis, Chill Wills, who did the voice of Saddlesore Swanson, stated that he would not go inside the theater, because he believed he would be strangely killed, which led him to leave the cast before the attraction opened in 1974. Ironically, this incident would occur that same year when a cast member named Deborah Gail Stone was crushed to death after she accidentally stepped in between a revolving wall and stationary platform inside the attraction.
  • "Who Shot the Hole in My Sombrero?" was originally sung with a Mexican accent, but the press didn't like it and ordered a change for the accent. It was later made with a Texan accent. However, the Mexican accent version still exists on the 1974 LP recording of the attraction.
  • This was the first attraction created without Walt Disney.
  • The animatronics were designed by Marc Davis.
  • Disney animator James Lopez developed a partially animated story reel of the show as a personal project, emulating Marc's concept art.
  • After the ride's closing, a majority of the animatronics were moved to Splash Mountain, while one of the Singing Geese was skinned and reused in Star Tours.


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