- 1 History
- 2 Disney Parks
- 3 Trivia
- 4 Gallery
Sam is a (presumed) South American indigenous man who has a long history of affiliations with Disney characters, having an extended (if not outright immortal) lifespan. He was the grandson of one Billamongawonga AKA Trader Bill, a trader of shrunken heads which seemingly lead to Sam becoming part of the family business. Sam's family was also cannibalistic and largely composed of warriors. Sam himself had an interest in travelling the world to search for enchanted items and different recipes for beverages.
The earliest references to Sam chronologically places him as having been a grown man during the golden age of piracy in the 18th century. Sam supposedly ran a pub frequented by pirates where he traded for a spyglass from the historic pirate Blackbeard while having held attraction to his daughter Angelica. Through unknown means around this time, Sam obtained a locket which had belonged to either the sea deity Davy Jones or Calypso. Another trophy of Sam's from this era was a ship-in-a-bottle of The Wicked Wench, a notorious pirate ship best known for their sacking of the cursed island of Isla Tesoro.
Sam's pub was frequented by the mother of pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, both of whom he befriended. Sam and Sparrow had even spent time together on Isla de Pelegestos when Jack convinced the Pelegestos people that he was their chief. Following Jack's mother's demise, her head was transformed into a shrunken-head which passed ownership from Jack's father Edward Teague to Jack himself. Jack left his mother's head in Sam's possession to honour how much she loved the pub and Sam would honour this wish by bringing it with him whenever he established a new bar location.
In the early 19th century, Sam befriended the Swiss Robinson family of New Switzerland in the East Indies. Around the mid 1800s he also befriended one Lincoln Costain, a cowboy from Texas who got shanghaied onto the Hawaiian Island of Kauai. Sam kept in contact with both the Robinsons and Costain via letters which they exchanged via bottles at sea.
Throughout the 19th century, Sam also began working as an early scuba-diver and became good friends with Canadian harpooner, Ned Land. Sam seemingly accompanied Ned in San Francisco around 1868 when Ned was one of many sailors recruited to hunt an alleged, "Sea-monster" which was destroying ships. The two were separated when Ned's ship was attacked by the monster though Ned survived and later sent Sam a harpoon as a gift while recanting the story which transpired between their last meetings.
Sam had some apparent familiarity with the infamous eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia which occurred the August 26 of 1883. One of Sam's drinks would be inspired by the eruption and named the, "Krakatoa Punch". Sam also was familiar with Prof. Archimedes Porter and his daughter Jane, obtaining or having taken a photograph of them during the beginning of their expedition to the Congo. Another close friend of Sam's around this time was a drunkard lighthouse-keeper named Lampie in the seaside American town of Passamaquoddy. Lampie sent neurotic letters to Sam when a dragon came to Passamaquoddy but no-one believed him.
Around the 1890s, Sam also befriended military Colonel Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt who he would frequently go on adventures with. Through his friendship with Roosevelt, in the early 20th century Sam befriended an organization known as the Adventurers Club; a splinter-faction of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers which was founded by S.E.A.-member Merriweather Adam Pleasure. Sam would retain close affiliations with the Adventurers Club and its members for decades to come.
One expedition of Sam's took him to the East-African port of Harambe where he travelled with the Kilimanjaro Safaris company on elephant-back. At some point prior to 1912 he saved the life of one Anna Mary Jones and became close with her family the Jones', even becoming a frequent contact of her son Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. On the November 6 of 1912, Sam was contacted by one Vanessa Capshaw of the New York City Preservation Society in New York City, NY. Capshaw sent Sam a portrait of his supposed grandfather Trader Bill which was recovered from the Hotel Hightower as Trader Bill had been the right-hand-man to one Harrison Hightower III prior to Hightower's 1899 death.
In 1911, the Jungle Navigation Company was founded by S.E.A. member Dr. Albert Falls with the company becoming close to Sam and his cousin Chief Nah-mee. Sam was seemingly close with Dr. Falls and knew how to brew his favourite drink the, "Schweitzer Falls". Sam also became close to a Jungle Cruise skipper known as Cap'n Kevin who he was seemingly romantically involved with and the two spent nights together in Kevin's hut. Sam was also close with riverboat salesman Charlie Allnut who offered Sam transport alongside advice in dealing with certain Jungle Navigation Company boats and employees.
In 1913, Sam joined forces with Teddy Roosevelt and Brazilian explorer Colonel Cândido Rondon to plan an expedition through the Amazon Rainforest. This mission was to map out the River of Doubt but also for Roosevelt to try and reclaim his youth following disappointment at having lost the last presidential election. The mission lasted from 1913 to the April of 1914 and while it was successful, it resulted in Roosevelt contracting illnesses which slowly killed him leading to his 1919 death.
Sam's personal businesses began booming thanks to the JNC following 1931 due to then JNC president Alberta Falls beginning the, "Jungle Cruise" riverboat tours as it brought many tourists, Hollywood filmmakers and new businesses to Sam's domain. Around this time, Sam developed a reputation for being the, "Jungle's Head Salesman" and took in a pet baby Indian elephant named, "Ellie". Sam also ran a shop known as Tropical Imports which was involved in aiding the many denizens of the, "Adventureland" locales. By 1938, Sam would have written at least five books under the pen-name of, "T.S." all of which were featured in the library of the Jungle Navigation Company's headquarters, these books being: "Friends for Dinner", "What's in a name", "Top Hats and Umbrellas", "Banana Trade" and "The Missing Mask".
Throughout the 1930s, Sam also frequently accompanied and assisted a now adult archeologist Indiana Jones on his adventures, having also been close with Sam's contacts Marcus Brody, Marion Ravenwood and Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir. C.1931 Sam travelled to the Lost River Delta of Cusco, Peru where Indiana Jones excavated the Temple of the Crystal Skull. Circa 1935, Sam assisted Indiana Jones in the containment of three, "Voodoo" dolls made by the mad priest Mola Ram which depicted Indiana and his accomplices Willie and Short-Round. This same year Sam assisted Sallah and the Lost Delta Archaeological Expedition in the Lost Delta of Cambodia with their excavation of the Temple of Mara. When Jones disappeared in the temple, Sallah reached out to Sam to have him aid in bringing tourists to the temple for additional funds.
Around the mid 1930s he opened up a new bar in the Polynesian isles known as, "The Enchanted Tiki Bar" though he would kill his opening day crew and use their heads for decoration. The bar was also decorated with totems of Māori deities while also seemingly having connections to the Enchanted Tiki Room where he was a friend with the sentient bird Rosita. When the, "Adventureland" region(s) hosted the Adventure Trading Company, staff of the Tiki Bar became involved with giving new company members the, "Tiki Mask Juju" in return for assistance after they lost the recipe for Sam's drink the Juju Juice. In the '30s, Sam also visited the South Seas Club of Hollywood, Los Angeles which he kept several mementos of.
Following 1937, Adventurers Club members such as Pamelia Perkins, Otis T. Wren, Emil Bleehall, Jr., Samantha Sterling, Hathaway Browne, Prof. Fletcher Hodges and Colonel Suchbench began sending Sam memorabilia from their old headquarters on Pleasure Island, Florida to decorate the Enchanted Tiki Bar. Amongst the possessions were a ventriloquist's dummy called, "Slappy" left by the colonel to be in Sam's caretaking while the Adventurers Club went on an expedition.
In 1938, Alberta Falls who was close friends with Sam put him in charge of the Jungle Navigation Company's lost & found. Sam however converted the lost & found into, "Trader Sam's Gift Shop!" here he would sell off the lost items collected. In 1939, Sam attended a seaside trinket convention where he sold a multitude of seashells.
In 1941, Sam was hired by one Walt Disney to give him a tour of South America. Sam and Walt began quite close with Disney going on to become the Enchanted Tiki Bar's best customer. Throughout the 1940s, Sam also used his brewing abilities to assist Adventurers Club resident aviator Hathaway Browne. During World War 2, Sam travelled to Casablanca, Morocco where he befriended cafe owner and fellow bartender Rick Blaine. By the 1950s, other pieces of decor included within the bar were a Lamp which once belonged to a powerful Arabian genie of Agrabah, a doll of Donald Duck, figure of the Florida Orange Bird, and yeti mask from the kingdom of Anandapur.
Sam's manager in the bar was a former J.N.C. skipper by the name of Skip Documentary who in the 1950s assisted Trader Sam in opening a new bar location known as the Grog Grotto. This Grog Grotto was located in a different Polynesian locale within a village overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon which held many of the same tiki gods as the Enchanted Tiki Room, most notably being Maui whose likeness was very frequently used in the Grog Grotto. In this village, Sam became something of a womanizer who had multiple hula-dancer girlfriends. Sam became quite fond of Hawaiin popular music such as Annette Funicello's Hawaiiannette (1960) and the works of Elvis Presley.
Between around 1950 and 1960, Sam also seemingly became acquainted with the Fredricksens, Carl and Ellie whom he took the habit of collecting coins to travel to Paradise Falls, Venezuela for. A notable customer of the Grog Grotto was on J. Thaddeus Toad who Sam had to confiscate the car-keys of due to a combination of the Toad's wild driving skills with alcohol having the potential to be disastrous. In 1955, Sam travelled to the tropical Blustery Bay aboard a shrimping-vessel known as the Miss Tilly only for the bay to have been hit by a massive hurricane. The storm impaled the ship atop the volcanic Mount Mayday in the colony of Placid Palms, later renamed to Typhoon Lagoon. In the 1960s, Sam befriended one Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. and the two stayed in contact while Crusoe was marooned on a Polynesian island. The Grog Grotto would continue its operations into the 1970s with paraphernalia being featured within such as a necklace depicting one Colonel Nedley Lostmore and a life-preserver from the Norwegian company Vesta Gruppen.
Trader Sam originally appeared at the very end of the Jungle Cruise attraction, holding a shrunken head aloft in his hand. A "Head Salesman", the Skipper comments that he's offering a special deal: "Two of his heads for one of yours". Skippers may also make a variety of dark humoured jokes regarding his head-shrinking business and cannibalism. Sometimes he is characterized as killing those who harm the ecology of the jungle and river to use their heads. During the Jingle Cruise overlay of Disneyland, Sam sold festive bottles of champagne (somewhat mirroring his later occupation as a bar-proprietor) to passing by skippers and guests.
Designs differ significantly between the Disneyland original and the incarnation featured in other versions. Because of these differences, this second version's introduction at Magic Kingdom was eventually scripted as being given the name "Chief (Name)" to allow for Skippers to use whatever they wanted. However, with the sense of humor the attraction encourages in its skippers, they began calling him "Chief Namee".
At some point in the late 2000s, scripts were changed at the Magic Kingdom's Jungle Cruise to maintain consistency with Disneyland and the character was again referred to as Trader Sam. When the Trader Sam's bar opened, the second version was called Chief Nah-Mee in pictures and described as being Trader Sam's cousin. Despite this, Magic Kingdom's Cruise script still used the Trader Sam name for the character. In the Magic Kingdom's version of the Jingle Cruise overlay, Chief Nah-Mee dressed in a Santa Claus costume and is referred to as, "Trader Sam-Ta".
During the '80s and '90s, the Trader Sam figure wore a colorful tribal mask, though this was removed in2005 during the refresh of the attraction. The character was further expanded on with the opening of the Trader Sam's tiki bars at the Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, with a story of Sam deciding to apply his experience of mixing potions to mixing drinks. Sam and Nah-mee's audio-animatronics were set to be removed in 2021 as part of a refurbishment which among other things, aimed to remove racial stereotypes from the attraction. The replacement for this was a JNC "Lost & Found" which was repurposed by Trader Sam as, "Trader Sam's Gift Shop!".
The Tiki Mask Juju mission of this game had players assist employees of the Enchanted Tiki Bar in brewing the JujuJuice drink after losing Sam's recipe. The employees make reference to the potential of Sam killing them for their heads if he were to find out about them losing the recipe.
The Jungle Cruise
Sam is the fictional proprietor of, "Trader Sam's Gift Shop!" which appears towards the end of the attraction. In Sam's absence, the shop has become overrun with monkeys messing with his inventory meanwhile Ellie trumpets at guests. In the queue for the Disneyland version of the ride, Nigel Greenwater alludes to Sam as being the proprietor of the Tropical Imports shop.
Outside of the Main Street Cinema is a sheet from the Disneyland Casting Agency composed of several job postings. Amongst them is a posting for skippers needed with said advert requesting that applicants see one, "T. Sam".
Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar
Trader Sam is a major character in the story behind Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar in the Disneyland Hotel and Trader Sam's Grog Grotto in Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, putting him in the position of owner and founder of the establishments.
Sam is the fictional proprietor of, "Trader Sam's Gift Shop!" which appears towards the end of the attraction. In Sam's absence, the shop has become overrun with monkeys messing with his inventory.
Magic of Disney Animation
The Minnie Mouse meet 'n' greet area of Disney's Hollywood Studios features a poster for a, "Jungle Cruise" film starring Mickey and Minnie. On this poster, Trader Sam's likeness appears on the corner of the poster with him also being listed as a cast-member.
Five of Sam's books can be seen in the library of the Skipper Canteen. These books being Friends for Dinner, Top Hats and Umbrellas, The Banana Trade, What's in a Name and The Missing Mask. In the, Mess Hall there is also a note on the bulletin-board advertising trades with Trader Sam. Back in the library, there are books by one, "Shakes-Spear" titled Sam IV Part 1, Sam IV Part 2, Sam V, Sam VI Part 1, Sam VI Part 2 and Sam VI Part 3. These might be in relation to Trader Sam and/or his family members.
Trader Sam's Grog Grotto
Sam is the fictitious proprietor of this bar in Disney's Polynesian Village Resort.
- Trader Sam is presumed to be a man of Jivaroan culture/ethnicity given his head-shrinking and location in the Amazon rainforest portion of the ride.
- Sam is similar to the character of Jock Lindsey in that they are both barkeepers affiliated with Indiana Jones and the Adventurers Club. He is also similar to Pecos Bill who via the Tall Tale Inn is shown to be a long-lived barkeeper affiliated with several Disney characters in the S.E.A. mythos. To a lesser degree he shares similarities with Arabella Smith from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise who is the fictional proprietor of the Tortuga Tavern.
- Trader Sam is implied to be an LGBTQ+ individual as there are photographs of women who was romantically involved with along with one, "Cap'n Kevin" who is a man implied to have been his past boyfriend.
- Sam has been connected to the stories, locations and characters of many if not most Disney Parks titles. However, notable theme-park I.P.s which he has yet to be connected to include: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Country Bear Jamboree, Dinosaur (Countdown to Extinction), Journey Into Imagination, Haunted Mansion, Matterhorn Bobsleds, Mystic Manor, Soarin’, Space Mountain, Star Tours and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.