Posted by: Brad Nixon | November 14, 2009

Farewell Mr. Cooley/Jungle Cruise Funnies

A followup to the Nov. 5 “Young Men and Fire” post

In the November 5 entry, I wrote about Norman Maclean‘s book, “Young Men and Fire,” which explores the tragic outcome of a team of smokejumpers fighting a wilderness fire in August of 1949. The spotter on the plane that dropped the team was Earl Cooley, who, in 1940, had been the first smokejumper in history.

A few days after I posted that piece, on Monday, November 9, Mr. Cooley died, at age 98. NPR‘s All Things Considered broadcast a remembrance of Mr. Cooley, HERE.

The New York Times’ obituary of Mr. Cooley is HERE.

The Disneyland Jungle Cruise Shtick

Although my siblings have been so careless as to let most of their children grow up, there are still a few nieces and nephews young enough to warrant a trip to Disneyland, which means I get to go, too. I went this summer with the folks in from Indianapolis. Aside from my favorite ride, The Mad Tea Party, I love to take the Jungle Cruise. Of course, what makes it fun is not the attraction itself, which is perhaps a little too happy-go-lucky/postwar-silly for this jaded age. What makes the experience worth having is listening to the “cast members” as they move you through the line, load you into the boats, and then pilot you along the Nambaheezee, or whatever that jungle river is named.

I distinctly remember an episode from my first visit to Disneyland — 1966! — as the young man taking tickets (in those days, you got booklets of tickets for individual attractions) kept up a steady spiel, which included this line: “Ladies and gentlemen, do not tear or rip your tickets. Euripides tickets, Eumenides tickets!” I can’t say if this sort of schtick was originally designed into the script for the attraction, but now it’s the real reason to go there. (I also suspect that either Mom or Dad explained that joke to me. Although a precocious lad, it’s unlikely that at 14 I’d have gotten the Greek references without some assistance.)

I’m not a huge Disneyphile, but I love this stuff. Clearly, the young people operating this attraction wearied quickly of the grinding routine of launching a boat full of tourists every five minutes or so, boat after boat, hour after hour, the livelong day. And, for the “skippers” of those boats, it was just as mind-numbing, riding along past the same corny animatronic gags in endless repetition. So, youthful exuberance won out, and a long, rich history of inventing funny lines for the ride became the standard.

With only a moment’s search, I determined that there are sites that collect any number of these gags on the Web. If you know the ride and can picture what’s happening, these are fun to read.

I made a link to one of the sites: here

You can find others on the Web. This is merely representative, and, so far as I can determine, PG-rated.

(And speaking of insanity-inducing repetition at Disneyland, imagine having to pull a four-hour shift at the Mad Tea Party and listen to that MUSIC the entire time!)

Have a great weekend.



  1. brad,
    how did you get this dated tommorow, i KNOW we’re in the same time zone. finally, though i don’t fully recall the name, there is a site called yesterland or something similar which features all the rides that are no longer with us, which you might enjoy.


  2. yeah:


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