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Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress
Intro, Scenes 1 & 2
-Courtesy of Jason Snyder-


NARRATOR:
Welcome, to Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. You're in for a real treat. The Carousel of Progress was Walt's own idea from beginning to end. He loved it. He introduced the show at the World's Fair in New York City in 1964 and it was an immediate smash hit. Millions of people came to see it and since then, the Carousel of Progress has had more performances than any other stage show in the history of American theater. You know, Walt loved the idea of progress and he loved the American family. He himself was probably as American as anyone could possibly be. He thought it would be fun to watch the American family go through the twentieth century experiencing all new wonders as they came. And he put them together in a show called Carousel of Progress, which we are about to see. Although our Carousel family has experienced a few changes over the years, our show still revolves around the same theme: and that's progress. May the century begin.

Our theater starts to move for the first time. Lively banjo music comes on to the tune of the ride's theme song.

CHORUS:

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

Shining at the end of every day.

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

And tomorrow is just a dream away.

Man has a dream and that's the start.

He follows his dream in mind and heart.

Our theater rolls around to the first stage. It's the kitchen of a circa 1900 home. Father (our narrator) is sitting in a rocker, wearing a smoking jacket and holding a pipe and newspaper. Father joins in on the singing as the chorus fades out.

FATHER:

And when it becomes a reality,

It's a dream come true for you and me.

So there's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

Shining at the end of every day,

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

Just a dream away.

The song ends, but quiet violin music plays in the background. Through the windows we see that it's a bright sunny day outside. Birds are chirping in the spring air. Father notices the sound of the birds and begins to address the crowd.

FATHER: Well, looks like the robins are getting ready to celebrate Valentines day today. What year is it? Oh,  right around the turn of the century. And things couldn't be any better than they are today. Yes sir, buildings are towering now as high as twenty stories. And moving pictures flicker up on a big screen. We have almost 8,000 automobiles in this country and we can travel by train from New York to California in less than seven days! And I even hear tell of two brothers from North Carolina who are working on some kind of flying contraption. (He chuckles to himself.) It'll never work. Closer to home, we've now got gas lamps, telephone and the latest design in cast iron stoves. And that reservoir keeps 5 gallons of water hot all day on just 3 buckets of coal. Oh boy, it sure beats chopping wood. And isn't our new icebox a beauty? Look at that! Holds 50 pounds of ice.

The icebox opens up to show the ice, bread and milk.

FATHER: Milk doesn't sour as quick as it used to and our dog Rover here keeps the water in the drip pan from overflowing. It wasn't to long ago that we had to carry water from a well. Thanks to progress, we have a pump right here in the kitchen.

The pump handle magically moves and water starts to flow.

FATHER: Of course, we keep a bucket of water handy to prime it with. Yes sir, we've got everything to make life easier.

Father looks over to his right, (our left,) where the first of the rotating dioramas mentioned above appears. A woman dressed in an apron, is ironing a shirt, while her young daughter works beside her. In the background is a large pantry with bags of food.

FATHER: Say mother?

MOTHER: Hmm?

FATHER: I was reading about a fellow named Tom Edison who's working on an idea for a snap-on electric light.

SARAH (MOTHER): Electric lights? No more kerosine! No more gas!

FATHER: (He chuckles.) Sarah sure gets to the core of the apple.

SARAH: But we do have this new washday marvel. It takes only 5 hours to do the wash. Imagine! It used to take two days.

FATHER: That's right folks, now Mother has time for other things, like...

SARAH: Like canning and cleaning the oven?

FATHER: Yes dear.

SARAH: Well ovens just don't clean themselves you know dear.

FATHER: I know dear. (He chuckles.) And they probably never will!

SARAH: Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to get the laundry off the line before it starts raining cats and dogs.

Rover starts barking at the comment. The diorama disappears.

FATHER: Ah don't worry Rover. She didn't mean real dogs. Besides, it's not going to rain today. My lumbago isn't acting up.

Lightning flashes outside the windows and we hear thunder. Rain starts poring shortly thereafter.

SARAH: (Off-stage.) I hate to say I told you so.

FATHER: Oh, look at it come down! All you have to do is put your wash on the line right? Oh well, the cistern was low anyway.

The diorama on our right lights up to display a young boy using a stereoscope beside an oil lamp.

SON: Wowee! Look at that!

FATHER: Now James, I though I told you to ask my permission before using my new stereoscope. That's not a toy you know!

JIMMY (SON): Ooh la la! So that's the Norwegian doing the hoochie-koochie, eh dad?

FATHER: (Momentarily forgetting himself.) Isn't she a knockout? She's the star of the new World's Fair in Saint Louis and... ahem... you put that away before your mother finds it.

JIMMY: Aw dad...

FATHER: You heard me!

The Diorama darkens.

FATHER: Well, we have one of those new talking machines... now that is something. It plays music right here in our home.

The left diorama opens again, displaying Grandma sitting in a rocker, listening to music on a phonograph machine. A parrot is sitting on a perch, beside her. The record plays the theme song, "There's A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow."

PARROT: Aaah. She keeps that thing going all day long. Aaah! Progress!

The left diorama closes, at which point the opposite one reopens. Patricia (the narrator's daughter,) is sitting at a vanity fixing her hair. She's only wearing her under garments, (but in 1900, the under garments were more modest that today's outer garments, so the scene isn't offensive.) Flowery, feminine music comes on for the daughter.

PATRICIA: Oh papa.

FATHER: Yes Patricia?

PATRICIA: (Astounded.) Papa! All these people! I'm... I'm indecent!

FATHER: (He chuckles.) Don't worry Patricia. They're friends. (He addresses us.) That's my teenage daughter. She's getting ready to go to a Valentines dance across town, on one of those new horseless trolleys.

PATRICIA: I think it's very romantic, you're taking mother out for Valentines dinner tonight.

FATHER: Well, you know what kind of sport I am.

PATRICIA: I only hope that I have an evening as romantic as yours and mothers.

A sudden thought crosses father's mind and he turns sharply towards his daughter.

FATHER: Now you be home by nine o'clock daughter. You hear me?

The flowery music dies for obvious reasons.

PATRICIA: (Dejectedly.) Yes papa.

The diorama fades.

FATHER: Well, with all this talking, I've worked up quite a thirst. I think I'll take one of those new fangled trolleys down to the drug store soda fountain and meet the boys for a cold sarsaparilla. Oh... ha ha, I'm sorry, I forgot... we're drinking root beer now! Same kind of thing, different name. Well, that's progress for you. Speaking of progress...

FATHER AND CHORUS SING:

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

Shining at the end of every day.

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

And tomorrow is just a dream away.

Man has a dream and that's the start.

He follows his dream in mind and heart

And when it becomes a reality,

It's a dream come true for you and me.

So there's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

Shining at the end of every day.

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

Just a dream away.

By this time, we have rotated to the next stage. This time, we see a slightly more modern kitchen than before. The same basic layout, however. Now, Father is sitting on a chair in the middle of the kitchen, cooling himself with a Niagara Falls fan. Electricity has arrived in the home, with wires hanging from the appliances. Rover lays on the floor in front of father.

FATHER: Whew, boy! Hottest Forth of July we've had in years. We've come a long way though since the turn of the century over twenty some-odd years ago. You know that pilot fellah... Charles Lindberg? He's about to fly a single winged airplane all the way across the Atlantic. (He chuckles.) He's never gonna make it. And sports stadiums are springing up all over. And boy... nobody hits that old horse hide like that new fellah, Babe Ruth. Jazz music is the cat's meow, and there's been adds in the paper for months for a movie starring Al Jollson... (he whispers this,) and he's going to talk! And sing! Boy, I've got to see that.

From outside of the window, a car horn blows. Father seems to smile at the sound.

FATHER: Ha ha ha. There goes Schwarts in his hump mobile. He sure loves that horn. You know, in my new Essex, I've got an electric starter! Now I don't have to crank. We can travel from New York to Los Angeles by train in only three days. Now we've got a house full of new electrical servants. Mr. Edison sure added life to our home.

Suddenly, silly, hyper music comes on and all of the 'electrical servants' start going crazy. The vacuum moves crazily, the oven and refrigerator doors open and close quickly, and lights flicker on and off.

FATHER: (To machines.) Whoa there! You'll blow a fuse!

As if on que, the lights go out, and all of the machines die. The stage is dark. Only the city lights outside the windows are bright.

FATHER: Drat! That's the third one this week. I buy fuses by the case.

Suddenly the lights outside the windows go dark as well.

FATHER: Uh oh. And I've blown the whole neighborhood again! (He sounds as if he finds a strange amusement in his deed.)

WOMAN OUTSIDE OF WINDOW: Henry! He did it again! Go over and give that neighbor of ours what for!

Rover growls, preparing to come to the aid of his master.

FATHER: Easy Rover. (Directed to off stage.) Jimmy! Hurry up with that fuse!

We hear the crunching of gravel as Jimmy walks around in the back yard trying to find the fuse box.

JIMMY: (Heard off stage.) Shucks. Every time he has company, he blows a fuse. And guess who always has to change it.

FATHER: I heard that young man! I heard that!

We hear a clunk, and suddenly the lights are back on. We see now that the right diorama has opened up to reveal Mother sitting on the front porch, sewing a costume of some sort.

MOTHER: Oh, well that's more like it. John, yours is the last costume I've got to finish before the parade starts.

We learn from this statement that Father's name is John. I'll keep calling him Father though.

FATHER: Sarah's lady's club is responsible for our town's Forth of July celebration tonight. She's got us all roped up into preforming in their program.

SARAH: And I've decided that we're going as George and Martha Washington dear.

FATHER: Oh... the father of our country. (Whimsical.) That's a role that really fits me! You know, I--

SARAH: (Interrupting Father.) I'm so glad that we installed an electric light fixture here on the porch, because it's just to darn hot to be sewing inside.

FATHER: Yes Sarah. You know, next year I'd like to go as Benedict Arnold! Ha ha. I--

SARAH: Wait until you see what I've got planned for the fireworks show tonight.

Rover barks, we assume at the mention of fireworks, which we all know, dogs hate.

FATHER: Rover! Don't interrupt, while Sarah's interrupting.

SARAH: And guess who volunteered to choose the music for the program.

Sarah's diorama goes dark, and the opposite one lights up. Jimmy is standing next to an old fashioned radio, while Grandpa sits in a chair, fiddling with a firework.

JIMMY: I did pop! Listen to this!

Jimmy flips on the radio and a patriotic tune comes on.

FATHER: Oh... that's a nice tune Jimmy. (To us.) You know, with our new Gladstone radio set, we can get news and **** **** **** **** (Father's dialog got garbled here, due to the loud music.)

Jimmy switches stations and a news broadcast comes on.

RADIO ANNOUNCER: People are starting to arrive downtown for a spectacular Forth of July parade and fireworks event tonight. Mayor Beaverfield said---

Radio dies down and Father directs his attention to the right diorama, even though it's not lit up yet.

FATHER: Oh Patricia.

PATRICIA: Yes Father?

FATHER: Better get a move on. The radio says people are arriving downtown.

PATRICIA: (Whining.) Do I really have to go?

The Diorama lights up to reveal Patricia dressed up as the Statue of Liberty, loading a torch.

PATRICIA: If my new boyfriend Theodore sees me in this, it'll scare him away!

FATHER: (He chuckles.) Well dear, if that happens, you'll always have that torch you can carry for him. Ha ha ha.

Rover growls at his master's joke about his daughter.

PATRICIA: (Exasperated.) Oh father!

The diorama darkens.

FATHER: Oh calm down Rover, I was only kidding. (To us.) By the way, we have indoor plumbing now! Oh boy, that's really great on cold nights. Especially for out perennial house guest, old Uncle Orville.

The left hand diorama lights up to display a bathroom, complete with Orville lying in the tub. He's reading the paper, and wiggling his toes over the edge of the tub. Next to him is a block of ice, and a fan, which blows the cold ice air onto Orville. Hanging from the wall is an "Uncle Sam" costume. Obviously Sarah even roped Orville into participating in the Forth of July show.

FATHER: Uncle Orville's taken over the coolest spot in the house. And he's rigged up a real clever contraction. He calls it "air cooling." Humph. To bad he's not reading the help wanted adds.

The diorama darkens.

UNCLE ORVILLE: (From off stage.) No privacy at all around this place!

FATHER: Sorry Orville. (To us.) You know, considering all the--

SARAH: (Off stage.) John. Costume's ready.

FATHER: Oh! Coming Martha! (Back to us.) Well, as I was saying, considering all the conveniences we now have, I'd say that we're really on easy street these days. It just can't get any better! Just goes to show that--

Father and Chorus:

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

Shining at the end of every day.

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

And tomorrow is just a dream away.

Man has a dream and that's the start.

He follows his dream in mind and heart

And when it becomes a reality,

It's a dream come true for you and me.

So there's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

Shining at the end of every day.

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow,

Just a dream away.  

Scenes 3 & 4


 
 
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