Friday, December 24, 2010

"From All Of Us... To All Of You...

... a Very Merry Christmas!"
- Jimny Cricket

Yes, being the FanArtist I am, I have decided to compose an optimistic yet interesting scenario pertaining to poor obscurely-forgotten Buzzy... and what would happen if he ever set foot out of the pavilion this holiday season.

In this scenario, I've chosen Stitch, the now commonplace-present blue furred alien experiment furball, to be in charge of gift-giving to the Commando (now in charge of guarding the deserted pavillion-now-convention-center). Of course, Buzzy's training since 1989 hasn't prepared him for this situation... so what would Buzzy do?

Anyways, for those young and all, have a wonderful, healthy and happy holiday season, and here's to a safe and happy new year!

Until next time!

PS: And for those who think Stitch would make a great recruit for the Cranium Commandos, think again! Hiring an alien experiment would may as well result in... uhm... *ahem* It won't be pretty.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Buzzy's final salute? Or next mission?

So far, you would have expected the blog to gather any dust and cobwebs without any fresh posts... well, ironically like the props and signage once present for the Wonders of Life pavilion, currently locked away out of public eye, never to be seen again. 

So the other day prior to this post, I decided to search for some random things on eBay (for example, god forbid, Stitch merchandise sold in Japan thanks to the booming anime stardom and reception amongst Japanese adorers), and that fateful moment, I decided to figure out what was selling under "wonders of life epcot", or "cranium command"...

...guess what? The latter actually revealed a goldmine! A user, who we'll refer to as 'sellandship' specialises in goods from the Magic Kingdom, as well as EPCOT. I was quick to take a screenshot image, as well as the product details, and if you're interested in saving a piece of WOL history, it links to the actual eBay page:

So, in the instances of six-feet-under attractions (remember Horizons, please), some of the props and models (the model 'mulapples' and 'flavor grapes', if you quite recall) actually get sold to interested collectors. Of course, many opportunities to grab the slice of that pie have come and gone, but for those looking forward to put aside a spare room as a personal shrine to what once was the Wonders of Life, get your wallets ready.

Of course, I have stumbled across a few forum posts determining Buzzy's current fate. One, which would have been dated recently, was found at Subsonic Radio, under the title "Wonders of Life Memories UPDATE - Buzzy Lives!", with the money shots at page 2 of the forum topic. However, because of the legal boundaries dedicated 'spelunkers' have crossed to get a monitoring glimpse of what once was Buzzy's demonstration arena, I suggest you visit the link at your own risk.

Speaking of which, there's another blog post of the 'Then and Now' of EPCOT Center between the past and the present, showing the changes done to each pavilion, as well as what's become of the now-forgoten brain-pilot-recruit, alone and lonely, and sadly a little worse for wear. :c

Of course, even though there's nothing the majority of us can do about poor Buzzy since his final salute in 2006, all I can say is that rather than being destined for a six-foot-burial-plot, perhaps Buzzy would likely be sold off to a good home. Or perhaps restored and retained in a museum, for the next generation to find out what a great recruit Buzzy was.

1989 - 2007. We miss you.

PS: Of course, the news is hopefully not all bad... perhaps, Buzzy could have a second chance at one point or another. Given that the Wonders of Life is slowly being turned into a general purpose convention center (for the "Food and Wine", as well as the "Flower and Garden" festivals respectively), there could be one more convention event that could hopefuly bring the Wonders of Life back on its feet...

...although not intended to be a park-wide festival, perhaps the 'Health and Life' convention could be adopted. Not only would there be potential for the rides to be restored, or perhaps updated to today's standards, then maybe the convention space could invite another health-exhibit for others to enjoy. And just like the 'Making of the Flower and Garden festival' and 'Seasons of the Vine' films have played in there, perhaps there could be a 'Health Film Festival'. But of course, not everyone would appreciate the idea. So, if the Wonders of Life pavilion were to be revived one way or another, what do you think could be done?

Until the next post, I wish you all the best this holiday season! :3

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

STOP PRESS: Another Interruption To Bring You...

...oh, I'm sorry for the monthlong absence, and I'm still stuck on wondering what to write on this blog. Of course, there are those searching the information highway who may, or may not, have heard of Goofy About Health, as I basically have mentioned in my last blog post^. I've been searching around the Internet and found the lyrics to this musical number, sung by none other than Kal David (more on him at the end of the post)

So without further ado, let us delve into... those Unhealthy Living Blues! XC

Health is your responsibility. 

Your doctor's your friend, so listen to me. 
Running around town is what made you crack.
Blood pressure's up near a heart attack! 
You got those unhealthy living blues. 
Oh, yeah.

Overeating has added those extra calories 

and cholesterol clog up your arteries.
Your body ain't used to those dangerous drugs.
You just can't survive on coffee slugs.
You got those unhealthy living blues.

And if you keep inhaling that cigarette smoke, 
you could get emphazema or cancer or stroke!
Drinking too much just ain't that much smart. 

It hurts your liver, your brain and your heart. 
You got those blues, baby. 
You got those unhealthy living blues. 

And that's the unhealthy living (high-pitched) blues!

Of course, what's not to like about explaining the shock-horrors of unhealthy living than breaking into song? Anyways, let me get into some more detail about the song's artist. You see, Kal David is well known as a US blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. During his teenage years, his singing career began in 1962 in the form of frontman of his local band Kal David and the Exceptions (he left the band in 1965)
At the late half of the 60's, he formed a duo with another guitarist Paul Cotton, and they recorded two albums - Illinois Speed Press (the name of the duo) and Duet.After David and Cotton went their separate ways, David formed a new group, called the Fabulous Rhinestones, and throughout the 70's, recorded three more albums: Fabulous Rhinestones, Freewheelin', and Rhinestones.

But enough with the history lesson... triviawise, David is responsible for the voice of Sonny Eclipse, one of the singing alien audio-animatronics at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe at the Magic Kingdom, as seen here:
. I bet you blogreaders didn't know that, did you?

Anyways, this week marks (surprise) my birthday (I won't go into all details, hopefully), but unfortunately it'll sound like a busy one. So blogreaders, I'm wishing you all the best, till next time!

^ - (Out of the loop? The last blog post covered a few of the attractions that placed Wonders of Life on the map in its heyday).

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Let me start with some statistics here...

To all of you blog readers, I am ready to start with a general essay of the Wonders of Life and the exhibits that used to be present there. Basically, the theme of the exhibit is basically on the bright side of life, health, medical technologies and everything in between, explained in an imaginative and attention-catching manner. And that's just the summary. I'm going to start with a few explanations of each attraction within the pavillion, as listed below:

The Making of Me:
This film is devoted to the miracle of how we all came into the world - the miracle of reproduction and birth. of course, normally people shy away from the topic (due to the fact it's sensitive, and there is definitely a sign that advises parental discretion), but according to those who saw the preview before the pavillion opened, it was described as "delightful", and is the educational film "required for elementary schools across the country", as well as a good conversation aid for parents to explain reproduction to their young.

Martin Short, who stars in the film, plays a young man in his 20s - representing the soul of a person who hasn't been born yet - he tells the story of how he came into the world, as he covers topics of how his parents were born - how they met, and how they decided to have their first child - him. The film also explains the biological scale of repriduction - the thousands of sex cells on the race to meet the egg cell (portrayed as very attractive), as well as actual footage of foetus/fetus-en-utero, complete with his experiences during nine months of development. All in all, this is brilliantly executed in terms of educational films, and in my view, this one worthy of being released on DVD (if that happens!)

Body Wars:
One of EPCOT Center's first thrill-rides was this on-the-fence-sitter - Body Wars, directed by Leonard Nimoy (you may remember him as Spock from the Star Trek series), and starring three actors well known at the time - Tim Matheson, Dakin Matthews and Elisabeth Shue (who also stars in Pihranha).

Body Wars is basically a hybrid of a theatrical-experience and a simulator ride, explaining one potential future of medicine - that medical professionals (and crew) would board one of four mentioned Body Probe Vehicles and, a la Fantastic Voyage, miniturized and beamed inside the bloodstream of a volunteer. The mission featured on the ride would be to bring Dr Cynthia Lair (immunologist played by Elisabeth Shue) on board the vehicle, but however, what starts as a simple mission becomes a ride through the heart, lungs and the brain.

According to the countless visitors who once experienced this bumpy ride, you would have to put your seatbelts on, as the seats would jerk and jolt during the experience (hence the boarding precautions). Sure it is not uncommon for motion sickness to happen during the ride, but for those who enjoyed the ride, it's an experience they'd wish they would get over their motion sickness to ride again!

Cranium Command:

Another instant classic found at the pavillion - the military-operation equivalent of how the brain works, as explained by Commanding Officer General Knowledge (sounds toungue-in-cheek), who explains some well known facts about the brain to the sudience in the preshow. That is, until Buzzy enters the theater late, and is called up on stage concerning his punctuality.
In the next scene in the preshow, there is an interesting portrayal of the brain as an advanced machine - most likely as in the Air Force fleet, to juxtapose this correctly. In this case, Buzzy has been assigned to monitor a day in the life of a 12 year old adolescent boy - by piloting his brain! Of course, the adolescent brain is very iunpredictable, and it's definitely going to be a bumpy ride being the bumbling rookie pilot Buzzy is!

Photograph of Buzzy at Cranium Command: 2006 by Allen Huffman.

The show theater, which is basically a screen theater-cross-animatronics display, made to resemble the inside of someone's head. Of course, the show mixes some great facts of the brain, as well as dealing with the effects of stress on the body - in what clever way than to portray each organ in the body as a person doing a certain job (and the hypothalamus as the sadly overlooked robot, as he quotes 'No one ever wants to talk to me.') The show's significance is that the workers are played by actors who have previously starred in Saturday Night Live (successful back then in the brink of the 90s). No matter how dated you would think of this now, Cranium Command is definitely an instant classic, one that if the pavilion were to be reopened, would need special care to win back the hearts of those who lived Buzzy's antics of piloting the brain.

Goofy About Health:

What this show is about, it helps explain the scenario of adopting healthy habits, as shown in a scenario of Goofy, playing a victim of the stress of urban living, and prone to illness. This is definitely a throwback to the instructional videos (think How to Swim), especially with the narrator explaining every bit of the story (including the quote: “The doctor diagnoses our friend’s illness as the dreaded, but all-too-common, unhealthy living.” ) There is also a song featured in the exhibit - the Unhealthy Living Blues, in which I don't have the lyrics nor the actual (restored) song itself. (Oh wait, now I do!)

Of course, the theater diaplays excerpts of the classic short film featuring Goofy, made during a period of 28 years, so it's not common to encounter the various roles (and design changes) Goofy played during the time!)
This was also the opportunity for those who could not be able to ride Body Wars to wait for the rest who were at the ride.

So I guess that's about it for the summaries for each of the attractions, each with the photographs taking you to another site - Yesterland, explaining the bygone days of EPCOT center's prized attractions, and what had just happened when the pavillion became a convention center... Sad to see a treasure gone!

But no fretting please, because it's my challenge to write an article on each attraction, and with all the information sources I am gathering right now, it'll take a lot of time (considering that I am a busy person searching high and low for information!) Of course, for those who have intormation, and would like to contribute for the essays, then feel free to leave a comment!

Speaking of which, there is a poll on the blog site, which would help select which attraction from the exhibit I should write an essay on first. For readers who subscribe/follow this blog, please tell your blog-friends, because the more votes, the better the decision on which to write first.

In the meantime, I would like to show you an interactive exhibit, which frankly, a similar approach be incorporated in the pavilion should it be opened. The exhibit, showing at the Museum of Science and Industry is called You! The Experience. This would kind of remind you of one attraction I have not covered - Frontiers in Medicine, but this one I would happily speculate is an up-to-date attraction hopefully trying to fill in the void where the 'future' part of the Wonders of Life would've been.

Until then, catch you later!

*This article being written by a blogger, whose writing language is in Australian English, but also caters to American online readers by adding a word in their own country.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

STOP PRESS: We Interrupt This Blog To Bring You...

...a little something that a few blog visitors may remember from EPCOT Center's birth (okay, far from 1982 as its birthyear). For those who has been on Spaceship Earth since EPCOT Center between the years of '86 to '94, you may have heard the iconic song "Tomorrow's Child". Thanks to a few internet sources, as well as an audio sample, I have reconstructed the lyrics for you to look back for your nostalgic glory (note the bracketed verses are actially from the childrens choir):

Tomorrow's child
(Tomorrow's child.)
Gathering gifts from our past
Tomorrow's child
(Tomorrow's child.)
Shaping a world that will last

Holding the spark
As we embark
On a great journey
Together we're learning to
Reach for hope and desire
Building a world to inspire

Tomorrow's child, Tomorrow's child
Charting a brand new way
For the Future World is born today
(Born today)
Tomorrow's child
Lighting the path as we're going (Tomorrow's child)
Tomorrow's child
Seeing that knowledge keeps growing (Tomorrow's child)

Searching through time
Longing to find
Answers to guide us
And dreams to unite us
Helping us unlock the door
Showing us ways to explore
Tomorrow's child, Tomorrow's child
Charting a brand new way
For the Future World is born today 

(Born today.)

Tomorrow's Child, (Tomorrow's child.)

Helping us unlock the door
Tomorrow's Child, (Tomorrow's child.)

Showing us ways to explore
Helping convey 

Ideas of today...
Where we will find 
inspiration forever to
Reach for hope and desire
Building a world to in-spi-re...

Tomorrow's child, Tomorrow's child
Charting a brand new way
For the Future World is born today
(Born today.)

(EDIT: Thanks Ortens for finally figuring out the missing lyrics for the Walter Cronkite version! Almost a year after publishing the lost lyrics for fellow bloggers to figure out, we've finally confirmed that the missing gaps in the lyric work are finally filled!) To celebrate, I have found the audio source for your listening pleasure, but I can only give you links for the time being:

Spaceship Earth, late Walter Cronkite version from '86 to '94 - part one, and part two, for your listening pleasure

(Thankyou to Ortens for your sharp ears and wonderful assistance for picking up the lost lyrics! The rest of us who have been on that ride (unfortunately not myself) will have searched through our memory banks or sifted through home videos for the missing video. For the memories for everyone else in this boat, thanks, and best wishes.)

...And now, next post we'll be returning to normal transmission.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

WOL4EVA Video Advert Live on YouTube

Dear readers,

Today, I have managed to set up a video advert for the blog. Having received some inspiration from the 'scroll-one-way, scroll the other' videos (such as the 'Lost Generation'), I decided to work in the style of one of these adverts, and most likely in what some of us think of the "Wonders of Life".

But sure, the wording may be a little off, as I was playing around with the applications involved in making this video - Flash CS4 to be exact. Any critiquing may be of big help, fellow readers.

Fortunately, some of my efforts paid off, and here is the video (without narrations). If you like the video, then I recommend that you send the link to others. Till then, I'm off gathering some essay information for a few attractions. So, which one would you like me to do first?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The "Wonders of Life" that Never Was...

Twenty eight years. Twenty eight long years since EPCOT Center opened its doors to the public.

A panorama of inside the pavillion during the brink of the '90s

And twenty one years since the Wonders of Life pavillion opened its doors to greet a generation of park visitors, with almost $90 million spent on construction since 1988. But you see, the Wonders of Life hasn't always been what it was at its prime, believe it or not.

In fact, let's flash backward to 1975, at least four years before EPCOT's birth as an attraction park. There were so many ideas generated for the park, especially one for a life and health themed pavillion. Then in 1978, the pencils were sharpened, and some prototypes were made, showcasing how the pavillion would have been constructed... like this:

There would be a lot of history to do with the pavillion, when it was during its early stages, but here are the attractions that would have been included, and their equivalent niches:
  • The Joy of Living (a presentation which explains and shows the beauty, the dignity and strength of man and woman, from birth and growing up to adulthood and the golden years),
  • The Sensory Funhouse (which strangely was included but as an open space exhibit)
  • the Tooth Follies (which unfortunately was not included),
  • The Head Trip (early equivalent of Cranium Command),
  • Good Health Habits (non-Disney equivalent of Goofy About Health),
  • The Incredible Journey Within (which was the OmniMover equivalent of Body Wars)
Although I do not have access to actual images or research, I can happily say that someone else has done some research, and put it together in video form. This is why I have put this video here:

It contains practically some of the concept images, as well as the blueprints that would have been part of the pavillion, plus the official WED Promotional Video for the Life and Health pavillion at the time. It even shows exactly, and I mean EXACTLY, where the exhibits were, both then and currently. (It starts at the 1:50 mark)

The video was made by Martin Smith, in which his videos were made for the purpose of preserving this fantastic attraction.

Wonders of Life – Ultimate Tribute - Part 1 of 2 from Martins Videos on Vimeo.
So, proof that there's a lot of history behind such a formidable pavillion, now long lost (but hopefully never forgotten). It's very wonderful how many people would choose to hang onto relics of past events, to one day share with others close to them (or even the world).
In the next coming posts, I would get started with researching and reviewing some of the attractions that once lived in this very golden dome.
Peace for the Future!

PS: Honestly I would not close off this blog article with a few others some articles from the news, as well as other weblogs that may capture your interest...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What is "Wonders of Life, Eterna" anyway?

Let me start things off, fellow blog readers... this is my very first post submitted to this web-shrine dedicated to everything that once was the Wonders of Life pavillion - a former top attraction that once stood at the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow... which you may know as EPCOT Center from the 1980's... or simply Epcot in today's day and age.

For those not very familiar with what I'm talking about, I'll drop you a little piece of history here and there... so, once upon a time, on October 31st 1989, the Wonders of Life opened its doors loudly for the first time (but some say it opened its doors with a gradual 'soft' opening on October 18th in the same year.) The video below shows us a few glimpses of the pavillion's first hours...

Now any of you readers who have been there during the pavillion's heyday might remember the Metropolitan Life blimp with Snoopy on it... want to know why? In EPCOT's early years, the pavillions used to get by with the help of corporate sponsorship, and in the case of Wonders of Life, Metropolitan Life was the ideal sponsor during the years from 1989 to 2001. Thereafter, sponsorship was dropped, and the Wonders of Life pavillion managed a further 2 or 3 years by itself, before mainstream operation ceased in 2004.

But the Wonders of Life's final curtain calls were during the busy holiday seasons (the holiday periods in the lead up to Christmas and the New Year) of 2005 and 2006, and then finally giving up the ghost on the date January 1st, 2007. At this point, almost all of the components of the pavillion were gradually gutted out. Sad! :(

And here it was now, as of June 2009... a forgotten desert dome, now re-used as a convention center.

But there's an interesting side to the blog... I have never personally set foot on EPCOT center during its heyday (because the park was born way before my birthdate, obviously!), nor was I there on the opening of the Wonders of Life pavillion, nor have I been on their signature rides... ever! But I side with those who have fond memories of what it's like to be on board the good ship probe Bravo 229 on a bumpy journey through the heart, lungs and brain...

...or witnessed what it was like to work as a brain pilot of a 12 year old adolescent boy...

...or listened in on a tale of where we biologically came from, and how we were born. Some of us have memorabillia, photos, soundbites, that we may have hung onto for others to share. While all may seem to be lost, it would be rather courageous for us to share them together.

But there are a sufficient few who believe that the pavillion may face the following fates:
  • Scrapped entirely,
  • Refurbed with a full-on overhaul (and full-on heartbreak!)
  • Restored in its former glory
And despite my age, my view on the pavillion's fate (if allowed) would be restoration, for all to see. Yes, it's costly in monetary terms, but I can happily justify the cost, using this as a reason...

In my view, my generation, as well as the generation after that, is inhumanely deprived of what makes the Wonders of Life pavillion the most successful (and secondly missed after Horizons) pavillion during the prime of EPCOT center, educating visitors on the body, as well as good healthy habits, while entertaining patrons in the most memorable ways possible... in the kinds of ways you would not expect to find in a textbook. Although some of the atractions were 'frozen' in time since the brink of the 90's, I believe that in response to health issues popping up in the media, the Wonders of Life pavillion still has relevance today... it's just that it's been bottled up for too long.

On a more optimistic note, this blog also bears links to the most fascinating facts on EPCOT center, then and now, plus there's also an opportunity for webguests, or veterans of the original EPCOT park (whether you used to work here or come here or even read about it in a book) to post a comment, or potentially some suggestions!

But this blog also has a hint of Imagineering ingrained in this blog... just imagine, what would happen if the pavillion were to re-open... should the classic attractions be restored (or updated as close as true-to-heart can be)? Maybe some interactive exhibits? Or what's the worst that could happen to the poor pavillion? Plus guess what - commenters can also join in on the fun and submit potential ideas for bringing the great Golden Dome back into the public eye... and more hearts.

And if you're wondering who's this, then surprise! It's RabidLeroy! You may remember me the most from my DeviantArt account, as the artist-Stitchfan-genius I am! But due to this nature, I might want to warn you that if you're not accustomed to further Mouse-fication of poor old EPCOT, or you're not fully immersed with Stitch-related references, read this blog with caution.

You have been warned.

Got it?