Seventeen years ago this week… sorry, I had to go in the other room and cry for a bit that it’s been 17 years… Seventeen years ago this week, I re-started my time working at the Dinsey-MGM (we don’t call it Hollywood) Studios after doing an initial temp season over the Christmas ’95 break. I could have stayed on through January but was doing a little French farce over at UCF playing a man 60 years old than me screaming about my rheumatism. All I did onstage from ages 19-21 was play old men.
What is this blog about? Oh right.
Part of my time over that Christmas break was spent with everyone’s favorite cowboy Woody – I was, after all, his favorite deputy. ‘Toy Story’ had just hit paydirt in November and you could feel the scramble to capitalize on its success. The joke about Buzz Lightyear in ‘Toy Story’ about the lack of availability of his toy we know his true and, as I have mentioned in a previous blog, on Christmas Day the Space Ranger and The Woodman were swarmed by scores of folks pouring out of MuppetVision 3-D around the Mama Melrose corner and across from Pizza Planet as if John, Paul, George, & Ringo were reuniting.
The ‘Toy Story Parade’ was a daily occurrence and practically growing on a daily basis. To this day, it runs neck and neck with SpectroMagic as my favorite of all the Diz parades over the years. Additionally, in February, it was decided to have ‘Toy Story Weekends’ on New York Street to provide the popular space for these uber-popular characters. All the parade floats were on display for excellent photographic backgrounds. Green Army Men were everywhere. Monkeys – Barreling – sometimes linked at the arms, sometimes, not.
And I remember that Woody, sometimes, would come out from behind the gate betwixt the restrooms beside Pizza Planet and what is now called ‘Tatooine Traders’ – and he would just take off, running, as if chasing a moving truck full of his friends. Awkwardly, guests would yell out ‘Run, Forrest, Run’, but those who saw the movie got the reference and laughed or yelled ‘they’re not in the van anymore, Woody, they’re on the street!’ And Woody would stop and wipe his brow with the back of his hand in a swift, ‘phew’ motion.
These weekends were such a great way to introduce my time ‘Working at the Diz’. The guests ate it up with a spoon. Probably the best New York Street Party there ever was.