Thurl's involvement with Disneyland goes back to opening day, when he
was the announcer for many of the events, including the opening of Fantasyland
(0:32). His voice was heard on many Disney attractions which have been
retired. For example, the Mellomen were heard on Adventure Through Inner
Space (1967-1986) singing the song "Miracles
to Molecules" (1:35). Also, Thurl was the original narrator on
Submarine Voyage (1959-1998).
Here are some of the attractions in the Disney theme parks on which
Thurl was featured. One a couple of these rides, Thurl's voice has been
replaced, but on many of these attractions he is still heard by thousands
of visitors each day.
The Disneyland Railroad (1955)
Thurl was the onboard narrator at Disneyland until 2001 when his
recordings were replaced. He was also the original voice on the Walt
Disney World Railroad, though he has been replaced there also. His
original recordings were also used at Tokyo Disneyland.
The Mark Twain Steamboat (1955)
Thurl did the voice of the First Mate on the Mark Twain, though again in
2001 his recordings were replaced. Listen to his opening
(0:15)and closing (0:07) lines from the Mark
Peter Pan's Flight (1955)
Listen for Thurl as part of the chorus singing "You Can Fly".
Alice In Wonderland (1958)
The Mellomen can be heard as the cards who are "Painting the Roses
Red". These recordings were from the 1951 Disney
The Sailing Ship Columbia (1958)
As the Columbia circles the Rivers of America, listen for Thurl singing.
The selection of sea songs played on board the ship are actually from the
Norman Luboff Choir album Songs of the Sea and include the "Boston
Come All Ye" (2:01). For more information about the Norman Luboff
Choir visit the Vocal Groups page.
The Enchanted Tiki Room (1963)
Tangaroa, the tree of life
Fritz, the German parrot
At Disneyland, in the waiting area just outside the Tiki Room, Thurl is
the voice of Tangaroa (0:39), the tree of
life. Inside, he is Fritz (0:10), the German
parrot. He also does the voices for other parts of the show, including
some of the masks on the wall. The Mellomen are also part of the chorus on
"The Tiki, Tiki, Tiki Room"
At Walt Disney World, the Tropical Serenade was renamed "The
Enchanted Tiki Room, Under New Management." Thurl, Wally Boag (Jose),
and Fulton Burley (Michael) all came back to the studio in 1997 to reprise
their roles for the new show. Ernie Newton (Pierre) had passed away and
was replaced by Jerry Orbach.
Thurl voices the tall pirate in the
black hat playing the accordion as well as the dog
Pirates of the Caribbean (1967)
Thurl makes several vocal appearances in Pirates of the Caribbean. He
is part of the group that sings the theme song, "Yo
Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me" (1:04). He also does the voice
for a drunken pirate (0:59) singing along
while leaning on a lamppost. In the trio of minstrels, Thurl is the voice
of the accordion player (0:59), and he does
the vocalization of the dog (0:58) that is
"singing" along with them.
The Haunted Mansion (1969)
Without Thurl and Paul Frees, the Haunted Mansion would not be the same.
Paul Frees is of course the Ghost Host throughout the ride, but it is
Thurl's voice that makes "Grim Grinning
Ghosts" (1:01) so memorable. The Haunted Mansion may be the only
Disney attraction where guests can see Thurl's face. He appears as one of
the singing busts in the graveyard scene. For anyone who is not sure, he
is the second bust from the left, the only one which is broken off its
base. The others in the group are Chuck Schroeder, Bob Wright, Jay Myers,
and Vern Rowe. They are not the Mellomen, as some people have reported.
Thurl recorded a slower version of Grim Ginning
Ghosts (2:37) in 1996 for a sing-along video called Disneyland Fun.
Buff, the Buffalo head
Country Bear Jamboree (1971)
Unlike most of the attractions in which Thurl has a featured role, Country
Bear Jamboree debuted at Walt Disney World, not Disneyland. Walt Disney
World was patterned after Disneyland's successes. However, when the Magic
Kingdom opened in Florida in October 1971, Country Bear Jamboree was one
of several brand new attractions.
In March 1972, Country Bear Jamboree opened at Disneyland when Bear
Country was created from a portion of Frontierland. In 1988 Bear Country
was renamed Critter Country.
Though the attraction is still running at both the Magic Kingdom at
Walt Disney World and at Tokyo Disneyland, the Disneyland show in
California closed in 2001 to make way for a new ride called The Many
Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Thurl voices Buff (0:05), the buffalo head
on the wall. In addition to Thurl, two other members of the Mellomen, Bill
Lee and Bill Cole lend their voices to characters in the show.