Disney's Electrical Parade - Interviews
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Before and after the parade, LaughingPlace.com had the opportunity to do some interviews to find out more about Disney's Electrical Parade and its reasons for being brought back to the Disneyland Resort. The first interview is with Don Dorsey, one of the parade's pioneers. The next two are very brief interviews with Cynthia Harriss, President of the Disneyland Resort and Paul Pressler, Chairman, Wlat Disney Parks and Resorts.
For the rest of our Disney's Electrical Parade opening coverage, see the Opening Ceremony featuring pictures, video and a transcript of the ceremony or our parade coverage featuring more than 100 pictures and 15 videos from the first parade.
Dorsey was interviewed a couple of hours prior to the parade.
LaughingPlace.com: Briefly describe your role in development of the Electrical Parade
Don Dorsey: The original electrical parade began in 1972 and I was not involved with that at all. I actually visited Disneyland in the summer of 1972 with some friends, saw the first version of the electrical parade and because of my interest in electronic music at the time I was sort of overwhelmed by the whole thing. I said to my friends someday Id like to do something like that. Never giving a thought to Im going to do the Electrical Parade or Im going to work for Disney. But somehow it got planted in my subconscious, I guess.
When I was contacted by Disney in 1974, actually Jack Wagner saw that I was giving a concert performance at Fullerton College, came to the concert and came up to me afterwards and talked to me about a job he thought he might have in '75, which turned out to be America On Parade. So in 1975 I began with Disney by creating the soundtrack for America On Parade. In 1977, when the Electrical Parade was due to come back, I made some suggestions how the beginning could go differently than it had in the old version with the fanfare and so on leading right into the music rather than just sort of fading out. They liked the suggestions and Jim Christianson said "here why dont you just do the whole set of new arrangements and youre the 'synth guy', you go take care of it." There I was, I was doing it. Never set out to do it other than when the opportunity came I said, hey what if you do this! And they said o.k. cool. Do that.
LP: Did you play a role in allowing it to run (from a technical perspective) in DCA?
DD: Well I got involved. Bruce Healey is the music director for Disneyland. When it was decided the parade would come back they knew they needed a new announcement because instead of saying "the Main Street Electrical Parade" it had to say "Disneys Electrical Parade" and there were a couple of floats that werent going to be here. Pleasure Island was not going to be here. The Snow White mine was not going to be here but they still have the train. So we had to do a couple of things. We had to redo the opening announcement and we had to add sound to the units that had not had it before in Disneyland, the bumblebees in the Alice unit.
They had been part of the parade here before they had not had audio. I had created a music track for them when it went into Tokyo in 1985 but that particular track had never been used here. So it gave us an opportunity to put that element into the parade here.
LP: Was that element used in Walt Disney World?
DD: Yes, I believe so. And we were also able to go back to the original tapes and create new digital masters. So the sound quality would come up. Being a new park the sound system is much greater here than it is at Disneyland. So now weve got really good sounding masters and a really good sounding system. It is going to be a whole level higher than it has been. To recreate the opening announcement, which is so much a part of the feel of the parade, just the rhythm of it and the sound of it and everything, I went back and found in my library the original Jack Wagner voice tracks that we had used to process the Vocoder announcement and so I took Jacks voice and edited out the words that had to change and put my own voice in and then we reprocessed the whole thing. But we kept the rhythm of it exactly the same and we used as much of Jack as possible so it has the original pacing and feeling and sound, his annunciation. So Jack is still a part of the parade.