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Thread: Korkis Korner: Some Secrets of Spaceship Earth

  1. #1
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    Korkis Korner: Some Secrets of Spaceship Earth

    Some Secrets of Spaceship Earth by Jim Korkis

    Jim takes a peek under the dome of the Epcot attraction.

    Read it here!

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  3. #2

    "air cannons only onto the ride path to minimize air-conditioning costs" .... Hey! Maybe thats what the retail spaces need so they can go back to keeping the front doors open.

  4. #3

    I was proud to ride Spaceship Earth during the first week of E.P.C.O.T.'s opening. I remember it broke down a lot. I remember this well, as I had the sunburn of my life, and the steep angle of the cars meant that I had to lean back on my surnburned shoulders quite a bit while waiting for the vehicle to start up again!

    The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
    - James Taylor

  5. #4

    Where does Jim Korkis get all this information?

    One of the questions that often comes my way is where do I find all this information. I worked especially hard trying to find material for a series of Epcot Center columns that is not generally available or known to Disney fans.

    I worked at Epcot for a decade. I was working for Disney Adult Discoveries (the Disney Institute group that developed tours and programs for conventions and guests like BACKSTAGE MAGIC and INNOVATIONS IN ACTION). After seeing the success of tours at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Guest Relations wanted to develop an Epcot tour. I was loaned out to help and to write one-fourth of a new tour I called "unDiscovered Future World" (since at the time Epcot was considered the "Discovery" park). I turned in my section and they liked it so much that I ended up writing the entire tour and becoming part of Epcot Guest Relations. I struggled to research information (and interview cast members who were there since opening) since even in 2000 so much material had already been lost. Over the years, there were changes to the tour as the park changed. Two Epcot Guest Relations cast members Brad Anderson (an underappreciated cast member) and Glen Lewis added to the new scripts. I have not seen the current script but I was told alot of my material still remains. I also trained cast members to do the tour and faciliatated the tour myself for two years.

    Epcot Guest Relations had to pay big money to have Walt Disney Imagineering review my original script...they found only one small change they wanted made. (That's a story for another time.)

    I used some of the research I did for that tour in today's article like the comments from Dave Venables. Venables and John Kemp gave me some amazing insights into the opening of Epcot. So many great stories that I can't even include a fraction of them in these columns.

    Other sources I used for today's article include:

    "Spaceship Earth Research, a description of authentic props, inscriptions, dialogue translations, listing of consultants and selected reading" put together in October 1982 by Peggie Fariss at WED Enterprises. That was the source for alot of the information on the Cro-Magnon scene including the dialog and the translation. The document itself is over 200 pages long and includes detailed descriptions of every individual movement by every audio-animatronics character in the attraction.

    "The Epcot Center Adventure" handbook was given to cast members as part of their training in 1982-83 as "an ambassadorof the Spirit of Epcot" and we were still using it for reference over a decade later when we developed programming at Disney Adult Discoveries. I got some of the information about props from that resource.

    How did I know the supports or Spaceship Earth were supposed to be welcoming arms? Well, Imagineer John Hench was talking about it in one of the four supplements in the Sunday, October 24,1982 edition of the Orlando Sentinel. (Specifically, the Technology and Future World sections gave me some more info about the attraction.)

    I've got a copy of Epcot Center: A Profile (with the original letter from Dick Nunis) given to opening cast members so I got the names of the consultants to the attraction and what they consulted on. I've got a set of the Epcot Center News Briefs that were given daily to cast members beginning September 1, 1982 and running through October. The one for September 2 (Vol. 1 No. 2) was an entire article on Spaceship Earth. Issues of WED/MAPO Imaginews had some information. Not just the Orlando Sentinel but the Miami Herald had articles for the entire year leading up to the opening.

    Of course I went to the usual suspects as well, like the first edition of Walt Disney's Epcot Center by Richard Beard, the original thin edition with concept art instead of photos, David Koenig's RealityLand (which should be in any WDW fan's library), Jeff Kurtti's Since the World Began and more.

    THEN I phoned my contacts in California and Florida who were worked on Epcot and tried to verify the information I found elsewhere. Just because a cast member is told something doesn't mean it is true. Lots of legends (like cast members getting sunburned off the reflection of Spaceship Earth) were told to me as absolute truth when I first joined Guest Relations.

    I should charge Mouseplanet by the hour and then I could afford a mansion and a yacht. I do this because I want this information preserved and shared. I do this because I want the readers to have something more than just the rehash of things that are out there. I write these columns because I want to share what few pieces of the Disney history jigsaw puzzle I have in hopes that others can add to it.

    Somebody wrote me about where the information came from because it sounded like a Disney document. Certainly material that appears in the article came from a variety of Disney documents and that information may have been reprinted elsewhere but when I started researching today's column, I certainly couldn't find it except in the material I have already cited.

    In the coming weeks there will be three more Epcot Center columns filled with stories you may never have heard before....I just wanted to assure readers that the stuff is documented AND checked. However, it is material from that specific time period. Over the decades, things have changed and will continue to change. To the best of my knowledge (like the stories of Danny Kaye's unusual behavior when he was filming the opening special) have never appeared in print.

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Korkis View Post
    So many great stories that I can't even include a fraction of them in these columns.
    So that means they might fit nicely into a new book, maybe...?

    No matter what I get under the Christmas tree this year, it won't compare to the thrill of ripping the paper off the copy of "The Vault of Walt" I received last year. I've yet to read a Disney book that compares--and I've read a LOT of them!



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