Monday, April 05, 2010

Swisskapolka! Swisskapolka! Swisskapolka!

Don't call me swissy-pants.

Let me tell you, it was no job for the faint-hearted.  The turnstile position at the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse required nerves of tempered steel to endure the sideways glances from Disneyland visitors who'd never before seen a guy wearing a blouse and knee socks (not to mention those green knickers borrowed from Geppetto.)

Next, you had to be ever-watchful for any unexpected arboreal emergencies, such as the time the water system went berserk, or the summer evening in 1986 when a pale-complexioned woman climbed up to the highest point and "shipwrecked her supper" over the handrail. For the next two hours, the gate was closed while custodial hosed pathways, stairs, plants, rocks and everything else that had been affected.

And most important of all, a successful and effective Treehouse Host needed to be able to summon up whatever it took to survive...
 
The Swisskapolka! 

Composer Buddy Baker's original handwritten swisskamusic!

Please don't misunderstand, I love the music.  I really LOVE it!!  It's a perky little polka played on a pipe organ to put pep in your step as you merrily explore the world's most fabulous treetop domicile.

But imagine if you will...back in my day the Treehouse was a full eight-hour shift all to itself. For most of those eight hours you stood (no sitting or leaning allowed) and greeted every person who came through the turnstile, only earning parole a few times a day when somebody from the Tiki Room would walk over and "bump" you to a break.  But for most of the long summer day, it was just you and that big rotating waterwheel splashing at your back...and, of course, the never-ending music, flowing down from above.

Until the day the Swiss Family shipped out and Tarzan the apeman swung in.

In 2000, the actual prop organ that had "played" since 1962 was sold on eBay (Oh, the indignity!)  This photo, taken by Disney Auctions, with damaged keyboard and missing stops, was the final public appearance of the Treehouse organ.  

But the polka music lives on, not only from the gramophone swisska-tribute at Tarzan's Treehouse, but on CD, on youTube, as a ringtone, and of course, in my head where it continues to play on and on and on.


The youth of today eagerly swisskapolka-ing into the future!

16 comments:

Chris Merritt said...

In my day - at least Treehouse was a rotating position with Tiki Room - so that "Swisskapolka" burn into your brain was only for about 3 hours instead of 8. That would have been brutal!

Amy said...

You need to go for a visit to WDW so that you can relive your experience. I always get the Swisskapolka stuck in my head for at least a few hours while I'm there. Truth be told, I love it and even have it on my iPhone.

Donnie said...

I love the 1:30 swisskapolka, not sure I could handle it for 8 hours though....

Julia Kelly said...

so....if you could trade would you take the greeting position at the "It's a Small World" ride? Which is better?

Davelandweb said...

The organ went on ebay?!? I sure hope that kind of thing wouldn't happen today.

Centaurette said...

I must admit that I've always thought that costume was nice--rather Old World gallant for someone who lives in a tree. Happily, the Robinsons are still in residence In Disneyland Paris as well, and their French home has a bonus room: a basement!
Gives a whole new meaning to "root cellar..."

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

You look dashing! Neat post Kevin, thanks! That kid is pretty darn good on the organ!

The Hatbox Ghost said...

So, that was you!

;-)

Marcy - The Glamorous Life! said...

OH MY GOD. I would go insane.
Actually I listened to the video and already I feel like I am loonier for it.

MAKE IT STOP!

BlueTiki said...

I've seen the organ post-eBay. It went to a good home and is well cared for :)

Dr Bitz said...

I loved that music and also had a shift at Sunkist "I Presume" (6hrs a day, no rotation) under the Treehouse and heard it all day as well. I just wanted more. NEVER tired of it. I used to swing my dustpan and broom to the organ in a twisted "Astaire" kinda dance.

They now play it at Gitmo.

Tikimama said...

I love the Swisspolka, I love you in that outfit. I am sick that they sold the organ on eBay, though. I wonder who has it?

Shane Lindsay said...

Swisskapolka is darn near the best musical composition in the entire park. Not Grim Grinning Ghosts, not Yo Ho, not Small World. It's a thing of beauty. What other song could so perfectly capture the unique blend of "Treehouse" and "Switzerland"?

Mr Banks said...

Ah, Kevin in costume at Disneyland. HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT!

...But It Wasn't Always That Way! said...

Okay, little kid... Now the Swiss Family Treehouse CHRISTMAS Medley! Aaaaaand.... go!

terri mabry pendleton said...
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