Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hell on Wheels

Another of Jody's paintings...banned from Disneyland!

CRASH! BANG!  All that reckless driving has apparently done us in, but the kid in the striped shirt isn't phased.  He's still merrily on his way, in spite of the little devils laughing at his predicament in this original acrylic painting by Jody Daily.

Sadly, you'll never see this fabulous art piece for sale at Disneyland because Disney's legal department gave it the axe.  Why?  Your guess is as good as mine, but this glowing red creation of Jody's is one of my utmost favorites.  I love the gaping --but subtle-- "Mouth of Hell" at the top of the painting, with the mangled train tracks and, just beyond, the cool moonlit countryside where moments earlier, we were enjoying a wild ride in Mr. Toad's motorcar.

The "Mouth of Hell" welcomes us with fiery blacklight in 
this 1955 photo taken inside the Disneyland dark ride.  

The Victorian-era "Cabaret de l'Enfer" (Hell Cabaret) was a popular Paris nightclub in the 1890s.  To my mind, it was the direct inspiration for Disneyland's version of the underworld.

 Cabaret de l'Enfer in 1952, not long before it closed forever.  Note the metal roll-down gate.

The "Cabaret de l'Enfer" was located in the Montmarte neighborhood of Paris, not far from other more famous nightspots such as the Moulin Rouge and the Gran-Guignol. 

In Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, we encounter devils and demons gleefully reaching out at us with pitchforks in a subterranean cavern...

...and in the above 1910 photo of the interior of the Cabaret de l'Enfer, it's obvious a similar theme was carried out even then.  This is fascinating stuff to me, and if you'd like to learn more, please check out the EXCELLENT "Long Forgotten" Blog.

A maquette for one of the devils in Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, circa, 1982.

Images from an eBay Auction, circa 2002.

12 comments:

Donnie said...

WOW, I love it!!!! So Jody can't just sell the print on his own?

Eric Scales said...

Awesome! I love how both obscure but instantly recognizeable this is.

HBG2 said...

Hey, thanks for the plug, KK! You know, your blog ain't no slouch either.

I had never thought of the "Hell Cabaret" as a possible influence on Mr. Toad, but I think you may well be right.

Steve said...

Love love love this piece. We rode Mr. Toad the day after seeing this and it made it even more special.

Chris Merritt said...

Love this piece! One of my all time favorites by Jody.

MIKE COZART said...

WOW KEVEN!! you must have been reading my mind!! Yesterday I was thinking of e-mailing you about items being planned for Walt Disney World's 40Th merchandise series you and Jody are working on and one of the items I was hoping to "plant a seed" about was one of these very same "Mr. Toad Cow Devils"!!! Why are they referred to as "Cow Devils"???......are they the deceased cows that may have been bumped off by one or Toad's careless escapades?? Anyhow--about that "seed"..........how about a full-size repro of one of these cute Toad "Cow" Devils!!???-Best,

Mike

MIKE COZART said...

Sorry (Keven) Kevin! Spell check missed that one!

(Myke) Mike

gerG said...

A core influence would be Dore's woodcuts for Dante's Inferno. And then there's that black and white film "Dante's Inferno", 1935, starring Spencer Tracy.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0026262/

It's a rich mythology.

Major Pepperidge said...

I have a friend who loves the Mr. Toad attraction, and he often says that the idea of sending guests to Hell at the end of the ride would NEVER be done today. He might be right!

It would be amusing to hear the reasons why the folks at Disneyland won't sell this, since the ride itself really contains that scene. Were lawyers involved, or just faint-of-heart dopes?

HBG2 said...

I agree that the "Going to Hell" sequence would never make it today. To many in Walt's generation, demons, witches, the Devil—really, the occult in general—were in the same category as vampires and ghosts: Halloween decorations, not to be taken literally except, perhaps, as symbols. Thanks to events like the Manson murders on the one hand, and social shifts like the resurgence of conservative Evangelical Christianity on the other, there is today a general awareness that many people take these things seriously, whether for better or for worse, and these symbols are not neutral enough anymore to use as light entertainment for all age groups.

Joke said...

It also reminds me of the same "issues" surrounding The Song of the South (I realize this is not an analogous example)...where it's perfectly fine to send kids through an attraction featuring something, but not OK to have that same something in a different context.

Gulzar said...

WOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTTT! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOT! i LOVE EM!
WOW! I'm coming here after a year man~! I love em all buddy :)

How have you been? :)