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Country Bear Jamboree - Part Two

Yesterday I presented you with a history of Country Bear Jamboree. Now let’s take a look at the individual stars of the show.

Henry is the Master of Ceremonies for Country Bear Jamboree. He wears a dickey, high-starched collar, bow tie, and top hat. This gives him a formal look appropriate for hosting such a “classy” to-do. The backstory for Henry indicates that he was a football player who found music and changed careers.

Henry is voiced by Pete Renoudet who can also be heard announcing the arriving trains at Disneyland’s Main Street Station. In years past Renoudet was the voice of the Captain on the Rocket to the Moon attraction, First Officer Collins on the Mission to Mars ride, and Captain Nemo in the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea adventure.

Henry can be seen on three different stages during the performance. During the show he sings:

The Bear Band Serenade (with the Five Bear Rugs)
The Fractured Folk Song (with Wendell)
Mama Don't Whip Little Buford (with Wendell)
Davy Crockett (with Sammy)
Old Slew Foot (entire cast)
Come Again (with Sammy, Melvin, Buff, and Max)


Henry

Henry


Hanging on the wall we have (from left to right) Melvin, Buff, and Max.

Melvin is a dimwitted moose and voiced by Bill Lee. Bill Lee voiced a number of Disney characters including Roger’s singing voice in 101 Dalmatians and the Father in Cinderella. Lee was also a member of the Mellomen singing group.

Buff is a buffalo and the leader of the three talking heads. Buff is voiced by Disney Legend Thurl Ravenscroft (Tony the Tiger) who co-founded the Mellomen with Max Smith. This group lent their talents to such Disney films as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp.

Max is a stag and is also voiced by Pete Renoudet.


Melvin, Buff, and Max

Melvin, Buff, and Max


Gomer is the piano player and wears a high starched collar and blue necktie. The piano is adorned with cornstalks and a beehive sits on top with two straws for easy honey sippin’. Gomer never speaks or sings during the show.

Gomer tickles the ivories during the following numbers:

Pianjo
The Bear Band Serenade (accompanies The Five Bear Rugs - beginning only)
Tears Will Be the Chaser for My Wine (accompanies Trixie)
Old Slew Foot (entire cast)


Gomer

Gomer


The Five Bear Rugs are a country-western band consisting of Zeke, Zeb, Ted, Fred, and Tennessee. They perform the following numbers:

The Bear Band Serenade (with Henry)
Devilish Mary (Zeke as the soloist)
Old Slew Foot (entire cast)


Five Bear Rugs


Zeke is the leader of the group. He plays a banjo made out of an old frying pan and a chicken bone. With his left foot he bangs on a dishpan to create “a real ol’ country beat.” Zeke is an old codger and wears a collar, hat, and spectacles. Dallas McKennon provided the voice for Zeke from October 1971 to July 1975. McKennon’s distinctive voice can also be heard on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and as Ben Franklin in the American Adventure.

Randy Sparks took over the role of Zeke following McKennon. Sparks is a folk musician who is probably best known for cofounding The New Christy Minstrels.


Zeke

Zeke


Zeb plays a homemade fiddle with a hickory bow. He wears a miner’s hat and a red polka dot bandanna. He is voiced by a member of the Stoneman family.

“Pop” Stoneman was born on May 25, 1893. Music was in his blood and he played multiple instruments. After being a solo artist, Pop began to include his wife, 13 adult children, and extended family members in his performances. The group became so large and the music so varied that they frequently broke into "band segments." At times there were as many as six family bands simultaneously performing throughout the country.


Zeb

Zeb


Ted is rather lanky for a bear. He wears a tall hat and a white shirt. He plays the corn jug and we’re told he also plays the washboard which can be seen near his feet. A close observer will notice “B flat” printed on the side of his corn jug. Two additional jugs can also be seen near his feet sporting “E flat” and “F sharp.”


Ted

Ted


Fred is a big boy who learned to play the mouth-harp (harmonica) from his dad. He wears blue jeans held up by suspenders as well as a red and white striped tie.


Fred

Fred


Tennessee Bear plays the “thing,” a homemade guitar-like instrument with only one string. It sits on a bathroom plunger, has symbols attached to the side of the instrument, and a wooden bird and nest sit atop its neck. Tennessee is voiced by a member of the Stoneman family.


Tennessee

Tennessee


Baby Oscar is not part of the Five Bear Rugs, but is actually Zeb’s son. His constant companion is a teddy bear. Baby Oscar does not speak or sing, but contributes double-squeaks three times during the performance when he squeezes his teddy bear. Unlike all of the other bears, Baby Oscar wears no clothing.


Baby Oscar


Wendell plays the mandolin and wears a bowler hat and a blue bandanna. He has a bit of an overbite and a bit of an attitude. He is voiced by Bill Cole. Cole was part of the Mellomen singing group.

Wendell sings the following:

The Fractured Folk Song (with Henry)
Mama Don't Whip Little Buford (with Henry)
Old Slew Foot (entire cast)


Wendell

Wendell


It’s fairly obvious how Liver Lips McGrowl got his name. He plays the guitar and wears tattered overalls and a red-checked kerchief around his neck. Liver Lips is voiced by Van Stoneman, one of the Stoneman family members.

Liver Lips sings:

My Woman Ain't Pretty
Old Slew Foot (entire cast)


Liver Lips McGrowl

Liver Lips McGrowl


Trixie (aka Loser) is a little bit of ever-lovin’ cuddlesome fluff. She hails from Tampa and has a crush on Henry. She wears a blue tutu and a blue bow on her head. Trixie carries a handkerchief in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. A large perfume bottle can be seen near her feet.

Trixie only sings one song, "Tears Will Be the Chaser for My Wine" and does not appear in the grand finale. She was originally voiced by Wanda Jackson but was rerecorded by Cheryl Poole. In 1968, Cheryl Poole was voted Top New Female Vocalist by the Academy of Country Music


Trixie

Trixie


Terrence (aka Shaker) is from the Ozarks. He is tall and wears only a hat. He plays the ukulele and is voiced by Van Stoneman, one of the Stoneman family members.

Currently, Terrence’s hat covers his brow. However in years past, you could see his eyebrows do a “dance” at the end of his number.

Terrance performs:

How Long Will My Baby Be Gone
Old Slew Foot (entire cast)


Terrence

Terrence


The Sun Bonnet Trio hail from Florida and consist of Bunny, Bubbles, and Beulah. The triplets wear matching light blue dresses with sun bonnets and hold a handkerchief in their right hands.

Bunny, center stage, is voiced by Jackie Ward (aka Robin Ward). Ward is known as a “one-hit wonder” due to her 1963 million-selling smash "Wonderful Summer";

Bubbles stands to the audience's left, and is voiced by Loulie Jean Norman. Among Norman’s many accomplishments, she is the singer of the classic Star Trek theme as well as the soprano opera-singing ghost in the Haunted Mansion.

Beulah stands to the audience's right and is voiced by Peggy Clark.

The Sun Bonnet Trio perform the following numbers:

All the Guys That Turn Me On Turn Me Down
Old Slew Foot (entire cast)


Sun Bonnet Trio

Sun Bonnet Trio


Ernest (aka Dude) wears a derby, collar, and lilac polka dot bow tie. He plays the fiddle. Ernest was voiced by Van Stoneman until July 1975. He was rerecorded by Randy Sparks.

Ernest only sings "If Ya Can't Bite, Don't Growl" and does not appear in the grand finale.


Ernest

Ernest


Teddi Barra hails from the Dakotas and is alluring to a number of the cast members as is evident by their catcalls and whistles. Teddi descends from the ceiling on a rose-covered swing. She wears a feathered hat and a feather boa and carries a parasol. Teddi does not play an instrument. She was originally voiced by country singer Jean Shepard but Patsy Stoneman (Stoneman family member) now provides the vocal.

Teddi Barra sings:

Heart We Did All That We Could
Old Slew Foot (entire cast)


Teddi Barra

Teddi Barra


Big Al is perhaps the “biggest” star of the show. Even before his curtain opens, the off-tune strums of his guitar brings laughter from the audience. Al has a personalized guitar and wears a red vest and hat. Al is voiced by Tex Ritter. Ritter is possibly the best known name of the voice actors in this show. His credits include Country Music Hall of Fame member, movie actor, and father to John Ritter of “Three’s Company” fame.

Big Al only sings “Blood on the Saddle.” Even during the grand finale, he continues with this piece while everyone else sings “Old Slew Foot.”

A continuation of the song goes like this:

There was blood on the saddle, blood all around
And a great big puddle of blood on the ground

The cowboy lay in it, all covered with gore
He'll never ride tall in the saddle no more

Oh pity the cowboy, all bloody and dead
A bronco fell on him and mashed in his head


Big Al

Big Al


Sammy is Henry’s raccoon friend and is voiced by Bill Cole.

It’s appropriate that Sammy should be resting on Henry’s head while he sings Davy Crockett. Walt’s 1950’s television program “Disneyland” featured three “Davy Crockett” episodes starring Fess Parker – who wore a coonskin cap. The show was a huge hit and the hat became a tremendous fad among boys all over the United States (I owned one). A variation of the cap was marketed to young girls as the Polly Crockett hat (Davy’s wife). BTW, synthetic fur was used.

Here’s another little known fact. Davy Crockett was not born in Tennessee as the Disney song suggests. He was born in the State of Franklin. Don’t believe me? Look it up.


Sammy


Well that’s it for Country Bear Jamboree. I hope I’ve brought back some pleasant memories and provided you with some new information about the show.

In my never-ending endeavor to bring you quality videos, I sat through (endured) Country Bear Jamboree five times in a row so I could film it from five different vantage points. I hope you enjoy my efforts (and sacrifice – LOL).




The previous post in this blog was Country Bear Jamboree - Part One.

The next post in this blog is Time for a Nap.

Comments (16)

Amy:

I love your blogs Jack! I have an old album of the country bears, I think my parents may have bought it on their first trip back in 1981. It has a story book with it telling the "story" of how they all came to be a part of the country bear jamboree. loved it

Josh:

hey jack
Great job i love this show so much. I've seen this show many times and i still clap and sing along with all the songs. I also always laugh when i see Big Al. My favorite of course is Baby Oscar. can't wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

christine:

Jack,
You always amaze me with the information you present! How do you know so much Disney "stuff"?
I've always wondered why there is no picture taking allowed until the finale since there are no live performers. Is it for the convenience of the people around you?
We are visiting in December and it would be great if the World also had a holiday version of the show.

Jack's Answer:

You are correct. The only reason you're asked not to take flash pictures during the show is because it would be distracting to those sitting near you. But at least you're turned loose at the end of the show and can snap and flash to your heart's content.

Bonnie Lorenzetti:

Hi Jack,
I continue to be amazed at the information you provide on all your blogs. (how long does it take you to gather on this information?) It makes me realize I am not nearly as knowledgeable of Disney as I thought. Keep up the great work. Of course- really enjoy the show-my husband is a fan of "Mama Don't Whip Little Buford"- one of my favs also.
Thanks for all the hard work- it makes a day at work so much more enjoyable to get a little of Disney at lunch.

Bonnie

Jack's Answer:

This blog (two parts) probably took me about 30 hours. By the time I drive down to Disney, film the show five times, photograph the show, drive home, edit the video, edit the pictures, research, write, and upload to the website, I've spent a considerable amount of time. But it's a labor of love.

Charity Maas:

Hi Jack,
Thanks for the history of BCJ! I grew up in CA, and loved going to BCJ as a kid. Big Al being my favorite. I still have a photo of us together! Now that I'm a mom and I'm taking my kids, I couldn't help but search for Melvin, Buff, and Max still hanging around in the The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I got a good photo, and I love that they are still there in honor of the attraction!

Wendy Crober:

Hi Jack,

I really miss the holiday version of this attraction...it was a favourite when we visited in December.

My daughters especially loved Teddi Barra in her cast and the Christmas lights on Max's antlers.

Wendy

Ron Stalsberg Jr:

Thanks for another great blog Jack. I sure do appricate all the sacrifices that you endure for our sake. 5 shows in a row, wow. We saw the bears again last week and had fun watching them perform again. I do miss the Christmas show they used to put on. it was alot of fun. We saw it for several years in a row. I'm sure it was do to cost cutting but I wish they would bring this version back. Thanks again Jack

dusty :

dittos to wendy comments jack .do you think that "the powers " will ever bring back the xmas overlay ? having endured the " bears" many times have a hard time sitting through them now. but would love the xmas show .

my best, dusty

Jack's Answer:


Personally, I think this current show has played long enough. Either bring back Vacation Hoedown or come up with a new show. Country Bear Jamboree is wonderful, but the public also would like to see new shows. Disney is redoing Star Tours and it's been around fewer years than the bears.

Hermes Chiong:

Thanks for all the info and history on the Country Bears, now I know more about them than I ever wanted to know! Lol.

Do you still have your 'coon cap?

Hermes

Jack's Answer: I wish I still had my coonskin cap. But no, it was tossed years ago. Sigh.

Julia:

Jack - You are a truly devoted Disney fan to sit through the show 5 times! But how worth it is to all of us who can relive some Disney magic here at home!

My grandparents made their first trip from New Hampshire to WDW in February of 1974. This, as you know was back in the day where everyone paid a small fee to enter and some shows were included, but most shows and rides required tickets ( I know you know that!) Anyway, as the story goes .... which is told and re-told over and over again in my family.... as our family walked out of the show... my grandpa turned to my dad (Bob) and in his thickest New England accent says with joy "That was worth the price of admission right there Bob!"

Now that my Grandpa is gone, I love being able to watch the same show that brought him such joy!

Thanks again...

Needless to say my Grandmother was quite apppaled by the show... a bit to racous and crude for her... but she ranked it higher than the Tiki Room Show because she said she kept getting distracted by the thought of the 'birds' pooping on her head!!! LOL- seriously I kid you not!!!

Rob Dickinson:

Hey Jack,
Yet another AWESOME blog. I must admit my first visit to WDW I blew past CBJ wanting to make it to the E-ticket rides rather than spend time with a "show" but once I finaly saw it I realized what a mistake I made. (Same is true for just about every other "show" at WDW I have passed by in favor of other attractions.) I LOVE CBJ and make it a point to see it every visit. A very close friend of mine has made it a point to share with me WDW attractions and shows that I have passed up before due to "Commando Mode" visits. I realize now what a mistake "Commando Mode" is. Some of my favorite attractions are now some of the shows like CBJ that I once passed by! WDW is like a fine piece of dark chocolate or wine. Its best if savored and enjoyed at a slower pace. Take care and thanks again for another Great blog!!

Rob

Chris:

Jack forgive me if you put this somewhere and I just can't find it, but where are these pics from that have the drawings of each character with the 4 lines underneath? Maybe Disney provided them to you but was curious if it's something that is sold currently.

T-minus 372 days until my next trip and I have a feeling my 4-year old boy (1st trip for him) is going to love this attraction. Seeing these pictures/reading the rhymes of each character would really get him jacked up for it.

Jack's Answer: There were postcards that were sold at Disneyland shortly after the attraction debut.

Hi Jack,

Great Blog.

Brings back a lot of memories from our earlier years.

Love to Read & See your blogs right before we visit "The World"

We will be there the last weekend of Wine & Dine!!!

Todd & Penny

Ellen:

Hey Jack,
You say here that Bill Lee voiced the role of Shere Khan in the Jungle Book. Wasn't that George Sanders? Thanks! I really enjoy your column.
Ellen

Jack's Answer:

You're absolutely right. I found one source that said Lee voiced Khan, but upon further investigation, I discovered this was incorrect. Thanks for the heads-up.

Shoppin4sophia:

I remember CBJ from when I was a little girl visiting my grandparents in FL over Easter break each year (late '70's.) Even then thought it was too much like the shows at Chuck E. Cheese - hopefully, you've never had the misfortune to suffer through a birthday party at Chucks. Anyways, fast forward 30 years, my family uses CBJ as a place to cool off in the a/c and rest our legs. I would really think Disney could come up with something better....but I've been known to be a bit "un-sentimental" so sorry to those who love this quirky little show.

Lilu:

Ah, I remember seeing this when I was younger and my parents report that I loved it when I was too tiny to really remember it clearly. I think it's a lovely, innocent show that should be kept until it starts to fade into disrepair. There's not really a way you could update it or refresh it. It was just an idea they had-there's no franchise behind it and it's refreshing to see stuff that didn't start out with a huge franchise, especially with pixie hollow and all the little mermaid stuff starting to pour in.

I totally get why you guys get sick of it, but it's a rare, dying breed in a franchise-obsessed Disney. While seeing franchise favorites brought to life is never a bad thing, and I love it as much as anyone, things like Carosel of Progress, Hall of Presidents and Country Bear Jamboree are really, really nice breaks/rests from it all.

...And maybe I want it to hang around long enough for my husband to see it, since he never has. =)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 28, 2010 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Country Bear Jamboree - Part One.

The next post in this blog is Time for a Nap.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.