Captain EO, We Hardly Knew Ye

29 Jun

Geoff Carter of Your Souvenir Guide takes us back to 1986 with his reminiscence of Captain EO’s opening night.

We cracked wise about Michael Jackson as the line rolled up Main Street, past the building that would become Star Tours (“Get ready for the ULTIMATE THRILL EXPERIENCE!”) and into the Magic Eye Theater, recently converted from the Space Mountain Stage. We talked shit about Michael Jackson even as we put on our 3-D glasses and the Magic Eye Theater darkened to an enveloping canvas of stars. We snickered nervously as Jackson entered the film and issued an unconvincing ultimatum (“We’re goin’ in”).

I don’t actually recall whether I ever saw Captain EO in the parks (though, of course, YouTube is my friend). I visited Disneyland just once during its run, in February of 1989, so it’s possible I did, and that the memory’s just slipped away like so many other odds and ends (was I really supposed to have already forgotten so many things by my 40s?). My then-girlfriend was quite the Michael Jackson fan, so I’ll bet we went.

Watching Captain EO today brought on the inevitable nostalgia for a time that never happened, a carefree and optimistic late 1980s. (Well, at least that time never happened for me.) And I do love the Supreme Leader, even if only because she feels a bit like an early (and unfortunately less creepy) version of the Borg Queen.

But I can’t quite support the petition drive to bring back Captain EO to the parks. No, it’s not just the fact that Michael Jackson has been accused of some horrible things….it’s the fact that the movie hasn’t aged particularly well, and I’d rather see Disney investing on moving forward rather than backward.

And really, when I reminisce about Michael Jackson, I wanna go farther back. The Jackson 5 ABC was the first real album I owned, and I can’t help but mourn a little for the way this glorious, golden-voiced child’s life (and death) seem to have turned out.

3 Responses to “Captain EO, We Hardly Knew Ye”

  1. Cheryl June 29, 2009 at 7:32 pm #

    Im going to say that its only because you didnt see or remember Captain Eo. I saw it as a kid, and I would love for them to bring it back. I was really young, about 4 when I saw it. I remember crying and being scared of “the witch.” I remember being amazing at the 3D effect, although I didnt know what it was at the time. even if they just brought Eo back for a few months… ANYTHING is better than Honey I Shrunk the Audience. might as well get a nostalgic kick out of it, too.

  2. Jennifer June 30, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    Well, when you stack it up against Honey I Shrunk the Audience…..

    Yeah, I’d rather see Captain EO come back than HIStA stay in that space. But isn’t that setting the bar a little low?

  3. Geoff Carter July 4, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    Personally, I’d like to see Disney get over this 3-D movie thing and to convert those theaters to dark rides or Audio-Animatronics shows. (Or, in Disneyland’s case, back to the Space Mountain Stage). “Philharmagic” amd “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” can stay; The Muppets and “HISTA” have got to go. It’s just _time_.

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