Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Final Issue of the Adventurers Almanac

Editor's Note: 2719 Hyperion is very excited and pleased to welcome Jim Korkis to our family of contributors. Jim is one of the best known and foremost scholars of Disney history in the world today. He has a spent a great deal of time over the past year chronicling the history of Walt Disney World's Adventurers Club. Today he shares with 2719 Hyperion readers the fruits of some of those efforts.

Special to 2719 Hyperion by Jim Korkis

Amazingly, the Adventurers Club still survives. While it officially closed the last week of September 2008, it unofficially remained open until the end of January to honor the previous bookings of various convention groups. However, by February 2009, the location was to be gutted and eventually leveled.

That has not happened and the Club in fact still hosts various groups. During the last week of September 2009, a year after the official closing, a group called ConGaloosh ( will be having a three day convention to celebrate the legacy of the Adventurers Club.

There are still many untold tales of the Adventurers Club and 2719 Hyperion has shared some excerpts from the Adventurers Almanac, a four page newsletter published irregularly during the first few years the club was open. The format was inspired by an actual turn of the century newsletter entitled Adventurer’s Club Newsletter. It was distributed at the club itself, but was also available through the mail. Its purpose was not just to enlarge and perpetuate the stories behind the club but to attract new visitors.

To this end, the issues would sometimes feature coupons for an invitation to a General Membership Meeting that included a complimentary buffet and drink specials. The newsletter was also to support the Adventurers Club Membership. An Associate Level membership came with a drink coupon and official Club membership badge; the Presidential Level came with a canteen or mug and the official Club membership badge.

Jeff has shared numerous samples from the newsletter in the past via the 2719 Hyperion Department category Adventurers Almanac.

While some of the articles were credited to the characters from the Adventurers Club canon, such as Pamelia Perkins and Hathaway Browne, they were actually written by a mixture of staff members including Show Director Chris Oyen and Stage Manager Reed Jones along with performers Paula Pell, Kristian Truelsen. and Phil Card.

Unfortunately, the newsletter’s purpose of driving new attendance was not successful and since the magazine was costing time, labor and money, it disappeared quietly and quickly even though another issue was in the early stages of preparation.

Jeff Pepper is one of less than a half dozen people that I know of who have a complete collection of the Adventurers Almanac. However, even he does not have the samples from that final never published issue. So, in the interests of Disney history, here are some of the “filler” blurbs that had been written to appear in that issue.

I also discovered that the public domain photos that appeared in the Almanac were drawn from the coffee table book: America’s Yesterdays: Images of our Lost Past Discovered in the Photographic Archives of the Library of Congress by Oliver Ormerod Jensen (Scribner 1978) and depicted photos of family life, Americans at work, people relaxing and much, much more. So, in addition to the blurbs, I have indicated what photo would be included with the blurb. I believe these blurbs were probably written by Show Director Chris Oyen.

ANGLING WITH OTIS. (Picture of woman between two fish, page 310, “America’s Yesterdays”) Adventurer Dame Veronica Schnorr sends us this picture from a recent deep sea fishing expedition. She claims that she corralled these two denizens of the deep with the greatest of ease. “They were traveling as a couple, so I merely stuck my pole in one’s mouth and, while the other wasn’t looking, I beat him senseless with my hat.” Dame Schnorr claims that it won’t end here. “I’m going after really big ones next, and these will do nicely as bait.”

QUIMBY SAFE FOR NOW (Picture of man in rowboat, surrounded by women, page 207) Dear Fellow Members, Don’t despair, old Quimby still survives! I have been taken captive by a tribe of crazed affection-starved females, while I was on fishing expedition in the Everglades. I have a plan and hope to be escaping soon. Keep the home-fires burning! Yours Truly, Quimby Farmith III. Although this does explain his sudden, mysterious disappearance, we can only hope that it puts an end to all those nasty rumors about Quimby and the apparent embezzlement from the Farmith family’s trust fund. Chin up, Quimby! We’ll keep a candle in the window.

PUT ON A HAPPY FACE. (Picture of four people, with titles, page 64) To be a true Adventurer sometimes requires guile and deception. The Chariman of the Disguise Committee, Count Alex Wirth-Mordanue, sends us a composite of some of his most resourceful regalia. Adventurers the world over have always admired Wirth-Mordanue’s vast array of identities. Writes the crafty Count, “It’s not the disguise; it’s how you put it on.”

IT”S A LITTLE DRAFTY. (Picture of man in front of a collapsed building, page 86) member of the Club’s Experimental Engineering Committee, Brad “Boom-Boom” Birkholz remains undaunted. Shown here, in front of a failed experiment for his upcoming treatise, “Remodeling Through Creative Pyrotechnics”, the plucky Brad was overheard saying merely, “What can I say? Oops?” A model of resolve we can all take to heart.

CAMP GRUMP (Picture of surveyors, page 53) The Society of Unsmiling Men send us this photo of their recent wilderness outing. “To keep from smiling,” says Society president, Clive Pilesmoore, “all you need is an extremely uncomfortable place to sit, an unsmiling pet, and some long, sharp sticks to keep away the occasional prankster.” The group holds the current worlds record by not smiling for three years, two months and five days. We are unsure whether this constitutes an adventure or, simply a very bad attitude.

INTERNAL COMBUSTION (Picture of car with broken axle, page 93). Our encouragement should go out to Transportation Committee member Alfonso Laslo. We all know how convinced he was that he could develop a motor completely powered exclusively by refried beans. Shown here is the aftermath of the first, and possibly last, attempt at harnessing that elusive power source. As you can see in the background, “Axle Al” is walking away from the scene. He was heard muttering, “I tried. Somebody else can clean it up.” A kind word or two, the next time Alfonso is in the Club, wouldn’t hurt.