Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Story of the Adventurers Almanac

Our good friend Jim Korkis has been recently deep in research relating to the histories of the Adventurers Club, both real and created. Since the beginning of the year, we have been featuring excerpts from the club's newsletter, the Adventurers Almanac. Relating to these reprints, Jim has generously shared with us the information he has uncovered revealing the creation of this fun, faux-publication.

So many guests wrote to the actors in the Adventurer’s Club (wrote to them in their personas) that it seemed best to create a more formal newsletter to answer these questions and share news. (The Almanac was based on an actual turn of the century newsletter called Adventurer’s Club Newsletter.) The editor and chief writer was Chris Oyen (who was the Show Writer and Director brought in January 1990 and continued in that role for the club and Comedy Warehouse for roughly the next five years).

Also contributing to the writing was Reed Jones, who was the stage manager and then became Show Director when Chris left.) Sometimes Chris allowed the performers to write something on a volunteer basis. Fan letters still kept coming so Chris set up a personal secretary for the club, Bernice Smythe-Fenton, who was a pseudonym for a cast member from Guest Communications who also worked closely with Chris who sometimes had to answer letters in character.

Yes, those “Membership meetings” did take place for guests to come and bring artifacts and share stories. That stopped for several reasons including the fact that Disney Legal was “troubled” about accepting artifacts from guests as well as the fact that the club manager felt the club was losing too much money on the free appetizers and drinks.

The almanac was put together in the days before computers so all those pictures and text were hand done and pasted onto a master mock-up. It stopped because it was labor intensive, it was getting to be too expensive because they had to increase the print run and because Chris left to work on the Diamond Horseshoe and Galaxy Search. In addition, it didn’t seem to generate new attendance but basically seemed to bring in the regulars (like for the Membership Meeting and free drink and appetizer).


Anonymous said...

Curious -- how can they have a dinner there on October 4 if the Adventurers Club is closing on September 27? And will the usual improv/shows be going on?

Unknown said...

Great post, Jeff. Thanks for sharing the info about the newsletter.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that about half the Almanac entries posted are the "generic" ones management wrote. As a cast member (and creator of the Belsky Bass piece), our 'volunteer' efforts voiced Pamelia & the Colonel & certain bulletin board moments quite wittily. Got some more of those about?
Mike Sp.

Jeffrey Pepper said...

Hi Mike--

Until Jim provided the background information, I personally had no idea of the writing/publication dynamics of the AA. I was simply just picking pieces I found the most fun and interesting, and especially ones that tied into the whole Pleasure Island mythology.

And kudos on the Belsky Bass piece--it is easily my most favorite of the AA articles.

I will certainly take your advice when selecting pieces in the future. Thanks for the feedback.

Jeffrey Pepper said...

To Rus--

Jim sent me this answer to your question--

"Actually, the Adventurer’s Club is booked until February with various groups that didn’t want to cancel. That’s what happened with NFFC. They paid an advance so Disney gave them the option of canceling or still showing up. Of course, NFFC wanted to show up."