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Fridays with Jim Korkis: The Diamond Horseshoe Revue



By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on yourfirstvisit.net.

THE DIAMOND HORSESHOE REVUE IN FRONTIERLAND

By Jim Korkis

Entertainment is coming back to Walt Disney World, but some offerings will not return, including one of my all-time favorites that disappeared over thirty years ago.

Disneyland version (c) Disney

The Golden Horseshoe Revue was a popular musical entertainment attraction and food and beverage location in Frontierland at Disneyland that premiered opening day in 1955. The music for the show, including Hello, Everybody!, was written by Charles LaVere, who served as the show’s original pianist, and had lyrics by Tom Adair. The script for the production was co-authored by two of its stars, Wally Boag and Donald Novis.

A duplicate of the show called the Diamond Horseshoe Revue (directed and performed by Boag) opened in Frontierland at Walt Disney World on opening day in 1971. The park brochure described it as “a rollicking stage show right out of the Old West featuring a cast of dancing girls, comedians and singers including Slue Foot Sue herself.”

It ran until October 1, 1986, when it became the Diamond Horseshoe Jamboree with Sam the bartender and Miss Lilly that ran until 1995. Several other shows and food service options occupied the location until it became a seasonal only venue.

The interior of the traditional circa 1860 saloon featured a raised stage for the performers, with a small three-piece band on the floor in front of it. There were round tables and wooden chairs on the main floor for guests, with seating also available in a horseshoe-shaped balcony area.

While the show was free, because of limited seating of less than a thousand guests a day even with multiple shows, tickets had to be obtained early in the morning at the hospitality desk by the Disneyania Collectibles shop located at Town Square in Main Street..

Guests could purchase soft drinks, cold sandwiches and chips. The income from the food service rarely covered the cost of the food labor, much less that of the performers, which was one of the reasons for the show closing. It lasted as long as it did because it was a favorite show of Vice President Dick Nunis, who ran the parks. The show was sponsored by Del Monte from 1979 -1984.

Other than being larger physically, the only major change in the Diamond Horseshoe at Walt Disney World compared to Disneyland was that the bar was located on the left side of the room rather than the right as in Disneyland. When Boag returned to California late in 1973, he was replaced in Florida by Bert Henry who had been replacing him at Disneyland.

The roughly thirty-minute show always played to full audiences. Owner Slue Foot Sue and her four dancing girls welcomed the audience in song. She later introduced the emcee and Irish tenor who sang a song. A comedic traveling salesman did a comedy routine that included making balloon animals.

Sue and the emcee sang the song Pecos Bill from the Disney animated featurette and were interrupted by the re-appearance of the traveling salesman now attired as the iconic cowboy of folklore. One of the memorable moments was Pecos Bill being accidentally hit in the face and spitting out his “teeth” at the audience that were actually beans hidden in his mouth. The finale featured Sue’s girls doing a can-can dance and the entire company in a final song.

In August 1986, Dennis Despie, vice president of entertainment for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, said about the show closing, “We all recognize the revue at the Golden Horseshoe and Diamond Horseshoe Saloon as one of the most enduring shows in the history of the park. At the same time, we feel we should now develop a new generation of shows.”

Regrettably, no new show has been introduced to the location.

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Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his new books Kungaloosh! The Mythic Jungles of Walt Disney World and Hidden Treasures of Walt Disney World Resorts: Histories, Mysteries, and Theming, much of which was first published on this site.

 

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