By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Fridays with Jim Korkis: Sonny Eclipse

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


By Jim Korkis

I’ve written about Sonny Eclipse before in an earlier column but I never explained how close the entertainer at Cosmic Ray’s came to never existing at all.

Sonny is definitely the archetypal lounge singer, with his sequined suit, gaudy gold rings and shock of red hair, sitting behind his Astro Organ and telling some of the worst jokes in the universe (“You know I heard the universe is expanding. Guess it’s time to loosen the old asteroid belt!”)

(c) Disney

Backed by a trio of invisible singing hopefuls known as the Space Angels, the green-skinned, unearthly Sonny Eclipse made his debut in the summer of 1995 at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland.

He never would have appeared except for the persistence and cleverness of Imagineering Show Producer Paul Osterhout and Senior Concept writer Kevin Rafferty.

Cosmic Ray’s was already a highly popular food and beverage location at the park, and did not need any enhancements to draw a larger crowd. In addition, Sonny was not considered a “big ticket attraction” that would boost attendance. It is simply one of the many “hidden treasures” at the Magic Kingdom that receive no advertisement but are discovered accidentally by guests.

Rafferty said, “It’s just this nice little surprise from outer space.”

Sonny was included in the original plans to revamp Tomorrowland, but was soon canceled due to budgetary constraints. However, Osterhout kept a close eye on the expenses for the new Tomorrowland, and when it started to come in under budget he got the green light for Sonny from Senior Vice President of WDI Creative Development Eric Jacobsen. Jacobsen jokingly told Rafferty, “Okay, you can do your stupid show.”

The show was originally meant to feature an audio-animatronics character like Alec-Tronic at Innoventions but when they saw that the new Tomorrowland already included Timekeeper, the Robo-Newz vendor and the demonstration droid in ExtraTERRORestial Alien Encounter, it was decided that the robot population was already too large.

So Osterhout and Rafferty came up with an alien lounge singer for a food and beverage location.

“He’s low key so people can watch him or just eat their food,” said Rafferty. “There are terrible jokes but the humor probably isn’t bad enough to make guests lose their appetites, but it was not for lack of trying.”

During script development, Osterhout presented writer Rafferty with two pages of the worst lounge jokes he ever heard gathered from his previous career as a traveling magician in Florida. The final twenty-seven minute show only contains two of those jokes.

“The show would be two hours long if we used all of Paul’s jokes,” said Rafferty.

“And we definitely wouldn’t want those jokes to repeat on the next loop,” said Osterhout.

Rafferty wrote the final script and jokes and stated, “Before Sonny came to Earth, he was working in a lunar lounge on the moon but he didn’t like it because it had no atmosphere.”

Sonny Eclipse’s set list consists of eight songs, written by George Wilkins and Kevin Rafferty. These songs include:

  • “My Name is Sonny Eclipse”, his personal theme song
  • “Out in Space”, a ballad about the Earth’s beauty
  • “Hello Space Angels”
  • “Gravity Blues”
  • “Starlight Soup and Salad”, about the restaurant’s menu
  • “Bright Little Star”, a love song
  • “Planetary Boogie”
  • “Yew Nork, Yew Nork”

*  *  *  *  *

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

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest, Off to Never Land: 70 Years of Disney’s Peter Pan and Final Secret Stories of Walt Disney World!

Follow on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!



Have a thought or a question?...

Comment by typing in the form below.

Leave a Comment | Ask a Question | Note a Problem

My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2024 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.