A Farewell to the Adventurer's Clubby Wade Sampson, staff writer
“Welcome to Adventurer’s Club
You who crave danger and snicker at fear
Will find most agreeable company here
Thrill seekers, nomads, high-flyers and low
Rovers, explorers and getters of go
From every far corner, you’ll meet at this hub
The world is your oyster, the pearl is our club!
--sign posted outside the Adventurer’s Club
This is the first part of a two-part farewell to the Adventurer’s Club at Pleasure Island, which is closing in a few short weeks—so you better hurry if you want to see it one more time. The second part of this farewell won’t appear until October. Why? Because I will be attending the National Fantasy Fan Club (NFFC) convention in Orlando in October and there will be two very special events that will make my column a lot more entertaining and accurate.
At the convention, there will be a presentation titled “Kungaloosh: The Myth and Reality of Adventure” that will cover the two stories of the Adventurer’s Club: the Merriweather Pleasure mythology and the real mechanics behind the show itself. For instance, the ship in a bottle illusion was created by a co-worker of Disney Legend Yale Gracey who had conceived the idea, and that illusion was originally built first for a non-Disney entertainment venue (not the proposed Madison’s Dive restaurant). The presentation will also reveal the real reason there was a Marcel the gorilla and the real reason why he disappeared. Do you know where to find the hidden Joe Rohde references? [Look for one on the library stage.] What is the one mistake that was made about “Jinkies” that contradicts the entire timeline—and could it be the work of Madame Zenobia? I’ve contributed to this presentation so I know there will be some incredible information revealed for the first time, but I am not going to spoil any of these newly discovered secrets before the NFFC presentation.
In addition, the convention will offer a special final farewell dinner in the Adventurer’s Club a week after its closure, with the full cast entertaining the diners and even more surprises revealed that even long-time fans have never heard. There might even be a very special guest attending, schedule permitting.
In the research for the presentation, the “lost” plaque for the Adventurer’s Club was uncovered. Here is what it said:
This imposing building was designed to house the huge personal library and archaeological trophy collection of Island founder and compulsive explorer Merriweather Adam Pleasure. Pleasure won the plans in a game of dominoes and attributed them throughout his life to noted architects Sir Edwin Luytens, Charles Rennie Mackintsoh, and Eliel Saarinen. The building became the headquarters for the Adventurer’s Club, Pleasure’s zany band of globe-trotting friends. Exotic souvenirs of the members’ outlandish expeditions and riotous adventures were displayed on the walls. After Pleasure vanished at sea in 1941 the club was sealed until it was opened to the public for the first time in 1989.”
For those unable to make the journey to Orlando the last week of September for the closing of the club or the first week of October for the NFFC convention, I wanted to do something so that you could celebrate at home so that is the purpose of this column.
While things like “Kungaloosh” and the Adventurer’s Song existed from the very beginning of the club, it wasn’t until January 1990 when show writer and director Chris Oyen was brought in that the new member induction ceremony was formalized and structured. Every night, new members are inducted into the Adventurer’s Club—and so as an honorary member myself, I am going to help induct you or for those of you who were inducted at the club, here is a chance to renew your vows.
Raise your right hand.
Place the heel of your hand, with fingers facing away from the body, just above your navel.
If you place it below your navel, that is an entirely different club.
Make a few fishy waves wiggle movements back and forth with your hand.
Lift up your hand as if you were going to take a shot of alcohol.
Continue the movement higher so your right hand is raised high in the air.
“Kungaloosh” is an “all purpose” word like “Aloha”. It means “Hello”, “Goodbye” or “Kiss me quick before the lava flow engulfs us.”
Raise your right hand and repeat the Adventurer’s Club Creed, written by M.A. Pleasure in 1932 according to the copy posted in the Zebra Mezzanine.
“We climb the highest mountains
Just to get a better view.
We plumb the deepest oceans
‘Cuz we’re daring, through and through.
We cross the scorching desert,
Martinis in our hand.
We ski the polar ice cap
In tuxedo, looking grand…
We’re reckless, brave and loyal
And valiant to the end.
If you come in here a stranger,
You’ll exit as a friend.”
(Or as the banner indicates outside the club, if you come in a stranger, you will leave a little stranger.)
Sing the Adventurer’s Club All Purpose Theme Song.
Lyrics: Lynn Hart Music: Alec B (?)
Singing the Song
Up or Down,
East or West
An Adventurer’s Life is best.
An Adventurer’s Life is best!”
The song is led by Glee Master Colonel Critchlow Suchbench who was appointed head of Club Security for his unique and peculiar talent of sleeping with both eyes open. Usually, he can be cajoled into leading his fellow adventurers in song when the group yells: “Free drink, Colonel?” He will respond, “Gin and tonic!” and often some other additional comment like “And a banana daiquiri for the monkey I am sitting on!”
Now it is important that you learn the names of your fellow adventurers. On the first floor between the Goddess Babylonia (“Babs”) and Colonel Critchlow Sunchbench is a small raised platform. Behind the platform is a plaque with the names of your fellow adventurers.
What will happen to this plaque when the club is destroyed? In fact, what will happen with most of those items since some of them are actually built into the walls? Anyway, here are the names of your fellow adventurers:
Merriweather Adam Pleasure
- Otis Wren
- Pamelia Perkins
- Hathaway Browne
- Merriam Pleasure
- Col. Critchlow Sunchbench
- Dr. Fielding Ratzkwatzky
- Maj. General C.K. “Bob” Waggleberry
- Richmond Linedozer
- Pygmalion “Piggy” Venables
- B.W. “Icicle Ike” Jakookie
- Kennigton Schnabel
- Sir Langton Dithers
- Lowell Battbarton
- Emil Bleehall
- McDabbler Twelvetrees
- Alvin W. Chowderflute
- Sir Reginald Phyfee-Hardwicke
- Linus Van Aukerman
- Mumford L. Gertz
- Clyde McBeebee
- Dr. Geofrrey T. Spaulding
- Noah X. Malmborg
- Embrey Z. Harumphinger
- Julie Harbert-Harman
- Bascombe H. Potter III
- Hardwick “Bugsy” Van Loon
- Cowley W. Frink
- Burlwood Carrutters Jr.
- Chester Babbit Rawlinson
- Florence Arrot
- Tarleton Feldspar
- Coombs “Lucky” Lupree
- Erwin “Pops” Einbinder
- Davila Willoughby
- Pieter Hoots
Members Owing Dues
- S.R. “Bob” Bobenmeyer
- Knute “Big Swede” Belasco
- Rev. Charles A. “Tick” Bitterford
- Eben Cockley
Did you look at some of those names closely? There is still some mystery surrounding them. Of course, some of them are character names. However, the late Imagineer David Mumford told Disney fan Michael Tuchman that the name “Mumford L. Gertz” was a tribute to his contribution to the project. So far I have been unable to determine if the other names relate to various Disney personnel.
Did you also notice the name of Adventurer Samantha Sterling is missing? Of course, so is the name Mandora. There is an interesting story behind those two characters and that will be revealed at the NFFC presentation.
Those who will be celebrating at home may want to give a final toast to the Adventurer’s Club, perhaps with the famous Kungaloosh beverage that was served at the bar. Here is the recipe so you can recreate it at home. If you have a Yakoose mug or an Adventurer’s Club canteen, then use it. If not, then there is always eBay.
Original Kungaloosh Recipe
1 1/4 ounce vodka
1 1/4 ounce Malibu Rum
3/4 ounce Midori (melon liqueur)
2 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 splash cranberry juice
New Kungaloosh Recipe – since roughly 2000
1 cup Daily's Strawberry Daiquiri Mix
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum
1/4 cup blackberry brandy
Toss it in a blender with enough ice to make it slushy.
The club also served a non-alcoholic equivalent, the infamous Babylonia Brew. It is a mixture of pineapple and orange juice, Spirte and a splash of sour mix.
Kungaloosh! I will return with more Adventurer’s Club history and secrets after the NFFC convention in October. Maybe I’ll see some of you there if Bongo, the Man Ape doesn’t prevent you from attending.
The third NFFC East Coast convention will be held October 3-5 at the Regal Sun Resort on Hotel Plaza Boulevard near Downtown Disney. For more information, visit www.nffc.org or call (863) 427-2858.