10 November 2007

A land of both shadow and substance

When we think of fabulous queues there are a definite few that top the list: Expedition Everest, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and MuppetVision 3-D. While planning my visit to Disneyland, I couldn’t help but become a little giddy at the new inside jokes and glimpses into the Twilight Zone. And I wasn’t disappointed. Whether it was the Disaster Effects Storage Department of the Muppet Labs or the envelope addressed to Rod Serling in front of the books with various Twilight Zone episodes as the titles, there were gems galore here to be found. Since my love of all things Muppet can go on forever, and aside from the fact that I really want to compare both Muppet queues to one another in a later entry, we’ll grab two little tidbits from the Tower of Terror today.

Just before entering the library, the place where you are introduced to the Twilight Zone, you will find two cases with items that are available for purchase in the Hollywood Tower Hotel’s gift shop. These items are a stopwatch and a thimble, and, I am sure you will find this just as shocking as I did, they both have ties to classic Twilight Zone episodes. The clues to both items origins are next to the items on little place cards. The stopwatch talks about being a great conversation piece, while the thimble is described as a gift for mother.

The stopwatch is from the episode A Kind of a Stopwatch, catchy huh? In this episode a lonely man, named Patrick Thomas McNutty, who loves to talk with others, though others find him an egotistical bore, has just lost his job. While sitting in a bar, he begins conversing with a man named Potts who, in return for friendship, gives McNutty a stopwatch. Shortly thereafter McNutty realizes that this is no ordinary stop watch, that he can use it to stop time. He attempts to use this gizmo to get not only his friends back, but his job as well. Unfortunately, he is the only person who can see that time has stopped and, consequently, no one believes him. However, McNutty finds another use for the stopwatch; he uses it to rob a bank. During the course of his robbery his streak of bad luck continues, he drops and breaks the stopwatch leaving him alone in a frozen world, deprived of the one thing he loved so much, conversation.

If you take a look at the world that surrounds The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, specifically the spaces of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, there is almost an echo of the world that McNutty now inhabits. His world is frozen and nothing will ever change, much like the lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, frozen in place the night that the elevator was struck.

The second item, the thimble, is from the episode The After Hours. Miss Marsha White is searching for a gift for her mother in this episode. She decides upon a gold thimble and is directed to the ninth floor of the department store which, interestingly enough, only has eight floors. On the barren ninth floor Marsha White finds only one saleswoman on an otherwise barren floor. She is sold the thimble, but, as she descents in the elevator, she realizes that the gold thimble is dented and scratched. While discussing the matter with Mr. Sloan, the sales supervisor, she sees the clerk who sold her the thimble, and is terrified to discover that she is, in reality, a mannequin. After recovering from her fright Miss White discovers that she is locked in the empty department store, only there are voices trailing after her and the mannequins appear to be moving slightly. In a frenzied fit Miss White rushes to an elevator, an elevator which again takes her back to the ninth floor. Again on the desolate ninth floor she discovers that all of the mannequins have come to life and that she, herself, is actually a mannequin who was allowed to go out into the world for a month, but who has stayed away far too long. Now that she has returned, the next mannequin, the saleswoman who sold her the thimble, is able to walk amongst the real world for a month. As Miss Marsha White recalls her time in the world she becomes very stiff and returns to her natural state, a mannequin, which startles Mr. Sloan when he recognizes her the next morning.

Aside from the thimble, the other tie to the Hollywood Tower Hotel that the episode The After Hours has is the elevator. According to the panel above each service elevator in the Hollywood Tower Hotel the hotel only has twelve floors. But watch carefully as the hand moves past the twelfth floor signifying a thirteenth floor, much like the elevator in The After Hours has one floor beyond its capacity.

So a warm welcome back to those of you who made it, and thanks for sticking with this entry, something you won’t find in any guidebook.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Awesome post, Ryan!

Sharing the connection between the ride and the show was a great read.

Can't wait for the Muppets!