07 January 2011

We'll always have Paris

It’s been a while since we examined a crate from anywhere around Walt Disney World, but I think it is time to rectify this oversight. The crates have a wonderful way of making a waterfront, say that of Frontierland, give off the sense this place is indeed a functioning society. When studied just a bit closer, the names and places offer lessons in history, literacy, conservation, entertainment and much more.

The set of crates sitting on the wharf near Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner, in the Echo Lake region of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, have been well documented over the years. Each ties to a character from a classic Hollywood screen tale, and fleshes out a bit of the character’s story. Today, we’re pouring over my favorite box, the crate belonging to Rick Blaine.Rick Blaine, the ‘stick my neck out for nobody’ tavern keeper in Casablanca, was played by Humphrey Bogart. Looking at the crate line by line, his name and establishment, Rick’s Café Americain, in addition to the city and country of Casablanca, Morocco, are the easiest labels to identify as they are all present in the film itself. The street address for Rick’s, however, is a bit trickier. 112642 Rue Renault actually refers to two separate pieces of the film. Rue, the French word for street, Renault concerns the character of Captain Louie Renault, the charming, if weak, French commander played by Claude Rains. The street number of 112642 is actually a date, November 26, 1942 which is the date Casablanca had its premiere in New York City.Although we cannot look inside, the box is the perfect size for several well-packaged bottles of wine or liquor, and one can imagine Rick schlepping the crate from Ferrari’s Blue Parrot back to Rick’s Café Americain. This idea is further fleshed out by the sender of the crate, Curtiz Wine and Spirits, Ltd. And in case you are wondering, Curtiz is a reference to Michael Curtiz, Casablanca’s director.

These crates at Disney’s Hollywood Studios not only supply the created world of Echo Lake with life, but also a wealth of information about the films themselves, if one is willing to take the time to dig a little. All this talk about Casablanca makes me want to throw on a fedora and plant myself in a comfortable chair to watch the classic film. Here’s lookin’ at you, kids.

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