08 November 2011

Island repast

In an era where we have color photo flyers for everything from golf to Halloween parties in Walt Disney World, it may seem strange when we had to use the written word and artwork to craft our own ideas about what a promoted experience would be like. Take, for instance, this 1975 pamphlet for the Polynesian Luau.First off, can we just take a moment to marvel at this cover image? The simplicity with which the message is conveyed with two colors, silhouetting the dancer and the moon between pools of orange and brown, is stunning (the art form, not the dancer). Okay, so my mind immediately wanders to the classic NBA icon, but in a way it is that same strength of message tied to a strong singular image that makes both so successful.

Inside, aside from the remarkable Polynesian symbol, is two pages filled with descriptions of the heart stopping entertainment and mouth-watering food. On the menu? Only Shrimp Hawaiian, Kalua Pig, Chicken Nui, Passion Fruit Ice Cream, and a handful of other intoxicatingly tasty dishes! However, the real treat here, for wordsmiths such as myself at least, comes in the brief entertainment rundown:
“Watch as kamaainas (natives) perform symbolic songs and dances from the South Seas isles.

Thrill to the Samoan Knife dance as a young islander skillfully whirls sharp blades in a hypnotizing display… or experience the tense excitement of an authentic fire dance. Then view the delightful Samoan slap dance – just for fun.

And the music is enchanting too, whether it’s the romantic verse of the favorite Hawaiian Wedding Song or the pulsating beat of the ceremonial drums. Later, the spotlight is on you as the natives ask for partners for the hip-undulating Tahitian tamura.”

It would be a stretch of the imagination to think a review of the 1975 incarnation of the luau would use almost identical phrasing as the above passage. Such depictions and imagery are rarely found in the advertisements of Walt Disney World today, but they would certainly go a long way to persuading me to partake in a special event, such as the luau or Mickey’s Backyard BBQ.

The page turns on our small flyer, and we are left with the solitary image of the moon in a sea of orange on the back cover. Again, simple, but effective nonetheless. In this age of interactive queues and saturated meet and greet locations (not that each of these do not have their place, especially in the given entertainment and gadget climate), it’s nice to remember times when the most you could ask for was a beach, glowing torches, lilting melodies, and some roasted meat.

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