Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cap'n Jack's Restaurant sign

Downtown Disney has undergone a series of radical changes over the decades: starting out as the humble Lake Buena Vista Shopping Center, it's grown by acres as the Empress Lilly, Pleasure Island, and Downtown Disney Westside were added. The Village itself has been radically transformed as stores have come and gone, been demolished, corporatized, and refurbished.

Perhaps the only bit of the original Shopping Village that's been left mostly untouched is Cap'n Jack's Restaurant, located on the waters of Lake Buena Vista. The backlit sign, shown here, is still the original installed in the 1970s. Somehow, despite the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, the management has resisted the urge to replace this peg-legged, concertina-playing Captain Jack with a more swashbuckling and marketable modern namesake.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

There's a hot band playing at the Tomorrowland Terrace

The talent showcased at Walt Disney World's Tomorrowland Terrace has fluctuated as wildly as the twinkling psychedelic lights that once shone above its food counters. Between the departure of the brilliantly deranged Michael Iceberg and his Iceberg Machine and the arrival of Audioanimatronic songster Sonny Eclipse, the Terrace played host to a variety of unmemorable rock bands that rose and descended robotically from the bowels of the hydraulic stage.

One of the few standout groups was Tabasco, probably more for the name and sign that displayed it along with the show times than for the music (although from what I recall, they were pretty good for a cover band). The sign featured the name three times, stacked atop one another, almost in an homage to the slit-scan "movie of the week" promos that were fashionable in the 1970s (never mind it was the mid-'80s by now), in blazing red that matched the carpet that lined the stage front.

It must have left an impression — for I found myself in art school a few years later, staring at a catalog of Letraset press type, and there floating before me was the band's logo in a sea of typography. Astonishingly, the logo's designer used a typeface with the exact same name as the band, "Tabasco." Talk about a timesaver! If a band named Hobo ever comes to me to design their logo, I know exactly what to do.

Tabasco Double is currently unavailable in digital form. Tabasco Bold is featured in the Dover Publication, "Extra Bold Alphabets: 100 Complete Fonts" (Buy at

Update: Just a few minutes after I hit the "publish post" button I decided to google Tabasco to see if there was anything about them on the Internet. Lo and behold:
  • website for the David Van Such Band, whose keyboardist, Dario Caballero, played with Tabasco. His bio confirms that the band played at Tomorrowland Terrace from 1983 to 1988. The group was even flown to Washington D.C. to perform for then President Ronald Reagan. They were originally from Mexico City and moved to Florida to perform at Disney.
  • Video of the band performing Whitney Houston's "So Emotional"
  • Video of the band performing Bob Seger's "Shakedown"
  • mySpace page for Carlos Murguia, who also played keyboards in the group. His brother played guitar in the band.
  • The website of Beth Lawrence's company, Viva La Voice. She relates the story of how she was hired to be in the Kids of the Kingdom, lost her voice, and eventually joined Tabasco.
Walt was right: it is a small world, after all.