X. Atencio Signed Walt Disney World Attraction Posters (2016)

 

These three attraction-poster prints, featuring original vintage Walt Disney World artwork, are individually hand-signed by Disney Legend X. Atencio, the songwriter responsible for each of the attraction’s memorable themes.

Francis Xavier Atencio first joined the Walt Disney Studio in 1938 as an animator. A product of LA’s Chouinard Art Institute, he worked on the feature Fantasia, as well as many short films, including the Oscar-winning Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom and the Oscar-nominated Noah’s Ark. He also worked on the animation sequences of live-action films, such as The Shaggy Dog, The Parent TrapBabes in Toyland, and Mary Poppins. In 1965, Atencio relocated to WED Enterprises to assist in the implementation of the Primeval World diorama, which had been featured in the Ford Magic Skyway attraction at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, into the Disneyland Railroad circuit. Shortly after, he was tapped by Walt to write the lyrics for the new Pirates attraction that had been in development for several years, something Atencio had never done before. His first attempt at songwriting was met with great success, as “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)” propelled the new attraction to one of the most popular at the park. Debuting at Disneyland on March 18, 1967, and then on December 15, 1973, at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, millions of guests were soon singing along to Atencio’s catchy lyrics.

“Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)”

 

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle and loot.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

 

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We extort and pilfer, we filch and sack.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
Maraud and embezzle and even highjack.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

 

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We kindle and char and enflame and ignite.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
We burn up the city, we’re really a fright.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

 

We’re rascals, scoundrels, villains and knaves.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
We’re devils and black sheep, we’re really bad eggs.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

 

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We’re beggars and blighters and ne’er do-well cads,
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
Aye, but we’re loved by our mommies and dads,
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

Just a few years later, Atencio’s newfound talent landed him the assignment of penning the theme to yet another enduring Disney classic, Haunted Mansion. The Disneyland version of the attraction opened its creaking doors on August 9, 1969, while the Florida iteration was in place and ready to scare on Walt Disney World’s opening day: October 1, 1971. Likewise, the song has since gone down as one of the most memorable in Disney theme-park history, continuing to be sung and quoted by fans around the world.

“Grim Grinning Ghosts”

 

(Spoken)
When hinges creak in doorless chambers
And strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls
Whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still
That is the time when ghosts are present
Practicing their terror with ghoulish delight

 

 

(Sung)
When the crypt doors creak, and the tombstones quake
Spooks come out for a swinging wake
Happy haunts materialize
And begin to vocalize
Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize

 

 

Now don’t close your eyes and don’t try to hide
Or a silly spook may sit by your side
Shrouded in a daft disguise
They pretend to terrorize
Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize

 

 

As the moon climbs high o’er the dead oak tree
Spooks arrive for the midnight spree
Creepy creeps with eerie eyes
Start to shriek and harmonize
Grim Grinning Ghosts come out to socialize

 

 

When you hear the knell of a requiem bell
Weird glows gleam where spirits dwell
Restless bones etherialize
Rise as spooks of every size
Mwahahahahahahahaha!

 

 

If you would like to join our jamboree
There’s a simple rule that’s compulsory
Mortals pay a token fee
Rest in peace, the haunting’s free
So hurry back we would like your company

 

 

Hurry back…hurry back…
Be sure to bring your death certificate
If you decide to join us
Make final arrangements now
We’ve been…dying…to have you

Around the same time, Atencio wrote the “Bear Band Serenade” for the Country Bear Jamboree attraction—another opening-day feature in Florida that premiered in California a year later on March 4, 1972. Though closing in Disneyland in 2001, the lovable Country Bears continue to spur Disney World guests to—in Atencio’s words—“clap your hands, and stomp your feet, and try to keep right with ’em.”

“Bear Band Serenade”

 

The Bear Band bears will play now
In the good ol’ key of G
Zeke and Zeb and Ted and Fred
And a bear named Tennessee

 

 

Zeke’s a-twangin’ on the banjo
And a-tappin’ with his feet.
While bangin’ on a dishpan
With a real ol’ country beat

 

 

Zeb’s a-sawin’ on the fiddle
With a crooked hickory bow
When the spirit moves that bruin,
He can make that fiddle go

 

 

Brother Ted is on the corn jug
Now, I mean that bear can blow
He also plays the washboard
With a handle of a hoe

 

 

And big Fred’s playin’ mouth harp.
He plays it kinda sad
He never took a lesson,
He just picked it up from Dad

 

 

And li’l ol’ Tennessee Bear
Is a-featured on the thang
Sounds just like a guitar,
But it’s only got one string

 

 

So clap your hands and
Stomp your feet and
Try to keep right with ’em
One sure thing the Bear Band’s got
Is real ol’ country rhythm

 

 

Yeah, clap your hands and
Stomp your feet and
Try to keep right with ’em
One sure thing the Bear Band’s got
Is real ol’ country rhythm

A year later, Atencio would write the lyrics to the title theme for the If You Had Wings attraction, housed in Tomorrowland in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. When sponsor Eastern Air Lines’ partnership with Disney ended in 1987, however, the attraction was renovated and the original soundtrack removed. The popular theme song gone, the ride quickly became unpopular with guests. After a few more revisions, the entire attraction concept was scrapped, and the show building refitted for 2004’s Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

In addition to Atencio’s songwriting contributions, he also worked as a scriptwriter on Disneyland’s Adventures Thru Inner Space, as well as both parks’ versions of Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. He went on to contribute to the design and development of Disney’s third gate, Epcot Center, assisting with the creation of several of the park’s “pavilions” in the early 80s. He also helped oversee the recording process of the Haunted Mansion soundtrack for the attraction’s installation at Tokyo Disney. After an amazing career that lasted nearly half-a-century, he retired in 1984, and was awarded Disney Legend status twelve years later.

This attraction-poster collection, hand-signed by Atencio in 2016 at the age of 97, represents three of the most impressive and memorable achievements ever by a Disney Imagineer: an undiscovered talent, brought to the forefront by Walt himself, ends up writing a string of hits that remain at the top of the “Disney charts” to this day.

VALUE: $120

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