The 1980s saw lots of weird and wonderful things in the world of entertainment. Ice skating was popular and so it was only natural that Disney wanted a piece of the skating action. And so was born the Great Ice Odyssey and the Souvenir Program I am featuring in this post.
The show was patterned after the Ice Capades format which was a traveling entertainment show filled with theatrical ice skating performances often featuring former Olympic and US National Champion figure skaters. Started in 1940, the Ice Capades grew rapidly and prospered for over 50 years but was in decline by the 1980s. The Ice Capades actually went out of business around 1995.
Disney brought in Irvin and Kenneth Feld to create their own version of this entertainment style which became, well… an Odyssey!
I love finding these old souvenir programs. This one is from 1982. The artwork is interesting with some of the characters being a tad off model, especially the humans, but overall, it’s nicely done!
The premise of the story is that Mickey and Minnie Mouse are celebrating their 55th Anniversary of Friendship and all of their friends were gathering at Disneyland to have a party.
And the show begins:
While the crowd was waiting for the guests of honor to arrive, the Evil Queen learns of the festivities and is jealous of all the happiness. She vows to ruin it for everyone!
John Carlow plays the Prince. He is a performer from the World Professional Championships and is famous for his ‘piston rolls’ and record-breaking spins. At just 23 years of age he adds a splash of colour and danger to every performance!
Peter and Elizabeth Cain are five-time Australian Pairs champions and a brother-sister team. They were fresh off the 1980 Winter Olympics when they joined the Odyssey. They weren’t assigned specific roles in the show but would show up throughout to support the story.
Susan Brodie portrayed the Evil Queen. She works in the show as a Line Captain helping the other female performers perfect their routines. Brodie had been skating professionally for nine seasons before joining Odyssey.
Okay, on with the story:
Mickey and Minnie arrive at The Magic Kingdom to announce a Fancy Dress Ball. This begins a sequence depicting the story of Cinderella.
Almut Lehmann and Herbert Wiesinger play characters known as The Ravens, the Evil Queen’s fiendish pets. They were Germany’s three-time National Pairs Champions.
Where are we in the story? Well, the Evil Queen has created a pair of ruby amulets to turn Mickey and Minnie’s happiness to misery! She puts them around the necks of her Ravens and sends them off to Disneyland to find an unfortunate victim. Who will it be? And what will happen to them?
Tune in to Part Two of this series to find out! You’ll also meet more of the performers as we continue to tell the story of Walt Disney’s Great Ice Odyssey.