Google     Web Message Board


Join the TellNoTales mailing list to keep abreast of the latest Pirates news! Just enter your email address below... savvy?

Join on our official MySpace page! Click here

Join the official TellNoTales Fan Club and get a 12x18 cloth Jolly Roger, membership card & certificate, a pirate ring, a piece 'o eight, and more! Click here

Send this page to a friend

Pirates, Pirates Everywhere—But Not All Framed Ink

Article and Photos by Diana "Sacrifice" Aitken

Every year on James Brown's birthday (which, strangely, also happens to be my date of birth), I make the pilgrimage to Disneyland. What better place is there to become a day older? The highlight of the trip is always the numerous rides on "Pirates of the Caribbean." Imagine my horror when I found out that "Pirates" would be closed this birthday, May 2003, for refurbishment. As my head was entering "the last neck tie I would ever wear," my sister called with the news of a "Pirates of the Caribbean" art exhibit at the Disney Gallery. My life now had purpose: To see the artwork and tell the world of the bewitched treasures my eyes did behold up the stairs from the best ride in Disneyland.

Glimmering treasure

The first piece you see upon entering the Disney Gallery is the large pile of gold, gems, and skulls in the middle of the entry room. About 5" of glimmering coins and riches, looking as if they were brought upstairs from the ride below, were right there within my reach. Don't tell anyone, but I just had to touch it. I know I can trust those who peruse to keep my secret.

When I was able to pull myself away from the "For Sale" hallway, I marched right into the showroom that overlooks New Orleans Square's main shopping thoroughfare. This is where some of the real goodies of this exhibit are to be found. In the middle of the room were two glass showcases which held original sculptures of our favorite buccaneers and company. Three grey heads are in the first case: Pirate on Cannon in Arsenal by Blaine Gibson, Plump Bride at Auction by Joe Kaba, and Pooped Pirate by Blaine Gibson. Incredible what can be done with only human hands and tools.

Spectacular expressions

The details and facial expressions were just spectacular. It took a shove from my sister to get me away from my study of these disembodied heads. Yes, they are that cool. Arrrrrrr, Mateys, there's more to see in the Disney Gallery.

In the showcase next to the heads lives scaled down renderings in plaster, acrylic, and plastilena of anatomically incorrect "POTC" characters. These were all done by Blaine Gibson. Hats off and a long sigh of "Wow!" to Mr. Gibson, you scurvy dogs. Walking around the case gives one the chance to see these works from all angles, which is a treat. When was the last time you were allowed to do this on the ride?

Every inch taken

Every available inch of wall space was taken up with sketches and watercolors of Disney's masterpiece. On first glance, I thought there were many original pieces. Turned out almost everything was digitally reproduced. This didn't take anything away from the beauty of the pieces. I could go into detail of all the pieces, but this is only an overview. Most of the sketches and watercolors in the main showrooms were done between 1962 and 1965. Marc Davis was the hand of genius who made two dimensions jump out from their canvases. I was ready to take a second on my house to buy some of these pieces. Wouldn't you know that they weren't for sale? They were only available to view.

As we continued our stroll through the Gallery we were told to step outside and see what had just come in earlier in the day. There, in front of the fountain of the middle court, was the masthead from the Black Pearl from the upcoming "POTC" movie. My sister and I went straight to it, hoping to rub off some Johnny Depp energy. Come on…we love pirates, but Johnny Depp is Johnny Depp. Anyhow, this wooden lady of good fortune was approximately twelve feet high. She is releasing a bird to fly ahead of her ship to watch the waters for trouble. We asked for info on the artists, but since we were some of the first to see this lovely lady, the cast members didn't have an answer for us. However, they were kind enough to direct us to the back showroom where art and a preview from the "POTC" movie were housed.

Confession time

Okay, confession time again: I don't like to see previews of movies that I'm dying to see. I like my mind to sell me on a movie. I also enjoy the surprise of being surprised when I finally see the movie. Needless to say, I ignored the television screen playing the preview. Not to worry, because there was a lot of eye candy to sweeten my pirate tooth. Sketches, drawings, and pirates…Oh my!

I cannot wait for the movie to come out. If the art is any indication, this movie will rock and roll. I took a limited amount of notes, so you will just have to go see this exhibit yourself if you're curious about the artists. I do have a favorite sketch, though. It is a penciled drawing of a cursed monkey by Crash. A rendition of a spider type of monkey that looks as if it is a few years late for its own funeral. If I had worn a trench coat…Well, I won't go there. (Pictured above right: A concept for the pirate zombies, also by Crash.)

All in all, the Disney Gallery's "POTC" exhibit was fantastic! It didn't make up for the ride being closed, but it did get my mind off that fact for about a half hour. I never cease to be amazed by what the artists of Disney can bring to life. These individuals didn't have computers to do their work (although there is nothing wrong with that), they did it all with their art supplies, hands, and minds.

If X does mark the spot, the Disney Gallery's exhibit is a double X treasure waiting to be discovered by all the bilge rats, wenches, scurvy dogs, first mates, and cap'ins who love "Pirates of the Caribbean".

Pictured at left: Friends Renee and Diana pose in front of the masthead from Captain Jack's Black Pearl.

Buy the Official Guidebook to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction and Films here!

Contact l Site design: l Credits l Copyright information l Privacy policy l

Click here to advertise on!

All Pirates of the Caribbean and/or Disney images, sounds, and media copyright © Disney. Website ©2003-2007 by Chef Mayhem.
This site is NOT affiliated in any way with the Walt Disney Company, and no rights of usage are implied.
This is a site created by and for Disney fans solely to celebrate Disney theme parks.