When the Adventurers Club closed in 2008, we lost one of the true treasures of themed entertainment. A true original environment filled with a cast of interactive characters, rich backstory and some pretty unique special effects.
Recently, Technifex released a rare behind-the-scenes video in how many of these effects were made. In case you didn’t know, Technifex created most of the special effects in the club. Pictured above is a mock-up of one of the puppets inside the Mask Room.
I recently got the chance to talk with Monty Lunde, President of Technifex about how many of these effects were brought to life over 30 years ago! “We had some initial meetings with Joe Rhode and Rick Rothschild over at Walt Disney Imagineering about what the club was going to look like. They’d send us sketches and we would then create nearly every effect you saw in the Adventurer’s Club,” said Lunde.
“As an example, we created all the masks for the Mask Room. The ones on the wall were all automated and triggered by the actors for certain parts of the show. However, the two main puppets were being controlled by actors on the other side of the walls. There was one operator/actor per mask that had a series of actuators and cables. Those made the mouth move, the eyes look in various directions and the eyebrows to raise up and down.”
One of my favorite puppets for the club was Babylonia. A giant mask that adorned the wall of the main salon. Every so often, she’d come alive and speak with one of the residents of the Adventurers Club.
Above is a rare shot of Babylonia before she was installed into the club. This particular effect was achieved with the help of John Shadow. According to Monty Lunde, Shadow had experience making large puppets for Hollywood films. On the back side of the mask, an actor had access to move her foot up and down, and roll her eyes in a circle. As well as hit a button where they could make smoke appear from her mouth.
Another great effect Technifex produced was this floating head in a cabinet found inside the club’s Treasure Room. Lunde explained, “That ‘trick’ was pretty simple. The actor was on the other side and stuck his head into the box. When it came time for the box to ‘float’, they moved a giant mirror along with it. So every time the head moved, so did the mirror behind it!”
What’s great about this is the sheer simplicity of a pretty ingenious effect. Technifex also created the glass box being able to “frost” itself. This is when the actor inside would “sneeze” and seemingly vanish for a few seconds.
It’s pretty incredible how many one-of-a-kind items and special effects were created for the Adventurer’s Club. Technifex also made the famous Colonel in the main atrium, the barstools that slowly sank, and even the sinking ship in a bottle which was seen in the library. Check out the video below!
Many thanks to Monty Lunde of Technifex to take the time to chat with us. If you’re unfamiliar with their work, we have featured it here at Theme Park University several times. Check out the amazing things they did to create the now-closed Titanic attraction in Australia! It really was amazing!
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