home > columns > cast member experience > Steve Simmons - Golden Horseshoe
 Steve Simmons

I am sure that each of you has your "favorite" attraction at Disneyland. Most people will say "Pirates of the Caribbean" or "The Haunted Mansion". Sure, those are wonderful, but when I was a CM, my favorite attraction was the Golden Horseshoe Review in Frontierland.

Now many of you already are aware that this show is in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest running show. This also was one of Walt's favorite shows. In fact, the booth on the right side of the stage was always reserved for him. Rumors had it that the booth was roped off and not used again, but I remember seeing it used for VIP's. For those of you who missed it, I will provide you with a brief overview.

The show takes place in a western saloon. You enter and can be seated either upstairs or downstairs. Once seated, waitresses will take your orders and serve up sandwiches, chips and Pepsi. As show time approaches, the lights dim and you are provided with a quick slide show of "advertisements". Then the three-piece band comes out, strikes up the first tune accompanied by three or four lovely dancing girls who introduce the saloon's "owner" Slue Foot Sue. She will sing a song and then introduce the next performer, usually the Irish tenor, Fulton Burley. They are then joined by the show's comedian, Wally Boag. After several songs and comedy routines, the show finishes with the lovely dancers performing a can-can and the entire group taking their bows. This show was performed several times a day, six days a week.

Well, from the first time I saw the show I loved it and made an attempt to see it every time I was not working. There were days when I sat through two or three shows in a row. I would actually wait outside until the doors closed for a show and then be the first person in line for the next show. This way I could sit front row center, right behind the band. I got to know most of the CM's working the bar and also the members of the band very well.

During my many visits, I learned of, and witnessed many practical jokes that were played on members of the cast, especially to Wally's substitute, Bert (sorry, but I forget your last name, Bert, but I am sure that if you are reading this you will remember me). The band really had it out for Bert and loved to see if they could break his routine. One example was the day that Bert came out to do his "magic" trick for the audience. His routine was to tell the audience that he was going to produce a live chicken by cracking an egg into a paper bag and then reach into the bag and come out with the egg dripping from his hand and then deliver the punch line. Well, on one occasion the band substituted a hard-boiled egg for the real egg! So much for the punch line. Then there was the big promo when Bert reaches into his carpetbag and would produce a bottle of Pepsi (remember that the show is sponsored by Pepsi). Except the one day when a bottle of 7-UP was substituted (again by a smiling member of the band).

Well, having picked up on these and many other small pranks, I came up with one of my own, and discussed it with several of the CM's during several of my visits. I then put my plan into the works.

Several days later my close friend Russ and I show up at the door of the Golden Horseshoe, both prepared. We assumed our regular position as first in line and strike up a conversation with the CM at the door. While waiting, the guests behind us (a family of 10 from Michigan if I remember correctly) also join in the conversation. Now several members of the family ask if we "work there" and we tell them that, yes, both of us are CM's, but work elsewhere in the park. At just about that time, Bert, the comedian comes around the corner and as he goes to enter the doors, both Russ and I say hello to him and he says hello back. Now the family accuses us of being part of the show, to which the CM on the door and Russ and I all firmly deny. We continue our discussion while waiting for the show to end. Finally the show ends, the audience leaves and we are allowed inside. Russ and I immediately head to our own table, again selecting the center table in the first row. The family, knowing that we are going to the "good seats" follows and sits in the row behind us. Russ and I settle in and prepare for the show.

The lights dim, the slide show begins and we are ready. We will fast forward through the show, until when Slue Foot Sue performs her opening number. As usual, during her song she came down from the stage and walks down among us in the crowd. As she passed us, she stopped, as usual for some casual banter and then started on. It was then that Russ struck. As she walked away singing, Russ pulled out a small squirt gun and proceeded to squirt her in the back. I remember her voice going slightly up in range as the water trickled down her back. She turned and smiled at us and proceeded on. At this point I was scared that we would be approached by some secret person and escorted out, but nothing happened so we got bolder. Again we fast forward to Bert coming through the crowd. As I mentioned, he comes in from the front door, which is behind the crowd as they face the stage. He walks through the crowd making small jokes and then up the stairs to the stage to go through his first comedy skit. Then Sue and Fulton join him for a rendition of "Pecos Bill". During the song, Bert is supposed to pull out two squirt guns (ah, don't get ahead of me now…..) and squirt the audience from side to side, thus causing laughter. You can imagine his surprise as he begins squirting when Russ and I both remove our weapons and return fire. One of us was lucky enough to actually get Bert directly in the face. Now it takes several seconds for the reaction, but react he does. Bert stops squirting the rest of the audience and turns on us. We in turn return fire. The band, being in the middle, is the only ones truly enjoying this! The song ends and Bert leaves the stage. At this point we all believe our little gag is ended. Can you say "Wrong" boys and girls? Of course, at the end of the show, while taking his bows, Bert returns and as he walks on, he pulls out both of his squirt guns and levels them at us with no mercy. For the entire length of the final curtain Bert is emptying his squirt guns at us. After the curtains close, we stand up to leave. It is then that we noticed that we weren't the only ones who were in range of Bert's revenge. It turned out that the family from Michigan (remember them?) sitting behind us got soaked! Both Russ and I made a hasty exit because there was no way we were going to convince them that we weren't part of the show.

The next day I decided to see the show again. This time I go unarmed. Naturally I return to my favorite seat and am greeted by members of the band with smiles and hello's. The show goes off normally until Bert enters. I remember the look in his eye as he passed me in the audience. I knew immediately that I was in for another shower and Bert didn't let me down. This went on for three shows until I ran into Bert in the employee restaurant one day when I made peace with him.

I will always have a place in my heart for all of the members of the Golden Horseshoe Review. Thanks to Fulton Burley, Betty Taylor (The one and only Slue Foot Sue); to Lucky and his band; to Wally Boag for the many laughs; to all the lovely dancers and especially to Bert (who later on also performed at the Diamond Horseshoe Review in Walt Disney World). Disneyland isn't the same without any of you.

Back to previous page


Important Notes

All opinions expressed on this page are those of the author and not necessarily those of the disneygeek or of this site.