Did you know St. Louis almost had a Disney theme park? Jiminy Cricket!
Shocking but true! Once upon a time in a land very far away (California in the 1960s), the big thinkers at Disney decided they wanted to expand their reach into the pocketbooks of ordinary Americans beyond the confines of southern California and into the Midwest.
I know it’s hard to believe today, but St. Louis was once considered an up-and-coming, bustling metropolis in the 1960s. The Arch had just opened and Busch Stadium was right behind it, bringing both football and baseball to downtown St. Louis. Boy, has that changed.
So it was a natural choice of Disney and company to open a theme park there to capture the market of all the people too poor to buy a jet airplane ticket for their families to the West Coast. Boy, has that changed too! (See Southwest Airlines.)
Evidently the backward, non-progressive thinkers of the time similar to the same ones today decided that St. Louis should never be at the forefront of progress, managed to kill off such a silly idea and keep St. Louis on its way to becoming a backwater (see Uber).
But if you think about it, in some ways St. Louis got its own version of a Disneyland theme park.
Some of the downtown derelict buildings remind me of the Haunted Mansion. Metrolink is our monorail. Driving in and around downtown on our Goofy interstate system is like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. On any given day you can see a real live shootout similar to the fake ones in Frontierland. And we routinely have fireworks (seemingly after every extra base hit) at Busch Stadium during Cardinals games.
The Rams have become a Mickey Mouse organization and you’ll have to admit that their play has also become a little, uh, Goofy. Amtrak is our Disneyland Railroad. Only the Disney one is more on time and doesn’t break down as often. And last but not least, the price of admission to some of these events is as expensive as a ticket to the Magic Kingdom — if not more.
So you see, in the end, we got what Disney had always wanted. A second-rate version you’d have to use your imagination with, but an unofficial version nonetheless. And if you were to talk to the powers that be at City Hall, they’d tell you what a fantastic job they’re doing despite the massive exodus of jobs, businesses and people over the decades. Which shows you they must be living in Fantasyland.
Congratulations to this month’s winner, Patti Flanigan. She correctly guessed that “T. = S. T. F.” was “Truth is Stranger Than Fiction.” The word “truth” was listed in last month’s column.
Here is next month’s puzzle: “B = the S. L. of the A.” As usual, at least one of the words is included somewhere in the column. If you think you know the answer, call the AdVantage News Answer Line at (888) 532-4441 or visit advnews.link/1TyHcSs before noon Tuesday.
Winners may choose a free lube and oil change from Drake Tire, a $26 value; or a $20 gift certificate to Tony’s Restaurant in downtown Alton, Gentelin’s or Jimmy the Greek’s on Broadway in Alton. Winners will be notified by telephone Tuesday and must pick up their prize before 5 p.m. at AdVantage News, 235A East Center Drive in Alton.
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