I’ve never been fond of the boneyard aspect of Hollywood Studios. A bunch of old movie vehicles, rotting under the sun, always depressed me. It’s one thing when they’re just random street cars from some forgotten Christian Slater movie. But it’s something else entirely when they’re iconic vehicles from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, or Flight of the Navigator (you know: The classics).
|Sometimes they also torture old theme park icons.|
I hated riding the tram past a scuttled Snow Speeder or Jabba’s sail skiff. All the paint flaking off, bits and pieces falling off the side, gaping holes from armadillo burroughs, weeds sprouting up everywhere. This isn’t movie magic, this is the graveyard of childhood. If they don’t want to keep the things, give them to us. That sail skiff would look pretty sweet over my fullscale Sarlacc pit replica I built for my bedroom (don’t ask).
For a short time, the backlot boneyard also contained the tank from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. This is from the big action piece in the movie, a battle between Indy and the Nazis in the middle of the desert. You know doubt remember it as the second best of the Indy movies (though your memory is faulty; Temple of Doom is actually better than Last Crusade).
|The tank as seen in the movie. Note the pristine turret on the right. This tank is in top fighting order. The only thing that could defeat it is an archeologist with a rock.|
After a year or so, some bright young member of the Disney MGM Studios staff discovered an entire stunt show at the park that happened to feature Indiana Jones. They put two and two together, and before long, the tank had moved from the Boneyard to the exit of the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, where it was posed in menacing firing formation, surrounded by oil drums.
|The average lawn ornament for redneck Nazis.|
If you’ve never seen it, it’s probably because you exited on the right rather than the left. The tank is very close to the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost shop. The only downside is that aside from the new pose, the tank looked exactly the same as when it was in the Boneyard. Which is to say, it was rusted over and falling apart, with rubber treads decaying like a zombie muppet.
Today I’m happy to report that the entire tank (and its surrounding area) have been completely refurbished.
|As Belloq might say: “It’s beautiful!” Aside from that right turret. Kids, before firing your tank, please make sure somebody has not jammed a rock in the barrel.|
I have not seen this mentioned anywhere online yet, so this might be a real bona fide scoop (but probably not; I’m usually not fast enough to beat the really great Disney news sites). I’m not sure how recent this change is, but it has to be within the last month or so. The tank has been completely repainted and spruced up. No sign of rust anywhere. It has also gained several battle props, including a new machine gun nest.
|It’s either a machine gun nest, or a very elaborate trap to catch gun-loving rodents.|
It looks really great, and I am simply thrilled that they actually devoted the time to cleaning this up, as opposed to passing it off as a “real” movie prop. Perhaps they didn’t want Lucas to see it in disrepair when he inevitably shows up for Star Tours 2.
|It still cracks me up that Disney will go to great lengths to duplicate the German insignia, yet stop four lines short of drawing a swastika.|
Original tank image provided by Kevin Eddy via Flickr.