I used to visit my grandfather in Florida every summer when I was a kid. One of the first years I went was not long after Disney’s EPCOT Center opened in October 1982. I remember being fairly disappointed with EPCOT, which seemed like a bunch of boring stuff only adults would be interested in.
At the top of my “lame” list had to be Spaceship Earth (aka the Giant Metal Golf Ball). I didn’t give a rat’s ass about patting myself on the back for humanity’s achievements, I just thought escalators were more exciting to ride. Elsewhere, I remember there being way too much talking and way too many boring films to make it a very good theme park experience. I did think Figment was pretty neat, and brought home a stuffed toy in his horned, purple image.
One thing that resonated with me immediately, however, was an exhibit in a now long-gone section of EPCOT called The Land. No, not the greenhouses. It was a musical revue featuring animatronic food called Kitchen Kabaret.
The purpose of Kitchen Kabaret — at the time sponsored by Kraft Foods — was to teach kids and families about the four basic food groups and about eating healthy. All I knew was that it had singing fruit and vegetables, which totally rocked my world.
A show like this probably wouldn’t work with kids because it just seems so quaint compared to what TV, computers, and video games can offer. But for an eight-year-old back in the early ’80s, this was just about the pinnacle of entertainment. Hell, I still have my Kitchen Krackpots placemat.
Sadly, time marches on and the bluesy, Dixieland-fueled retro charm of Kitchen Kabaret was supplanted by a more edgy, rock-influenced show called Food Rocks in 1994.
So if you remember Kitchen Kabaret and want to revisit it, or if you have no earthly idea what I’m on about, behold! It’s the entire show, split into two YouTube videos. The show opens with the jaunty “Chase Those (Meal Time) Blues Away” by Bonnie Appetite and the Kitchen Krackpots, then segues into the more subdued “The Stars of the Milky Way” by Dairy Goods and his Stars of the Milky Way. Finally there’s the Andrews Sisters-esque pre-War stylings of the Cereal Sisters — Oats, Rice, and Corn — singing “Boogie Woogie Bakery Boy.”
The second video introduces the vaudeville comedy stylings of Hamm & Eggz, singing “Meat Ditties.” Up next is the Latin-flavored earworm “Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit” by Colander Combo and the Fiesta Fruit. I dare you to get that chorus out of your head after hearing it.
All good things must come to an end, and so Bonnie returns for the big finish, “Kabaret Finale,” where all the characters get to shine for one last medley. *sigh*
Finally, I leave you with a little gallery featuring most of Kitchen Kabaret’s cast.
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