I encourage everyone to check out a superb recent story on Passport to Dreams Old & New about the various newspapers printed for Walt Disney World guests during the 1970s. It’s so good I’ll even forgive Foxx for beating me to the punch on the story.
But one of my favorite elements singled out in that story is something that has long amused me as well – the pen names under which various Disney newspaper columns were written in the 1970s. I’m thinking specifically of “Murph”, the mysterious author of the “Green Scene” golfing column. But, the story asks, who is the mysterious Murph? I was excited to find this question, because I knew the answer – at least, I thought I knew.
Murph rang a bell because I knew full well that there was a running column in Eyes and Ears, the Walt Disney World cast newspaper, during the 1970s that covered cast activities and intramural sports. The title? “Murph’s Sports Line.” Surely, I thought, this must be the same Murph – a sports-crazed cast member turned cub reporter that spent his time in the swinging seventies writing about the recreational activities onstage and off. But as I went to find a few key facts so I could post this tale, I came across a shocking discovery – MURPH WAS NOT MURPH!
At the last moment, I came across this passage in an Eyes and Ears from November 21st, 1975:
The EYES & EARS brings you “Murph’s Sports Line” each week. The “Line” is written by Thom Murphy of Cast Activities. Our sports column is not to be confused with the sports column “Green Scene” published in the WORLD NEWS by our Marketing Division and written by Craig Murray who uses the pen name of Murph.
Aha! So Murph wasn’t even Murph! For some reason, Craig Murray in the marketing department decided to swipe the manly yet mysteriously moniker for himself, leaving the actual, legitimate Murph – Thom Murphy – to have to explain himself in his own column!
I’m just so excited that, in the wonderfully mom-and-pop Walt Disney World of the 1970s, someone felt it necessary to sort this out. Don’t go thinking that this Murph is the same as that Murph! I wonder if Murph, for whatever reason, felt it necessary to disavow “Green Scene”? Perhaps he felt it so inferior that he needed to underscore that it was not his responsibility. Whatever the case, history must be grateful that they chose to clear things up.
Now the search begins for Mr. Murray and Mr. Murphy…
Here’s the entire page from the 1975 Eyes and Ears featuring Murph’s column; it really gives an idea of all the shenanigans that were constantly underway back in those days.