What Are Those Things? The Bizarre Instruments of the Dapper Dans


Few things feel as American to me as Main Street USA, and when on Main Street, I always make a point to visit my favorite citizens, the Dapper Dans! Their harmonies are stamped in time, yet also timeless. And they never fail to stick a song in my head.

Besides their charming voices, have you ever wondered about those bizarre instruments the Dapper Dans play with some of their songs? To me, they always feel like a combination of wind chimes and xylophones (minus the little wooden mallets).

Well, these things actually have a name. They are called Deagan Organ Chimes – patented by John Calhoun Deagan in 1900. Based on the Indonesian bamboo angklung, Deagan claimed his organ chimes were “universally conceded as being the greatest novelty instrument ever invented.”

The Deagan Organ Chimes were introduced to the Dapper Dans by Charles “Bub” Thomas, who was a founding member of the Dapper Dans at Magic Kingdom in 1971 (and he was a member of the Disneyland Dapper Dans prior to that). Thomas performed with the Magic Kingdom Dapper Dans for over 25 years.

Each member of the Dapper Dans holds/shakes/taps a different set of chimes – each with its own specific pitch range. Playing the full range of music for a song requires careful coordination among the group members, which the Dapper Dans always seem to do with the greatest of ease.

Have you ever tried one of these bizarre instruments? I would have loved to use one back in grade school!

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Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.