Cranium Command was a show featured in Epcot's Wonders of Life pavilion between 1989 and 2007.
The preshow consisted of an animated segment directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise (who would later direct Beauty and the Beast and The Hunchback of Notre Dame) featuring General Knowledge (voiced by Corey Burton) briefing his "Cranium Commando" troops on their mission: to pilot human brains and keep the people they're in out of trouble. A bumbling little soldier named Buzzy (Scott Curtis) has been given one of the most difficult missions of all: piloting a twelve-year-old boy.
The main show is presented in a theater which is designed to represent the inside of a human head; the outside world is seen on video displays where the eyes would be. Buzzy is an Audio-Animatronic on an articulated seat so that he can move around during the performance. Helping him pilot the twelve-year-old (also acted by Scott Curtis), via appearances on other video screens, are various organs—the logical Left Brain (Charles Grodin), the wacky Right Brain (Jon Lovitz), the hungry Stomach (George Wendt), the panicky Bladder (Jeff Doucette, in an uncredited role), the Adrenal Gland (Bobcat Goldthwait) who is prone to overreacting, and the heart's Right and Left Ventricles (Dana Carvey and Kevin Nealon, reprising their Hans and Franz roles from Saturday Night Live). The Hypothalamus (voiced by Kirk Wise), which regulates autonomic bodily functions, is represented via Audio-Animatronics as a robot.
The show takes Buzzy's host through a typical day: getting up, skipping breakfast, running to school, meeting a cute girl (Annie, played by Natalie Gregory), getting involved in a food fight at lunch, getting sent to the principal (Kenneth Kimmins), and being thanked by the girl, then kissed. At each point in the day, the various organs of the body talk to Buzzy and explain the problems they're facing.
Cranium Command provides examples of the following tropes:
- Apathetic Teacher: Bobby's Chemistry teacher seems to be one of these:Chemistry Teacher: Alright my little monsters, let's create...
- Anthropomorphized Anatomy: To aid (and confuse) Buzzy in his tasks are the various organs, all depicted as people on screens.
- Barbaric Bully: Chad and Rico are typical thuggish bullies who don't respond to the Left Brain's logical appeals.
- Berserk Button: The Adrenal Gland is a literal version of this.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Right Brain is a textbook example of this trope:Right Brain: We're gonna get the salt mines, I tell ya! The curtain! The big house! Maybe even prison!
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: If you fail to successfully pilot a human, you get relegated to piloting chickens.
- Crush Blush: Bobby blushes when he meets AnnieSensory Report: Blush Factor 6.5 Captain.
- Crush Filter: As observers inside the head, we get a rare internal view of this; Frankie Avalon plays inside the brain as loveheart lighting appears and love hearts appear on the screens.
- Deadpan Snarker: The Hypothalamus has his moments:Hypothalamus: Madam, you forgot your child. Oh that's your husband, I'm very sorry. I mean that.
- Dean Bitterman: Averted with Principal Hardcase - despite his name, he's actually a reasonable guy,
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: General Knowledge is a stereotype of this trope, but underneath it all, he's actually a nice guy.
- Education Through Pyrotechnics: When distracted by right brain daydreams about Annie in chemistry class Bobby accidentally mixes a combustible concoction that catches fire.
- Expy: Left and Right Ventricle are expies of Hans and Franz from Saturday Night Live.
- Ghost in the Machine: The whole premise; with anthropomorphized versions of body parts acting like a military unit.
- The Heist: sometime in early August 2018, the animatronic for Commander Buzzy was reportedly stolen from Cranium Command, which had sat unused since 2007. Although Disney has yet to publically comment on the theft, a police report supposedly filed by Disney lists the animatronic as weighing 300 lbs and worth over $100,000, which means that the list of suspects who could have gotten in and out without anyone noticing is very short. The theft and subsequent "man"hunt sparked a flurry of posts on twitter and youtube, all attempting to "Save Buzzy".
- However, an Incident Report, dated December of 2018, states that it was Buzzy's Personal Items that had been stolen, not the Buzzy Animatronic itself. These consist of his Hat, his Jacket and his Hands. Buzzy's items have, as of writing (March 2019), yet to be found.
- Hypocritical Humor:General Knowledge: TAKE CHARGE LUNKHEAD! BE CALM, COOL, COLLECTED, SERENE, BALANCED, CENTRED AND RELAXED. LIKE ME!!!
- Ivy League for Everyone:Left Brain: We'll probably be put on suspension for this. We can kiss Harvard good-bye.
- Jerk Jock: The musclebound Ventricles come across as this at times:Left Ventricle: Ja, you're a pathetic girly-man.
Right Ventricle: You're a girly-man, loser, and pathetic.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When you're ordered to hurry up and get into the theater.General Knowledge: Hey, you goldbricks, this ain't a spectator sport! Where do you think you are? Disney World?
- Little Professor Dialogue: Bobby takes this to an extreme when Left Brain takes the helm.
- No Inside Voice: Goes hand in hand with General Knowledge's drill sergeant character. The Adrenal Gland also counts, his only tone of voice is a panicked scream. (He is played by Bobcat Goldthwaite, after all.)
- "No Talking or Phones" Warning: At the beginning of the pre-show, General Knowledge tells the audience "There will be no flash photography or video taping and no smoking in here!"
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: At the end of the show, General Knowledge states that he doesn't have anyone to pilot the chicken. This implies that all the other unqualified recruits from the preshow also managed to successfully pilot their brains.
- One-Track-Minded Hunger: As expected, the stomach is solely concerned by food, or the lack thereof:Stomach: Say now, Captain, I'd be willing to call it even if you could just toss a little bit of food into the old dumpster. Whaddya say?
- Parental Bonus:Ventricles: Listen to us now and believe us later. If we were 30 years older, we'd be attacking you right now.
- Potty Emergency: Implied in a throwaway joke. Presumably taken care of during the shows sole Time Skip.Illumination: Bladder reading at 9.9 sir.Buzzy: We can hold it.
- Punny Name: General Knowledge.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The free-associating, cloudcuckoolander Right Brain is a Red Oni to Left Brain's cool, logical Blue Oni.
- Stern Teacher: The scary female teacher who sends Bobby to the Principal's office.
- Those Two Guys: The Ventricles.