James Jay Edwards

Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story Is a Disney Story Even Hardcore Disneyphiles Might Not Know

(Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story, Defunctland)

James Jay Edwards reviews Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story, a documentary about a Star Wars-adjacent KISS-inspired band that rocked the Space Stage in Tomorrowland at Disneyland during the summer of 1981.

 

Anyone who hung out around Disneyland during the summer of 1981 might have been lucky enough to catch a show by the band Halyx. The rest of us have to settle for Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story.

For the uninitiated, which is most of us, Halyx was a band formed by the Disney machine to cash in on the Star Wars science fiction craze. They had a residence at The Space Stage in Tomorrowland near the newly opened Space Mountain, and they basically played typical eighties-sounding hard rock music. But the players were anything but typical. The bass player was a seven-foot-tall Wookiee-Abominable Snowman type of thing. The keyboard player was a robot on a mobile cart surrounded by his synthesizers. The percussionist was an acrobatic amphibian whose main purpose in the stage show was to antagonize the burly bass player. The rest of the band consisted of humans, but still. Aliens and robots playing rock and roll!

 

(Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story, theatrical release poster, Defunctland)

For one summer. From June until September 1981. Then they just … disappeared. Until now. The film was originally conceived as a piece for the YouTube channel Defunctland, but as the research unfolded, producer Kevin Perjurer and director Matthew Serrano realized that they needed more than the channel’s usual 12-40 minutes to tell the story. So, after a wildly successful Indiegogo campaign, the Halyx phenomenon could be done justice as a feature documentary.

Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story tracks down most of the band members, a bunch of the behind-the-scenes Disney people, and even a handful of Halyx “superfans,” of which there were about thirty. And it all comes together to tell a fascinating story that really has to be seen to be believed. Halyx had the power of Disney behind it, so the musicians were top-notch, the music was flawless, and the production values were impeccable. Mike Post (yes that Mike Post, the one who wrote the themes to Hill Street Blues and The A-Team) was the man behind the curtain, handling production duties and assembling the band, and the show had the power of Disneyland Records behind it. So, what could possibly go wrong?

 

(Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story, Defunctland)

Like any Behind the Music type of a deep dive, Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story shows the rise and fall of the group, a process that unfolded in less than a year. Through interviews with the principals, the movie tells the story from the inception of the concept, goes through the audition and “casting” process, and covers the show itself. And that’s when the group may have gotten too big for the Magic Kingdom, disbanding (to the disappointment of the members) soon after the recording of their first (unreleased) album.

And then, Halyx was a footnote. The album is lost, with Post claiming to have tossed the tapes because he’s not a hoarder (although one of the other Disney execs appears to have a test pressing, so maybe someday …?). A few songs show up in the movie, as does some amateur video footage, but because it was the early eighties, all of the archival records of Halyx are rough, both visually and aurally. Even the costumes were left to rot away in the Disney vaults. Just another blip of the massive Disney radar, lost in time as bigger and better trends rolled along.

 

(Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story, Defunctland)

But Halyx was made to find a cult following. Perjurer and Serrano were surprised to find that, yes, some people actually remembered the band, and remembered them fondly. And now, with Live from the Space Stage: A Halyx Story, the group of space misfits will find even more of a following, and maybe fans will eventually get that album. Provided Mike Post didn’t throw away the only master of it.

 

TRAILER:

 

FULL MOVIE:

 

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