Daniel and the Dixie Diggers

From Cheese-E-Pedia

Daniel and the Dixie Diggers (5-Piece Quintet)

Daniel and the Dixie Diggers is a Sally animatronic show produced in 1982, the first of the company's Showmation ensemble shows.

It is considered by Sally themselves to be their most popular "animal band show," as it was installed in numerous venues across the world since it's inception in 1982. It is also the only show produced by Sally to have the most showtape content ever recorded, as well as the most in configuration options to date.

Historical Background

Initial Development

In the late 1970's, Sally Unlimited had their beginnings in producing primitive, animated figures of human caricatures. They were often modeled after real people (the namesake of the company, a woman named Sally, was one of the first of these to be modeled after), and were sold upon the request of clients across the U.S.

A portfolio of Tim Lawrence's work for Sally, including the earliest concepts for the Dixie Diggers.

Around that time, ideas about an ensemble cast of characters came about, primarily in the form of anthropomorphic dogs as part of a dixieland jazz band. Tim Lawrence, a designer that was based in Jacksonville at the time and worked for Sally in its early years, would have involvement in designing the earliest concepts of this show. Instruments envisioned for this show included a piano, a trumpet, a banjo, a saxophone, and a trombone. Some of the characters depicted in sketches and maquettes would closely align in design with the characters that would be present in the finalized show. Tim would leave Sally and Jacksonville in 1981 to pursue an animatronic career in California (allegedly AVG Technologies), halfway into the dixieland band's development. Janet Sherman, a former actress known for performing at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre in Jacksonville, joined Sally as the head of soundtrack and script production.[1]

It has been debated on who was the first client to request the Dixie Diggers, as two of the first installations would intertwine with each other in terms of timeframes. The current consensus is that Pizza Pizzazz Funtime Food Emporium, a family entertainment center in Ohio, was the first to be installed but did not publicly debut until May 28, 1982. The second of these installations, Mark Twain's Riverboat Playhouse in Kendall, FL would ultimately premiere before Pizza Pizzazz, marking the official debut of DATDD to be March 25, 1982.

From Quintet to Trio

For around eight years, Sally produced sets of Dixie Diggers shows with at least five characters for numerous venues. Around 1990, Whiteco (the former parent company of the Celebration Station chain of entertainment centers) requested an all-new interpretation of the show, to be paired with the Sally character of Jethro P. Hogg for their future locations. This variant would see the removal of Huck L. Berry and Sir Percival from the main cast, with the character of Colonel Beau becoming an alternative banjoist (a version of Beauregard with a banjo had already been present in Hank and Beau shows by this point). A total of 11 shows in this format were built exclusively for the chain, though several sets would be built for other venues as well.

Characters and Bios

Daniel T. Bones

(Singing Voice: Gene Hodges) The leader of his "motley group," Daniel grew up in a poor family that lived in a New York neighborhood (specifically, The Bronx). Claiming to have been an aspiring lawyer and even a mountain climber, Daniel has also been said to be a romantic lover in his childhood. As mentioned in the Trio segments, second-grader Daniel once met a girl named Becky, who he tried to impress with his gymnastic skills and interest in frogs. In his later years, he would leave his home in New York to form a musical group with friends that shared the same passion of performing dixieland jazz across the generations, with Daniel taking the lead as the pianist and head vocalist in many songs.

Colonel Beaufort T. Beauregard the III

(Speaking Voice: Doug Burel) Colonel Beauregard an elderly schnauzer who is the band's sole drummer (in the quintet and expanded shows), as well as the secondary banjoist (exclusive to the trio show) from Kentucky that loves to honor his family's roots in the Confederacy. Depending on whichever interpretation of the Dixie Diggers is being presented, Col. Beau's personality can range from making brief jokes to telling tales about his life, which are sometimes debated by the others to be false (in one case, he even spoke about an excerpt from Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn). No matter the interpretation, Beau has always expressed a love for dixie songs and nostalgia revolving around "fighting for the cause."


(Voiced by David Reeves) Based on the real life Louis Armstrong ("Satchmo"), Scratch is a brussels griffon from Kansas City who, as a child, wished to be the first astronaut to walk on the moon (according to the Trio segments) until Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin accomplished the feat in 1969. Despite his disappointment, he would later discover a love in the "horn," and sitting in on jam sessions on Twelfth Street. He also loves his spouse, Ernestine, despite her alleged "plump" weight. Although he primarily plays his trumpet in the band's many songs, there are times where Scratch sings (often as a solo) the blues and other familiar jazz numbers of the day.

Huck L. Berry

Named after Mark Twain's very own Huckleberry Finn, Huck was born on a family farm in the hills of North Carolina. The only thing he ever wanted as a young pup was a pinto horse for Christmas, but was given a wind-up car instead, much to his dismay. In his years after he joined the Dixie Diggers, Huck's homestead became less productive due to the decline in demand for milk and eggs, and the work on the farm proved to be tiresome to him. Aside from his career as the band's banjoist, his married life with Peggy Sue has said to have been just as great (even if he doesn't make any "big decisions"). He is one of two characters to only be seen in the quintet and expanded shows (the other being Sir Percival, see below).

Sir Percival

The "royalty of the group," Sir Percival is the only member of the Dixie Diggers not to originally hail from America but rather London, England. Whenever he's not playing his clarinet during songs, he may be perky enough to tell his "tall tales" to the other members, often followed by debate. He has never been to Alaska, though has claimed to have visited Australia to see its strange exotic animals. Because he does not appear in the trio version of the show (like Huck), his tall-tale personality and some details relating to his character would be recycled for Colonel Beauregard.


Mark Twain's Showboat

  • Mark Twain's Riverboat Playhouse: Kendall, FL
  • Mark Twain's Riverboat Playhouse: Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Paddlewheel Pizza Parlor: Groton, CT
  • Roll on America: Lancaster, MA (Show Relocation from Paddlewheel Pizza)

Standard Dixie Diggers Quintet

  • Adventureland Resort: Altoona, IA
  • Choo Choo Charlie's: Ontario, Canada
  • Dixie Dog Showtime: Phenix City, AL
  • Hersheypark: Hershey, PA
  • Little Squirt’s Sports Park (Squirty Worm): Lima, OH (Show Relocation from Pizza Pizzazz Funtime Food Emporium)
  • Rusutsu Resort: Hokkaido, Japan
  • Station Alpha Pizza Arcade: Pikeville, KY

Dixie Diggers Quintet + Mark Twain & Clem

  • Paddlewheel Casino: Las Vegas, NV

Dixie Diggers Quintet + Betty B. & Wally Wish

  • Merlin's Magic Kingdom (Skateland): Salisbury, MD
  • Pinocchio's Pizza & Family Fun: Bountiful, UT

Daniel and the Dixie Diggers with Jethro P. Hogg

  • Celebration Station #1: Oklahoma City, OK - (NF)
  • *Zuma Fun Center #2: Pineville, NC - (NF)
  • Celebration Station #3: Greensboro, NC - (NF)
  • Celebration Station #4: Austin, TX - (Flipped)
  • *Zuma Fun Center #5: South Houston, TX - (NF)
  • Celebration Station #6: Metairie, LA - (NF)
  • *Zuma Fun Center #7: North Houston, TX - (Flipped)
  • Celebration Station #8: Mesquite, TX - (NF)
  • Celebration Station #9: Clearwater, FL - (NF)
  • Celebration Station #10: Tulsa, OK - (Flipped)
  • Celebration Station #11: Memphis, TN - (Flipped)
  • Funtime, USA: Garden City, NY - (NF) (Later Relocated to Huckleberry Junction)
  • Huckleberry Junction: Genesee, MI - (NF) (Show Relocation from Funtime, USA)

Sally Official Key:

Not Flipped (NF): Facing stage, Jethro show on Left of DATDD Center Stage

Flipped: Facing stage, Jethro show on Right of DATDD Center Stage

*Former Celebration Stations acquired by Zuma Fun Center at the time of the list's creation.

Standard Dixie Diggers Trio

  • Family Kingdom: Myrtle Beach, SC (Show Relocation from Celebration Station Tulsa)
  • Kidz Zone: Greenville, NC
  • Roller Kingdom: Reno, NV (Show Relocation from Kidz Zone)


  • Quintet Installation? - Sang Bang Wool: South Korea (Claimed by John Wood)
  • Trio Installation? - Bolivia (Claimed by John Wood)
  • Trio Installation? - Spain (Claimed by John Wood)