Friday, September 21, 2007

Disneyland Helicopter Service

Here are a few more publicity stills from the 50's in glorious black and white.

I can't think of too many things that would be cooler than arriving at Disneyland via helicopter! Not only would you avoid those Southern California freeways, but you get to enjoy an aerial view of the park. I wonder if lucky guests were treated to a quick flyover to take it all in?

I'd love to know who these V.I.P's are...Walt himself is meeting them at the heliport (or rather, the parking lot). This is obviously an early photo, could this be from opening day? Perhaps these are just a few of the many specially invited guests.


This next one appears to have been taken at the dedication of the Columbia sailing ship, judging by the colonial costumes and striped-shirted sailors. Could that be Vesey Walker conducting the band? There's Art Linkletter at the lecturn, with Walt right behind him. They're surrounded by plenty of naval officers and their wives. At the moment everyone is listening to the music, my guess is that the band is playing, "Columbia, Gem of the Ocean", or maybe "Hail Columbia" (I know, those songs are not about the ship, but they still seem kind of appropriate).

Was this dedication ceremony televised? If so, has anybody seen it?

13 comments:

Matterhorn1959 said...

Wow very neat publicity stills. For the first image, that may be the lucky boy who won a boxcar full of pennies and a trip to Disneyland from Engineer Bill. Or it could be the winner of any a number of different contests that were being held in 1955 to 1960 time period. The second shot of the opening of the Columbia is amazing. The setting almost does not look like Disneyland until you take a close look at the building in the background and see that it is the two story Chicken Plantation restaurant.

Davelandweb said...

The buildings in the background of shot 2 are the string of buildings that currently house the Riverbelle Terrace. And Major - I actually think you have this photo flipped, if you compare it to other photos of that area. Great shots!

Major Pepperidge said...

Matterhorn, a kid won a BOXCAR full of pennies? Not a real boxcar, I assume. Bill Stulla (aka Engineer Bill) used to visit my grandmother when she was ill, they went to the same church. I met him only once, he was a very nice guy.

Daveland, you might be right about this being a flipped view, although I scanned an actual photo rather than a transparency. So it's somebody else's fault!

Matterhorn1959 said...

Dave- it was a real boxcar full of pennies. (Well at least the equivalent.) I will post the publicity photo tomorrow.

Davelandweb said...

Major - you would only be at fault if the word "Disneyland" showed up backwards; otherwise, you are legally off the hook!

Anonymous said...

Yup! It's flipped alright. You can tell because of the Navy uniform insignia and Art L's boutonniere (They are always on the left lapel.) However, during those days most publicity people would make sure the protagonis in a shot were facing right. Facing right is physiologically "looking forward", or a positive outlook. Just ask a few ad men about that. The same rule would apply to a flow chart.

Anonymous said...

In the first shot; I would be interested in the year. That looks like my car in the employee's parking lot. The half one on the right is a '49, the next one to the left is mine (I think), a '48 DeSoto. I worked there from '59 to '65, but sold the car in '61.

Anonymous said...

More evidence to the Columbia image being flipped: The left hand should be positioned to play the keys on the top half of a clarinet.

Anonymous said...

Its definitly flipped. The band leaders sword should be on the left side so he can grab it with his right hand.

Major Pepperidge said...

I'm sorry, but I require much more evidence before I'll believe that the second photo has been printed in reverse!

Don Ballard said...

That's Anaheim Mayor Charles Pearson to walt's left in the helicoptor picture. Pearson was Mayor until 1959.

BARBARA said...

Well, whether the picture is reversed or not I love it! The "sailor" on the right playing the clarinet is my late father-in-law Bernie Flymen. I love scouring the internet looking for photos of him and am always excited when finding a photo I have never seen before. Keep up the good work!

Alan said...

L.A. Airways did operate between LAX and the Disneyland Hotel for a period of time so don't think it's opening day.

As a young boy growing up within a few miles of Disneyland I thought it would be great to take the helicopter their instead of driving. Oh well, my parents saw it a different way.

I know after at least two helicopter crashes with fatalities the service was ended.

I did find this photo of an L.A. Airways helicopter with the Matterhorn in the background circa 1963.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:6308-340DisneyLandChopper-R.jpg