Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Frontierland 1960

Atom bombs were always going off in the old days, and this photographer managed to take two pictures just as bombs were going off behind him. What are the odds? I'm guessing that there are more than a few readers of this blog who never had a chance to see Fort Wilderness. There were no thrilling rides or animatronic figures, no interactive holograms or genetically engineered dinosaurs. And yet it still managed to give one's imagination a kick in the butt... for people who had, by that time, digested a zillion hours of movie and TV westerns, this place felt real. My favorite feature is the SECRET ESCAPE (complete with a big sign informing you that it is a secret) that took you to the river, just in case the Indians managed to set fire to the place with their flaming arrows. Next to that doorway was a large triangle ("Come and git it!") for kids to beat upon endlessly, I think I see two little boys making a racket.


Wow, there are a whole lot of people watching the friendly Indians dancing. Just look at that crowd! In fact, the crowd is the best part of this photo (I say that after viewing endless Indian Dance pictures), I get a kick out seeing the crew cuts on the little boys, and Betty Crocker hair-dos on the women (except for the girl with the long auburn tresses in the lower right), and the stripes and plaids and baseball caps (not to mention at least two Keppy Kaps). If you look closely, there is not a bored face in the bunch!

12 comments:

tokyo magic! said...

Doesn't that first photo also show the part of the fort that had the "peek-in" scene with Andrew Jackson, Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen?

Chiana said...

Nope and not a board face here. Looking at the pic of the dance, Fort Wilderness looks so amazing in the wild treed horizon doesn't it? Those humans on the top there between the towers shielding their eyes look like they might be watching the dance all the way over there. Bet they're entertained, and here they're supposed to be on guard.

Look there's red headed Lucille Ball on the bleachers shielding her eyes from the blast er sun (hey they both have radiation right? Close enough then).

Bet a lot of people enjoyed that. Mores the pity they don't have any of that, the "village," the dance, and wasn't there was a long house kind of building too. Are we moving so far from America of the frontier heritage now? Maybe but I think done right all the more reason people might enjoy more of the frontier in Frontierland.

Silly question. Is the dance circle painted asphalt or concrete or painted on clay or something and did they have to repaint it a lot?

You know I'd be one of those people who'd have to use the Secret Exit down to the river. Just couldn't resist and go out the normal way hehe

Another question. Was anything behind the stockade back then that you could walk to or just the path out?

Major Pepperidge said...

Tokyo Magic, you are correct, that is where you could see the "wax" Davy Crockett and pals.

Chiana, there was a whole Indian Village next to the Dance Circle, with examples of various traditional Indian dwellings (the long house was a "birch bark lodge"). The circle itself was painted concrete, looks like it needs to be touched up in this photo! And the secret exit took you down to a path that you could take to Teeter Totter Rock, the Suspension and Pontoon bridges, Castle Rock, Injun Joe's cave, and more cool stuff.

Viewliner Ltd. said...

These pics just feel good. Just having fun, without having to buy plush toys.

tokyo magic! said...

I had heard that those figures were wax, but now I'm wondering how they kept them from going soft in the summer heat? From what I remember, in the later years there were only open bars over the doorways.

Disneyland Paris has similar "peek-ins" in their Frontierland stockade. Now that I think of it....the stockade at the entrance to Disneyland Paris' Frontierland is very similar to our Fort Wilderness. It has a finished backside and a complete upper level with guest access. You have to walk through the fort and out the back gates to enter the rest of their Frontierland.

walterworld said...

Beautiful shots these. I'm glad I had the chance to take my kids over to TS Island in the early 90's when teeter totter rock was still in place and you could shoot the rifles in the stockade towers.

Too bad things have been dumbed down so bad...

And dang am I sick of pirate this and pirate that.

Multiplane said...

Sure miss Fort Wilderness. It always seemed like a place really “away” from Disneyland. Of course what kid could resist going down the “secret escape”. I remember seeing it on a Disneyland TV program as a kid and making a mental note to run down it the next time I was at Disneyland. Also, I believe the fort was the only place in Disneyland where you could buy large dill pickles. Anyone else have that memory?

Major Pepperidge said...

Multiplane, your recollection about the pickles is interesting because I was not aware of anything ever being sold on Tom Sawyer Island. I wonder if there IS anybody else who remembers that? Thanks for sharing!

outsidetheberm said...

Oh yes, there were indeed a few little snacks (and trinkets) you could buy there. -- And the pickles were always the best! Perhaps a good part of that was due to the delightful atmosphere...

Tokyo Magic! said...

I just checked an old DL guide and the snack stand is listed as "Fort Wilderness Snack Bar - brownies, coffee, cider, lemonade and other cold beverages"....but I definitely remember the large dill pickles as well. Also listed on Tom Sawyer Island is "Fishing Pier Snack Stand - featuring ice cream novelties, frozen freeze and assorted chips (open holiday periods and summer season only)". This was located on the east side of the island near the exit to Injun Joe's Cave. Just FYI :)

mr wiggins said...

> I believe the fort was the only place in Disneyland where you could buy large dill pickles. Anyone else have that memory? <

Yes. The best pickle times were late mornings on summer days that promised to be blazingly hot, just as the Park got that 10:45-and-it's-getting-crowded feeling, just before heading back to the DLH for lunch, a swim and a nap -- that was the time for the still-cool Island and the Fort Wilderness snack bar's enormous cookies and cold dill pickles. Then to a shady spot on a rock on the east bank, just south of the fence that barred you from Indian Territory, to munch them. And always, extra cookies to feed the ducks and coots, while watching them bob in the big wake of the Mark Twain and the little wake of the Keelboats, and waving to the folks in the canoes. You'd look at your watch and it'd be 10:55. Look five minutes later and it'd be 12:30.

Magic.

Anonymous said...

Great memeories for sure. My parents would drop me off at the raft dock and I'd promise to return in 1 hour or so. Never seemed to make it back at the time promised. Just way too much to do and lose oneself in childhood imagination. As yes, I do recall a snack stand in the fort. All that appears gone now.

As for those pickles, I remember the Market House on Main Street having some good ones. You could pick one out of the barrell. Never have found one that tasted better since then.