Friday, August 08, 2008

Three from 1956!

Some folks say that this photo shows the empty Storybook Land canal, empty because construction was still being done. There were NO charming miniature scenes of homes and villages from your favorite Disney animated features and Silly Symphonies (oh, and at least one "featurette"). Only dirt. The happiest dirt on earth, they say! But I know the REAL story... Monstro the whale drank the canal dry with one tremendous gulp! He swallowed at least 3 children, and if you listen closely, you can still hear their mournful cries.

"Honey, we need an organ. And everyone knows that the best name in organs is 'Wurlitzer'. Let's head on down to Disneyland and buy one today!". This scenario was probably repeated countless times through the years. If there's one thing I want to do when I go to Disneyland, it's shop for organs.

When I go to the movies, I arrive early in the day, buy one ticket, and then sneak into an additional five movies. I get home at about 1:30 a.m! The Main Street Cinema gave me the idea, only they did it one better by having six movies showing in one room. BRILLIANT! There's no scary Mr. Hyde or Phantom lurking outside the theater this day, but there is a scary little girl.

Best wishes to my co-worker and friend Ronnie Pirovino, who is in Jamaica getting married today.


TokyoMagic! said...

Wow! That shot of the Canal Boats "in transition" is priceless! Wurlitzer and Maxwell House...I can only remember back to when they were the Future Attraction Preview House and American Egg House....why isn't that still a restaurant? And correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Tobacco Shop Indian used to clutch cigars in his left hand and weren't they removed after the Tobacco Shop closed?

james said...

congrats to your friend! i am off to Jamaica in 12 days to get married as well... small world.

Anonymous said...

And I worked at the place when it was called Hill's Brothers Coffehouse and Whurlitzer was still there.

Chiana said...

Is there anything that says "turn of the (20th) century" more than having a Wurlitzer shop? Even tops the Tobacconist! No small feat, and it's approved by the Surgeon General. It's amazing to think they'd think an organ shop would "sell" much... do you suppose they did it mostly for the (brilliant!) ambiance?

That'd be cool to see today, a shop (or even a set-piece in a corner) where you'd see organs and pianos for homes as was popular then in the pre-recorded music/radio eras, where a guy and a lady might occasionally play one and recite in turn of the century style. Those kinds of things would be more interesting today than in 1955, precisely because we're further from it. Use it to advantage, I say.

Great slides, love 'em. "The happiest dirt on earth" hehe Major you're so funny. I always enjoy your sense of humor. :)

sundaynight said...

To understand the electric organ’s popularity I think you have to understand that the generation that bought them primarily came out of the 1920s and 30s. Remember a person born in 1930 was only 25 when Disneyland opened (which reminds me that some of Disneyland’s first visitors were alive in the 1890s!). They did a lot of listening to music in the pre-TV days and as rock and roll came on the scene they had a nostalgic tug to hear and create the music they remembered and loved. Electronic organs were touted as easy to learn. They were demonstrated by musicians and then sold to parents by throwing in free lessons for their kids. You might be surprised just how many times people at the Wurlitzer Shop became interested in buying an organ just because they heard someone play it beautifully. A Wurlitzer Shop on a typical city Main street would only get so much foot traffic, but a shop on Main Street, Disneyland would have the potential for thousands of people coming through.

Chiana said...

Interesting. Thanks for the perspective sundaynight!

Major Pepperidge said...

Yes, that was awesome, sundaynight! Nice job. I have very elderly relatives (in their 90's) who have a Wurlitzer organ in their basement rec-room. They are amazing, they play guitars, banjos, fiddles... I guess on farms you had to make your own entertainment.

Walt Disney was born in 1901, so people born in the 1890's were not that much older than him!