Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tomorrowland Murals, Nineteen Seventy Foo

Mary Blair's star certainly has risen over the last 10 or 15 years... before that, only true Disneyland and animation fans knew anything about her. Hard to believe! Nowadays a small gouache color study can fetch $8000 and more.

Her distinctive styling could once be seen primarily in "It's a Small World", the "Alice in Wonderland" dark ride, and on these murals that lined the Peoplemover corridor in Tomorrowland. The theme of these murals was, "The Spirit of Creative Energies Among Children". I used to think that the murals didn't really seem to belong in Tomorrowland, but to paraphrase on old chestnut, the future does belong to those little ankle biters, after all.

Even though it's on the shady side of the street, the sun still blazes on this mural! His face is more than a little reminiscent of the face of the clock on the front of "It's a Small World", don't you think? Throughout Disneyland's history, Walt Disney did various salutes to the children of the world (starting with the earliest Christmas parades); the theme obviously resonated with him in a big way. In these cynical times, it's hard to imagine that Walt was really that optimistic about the future, but I think that he truly did think that there would be a "great big beautiful tomorrow".


TokyoMagic! said...

Thank you for these wonderful pics, Major. I miss these as well as the architecture of that Tomorrowland. There are rumors that these murals are undamaged and just hidden beneath the newer murals. Well Major, you have a link to someone else's blog in your column on the right...."The Sacred Tree of the Aracuan Bird"....her second to the last post shows photos of the destruction that the larger mural went through, in order to hang the newer one. Just awful! I wonder if the missing tiles could ever be replicated.

Anonymous said...

it's what made the science fiction fantasy of "Flight to the Moon" actually was the can-do spirit of the age and Walt was himself no small candle in that light. Sure he had his practical hard bitten side, he was a real person and a dynamic one at that....a multi-fasceted gem that could have Frontierland on one front, Tomorrowland on another, Fantasyland at yet another....hard bitten enfant terrible on one turn and "you know, there's a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day" on another.

In their way the Blair Fair/Park projects, taken awkwardly at best by some, are as good an example as any at how singular the artist and the guy who supported the art were. Yeah I think a part of him believed in all that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the photos! I had long heard about these murals, but have not seen many pictures.

I have to say, as someone who doesn't have the personal sentimental attachment to them that others have, I think they are lovely--but I do think they are an odd fit in Tomorrowland. I would love to see them lovingly removed and restored over in Epcot World Showcase however--as I think they would be a beautiful fit there.

Based on pictures, I actually love the second set of murals now in Yesterland the best. These are the ones from the temporary Disneyland Paris opening era new Tomorrowland. I think they were gorgeous and had wonderful homages to past attractions. I can't believe they covered those with the boring as heck murals they have today.

Brer Dan

walterworld said...

Great shots of those fantastic murals. Quite a flashback for me; the Disneyland of the 70's was the one I grew up with and miss a lot.

Thanks for your always great posts!

Tinker Bell said...

Awesome photos, Major. How I wish these still remained. I'll have to be happy with my chunks of them in a box. RIP the Mural.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Gosh these murals sure are pretty…. I want them BACK!!!

Hey, I would love to make a speaker phone call from the glass booths, that’s so futuristic!

Anonymous said...