Monday, December 08, 2008

Matterhorn Christmas, 1972

Ah, the good old days, when a giant star sprouted from the peak of the Matterhorn each holiday season! From what I could glean on the interweb, the star was 24 feet high, and made its debut in December 1961. And it was made of marzipan. Look at that thing, it's just plain big. And since this photo is from nineteen sebenty foo, everyone in the picture is groovy. Groovy, do you hear??


Here's a closer look at the star from the Submarine Voyage queue. Notice the rectangular Skyway buckets, gliding rectangularly. Disneyland stopped using the star sometime in the 70's (I couldn't find the exact year, but I'll bet somebody else knows!) due to the "energy crisis". My guess is 1973 or '74. I can only imagine that with today's technology (fiber optics, LEDs), another star could be produced that would be even more spectacular, yet use much less energy.

14 comments:

Chiana said...

Groovy!

(gah! what happened! ...whatever it was, we're still in it).

That is something. A jack, and no marble in sight... ah well if they'd continued the tradition, they could've complimented it with a giant white marble sphere on Space Mountain. That would be ah... groovy. :)

TokyoMagic! said...

I never got to go to the park at Christmas until sometime after they stopped putting the star on the Matterhorn, so I missed seeing it, darn it! Someone told me that they remember it rotating. Does anyone else remember that?

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

(a) How did they get that Star up there each year? (b) I want to see the box they kept in! and (c) where is that star now?????

TokyoMagic! said...

There is a photo on page 70 of the the book, "Disneyland The First Quarter Century" that shows the star being lowered into place onto the Matterhorn (with Santa standing on a ladder at the very top guiding it!) Unfortunately, you can only see wires holding the star...you can't tell how large of a crane was used....but I'm assuming it had to be a big one!

Major Pepperidge said...

I actually like the idea of a giant white marble sphere on top of Space Mountain! Sounds kind of pretty. Either that or make it a mirrored disco ball.

TokyoMagic, now that you mention it I think I've heard that the star rotated too, but I can't seem to verify it.

CoxPilot said...

http://www.matterhorn1959 .com/blog1/christmas2.jpg

The above link is from Stuff from the Park, and shows the crane lifting the star. I was there watching it go up, and it was HUGE. The picture shows the star about half way up, so you can get an idea of the size (24 feet across). You could see the light from the freeway for quite a distance.

CoxPilot said...

opps. forgot to say that you have to take out the space after "1959" after the link is pasted in.

Major Pepperidge said...

Cool link, CoxPilot, thank you! Do you have any memory of the star slowly rotating??

Nancy said...

interesting stories...here is a little thing i found on a MiceChat page that seems to be a bit informative

"I never saw the star, but I read a story about it in Van Arsdale France's book "A Window on Main Street" that has stuck with me.

I don't remember the exact wording but it basically said that the year that Walt died, or the year after, some engineer was having trouble getting the star to turn. He was complaining and saying that it couldn't be fixed for some reason. Then another engineer said to him, "It would be turning if Walt were alive".

They got it turning again."

would be kinda neat to see it up there again...im still put up my silver aluminum tree in my office!

nice posts, Major, and everyone else as well : )

Major Pepperidge said...

Thanks Nancy, that's a great story, and a great piece of info!

Anonymous said...

The "star" decidedly did not (ever) rotate. Honest.

CoxPilot said...

Anonymous is correct. The star did NOT turn. However; I believe the lights alternated off and on to create a "flickering" effect. This created an look of movement too. We all loved the star, but it was expensive to mount, and we heard that it was discontinued for that reason.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

WOW, tons of info on the "Star"... neat stuff.... But, well, where did the star end up? That thing looks pretty big to just disappear? Is there a giant warehouse somewhere that has all this stuff stored away? Or did they just junk it like so many other things?

CoxPilot said...

I remember seeing it behind the scenes for quite a few years. It was stored outside next to the paint department barn which ran along West Street (now S. Disneyland Dr.) However; after a while it was gone. I think it may have been scrapped.