Friday, April 24, 2009

A Trip To Disneyland, July 1958 - Part Twelve

At long last, our 1958 trip to Disneyland brings us to Tomorrowland! I admit that it is my favorite land of all, which might seem like heresy to some.

There it is, looking like a mirage. But it won't vanish as you get closer like they always do in cartoons!


See what I mean? Now that's a moon rocket! Sure, the Saturn V actually launched people to the moon, but it didn't look as cool as the Moonliner. Disneyland's version was about 80 feet tall, but I seem to recall reading that it was a scale model of the proposed 300 foot tall rocket. Now THAT would be impressive!


There's something going on over at the Flight Circle! A curious crowd has been drawn by the whine of tiny gasoline engines. Let's take a closer look...


Hey, it's hard to take a clear picture from a moving Skyway bucket. But we can just make out four guys in white shirts, two of whom are actually performing at the moment. Looks like they might have model planes on wires, and they are spinning around in tandem. Didn't they get dizzy?

16 comments:

Chiana said...

How neat. :) Aren't we lucky we have this person's pics instead of the guy taking the picture in the top picture. We've got the grander view

'The TWA Rocket: A Million Necks Crinked, Since 1955.'

Flight Circle. Hi CoxPilot! A wave out to you. Many guests are standing despite having a chair near behind 'em. A good sign they're enjoying the display. Cowboy quartet in the back (suspect that's a babe alert, yellow dress to our front left of the flight circle). What's the building to the left of the circle behind the covered seating?

TokyoMagic! said...

Love the "attraction" poster for the DL Hotel in the second and third photos!

James, Stephanie & Kayley said...

This has nothing to do with anything, but in the first pic...I always get stuck behind a family like that in Disneyland! They walk in a straight line, taking up the entire walkway...and you can't get around them...and you can't get through them... So annoying! Arrrgh!

CoxPilot said...

Only inexperienced pilots would get dizzy. They are performing dog fighting with the planes. A paper strip was on each tail of the plane, and the object was to cut you opponents. Out in the center is George Molitor on the right, and Bart Klapinski on the left. Closer in, on the left with his head down, is Keith Palmer. And in the shade . . . me.

So far, this is the best shot of the Thimble Drome Show. It is the next to the last event. The finale being Keith would fly three P-40 Flying Tigers at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Wow, CoxPilot. Wish I could have seen you guys do your demonstration. I was wondering if any planes ever accidentally took off over the fence?

210Frwy said...

I think Disney should take a piece of DCA and build an exact replica of Tomorrowland as it was in 1957. Why not? Even have the Rocket to the Moon ride and all the exhibits. I would pay money to see it!

mr wiggins said...

> Out in the center is George Molitor on the right, and Bart Klapinski on the left. Closer in, on the left with his head down, is Keith Palmer. And in the shade . . . me. <And in the summer of '58 there would have been a 10-year-old kid watching you guys, with a death grip on the fence as his parents tried to drag him away. That would've been me.

;)

CoxPilot said...

To answer the Q about the building on the left; You see a fence with yellow squares? That's the gate to the behind-the-scenes area, and the windows are the backside of the Red Wagon Inn (Plaza Inn) which was the employee cafeteria.

About the planes getting away; There were lots of times during the dog fight part that one plane would cut the lines of the other. For that reason, we would use braided steel line for the first three feet from the plane. However; it still happened.

One time the lines just broke and slammed right into the fence in front of a man sitting in a wheel chair. (It happened just under that tree on the right.) It managed to wedge itself into the chain link while the engine was still running. He promised he wouldn't complain if we gave him the plane. We complied.

Another time the largest plane (a model of a Piper Comanche, which we had on all double steel line because of the power involved, and would set the engine at rich mixture to slow it down) decided to "lean out" because of the summer heat. It double it's speed around the circle and broke it's lines and did several barrel roles over the fence and down towards the main entrance towards the clock. It smashed directly into the Bell Telephone big blue logo sign and shattered it.

We even had a plane get away outside the berm, and several weeks later a guest came to use with it asking for repairs. He said he found it on the 5 freeway.

I believe this is why the new tomorrowland never included another model plane demo.

CoxPilot said...

Correction: After looking at the larger photo, I wanted to take it back that that building is the cafeteria. I believe it's the small one story building that was used as first aid in the early days. However; behind the first aid building was the one story that housed records where cards, badges were issued. I would have to look closer at an arial view.

Major Pepperidge said...

CoxPilot, I am very happy that you can identify all of the Flight Circle personnel in that photo. Amazing! And super cool that you can see yourself. Who knows, someday we might get lucky and find a photo that is actually sharp, clear - - and close up!

walterworld said...

Dang, a very rich post indeeed.

I'm back in the 60's. Thanks Major and Cox Pilot!

Nancy said...

these are great!

Tomorrowland is my kind of place, its such a happy place.... :D

thanks, CoxPilot, for sharing your first-hand account...lucky you!!

CoxPilot said...

I worked with those guys long enough to recognize their body language. We also went to school together.

The real thrill is that I can see it all from other's eyes. We never realized, back then, the impact we were having on so many. We were just a bunch of young guys having fun, and knew we were lucky to do it. Thanks to these blogs, I can see it again.

I haven't been back to Disneyland since early '92, so my memories stop there. WDW just isn't the same.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing those great memories CoxPilot!

Chiana said...

Wow thanks for the reply CoxPilot. Aaaw now those were good times. Something appealingly tangible about things like this at the park then. Love to have seen you and your coworkers/friends put on a fun show and enjoy your replies which help make it so much more involving.

CoxPilot said...

You can see part of the show (as performed at the Pamona Fair) in the Wally Wins His Wings film posted on Daveland.

http://davelandweb.com/tomorrowland/flightcircle.
html

the larger plane held by Keith and George is the one that broke away at Disneyland.