Saturday, May 16, 2009

Main Street '56

I've got a trio of Main Street images for you today!

First up is this photo taken aboard the Horse Drawn Streetcar. Yep, that's a horse's butt alright! And what's that mysterious thing that looks like a taxi meter in the upper left? Anyway, this is one of those "you are there" photos that I get such a kick out of. Main Street looks pretty uncrowded, this must be during the off season. Not a child to be seen!

With those ladies sitting on the benches in the foreground, it would be easy to mistake this for a photo of some real small town City Hall. But we know better! There is a sign with a couple in front of it (to the left), any clue what that is? And there is another small sign at the base of the second column from the left directly in front of City Hall. Another illegible mystery.

Sorry that this one is blurry... it's getting dark, but people seem to be lining up to ride the two Horseless Carriages. Don't the vehicles get put away when it's dark? Meanwhile, the lights have been turned on, making Main Street one of my favorite places to be in the park.


City Hall said...

The sign at the base of the column looks like a newspaper stand. Aren't those newspapers in a rack above it? The large sign with the people in front looks like a map. They seems to be comparing with a handout map, possibly waiting for a tour to start.

TokyoMagic! said...

I agree....I think that is a map. Wasn't there one similar to that in front of the castle for a short period? I also think those are newspapers in a stand in front of the pole. Didn't the park have it's own newspaper that was given out or sold back in the early years?

Chiana said...

Goodness but that middle pic does feel "authentic." Hey an empty bench! One of you mosey over and bring back the paper and we'll sit and chat a spell. :)

Matterhorn1959 said...

Both City Hall and Tokyo Magic are correct.

Thufer said...

i agree with Chiana, the second picture is simply amazing.

Katella Gate said...

Hmm... no children. Perhaps the Baroness Bomburst has sent the Child Catcher ahead to clear the way for her visit?

Ron Schneider said...

The Trolley's 'taxi meter' is a period-style passenger counter. Just before starting each trip, the conductor would pull a lever once for each person on board, incidentally ringing a little bell.

Chiana said...

Thanks Ron for the tidbit. I hear a little bell and the clopping of hooves... ah me. *ding*

A sort of tangent thought on Main St. It's interesting to me how well it reflects its ideas esp. as distilled in that center pic and a few other gems the Major's posted here.

Now I suspect it'd be a lot different in feel. The other Main Sts in later parks have a different feel to an extent, and they're not as far removed from Disneyland's time. Main St. wasn't done by elaborate and super expensive effects or development, but through something irreplaceable; the sense for the idea that only Walt and the people working with him at the time would have. Absolutely simple. Street, square, certain buildings, simple landscape, bench, cheap chicken wire fence. But arranged "just so," context is everything. Completed for perhaps the last era of guests who would look at all "right" in the setting. In the middle pic, these ladies and the folk across the street still gell with scene.

Come the '70s and most were so casual and a different kind of casual. Turn of the century "small town" America is somewhat foreign to them.

But what's more it's really hard to imagine the Main St. concept ever occurring to begin with now, let alone passing any marketing-minded review. Even if we're talking an equiv.; would we have seen Mr. Iger's New York? Sure there was Hollywood street for MGM Dis Studios but would we even have that without Main St. being ingrained in the minds of park designers? Some things that make Disneyland so effective are because it was conceived and in some measure designed/guided by an individual person. Main St would only have come from an individual designing to make something for himself in a way that may be enjoyed by others, not a person or team working for a company to make things for others to buy.

Thanks for the space for the blab. Carry on Maj! :)

Major Pepperidge said...

Chiana wins the "comment of the week" award, wowee! A very thoughtful mini essay, seriously. Thanks!

And thanks to the other commenters who added just a bit more information to my knowledge of Disneyland.