Friday, July 24, 2009

Christmas in July

Man oh man, it has been hot lately! As an antidote to the heat, let's look at some rainy Christmas parade photos from 1964.

There's the '64 tree, strangely placed in front of City Hall instead of right in the middle of Town Square. At least that's how it looks in this photo! Any idea what that wooden scaffolding might be for?

Yep, it's a Christmas parade. Folks sure liked taking pictures of the parades! In this case, we are in Frontierland, and you can see large bleachers have been constructed in the background. I admit that I would have climbed to the top and then looked at the construction for New Orleans Square (camera in hand, of course). This float has been "repurposed" from the 1959 parade involving the dedication of the Matterhorn, Monorail, and Subs.

Here's a jpeg that I scrounged from somewhere a while ago; it's the original concept art for this float. The final version was pretty faithful!

There are the famous wooden soldiers. Ha ha, I can see their underwear!

And it wouldn't be a parade at Disneyland without colorful costumes from people around the world. I think these lovely ladies represent Italy.

And last, but not least, my favorite of the bunch. To our right, in the shiny hat, is Saint Nicholas himself. Perhaps this parade didn't have the more familiar Haddon Sundblom Santa that we all know from those old Coca Cola ads. But who is that menacing, devilish figure to the left? It's Krampus, who "acts as an anti-Saint Nicholas where instead of giving gifts to good children, he gives warnings and punishments to the bad children." He is often portrayed with a long red tongue, as seen here. Is that cool or what?


TokyoMagic! said...

Okay, Major....I had to look up Krampus because I wasn't sure if you were kidding or not. That thing is pretty scary! What's he doing at Disneyland? Thank you for sharing these. I love vintage parade pics.

That tree is where it usually sits, at the northern point of Town Square, across from the Emporium. I wonder what they did with the drinking fountain and the bag of C & H Sugar?

TokyoMagic! said...

P.S. I wonder if the scaffolding was for some sort of tree lighting ceremony? It looks like a mini gallows though.

Chris Merritt said...

Cool concept art! Looks like a Bruce Bushman to me...

Anonymous said...

I've heard that until the mid-Sixties the Disney Corporation used to hang criminals in the Town Square – could the scaffold by the Christmas tree perhaps have been a part of this gruesome practice from a less enlightened time?

Caspian said...

Thanks, Major. You cooled me right down.


outsidetheberm said...

Now, these are fascinating - love 'em! But then, I love the rain too.

Thank you, Major!

Chiana said...

That scaffolding is there because the tallest person they could find was only 68 feet tall, even after trying the NBA. The tree being a wee bit taller, the fellow needed another 10' to put the crystal star on top, and even then he got it a little crooked because the scaffolding was rickety.

They probably would have built a taller, more robust scaffolding but the kid hired to manage the little op, a Mr. Pressler, cited a committee he hired that reported that more was unnecessary because they hadn't needed more in the past and previous ones hadn't collapsed and killed anyone yet, and besides they would have to use that scaffold to failure because any more pieces of wood would bankrupt the corporation. He was fired, but vowed to return saying, as soon as business saw things his way he would be running the place and rake in a million times more for himself than the lot of 'em... ;)

Nancy said...

so cool to see how much things have changed over the years...and a special thanks for the toy soldiers :D