Monday, March 01, 2010

The Carnation Truck Lives!

Those of you who haunt this blog (and the other many fine Disneyland blogs out there) have seen lots of pictures of the iconic Carnation truck that was parked outside of Disneyland's "Carnation Corner" for so many years.


A while ago I wondered (in writing) what ever happened to that much-photographed vehicle, and was surprised to receive an email from a gentleman named Elbridge Stuart. Here's what he said:

I ran across your blog mentioning the Carnation truck with the query about what might have happened to it. Designed by Bob Gurr and built by the Carnation Company in 1953-1954 it now lives, fully restored, at the Carnation Farm outside of Seattle. It is where the founder of Carnation and the next four generations of his family lived. It was give to us by the Disney Company which had put it in the back lot and did not know what to do with it.

And here it is!


Doesn't it look fantastic? I'm so glad that it is still around, and being cared for so nicely.


I asked Elbridge if he had any info about when and how the Carnation Farm acquired the truck, and he replied:

My guess is... less than 10 years ago. When they went to retrieve it, the back lot staff insisted that the “Disneyland” name be removed from the vehicle before taking it off the lot. I guess for liability purposes. At any rate at was 11:45 and during the discussions the lunch whistle blew and the Disney staff went to lunch. Dave Owens ( the farm manager ) and his son loaded it on the flat bed truck and went home.


My father, who worked at Carnation and represented the company, worked with Walt during those early Disneyland days. He indicated that Walt used to love to drive the truck around but kept getting the narrow tires stuck in the rails of the main street trolley. He was always a little concerned when Walt would wrench the wheel left or right to get the tires out that Walt might run over someone.

In addition to the truck, we also have the big vertical neon Carnation Ice Cream sign that hung just over the front door of the Main Street store. I am trying to get it relit and hung outside our museum at the farm.



Elbridge also included these scans from the March/April 1956 issue of "Carnation Magazine" (back in the day when many companies published their own magazines). SO fantastic!




Here's a great photo of Elbridge's dad serving a delicious-looking milk shake to Walt (notice the Smoke Tree Ranch logo on Walt's tie). I asked about his father, and he said:

My father's name was E. Hadley Stuart Jr, and was the grandson of the founder of the Carnation Company. He started working at the company after college in about 1940. He worked at a number of milk plants in Washington State and the southern US before working at the new world headquarters in Los Angeles... I believe the new headquarters was opened in 1948. My father continued at Carnation until 1961 when he left the company.

...it was probably my father who had the relationship with Walt. He and probably others at the company negotiated the contract with the Disneyland Park for the exclusive right to provide milk and ice cream products. There is an unsubstantiated urban legend that the company also helped Walt get some financing for the park. The park was a stretch for a bank to take a chance on and Walt was having trouble getting financing. The board of directors of Carnation in the 50s contained some California and Washington State high placed bankers. Some members of the Carnation executives also were placed on the boards of some of the same banks. A very cozy relationship.



And finally, one last photo with the Carnation truck, with Ebridge's father and Walt apparently showing the beautiful vehicle to an admiring crowd. Check out those odd hats on the kids!

I do remember as a child, that every year at Christmas, Walt sent us a big box of Disneyland toys that always a lot of fun getting. We also had a type of pass or card that would get Dad and us into Disneyland just by showing it.


MANY THANKS to Elbridge Stuart for generously sharing so much information and the wonderful photos of the truck in its new home, and the other photos as well!

26 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

Thank you Major and Mr. Stuart, for this extra special post. I'm so glad to see that the truck has gone on to have a life beyond just being stored in the DL backlot. What were they thinking...why would Disney let it go? Looks like it has a nice home in Washington though. Great stories...especially the one about Disney wanting the name removed, but the staff being too lazy to stick around through lunch to make sure it happened!

TokyoMagic! said...

P.S. Anyone happen to know what happened to the Global Van Lines truck that used to be parked in front of the former Lockers building?

Chiana_Chat said...

Thank you Mr. Elbridge Stuart! Hm. If that's a place I can visit, if I get up that way I now have a place to visit. I'd like to see it and actually the place looks like that isn't the only neat thing there. It looks as whimsical and delightful as ever. And thank you Major for posting this feature. :)

stu29573 said...

It's always great to see stuff preserved instead of rusting away! A beautiful truck and a great story!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Awesome! - Thanks Major & Elbridge , nice historic post, who needs the Disney Archives, we got the real McCoy here on the blogs!

Viewliner Ltd. said...

I fine and historic post indeed. I have a couple of pictures of my very young sons sitting in this truck, WOW! How Cool!

My question is: Why didn't Disney give the pirate ship to Chicken of the Sea?

Thufer said...

What a wonderful ending. Thank you for sharing this.

thepicklebarrel said...

Killer post!!

Andrew said...

Wonderful post, Major! The Carnation Farm Museum was hard to track down on the net, but the farm was purchased by Camp Korey in 2008, a camp dedicated for children with chronic diseases. It is also available for weddings and corporate retreats. Their site:

http://www.campkorey.org

and a youtube slideshow of the farm's history:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvuT4jGaUVE

Anonymous said...

Thank You, Major and Mr. Stuart, for this wonderful tidbit of information about one of our favorite pieces of old Disneyland!

Best regards

JG

Connie Moreno said...

OMG! This blog is ALWAYS a treat but today's post has me bouncing around in my cubicle!!! AWESOME!!

Jimmy said...

Wow! A rare photo of the inside of Carnation. Thanks for that.

CoxPilot said...

Great photos and story. Love the ford model T engine

Major Pepperidge said...

For those of you who might want to visit the Carnation farm, PLEASE see Andrew's extremely helpful (and accurate) info above! Thanks Andrew.

I'm glad so many of you enjoyed today's post, I know I had fun putting it together - with lots of help from Mr. Stuart of course.

Nancy said...

what a wonderful story!

thanks to all who provided this excellent info and photos, and to you for taking the time to find out and post it for us to enjoy :D

jedblau said...

Great post. BTW...the Global Van Lines truck is now in a private collection and will (hopefully) be restored someday soon.

TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks jedblau, for the info on the Global Van Lines Truck. Why the heck wasn't Disney interested in keeping these vehicles???? I know, I know, the answer is probably two words.....Eisner & Pressler.

Davelandweb said...

Major - I know everyone loves your humor, but this is by far your best post ever. Kudos to Mr. Stuart for contacting you!

outsidetheberm said...

Fantastic! Another mystery solved.

Thanks go out to both you and Mr. Stuart for taking the time to let us know this great news.

Great post.

Anonymous said...

WOW -- THE CARNATION TRUCK was something I always walked past without thinking about it, but seeing all the blog photos over the years shows that this was a real photo-op for many families. So nice that the truck has a good home --- ditto the old bandstand --- and I weep for the mechanical animals buried for fossils at the Big Thunder site.

Kevin Kidney said...

Gosh, what a wonderful thing to read this and see the truck looking so beautiful. I could cry. Thanks for posting.

Chris Jepsen said...

Outstanding post! Thanks to both the Major and Mr. Stuart. This kind of post is why Al Gore gave us the Internet.

DregerClock.org said...

What a great post! That is so great that the truck was saved and is back in front of the public. You really have some great background on it too. I am also glad to hear that Disneyland, when they did not want to use it anymore had the sense to keep it in good shape and contact someone who would restore it! Rather than let it decay or get tossed out or something.

Vicki said...

Our father worked for Carnation in Los Angeles for 35 years. In the 60's I believe, employees and families were treated to a day at Disneyland once a year. We have many pictures in our family photo albums in front of and on the truck. There was also a shop nearby where one could create their own "Wanted" poster. Do you remember this.

What fond memories. Thanks ever so much for the trip down memory lane.

Anonymous said...

Carnation Farms in Seattle area is now a special needs camp called Camp Korey. And being a camper there, I got to see this in person. WOW! it is a beautiful truck! so many cool stories behind it!

adam said...

Thank you for the update.. I was wondering where it ended up. My great uncle John Twiford was one of the body men for the truck. I have some old pics from the build. I think its great that it is still in good condition. I would love to come see it and get a picture of my kids next to it. Is it at a place where that could happen? If not thats cool just glad to hear its not been scraped. Have a great day Adam Hartley...