Friday, January 27, 2012

Tomorrowland, April 29 1956

I hope today's photos make you as happy as they make me! Of all of the "lands", the pre-1959 Tomorrowland fascinates me the most. So much of Tomorrowland's history is poory documented, leaving us only with intriguing titles like "The World Beneath Us", "Space Station X-1", and the "Color Gallery" (though one or two photos have sprung up to whet my appetite even more).

This first picture was taken from the entrance to Tomorrowland; swivel your head to the left and there was Circarama, the pre-cursor to "Circlevision 360". The first film shown in this format was "A Tour of the West", and as far as I know, no copy is known to exist. Hopefully it will be discovered in one of Disney's vaults someday! Imagine seeing the American west in glorious color, circa 1955!

Without taking a step, we look to our right, and can see the fa├žade of Monsanto's "Hall of Chemistry". Another attraction I'd give my prehensile tail to see! Even if it was just full of beakers of colored water and bubbling dry ice, I would be a happy fella. Throw in some blinky lights, and I'd be grinning for a week. The Hall of Chemistry would survive until September 1966!


Chuck said...

Interesting photos. Lots of little details of the early days are visible, like the nautical flags in the background on both sides of the entrance to Tomorrowland and the low-cost fencing bordering the grass plantings. Note in the first photo that, although decoration styles have changed, the basic trash can design seems to have remained constant throughout the years.

Careful viewing of the photos brings up another question - what rationale was used to determine which state flag was flown on which pole? For example, in the first photo, the Ohio state flag (two from the end in the center of the photo) is two flags to the left of the Wyoming flag and two to the right of the California flag. That makes no sense to me either alphabetically, geographically, chronologically (Ohio was the 17th state, California the 31st, and Wyoming the 44th), or population-wise. I can't even justify it on the grounds of the number of vowels in the name, professional football teams, or annual bauxite production.

Anybody know if there was a plan, or did management just toss a couple of CMs a big box of flags and say "hang these up over there?" Or am I missing an obvious pattern?

Jason Schultz said...

Chuck - I believe I read (though at the moment I can't recall if this was in a primary source from the time or something later) that the flags were supposed to be arranged in order of admission to the Union. I'll see if I can find the citation.

Connie Moreno said...

These are awesome photos. I love the clothing! Regarding the flags, I want to throw something into the mix: I also heard that the flags were hung according to their admission into the Union. So...maybe they were supposed to appear that way when you are viewing the entrance to Tomorrowland, such as these photos. However...what if the CMs were already inside Tomorrowland, facing OUT and hung up the flags. Then they would be in reverse order, no?

Major, the Hall of Chemistry was there until 1966, eh? That means I was 11 so I must have been there at least once. I volunteer for mind regression so we can pull my memories out!

Omnispace said...

I never before realized that CIRCARAMA was presented by American Motors. It now makes sense why they would emphasize the "CAR" in the name on the marquee.

Monsanto's Hall of Chemistry would have been interesting to see but I still miss going "into" the molecule.

Alaska and Hawaii became states in 1959. I wonder if they added their flag poles at that time.

It's always fun to see pics from a time when automobiles, rockets, and yachting represented the future. :)


Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, the state flags were arranged in the order of which state was the most BITCHEN! Now look, and you'll find that it all makes perfect sense. As for trash can design, you can't improve upon perfection.

Progressland, I wonder if "The Nickel Tour" has the answer to the "mystery of the flags"?

Connie, mind regression is happening to me already, I don't recommend it! ;-)

Omnispace, you will get no argument from me about the Hall of Chemistry vs. Adventure Thru Inner Space. I loved ATIS! Your question about whether Alaska and Hawaii were added is an interesting one. I have no information about it, but I'll bet that they were added.

PsySocDisney said...

Another great Tomorrowland post :) I too would give anything to experience these exhibits. I wish there were still a few educational attractions in this land. Innoventions doesn't count lol.

David said...

I agree, the clothing style is fantastic. I particularly like the woman's sunglasses, a style that certainly put them in one era -my mom had several pair (and probably still does in her attic back in suburban Chicago where I grew up).

I love the severe lady in black walking to the left in the first picture. She reminds me of every old school librarian I ever encountered growing up as well as in every Stephen book set in that time period.

Douglas McEwan said...

"Even if it was just full of beakers of colored water and bubbling dry ice."

I'm afraid that describes it pretty well. I visited both attractions. The Circarama Old West movie was cool.

Chris Strodder's The Disneyland Encyclopedia confirms the flags were orderd by order of entry into the union. Alaska and Hawaii were added when they entered the union after the "Avenue of the Flags" was opened.

According to The Newt Thing yesterday,the next state flag will be for the moon.

SundayNight said...

Re: the first picture: Disgusted by the casual clothes of “Mr. Print Shirt”, other guests mutter to themselves “what’s next, jeans and a tee-shirt?!”

Nancy said...

lol @ SundayNight! I get that feeling sometimes even these days. too often you see things you really dont want to know about!

i love those flags, nautical and otherwise...let's bring those back, too! i also enjoy the fashions, Connie :-)

I love Tomorrowland!!!

Chuck said...

I'd read the order of admission explanation in Chris Strodder's book, but that's definitely not what's going on in these photos. I'm glad you sorted out the mystery for me, Major. Now I can finally get some sleep...

JG said...

Late to the thread, but Order of Admission is standard protocol for mass display of state flags.

Also, the sequence should begin on the right of the viewpoint of the flags, so that places the oldest flag on the viewer's left.

National colors should lead on the rightmost pole, or a taller pole in a central location. Rules for National Colors in mass displays are very simple...
RIGHT(always on the right of all other flags)
UP (on the tallest pole of varying heights)
FRONT(Leading other flags in single procession, on the right if room for more than one bearer).

And the sequence in the photo doesn't look right. Probably somebody's first day on the task.

Very nice old pictures, it's all so sparse, the flags help a lot to energize the scene, a good design call.