Friday, March 02, 2012

La Coquette, June 1962

Today I have two fun snapshots, dated "June 1962" (though they were actually shot during Easter of that year) featuring "La Coquette", the wonderful seven-story tall hot air balloon that had become famous when it was used in Mike Todd's 1956 hit film, "Around the World in Eighty Days" starring David Niven and Cantinflas.


For reasons not entirely clear, La Coquette was brought to Disneyland and sat in the middle of the Plaza (where the "Partners" statue is today) for all to see. At some point during the day, La Coquette dropped its ballast and slowly drifted up into the Anaheim sky! It must have been quite a spectacle.


I love this shot of the balloon as it continues to rise near the Matterhorn (I think I can make out the red shirt of a climber on top of the mountain). Imagine being a kid, watching that huge aircraft get smaller and smaller. I know I would have wanted to watch it until it couldn't be seen anymore - just like when I accidentally let go of my regular-sized balloons.

For more info and pictures about La Coquette, Daveland did a wonderful post a few years ago. You should definitely check it out!

8 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

They should have turned it into an "E" ticket attraction. That, and the jet pack that was used to fly the spaceman over the park on the Wonderful World of Disney.

Davelandweb said...

The original illustration of the park by Herb Ryman included a huge balloon that was tethered to Central Plaza, where the Partners Statue now stands. Wouldn't that have been cool? Daily rides aboard a hot-air balloon with a birds-eye view of the park. Even better than the Skyway!

Rich T. said...

It also reminds me of Oz: I can picture Frank Morgan leaning over the basket: "I can't come back! I don't know how it works!"

Nanook said...

Whoops - it's actually Peter Ellenshaw, not Herbie Ryman - I've made the same mistake myself - who's responsible for the original painted map of Disneyland which Walt first used to unveil his idea of a "theme park" to the world.

Davelandweb said...

Nanook - I meant Herbie Ryman, and was referring to this illustration, which Ryman created for Walt on the fly:

http://davelandweb.com/construction/images/50s/DSC_3558.jpg

Ellenshaw's painting came later.

Nanook said...

Hence my confusion. Thanks for setting me straight.

Douglas McEwan said...

It took 80 DAYS to fly around It's a Small World? Not so impressive. Oh wait, it was only 8 minutes. It's just that 8 minutes of that song seems like 80 days.

Nancy said...

interesting that they now have a hot air balloon you can ride at WDW in Downtown Disney.

dumb me did not go on it when we were there last b/c Rachel did not want to (scardy cat!) next time I am going for sure!