Friday, June 29, 2012

Pix From 1957

I love it when old Kodachrome slides are as bright and colorful as today's two examples! There's no blue or yellowish tint (as is sometimes the case), no fading... just beautiful saturated hues that make the photos look like they were taken yesterday.

In old Fantasyland's courtyard, Merlin's Magic Shop peddled magic tricks, guidebooks, rubber monster masks, Kodak film, and all kinds of necessities. Unlike much of the original Fantasyland, which was built (frankly) "on the cheap" - but still awesome! - Merlin's is detailed and charming, as if it came straight from Geppetto's village. 

The bridge that was the entryway into Adventureland was adorned with human skulls, spears, and these colorful carved wooden shields. Some of the shields sported visages that would strike fear into the hearts of opposing warriors - and the occasional small child.


Orange Co Native said...

I use to shoot with Kodachrome film. Sadly, Kodak stopped producing it in 2006 I believe. Great film. Kodachrome could only be developed by Kodak. Tricky processing. Wonderful natural colors.

Merlin's Magic Shop gave Disneyland visitors in the 50's, 60's and 70's a glimpse of what was coming for Fantasyland in 1983. However, back then we never realized anything could be better than the castle faire design with tarps etc... of the the 3 dark rides.

Gosh. 1957. It makes you wonder where all these people are today. 55 years ago.

K. Martinez said...

I guess back in 54-55 they had to do “on the cheap” with the limited time and money they had and Disneyland was yet to be proven financially. Whatever the reason, the medieval faire/tournament tent design on the dark rides worked for 27 years until the new European storybook facades were built.

I’d assume Tomorrowland was built even cheaper until “Disneyland ‘59” and “Tomorrowland ‘67” were completed. I’d be curious to know the detailed breakdown of how the $17 million was spent on the then newly built Disneyland.

Major Pepperidge said...

OC Native, yes, that seems to be the one drawback with Kodachrome; you HAD to send your film off to Kodak. Apparently other color films were less tricky to develop, and yet 50 or 60 years later, most of them also turned out to be much less archival.

K. Martinez, Walt was definitely running out of money.... the medieval faire look worked because nobody knew any better. What was a "Disneyland"? It was whatever they wanted it to be! Compared to most other amusement parks, Fantasyland was pretty nice. Same with Tomorrowland, which was only half finished when the park opened.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Digital, Digital, Digital. Alas, poor film is dead. RIP. I was laid off from Fuji Film in 2004 and just transfered my Kodak 401k to an IRA. Graphic Arts and print is dying fast.

Good qulaity Disney slides, prints, books, posters, etc. will be worth $$$ in the years to come!

Keep collecting those postcards Major!

I love these old slides. From all accounts the big brown camera case was the man purse of the 1950's.

Melissa said...

THose shields have a decidely Rolly Crump look.

Major Pepperidge said...

Alonzo, it is so strange to think of a giant company like Kodak being reduced to a shadow of its former self. Family photos are almost always associated with good memories. Little kids, vacations, graduations, weddings, etc - and the name Kodak seemed to be tied to those good times.

Melissa, I know what you mean, especially the shield that is second from the left. But I think 1957 was way before Rolly was involved in Disneyland; the shields were probably purchased from "Oceanic Arts" in Whittier, which is still there!

Anonymous said...

I think the cool thing about slide film (Kodachrome, Fuji, etc.) is that it was physically present at the place and time when the photo was taken. Major, the frames that you scan were actually at the Last Frontier Village or DL with the can hold that in your hand. It has a physical history, a path that dates back to it's moment of exposure. It's organic and real.

There is no physical presence to digital - just 1's and 0's stored on a chip after being gathered by a sensor. You need a computer to reorganize the data to make the image appear on a screen or print.

I have some old B/W negatives of my father standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon in 1932 when he was 7. When I hold the negative, I know it was there with my grandmother as she clicked the shutter.

That's why film is so special, and while digital has replaced it...its not the same.

Getting off of my soap box.

Bill in Denver

dfan07 said...

Just out of frame, on the left side of the first photo, there appears to be some sort of sign. I wonder what it said?

K. Martinez said...

dlfan07, I would say from the caption date “1957” and the color and shape of the sign, it says "Fantasy Disneyland" for the Fantasy Shop across from Merlin’s Magic Shop, however the “Tinker Bell Toy Shop” opened shortly thereafter at this location.

K. Martinez said...

oops! I mean dfan07!

Major Pepperidge said...

Bill in Denver, I never really thought about it, but you're right about the slide actually having been wherever is depicted in the photo - unlike a print. The concept kind of reminds me of animation cels; some folks are fine owning "limited edition" repros, but to me the appeal of a genuine cel is that it actually appeared on screen in a classic Disney film for 1/24th of a second (generally speaking).

dlfan07, I will have to bow to K. Martinez's expertise, since I have no idea what that sign said! From what little we can see, it does resemble a sign that was in front of the Fantasy Disneyland shop.

Thanks K. Martinez for your help!

Gojira said...

Major -- It amazes me how well Kodachrome holds up after all those years! It was probably a relief to not have to tinker with the post!

Bill in Denver -- I read your post and I know exactly what you mean. I have negatives of my house from 1946 that my Grandfather took with his Kodak Medalist II camera -- which I still have. It is a connection to the past.

I didn't like digital either at first but I just pretend I am shooting with a film camera loaded with slide film. Just think, 55 years from now, if they can access our digital pics, people will be looking at an image that is EXACTLY as it was when we took it.

Anonymous said...

I would agree with all the comments regarding the quality of film.

However, the processing of that color film was dangerous and expensive, and the EPA regulations made it next to impossible to dispose of the leftover silver from the chemical filters. I know this because we had a full Kodak licensed lab inside Hughes Aircraft Co, in Fullerton calif. By the time I retired, most of the chemicals were no longer available.

When the lab was finally dismantled, the space needed for the photo lab was about 1/4th of what was required before digital.

Also; photo manipulation was very difficult and labor intensive. Airbrush artists (like me) would spend, some times, weeks to complete a photo-realistic image, and then have to go back to the lab to be re-shot for reduction and negs. Now, I can do it at home with photoshop in a couple of hours, and look 10 times better, and at a fraction of the cost.

Unless one has really had to live with that "nostalgic" world of old tech (film, paint, typewriters, paste-ups, and the 18 to 24 hour days it all came with), one cannot really appreciate new tech.

Besides; without that new digital tech we would not be looking at all these images from the way-back machine.

Well, that's my rant for the day.


K. Martinez said...

CoxPilot, I appreciate your insight on processing film vs. digital. It did cross my mind that we are able to look at all of these vintage images because of the new tech available. Thanks!

Major Pepperidge said...

Gojira, it really IS amazing how well Kodachrome holds up. In a weird way I sort of enjoy the tinkering process though, believe it or not. The part I hate is eliminating dust and scratches, that is a real drag!

CoxPilot, I always thought that the silver in developing chemicals was recovered somehow. As far as digital photography is concerned, I think it is wonderful! I can take 1000 photos if I want, and never have to worry about "running out of film" or whatever. And the instant gratification of seeing them as soon as you get home is really amazing too. I am NO Luddite!

K. Martinez, I still remember the first slides I scanned (family slides from the 40's) for my mom, she still has the prints of those slides and says it's the best present she ever got.

Chiana_Chat said...

DeeLightful pics.

#1 - Look Ma, no mountain!

#2 - Digging the fort, shields and skull. And none of it deliberately Toon-y.

Re: technology, I wish "we" were better at keeping our tools available for their different qualities instead of the tendency to go all one way so much.

Nancy said...

What an informative bunch you have here....beautiful photos as well!! Enjoying the sunshine as always :-)