Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Frontierland, September 1959

Unlike most photos of the Indian Village that we see, this one doesn't seem to have been taken from the  deck of the Mark Twain. I think that if we were able to look behind us, we'd see the load area for the canoes. The village looks pleasantly busy and lively; notice the folks waiting for the next performance by the Indian dancers. Favorite detail: the little girl in the flouncy blue dress.

The Columbia moves silently - an mysteriously, considering that most of the sails are furled. Maybe magnets are involved. Or trained pink Amazon dolphins might be pulling it beneath the murky waters, like a soggy mule team. It could happen.


Nanook said...

I believe The Columbia uses the locomotion of brass magnets, fitted with specially-honed Johnson Rods to silently advance it around The Rivers of America.

Chiana_Chat said...

Favorite detail: the teen next to the sign. Where everyone else is content to wait or wander around, she sits rapt, the camera at the ready, its strap clutched in her sweaty hand, eagerly awaiting the appearance of her favorite noble drummer. She is an Indian Village People groupie.

Rich T. said...

I love the comments this post is generating already! :) I'll bet the Indian Village was a true must-see attraction for families watching the 50's westerns on TV.

Chiana_Chat said...

Good point, Rich. The "old west" and frontier days were widely dramatized on tv, screen, radio and print and kids were included in the excitement and interest. America's past has been presented a lot less and generally with an overriding negativity (rightly or not) over the decades since.

Also, the Indian Village was removed along with the overall media-wide replacement of the "back to the country" movement of the late '60s / early '70s with the later '70s urbanization.

Disney's own film and TV products have followed those trends. I'd like to see some renewed interest in those days for new generations from Disney, but the company seems to have become awfully inert in many ways over the past decade or so.

It's great if a bit surprising we haven't lost more of American history from Disneyland. One can tell it was a vital aspect of Disneyland in the days of these pics.

Melissa said...

The little girl in the blue dress is looking for her sister so they can play with Danny forever and ever.

K. Martinez said...

Nice Columbia pic. The ship seems more grand with the smaller trees on the horizon.

Irene said...

My brother and I were all into TV Westerns back in the 50's. I even got a cute little cowgirl outfit for Christmas once complete with cap guns. My Dad absolutely loved this area of Disneyland and I have a home movie of the Indian Dancers. It's either August of 1955 or sometime in 1959. Those are the two times he shot movies there.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it sounds crazy, but your system just might work!

Chiana, yep, she's a good one too.

Rich T., considering that you had to walk all the way through Frontierland and through a tunnel to get to the Indian Village, it is clear that people wanted to see it!

Chiana again, it really seems to me that a lot of the history is gone from Frontierland, except for the shallowest examples.

Melissa, REDRUM!

K. Martinez, it's one of those tradeoffs... big trees are fantastic, but they do hide things and throw off the scale.

Irene, I have a picture of my mom and her cousins all wearing brand new western outfits. Frontierland is definitely THE most-photographed land in all of Disneyland

Melissa said...

I'm a big fan of TV Westerns, too. I can't see the Mark Twain or the Liberty Belle without hearing the "Maverick" theme song in my head. (And if I'm lucky it just stays in my head and doesn't make it out my mouth.)

...But It Wasn't Always That Way! said...

Sailing Ship Columbia with a shuttle launch? 2014, let's make it happen, Imagineers.