Monday, July 08, 2013

Around Fantasyland, 1959

Disneyland has lots of impressive eye candy, from castles to Swiss mountains to old-timey riverboats. But I think this first picture, featuring King Arthur's Carrousel, is pretty sweet! I like all the funny little flags and shields, and the particular blue of the sky; there is also something fun about seeing the park on a busy day... in a way the people add movement and color that brings the place to life. Is the "tent" over the carrousel made of metal? I've always wondered. Maybe it was a real cloth tent that was then "glassed" with fiberglass. Quick, the President needs to know!

Later in the afternoon, Sleeping Beauty Castle is looking fine. It was a busy day, but I still would love to magically zap myself there!


Chuck said...

Major, my understanding is that the "tent" over King Arthur's Carrousel was originally made from a mixture of mozzarella and Roquefort cheeses. I'm not sure what they replaced it with after the 1983 Fantasyland remodel.

Unknown said...

Great pictures! I've wondered what the tent is made out of, as well. It looks like an actual tent, but I imagine it's made out of something more sturdy like fiberglass.

Melissa said...

I'm intrigued by the souvenir hat on the lady in the lower right of the second picture. From this angle it looks like a paper plate. Does anyone have any idea what kind of hat it was?

K. Martinez said...

The blue and white striped tent covering of King Arthur Carrousel was always my favorite version be it made of fiberglass, mozzarella or Roquefort. Nice set today.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, it is true that cheese was considered a viable construction material in the 50's. Many of the most daring architects of the day used cheese in many ways, including filling pools with fondue.

Frontierland Station, fiberglass makes sense, thought I have no idea how well that would stand up to years of Anaheim sunshine. So.... metal? We need an expert.

Melissa, you are not far off when you compare the hat to a paper plate. It is a cheap paper hat that was bent into a sort of shallow cone, with a string to keep it from blowing away. Presumably they came in a variety of colors. I have one in bad condition, I should photograph it and post it.

K. Martinez, judging from the blue stripes, this must be Roquefort. Mmmm, tangy!

Anonymous said...

I doubt that the carousel roof was metal, that would require numerous joints since the pieces to make up the cone would taper like triangles as they ran up to the point. These would be very obvious and none are apparent in this photo.

There are some striations in the dark blue (nearly vertical) that look like supports under a fabric (think umbrella ribs).

The very top (dark blue) from the horizontal line up is probably painted metal, with a separate decorative metal finial above that.

I'm holding out for Fiberglass or a similar material unless someone else can think of something better.

In that era, the super-high performance coatings we have now were only just becoming available, so the coatings would probably require frequent refreshing, perhaps annually for bright colors.

Disney was a pioneer in the use of the high performance coatings. Vintage Disneyland Tickets had a post a while back from a chemical magazine discussing this.

Now this top could be done with any one of several materials, including the UV resistant resins and coated foams that are used in Toontown to develop the odd tilted and warped shapes. You can see these modern materials also in the weirdly themed food service booths along the Rivers of America in Frontierland and near Fowlers Landing, and at IASW gift booth.


Anonymous said...

Re: Photo 02: Daveland has some great pictures of the castle under construction, where the conical roofs of some of the lower towers are sitting on the ground in front of the structure, waiting to be installed.

These cones look like painted metal in the photos, hard to tell for sure. These shapes are small enough and the form is relatively regular (straight line sweep) so fabrication from metal is a possibility.

Looking at old photos of the castle from many angles, (which I do daily, it seems), several battlements on the back side near Alice appear to have acquired the conical roofs over the years, without other substantial changes, which seems to me that the cones are simple and light elements. The shingle pattern could easily be paint, or even textures worked into the metal after the cone is developed.

The same detail occurs here as at the top of the carousel. Conical roofs approach a vertical slope and zero radius right at the peak.

Most roofing materials cannot make the tight radii we see in the tiny castle cones. Real shingle roofs would have to have very large metal caps coming down the rake, which would destroy the forced perspective.

The caps we see on the castle cones are way too small to be "real", so it means below the caps, the cones are made of something weather-resistant in itself, again, probably painted metal.

Just my two cents.

Thanks for the Pictures, Major. Lots of fun today.


Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I think you make some great points about the tent being fiberglass... it almost does look like cloth over supports, and as you say, metal joints would probably be very apparent, even from a distance.

I am almost positive that I have read that the cones on the castle were fiberglass. Wish I could find wherever the heck I read that! Perhaps it was done in a manner similar to the House of the Future.

It sounds like you must have some construction or design experience!

Anonymous said...

Major, now that I think about, the carousel roof could be just fabric.

Even back then, there were plasticized or vinylized fabrics, which would shed water readily. These did not have long life spans, but for small applications like this, it might be acceptable to replace the fabric every other year or so. These could be stitched and shaped, colored, etc. to suit what we see in these pictures.

Now, of course, we have vinylized fabrics that could be any color and heat-welded into any shape you want, that would last 20 years or more, even in the OC sunshine.

Re experience... , many moon, many buffalo...


Anonymous said...

Looks like fabric, if you peer at the inside of the tent it looks like light comes through and if you look at the trim you find imperfections consistant with fabric creasing or tearing off... just my two cents ;)