Monday, July 29, 2013

The Matterhorn, August 1963

I think it's a trick of the camera lens, but the Matterhorn looks even more massive in this first photo than it actually is. You know how "the camera adds 20 pounds" on TV? It's the same thing here. The kid in the blue Skyway bucket is leaning out to get a good look at the amazing Submarine Lagoon below. Go ahead and spit, kid, at least you won't hit anybody here!

In the courtyard just behind Sleeping Beauty Castle, we can see a bit of Merlin's Magic Shop - home of a fine selection of monster masks. My brother and I would go inside every visit just to look at the row of "too expensive" masks that we coveted so much. Notice that Hans (or Otto or Fritz or Gunter or Oskar or Karl) has summited the distant peak of the Matterhorn, and he is yodeling his heart out. "Littleoldlady-whoooooo...."


K. Martinez said...

It looks like the Matterhorn is dry and closed. No waterfalls or bobsleds. Interesting that it would be in this condition in the summer. Nice set today.

Nanook said...

I had always heard 'the camera adds 10 pounds'. If it's 20 pounds - I think we're all in trouble.

Perhaps the condition is what was known in the motion picture biz, back in the 1950's as 'CinemaScope mumps'. A "technical term" for the distortion imparted to the center area of a CinemaScope image resulting in 'fat faces', if the camera attempted anything resembling a close-up. Panavision solved that issue (and won an award for doing so), and later, with newer optics, so did CinemaScope. Okay - it doesn't really apply here, but that was today's lesson in arcane anamorphic lens technology.

CinemaScope mumps, or no - both are great images. Thanks, Major.

Nancy said...

lovely view of a sky bucket rainbow... :-)

I like the cute little finial on top of that red rooftop, looks like a metal snowflake or something

Melissa said...

Grandma used to yodel just like Jimmie Rodgers, only without the tuberculosis. Mom would always wink and tell us she was singing, “I eat old ladies.” I don’t know if Mom knew that Grandma also used to gnaw on our elbows as we went by; we thought she was just checking the flavor but waiting for us to get old enough. It was a little scary but we respected her ethics.

Gorgeous pictures today. I love seeing the blue and green bands in the awning. And even though we know the original Fantasyland was a rush job and the 1983 refit is beautiful, the original is absolutely charming – they did so much with so little.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, it's kind of surprising how many photos I have in which the waterfalls aren't working. I don't know if that automatically means that the ride wasn't operating, but even nowadays the Matterhorn seems to go down for rehab quite regularly.

Nanook, let's split the difference and say that the camera adds 15 pounds. There are a number of actors that I have seen around L.A., and in some cases they turned out to be almost shockingly skinny, even though I had never thought so when seeing them on TV. I have heard that CinemaScope mumps are the worst!

Nancy, I wonder if that finial is something that one might see in a little European village, or if it is completely fanciful. Reminds me of the golden doodads all over the front of "It's a Small World".

Melissa, I wish MY grandma yodeled like Jimmie Ridgers. Elbows are so bony, but maybe your grandma liked the crunch. I agree with you regarding the original Fantasyland; in spite of its budget appearance, I really loved it (just like the early Tomorrowland).

Anonymous said...

I never realized the difference between the Castle design and the "storefronts" of the Dark Rides in the old Fantasyland as a kid, but the distinction is very clear in this picture.

The original Castle has all the depth and detail achieved in the later '83 refit, and the contrast of the flat 2D inexpensive look of the Dark Ride facade next door is apparent.

The monorail track shield apparently originally used the translucent corrugated fiberglass panels universally used for patio covers. That look really cries "1950's" to me. It seems that this product was changed out eventually for metal paneling, or maybe it was only used in some areas. Wonder if this was a cost issue or a durability issue?

I heard this shield was placed to protect guests from inadvertent leakage (or worse) from the monorail drive systems. Is this correct? If you look in the various photos in the archives, you can see the shield is omitted over the lagoons and planter areas where people cannot stand.


Nanook said...


I can't speak for the Disneyland monorail vehicles, but up here in Seattle, with its original, 50-year old monorail trains still "chugging-along", I can state personally that there are plenty of "dripping substances" that leave the undersides of each vehicle. Evidenced not by grease in my hair, but continuous lines of "oil spotting" above areas with concrete below, making the 'oil' easy to see. But this being Seattle, the only location shields are employed is the area just outside of the Seattle Center Station - where the height of the beamway is relatively close to the ground and curious folks might be tempted to touch one of the (700-Volt DC) bus bars.

Anonymous said...

I loved Merlin's shop...I've still got my glow in the dark skull that my mom bought me as my "birthday present" and I had to carry it around the park the rest of the day.

Bill in Denver

Chuck said...

I think that the extra pounds that we are so impolitely pointing out on the Matterhorn are actually its "baby bump," left over from giving birth to a poorly executed pseudo-clone that took up residence at Nara Dreamland.