Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Arriving At the Park, July 1958

Today I am posting the first scans from an excellent bunch of around 60 slides from the summer of 1958. Whoever the photographer was, he or she knew what he or she was doing. Some of them are ordinary, but many are super nice! And since there are 60 of 'em, we're going to be enjoying them for quite a while.

We'll start where so many Disneyland adventures began; the parking lot and the trams! Painted in sunny blue and yellow, the lovable li'l trams transport guests from the vast sea of cars right to the entrance. I'm not sure I previously noticed the decorative blue "grille" applied to the front of the tram's tractor. With the headlight "eyes", it looks like it's wearing a hockey mask. "Quid pro quo, Clarice". Notice the driver in his spiffy striped shirt and white cap (a little bit different from the outfit we saw here). 


Zooming in to the left, we see a dad and two kids (each kid wearing a "coolie hat") already leaving! How can they be done for the day? It can't be much later than noon. In the early years, some visitors would do Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm in the same day. CRAZY.


There's the beautiful train station, with the C.K. Holliday out front, pulling the freight cars. I love details like the red roses, there only to make the place prettier. First impressions are important! Notice the banner above the tunnel into Town Square, advertising the new Columbia sailing ship, the Alice in Wonderland ride, and the Grand Canyon diorama. Let's not forget the posters!


15 comments:

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Ahh…the days before catalytic converters.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Ahh...the days before the crowds were so thick they made the tram seats face foreward so they could add more rows.

These are some neat-o shots Major. Looking foreward to more of these. Thanks for posting. The train station shot is a real gem.

Melissa said...

Dad made us leave Disney World early once; he told us the park was closing early, which always seemed a little fishy since nobody else seemed to be heading for the exit. Years later we found out that the funny-looking lady we kept seeing that day was his girlfriend, who had started following us around on family trips to try to hurry him along into leaving us. To this day, when I see a family leaving a park early with one of the parents looking unhappy, there's a little part of me that can't help wondering if the same thing's happening.

In other words, "Disney Parks: Let the Memories End!"

(So, when are they opening the new Maudlinland? With the Memory Lane driving simulator, the Emotional Roller Coaster, and the Tear Jerker spinner ride?)

Steve DeGaetano said...

The C.K. Holliday hasn't had its roof hatch installed yet.

Chuck said...

The last photo is just one reason why I keep renewing my subscription to this site.

What year did they add the hatch, Steve? (Sorry I can't look that up easily - your first book is on my Christmas wish list again this year ...)

K. Martinez said...

Love the first image with the power lines and blue & yellow tram. And in both images there's the flowerbeds without concrete or bricked raised borders or railings. You can see the dried mud stream from watering the plants. It's primitive by today's standards, but I like it.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Melissa, I’m not able to discern whether you are joking or not, but if you’re not. I’m so sorry to hear about that. Those are indeed some very painful memories.

Major Pepperidge said...

Monkey Cage Kurt, ha ha! Living in Los Angeles (famous for its smog), I am all for catalytic converters. But the cars in the 50's were still awesome.

Aloonzo, even though I like the sideways-facing seats, it IS pretty inefficient. I'm not sure what year the tram seating was changed, but it was long before the park had the kind of crowds you see today.

Melissa, wow, if I saw that scene in a movie, it would make me feel sad. But the fact that it actually happened to you… well, I'm very sorry that you had go to through that. I'm kind of surprised that an unhappy memory like that it didn't make you dislike the parks forever.

Steve DeGaetano, there are several amazing photos of the Fred Gurley, and it appears to have a roof hatch, as well as a funny little vertical door in the front of the cab. It must have really gotten hot in there.

Chuck, you should definitely get Steve's book! And Michael Broggie's book as well.

K. Martinez, it's so funny, the flower beds make me think of my grandmother's home; I guess it IS kind of a "homey" touch. I've never really noticed, are the power lines still visible, or have they all been buried?

Monkey Cage Kurt, I get the feeling that Melissa's story is for real, unfortunately.

Debbie V. said...

The memories of anticipation in the parking lot. The beloved tram.

Chuck said...

Major - I actually have TWO copies of Michael Broggie's book - one I snarfed up after I stumbled on it in a bookstore in Orlando of all places (I mean, seriously - Disney stuff in Orlando?) immediately after its release and another, autographed copy my goddaughter bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago.

I also have a copy of Steve's second book, "From Plantation to Theme Park: the Story of Disneyland Railroad Locomotive No. 5, the Ward Kimball," that he was gracious enough to personally autograph for me earlier this year (thanks again, Steve!), but his "Welcome Aboard the Disneyland Railroad!" is currently out of print and commands a hefty price on the resale market ($285.53 as of this writing). I'm hoping Santa comes through this year...

Unknown said...

Definitely looking forward to the rest of this series. If they managed to take 3 photos before even entering the park, including two of the tram, the others should be a lot of fun!

Major Pepperidge said...

Debbie V., it’s funny how something as humble as a parking lot tram can become so beloved!

Chuck, I have two copies of it as well! I saw him speak at a presidential library, but the line to have a book signed was long, and my brother had to leave, so neither of mine are signed. Arg. As for Steve’s “Welcome Aboard the Disneyland Railroad!”, I know he is working on a second edition. So perhaps just wait a bit and you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg.

Brad Abbot, there are several that are really great! A super view of the Space Bar, and some awesome shots of the Fred Gurley locomotive.

Melissa said...

It's a true story, but it all worked out for the best, and I'm so sorry if I brought anybody down by sharing it. I think you all know by now that I have a bit of a weird sense of humor - the memory is actually 100% funny and 0% painful at this point.

Sunday Night said...

Now THIS is my favorite Disneyland. Love these shots especially the tram and lot. Look how they drove right up to the curb so you just stepped right off. Never noticed that the tram grill was an add-on to hide the "tractor" look. Now that's attention to detail. The clock on the station looks like about 10:20 AM. Those leaving - Perhaps they forgot the camera back at the motel? Maybe they want a Knott's Chicken Dinner lunch?
57 more slides? It's gonna be a good year!

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

The cars are awesome, but the visibility leaves a lot to be desired. The visibility looks to be less than a mile. I grew up in Orange County, I can still almost taste that “air”.