Thursday, March 26, 2015

Monstro & Pirate Ship, 1956

I am kind of surprised just how many photos in my collection are from 1956. It's a LOT. I can only assume that attendance for this new park called "Disneyland" was increasing by leaps and bounds, and everyone who went brought a camera; they all wanted to show the folks back home what the place was like. Lucky for me.

Here's a nice portrait of Monstro the whale, who is looking particularly clean and shiny (he was still brand new at this point). His blue eye is glaring at us… he hates paparazzi! But he eats canal boats like Pringles. I have always loved the concept of sailing into a whale's gaping maw to enter Storybook Land... brilliant. Notice that there is a large tent in the background, where a man known as Professor Keller tamed bloodthirsty (and possibly tranquilized) lions and tigers.

And we might as well look at another photo of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, looking magnificent with its red and whilte-striped sails unfurled. Those little white wire garden fences would not pass muster these days - they didn't last at Disneyland very long either. Notice the pile of crates (cans of tuna?) stacked on the port (or larboard) side of the boat.

Ken Martinez wondered what the pattern was on the underside of the umbrella in the first photo, so I thought I would zoom it. I could have sworn I had a better image of this from an earlier post, but if so, I'll be damned if I can find it. Anyway, at first it was hard to decipher what I was seeing; but then I recognized the famous scene of Snow White kissing the top of Dopey's head.

You know, this scene!

I also could just make out Geppetto playing his concertina while Pinocchio dances. On another one I think I see what might be the white ostrich plume on Captain Hook's hat. That's about the best I could do!


K. Martinez said...

It's amazing how many photos of Disneyland were taken in the 1950's and 60's. Certainly more when compared to Walt Disney World's 1970's era. And now with blogs and sites like Flickr, photos of DL and WDW of the 2010's are seemingly infinite.

I am curious as to what the print is on the underside of the patio umbrella is. Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...


I must say Monstro is looking his shiniest-best. He must have just received his monthly treatment of Carnuba Wax. He really is the bees knees-!

Thanks, Major.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

I love that ship, it’s like the quintessential pirate ship in my opinion. Although not visible in this photo, I like the way it raises up in the back to the poop deck and ultimately to the ornate lantern at the stern. The curves, the lines, the swirls, and just the overall shape are all so very soothing. I particularly have always admired the color scheme as well. I’m assuming we are crediting Mary Blair for that.

Nice portrait of Monstro today as well.

Thanks Major!

K. Martinez said...

Monkey Cage Kurt - Are you referring to this Mary Blair art?

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, it really IS amazing; at least 90 percent of my collection is from the 50's and 60's. I'd be happy to have many more from the 1970's, but there just don't seem to be as many. Why? Also, see my added photos!

Nanook, just as long as they don't use oil rendered from whale carcasses.

Monkey Cage Kurt, I don't think Mary Blair was working on the park at that time, though she certainly did lots of concept artwork for Peter Pan. I've seen dozens of Pirate Ship paintings that she did.

K. Martinez, the checkerboard pattern on the side of the ship is pretty wild!

TokyoMagic! said...

Yes Major, you definitely have at least one good shot of the underside of those umbrellas because I remember being very surprised to see that pattern. Now I'm curious as to how long ago that was. I would say it was more than three years ago. I'm going to help you look!

Melissa said...

Nothing makes you thirsty like a tranquilizer!

That may be the best, clearest full profile of His Monstrosity I've ever seen.

K. Martinez said...

Major, That's so cool. I thought it might be Snow White, but wasn't sure. Thanks for posting the image!

Melissa, My daily intake sometimes leaves me parched.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Yeah, I guess I was thinking of that painting, Major. I just was looking for shots of the Jolly Roger from the Peter Pan film, and couldn’t find any good ones that show the colors very well. So I couldn’t tell if the one in the park matches the film or the one from the Mary Blair painting. Anyway, love that ship!

Chuck said...

Major, several factors figure into why you probably have more images from the 50's and 60's than later eras.

35mm was the most popular "miniature" format of the day (as compared to the 61mm 120/620 films used most of the then-popular box cameras), and until 1958 the only 35mm color film Kodak made was Kodachrome. Kodachrome remained popular due to its warm color, its already demonstrated preservation qualities (compared to color prints which were notorious for fading), and the popularity of home slide shows. A trip to Disneyland was definitely slide show worthy.

Once Kodak introduced 126 Kodacolor-X print film and its first line of small Instamatics in 1963, followed by 110 Kodacolor II print film and the Pocket Instamatics in 1972, 35mm cameras were seen as big and bulky for family vacations and fell out of favor. The cost of color prints also came down, and it's easier to look at pictures in a photo album any time when compared to pulling out a slide projector and screen and waiting for it to get dark (or painting out the windows - your choice).

Either that, or those it was those darned hippies and their rock and roll!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I would wager that the photo I am thinking of was more like 6 or 7 years ago. I can't say for sure though! I still haven't found it.

Melissa, I guess they make you thirsty for human blood! Monstro does look especially sharp, this was before he let himself go.

K. Martinez, now if only I could find that better image….

Monkey Cage Kurt, Mary Blair's pirate ship images varied, and other than the striped sails, I'm not sure she can be credited with the look of the ship at Disneyland. Like most people, I love her work, for sure!

Chuck, you make some great points, and I'm sure you are right. And people tended to throw away negatives (I know my mom did). The Instamatic negatives that I have been sharing scans of were the ONLY ones I've ever come across, and that was through a friend who was about to throw them away.