Friday, March 06, 2015

Poppity-poo, 1956

I love today's first image, featuring a jolly red-orange popcorn stand! Looks like he has a couple of hungry customers on the way. Like most popcorn stands at the time, this one was manufactured by "C. Cretors and Company", established in 1885. And they're still in business (and still family-owned) today! GDB reader Nanook tells us that the little man (or clown, in this case) was known as the "Roasty Toasty Man". Since he is a close personal friend, I just call him "Roasty".

SO… was this popcorn stand design standard among their 1955 offerings? Or did Walt Disney ask them to build them so that they looked like they could have come from 1885 (perhaps by bringing back and updating an old design)?

Meanwhile, nearby… a lovely popcorn-less castle! I assumed that the lawn and shrubbery were long-gone, sacrificed to the high-attendance gods. But when I looked at a modern aerial photo, there is still a patch of grass and tress in more of less this same spot today! This made me happy.



I think Disney may have designed their popcorn carts using Creators roasters and maybe other basic equipment. No offerings in any of the Cretors catalogs from 1885 through the 1970's are dead ringers for the Disneyland versions. The Disneyland models appear to be simplified designs probably based on the Cretors popcorn wagon #1 and #2 with deluxe options (like the canopies) from models first offered in 1902 and 1911.....these same basic designs were offered into the 1920's. The little clown figure cranks seem to show up in the early 1920's, but are fixed atop the actual roasting box. Again I think Disney did their own designs based on the Cretors wagons #1 and #2 but used some actual Cretors parts and roasters.

The Cretor-type Popcorn wagons at Disneyland were all newly built using a standard basic model deigned by Imagineer Tom Yorke in May 1975. There are seven variations based on that basic design (TYPES A - G) the variations were mostly cosmetic using different wheel types and variations on trim....depending on the land they would be used in etc.The wagon's detailed scroll work and trimmings and graphics are NOT hand painted but were done using intricate screen-printed decals.

Interestingly, in the last two years Disneyland has begun to replaced this Disneyland standard popcorn wagons with newer MUCH larger models with larger storage and popping capacity for today's crowds. last week I counted 3 of these 1975 models still in the park.

I'm hungry for popcorn now.


K. Martinez said...

In all my fifty plus years of going to Disneyland, I have never had a box of popcorn there. That's something I'll have to change on my next visit.

I find the Sleeping Beauty Castle image wonderful because it possesses a certain quality that not only reflects a place, but also a time. The Disneyland that I loved was definitely from a time as well as place.

Wonderful post today. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Mike, thanks for the detailed info.

Are the new popcorn wagons Disneyland-specific or COTS models?

Chuck said...

Sorry - COTS = Commercial Off The Shelf.

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, thanks for all the great info. I was a bit curious and wondered if Freedomland's popcorn carts looked the same as Disneyland's (thinking that there might be a C.V. Wood connection), and they did not. I would love to see a side-by-side comparison of the different styles of Disney popcorn carts over the years… since I just assumed that they were the same machines throughout the years. I wonder what becomes of the old carts when they are retired?

K. Martinez, I never buy popcorn at the park either (and only buy it at movies if the person I am with wants it). I like popcorn just fine, but just don't eat it very often. I'm more of a soft pretzel guy! And don't forget the churros. I agree with you, the photo of the castle evokes a real nostalgia for the park before things went so over the top.

Chuck, I assumed you meant a "Chicken Of The Sea" model of popcorn wagon!

Nanook said...


And my friends call me "toasty". (I'm uncertain what to make of that...)

Thanks, Major, for more 1956 images.

Sunday Night said...

Never had a box of popcorn at Disneyland either - at least as far back as my memory goes. Why? Perhaps I am afraid that I might drop a kernel and some poor employee will have to come by immediately and sweep it up. Love the Castle pic. Any picture with early landscaping is great.

Steve DeGaetano said...

The popcorn at the park is the driest, dustiest, most butterless, most cardboard-textured snack sold on the planet.

And yet I never fail to buy a box of it whenever I go.

K. Martinez said...

I never was big on popcorn but enjoy the snack once in a great while. It's always been the frozen bananas that are my snack of choice when visiting Disneyland. I love those.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, "toasty"… hmmm. I think I knew a guy in high school who had that nickname!

Sunday Night, I like popcorn, but it just isn't the unique treat, since it so easy to make at home. As for the custodial staff… go ahead and drop stuff. They love it! ;-)

Steve DeGaetano, yeesh, that sounds like the worst popcorn ever! Now I'm not tempted at all.

K. Martinez, I have a weird thing in which I like bananas, but can't stand them in any form other than just bananas. This includes frozen bananas, banana bread, sliced bananas on corn flakes, etc.

Chiana_Chat said...

...and I have the feeling popcorn there isn't the equivalent of 15 cents anymore.

@Major: that's because, when it comes to bananas, gorillas don't monkey around!

K. Martinez said...

Major - Mmmmm! I'm suddenly having a craving for sliced bananas, Corn Flakes and cold milk, my favorite cereal combination.


I'm not sure what became of the original 1950's through 1974 Popcorn wagons. It's possible some parts were reused in the new 1975 models. At least one was used as a backup if one of the newer ones was out of service or in repair but I'm not sure how long that lasted If you have a photo of the red and yellow wagons in a land other than Main St. after 1975 it's possible that's one of the original '55 wagons in temporary service. The Disneyland Hotel at one time had two Disneyland Type Popcorn wagons for use at special event and parties...........but I don't know if these were built later than 1975 or if they were the Hotel wagons more vintage '55 pieces. The pre-1975 popcorn wagons WERE hand painted and lettered unlike their replacements.

The early wagons had a slightly thinner-delicate chassis and finer spoked wheels. I'm sure they saw a great deal of abuse and damage over time being a bit too dainty.

Tokyo Disneyland uses the same 1975 type popcoen wagons at opening, but I wonder what was being used at Walt Disney World in 1971. I know Liberty Square once had a red-yellow Main Street type early on and at some point a nicer more "Colonial" looking model was put into service...I think that is still there now --obviously based on the standardized 1975 Tom York type.

Whew! Now who want's the skinny on Disney Park Trash cans!!??? The stories of Walt having designed them is a myth you know....if fact those designs date as far back as the 1920's!!