Friday, May 29, 2015

The Souvenir Dungeon - Carnation Kiddie Menu

I'm guessing a lot of GDB readers are fans of vintage Disneyland souvenirs. There are different kinds of souvenirs... many were purchased in the park's various stores. Then there are actual artifacts from the attractions (not many of those!), or even the attraction posters. Then there are the paper guides, gate handouts, flyers, ticket books, and other ephemera that were given out to guests (or swiped by them, in the case of restaurant menus). Today's souvenir falls into the third category!

First, a little bit of history; you're all familiar with the wonderful Carnation Milk truck that was usually parked on West Center Street, next to the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor of course. Here's a photo of it not parked on West Center Street; as you can see, it is near the Plaza Inn (circa 1977).

Here's a picture of it right next to the Ice Cream Parlor; people loved to have their photos taken while sitting in the driver's seat.

SO... a few years ago I acquired this fun "kiddie menu"; as you can see, it is intended to be folded into a miniature version of the iconic truck. I assume that it was originally on a rectangular sheet of paper, and that this is the punched-out (but never folded) remainder. It is undated, and I have personally never seen another one.

The prices, while low, are not as low as they were on the very early menus, so I can only guess that this is from the 1960's, or even the 70's. It's strange that Disneyland isn't mentioned at all - even on the exterior graphics. The real truck had the famous gothic "Disneyland" lettering on the back (which you can see HERE).

I suppose it's possible that this menu was given to children at the restaurant that was a part of the Carnation headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard. But why make it look like a distinctive feature from Disneyland, if that's the case? Here's an old photo of the headquarters, found on the interwebs.

Just for fun, I printed a copy of the front side of the menu, using heavy paper; I cut it out with an X-acto knife (I'm lucky to be alive!), and folded it accordingly. No glue or tape was required... just three tabs inserted into their respective slots. Say, it looks pretty swell! 

Bob Gurr would be proud. I know what I'm driving tomorrow.

PS: I am heading out of town this morning, but there will be new posts for you each day. I'll try to check in whenever time permits! Have great weekend.


Nanook said...


What a fun collectible. I hope this type of "toy" never disappears in this ever-increasing age of digital, digital, digital.

I think it was most-likely 1975 when I last had a sundae at the Carnation restaurant, adjacent to the Carnation headquarters on Wilshire Bl. Although fun, it was merely a substitute for 'the real thing' - C.C. Brown's - and seeing as it was on a Monday, wasn't open; which is why I ended up at the Carnation restaurant.

Thanks, Major, for sharing this great object.

Nancy said...

Cool stuff, Major! This is sort of thing worth saving. The artwork on the menu is great (love my baseball). I wonder how many kids ordered the soup. :-)

thanks for sharing this along with a neat story

K. Martinez said...

I love souvenirs of this type. Pure simple fun and great graphics. I wish Disneyland would produce stuff like this again. Or maybe they do and I'm not focused on them when at Disneyland.

Nanook, I remember eating at Carnation on Wilshire when I was a kid. My aunt would take us kids there when I stayed with my cousins in Culver City during many a summer. I don't remember C.C. Brown's though.

Nanook said...

@ Ken-

C.C. Browns is credited with "inventing" the hot fudge sundae. Here is a link to an LA Times article, which will give you an idea of its history. It's location on Hollywood Bl. was less than one block west of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

I knew John was a dairy chemist, but had forgotten he was a chemist for Carnation - so the story comes full circle.

Chuck said...

This is really neat.

As a kid, I had a collection of these fold-to-build vehicles that we'd acquired at various restaurants and businesses. I know I had several Greyhound buses from HoJo restaurants (slightly stained with french fry grease), the full 1974 line of Winnebago motor homes from an RV dealer, and a flyable Space Shuttle fold-up sent to me by NASA Public Relations circa 1978. All of them were hours of fun and lasted much longer than they should have because I took care of them better than most of my more durable (and, to my parents' chagrin, more expensive) toys.

Which reminds me - I need to build that Hallmark Fort Wilderness fold-up I printed out a week or two ago on cardstock...

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

You reminded me I still have a 'fold-to-build' light rail vehicle from 1988 which runs (ran) on the Santa Clara Valley Light Rail system.

K. Martinez said...


Looks like I missed C.C. Brown's by 19 years. So after 90 years C.C. Brown's passed into history because the children had careers and lives of their own. I've seen my share of longtime local establishments that this has happened to. Thanks for the link.


You comments remind me of a punch-out and fold-to-build Apollo Lunar Module I once got from a gas station back sometime in the late 60's/early 70's. It was really detailed and cool.

Sunday Night said...

My Carnation memory is eating a Carnation frozen malt at a Dodgers game back in the 60s. It came with a little wooden "spoon". That is one of the few things I remember about the game!

stu29573 said...

K, I have an unpunched example of the "Gulf Oil Lunar Lander" framed in my office! Great memories from the space race!

Patrick Devlin said...

I think those paper Carnation trucks were given out at the Carnation restaurant in San Diego as well. The restaurant was located on El Cajon Boulevard. I've been searching for more info about the restaurant and whether or not there was a chain. Anybody got an idea?

walterworld said...

I received a Carnation truck cutout at a Carnation restaurant in Pleasanton, CA in the late 70's. The restaurant was on Hopyard Blvd and the building is still there, but the Carnation version of the restaurant closed back in the early 80's.

Thank you Major for your always stellar posts!

tofubeast said...

That menu is from the Carnation restaurant on Wilshire in LA. Long gone, long missed. I remember folding many a menu into the famous Carnation truck as a child!