Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Main Street, November 1955

Welcome to Disneyland, circa 1955! Considering that the park was only open about 5 months of that year, images are pretty darn scarce. The "population" sign is already at 5 million, can that be right? Was that the first number placed there? If I wasn't so lazy, it would be interesting to try to keep track of the changing numbers.

I am assuming that these photos were taken on a Sunday - those folks to the right look like they just came from church. Now they need to shake off that churchy feeling and have some fun.

What do you think, would this be around 3 o'clock in the afternoon in November? It gets dark pretty early at that time of year, and the sun is clearly on its way down. Still the park is bustling with activity... I wonder how late it stayed open. 

Look at those dinky horses pulling the Surrey! City Hall is surprisingly popular; To the extreme right you can just see one of the white horses that pulled the Chemical Fire Wagon (in front of the Fire House, naturally); I'd like to think that Walt Disney was in his apartment on this day!


Patrick Devlin said...

Five million for the first six months sounded really high. In fact Wikipedia, for what it's worth, says attendance reached 5,000,000 at the end of 1956. But as far as I'm concerned 1956 is "circa 1955"; at least I remember both equally well...

It's neat seeing the railings in front of Floral Mickey without attraction posters. I wonder when they went up. And I wonder, too, what that sign on the right in the second shot is advertising. It looks like some kind of a dancer's figure.

K. Martinez said...

Steve made it to goal. Awesome!

According to Chris Strodder's "The Disneyland Book of Lists"

September 8, 1955: one-million guest
October 4, 1956: five-millionth guest

Matthew said...

Great questions Patrick! Thanks K. Martinez for finding the answer to the 5 Million population question (too bad the answer isn't worth $5 million). Finally, I don't know when the attraction posters were placed along the railings... but someone out there does.

Major I like your thoughts about tracking the population sign. It might be interesting to track the clothing styles with the population change.

Finally, I like the little sandwich board signs that indicate the Surrey and Chemical Wagon drop off and pick up sites. It looks as if the Chemical Wagon sign has a fireman on it (maybe looking for new recruits?). You can make out the silhouette of a surrey on the sign next to the woman waiting to catch the next ride down the street. I wonder if these signs were the forerunners of the silhouette signs found on Matterhorn's "Stuff From the Park" blog? He recently showcased the Main Street signs.

Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick, I agree, which is why I assume that they just started with five million because they knew they would get there sooner or later. I know the posters were there by 1957, but I’ll have to go back in my archives to see if I can narrow down the date more.

K. Martinez, I know, that is so awesome! I honestly didn’t think it would happen so fast. Don’t know how much of that last push was from GDB readers, but it might have been a lot! Thanks for the info about the attendance; sounds like I need to get that Chris Stodder book

Matthew, I love those sandwich board signs; but then again, I am a fan of most of the old signage! There is definitely a fireman at the reigns on the Chemical Wagon. Thanks for pointing out the silhouettes on the signs, I’m sure your theory is right about them being the forerunners of the cutout silhouette signs seen later.

K. Martinez said...

Patrick/Matthew, The attraction posters were already there by the time this photo was taken which I believe is post-October 1956. The posters just happen to be out of view to the left and right of the today's Main Street Station image. I'd guess the attraction posters were up by 1956.

Here are two images from Daveland archive showing attraction poster positions on the fence railing to the left and right of the Mickey Mouse floral display:



K. Martinez said...

Major, here's are two images from your blog dated 1956 showing the Main Street Station. These images are why I picked 1956 as the year the attraction posters went up in front of the Main Street Station.

Dated 1956 without attraction posters:


Dated 1956 with attraction posters:


Nanook said...

Bjorn Aronson designed most of the original attraction posters in 1955 & 1956. The ones credited with a 1955 date are: Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad; Red Wagon Inn; Jungle Cruise; Frontierland; Casa de Fritos; Peter Pan's Flight; Dumbo, Mad Tea Party & Carousel; Storybook Land Canal Boats; Mickey Mouse Club Theater; Rocket to the Moon; 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; and the Autopia. With the exception of the MM Club Theater poster - the artist of which is unknown - all were designed by Aronson.

Clearly, those early posters were on display in 1956 - as is mentioned in the book: Poster Art of the Disney Parks. The question is, were any of them gracing the park at any time in 1955-?

Orange Co Native said...

Look how nicely and sharply dressed the guests are on this day at Disneyland in 1955. Most people who go to Disneyland today look sloppy.

I was not around in the 1950's but my wife and I get semi dressed up (nice pair of jeans, boots, collared casual dress shirt, sports jacket on cool days etc) with our young girls (dressed nicely in a dress) because when the photographs that we take at the park are looked at later, at least we look half way decent.

Not trying to be a snob or anything, but I was inching toward that sloppy way of dressing about 10 years ago. Saw the pictures of myself and it cured me right away (My wife always dressed nicely, even 10 years ago).

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, I was looking at the usual poster locations of the Main Street Station, Plaza Gardens and the Avenue of Flags from the Daveland archive and I couldn't find any attraction posters in images that were dated 1955 . The images I could verify seem to show the posters starting around Fall 1956. 1956 is also the year Plaza Gardens and the Avenue of Flags opened according to Chris Strodder's "Disneyland Encyclopedia". Also the encyclopedia states the attraction posters duration as 1955-ongoing. Now I may have overlooked something but that is what I've come up with so far.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, is there some reason why you think these photos are post-October, 1956? They are hand-labeled “11-1955”, after all.

K. Martinez again, yes, I do believe that 1956 was the year that the posters were created and added throughout the park (whose brilliant idea was that?). I have a first-edition Storybook Land poster, and Monstro wasn’t added until 1956 (I believe). Thanks for the photo examples!

Nanook, I really would love to know what else Bjorn Aronson did throughout his career. It seems that a Google search only mentions his association with Disneyland. The posters are so colorful and the design is so strong and appealing, you’d think that he would be up there with other famous poster designers.

Orange Co Native, it’s funny, as the years go by, you can see the standards of dress changing rather rapidly from 1955’s more dressy style. Man, I once said something about people looking like slobs these days, and somebody took real offense! It’s one of the few times that things got unpleasant. I liked your story about seeing a photo of yourself… I’ve had the same experience.

K. Martinez, if only there was a way you could make money with all of your researching skills! I enjoy doing it, but it sounds like you have more resources than I do (like the Chris Strodder book, for one). I used to be friendly with a guy who called himself “The Poster King”, and I would ask him for info, but, unfortunately, we lost touch long ago.

K. Martinez said...


I thought it was post-Oct. 1956 because of the pop sign, but after further research, it appears the pop. of 5 million was there from the beginning. In addition the subject of slide date stamp accuracy came up earlier in the week and I thought this might be one of those cases.

I recant my claim of a post-Oct. 1956 date, but I do think it's lame of them to start with 5 million before they reached the milestone. As for research skills, I probably should quit while I'm ahead.

Patrick Devlin,

I owe you an apology. The attraction posters apparently weren't there yet in the pic as you stated. Sorry!