Monday, June 29, 2015

The Wonderful Mark Twain, December 1957

It is always a treat to find a rare image of a seldom-photgraphed feature from Disneyland. Today's image isn't one of those!! 

Almost as good (to me) is a photo like this first one, of the Mark Twain. The Kodachrome colors are so vivid and saturated (that sky is as blue as can be!), the sunshine is bright, and the focus is perfect. Those lucky passengers are in for a treat as they navigate the Rivers of America.

Off to our left is a Keel Boat, moored near Fowler's Harbor. To our right, Castle Rock, and even Fort Wilderness. There is nothing particularly fancy about this photo, but I love it so much.

Here's a second shot, looking East. I am kind of amazed at how many photos I have with the Disneyland Band performing on the Mark Twain, but it stands to reason that folks would be even more likely to take a picture if something special was going on. 

The Dixieland bandstand can be seen to our right, with the Golden Horseshoe; to the left, Rainbow Ridge!


Nanook said...


Wonderful, wonderful. Or is it Wun'erful, Wun'erful!-?

Thanks, Major.

Nancy said...

Beautiful views today....lots of people enjoying themselves on the river :-) Its easy on a sunny day!


K. Martinez said...

Looks like holiday decorating was already being done in Frontierland by 1957. I see garland hung on the Golden Horseshoe building.

Melissa said...

First Picture Upper Deck People Captions, Left to Right:

Boy in Red: Oh boy, oh boy! As soon as I'm done being Bret Maverick on this riverboat, I'm going to the Flight Circle and flying a real airplane and then I'm piloting a real motorboat at the Motor Boat Cruise and driving a real race car at the Autopia just like James Dean - well, OK, maybe not JUST like James Dean - and then we'll ride the Disneyland Railroad chugga chugga chugga chugga CHOO CHOO! and then I'll hold Mom's hand so she won't be scared of the witch on Snow White's Adventures and then we can pretend we live in the Monsanto House of the Future where she can bake me an astronaut cake before we see the Mouseketeers at the Mickey Mouse Club Theater and go to H-E-double-hockey-sticks on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and then we can be Scott Crossfield and Alvin White on Rocket to the Moon. Then after lunch I can be Daveeeey, Daaaaavy Crocket at the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade and Mom says I'll be smart or something if we go to the Hall of Chemistry, so I guess it can't hurt but then it's off to the Viewliner and the Astro Jets for VROOOOM! And if I don't shoot an antelope on the Indian War Canoes I'll bag a rhino on the Jungle Cruise and buy Mom a posy at the Flower Mart before we go find the MOST FAMOUS PIECE OF ALUMINUM IN THE WORLD at the Aluminum Hall of Fame. Then we'll have just enough time for me to pretend to be the little Dutch Boy who saved Holland at the Dutch Boy Color Gallery and take my pack mule right on the Rainbow Ridge Mine Train with me 'cause mules are people too, before we have to go a whole 20,000 leagues under the sea, wow, that's deep, all the way to Snow White's grotto to see how fire works. Gee, I'm getting hungry already. Mo-om!

Mom in White: I hope nobody's taking a picture of my behind.

Boy with Dangling Arm: Ha! They told us to keep our arms and legs inside the vehicle! See how I'm stickin' it to the Man? What are you gonna do about it, Uncle Walt? Ha! Nothin', that's what! Ha! Nobody tells ME what to do with MY arms and legs! Ha!

Little Girl in White: Someday we all die and become angels.

Woman in Brown: I love you, darling. I love you so much it hurts. I think about you all...


Woman in Aqua: Careful, now, honey. Careful. Watch out, sweetie. Sugar baby, look out, precious. You're making mama nervous, darling. Just be careful. Watch out, now. Watch out, precious. Sugarpie, look out.


Man in Suit! Gee, I wonder how deep that water is. You can't really tell with all the mud, can you? Anyway, I bet you'd get chewed up by those paddles before you had a chance to drown. Still, it'd have to be fairly deep to float a boat this size. Unless the boat's on some kind of track. Say, I bet it is! That'd probably kill you, too! The undertow would catch you, your clothes would get pulled into the track, and you'd probably be cut right in two, as quick as you please! Gee, that's modern technology for you, isn't it? Always thinking ahead. That's really swell.

Girl in Black: ...and that's why I only smoke French cigarettes. Drat, my glasses are misted over again.

Blond Girl: (It's no good bringing Veda along to make myself look cuter by comparison if there aren't going to be any handsome young men around.)

Woman in White: Children, come away from those girls.

Boy at railing: We're twins!

Girl at railing: It's creepy!

Tall Man in Brown: Honey, are you sure it doesn't bother you that people still think I'm your father?

Petite Woman in Black: Only when they look at our wedding picture and say, "What an adorable First Communion."

Obscured Kids at Railing: We're twins, too, and it's even creepier because people think our Dad is our Grandpa.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, your comment brought back memories of visiting my grandparents, who always watched The Lawrence Welk Show. It did not appeal to me, to say the least!

Nancy, it might be a little *too* sunny here; 96 degrees and muggy. Oog!

K. Martinez, good eyes, that is definitely a Christmas garland!

Melissa, my favorites are either “Little Girl in White” or “Obscured Girl”. I think I’ll have to give the prize to Obscured Girl!

Tom said...

In that first shot: for that single moment (though perhaps within a ten mile radius of the Mark Twain) everything was exactly right with the world.

K. Martinez said...

Melissa, the "Boy in Red" is hilarious, but I can totally relate to the thinking of the "Man in Suit!".

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

Actually the Boy in Red was able to talk his mother out of going to the Hall of Chemistry and instead visit the Bathroom of Tomorrow, as he would be able to experience “A dramatic story of valves in industry — the ‘Tear Drop’ exhibit.” Yes - we all are much better-off for having been there.

@ Major-

Indeed, the Lawrence Welk Show was certainly challenged when trying to hold the attention of anyone under the age of, say, 50. Although one of their more ironic moments was when they performed One Toke Over the Line in 1971. Just what the hell (whoops - I mean what the H-E-double-hockey-sticks - thanks, Melissa) were they thinking-? Musta been the lyrics reference to 'sweet Jesus' which threw-off their "censors".

On the other hand, if you can find the shows which allowed Welk's musicians to shine - especially when performing Big Band numbers - THAT'S the ticket. He had GREAT musicians. And they never sounded better than when they could 'let their hair down' and simply play great music from the 30's & 40's. But that other stuff they were forced to play in some of the weirdest arrangements.... Ugh.

Melissa said...

I’ve loved the Lawrence Welk show all my life. I can’t say why, for certain. Maybe it’s just nostalgia for those cozy Sunday evenings. Maybe it’s that it came on right before bedtime, and it was like the whole company was saying goodnight to you when they sang their goodnight song. Sure, it was dull and predictable – heck, even the tap dancers’ taps were pre-recorded – but in some ways, that was a feature rather than a bug. For that half-hour, while the big, scary world went on its way outside, you could stick your head in the sand and know exactly what was going to happen next. Some smiley people were going to sing and dance really calmly, there would be an ad for Rose Milk (Hey, both my Grandmas use Rose Milk!), the pretty tall lady would play the ragtime piano, the nice man with the accent would dance with a nice Grandma from the audience, the other guy would play the accordion so fast you couldn’t see his fingers move, and at the end everybody would dress all in the same color and sing that cute goodnight song you all knew the words to. It had nothing to do with the real world. It was kind of like a nice little Valium to wind up the week.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

That "pretty tall lady" not only played Ragtime piano on TLWS from 1959 - 1969, but I saw her play ragtime piano in 1977 at the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant in WDW-! And that 'lady' was Jo Ann Castle who, unfortunately, had serious substance abuse and child molestation issues in later years. The "other guy" playing the accordion was none-other-then Myron Floren; and along with Dick Contino, were considered the finest accordionists of the era - and probably beyond that.

And there was another pianist/organist - Bob Ralston - himself a child prodigy, who tickled the ivories from 1962 - 1982. And even stranger... Ralston was also charged with child molestation in 1984. Creepy. (So much for 'squeaky-clean, family entertainment'). I don't think I wish to know any more...

As I said - the atmosphere may have been on the 'squeaky-clean' side, but the talent was really top-notch; if not a bit flawed off-stage.

Melissa said...

Dick "I Was a Teenage Beatnik" "Daddy-O" Contino? You just blew my mind, Nanook!

Major Pepperidge said...

Tom, I know just what you mean!

K. Martinez, “Man in Suit” seems like an analytical kind of guy, so I can see how you would identify.

Nanook, even though I saw countless hours of the Lawrence Welk Show, the one thing that stands out in my memory is a performance of “Windy”. Every time the singers said “Everyone knows it’s Windy…” they would play a cheesy wind sound effect that was so unnecessary and dumb! “One Tok Over the Line”, wow, what a weird one. Maybe Larry was trying to appeal to the younger crowd. I recall hearing a recording of “Baby Elephant Walk” by Welk that actually had some pretty cool horns.

Melissa, I’m sure that the episodes that I saw at my grandparent’s house were old reruns. I like it when they watched “Bonanza” (“Oh this is one with Hoss!”), but I could never stand the Welk show. Even my dad would sometimes watch it within the last few years, and it drove my mom crazy. “Rose Milk”, I assume that it was a lotion and not a beverage??

Nanook, wow, you know a lot of trivia! Is it just part of your general knowledge, or are you especially knowledgeable about The Lawrence Welk performers? The child molestation stuff is very icky, to put it mildly. The whole atmosphere of the show seemed like it was from another world (or time). I wonder if Welk was a humorless taskmaster (like Buddy Rich), or if he was a nice man?

Melissa, I am astonished that even I have heard of Dick Contino… he must have been a real star!

Matthew said...

It appears in the first photo that the Steam Engineer is putting oil on the port (left) side piston.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Nanook said...


Dick Contino, seen here in a classic album cover, was (is) really considered to be "The world's greatest and most famous accordionist-!" His records fom the 1950's, undoubtedly were responsible for many a youngster thinking they could play like Contino and as such caused a huge spike in accordion sales at that time. He's 85 years old and still playing - I wonder with the same incredible speed and precision he is noted for. I encourage you to listen to this track, and hear for yourself just exactly why the above-mentioned title is no exaggeration. (Of particular note is the scream [from a female member of the live audience], which occurs at 1:14). Am I to assume she fainted promptly thereafter-?

As for my "vast" knowledge of trivia - let's just say it's hardly the sort of trivia which would advance me into the "+ column" if I were to appear on Jeopardy-! Growing up, and being of a 'certain age', we remember certain people - and Lawrence Welk, and many of his "Champagne Music Makers" are included: Jo Ann Castle; Bob Ralston; Myron Floren; the "Lovely" Lennon Sisters; Norma Zimmer; and of course, Bobby Burgess - of former Mouseketeer fame-! I "discovered" those lurid tidbits about Jo Ann Castle and Bob Ralston while simply trying to verify the spelling of Jo Ann's first name. The things you discover on the Internet-!

As for Lawrence Wek, himself, I don't know if he was 'humorless', but he was definitely the taskmaster.

@ Melissa-

I Was a Teenage Beatnik-??!! Who knew-! And, it's from 2005, no less-! The trailer is a hoot-and-a-half-!

Nanook said...

And Major-

Why stop with just a Dick Contino performance, when you can re-live THIS "great-?" performance of Windy. You're welcome-! (Even at their worst, were any finalists on American Idol, etc., ever this bad-??)

With apologies, however, to The Association. BIG TIME-!

Major Pepperidge said...

Matthew, he is doing *something*… your guess is as good as any! Imagine that your job is “Steam Engineer” on a real steam powered riverboat - in the 21st century!

Nanook, Mr. Contino can definitely play that squeeze box! He possessed oodles of skill. The Jimi Hendrix of the accordion; accordion music is often “party music”, and it’s as happy as can be - - but I can’t say I want to listen to it very often. It might actually have to do with the traumatic childhood memories of Lawrence Welk and that show. That being said, I’ve always loved the look of a fancy accordion, with the mother-of-pearl buttons, and fancy scrollwork, etc. I wonder, did Ed Sullivan have accordionists on his show? Back in those days, it was as cool as playing guitar, probably. I don’t begrudge Lawrence being a taskmaster; that’s how he excelled and became a beloved star to millions.

Nanook again, I almost didn’t click on the link, but I couldn’t resist! It looked right, and yet this clip didn’t have the wind sound effect - which makes me wonder if I imagined it, or if the song was performed on the show more than once. It’s such a vivid memory that it had to be real! It might have been a group of singers performing it. For a long time I wasn’t crazy about The Association, but over the years many of their songs have grown on me. I still don’t like “Cherish”, though!!

Nanook said...

Cherish can be a 'bit much', at times; but I really do like most of The Association's music.

It almost seems inconceivable Dick Contino didn't appear on The Ed Sullivan Show... Let's check: I found a performance of Arrivaderci Roma performed on 5/11/1958; Lady of Spain performed on 6/11/1950; and Brazil performed sometime in 1962. If I only had access to the Master Indexes from The Ed Sullivan Show - both alphabetically by act - and chronologically by Air Date - it was all in there.