Monday, September 14, 2015

Canal Boat, 1957

From 1957 we have these two fun photos taken at the dock of the Storybook Land Canal Boats; here comes a canal boat now!

You can see into "Never Never Land" beneath the rock arch, and a smidgen of the Fantasyland train station is peeking up in the distance. I love the color in this one.

Here's the same boat, back safe and sound. That kid can't wait to get back to terra firm along with his identically-shirted brother (they can't be twins, because twins are cursed and the boat would have never made it back). He is definitely not keeping his hands inside the boat at all times. The cast member with her cat's-eye glasses is beyond caring.

Out of idle curiosity, I wanted to see which boat this was - each canal boat has a unique name. Much to my surprise, "Walt Disney" is clearly painted around that porthole. Huh? I know that the names of the boats has evolved over time - other extinct names include "Gretel", "Nellie Bly", and "Bold Lochnivar". At this angle it is hard to tell if there are additional words on the side of the boat, but it sure looks like this one is named after Walt himself.


TokyoMagic! said...

I believe there is still one of the boats that is designated as the "Walt Disney Special" even today. I love the peek into Never Never Land. Too bad they "never, never take us in there!" I remember all of the years/decades with just a piece of tarp hanging down over the opening. You would think they would have designed a door or something better. The waterfall they have today is a nice touch.....better than the lame waterfall effect they shoehorned into Pirates of the Caribbean!

TokyoMagic! said...

Okay, I knew there was something familiar about these pics. I have almost two identical photos that my dad took of my mom, my brother and me with the boat pretty much in the exact same locations. I might have to share them with you, Major. Of course, that means I would have to fuzz out faces or replace heads! ;-)

Nanook said...


Let's hear it for cats-eye glasses-! Puuuuurrrrr.

@ TokyoMagic! -

Go ahead and replace those heads. Think of all the fun you can have-!

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

It looks like there are two, count 'em, two sets of matching brothers in that boat! Double your pleasure, double your fun.

K. Martinez said...

Is that tunnel in the right of the first image part of the Midget Autopia? It sure looks like it. I love how a lot of the attractions back in Disneyland's early years utilized wood decking in the load areas before they switched to concrete. Thanks, Major.

Matterhorn1959 said...

Note that one of the adults is eating popcorn out of one of the early popcorn containers with the great graphics.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I have never heard of the “Walt Disney Special”. It’s funny, when I was trying to research the names of the boats, it was clear that all of the info had come from one source (Wikipedia, probably) and had been repeated exactly. None of them mention a Walt Disney boat. I was hoping to see what other names (besides the ones I mentioned) were no longer used, but it seems that nobody has a clue.

TokyoMagic!, I can pixelate the faces for you, if you’d like! Of you can replace the heads with characters from 1960’s sitcoms.

Nanook, I used to think that cats-eye glasses looked so goofy, but now I like them.

Melissa, I see the two other boys, but can’t tell for sure if their shirts match exactly. Meanwhile, lots of people are eating popcorn.

K. Martinez, I do believe that the tunnel is part of the Midget Autopia. I never really thought about it, but you’re right, the wood decking seems so much more old-fashioned - and it looks better too, as long as it is maintained.

Matterhorn1959, yeah, I love those early popcorn boxes! One just sold on ebay for over $250.

Matthew said...

Let's hear for the days when Disneyland gave their guests soft cushions to sit on during their boat attractions... Hip-Hip-Horay!

Is it me or is there someone sitting on a chair back there in "Never, Never Land"? Also, it is interesting to see the dirt path leading back there along with the open gate (just inviting a kid to "come on back and see what's inside!") in the first photo.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Nanook said...

@ K. Martinez-

I had assumed that tunnel was part of the Midget Autopia, too, but wanted to find an image to clinch the deal - but no such luck. Clearly, it could be nothing else, as there are no other attractions, etc., at that point.


As the Canal Boat names were appended to the stern of each boat, below the deck, that 'Walt Disney' reference must be speaking to something else, don't-cha think-?

Here's what I got from The "E" Ticket regarding names for the Canal Boats...
"The Dutch Boat flotilla has expanded from an original 12 boats to 14, and each one carries its own identifying name painted on the stern. Disney ladies of legend like Aurora, Cinderella, Katrina and Wendy have shared their names with canal boats since opening. The remaining vessels, which once bore the names of more eclectic origin like Lady of Shallot, Nellie Bly, Annie Oakley or Bold Lochinvar, have traded these original names for Disney familiars."
I also noted "Aurore" was another name employed.

As to the Lady of Shallot, is kissing considered out of the question-??

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, Here's what I found from another source: Chris Stodder's Disneyland Book of Lists.

Canal Boats of the World:

Annie Oakley
Bold Lochinvar
Lady Katrina
Lady Guinivere (sic)
Lady of the Lake
Lady of Shallot
Nellie Bly

Storybook Land Canal Boats:

Snow White
Tinker Bell

Nanook said...

@ Ken-

Aha-! I knew there had to be a list somewhere. The 'Aurore' name is clearly visible in one of the included 1956 images from The "E" Ticket article on the Canal Boats, prior to its re-christening as Storybook Land. One wonders if 'Aurore' became Aurora...

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, I don't think any one source is 100% accurate no matter how reputable. Even Disney prints incorrect information once in a while. That's one of the things I love about photo images. It's visual confirmation.

Nanook said...

@ K. Martinez-

Oh brother - you've said a mouthful-!

Snow White Archive said...

Is the cast member wearing a modified Snow White dress? Snow White with shades...that'd be cool.

Joe said...

All of the boats had "Walt Disney Limited" painted on them on that spot... The name of the boat was written below. Here are a few examples (admittingly more recent)