Thursday, October 29, 2015

More Classic GDB Pix!

Here's an oldie but a goodie, originally posted in 2007. What a wonderful (undated) shot of this corner of Tomorrowland! So clear and colorful, even on this hazy day. I'll never stop being amazed at the undeveloped state of the land that was adjacent to Disneyland. If you look closely, you can see a  raised, striped railroad crossing gate (near the Space Bar sign). 

Oh, those lucky ducks, riding the Skyway; the colors used on the buckets evolved over the years, and I love these then-fashionable hues.

I also wanted to zoom in on the load area for the Autopia; the girl with the red skirt is artfully framed by the Skyway tower.

There's a whole bunch of attraction posters, along with the queue for the Autopia and a bit of the Skyway ticket booth. I like the alternating orange and yellow colors of the food and drink dispensers (part of the Space Bar). Does anybody know if those were completely machine-operated? Or was it more like an Automat, with Oompa Loompas hidden behind the scenes?

Right near the Skyway stairs, you can see a wall with a bold black, yellow and white "hourglass" pattern...

... which, as you can see, was near the entrance to the rest rooms.


Nanook said...


A "goodie", to be sure-! So much to look at.

And if we are to assume the attraction posters are up to date, we can assume the first image was taken no later than September, 1959. (Love the 'hourglass' tiles outside the restrooms. They're just so modern and up-to-the-minute).

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Funny. I always associated that "hourglass" tile pattern with the Clock of the World. Now I want a time machine for Christmas. Nice set today! Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Wonderful little details visible in that first photo. Thanks for zooming in on them, Major. It appears that there are many adults sitting behind a fence underneath the Autopia canopy. I'm guessing these were parents waiting for their children to finish riding. We can also see the "police car" Autopia car parked across from a couple gas pumps. Are there still gas pumps visible near the loading area today, or are they hidden from guest view? I'm also noticing a woman in a wheel chair in the bottom of the photo (to the left of the Skyway tower). That makes me wonder if we have ever seen a guest in a wheel chair in any of these old pics? The park could not have been as easy to navigate in a wheel chair back then, as it is today.

Chuck said...

It's good to see that there were other crazy people who took pictures of things like them park restroom entrances back in 1963. It makes me feel almost normal.

MRaymond said...

I'm always surprised that the Disney company didn't try to buy up all that empty property. I would think that by 1959 they knew Disneyland was successful.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, do you mean because of the “tri-level” Fronteirland poster? I am sure you are right about this being pre-1959 (I think this picture is ’57 or ’58), but I am also not so confident that they swapped out the posters when they were supposed to!

K. Martinez, I also thought of the Clock of the World. I don’t know if the design is just a coincidence or if it was intentional.

TokyoMagic!, thanks for pointing out the police car; I wonder why they don’t have one now? It would be fun, with a flashing light and all. I do occasionally see people in wheelchairs in old photos - I can’t imagine how impossible it would be to get around in a wheelchair today.

Chuck, it IS weird that somebody thought, “I need to take a picture of that restroom sign!” back when each frame of film was so precious.

MRaymond, I know what you mean. I’m sure that money was still an issue up to a point, and I’m sure land prices skyrocketed after the park was such a success. Walt and Roy bought out ABC’s interest in the park very early, and I think Western Publishing too, which was very smart. Imagine what Walt could have done with another 60 acres!

K. Martinez said...

Chuck, I wish there were more "crazy" photographers back then taking snapshots of restrooms, menu boards, shops and signs at Disneyland. I think of how cool it would've been if someone took a photo of the menu boards at Tomorrowland Terrace or Sunkist "I Presume" back in the 1960's-70's so we could see what was actually on the menu.

Just imagine the wealth of DL and WDW documentation photos the Walt Disney Company has in their archives, but seem too stingy to share in their publications.

Nanook said...

@ Major-

Yup - I was using the "tri-level" AP as the time marker, but agree with you that could be risky, as I get the sense they were not always up to date.

@ K. Martinez-

If by "stingy" you mean in the 'profit sense' for Disney, I would agree with you. As interesting as that part of Disneyland history may be to followers of this and other similarly-minded blogs and fan sites, its appeal is relatively limited. I can't imagine them taking the time, effort and expense to publish such a thing for the (relatively) small profit it would generate for them. On the other hand, maybe all it takes is an outside source willing to do the work, with Disney willing to license the images 'on the cheap'. You never know.

K. Martinez said...

@Nanook, in general I find them stingy. They used to do wonderful in-house publications full of great archival photos which were sold at the parks in both pictorial booklet form and hardcover. In the later years I've seen so many archive photos and artwork at the nostalgic displays and exhibits in the Park during their latest milestone anniversaries that could've been used in publications but were not. Now it seems the best books tend to be those that are published independently.

I also have so many books (250+) on amusement/theme parks including the Disney parks that it's hard to find books with a substantial amount of new material. Perhaps I'm also spoiled by the online community which is so generous in sharing history of the parks through essays, photos and audio.

And yes, I understand that some subjects such as restaurants, shops and restrooms are specialized, but still I know there's a lot in the vault that unfortunately stays in the vault.

Nancy said...

cant get enough of Space of my fave buildings at Disneyland :-)

Beautiful pictures of early Tomorrowland. I liked when it was simple in decor and so colorful.

Carole said...

Hi! I haven't commented before but love this blog!

Does anyone know when the Richfield Eagle first landed atop the Autopia entrance? That could help date the photo since he seems to be AWOL.

Thanks for all the great photos and amusing commentary.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I guess it is only natural that you would notice that poster! (I am jealous).

K. Martinez, I know what you mean, and I feel the same way about most of the stuff that Disney produces; I rarely see anything new or different. I’d like to believe that the archives is full of amazing stuff, but at some point they’re going to use it all. Maybe they’ve gotten there! One of the few things I liked about the “American Experience” episodes about Walt Disney was the few minutes of incredibly rare footage.

Nancy, while the 1967 Tomorrowland is incredible, I would have a hard time choosing between that one and this slightly older versiion.

Carole, thanks! I thought that the Richfield eagle might have been removed for the “New Tomorrowland” in 1967, but there are pictures of at least one of them as late as 1969. I don’t have any hard info about it, unfortunately.