Monday, December 14, 2015

Disneyland Hotel Menu, 1961

It's vintage souvenir time! This is an odd one... a child's menu from the Gourmet restaurant at the Disneyland Hotel, in the form of a portrait of "Chucko the Clown".

Chucko (Charles "Randy" Runyan) was the star of a local SoCal television show from 1954 to 1962, and he could also be found at places such as Jungleland U.S.A. in Thousand Oaks. I am unclear as to how long he was involved with Disneyland (or the Hotel, at least) - if anybody out there has more information, I'd love to hear it.

The menu doubled as a paper mask; punch out the eyes (AIEEEE!) and staple the mask to your head for hours of fun. Hey, food is expensive, and frightened children won't eat much, so this thing was a real boon to budget-conscious parents. You're my hero, Chucko.

Much like the children's menu from the Red Wagon Inn, the selection seems old-fashioned by today's standards. The idea of a kid wanting a broiled lamb chop with mint jelly boggles the mind. How about "Scrambled eggs with jelly sandwiches"? That's a weird one. A pear and cottage cheese salad seems like it is right out of a 1950's magazine.

These menus are not terribly rare, but it's so wackadoo that I am happy to have it in my collection!


Nanook said...


Although not exactly 'health foods', at least the Children's Plates offered foods that were a far cry
from what most kids will eat these days.

Back probably in 1960, our Cub Scout den went down to KTTV to an airing of Chucko. Can't remember any of the specifics, and if any of us were "called to the stage", but HERE IS A LINK to the theme song. Yeah - they don't write 'em like this anymore.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

SCARY! Was Chucko the clown that sometimes lurked around on Main St.? I wonder why they didn't just have a Disney character on the menu? And what are Bib Juices?

K. Martinez said...

Nice "wackadoo" piece you've got there, Major. Thanks for sharing it.

I want that hat and collar so I can wear it to the next family funeral.

"We all float down here, Henry! We all float! When you're down here with us, you'll float too!"

Chuck said...

Punch out the eyes? I want to punch out the whole face. And then run. Glad I look at your page first thing in the morning instead of just before bedtime...

I remember eating food like this back in the 70's. In fact, cottage cheese with pears is one of my secret vices. I'm sure the Internet will help me keep that secret.

Nice bit of (unintentionally creepy) Disneyland ephemera, Major!

MRaymond said...

I lived in SoCal my entire childhood and I don't remember Chucko. I do remember Hobo Kelly and Sheriff John but maybe Chucko freaked me out too much.

TokyoMagic! said...

MRaymond, I remember Hobo Kelly! And also, Bozo The Clown, Skip & Woofer and Bob McAllister's Wonderama.

Anonymous said...

Not a french fry to be found.

Our tastes in clowns have sure changed over the years.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think these old menus are a fascinating look at what kids ate before all of the processed foods that we expect nowadays. By the way, I like chicken strips (I hate calling them chicken fingers, yuck)! The Chucko theme song is one of the greatest tunes ever written. Early Sondheim?

TokyoMagic!, I went back to look at Daveland’s great photo (his first post!) of that clown on Main Street, and I don’t believe it is Chucko. The makeup is different, and clowns are very particular about their unique makeup designs. I could be wrong of course. Bib juices, yeah, that’s weird. Maybe they mean typical baby juices (apple, grape, ghost pepper).

K. Martinez, I’m not sure I know what the “We all float down here” quote is, but I’ll bet it is from Steven King’s “It”?

Chuck, I think cottage cheese with pears used to be considered “diet food” back in the day. There’s nothing wrong with it, though I am not crazy about cottage cheese.

MRaymond, Hobo Kelly! I used to love that show. I didn’t watch as much of Sheriff John. What about Engineer Bill? He went to my grandmother’s church. When I lived on the east coast we watched a clown named “Bungles”… we saw him LIVE and in person.

TokyoMagic!, “Skip & Woofer”??

JG, I am sort of fascinated by old fashioned clowns and old circuses. Nowadays it’s fun to make fun of scary clowns, but back in the day people truly loved them (or so it seems).

Chuck said...

Back in the day, people believed that if clowns thought you loved them, they wouldn't steal your soul. We know better now.

K. Martinez said...

I loved Bozo the Clown. He was awesome with his flaming red hair and bulbous nose. As a child I'd punch my Bozo Bop Bag daily. KA-POW!!! He kept coming back up. I always thought Ronald McDonald was a bit of a weirdo though. Never cared for him.

Major, you are correct. The quote is spoken by the character Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King's epic novel "IT".

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Wow! We are all REALLY dating ourselves today, aren’t we? I always assumed most of us are comparable in age, though some of you are a bit older than I thought. (Born in 1964, myself)

YUP! Hobo Kelly, Sheriff John, Skip & Woofer, Bozo, Wonderama all big parts of my sedentary sofa-bound childhood. There was also a revised Soupy Sales show. However, Chucko must’ve been before my time. In So Cal there was also UHF channel 52, anybody remember that one? (It had nothing to do with Weird Al Yankovic)

I always really liked Sheriff John. He always seemed to me to be such a good man. Those old shows were all about instilling good morals and zany cartoons into our brains.

Major, Skip & Woofer replaced Hobo Kelly shortly after (she/he/it) went off the air. I didn’t like it as much as Hobo Kelly and felt kind of ripped off. Hobo Kelly being canceled was like losing an old friend.

Chuck said...

Snarky, clown-hating commentary aside, I really liked Bozo as a kid. I even had a Bozo fork and knife set (in fact, I think my parents still have it). Clowns are probably still my favorite part of any circus or rodeo.

And as far as murderous clowns go, Buttons the Clown wasn't such a bad guy once you got to know him (and his 6 foot, 3-and-a-half-inch invisible pal).

K. Martinez said...

Monkey Cage Kurt, I think quite a few of us here on GDB were born sometime in the 1960s. My date stamp is 1960.

Chuck, A Bozo fork and knife set? Now that sounds cool!

MRaymond said...

I don't remember Engineer Bill but I remember hearing the name. I also remember Bob McAlisters Wonderama. Didn't he have that stupid game with the hanging marshmallows? I remember a silly song with the lyrics "marshmallows are funny."

Someone mentioned channel 52, the home of the Three Stooges, Little Rascals and Speed Racer. Yes I remember it. BTW, I was born in 61

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

YES, that’s right! I think channel 52 represented most Sothern Californian kid’s first introduction to the Stooges, the Little Rascals, Speed Racer and a whole LOT more. Oh, and don’t forget “Kimba the White Lion”. Who could forget Kimba?

Ken, I guess by now you can take a hunch and find that I am the baby of the bunch. Or at least I’m beginning to suspect it.

BTW: I never thought clowns were creepy, but guys who dress up like clowns…now THAT’S REALLY creepy BIG TIME!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, the jokes on those clowns… I don’t have a soul!

K. Martinez, I mostly remember Bozo having this contest that involved flipping a spoonhandle into a soda bottle. The prize was something like jams and jellies. I’ll bet if you got 1,000,000 people to try it, not one would succeed. Even as a small child I knew it was basically impossible to win that lame prize.

Monkey Cage Kurt, I think Sheriff John is still around (?), I’m pretty sure somebody on Facebook put up a photo of him. Maybe it wasn’t a recent photo. I loved Hobo Kelly, and can still sing her theme song. “H-O-B-O K-E-double L -Y….”.

Chuck, “Buttons the Clown”, that’s a new one on me.

K. Martinez, I agree, it seems like a lot of GDB readers are part of that baby boom generation.

MRaymond, I vaguely remember Wonderama. “Does anybody here have an aardvark?”. Good old Bob McAlister. I don’t remember a game with hanging marshmallows, but it sounds about right. I thought I watched “The Little Rascals”, “Speed Racer” and the “Three Stooges” on channel 5, but am probably misremembering.

Monkey Cage Kurt, gosh, maybe I DID see those shows on Channel 52. What about “Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot”? Or “Ultraman”?

TokyoMagic! said...

MRaymond, don't forget Kimba The White Lion (is the one!) was also on channel 52. I'm sure Bob McAlister sang other songs, but I can only remember the one he closed the show with, "Kids Are People Too" (Whack-a-do Whack-a-do!)

Chuck, I was given a talking Bozo The Clown doll for Christmas when I was 2. I still have it, but he no longer talks. Even though I find clowns pretty frightening, I was never afraid of him. But then, he never tried to pull me under the bed and strangle me either.

Major, Skip wore big round glasses and Woofer was a dog/puppet. As with Hobo Kelly, viewers at home could send in a card and win prizes.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Major, I almost mentioned the “has anybody here got an aardvark” song, but I didn’t feel like typing anymore.

Ultraman, and also Gigantor were on channel 52 as well, but Johnny Sokko and Giant Robot and all the other giant monster may have been on channel 5 (KTLA), or maybe channel 9.

I don’t feel like typing anymore.

TokyoMagic! said...

Monkey Cage Kurt, I didn't read your last comment until after I clicked on "Publish Your Comment", but I see that neither one of us wanted people to forget "Kimba The White Lion". By the way, I was born the same year as you!

Major, thanks for reminding us about Hobo Kelly's theme song. I loved it. Remember how she used to throw trash into that giant smiley faced machine and turn the crank and toys would come out of it's mouth? I hope I'm remembering that correctly.

Chuck said...

Monkey Cage Kurt - You aren't the baby of the group. You've got me by a good four years. But aside from the local LA programming you guys are discussing, I grew up on the same shows you did.

Although we had Bozo in the mornings, most of our weekday afternoon cartoons were hosted by Cap'n Mitch ("Cartoon ahoy!") on Sacramento's KTXL (Channel 40). Sadly, I just learned this morning that Mitch Agruss, who played the venerable Cap'n, passed away over the weekend at 92.

For those who are still reading at this point, here's a 1980 clip from the "Cap'n Mitch Show" (with a special bonus "Star Trek" promo thrown in for free):

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Chuck, sorry to hear about Cap’n Mitch. He looked like a good guy to grow up with. Looks like he was the captain of a Paddle Wheeler. Oh, and I don’t mind being your senior by four years. I really just felt inclined to sing that old Sugarhill Gang song for some reason.

TokyoMagic! (My brother in 64). Don’t you hate when that happens, when you accidentally repeat somebody else’s comment, I do it here and there. But you know, people can never be reminded enough about Kimba, it should happen regularly anyway.

I don’t recall Hobo Kelly’s “trash to toy” machine, but I do remember her magic paintbrush “Buttercup” it had butterfly wings, and it utilized a blue screen effect. I also recall she used to refer to her viewers as “mischief makers”, a term I still use to this day. As you guys know how much I love gettin into mischief.

MRaymond said...

Kimba the White Lion. Yes, I remember. I also remember when I saw the Lion King and I commented how similar the two shows were. My wife looked at me with the strangest face since she never saw Kimba. Gigantor!! I forgot about that one, too. I see I'll waste another few hours scouring Youtube. I found quite a few of the shows we mentioned.

Channel 52, corrupting kids with Japanimation since the 60's.

Chuck said...

I found a clip of Cap'n Mitch riding Big Thunder Mountain in 1983: (at the 8:48 mark).

BTW, I misread his obituary's date. He passed away last month. Same impact for me, though.