Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Views From the Columbia, January 1959

While revisiting some old boxes of scanned slides, I have found some images that I skipped. Today I have two never-seen scans, along with one "before and after" image!

All of the photos were taken from the bow of the Columbia as it made its way around the Rivers of America in 1959. It's as if the photographer pointed his camera in one direction and just snapped a photo every 20 seconds or so. I'm not sure if I have them in order, maybe you can tell me!

This first one shows the familiar scene with Chief Wavy and his backup band. I think it's interesting that, for a time, the Chief's headdress was less grand than it appeared later (now he wears the kind of many-feathered headdress that you see expect to see). Did the Disneyland Railroad run behind this berm at the time? These days the  train passes the Chief fairly closely after the stop at New Orleans Square Station (now that I think about it, he was probably moved at that time).

Look at those funny dogs! I ain't never seen dogs like them before. That little notch carved in the shore appears to be a makeshift landing for a motorboat.

If only this one had been taken with a stereo camera! It almost looks 3D anyway. On the shore is the Friendly Indian Village. Once again I am impressed with the size of those man-made hills to the right.

So... here is my 2007 scan of the same slide. It's not terrible, but the contrast is a bit harsh, as are the colors. Plus the new scan just looks cleaner!


Nanook said...


These are some mighty fine views. The lovely Rivers of America, as they once were, and should forever be.

Thanks, Major.

Matthew said...

"Ah, it's sure nice to be back on the river." I agree with @Nanook, "mighty fine views."

As to your question about are they in order? Your second slide should come before Chief Wavy (as you call him, Chief Auto Parts on his '64 Mustang (or '67 Pinto) as we called him). The location you are looking at in your second slide is just past the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoe dock/Hungry Bear Restaurant. Then you would come upon Chief Auto Parts err... Wavy, and finally the Indian Village.

The rock further ahead in the first photo used to hold a mountain lion; however, your November 27th photo shows a horse standing atop the rock (it looks like it might be here in this photo too but hard to tell). Regarding the train, yes, it would have passed behind the Chief and in front of the band (good one by the way!) of Indians.

What I appreciate about these early river photos is even though the animals were molded and cast in plastic they added hair/fur to the animals to give them a more realistic look. They didn't do it with every animal, but more than they do today.

Finally, I love these early Columbia photos. What a wonderful idea to bring the a replica of America's first ship to completely circumnavigate the globe to Disneyland. Thanks Admiral Joe and Walt!

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

I think it’s so great that there are so many nods to American history represented in the park. The whole idea of permeating Disneyland with American history and literature, (dare I say) it’s just so "Walt". And it testifies of a time when people actually took pride in America.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

I’m sure in more recent times at “Disney” there have been more than one debate about permanently converting the Columbia into the Black Pearl.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Oh, and I love these photos Major. I can almost feel the “ocean” spray on my face. It’s such a nice composition peering out over the bow like that. I like the rescan the most. Something about the colors I guess.

Rescan Theater is really becoming a thing. I like it!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, isn’t it bizarre to think that this feature of Disneyland is about to undergo drastic changes? I still can’t believe it. My guess is that most of the fanatics who go to the park three times a week won’t care, they just want their Star Wars.

Matthew, thanks for the correction! I do think I see “Stormy” the horse on top of that rock, which is interesting; I have a very early photo with the mountain lion, so early that there is virtually no landscaping. So was he removed and replaced with the horse for a short while, and then brought back? Or was he actually on a different rock? I’m glad you liked these pictures!

Monkey Cage Kurt, I agree, the Columbia is one of those attractions that is pure “Walt”. Which means it will probably be removed at some point. The Black Pearl sure doesn’t belong in Frontierland, but at this point the themes of the lands have been diluted to the point that it might not even matter. Grumble, grumble! I just rescanned some other old photos, so stay tuned for those!

Matthew said...

Good morning Major!

I believe, am not 100% certain (but 99.8973%), that is the same rock. They have, over the years, moved the wildlife around to create different tableaus. So, it looks like Stormy lived there for awhile. Huh? Who knew... we do now.

Also, this looks odd to me, but is there a maintenance worker just above Chief Wavy's right shoulder (left as we look at him) looking down near a white rock? That totally looks like a maintenance worker walking the railroad track. Just wondering.

Always your pal!

TokyoMagic! said...

Heartbreaking. Just heartbreaking. Maybe they will put the Indian Chief into the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Major, you are right; the Black Pearl has no place in Frontierland what so ever. But I wouldn’t put it past them to convert Frontierland into “Captain Jack’s Tortugaland”