Friday, January 15, 2016
When I was recently going through some vintage Disneyland slides, I was very happy to find some nice (and scarce) interiors from the classic Carousel of Progress! Dated "October 1967", these were taken when the attraction had only been in the park for three months. I loved this attraction when I was a kid, and recently listened to the soundtrack while researching this post. Some of the humor is so corny, and much of the attraction is a commercial for General Electric, and yet... it was wonderful anyway.
All of today's photos are from the little side scenes, hidden behind scrims until the lights changed. Like magic!
This first image was taken during the first act, which Father tells us is "...just before the turn of the century". After hearing about the modern-day conveniences, such as gas lamps, a telephone, a cast iron stove, and an icebox, Sarah (aka "Mother) tells us about her "new washday marvel; it takes only five hours to do the wash. Imagine!". Now she has time for recreations like canning and polishing the stove! And ironing the wrinkles out of Father's shirts.
Moments later (still in the 1890's), we learn that they have the next best thing to an opera house... a talking machine. It plays a scratchy version of "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", sung by an Irish tenor. You can see Grandmother sitting by the Victrola, while a parrot (voiced by Mel Blanc) sits nearby. "Raawk! She keeps that thing going all day long. Rawwk! That tenor is driving me nuts, rawk! Progress, rawwwwk!".
Next we get to spy on the daughter as she prepares for her evening out. Father is totally cool with it.
"You know, the young folks have their own ideas about entertainment. For instance, Jane, our teenage daughter, is getting ready to go to a trolley party on one of those new electric streetcars. She says hayrides are old fashioned."
Father: "Don't be upset, daughter, they're friends".
In this next tableau, we skip to Act 3, the "frantic forties". Father says: "Well, our whole family is caught up in the new do-it-yourself craze. Mother's remodeling my basement workshop into something called a rumpus room. Be careful now, Mother."
"Don't Worry about me, dear."
"Mother's pretty ingenious, like using her food mixer for stirring... paint? Well, that's my wife Sarah. You know, I remember when..."
Mother's scene fades to black, but we hear a loud crash. Don't worry, she's fine!
The last picture in this series shows two kids entranced by a fuzzy image on a small black and white TV (with the sounds of horses hooves and guns firing).
"Well, thanks to progress, Mother and I can spend more time together. We've got the new electronic babysitter. Television is here and no doubt it will improve. But I'll bet there'll always we the good guys shooting it out with the bad guys."
Unfortunately there were no photos of Father, or of the 1960's with "Progress City" out the window, or of the giant model of Progress City that guests could see for themselves. But I am still happy to have these pictures from the Disneyland version of the Carousel of Progress!