Friday, February 19, 2016

Mark Twain and Gambler, November 1955

Photos from 1955 are pretty scarce, since the park was only open for the latter half of that year... I don't have very many! Today's are from November of that year; there is something special about them, knowing that the legendary opening ceremonies had only been four months earlier. Walt still strolled the grounds regularly, looking for ways to improve his newest endeavor, from picking up trash to rejiggering pathways to riding attractions in order to spot problems.

This first photo is a beautiful shot of the Mark Twain in the afternoon, probably taken from the Disneyland Railroad at the northwest corner of the park looking slightly southeast. Unless I'm wrong! But you can see the TWA Moonliner in the distance, as well as some spires of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Tom Sawyer Island would not be open for months, though this end was never open to the public.

This next one was taken from the dock as the Twain heads back to civilization. In the foreground is a character I don't believe I have seen before... a gambler, by the looks of him! Perhaps he could only be found on the riverboat landing in those early months? He pops up in one or two other photos from this batch (because, as usual, the photographer took more photos of the Twain than anything else). Note the Stagecoach just beyond the gambler's left ear.


Nanook said...


1955 images - pretty swell. Do we also spy the top of the Golden Horseshoe and possibly the flag at the entrance to Frontierland-?

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

That guy looks like he knows when to hold 'em......and knows when to fold 'em.

Steve DeGaetano said...

How can you have a riverboat without a riverboat gambler?

That first shot of the Twain is pretty stunning, actually.

Unknown said...

Boy is that ever a nice first shot! It shines with a combination of unusual angle, great color, and that early sparse landscaping that I love.

K. Martinez said...

I agree with Patrick, love that early sparse landscaping. The first shot is a winner! I love photos of Disneyland's infant years. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

That first shot is pure wonderfulness.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I definitely see a flag… it seems likely that it IS from the Golden Horseshoe!

TokyoMagic!, say, that would make a good song.

Steve DeGaetano, exactly! Which is why I am surprised that this character didn’t seem to survive at the park for very long.

Patrick Devlin, you could squint up your eyes a little bit and believe that the photo was taken in Missouri!

K. Martinez, I only wish I had more slides from the first few months of the park’s existence.

Chuck, don’t you mean wonderfulosity?

Nancy said...

I think this is my favorite ever view of the Mark Twain....just beautiful!! :-)

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

There’s just something about that first pic that makes me think “miniature”.

Dean Finder said...

I'm certain that I saw a hipster dressed exactly like that gambler walking around Brooklyn a few weeks ago.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nancy, thanks... it's a good one!

Monkey Cage Kurt, it almost has that "tilt shift" look, even though I didn't manipulate the photo that way.

Dean Finder, ha ha... I went out to dinner last weekend, and we felt like we were in "hipster central" beards and man-buns (topknots?) everywhere.