Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The Mark Twain, August 1963

Say, I'll bet you've never seen a picture of the Mark Twain before! In fact, I'll bet a million dollars. 

Today I have two images from faded slides from 1963. This first one is pretty nice - for some reason this isn't an angle that we see very often, even though the steamboat is resting at the dock, while people mill around looking for a seat (or place to stand). Look at the size of that headlamp (or whatever it's called)... that thing is huge.

And there it goes, on its way around the Rivers of America. The top 2 levels are packed! The bottom level, not so much (except for the bow). Notice the blue/green construction walls to the left. The Haunted Mansion was built only months before this photo was taken, but (as you know) the ride itself would not open for many years.


Nanook said...


When did Disneyland get a steamboat-??!! This is a new one on me...

Gotta admit both shots are indeed not the usual suspects when it comes to typical views of the Mark Twain. And as far as passengers being able to inhabit the central portion of the lower deck, wasn't that area essentially all mechanical and cordoned-off from guests-?

I can remember many a visit to The Park where the Haunted Mansion structure was seemingly all alive and well, but far from completion as far as the insides were concerned, such as here.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

The shore over by the Keel Boat dock (?) looks especially colorful in that second photo. I can identify the purple flowers in the first photo as Statice. And that is all I can add today! :-)

Chuck said...

Oh, my - that first one is a beaut!

Nanook, the back end of the lower deck outboard of the rear staircases and farther astern is inaccessible to guests, but the rest of the deck is wide open. I think the area is usually uncrowded because of two factors. First, the view is much better on the upper decks and bow - you can see farther up higher and there are fewer obstructions like the engines, the "bandstand," and the bar. Second, although the boat can physically hold around 500 people (and did on the first few days of operation), the safe load limit is 300, and the upper decks and bow can hold most of that, meaning nobody has to get stuck in the "cheap seats."

K. Martinez said...

The first images is great! The Mark Twain looks fine in it's patriotic bunting. Of course we could dress it up in gold or diamonds. Thanks, Major.

Chuck, Once in a great while I like to sit on the Main Deck right up front in a chair. It's kind of cool being low to the water with a front row seat. Otherwise most of the time it's upstairs on the Texas Deck, but rarely on the Promenade Deck and never in the Pilothouse.

Chuck said...

Ken, I've only sat up front once, when we rode with my grandmother who was in a wheelchair. Different experience, almost like sitting on the porch and watching the world go by...if I lived in a boat...on a a major American theme park...which would be kind of cool.

I think the Texas Deck is my favorite perch, partly because of the high-up perspective, and partly because it brings back memories of running free-range through the Texas (and the rest of the boat) on my first visit.

Anonymous said...

Currently reading "Life on the Mississippi" preparing to visit New Orleans in a few months, so the river boat descriptions there are interesting to compare to the Disneyland version.

It seems that in Clemens' time, sternwheelers were a second-rate and smaller version of steamboat. The sidewheelers were the top of the line, biggest, fastest etc. That was news to me, but interesting to learn.

I'll gladly ride the sternwheeler, since that's as close as I'll get to the river in 1850.

The Civil War destroyed the steamboat traffic and the railroads finished off what was left of passenger service, except in Disneyland.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the steamboat is new, Disney bought it from some Six Flags park that closed. The middle part of the lower deck is probably not a place that people would want to stand anyway, since most folks want to get the best view possible!

TokyoMagic! “Statice”… I’ve never even heard of that, and my mom is one of those “flower moms”!

Chuck, I don’t know if you saw photos of the Mark Twain on January 11th, during those last rides, the boat is so crowded that it really looks as if water might wash up over the lower deck.

K. Martinez, I wonder what the park will do for future celebrations now that they have already used gold and diamonds. How about radium?

Chuck, I have never been up front on that lower deck, I’ll bet it is really neat! Have you ever gone to the pilothouse?

JG, I love that book! My grandparents had a collection of Mark Twain volumes, and I read nearly all of them. “Roughing It” is also neat, as well as “The Innocents Abroad”, “A Tramp Abroad”, and “Following the Equator”… they are fascinating glimpses of the world as it was 150 years ago.

Chuck said...

Major, I hadn't seen the photos until today (after you mentioned them). That was some crowd!

The only problem with riding up front was having to pick the bugs out of my teeth afterwards.

I've never had the pleasure of seeing the pilot house. My parents told me you couldn't go up there when I was a kid, and I never had the guts to ask as a young adult. Like they would have thrown me out of the Park and confiscated my AP or something. "NO! And report to City Hall for disintegration!"

I should have had my über-cute wife ask. Come to think of it, I'll bet we could have seen a lot of cool things at Disneyland if I'd had my wife ask if she and her "brother" could take a look.

Nancy said... first thought also was how this angle makes the Mark Twain look very tall. we always stand along the railing on the middle deck. dont know why, that's just what we do!! :-)