Monday, August 15, 2016

Frontierland, September 1963

This first photo is not the most inspiring thing in the world, but I have to admit that the entrance to Frontierland was very pretty back in 1963. Walking over a bridge to enter this land feels like another one of those transition akin to a cinematic dissolve (much like entering the park through the tunnels beneath the railroad tracks). Aunt Patty (on the bridge) senses the change deep down in her lizard brain. She also inexplicably finds herself craving flies.


Davy Crockett loved arcade games, including favorites like Skee Ball and foosball to newer offerings like "Asteroids" and "Space Invaders". He always had a deerskin sack of quarters handy, and would generously share them with Georgie Russell. Walt Disney wanted to pay tribute to this "hard fact" in American history by building the Davy Crockett Frontier Arcade. Bleep bloop!


18 comments:

Nanook said...

Major-

I coulda' sworn that was Aunt Polly...

Hmmmm, and I had heard they bumped "Asteroids" & "Space Invaders" for "Santa Anna at the Alamo" & "Night at Nacogdoches".

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Bleep and Bloop were in the arcade? I hope King Troll and The Wizard were in there too!

Mark H. Besotted said...

Fun fact: According to the World Inspiration Manufacturers and Promoters, the entry to Frontierland is only the 7,837th most inspirational thing in the world. The most inspirational thing in the world is Aretha Franklin singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water."

(Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln is #52, and back in the day, Walter Cronkite's narration of Spaceship Earth once ranked as high as #7. In 1964, the Carousel of Progress reached #238, but these days it doesn't break the top 10,000. Sad, really.)

Scott Lane said...

Now come on, you know darn well they didn't have Space Invaders and Asteroids yet in Davey's time.

He was, however, a whiz at Pong and a deadly air hockey player.

Melissa said...

Was the Lost Grandpas Office in Frontierland back then?

Melissa said...

And how did I miss the CSM from The X-Files lighting up right under the BONEKRAFT window? All those Disney conspiracy theories are true!!

Chuck said...

My pants were falling down on a 1975 visit, and before we'd been in the Park ten minutes we ducked into the leather shop that was in the corner of the Arcade under the blockhouse to buy a belt. It was western-themed, with a shiny buckle that had a Colt Peacemaker on the front, but was decorated with Disney character faces stamped into the dark-stained leather. I was the envy of my Kindergarten class when I came home with that. Wish I still had it.

I remember being seriously irritated when the Davy Crockett Frontier Arcade became the "Pocahontas Gift Shop" in 1995 as a lame tie-in to a seriously underappreciated and improperly marketed film. Even the name showed a lack of imagination. The new sign was designed to look like it was painted on a deer skin stretched over the old sign, and they had a "stretched-skin" rear-projection screen in the back of the store playing the "Colors of the Wind" sequence from the film on an endless loop, but other than that it was pretty much the same souvenirs as before. I love Pocahontas, but I felt that evicting the King of the Wild Frontier from his long-time business was unnecessary, poorly-executed, and smacked of an overly-obvious stab at "synergy." I survived, though, and Disneyland profits soared. What do I know?

Just noticed - there are no antlers on the roof. How the heck are customers supposed to know they can buy supplies there?

David Zacher said...

And I'm suddenly craving trash can salt and pepper shakers.

I always enjoyed that fort as a kid. I got my finger stuck in the trigger of one of the guns as I recall.

dz

Anonymous said...

Melissa pointed out the BONEKRAFT sign and now I'm almost afraid to ask....what exactly is "bonekraft"?

- TokyoMagic!

Nanook said...

@ TM!-

Bonekraft was an original lessee (Bonekraft of California), and I think it was there until about 1966. And here's a comment from Daveland...

R. Pearson said...
The owner of the shop was my uncle, Richard Swenson and my aunt Ellen. He carved many things from the shin bone of cattle, after he processed the bone in his own secret way. He later was located at the Old Dessert Tower, near Jacumba, CA on old highway 80, now interstate 8.
(I think he might mean the Desert View Tower). But I understand it does make a really nice dessert topping.

And there you go.

Chuck said...

I was wondering the same thing, TM!. Perhaps that's what Kraft made their products from before the public decided they liked the taste of dairy products better. That also might explain the dearth of antlers on the roof.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Nanook! Now I'm wondering WHAT he carved? Was it all generic figures or were there any Disney-related shapes? Can't you just see them selling little TWA Rockets carved out of bovine shins?

- TokyoMagic!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, Polly and Patty are twins, but you can still tell the difference because Polly shaved her head completely bald. Wasn’t there some famous really crude early computer game, I can’t remember what it was called. “On the Trail” or something.

TokyoMagic!, they *had* to work somewhere before Magic Mountain was built. Trolls gotta eat!

Mark H. Besotted, I need to see your complete list of 10,000 entries! I’ve never heard Aretha’s version of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” (here I come, YouTube), but man, I love the Simon and Garfunkel version so much. How can it be topped?

Scott Lane, I still remember the first time I saw “Pong”, it was at a Shakey’s Pizza Parlour in Virginia. We thought it was the greatest thing ever.

Melissa, yes, the office was full of Grandpas, stacked like cordwood.

Melissa II, now that you’ve exposed the CSM, I fear for your safety!

Chuck, I just thank heaven that your parents didn’t buy you suspenders instead of that cool belt. The entire trajectory of your life would have been completely different. “Pocahontas Gift Shop”, ugh. But… no surprise really. Imagine having to work in that shop for hours, hearing “Colors of the Wind” 10,000 times a day. I wanted to love “Pocahontas” (got to see a preview screening, Eisner was there, as was Leonard Maltin), and it just didn’t appeal to me. If it wasn’t for the wacky animal sidekicks (“Meeko” and “Flit” - both irritiating) it could have just been made using live actors.

David Zacher, are trash can S&P shakers a thing? “Please pass the trash”! I guess kids getting their fingers stuck in triggers was a thing - a little girl lost a finger on one of the guns on Tom Sawyer Island. Gruesome!

TokyoMagic!, I always assumed that “Bonekraft” was sort of like scrimshaw, only with other kinds of bones, and maybe some wood and stone thrown in for good measure. But I don’t really know!

Nanook, good grief, as I was typing my answers to everybody else, no less than three comments were left. All those poor cattle walking around without shins - it makes me think of Hank Hill's father - his shins were blown off by the Japanese in WWII.

Chuck, ewwww.

TokyoMagic!, oh, now I want a little Moonliner hand-carved from cow shin bones!

Melissa said...

Imagine having to work in that shop for hours, hearing “Colors of the Wind” 10,000 times a day.

I was working the early morning shift in a bakery the summer Pocahontas came out. I don't know if it was 10,000 times a day, but Colors of the Wind was basically on autoplay on the radio every morning. Say what you want about the movie, but that song got me through many days of getting up at 2 in the morning to fry donuts for six hours. To this day, I hear that little wind chime and pan flute riff at the beginning of the song, and that's all I need to lift me out of whatever hole I'm in.

David Zacher said...


Major, Yeah, trashcan salt and pepper are a thing:

http://www.bonanza.com/listings/Disney-Frontierland-Trash-Can-Salt-and-Pepper-Shaker/361148343?goog_pla=1&gpid=76983190141&keyword=&goog_pla=1&pos=1o4&ad_type=pla&gclid=Cj0KEQjw0MW9BRDxtYTn2_S699MBEiQAw33y4-IfDEQO5d_tCXXQqP8jZdNiJgQTbFc3043g2lQxgK8aArx98P8HAQ

d(hoping I did that right)z

Chuck said...

Holy smokes - there's a whole trash can shaker product line!

http://mintcrocodile.smugmug.com/photos/i-jNbNZ2V/0/M/i-jNbNZ2V-M.png

Dean Finder said...

Major, the game your thinking of is "Oregon Trail," a staple of classroom Apple IIs in the 1980s. It's most famous for the common ending "You have died of dysentery"

walterworld said...

The Davy Crockett arcade actually sold cool and usual stuff back in the very early 80's... Armodelli Miniatures being one of them:

https://www.google.com/search?q=armodelli+miniature+remington&biw=1438&bih=631&site=webhp&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwj7yZKn0sfOAhVU5mMKHS4sCOUQsAQIGw&dpr=0.95

I still have a single Remington and a Colt in my collection to this day; the others were played with so much that they eventually broke...

Ahhh the Summer of '80