Monday, August 08, 2016

Obligatory Castle Photos, 1957

The year: 1957. The place: Disneyland. The smell: kind of popcorny, with undertones of hot asphalt and blooming flowers. Breeze is about 15 mph from the West. Dad has decided that it's time to take a photo of the boys. "It's for Grandma", he explains. "Aw, gee whiz, Dad...". The little stinkers comply, because what choice do they have, ultimately? But the kid in the red shirt isn't going to smile, no sir. His shirt is half tucked, and his large ticket book is sticking out of his pocket.

Two of the boys have identical striped shirts. Buy them in bulk! Meanwhile, the kid to our left has his own camera - I wish I had his pictures.

Now we're right up close to the castle. Camera boy is hugging the flagpole (banner pole?), but who are those other kids? We've seen them before; it seems as if two or three families made the trip to the park together.


TokyoMagic! said...

The second photo shows another kid with his ticket book in his shirt pocket and another kid holding his ticket book dangerously close to the edge of the bridge over the moat. This now has me wondering how often people lost their ticket books and if they were ever recovered at Lost and Found. Or did Disney just say, "Sorry, nobody's turned in any tickets, you'll have to buy more!"

Nanook said...


I see our 'friend' from the Tencennial post has returned to bless us with his downturned, sourpuss expression and defiantly not tucking-in his shirt properly. (I was beginning to miss him). His buddy (with the Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera) I'm certain grew-up to be an award-winning photographer - you can just tell by the way he's standing. And placed up against these boys [in both images], somehow the three sets of ticket books look to be almost out of proportion. And - hey - get off the lawn-! Just who do you think you are-??!! And besides, you're blocking a lovely view of The Sleeping Beauty Castle.

That second shot really captures some fine details in the castle 'rockwork'.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

The first image is a gem. All four of these boys have great expressions like you can almost see their personality come through the image. It makes me wonder how they all turned out as adults. Some of them must be pushing 70 if they haven't already passed on. For some of them, was life cut short? The sixties with the Kennedy assassination and the height of the Vietnam War was just ahead for them. Again, wonderful first image capturing a moment in time of what I assume are two brothers and their buddies. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Even before I read Nanook's comment, my initial reaction was to imagine a crotchety old Walt in a wife beater, cigarette hanging from his lip and newspaper in hand, popping over the castle parapet and bellowing "hey, you kids - get off of my lawn!" before stomping back to his porch rocker and second after-work Hamms.

I love 'em both today, Major, particularly the first one. Looking forward to more from this lot.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Boy! What a great slice of 1950s Americana! Indeed, these photos really do stand out in a way.

Like Ken, I too was wondering about the future lives of these young men, the tumultuous 60s, moon landings about ten years out, Vietnam, all lay ahead of them. I can’t help wondering about these kinds of thing when I look at these old shots from a simpler time. I find myself doing it a lot around here.

That second shot has a particularly tangible quality to it. Something about the position of the sun is really showing off all the textures of the castle, making it a bit more tactile than usual. I just want to reach out and touch it for some reason.

Some really nice treasures today, Major!

Melissa said...

If Star Trek has taught me anything, I know that that little rebel in the red shirt didn't make it home from this mission.

I'm glad I was too young for the days of ticket books; it would have been one more thing for Dad to pre-emptively yell at us about. "If you kids lose those ticket books you're not getting any more." "I just know God damn well you kids are going to lose those ticket books and come crying to me for more!" "If you kids ride that roller coaster, you better not take your ticket books out at the top of the hill, because they'll blow away and you won't be getting any more!" "If you kids feed your ticket books to that damn robot elephant in the Jungle Cruise, you better not think I'm buying you any more!"
(some parents have the uncanny knack of thinking up stunts the kids never would have come up with on their own)

And yes, those matching striped tee shirts! My sister and I were dressed like comic-opera French sailors until Junior High School! If I ever do find those pictures of our first Disney World trip comma I'm willing to bet we'll be dressed like Cracker Jack mascots in them.

Melissa said...

@Chuck - I will never think of Walt Disney any other way now. And after every episode of the Disneyland TV show, he takes off his smiley face like Krusty the Clown.

Chuck said...

Oh, no, Melissa. What have I done???!!!

Melissa said...

@Chuck I'm sure it'll pass with a steady program of YouTube videos and plenty of fudgcicles for the trauma.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, yes, notice that not only is the ticket book the large size (about 1/3 larger than the standard size used most of the time, but that there are only A, B, C, and D tickets. The E tickets didn’t exist yet! Also, you see a lot of men with ticket books in their shirt pockets - maybe in the early days (pre-Matterhorn), losing the books wasn’t much of a problem.

Nanook, that kid needs a happy pill or something. What a gloomy Gus! Perhaps the photographer kid grew up to be, uh, Robert Mapplethorpe?! I see no problem with standing on the lawn at Disneyland, as long as they didn’t step over one of those tiny white wire borders.

K. Martinez, I assume “red shirt’s” personality is something along the lines of Eeyore. I have often wondered about the lives of the people in so many of these photos; it only makes sense that some would be happy, and some would die tragically, etc. Those sixties were tumultuous, but I’m not sure our times are any less so.

Chuck, while I don’t think Walt was any kind of saint, I can’t imagine him in that scenario!

Monkey Cage Kurt, I know what you mean about the tangible quality of the castle in photo #2; that raking sunlight reminds me of the textures painted by Eyvind Earle (and others) for Sleeping Beauty’s castle scenes.

Melissa, a podcast I listened to recently claimed that, in fact, crew members wearing the gold-colored shirts were killed more than red shirts. It seems hard to believe, and yet they stated it with such authority! Meanwhile, if I had a kid who lost a ticket book back in those days, I would not be happy about it. $5 in 1958 is the equivalent of $41.70 today (according to an online inflation calculator)!

Melissa, I at least hope that Walt’s t-shirt is clean in your imagination.

Chuck, you’ve weaponized the “power of Imagination”, just like Mickey in “Fantasmic!”.

Melissa, there are videos on YouTube that will make you forget everything you ever knew. Talk about “going down the rabbit hole”! Speaking of fudgsicles, I just found a recipe to make home-made versions, and they are so much better than the store-bought variety.