Friday, September 23, 2016

Beautiful Town Square, 1957

Happy Friday, homies! Let's go back in time - not to 1957, but to somewhere in the midwest, in the early 20th century. It was a simpler time, when a ride in a horseless carriage was an exciting event.

I love this first colorful photo of the Disneyland Band, gathered 'round the flagpole for an afternoon performance. It's the 100 year-old version of a Beatles concert, only with less shrieking and fainting from the audience (less shrieking, but still some). 

I love the vermillion jackets on the musicians, they really "pop". Vesey Walker isn't leading the band this day; nobody could wave a baton like he could. Looks like the little girl to our left is frolicking around that tree - she has no appreciation for the music of John Philip Sousa. 

We get more great color in this second photo; the Chemical Wagon is making its way up to the Plaza - it's interesting to me that the two passengers are standing. It must have been a very smooth ride. To our left is the sign for International Street, while a doorway leading backstage is open.

The man on the back of the Chemical Wagon is lost in contemplation. Last night he dreamt that a robot of Abraham Lincoln was performing in the Opera House - what a crazy idea! No more Welsh rarebit before bed.


Nanook said...


I believe you are correct - that girl is frolicking-! Probably at the site of those two boys sitting behind her, sporting the stripy and checked shirts, with what appear to be some rather odd-looking rectangular yokes appended to both shirts. She probably completely missed the lovely babushka adorning the head of the gal seated on the bench.

The shot with the Chemical Wagon is wonderful as the lack of crowds add a ton of authenticity to it.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

If that girl goes much faster, she's going to turn into butter! (Does anybody even get that reference anymore?)

It must have been a chilly day, what with all of the sweaters and long sleeves. Shadows from the west mean afternoon - could this have been a concert to gather a crowd for the flag-lowering ceremony?

I'm a little surprised to see how bare the grass is in the left foreground, but without any fencing to keep guests off of it, I'm sure it took a lot of foot traffic. All that melted butter probably didn't help.

I've never noticed before how industrial the International Street facade looks, with sort of a dock/cannery/work site vibe to it - perfectly appropriate to what they were trying to convey.

Really nice ones today, Major. Thanks again!

Scott Lane said...

"Frolickin' Around the Ceder Tree".....wasn't that the sequel to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"?

DrGoat said...

That chemical wagon pic had an interesting quality to it. Backround a bit fuzzy and the wagon fairly crisp. Nice.

Tom said...

@Chuck - I get it. I love me some butter on my stack of pancakes! I believe there is one restaurant left, in Santa Barbara...

K. Martinez said...

Love the Chemical Wagon image. The buildings looked more authentic and natural in the 1950's at Disneyland than they do today with their flashy overdone facades. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, if there’s one thing I know, it’s frolicking. I wrote a doctoral thesis all about it. The Universit├ę de Paris gave it a standing ovation!

Chuck, even though it made no sense at all, I always loved the image of tigers going ‘round and ‘round a tree until they turned into butter. I still have my grandfather’s copy of that tiny book. I never really thought about the “cannery row” look of that International Street structure, but you are right.

Scott Lane, that was the song that ruined Brenda Lee’s career!

DrGoat, I can only assume that the photographer “panned” along with the Chemical Wagon; it made for a nice effect.

Tom, yes, the Santa Barbara location is the last one. I still remember going to a Sambo’s in Encino, where I put A-1 steak sauce on my french fries. It was good!

K. Martinez, it’s true… if you’ve ever been through a typical old midwest town, the buildings often look very much like Main Street U.S.A.

Melissa said...

The Scarlet Babushka - you never know where she'll turn up!

Steve DeGaetano said...

I agree, Ken. The buildings and colors were much more authentic before they were covered in pastel tones.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, I got the reference too. Somewhere my family also has a copy of that book. And I remember the restaurants. We would often stop at the one across the street from Henry's Auto Livery after leaving Knott's for the day. That location became a Baker's Square and then it was torn down and replaced with a Walgreens.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, "The Scarlet Babushka" sounds like the title of an old Nancy Drew mystery!

Steve DeGaetano, today's tastes seem to be: more color = better.

TokyoMagic!, I'm sure you've seen some of those vintage photos floating around, showing those restaurants in all their magnificent coffee shop glory.

Chuck said...

TM!, I guess a lot of Sambo's became Baker's Squares after the company was bought out - the same thing happened to my childhood Sambo's up in Fairfield.

We have a copy of the story in a recentish anthology of children's stories, although the character's name has been changed to "Babaji" and is made explicitly Indian in the illustrations.