Monday, October 24, 2016
Today I have a special presentation - GDB reader and pal Chuck Hansen wanted to share some of his personal photos from 1976 featuring moments from the classic "Pooh for President" parade (and more)! Chuck apologized (unnecessarily) for the quality of the pictures, which he describes as "40 year-old matte prints from long-lost 110 film negatives shot with a plastic-lensed Kodak Pocket Instamatic 20 on what appears to have been a partly-cloudy afternoon". As far as I'm concerned, the "vintage photo print" look is part of the charm. Notice that today is the 40th anniversary of the Pooh parade!
Chuck also provided an extensive commentary, which makes my usual posts look scanty and lazy by comparison. It's a conspiracy! But I love the historical context that he evokes. Enough of my rambling... I'll let Chuck take over from here:
Campaign Rally, Sunday, October 24th,1976
We're just a few weeks out from Election Day, and, frankly, I can't wait for it to be over. This election cycle has been a particularly long, nasty, brutal slog across the electoral landscape, and if you're anything like me, you're tired of it. And you like to eat waffles. With butter. And mustard. While shaving. We're so much alike, it's scary.
To take your mind off of today's political squabbling, let's roll back the clock 40 years to October of 1976, just a couple of months before the beginning of the 2016 Presidential campaign...
Just as today, the nation was counting down the final days until the election on November 2nd. The leading candidates, incumbent Gerald Ford and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, were locked in a near dead heat in the polls. Then a new candidate stepped into the limelight to declare his candidacy and potentially upset the the electoral race. I speak of none other than Edward Bear, popularly known as "Winnie the Pooh."
In a Park that already had plenty of elephants and not a few donkeys, Disneyland had hosted a third-party "Pooh for President" "campaign" in 1968 and 1972. While he hadn't garnered a single vote in the electoral college in either election, the 1968 Democratic candidate, Hubert Humphrey, had admitted that the bear made more sense than “any other candidate," and another campaign in '76 seemed a natural.
So, over the weekend of October 23rd and 24th, 1976, Pooh once again threw his hat into the ring. And in a wonderful series of unconnected circumstances, I just happened to be there with my family as we moved from north of the Bay Area to just east of St Louis.
As we entered the Park that Sunday morning, along with an INA guidebook we were handed a yellow flyer that detailed the schedule of events for "Winnie the Pooh for President Days." This example was previously posted by Vintage Disneyland Tickets in 2008 and is shared here [editor's note: Chuck provided the original Vintage Disneyland Tickets link for those interested - it is: http://vintagedisneylandtickets.blogspot.com/2008/10/winnie-pooh-for-president-days-october.html].
Next up is a photo of Pooh and his press secretary, Tigger, making a special appearance at the noon "Kids of the Kingdom" show. For years I had a vague sense that we had seen this show over on the west side of the Small World Concourse, but I recently had talked myself into believing that this was actually at the Tomorrowland Stage. Now that I've found the schedule which clearly says this was at the "Small World Stage," I'm wondering if maybe my memories are correct. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any photos that show the Small World Stage, so I can't directly compare my photo. This sure looks like the Tomorrowland Stage, although the photos I've found from a few years earlier (1968) show a curved proscenium arch that rounds the upper stage corners. Maybe a reader out there knows the answer.
At about 1:15 that afternoon, my parents walked my sister and I over to the parade route gate just to the east of It's a Small World (a.k.a. "it's a small world"), where we were handed off to smiling, perky cast members who ushered us backstage as far as the turn-off to the "Disneyland Naval Yard" (and man did I want to keep walking down that road). We were handed balloons and signs and invited to participate in that afternoon's "Tigger tape" parade while my parents went to find a good spot from which to watch the parade, which ended up being on the Hub opposite the Tomorrowland entrance.
The following lackluster pictures show various costumed characters carrying signs showing their support for Pooh. It really was much more exciting than it looks. Honest.
Next is another completely unremarkable picture - Minnie and an unidentified furry character (Pluto, maybe?) riding in a horseless carriage. I actually find the guy with the movie camera to the left of the vehicle and the woman aiming the Instamatic 100 (or 104, or 124) directly at us more interesting than the parade itself. I'm sure she was a Vulgarian spy.
Here endeth part one! MANY THANKS to Chuck for generously sharing his photos, and for the amazing amount of work that clearly went into his writeup. I will post part two next week!