Monday, October 24, 2016

Pooh For President! - Part One

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!

16 comments:

Nanook said...

Chuck-

Thanks for sharing your photos. I was having such a difficult time trying to figure out just what was missing from the current election cycle, and these pictures provided the answer: Kids of the Kingdom-! They'd be just the tonic needed to bring both campaigns back down to earth.

Thanks for the memories.

TokyoMagic! said...

I know we've seen a photo of that small stage over by It's A Small World, but I can't find it.

Thanks for sharing, Chuck!

Pegleg Pete said...

Great pics, Chuck – thanks for sharing!

DrGoat said...

yes, thanks for sharing those. Unremarkable is not be a word I would use about them. They are wonderful.

Stuart Powley said...

Thanks for a bit of sunshine in a gloomy election cycle, Chuck! I have little doubt that Pooh could actually win this year if he ran!

K. Martinez said...

Chuck,

These are anything but unremarkable. These have a patina which makes me really nostalgic for the 1970's. It was my favorite era at Disneyland and these photos capture the feeling well. I was 16 when "Pooh for President" ran. I was considered a semi-cool kid, but I wasn't too cool to not enjoy stuff like this back then at that age. Again, love your writing style and thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane.

Thanks for hosting, Major.

Chuck said...

Nanook, I think Kids of the Kingdom would be an awesome way to say "up with people" this election season. Hooray for everything!

TM!, I thought we'd seen that stage somewhere, too (other than in our fading memories of the distant past), but for the life of me I can't find it. Maybe it never existed. Maybe I never existed. Hmmm. Who's up for waffles?

Thank you, Pegleg Pete. You're welcome!

DrGroat, I'm glad you enjoyed them. I think they taste better with farva beans and a nice chianti, but each to his own, I guess.

Stu, I have felt a bit like Eeyore watching the 2016 campaign. You have no idea how many times I've considered Pooh as a write-in candidate this year.

Ken, thank you. I think the 1970s really were a special time at Disneyland, and not just because that was when I visited as a single-digit-aged kid. I envy your teenage recollections of the Park and commend you on not being "too cool" to enjoy your time there. I can remember being mocked (although not too severely) by some classmates in the late '70s and early '80s for being a Disney fan, but I never gave up. By my senior year, I was actually sort of an accepted authority in my school on the animated features, and since I was voted VP of the class, I guess my quirky obsession didn't hurt my status too much.

Major, thanks again for letting me use your soapbox to continue to contribute to Western civilization!

Anonymous said...

@Major and Chuck, thank you for this. I distinctly remember Pooh for President and the brochure. I'm a little fuzzy on the parade, but it's good to see these pics. I wish I could find my Instamatic pocket 110 with plastic lens pics from this era, also printed on the fabric-textured paper. I can't possibly have thrown them out knowingly.

JG

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, we saw a pic of that stage here on GDB. Maybe the Major would remember which post it was in. That post was the first time I was ever aware of a temporary stage being set up by IASW. I never saw it in person. I also remember the Pooh for President campaigns over the years, but I never saw the parades.

Melissa said...

...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…


Made me think of this:

“Quiet people avoid the question of the Presidency, for there will be a new election in three years and a half, and party feeling runs very high: the great constitutional feature of this institution being, that directly the acrimony of the last election is over, the acrimony of the next one begins; which is an unspeakable comfort to all strong politicians and true lovers of their country.”

-- Charles Dickens, American Notes, 1842

Melissa said...

Major, nobody can accuse you of scantiness or laziness, what with putting out a blog post with commentary every single day, even when you're on vacation. That's no mean feat, I'll tell you.

Chuck, I echo the sentiments above about the quality of these pictures. Although I didn't make it to a Disney park until 1983, the look of these shots reminds me so much of childhood vacation pictures if it gives me the warmest, fuzziest feeling I've had in a long time.

I think that's Pluto in the car with Minnie; he's only fur character I can think of who wears no clothes at all. A Hunny in Every Pot!

Melissa said...

"Fun-raising rally" and "Tigger tape parade" confirm my suspicion that Disney executives live on nothing but candy, cigarettes, and puns.

Major Pepperidge said...

Thanks, Melissa!

Chuck said...

JG, I really do feel fortunate that my parents at least put the prints in photo albums and kept them all together. And, as comparatively poor as the camera, film, and print quality was, the fact that we have anything to preserve and jog our memories is pretty cool. I hope your prints turn up someday, and soon. Along with a couple of long-lost Benjamins. Or maybe a full sheet of inverted Jennies.

TM!, this can be one of those things we almost never see that we look forward to catching glimpses of, like the Viewliner, or that cantilevered rock thingy at the Fantasyland corner entrance to Frontierland, or pictures of your face on the Internet.

Melissa, that Charles Dickens guy was a master of observation. It's fun reading his description of his 1842 journey to the next town over from mine: "Nothing more than slimy, stagnant, filthy water and log houses in a squalid state....It is a small collection of wooden houses huddled together in the very heart of the bush and swamp." My, how things have changed since then. Most of the houses are now made of brick.

Melissa x2, I was just telling the Major that exact same thing about his blog the other day. I'm glad these photos made you feel warm and fuzzy. I just hope that doesn't mean you're spoiling, like an overripe peach.

Melissa³, that would explain a lot.

Major, and thank you again.

Anonymous said...

@Chuck, LOL. I'm holding out hope that there are some pics in those boxes in the garage in which I haven't yet looked. I haven't had the courage to open them again for 16 years, hurts too much. But, as you say, maybe there's some cash in there, an offsetting incentive for sure. I'll take a look this winter when it's too dark to go outside.

Melissa summed up how these photos feel to me as well. Thank you again.

JG

TokyoMagic! said...

HA, HA, Chuck!!!