Friday, January 27, 2017

Beautiful Tomorrowland, November 1968

Today I have two beautiful shots of Tomorrowland, when it was arguably at its peak in terms of innovative design, optimism, and fun. I wish the photos were just a tiny bit sharper, but they're still pretty nice.

Let's start with this awesome view of the Rocket Jets spinning above the Peoplemover load area, with the Space Bar below it. I love seen all those Peoplemover cars! To the left, McDonnell Douglas' "Flight to the Moon" attraction, which looks like it might be closed at this particular moment. We've also got the fun little ticket booth designed by Rolly Crump. The long structure in the distance is the Administration Building.

Next is another awesome shot, featuring a Mark II Monorail gliding along the beamway over the Submarine Lagoon, with the Autopia and Peoplemover nearby. I believe that the Mark III Monorail trains made their debut this year, so as always it is possible that the November date stamp means that these could have been taken months earlier. Still, I'm not complaining!


TokyoMagic! said...


In that first photo, it looks like the camera focused on the two Rocket Jets that are the furthest away.

Chuck said...

Major, this is the Mark II Monorail Blue. The giveaway detail is the length - it's only 4 cars long. The Mark III Monorails wouldn't debut until July of 1969, just in time for the first manned Moon landing.

Love these despite the soft focus.

Unknown said...

You are so nice to me, Major! I get up and this lovely pair of shots is there to greet me. What do you want for Christmas?

There's another thing that the Tomorrowland of that era was full of: movement! It was a world on the move what with Peoplemovers, Rocket Jets, Monorails, Subs, the COP spinning happily in place, the Autopia and above it all the Skyways giving an unbeatable view. And how'd you know to include such a pretty shot of my favorite Mark of Monorail? Somebody (me) should take advantage of their medical leave from work and make their 1/24 scale model of that darn thing! Now where are my motivation pills?

It's a very good morning...

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I noticed that weird focus glitch as well. Dumb camera!

Chuck, yes, I know it’s a Mark II - that’s what I wrote! Though I didn’t say it was blue. Also, several sources say that the Mark III Monorails debuted in 1968 (Yesterland, and the never-wrong Wikipedia), while others say 1969.

K. Martinez said...

These two photos illustrate clearly why Disneyland isn't what it used to be. Here, Tomorrowland is focused, communicating its mission as a living blueprint of the future with ideas in transportation, science, exploration and ideas for future living. This is Walt's Disneyland. What is Tomorrowland today? None of those things.

And now with the altering of the Rivers of America, the destruction of Walt's Disneyland is almost complete. As one of your regular readers would always say, they ruin everything.

Thanks, Major.

Tom said...

That first shot is beautiful, even with the motion blur. It's full of vitality: movement, energy, inspiration.

If Disney was willing to rebuild to recover this kind of spirit, they'd need to work from the future projection we see today. Instead of transportation and space, it would need to focus on energy production, medicine and smart/interconnected machines. I can still envision an "Adventure Through Inner Space"-type ride where we shrink down and ride along with nanobots as they clear away a tumor or something.

Wishful thinking.

Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick Devlin, I didn’t want to spoil the surprise, but I called around and asked all your friends and family, “What would Patrick like me to post on Friday?”. And this is the result. Would a 1/24 scale model of a Monorail be big enough to ride on, like Walt’s “Lilly Belle”?

K. Martinez, the powers that be (and I don’t necessarily mean the Imagineers) don’t care much about the themes of each land. Let’s have a late 20th century style marching band with crazy choreography on our 1910 Main Street. Or have a small fairy tale village built in the Plaza. I’m trying to think, what is “tomorrow” about Tomorrowland, except for perhaps the Monorail? It’s sad.

Tom, I’ve always wondered if they could build a Tomorrowland that is more of a “fantasy” tomorrow, almost like the over the top sci-fi of the 1950’s and 60’s. Flying cars, robots, entire meals in pill form - stuff that won’t necessarily become reality, but is still fun and “futuristic” anyway. I believe that the “Body Wars” ride at EPCOT was a similar concept to yours!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

The title of the post says it all. Major can describe these photos and we can comment on them but they really do speak for themselves. Focus and lighting aren't great but the content is what makes them great. Major when you post these two it's a drop the mic moment. Thanks for a great start to the day. And happy friday to y'all GDBr's.

Chuck said...

Sorry, Major, I misread your commentary. (Note to self - slow down and wear your glasses. And pants. Yes, that applies to work, too.) I ran into the same conflicting sources, but figured the Disney Park Blog and Dave Smith's book were most likely correct. The important thing is that both Mark IIs and Mark IIIs were awesome. Did you know they were decorated with flavored paint? I read that on the Internet, too.

I forgot to comment how appropriate the first slide was today. I finally got around to hanging up my 2017 Disney Parks Attraction Poster Calendar in my cube this morning, and January's poster is for the Disneyland PeopleMover. Unfortunately, the poster is not PeopleMover flavored (I checked).

Matthew said...

Wonderful post today Major! I believe those silver colored tarps on top of the elevator/gantry are two large spotlights used for shows at the Tomorrowland Stage. Is that right? That's kinda what I remember.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Nanook said...

Amazon Belle-

The always-recurring question, which is old hat to someone who has handled a few of them. As you pointed out, those 'silver colored tarps' are protecting two follow spots. And they're either Strong Super Troupers or Gladiators. (Strong is the manufacturer). I used to work with someone who would know which model for certain, but he has left, so would merely be a guess. But knowing Disney, a Gladiator would certainly not be out of the question - both based on their lighting needs and the size of those tarps. The gladiators are amazingly-bright and can "throw" the light a very long distance.

Connie Moreno said...

I am so glad that somebody agrees with me about the new Disneyland band. DUMB!

Now that first photo proves beyond a shadow of a doubt something that I have been saying for years - I was terrified of those rockets not only because they were up high, but once they got up to their highest point, they were angled off to one side, clearly trying to make you fall out of the rocket! Terrifying!!!

Anonymous said...

Major, these are the best.