Friday, January 13, 2017

Two Nice Ones From September 1963

I have just a few photos left from a lot from September, 1963 - but they're nice ones!

Take a look at this great shot of the entrance to Tomorrowland. What's not to love? Blue skies, the flags of all 50 states waving in the breeze, the Clock of the World, the Douglas Rocket to the Moon, some attraction posters, an ice cream vendor, and even a Kodak Picture Spot. Not to mention all of those great vintage people!

This afternoon photo of the Mad Tea Party (aka "The Teacups") shows the results of thousands of shuffling feet during that crazy time when kids loved to put sandpaper on the soles of their shoes. One teacup has a tarp over it; I'll bet the people inside it are annoyed. Look at the cast members to the right in their silly outfits - shorts, red vests, a Tyrolean cap, and black socks. That's how I dress every day! 


Nanook said...


What a day-! Interesting in the mix of visible attraction posters, we can see two posters for America the Beautiful; not to mention the attraction, itself, a mere 100+ feet away.

Actually that "covered" Teacup is the secret entrance to Rabbit Hole-! What - you didn't know-??!!

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

The original Tomorrowland entrance was so cool. That's what's missing from the Tomorrowland of today besides Disney futurism, all the bright and bold colors of the Tomorrowlands past which gave it a sense of optimism. In the Tomorrowland of today, the colors now seem muted and done in darker rock and mineral tones. Not the same feeling. Great pair of pics today. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

That kid standing on the curb in front of Tomorrowland is a little pigeon-toed. I think we saw his pigeon-toed sister in a post not too long ago. And of course we saw a knock-kneed Alice in Wonderland in the GDB post from May 17th of last year. Maybe I should have become an orthopedic surgeon.

I wonder what kind of music the Tyrolean band was playing. Alpine music? Music from Alice in Wonderland? "Tea for Two"?

Unknown said...

So pretty.

Not to vex the vexillologists (flag geeks) but I think the flags are more or less in order of admission to the union starting on the right and finishing up with Wyoming, mumble-mumble, Oklahoma, New Mexico and then Arizona on the left. (You were all secretly wondering what the 48th state was, admit it.) I have no idea where Alaska and Hawaii are. Maybe this means I need a hobby. Maybe this mean I HAVE a hobby...

Tom said...

Throwing my vote in for the original Tomorrowland entrance. Even though I love the Peoplemover, their elevated tracks broke the deep view from the hub. And what's there now completely destroyed what remained.

I love the simplicity and promise of the "weenie" that Walt had created, with the flags marking the way, the atoms of science on the sides of the show buildings, the clock in the center and the rocket beckoning in the distance.

Alonzo P Hawk said...


I fear that Pigeon-toe Pete is about to get mugged by the kid in the stripped shirt and fedora. It looks like he's eyeballing that ticket book with bad intentions. I hope I'm wrong. Anyways it does appear to be a great big beautiful tomorrowland in the background.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Actually it looks more like a pork pie hat like the one's Walt and Popeye Doyle were so fond of.

Pegleg Pete said...

I like that the Mad Hatter has turned up to greet guests attending his tea party. And is that figure in a blue dress just to the right of him perhaps Alice bending down to speak to a child?

Debbie V. said...

These are great.
What are the tall white "spikes" in the background with the little flags?

Anonymous said...

I always thought it was great that "Alice" had two rides. I seem to remember rides at other parks that resembled the teacups, but without the excellent theming which is a natural for the ride mechanism. I'll bet Ken M. or another of our amusement park experts can say more about the ride style and manufacturers.

The dark ride was always a high point for me because of the two-story indoor/outdoor aspect, the fantastic plants and my friend, the caterpillar. For some reason, I didn't get to see the whole animated film until I was in college, so most of the dark ride theming didn't ring any bells, but I loved it anyway. After seeing the film, I was surprised that the story included parts of both of Carrol's Alice stories, only one of which I knew from books.

@Pegleg Pete, I think you are right, Alice is posing with some visitor children and the Mad Hatter. I hear Ed Wynn's voice in my head.

The joy of this ride goes on and on, I rode it last year with my 20-30's kids and their cousins and had a riot.

I guess I'm a reprobate, but I preferred the 1967 Tomorrowland over the original, the PeopleMover entry always seemed just right to me. The new location of the AstroOrbiter is certainly suboptimal, although I like it's design. It should be on top of the PM tower instead.

The weird rock formations were exciting at first, but in the long run, don't add anything except obstruction to the thoroughfare. Bring back the swirly flower beds that my Mother loved so much.

Thank you for these pictures, Major.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I do kind of wonder how they decided where to put specific posters. Was it just “whatever’s handy”? It almost seems that way. Hmmm, the covered teacup leads to the rabbit’s hole… I’ll just go to the main entrance in my convertible caterpillar vehicle!

K. Martinez, it kind of baffles me that movies can create an optimistic “tomorrow” - make it a FANTASY tomorrow, that would be OK (in my book, anyway). That way they aren’t constrained by real science or technology.

TokyoMagic!, yes, you have an eye for bad posture and/or musculoskeletal abnormalities. It’s your super power! The Tyrolean Band is probably playing ambient noise a la Brian Eno.

Patrick Devlin, now that you mention it, I think I have read that the flags were place in order of admission, as you said. I would have put them in order of bad-assness.

Tom, when the Peoplemover was actually running, I think that the track was a positive addition to the entrance to Tomorrowland. Of course now that it’s there for no reason at all, it is just an embarrassment.

Alonzo, never trust a kid with a fedora! But if you see a kid wearing a derby, walk, don’t run, in the other direction!

Pegleg Pete, oh yeah! I obviously didn’t even see the Hatter (and yes, I think that might be Alice next to him).

Debbie V, those “spikes” were just there to add some vertical elements to an otherwise flat and square-ish land. They didn’t really have a function other than as a place to anchor those nautical flags.

JG, I don’t know if Disneyland was the first park to have a spinning teacup style ride, but I do seem to recall reading something from Bob Gurr about the many early mechanical issues that they had with it, so I think it was the first. I agree, the “Alice” dark ride is really great, and I did love that you would leave the show building for a nice elevated view of Fantasyland before going back into Wonderland. It’s OK if you like the pre-67 Tomorrowland! I greatly dislike those dumb, nonsensical rock formations that now clutter up the entrance. WHY are they there??

Mark H. Besotted said...

*deep inhale* Ahhh, the tangy aroma of vintage people. They don't make people like that anymore, you know.

"That's what they call progress, dear."