Thursday, July 13, 2017

Tomorrowland Snapshots

Here are three more snapshots from Disneyland, from GDB reader Irene, and her brother! These are all from Tomorrowland, though they are not all from the same date (as far as I know).

First up is this shot of a deep-sea diving bell named "Nemo". I can only read the bold type on the sign, which says that this vehicle was first launched in 1970. Despite my superhuman efforts (!) I was unable to find exactly when this was on display - as you can see it is located near the start of the Submarine Voyage queue, and even though there is hardly anybody in line, there are a few people waiting for a Journey Through Liquid Space. SO... this is pre-1998 (when the subs closed). It might even pre-date the  Tomorrowland renovations that began in 1995 - if anybody knows, please chime in.

Here's an interesting snap from out in front of the "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience" attraction, which opened on May 22, 1998 (replacing "Captain EO"). As you can see, the queue is blocked off by barriers, as well as a whole lotta potted plants.  I liked this attraction for what it was - what do you think, the equivalent of a "D" ticket? Maybe even a "C" ticket? The problem was that it didn't bear too many repeat visits, and it wore out its welcome rather quickly - though it survived for 12 years.

Without wanting to be too negative, the graphics on that marquee are not my favorites, to put it mildly.

Next is this nice photo of the façade of the "Circle-vision" attraction. As you can see, it was on its last legs; "America the Beautiful" had originally closed in 1984, replaced by "Wonders of China" (which I never saw!), which ran in conjunction with "American Journeys" (um, not sure I saw that one either). By 1996, both of those films were removed, and the classic "America the Beautiful" came back in a "Special Return Showing". In 1997, the ride closed completely, and the area became part of the "Rocket Rods" queue.

THANK YOU, Irene and her brother!


TokyoMagic! said...

I was very surprised (but also very happy) when "America The Beautiful" returned in 1996. I think it's time for another return! Actually, I think they should have put it in the Carthay Circle Theater back when Buena Vista St. was added to DCA. Instead, we got a restaurant in that space. I guess making the replica of the Carthay Circle Theater into an actual theater attraction just made too much sense.

And who really thought painting Space Mountain brown, or all of Tomorrowland for that matter, was a good idea? It still gives me nightmares to this day!

Thank you once again, to Irene and her brother for these! And to you too, Major, for posting them!

K. Martinez said...

I do like the "NEMO" diving bell, but couldn't really what the duration of it being on display was.

Since you asked, I thought "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience was an "F" ticket. "F" for Fail. I really hated it. I think I'm mostly positive on this blog, but I would have to say Tomorrowland 1998 was awful.

Now "America the Beautiful" was the best. It really is too bad they didn't revive this over in DCA, but I guess Soarin' is the new version of it. I just wish they kept it in Disneyland.

BTW, Nice composition on all these photos. Especially the HISTA/Space Mountain photo, even though I don't care for what Disney did with the Space Mountain complex or all of Tomorrowland for that matter. Your brother has done some wonderful photography and documentation of this period. Thanks, Irene and Brother.

Chuck said...

I know the NEMO diving bell was on display in 1994 and 1995, but when it arrived and when it departed are outside my experience.

I loved unexpectedly being able to see America the Beautiful again on a trip back to SoCal in early 1997, but as you can see in the last photo, that return engagement was done on the cheap. Note the blanked-out marquee and the tacked-on (and crooked) banner out front. Inside, they tried to bring back the state flag display, but rather than doing a quality remodeling of the pre-show area, they just covered the walls with black fabric and stapled the state flags on it in alphabetical order.

I also recall a short segment of film that seemed to be missing. The picture froze for a few seconds in the St Louis/Gateway Arch sequence while the audio continued. It made me start wondering about how they store the original negatives & prints.

Still, it was wonderful being able to see it again and appreciate it as an artifact of the era in which it was produced (I can't imagine any future Circle-Vision travelogue visiting all of the Service Academies). It was also fun being able to say "hey, I've been there! And there! And there!"

Thanks again, Irene and her brother!

Eric F. said...

The Nemo diving bell had to be there in the mid to late 80's. It was there for a long time. There was another similar one as well I believe. I loved staring at those as a kid and wanting to use them LOL. I want to say they were there during the same time Disney had the futuristic cars out in front of the gates, one being the police car from Blade Runner.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

I could'a sworn that 'freeze frame' existed long before the 1990's screening of America the Beautiful. Disney traditionally took very good care of their original film elements, and I would be very surprised if the correct footage wasn't available as replacement. I don't think the freeze frame was covering-up some sort of damaged footage.

At least back in the 'glory days', the number of print runs that theatre was able to crank-out was nothing short of phenomenal - especially when compared to a typical movie theatre. In 1980, I was able to visit the projection booth during the day. Standing in the circular booth and listening to the amazing quietness generated from nine, 35mm projectors running simultaneously was simply stunning. Certainly a contributor to the miraculously-long print life achieved.

Thanks again to Irene and her brother.

David Zacher said...

Even a glance at the Mary Blair murals makes my day. Thanks, Irene, your brother and the Major.

And I think that is a prototype Nemo Gumball machine. Very few (maybe none is my guess, you know) exist today.


Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I would love to see the old “America the Beautiful”, digitally restored. They can do amazing things with old films these days. The dated quality of the film would be charming to me, though others might find it funny - that’s OK too. Thanks for pointing out “Brown Space Mountain”, which I meant to do. It just looks terrible! I know it was supposed to look like bronze, but… it didn’t.

K. Martinez, I didn’t love HISTA, but I didn’t hate it like you do! However, your general opinion of Tomorrowland ’98 is hard to argue with. So much good stuff removed. So ugly. Just a bad idea from the get-go. It really does make me wonder how something like that could happen with so many smart people involved.

Chuck, Disneyland was definitely in the habit of doing things as cheaply as possible at that time - one of the many reasons people who loved the park were so outraged. I never saw that tacky flag display, but can picture it vividly. “Soarin’” did visit an aircraft carrier, but I’m sure you’re right, the Service Academies would not be a thing.

Erik F, I wonder if I ever saw the diving bell! If so it made no lasting impression, which is weird since I am generally interested in such things. Thanks for the input.

Nanook, I don’t get how the “freeze frame” would work (with the audio continuing) with actual film. Were they separated?

David Zacher, I still hold out hope that they will reveal and restore the Mary Blair murals someday. Her artwork has become so beloved, it seems a shame that they have them hidden behind those uninspiring painted murals.

Nanook said...

@ Major-

Yes, the presentation was 'double system' - separate track(s) and picture. [In the film days], and before digital audio track recordings - that's how dailies [and some special presentations] would be viewed, before the final edited film was composited.

In the case of the St. Louis/Gateway Arch shot, the 'freeze' was done deliberately to lengthen that scene, so all 10 "reels" of film are continuing to run, as the [held] image was optically created in the film lab.

The film sound dummy (or dubber) as they are called, are synced to the projector(s) with either selsyn motors, servo motors, stepper motors, or other type of electrical synchronization allowing all the motors to run in perfect synchronization. As all the motors involved are synchronous, (or essentially synchronous), once up to speed, they would all, by default, run at the same rate. The only real challenge is insuring synchronization of all equipment on start-up and then when stopping - so the whole procedure could again start while maintaining perfect synchronization.

Where your local "Bijou" theatre would most-likely use large, horizontal platters to contain each feature, with the film literally running in the air from the platter to the projector, and back again - picking-up dust, undue wear, etc., Disney - perhaps out of necessity, as there weren't any platters back in the 1960's - figured the best way to handle each roll of film [and magfilm for the soundtrack], was to incorporate film processing cabinets as a way to create both a storage and supply system, if you will, for the film rolls. The by-product, which I eluded to before, created a very clean and easy-on-the-film environment for each film "roll", thus insuring a very long and happy life for each of the nine images [and soundtrack].

TokyoMagic! said...

If you click on this post from January 2016 and scroll all the way down to the comments, "Mike Cozart" offered some excellent info about where that print of "America The Beautiful" came from when it returned to DL in the nineties and also talks about the poor condition of the print and that "freeze frame" moment in the middle of the film: America The Beautiful at Disneyland

Nanook said...

@ TM!-

Thanks for the link - it's full of great info-! But it really only answers questions not initially asked regarding the freeze frame. As the 'freeze frame' encompassed all nine images, and was actually printed on each of the nine reels, it took place in a lab somewhere - most-likely Technicolor - not performed in the projection booth, on-the-fly, for each screening. The real question is: Was that 'freeze' done due to negative damage to one or more of the reels sometime later in the run-? Or to correct for initial missing footage (seems unlikely). Or something else entirely-? It's definitely a bizarre anomaly, especially for Disney.

Anonymous said...

Hello Major, sorry for the late post.

We saw the Nemo diving bell on the first visit with our kids, which had to be before 1995. I remember the white Peoplemovers, must be the same trip. By the second visit in 1999, the subs were closed and the Rocket Rods had their short term run. So, I agree with Chuck.

I didn't visit the park between 1978 and 1994, so I'm not sure when Nemo was set out.