Friday, August 11, 2017

The Indian Village, 1957

The old Indian Village might be long-gone, but todays beautiful Kodachrome images practically bring it right back to life. I really love the strong 50's vibe that comes through in these photos.

The performances at the "Dance Circle" were arguably the highlight of the features in the Indian Village - heaven knows that people took a zillion pictures of the costumed dancers. In this first photo, two boys (who should look familiar to many of you) pose with one of the Indian performers. I wish I knew what his name was. Did Disneyland provide their costumes? Behind them is the Dance Circle, as well as a scattering of teepees. That massive berm did an amazing job isolating Frontierland from the outside world!

Next we have the boys and their Mom standing next to one of the teepees. I am guessing that these were made from some sort of heavy cloth, cut in irregular shapes and carefully painted to resemble buffalo hides - it looks pretty convincing from here! To our right is a device from which drying ears of corn hang - it's nice and high to help keep varmints away.

Let's zoom in and say howdy to this nice family! Mom is thinking that a sun-bleached skull would be just the thing for the living room - won't the girls in her bridge club be envious? Time for a trip to "Skulls 'R Us".


Nanook said...


These images are particularly striking, especially the first one - with Kodachrome showing-off the beauty of the world as only it could. The composition is striking, too, contrasting a rather impressive outfit on the Indian with decidedly-late 1950's outfits on the brothers [rolled-up sleeves included], topped-off with an awfully swell hair cut on the older of the two lads.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

I usually don't pay much attention to the old Indian Village pics, but these two images are quite beautiful. What a contrast to the hyper attractions Disneyland offers today. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, yes, sometimes those old Kodachromes look so good that it makes me wonder why they changed the formula. (I actually do know why, but you know what I mean!). I realize that I used the date “1957” in the title, but the fact that we see a Phantom Boat in one of the previously-posted images must mean that this is from 1956 (?), which seems more mid-1950’s than late-1950’s.

K. Martinez, I agree with you, most Indian Village photos are kind of a snooze, since they often seem to be kind of similar. But these are so nice and bright and colorful! From the lack of reaction, I guess most readers weren’t impressed!

Irene said...

Some of us are only just now getting up :) My Dad LOVED the Indian Village so it was a must for us to visit every single trip. Again, I have little to no memory of it. I know I was there with Mom and Dad (while brother was off doing his own thing) thanks to home movies. My Dad only used Kodachrome for his slides of trips he and Mom went on. Too bad the pictures are mostly flowers and mountains and stuff like that.

Tom said...

Love these, and just about all pictures of this area. I have only a vague recollection of it as a youth, but out of all of Disneyland it seemed the most genuine and felt steeped in history.

This is one area I would love to see return.

DrGoat said...

Just great pics Major. A very stately woman and her two offspring. She looks a bit miffed. That shirt the older kid has on looks familiar, like something my Mom would have gotten me.

TokyoMagic! said...

As Irene said, some of us are only just now getting up! Okay, I've been up for an hour now. Major, did the color hold up on these over the years or did you have to work a little bit of your magic to bring the them out? I agree with DrGoat about the mom looking a little PO'd. Maybe her non-sensible shoes are killing her feet after walking around Disneyland all day!

Major Pepperidge said...

Irene, from now on I expect you to be up at 5:30 every morning, just so that you can leave a comment! Earlier is even better. I don’t know if I ever saw the Indian Village, though I could have when I was little. To be honest, I’m not sure I even knew it existed until I started getting interested in Disneyland history.

Tom, the Indian Village felt like a genuine attempt at a respectful display of Native American dances, craftsmanship, and dwellings. Not that it was perfect, but it didn’t have that icky feeling of crass exploitation.

DrGoat, if only I’d saved all of the slides from that lot. The husband took plenty of photos of his wife in a bikini! For reals. BUT… I sold them because boxes of slides were taking over my living space.

TokyoMagic!, this particular batch of slides maintained vivid colors. However, most slides require at least a little enhancement, to one degree or another; it really does seem like mid-1950’s Kodachrome achieved some sort of perfection for rich saturated colors, at least on a bright sunny day.

Nanook said...

@ Major-

Remember, Kodachrome at that time had a speed of ASA 12-! No wonder it's intense contrast was enough to overpower just about anything else out there, and with enough light present, produce those almost dream-like images appearing good enough to eat.