Thursday, January 04, 2018

Tile Mural, Tomorrowland

Here are more snapshots, taken by the brother of GDB reader Irene! They are undated, though I would wager that they are from sometime in the mid-1990's. They feature one of the famous Mary Blair tile murals.

It is the north mural, which was affixed to the CircleVision 360 building. The south mural, on the Adventure Thru Inner Space building, had been covered over with a Star Tours painted mural in 1986.

The north mural survived another 10 years, until the 1998 New Tomorrowland project, which was everybody's favorite thing ever.

The mural was covered over with a painting that included tributes to past Tomorrowland attractions. That lasted until 2005, when Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters moved into the building, and a new space-themed mural was added.

Just for fun, I wondered if all of those snapshots could be stitched together in Photoshop. It turns out they could!

Thank you to Irene and her brother!


Nanook said...


Wowie-! That's a pretty spectacular panoramic shot when all stitched together. Ah, Mary.

Thanks Irene, Brother & The Major.

MonkeyMensch said...

Oh, he's good! I need a tutorial in PShop! Nice shots and info I never knew about the North mural lasting so long.

Chuck said...

Oh, this is a treasure! Thank, Major, and Photoshoppe!

Scott Lane said...

Good merge-job! Shame to have lost these beautiful works of art but to be honest I never thought they fit in with a futuristic theme.

K. Martinez said...

If you look at it from the perspective that children are the future then the Mary Blair murals do fit the futuristic theme of Tomorrowland because it's the children of today that will inhabit, work and create in the world of tomorrow.

Also, the Tomorrowland murals known as "The Spirit of Creative Energies Among Children", contained contemporary ideas on technology of the time.

The north mural contained interpretations of satellites above the children's orchestra representing world-wide/global communications very much in keeping with the Bell System/AT&T theme of communications.

The south mural contained interpretations of renewable energy like solar, wind, water power and fire. I think at the time the murals were created these were scientific ideas that represented the future.

Anyway, I loved those murals and am sad they are gone/damaged underneath?

Thank you Irene's brother and thank you Irene. I always enjoy what you share with us.

Wonderful job patching the mural together, Major!

Pegleg Pete said...

Great job stitching the photos together, Major. And thanks, Ken, for the good explanation of the relevance of the murals to Tomorrowland. Thanks also, of course, to Irene and her brother!

Melissa said...

These are the best, clearest shots of that mural I've ever seen. And holy crud, that's an amazing splicing job!

Irene said...

I remember in looking at these photos (before I gave them to you) how happy I was to see my brother had taken a good series of them for posterity. I can't understand to this day who thought it was a good idea to cover these treasures over and damage them! And let me say your idea to stitch them together turned out wonderful! I'm sure if he had the kind of camera to take a panorama shot, he would have. If memory serves me correctly he did have some panoramic shots but that must have been a different camera on a different day. Sure wish he had written down dates. He would not remember anymore now.

Anonymous said...

Excellent shots and stitching work. Eventually what is old is new again and mid century modern is the 'art deco' of our generation. Real treasures that hopefully aren't forever lost but hiding. KS

JG said...

Oh Major, and Irene, and Irene's Brother, this is amazing stuff.

Thank You So Much.

We visited the Walt Disney Museum in San Francisco for a Mary Blair show. The museum noted that few original drawings exist and there is no comprehensive drawing for the final mural designs remaining after the 1998 vandalism.

I think your work in this post should be shared with the museum since there may not be any other surviving record of this quality. It's amazing to see it.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, there is something extra satisfying when photo-stitching works this well!

MonkeyMensch, when it comes to stitching photos, Photoshop does all of the grunt work. Sometimes you have to try it several different times with different settings, but it is an amazing thing.

Chuck, you’re welcome!

Scott Lane, I know what you mean and yet… why can’t the world of tomorrow have tile murals featuring playful children? Hopefully there will be children in the future!

K. Martinez, I always thought that the murals were about sugary cereals with cartoon mascots, plastic toys that break three days after you buy them, vapid sitcoms with loud laugh tracks, and murderous dolls who come to life after a strange meteor falls to Earth. But your explanation is good too! ;-)

Pegleg Pete, yes, Ken’s explanation is much nicer and more poetic than my dumb comment!

Melissa, I just did another job of stitching together no less than 14 separate scans into a very large image - let me tell you, that one was tough! But these photos of Mary Blair’s murals made for a very happy result.

Irene, yes, the panorama prints that were among your brother’s photos were taken with special disposable cameras. We can be grateful that he had the foresight to take this series of photos that could be joined (thanks to the miracle of computers!) so nicely.

KS, I can’t help wondering if the murals will ever be restored - broken tiles remade, etc - so that folks can enjoy these mid-century gems again?

The Disney Dudebro said...

Rather a shame they never preserved this mural. Even greater shame that they just painted over it like that.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, there must be plenty of photographic records that would enable the restoration of the mural, should anyone be so inclined. I am a little surprised that (apparently) the archives does not have some sort of master drawings, though!

The Disney Dudebro, from what I understand, the tile murals are mostly still there; the artwork that replaced them was on panels that are not quite touching the murals that are beneath them. However, there is footage on YouTube showing large holes in the murals as the new artwork was about to be installed... the holes must have allowed the addition of some kind of supports for the new panels. It's pretty awful!


WDI has quite a few variations of the final murals and several dozen of concepts for unused murals . Documentation has more photos than you could possiblly imagine of the murals being designed , made, constructed and in their final form : but you are gonna need a good project / job number to ever see them or even get them published . There was also a short subject film called THE TILE MURAL Disney made in conjunction with INTERSPEC ( the company that made the ceramic tiles) the film shows scenes of the two tomorrowland murals and some of a children's hospital mural .
things we think are gone forever are documented , but there has to be a reason for Disney to spend the time , money and engergy on pulling the documentation and images out.

And What Would be priority for Disney park fans to see , is usually not the priority of modern day management , merchandising and legal.

Anonymous said...

@Major and Mike Cozart.

That's good information to know, even though it is sad that the sketches and maquettes probably won't be available.

It's possible that I misunderstood the Museum exhibits, but it's also possible that there was some "conflict" between WDI and the Disney Family Museum in securing items for the Mary Blair exhibit.

The Disney Family Museum is funded and owned by the Disney family and there are rumors, not always well-concealed, of disagreements and arguments between the family viewpoints of events, films, parks etc. and those of the Corporation. This might have been one of those instances.

Still brilliant to have this panorama mural, thanks to all!


nick said...

I have to echo the nice comments about the Tomorrowland murals, and especially the stitched panorama.