Friday, March 02, 2018

House of the Future and Moonliner

It's time for some classic Tomorrowland images (circa 1958) for you on this Friday! 

We'll start with this nice shot of the Monsanto House of the Future. If you'd ever wondered what it would be like to live in a giant plastic mushroom (like some sort of Future Elf), this was your chance. As it turns out, it would have been pretty sweet. Microwave ovens! Huge televisions! Picture phones! Ultrasonic dishwashers! Irradiated Foods! They've thought of everything.

And here I am stuck in 2018 like a chump. 

And what view of Tomorrowland would be complete without a look at the graceful Moonliner? I love the way it is streamlined and modern, but it still has a touch of "Buck Rogers" to it. 

How many of you watched the inspiring launch of SpaceX's "Falcon Heavy" rocket? I did - several times - and I couldn't help thinking of the old Moonliner's retractable legs as two of the Falcon Heavy's boosters landed next to each other, like something out of a movie!

If you want to skip to the actual launch, go to 21:30 - to see the boosters land, skip to, oh, maybe 29:00 in. Incredible!


Nanook said...


Both of these images are so iconic of the first Tomorrowland: The juxtaposition of the über-modern structure against the decidedly-1950's wardrobe worn on the guests, and that classic angle of the Rocket to the Moon-section of Tomorrowland, with the "olives and toothpicks" light fixtures, the Skyway & Tri-Level Frontierland A.P's. and that great big 'birds nest style' straw hat being worn by a Tom Sawyer wanna be-!

I'm suddenly feeling very 1958-ish all of a sudden.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

That man under the (south?) wing of the House of the Future has his arm extended out and upward almost as if he was going to reach up and touch the structure. I wonder if that was possible and if so, I wonder how many guests stuck their chewing gum on the underside of the house?

Chuck said...

I somehow missed the falcon Heavy test flight. That was awesome with a capital AWE

TM!, the years of gum buildup is the real reason the House of the Future couldn't be destroyed by a wrecking ball.

WaltsMusic said...

Nice post Major!

I thought the same thing when I saw the external pods land. I wanted to yell out "You've just landed in Disneyland!"

Stuart Powley said...

Falcon Heavy was kind of like if they loaded a Autopia car into the Moonliner...

Melissa said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I miss the old future! Was there ever a Doghouse of the Future? 'Cause that would be really cute. Or have dogs gone extinct and all we've got are chimpanzees in robot dog costumes, like in the old Battlestar Galactica? Well, maybe the old future isn't everything it's cracked up to be.

Nanook, I was also struck by the image of the Hawaiian-Punch-Hatted kids in this sleek, ultramodern setting!

Patrick Devlin said...

I hadn't thought, Major, about the similarity of the Falcon boosters to the Moonliner sitting tail-down on its extendible landing gear, but it's a pretty good comparison of looks. I've been reading up on the Saturn V lately in the wake of following that most impressive launch from SpaceX. Imagine a rocket 50% bigger and more powerful and it flew 50 years ago! I love me some good aerospace stuff.

Nice shots, today, as always. What year was the "future" of Tomorrowland set? Was it 1985? I'd say the reality actually exceeded what the imagineers projected. Just the fact that everyone walks around with a powerful pocket computer sneaks up on my thoughts and stuns me from time to time.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, that juxtaposition makes the modern house feel even more modern. It’s funny, my mom has a small “bird’s nest” straw hat that she swears she bought at Disneyland long ago, but there is no tag or anything to prove it.

TokyoMagic!, something tells me that gum was not as much of a problem in 1958. It was only later that people became such slobs! At least with a plastic house, it would be easy to clean. Gum scrapes off in a jiffy.

Chuck, yeah, that Falcon Heavy launch took me back to the good old days of Apollo and even shuttle launches. I heard that the wrecking ball actually stuck to the house, and they had to use dental picks to dismantle it.

WaltsMusic, it was very cool seeing the closeup of the legs deploying. And here I used to think that the idea of a rocket being able to land upright was ridiculous!

Stuart Powley, now THAT I would have liked to see.

Melissa, oy, that robot dog thing in “Battlestar Galactica”. Even when I watched the show I wondered what was wrong with it. And then I found out. I’m amazed the chimp didn’t rip the set apart - maybe they gave it a little happy juice to keep it docile.

Patrick Devlin, it’s amazing that even now, the Saturn V still has not been surpassed in some statistics. What an incredible machine. I am pretty sure that Tomorrowland was supposed to represent the far-flung future of 1986, though ’85 would have somehow made more sense (being exactly 30 years in the future from the opening of the park).

Melissa said...

We watched a space shuttle launch during the same vacation as our first WDW visit. It was such an amazing feeling.

The Visitors' Center at Cape Canaveral had this moon landing photo op where you could stand behind the front half of an astronaut suit on a moon set and pretend like you were Neil Armstrong. When the pictures came back, both my sister and I had major red eye. It looked like something out of The X-Files, except there wasn't any X-Filesyet.

Anonymous said...

Major, these are amazing photos today, including the video.

The whole SpaceX thing is very much Tomorrowland and Tom Swift and it makes me happy to see it.

Also writing to confirm that I have read that the date of original Tomorrowland was intended to be 1986, but my only authority for that is that I read it somewhere on the internet. Maybe it should have been called the "Year-After-Tomorrowland".

Chewing gum is a building material in some places. I think there was a Heinlein story about using chewing gum to fix a space suit leak.

Melissa, you inspired the X-files, I'm sure. :-)


TokyoMagic! said...

If I'm remembering correctly, Bob Cummings even states on the opening day broadcast, "Dateline Disneyland," that Tomorrowland is set in the year of 1886 and then he quickly corrects himself and says, "1986....That's WAY ahead!" Or something like that.

Chuck said...

The year 1986 was selected because it was the next appearance of Halley's Comet. Or maybe that was Bill Haley and the Comets. They're easy to confuse.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, I have never been to Cape Canaveral (or Florida at all), but just seeing certain artifacts at the Air & Space Museum in Washington DC was so exciting to me, being a certain age.

JG, now that NASA doesn’t seem to be in the rocket-launching business anymore, I am glad that the private sector is picking it up. I would have never thought it possible! Chewing gum is my #1 vice, I get complaints from friends and relatives about the constant chewing. They can go to heck!

TokyoMagic!, was Main Street supposed to be 1886? Maybe that’s why Bob Cummings made the mistake? On the other hand, there would have been no motorcars on an 1886 street, so… never mind.

Chuck, ah yes, now that you say that, I recall reading that factoid before. Thanks!

Major Pepperidge said...

The Disney Dudebro, your comment was in my email (because I have my blog set up that way), but for some reason it did not appear where it should. Which is weird. I have no idea why! Anyway, I need to check out your blog, thank you for the links.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, was Frontierland maybe supposed to represent the frontier in 1886? It seems like he might have made that mistake for a legitimate reason. But then maybe not. Didn't he introduce Captain Hook as Captains Crew? And wasn't he caught on camera, kissing a dancer in Frontierland? And didn't he mumble something about how he'd rather be down the road at Knott's Berry Farm, interviewing Sad Eye Joe?

MonkeyMensch said...

Frontierland's date setting was hashed out, I think here, not too long ago and the notion was that era is set more or less around 1820, at least prior to the 1836 death of Davy Crockett, what with him sitting over there at the HQ inside Ft. Wilderness. Bear in mind, as I have to remind myself to do, that the C.K.Holliday is not from this era but much more in line with Main Street's "just around the turn of the century" sort of dating, or maybe a skosh before then.


Main Street USA at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World is supposed to be ( was originally) to represent the 1890 - 1910 period.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, it’s been a long time since I’ve sat through that “Dateline Disneyland” show… if Bob Cummings did all of those things, I sure don’t remember them. Sounds like he was having a good time all by himself!

MonkeyMensch, yes, 1820-ish was the consensus, though I don’t know if that jibes with any official Disney information. I suppose we have to forgive a few inconsistencies and anachronisms! Of course, these days there is pretty much no attempt to stick to the theme. Let’s have a late 20th century style marching band on early 20th century Main Street. The crowd loves it so who cares?

Mike Cozart, that makes a lot more sense.

Chuck said...

I seem to remember reading somewhere that Frontierland starts around 1785-1820 in the Old Northwest Territory at the gate and moves farther into the 19th Century and farther west the closer you get to the river. The log structures gradually turning to clapboard buildings sort of supports that interpretation, although as Patrick points out, Davy Crockett over at Fort Wilderness (on an island named for Tom Sawyer, an 1840s character who wouldn't be created until the 1870s) indicates that that wasn't an inviolable rule.

Melissa said...

Bob Cummings's legend is getting as big as Davy Crockett's. Yessir, I heared ol' Bob a-rassled him a animatronical pigweasel while a-playin' "How Will I Know My Love" on a comb an' wax paper, right over yonder by that thar tickety-booth, neat as you please!


Frontierland was suppose to represdnt a much broader time frame, but still all within “the frontier era” about 1780 - 1880. The Salingship COLUMBIA was kinda the real beginning of the frontier expansion . The Mark Twain is of a 1850’s style - big thunder - built duRing the gold rush and abandoned in the 1870’s. Keelboats were a 1790’s - 1840’s rivercraft . The golden Horshoe has a late 1870’s - 1880’s interior . The US government officials declared the American Frontier over in 1890.

New Orleans press announcements both pre opening and opening mention this land represents the Cresent City as it was in the 1850’s (New Orleans real hey-day : it was never the same after the civil war) some attraction narration from the Disneyland railroad and the River craft mention New Orleans Square to be “the Gay Paree of the American Frontier” or as it was “more than a century ago” ( 1966 thru early 70’s”

Bear Country we know from dates on buildings , shop sloagans and interior decor places us in the early 1900’s. But it’s founding is clear “a honey of a place since ‘72” (1872) but was this when the bears took over after the humans abandoned the settlement for the gold rushes in the Klondike?? ( remember a fur trapper brought a dancing bear to the settlement early on ( Ursus H Bear - his dedication as the founding bear of Bear Country says he died in 1928) eventually the trapper had a whole menagerie of trained bears to intertain the people of the area - when the humans left , the bears didn’t know what else to do but keep entertaining!!