Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Mad Tea Party, May 1958

Pictures of Fantasyland's Mad Tea Party are not rare, but I love 'em anyway. Especially when the teacups are full of genuine vintage 50's people.

When I first zoomed in, I thought that everyone was waiting for the ride to start - everything is in focus. But if you look at the postures of some riders, it is clear that they are cranking away at the center wheel to make their cup spin as fast as possible. Don Draper stands at the fence wishing somebody would ride with him. Where is Peggy?

Lot's of mom's and grandmothers are enjoying the spectacle - and enjoying not spinning. "I'll wait here, honey, you have fun!". 

And just because... here's a look at Geppetto's Village, including his workshop, which has tiny toys on display in the window. I've always liked that little guardhouse and the gate - "Halt! Who goes there?".


Nanook said...


I believe "Peggy" is [sadly] spinning-away solo in that mint green teacup with the fancy painted fleur–de–lis, or whatever the design. It's interesting that amongst all those "Grandmas", not a one is sporting a babushka-! Although I see the one wearing the long, black coat is well-ahead of her compatriots, as she's already engaging in a conversation on her smart phone-!

And just what is that turquoise thing the boy with the red feather in his hair holding-?

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I was wondering the same thing as Nanook, about the kid walking by behind the moms and the grandmas. One of the kids in the tea cup that is furthest to the left, is hanging onto one of those Mickey Mouse balloons with the black ears. That is such a great shot, showing all the riders "in action."

I like the photo of Geppetto's Village, but where is the gardener "making it rain" with his garden hose?

Chuck said...

Note the two sailors in the upper left, just passing the SE corner of the Mickey Mouse Club Theater.

Not sure what Red Feather is carrying, but an adult Yellow Feather seems to be following him.

I am strangely fascinated by the instructions painted on the concrete apron around the teacup platter. They are oriented to be read and followed by different sets of people at different stages of ride operation.

That, in turn, triggered a childhood memory of the original David Grant Medical Center at Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA. There were colored lines painted or taped to the floor to help patients find their way to different functions in the hospital. I think there were at least four colors - black, yellow, green, and red - but I only remember that the red one led to the pharmacy, which was way out at the end of an enclosed walkway in an adjacent building. My mom would assign me to follow a color and lead the way. Kept me busy and focused in a place where I am sure it was a pain to keep me busy and focused. I remember it being a little bit fun.

Stu29573 said...

Whenever I see that view of the village, I half expect for the camera to pan up and show the gardener providing "rain." Such is the power of Disney stock footage!

Stefano said...

Chuck, those sailors are loitering outside the most disreputable spot in Fantasyland, the Welch's Grape Juice "Bar".

Major, I have never before noticed that tiny water pump and basin a little in front of Geppetto's workshop, and wonder if it's still there. This is the sort of detailing that makes "Pinocchio" the movie such a pleasure on each viewing; always something new to see.

K. Martinez said...

My eyes must be giving out because it took me a looooong time before I spotted all the details everyone pointed out. The Mad Tea Party aerial is great just to see the various riders in the teacups while in action. Thanks, Major.

JC Shannon said...

Wow, what is that thing the boy with the feather is holding? Good catch guys, weird. As I remember it, the Mad Tea Party was a must do for my friends and I. Even my mom liked it. I feel bad for the solo rider, she has no one to help her make it spin and induce projectile vomiting. It was a badge of honor for us kids, if you got to see someone woof thier cookies on any ride! Geppetto's Village is a work of art and I love it to this day, everyone from 3 to 99 can enjoy it. In fact, I think I like it even more as an adult. The one kid next to tuquoise boy looks as though he is holding an IPod. Time travelers? If so, sign me up, I,m goin'! You made my day once again Major, thank you.

JC Shannon said...

Oops, IPad. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

I do love the teacups. My Mom would have been in the group on the sidelines, she steadfastly refused anything wild or fast or wet and kept her eyes shut on the Skyway. My Dad was a good sport and we usually went around pretty fast.

Years later, I did the same for my kids, and then again for my nieces. It's a simple carnival ride, but really a lot of fun. Sometimes those are the best.

The spiral pattern on the deck is straight from the psychedelic movie scenes too.

I will never get tired of Storybook Land pictures and Geppetto's village is one of the best dioramas. The guardhouse is just the right kind of detail. It hurts to think this will all be torn down.

Thanks for the pictures, Major, and everyone else for the observations and memories. Makes my day to start here.


Melissa said...

So many awesome vintage people in that beautiful, crisp, clear Tea Party shot! Stripey kids! Almost-matching plaid lads! Young girls in sailor suits! Sailors in sailor suits! (Hellooo, sailors!) Grandmas in pretty print dresses! Purses you could bludgeon a moose with! More bobby socks than a centipede at a Frank Sinatra concert! That hunched-over kid doing whatever it is he's doing! Oh, the humanity!

If you hadn't told me that was Gepetto’s Village, my first thought would have been that it was a full-size shot of New Fantasyland. Since everything in the background is far away, the perspective is totally deceptive!

Two true winners today, Maj!

Melissa said...

As the blue cup and the green cup rotated, the lonely boy in the feather hat locked eyes with the lonely girl in the white cardigan. She smiled shyly, the California sun reflecting off her braces like a polished mirror. His trembling hands lost their grip on the spinning wheel. That first young love!

But alas, it was never meant to be. Turns out they both had cooties.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, poor Peggy, she must be mad at Don again. The drinking or something! Grandma has the iPhone -10! I can’t tell what that thing is in that boy’s hand… it has a pink feather on the end (I think), so maybe it’s a spear, but that doesn’t really explain the turquoise “stock”.

TokyoMagic!, I remember my grandparents buying me a balloon fairly early in a visit to the park, and that thing was just a pain, after a while. I lost the balloon while waiting to get into the car heading home. Good riddance! The gardener is sleeping one off inside Rainbow Caverns.

Chuck, I saw those two sailors! I love that that group is all wearing variations of Indian headdresses, including one that is more of a “war bonnet”. The instructions painted on the ground remind me of what you might see on an aircraft carrier. Your mom sounds like she knew how to keep a kid engaged… it was pretty brilliant to let you follow a color! My sister is good with things like that too, it’s a real talent.

Stuart Powley, I’ll bet a lot of people reading your comment know exactly what footage you are referring to.

Stefano, ha ha, I expect a fist fight at any moment in the Grape Juice Bar. And I have never noticed the little pump and basin either! Cool details.

K. Martinez, why don’t you just get bionic eyes like Melissa has? This particular Mad Tea Party photo was nice because it was so clear. It amazes me how much you can blow up those tiny slides.

Jonathan, now I’m wondering if that isn’t a bow, partly wrapped in one of those turquoise shopping bags from that period? Just a guess of course. I used to date a girl who got really mad at me for spinning the teacup too fast. If she’d asked me to slow it down, I would have! I hope to never seen anybody barfing at Disneyland, yuck. Who knew that so many people had Apple devices at the park in 1957!

JG, my grandpa was always one for a thrill ride. He loved the Matterhorn, and you wouldn’t have convinced my grandma to ride that if you gave her $1000. So it was good to have a pal to ride with! I have heard rumors about discussions to remove Storybook Land - I hope those rumors are unfounded.

Melissa, yeah, the people in that first photo really add to the fun. I used to only want pictures of DISNEYLAND, but now I prefer it if there are plenty of fun people to look at too. There is definitely a similarity to Gepetto’s Village and the “New Fantasyland” - I am amazed at how similar the Storybook Land version is to production paintings for “Pinocchio” (by Gustaf Tenggren).

Melissa II, ha ha, the story writes itself! I remember having schoolboy crushes on plenty of girls, but there was no way I was ever going to admit it to anyone, least of all the girls.

The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

I'm still rather interested in how Disneyland's version remains uncovered while the WDW version is covered. And it also has the Doormouse in a teapot within the center. I'd say the WDW version was superior, but then, the new Disneyland version has better surrounding theming.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

"More bobby socks than a centipede at a Frank Sinatra concert!" Sheer poetry-!

Melissa said...

(I was a little bit proud of that one.)