Friday, August 31, 2018

Skyway Terminal, Tomorrowland - 1956

I always love nice photos of the Skyway terminal in Tomorrowland - it couldn't be more different from the charming chalet in Fantasyland. This thing is dripping with mid-century coolness. It's all angles and beams and steel stairs. The Skyway buckets are probably powered by a nuclear generator 2000 feet below the surface! I love the vertical "SKYWAY" sign, and the colorful sculptural shapes, not to mention those bright wind-catchers (or whirligigs) that look like they are papercraft projects.

To the left is the HFIELD thingamabob. Yessir, I sure enjoy anything sponsored by HFIELD.

Totally unrelated, but from the same batch, is this shot of the E.P. Ripley (not the I.P. Daily) at rest while the train loads at Main Street Station, mostly behind us. One of the train's crew (Engineer? Oil man? Locomotive whisperer?) is taking the opportunity to escape the hot cab and get a little fresh air.

Perhaps you would like to compare this recently-posted photo, very similar to the one above! It's from 1962, so you can see the growth of the trees, as well as the growth of a new building at the Disneyland Hotel. The locomotive is different too, it's the Fred Gurley.


Nanook said...


Wonderful shots today. I love the 'then' & 'now' (or perhaps 'less then') train views. In the first, the circular finials create depth; and in the second, the balloons and the metal-framed Jungle Cruise AP add color and interest. Really nice.

Thanks, Major.

Budblade said...

I would like a red mickey balloon,please. I have to have one for my train and skyway ride.

Chuck said...

Ah, the E.P. Ripley, named for Ellen P. Ripley, the hero of LV-426.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Warning - Complete train geek comment to follow:

In the shot of the E.P. Ripley, right next to the bell (with the smokestack behind) one can just make out an "air ringer," a pneumatic cylinder attached to the bell cradle that would ring the bell (via a small crank arm) in a very rhythmic (annoying?) manner when a button or lever was pushed--thereby relieving the fireman from having to exert an INSANE amount of energy to ring the bell by tugging on a rope.

It wasn't altogether un-prototypical--air ringers have been around since the 1890s.

I don't think I've ever seen a picture of the engine with the air ringer installed--although the bracket for it remains to this day.

K. Martinez said...

Not only did the whirligigs spin and whirl, but the vertical "SKYWAY" sign rotated as well. Always loved the architectural style of the original Tomorrowland Skyway terminal. Thanks, Major.

Steve DeGaetano. I love train geek comments. Thanks for sharing that bit of information.

JC Shannon said...

Tomorrowland of the 50s is full of futuristic mid-century eye candy! I love it. I am a train lover as well, and any shot of the Disneyland Railroad is always a winner. Thanks Major for the scans.

dzacher said...

HFIELD, haha, that's rich. And I wonder what a round Skyway bucket would have fetched at auction.

The juxtaposed before and after train view is a fun one. It reminds me of the ads Disney did recently where they showed an old black and white shot with Walt in it with a recent color photo of the same view of the park. Kind of a half and half. I hope it reminded the younger of us that Walt was a real person, not just a company icon.

Happy Friday,


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Steve DeGaetano said...

Major, I think the post above means you just hit the big time!

Nanook said...


You DID hit the big time. (I ordered the Bandar Ceme-!)

Anonymous said...

The train comparisons are wonderful. Photo 3 is also notable for the introduction of the Disneyland Hotel. Interesting how different photographers find the same spots over and over for pics, even more so when they are unusual vantages like these.

Thank you, Steve D for the fascinating detail, always fun to learn more stuff about the DLRR. Any idea why the air ringers were removed?

Also agreed that the original Tomorrowland Skyway terminal was the best, far exceeding that of 1967. It's too bad that all the frippery had to come down to make way for the Carousel of Progress. Wish it could have been moved out over Autopia or someplace.

Happy Friday everyone.


Melissa said...

It's White Shirt Day at Disneyland.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Nanook, I've come across nothing official, but air ringers are notoriously monotonous: "ding ding ding ding ding..."

When a bell is rung by hand, it sounds more like "ding DING, ding DING, ding DING..." It's just sounds a little better is my thought.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, Jonsey! Here kitty, kitty!

That is such a great photo of the TL Skyway station. I can just imagine all the whirligigs turning!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, photo #2 should have been taken with a stereo camera. That wrought-iron doo-dad would pop right out!

Budblade, I will be sure to tie the balloon’s string to your wrist so that Mickey doesn’t float away.

Chuck, Is Ellen Ripley’s middle initial actually “P”?? I could look it up, but there is just too much quality daytime television to watch.

Steve DeGaetano, I remember reading about the air ringer - it seems like an odd invention, but gosh, somebody thought that it was necessary more than 100 years ago. Weird. I’m glad to be able to provide a photo in which you can see the air ringer in situ!

K. Martinez, I had forgotten that the Skyway sign rotated, that is a cool detail for sure. And yes, train comments can’t get too geeky!

Jonathan, for some reason I particularly like photos of the Skyway stations - the Fantasyland is beautiful of course, but I love the mid-century look of the Tomorrowland version.

David Zacher, seeing as so many Skyway vehicles wound up being reused in other parks, I wonder if the original Disneyland buckets went to some place else, and it was just not publicized? I would love to have one of those - Richard Kraft would have surely bought one had he been around then. The ad you mentioned reminds me of images I have seen on Facebook - somebody will bring a vintage photo of the park, and hold it up in front of them so that it lines up almost exactly with the park of 2018.

Cindy Chong, welcome to GDB! Please check in more often. Also, send pix.

Steve DeGaetano, sadly I get hundreds and hundreds of spam comments, but Blogger filters most of them after the post’s first three days.

Nanook, oh man, I feel like a sucker, I ordered everthing BUT the Bandar Ceme!

JG, of course there are some vantage points that are so popular that it isn’t worth comparing one view of the Mark Twain to another (for instance). But it is nice when you get two somewhat unusual views, like the train pix! And yes, why were the air ringers removed? Good question. And while I missed that mid-century frippery, we got the Carousel of Progress, after all - a good trade, if there ever was one.

Melissa, you aren’t kidding! It must have been a hot Summer day.

Steve DeGaetano, it’s funny, I almost remarked on the pleasant variation on the bell’s sound when it is rung by hand. And here it came up anyway!

TokyoMagic!, Chuck Jonesy made some of the greatest short cartoons ever. I love that Skyway station too!

Melissa said...

I wonder if the original Disneyland buckets went to some place else, and it was just not publicized? I would love to have one of those...

It'd make a great breakfast nook.

True fact: "Bandar Come" is an anagram of "Drab Menace."

Chuck said...

Bandar Ceme - not to be confused with that frumious thing Lewis Carroll shunned.

Sadly, Ripley's middle name is actually Louise.

Nanook said...

All that seems to come to mind is Brylcreem.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, years ago I went to Imagineering in Glendale for work-related purposes, and in the outdoor lunch area they had ordinary tables, but they also had Peoplemover cars and Skyway vehicles that employees could eat in as well. I wonder if they are still there?!

Chuck, “Louise”? She probably changed it to “Pamela”. Yeah, that’s it! “Bandar” makes me thing of Kipling’s “The Jungle Books”, the monkeys who kidnap Mowgli were the “Bandar-log”.

Nanook, I prefer Wildroot Cream Oil. It it’s good enough for Fearless Fosdick, it’s good enough for me!

Chuck said...

If my name were Louise, I'd probably change it to Pamela, too. Which, come to think of it, is rather odd, me being a guy and all.

As big of a Kipling fan as I am, I can't believe I didn't think of the Bandar-log. But I've been an Alice fan since I was about four, so I guess it's not that surprising after all.

Melissa said...

Ive always liked the name Louise. Reminds me of an old Maurice Chevalier song:

Every little breeze seems to whisper, "Louise,"
Birds in the trees seem to twitter, "Louise."

Nancy said...

One of my favorite things about Tomorrowland is the original Skyway station. So colorful (rainbow is my favorite color!)

And speaking of rainbows, I love the gathering of pretty balloons shown in the last view. It really adds something for me. How cool that you have these two nearly identical pictures in your collection.

Wonderful post today~