Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Nice Frontierland, 1969

Let's continue looking through the vast archive of vintage Frontierland scans, graciously donated by the Mysterious Benefactor! All of  today's images are from 1969.

Here's a pretty view of scores of yellow umbrellas, looking like giant flowers. I'm unclear as to where the photographer was standing - perhaps on the upper balcony of the Golden Horseshoe? There's the River Belle Terrace in the distance (formerly the Aunt Jemima Pancake House).

Nothing sounds more pleasant than moseying along the walkways of Frontierland in the warm afternoon sun, with Dixieland jazz (and the scent of fresh popcorn!) in the air. 

The scene (and the one above) reminds me of Christo's "Umbrellas" (1991) - over 1700 bright golden umbrellas dotted the hills along the I-5 through the Tejon Pass (a stretch known as "The Grapevine"). There was a sister installation in Japan that featured blue umbrellas.

Here's a photo of Christo's artwork, scrounged from the internet (although I did go to see them in person!). If you happen to drive this highway after a rainy Winter, you might see these same hills carpeted with orange poppies and purple lupin.

It's hard to see much through the olive trees (with twinkle lights!), but Casa de Fritos is partly visible in the upper right, with Rainbow Ridge just to the left of that. I like those rustic shades over some benches - and I really like the hat with the pink ostrich feather.

This next one is dated "August 1969", and shows a busy Rivers of America, with New Orleans Square looking like a big 1800's city! The Bertha Mae and a canoe both pass the Columbia as it takes on a load of passengers. I presume that the helicopter in the sky is heading to LAX from Disneyland's helipad.


Nanook said...


Gotta love all those yellow umbrellas - such a sight. Seems like a wonderful time at Frontierland, which sadly, has apparently vanished forever.

Thanks to our "MB" and you.

TokyoMagic! said...

That lady wearing the hat with the pink ostrich feather, appears to be checking her hat out, in the mirror of her compact. What is that lady next to her holding? Is it a ventriloquist dummy with a jack o'lantern head?

Budblade said...

Wow. I can see how jaded I am. My first thought was the women with the pink ostrich feather was taking a selfie. Not in 1969 she ain’t!

I like the umbrellas in both Disneyland and in the hills. They can add so much color. I’d be afraid a big gust of wind would carry them all away.

How the heck did the keelboat operators see? Those things weren’t on tracks, were they?

Chuck said...

I wasn't living in California when "Umbrellas" was on display, but I do remember driving all over Sonoma & Marin Counties with my mom, a friend & her son to see Christo's installation of "The Running Fence" in September of 1976. I was only seven, but it made a big impression on me.

I think the lady with the hat and her companion are practicing the multiplication tables with flash cards.

Nice photos today.

JC Shannon said...

I like a yella umbrella, I think they are swella. Maybe I should leave the poetry to Mellissa. I have always thought that yellow is the most cheerful color. Little touches like the umbrellas make Disneyland what it is. I think Alpenhat lady is holding up an E coupon and suggesting a ride on the Submarines to pumpkin woman. I don't remember ever riding the Keelboats, but I always thought they were free floating and not on a track. Maybe Mike or another GDBer knows for sure. Great day at the river today, thanks Major.

JC Shannon said...

I just thought of another question. What became of the Helipad after service ended?

zach said...

A great mix of photos today. I like them all but especially the umbrellas. I'm pretty sure the photographer took that photo while perched atop one of the umbrellas.

I didn't see Christo's 'Umbrellas' but I did see his 'Gates' in Central Park from the top of the Empire State Building. It's interesting that an art concept can sound weird until you see it. 'Umbrellas' is incredible.

My first thought was hat lady was checking Facebook and her friend was holding a strange colored therapy monkey.


Anonymous said...

That last picture of the River is pretty amazing, it really looks a little like New Orleans. Amazing how Disney just built their own version. The ground plan really isn't much like the Old Quarter, where all the streets are a square grid, but it is a remarkable resemblance in spite of that. Or was in 1969.

Really better in some ways, since the DLRR is not between the city and the river. The little park in front of the station is much like the little park and fountain near the real French Market. A lot of Imagineer study must have gone into getting the NOS scale right, not too big or far apart, nor too small and model-like. I always liked NOS, and appreciate it even more after visiting the real thing. NOLA is still tops since the Carousel Bar is there.

The Mark Twain photo manages to make me interested in Mark Twain photos again, such an unusual angle. I think these photos (especially the first) are taken from the balcony over what is now called the Stage Door Cafe, but a vantage from the far corner of the Golden Horseshoe can't be ruled out for no. 2.

The umbrella installation is pretty remarkable, Major. I hadn't heard of that one before. @Chuck, sadly, I came to Sonoma/Marin long after Running Fence, but people here still get weepy over it. Christo is kind of nuts, but the works do stick in people's minds. David Zacher, that's quite a memory of Gates. Very cool.

Something about Disneyland that frees people to wear ridiculous hats that they would never wear at home. It's something in the air, I guess. Maybe the popcorn scent, from the machines turned by the little prisoner clowns.

Thanks Major.


Chuck said...

Budblade, the keelboats were no-kidding, independently-steerable watercraft. Track was not available separately.

JC, there were actually three different helipads. The first was just ESE of the original Tomorrowland employee gate. The second was south of that, and the third was north of W. Cerritos, across from the Disneyland Hotel. You can find more details in the comments on this GDB blog from 2015.

I don't know how long the heliport stood after it closed, but I found some aerials of the Disneyland Hotel from 1979 at GDB (see here and here) that show the structure and pad still intact. The site is now under the parking lot for Downtown Disney.

As a pilot, you will probably find this page interesting as well.

Chuck said...

JC, one more that was posted after I did my research in 2015.

Chuck said...

JG, I was too young to really appreciate what I was seeing at the time, but I'm glad my mom had the foresight to get me out to see it. Kinda cool to be there to see art history as it happens.

She also took me to the Travis AFB flightline to greet the first planeload of POWs returning from Vietnam in 1973. I was four, but I clearly remember standing at the rope and waving a little American flag. I also remember being really upset when the guys who handed out the flags collected them back up after the event. I didn't connect the memory with Operation Homecoming until I was in the Air Force and watching archival footage of the event 20 years later.

My mom is pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

I agree with JG that the first couple shots were likely taken from above Oaks Tavern (as it was called in those days). Sometimes we CMs would stand in line (and in costume) to a buy a burger and fries for lunch and then go backstage up to the break area above Aunt Jemima's. KS

JC Shannon said...

Chuck, Thanks for all the great info and photos! I am like a little kid when it comes to aviation. Even now I enjoy seeing an aircraft for the first time. Combine that with Disneyland and I'm in Pilot Heaven.

Melissa said...

"I like a yella umbrella, I think they are swella"

Now I've got the
"I'm just a fella, a fella with an umbrella" song
from Easter Parade stuck in my head.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the umbrellas definitely add a touch of bright color! I’m not sure how “old west” it feels, but on a hot day, the shade would be appreciated.

TokyoMagic!, I’m sure that lady is making sure that the ostrich feather is “just so”… the right angle, and so on. She wants to look jaunty, but not like a showoff! I have NO idea what the lady next to her is holding.

Budblade, people did take selfies before cell phones, but whatever she’s holding does look more like a mirror. As for the umbrellas in the hills, a wind storm did result in some being knocked down (they were nearly 20 feet tall), and one woman was killed. Good question about how the Keelboat operators saw where they were going.

Chuck, I first became aware of Christo from his “Running Fence” project - I think we saw a documentary about it in school. There were people who were strongly opposed to it!

Jonathan, the Keelboats were not on a track, you are correct. Yellow is certainly a very cheerful color, but then I think about orange, or bright lime green - both among my favorites!

Jonathan, I will definitely need to depend on somebody else to chime in regarding the helipad. My guess is that it stood unused for a while and was eventually built over.

David Zacher, the “Gates” in Central Park were very neat too. Reading about “Running Fence”, a well-known abstract expressionist painter objected to it because it lacked “artistic merit”. That seems like some kind of joke coming from an abstract artist. I like how everyone sees something different in that woman’s hand!

JG, I’ve read that Walt wanted New Orleans Square to have winding little streets that you could explore. A grid would have been more accurate, but boring! I’ve still never been to the real New Orleans - I almost went once, but the plans fell through. I am very glad that I drove up to see Christo’s “Umbrellas”; it was very cool that (in places) you could tromp around the hills and go right up to them, even way high up. And you are right about the hats; I still couldn’t believe my mom buying a Goofy hat when we went to the park with her grandkids - she never would have done that when I was a kid!

Chuck, I knew that there were several helipads, but I assumed that Jonathan was referring to the last one. Interesting that there was still a helipad in 1979, though it is possible that it was still used for private use, even if the public airport service had ceased years before. Wow, you weren’t allowed to keep your little flag when the POWs came home??

KS, thank you for confirming JG’s information! I’m surprised that CMs had to wait in line with guests. Weren’t there employee-only places to get a burger and fries? Maybe those weren’t very good!

Jonathan, it sounds like I need to delve into some of my old airport/airplane slides.

Melissa, whoever wrote that song for Easter Parade really blew it when he didn't rhyme "umbrella" with "hella". What a hack! (I see it was Irving Berlin, ha ha)

Anonymous said...

@KS, that sounds like it would have been quite a sight to see all the CM's in line for food. There's photo making the rounds on the internet with Snow White, the Space Man, and others in cowboy and pirate garb in a cafeteria line, but it might have been staged as a promotional picture.

Major,if NOS had a square grid, you could see how small it is. The crooked design is brilliant since you can not see clear through it anywhere, making it seem much bigger than reality. Even after all the years of visiting and studying floor plans and photos, NOS surprises me.

@Chuck, thanks for those stories, and the helipad info. Maybe the last one was kept for medical EVAC. City of LA used to require all downtown highrise towers have a rooftop helipad for that purpose. For some reason, it was relaxed on a recent project, had the design all ready to go, and it was deleted. Take a look at Downtown LA in Google Satellite, you can see all the landing pads clearly.


Tom said...

August 1969... Once again, I look to see if any of the shots captured my family on our one and only visit. I know we rode one of the keel boats.

Looks so crisp and clear, it coulda been yesterday! Nice pics today.

Anonymous said...

Major and JG...while it was frowned upon about standing in line "on stage", it wasn't enforced too much. We tried to keep a low profile by standing along side of the counter. It was a choice that we'd make rather than taking those precious 30 minutes walking all the way to and from either of the 2 off stage cafeterias, especially if we were working JC, the Mark/Columbia or Mine Train. It was a quicker alternative and the upstairs break area was nearby to mingle with other 'local' CM's about the latest gossip and parties. KS

Connie Moreno said...

Oh man, these were GREAT!!