Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Summer 1959 Gate Handout

Today I am sharing scans of a beautiful, full-color gate handout from Disneyland, celebrating the amazing additions to Disneyland in the summer of '59. I believe these were placed inside souvenir guidebooks. When I bought this years ago, it was pretty hard to find in good condition, but now they pop up on eBay fairly regularly, and for a fraction of the price that I paid. So it goes. This is probably familiar to you die-hard Disneyland fans, but some of you may have never seen it in detail.

Here's the beautiful cover illustration - I wish I knew who to credit. Sam McKim? John Hench? Herb Ryman? Bob "Twitchy" Hrblschk?

Here's the middle spread, but I'll zoom in on each half so that you can read the copy, presumably written by Marty Sklar.

The left side shows a portrait of Walt that I've seen elsewhere, but I wonder if this was the first time it was used? I think it's interesting that the Matterhorn vehicles look like real bobsleds (complete with runners) shushing down icy trails, instead of like the roller coaster that it actually was. Artistic license? An early concept piece? Those folks in the Skyway gondolas are really crammed in there, but by golly, they are having the best time. 

On the facing page, the subs are featured. What an ambitious and beautiful attraction! Has there ever been anything quite like it? Notice the skipper (in the drawing) popping out of the conning tower to wave to guests. I'd like to see that happen! The artist's concept manages to hint at lots of fun; man-eating sharks, a sunken galleon (filled with treasure, no doubt!), ruins (strongly resembling one of California's Spanish missions, complete with bronze bells) hinting at a sunken civilization, mermaids, and the thing that really gets me excited... KELP.

The back page highlights the Monorail, Motorboats, and the NEW Autopia freeways. Everyone is waving to each other. "Hello up there!". "Well, hello to you too, neighborino!". I count seven confirmed wavers on this page alone. The criss-crossing Monorails are reminiscent of John Hench's famous drawing. Meanwhile, Gramps holds on to his hat - can the human body withstand the stresses of traveling at seven miles per hour?

What a time that was! I hope you have enjoyed this vintage Disneyland handout.


Nanook said...


What a time it was, indeed-! I suspect many folks will feel the same about "Wookie World" when it opens; but I think they will all be mistaken.

As for the waving skipper, he's merely getting lots of practice under his belt in preparation for his future job as a 'greeter' at Walmart-!

Happy 'Summer 1959', Major-!


The 1959 Autopia attraction expansion were actually called SUPER AUTOPIA ... but it seems to have never caught on. Niether new signage called it that and the term was used very shortly. A concept for a 1959 SUPER AUTOPIA attraction poster shows they were contemplating it but the poster was never put into production. A new AUTOPIA for 1968/1969 was also being planned but also never introduced. Both the 1956 Autopia poster and Skyway posters were reprinted through the 1960’s and used into the 1990’s - even decades after both posters were out-of-date showing vehicles and other attractions that had long been replaced. The screen cut guided created fir the 1968 Autopias at Disneyland WERE used to create WDW Grand Prix Raceway poster.

TokyoMagic! said...

These graphics are all fantastic. That cover artwork shows what appears to be a red bobsled and a yellow one, headed for a head-on collision with one another!

Thanks for sharing this piece with us, Major!

JC Shannon said...

The artwork here is, as always, the best! I much prefer it to the touched up photos of later years. The paintings themselves, must have been magnificent as well. The walls of my guest bedroom are adorned with much Disneyland art and I don't ever seem to have enough. The renditions of the attractions here, are at least as cool as the rides themselves. I look at them, and I wanna get in line, so the magic the artists added to their paintings still works today. Thanks Major, these are past cool!

Melissa said...

Sam McKim? John Hench? Herb Ryman? Bob "Twitchy" Hrblschk?

Carl Togropher?

Stefano said...

Thanks Major, the publicity must have created instant "must see this!" in everyone who got a look at it. Summer '59 kicked off the golden decade at Disneyland, when every year or two there were new attractions topping all that came before. It is a wonder that these '59 additions were built and ready for customers in less than a year.

That California-Hispaniola mission look of the sunken ruins may be a holdover from earlier Submarine plans, seen on Sam McKim's first park map. The outdoor Sub lagoon area listed 'Port Royal' among the sights, referencing the Jamaican pirate city which sank after an earthquake in 1692.

K. Martinez said...

This was definitely a pictorial souvenir guidebook "special insert" and not a gate handout. It says so on the upper right. I have this insert with corresponding pictorial booklet as well was the 1960 Nature's Wonderland/Circle Vision 360 insert with the following year's pictorial booklet.

The 1950's and 1960's were my favorite era when it came to the pictorial souvenir booklets Disneyland produced. The illustrations for this particular insert are full of that Disneyland magic. I especially love the last image as it shows off the multi-layering and inter-action of "Disneyland 1959".

Thanks for sharing this with us, Major. It's one of my favorite Disneyland collectibles.

K. Martinez said...

Mike Cozart - I knew about the SUPER AUTOPIA name, but never heard of the new AUTOPIA for 1968/69. Would you happen to know what that was about in more detail?

Chuck said...

This is definitely Hrblschk's work.

Note that the hull number on the sub, 507, does not follow Disneyland's naming convention; when built, they were numbered D-301 to 308. I also find the sub captain looks alarmingly like a U-boat commander, and there was a U-507; its unprovoked attacks against neutral Brazilian shipping in Brazilian waters in 1942 single-handedly brought Brazil into the war on the side of the Allies. I'm sure that's an unintentional coincidence - what idiot would try to glorify the WWII Kriegsmarine in a Disneyland illustration? - and speaks more about how my brain works than anything else. Ooh - squirrel!

Anonymous said...

"...familiar to you die-hard fans..."

How well you know us, Major. I have seen the cover of this item before, but never the inside pages, and such wonderful high-resolution scans. Much appreciated.

The weird "floating disembodied head" portrait of Walt was also used in the Guidebook from which you posted my scans sometime ago. That document was some years after this one, so this is an earlier instance of the "Leota Walt" for sure. Might be some influence from the Haunted Mansion going on here. (JK)

I never knew that locations from the Caribbean were proposed as sights in the submarine voyage, that would have been an interesting twist, to include the same buildings in two attractions, once in the POC, under attack and on fire, and again in the Subs, submerged and forgotten.

The style and vigor of these illustrations, just as images apart from the implications of the content, is most impressive. The sense of depth and movement is palpable in all of them, cinematic in tone and expression. The information density is high, especially considering what we know now about the attractions (subs especially) and the park visitors take center stage, obviously actively enjoying their experiences.

In contrast, the images of the forthcoming Wookie World seem raher static by comparison. To me, they give the impression of a place we are to stand and admire rather than enter and participate.

Thanks Major.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, for the Star Wars fans’ sake, I hope that Galaxy’s Edge is everything they are wishing for. I just don’t love Star Wars that much…

Mike Cozart, I noticed the term “Super Autopia”, and don’t recall seeing it in print elsewhere. I wonder what made it “super”? I remember the blog post you did about the WDW posters that were recycled designs from Disneyland (with changes of course). If I recall correctly, those posters are a bit smaller than the Disneyland versions? Somebody on Facebook has one of the 20,000 Leagues posters, I have NEVER even laid eyes on a genuine example.

TokyoMagic!, ha ha, the original concept for the Matterhorn was much more extreme! For some reason they also wanted to give guests a hand full of throwing stars to hurl at passing bobsleds. I personally think it’s a great interactive idea.

Jonathan, I have seen some very nice concept art for some relatively recent Disneyland projects, but my gosh, there is some terrible stuff out there too. Which is strange for a company that is famous for having so many amazing artists. I guess those guys (and gals) were busy doing other stuff.

Melissa, Carl Togropher did the Disneyland maps, of course!

Stefano, it is unusual to see a full-color promotional flyer on coated stock… this was one of those pieces that I had to have early on. Money-wise it would have been better if I had waited, but… I’m still very glad to have it. And I agree, it is unbelievable that so much was built in less than a year! Hmmm, I’ll have to go look at the early park map to see Sam McKim’s drawings, thanks for the tip.

K. Martinez, the fact that so many of these “Summer 1959” inserts are in good condition makes sense if they were placed inside a guidebook (they’re exactly the right size and shape). And yes, that Nature’s Wonderland/Circlevision 360 insert is also a beauty - scarcer than this one, I believe.

K. Martinez, yes, I would like to know more too!

Chuck, please don’t say Mr. Hrblschk’s name backwards - it will open a portal to another dimension! Strange about the “507” number, it seems like more than a coincidence, and yet it would be very odd to reference a German U-boat. I’d love to know how that happened… there might actually be an interesting story behind it.

JG, ah, that explains why Walt’s floating head looked familiar! I think I’ve seen re-rendered versions of the same portrait too (sometimes poorly rendered). Now that I think about it, I haven’t seen much in the way of concept art for the Subs… I wonder how many wonderful ideas were rejected due to lack of space? Many, I’d wager. And the cinematic quality of the illustrations makes sense, as so many of the artists were former animation people (as you know). Funny, I was just looking at an illustration for Galaxy’s Edge, and while it was well done, it had that weird Photoshop look… sort of mushy and unresolved in places.

Tom said...

Boy people sure loved to wave at each other then. I think we should all try doing that. And they're way off with the dude with the hat on the Autopia; grandpa would be driving 3 MPH tops. I remember getting stuck driving behind guys like that.


MAJOR: actually I discovered the first Walt Disney World attraction posters WERE the same 36”x54” sizes that Disneyland was using. I’ve seen a handful of the originals. Florida changed their poster frames in 1978 - to fit the newer size posters like JUNGLE CRUISE, WEDWAY PEOPLEMOVER, SPACE MOUNTAIN etc. many of the original designs were then lithogrsphed - like TROPICAL SERENADE , 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA , PETER PAN....
I’ve obtained. Images showing the full size poster frames with the smaller posters set in them with matting ...then in 1978 all new frames and posters went in. Several previously unknown posters have surfaced including a WDW MISSION TO MARS and a CINDERELLA’s GOLDEN CAROUSEL!!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

This is great! Being mid 50's and growing up before internet and cell phones things like this would make your day (week or year).

Younger folks don't realize a color book, brochure, magazine or catalog of something cool was the youtube, google, insta of our lives.

Thanks for sharing.

Nanook said...

@ JG-
"... a place we are to stand and admire rather than enter and participate". That says a mouthful; as we-all have pointed-out on several occasions, the Imagineers 'of yore' were so good at creating multi-levels of action and movement. Perhaps Galaxy's Edge - the real thing - will capture that same movement.

@ Alonzo P Hawk-
"Younger folks don't realize a color book, brochure, magazine or catalog of something cool was the YouTube, google, insta of our lives". Exactly.

Anonymous said...

@Major, I know that "unresolved look" very well. In architectural rendering classes (all done by hand, no computers) we were taught that if there was a part of the building or the perspective that we couldn't figure out in time to meet the deadline, then draw a tree or a car in front of it. Works every time.

If my experience is any guide, those Galaxy's Edge renderings were cranked out in a matter of hours or even less, without much refinement or even reference to the planned structures. We still see big projects handled like this, the sales renderings have little connection to the final design, much less what actually is built. The disconnect between construction and design is a whole other post.

@Nanook, I'm at least a moderate SW fan, and I do really want Wookie World to be good, I'm just afraid that it won't. I'm going to visit it at least once, just to see.

@Alonzo, What Nanook Said.


Bryce said...

My guess is that the drawing of Grandpa and his wife on the Autopia is based on a live-action shot of same in a park segment from the Disneyland TV show. Maybe even Walt himself suggested the gag be recreated in the brochure!

Major Pepperidge said...

Tom, I admit that Disneyland is one of the few places I would ever even think of waving to complete strangers (usually people on the Mark Twain as it passes by)!

Mike Cozart, oh interesting - I am fascinated by the silkscreened WDW posters and wish I had a few in my collection. I honestly don’t recall ever seeing any come up for auction or sale ever, though they must have. Thanks for the info, I would love to see the “Mission to Mars” and “Golden Carousel” posters!

Alonzo, I actually bought this at an NFFC show, which meant that I drove all the way to Anaheim and waited in a long line. No eBay at that time! I am not on my phone constantly, but it is almost hard to remember a time when I didn’t have access to a device of some kind.

Nanook, I would bet that Steve Jobs would be surprised at the way people are so addicted to their phones. Stop at a stop light for 60 seconds? Better check your Twitter feed. At the post office? Why not have a loud conversation via your bluetooth headset? It must provide a dopamine high of some kind.

JG, ha ha, the “draw a tree” trick is very much on display on those big Disneyland maps. As a kid I thought, “Look at all those trees! Why don’t they put rides there??”, little realizing that they were actually unsightly backstage areas. I have seen incredible digital illustrations over the years (there’s a guy named Craig Mullins who is just amazing, see his stuff at, you’ll be glad you looked).

Bryce, that is certainly possible! Plus it showed that Disneyland isn’t just for kids - grownups of any age could have fun at the park.

Nancy said...

concept art is the best! thanks for sharing this :D