Thursday, March 28, 2019

Omnibus, September 1966

There's no bus like an Omnibus. It's totally omni! I like this photo of a laid-back Town Square (with the Audio-Animatronic flagpole to our left). Folks are taking a mid-afternoon break on shady benches while vehicles come and go; one couple has just refreshed themselves at the little water fountain (after moving the C&H Sugar bag out of the way) and everything feels very pleasant. I'd love to know if they played music on Main Street as far back as 1966, since the old melodies are so much a part of the experience in my mind. 

That bus might be "omni", but it's better than being "on me". (Pauses for an explosion of laughter). In the background the Global Van Lines truck sits in front of one of my favorite buildings - the home of the storage lockers. Just above the Global van we can see three posters - Monorail, Tiki Room, and Subs. Guests are carrying striped pink bags, I wish I had the one on the bench. 

It occurred to me that I could almost merge both of the photos into a panorama. So I gave it a go; I wasn't able to use Photoshop's "photo merge" function, which would have been ideal - there wasn't any overlap. So I just did a somewhat crude version, and I have to admit that it looks pretty good if you ignore the edges of the flagpole! It's sort of fun to see the same Omnibus twice. There's even a man and woman who appear in both halves.


Nanook said...


Man, those trees are really shady. Just look at those long, dense shadows. As for your photo stitching skills - I do believe there are a couple of Cinerama films in need of your services in touching-up their oft-times poor job of image matching at the join lines.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Nice hand-stitching job! What size needle do you use?

In the first photo. deep in the shade is a woman facing the Omnibus wearing a scarf around her neck and holding a handbag on her left arm. Her outfit looks like the female leader's version of the Oscar de la Renta-designed 1980 Boy Scout uniform.

To her left, underneath the "Gifts" sign on the Emporium is a fella looking at GDB on his phone.

I want to step into your panorama and spend the rest of the day. Just need to remember to bring cash since there are no ATMs yet. I should probably change out of my pajamas, too.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Very nice sewing job Major! I once had to do the same with photos of a themed hotel room interiors. This was pre-photoshop on a large computer retouching station. It took several days (and a few years off my life). Today (as an appraiser) I still get to make landscapers, roofers and construction workers "disappear" from photos for reports.

Love the era of these photos. I used to enjoy taking a pretend put around Main Street in the blue moving van on every visit.

Stefano said...

You have primo panoramic skills, Major. Before CGI, this type of merging was also a movie technique to double the size of film crowds, using the same group of extras who would change costumes.

It must have been around Labor Day, with the patriotic bunting. Buster Keaton is at the Main Str. Cinema (he died half a year before),and there are still Surreys With the Fringe on Top clopping away.

I liked the Global Van Lines building too. With its Dutch Colonial Style façade, was it a nod to the "Van"? Something the more recent designers should have considered when they replaced it with generic 1900, darn it.

Melissa said...

Aw, Maj, you made me two sets of twins! And it ain't even my birthday!

K. Martinez said...

The couple moved the C&H Sugar bag out of the way?! As the Queen of Hearts would often say "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!". Take them to the guillotine in medieval Fantasyland and behead them! Then barter with Trader Sam, their two heads for four of his. I hear he has a great collection of "Shrinky Dinks".

I like the Surrey! Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I remember when I was a kid and “How the West Was Won” was showing on TV - for the life of me, I could not figure out why some of the frames looked so weird. I later learned about true Cinerama and how the images didn’t necessarily align. I wonder how the films looked when projected on a proper curved screen like the one in Hollywood?

Chuck, that single Home Ec class did not go to waste, let me tell you. Oscar de la Renta designed a Boy Scout uniform?? I wonder how good the WiFi was at Disneyland in 1966? Slow by today’s standards. Not only do you need to bring cash to the park, but it all has to be 1966 (or before) bills and coins.

Alonzo, oh yeah, I used to merge photos manually, and MAN what a pain. Photoshop’s “photo merge”, when working at its best, does an incredible job in mere seconds. So great. Next time I need somebody to “disappear”, I know who to call!

Stefano, I think they even did a similar crowd technique in the early days of CGI… they’d film a scene, make a small group of extras move around, and then combine them. I remember reading about how they did that in the old TV show, “Young Indiana Jones”. They used computers instead of an optical printer, to make it easier, but it was still basically the old trick. Interesting about Buster Keaton! And I like your “Van” theory, even though I think it’s just a fun coincidence. I wonder why they changed the design of that building to something so dull and boring.

Melissa, I wanted it to be a surprise!

K. Martinez, I’ll say one thing, you sure are passionate about your C&H sugar! Hopefully they could keep their heads if the carefully put the bag right back where it belonged? At first I read your remark about “Shrinky Dinks” and thought, “Huh?”, but then I realized you were talking about shrunken heads. I’m a little slow.

K. Martinez said...

Major, "Shrinky Dinks" are actually a vintage children's "arts & crafts" activity kit from the 1970's which involved shrinking plastic.

As for the couple who moved the C&H Sugar bag, I suppose they're entitled to a trial in court conducted by the Queen of Hearts. Sentence first! Verdict afterward.

MRaymond said...

Why can't I look at Disneyland photos from the 60s and 70s and not look for my family? These are good memory cell bumpers.

Anonymous said...

I hear that surrey drivers are a fringe group.

Were Omnibuses ever written about in Omni Magazine?

So. Many. Questions.

Major, mad skills in photo joinery. I love the panorama shot.

Re photoshopping crowds, I read that painted q-tips were used to mimic heads in distance shots of stadiums and bleachers etc. I often think of that in the drug store.

Oscar de la Renta did Boy Scouts, Hugo Boss did the SS uniform, so you can tell who the good guys are.


Nanook said...

@ Chuck-
I kinda remember hearing about Oscar de la Renta trying his hand at the Boy Scout uniform design; but I had forgotten about the purse and the long skirt-! How very continental.

@ Major-
Cinerama films definitely look better when presented on a curved screen. However, there was no getting-around the 'join lines' - which, at times could virtually disappear. But even if undetected, were always an issue with horizontal images moving through the join lines - if the camera angle was either above or below the horizon line, causing those horizontal images to either "bend" up or down in the side panels.

JC Shannon said...

Nice stitchifying of the photos. I am reminded of Joni Mitchel when she sang about not riding on double decker busses because there is no driver on the top. It looks like a great day in the park for everyone. Wish I could have been there. Thanks Major.

Chuck said...

Here's an article on the de la Renta uniforms (illustrations that appeared in the September, 1980 issue of Scouting magazine are near the bottom), and a photo of the yellow-shirted version (later also offered in khaki tan) of the female leader's uniform in the wild.

I remember that uniform roll-out well, which happened less than a year after I'd crossed over from Cub Scouts. Like any major change, there were people who liked it, and then those who didn't. I was in the second camp, and I wore my older-style khaki green Scout shirts with the baseball collars until I physically couldn't fit in them anymore. Ironically, I'm now the only adult in the troop who wears the Oscar de la Renta shirts and long pants, which I find more comfortable and durable than the 2008 "Centennial Uniform" update (I left those shorts in the '80s, though, where they belong).

I always wondered what happened to the coins Marty paid for his cup of coffee with in Back to the Future.

Melissa said...

The last time I saw a Cinerama film on Turner Classic Movies, they showed it in a letterbox with curved edges to try to simulate the original aspect ratio. I'm sure it looked much better on a bigger screen than my dinky old TV.

I really missed out on the great designers as a Bluebird. Should've joined the SS after all.


CHUCK: the first (atm) Versa-Teller was added to Disneyland in 1979, but don’t worry- in 1966 BANK OF AMERICA on Main Street USA with happily cash TRAVELER’s CHEQUES and even personal checks up to $50.00 ( with proper identification)

ALL buses are technically OMNIBUSES, but American’s dropped the use of the “Omni” from the word during the 1920’s. The word basically means
“To carry all / to carry everyone”

The first double deck omnibuses ( horse drawn) were developed by a Philadelphia Carriage company and introduced on New York’s 5th Avenue Line. These models were nicked named the “5th Avenue style” they were so popular they were even imported to London, Berlin and Paris.
Most major American cites continued to use double deck buses untill the early 1930’s.


A reproduction of a horse drawn “5th Avenue” double deck omnibus was built for the 1969 movie HELLO DOLLY - as authentic as it was it’s painted a deep blue with red wheels and under carriage but in reality the real versions of these buses used in New York were painted a bright yellow with black, white and gold trimmings. They also featured striped canvas tops for upper passengers protection from the sun - left off the HELLO DOLLY version ( obviously because of shots featuring the star actors. )

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, your panorama is super cool! Like Chuck, I also wish I could step into it and spend the day. And like Stefano, I like the former Global Van Lines building much better than what replaced it. I never understood why the Emporium couldn't have been expanded into the former locker space, but had the old facade remain. When I walk into Town Square, that newer architecture always catches my eye, because it sticks out like a sore thumb. It just doesn't match the rest of Main St.

I find it interesting that in both halves of the panorama, the lady behind the flagpole has both of her arms up. Was she holding a camera and taking multiple photos of the flagpole? Maybe she was holding a home movie camera? Or perhaps she was just holding a very heavy ice cream cone that required the use of both hands?

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, oh I know what Shrinky Dinks are! I think technically they belonged to my brother (or sister?), but I had lots of tiny plastic thingamabobs made from Shrinky Dinks. I am glad that you are willing to spare the lives of the C&H Sugar criminals, even for a day or so.

MRaymond, if you ever see yourself or your family in one of my pix, you have to let me know!

JG, Omni Magazine, wow, what a blast from the past. I believe you can see every issue at some online archive, though I don’t know the address off hand. I read that same thing about the painted q-tips, and that the effect was even used in “The Phantom Menace”, surprisingly. I wonder what Mr. Blackwell’s favorite uniform was.

Nanook, the feather boa was an optional accessory that was controversial, but some people made it work. I applaud the audacity of projecting three images on a huge screen at once. At that point, they’d try just about any crazy idea to tear people away from Uncle Miltie.

Jonathan, did Joni sing about that? I admit that I only know a few of her hits, but she sounds like a badass chick.

Chuck, those uniforms actually look pretty nice. Way to go, Oscar! The female leader looks like a flight attendant, and that’s not a bad thing. I can only imagine the outcry at dreaded CHANGE, no matter who designed it. “I want the uniforms to be made out of heavy wool! Scratchy cloth builds character in boys that will serve them well the rest of their lives”. That’s a quote from me.

Melissa, I know that when you buy Cinerama movies on disc, they approximate a curved screen. Yeah, if you had an 80 inch TV it probably works a lot better. Bluebirds, I forgot about them! My sister was a Brownie.

Mike Cozart, do you mean that the very first ATM anywhere was at Disneyland, or do you mean that the first one at Disneyland was in ’79? I also always thought that an Omnibus was a double-decker, so I have learned something. I wonder why the two-deck buses stopped being popular in the US? Maybe because they had to build bridges high enough for them to pass beneath.

Mike Cozart, Man, “Hello Dolly” must have cost a fortune, they really went all out with those sets, and (apparently) the vehicles. That Omnibus sounds like a beauty - I guess I need to see that movie.

TokyoMagic!, I agree with you, expanding the Emporium into the old locker space makes sense. And I also agree that the newer stuff always stands out - which seems so weird to me. They made an incredible Main Street for Paris, yet they can’t seem to make one facade that fits into our old Main Street? I didn’t even notice the lady behind the flagpole, but she might have just been trying to capture the perfect photo. OR filming the scene, as you suggested.


MAJOR: the first VERSATELLER atm (AT) Disneyland was 1979 - fir the guests anyway. It was housed in a structure that was a modified ticket booth ( the kind that debuted in 1979/1980)the structure still exists and is used a a shuttle shelter for Disneyland cast members ( the banking machinery is long sincectemoved of course. You may be able to view the shelter while heading back to Disneyland on the Monorail as you pass the old administration building .

Melissa said...

"Omnibus" also appears in one of my favorite Jacques Brel songs, "Brussels."

"Sur les pavés dansaient les omnibus,
Avec des femmes, des messieurs en gibus."

(On the cobblestones the omnibuses danced,
With the women, and the men in top hats.)

Nancy said...

Elbows and a shoe behind the flagpole.....wonder if they were taking a photo(I would say yes from the position of the arms) and what was it a view of? :)

cool pictures today! :D