Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Four From 1998-ish

Let's travel back through the mists of time to 1998 (give or take a year or two). The clothing is so strange! Not a scrap of silver lamé to be found. And the way they speak is almost incomprehensible - a series of grunts and hoots. I am imagining Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" playing in the background while viewing these photos. All of these images were captured by the brave explorer known as "Mr. X".

After weeks of study, I have discovered that this was the Christmas season, as evidenced by the garlands, poinsettias, and red ribbons. Temperatures must have dropped down into the frigid 60-degree range, judging by the long sleeves and jackets. The motorized Fire Truck is loading up in front of the castle.

Next we will move to the mysterious jungle, where the lush jungle allows only a small amount of sunlight to filter down. What could be hiding in the shadows?

What a beautiful photo of the Bertha Mae Keelboat! This one is certainly not from 1998, since the keelboats closed forever in May of 1997 (after the Gullywhumper capsized). The skipper (pilot?) is relieved that the boat was not attacked by that herd of mallards.

Here's a nice photo of the sign out in front of the venerable River Belle Terrace. That font needs to be sent to the cornfield, because it is horrible. But the woodwork is nice - reminiscent of a fine Colonial-era highboy. The lantern is muy bueno, too. I envy the people sitting in the shade on that beautiful day.

Stay tuned for more photos 20 year-old photos from Mr. X!


Melissa said...

Xtraordinary Xamples of Xquisite photography! The second and third picture would make great View-Master slides.

K. Martinez said...

The Jungle Cruise pic is awesome! The vegetation is one of the reasons it's my favorite Disneyland attraction.

You're certainly right about the font on the River Belle Terrace sign. Not good. Thanks, Major.

JC Shannon said...

These are all great photos, taken by the intrepid Xplorer. It is is said among Disney insiders, that X discovered Frontierland. The Bertha Mae snap is wonderbar, and a Kodak moment for sure. If I didn't know better, I'd say that Jungle Cruise photo was a still from The African Queen. "What is that you are drinking Mr Allnut?" "Why, it's gin Miss." If we are wishing things into the cornfield, I vote for Wookieville. It can occupy the spot next to the Rocket Rods. Thanks Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I'm so used to seeing the older vintage paper bags in your photos, so it seems strange to see the plastic bag with the large Mickey face on it (held by one of the ladies to the right of the horse, in the first pic). Although, I guess now, that one can be considered "vintage" too.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, if you were Egghead (aka Vincent Price) you would have said “EGGstraordinary”, and “EGGsquisite”, and it would have been the greatest thing ever!

K. Martinez, I just can’t get over how awful that sign is. This is Disney, a company of artists. That’s the best they could do?

Jonathan, I don’t know if X discovered Frontierland, but he sure appreciates it more than just about anybody I ever knew. “The African Queen”, I still remember seeing that on TV when I was a kid and loving it - and being surprised that I loved it. Maybe that’s when I realized that “old movies” could be so great. I am not crazy about the Land of Wookies, but I envy the fans who are so excited to see it - I wish I felt the same way.

TokyoMagic!, I agree, I still think of those Mickey face bags as “pretty new”, ha ha. For a while I’d buy stuff on eBay, and once in a while some brochures would be stuck inside one of those bags. I might even have one or two somewhere.

Nanook said...


I am not crazy about the Land of Wookies, but I envy the fans who are so excited to see it - I wish I felt the same way. Exactly. It isn't simply about right vs. wrong, it's also a matter of likes and dislikes. As I am so fond of saying: It takes all kinds of people to make a world. There you go.

(And, yes, that River Belle Terrace font looks as if it's suffering from the printer's equivalent of some sort of medical malady).

Thanks, Major.


MAJOR: the RiverBelle Terrace post sign is the original from the Aunt Jemima Pancake sign! It was a smaller replica of the large roadside signs the restaurant chain used in the 1950’s and 60’s. The sign post design would have been very recognizable as much as a GOODYEAR tire sign shape etc. remaining Aunt Jemima sign posts were relocated to the Pet Club Kennel at Disneyland's entrance in the late 60’s early 70’s.

The graphic font on that sign are so incredibly tacky - one of the earliest computer font file offerings and not a photo lettering type face used in the past.

Warren Nielsen said...

Major, Mike, Ken and Nanook,

I think first thing in the morning I will get an appointment with a counselor or a shrink of some sort. I kinda like that font. It has sort of a New Orleans Square vibe to it in my view.

At least that's what the voices in my head are saying.


Sunday Night said...

It's real good you said that about that sign font. Real good.

Dean Finder said...

The early days of desktop publishing let people do terrible things with fonts and graphic design. Disney was not immune.
I give you the Innvoventions sign from Epcot as another example: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/0u516i9kR4I/hqdefault.jpg

Nanook said...

@ Dean Finder-

It's the "thumbs up" that really makes the graphic - the exact opposite of what the design's reception should've received...

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, Now the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum - what might be good for you, might not be good for some. I just made that up and totally didn’t steal it. The typography reminds me of when I took a Photoshop class long ago, and so many of the students didn’t know what to do with fonts. So they used wacky novelty fonts, and every color of the rainbow. Disney designers should know better.

Mike Cozart, interesting, I’m glad the old sign was repurposed. I know that there was a chain of Aunt Jemima restaurants, but people on eBay sure don’t! Every AJ placemat or coffee cup is “from Disneyland”. My philosophy when it comes to fonts is, “When in doubt, use a classic elegant font”. You can’t go wrong with Goudy, or Clarendon, or Times New Roman, or (etcetera).

Warren Nielsen, well I’ve never been to New Orleans, so you make a good point - perhaps it is authentic. I almost went to the Crescent City for Mardis Gras one year, but plans fell through. I’d much rather go pretty much any other time of the year.

Sunday Night, yes, it was REAL good. It was a real good thing!

Dean Finder, sadly I have seen all too many examples of terrible signs at Disney parks in the 80’s and 90’s (and beyond). That Innoventions sign makes my eyes hurt.

Nanook, I’m kind of amazed that they didn’t use a glowing lightbulb, but I guess that had already been used for the old “Imagination Institute” (“Honey I Shrunk the Audience”).

Melissa said...


Oh, the sad tale of the Imagination Pavilion.

The 1990's was The Decade of Garbage Fonts.

I also did a double-take at the "modern" bag. Blows my mind that 1998 is as long ago now as 1977 was in 1998. Math sucks.