Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Frontierland Shops, 1978

Today's selection, courtesy of the Mysterious Benefactor, features some very nice images relating to various shops in Frontierland. Interior views are pretty rare, and the MB has a very nice batch of those that I will be sharing in the coming months.

First up is this view looking through the window of an unknown establishment. I call dibs on the ceramic cowboy, which I will use as a hood ornament on my Bugatti.

The Frontier Rock Shop? I love rocks! Crystals, fossils, minerals that fluoresce beneath the purple glow of a blacklight, geodes, chunks of turquoise, polished slabs of agate and tigereye... what's not to like?

Now we're in a hat shop, and a couple looks on while a CM prepares to embroider a name on the front of some Mickey ears. Notice the more colorful versions of mouse ears on the wall, the Mouseketeers of the 1970s wore examples like that.

The machine that this skilled young lady is using to embroider the names looks a lot like my mom's ancient Singer sewing machine, though this is surely a more industrial model. I can't even imagine how anybody managed to stitch a person's name in neat, legible cursive the way this woman did. Guess it just took lots of practice. 

The Leather Shop sold these wrist bands embossed with many of the most common names. Sorry if you had a less-common name such a "Mojo". You'd just have to make your own in summer camp, but it's just not the same.

That's it for today, but there are more Frontierland shop interiors to come, thanks to the Mysterious Benefactor.


Nanook said...

Yes, rare images, indeed. You can imagine my disappointment when unable to ever find a "Nanook"-embossed leather band-! (And, what's wrong with 'Mojo'-??)

Thanks to the Mysterious Benefactor.


I’m pretty sure that window is the one facing the drinking fountains today between the Stockcade and the fort wall facing Adventureland. It’s in a log wall that is kinda “bulging out” from age.

These shops today are very near the giant EXINWEST construction toys from Spain .... they were sold at Disneyland from 1976 till 1991 so our slides from Mysterious Benefactor are from the correct time frame!

Tinkerbell Toyshop sold EXINCASTLES 1974 to 1995.

These are great images to see - things a guest would have never photographed back then.


Giant EXINWEST display ( the toys were not giant)

Andrew said...

Aw, c'mon... is Andrew really that rare of a name not to include? ;-)

Thanks, MB.

"Lou and Sue" said...

What a wild coincidence!! In summer camp, I made a wrist band that said "Nanook Mojo!" How cool is that?! :)

Thanks, MB & Major, for some great pictures!


K. Martinez said...

More great Frontierland interior pics. I especially love the Rock Shop sign.
Thanks, Mysterious Benefactor

Melissa said...

And on your right, you’ll see beautiful Mojo Falls, named after the famous explorer Dr. Nanook Mojo.

Melissa was such a common name when I was a kid that those racks of pre-personalized items were usually sold out. And there was never any Larisa stuff for my sister. Yes, my parents managed to make a rhyming pair out of the most obscure and most popular names of the decade.

I’ll rassle ya for the ceramic cowboy, Major! Frontierland window dresser must have been a fun job. Yeehaw for el Benefactor Misterioso! Who was that masked photographer?

DrGoat said...

Nice pics. The main feature for me is that beautiful coonskin cap, (made from some unfortunate creature). I had to have one and my parents always gave in early 'cause they knew I wasn't letting go on that one.
Andrew, I guess they thought Andy was good enough. An abomination of the name Andrew, which is a proud name of Greek origin. It does work for small cowboys though.
Well Mike, I had to look up EXINWEST. Didn't know about that toy co. Thanks!
Have at it Melissa and Major. I wouldn't get in between anyone fighting over that thing. Might lose a limb.
Thanks Mysterious Benefactor and thank you Major.

Nanook said...

And I was looking forward to seeing those giant toys.

@ Melissa-
Hmmmm... Mojo, you say-? I had no idea.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, there is nothing wrong with “Mojo”, but you’re not gonna find a leather wristband with that name at Disneyland!

Mike Cozart, I would bet that this is inside the same shop entrance that we saw in THIS PICTURE. Those Exinwest toys made a big impression on you, I wonder if they had an influence on your love of model making? Glad you enjoyed these.

Andrew, well, they have “Andy”…! Kind of a bummer if you don’t want to go by that shortened version.

Lou and Sue, I wonder what your camp counselor said when they saw your weird wristband!

K. Martinez, I wish we had some photos of the rocks! Actually, I think there are some coming up, now that I think about it.

Melissa, I wish there was a Star Wars character named Mojo, then we could guarantee that the name would make it into the park. I have one of those common names too, and have also had the experience of finding “my” rack empty. Why doesn’t “Larisa” have two S’s? I wonder if one person dressed the windows of all the shops in the different lands, or if they had people just for Frontierland?

DrGoat, I actually wonder if the coonskin cap is real fur? Probably in 1978, but of course nowadays they can make them out of fake fur and it would probably be hard to tell the difference. The Andrew/Andy thing reminds me of my brother Jim, who will sometimes go by “James”, but never “Jimmy”. It drives him crazy when somebody calls him Jimmy! That ceramic figure in the window is SO “1970s”, it reminds me of the sort of thing that I would have seen in crafty shops all over. To be honest I’m not super crazy about that look!

Nanook, are the Exinwest toys large? I’m looking at Google images, and they don’t look that big. Maybe some of them were much larger?

The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

"Mouseketeers of the 1970s"

Oh wow! I remember watching their special on Disney Plus. I also reviewed it on my blog. It was...interesting. The most curious spectacle I've seen on the service. I take it folks in the 1970s had a greater tolerance for mean-spirited little kids and young girls hitting on older men. Like, yikes!

Melissa said...

Andrew, I’m glad it wasn’t only me getting uncomfortable with the young girls/older men thing! And the little girls talking about being on diets!

JG said...

Yes, indeed, we owe the Mysterious Benefactor a great deal for these documentary photos.

The 70's was an era of unbridled schlock design and poor quality automobiles. In reference to the thread yesterday, I had a 1974 Mustang and it was absolute junk. Almost had to pay the dealer to take it in trade-in.

Even now, I can feel the influence of 70's style in the WDW Main Street, which makes me cringe.

I wonder if the Rock Shop (which I had forgotten) is the source of my vague memory of displays that I thought were from the Mineral Hall?

Whoever thought of embroidering names on hats was a genius.


Anonymous said...

JG...I was going to ask the same question. I believe those rocks did come the old Mineral Hall. KS

JG said...

@KS, I'm guessing that is it, since I learned here on GDB that the Mineral Hall closed before I could remember trips to Disneyland, and yet I clearly remember fluorescent displays.

@Mike Cozart, this might be the window.,-117.9197541,3a,75y,287.28h,85.56t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s5WNk-E2FBdI_vyuizusuCA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en


Major Pepperidge said...

The Magic Ears Dudebro, I can only imagine how terrible that TV special is; most Disney park TV shows are so awful that I can’t bear to sit through them. Somehow they always got the worst “celebrities”, contrived scripted moments, dumb musical numbers - some of the worst TV that was ever made.

Melissa, after reading your comment, I am doubly glad that I don’t know what you are referring to!

JG, for the most part I agree with you about design from the 1970s. I remember when the ‘50s craze was going strong, and I thought, “NOBODY will ever be nostalgic for the ‘70s!”. How wrong I was. It was a real low point for cars especially, all those ugly, boxy things that were so poorly constructed. We left the door wide open for foreign car manufacturers to steal Detroit’s thunder. You might be remembering the actual Mineral Hall, but when that closed they had rocks and minerals in these shops that were west of the Golden Horseshoe Revue. I wonder if stitching names on hats had already been a thing at carnivals and fairs?

KS, it’s possible, though the Mineral Hall closed in 1963 - 15 years before these photos were taken.

JG, I remember going somewhere and seeing fluorescent displays of minerals, but I don’t think it was Disneyland. Maybe it was a local science museum. Wherever it was, it fascinated me!

Warren Nielsen said...


Wasn't there a display of fluorescent rocks/minerals at Knott's? I seem to have a really foggy memory of that from an early trip there with my folks, late 50s early 60s timeframe.

Pictures of the 'wide open spaces' at Disneyland or any park are great, but there is something special about pictures of the small details, signs, window displays, people at their duties like this lady in the hat shop, that makes one appreciate the 'completeness' of the park. We are fortunate that the Mysterious Benefactor saw fit to snap these. Thank you.


Nanook said...

@ JG-
I believe that would be a Mustang II - as in "Mustang II, boredom 0". It doesn't get much worse than that. I had one of those, too. My 'problem' was solved when it was stolen. Bought a Honda Accord. And there you go.


"Lou and Sue" said...

If you folks are referring to the Mustang Ghia, the engine in mine went up in flames while my mom was backing it out of our garage, when I was on vacation, and still living at home in 1979. The car was a 1975. It was totaled.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Ford gave us a brand new 1979 T-bird to replace it. Sort of “hush hush” money, you could say, as Ford was having lots of problems and lawsuits, from what I was told, regarding the engine problems.


Anonymous said...

Yes, L+S and Nanook, it was a Mustang II, though not the fancy Ghia model. I ended up hating that car and have never driven a Ford since, even as a rental. Which was a shame since Dad had several Fords in series when I was a kid, which was what led me to the purchase to start with.

@Warren, yes, it could have been Knotts with the mineral display. Too many years in between now.

I saw an amazing Fluorescent display of rocks in the Smithsonian last year. I wonder if I will ever get to go back.



JG : I’ve recently been hooked on watching CANNON and BARNABY JONES ( a Quintero Martin Production!!!) both shows span the 1971- 1979 period so far and I’m not sure who sponsors all the automobiles , but they are awful!! Once in a while there’s one that looks ok, but most are WAY over designed and heavy with too much trim!! It’s like three auto designers came up with three different car designs and the production car used every feature of all three!!!! They almost look like a mockery of a car design!

MAJOR: I know this is way off the subject ( but at least it’s not about Stagecoaches!! Lol) EXINWEST was not a GIANT toy - only in price. The buildings and figures are all scaled together but they do not fit any popular model or toy scale ....but close to European diecast 1:43 EXINWEST collectors have agreed upon. The toys are all modular like LEGO but feature a finished looking old west structure with the Lego like locking system hidden within. They are very detailed and featured things like “cracked” window pane glass , or even “bullet holes” in some windows!! The figures are all done to have a animated look to them and it was recently discovered that some of the EXINWEST line is inspired by a popular Spanish comic book series called SARGENT BLUEBERRY. Today there is a big collectors following of the EXINWEST series and even bigger following for their EXINCASTLE series ..... with clubs and conventions! Some EXINWEST sets command BIG bucks like the EXINWEST POST OFFICE that’s sells around 1,000.00 in a open worn box ..... nobody has ever found a sealed one ( yet) the accessory sets are difficult to find complete , there were many figure sets and wagons sets ... a sealed CARRO MILITAR ( Cavalry Wagon) sold at auction for 1,400.00 several years ago and a PELAS ROJAS ( Red Skins Indian set) went for 1,100.00!!

EXINWEST debuted at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 1974 and FAO SWARTZ debuted it here in the USA. In 1975 EXINWEST had its own distributor and was being sold in Disneyland and Walt Disney World from then on. The EXINWEST line was so popular it had four expansion series .... there was a 5th expansion announced for 1988 but because of socialist Spanish labor laws the company moved some production to Mexico before completely going out of business by the mid 90’s. EXIN ( EXCELLENCE INDUSTRIAL PLASTICS) created their toy division in the early 60’s as EXIN BROTHERS LINES and was once one of Europe’s biggest toy manufacturers - they were even the VIEWMASTERS .
The American distributor purchased the tooling and rights to EXINWEST and EXINCASTLES and has reissued the castles but never the EXINWEST.

I have worked with many model builders and architects all who were greatly influenced by both EXINWEST and EXIN CASTILLO toy sets. .

Melissa said...

My aunt’s station wagon was a Mustang II! I wasn’t old enough to be aware of any functional problems with it, but we kids loved it! It was great for sprawling out at the drive-in.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the thing that kills me is that there is no reason that the Mustang II couldn’t have been as reliable as your Honda Accord, but they kept cutting corners and lowering the quality. Did they think that buyers wouldn’t notice?

Lou and Sue, I am trying to imagine backing a car out of the garage, only to have it burst into flames. That must have been something for your mom!

Lou and Sue, well at least you got a T-bird out of it! I never understand how a company that has been building cars for 70+ years (at the time) seemed to not know how to build a good car anymore.

JG, ha ha, yeah, it is incredible how awful cars looked in the ‘70s (for the most part). After the amazing ‘50s and even the wonderful ‘60s, it’s as if there was no longer anybody with a sense of style or beauty in charge of the new cars. The K-Cars, yikes. So interesting about the Exinwest toy line, something I was completely unaware of, and yet there is clearly a large community of enthusiasts out there (not surprisingly). $1000 for the Post Office in a worn box! Funny that they chose their own scale instead of going with HO scale or something like that. So is anybody still manufacturing Exinwest or Exincastles, or are they now completely kaput? Lego sets can be pretty expensive, you’d think that with the right strategy, Exinwest might have had similar popularity today.

Melissa, a Mustang station wagon? I had no idea!

Omnispace said...

I always liked wandering through the Frontierland shops - lots of wholesome goods to look at. As for those leather wristbands, it seems you had better luck if your name was Brad, Jeff, or Sue. I'm sure that long names like Jeremiah, Elizabeth, and Samantha would probably not fit on the band, (sorry Melissa). Still, would have been cool to wear one of those around campus - sort of a David Cadssidy thing. And to think those bands came all the way from Chatsworth!

I'm guessing that the ladies doing the hat embroidery didn't do as well at cake decorating since they would move the cake all around.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I think the 1970s car that "takes the cake" is the AMC Pacer. Goldfish bowl on wheels. (My apologies to anyone who owned one. I've had some doozies, too, btw.)


Chuck said...

Magic Ears Dudebro & Melissa, every time I think of that special, I get "The Pooh Polka" stuck in my head. That also happens when I get locked out of the bathroom.

Sue, my grandmother had a mint green '76 Pacer and loved it. We kids did, too. About 12 years ago, Wal-Mart was selling 4-packs of die-cast, HO-scale cars, and I stumbled on one that included a mint green Pacer. It went home with me. I even paid for it.


MAJOR: there are companies making bootleg Exin Castles now. EXIN had a regular construction block line that’s at one was a bigger seller than Lego called TENTE. This series was sold worldwide and was common in the USA as well. There were space series, ship series , city series and others. EXIN TENTE was smaller that the west and castle lines but again were still more finished toys once constructed than the very rough and simple blocky Lego. Lego actually improved their toys to be more complete looking to compete with EXIN TENTE.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
I presume you mean a 'hatchback' Mustang II. A station wagon was not offered in that model. Perhaps it was some other model car...

Major Pepperidge said...

Omnispace, a few years ago I found a miniature souvenir Disneyland license plate, not even that old. Probably from the 1980s, but it had my name on it. I was so happy! It’s still one of my favorite things. If I had a Schwinn Stingray bike I would put it on the back of it. It’s too bad they couldn’t create customized leather wrist bands! “Your name, up to a dozen letters!”. You make a good point about cake decorating, ha ha!

Lou and Sue, my best friend’s mom had an AMC Pacer, he said it was the worst car he’s ever driven.

Chuck, I don’t even know what The Pooh Polka sounds like, but if it’s from one of those specials, it must be pretty darn horrible. I wish I could find a die-cast model of our 1974 Ford Capri in bronze paint!

Mike Cozart, bootlegs, jeez! I’m surprised that no toy company has officially kept producing the toys under the original name. It seems like they have a big enough following. I’m amazed at how much you know about those toys.

Nanook, ah, that makes more sense, although even a hatchback Mustang seems like a weird concept to me.