Thursday, September 17, 2020

Tomorrowland at Night, November 1959

Today I have what I consider to be some extra-special photos from Lou Perry (and graciously shared with us by his daughter, Sue B.!). In 1959, Lou took some rare photos of Tomorrowland at night - being an experienced photographer, the low-light situation posed little problem for him.

As you can see, the vintage photo print faded a bit over the intervening 60+ years...

... but it's nothing that Photoshop can't handle! Wow, what a beautiful sight. The Moonliner looks as if it is not just reflecting light, but is emitting its own. Incandescent. Behind the toothpick-and-olive lights are some souvenir stands (what I wouldn't give to peruse the selection and buy whatever I wanted!); we can also see the fence that surrounded the Flight Circle, and the Skyway terminal.

Next is this closer view of the Moonliner. Like the first example, there was some fading to the color, and yellowing of the paper.

But twiddling a few knobs and pulling a few levers (pronounced "LEE-vers") worked wonders. I never got to see the pre-1967 Tomorrowland at night (as far as I can recall, anyway), but I feel as if I have at least an inkling of how amazing it must have been.

THANK YOU to Lou and Sue!!


Nanook said...

It's truly astounding just what Photoshop [in the right hands-!] can do to breathe back life into these images. I don't recall seeing night images that differentiate the colors illuminating the wall sconces, as seen here. It's doubtful the Moonliner has ever looked this lovely - both the red and white colors are so striking against the blackness of the sky.

Thanks to Lou, Sue and you-!

Chuck said...

Oh, man - these are simply amazing! Not only did I not know those wall sconces were lit in different colors, I hadn't even retained the information that they lit up at all. And the lighting on the Skyway terminal looks just great.

As far as souvenirs go, I'll pick up the Strombecker Moonliner, Man in Space Space Ship, RM-1 Rocket Ship, and Space Station model kits as well as the Tomorrowland Rocket to the Moon game (only two of each; I'm not greedy) and have them sent to my room at the Disneyland Hotel.

Thanks again, Lou & Sue!

Stu29573 said...

Ah! See the Moon...Liner (a reference only Jr. Gorillas would understand). You can't beat that TWA paint job. Soon the engine will spring into life and all those toothpicks and fences will be blown to smithereens! Yay!!! Speaking of the toothpicks, cocktail hour was so much of a thing in the 50's that it crept into the architecture! How cool is that? It's almost 8:00 a.m., I think I'll have a highball and go for a quick trip around the moon! Classic! Thanks Lou, Sue, and Major!

K. Martinez said...

Wonderful nighttime pics and nice restoration. The nighttime lighting of the original Tomorrowland was pretty cool. Thanks, Lou and Sue. Thanks to you too, Major.

zach said...

And a Columbia poster so we can sail into the future! This Tomorrowland fascinated this young boy after being primed by Disneyland shows and then seeing the real thing. Great night time shots! I can feel the thrill all over.

Thanks Lou for your skills and Sue for sharing with Major P and us.


zach said...

Oh, and kudos on the photoshop skills, Major


DrGoat said...

Beautiful job Major. That first pic has that certain something that's a bit hard to describe. A kind of dreamy glow.
Thanks so much Lou & Sue. Once again you captured the rarefied air of the park back then.
Thanks Major for bringing that air to life again.

The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

Do they still have the rocket in Disneyland? Seems like such an iconic landmark. Would be a shame to get rid of it. I've only been to WDW, so I wouldn't know.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, thanks for bringing these photos back to life! Great job, as always!

Looking at these pictures made me question if we've ever seen any pictures at nighttime from the Skyway...I don't think I've come across any, yet, going through my dad's collection (though I still have a few boxes of slides to go through). Didn't the Skyway run at night??

Magic Ears Dudebro, nope, the rocket (Moonliner) is gone. Someone more-knowledgeable than me can give more details as to what happened to it...but I think Stu took it home with him. ;)

Thanks for all your nice comments...I'll pass them on to my dad.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, even I was surprised how nice these turned out! And yes, I am not sure I ever knew that the backlit sconces had different colors (standard lightbulbs behind some, and maybe fluorescent behind others?). The rocket really looks amazing on these.

Chuck, those are some good souvenirs, I do have a Strombecker Moonliner, but none of those other rockets. I love them though! Not long ago I saw an article, and some air and space museum said that they wished they could find the models that we can see in photos with Walt Disney and Werner Von Braun - I’m not clear if those were created at the Disney studio, or if Werner brought them with them in his station wagon.

Stu29573, they didn’t add the leaking vapor effect until the Moonliner had the Douglas paint, but imagine how much cooler the TWA rocket would look with the “liquid oxygen” venting out. It would have really enhanced the illusion that it was just moments from liftoff.

K. Martinez, I only wish there were lots more night photos from Lou! There area couple of others, but not from Tomorrowland.

zach, of course I always love seeing any of the posters “in park”, and in 1959 the Columbia would have only been a year old. I’m surprised Lou resisted taking photos of the Matterhorn and Sub Lagoon at night!

zach II, thanks!

DrGoat, those brightly lit features make it feel like a Hollywood premiere or some other big to-do. All they needed was some search lights moving back and forth through the sky (not a bad idea, now that I consider it!).

The Magic Ears Dudebro, they removed the original Moonliner in 1966, but in 1998 they put in a new version, 2/3 of the height of the original, above Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port.

Lou and Sue, thank YOU! I would guess that the constantly-moving Skyway would have made night photography difficult in the ‘50s and ‘60s (and even after that), the results would probably be a bunch of light streaks. I’d love it if you found something good though! See my comment to the Dudebro regarding the Moonliner.

Anonymous said...

WOW, these are special. Lots of new information here, especially the molecule lights. I have vague memories of Original Tomorrowland, but nothing at night.

I'm with Stu, let's grab a cocktail and fly to the Moon.

Thank you so much, Lou, Sue, and Major!


Melissa said...

The real future is less than inspiring in many ways, but at least it gives us the technology to restore the beauty of the old future.

zach said...

Melissa, well said,


Major Pepperidge said...

JG, it’s funny, I feel like 95% of my memories of Disneyland are from the daytime, though I know I spent plenty of time there after the sun set. Maybe the images were just more vivid, and that’s why the brain held on to them?

Melissa, I think a lot of people miss the optimistic views of the future that were provided by things like the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, and by Walt’s “Tomorrowland”! Now it’s all Blade Runner dystopia.

zach, I approve of this comment!

Anonymous said...

Major, for night memories, I remember mostly the Main Street trees with the white twinkly lights, and of course, the fireworks. I vividly recall the Electrical Parade once, but that's about it.

I think you are right, night is harder to hold on to.