Thursday, October 08, 2020

Frontierland Shops, June 1978

It's time for another selection of scans, courtesy of the Mysterious Benafactor - these are all rare interiors of Frontierland shops, circa 1978.

First up is this view of the Leather Shop. It looks pretty different from the leather shops we have in Hollywood, but hey, it was the 70s after all! The idea of buying a belt at Disneyland seems a little odd, unless you were having trouble keeping your pants up all day. And yet... there's a hand holding a belt, to our left. Ladies could pick up a nice handbag, and men could get a nice fedora. 

I assume that these photos were all taken at night - or were the shops that dark inside? Or maybe the aperture settings are screwy. The parts of the shop not lit by the flash are lost to inky darkness. Notice the authentic wooden frontier cash register.

Next is a mystery shop, but these shelves are laden with ceramic goods. To the left are copies of Indian artifacts... how about a nice big Mayan deity to brighten up your rumpus room?  Or you can get something smaller, various figures and vessels that will someday be brought to "Antiques Roadshow", much to the embarrassment of the owners. To the right, all kinds of bowls, pots, and vases. I like the woman's yellow dress!

The jewelry counter was busy. Presumably many of the wares were made of silver and turquoise; I think I see the telltale blue-green color in the case. I'd love to know what was in the frames on the wall, and if they were for sale, or were mere decoration. The gentleman to our right is looking for a nice toe ring. Not for him, for a friend!

Many thanks to the Mysterious Benefactor for sharing these photos with us!


Nanook said...


Call me 'odd' if you so desire [please take a number and stand on line, however...] but, I've bought more than one belt or two at a theme park in my day - and my pants were just fine, thank you very much. Depending on when and where, the selection could be quite unique and the quality of the leather quite high. (Just ask the body-less arm in the first image-!)

Thanks to the Mysterious Benefactor and you.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I'm pretty sure these were all taken inside the Davy Crockett Arcade. A 1985 DL Guidebook gives the description of the Arcades interior as, "Includes Frontier Leather Shop, Mexican Village, and assorted western-themed gifts."

And a 1975 DL Guidebook lists, "Frontierland Hats, Frontier Leather Shop, Frontier Rock Shop, and Mexican Imports" within the D.C. Arcade:

Speaking of DL Guidebooks, I think there is one in that back pocket of the man in the black, white and gray shirt (first pic). I believe it's the one for Summer of 1978, with a nighttime shot of the Matterhorn on it. The "New Matterhorn" would have been opening that summer.

Chuck said...

Thanks for the out on belt-buying, Major. My pants were falling down that day.

Totally random aside, I stumbled on a picture of me wearing that belt on a 1976 Disneyland visit (fourth picture down on this post. I'm left of center, wearing a blue-sleeved shirt with a baseball player in front. I had forgotten that I had replaced the buckle with a Pony Express one after the doodad in the center of the original one fallen off. I still have the Pony Express buckle and occasionally wear it.

TokyoMagic! said...

Taking a second look at these pics, I'm assuming there was some kind of special "x-ray" flash used for these pics. We can see right through the shirts of two of the men in the first pic and also the man in the last pic. We now know that they wear "tank top" style undershirts. Fortunate for them, the flash wasn't strong enough to tell us "boxers or briefs."


In picture #2 to the very far right you can see someone holding several BIG Disneyland bags filled with 1978 purchases!! These were the yellow castle & fireworks merchandise bags used in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The same pattern was used prior in a light blue version and a white version.

Not visible yet in this shop is the western toy section with Britain’s from England , Playmobil from Germany and EXINWEST from Spain!!!! EXINWEST had a huge display during this time and lasted well into the early 1980’s. The shop started carrying EXINWEST in 1975 - so if there are more photos of this shop so the toy playsets will probably show up!


I typed yellow for the 1978 shopping bags but meant to say ORANGE.

Stu29573 said...

I yearn for the day (YEARN, I say!!!) when you could walk into a shop and not see a plush animal anywhere (or a t-shirt for that matter). These shops had MUCH more adventure to them, in that you didn't know what you would find. Now? Yawn. Even Memento Mori, the Haunted Mansion shop at WDW has this problem. Everything is new, slick and shiny; freshly made by the Disney factories. I much preferred Madam Leota's cart (that at leat had the feel that you might find anything there).
By the way, the X-Ray flash did work on others in the picture as well. I would think that may well be why these weren't used!

DrGoat said...

Wow Mike, what a haul. Arms full of those great bags. Those tone of the photos make them look gold. Appropriate.
Stu, Disney just opened the hyped-up the Disneyland Backlot Premier shop yesterday. Hundreds of Disney fans lined up in anticipation of some cool stuff, only to find the same stuff you could get anywhere in Downtown Disney. A few new items, but 99% the same stuffed animals and T-shirts available down the street.
Chuck, I's wear that buckle too. So cool you still have it.
Every single one of those ceramic items can still be bought in dozens of stores here in the southwest. Probably made in the same place in Mexico they were made back then. That dress is a classic for sure.
Thanks Major. I can just smell the leather and ambiance of that place.

JC Shannon said...

There are a number of jaunty hats in these photos, but the one the woman in the blue dress is wearing in the last shot, is to die for. I have one of those Disneyland bead western belts for kids in my collection. To this day I love beaded leather do dads. MB probably took these with one of those Minolta spy cameras while wearing a fedora and trench coat. He is very mysterious, as we all know. Goat, I too can smell the leather. Thanks MB and Major.

Matthew said...

Major these are wonderful shots and bring back lots of memories. @Stu29573 - I couldn't agree more. I loved it when every shop was unique and the buyers themselves were just as unique as the items they brought to Disneyland. Finally, I too am amazed by those painted metal cash registers (and trashcans) that resemble wood. The Disneyland sign and paint shop were, and still are, pretty amazing.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Melissa said...

Belts were just more of a thing back then than they are now. I’ve made theater costumes for young men who remarked that they’d never worn a belt before.

The plaid pants the young girl is wearing remind me of the ones my sister was wearing when she had a car accident. My mother joked that if she was going to be in an accident anyway, the silver lining was that they had to cut those pants off.

K. Martinez said...

I'm real curious as to what that statue/figurine is of in the glass case below the cashier in the second image. It looks like there are other figurines in both glass cases. Perhaps heroes and legends of the American frontier?

Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, there’s nothing wrong with being odd. Up to a point, anyway! Of course your pants were just fine, you were like me and wore Sansabelt trousers!

TokyoMagic!, you could be right, but I don’t want to admit it, so instead I’m just going to get angry and defensive. Nothing personal! Do you think the “Mexican Village” was the part with the “Mayan” artifacts? Good eye on that little DL Guidebook, usually my eye goes right toward that sort of thing, but that one is barely visible. I’m not sure I would have been able to ID it!

Chuck, “The Day The Pants Fell Down”, by Snurt Vonnegut (Kurt’s cousin). We all read it in high school, along with “Catcher In The Rye”. Which I’ve actually never read. Because strangely, I can write but I can’t read. How cool that we actually have a photo of you wearing your legendary belt!

TokyoMagic!, those were the days when they used special flashes that emitted gamma radiation. Not only did it give X-ray vision, but the men got home and turned into raging green monsters whenever something made them mad. Which was often.

Mike Cozart, I have a couple of those yellow “castle and fireworks” bags, mostly pretty wrinkled even though I did my best to keep them pristine. I’ve seen the light blue and white versions, but didn’t know if they were all used at the same time or not. The yellow does seem to be the most-seen color these days. You sure love those Exinwest toys! Taking a sneak peak into some of the other photos, I am sad to report that the displays don’t show up, sadly. Now my curiosity is piqued, I wish I could see them!

Mike, I always thought of them as yellow, though it is definitely an orangey-yellow.

Stu29573, at least the word “yearn” isn’t as uncomfortable as the word “urge”. “I felt an urge!”. Too much information, pal! You make a good point, even in the relatively small areas that are visible in these photos, the selection is pretty eclectic. It would have made shopping much more fun that bins full of antenna balls, shelves of coffee mugs, and of course the dreaded plush dolls. I wonder if I can buy one-a them X-ray flashes that will work with my iPhone? I can be the creepy guy taking random photos.

DrGoat, it’s kind of odd that those Disneyland bags appear to be full of something. Was it just an artful display? Did somebody just abandon their bags full of pricey treasures? “I’ll just pile them up here, nobody will take them”. I haven’t heard about the Disneyland Backlot Premier Shop, I’ll have to look that up. I once went to some store in Orange County that sold off all the leftover merch from the park, I think I bought a few pins just because I was there, but it was pretty junky for the most part. Still, people were grabbing sweatshirts and other junk, maybe to send to relatives.

Jonathan, ah, the classic bucket hat. Appropriate for all occasions. A lady can wear one at the office, and then go right to the opera. I’ve never seen a beaded Disneyland belt! Any idea when you bought it? Does it date back to the 1970s? The photos were not taken by the Mysterious Benefactor himself; he worked for the park and had access to slides that were being digitized for some reason - apparently they had slides for all the lands, but they only got through the Frontierland batch.

Matthew, yes, you can find all sorts of vintage Disneyland merchandise that was unique to one particular store, be it Merlin’s Magic Shop, the Art Corner, or the Swift Market House. I’m sure it’s much more efficient to sell the same stuff in every shop, but it isn’t much fun for the guest.

Melissa, they’d never worn a belt before?? Jeez, what planet are they from? Planet Suspender, probably. Rainbow suspenders, like the ones Mork wore. Plaid was just a fact of life in the ‘70s, but I admit that it usually looks pretty loud and, well, “70s” in old photos. I like your mom’s joke!

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, it’s hard to say, but if I had to guess, I’ll bet the figures were just generic cowboy-type characters. Maybe a deputy sheriff, a guy with a branding iron, the mess cook, that sort of thing. Again, just a guess, maybe you are right and there were people like Buffalo Bill Cody, General Custer, and Wild Bill Hickock.

DrGoat said...

Melissa, I haven't worn a belt since our god daughter got married years ago. And that was the only time I did in a decade. Jeans don't need a belt and that's what I wear 99.9% of the time, even at work.
Major, I think if you look hard, you can see those precious bags are being carried by some guy with a watch on and the other hand holding a belt off of the display. He's got his arms full. I'm envious. Also of that wood grained cash register.

Omnispace said...

I could never figure out how to make the manual camera adjustments to work with those old flash units either so my attempts looked a lot like these. Or, I had the exposure too long and I'd get a blur of movement with the final capture by the flash. I can hear the whine of the flash charging-up even now.

We once had to make a special stop in Old Town Sacramento so my dad could pick up another belt like one he bought on vacation there years earlier.

I can't believe no one has mentioned the kid in the second photo with the tall socks and Adidas runners - that kid is cool! I had to settle for the K-Mart knock-offs with the four stripes.

The display of Mexican Pottery is proof that Disney once put items in their shops that they never expected to sell. It was all a part of the "show".

Also, proof of time travel on the left side of the first photo: it's the sleeve of a plaid GANT shirt from 1987. But why go back only 9 years? ...unless he's from farther in the future and is on a shopping run. Perhaps he needed a belt?

Anonymous said...

I knew I had been in this shop when I saw the wood-grained cash register. For some reason, that detail stuck with me. Several of the photos look vaguely familiar. I agree that these are all in the Davy Crockett Arcade, it was a big space with counters all along the back and it all sort of flowed along from one area to the next.

I remember that wide thick leather belts like the ones on the left hand rack were stylish in the 70's for men and women. The girls carried somewhat crudely stitched bags made of similar leather, and even had odd leather patch things for their hair that wrapped around a pony tail and had a wooden peg that held it all in place. I'm not describing this very well, but I remember some girls I knew had all three items with matching or similar engraving in the leather. These were popular craft projects in school too.

Chuck, it's great you still have the belt buckle. I have some smaller Western-style ones dating back to high school. I never wear them anymore. Not the big rodeo buckles, a lot of my schoolmates wore those though, even the girls, but I was not a cowboy.

Thanks Major and MB. Very rare shots today.


JC Shannon said...

Major, I got it in an antique store, I don't recall where. It was one of those "OH I gotta have that." moments.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I do think that the "Mexican Village" listing in the 1985 guide was referencing the room with the Mayan artifacts. Maybe by then, that room had been remodeled to look a little more "village-y"? In that older guide from 1975, it just states, "Mexican Imports."

The guide in that man's pocket is actually upside down, so maybe that's why your eye didn't go right to it. I was fortunate enough to go to the park several times that summer (which was unusual for me at that time and age), so that's probably why I remember it so well.

I always thought the color on those DL shopping bags was more of a "goldenrod."


The “goldenrod” Disneyland bags were the same color as the waxy-orange early 70’s Taco Bell food wrappers. Anyone remember those??

Yeah one thing I remember about this shop was the STRONG smell of leather!!!

MAJOR; most of my EXINWEST is the 1978-1982 series of packaging ... but many years ago at a train show I bought a EXINWEST collection in the 1975-1978 style boxes still wrapped !! And ALL have their original Disneyland price tags!! He said he bought them with the intention of using them for a train layout but they didn’t match any of the standard scales so they sat in a closet for decades.

Most of my EXINWEST came from Santa’s Village , Old Sacramento , Old Town San Diego and Disneyland. They were too high-end to be sold at Knott’s.

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, I wear jeans all the time, and a belt too. I guess I’m weird. Alert the media! Ah yes, now that you mention it, I do see a mysterious hand clutching that impressive pile of bags.

Omnispace, it’s too bad out photographer couldn’t set up some additional flashes that would illuminate other parts of the store, but that wouldn’t allow for his “candid” shots. I’m sure he just walked around and snapped away. Like a modern-day Weegee! Only with less dead bodies. Like you, I had to settle for Adidas knock-offs… we went to some sort of discount shoe store, and I still remember a blue pair getting wet, only to turn purple when they dried. I got lots of “Donny and Marie” comments (since Donny apparently liked purple socks?). You don’t think people bought that Mexican pottery? Maybe they didn’t buy a ton of it, but I’ll bet some of it “moved”, especially if they provided shipping. What the heck is a GANT shirt?

JG, in about three months you’re going to see a few more photos from these shops, including that wooden cash register. Because of the time between posts, I often wind up making the same observations over and over, which probably makes me look like I don’t have much to say. Oh well! I’m not going to change it now. I know exactly what you mean when describing that leather piece with the wooden peg for women’s hair! I never got into the big belt buckle thing, even though I would see some for sale in stores and coveted them.

Jonathan, oh I thought you bought the belt at Disneyland!

TokyoMagic!, I wonder if you are right about that part of the store being remodeled - unfortunately that’s the sort of thing that’s almost impossible to research. I realize that the guidebook is upside down, but I usually pride myself on being able to ID a brochure or flyer, even if you can only see a sliver of it! But I failed. And you succeeded. There I said it! Yes, "goldenrod" sounds about right.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I don't remember this store, but I've enjoyed browsing through it today. I'll take one of the dancing bears and the green-billed toucan, please (3rd photo).

Fun post and comments, thanks Major and M.B.!


Anonymous said...

Mike Cozart nailed it, this store smelled strongly of leather, a good smell. I can smell it again looking at the pictures.

Also can envision those Taco Bell wrappers he mentioned. You could get a lot of food at a TB then for only a couple of bucks. Perfect for hungry teens.

Major, in the rural area where I grew up, there were a lot of cattle and dairy farms. The dimestore cowboy rodeo look was big for both men and women when I was in high school. We didn't have livestock, so I never adopted the styles. Some of those belt buckles were more like hubcaps, which is strange since horses don't have wheels.