Friday, October 16, 2020

Two Nice Randos

I have two unrelated photos for you today, but they're both very nice!

This first one is from August, 1965 - taken in the Plaza, I guess? Maybe Sleeping Beauty Castle would be sort of behind us. I know you'll correct me if I'm wrong. The White Rabbit  is greeting some of his fans - I wonder why he is pointing to himself? Big sis is guiding her little sis, who might be a bit intimidated by this strange creature. (Note to self: I need a big pink ruffled collar for special occasions).

It's fun to see the smiles on the faces of the onlookers. I'm sure it is hot, tiring work to be in one of those character costumes, but it must be at least somewhat rewarding to make so many people truly happy just by posing for a photo or by giving a fuzzy hug.

Next up is this shot from the Disneyland Hotel, hand-dated "September, 1957". During the Hotel's history, it had an actual 18-hole, 3-par golf course, a miniature golf course, a driving range, and this lovely putting green. They were "all in" on golf!  Just beyond the tropical plants you can see a hint of the blue swimming pool, and beyond that, the wonderful mid-century design of the Hotel itself.


Budblade said...

The white rabbit must have been popular. It looks like the line to meet him winds all around the grove.
The hotels looks like a great place to spend an afternoon/evening.
Anyone know what the upended checker board thing was? Is it just a weird sunshade or something?
Thanks for sharing some great snapshots.

DrGoat said...

That was a pretty good White Rabbit costume. Really sweet and cuddly. I am noticing a couple of horizontally striped surfer T-shirts that were popular back then. Looks like a great day in the park. Love to step right in.
B, Looks like that is an overhead sunshade of some sort. The big umbrella on the right is somewhat pointed in the same direction. Maybe it was a particularly hot summer day, or a solar flare.
Thanks Major, nice warm and fuzzy snapshots.

zach said...

Major, it's 9:05 on the west coast. Do you know where all the regular early commenters are? Voting, I hope.

I have always enjoyed the Erector Set construction on the early hotel.
Notice the plaid peddle pushers? Hard not to. And I had abuzz cut like those boys at that age.

Thanks, as usual.


JC Shannon said...

I really wish I had gone to see the Disneyland Hotel. I missed all the mid-century goodness. I am grateful for all the photos taken and those who share them. I would give my best hog to spend the day in the park, and then play 18 with Walt. Major, I think a ruffled collar is a great fashion accessory. It flatters the wearer. Grace Slick swears by em. Thanks Major.

Melissa said...

I was also wondering about the slanty checkerboard thing. And it was definitely Stripes and Plaids Day at the park.

And I, a crusty old middle-aged lady who knows there’s a dehydrated young human inside the suit, still get the same look on my face as those smiling kids in the proximity of a Disney character.

Major Pepperidge said...

Budblade, you see the White Rabbit in a lot of vintage photos, of all the Disney characters I wonder why they chose him (besides the obvious “stars” of course) to be one to meet and greet? I like him just fine, but can think of many others that could work too. And yes, the checkerboard thing is a sort of square umbrella, they had them in the park too.

DrGoat, the funny thing is that the White Rabbit costume doesn’t really look “on model”, but we just accept it. Compare him to what he looked like in the cartoon, where he doesn’t have that flesh-colored area around his mouth and eyes. It’s kind of weird! Maybe the striped shirts were for mimes! Being August, I would not be surprised if it really was a very hot day.

zach, obviously these photos have set the Disneyland-loving crowd a-buzzing! They are too excited to type. Yeah, that’s it. Those plaid pants make me think of a thermos! I had a buzz cut like that too, for years.

Jonathan, yes, I didn’t see the Disneyland Hotel until sometime in the late 1990s - and by then a LOT had changed of course. Everyone I know who visited in the ‘60s has nothing but wonderful memories. I actually wonder if Walt golfed at all? I know I’ve seen footage of him skiing when he was much younger. And he loved that sport where you slap your opponent and then he slaps you, harder and harder. Anything that’s good enough for Grace Slick is good enough for me.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, you can often see those checkerboard shades in Tomorrowland, and sometimes in Fantasyland. I don’t recall ever seeing them anyplace but at a Disney park or hotel though. Hey, I have a photo of myself with Buzz Lightyear, and I am smiling like a five year-old!

JG said...

Major, I think you are right, SBC is probably behind the photographer. I base my analysis on the Matterhorn seen to the left, and the bit of pink pebble paving which marks the transition to Fantasyland. That same PPP is seen on the other side of the castle gate in front of the carousel. We commented on it several posts back.

Feeling deep sympathy for the rabbit character, I can't imagine the patience and fortitude required for that job, and you know they were paid very little.

I'm trying to figure out the piece of gray wall visible through the shrubs to the left above the pedal pusher lady, and the people in distant right center background appear to be doing something, but who can figure what? Was this a display related to the HOF?

@Budblade, the checkerboard element is an umbrella-like sunshade of the same type used in the Park in that era, mostly in Tomorrowland, but a few places in other lands also. It fits right in with the "airframe spar" aesthetic of the early hotel.

Here is a shot from the magnificent Daveland collection taken a few years before today's shots.

@Zach, I agree, I could have been any one of the little boys in the right foreground. It was the look then.

Major, I always wear a large ruffled collar with my space suit for formal occasions. It keeps the gravy off of the control panel.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Major: Me, Nanook and TokyoMagic are on strike til we get s pay increase from you


"Lou and Sue" said...

A pay increase

DrGoat said...

If it was '65, I would have been looking more like the older kid on the right. Haircut's about right. Beatle haircuts would be showing up about then.
You're right Melissa and JG. It must have been pretty warm in that outfit in the summer. Those kids working at the park were pretty wonderful, making every kids dream come true.

Nanook said...

I was just waiting for the 'right' inspiration. (A pay raise can always help, though). Major, if you start a GoFundMe, I'll be happy to contribute to it so you can have an entire set of big, pink, ruffled collars-!

As for the DL Hotel, I'm fairly certain THIS IMAGE of the Cowsills was shot at the DL Hotel, as there appear to be the telltale signs of the "Erector Set construction" peeking-out from behind the palm fronds, above Barbara Cowsill's head.

Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...


The "Erector Set construction", AND the thorn in Walt's side: The high tension lines parading-across the parking lot-!

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, yeah there are a few subtle clues that make me (and you) pretty sure that the White Rabbit is standing right near the castle. Er, what’s the “PPP”? I hope that the costumed characters only had 15 or 20-minutes shifts, much longer than that on a 90-degree day sounds like some form of torture. I can’t quite place that gray wall, so we’ll need to rely on somebody else. You make a good point about ruffled collars, think of all the crumbs they would hold!

Lou and Sue, as soon as I make any money on this blog I will be sure to give you an appropriate raise!

DrGoat, don’t we have some photos of you on GDB from about this era? I forget exactly. So funny that people thought the Beatles had such long hair. When you look at the early Beatles now, they seem so clean cut. Of course by 1968 or ’69 they really let it fly!

Nanook, see my comment to Sue! My sister thinks I should become and “Internet Influencer”, and I thought, “I should be an astronaut and a fireman too”. She thinks I have an audience of millions of Disney fans, which I don’t believe is the case! Oh well, she’s just trying to look out for me. The Cowsills at Disneyland, who knew? I watched a documentary about them a few years ago, it was alternately fun and sad. That is definitely the Disneyland Hotel.

Nanook, I’m sure Walt wasn’t crazy about those high-tension wires, but hey, electricity’s gotta get to Disneyland somehow.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I do appreciate the wonderful souls who don those large-headed costumes - very warm and confining. A CM friend of mine told the story of one of the characters who was in silent distress, trying to hand-signal their assistant CM - only to be ignored. The poor person inside the costume just stood there and proceeded to up-chuck into the “head” of the costume. Disney doesn’t pay them enough.

Major, have you posted your Buzz Lightyesr photo, here? Why not?!

Thanks, Major!


JG said...

Nanook, the Cowsilles, ermagerd. Totally forgot about them, what a ghastly dated sound. I have a playlist where they are included and I cringe whenever it plays.

I agree with Major, photo site is definitely the DH.

Major, the PPP is the "Pink Pebbled Pavement". Agree, I hope the character on-stage time is limited. It's the only humane thing. They need to have a "safe word" or handsigns, or maybe a flare gun.

I'm pretty certain that Disney got a discount on the land purchase because of the utility easement for that power line that prevented permanent construction under it. That would have definitely limited the development of the park and accounts for the location of the parking lot.

Sue, the Major recently doubled my salary for commenting, so there is hope for you if you stand strong and hold out. As for me, twice zero is still zero.

I also hope that the character head you describe was tossed out and that no one tried cleaning it and returning it to use.


DBenson said...

Major: I've seen other old pictures of the White Rabbit with the head that looks closer to Thumper. An error? An economy move, using an existing rabbit head design? A conscious decision to not use the nervous, glasses-wearing face from the movie (which belongs on a short, fat body)?

Over the decades character masks and costumes have become more precise and on-model -- usually. Sometimes character designs just don't translate (Woody's big head and rag doll body, for example).

Always amused by the old big head characters with their little fake arms and wearer's faces not quite concealed by a mesh-fronted little hat. Even in old World of Color shows you see somebody looking out through the dwarfs' hoods. And that little pot of "hunny" on Pooh's head was pretty unsubtle.

Back in the 90s I had a photo op with Pooh at WDW. Since we had about the same build, I said "Hans and Frans" and we both clicked into the SNL bodybuilder pose. Later in Fantasyland, saw all Seven Dwarfs (now with real arms and no little mesh windows) clumping along. A huge smiling crowd -- mostly adults -- was following them. Have no idea where they were going, or if they were simply headed backstage, but I reflected how they were somehow outdrawing million-dollar rides with short lines.

On the same trip I spotted Snow White's wicked queen -- a maskless character, played by a teen-looking CM -- making exaggerated icy frowns while two giddy little girls hung onto her and their mother snapped pix. Wicked queen or not, she was a celebrity and these kiddies where thrilled to death to meet her.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I remember some poor former CM was on a podcast, and this person sometimes appeared as various costumed characters. This woman said that sometimes teenage boys would do horrible things such as kick her, or even pick her up and throw her in the moat. Can you imagine? Do they not realize that there is a living person inside who actually feels pain? So unbelievable. I can’t share the Buzz photo because Amy is in it, and she barely lets me ever take a photo of her, and certainly wouldn’t allow me to share such a photo on the internet. Plus I try to remain as anonymous as possible, though there is one photo out there that was beyond my control.

JG, I like the Cowsills! They are “pop”, and sometimes even “bubblegum”, but they had a lot of good songs and were pretty talented. I used to have a whole Cowsills playlist. Oh, no wonder I didn’t pick up on PPP… I honestly was wracking my brain. “Peoplemover… um… er…”. I would think that if I felt so awful that I might be sick (as a character), I would wave to everybody and run (don’t walk) for the nearest safe space where I could get that head off. Todd James Pierce has a book (Three Years in Wonderland) with a lot of details about how Disneyland’s location was chosen, but I don’t remember if he mentioned any sort of easement due to the power lines.

DBenson, I have seen those too, and I have had to cook up various theories. Maybe the existing White Rabbit head was being used elsewhere (although they did have two, because there was sometimes a “Mrs. White Rabbit” who was basically the same except for long eyelashes I believe). You’re right about how some costumes have improved, while others are just about impossible to do. Jack and Sally always look “off” to me. I thought that the “hunny” pot on Pooh’s head was pretty cleaver! Most people are looking at Pooh’s cute smiling face. I don’t know how they train those character actors, but they really are amazing, especially considering the limitations put on them by those clunky costumes. I once saw an “Alice” talking to two little girls… I couldn’t hear what she was saying, but she was giving them all of her attention, and they couldn’t have been more rapt. I’m sure they’ll remember that whole moment for their whole lives.

Nanook said...

@ JG-

Yes, 'Bubblegum" music, personified-! On the other hand, I was surprisingly taken aback when I stumbled-upon - and perhaps even more surprisingly - decided to hit 'play', a YouTube video of the Cowsills performing The Rain, the park, and Other Things, live, at the El Rey Theatre, back in 2004. I'm a bit uncertain why, but there was just something about the energy of that performance (not to mention their voices sounding quite good) that somehow drew me in, and I kept listening. That just may be the best version of that song - which depending on your point of view - may be saying very little. However, I strongly suggest if you have wide tastes in music, it just could be WORTH A LISTEN...