Sunday, January 10, 2021

Parking Lot and Train Station, March 1958

Today's photos would ordinarily have been the kind of thing that you'd see on any other day but Sunday (the day reserved for slightly-irregular, factory-blemished photos). But... at least this first one has the unfortunate flaw of lacking a crisp sharp focus. It's not terrible, but I wish I could wave a magic wand and get rid of the slight blur. I assume that the large open avenue in front of us was there so that guests arriving at the park would have a pleasing view of Main Street Station as they approached the ticket booths. City Hall is clearly visible to the left, while the Opera House and Bank of America are visible to the right.

From the same batch is this closer (and in-focus) view of Main Street Station, with the ol' Kalamazoo Handcar parked out front, and Mickey Mouse's smiling face greeting everyone. The photographer managed to completely avoid any trace of attraction posters on the fence, though we know there were there since June of 1956. 


"Lou and Sue" said...

My favorite car is the "dusty rose" one with the white top - on the right. Nanook, can you identify that one?

Those flowers sure distract from that beautiful concrete wall. (Is that a hidden Mickey on that wall??)

Nanook said...

@ Sue-
Why, that's a 1957 Cadillac, in Mountain Laurel. And behind it is a 1950 Buick.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Thanks, Nanook! And thank you, Major, too!

TokyoMagic! said...

That first pic looks an awful lot like Nara Dreamland!

Sue, that's a "squashed" hidden Mickey. Or a hidden Mickey that went "splat!"

JC Shannon said...

Wow, look at all that Detroit steel. Heavy metal dream, for sure. Does anyone know what year they added the Grand Canyon Diorama to the the train? I was just thinking about it the other day. Great scans today, thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, in that sea of mostly white, blue, and greenish cars, that “dusty rose” auto definitely stands out! Maybe it was owned by Jayne Mansfield. That Hidden Mickey looks like somebody was chewing tobacco and… well, you know.

Nanook, “Mountain Laurel”, I love the names they cook up for colors!

Lou and Sue, ;-)

TokyoMagic!, it DOES kind of look like Nara Dreamland!

Jonathan, they added the diorama in 1958 (March 31). Still one of my favorite things at Disneyland.

zach said...

I loved that parking lot! First, you're at Disneyland and then all the cars. At that age I liked trying to find where manufacturers hid the gas filler thingy. Some were behind the license plate and some in the taillight. Hey, kid, get away from that car!

The wall does need work. You can tell your audience when we all call out in unison, 'Hidden Mickey!'

Mountain Laurel looks pink to me.

Great photos, Major. Thank you,


Major Pepperidge said...

zach, of course later photos of the parking lot aren't quite as fun because the cars mostly stopped being so beautiful. But anything from the mid-60s and earlier are golden! I still remember seeing a man filling up his car in the taillight when I was a kid, I think my eyes were going to pop out of my skull. "What is he DOING?!". I wonder if they've ever done a "hidden Donald"? Mickey's too easy. Glad you liked these!

Chuck said...

The first picture reminds me of the original opening shot of the Disneyland TV program. It's neat to see that the finished product looks so much like the animated version, which was done about a year before the Park opened. I am glad, though, that Walt decided to splurge and add color once construction started. I'd hate to have seen that fight with Roy.

I love the handcar, but it also makes me a little sad to know that its presence means that the sidings are no longer in use by this point. I know it makes sense from an operational and safety perspective, but it did add a bit of visual and operational interest. I guess that's the model railroader in me coming out - I want to do something more than just watching the trains go around in a big triangle.

JC Shannon said...

Zach, yea, but Mountain Laurel sounds so good.

Nanook said...

And, that 'Mountain Laurel'-colored Cadillac has its gas filler located behind the left taillight...

Melissa said...

“Fred, make sure not to get any of those dadblamed posters in the shot. Nobody’s gonna want to look at s picture of THOSE in seventy years!”

When I first saw that Cadillac, I assumed it was a red car faded to “Mountain Laurel” in the California sun!

JG said...

The out-of-focus haze can be attributed to the tears in my eyes seeing this view.

The retaining wall is really a mess. I wonder when they noticed and started to spruce it up?

I love those cars, whatever color, or wherever the filler is located. Our ‘67 thunderbird had the filler behind the rear license plate. Wish I had that car now.

Thanks Major.


TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, those cars are out there having fun, sitting in the California sun! ♬ ♪ ♬

Andrew said...

I also thought of Nara Dreamland when I saw the first picture. Just for fun, here's a random fact about Dreamland semi-related to Chuck's comment: there was a road at a lower elevation next to the railroad tracks (look for the car roofs zipping by in the video I linked), so you went underneath a railway line and a highway when you walked through the two tunnels.

TokyoMagic! said...

Andrew, thanks for that video. I never knew about that road! I made several trips to Japan prior to the park closing in 2006. I really wish that I had made an effort to go to Nara Dreamland. If I had known that it was going to close for good, I might have tried harder.

Nanook said...

@ TM-
Make that ♩warm California sun-! ♫

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, oh yeah! And I hear the cars are frisky in ol' Frisco.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I see what you mean, I love that old opening of the “Disneyland” program. I wish they had many (or ALL) of those on Disney+. Especially if they could somehow restore them, though that might not be possible. It’s funny how some early concept art was so spot-on, while other examples, particularly for Tomorrowland, were so different from the final build. I can’t decide if I would like the DLRR with the sidings operational or not. I kind of like stopping at all the stations!

Zach, it definitely sounds better than “plain old pink”!

Nanook, the Cadillac also dropped oil slicks and sharp caltrops, and it had an ejection seat too.

Melissa, I get especially aggravated when a photographer tries to avoid Haunted Mansion construction (or whatever) because it’s ugly. Don’t they realize what they were looking at?!? Nope, sadly.

JG, DID they spruce up that wall? It seems like it was basically bare concrete for decades. I guess they could have painted it with a light gray weatherproof paint. I’m one of those odd people who loves old cars, but knows nothing about them. I just appreciate them as works of industrial art. I’ve often said that if I won the lottery, I’d rather have a garage full of beautiful vintage cars than any of the latest “supercars”.

TokyoMagic!, I thought of that song too!

Andrew, MAN I wish I could have visited Nara Dreamland! What a strange “other Disneyland”. Thank you for the link to the video! I remember reading about Nara Dreamland in the L.A. Times back in the 80s and it blew my mind.

TokyoMagic! yes, considering that you have actually been to Japan, it would have been more likely that YOU could have gone. Like many Disneyland attractions that go away unexpectedly, I suppose the lesson is “don’t wait”.

Nanook, my mom happens to love that song, I’ve put it on her iPod.

TokyoMagic!, even the CARS are frisky in Frisco??

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, which version of the song does your mom have on her iPod? Annette's version rules! ;-)

zach said...

Nanook, just like the '56 Chevy, I believe.

DBenson said...

Liked Chuck's observation that the parking lot was sort of implied in the opening of the Disneyland series. As I posted some time ago, the train station was what they called a weinie -- a visual magnet that pulled you across that vast, shadeless desert.

Now you walk through Downtown Disney -- itself a sort of fantasy environment -- and the station is only partially visible until you're past the turnstiles. Then you get the full impact all at once, like a show starting.

Contrast to Florida, where the castle is scaled not just to draw you down Main Street but to signal drivers miles away that they're on the right course through the then-undeveloped countryside. I still feel the best way to approach it is by one of the ferry boats, where you're almost an immigrant sailing from Ellis Island towards the impossibly big and shiny city.

Andrew said...

I forgot to include this with my last comment, a Street View image from 2011 when the Dreamland train station was still standing!

Melissa said...

It’s been my biggest disappointment in Disney+ that they don’t have more vintage content.

Anonymous said...

The first slide's view was kind of spoiled by the monorail.

Nanook said...

@ zach-
Yes indeed - along with the 1955 & 1957 Chevy; 1956 Continental; 1955 & 1956 Imperial; 1958 Pontiac [behind the left backup light]; 1957 & 1958 Oldsmobile; many years of Cadillac's (including the 1946); and undoubtedly many others. Not to mention the number of automobiles where the gas fillers were "hidden" behind the rear license plate.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, i think she has the original by the Rivieras. I didn’t even know Annette did a version!

zach, you boys and your cars!

DBenson. the train station was definitely a visual lure, even more so than some of the other in-park lures. Everybody was drawn to the building with the train passing by every few minutes! I hate to admit it, but I never really paid that much attention to how visible the station was once DCA was added. I’m glad it at least has some impact! I also never thought about how Cinderella Castle was visible from so far away, but it makes sense, since Florida is so flat. It must be a thrill!

Andrew, every time I see that park, I wish I could visit it! Was TokyoDisneyland the thing that finally killed Nara Dreamland? I would think there would be enough customers for both.

Melissa, YES! I was watching “Man in Space” last night, such a wonderful show. I wish they could give it the restoration treatment, but it’s possible that the surviving elements are not that great.

Anon, I know what you mean, and yet I sure loved seeing the Monorail zooming by, it was pretty exciting.

Nanook, what about a 1935 Hupmobile? OK I admit it, I just wanted to say “Hupmobile”.