Thursday, June 24, 2010

Son of "Damaged!" 1956

Here is the third in a series of damaged slides!

OK, I'm feeling stupid. How exactly was that "emergency door" supposed to work? The heavy rock would bring the contraption down to close in a jiffy, but what is holding it up? Was there an even heavier rock on the other side? Maybe you had to say, "Close, sesame"? Also, where do babies come from?

Here's another angle, and it is a swell picture in spite of the film defects; however, it doesn't clear up that emergency door thing at all. I just know that when one of you explains it to me, I'm going to feel very embarrassed.

If the photographer had been really clever, he could have positioned himself so that it looked like the woman had antlers.

There's more damaged photography to come!


TokyoMagic! said...

I think those chains are holding the door open for now, Major. I used to wonder what happened to the rock if they had to close the door. Do they lose the rock? And how do they get it back up there when they want to open it again?

This rock/gate thing stuck around for quite a least into the nineties, I think. When did they get rid of this?

TokyoMagic! said...

Looking at that first pic a little bit more.....I think that pine tree that's visible through the doorway still exists today.

Chuck said...

Major, you've stumbled upon something that isn't common knowledge and was never meant to see the light of day. Recent de-classification reviews have allowed thousands of previously-secret Cold War-era documents to be publicly released, and current historians are sifting through reams of information to help us better understand the recent past. This is one of those stories that needs to be told.

Recall that Disneyland was built at the height of the Cold War, and world events pointed to an integrated Communist plan of expansion. The Soviet Union had dominated countries they had liberated from the Nazis, closed off land routes to West Berlin in 1948-49, exploded an atomic bomb in 1949 and a hydrogen bomb in 1955. Mao's Communist forces had won the Chinese Civil War in 1949 with Sviet assistance. North Korean Communists had invaded South Korea in 1950, and the French had been fighting Communists in Vietnam since 1946.

Many Americans were understandably concerned about Communist influence, and Walt was one of them. He even testified in 1947 before the House Un-American Activities Committee on Communist activities in Hollywood.

Considering this historical backdrop, it's understandable that certain defensive features were worked into the Park's design in case the Reds ever landed on American shores. They also would have been useful against zombies, but that was only a secondary consideration at the time.

Note that the whole Park is surrounded by an earthern berm, providing an easily-defensible barrier against outside assault. Internally, there are several strongpoints - the entrance to Frontierland, Sleeping Beauty Castle, the command post in Fort Wilderness - designed to provide defense-in-depth.

The original plan was for cast members to be organized into a Disneyland militia, with officers and senior NCOs coming from the ranks of the security hosts. In the event of a surprise attack, .22 caliber rifles were easily accessible in the shooting galleries to allow on-site cast members to mount an initial delaying action while the militia could be mustered and fall into their assigned defensive positions. In the event of a large-scale external attack, plans were made to stock enough rifles to issue one to each adult male guest, but increasing visitor numbers made that plan unworkable by 1957 and it was abandoned.

The particular feature shown in your pictures was a closely guarded secret, and there is very little photographic evidence to prove that it was even there. Walt had an agreement with Eastman Kodak, GAF, and Agfa to remove or "damage" imagery of this particular structure that came through their processing labs, and it's surprising that these made it through the system without more company-induced damage.

While I don't have a copy of the blueprints for this, I think the idea behind the emergency gate was rather simple. If you look between the closely-spaced suspended logs in the first photo, it does appear that there is indeed a larger rock on that end. In the event of an emergency, the chains would be released by a cast member (probably one of the baloon vendors; my understanding is that they were cross-trained to funtion as engineers during an attack), the heavier rock would pull the gate down into place and the smaller rock on our end of the photo would fall off on the other side.

Although it allowed for a quick way to close the gate, there are problems inherent with the design. The biggest problem is that it provided no cover for anyone manning that section of the wall. A secondary problem is that the lower wall section would allow zombies to easily climb the wall, although - as I said before - this was a secondary consideration at the time.

Connie Moreno said...

Damn, Chuck...I am sooo glad you explained that to us!! I just knew there had to be a reason behind that whole set up! :-)

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, how in the world can you recognize a pine tree after more than 50 years??

Chuck, now that you have revealed the truth, I am thinking "major motion picture". The story has everything. Thrills, chills, and um, something else that rhymes with "thrills". Unfortunately, now the Russians know our 2-rock technology.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I missed the explanation. I was too focused on the themed garbage can in the last photo.

Thanks for the pics Major.


StoryBookLand said...

You guys crack me up!! Stop making me laugh out loud!! My boss is gonna figure out that I'm sneaking away from the tedious to celebrate DL!!

Thanks for the pics!

Nancy said...

oh, yeah, i get it now....zombies can be such a pesky thing, you know