Wednesday, June 08, 2011

"Souvenir Dungeon" - Pic Pak Viewer

Welcome to the Souvenir Dungeon! Sorry about the smell. Every once in a while we'll delve into the mouldering depths of the dungeon, and see what we can find.

I loves me some vintage cheap Disneyland souvenirs, and today's entry is a great example. It is a "Pic Pak" Viewer; 34 color views (that's a lotta views!) all contained in a sturdy little plastic box. While undated, it must be from 1955 or early '56 - there's no Skyway in Tomorrowland. I seem to remember one of these (with blue plastic instead of black) from Bruce Gordon's estate being sold on ebay ($$$).

Mine has some wear, but that just means that some kid loved it a lot. I'm going to be sending $1.00 cash money to the American Souvenir Company in Garden Grove and suggest that you do the same.

Hey, guess what? I went to the trouble of attempting to photograph each of the 34 tiny images for you by putting my camera up to the eyepiece, which was trickier than you think (unless you think it was really tricky). The results are iffy, but you don't have to look at them. I'll be terribly disappointed if you don't, but fine, whatever. I combined them into groups to cut down on the tedium.

Notice that the station and buildings on Main Street have red, white and blue bunting. Opening day bunting?

More bunting. Bunting, bunting!

I love this shot of the little Frontierland Station.

"Donkey rides"?? They are mules, dammit, MULES! Or maybe they are donkeys.

The "pavilion of days gone by" is so poetic, and kind of sad. I go to Disneyland to feel sad.

The end of Dumbo's trunk is painted red, like a cartoon kiss.

In the early days there were big helium balloons on cables hovering over Tomorrowland, like barrage balloons in WWII-era London. They added a bit of movement and visual interest to this largely unfinished land.

That last picture is especially gray and mungy, isn't it?

I hope that you have enjoyed today's visit to the Souvenir Dungeon and that you are all jealous of my Pic Pak!


TokyoMagic! said...

The good old days when stuff was actually made here in the U.S.A.!

Major, how do you change the picture on this viewer?

Nancy said...

this is so cool!! such nice pics. i have a dollar... ;D

Anonymous said...

The other tell tale sign these are very old is that the tuna boat is solid red (opening day rush). After they had the time she got the lovely 2 tone paint job and the filagree work.

Thufer said...

In a word,,,,WOW!
Pure priceless treasure.

Connie Moreno said...

OH...MY...GAWD!!!! My jaw dropped and broke a hole through the floor, landing on the sofa downstairs.

I have never, ever even HEARD of this, much less seen one! WOW!!!

UBER Coolness!

Unknown said...

That is so darned cool!

Major Pepperidge said...

Chris, if you look at the middle image in picture #2, you can see a thin plastic wheel (edge-on) with little bumps for traction for greasy little fingers. That's what you turn!

Anon, you're right! I didn't even notice. There's no scaffolding around the boat, so this must be at least August, 1955.

Nancy, Thufer, Connie, and theelfqueen, I'm glad you like this item!

D ticket said...

Lots of typos. Davy Crockett with one t, pavilion with two l's.

That is a great little souvenir, I especially like the castle drawing on the front, and Walt's message on the back.

I'm not jealous of your Pic-Pak, I'm glad that you have one, and have shared the images with the rest of us.

jedblau said...

Thanks for posting the images. I'm too nervous to turn the dial on mine, so I really appreciate your dedication and daring attitude. Mine is blue, by the way...didn't know there is a black version.

Major Pepperidge said...

D ticket, I think that the sign outside the Pavilion actually spells it with a double L!

Jed, I wonder if they have the same images! You're sure you can't take a peek? Mine seems pretty sturdy even after all these years.

JG said...

This is neat Major, now that you describe it, I'm pretty sure I had one, but def. not from Disneyland.


TokyoMagic! said...

Thanks for pointing that out Major, I didn't notice the wheel.

Now that I think of it, I remember that they sold something similar to this back in the eighties. It was smaller in size and shaped like a television. The pictures weren't of the park....just drawings of "Your Favorite Disney Characters". I never had one of those, but somewhere I have the whole display box that was being thrown out at a shop over at the DL Hotel. I need to go find that!

D ticket said...

Plaza Pavilion-
Gawrsh you're right, they did misspell it on the old sign! Double mistake.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Amazing! Great captures for those tiny little pics! THANKS for taking the time to do this for us...

Christopher said...

I don't remember the Disneyland Police Department Building. What is that building used for today?

Major Pepperidge said...

Christopher, it nows says something like "Guided Tours" instead of Police Department, although I've never actually gone inside!

Tinker Bell said...

Oohh. I am definitely jealous!! Very nice!!

Chuck said...

Those barrage baloons over Tomorrowland served a dual purpose. Although they were decorative and helped hide the unfinished nature of that area of the park, their real purpose was to ward off low-flying Soviet reconaissance aircraft.

As has been well-documented elsewhere, Khrushchev's denied 1959 visit to Disneyland resulted in a famous outburst that included accusations of rocket pads being hidden there in a cholera-infested area that had been taken over by gangsters. While the assertions of cholera and gangsters were pure fantasy intended as sarcasm, his rocket pad comment was inserted to let the Eisenhower Administration know that the Soviets were well-aware of what was going on in the background in Anaheim.

As the US missile program was expanding against the Soviet threat in the mid-50s, there were several programs developed in parallel to ensure that failure or repeated setbacks in one would not result in a gap in capabilities. The Thor, Juno, and Atlas programs have all been well-documented.

What's not as well-known is that the Department of Defense initiated secret development of a fourth missile system, the Pluto, which was intended to be a single-stage, mobile ICBM that could be easily set up and launched from almost any level surface. The advantages would be lower maintenance costs due to the single-staged nature of the system as well as the difficulty the Soviets would have had in targeting these missiles for a counterforce strike.

The construction of Disneyland provided the perfect cover for the building of a prototype launching pad, and Walt's unflagging patriotism and concern for national defense led him to readily agree to host the facility. A full-sized prototype was built by engineers in Burbank, and the prototype was actually installed in its launching position inside Tomorrowland during the construction blitz in 1955.

Unfortunately, there were a series of problems with the Pluto system that set the program back significantly. The single-stage-to-intercontinental-flight concept was problematic for the technology of the time, and as this became evident almost from the beginning of the program, money was continually diverted from Pluto to the Thor, Juno, and Atlas programs as they seemed to have a greater chance of reaching operational capability sooner. The single prototype remained in its secret launch location ready for a test flight for 11 years before the program was finally cancelled in 1966.

The prototype was scrapped and the program's documentation buried in classified archives until well after the end of the Cold War. The only remaining vestige of the Pluto program today is a 2/3 scale engineering mock-up on display near the original location of the launch site.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck is back! I sure hope all of that information was officially de-classified.

Snow White Archive said...

Now that's one cool souvenir!