Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Pair From the 50's

Here are a couple of orphaned 35mm slides, both from the 1950's. They were found in boxes of random slides, and were the only Disneyland images in each box! Whuffo? Perhaps the boxes had already been picked over, and these had been overlooked.

So... Main Street Station (complete with "Santa Fe" sign), a train, the Kalamazoo handcar, and the Mickey Mouse floral portrait; not bad for a lonely li'l photo!

This one was really dark, and I've lightened up quite a bit. Families congregate on the bridge over the moat into Sleeping Beauty Castle... when you look at old photos of Disneyland, so many of them are surprisingly light on children. Not this one! The street sweeper in white (can those rolled up sleeves be part of the "Disney look"?) tries to hide behind the flagpole because he's shy.


Chuck said...

I love the family posing in the midst of the crowd in the second photo. I wonder how long the photgrapher had to wait for the right hole in the passing throng to get the shot?

Was there a date on the first photo? By the time this was shot, all of the elements were in place for a classic MS Station (that's not a program put out by Bill Gates) photo at any time from around 1958ish to 1974, when the Santa Fe signage came down.

The Freight Train has been modified with awnings over the gondolas and the stock cars have had the upper sides cleared of horizontal boards to improve the view after guest complaints. Additionally, the handcar is on the siding, which means it was no longer in use and the current operating pattern of all trains following each other on the same track was in place.

Only unique identifiers I see to potentially place this in the 50's are the "Population 33,000,000" sign, the round, whimsical "Santa Fe Disneyland" sign on the stock car, and the fact that there don't seem to be any children on the train.

Jason Schultz said...

Disneylander (February 1958): Feature article in the January issue of the Orange County Industrial News: Disneyland constantly assembles and assimilates, through a series of Public Opinion Polls conducted by trained researchers, information about its guests. Five hundred to 700 visitors are interviewed over a four-day period to get figures for each poll taken.
To date, more than 73 such polls have been completed. They show that 43.5% of Disneyland's guests are from out-of-state; that the average age of visitors is 37.5 years; that adults make up 61% of Disneyland's audience, children 29% and juniors (ages 12-17) 10%; that 83.6% arrive at Disneyland by private auto; that 49.3% of out-of-state visitors stop in Southern California motels and hotels (the remainder with friends and relatives); and that 80% (including out-of-state and foreign guests) plan to visit Disneyland again.

How do the visitors in your photos compare to these demographics? Do 83.6% of them arrive by private auto? If not, your blog is unrepresentative of true vintage Disneyland, and I would like a refund.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck - I know, the family kind of gets lost amongst the hustle and bustle. There was no date on either of these; I scanned them a while ago, but I think it was the cardboard mounts that led me to believe that they were both from the 50's. Was the handcar ever really "in use"? Seems like it was sitting in pretty much the same spot for a long time. If I was a thoughtful, methodical person, it would be interesting to try to keep track of the changing population sign along with the date, wouldn't it?

Progressland, how many visitors were Geminis? I could not find that information in the Almanac. I *do* know that 47.5% of visitors like Pop Tarts, while 99% of visitors found opinion polls to be annoying. I agree that this blog is not representative of anything, and your full refund is on its way.

JG said...

I love both pictures, the little guys with the buzz cuts look real familiar.


Connie Moreno said...

These are beauties, each in their own way. I agree with you about that castmember - me thinks he's a tough guy that won't conform to the Disney look, LOL.

David said...

As you noted, there is a lot of these photo's devoid of kids. The bottom one was taken in the summer, probably. And most likely on a weekend, but that's speculation on my part. I'm guessing Dad was taking the photo. My assumption is the older couple is the woman's parents. The young lady had three boys (I'm thinking the one looking in the mote is hers as well). Wonder what special kind of (hell?)it was living in a household of men.

Funny part is, that most of my friends like me who are AP holders will say again and again, Disneyland and DCA would be more fun without the kids.

Of course, most of us are single and gay, but still.

I love the past, often hoping to step into these times when life appeared to be so simple.

PsySocDisney said...

Poor orphans... I'll love them as if they were my own! Except for all the kids... I don't think I can handle that many kids! Where are their parents?? break out the leashes! Jeez.
Nah I"m pretty sure I have more of a problem with all the different clothing patterns in one small area. I'm getting dizzy!

Chuck said...

Sorry - poor phrasing on my part.

What I meant was that the PASSING SIDING was no longer in use by the time of the photo. In the early days when there were just two stations and two trainsets, the original passenger set would only stop at the MS Station, while the freight set would only stop at the Frontierland Station. The passing sidings at each station allowed each train to pass while the other was loading or filling the locomotive's water tank. This operating pattern was abandoned when the original Fantasyland Station was built in 1956.

The sidings became unneccessary at that point. The one at the MS Station became a great place to display the Kalamazoo handcar, although the turnouts that connected it to the mainline have been gone for decades.

I'm a little unclear about the fate of the one in Frontierland. I have read that the SF&DLRR trackage was expanded outwards several times in the first 16-17 years or so to accomodate park expansion, but I'm not sure exactly where or when all of the expansions occurred.

The current roadbed at the Frontierland Station certainly LOOKS like the buildings, platforms and tunnel bores were built around a siding on the south side of the tracks, although there is certainly only one set of tracks there now. I know that the Frontierland station was moved west of its original location in early 1956, and then across the tracks with the construction of NOS, but did the track alignment ever change along with the station location? Anybody out there know?

An additional note on the sidings...I remember talking to one of the older conductors in '95 or '97, back when the original passenger cars were still owned by the Company and in storage. He told me there had been a proposal to convert them into dining cars for a dinner train, but the operating logistics, cost of track upgrades (by which I assumed he meant relaying the Frontierland siding and refurbishing the one at MS Station), and the relatively small size of the cars, making for a low passenger load and cramped seating, made it economically unfeasible. Besides - there was no room for a plush store, and I understand that was a critical design criteria for all projects approved by Paul Pressler.

As far as the handcar is concerned, it hasn't gotten much use over the years but hasn't exactly been frozen in one spot, either. A decent three-part article on its history can be found at