Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's An Itty-Bitty World, June 1968

"It's a Small World" was only 2 years old in June of 1968. Most of us have seen it so many times that we forget how unique and amazing the fa├žade of this classic attraction is. But the photographer of today's pictures was blown away, taking many MANY photos. I'll share four of them today, and save the rest for some other day.

Approaching the attraction, one can't help but be impressed, especially back in the days when there weren't additional structures (like the gift shop that is there now, or the parade lights and speakers) to partially block the view. By the way, it's 1968; where are the long-haired hippies? Everyone looks like they stepped out of a Sears catalog.

Closer! Besides the variety of fanciful shapes and twirling gizmos, I love the use of textured areas and relief elements to cast shadows for additional interest. It's funny, the building really feels like a foam-core model that has been enlarged to a massive scale. Everything that you see that appears to be gold is covered in real gold leaf, which will remain gleaming and nice for years.

This shot is very similar to the last, only the mechanical clock with its many dolls is right in the middle of the "show". Every 15 minutes, folks! If there's any kind of line, you will get to see this feature.

As an added bonus, the C.K. Holliday makes an appearance. I like the trash can as well, and how often does anybody say that?


TokyoMagic! said...

You can see the original exit turnstile on the far right of that last pic. I'm assuming it was removed when the loading and exiting areas were switched. The second and third pics show guests exiting up what is now the ramp that leads down to the loading area.

I liked the facade better without the shop blocking part of it.....and I think the approach to the attraction was better without the Light Magic towers junking up the area.....but that's just me.

Nancy said...

these are beautiful. this is one of my favorite things at Disneyland, and i remember being enthralled the first time we went there, walking around that corner and seeing this coming into view was so cool.

i like those light fixtures there on the left and right. i also remember waiting around in the shop so I could take pictures of the children when the clock chimed the hour :-)

Pilsner Panther said...

I read somewhere (and I forget just where), that in the hippie era of the late 60's and early 70's, Disneyland had an official policy of not admitting any young men with long hair. So maybe that's why there aren't any hippies in the picture. This might only be one of those "urban legends," and I'd like to know whether it's true or not. Someone who follows this blog must know!

David said...

Having not grown up with Disneyland, It's A Small World remains one of least favorite attractions these days. But it's amazing to see how little of its changes on the outside in the past 43 years.

I was five that year, a few months shy of my 6th birthday. 1968 was such a watershed year (my Dad would die in July at 33), and like many, I'm fascinated with the idea that Disneyland might have had a policy about long-haired men. Shows you how times have changed.

Still, even today, Disney fans seem to have a respect for the park, a tradition I guess. Beyond the Emo-boys with their lawn shear haircuts and piercings, everyone seems to dress and look nice.

JG said...

These are great pictures, straight from the Golden Age.

I have always been fascinated with the facade of IASW, even during the decades when I disliked the ride, it was always interesting to examine.

This is a good example of the exterior ride set "becoming" the pre-show, and especially the clock, inspired by a mechanical clock in a European cathedral. Anticipating the quarter-hour gives you something to look forward to while waiting.

I remember realizing at some point that the facade was only that, the show building was so big that all we were seeing was the door. The Mary Blair concept is really only a two dimensional drawing increased to life size, but it works perfectly. The little weathervanes and motorized spinners enliven the backdrop so it never becomes static.

The train passing through is another classic Disney effect, layer on layer of "forbidden" transportation, intertwined and interpenetrating everything.

Abstract colors not found on earth, the colors of heaven..., abstract forms reminiscent of identifiable originals, no expensive theming required, and no nation or people gets left out or overemphasized, all presented in the same valence, we are all the same, at least in dreams.

And don't get me started on the topiary animals, what a great concept. Completely random notion, and gives the effect of a great European palace garden, and the palace facade is composed of all the World's cities behind.


And incredibly human and humane. A grand gesture of love and reconciliation, all cast as a form of entertainment.

I wonder if anyone now managing the company realizes the depth of the symbolic thoughts and values that this attraction embodies? Probably all that matters now is dolls and keychains, and the earworm soundtrack, which now brings tears to my eyes.

Sorry for the long rant. I appreciate your patience.


Vaughn said...

Here's a link to a story about the day the hippies invaded Disneyland and they had to close early.

I remember my parents reading to us the story in our local paper that Disneyland had an official policy that barred men with long hair and beards, and that they hid their hair tucked up in hats for the day to sneak in.

I was only nine at the time, so could not have had a beard if I wanted one. I'm also pretty sure that my parents chose my hair length for me!

Connie Moreno said...

Wonderful photos and a wonderful look back. Oh, and what Tokyo said - word for word!

Anonymous said...

I worked that evening on Main Street when the "invasion" occurred. Disney did have a policy against those with long hair or other attributes that would not be appropriate for entrance to the park and they enforced it.

HBG2 said...

Speaking as someone who was a teen at the time, I can tell you that long hair for men didn't become an accepted mainstream choice of hairstyle until the 70's. In 1968 it was very much an openly rebellious thing to do, something widely disapproved, something that identified you as a hippie, and most kids weren't hippies. Check out, e.g., any high school yearbook from the late 60's. The vast majority of guys still have neat, very short hair.

Major Pepperidge said...

TM!, I totally agree, that dumb shop and those ugly towers really junk up the area.

Nancy, it is one of my favorite things too!

Pilsner Panther, I think the true long-haired hippie might not have come along until the 70's. And I have heard of that policy as well.

David, IASW is definitely a polarizing experience; I know a lot of people who don't care for it, but I happen to like it!

JG, I suppose that IASW might have been the first ride to make the exterior part of the preshow. I'd say that the Haunted Mansion definitely does that as well. Also, I believe that the facade of "Small World" was actually designed by Rolly Crump, based on Mary Blair's style. But I could be wrong! Blair's wonderful color sense made use of unusual combinations that *worked*, definitely part of her appeal. Thanks for your great comment!

Vaughn, oh those hippies! Their "takeover" of Tom Sawyer Island accomplished nothing, but I guess they got a lot of publicity.

Connie and Tokyo, sittin' in a tree.

Anon, I wonder if that policy did not go into effect after the invasion?

HBG2, I think you are correct about hippies really getting crazy in the 70's. If you look at footage of things like the Monterey Pop Festival there was not a lot of really long hair in the audience (though parents were probably still horrified!).

PsySocDisney said...

I love JG's "rant!" I agree wholeheartedly. I love the ticking of the clock too, it's one of those memory sounds that takes me back to being a kid, along with the train announcement :) Great pics!

Pilsner Panther said...

I wonder what would happen if I dressed up as a 60's-70's hippie and tried to enter a Disney park today? You know, with the long uncombed hair, headband, tie-dyed t-shirt, granny glasses, torn jeans with an American flag patch on the seat, etc., etc.? If the old policy has never been revoked just due to neglect, they wouldn't let me in!

Nanook said...

Pilsner - you should just try it-! As long as you're not displaying "parts which should be covered-up" I suspect the only response you'll get are odd looks from the occasional guest. (Of course, if you happen to be or look NON age-appropriate for that style - you could receive odd looks for "other" reasons...)

As with most changes to cultural mores, it begins with a small group; then those with few inhibitions to change adopt it next. It really wasn't until the very early 1970's that long hair and facial hair on gents became a common sight. And eventually that look became "the norm". The last place you wanted to look for new directions in style and fashion would have been either the J.C. Penneys or Sears catalogues. Trend setters they were not-! Their clothing could be more accurately described as "many, many years behind the times".

Many people refer to the 1960's as a decade of great social and political change. In reality, though, it followed the assassination of John Kennedy and The Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, to use two significant events - which place the start of the "turbulent 60's" more accurately beginning around 1964.

Rusty said...

How odd to see people exiting in the "wrong" direction. I didn't know this was the original exit path. Oh, and great photos, as usual. Thanks and Merry Christmas everyone.