Friday, March 01, 2013

Tomorrowland, January 1960

Today's slides were so underexposed and dark that I wasn't sure it was even worth trying to scan them. But I did it anyway, 'cause that's how I roll.

This first image is kind of neat, with the old 3-car red Monorail at the station, narrowly avoiding an attack by the giant Richfield eagle (who now has his eyes set on those poor Skyway riders). I know, everything looks a little bit funky, but what can you do.

Tomorrowland's "Central Ticket Booth" has a nice sign on top, along with a finial that resembles some sort of atomic doo-dad. I like it!

Even after some serious Photoshop fiddling, this Autopia picture is still murky. Nevertheless, you get a good look at the neat Richfield sign, with a sleek spaceship leaving an orbiting space station made of solid gold. I'm always happy to see the old Autopia vehicles (Mark I? Mark II? Mark III? From what I understand, those all look essentially alike), and those old-fashioned gas pumps.


Nanook said...

Well, funky, or no, these images are swell and the 'funkiness' adds a bit of a surrealism to them. Transport me there now-!

Thanks, Major.

Chiana_Chat said...

I'm glad you did bother, 'cause they're a glimpse into a world on the move (which it seems has been moving away from us). Check the gent wearing the suit and hat while riding through the air in a tomato red Skyway bucket.

Richfield, when it was "years ahead!" instead of years ago... Those were working gas pumps?

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Ditto on the funky bunch that is this post. Me likey.

Pic1 is sweet! So busy but full of fun. A giant eagle, old school monorail and even a mini babushka (scarf) sighting in the blue bucket.

Pic3 makes me drool! Can you imagine owning that yellow car and one of those gas pumps. That would be the cornerstone of any male Disney geeks mancave!!!

Melissa said...

Nice catch on the aerial babushka, Alonzo!

I've never seen a picture of that eagle before. It is 360 degrees of excellent. I wonder where it ended up?

The bronze whatsit on the ticket booth kind of foreshadows the 1990's Tomorrowland makeover.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I definitely felt like these were worth the trouble, especially that first one. The 3-car Monorails are on my list of "must post" images.

Chiana, as far as I know those were working gas pumps… the cars ran on gasoline after all. Nowadays they are diesel, are there Chevron pumps visible somewhere?

Alonzo, your babushka detection skills are to be admired! And oh man, to have an original old Autopia car AND one of those old Richfield gas pumps would be amazing.

Melissa, there have been pictures with that eagle before (there was another one in Fantasyland)… I need to scan a slide that has a beautiful closeup of it. And you are right, that finial really does look like it belongs on the Astro Orbiter.

K. Martinez said...

I'm glad you did post these. Any new pic brings new discoveries.

A while back out of curiosity, I researched information on Autopia's Mark I, Mark II, Mark III and Mark IV vehicles and read that the differences were all internal. Since these images are dated 1960, even though Mark Vs are said to have debuted in 1959, I’d say it’s most likely these are Mark IVs leftover while integrating the new Mark Vs.

Melissa - Here’s an image of the Richfield Eagle Major posted before. It was located at the Fantasyland Autopia.

Tom said...

Wonderful pictures of Tomorrowland - never seen those angles before. I'm intrigued by the use of a space station in the Richfield sign. Are they implying that the space stations of tomorrow will run on gasoline?

Anonymous said...

I remember that space station sign and the eagle so clearly.

About this same time, I knew a kid whose Dad was a big farmer, they had their own underground tank installation on their farm for vehicle fuel (cars, trucks, tractors, lots of farm equipment). They had their own gas pump, much like these, in yellow, blue and white. It seemed weird to have a gas pump with no dollar reels, only gallons. Since they paid wholesale by the truckload, there was no cost monitor on their pump, just volume. Imagine that.


Nanook said...


Oh, no-! That "space-age" symbol is none other than the symbol for Boron (well, at least in the minds of Madison Ave.) - in this case, as in Richfield 'Boron' gasoline-! Gotta have that power, for lots of 'get-up-and-go'-!!

Major Pepperidge said...

K Martinez, I thought that the Mark IV was slightly restyled compared to the Mark I, II, and III. Didn't it have those "eyebrow" headlights? And thanks for providing Melissa with a link to that photo!

Tom, with the early space program getting more and more fascinating to the public, I can only assume that Richfield wanted to be associated (or maybe actually WAS associated) with it in some way. Or maybe Nanook is right about the "Boron" thing.

JG, my great aunt had a gas pump on her farm in Wisconsin, although it hadn't worked in years. She went into raising sheep!

Nanook said...

Oh- Nanook is right. Just check out old ads for Richfield Gasoline...,4560999

Nanook said...

Good eye, K. Martinez. The Mark V's front kinda resemble the 1961-1963 Thunderbird's rear. (Who is influencing whom here-?)

K. Martinez said...

Major – No, the Mark V had the distinct “eyebrow” headlights. Here’s a link to an earlier post of yours mentioning the Mark V. The Mark I, II, III and IVs were all the same cosmetically.

For anyone who finds it interesting:

Here’s a Mark V

Here’s a Mark VI

Here’s a Mark VII

ElectroSpark said...

Good work- I know how challenging a bad original can be. Always worth a shot if its cool content like you always have - Steve (electrospark)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I know about Boron in Richfield's gas… do you mean that the brass finial thingy is supposed to be an atom of Boron?

K. Martinez, THANKS for the info about the Autopia. I need to make a chart or something, so that I can always refer to it. For some reason certain facts just don't "stick" for me!

ElectroSpark, thanks for the encouraging words! I'm sure you can tell that I had to use grain-removal to an almost overdone degree. Still, you have so many incredible pictures on your Flickr page and they look so beautiful, I'll take the compliment!

Connie Moreno said...

I think these are gems!

Dean Finder said...

The font Atari used on their game boxes in the early 1980s appears to be the same one used for the Autopia marquee in the first picture. I guess futuristic can still be futuristic for decades.