Friday, November 08, 2013

Fort Wilderness, 1956

Over on Tom Sawyer Island, there once was a fort that guests could visit and explore. Apparently the logs became termite-ridden and the structure was replaced with a strange fort-ish thing that is now closed to the public. Really?!? This had to be one of the least-expensive things to maintain at Disneyland, and it was that little extra goodie that added to the whole experience.

Once inside, our trio takes a breather. Or they just want to show off their glowing shirts. I love the occasional Indian arrow sticking out of the fort - good thing they weren't flaming arrows. As you can see, we are looking at the entrance to the Regimental Hdqrs.

Hey neato, our photographer took a photo inside the hdqrs! Davy Crockett and Georgie Russell appear to have said something to displease Andrew Jackson, aka "Old Hickory". It was probably another terrible knock-knock joke, Jackson hated those things.


Snow White Archive said...

Wonder how that antler got way up there on the upper tier of the Regimental Hdqrs?

Old Hickory certainly looks pissed. Doesn't he know it's Disneyland, the happiest place on earth?

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow, I don't remember the arrows randomly stuck into the fort. I wonder when they got rid of those? I'm also wondering when they got rid of the Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen figures? I have a photo of the Regimental Headquarters that I took in the mid-nineties, and Andrew Jackson was the only figure remaining at that time. I need to post that! I hate the cheap and tacky structure that replaced Fort Wilderness! It almost would have been better if they had just not replaced it at all!

Anonymous said...

Old Hick is pictured learning that Fess and Buddy are leaving Hdqrs to star in their own TV shows. Things get better though, as Hick finds work later in his career as a stand-in for Christopher Walken.

Bill in Denver

Melissa said...

It's Bing crosby, Pat Nixon, and Peter Pan! Wonder what Pat's got in the shopping bag?
I love how the bleached moose antlers on the arch look like two white birds in mid-flight. Gives the whole thing that sense of motion that all of Diseyland architecture seemed to have for the first 50 years or so.

Another moose antler bird! It looks even more like a bird because of its position on the roof and the fact that it's not in a pair.
Probably not very likely in the 1950's, but I can't help wondering if there were any kids so unfamiliar with "Cowboys & Indians" that they thought the arrows were TV antennas.
Anyway, I'm glad that the regiment had a High Definition Quality Rating System. I'm sure Colonel Jackson had very exacting standards.
Bing, Pat, and Peter are about to launch into a rousing chorus of their theme song, "Three Little Radioactive Matryoshka Dolls Are We."

Were those figures completely static, or did they have some movement? I know this is pre-Audio-Animatronics, but I was wondering if they had some small degree of crude motion. Either way, they're really well-done.
@Anonymous, You're right, that Jackson figure is pretty Walkenesque. Put him in a gray uniform and a beard and he's more Colonel Angus than Colonel Jackson.
I wonder if his head was sculpted by Blaine Gibson like the AA Jackson at the Hall of Presidents.

Anonymous said...

I recall a "secret entrance" to fort wilderness through one of the many caves on the island.

K. Martinez said...

I don't remember those Indian arrows sticking out of the fort either. How cool!

I remember there was an area in Fort Wilderness that was a "Mind Thy Head" moment. I never failed to whack my head anyway.

stu29573 said...

Those arrows aren't random. They were fired into precise locations that would attract termites. Not the quickest way to overthrow a fort, but effective, none the less.

Tom said...

Great pictures of yet another part of Disneyland I never got around to visiting. Something extra dry and dusty about these photos; they must have dialed up the "parched" filter on their Dualflex.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the glowing folks in front of HDQRS visited Area 51 the day before?

Major Pepperidge said...

Snow White Archive, you obviously have forgotten about the now-extinct flying elk that roamed the wilderness back in the 1800's.

TokyoMagic!, I had no idea that Andrew Jackson was still in the headquarters as recently as the 1990's, I am amazed. And would love to see your photo for sure.

Bill in Denver, Buddy Ebsen has just told Old Hickory that the role of Mr. Drysdale has already been cast, and that it was nothing personal.

Melissa, "…two white birds in mid-flight". You have gone all poetic! I get the impression that every kid was cowboy crazy back then, but maybe it's not true. And I'm positive that the wax figures had no movement at all. Unless you count Andrew Jackson's "crazy eye crossing routine".

Anon, yes, you can see photos of the secret entrance (actually labeled "Secret Escape") on this blog if you do a search.

K. Martinez, those arrows didn't last very long, since they only seem to show up in photos from '56 or thereabouts.

Tom, the look might have to do with the fact that these photos had turned magenta, and I had to do all kinds of adjustments to make them look even a little bit normal.

Anonymous, that is the only explanation!

Tom said...

Major P - You did a great job excising the magenta. And that explains why our happy family has that eerie green glow about them.

Melissa said...

This was taken during that long, hard winter when the paymaster's wagons were robbed, and the fort's quartermaster couldn't buy any vowels from the local traders.

Major Pepperidge said...

Tom, maybe they came from a land where people were bioluminescent. That would be COOL.

Melissa, perhaps they fell into another dimension, like that little girl in the Twilight Zone.

Anonymous said...

As a kid I remember the fort being a real discovery. Up at the end of the trail a hidden outpost in the wilderness. Guns to fire, fritos, soldiers discussing important matters and an escape cave which by its existence was intriguing, and often closed, even more so.