Tuesday, September 16, 2014

More "Greatest Hits" - Frontierland

It's time to dig through the vaults so that we can revisit a few GDB "greatest hits" - - this time we'll focus on Frontierland. 

Here is one of my all-time favorite photos of the Mark Twain and the Rivers of America, from a photo taken on January 5, 1957 (the photo was originally posted in 2008). It's just plain gorgeous, taken at the "Golden Hour" with some wintery clouds in the sky. A raft and canoe make the scene too, daddy-o. And it's always fun to see the Skyway tower where the Matterhorn would eventually be.

Next we'll move ashore (and on to April, 1962); this time it's a beautiful sunny day, and the Gonzalez Trio is serenading guests not far from Rainbow Ridge. I wish there was footage of the Trio performing, it's a shame that they never showed up on "The Wonderful World of Color". Besides being fun, they also helped to evoke the earliest days of California - when Zorro kept ordinary Joses safe from greedy politicians, evil ranchers, and bad guys of all kinds. (Photo originally posted in 2009).

I think that this one (from June 1958) might have been taken from aboard a Pack Mule as it crossed one of the "natural arch bridges" (if there was more than one… not sure). How else would we get this elevated view? Anyway, a Conestoga Wagon is pulled through the Painted Desert by two sturdy ponies, allowing comfortable (???) viewing of weird rock formations, spiny cacti, and the occasional critter - wild pigs, coyotes, bobcats, bears, elk, and so on. 

I hope you have enjoyed today's "Greatest Hits"!


Nanook said...


All three are gems.

The way the folks in the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes are dressed, it looks as if a group of Pilgrims are paddling their way to American freedom - or perhaps just a Thanksgiving feast.

And the image with the Conestoga Wagon looks as if it all were a miniature, rather than "the real deal".

Thanks, Major, for the great re-postings.

K. Martinez said...

I remember seeing footage of the Gonzalez Trio. Here's about 25 seconds of the Gonzalez Trio in B&W from the Disneyland TV show in the 1950's.

Episode: An Adventure in the Magic Kingdom(1958)

It's at about 20:38 into watching it.


There's also Black Bart footage just before it. This episode is great for early B&W Disneyland footage.

The Conestoga Wagon image looks a bit tilt-shifty to me.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you seem to have forgotten that the first Thanksgiving feast WAS eaten on a canoe. And a spare dingy. Isn't history great?! Now that you mention it, that Conestoga wagon really does look like a toy!

K. Martinez, hmmm, I wonder if I've seen that footage before and just forgot it? For me, a lot of those old B&W "Disneyland" shows have a sameness. In any case, watching the Trio was lots of fun. It's not in color, but it will do nicely!

Anonymous said...

Still the Indian War Canoes at that point

Tom said...

Based upon the turn the wagon is taking, I'm betting that this shot was taken from the train just after it came around the turn after the natural arch bridge. The dark line in the lower right looks like one of the old mine train cars.

Nanook said...

@ Anonymous-

Thanks for the correction on the canoes. Yes, the canoes had to wait until May of 1971 before 'political correctness' would change the name of the attraction. (Or is it an adventure-?)

Clyde Hughes said...

Thanks for these great shots!
The sunset on the Mark Twain is just "plum" (or is it "plumb") gorgeous.

The Gonzalez Trio photo is such fun! They're dressed so sharply, and she's always so pretty.

I wonder what that little "flourish" of color is, just under the watermark of the Conestoga photo?

Major Pepperidge said...

Anon, yeah, they were the War Canoes for a fairly long time, I believe. Weren’t they renamed in the 1970’s?

Tom, hmmm, you could be right; I guess I never think of the Mine Train as having any kind of elevation, but there’s also the trestle bridge.

Nanook, I misspelled “dinghy”. Which I hate doing. And I see that you just answered my earlier question. I’m sure it all happened during that time when Native American issues were much more in the public eye. Remember Sacheen Littlefeather?!

Clyde, I think it’s “plum”, but I need to check with my genuine toothless sidekick! I have confessed my “retro crush” on the female member of the Gonzalez Trio before, she is lovely. I think the flourish is a bit of out-of-focus hat in the foreground!

Melissa said...

Someday, Major, maybe you can do a "Greatest Babushkas" retrospective. It's too late for my birthday, but maybe it could be my Russian Orthodox Christmas present.

Nanook said...

I'm casting my vote for a "Greatest Babushkas" post-!