Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Woody Herman, Carnation Gardens, circa 1984

Here are some more great photos, courtesy of our friend "Mr. X", who is off somewhere fighting crime. But he wasn't so busy that he couldn't take the time to donate some personal images taken when Big Band legend Woody Herman was playing over at the Carnation Plaza Gardens. These are circa 1984.

This young man (the trumpeter in the previous image) is Mark Lewis, who was a member of Woody's band from 1980 through 1986.

As you can see, Woody's band was made up of relatively young whippersnappers… this iteration was known as his "Young Thundering Herd". Don't you wish you could hear what they were playing?

There's Woody, who was about 71 at the time, and still going strong. I wonder what it must have been for Mark to play with such an icon?

I particularly like this shot, looking back toward Main Street in the early evening, with couples dancing up a storm!

Interestingly, Mark Lewis' father was Cappy Lewis, who had been a member of Woody's orchestra in the 1940's, and a contract player for the Walt Disney Studios throughout the 1960's. You can hear Cappy performing an awesome trumpet solo in the song "The Bare Necessities", from "The Jungle Book". A classic! He also was one of the original members of the Elliot Brothers group at Disneyland. (Thank you, Mr. X, for all of that great information).

The sun has set even further, and the stage has a wonderful warm appearance here. Guest are still dancing! I'll bet it took some of those folks back to their romantic younger days.

There's the master himself; what a privilege it must have been to see stars such as Woody Herman playing at Disneyland! I know that Mr. X went to see him quite a number of times, because he has shown me the photos! Maybe I'll share more of them with you soon.

MANY THANKS to Mr. X for sharing these photos with us!


Nanook said...


It's really nice to see Carnation Gardens in its original iteration - and with great musicians too boot.

Thanks to you and Mr. X.

Tom said...

It's that second to last shot that really says it all: old and new generations, one retiring the other up and coming, but everyone loving that music just the same. And it is so great to see the old Carnation Gardens as it was, so full of life.

K. Martinez said...

This sure brings back memories. I remember seeing Woody's Band at the Carnation Plaza Gardens around 1984. I always thought the Plaza Gardens was the most romantic spot in Disneyland after dark. Even more than Main Street itself, it transported one to another time.

Mr. X sure has been generous to us GDB readers. Thanks for all that you've shared Mr. X.

And thank you, Major.

Blossom Nose Murphy said...

No need to wonder what they sounded like, Major! Thanks to the YouTube Time Machine you can watch them in action:

Anonymous said...

This is great stuff. I remember once standing to hear some music at Carnation Gardens. I don't recall who the band was, but the music was like this.

I was never a rock-and-roller despite my age.

Sad to see this pass away.


Alonzo P Hawk said...

These are some great shots of a now unfortunately extinct attraction. My parents loved this part of the park (as I'm sure many of our parents did).

Thanks to Mr. X and major for sharing.

Chuck said...

Brings back great memories of dancing with my wife at the Carnation Plaza Gardens every other Friday night some ten years later. Thanks for dredging those up for me!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I know that the princess thing is a big deal to a lot of Disneyland visitors (and their little girls), but it just can't compare to the Carnation Gardens.

Tom, I totally agree. Do they EVER do music and dancing there, as the suits claimed a few years back?

K. Martinez, even when I was a small child i was interested in the lights and the music and the dancing as my family walked past. It sure looked fun!

Blossom Nose Murphy, thanks! I'll have to check it out when I get home. YouTube has everything!

JG, now that you mention it, I wonder who was playing when I walked past years ago. It could have been someone great, like Count Basie, or Buddy Rich.

Alonzo, I guess my parents weren't much for dancing, but my grandparents sure were! I still remember being amazed that they would go dancing even when they were in their 80's.

Chuck, wow, every other Friday night, that's pretty great!

Irene said...

Yes, they did keep their promise and there is dancing there on Saturday nights. Bands like Swingtown perform but no big name bands like in the old days. And you are now dancing in an area that looks like some princess concoction. But at least swing dancing is still alive and well.