Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Pair From August, 1970

Here are two nice images from 1970, starting with this shot of a Horse Drawn Streetcar (two actually... the other is passing in the opposite direction). Everything is casting long shadows at 9:41 in the morning. Kodak and Timex seem like old friends, thanks to their Main Street association. I find it interesting that the popcorn lights around the China Closet sign are lit in spite of the bright daylight. Are any fire hydrants still as visible as the example in this photo? For all I know I have walked right past them without noticing.

Our photographer was standing near the Plaza Inn, looking toward the Castle, with the entrance to Tomorrowland to our right. There are Rolly Crump's swirly flowerbeds, looking so bright and cheerful. This area is very spacious and open; it makes me want to stroll right into the future!


K. Martinez said...

I used to love the Tomorrowland entrance with its swirly flower beds, palm trees and nice long bench seating. The bright sunny feeling of an optimistic future! WTH happened?!?

MRaymond said...

TL98 happened.

Major Pepperidge said...

Yep, that was a great entrance; like you said, it just felt optimistic. Those old Imagineers knew what they were doing!

MRaymond, I remember being intrigued by the idea of a Jules Verne-inspired Tomorrowland, but it was done "on the cheap" and just looked run-down and dumpy instead of bright and inviting.

Matthew said...

@K. Martinez and MRaymond - Agreed!!!

So here we are on Main Street and there it is... my favorite attraction at Disneyland, the Horse Drawn Streetcar. Major, allow me to take a moment and explain why it is my favorite.

Where else in the world can you still take a horse drawn street car ride on tracks down a main street? I love that this turn-of-the-century town, still uses real horse power to pull guests up and down the street. What's unfortunate is that the entire attraction closes down at night.

One of my fondest memories is sitting at Coke Corner one warm September evening listening to Johnny Hodges play ragtime piano around 11:00PM and hearing the clanging of the bell from the street car and the cleppety-clop (or Clippity clop if you prefer) of the horse's hoofs hitting the pavement and the twinkle of the chaser lights. It was magical and for a moment I could believe I was in a small town in the mid-west. At the end of the night, I walked up to the Hub to ride the street car down to town square. The slow pace and gentle swaying motion with each step as the horse pulled the cart down to Town Square will forever stay in my mind. Think about it for a moment. You enter a theme park, come under the tunnel and right there standing on the street is a horse. You can walk right up to it (it's not behind a fence) and you can even ask the driver if you could touch it. Next time you're in the Park, slow down for a moment and take a ride.

Now about that fire hydrant...

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

K. Martinez said...

@Raymond, It certainly was Tomorrowland '98 that killed it. It was billed as "Imagination and Beyond!". It was beyond me alright and lacking the imagination part and a decent workable budget. Montana Future?!? Whatever Mr. Eisner.

@Matthew, I can understand your love of the Horse-Drawn Street Car. I always take a ride on Main Street's Horse-Drawn Street Car. In fact, I try to ride all four Main Street Vehicle types every time I vacation at Disneyland which I'm usually successful at accomplishing. It's the Walt Era attractions like the these that seem to have appealed to me so heavily lately. There's definitely something special about hearing the clip-clop and clanging of the bell from the Horse-Drawn Street Car. It's pure Disneyland magic!

Major Pepperidge said...

Matthew, believe me, I am all for the Horsedrawn Streetcars! I’ve just never heard anybody else list it as their favorite attraction. I foresee a day when the management decides that the Main Street vehicles have to go, which will be a real bummer. From what I’ve heard, the crowds make the vehicles very hard to operate which is why they stop running them relatively early. Your memories of listening to the ragtime piano with the clip-clop of the hooves is a great one; I’m sure everyone who loves Disneyland has similar “small moments” that resonated deeply. One of my all-time favorites is a ride on the Mark Twain after a very cold rain emptied the park out. The sun had set, and it was quiet and cold and beautiful.

K. Martinez, it drove me crazy that Eisner had such a thing for Montana, and therefor Disneyland had to have a Montana connection. WHO CARES? (No offense, Montana). Supposedly that was a large reason why “Brother Bear” was produced. Or something like that. Walt created attractions based on his own interests, but those interests seemed to be a lot more universal that mister Eisner’s were.

Anonymous said...

Ah...August 1970. Some of my best memories working at the Park. I was all of 19, full of enthusiasm and Disney pixie dust. It's a moment in time that won't quite be duplicated. But I suppose each young cast member says that later in life irrespective of the timeframe they worked there.


Matthew said...

@Major Pepperidge, I truly enjoyed your Mark Twain story. Having worked the Mark Twain your image brought back a lot of memories of quiet, cold and beautiful evenings on board. Evenings when, as you say, after the rain had cleared the Park out and it seems as if all of this atmosphere, sights, sounds, smells, etc., were designed solely for you. You are transported to another time and/or place. It's amazing what we will remember for a lifetime.

Always your pal,

Anonymous said...

Of the millions of lovely Disneyland photos, many presented by you, this one of flower swirl benches has to be a true favorite of mine.

Major Pepperidge said...

KS, those were the days! It seems to me that cast members of today don't have quite the same amount of "warm fuzzies" as the ones from previous decades did.

Matthew, yes, your description is exactly the experience that I was talking about. I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that I'll never see that Disneyland again.

Anonymous, thanks, and I'm glad you like it!