Sunday, November 20, 2016

Indian Dance Circle, 1957

Here are two nice, colorful photos taken at the Dance Circle over in Frontierland - judging from the crowds that are almost always in vintage images, this was a very popular attraction for many years. This fellow is wearing an eagle costume, and he has bells on his knees. You can practically hear the jingles! 

Look at the impressive berm, effectively keeping the outside world from intruding. Such a simple idea, and yet a brilliant one. There's a little trail up the hill, presumably for gardeners or other maintenance crews. Notice the paper target affixed to hay bales - why in the world was that there?

Now another performer is in the Circle, albeit less eagle-y and jingly. Notice the herd of red-vested Campfire Girls. Don't mess with them! They know Judo, so they can break your arm, and then helpfully set it for you. Other late arrivals in the crowd have climbed up the embankment for a clearer view - I can't tell if the gentleman with the cap is holding a movie camera or not. 


Nanook said...


I think the gentleman on the hill must be an 'auteur'. Look at his beret-! So then it must be a camera he's holding.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Whoops! The organization is now known as "Camp Fire USA" and was formerly known as "Camp Fire Girls (note the space) of America." They went co-ed in 1975, not 1976. This is a perfect example of why I should fact check myself rather than trying to go from memory on things I don't have a great depth of background with.

Chuck said...

Okay, this is bizarre. I left a comment earlier than the one above, but it seems to have disappeared, Yet...when I hit "back" on my browser window, I can get to the draft text. Huh.

Anyway, here's what I originally wrote, which will make my comment above make more sense:

Major, the paper target was for archery and maybe tomahawk-throwing demonstrations. While you can demonstrate how those things work against any sort of object, the visible target gives an idea of the accuracy of the weapon and the skill of the operator, upping the "wow" factor for the guests.

In case Melissa misses her daily check-in, note the identically-dressed young men sitting on the ground in the right-hand side of both photos. Can't tell if they're twins or not, but they're definitely together.

Founded in the same year as the Boy Scouts of America (and organized nationally by some of the same people), Campfire (known as "Campfire Girls" in 1957) celebrated their 47th birthday in 1957. The organization went co-ed in 1976.

This is probably my favorite "lost attraction" that I never experienced any part of whatsoever, even though it was in its last year of operation on my first visit. Thanks (as always) for sharing!

Snow White Archive said...

Major, your photos provide such a interesting window into the past. It's always fascinating to see what the park guests looked like back then.

I would liked to see the archery or tomahawk-throwing demonstrations if they occurred.

K. Martinez said...

Indian Village was one of those attractions I was too young to appreciate while it was there. I think I saw it once and after the show was over asked my parents "Can we go on a ride now?".

Nice set today. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, what are the odds that he smokes cigarettes with a long holder?

Chuck, whoops indeed! I applaud the idea of the co-ed organization, but miss the Campfire Girls as a thing.

Chuck II, the funny thing is that I actually received your comment - twice - even though it did not show up on the blog. Normally the only way that would happen is if I deleted it, but I promise I didn't! Good eye on the two "twins" or whatever they are. As for the target, I have never heard of tomahawk/archery demonstrations in the Indian Village except for the very earliest days.

Snow White Archive, thank you! I agree, I would love to know if either of those demos ever took place.

K. Martinez, I'm sure I would have been the same way. Get me on the rides! Unless it was fireworks. Everything else fell by the wayside.

Unknown said...

Maybe Ed Ames was in the park that day for a tomahawk throwing demonstration.

Nanook said...

@ Patrick Devlin-

An Ed Ames reference-! Now we're talking, We can carry it even further to his demo on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and his rather 'unaptly-placed' mis-throw of the tomahawk on the wooden dummy to "points south"...