Thursday, December 29, 2016

Frontierland River, 1957

It's time to delve into a very nice batch circa 1957 - (but not 1957) - once again! It's all very confusing. Some of the slides have the hand-written date of "1957" on them, but one of them shows the Phantom Boats, which weren't around in 1957. SO.... *ahem*. Make of it what you will. Also, if you remember the cool kid to the right, he isn't wearing his sport coat here, so the family must have visited the park twice. 

Anyway, I love this first photo. That clear blue sky is somethin' else! Our two heroes pose with the Old Mill in the background. To the left we can see the white rail fence, which evokes Southern plantations. A Keel Boat and yellow passenger car from the Disneyland Railroad can also be seen.

Next is this nice shot of an Indian War Canoe gliding past; there aren't many people paddling! Give those cast members a break. One of the streams that gushes from a spring at the top of that hill on Tom Sawyer Island rushes down into the river.


Nanook said...


Those are 1950's shirts if there ever was one (or two). It hardly helps date anything, of course, but who cares - it's just fun to look around and take it all in.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I like the pattern in that iron railing. Too bad they didn't try to repeat that design in the newer railings as the river and it's shoreline got reworked over the years.

That last photo could have been taken today, with what looks like a guy in the middle of the canoe staring down at his cell phone instead of enjoying the ride. Of course it's always better to do that on a dark ride like the Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean, because that way the glow of the screen ruins the ride for everyone around you.

Unknown said...

Boy it seems like Tom's treehouse ought to be visible in one or both of those shots. I could be way off, as I am from time to time.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the shirt on the right reminds me of the “retro” bowling shirts that were popular for a while. The inconsistencies of the dates on the slides is driving me bonkers.

TokyoMagic!, I like that wrought iron fence too, and it is probably a pattern that can be ordered even today, I’ll bet. Just like the stuff on the Haunted Mansion. Of course now they have to consider the viewing of Fantasmic. It’s funny that you mentioned the cell phones on dark rides; the one time I ever got to talk to Tony Baxter, he mentioned concepts to make existing rides like “It’s a Small World” or the Jungle Cruise more “interactive”, using your phone to enhance the experience. I don’t want to go on a ride and have to use my effing cell phone!

Patrick Devlin, it does seem like you should be able to see Tom's Treehouse in that first photo, at least (I'm unclear about the second one). Maybe it is just out of frame to our right? Or... if these are really from 1956, is it possible that the treehouse had not been built yet?

Chuck said...

There are a bunch of neat details in both photos. At the extreme right side of the first one, you can see the Fishing Pier, a seated female guest, and a couple of standing men, one of whom might be a cast member. Unfortunately, we can't see Catfish Cove, so we don't know if anyone was fishing at that moment, although I suspect this group may include parents waiting for their children to catch something (and, perhaps, secretly hoping they won't).

There are actually two passenger cars visible in the background, most likely #105, Painted Desert, followed most certainly by #106, Grand Canyon (today's Lilly Belle). You can also see the raft Tom Sawyer tied up at Tom's Landing directly behind the boys.

In the second photo, genuine Native Americans are crewing the Indian War Canoe as it glides past Huck's Landing and one of the streams that tumbles down from Lookout Point. Behind that, relatively barren landscaping makes the exit to Injun' Joe's Cave look a bit out of place and unnatural, a look that will disappear as the plants grow over the years. Over the hill behind the cave exit, you can see the top of one of the towers of the suspension bridge and what I think is a maintenance shed or perhaps a pumphouse for the streams.

Based on the location of Huck's Landing (it's shown here on the 1956 map and relocated to a spot farther north, next to Fort Wilderness, in the 1957 map and the lack of a treehouse on top of Lookout Point, I'd date these photos to 1956.

Thanks again, Major!

Unknown said...

Ah, thank you, Chuck. As my knowledge of park history grows increasingly encyclopedic (I wish) from exposure to so many great sources of information it becomes harder to keep every pertinent fact at ones fingertips. I thought for the moment that the treehouse was original, and yet those posts of those vintage maps was not so long ago. It's like I'm aging, which is of course a vicious slander...

DrGoat said...

Like the Eddie Haskell hair on that kid too.

K. Martinez said...

There's nothing better than Walt's Disneyland. Thanks, Major.

Chuck, you are amazing when it comes to the details! All the way down to identifying the coach car names of the SF&DRR. Thanks for the awesome bits of information.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, interactive attractions, utilizing your cell phone? That sounds absolutely horrible! I know many people today can't put their phones down, but maybe they should just stay home if they can't relax and enjoy their surroundings while they are at Disneyland! I don't get the people that come to Disneyland and then walk around all day just staring down at their phones. And while something like that might enhance the attractions for some people, what about all the people whose enjoyment of the rides will be ruined by it? When I first started to read your comment, I thought you were going to say they were working on concepts to block cell phone reception while on a ride!