Friday, June 23, 2017

Fabulous Tomorrowland, July 1958

Today's scans are the last from a very nice set of  1958 photos - I wish there were lots more! But we must be grateful for what we have, I suppose. 

Let's start with this lovely, amazingly empty view in the heart of Tomorrowland, with the whirling Astro Jets in the foreground. It's interesting to think that the Astro Jets was an off the shelf ride - you could find others pretty much just like it at fairs, carnivals and boardwalks - Tomorrowland was famously unfinished when Disneyland debuted, and the Jets seems a bit like a filler, and yet they survived until construction for the "New Tomorrowland" began. 

Let's go ride the Rocket to the Moon - going to the moon is a good way to work up an appetite. Then we can eat at the Space Bar!

I like this pretty view of Tomorrowland Station - about as minimal as it can be. In 1958 this minimalism probably seemed super modern, if not necessarily futuristic. It reminds me a bit of a simple gas station or car wash. Note the sign for the new Grand Canyon Diorama!

A slight zoom shows us some details, like the lady in the ticket booth, and the loud speaker on top of the booth - what did it play? "Ticket book holders, please tear out a 'D' coupon..." or something along those lines? (As you know, E tickets did not yet exist in 1958). 

One gentleman sits on the bench, possibly perusing his souvenir guidebook - I guess he might be waiting for his kids as they ride the Autopia?


Nanook said...


It's quite clear that gentleman on the bench is reading "Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two: Cook Book", as he is planning an intimate dinner for his fiancée the following evening.

And, yes - just where are all the people-?? And how come I'm not there-??!! Nice images - complete with utility poles-!

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Both pics are nice today. I especially like the Tomorrowland Station pic. I always loved this station for its minimalist architecture, Googie style support posts and white lit letters that spell out "TOMORROWLAND" above it's entry. Those early Imagineers and designers knew what they were doing. Thanks, Major.

Tom said...

Any shot that has the Space Bar in it is great in my opinion. Seems to me that thing changed appearance a number of times before being taken out to accommodate the carousel theater.

And look at all that uncluttered tarmac!


Patrick Devlin said...

The depot looks so different without mature landscaping surrounding it. Great pics.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I zoomed in, and he is actually reading “To Serve Man”.

K. Martinez, I’ve always wondered if there had ever been more elaborate designs considered for Tomottowland Station - something a little more outrageous and futuristic?

Tom, somehow I never realized that the Space Bar location is where the Carousel of Progress wound up going!

Patrick Devlin, the plants in these photos are very immature and squirreley, like a bunch of kindergarteners.

MRaymond said...

When you zoom in you can see the roof beams of the station have the Googie holes in them. Are these the same beams that are still in the TL train station?

Anonymous said...

@MRaymond, yes, I believe the station roof has survived from that day to this.

It certainly looks the same and now with this great photograph, some enterprising architectural historian could go count the holes in the existing station beams and verify it.

This little detail is why the Tomorrowland station is my second favorite of the DLRR stations.

Thanks Major for this fun exercise.


Anonymous said...

Also, I checked through the train station book that Steve DeGaetano posted the other day and I can't find any precursor to this design, so this one must be completely Disney work.


K. Martinez said...

Major, They may have dreamed up something more elaborate and outrageous, but I think what they did was perfection.

JG, I'm with you on that one. The Tomorrowland Station has always been my second favorite DLRR station as well.

Steve DeGaetano said...

This was the original Tomorrowland Station. I have no reason to believe the girders have been changed.

The sparse landscaping is fascinating to me, considering that area is so lush today.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Also--this exact station design, down to the design of the railings, was used for the Viewliner station! This led some folks to surmise that Tomorrowland Station was actually the original Viewliner Station, having been moved to the railroad when the Viewliner closed. However, there is a photo in Michael Broggie's book with the Viewliner Station in the foreground, and in the background, you can just make out Tomorrowland Station (Can't recall which page it's on).

Nanook said...


So, I guess in my example he'd be reading To Serve Woman-?

Anonymous said...

@SteveD I had read this notion before, but did not think it was correct since the DLRR predated the Viewliner.

If anything, the sequence would have been the other way round, as you describe. And it makes sense to duplicate a proven design.


Frontierland/NOS, because I'm old enough to remember it before NOS.
Main Street

distant last
Toon Town

I can't recall the old Fantasyland station at all, but the ride through IASW is more than compensation for losing it. I think that is so cool, both riding through and watching the train sailing through the gold and white towers.

For a while, I was hoping the DLRR would stop in Star Wars Land, that would be a brain bender mashup like Back to the Future. But I guess the Tomorrowland steam train next to the monorail is going to be as weird as it gets. I wish they would extend either the DLRR or the monorail to DCA, but that's hoping too much. Disney wants to keep those ticket gates separate.


Chuck said...

JG, at Disneyland Paris, the Discoveryland station is over the entrance to Star Tours. You can admire a static display of an X-wing as a steam train chugs by in the background. At least, you can until your head explodes.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Steam trains AND X-Wings? for me that's a marriage made in Heaven!

(While I love Star Wars and X-Wings especially, count me as one of those who thinks "Star Wars Land" has changed forever the very idea of Disneyland. But I digress.)

Major Pepperidge said...

MRaymond, maybe that’s the official name for those holes; “Googie Holes”! As for whether they are the same beams as the ones we see today… I’ll have to read the other comments, just like you.

JG, I honestly wonder if the Imagineers didn’t use pieces from an Erector Set to build their model of Tomorrowland Station.

JG II, since there appears to be no wood in the li’l station, I would assume that the steel supports would still be OK for this minimal structure, even 59 years later.

Steve DeGaetano, I have several photos (not great photos…) that show both the Viewliner Station and Tomorrowland Station at the same time. And Daveland has a beautiful photo, HERE , with Tomorrowland Station way off in the distance to the left.

Nanook, I suppose so!

JG, since Tomorrowland Station was not built until 1958, it is technically possible for the Viewliner to have preceeded it. Gosh, Main Street Station comes in for the bronze? It’s your list, so your not wrong, I’m just surprised. I don’t personally remember Fantasyland Station either. As for extending the Monorail, my guess is that it is so costly these days, they will only move or extend the track if they absolutely have to.

Chuck, I forget, have you been to Disneyland Paris??

Steve DeGaetano, one of the things I find so unfortunate about Star Wars Land is that it feels like a desperate attempt at trying to do what Universal Studios has been doing for years with the Harry Potter lands. That doesn’t mean SWL won’t be great, my how things have changed.

Chuck said...

Major, I have - once, on a cloudy November day in 1997. It was awesome. But we should have gone the next day since the next day the palace at Versailles was closed. Unfortunately, we didn't learn that until after we got off the train in Versailles the next day. Probably should have read the guidebook before that point.