Monday, February 12, 2018

Fantasyland, 1957

I sure love that pre-1983 Fantasyland! Sure, the new, improved version is pretty nice too, but those early cost-saving painted façades are very appealing to me. They look a lot like Eyvind Earle's graphic style (he was involved in some early color studies, after all). Look at the crowds! It's about as busy as it got back in those days.

As I've mentioned, some of the slides in this batch were dated 1957, others were not dated at all, but I have begun to suspect that those are from 1956. In fact, I am officially calling it. Please notify Congress.

I'm not sure if our photographer was standing in line to board the Skyway, or if they took one last photo before their bucket "landed" in the Fantasyland chalet (behind us).

Notice the Skyway, vanishing toward a rather unimpressive, weedy hill with the romantic nicknames of "Snow Hill" and "Holiday Hill" depending on.. well, I'm not sure what, exactly. 

Here's a lovely look at Storybook Land, with its star, Monstro. Look at that line! Why, people might have to wait as long as 10 minutes! Outrageous. Notice the "Storybook" billboard/sign in the lower right corner, another clue that this photo is from 1956.

It appears that while the canal boats were running, Casey Jr. was down... there are men working on the track on the "I think I can" hill. Notice the canal boat high and dry in that backstage area.


Nanook said...


'Crowds' - what crowds-? Those folks don't know just how good they had it-! I'd be more than willing to queue-up for a peaceful ride thru Storybook Land.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Both pics are winners today! I love original Fantasyland in all its glory. And I've always liked the original paint scheme of blue and white stripes with red top of the King Arthur Carrousel. Today's post really makes me want to get into the Wayback Machine. It's Disneyland '56 or bust!

Thanks, Major.

Patrick Devlin said...

Nice shots. I don't see Timothy Mouse directing air traffic: he must have been a later addition, perhaps an FAA regulation regarding air traffic control.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I saw a photo of the park on Facebook the other day, and my #1 thought was, “I am so glad I wasn’t there on that day!”. SO crowded. And that wasn’t a special day either, just a regular, ordinary day.

K. Martinez, Mr. Peabody needs to share his machine, I’m tired of waiting! I’ll bring my digital camera with me, won’t people be surprised?

Patrick Devlin, there are early postcards in which Timothy is not standing atop the mirror ball - I guess he wasn’t added until at least later in 1956.

Anonymous said...

Golly, these are old views, going right back to the beginning.

I think the first picture vantage point is from a skyway bucket since the cable runs perpendicular to the view frame. If we were on the steps it would be angled, and the view point is almost abreast of Dumbo, so we are on the cable hanging over the canals, about to arrive in the chalet.

The bright colored flat plywood facades were just fine, they were a clean and crisp contrast to the midways of other amusement parks of the era. We're now spoiled by over-theming where every single thing has to be thatched, log-sided, or metal-paneled with lasers, and having fences to keep us off the grass because we are rude.

Thanks Major, great pics to start the week.


Patrick Devlin said...

I am slightly befuddled by the last shot: is that body of water on the left side of the photo the Pirate Ship cove? If so, was Skull Rock a later addition? It's Monday and my brain is brimming and befuddled with Disney info from viewing a real nice collection of Disneyland memorabilia at a friend's house, out of town, that made me realize how paltry my collection is compared to some serious collectors. Still a real good time to see it all.

Nanook said...

@ Patrick-

December 1960, saw the opening of Skull Rock.

Anonymous said...

The third photo reminds of Useless Disneyland Fact #12: Ken Anderson, who was tasked with making something out of the Canal Boats of the World mess, wanted to have an animated giant sleeping under the Storybook/Casey Jr. patchwork quilt with his head and feet poking out.

Ken told the tale many times and his words were documented again last year in Paul Anderson’s “Jack of All Trades” book.

Responding to the question of how satisfied he was with Storybook when it finally opened, Ken said, “I enjoyed a lot of it, but a lot of it I didn’t enjoy because it wasn’t what I would like to have done. Unfortunately your hands are tied by money every time. I had this big bedspread and I had a giant whose head was sticking up over the other end and he was picking off the trains. He’d grab a train. I had quite a thing worked out there that didn’t come to pass because of lack of money. The big guy was in bed, but now it doesn’t even read as a bed. I don’t know what it reads as. It’s just a fancy stitched quilt.”

Of course, Disneyland is going broke and still has no money for improvements such as Ken’s slumbering giant. Oh, wait…

Patrick Devlin said...

Aw shoot, Nanook, my question wasn't anything a trip to Yesterland wouldn't have answered. But I thank you for the info regardless.

Melissa said...

Having a budget is great and all, but limitations so often foster a higher level of creativity.

I see a lot of my favorite folded paper souvenir hats in the first two pictures. I wonder if the booth where they were sold was in this vicinity?

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, yes, I think you are probably right - that was basically my guess as well. I hate to complain about the way they re-did Fantasyland in 1983, because I do think they essentially did a beautiful job - I just wish we didn’t have to lose the Pirate Ship and Skull Rock.

Patrick Devlin, oh man, I want to hear about this collection! What stood out for you? How can you get it for me for a low, low price?? ;-) Yes, that body of water is the “swimming pool” that the Pirate Ship sailed in before Skull Rock and the Lagoon were added.

Anonymous, I had heard about the giant’s head, but never about the idea of a hand grabbing a train. I wonder how that was going to work! So often I’ll see concepts for Disneyland (like for Star Wars Land) and have to remind myself that we’ll be lucky to get half of what is dreamed. Ken Anderson, he was one of the greats! Thank you for more “useless facts”…

Patrick, a trip to Yesterland is always a pleasant thing, for any reason.

Melissa, there is a famous quote by Orson Welles, “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations” - say, that guy was pretty smart. So much depth in so few words. I have one of those paper hats, though it is pretty beat up - I assume you could buy them at most souvenir stands.