Friday, February 23, 2018

Tomorrowland Terrace and Rocket Jets

If you're having a bad Friday - or even a good one - today's photos should improve things by 93.6 percent. 

It's 1972, and things have never been groovier. None of the people in this photo know how lucky they are to be in Tomorrowland right then! Everything was new and shiny. Say, let's go watch the original "Carousel of Progress" right after we grok this band! "The Better Half" is fairly typical of the bands that played at the Tomorrowland Terrace - a young woman singer is backed by a quartet of rockin' musicians in matching outfits. Extra points for white pants.

I should have said that it was the Coca Cola Tomorrowland Terrace, because Coke sends me $500 every time I mention them. I'm not greedy, though. I'm noticing that the colorful acrylic panels are not behind the band at this point (see those here). What song could The Better Half be playing? "Monday, Monday"? "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"? "Rose Garden"? So many to choose from.

As a rule the second photo in most of my posts tends to be the lesser of the two in terms of quality or chocolatey goodness. But not today! Why, I could have posted this beautiful shot of the Rocket Jets and Peoplemover first, and would have received just as many cheers and plaudits as ever. Yes, this is a "POSTCARD WORTHY™" view, with vivid colors and an interesting composition - and the sky isn't too shabby either.

Have a great weekend, everybody!


K. Martinez said...

I have never seen an off-white Skyway gondola before. Crazy! I still miss this Tomorrowland. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Awww, Ken beat me to the punch about the white, off-white, or ecru Skyway gondola! And there are two of them in that pic! Of course, I'm assuming that they were actually yellow and the bright sunlight just washed the color out for the photo.

By the way Major, I don't hate "The Better Half" like you assume that I do. ;-) I hope they were playing the 1972 hit, "Delta Dawn." That would be a nice cheery song for guests to listen to.


Those absent colorful translucent bandstand panels were actually made by ACRYLITE.

TokyoMagic is probably right : those “white” SKYWAY cabins are most likely the light aqua or yellow schemes appearing washed out.......
HOWEVER..... a new door latch/lock mechanism was developed for WDW’s Skyway cabins and they were later implemented at Disneyland ..... could we be seeing some “primed” but I painted cabins testing the new doors????

Anonymous said...


Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I know I have seen white-ish gondolas before, but they were the old, round varieties. I always assumed that the color film had faded.

TokyoMagic!, in this case I don’t think that they are actually yellow - there are lots of other yellow objects in the photo that retain their color - however, it’s 1972, so it’s not like the square gondolas were brand new at that point. I can’t explain it! “Delta Dawn”, my mom still listens to that song regularly.

Mike Cozart, welcome back! “Acrylite” sounds like acrylic to me. Your theory about the door locks is interesting, because I really don’t think that we are seeing light-yellow or aqua buckets, washed out in the bright sunshine. We need Bob Gurr to chime in! I’m sure he reads this blog every day.

JG said...

The Better Half was very photogenic, here are links to some more pics of their brilliant 1972-ishness, some with the glory of ACRYLITE added.

and another without ACRYLITE

Maybe the colored panel moved as part of the show, since these shots all seem to be part of the same photo set.

Also, look in the third photo to see a very pale yellow, maybe-not-quite-ecru gondola in the background over Snow White, who is putting the moves on an invisible toddler.

Nothing better than Rocket (Rockette) Jets and the Peoplemover to begin the slide into the weekend.

Thank you Major.



Chuck said...

I wonder what they did with the less-talented five?

There's also an ecru-ish-looking Skyway bucket in the linked photo of the Descendants. My theory is that Rolly Crump's "planter" on the roof of the stage is actually a color vacuum that sucked the pigment out of background objects to concentrate them elsewhere. There's really no other logical, scientific explanation for the vibrant yellows in the foreground.



VERB US informal

groks (third person present) · grokked (past tense) · grokked (past participle) · grokking (present participle)

1. understand (something) intuitively or by empathy.
2. empathize or communicate sympathetically; establish a rapport.


1960s: a word invented by Robert Heinlein (1907–88), American author.

Clyde Hughes said...

What wonderful photos to cheer a Friday! :) A fabulous Friday!
I was drawn to the musical equipment... that looks like Mickey Mouse drumset that guy is playing (sorry, I couldn't resist! lol).

Evidently, one of the performers (maybe the bass player?) also plays the trumpet, as there is one on a stand in front of the bass amp (right side). I wonder if the elimination of the back panels was to provide 'theatre in the round'? Ooh, that does sound posh. :)
The Coca Cola cups on the tables are a wonderful detail, and kudos for not just one, but *two* Leslie cabinets. :)

The second sky, and the popping red paint on the Rocket Jets. Needless to say, my favorite People Movers, as well. Looking up, with the Rocket Jets being the focal point, and that gorgeous balmy sky with the softish clouds. Why, who could ask for a better 2nd photo! (Double A side!). Thanks.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-
I’m going to immediately change my middle name to Grök. (With the umlauts, of course). I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner.

@ Clyde Hughes-
I was so busy ‘groovin’ all the groovy clothes, I failed to notice the twin Leslie cabinets, accompanying that Hammond [presumably] B3 organ. Thanks for being so observant.

Thanks, Major, for these cheery images for a Friday.

Anonymous said...

A Fractious Friday to all (thanks to the Real Don Steele, 93 KHJ). The place looks more colorful and vibrant than it does today! Listen to the music.... KS

Melissa said...

They fired the four bassoonists, the bagpiper's asthma kicked up, and all they had left was the better half. The other five are still touring as The Bitter Half.

I wish I could still sit like the kid with the red pants in the backward chair!

The People over shot is postcard-worthy!

Anonymous said...

Useless Disneyland Fact #202: Originally carried out for the initial six months of operation by Entertainment, the task of raising and lowering the Coke Terrace Stage had been shifted to janitorial busboys working “North” by early 1969. Now, just to be clear, janitorial busboys were both guys and gals (despite the title) who basically acted as sweepers at Coke Terrace and other food stands (except those locations operated by lessees).

The fellows wore sweepers’ whites with an additional bolo tie while the ladies wore Very-New-Tomorrowland stretchy red polyester two-piece jump suits (think vermilion Peoplemover outfits). “North” was the area of tables between Coke Terrace and Sub/Mono. Depending on how busy the park was, North could extend all the way west down toward Alpine Gardens or less if more help was needed during holidays and summer.

The idea was a busboy working North would hear the band vamping the beginning of their first song over and over while the stage was still lowered and he or she would walk over to the planter on the left (as one looked at the stage), lift up the hinged cover from the nondescript gray box, and use the back of their broom to hold down the green “up” button until the stage was fully elevated. When the band had ended a set, said their goodbyes and started vamping the last song they’d just played, the busboy would do the same thing except push down the orange “down” button to lower the stage.

Of course, if the person working North was cleaning up way down toward Alpine Gardens when the band started, they might not even hear the music and the Coke Terrace janitorial foreman or someone working “Dance floor” might take pity and go operate the button. Then again, if a person or persons in the band were notorious pains, the busboys might purposely let the band vamp for QUITE a while before bothering to raise the stage. The same thing could happen when the time came to end a set. On many occasions, I recall watching in amusement as busboys let unpleasant musicians stew in their own juices while they “forgot” to lower the stage… for several minutes. How many times can Sunshine Balloon say “So long, everybody! Thanks so much!”?—as it turns out, as many times as necessary.

I have no idea why the job of raising and lowering the Coke Terrace Stage fell into Custodial’s lap (in those pre-Eisner days, the park wasn’t cheap regarding pay or excited about eliminating positions) but, from that left planter position, the person tasked with the undertaking generally could not see if there were any safety issues to worry about while the stage was elevated or descended. And yet, no one was ever injured by the stage mechanism during all the years I worked at the park. Now, who knows if Disney’s lawyers would even allow janitorial busboys to wear a tie let alone operate an elevated stage. “They could strangle themselves with those bolos! Get rid of those things!”

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, interesting about the acrylic panels moving during the show. Maybe they could lower back into the ground? Seems much more complicated than I would have imagined.

Chuck, the less-talented five? Rolly Crump hated color! I think I first encountered the work “grok” in a Tom Wolfe book, maybe the “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”, or was it the “Kandy Kolored Tangerine Flake something something”? Interesting that Heinlein invented the word.

Clyde Hughes, I’m glad you really liked today’s photos! Maybe the removal of the panels was just to allow a little air to flow through. Who knows. Yes, I like the Coca-Cola cups, just like when I see Carnation cups elsewhere. Thanks for the nice comment.

Nanook, why not use umlauts in “Nanöök”?

KS, ha ha, the Real Don Steele, boy oh boy. That goes back!

Melissa, I know how those other musicians felt. I am an accomplished triangle player, but nobody cares. Don’t you think that kid in the red pants is trying to impress Greg Brady (to his right)?

Anonymous, hooray, more useless facts! Very strange that they gave the responsibility of raising/lowering the stage to busboys. It seems like it could be dangerous (like the rotating of the Carousel of Progress) if done without being careful? Meanwhile, I love the idea of messing with the obnoxious musicians. Plus I like the details of the nondescript gray box with the buttons. Did it have a lock on it? What if some kid got into it? Thanks so much for more fun info!

Anonymous said...

There was no lock of any kind on the small utility box in that planter. No deadman switch, no confidence switch that had to be trigger while the stage was up or down… nothing. If a kid had decided to press either half dollar-sized recessed button, the Coke Terrace Stage would have definitely moved!

Melissa said...

I remember seeing an "I GROK SPOCK" button in a bookstore and not being sure what it meant for years. This was pre-internet, of course, and all the books in the store were hand-written on papyrus with dodo quills.

Sunday Night said...

Welcome to GDB After Dark!
Well things are certainly thinning out as the regulars have all gone home to get some shut eye after their early posts. Those of us who get up at a decent hour are ready to dance to the swingin' sounds of The Better Half. The stage is now rising for the Friday night show. Hey what's that guy with the bolo tie doing over next to that strange grey box? And here comes the stage as a cover of "Proud Mary" blasts the dance floor. Next up a mellow mood as they sing "Put A Little Love in Your Heart" as 3 couples actually attempt to dance (sort of). Hmmmm I'm starting to feel the cold Anaheim air so it's good night to The Better Half as I make a quick get away to the Carousel of Progress where my girl friend and I relax in heated comfort and amazingly have an entire rotating theater to ourselves!

Sunday Night said...

Thanks Anon!
Those Useless Disneyland Facts rule.

TokyoMagic! said...

I wish I had known about that button in the planter. It would have been fun to push it just for kicks. Major, does your mom listen to the Helen Reddy or Tanya Tucker version of "Delta Dawn"?

Major Pepperidge said...

Anon, amazing! I weep at my missed opportunity to wreak havoc. Of course I would have wasted away in Disneyland “jail”, because crime doesn’t pay.

Melissa, do you remember when “old people” always called Spock “Doctor Spock”? Get it right, dotards!

Sunday Night, your comment makes me think of the days when Disneyland was a place where so many young locals took summer jobs, and had the opportunity to meet members of the opposite sex when the park was a fun place to work. Ask that cute girl to go see Duke Ellington at the Plaza Gardens! Or rock out to the Mustangs, if that’s more to your liking. Or go on a nighttime cruise on the Mark Twain, to the soft sounds of Dixieland music and crickets. It makes me wish that I had been able to experience it myself. And yes, useless facts rule!

TokyoMagic!, it was Helen Reddy all the way! I didn’t even know Tanya Tucker did a version. Who was first?

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, Tanya Tucker was first in 1972. Her version went to number six on the country charts. Helen Reddy recorded it one year later (after Barbra Streisand supposedly turned it down) and it went to number one on the Billboard charts.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous with Fact #202, that is a terrific story. The moving stages (the other one at the French Market) have always been a mystery to me. There's definitely an element of danger involved and amazing that no injuries occurred in spite of the slap-happy monitoring. The French Market stage was even smaller and everyone would have to sit very still while it went up and down, "keep your hands and arms inside the stage".

Seems like there would have been someone more senior in charge and paying closer attention to the music act, but maybe people were smarter in the 1960's.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

That's me on the upper left side (stage-right) of the stage.

The Better Half consisted of:
Jackie Settles - Vocals
Danny Dunn - Guitar
Mickey Armstrong - Bass and Trumpet
Mel Steinberg (me) - Saxophones, Flute and Hammond B3 Organ
Jimmy Shelton - Drums (Leader)

We were there from January to November 1972.

In response to some of the comments:

The acrylic panels were popped out during the summer for air flow. The stage faced west, as I recall, and it could get really hot.

The outfitting was done by the Disneyland costume department. We had no say in that regard. Haircuts were to Disneyland standard, at the time (off-the-collar). We's arrive at the park, early, and take the monorail over to the Disneyland Hotel to have their barber do it.

The openers on alternating sets were: "Beginnings," by Chicago and "Resurrection Shuffle" by Tom Jones. We played a variety of stuff by artists like Crosby, Stills and Nash;Don McLean, America, Otis Redding, Joe Cocker, and more.

Mickey played "touch-bass" (turning up the amp and touching the strings to the frets to generate the sound with his left-hand and play trumpet with his right on "Beginnings;" pretty effective. Jackie played my baritone saxophone on one number (I can't remember) and always left a big smudge of lipstick on its reed.

FUN Times!