Thursday, March 29, 2018

Town Square, 1950's

I have spent some considerable time digging through old, previously-scanned boxes of slides, hoping that I might have missed some good images. And I did skip some nice ones! In some cases I only chose one image if two of them were similar.

For example, this undated (but probably from 1955) photo of Town Square was passed over, even though I think it is pretty nice. I suspect that the sun is hidden by SoCal's dreaded "June Gloom", rendering the scene in muted colors and indistinct shadows. 

A Horse Drawn Carriage is stopped in front of Main Street Station, taking on a load of passengers for a journey up to the Plaza. I love the green and yellow Wurlitzer building, as well as the banner welcoming Van Nuys (the Paris of the West!) to Disneyland. 

This next images is one that has appeared on GDB before, although this is a fresh, improved scan. That pesky Carriage has moved out of the way, and we can see the Disneyland Band, gathered 'round the flagpole (Vesey Walker is hiding behind the pole). Note the red trash can that says TRASH - these didn't last very long, as subtler, more appealing waste paper cans were used.

Here's the old scan of the previous image - not bad, just a bit darker and murkier.


Nanook said...


I'd say that's pretty ballsy of the folks at Disneyland to invite ALL the folks from Van Nuys to come for a visit. (Although things don't appear too crowded - so far). Nice work, Major. Thanks.

Chuck said...

Park benches. People crossing - but not walking down the middle of - the street. Mabel Normand on the Cinema's marquee. And there's JG's drinking fountain. All is right with this world.

Melissa said...

I love how even the horse has his head turned around to watch the band!

K. Martinez said...

I read recently that with the new track installed, instead of the Horse-Drawn Street Cars going counter clockwise on the track for the entire route, they will now travel the course in a figure eight pattern instead of always bearing right and staying on one side the track. It was said the old style method of travel was causing uneven wear and tear on the street cars and horses.

Other than that, these pics are beautiful. I love the early paint scheme of Main Street, U.S.A. Thanks, Major.

Jason Schultz said...

The man in the dark suit is standing very close to the Disneyland Band. Could it be Tommy Walker?

Patrick Devlin said...

Well of course, Van Nuys is the Paris of the West. It does, after all, have the Eye-full Tower overlooking the nudist colony.

I wonder how they're going to get the Streetcars to vary their routes? Maybe they'll go to the left at one end and to the right at the other. Thanks, KM for a little research project on my next visit, which should be shortly as soon as school resumes.

JG said...

Major, these are really fine pictures. Proof that, for the GDB crowd at any rate, any quiet pictures of Old Disneyland are enough to make us happy. A great way to start the day.

@Ken, that's an interesting idea about the streetcars. We used to park in a garage with spiral ramps that were the same direction up and down. I think the architect wanted the same directions so the building elevation would be symmetrical. It was very hard on the car tires and suspension to follow the same spiral all the time, so Disney's move makes sense in detail.

I wonder if Disneyland ever invited Burbank? Or Lompoc?

@Chuck, you are right, I think the famous drinking fountain is just visible. As recently as 2015, there was still one of these original fountains in the Tour Guide Garden, just to the right of the West Tunnel (cinematic entry). All the rest appear to have been switched out to wheelchair-accessible types.

For those readers who don't understand why these old fountains were interesting, here is a link to the original C&H Sugar advert using the centerline Main Street fountain as a photo prop. If you don't know the pedestal is a real-life drinking fountain dressed up with fresh flowers from a nearby garden bed, the ad looks like a special set-up. The sugar bag is set slightly off-center to hide the shiny chrome fountain spigot. This ad ran in Vacationland, Disney Digest and probably lots of other magazines as well.

Another piece of the old park eliminated for progress. Although the new bi-level fountains are nice looking and appropriate to have so all can enjoy, so I'm not complaining, just remembering.


Nanook said...

@ JG-
Thanks for the great link. I must have seen this picture before, but have certainly forgotten about it. But definitely remember the drinking fountain - in version #2, or #3.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you can’t see the fine print at the bottom of the banner, in which is says that Miss Birdie Crawford (mean school teacher) is specifically NOT welcome.

Chuck, you are so right! There was a time when I would have either hopped on the train, or run to Tomorrowland, and completely missed all of that Main Street charm.

Melissa, he probably could tell that the trumpet player was a half tone off. Horses have perfect pitch.

K. Martinez, how that is a strange (but interesting!) factoid about how they will be running the Street Cars differently after more than 60 years. I really wonder if it will ultimately improve the longevity of the tracks, horses, and vehicles? Let’s check back in when 2068 rolls around!

Progressland, that guy does seem to be standing uncomfortably close, doesn’t he? I like the idea of it being Tommy Walker!

Patrick Devlin, I need to know more about this Eye-full Tower, since I can easily drive to Van Nuys!

JG, the funny thing is that I have photos of Main Street, I think from 1963, and you can see that they have torn up the street and appear to be working on the tracks. Could the wear have already been a problem after eight years? I’ll post those photos one of these days! I’ve seen many old photos with banners spanning Main Street, and I think I’ve seen other cities being welcomed, but I can’t recall which ones. As for the C&H sugar bag, I just wrote a blog post mentioning that very ad! Notice that in today’s photos the drinking fountain is basically exposed pipes up to the actual fountain, while the C&H ad shows a more substantial base, like a square doric column.

Nanook, those ads were fun, but it was the Dolly Madison ads that made me hungry!

Jonathan said...

Love the scans Major, thanks. I was a teenager before I appreciated Main Street, I too always headed for Adventureland or Tommorowland when I was younger. I have many happy memories of bringing dates to Disneyland in High School and walking the streets in the evenings. Very romantic.

The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

Really patriotic to know that both Disneyland and Disney World always start the day by raising the American flag and end the day by lowering it. :D

Sunday Night said...

Welcome to GDB after dark.

Loved the pics of early Disneyland today. The guy standing next to the band just want to get the full "surround sound" effect. He was probably one of those guys who spent 100 dollars on a turntable cartridge.

Melissa said...

Is the Eye-Full Tower anything like the geyser they call Old Face-full?

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, it is easy to understand why a young person would be drawn toward a land of mystery and exploration (Adventureland), or a land of optimistic future and fun (Tomorrowland), instead of “Grandma land” (Main Street).

The Disney Dudebro, I do like the flag ceremonies; I’ve heard that they now play audio clips of JFK and Dr. Martin Luther King. Those are both great men, but… 1960’s figures on a 1910’s Main Street is a bit odd.

Sunday Night, I always envied the people who apparently had ears good enough to hear the difference between a $15 cartridge and a $100 version.

Melissa, they are alike in that they both have hyphens.

WaltsMusic said...

Cool pictures! The only children I see are in strollers. Maybe during school sessions (Not June/Jul) and morning before school lets out?