Thursday, April 26, 2018

Along the River, June 1963

Here's a nice pair of scans from 1963! Starting with this lovely view of the southwestern part of the Rivers of America. You've got the usual features - the mill, grinding away endlessly, the sails of the Columbia looking extra tall in the distance, and a canoe heading back to the landing...

... and of course the beautiful exterior of the Haunted Mansion, newly-completed. In fact, walls still surround the house, as (presumably) the grounds are worked on. Who could have imagined the intense fandom that this attraction would continue to inspire nearly 50 years after it debuted?

Looking eastward, it's that crazy Columbia again, about to stop at the dock. Only a hint of Rainbow Ridge can be seen; the fishing docks to our left are almost deserted.


Nanook said...


Busy, busy, busy-! Almost like today... HA.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

To quote Maureen O'Hara in The Parent Trap...."That's a pretty cryptic message!" And asdfasdfasfs to you too, Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

P.S. I love how the Haunted Mansion looks so bright and shiny and new in that first pic!

Stu29573 said...

At this point in Mansion history: 1. It was still planned aw a walk through attraction, 2. The sign out front asking ghosts to apply to "live" there was still two years away, 3. X Atencio and Marc Davis were not on the project yet. Who knew that it would take seven more years before guests heard their first "Welcome Foolish Mortals to the Haunted Mansion..."

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it’s busy, but I’d wager that the crowds are way worse today…

TokyoMagic!, gosh, I don’t know what you are talking about. Have you been possessed by the Devil?? ;-)

TokyoMagic!, the Mansion is such an impressive thing - I think we sometimes forget that it is in an amusement park, but is completely convincing as a New Orleans-style mansion.

Stuart Powley, I suppose all of that must be true! Thanks for pointing those fascinating facts out. The Omnimover was definitely years away, so it really *was* still going to be a walk-thru. I love the ride we have today, but can’t help wishing I could somehow experience those early concepts.

Patrick Devlin said...

Thank you Major Pepperidge, Sir! for the pretty pictures, a slice of a time long gone and the work and time on your part, Sir!, that they represent, Sir!

I do wonder what the canoes are doing in the first shot: are they ramming one another? Are they lashed together for towing purposes and what's the guy just left of the bush doing standing up, or is he standing up on the raft's unloading dock? My mind is all a-flutter and I hate when that happens.

And boy does Columbia look nice when the sails are unfurled and the wind has at least filled them partly full.

Melissa said...

O Columbia! the gem of the river,
At home in the Land of Frontiers,
Each timber is proud just to shiver,
Designed by the bold 'Magineers!

To board the the tourists assemble,
When Columbia's form stands in view;
Thy attraction is scenic, calm, and gentle,
And you don't have a two-hour queue.

(To the tune of “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean”)

Although unintentional, the years that Haunted Mansion building sat empty were one of Disney's best publicity stunts ever. Ohhh, the anticipation!

Melissa said...

"the the" should have been "thee the." Dumb autocorrect; stupid eyeballs.

Anonymous said...

@Stuart and Melissa, agree that the silent empty house was terrific advertising. I remember looking at it and longing for it to open. I wasn't disappointed either.

The development of the HM from walkthrough to ride is a fascinating story as outlined in the Long Forgotten blog. Lots of good stuff there.

The Omnimover is such a great concept, and it's definitely under-used. I keep wondering how they will present the Star Wars rides and if the Omnimover will find applications there, as it should. Probably though, those attractions will have customized vehicles more like Cars Land or Indiana Jones, but I really have no clue.

Thanks Major.


Stefano said...

Brava! Bellisima, Melissima!

Patrick Devlin said...

It's funny you should mention, JG how the Omnimover is under-utilized. On my last trip to the Park my brothers and I were waiting in the hour plus queue for Peter Pan's Flight and it occurred to me that an Omnimover-type system would sure cut down on wait times if installed there. You wouldn't have to do too much to the attraction itself; The support rail would need to be beefed up to support about twice the live load but not much to the show elements themselves. Just have pirate ship type vehicles with moderate spacing and a moving ramp unload/load area. You heard it here first.

TokyoMagic! said...

Patrick Devlin, the vehicles for Tokyo Disneyland's Peter Pan attraction are constantly moving and there is a moving speedramp/conveyor belt alongside them in the loading area. However, I don't think they have increased the number of vehicles that are on the track at one time. I guess it still helps with speeding up the loading process and in turn, would help out with the hourly capacity.

Major, I have one word for you. Covfefe! ;-)

Patrick Devlin said...

Hey there, thanks for the info TokyoMagic!! I'm tickled that my mental musings might actually have been logical.

JC Shannon said...

I never tire of the river shots. New Orleans Square is so cool, and when the Haunted Mansion finally opened, it was quite a triumph. Any photo including Rainbow Ridge is good one. And it looks though the Columbia is full to the scuppers today! Thanks Major.

@Mellissa, I love the poem!

Melissa said...

The WDW Peter Pan has a moving ramp and constantly-moving vehicles, too; it's even one of the only two moving walkways which can't be slowed down for riders with disabilities. But it's still not a people-eater like the Haunted Mansion or Spaceship Earth because of the relatively low capacity and small vehicles. And all the peanut butter stuck in the roof.

Anonymous said...

@Patrick Devlin, that's a great idea.

Seems to me that Omnimover has been used only on bigger, more complex rides. I've never been to WDW or the other parks so I've not seen the other versions described, but it makes sense to keep these rides moving. Now that I think about it, isn't Winnie-the-Pooh and Little Mermaid sort-of Omnimovers?

I can never understand how Peter Pan is such a long wait, but I almost always ride it anyway. I guess the old overhead mechanism is part of the charm.

I'm constantly in fear that some bright young thing will "improve" these rides out of existence, as seems to be the case for Casey and the Canal Boats.


Major Pepperidge said...

Patrick Devlin, finally, I am given the respect due to me after years of selfless service in the Freedonian Army! As for the canoes, I think maybe one is backing out, while another is getting ready to dock. Maybe.

Melissa, I learned the tune to “Columbia, Gem of the Ocean” from an old Regina music box that belonged to my grandmother. There was a stack of some 20 punched metal “records”, and we were fascinated by the old fashioned gizmo. Plus it just sounded neat!

Melissa II, “The the” was a pretty cool 80’s/90’s band!

JG, it’s funny how it worked out, with the Mansion sitting empty for so long. I love the rumors that it was all ready to go, but couldn’t be open to the public because it was just too scary. I wish! As much as I love Marc Davis’ humor, there is a part of me that wishes the Mansion leaned more toward the frightening. Meanwhile, I was very surprised to see (on Wikipedia) that Roger Broggie and Bert Brundage, are credited with its development, and NOT Bob Gurr. Wasn’t there some story about Bob spinning an apple by its stem and getting inspired?

Stefano, I sure hope Melissa speaks Italian!

Patrick Devlin, Omnimovers are great, but I do love the Peter Pan Flight ride system, in which the boats hang from a rail. It really does a great job of simulating flight. I wonder if an Omnimover could work the same way, hanging from the roof of the vehicle instead of supporting it from the bottom?

TokyoMagic!, wow, I never knew that the Tokyo version of Peter Pan had a constantly-moving system. Very cool. I wonder if it does increase capacity? I like to use the word Covfefe when describing a good wine.

Patrick Devlin, when you think about it, Disney owes you a lot of money.

Jonathan, we can’t see much of Rainbow Ridge in photo #2, but I agree with your opinion!

Melissa, the old “Mr. Toad” and “Snow White” dark rides both had twin tracks at the Magic Kingdom, if I’m not mistaken. I’ve never heard that the “Peter Pan” ride does, though. If so, I wonder why, since it has almost always been one of the most popular of the dark rides?

JG, I assume you are asking about the Florida versions of the “Pooh” and “Mermaid” rides? The Pooh ride in Anaheim seems pretty much like a standard ride vehicle as far as I can recall. I still haven’t seen the “Mermaid” ride at DCA! Not sure I’ll ever go back, to be honest.

Patrick Devlin said...

Well no, Major, not an Omnimover per se, I was picturing similar pirate ship vehicles as present (maybe lightened a skoshi bit) but mostly having their spacing cut down in half. The spacing currently is pretty large so the view of the show from the vehicles would still be unobstructed. I'm a pretend mechanical engineer and this would double the live load on the support rail so you figure a beefier rail with some increase in number of vertical support members. But like I said, no change in show elements. I agree that simulation of flight is essential and is in my opinion a big reason for the attraction's popularity and long waits.

I think I need to start a blog rather than clog up the gorilla cage with posts like this...

Melissa said...

Major, I didn't mean that there were two moving walkways in the Peter Pan ride, although I see that the way I wrote it was misleading. There are two rides in the Magic Kingdom that have moving walkways that can't be slowed down: one is Peter Pan's Flight, and the other is the PeopleMover.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the Mansion was built years before the attraction ever was seems really...eerie. Ha! See, what I did there?

But, yeah, I already know the ride's history and how the creators had been planning and attempting to build the ride ever since the park first opened with conception after conception. Nice to know all the waiting eventually paid off with one of the best attractions in the park.