Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Fun in Frontierland, August 1979

There was a time when I would laugh - LAUGH! - if somebody offered me Disneyland slides from 1979. But now I have a whole new appreciation for this funky decade. Fashions were questionable, but let's face it, it was a pretty great era at the park. And at 39 years, they qualify as "vintage".

First up is this shot of a herd of children having fun as they explore Tom Sawyer Island and its many climbable rock formations. The little girl with the crazy plaid pants is sitting on Merry Go Round Rock. Meanwhile, a friendly boy (wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt) waves "hello" to us as we pass on the Mark Twain. Check out the lush plants!

The left 1/3 of this photo was marred by a light leak (so I cropped it off); but we still get a very good look at one of the Canoes as it passes by. Note the coon skin cap on the guides - in 1971 they had changed from the "Indian War Canoes" to "Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes". 


Nanook said...


Whoa, Nellie - I gotta get me a pair of those 'wacky' plaid pants-! Clearly the perfect trousers for all occasions. Does the 'Island' still have such "dangerous climbable rock formations"-?

Thanks, Major.

JC Shannon said...

Not too many fashion Faux pas in these snaps. The girl in the plaid pants and thats about it. Poking aroud Tom Sawyer Island was one of my favorite things to do as a boy. Climbing the rock formations and exploring the Fort, so many fond memories. The canoe shot is very good. From an elevated view you can see more of the interior. I loved 'em cause you actually had control and were, for a few minutes, a ride operator. As always the Major has outdone himself.

Chuck said...

Striped athletic socks. I'd somehow forgotten about those...and I wore them all...the...time.

I can't imagine something quite this fraught with potential minor injury being built today. Our childhoods rocked.

K. Martinez said...

That Davy Crockett Explorer Canoe pic is awesome! Nice angle and rare shot.

Also like the small cage hanging from the Pier. I wonder if it's supposed to be some old style crawfish trap being it's along the river. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, will bold plaids ever make a fashion comeback? Your question about the climbable rock formations is a good one - I don’t know the answer, however. My guess is that the whole thing has been neutered.

Jonathan, it’s true, I’ve seen way worse 70’s fashions. It’s a shame that something as simple and fun as climbing and exploring is now too risky because people are so litigious. I’m kind of amazed (and very glad) that the canoes have managed to survive, it seems like the kind of attraction that some accountant would axe because it doesn’t draw in thousands of guests per hour.

Chuck, those socks were omnipresent! There was nothing better than a brand new pair, all clean and squishy. If they were good enough for Jimmy Connors, they were good enough for me.

K. Martinez, good eye on that crawfish trap. Seems like the slots are so wide that the crawdaddies would be able to swim out when the trap was retrieved, but my guess is that they aren’t that smart!

Patrick Devlin said...

That crayfish trap was actually a miniature version of the Haunted Mansion just for the aquatic life. When they entered a voice would intone, "Welcome foolish morsels..."

Anonymous said...

@Chuck, my socks had blue and gold stripes, school colors required by the basketball team. I was lousy at sports, but the school was so small they had to take me to fill up the roster.

I had a pair of plaid pants with a huge pattern, but 7-8 years earlier than this photo. I think the plaid was on the way out by '79, maybe those pants are hand-me-downs.

This rock formation still exists, but a rope railing has been added all around and the spinning rock has been fixed in place. I'm not sure, but access to the top level may have been removed, at least in some locations.

I wish we could put all the injury attorneys in the crawfish trap.


zach said...

I still have an old pair of those striped socks in my shoeshine kit! I pull them over my hands to avoid that 'just polished wrist' look. I like to call them 'vintage' socks.

We still do the canoes whenever we visit. I appreciate the effort the man towards the front left is giving it. Every canoe needs one.


Anonymous said...

We always warned folks..."If you don't paddle for me...I'll have to paddle you!" Brings back the memories. KS

Melissa said...

Those happy kids perfectly embody the spirit of Tom Sawyer Island. Look at them, exploring and adventuring without a merchandise cart in sight! And the waving boy is just too wonderful - he really made my day. The canoe picture is so clear I feel like I can dip my hand in the water.

JC Shannon said...

@Mellissa You go girl, I love the fact that none of them are on their cell phones! Oh wait, there were none. The virtual world had not been invented yet, and kids had to find themselves a little entertainment the traditional way. They do look happy don't they?

MRaymond said...

I remember those rocks. I’m surprised we’re still alive. No rails, death defying drops on three sides.