Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Skyway in Black and White, August 1956

Today I am sharing scans of four nice black and white snapshots from August, 1956. Part of me wishes that they were color slides, but we have to take what we can get.

The Skyway had only been open since June 23rd of '56, but it is clearly a hit with the guests. Nearby is the Richfield Autopia, with the Space Bar to our right.

Now we're high above Storybook Land and Monstro, with Professor Keller and his Fantastic Felines performing inside that circus tent.

Continuing on our way, we are approaching the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship in its ce-ment pond.

And, swiveling our noggins to the left, we see a very busy Fantasyland, with Dumbo's Flying Elephants, the Mickey Mouse Club Theater, and a smidgen of the Mad Tea Party.


Nanook said...


Disneyland in monochrome.

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

Wow, cool angle on Monstro! You don't see too many pictures of his full length.

And much more,
Much more than this,
I rode the Skyway!

Chuck said...

You ain't kidding about the Skyway being a hit. Just look at that line!

I guess I've never worked out the Year One geometry for NE Fantasyland. I didn't realize that the circus tent was right next to the Canal Boats. Since the Storybook Land Canal Boats and Skyway both opened in June of 1956 and Keller's Jungle Killers closed Sept 7th, the August date is spot-on. Track and foundation work for the Fantasyland Depot, opened later that year, appears to be going on in the background.

Good point, Melissa. I'm so used to seeing him at ground level, I don' ever remember consciously noticing his front flipper or the pool underneath it. A quick look at recent-ish (2009) photos over at Daveland show that pool appears to be filled with plants.

And in that third photo, we have a second flag flying next to the Jolly Roger aboard the, um, Jolly Roger ("Roger, Roger. What's the vector, Victor?"). Anybody have any idea what it is?

Melissa said...

I didn't even realize he had a blowhole until a few months ago when I noticed it in a video

Patrick Devlin said...

In the second photo there is a open storybook style sign visible at the right edge. Do you suppose it was for Storybook Land's fairly recent re-opening and hadn't yet been taken down?

Great shots overall!

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the adults far outnumber the children.

DrGoat said...

Thanks for these Major. Make me feel right at home. Looks like it was a pretty smoggy day that lucky person was at the park.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, part of me feels as if I should have fiddled with the contrast, but I left them just as they were printed (for that authentic photo print experience)!

Melissa, Monstro is self-conscious about his butt.

Chuck, I think you’re right, it does appear that early construction has started for the Fantasyland train station. Which is pretty cool. I’m sure that the pool next to Monstro was filled in to prevent the possibility of dumb guests somehow falling in and drowning. As for that mystery flag, my three minutes of research turned up nothing that resembled what we see in that photo!

Melissa, he is also self-conscious about his blowhole.

Patrick Devlin, I do think that the billboard/book sign was there for Storybook Land’s redo, although it sure looks like the view from the boats is still mostly piles of dirt.

Anon, yes, in almost every photo of Disneyland, children are the minority!

DrGoat, back in the 50’s, SoCal had some premium-quality smog. Chunky style! All that leaded gasoline, yum.

Nanook said...

@ Patrick-

As the Major said, the book/sign is definitely for Storybook Land. That form of 'advertising' was also used for the Skyway, and continued to appear after it first opened.

JC Shannon said...

After viewing these excellent photos, I suddenly have the urge to watch Citizen Kane. Black and white can be so dramatic presented in the proper perspective. I see my mom with her Kodak, peering down on the image from above and framing the perfect shot. I love Monstro, especially 'cause Disney has not felt the need to bulldoze it...yet. It stands as a reminder that you don't have to scare the daylights out of people to creat an attraction that delights young and old. The Skyway was a novelty in its time, and is something that everyone could enjoy. I know I did, every visit. Great scans today, thank you Major. I love 'em.

Melissa said...

I suddenly have the urge to watch Citizen Kane. Black and white can be so dramatic presented in the proper perspective.

Last night, I went to a Fathom Events/Turner Classic Movies screening of Sunset Boulevard on the big screen at the local mall cinema. Boy howdy, that high-contrast black and white was GLORIOUS up there. I noticed all these little visual touches that I've usually missed on my TV screen.

JC Shannon said...

@Mellissa, OOO! OOO! I love Sunset Boulevard. Especially on the big screen."I am big, it's the pictures that got small!"

Nancy said...

It always strikes me how simple Disneyland's beginnings were. These views really show that, with a hazy, dreamy quality that adds to the feeling of how plain yet exciting Disneyland when it was shiny and new.

Thanks for the great pictures today! :)

Melissa said...

If you should plan to go out West,
Travel my way, take the Skyway; it's the best.
Take some pics
Of June, '56.

Chuck said...

CRAP!!!! I knew there was something we were planning on doing last night - Sunset Boulevard!! Ah, well...we were so tired (which is why we forgot), we probably would have fallen asleep anyway.

Anonymous said...

@Chuck, I am only an amateur vexillologist (my skills are limited to knowing the word), so after some brief research on that flag, I can't identify it for certain, but the format of four quadrants is consistent with designs for number of European Naval Ensigns of the last century.

I can make out a checkerboard (probably black and white) in the upper left and some kind of shape in the lower right. Without colors, it's hard to be more specific.

A red and white checkerboard was one of the emblems of the Duke of Brabant (part of Belgium), and the Hook flag is also reminiscent of the state flag of Maryland. But I wonder if the Disney designers invented a naval ensign specific for Captain Hook, to avoid tying him to any specific nation. People then weren't so touchy as they are today, but still, using a real nation ensign for an imaginary "bad guy" character might have been something they would avoid.

Anyway, that's all I got.

Now I want to search all my pirate ship pictures for a color version of that flag. Drat having to work.