Thursday, July 26, 2018

Jungle Cruise Pix, May 1966

It was fun discovering (or rediscovering) some Jungle Cruise details that I believe I have seen before, but I'm not sure where, and if so, these details don't show up in photos often.

We'll start with this not-great photo taken from the queue as one launch returns to civilization (and those crowded L.A. freeways). After 11 years of growth, the jungle looks appropriately dense and mysterious. Herds of animals could live in there, and we'd never see them. 

This next photo is the one that features the interesting details - those strange trees (Yucca trees? Probably not) across the river have been decorated with polychromed carvings of fearsome tiki gods. I think one of them just blinked!

I am very curious as to when these carvings were added, since I am reasonably sure that they weren't there from the beginning. The Jungle Cruise underwent a fairly major rehab in 1964 (adding the African Veldt and the Trapped Safari), that might be a good guess. As for when they were removed, I can only speculate. Notice the small free-standing tiki to the right. First of all, he should be in my collection. Secondly, he looks like...

... a baby version of this big fella! 

Here's an image of a faded version of one of those very t-shirts (it was worn and washed a lot!), from Facebook. As I said in the comments, many Disneyland fans refused to believe that such a thing would have been produced by Disney and were doing a lot of hand-waving to explain how it existed.


Nanook said...


Interesting to see these views of the flora in the JC. I'm thinking those "yucca trees" are more-likely Dragon Trees.

And - hey - the last image of that fabulous tiki god has the same Mother-son duo as seen in your very first post-!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Awwww, I also recognized that mother and son from your first post (and other posts too)! I'd love to know if that large tiki still exists somewhere, or if it ended up in a landfill.

By any chance, are those first three pics from your babushka-wearing, Polly Holliday doppelgänger, set of photos?

K. Martinez said...

Cute kid. I remember both mother and son from your first post too.

Mom is sporting a Mickey Mouse I LIKE DISNEYLAND Vari-Vue lenticular button on her chest.

These are some fun Adventureland pics. Thanks Major.


Major: I believe those tree-tiki carvings are actually Fiberglas “masks” added to the trunk of the trees to appear as if they were carved in. The masks have appeared in a few other locations over time - but mostly displayed across from the boat landing.
I think over time Disneylsnd’s Decorators made less attempt to make the masks look like they were part of the tree and later just used them as tiki or tribal masks hanging on trees.
I’ve had two versions of these Jungle Cruise tree-tiki masks over time.

Stefano said...

I wonder if LeRoy Schmaltz or James Casey, Tiki carvers extraordinaire, had their hands in any of this work. Schmaltz' company Oceanic Arts lists Disneyland and WDW as clients, and I think both of those gentlemen were involved with Mystery Island at Pacific Ocean Park.

Incidentally, since we like anniversaries at GDB, today is the 60th anniversary of P.O.P.'s opening. Thanks Major, these pix are right out of a jungle fever dream.

DrGoat said...

Just as good the second time around. Still curious about the image on the kid's T-shirt. Thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, as you could see, I was pretty sure they weren’t yuccas. Dragon trees, eh? Never heard of ‘em. Yep, that tiki is from GDB post #1!

TokyoMagic!, oh man, just thinking that the tiki might have been thrown out of destroyed is heartbreaking. I’d love to believe that an Imagineer put him in his backyard, at the very least. Yes, these are the photos that I referred to when I posted the picture of Flo!

K. Martinez, as you probably know, there were four different lenticular buttons from that set - Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Tinker Bell. Collect ‘em all! The Donald and Tink buttons are a little scarcer than the other two. I also prefer the versions that say “From The Art Corner” (you can find them with and without), though as far as I know there are no Donald examples like that.

Mike Cozart, interesting, since I have assumed other carvings were fiberglass and they turned out to be actual wood; I wonder if these were made for the park, or if they were purchased from Oceanic Arts in Whittier? If they were fiberglass, I guess they were probably made by Disney craftsmen.

Stefano, whoa, I honestly had not read ahead, and here you go, mentioning Oceanic Arts! It’s like two great minds (probably the two greatest minds that ever were) are on the same wavelength. Ah, P.O.P., I sure wish I had seen that place - especially when it was new and shiny.

DrGoat, I will attach a jpeg that somebody put on Facebook, with one of those very shirts. What I really wish I had saved was the comments - so many people refused to believe that Disney would have ever produced a shirt that is so icky by today’s standards - they got really angry about it and were sure that these were produced by hand by a deranged fan. Did people do that kind of thing in 1956??

zach said...

No offense taken but most of my photos in the day were of your 'not-great' category. So, it's a keeper!

The JC was such an over the top attraction at the time. So different and immersive than anything I had ever experienced. This was 50 years ago, remember.

I visited P.O.P in about 1965, near the end, with a friend who used to live in La Mirada before we met. It was a sad place by then, especially when compared to DL. But he remembered the good days.

Are points being given for the using the word lenticular? Because spell check suggested another word.

Fun photos today.


Anonymous said...

Major, I am enjoying these little details. As a big tiki fan, I share your angst about the possible end of those great sculptures. I have often wanted a big one for the garden, but have had to make do with the little souvenir ones from Hawaii. I did get a hand-carved one on my last trip, the artists come to the hotel and work.

@Ken, great eye spotting that Mickey pin. I had one just like it, and I can remember the exact instant when I threw it away. I wish I could go back and save it, but it's gone forever. Sad, but if I saved everything, I would be buried in trivia. I just didn't think then how I would miss old Disneyland.

Re the shirt. The world was a different place once, that's all.


JC Shannon said...

Great photos of the Jungle Cruise today. I had forgotten about the carvings on the trees. I guess I am gettin' old. Love the photo of the dock. I remember the thing in the early 60s was wearing a tiki around your neck, I remember they had emerald green eyes. As I recall, they sold them in Adventureland. Thanks Major for the great scans.

Bryce said...

I think that small, free-standing tiki looks like Donald Duck. A hidden Donald?


Yes Major- the two full body Tikis shown are indeed actual wood - but the faces on the trees are actually fiberglass masks made by Disney. While they were made and painted to appear as if they were carved into the tree trunks they are artificial . Over time The Van Eaton Gallery, Profiles in Histiry and The Howard Lowery Gallery have auctioned several different styles of these Adventureland tree face “carvings” .

Melissa said...

In the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki trees,
In the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki trees,
Where the birds sing words and they're all off-key,
In the tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki trees.

Major Pepperidge said...

David Zacher, everything is relative; the batch that today’s examples come from are generally better, but I do like that we get a pretty decent look at those kooky masks. Reading about P.O.P. in Chris Merritt’s book, it was amazing to see how many attractions just stopped operating, with no fanfare or announcements. Even King Neptune from “King Neptune’s Courtyard” wound up in Sea World. I am dying to know what word spell-check wanted to replace “lenticular” with. Hopefully it was something dirty. A guy can dream, can’t he?

JG, I am not sure I was aware of your tiki fandom. Do you have a Polynesian-themed area in your home? If so, COOL. I agree, it would be very neat to have a big, well made tiki. I basically want to live in a world that is like a “SHAG” painting. You can buy a vintage lenticular pin for not much money if you are willing to wait - I think I got one for $10. Of course the rare versions (like Tinkerbell) can fetch $40 or $50. And yes, it would be nice if people were aware that things were different 60 years ago, and that just seeing the shirt isn’t the end of the world.

Jonathan, I didn’t know about the carvings at all. I’m sure they’ve been written about somewhere, but hey, I have TV to watch. After reading your description of the tikis that were worn around one’s neck, I need one. NEED. ONE.

Bryce, ha ha, I suppose it does look like a tiki-fied Donald!

Mike Cozart, my guess is that I have seen the masks (or photos of them) in various places and just didn’t realize what they were. I have the feeling they are a lot larger than I first assumed at first glance.

Melissa, you’ve done it again! (Spoken in the voice of Jim Backus)