Thursday, September 27, 2018

Beautiful Vintage Frontierland

It's too bad you weren't here just a minute ago, the Mysterious Benefactor stopped by for a visit! Of course he was in a disguise (much like The Shadow)... it's a little disconcerting at first, but you get used to it.

He delivered more vintage scans of Frontierland, and today's examples are extra nice. Like this March 1969 photo of folks wandering not far from Casa de Fritos - you can see the bright yellow and orange tables in the distance. I am digging that kid's green mock turtleneck and pinstriped jacket - groovy! 

Photo #2 was probably taken mere moments after (or even before) the previous image, in spite of the difference in color (scanners can do crazy things). You can tell that it is chilly by SoCal standards - sweaters and jackets aplenty. The lights have come on, I especially loved Frontierland at night! The woman in the foreground (to the right) is carrying one of those psychedelic shopping bags.

Next is this unusual interior view of the River Belle Terrace restaurant. It's a bummer that the color has faded (or it might be that the color was affected by the light of the incandescent bulbs), but it is still pretty great to see what this was like in 1969. I like details such as the "antique" kitchen paraphernalia hanging on the tiled walls, and that crazy wallpaper.


Melissa said...

Turtleboy and the balding, dark-suited man lurking over his shoulder are clearly the Anaheim branch of the Addams Family.

I love the cute little frilly caps on the River Belle Terrace CM's, and now I want a Mickey Mouse pancake.

Gnometrek said...

The first picture really does look like a sceen from a Hitchcock movie. The women's face as she clutches the hand of the groovy boy is alarming. Is she escaping from the balding man staring at the camera with a clenched fist? Is Hitch around the next corner awaiting his cameo?

Chuck said...

And there's a tombstone-shaped trash can in the background to subconsciously reinforce that feeling of impending doom. Hitch did fantastic work there in Disneyland.

Stefano said...

These pix are from nearly half a century ago, but most of these people wouldn't stand out too much in a Disneyland crowd today; if they did, it's because they're better dressed and groomed compared to today's standards. Capri pants on slender women, very becoming.

Yes Major, with the most trees and the largest body of water, Frontierland was really enhanced after dark; the lights on the Mark Twain, lit torches on Tom Sawyer's Island, "the eternally burning settler's cabin" ( as per the booklet that came with the Frontierland Viewmaster reels) --all wonderful by night.

K. Martinez said...

If the date for these photos is 1969 then the last photo of the restaurant is when it was called Aunt Jemima's Kitchen just before it became Magnolia Tree Terrace in 1970 then finally River Belle Terrace in 1971. Either way, this restaurant was my choice for breakfast for many years as I never failed to get my Mickey Mouse pancakes and complete breakfast just after going on the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion in the early morning hours (gotta get those 'E' ticket attractions done before the crowds arrived). I have lots of warm memories of that restaurant.

Lovely photos today. Special thanks to the Mysterious Benefactor and to you too Major.

JC Shannon said...

Celebrity alert in the first pic, turtle boy looks alot like a young Julian Lennon, and in front of him is a Jean Stapleton look alike. In pic 2 is that Mr. Rogers in one of his cool sweaters. And finally in pic 3, we have Polly Holiday waiting tables, they are everywhere I tell ya. Check out the old cash register, very retro. Thanks Major and say hi to the Myserious Benefactor next time he drops by.

Chuck said...

Ken, your comment reminded me that the River Belle Terrace is where we ate lunch on my first visit in 1971. It was right after riding the Mark Twain, and I thought we'd sailed to a different part of the Park.

I made sure I took my own kids there for lunch the first day of their one and only visit. While the wallpaper may have changed, it still looked pretty much as I remembered it. I understand there has been a major remuddling in the past year or so that changed it significantly.

Tom said...

Such unusual photographic scene choices today! I don't know why but these strike me as particularly serene. Even with the "huge crowd" in that second shot, the park looks fresh and inviting.

And now I really want pancakes for dinner.

Thanks for sharing! And thank you, MB!

Nanook said...


I just want to know why “Turtleboy” not only wore a sports jacket to DL, but wasn’t it awfully uncomfortable, as it appears a couple of sizes too small-? Dressing ‘nicely’ is one thing, but this...

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

These pictures have that special GDB "You are there" feeling.

Lots of the good "Old Disneyland" too, from the little ropes around the tiny grass areas to the wild souvenir bags. Well-dressed people, detailed theming (wood-grained trash cans) and a good time everywhere you look.

Are the two little ones in back part of the party with the Man With A Baleful Countenance and the Little Boy in Stripes with the Funny Hat? Or else a lot of Funny Hats were sold that day. @Melissa, there is a prime babushka front and center.

And this rare and precious interior shot is the Aunt Jemima's Kitchen of my youth. @Ken, your story is much like mine, there were several years when I visited alone and followed exactly that itinerary. Nothing like the old school Mickey Pancakes.

@Chuck, you are correct, this interior has been destroyed in favor of a more reach-in fast-food style of service with pre-fabbed waffles and scrambled (powdered) eggs. The food isn't awful, more like the free breakfast available at a chain hotel, except costing 20$, but still a far cry from what it was.

Thank you Major, and MB, who I imagine to be much like Colonel Flagg, coming and going unseen, like the wind.


Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, we all know that Gomez Addams loved pinstripes, so perhaps that kid was a nephew! And will those frilly caps replace the babushka in your heart??

Gnometrek, ha ha, I didn’t notice that the lady is clutching the boy’s hand. And yeah, what is up with the bald man threatening to punch us?

Chuck, the “tombstone” reminds me of the wooden “Boot Hill” grave markers in Knott’s Berry Farm.

Stefano, you’re right, the people would only stand out in that they would look dressy by today’s standards. Besides the twinkling lights reflecting on the river, I loved the sound of crickets (or was it supposed to be frogs?) coming from Tom Sawyer Island. It felt like a wilderness in those inky black areas beyond the lights.

K. Martinez, I would have never been able to ID that restaurant on my own, but the slide is labeled “River Belle Terrace”. So either the date is off or whoever was listing the names was not as knowledgeable as you! I think I have a few more photos of the interior coming up. Your memories of a typical great morning at the park back in those less-hectic days makes me very nostalgic.

Jonathan, I see the Julian Lennon resemblance (nice and pasty, ha ha), but that really could be Jean Stapleton! Everyone knows that celebrities love Disneyland. Sometimes they even quit those cushy, high-paying acting jobs to wait tables.

Chuck, now I wish my name was “Major Remuddling”.

Tom, the park really IS serene by today’s standards. When I see current photos of people on Facebook, I mostly think, “I’m glad I wasn’t there that day!” - it is rare that I am envious, unlike years ago.

Nanook, the jacket is a bit small, but he looks to be around that age where he probably grew 12” in a year. How can a mother keep up? It probably wouldn’t have been as obvious if he had tucked his shirt in.

JG, those “bucket hats” were a very popular thing with kids; I used to have a number of different examples in my collection, but finally sold them in an attempt to reduce the bulk. Mickey Pancakes - hold that thought! We’ll be seeing them in a future post from our Benefactor. Does Disneyland REALLY use powdered eggs instead of fresh eggs?! I’ve heard other people say that, and it blows my mind if it’s true.

Dean Finder said...

I thought the dour man in the back of pic 1 was Slugworth, trying to recruit another kid to steal the secret of the Everlasting Gobstopper.

Is that a modern Abe Lincoln in pic 3 escorting the lady with the impressively tall beehive hairdo?

Melissa said...

I once saw a "behind the scenes at WDW" documentary in which a cook was making scrambled eggs for a breakfast buffet. They had a big, sealed plastic bag full of liquid beaten eggs, and they submerged the whole bag in boiling-hot water to cook, sous vide style. Now, they have been reconstituted powdered eggs, or that may have been the practice just at that one restaurant, so I'm not saying anyone is wrong about powdered eggs in general.

One rumor I've heard is that they put biscuit mix in their omelets to make them fluffier and sturdier. No idea whether that's based in reality or not.

fromnabulax said...

A bit late to the party, but...

I’m thinking the RBT pic must be post 1968. My first visit to the park was July 1968 at age 12 and I distinctly remember having our first meal there when it was still Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House.

Am I suffering false memory here?

Nancy said...

River Belle Terrace is a favorite stop of mine, I love the decor and the cafeteria style as shown in this view. :-D