Monday, September 17, 2018

Castle Rock, 1959

Here are two 1959 photos of Castle Rock on Tom Sawyer Island. It was a place to climb and explore and bump your head and skin your knee. And have tons of fun. Grownups could enjoy it on their own level, while kids could run along pathways, jump on the pontoon bridge, go spelunking in the mysterious caves, listen to their echoes in the bottomless pit, find the escape tunnel out of Fort Wilderness... so much to do!

People are drawn to the peak of Castle Rock by the same curious instinct that guided King Kong to the top of the Empire State Building.  Hi, kids!


Nanook said...


When great fun could be had at a theme park with a little physical exercise and a bit of your imagination. Wheeeee-!

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

The kid in the red and white striped shirt looks kind of like Jerry O'Connell's character in "Stand By Me" which was based on the novella "The Body" by Stephen King which takes place in the town of Castle Rock. But this is Castle Rock on Tom Sawyer Island.

Always liked this rock formation, but it too has been modified for "safety" reasons. Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

This really is a work of art. A significant amount of time must have been spent to get all that detail.

JC Shannon said...

For a few minutes or hours you could explore an island on the Mississippi in the footsteps of Tom and Huck. The Imagineers were just that, they created a space where your imagination could transport you to the 19th century. You could hail the Mark Twain or a passing Keel Boat and Canoe. How cool was that?
I love how young and small the trees were then. Ahoy and thanks to Major.

Melissa said...

Jumping on the barrel bridge was just as fun as some of the rides!

Ken, I was thinking the exact same thing about the stripey kid!!!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

@K.Martinez @Melissa,

Another vote for Vern. When I saw stripey that's the first thing I thought too.

With the up close view (of castle rock) I thought I might spy Richard Dreyfuss and Melinda Dillon climbing to find the alien airport. Give that rock a flat top and it would resemble Devil's Tower.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I guess there is no room (literally) for that kind of feature in Disneyland anymore. Even NOW I want to go and play on 1959 Tom Sawyer Island!

K. Martinez, ha ha, it’s like “Six degrees of Stephen King”! Have you watched the “Castle Rock” TV series by any chance? I have not, but it sounds intriguing.

Anon, I think TSI was an under-appreciated masterpiece. But it didn’t have any IP belonging to Disney, so it was only a matter of time before things were altered.

Jonathan, I really do wonder if the old Imagineers, who worked during Hollywood’s “Golden Age” at the big studios (MGM, Fox) as production designers (or whatever) just had a more innate talent for creating convincing, appealing worlds for people to enjoy?

Melissa, if I recall correctly, there is a “NO JUMPING” sign for the barrel bridge, even though everyone does it anyway!

Alonzo, everybody loves Vern! Maybe the aliens would send a much smaller spaceship to Castle Rock. Like their version of a Fiat. I was wondering how the photographer got such a nice closeup of the kids standing on top, but he might have been standing where those two children are in photo #1.

Nanook said...

Yes - 'Vern' and 'Vern, Jr.' I think the resemblance is kinda striking. And no matter what/which "Castle Rock" - all rocks lead back to TSI.

Melissa said...

STAND BY MICKEY: Coming-of-age story about four young misfits who go looking for a dead body in Frontierland. Along the way, they pool all their pocket money for a single Dole Whip, are chased out of a Backstage repair shop by someone dressed as Pluto, nearly get run over by the Fred Gurley, and contemplate the fact that they'll soon be too old to get the "A Day at Disneyland" Children's Ticket Book.

Anonymous said...

Castle Rock was a must-do back in the day, even in my high school visits.

It's sad what the lawsuit culture has done to the world.

Mom refused to cross the barrel bridge. To be fair, she had bad balance. She would wait at one end, I think at the river end while Dad and I would cross inbound on the suspension bridge and return outbound on the barrel bridge. At least, I think that was the sequence, it's been so long.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I hope that our kid had a nice group of guy friends to hang out with!

Melissa, they might find a dead body over by that burning cabin. Ha ha, I like that the sign that they are growing up is that they have to get an adult ticket book!

JG, your mom sounds like a sensible woman. Maybe she was wearing heels, too?