Friday, September 07, 2018

Two From the 50's

I have two random photos for you today - not from the same lot, but both are from the 50's. 

This first example is a real beauty, with a look at the horse-drawn Firetruck ("chemical wagon") as it heads around Town Square. Apparently guests aboard the Firetruck had to stand! Those milk-white horses are very striking. To our left we can see a Surrey and a Horseless Carriage, while to the right is a popcorn cart and a cannon. This photo is classic Disneyland, which makes me happy.

Next is this nice shot from the Skyway looking down on Dumbo's Flying Elephants. I love the color and energy in this picture, with people milling around here and there while the elephants are whirling. As others have pointed out in similar views, the wall to the left of the "Fan 1" snack bar (that tent thingy) separates the Rainbow Caverns show building from Fantasyland.

Sometimes it's fun to zoom in for a closer look at the people. Why? I don't know! I just like the way they are standing, or their clothes, or I'll try to figure out what they are pointing at. Or I will do the "old zapperino" and place myself down into the scene with everyone else. Notice the dad in the Dumbo vehicle with a movie camera to his eye - I wish I had that footage.

Now let's zoom in to the right side of the picture. Most ladies are still wearing dresses, but that will change in a hurry - it really does seem like pants become acceptable women's wear by '58 or '59. I wonder why? Did a movie star make them chic?

In the upper right we can see the little ticket booth for the Skyway, that doesn't show up very often. 


Anonymous said...

Here's a whole page on women and pants in the 1950s:


Wow! All that 1890’s authentic detail in that first image ..... and then right in front is a new 1955 basin-sink school drinking fountain! Well, eventually that would be fixed.

I think I’ve seen people standing in other images of the Hose & Chemical Wagon but I swear the wagon as two bench seats running its interior length. Maybe the view was better by standing.

These shots are of a Disneyland we will never see again.

Chuck said...

Seeing the popcorn wagon and cannon together makes me wish that they had built a popcorn cannon instead.

The people in that second photo look so snazzy. I can only find three untucked shirts in the whole image - the father and son lined up with Dumbo's central hub and a tyke half-obscured by the Skyway tower base. The son appears to be wearing the only t-shirt in the entire Park. Hardly anyone dresses like that anymore outside of the work environment. It's a shame, although I admit that we're probably a lot more comfortable today, especially in the hot and humid parts of the country.

My mother-in-law - who is English - always used to insist that her kids dress up when they went to WDW. I've seen photos of my wife wearing a dress in the MK as a youngster in the '70s and later in EPCOT as a junior in high school.

When I was in high school, I used to dress up to go to amusement parks, too. For me, "amusement park formal" meant a collared shirt (usually a polo) and shorts that extended to at least mid-thigh. I was still better dressed than most of the people around me.

Anonymous said...

...and lots of traffic! The fire wagon is joined by a horseless carriage, the surrey, and the streetcar. If the double-deck bus were there, we'd have a full house.

Chuck said...

On second look, I'm wondering if that second image was actually taken from the deck of the Jolly Roger. It looks a bit low to be a Skyway image, and you can see the bottom of a round Skyway bucket above the photographer next to the tower.

JC Shannon said...

In photo #1 you can almost hear the conductor crying "Willoughby! Willoughby! Check out the impeccably dressed woman in the yellow dress. Matching bag and shoes and channeling Audry Hepburn with the matching hat. I love fashion from the 50s, unlike the 70s, the look still holds up. Great scans today! So much to see.

Major Pepperidge said...

Anon, thank you for the link! Although the article says that Mary Tyler Moore helped to make pants acceptable to women in the early 60’s (on the Dick Van Dyke Show), it seems as if I start seeing lots of pants on women in Disneyland photos by 1958 or ’59. I could be wrong though…

Mike Cozart, yeah, that drinking fountain looks like it is right out of any 1950’s institution. Perhaps Walt wanted them to be plainly visible to help mitigate complaints that everything was so expensive at Disneyland? I think you are right about the two benches on the Chemical Wagon, although perhaps they were added later? I honestly have no idea.

Chuck, I certainly don’t dress up when I go to the parks - these days you have to consider that you might get wet on some rides, for one thing - I do at least try to not look like a slob! That kid with the t-shirt probably grew up to be a criminal, since he has demonstrated clear anti-social tendencies. I feel bad for your wife having to dress up at WDW, although I admire her mother’s etiquette. For some reason I never like wearing shorts at Disneyland, even when it is hot.

Anon, I’m sure the Omnibus was just up the street a ways, though it would have been great to have it in this picture.

Chuck, ha ha, yes, I’d say that seeing the bottom of that Skyway bucket overhead pretty much cinches it - it must be from the Pirate Ship!

Jonathan, yeah, those 50’s dresses look very feminine and lovely. However, I can understand that for women, changes in fashion generally meant more comfort and convenience. Glad you liked these!

Nanook said...


Town Square seemed to be the place for thirsty guests. In addition to the one pictured in the first image, there's another one on the opposite side of the train station. And my favorite - the one sitting in the northern-most planter, also home to the seasonal Town Square Christmas Tree. Refrigerated - they were not.

As much as I bemoan what has happened to "a proper way to dress in public", many of these outfits were probably not the most-comfortable choices for spending a day at an amusement or theme park. (Just take a look at the way folks dressed to attend even a baseball game, back in the day). Somewhere between '1950's decorum' and the 'free-for-all' of today's [almost-universal] bad taste in clothing, lies a good compromise between looking 'sharp' and comfort. Now... just what that definition is, would be a subject for debate that could go on for a long time.

Anonymous said...

The Main Street picture is perfect.

An unusual viewpoint looking toward the snack bar and a series of elephant bottoms. We can just see the roof of the Rainbow Caverns building to the left behind the yellow wall.

Everyone is well-dressed except for the delinquent kid.

In the second enlargement, either of the two ladies in skirts at the base of the Skyway tower with their backs to us could be my Mom, and the man in the white shirt waiting on the steps of the Dumbo ticket booth looks like Dad.

I probably dress better at the Park now than I did as a kid. TBH, I don't remember what I wore back then, but now always long pants, and a long sleeve button up shirt. I did wear crocs one trip some years ago. Very comfortable walking shoes but ugly. Regrettably, my current day outfit includes my stick for the bad knee.

Thank you, Major. Lots of good things today.


Steve DeGaetano said...

I believe the horses are actually a smaller breed, in order to fit in with Disneyland's scale. They used smaller horses in Frontierland for the same reason.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you’d think that the Plaza (or Hub) would be a better place for drinking fountains, being more centrally located. Nobody consulted me! I didn’t think about it, but you’re right, they must have just been plain old room-temp water. Still, when you’re thirsty and don’t want to spend 25 cents for a Coke, you can’t complain. The thing about the standard of dress at the park is the extreme “muffin tops”, which I just don’t get. It’s not flattering, and yet you see them all the time. I don’t think women need to weigh 102 pounds to be beautiful, but… oh well. Let them do what they want, ultimately!

JG, it is fun for me to look at photos of my folks from the early (non-kid) days of their marriage. My mom tended to wear skirts and have a pony tail, which stopped before I was born, as far as I know. My dad was so skinny too… once he became a dad, he put on a few extra pounds (though they all vanished when he went to Vietnam). Like you, I probably dress better now than I used to, but I still have to factor in the possibility of getting wet. I love Splash Mountain, but man, it really changes everything.

Steve DeGaetano, the horses are absolutely a smaller breed - they don’t look nearly as large as the big fellas that pulled the Street Cars (too bad those don’t show up in that photo for comparison).

Melissa said...

Makes me think of "The Surrey With the Fringe on Top."

Would you say the fringe was made of silk?

Wouldn't have no other kind but silk!

Has it really got a team of snow-white horses?

One's like snow, the other's more like milk.

(spoken) So's you can tell 'em apart!

(My Grandma started wearing trousers during WWII and never looked back.)

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, my mom was a school teacher and the school district that she worked for (here in Los Angeles County) did not allow the female teachers to wear pants until 1972. And even then, if they were going to wear pants, it had to be a part of a coordinated pantsuit. My mom said she was so happy when they were finally allowed to wear pants. Nowadays, I see teachers wearing tennis shoes and blue jeans. Sometimes you can't even tell them apart from the students.

Chuck said...

TM!, I think that telling the teachers apart from the students was a problem back in the days when students dressed less casually, too. In 1964, my mom was walking down the hall at the new high school she'd just started teaching at when another teacher asked to see her hall pass. The irony is that the other teacher was actually younger than my mom.

Anonymous said...

Rather interesting how classic Fantasyland seems more like an old-timey carnival than something that belongs in Disneyland, but I guess that was the 1950s. And considering that Disney built the park as a high-class alternative to run-down carnivals, I can only imagine the latter being far cheesier. Nice photos.

Melissa said...

Yeah, when my mom was in (public!) school in the 1960s, girls wearing trousers to class was simply out of the question. And her brothers got sent home for wearing jeans instead of dress pants.
My elementary school had a strict dress code of below-the-knee skirts only for girls, but that was parochial school.