Thursday, November 15, 2018

Color Snapshots, June 1977

I'm using up some "not great" snapshots from 1977. 1977? Jimmy Carter was sworn in as President; "Roots" aired on TV; Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors" was released; "Star Wars" opened in cinemas; "Space Mountain" opened at Disneyland; the first Apple II computers went on sale. That's some pretty cool stuff for one year!

We're going to be accompanying Little Miss Pigtails as she meets 'n greets various characters throughout the park. Here she is, looking apprehensive as the Big Bad Wolf is surrounded by a flock of tiny children. He loves his fans - with some A-1 steak sauce! Oh man! How do I do it? Watch out, Jay Leno. Two of the Li'l Pigs are in the background.

Notice the little stage in the distance, which I know very little about, except that (I believe) that it was only there for a short time. There is also part of a structure to our left that is painted green so that it will be as unobtrusive as possible, I wonder what that was for?

Next MP is holding hands with the Practical Pig, who looks angry but he's actually just very gassy.

Now Miss Pigtails is in front of the castle, and she is much more comfortable around friendly Doc. In the background, a lady balloon vendor! Now I've seen everything!

All the kids love Dopey, and they're jostling to get a picture with the silliest of the Dwarfs. I think that Miss Pigtails might have stepped into the other little girl's photo, and that girl is not happy about it. The little boy wants to know if he can fit his entire head into Dopey's ear.


Nanook said...


It's interesting how little children seem drawn to the Big Bad Wolf, but had that character been a clown instead, I suspect children would be running from the scene in tears.

(If only Practical Pig had been acquainted with Beano-!)

Actually, the young man in the last image is just trying to hear the sound of the ocean in Dopey's ear.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I'd like to know more about that little stage. I never saw it during any of my trips to the park, and I went in July of 1977.

That looks like a young Pia Zadora, in the lower left corner of the second pic.

Little Miss P. is probably the reason that all of the characters now have an organized line to meet them. She just had to go and ruin it for everyone else, by horning in on that other little girl's photo op. Her name should really be Little Miss "B", for "But-insky."

Chuck said...

Finally - a photo of the elusive Small World Stage!

It's mentioned as the venue for Kids of the Kingdom in the program for the October 1976 "Pooh for President" event, but a photo of that performance clearly shows a larger platform, almost certainly the Tomorrowland Stage.

I could almost swear I saw something performed on this stage in the mid-seventies, but what it could be I have no idea (although if pressed for comment, I would guess it was probably Disney-themed). Nice to see that this really did exist.

I think that green structure may be to block the view of the canal boats' backstage area. Since they never-never take guests back there, they probably never-never want guests to see what's there.

TM!, that can't be a young Pia Zadora. Everyone knows she grew up on Mars!

K. Martinez said...

The flatulent Practical Pig asked Little Miss Pigtails to pull his finger and she did. Always enjoy the character photos. Thanks, Major.

Chuck, Ah yes! Girma! I saw that movie in the theater when it was released back in 1964. I still remember some of it after 50+ years.

JC Shannon said...

Pia Zadora, Pia Zadora...It's just fun to say. At least Practical Pig won't blow his house down venting so much gas. Little Miss Pigtails is in her 40s now. I wonder if she is still mugging the camera and pulling fingers? I don't remember that little stage, but now I gotta know what it was used for. Perhaps one of the GDB family knows more about it. Thanks Major, for the scans.

zach said...

Does MP ever wonder where those DL trip photos are?

The reason for the present day 'handlers' is obvious when you see in Pic 1 Fiddler Pig in the background being run down by a pack of little ones.

For some reason I have no memories of interaction with characters but my kids did.

Thanks, Major


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I totally get why kids would want to take their pictures with the Dwarfs. Dopey is like a kid himself! But the BBW? With those teeth, and that lolling tongue? It’s a mystery to me.

TokyoMagic!, maybe that little stage was meant to replace the one that was lost when Space Mountain opened in 1977? I barely remember what Pia Zadora looked like, I thought she was blonde. Miss Pigtail’s parents are to blame for her being a buttinsky. “Go pose with Dopey, honey! Go ahead, stand next to Dopey! Daddy’s going to take your picture, honey!”. I can practically hear it.

Chuck, it makes sense that the Kids of the Kingdom would perform at the Small World Stage if the old Tomorrowland Stage was gone. And perhaps other musical acts performed there too, various rock bands and such. I’d love to know more. You might be right about the green structure blocking the view of the backstage area for the canal boats, but they sure didn’t seem that concerned about people seeing the area for the first 20 years or so.

K. Martinez, I don’t know if you remember this story, but some woman made a big deal about one of the Three Pigs groping her inappropriately. Little did she know that the arms hung uselessly and couldn’t grope anything. I’m sure she was hoping for a Disney payoff.

Jonathan, this is another case where I can’t help wondering why Miss Pigtails got rid of these photos of a happy childhood memory. Chuck says the little stage was used for “Kids of the Kingdom” - I’ll have to do a Google search for “Small World Stage” and see if anything comes up.

David Zacher, ha ha, I should have read ahead! Maybe Pigtails’ family had too many photos. My mom has boxes of photos going back to my great-grandparents. In many cases I don’t even know who the people are. And when my mom passes, my siblings and I will split the pictures that we want. Maybe the rest will go on eBay?

Chuck said...

Ken, first I saw it on TV in about 1977, and the stuff I remember vividly from that first viewing was the scenes of B-52s being scrambled and KC-135s passing gas to them. And something about Santa's kidnapping and a goofy but lovable Martian.

I was surprised to see it years later in The Book of Lists as one of the worst movies ever made. I now own my own copy on DVD but have only watched it once. I didn't think it was that bad, and the rest of the family enjoyed it. I think I'll be dusting that off this December...

Anonymous said...

1977 was a ghastly year for almost everything, and the girl in these pictures just about sums it up.

My vote is with Chuck for the green building being the backside of Neverland.

It looks like that corner of the Park has been targeted as a stage location for a long time. The stage location in the picture looks to be squarely across what is now the route to ToonTown, and thus is the lineal ancestor of the Fantasyland Stage.

The only thing I can recall about Pia Zadora is that her erstwhile husband bought the historic PickFair mansion for her and tore it down.

(Muttering imprecations)


TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, I forgot about your pic from Major's "Pooh for President" post. If the entertainment flyer states the show was on the Small World Stage, then I bet that is what we are seeing in your first photo. The stage curtains are hung the exact same way. It's probably just an illusion that it appears bigger in your close-up shot.

Ha, took me way too long to get your Mars reference, but it finally hit me....even before you posted the comment directly above. I thought you were just saying that Pia Zadora was a little "spacey." I have a 1979 magazine with some Disney articles in it that I'll be posting in January. There is a brief mention of Miss Zadora performing at a club in Hollywood. I wonder what she's been doing lately? Maybe it's time for her pop up on "Dancing With The Stars."

TokyoMagic! said...

JG, funny...that future post of mine also gives a brief mention (from me) about Miss Zadora "tearing down the historic Pickfair!" According to Wikipedia, Miss Zadora stated at the time she tore it down, that it was infested with termites. Then in a 2012 episode of "Celebrity Ghost Stories," she claims that it wasn't really infested with termites, but that it was haunted, and that is actually why she had it torn down. Hey, make up your mind, lady! If you remember, she had faced a lot of criticism from the public and also from Douglas Fairbanks Jr., for tearing it down.

TokyoMagic! said...

Oh, and could that green looking structure have housed dressing rooms for the stage shows? Perhaps it also stored the costumes for Kids of the Kingdom, as well as the rubber heads and costumes for the characters appearing in the show. The boat storage (Never Never Land) for Storybook Land would have been just south of that gate that we see in the second photo. I think that gate is what kept the public from seeing the boat storage area. That gate also spans across the former right-of-way of the Disneyland R.R. tracks, before they were moved north for the construction of It's A Small World.

Melissa said...

Girl in the foreground of #2 uses Pert shampoo, for bouncin' and behavin' hair.

Chuck said...

TM!, I really think that those photos show two different stages. I don't think there's enough room between the stage and the tree in today's photo for all the chairs in the Kids of the Kingdom picture, plus if you look at the fence in front of small world you get a sense of how big the stage actually is. There are also some detail differences elsewhere.

That said, wouldn't the Tomorrowland Stage have to have been torn out to build Space Mountain? And this photo I found today taken just before the Tomorrowland Stage's demolition shows a Bicentennial-themed proscenium arch, which is completely different from the one in my photo. It doesn't track that it would have had just curtains in October 1976, only to have had a Bicentennial rainbow installed later, after July 4th, to be torn down soon afterwards.

Was the Small World Stage only built to accommodate stage shows while the Tomorrowland Stage was gone and the Space Stage under construction?

Anonymous said...

@Tokyo, those were haunted termites! I remember my Mom being really irked at hearing the old house was taken down. She admired both Pickford and Fairbanks, like most of her generation.

That's a side effect of celebrity clients, they want what they want until they don't want it anymore. Lots of beautiful things go that way.

Re: the gate. I think you are right, the green building is too far north to be boat storage, but it is definitely back-of-house"something". The gate is still there today, only now it has an elaborate IASW theme. I didn't connect the gate with the old DLRR r.o.w. but now that you say it, it has to be.


Chuck said...

I think I've posed more questions than I've answered, haven't I?

TokyoMagic! said...

JG, ha, ha....haunted termites! That's it! I was originally going to say that that green structure must be sitting on "Small World Meadow" land, but upon looking more closely, I believe it's possible that structure could have been sitting just east of the fenced off meadow area. It must have been temporary, whatever it was used for, because we dont' see it in other pics of this area.

Chuck, I don't know.....I still vote for the small appearance of the stage as being an illusion because of the distance from which the picture was taken. Your flyer states, "Small World Stage" for that Kids of the Kingdom performance and Disney is never wrong. Or are they? By the way, I have a pic of the Tomorrowland Stage from the early to mid seventies and that proscenium was in place, but it was painted the colors of the rainbow. I'm not sure when it was built in front of the stage, but I'm guessing it existed prior to any bicentennial celebrations. I love that pic you found, showing the stage sitting there with the a half-constructed Space Mountain behind it. I didn't realize that it sat there that long. I only remember a construction wall spanning from Mission to Mars, over to the Character Shop. Do you think the stage could have remained standing behind the construction wall for a while, or do you think the stage was still in public view and used, even though Space Mt. was going up behind it?

Chuck said...

TM!, on further reflection, I don't see where else that Kids of the Kingdom photo could have been taken but at the Small World Stage. That rainbow proscenium that was there when they tore the Tomorrowland Stage down seems to clinch it.

I'm still confused with that tree and planter, but maybe they were just out of view to the right of my photo. Or maybe they were planted later.

Here's my working theory: they built the Small World Stage to have an outdoor theater venue during the gap between the Tomorrowland Stage's demise and the Space Stage's completion. By the time these were taken (spring 1977), the Space Stage had already opened (this online source says it opened in January 1977) but Small World Theater had yet to be torn down. Maybe it was retained for a period for short performances where the audience didn't need to sit. That explains why there are no seats in the area in front of it. To fill the open space, they planted a small tree and flower bed (note that there is no tree in that location in July 1974).

Here's another GDB photo I found of the same general area but looking at it from iasw, also from 1976. No chairs are set up, but you can see there was a lot of open space there.

Additionally, for everyone else's reference, here's a 1972 Daveland photo that shows the Tomorrowland Stage with the rainbow proscenium you mentioned in your comment.

Chuck said...

Wait, wait - I've found the Holy Grail! Check out this August 1976 photo from Daveland!

So this is what the seating for the Small World Stage looked like. They pushed back the curved fence and benches visible in the aforementioned 1976 photo so that they could put chairs around the trees on the periphery of the seating area stage right, but the planter and tree visible in today's photo were not there yet. I think that TM! and our 1976 Pooh for President program are indeed correct.

Whew! Now I can get on with my life.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, you are an inspiration to us all.


TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, I concur with you......and JG!

Melissa said...

Haunted termites? Grim grinning grubs come out to pulverize...

TokyoMagic! said...

Melissa, that needs to be a song. And an attraction. Maybe if Knott's ever rebuilds it's Haunted Shack (fat chance, I know!), they could add singing animatronic termite larvae!

Anonymous said...

I apologize for chiming in so late, but wanted to thank you for a rare photo of that stage. Also wanted to confirm that the green building is too far north to be part of Storybook. If a dressing room, I wondered if it was used for when this area became Baloo's meet-and-greet.

I believe that this stage was also called something like "Meadows Amphitheater" though I'm not sure when or for how long. CMs love holding onto old names even though things change and some CMs continued calling this area "Meadow" long after Videopolis was built (the name has died out since they've mostly retired).

Itsasmallandia said...

I would have been pissed if that little girl cut me to take a picture with practical pig