Monday, December 31, 2018


Welcome to the 365th post of the year! That's practically one post on each of your Earth days. I wasn't sure what to post today, and was digging through various files and folders, until I discovered more portraits of Walt Disney at the park, generously donated by GDB pal Huck Caton. Perfect!

Here's Walt with some men of mystery, standing on what I believe is the trail for the Pack Mules (notice Cascade Peak behind the trees). I'm guessing that the old Rainbow Caverns Mine Train had just been upgraded to include the fabulous "Nature's Wonderland" additions. It looks like the waterfalls on Cascade Peak were not turned on yet. I wonder if Walt's left hand originally held a cigarette, and it has been skillfully painted out?

Next we see Walt and a gentleman who is presumably a foreign dignitary of some kind, up in the pilot house of the Mark Twain. Does anybody recognize the man at the wheel?

I'm also wondering why the board that Walt is leaning on has that partial arc cut out at the bottom. It seems to serve no purpose, and yet it was clearly done deliberately.

Walt in color! This must be May 28, 1966, at the dedication ceremony for "It's a Small World". I'm happy that this attraction (a transplant from the 1964 New York World's Fair) is still with us today. Children from all over the world poured water from famous rivers (such as the majestic Los Angeles River, I guess) into the ride's trough. Walt looks so energetic and vital here, it's hard to believe that he passed away just seven months later.

We're back on the Mark Twain again, and Walt is accompanied by another mystery person with poor posture. A friend of mine thought it could be Richard Nixon, but I am not sure I have ever seen Nixon wearing dark glasses, and I don't think he smoked either (he was a Quaker, after all).

Speaking of smoke, you can see the Smoke Tree Ranch monogram on Walt's tie.

And finally, here's a very happy Walt with the famous "Rocket Man", aka William P. Suitor, who made thousands of flights with his Rocket Belt. He appeared at Disneyland in celebration of the park's "Tencennial", and his still-cool flight was featured on "The Wonderful World of Color" (narrated by Walt himself).

Many thanks to Huck for sharing these great photos with us. And I hope all of you have a safe and happy New Year's Eve!


Nanook said...


Definitely some nice images of Walt. I think in the case of the first one, Walt is merely about to throw some dice, as he and the guys are playing a game of craps. That oval-shaped cut-out on the Mark Twain looks as if it's there so the pilot (or is he the captain-?) can simply push a cafeteria tray right through it when he's done with his dinner break.

Happy New Year's Eve, Major, and the rest of the gang. Special thanks to Huck for allowing us to wind-up the year with Walt.

K. Martinez said...

In the first pic it looks like the creek in the "Beaver Valley" segment. I love the True-Life Adventure connection to "Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland"

That partial arc cut out you mention is on both sides of the cross-board of the front of the wheelhouse. Perhaps it's just a design element to make a plain board across the front more ornamental or lighter. Probably wrong, but that's my guess.

The Admiral Joe Fowler Riverboat at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom had the same arc cutouts on the front of the wheelhouse, but no open gaps like the Mark Twain. The Richard F. Irvine Riverboat (Liberty Belle) does not.

Huck Caton has provided us "Walt" photos before. I love 'em. Thanks, Huck!

Happy New Year's Eve to all and be safe!

budblade said...

Wow! I cant’t think of a better way to end a year than with pictures of a smiling Walt Disney.
Thanks Major for a year packed with fun,history,wonderful pictures, and information.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Ditto to what budblade said. I love seeing pics of Walt at the park. You can always see the joy/pride in his face in just about every shot.
The park may have been built to share with the world and make money but get real Walt wanted it first and foremost because "he" wanted to be there. If they hadn't built him an apartment (above the firehouse) he would have probably been sleeping on a cot in the caboose of the train.

Thanks to Huck and Major for sharing and a safe and happy new year to all the GDBr's everywhere.

Melissa said...

I am going to accept it as Canon that Walt spent at least one night on a cot in the caboose, simply because it's something he totally *would* do if it occurred to him.

It's easy to understand how people got swept up in his enthusiasm; you can feel it just by looking at these pictures.

Thanks to Huck and the Maj, and all the Gorilla Scouts for making the old year a bit brighter. Here's to the new one!

JC Shannon said...

How many people do you know, who can say, "How about a ride on my riverboat?" Walt was surrounded by the coolest toys on the planet, and he wanted to share them with the world. When I see a photo of Walt talking with anyone, I wonder, what was he saying? Was he running a new idea up the flagpole? If Walt had lived a few years more, what great new attractions would he have come up with? Tonight, I will raise a glass to Major Pepperidge, Huck, GDBers and of course Walt for the great scans throughout the year. Cheers everyone!

K. Martinez said...

Now I want a Gorilla Scouts uniform to wear.

Hey Major, (hay is for horses) Forgot to thank you for all the posts you've done this year. That's a lot of work. 2018 was a great year on your blog and the GDB faithful made it a great one too. Looking forward to more awesome posts along with the leftuggies and snooze-worthy stuff in 2019.

Nanook said...

@ Ken-

Hay may be for horses, but how's about Hey, Hey, In the Hayloft for a film reference-?

Anonymous said...

I was just a few years shy of being at the helm of the MT. Sorry to have missed Walt but those of us at that time as CMs still had his pixie dust surrounding us. Happy New Year to all. KS

K. Martinez said...


Yeah, that's an excellent reference! Director John Sullivan churned out a lot of fluff comedies like "Hey, Hey, in the Hayloft", "Ants in your Plants" and "So Long Sarong", but then wanted to get serious and direct a "message" picture (with a little sex in it).

JC Shannon said...

Ken, I want a uniform too.
Here are some possible Merit Badges one could earn: Rode the Bobsleds three times in one day. 20 Churros in one sitting. Climbed up fire pole and touched Walt's floor. Crewed the Columbia. Bring back the Mine Train petition badge. Finished a whole Dole Whip on Mr. Toad's.
I picture a green jumpsuit, an Alpen Hat with GDB sewn on the brim. Stylin'!

Anonymous said...

What splendid pictures, these are real treasures.

A great way to end the year.

Thanks for sharing, Huck and the Major.

Thanks to the Gorilla Chorus for the supporting acts.

Wish all of you well for the New Year.


Nanook said...

@ Ken-

Ants In Your Plants of 1939 - PLEASE-!
I still like - (with great apologies to Pittsburgh):
-It died in Pittsburgh.
-Like a dog!
-Aw, what do they know in Pittsburgh...
-They know what they like.
-If they knew what they liked, they wouldn't live in Pittsburgh!

K. Martinez said...


That's right! It was "Ants in Your Plants of 1939". It's been a while since I've watched "Sullivan's Travels" so my recollections are getting foggy. Time to watch it again, I think.

I like the Pittsburgh quote too. I had some friends back in the day who were born and raised in Pittsburgh during the 1950's and 60's and they would probably agree with that sentiment. In fact it was one of those friends who turned me on to Kennywood. I liked Pittsburgh when I visited in the early 1980's though, but my memories are getting foggy on that trip too.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it is well known that Walt like to roll them bones! I think that cut out area is there so that people can stick their fingers through and wave. It’s the only logical explanation.

K. Martinez, yes, I think that is in the Beaver Valley area. I suppose that cutout is a form of ornamentation, though it is a low-key version. Thanks for the links to the various photos of different boats! There are still a few Walt portraits from Huck, so stay tuned.

budblade, a post featuring Walt did seem like a good way to end 2018! Thanks to you for your contributions.

Alonzo, it really does seem like Disneyland was a dream come true for Walt himself - modern publicity gloms on to that phrase until one never wants to hear it again, but as you said, the place was there because he wanted it. Thanks for your nice comment!

Melissa, gosh, I would love to know for sure if Walt slept in the caboose, but I agree with you, why wouldn’t he, at least once? A pleasant summer evening, the lights on in Frontierland, Dixieland music playing in the background… sounds pretty sweet. Thank you, Melissa!

Jonathan, yeah, I would love to be the “fly on the wall” to hear what he and his guests were discussing. My guess is that whatever he said got his visitors as excited about the Mark Twain as he was. I look forward to more of your fun comments in 2019!

K. Martinez, there’s no uniform yet, but when I design one, it will definitely have a pith helmet for headgear. Thanks for the kind words!

Nanook, uh, whut?

KS, do you mean you were too young to pilot the Twain? From what little I know of your time at Disneyland, it sounds like you lived the dream!

K. Martinez, ah, I see, it’s from “Sullivan’s Travels”. I haven’t seen that movie since I was a kid, and have mostly forgotten it, sadly.

Jonathan, merit badges are fine, but wouldn’t you rather have a chest full of genuine medals and ribbons? I know I would! Maybe a nice sash, too. And a riding crop. I like your uniform idea, although it is completely lacking in day-glo fun fur.

JG, thanks for all of your friendly comments!

Nanook, I realize that your Pittsburgh conversation is from a movie, but my friend Mr. X once lamented that his grandkids were moving to Pittsburgh. “X, you can always go visit them there”, I said helpfully. “I’m never going to Pittsburgh!” he exclaimed.

K. Martinez, I never went to Pittsburgh when I lived in Pennsylvania, but my impression of it, along with Philadelphia and Harrisburg, is that they were all cities with a lot of poverty and urban decay. I used to love to go into Harrisburg, but admit that my pre-teen eyes probably did not notice the squalor. It was always exciting to cross the bridge over the Susquehanna River and approach the big Capitol building.

Melissa said...

-If they knew what they liked, they wouldn't live in Pittsburgh!

Reminds me of when the lady on the Weather Channel would say, "Another foot of snow in Buffalo, but I guess if they didn't like it they wouldn't live there HAHAHAHAHA!" [Expletive deleted]

All my memories of Pittsburgh are good because I go there for specific fun events, but you can still see the scars of industrial decline as in many US cities.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, she has a point, why don't the people of Buffalo just move to San Diego? So easy! Since you have been to Kennywood, I can see why you might have nice thoughts about P-burgh.

Chuck said...

Pittsburgh can't be that bad. There's a well-renowned pawn shop on a corner.

Vaughn said...

My guess after reading a bit from V22 of International Marine Engineering is that the board is a weather shield and the oval opening is for visibility when closed during severe weather. On the Mark Twain however, it would be purely cosmetic for authenticity.

Matthew said...

VERY LATE to the party. But to answer the question about the boards and the cut out...

@Vaughn is correct. It actual was our foul weather Standard Operating Procedure to close the boards and use those small slats to look through. The Captain had control over the bell system to alert the Steam Engineer as to forward, stop or reverse paddle motion. There as also a "Deck Watch" position who was responsible to walk the decks, greeting Guests, answering questions, and watching out for any "river traffic." This position was the back up to the captain and could relay information to the Steam Engineer.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

PS Happy New Year and thanks Huck and Gorillas Don't Blog (Dave), and all the other GDB readers for your comments, comedy, and just all around greatness!