Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Frontierland, September 1966

Here are a few iffy photos of Frontierland (circa September, 1966) - not great, but not bad either. Maybe they're "just right"? Only you can be the judge.

We're aboard the Columbia, looking toward a brand-new land called "New Orleans Square". I guess it will be a place to get drunk and wear plastic beads? Since this was September of '66, there were no humongous lines in front of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" building (the one with the cupola and flag). That ride debuted in March of 1967, and was promptly forgotten by everybody.

This is what you get when you try to grab a quick snapshot from a moving train; it's a sort of Rorschach test. I see one of those dinosaurs that spits poisonous green goo... I see a giant flower... I see a rare bird of paradise.

Here's an unusual angle looking toward a surprisingly undeveloped-looking corner of Frontierland, with the cupola of the not-yet-open Haunted Mansion to our right, and the French Market and Frontierland Station to the left. A canoe glides along the sparkling River - a very pretty scene.


Nanook said...


That dinosaur seems to be eluding me, but I do spy 'the backside of Chief Wavy'. Yes, that third image paints quite the picture - and the lack of crowds-!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Does anyone know when they extended that wall and railing along the edge of the river (visible in that first pic)? I see an open spot in the foliage on the right side of that same pic. I wonder if anyone ever fell in the river.

As for that second pic....the "backside" of Wavy!

TokyoMagic! said...

Oh, man! Nanook beat me to it by two minutes!

TokyoMagic! said...

Make that three. I guess I can't subtract.

K. Martinez said...

All three images today are pretty spectacular.

I also love the open space between the French Market and Haunted Mansion, but what I want to know is what is the long black shape on the left side of the third image? Is it a lamppost? Thanks, Major.

Stu29573 said...

Any Haunted Mansion picture is good! Actually, I think I like the "before opening" pictures best, because you can just imagine the anticipation building! You know, like in that ketchup commercial...but with more ghosts...

Stefano said...

That is a great Chief Wavy photo, another "if you didn't know it was Disneyland, you'd think it was real" scene.

TokyoMagic!, here on GDB there are pictures from autumn 1970 of the river drained for rehab. That would have been the prime time for adding the border railing.

Matthew said...

@ Tokyomagic - That has been a question I too have had. I just need to spend some time on these blog sights looking for when not only the river railing but also the rails around the grass areas stated arriving in the park. My understanding is a lot of those showed up after Walt's death (the "sharp pencil boys" trying to save a little money by not replacing the grass as often if Guests don't walk on it).

As to your question of wondering if anyone fell in... the unfortunate answer is yes and some with tragic consequences (June 1973, Bogden Delaurout drowned swimming from Tom Sawyer's Island). When I worked there a man fell overboard from the Mark Twain. Here is a picture of a man in the river... but I think he may belong there. ;-)

@ K Martinez - Yep that is a lamppost.

Actually, our first photo is taken from the Promenade deck of the Mark Twain. The rigging you see is for the boom at the front of the ship (The boom is barely visible in the upper right corner).

GREAT photos today Major!

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Matthew said...

@ Stefano - I think you are right! That would make sense judging by the photos I found here at GDB by typing in, "1970 Rivers of America." You can see the rails going in on one of the photos and all the foliage removed from the rivers edge. GREAT find!! Thank you.

Always your pal!

JC Shannon said...

Unusual angles and great scenery. The Chief is still the Chief, no three toed lizard is going to ruin his ride. The third scan looks like a Hamms beer commercial, all that's missing is the Hamms Bear. Three more winners today. How does the Major keep hitting it out of the park? Does he have some special powers, is he tapping into some cosmic conscience? We will probably never know. All we can do is sip our Dole Whips and enjoy the ride.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, nope, I don’t see it. Definitely a dinosaur.

TokyoMagic!, I fall in the river every time I go. Maybe if they built those fences 8 feet high, the public wouldn’t be in such danger? And I would never put up a photo of somebody’s backside.

TokyoMagic!, you have to get up pretty early in the morning to beat Nanook.

TokyoMagic!, you are doing math using “base eight”, and are doing it brilliantly.

K. Martinez, is there something in that space between the French Market and the Mansion nowadays? Or is it just the area leading up to New Orleans Station? Yes, I believe that the black thing is a light post.

Stuart Powley, I agree, I like thinking about the Mansion in those early days. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors that it was originally much scarier (“Somebody died of a heart attack because it was so frightening!”) - I think that’s a case of wishing it was true. As much as I love Marc Davis’ gags throughout the second half of the attraction, I think I reallylove the moody, spookier stuff that precedes it.

Matthew, part of me sympathizes with Disney’s extreme safety measures, since we have all heard of people hoping to sue them for one thing or another (such as being groped by one of the three little pigs, in spite of the fact that the arms hang uselessly). Wow, somebody actually fell off the Mark Twain into the river? How clumsy can a person be. I remember reading about the boy drowning in the river, but in that case I think he was trying to rescue his brother - both of them were up to mischief that ended tragically. Thanks for the correction about the Columbia!

Matthew, my understanding is that the river was originally lined with a layer of impermeable clay, and at some point that was replaced with a layer of cement. I wonder if that happened at the same point as the railings were added?

Jonathan, those are definitely some “sky blue waters”, just like in the Hamm’s theme! I’m not so sure I am hitting it out of the park that much, it’s just that you guys are a good audience, which I definitely appreciate.

Chuck said...

Major, that grassy area between the French Market and the Mansion is called "Magnolia Park," and currently has a lot more walkways, a fountain, and a popcorn wagon in it. Daveland has a series of relatively recent (2012-15) photos here.

And, yeah - I could stand a day in this Disneyland, even without a spin through either the HM or PotC.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, thanks for the link to the Daveland photo. Even without the two primary New Orleans Square attractions, there would be tons of wonderful stuff to do, especially knowing what we know today!

TokyoMagic! said...

Stefano, of course....the 1970 rehab! I don't know why I didn't think of that.

Amazon Belle, thanks for that link.

Major, I think Disney should make the fence 8 feet high....but they should make Knott's pay for it. ;-)

Anonymous said...

This is a great thread, I am laughing my "backside" off.

Thanks everyone. Good to return after a week away. I missed all of this and all of you.