Friday, February 01, 2019

Surrey and Streetcar, November 1958

I love the old Main Street vehicles - some of them are still with us, but, like the mysterious Yeti in Nepal, or the elusive Loch Ness Monster, some are rarely seen! One of those crypto-contraptions is the Surrey, which is 100% delightful, from it's bright yellow wheels, glossy black paint (handy in case you also need to transport a corpse), and fringed top (the fringe is black, so it's hard to see here). 

The Red Wagon Inn is to the left; to our right...

... there's a candy-striped pavilion, next to the Baby Station (sponsored by Pablum). The sign overhead says "Thomas A. Edison Square: Grand Opening 1959". It looks like concept artwork was displayed for curious guests. What a fascinating detail! Thomas Edison is famous for inventing the Pop Tart.

From the same group comes this lovely photo of a Horse Drawn Streetcar. No miniature horse here, they got themselves a big guy! I wonder how hard it is to move one of those when it's full? Even with well-oiled wheels, it's probably no trivial matter.

Notice the Christmas tree to the left - unadorned at this point, but it's only November; presumably it will soon be covered in hundreds of shiny ornaments.


Nanook said...


AND... the elusive "N. Main St." sign; so important back in the pre-Goggle Maps days. Just imagine the confusion if one accidentally addressed a letter to Gibson Greeting Cards at North Main Street-??!!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

If Thomas A. Edison Square was going to have it's grand opening in 1959, they must have been planning to build it very quickly. Although, I guess things did get built quicker back in those days. Didn't the Matterhorn, Submarine Lagoon and Monorail all go up in just a couple weeks? ;-)

JC Shannon said...

Grandma looks like she is enjoying the surrey ride. She would remember horse drawn first hand, it is 1958 remember. Cool. It's early in the morning and still misty as the streetcar emerges for a day of nostalgic transportation fun. I wanna be the first to ride!
Let's not forget Thomas Edison also invented the Reeses Cup and the Flowbee. Great, now I want some Pablum. It's really tasty with some brown sugar and a little cream. Thanks Major.

zach said...

Just think, if Edison Square had been built we would have Mickey shaped Pop-Tarts®! Not sure if they go with Pablum, though. True fact- Pablum is a contracted form of the Latin word pabulum, which means "foodstuff". That's a stretch.

Grandma is remembering the days she used to make out in the back of a Surrey. She is also remembering the birth of the automobile and winged flight. I would love to talk to her but not about the surrey. What happens in the surrey stays in the surrey.

Fun pics of old timey transportation that people of the period took for granted. I remember way back in the 50s when I saw a bi-plane fly over and I pointed it out to my Mom and she said she remembered when a mono winged plane was a rarity.

Thanks, Major, Happy Friday everyone


JG said...

I never knew that "Pablum" was a brand name, I've never seen it capitalized, and always thought it was an alternate spelling of the Latin as David Zacher describes.

And yet, "Livery" has nothing to do with liver. Not sure how that is, but words are powerful sorcery.

As a kid, I never had much time for those Main Street vehicles. Too slow, and I was always in a hurry to get to the Matterhorn.

According to the sign, riding those vehicles is only 10 cents or an A ticket. What a bargain. I wish I had saved all the old tickets we had floating around, but pretty sure we tossed them in a move after the Parks went to the open admission they have now. I used to hoard them and take them back the next year.

Fascinating stuff and interesting photos. Thanks Major.


Melissa said...

Pigs and dogs and sheep better scurry…

Major, I think you,'ll find that the Pop-Tart was invented by Iggy Pop, while Thomas Edison invented the English Muffin. Then again, I think a lot of things.

JG, I used to think there was a pool of liver in Liverpool.

Nanook said...

@ David Zacher-

Shortly after the film Titanic was released, I was chatting with one of my great aunts, and it dawned on me she was alive when the Titanic sank-! And as she re-confirmed - sorry, not even radio back then. A trip to the corner store or newsstand was necessary to find out all that's happening. (She lived to be 100 years old - and in essentially perfect health right up to the end).

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the street signs were needed because the Main Street / downtown area is so hard to navigate. And being lost in the big city is scary.

TokyoMagic!, I have no doubt that they would have built Edison Square in less than a year. I can’t decide if I would rather have Edison Square, or the Carousel of Progress, but I think the latter was amazing because of the fairly new AA technology.

Jonathan, when I look at photos of my grandmother as a girl, there are horses and carts in their yard, even though automobiles did exist. I don’t think her family were considered “early adopters” of anything! You know who uses a Flowbee? George Freakin’ Clooney, that’s who. I’m still not sure what Pablum actually is. My little brother used to eat something called “Baby Gerber”, which was (I believe) oatmeal, only it was ground extra fine so that it made a soft goop.

David Zacher, you mean we don’t have Mickey-shaped Pop Tarts NOW? What a lost opportunity! “Pabulum”, eh? I am fluent in ancient Greek, but I admit that my Latin is rusty. Grandma really did live from the days of the horse and buggy to humans landing on the Moon. My grandma even thought about getting a Mac. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bi-plane actually fly!

JG, here’s an odd memory… I first remember hearing the word “pablum” on an episode of the “Tony Orlando and Dawn Rainbow Hour” TV variety show. There was a terrible “Sweet Gypsy Rose” sketch where pablum was mentioned. WHY do I remember that 40 years later? Thomas Edison’s original Pop-Tarts were filled with liver paste. And yes, to this day I have still never been on a single Main Street Vehicle. Pathetic. Don’t you know that 10 cents equals $1000 when adjusted for inflation?

Melissa, I am just happy thinking of a world in which pigs and dogs (I thought he says “ducks”?) and sheep live together in peace and harmony. Iggy Pop didn’t invent the Pop Tart, but he made it what we know now, with the frosting and fruit fillings. Iggy LOVES fruit fillings! He used to roll around on a pile of them onstage when he was at CBGB’s.

Nanook, yes, my grandma was born in 1905, so she was definitely alive when the Titanic went down. We never talked about it, though… I wonder if she had any memories of the event; she was pretty young. I don’t think my family really got into radio until the 1940’s. And my grandmother did not approve of television, she thought it was low-brow or something. Of course eventually even she had to give in!

Melissa said...

The real lyrics are, "Chicks and ducks and geese." I just get a giggle out of the image of chasing down larger animals.

The whole Edisin Square thing is one of the things I admire most about Walt. He wasn't afraid to announce these big, ambitious projects as fait accompli at a stage where more cautious minds would still consider it too soon to show their hand.


Technically that SURREY is a WAGONETTE . Disneyland had four authentic SURREYS ( two Cut Under - Fringe Top SURREY olive green with yellow straw colored wheels and one deep green with red wheels ) and two Auto Top SURREYS .... both black one with red wheels one with black wheels)

Since they were only capable of carrying one drive and three passengers, they quickly became relegated to parades and VIP tours . The Wagonettes continued to be used because of their bigger capacity and ease of loading . However the nomenclature remained SURREYS. Even the first Main Street vehicle stops signs featured cut sillouettes if the vehicles — fire Wagon, Street Car etc.... and the REAL SURREY sillouettes remained on the signs long after they WAGONETTES replaced them!

Walt had all kinds of authentic horse drawn vehicles made for the opening of Disneyland - all were authentic vehicle types “Disneyland scale” Main Street even had a Beer Wagon!! Many of the wagons were used fir show only and didn’t carry guests. Over time it was easier to use motorized vehicles on Main Street .

Up untill the closure of Big Thunder Ranch — the SURREY/WAGONETTES , the REAL SURREYS and other of Walt’s horse drawn vehicles were left outside to ROT after their storage warehouse had been torn down .

K. Martinez said...

The surreys and Walt’s horse drawn vehicles were left outside to ROT? How wonderful! Disney cares.

Nice pics today, Major! I especially love the Horse-Drawn Street Car in Town Square.

Melissa said...

We had a gorgeous real buggy in our production of Oklahoma!, but it was clearly NOT a surrey.The wheels weren't yellow, the upholstery wasn't brown, there was no dashboard to BE gen-u-ine leather. There was no place for Isinglass curtains you could roll right down in case of a change in the weather. Heck, there wasn't even a top to put fringe on. But we figured if we sang with enough conviction, nobody would notice.

(I think it worked. We didn't kill a single chick, duck, or goose.)

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, I can’t help imagining a few ducks that were too slow. CRUNCH. Not only was Edison Square announced, it appeared on those big souvenir wall maps for years (along with “International Street”) - it really felt as if both of those projects were definitely going to happen.

Mike Cozart, I was thinking, “There are more than 3 passengers in the Surrey in today’s photo”, but then realized that Grandma is just standing behind it (with her pal). Four Surreys, I had no idea they had that many! I want to collect ‘em all (even in photo form). Any idea what ever became of the short-lived Buckboards that we see in a few early magazines and postcards? Arg, it makes me angry that they let those beautiful old vehicles rot. So careless.

K. Martinez, ha, obviously you and I are on the same page when it comes to those surreys. I like the Street Car shot, but the Surrey photo is so lovely, and I don’t have nearly as many pictures of those.

Melissa, I learned about isinglass from the book, “Swiss Family Robinson”. I wish your production of “Oklahoma!” had used Mattel “Big Wheels” instead of that buggy. Update things a little! Also, have Curly wear a backwards baseball cap and make him a skateboard expert who has to jump a canyon to defeat the evil Jud and win Laurey's heart. I HAVE IDEAS!

Nanook said...

You better hire yourself an "Agnes Gooch" to follow you around, preserving all those 'great ideas'-!! Society needs them-!!

@ Melissa-
Yeah - but did you kill any pigs, dogs, or sheep-?? A-ha-!!

Chuck said...

When I was in junior high in the early '80s, I was looking at my grandmother's copy of A Night to Remember about the sinking of the Titanic when my grandfather told me he remembered the event. My father objected, pointing out that Titanic had sunk in 1912 and he hadn't been born until 1913. On further discussion, he realized that what he had been remembering for 70 years as the Titanic going down was actually the sinking of the Lusitania.

Now that I think about it, he was my only grandparent that was born after the Titanic sank. That generation lived through so many amazing changes - 46 to 50 states, two World Wars, heavier than air flight to people walking on the Moon, horse buggies to dune buggies to moon buggies. Two lived to see great-grandchildren, and one lived to nearly 104 (that would be the grandmother who rode Splash Mountain at 91).

Melissa said...

I've sometimes wondered if my mother's vague memory of seeing someone getting injured on a carousel was real, or remembered from a sleepy late-night viewing of Strangers on a Train.

Dean Finder said...

Major, didn't your grandmother know that father in the CoP predicts "the day when millions of people will learn Latin and Greek sitting in front of their TV sets." Low-brow indeed.

Speaking of which, if I'm riding the CoP with someone who hasn't been on it with me before, I always point out that the changes in the scenes were the actual experience for most of the people who saw the show in its initial run at the World's Fair.