Sunday, May 05, 2019

Too-Dark Town Square

Whenever I find a batch of slides in which every example is too dark, I can't help wondering if they didn't have hundreds of other photos at home that had a similar sooty appearance. It's a bit of a bummer, but we'll manage somehow.

Town square should look sunny and bright, even if it was later in the afternoon, but instead it looks like the slide was tinted with a glaze of black oil paint. Details vanish in the shadows. But we can still make out  things like the Bekins moving van, ladies in their poofy skirts, and that large round sign for the Omnibus that I don't remember ever noticing before. 

A yellow banner has been hung across Main Street; "Disneyland Welcomes...", but we'll never know who they welcomed. I always like seeing the Wurlitzer shop on the corner; such an odd thing for an amusement park. Did they ever actually sell a piano or an organ to anybody?


Nanook said...


That Omnibus sign is a puzzlement. From this angle, it almost looks as though it's a giant bass drum in a parade. Wouldn't that be a hoot... waiting guests could just grab the conveniently-placed 'concert bass drum mallet' and begin pounding-away, as a friendly alert to the Omnibus driver-! (THAT wouldn't be a distraction, now would it-?)

No actual pianos or organs were sold at the Main Street WurliTzer store - however, guests could purchase player piano rolls and leave their contact info for a possible later sale of a piano or organ.

Thanks, Major.

Andrew said...

Those tiny, flimsy little fences around the flower boxes have always screamed early Disneyland to me. I wonder how many rebellious kids jumped over them to play in the grass?

JC Shannon said...

I'm pretty sure the banner says welcome to Major Pepperidge Lonely Park Club Band. To which the Major replied "It's wonderful to be here, its certainly a thrill!" Major P. was then literally given the keys to the Kingdom. He and his whole band headed straight for the Mine Train quicker than you can say Billy Shears. Thanks Major.

K. Martinez said...

Welcome to Walt Dingy's DINGYLAND!

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

It was the middle of the day when I rolled into Town Square with nothing but a case of heartburn and a crumpled "A" coupon in my pocket. Yeah, it was the middle of the day, but it was as dark as yesterday's coffee. It was the kind of dark that comes from the quiet desperation of a man with nothing to lose, or from a camera as cheap as human life. Sure, there was a giant "Welcome" banner hanging over the street like the angel of death, but it didn't have my name on it. Well, it might have been my name. Like the man says, all names look alike in the dark.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, you’re right, it does look like a bass drum! On a busy day I’d think that a large sign like that could potentially be a problem - people bonking their heads on it, for instance. It clearly wasn’t used for very long! As for pianos being sold, I disagree! Think of all the pictures we’ve seen of a family rolling their new baby grand piano through Frontierland.

Penna. Andrew, it’s true, those little wire fences were only used through 1956 I believe. I think Daveland had a photo of a family having a picnic on a fenced-off area! No respect for tiny fences.

Jonathan, if you look carefully you’ll see my photo on the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. But I cannot reveal where! I still remember my mom playing that album so much when I was a kid. We loved that the lyrics were printed on the back cover.

K. Martinez, I truly wonder if slides like this are so dark and dingy because of a mere aperture issue, or if there was something else going on with the film.

Melissa, you must have a brother named Sam Spade! I used to listen to the radio show with Howard Duff, I always loved it when he would drive his car up a canyon road that I’d been on, or when he met a “dame”, he always described their legs!

stu29573 said...

"I don't care what they told you, you can't take your new piano on the pack mules!"

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Gorillas Don't Blog-Game of Thrones Edition.

If'n I said once I said it fitty times. It's easier to make light photos darker than dark photos lighter. Still any photos of the Omnibus and Town Square are worth the effort. Thanks.

Major Pepperidge said...

stu29573, the Pack Mule CMs had to say those very words at least 50 times a day!

Alonzo, ha ha, these do resemble the latest very dark episodes of Game of Thrones! And yes, you can always darken a photo, but it doesn't work so well the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Melissa that was one of your best posts. Now I want a paperback book with the entire story.

Anonymous said...

What Anonymous 01 said. Brilliant stuff, Melissa.

Major, my working theory is that these photos were taken by Caravaggio, or possibly Ribera, and the artist added a thick layer of dark varnish to the photos to make them more like their works in oils. These have a very "tenebrosi" look to them.

Or, it could just be the result of a camera " cheap as human life...", which is almost the same thing.

Thanks for the effort to resurrect these lost images.