Thursday, July 25, 2019

View From a Peoplemover, November 1975

Today's scans are a from a large lot (30 or so) of slides that were all taken in Tomorrowland. So crazy! I'm posting them in the order in which they were taken (based on the number stamp), which occasionally makes for some less-fantastic pairings. But something tells me that you'll all be OK.

So we're still aboard the Peoplemover, as the little motorless train is making a left turn toward the "Adventure Thru Inner Space" building, where guests get a tantalizing preview of that attraction - Atomobiles and the Mighty Microscope! What's not to love?

Down below is the Plaza/Hub. You can really see the swirly pattern in the flower beds that flank the entrance to Tomorrowland. 

Moving right along (the Peoplemover is always moving right along), we're now passing the Carousel Theater, home of "America Sings" by 1976 (well, by June of 1974, to be precise). That attraction was located on the lower level, while the trains would go through the "Super Speed Tunnel" the following year. I'm glad to know that there will be plenty of graceful palm trees in The Future.



TokyoMagic! said...

In that first pic, I think there might be a set of adult twins (Melissa!) wearing matching outfits and just about to cross the bridge into Frontierland.

I remember riding the PeopleMover through the America Sings building during this period of time. There was just two years.....or maybe even less, when there wasn't a Progress City or a Super Speed Tunnel upstairs. After the PeopleMover cars entered the building, there was artwork on the walls for Disneyland's next "future attraction," Space Mountain. I remember being very excited to find out that it was finally coming to Disneyland, after seeing it included on the large souvenir maps for almost 10 years.


Any images of or from the PEOPLEMOVER are great to see! In 1975 guests entering the upper floor of America Sings got a preview of the future of Tomorrowland via large color images of concept art mounted to plexiglas and back lit ( similar to the circle-Vision preview panels ) these focused mainly on SPACE MOUNTAIN . At one point a quarter inch scale model of the Space Mountain “dome” was featured in a dramatically lighted recessed “box” behind one of the plexi panels was featured - this was the same model that was featured on the cover of a 1977 DISNEY NEWS issue. Prior to 1975 two of the plexi panels featured MISSION TO MARS related images. The placement of the SUPERSPEED TUNNEL above America Sings was a later decision during the construction of Space Mountain as it was intended to go in the PeopleMover upramp paralleling the STARCADE - entering Space Mountain. On blueprints these ramp tunnels are still labeled “speed rooms” the idea at the time was that you were experiencing the inside of one of the many racing car / motorcycle (THE STARCADE 500). This is why Imagineer Tim Delany designed the PeopleMover Thu The Fantastic SUPERSPEED Tunnel attraction poster and used the same color pallet as the STARCADE lower lever sport/racing wall murals - Tim Delany’s first WED project was the STARCADE murals ( upper and lower) and interior art direction.

Chuck said...

My go-to memories of the PeopleMover are of gliding above Tomorrowland, and I tend to forget the simply stunning views of the Hub from this vantage point. Thanks for bringing those back. It looks like it was a simply gorgeous day.

TM!, that might be a pair of security hosts entering Frontierland, although at this resolution it's impossible to tell. Only their hairdresser knows for sure.

Andrew said...

I never knew there was a green monorail! A quick Google search doesn't show any other pictures.

I recently redid our family flower beds to look just like the famous "swirly" Tomorrowland pattern... I wish. :-)

"Lou and Sue" said...

I never made it to Disneyland to ride the PeopleMovers during the Superspeed Tunnel era. What years was that? I wish I had experienced that, at least once.

Andrew, for a split second, when I started reading that you "redid the family flower beds . . ." - I was wishing you were my kid and took the time to do that to my house! But then you burst (bursted?) my bubble - you crazy kid! But that's OK, I can tell you still are a terrific kid, anyway! Come to think of it, if you didn't waste so much time on blogs, you could do fancy flower beds.


JC Shannon said...

Ah, the Peoplemover. An innovative form of future transportation adored by millions. So of course, they got rid of it. This looks like the day to be at Disneyland, not a lot of guests. Visually, the PM was stunning, but the ride itself was pretty darn cool as well. I miss it. Thanks Major.

Melissa said...

That balcony looks so cool and inviting!

JG said...

Very welcome photos of the People Mover, Major. Thank You!

I will never understand why this was closed. Of all the goofy decisions in '90's Tomorrowland, this is the oddest.

Thanks @Mike Cozart for the backstory, as always.

Not to be too dismissive, but to me, the Superspeed tunnels were not all that amazing. For my part, the last thing I wanted was for the PM to be fast. The leisurely ride was part of the fun, and the dark transitions were cinematic, much like the Mine Train.

The replacement "Rocket Rods" was so poorly designed that they barely worked at all. My kids called them "Ripoff Rods" since the long wait wasn't worth the breakdown-ridden experience. One plus side was seeing the underground connection between Circarama and the central tower. I always wondered which door led to the elevator stage.

Maybe the Superspeed tunnel was the way to go after all.

@Andrew. I think Monorail Green might have been a weekend-only train brought out to handle bigger crowds. I remember it well, but others may not have seen it as much. It is rare in photographs. It sticks out in my memory because that particular metal-flake green was a common car color at the time. For a few years in the late '60's we had two vehicles that color at the same time and riding the monorail seemed like a natural extension of driving.


Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, man, even when I enlarged the picture it was hard to see the two blue-shirted people. By the way, I never understand why some of my jpegs will appear huge when clicked on, and others don’t, since I make them all the same size in Photoshop. Weird. I wish that there were photos of things like the artwork for Space Mountain as seen in the tunnels!

Mike Cozart, thanks for more great info. I’m guessing that by now a lot of that concept art has been released elsewhere, but I love the thought of seeing those backlit photos from the Peoplemover. I wonder if the model of Space Mountain that you refer to still exists? Interesting that the Superspeed Tunnel was supposed to go in that upramp area, somehow that seems odd to me. I can’t remember the speed effect super vividly, was it front-projected, or rear-projected? Either method seems like it would be problematic when I think about it. Thanks again for another great comment!

Chuck, I rode the Peoplemover many times, but for some reason one ride stands out - with a particular girl of course. Not that anything crazy happened, I just remember being with her and enjoying the ride. The blue shirts on the “twins” made me think “security” as well, but as you said, it’s hard to tell.

Penna. Andrew, the green Monorail seems to have been the least-photographed of all, even though it operated for many years; that’s why I’m always excited to find a picture of it.

Lou and Sue, the Superspeed Tunnel was there from 1977 to 1982, when it was replaced with a “World of TRON” light cycle race.

Jonathan, I wonder if they could have designed a faster Peoplemover that might have been more practical for longer travel? Hopping on and off would be more exciting at higher speeds, even with that rotating load platform! Supposedly one of the reasons the famous Los Angeles trolley system was removed was that it took to long to go long distances. Who knows!

Melissa, that’s a lot of quality Disneyland shade (with a view)!


MAJOR: that Space Mountain model does still exist. The Speed Rooms we’re foward/side projected and where the end of the projection ended was hidden with “blur wheels” : clear plexi discs with white paint smears in concentric patterns around the wheel. These when projected created a fast blur helping to create the illusion ( sensation ) of high speed. These discs are almost identical to what created the firsts versions of the moving clouds effect if Pirates of the Caribbean. Combined with projections of vehicles coming In the opposite direction ( the guests were always going AGAINST traffic on the freeway , the dune buggy race, the swamp boats , race cars etc) heavy fans blowing on the PeopleMover passengers , the Blur-Wheels and special audio of the vehicles zooming past the viewers created The SUPERSPEED Tunnel.

Since the Monorails operated of a scheduled rotation MONORAIL GREEN ran just as much as the other color monorails , but most likely guests cameras were directed to the brighter colors. When selecting images for publication line guidebooks and brochures art directors also tended to use images of the brighter colors. MONORAIL GREEN appears on the cover of a Disneyland Vacationland magazine cover and was even on its own postcard.

In 1987 MONORAIL GREEN’s 1969 running gear and chassis was used to become the first MARK 5 MONORAIL - MONORAIL PURPLE.

Anonymous said...

Thank Mike. It is interesting to note that even for me as a CM, I seemed to see monorail green the least. Funny how color works with the mind. KS

Matthew said...

@ MIKE COZART - Your knowledge is incredible. Thanks for the interesting insights... or as Wally Boag and the good people at Backstage Magazine put it, "Today's News From Tomorrowland."

Major these are gorgeous photos... A beautiful day with low attendance!

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I can only chalk it up to the continuing issue of Tomorrowland always feeling out of date, and younger guests deciding that the Peoplemover was boring. I think the thing I didn’t like in the Superspeed Tunnel was the loud racing engine sounds - kind of a jarring thing on an otherwise peaceful and beautiful ride. I think I rode the Rocket Rods twice, but did experience several breakdowns while in line, which was frustrating as heck.

Mike Cozart, wow, I wonder how they came up with the “blur wheels” idea! Ingenious. It almost sounds like one of those Yale Gracey effects - so simple that it’s hard to believe that it works so well. I do remember that we were always heading against traffic! And I know exactly the Vacationland issue you are referring to. It’s a beautiful shot of Monorail Green. BTW, I always thought (or assumed) that the “Monorail Red” or “Monorail Gold” terms were more of a WDW thing - maybe it was adopted for Disneyland at some point?

KS, I think Mike might be right, the red and yellow Monorails were just more dazzling to the eye, while the green one was more subdued.

Matthew, what a great day it would have been to be in Disneyland!

JG said...

Major, after you posted the SuperSpeed tunnel dates, I see I could only have ridden it once and maybe I am confusing it with the Tron tunnel effects that came later.

Yes, big thanks to Mike Cozart for all the great background. The special effects methods are fascinating. It does make sense that all the trains would have equal time schedules. Maybe the elusive green faded into the shrubbery of the Tomorrowland garden.


Melissa said...

The super speed tunnel sounds kind of like the speedramp in If You Had Wings.


JG: the effects used in the SUPERSPEED TUNNEL and TRON were identical except for the images projected and audio.

MELISSA: the first use of the SUPERSPEED TUNNEL was in IF YOU HAD WINGS.

EPCOT’s WORLD OF MOTION used an extensive SUPERSPEED TUNNEL to Segway from the 20th Century into the massive Future City finale of the attraction.