Monday, August 12, 2019

Carnation Truck, Coke Corner, September 1966

Here's another pair of scans from September of '66 - we haven't even made it past Main Street yet. But that's OK! 

First up is this nice photo of the Flower Market, featuring a good look at the Carnation Milk Truck. Doesn't it look great, with its red and white livery, gleaming brass lamps and radiator, and that elegant lettering on the side? Gramps is so impressed that he's going to enjoy a Chesterfield and just bask in the glory. Plus he knows that he looks good surrounded by flowers.

A little further north, you would pass The Coca Cola Refreshment Corner. There's nothing like an ice-cold Coke on a hot day! The white wire chairs make this tableau look like the outside of a Parisian cafe, which is fitting - Coke is "American Champagne" after all.


Nanook said...


The Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner sans upright piano-? Blasphemy-!

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yeah, when did the Coke Corner Pianist at Disneyland become "a thing"? I believe Rod Miller was hired in 1969, but was there someone there prior to that, or was he the very first C.C.P.?

stu29573 said...

I remember how stunned I was to learn that this truck, and all of the Main Street vehicles, were not real antiques, but brand new Gurrmobiles! I won't say it shook my perception of the universe, but it was a shocker, alright! I might have even smoked a Chesterfield, if I smoked, that is...

Andrew said...

Coke Corner seems like it still retains a bit of the old Disneyland today. And on the truck..."You crank, I'll hit the gas, and we'll make a break for it!"

"Lou and Sue" said...

Rod Miller and Ragtime music! Anytime I hear ragtime music, I'm instantly transported back to Main Street - thanks for the happy memories!

Andrew, I laughed when I read your comment, "You crank, I'll hit the gas, and we'll make a break for it!" One of Lou's sisters, in her wild youth, drove the getaway car for her boyfriend(s). I hear they robbed gas stations during the depression. We had a fun family.


JC Shannon said...

The guy with the Chesterfield looks kinda like an aging Clark Kent. Maybe he is looking for a phone booth. I love the Carnation logo and colors. Is there anything Bob Gurr couldn't design? Thanks Major, "smoke 'em if ya got 'em." Cough, Cough.

K. Martinez said...

Coke Corner was one of my favorite places in Disneyland. Stop for a hot dog and Coke and sit and watch the world go by as throngs of guests passed on their way to the bigger attractions.

Thanks, Major.

JG said...

The old Main Street Goodness.

"Is there anything Bob Gurr couldn't design?"

Jonathan, I'd have to say "No." Anything from ice cream trucks and moving vans to monorails, and who knows what all else.

Did he also design the submarines?

The best part is, all these things worked, not just static displays.

Thanks Major.


Melissa said...

Much prettiness today.

The Refreshment Corner at WDW is where I had my first ever Disney Parks meal.

Kathy said...

I bought a chair just like the ones in the second picture at an estate sale that was said to have come from Coke Corner (they had 4 of them). They had a few other pieces of Disney memorabilia. Maybe they pulled a fast one on me, but I tell myself no where but Disneyland (and Paris?) could have had chairs like these!

Nanook said...

@ TM!-
That's a good question about when the music started there. I know Richard Carpenter (yes, that Richard Carpenter) played there for four months in 1967. From what little info I can find, 1967 might have been the beginning - but somehow that doesn't seem correct. Who knows for sure-?

Yes, Rod was hired in 1969, and he played 'til 2005. Does anyone remember Judy Carmichael-? (I don't quite remember the years she played there: late 70's - early 80's-?, but she was off to NYC by 1985). As good as Rod was - and he most-assuredly was - Judy was just simply a master of stride piano, and really worked that instrument. As her career took-off, she attracted a spectrum of mighty jazz mentors and friends, including Sarah Vaughan, Freddie Green, Tommy Flanagan, Harold Jones, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. I really remember the times I heard her play there - one time Roger Williams had even stopped by to hear her play. Good times, for sure.

@ Lou and Sue-
"I hear they robbed gas stations during the depression. We had a fun family". (Is that what they told the judge-??!!) Fun, indeed-!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’m pretty sure pianos weren’t invented by 1966!

TokyoMagic!, gosh, maybe Rod Miller was the first. I never really thought about it before. He sure had a long run. Mr. X has some photos of a very young Rod Miller at the Piano, probably from around 1972.

stu29573, I agree, Bob Gurr did an impressive job of designing new/old vehicles for Main Street. He used some genuine antique parts, but even so. It would be fun to have a car like that, for just running to the store or whatever!

Penna. Andrew, the Coke Corner has lost some of its original mojo, but at least it’s not Starbucks I guess!

Lou and Sue, there’s a “Music of Disneyland and Walt Disney World” album with with a ragtime tune on it (I forget which one now), but I’ve always wondered if that is Rod Miller playing. Wow, sounds like Lou’s sister was a regular Bonnie Parker!

Jonathan, I guess old Smokey does have sort of a Clark Kent vibe, though Clark would never smoke cigarettes. NEVER! Well, maybe he would if it somehow saved somebody’s life. My brother smokes, he makes all kinds of interesting noises besides just coughing.

K. Martinez, I was always in too much of a hurry to sit and enjoy the park the way you did. I think you did it the better way.

Jonathan, I know Bob Gurr did the Monorails and the Matterhorn track (he taught himself trig to do it!) - I’m not sure how much he had to do with the Subs to be honest. I have his book, but it’s been a while since I read it. It technically uses a wheel to guide along the track…

Melissa, aw nice! I sure can’t remember my first meal, which was probably a “not great” hamburger.

Kathy, I’m with you, let’s just say your chair is from the Coke Corner! Notice that these particular examples have red and white striped seat cushions, though of course those could have been changed many times over the years.

Nanook, did Richard Carpenter play at the Coke Corner by himself? No Karen? I have a friend who has a friend (!) who works for Richard Carpenter, taking care of his amazing car collection. I’d love to see those cars! I sure don’t remember Judy Carmichael, but I’ll bet other folks on GDB will.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Nanook - I don't think she was ever caught. :) My dad, being the much-younger, faithful brother, kept his mouth shut. Though one of her husbands was caught years later for other things - but that's for another post.

Major, I assume your brother doesn't read your blog comments much?!


Nanook said...


Richard only - no Karen.

He was actually fired, as he purportedly was 'not playing 100% turn-of-the-century ragtime tunes'. "Richard Carpenter says that he did not play those tunes with authenticity. He adds that the four months was three months longer than he should have been allowed to stay". I'd have been happy to experience those "less-than-authentic" versions of whatever he chose to play...


MAJOR: your record album “the office album of Disneyland & Walt Disney World” featured part attraction soundtrack segments and live band and performers . However the live band and performer tracks were re-used from a 1973 Picture disc album called “A Musical Souvenir of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom” ( 1973) Produced by Jack Wagoner it was recorded at WDW’s “Big D Studio” down in the parks untilidoors. All WDW performers were used - so it’s not likely Rod Miller is featured on the later album.

Jack Wagoner actually recorded and created master reels to release many full albums featuring the music groups of WDW, however only the WDW Band and The Adventureland Steel Drum Band. But full albums were created for The Dapper Dans, The Pearly Band, The Liberty Tree Tavern Singers, The Liberty Square Fife & Drum, The Main Street Town Band and a others - but never were pressed.


Also I think the Coke Refreshment Corner ragtime pianist dates back to a least the mid 60’s : a souvenir “piano sing-a-Long” miniature menu/song lyric card was issued by Coca Cola to guests of the refreshment corner then. I’m assuming they wouldn’t issue a piano sing-long word guide if there was no piano performer.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Interesting info from everyone today!

I have the Rod Miller "Ragtime" cd from 1995 with 22 of his songs. I believe it was purchased in Disneyland.

Inside the cd cover, it tells a little about Mr. Miller, including the following:

Rod arrived in Southern California in 1966 and worked as a graphic artist while pursuing his dream - learning to play the ragtime piano. Having saved enough money to purchase an old-time player piano, he learned the complex rhythms of ragtime. Rod slowed down the piano rolls and rehearsed two or three measures at a time until he mastered the music. Practicing two to six hours a day, it took him three months to learn his first piece, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love." Soon, Rod had developed his signature up-tempo style.

Guess what I'm going to listen to, now?!


Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, nobody in my family looks at my blog at all, much less reads the comments!

Nanook, if he played “Rainy Days and Mondays”, I would have never left the Coke Corner! ;-) I grew up listening to Carpenters music, so I like many songs, much to the derision of my cooler friends. Oh well!

Mike Cozart, being a Disneyland fan almost exclusively, I wouldn’t have purchased a record (even a picture disk!) from Walt Disney World. In fact, the later album that combined music from both parks made me mad because I knew that they could have easily done a record of music just from Disneyland. Thanks for the info about the ragtime song, I can’t say I’m surprised that it isn’t Rod Miller. I know that Jack Wagoner was VERY involved in many aspects of the parks (more so than I would have initially believed), he sounds like he was quite a guy.

Mike Cozart, I’ve seen those lyrics cards (though I don’t have one), your theory makes a lot of sense!

Lou and Sue, it sounds like Rod Miller learned to play the piano the same way Steve Martin learned to play the banjo. Kind of amazing, really. I just watched a YouTube video of him playing “Maple Leaf Rag” at lightning speed… too fast, really, but I guess it’s impressive how fast his fingers fly. I am guessing that you are going to listen to… Abba’s greatest hits?

Melissa said...

I had never heard of the Liberty Tree Tavern Singers before - fascinating! I couldn't dig up much information about them, even in any of the comprehensive articles on Walt Disney World music at Passport to Dreams Old and New. They must have been the forerunners of Voices of Liberty. I loved all the live music in the old days of the Magic Kingdom.

For anyone who hasn't already heard them, you should listen to the isolated vocal tracks of Karen Carpenter available at YouTube.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, will we eventually get to see Mr. X's pics of a young Rod Miller at the piano? By the way, I am also a Carpenters fan. Have you seen the "music video" (or whatever they called them back then) for The Carpenters "Please Mr. Postman"? The whole thing was filmed at Disneyland!

Sue, I remember that Rod Miller CD being sold at the park. And there is a second CD that they sold called, "Miller & Tompson, Four-Handed Piano" which features him and Alan Thompson Jr. playing tunes together on one piano.

Nanook, I remember Judy Carmichael playing at DL in the early eighties! I made the mistake of asking her once, if Rod was going to be working later that day. She responded by saying, "Women can play the piano too, you know!" She seemed to have a little bit of a chip on her shoulder! I wonder if she was asked that question very often?

Melissa said...

If it was the eighties, that was probably just her shoulderpad. ;)

TokyoMagic! said...

Ha, ha, Melissa! Good one!

Chuck said...

Tried to post this early yesterday but it got hung up somehow...

Lots of fond memories of watching and listening to Rod Miller at that missing piano.

His MK equivalent in 2007 was an annoying ham. I was just trying to take a photo of the guy playing the piano, and he kept mugging for the camera. What made it worse was that he would only mug for an instant, then go back to facing the piano. The end result with my relatively-slower, non-SLR digital camera are a bunch of photos of a guy with a goofy expression on his face mid-turn. I got so fed up I finally just took a photo of his hands playing the piano so I'd have something usable to put in the scrapbook.

Glad I came back this morning to see everyone's great comments!