Thursday, August 15, 2019

Souvenir Time

Today I am presenting a fun souvenir item from Lincoln Savings, the bank that sponsored "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" at Disneyland from June of 1966 through January 1st of 1973. I'm unclear as to whether these flyers were handed out at the park (seems likely?), or if they were just available at Lincoln Savings locations.

Here's the cover, with a famous painting by illustrator Neal Boyle, who did quite a lot of work for Disney back in these days.

The flyer opened up to a three-page spread with lots of great information. I'll share closeups of each panel so that you can read the text more easily.

The majority of this souvenir relates to the Lincoln exhibit at Disneyland - no surprise really. Looking back it seems that the audacity of building a mechanical version of the 16th President was fascinating to the public.

"Audio-Animatronics"?? I must be living in a dream! The text says that Disney technicians labored for over a dozen years, and that is no exaggeration; Roger Broggie and Wathel Rogers built a crude, small figure that could dance and "talk" way back in 1951. I love the mention of "space-age" technology, "stereophonic" sound (none o' that monaural junk!), and the way all of it wa stored on a one-inch magnetic tape. 

The photo of the men watching three closed-circuit TV screens (with an oscilloscope on the desk) looks like something out of a TV show. "All systems are functioning within nominal parameters, Jim". "That's affirmative, Al".

Somehow, this panel is the most interesting to me. Lincoln Savings had a historical center in Sherman Oaks, California, where guests could go to view "Lincolniana", including Abe's stove-pipe hat, vintage photos by Matthew Brady, and rare documents and manuscripts. There was also a "43-seat circular theatre" where visitors could learn about the Lincoln-Douglas debate, and (I am guessing) other significant historical events during Lincoln's lifetime.

You'll also get a free print of a sketch of Abe, suitable for framing! If any of you happened to go to last year's "That's From Disneyland" exhibit of Richard Kraft's collection (sold at Van Eaton Galleries for unbelievable sums), you stood right across the street from the building pictured on the back of this flyer - though Lincoln Savings went kaput back in 1989.


Nanook said...


That's quite the brochure. The image of the two 'technicians' - complete with white lab coats - looks more at-home in a scene from The Outer Limits then at Disneyland. Although I drove by Lincoln Savings in Sherman Oaks many a time, I can't say I ever ventured inside to bone-up on my Abraham Lincoln history. (I wonder if a copy of "Our American Cousin" was included in the Historical Center's collection...)

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

What a great piece of Disneyland ephemera! I just bet that these were available to guests either at the entrance or the exit of the attraction.

I went to a Lincoln exhibit at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA., back in the 90's. They had one of Lincoln's stove-pipe hats, his razor and shaving mirror, personal letters, and for some reason, Mary Todd's chamber pot! They also had an original poster for "Our American Cousin" when it was playing at Ford's Theater, and a chair from Ford's Theater, but not THE chair that Lincoln was sitting in.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

I love the design and look of the Lincoln Savings building. Very iconic, very 50's 60's. I remember the original "Earthquake" movie much attention was paid to filming and destroying (mini-model)versions off the iconic L.A. buildings. Now every new building looks like a glass box or obelisk.

Thanks for posting.

Stefano said...

This brochure joins the other neat giveaways that lent companies prestige in kids' eyes: Bank of America's folder for It's a Small World, and Monsanto's booklet for Adventure Thru Inner Space. Now adults may view those corporations as sockdologizing horrors, but kids probably started brand loyalty. Because of a price fixing scandal, General Electric wanted Disney's participation for their Carousel of Progress exhibit, which did go some ways in removing the taint.
United Airlines was cool when associated with the Tiki Room, but Wonder Bread and Bear Country just seemed odd. And crass is the word for Small World exiting into a Mattel store.

K. Martinez said...

My favorite image is the two technicians in white lab coats. It's WED Enterprises creating Disney magic. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, little do those lab coat dudes realize that that was the day when Robot Lincoln became sentient - and he was hungry for blood! I wonder how long that exhibit was actually available for visitors to enjoy… unfortunately I’ll bet it sat empty for much of the time. Who knows, if my grandparents had known about it, maybe they would have taken me there when I was a kid.

TokyoMagic!, I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave these flyers out at Lincoln Savings branches as well as Disneyland - the brochures are not particularly hard to find. I’ve seen some Abraham Lincoln stuff through the years (remember the “Freedom Train” that toured during the Bicentennial?), but I have never beheld anything as moving as Mary Todd’s chamber pot. Ha ha, who wants to see that?!

Alonzo, you are right, that building is so mid-60’s in its design. I still drive past it on occasion, and think about what it was in happier days. “Earthquake” - in “Sensurround”! I still remember the effect when they turned on those subwoofers. I saw the movie in a small town in Minnesota, but was familar with many of those L.A. landmarks that crumbled. It’s a terrible movie, but I loved it at the time!

Stefano, yeah, there are quite a few wonderful Disneyland brochures from the sponsors at the time. You are so right, even as a child I had “warm fuzzies” for Bank of America, General Electric, and Monsanto, because I knew them from Disneyland. Nice use of the word “sockdologizing”! We need to bring that insult back - even though I’m not 100% certain of the definition. Maybe it’s due to my age, but the corporate sponsors of today don’t work (like Wonder Bread, as you mentioned).

K. Martinez, the only thing that would make that photo better is some beakers filled with colored water and dry ice!

JG said...

This is fascinating. Imagine the audacity to make a robot actor, back when there were real human actors. And no wonder the original Westworld seemed plausible.

Now the humans are gone and robots are everywhere,the Academy Awards are filled with androids that all look and sound alike. I bet there's a central tape deck under the stage with scientists in lab coats just like this picture. More like Westworld every day.

Probably 1970 or so, one of the banks in my hometown dISplayed a big model of New Orleans Square for about a month. It was probably at least 4' x 8', maybe 1/4:12" scale. I was constantly begging my Mom to take me to the bank so I could admire it. Can anyone think of any reason that a Disney NOS model would have been touring in that time frame? I can't recall it exactly, but pretty sure it was around that time, well after the Pirates and NOS had opened.

Thanks Major, as always. Great stuff.


JC Shannon said...

Lincoln Savings went belly up? Nothing lasts. Nothing says high tech like a couple of guys in lab coats staring at a scope. I have never seen this before, here's another piece I gotta have. I think Major does this 'cause he likes to torture me :). Great stuff today, thanks Major.

Andrew said...

This brochure touts a "behind the scenes" look, and the included information certainly delivers, but the picture is comparably harmless. Where's that bare-bones picture of the animatronic that we wanted to see?!

"Abraham Lincoln - Unforgettable American" sounds like it would be an awesome thing. As an aside, I have been to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and among other things, visited the Lincoln Train Museum. The highlight of the museum is a "Disney-style ride" (signs out front literally say that!) on Abraham Lincoln's funeral train. It's like a very simple simulator - the train car rocks, screens in the windows show the scenery going by, and Lincoln appears on a screen at the front. You expect him to dwell on his death, but his speech quickly escalates into glowing remarks about America. Very patriotic in a fun way, and you have to see it to believe it!

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I really do wonder if they will ever build a robot that can mimic a human convincingly? Not in my lifetime, I’ll wager. Besides, Boston Dynamics is just going to make scary robot dogs that can open doors and chase us down. Like a bad Tom Cruise movie. I would love to know why the NOS model was in your hometown bank! if it was 1969, it would have been around the opening of the Haunted Mansion, but that seems like an odd thing for a bank to honor. It’s a mystery!

Jonathan, after doing some reading, apparently Lincoln Savings was so bad that they were even the butt of a joke on the Simpsons (about how Homer started a college fund for Lisa when she was a baby). You can usually buy one of these Lincoln pieces for pretty cheap! In fact I have one with a fold in it that I will send you for free if you want it. Email me!

Penna. Andrew, I might have guessed that Disney might not want to “spoil the magic” too much, except that they had photos of Lincoln’s “skeleton” in a 1963 National Geographic. Funny that the Lincoln Train Museum describes their attraction as “Disney-style”, I wonder if the Imagineers had anything to do with it? They sometimes took outside work. Sounds kind of cool though.

"Lou and Sue" said...

As a kid, I was in awe of that audio-animatronic Lincoln. The first time I saw a robot!

I was told that, back in the 60's, when exiting the "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" show, my uncle overheard someone complaining they thought it was a stupid show - that they didn't like wasting their time watching a (real) man dressed up and talking like Lincoln.

Didn't Abe start to "wilt" during one of his past performances - either at DL or WDW? Or did I dream that? Maybe it's on YouTube - I'll have to do a little searching . . . or maybe someone else knows . . .

Thanks, Major, for the interesting post, today!