Monday, September 16, 2019

Cap'n Mike Returns! June 1977

Much like Frankenstein or Dracula, you can't keep Cap'n Mike away for long. He always comes back! And while he was aboard the Mark Twain the last time, he's moved on to another big boat - the Columbia.

Did U.S. sailors ever wear outfits like that?? Seems hard to believe. I mean, it looks good on Mike Nesmith, but then again, everything does. Cap'n Mike is regaling them with a story about the time he went to Tijuana.

"What kind of gas mileage does thing thing get, sailor?". Paul is trying to think of an answer. "Um, 35 mpg?". "SPLENDID, my boy! Did I ever tell you about the time I stole a mule with Frank Sinatra?".

Everybody loved Cap'n Mike and his outlandish stories. "He certainly has led a picaresque life", Paul muses to himself. "You'd never guess that he was a roadie for The Beatles and actually wrote most of their songs" (even Cap'n Mike disowns that dumb "Obla-Di, Obla-Da" tune though).

"This boat would be a lot tidier without all of these blasted ropes everywhere!", the Cap'n thinks to himself. And can you argue with him? His steamboat hardly used any ropes, and those were under protest. We love you, Cap'n Mike!

Thank you, Mysterious Benefactor.


TokyoMagic! said...

In that first pic, the gangplank is raised, but the removable railing on the ship hasn't been put into place. It looks like those guests could easily just fall off the ship at any minute.


MAJOR: the first image as well as the 2nd to the last are the same images used in the DISNEY NEWS / DISNEYLAND VACATIONLAND Captain Mike O’brian articles.

American Sailors did wear stripped shirts like that in the 19th Century - and were the first to wear “bell bottoms” as the flared bretches kept water from getting into the sailors shoes/boots.

Andrew said...

Nice pictures today! I like the wide angle. I'm also making a mental note to myself: question ride operators about attraction gas mileage next time at a theme park

Anonymous said...

Cap'n Mike needs his own restaurant. Or cereal. Or corn pads. It's all about the brand! Call me, Mike! Let's do lunch!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Unique and fun pictures, today! Thanks, Major!

Andrew - LOL!

Stu29573 - Happy Belated Birthday!! (Sept. 13) I hope you celebrated with a Disney-themed cake!


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lou and Sue! No Disney cake, but I did get a 50th anniversary Haunted Mansion pin from my daughter!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Stu, that's even better!!


Nanook said...


In the last image, we can see yet another talent of Captain Mike: his talent for bell ringing. (You probably didn't know the Columbia had a set of bells hidden amongst the sails).

Thanks, Major.

JC Shannon said...

Cap'n Mike sure seems to have enjoyed his job. Hey mike, what do ya do for a living? He must have relished that question! As for Obla de Obla da, John hated that song, so he refused to remove No. 9 from the White album if Paul wouldn't remove his. Funny, but today it is one of Paul's most requested songs. I am sure Mike wrote Yellow Submarine though. Thanks to the MB and Major P. for the scans.

JG said...

Cap'n Mike is living his best life here, sharing knowledge with the junior sailors and telling tall tales to the guests.

Thanks Major. This is a great series of photos and the commentary makes the show.


Steve DeGaetano said...

How do you know the guy on the right in the first pic isn't Mike Nesmith?

I could only find striped shirts on enlisted sailors in one year: 1815. For much of the late 18th and 19th centuries, the American uniforms mimicked the Royal Navy ones.

See here for everything you've ever wanted to know about US Naval uniforms:

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, right after this picture was snapped, 25 people fell through that gap.

Mike Cozart, not sure if you recall, but these photos are all from a cache of what were intended to be publicity photos, so it does not surprise me that some of them turned up in “Disney News” or any other publication. I thought the sailors wore bell-bottoms because they just looked groovy.

Penna. Andrew, if you like wide angle photos, just wait until I post a bunch of pictures taken with a fisheye lens!

Stu29573, Cap’n Mike’s T.V. Dinners! You’re right, just saying it makes me want to buy them.

Lou and Sue, park employees LOVE answering questions, which is why I always bring a long list of random questions with me.

Stu29573, aw, I should have wished you a happy birthday too. Only super-geniuses have cracked the code of your nickname!

Lou and Sue, why not both?

Nanook, well, there were ship’s bells, but I don’t think they needed a 30 foot rope for those.

Jonathan, from all reports, Cap’n Mike was beloved by his fellow CMs; be sure to read Jeff’s comment from my September 9 post!

JG, yeah, he really lived a great life - back when a Disneyland employee could. Based on news reports, it’s not so great these days. I sure envy the folks from the 50’s through the 70’s (and into the 80’s I think) who loved their time at the park.

Steve DeGaetano, Mike Nesmith was too busy with his “Liquid Paper” fortune! Only one year for striped shirts? I guess they switched to polka dots after that. The link didn’t work for me, sadly…

stu29573 said...

Lol! My "secret code" is actually just my National Association of Rocketry member number. (NAR29573). I used to just use Stu29573 with fellow rocket geeks, but it bled over into other areas. Sorry that it's not exciting!


MAJOR: waterproof is ALWAYS groovy!
STEVE: Tom Pierce used many sources when developing operational costumes for the parks - but was also very good at coming up with a AUTHENTIC styled costume but never was going for 100% historical. Those naval uniforms seemed to all be US MILITARY- the COLUMBIA was a privately owned merchant ship so I suspect the crew would have been much less formal looking and in reality probably varied in looks.

Today the Sailing Ship Columbia at Disneyland uses a 5th generation styled cast costume.

I would but Capatain Mike O’briens Fish-Stixs!

Dean Finder said...

If Cap'n Mike is going to sell frozen food, it's fish sticks or nothing.

Matthew said...

I'm a day late (and more than a dollar short); however, the shorter gentleman in the fist photo looks very much like a young Steve Teubner former Working Lead and Trainer on the river. The taller gentleman (he does resemble my favorite Monkee, Mike Nesmith) was still working at Disneyland when I started in 1986 (his name escapes me).

@ TokyoMagic - Yes, it was SOP for the board to be removed for the raising and lowering of the Brow. No one ever fell overboard back in my day (thank both God and good training).

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Anonymous said...

My fellow CMSs have identified the CM in question and possibly the 2 others. KS

Jeff said...

Re the uniforms: The Columbia was a merchant vessel, not a military vessel. Therefore the crew members would not have worn uniforms.

Jeff said...

Mike use to have a trick question: How many ropes do you think are on the Columbia? The answer: only one - the "bell rope" for ringing the ship's bell. everything else is a "line" (bunt lines & clew lines for furling/unfurling the sails), "stay" (Black lines that support the masts fore & aft), "halyard" (for angling the yards to catch the wind) or "shroud" (Such as the fore, main, and mizzen shrouds- black lines that support the mast port and starboard) Etc,etc. I learned them all to impress Mike.