Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Visit to Disneyland, 1963 (Part 2)

Today we continue our look at "A Visit to Disneyland", a delightful 1963 book for children. What a great way to get kids to beg their parents to make the trek to Anaheim!

At this point the book covers Adventureland, and featuring the Jungle Cruise and the Swiss Family Treehouse. "Gorillas look ready to squeeze you"! It's true, squeezin' is what they do best. I'm sure every child dreamed of having their own giant treehouse, preferably grownup-free.

Let's move on to Fantasyland, shall we? The Mark Twain might look pretty crazy to a child who'd never seen a Mississippi steamboat before. I like the mention of "fine plush settees", the only real reason anyone goes to Disneyland. Tom Sawyer Island's fort and cave, and a log craft to ferry you there are more appealing to me.

How do you paddle a war canoe? I hold the paddle in my teeth and wave my arms around spastically, which works surprisingly well, even if it is unorthodox. The popular Indian Dance Circle must have fascinated a generation of children raised on countless TV westerns.

It's interesting to note that one of the photos in the book is also among the scans from the Mysterious Benefactor!

After you've navigated the Rivers of America aboard the Mark Twain, the Columbia, and the Canoes, you might as well do it again on Keelboat. The Pack Mules appears to have been popular with women and children, but not with grown men, for some reason.

Alice and the Mad Hatter were frequently seen around the park in those days; the White Rabbit (not the "March Hare"!) was a bit more shy. And back in the days when Disneyland was the only Disney park, that storybook castle must have seemed like something out of a dream.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment!


Nanook said...


I would imagine "...The Mark Twain might look pretty crazy to a child who'd never seen a Mississippi steamboat before. Especially if it were to pop-up in Fantasyland-??!! Oh, poor Major. Doesn't matter, these pages are wonderful.

Thanks, Major.

Andrew said...

Oh man, I love how the keelboats get their own page. Where's the Columbia? The rhymes are really great here, especially the one about "savages eager to seize you." I also really like the background line drawings.

"Lou and Sue" said...

If I had one of these books as a kid, I would've worn-out the pages. The author-poet is good, but our Melissa is the BEST at writing poems! I can only imagine how funny this book would be if Melissa wrote it!

Thanks, Major!


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, not sure how that happened; sometimes my typing fingers seem to have minds of their own. Or else I was on drugs.

Andrew, it IS a little strange that the Columbia was skipped over, when it could have easily been included. The prose is not exactly Shakespeare, but it gets the job done!

Lou and Sue, based on my childhood Disneyland items, I would have worn out this book too. There are plenty that survived, however, you can get this book for cheap even today.

Melissa said...

Yeah, they're playing fast and loose with their character names and architectural terms in service of a quick rhyme. Let's see if we can do better:

If you have a question for Alice,
The Mad Hatter, or merry White Rabbit,
Don't be timid or shy;
Ask, "How?" "What?" or "Why?"
Curiosity's not a bad habit!

Enter this storybook castle,
With its drawbridge, its moat, and its towers.
No need to speak low,
Or to walk tippy-toe;
Sleeping Beauty's been up now for hours.

I love the juxtaposition of the line art and the photos. It's like the drawings are how the young reader imagines Disneyland, and the photos are the fantasy made real. I think my favorite drawing is the steamboat kids in the second picture - Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, maybe?

Anonymous said...

Wait, I thought the MB scans were from the '70's, what is this sorcery?

Also, why was the March Hare not given equal billing? He is as mad as all the rest.

And the Dormouse was completely skipped over, he was my favorite character from the story and the one I personally most resemble in real life.

It's a fun book, Major. Thanks.


JC Shannon said...

Great pics from a bygone time. I remember as a kid, looking at slides in my Viewmaster of Disneyland and enjoying the scenes over and over. These are some of the best I have ever seen. Thanks Major.

Stefano said...

Thanks Major, another long-dormant memory revived. Over four decades age a friend owned this book, as I recall a later edition since it mentioned that the NY World's Fair attractions were on their way home. I'll jump the gun; the last three lines of the book were:

The way Disneyland's growing
There's no way of knowing
Of what you'll find next time you're here!

I can imagine the instant want-to-see this book inspired in kids, and some adults too.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Melissa and Major - you two really need to consider creating a book, together. The talent between the two of you would produce a best seller - no doubt!


Chuck said...

Gorillas are great at squeezin', but they still don't blog. It's just a fact of Nature. Or something.

Note the brand-spanking-new Haunted Mansion behind the Twain. It was so new, it wasn't even haunted yet.

Stefano's comment made me pull out my copy of this book (a birthday present from my wife last year), but it appears that I have the same edition as the Major, sans World's Fair references. Not a complaint, just something to look out for if I ever encounter a copy in the wild.

Bravo, Melissa!

JG, are you saying you're furry, sleepy, or spend all of your time in a teapot? Not judging...just curious.

Melissa said...

Jaded, bitter 2019 version:

Come enter this storybook castle,
With sparkling gilt crenellations.
Take your Instagram stills,
And bring plenty of bills,
In the largest of denominations.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Melissa, I'll pre-order 20 of your books now (for Christmas presents)!


Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, your rhymes and prose are way better than what is in the actual book! I want to know where Tom Sawyer got his pointy hat.

JG, The MB scans go back to the 50’s, though the majority are from the 1970’s. I don’t think the March Hare was ever as beloved as the White Rabbit, mostly because he isn’t as cute. The Doormouse is barely in the animated movie, though I can hear his squeaky voice in my head.

Jonathan, looking at Viewmasters was one of my favorite things. I remember as a dumb kid sending in an order form for Disneyland Viewmaster packs, and I enclosed CASH, not knowing any better. They sent them!

Stefano, now that is interesting, I didn’t know that there was a later edition! I’ve seen a paperback version that is basically identical to the one I scanned. Now I want to find one of those World’s Fair editions!

Lou and Sue, I like the idea of making a book, it’s just the work that I don’t want to do. Of course if some published wants to offer me a large sum of money, it would change my attitude!

Chuck, I have a very old book about mammals (VERY old) that describes gorillas as waiting in trees so that they can reach down and strangle a passing native. They definitely liked sqeezin’! Yes, in ’63 the Haunted Mansion building really was brand spankin’ new. Like you, I want to find a World’s Fair copy of the book now.

Melissa, I like the poem, even though the sentiment is depressing!

Lou and Sue, the pressure is on for Melissa to publish a book in time for Christmas!