Friday, October 25, 2019

In Tomorrowland, 1956

There's just something about the early days of Tomorrowland that appeal to me so much. On the surface it doesn't make much sense; the buildings were not especially futuristic (all of those rectangular pre-fab sheds), and the rides were generally not that mind-blowing (Autopia, Astro Jets, Tomorrowland Boats). And yet... if I could only go back to one "land" for an hour or two, it would be Tomorrowland.

I love this colorful, busy photo from 1956; I'm sure you remember the stylish lady with the red dress. Behind her is the Clock of the World, and a mostly-obscured Rocket to the Moon. To our right, the Hall of Chemistry, to the left, CIRCARAMA.  Of course I always enjoy seeing some attraction posters "in the wild".

Harry Dean Stanton is carrying a paper item that I was hoping I could ID, but there's no details to help. The lady is wearing a souvenir hat, and has a souvenir pennant in her hand...

One that looks just like this!

And finally, four kids walk past the fountains and State flags that were in front of the Hall of Chemistry building. Love that giant atom graphic!


Nanook said...


The real standout attractions of a 1956 Tomorrowland have to be the Dairy Bar; the Bathroom of Tomorrow and the Hall of Aluminum Fame.

Harry Dean Stanton - indeed. The lad behind him, wearing that fabulous mid-century shirt, the yoke trimmed in fringe-! [the fashion plate], appears to be carrying a Kodak Brownie Holiday camera, attached to his belt. I'm not certain what to make of the lass sporting an "oriental" straw hat - and her rather amply-displayed midriff-! [Streetwalker chic, per chance-??] Undoubtedly, she's on her way to tryouts for a dinner theater production of Flower Drum Song.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

The kid on her other side, the guy in the orange shirt, is also sporting a camera. Any idea why she has a black-eared, Mickey-shaped balloon tethered to the top of her hat?

Senegal date palm sighting!

Nanook, apparently, the Bathroom of Tomorrow was more standout than I had previously realized, judging by the outdoor bidets on display in the last photo.

Andrew said...

Those fountains outside the Hall of Chemistry must've been quite the sight! I didn't know they went so high. I can also totally understand why you'd want to go back to Tomorrowland - it's the land that's by far changed the most, and old scenes like this are just correlated in our minds with that nice Disneyland of the past. Thanks for the fun pictures today!

JC Shannon said...

The blonde in the red dress could be Ginger Rogers, I'm not sure. I too love the first Tomorrowland, a more innocent 50s version of the future. We were all going to the moon on TWA and atomic everything would make our lives easy. I also had a Disneyland pennant on my wall along with one from the Dodgers. Good times. Thanks Major.

K. Martinez said...

The first pic is a great people pic. That looks like little Cindy Brady leading the pack. Thanks, Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Ginger Rogers sure is rocking that South Pacific look with the Ray Ban Aviators she musta got from her fighter pilot boyfriend.

Angry Cindy Brady looks like she is deep in thought or maybe needs to use the Bathroom of Tomorrow.

Harry Dean Stanton is reading the details of an arrest warrant he needs to serve the Big Bad Wolf. Always on the job.

Fantastic Friday Fotos Major, thanks for sharing.

Tom said...

Holy cow what a lot of amazing visuals in these photos!

The "atomic" facade of the show buildings was always my favorite, even though I never got to see them with my own eyeballs. The neon, the stylized beryllium atom, the fountains, the extremely tidy planters and the salt and pepper tile are unparalleled in their mid century beauty.

In that second shot we see the hope of tomorrow as they make their way toward the triumphs of science and industry.

Thanks again for the great pics! Perfect for a Friday!

stu29573 said...

I agree that this era if Tomorrowland was the most optomistic! I would still love to fly to the Moon on TWA! Maybe we still can someday! (ok, not on TWA, but maybe Space X or somebody...)

Anonymous said...

I had a banner almost exactly like that.

Beautiful lady, beautiful pics.

Thanks Major.


dennis said...

The kid next to the lady looks like he's wearing a Houston Astros baseball cap.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, those sponsored exhibits would be #1 on my list of things to visit when my time machine finally works! I did think that the little girl’s outfit was a little “out there” for 1956, but then again, we’ve seen pictures of little boys without shirts on, which is also weird.

Chuck, I remember having a shirt very much like that orange one when I was a kid, and it was my favorite. To this day I am still partial to orange. The lady used the old balloon trick, so that her kids could always find her in a crowd. Genius!

Andrew, I think they must have dialed down the water pressure on those fountains over the years; this has happened several times in Disney parks, where they discover that fountains seem like a good idea, until a windy day comes along.

Jonathan, she does have sort of a “Ginger Rogers” vibe. Vintage versions of the future (way WAY in the future, like the 1980’s!) are always so optimistic, or at least they were until films like Blade Runner came along.

K. Martinez, that first photo is definitely one of those cases where the crowd is the real star of the show!

Alonzo, I admit that I wondered if the lady’s sunglasses might have been her husband’s - left over from his time in Korea. Who knows! Cindy Brady realizes that she should have bought a larger hat. I don’t like cigarettes, but somehow it’s good to see Harry Dean Stanton with a cigarette in his hand - it’s the way it ought to be.

Tom, more buildings need giant, backlit atom symbols on them. I suppose it’s possible that I saw this early (pre-1967) Tomorrowland, but I would have been very young, and I sure don’t remember it. My older brother swears that we saw the 20,000 Leagues walk-thru. Remember when the idea of tech companies meant a better future, and not creeps collecting your personal information?

stu29573, the ’67 Tomorrowland was pretty optimistic too, but the ’55 version felt more like a combination of hopeful science, and a little bit of “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet”. I wonder if there will be semi-regular flights to the moon in my lifetime?

JG, there are a LOT of different designs for those felt banners, you could probably spend a lifetime looking for all of the variations.

TokyoMagic! said...

Little Cindy Brady is running through her Shirley Temple song and dance routine, so it will be perfect when she auditions for Natalie Schafer.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, Natalie Schafer was on The Brady Bunch? I'll bet I haven't seen a whole episode of that show in 20 years. I watched a portion of the King's Island episode, and it was enough to scare me off.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yes Major, Mrs. Howell was on The Brady Bunch. And Mr. Howell (Jim Backus) was on more than one episode of the show. Here's the synopsis for the episode involving Natalie Schafer:

"To teach Cindy a lesson about reading her diary without permission, Marcia teases her by creating fake entries, with some help from Jan, about a Hollywood agent planning to discover Cindy and make her into the next Shirley Temple. Cindy becomes convinced that Mike's fussy client Penelope Fletcher (Natalie Schafer) is the talent scout, and Marcia can't talk Cindy out of this notion. Cindy shocks Mike with her impromptu Shirley Temple performance for Penelope, but Penelope is charmed by the act, ensuring that he will get the contract."