Friday, November 22, 2019

Two From the 50's

I have two beauties from the 50's for you today, to get your weekend off to a great start.

Say, what's that crazy thingamabob over there? It's some kind of clock. Maybe it's... THE CLOCK OF THE WORLD! The only timepiece to be voted "Sassiest Clock" by "Clock Fancier" magazine two years in a row. You have to admit, it's pretty amazing. 

Behind it is one of the four Disneyland exhibits that Monsanto sponsored over the years, the "Hall of Chemistry". Guests could learn how chemistry made their everyday lives better in ways that they had never even considered. Take a look at this vintage brochure from that exhibit - if you dare! One of the things I love about photos like this is that only a knowledgeable park fan would know that this is Disneyland - not a scrap from this scene survives.

Next is this nice photo of the impressively-sculpted stern of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. The beautiful mermaid sits on her scallop-shelled throne (scepter at the ready), as waves break around her, and happy tuna fish sing her praises. I've heard rumors that some of this sculpture still survives, does anybody out there know for sure? At some point this sculpture was painted in colorful hues, though I can't seem to find a good photo of that among my own scans.


Nanook said...

That COS 'sculpture' is quite something. It somehow gets lost among the many other features of the ship.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

The Mickey Mouse balloons in that first pic, are all missing their ears!

Looking at the blue tile around the base of the Clock of the World, it looks like some of it is a different shade of blue (around the top edge of the base). I wonder if at some point, they had to replace some of the tiles and could not find the exact same shade?

I always have mixed emotions when looking at pics of the Fantasyland Pirate Ship. It makes me happy to see them, but at the same time, it makes me sad, knowing exactly what they did to the ship, back in 1983. I believe there is a photo out there, showing that rear panel with the mermaid and the fish, being lowered down by crane. I wonder if a certain somebody who was responsible for the ship's destruction, got to keep that section of the ship for himself?

Andrew said...

Looking at the first picture, with the big Monsanto "M," I can't help but think: it's the Mall of Chemistry!

JC Shannon said...

It's beautiful, it's lets tear it down. Such a shame. This Disneylandophile would love to have just one tile from the COTW. Just one I tell ya. Thanks Major, for the very cool scans.

Chuck said...

Babushka x2 in the first photo.

It is sobering to think that everything in that photo has been either removed or remodeled beyond all recognition. If they could do that here in Walt's lifetime, they can do that anywhere in the Park at any time today without any regrets. Which suddenly gives me a new hope for Ewok Alley...

Found a good photo of the Ted Turner edition of the mermaid sculpture.

"...impressively sculpted stern..." [Suppresses juvenile giggle.]

"Lou and Sue" said...

JC Shannon, you just gave Disney Marketing a great idea! In a short time (maybe in time for Christmas), they will be selling genuine "Clock of the World" tile keychains (with Walt's autograph on each tile) in their giftshops.


Anonymous said...

I never have bought Tony Baxter's story on why the ship was destroyed. "We started to move it but because it was actually a building, it fell apart" doesn't seem to wash. Come on, guys. It's not like you didn't know it was a building all along!
By the way, the Revell Pirate Ship model that I was talking about the other day really falls flat in the stern sculpture area. I'm pretty sure that it has a scull and crossbones rather than a mermaid.

DrGoat said...

Major, nice pics from the a time long ago. I think the tiles around the Clock of the World might be glass mosaic tile. My Uncle worked with those a lot back in those days. We still have several bins of them in the carport. Great colors. Made in Italy I think. Usually about 1 inch or so square. I think there is a box of a similar blue color. Any takers?
I've seen the pics of the Pirate ship being abused and they are not for the faint of heart

Anonymous said...

DrGoat, please post your contact information so that we can contact you immediately.

Disney Merchandising Dept.

DrGoat said...

Second star to the right, and straight on 'till morning.

K. Martinez said...

The Tomorrowland "Clock of the World" pic is beautiful. I want to step into that photo and experience yesterday's tomorrows. Thanks, Major.

JG said...

Indeed, "...impressively sculpted stern..." gets my attention every time.

This one stands out in the fleet, however. Definitely the Jessica Rabbit of Pirate Ships. This must have been an effort in resin, as wood would be far too fragile to last long.

I will never believe the stories about the removal, it was planned from the start and they were surprised by the backlash.

The tiles do seem to be a repair effort, there is no pattern to speak of, and even a random pattern seems like it would be more... ...random. Was this part of the clock a fountain? Did water run down the blue tile surface or splash up on to it? Also, in keeping with the tile theme, the wall of the building beyond is clad in mosaic tiles, although much larger than those on the clock, and also have fountains in front.

As I have noted before, fountains look great in the renderings and almost always have unforeseen (although not unforseeable) consequences in reality. Wind and water are a bad combination. Add plugged drains, garbage and the inevitable barrage of coins, and everyone wishes the fountains were planters, which they usually become.

The ear-less Mickey balloons are unnerving.

A fine Friday combo, Major. Thank you very much.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’m guessing that stern sculpture would be at least 10 feet tall, and yet… I hope one of those rich Disney execs had the thing saved and trucked to their home.

TokyoMagic!, oh yeah! I didn’t notice that they are just plain old balloons. I suppose it is possible that they had to replace some of those tiles over the clock’s decade(ish) of existence - maybe they were smart and kept a bag of extras in a drawer. I don’t think I’ve seen the photo of the Pirate Ship that you referred to, I’ll have to look and see if Tony Baxter is standing there with an evil grin on his face!

Andrew, as long as the Mall has a Hotdog On a Stick, I would be happy.

Jonathan, yes, these days Disney would have certainly sold tiles - or even pieces of tiles, so that they could sell thousands of little chips. Think of the thousands they could make!

Chuck, Kevin Kidney’s blog had an especially beautiful photo of the polychromed mermaid sculpture, see it HERE. And I have come to terms with the fact that nothing (and I mean nothing is sacred at Disneyland, no matter how iconic we might think it may be.

Lou and Sue, maybe the anthropomorphic tiles could be friends with the anthropomorphic asphalt?

Stu29573, now that you mention it, that story does sound familiar. But I’ve heard other “official” stories that don’t ring true, so it is hard to know what’s what. I think Tony seems like a very nice guy, and I do believe that he loves Walt’s park in his way, but he was also charged with making changes, whether he wanted to or not. Some were more successful than others.

DrGoat, my mom has always been into glass, and when I was a kid she made abstract mosaics (wavy patterns of blues and greens, for example). I always especially liked the peacock blue tiles! TokyoMagic sent me a link to photos of the Pirate Ship being destroyed, from the old “Vintage Disneyland Tickets” blog. In fact, the one showing the stern sculpture being moved is in that batch, I see! If you can stand it, take a look at them HERE

Disneyland Merchandising Department, pay DrGoat a million dollars!

DrGoat, that is a pretty great address.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, ME TOO!!!

JG, I am reasonably sure that the sculpture was cast fiberglass. Even that can get brittle over the years, but I’ll bet it survived. As for the Disney company’s stories, just look at how inconsistent their excuses were for removing the Skyway. “We couldn’t make it ADA compliant”. “The supports inside the Matterhorn were compromised and we would have had to tear down the mountain to fix it”. “People were dropping things from the gondolas”. And so on. Maybe they were all true, but it’s starts to feel like a lot of hand-waving. I think the tiles were always an assortment of blues, with the occasional gold tile for highlights. The thing would have been so new in today’s photo that it seems hard to believe it would already be falling to pieces. Hard to say, though!

Anonymous said...

Daveland has a nice picture of the painted stern here:

DW said...

Major- if you read the 5th comment after the article at "Vintage
Disneyland Tickets", it is explained what happened the stern
of the ship. No way to verify the truth of the story, though
(make sure that you are sitting down when you read it).

Major Pepperidge said...

Anonymous, you are right, that IS a nice picture! Thank you for the link, I wish I had a picture as good as that.

DW, OH MAN. you aren't kidding. that was painful to read. Further down (the last comment on the Vintage Disneyland Tickets post), Sam Gennaway relates the same basic story. Sounds like the stuff was plaster and not fiberglass, much to my amazement.

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, I'll take one "Tomorrowland tile" key chain, please! It will fit in nicely with my Main Street Electrical Parade light bulb, my "Walt's asphalt" paperweight and my animation cel with the forged artist's signature!

Chuck said...

Wow, that photo IS gorgeous, Major. And, oh, my stars! That VDT post is beyond excruciating.

Speaking of stars, I guess my Wookie World pun was a little more subtle than I had hoped. Oh, well. I had a bad feeling about it anyway.

JG, "...the Jessica Rabbit of Pirate Ships." Amen to that, brother.

Anonymous said...

@Chuck, they can't tear down Wookie World until I have seen it.