Thursday, December 05, 2019

Kodak Camera Brochure, 1956

Today I have some scans of a fun 1956 brochure, courtesy of the Kodak company. I can only assume that these were handed out in the Kodak shop on Main Street. 

You've got to love those classic mid-century illustrations, so typical of what you might see in magazines and ads of the time. How about the TWA Moonliner in yellow, pink, and purple? Or all those laughing men on the Jungle Cruise? 

Unfolding the brochure, we see a center panel with tips on night photography, along with some swell views of Tomorrowland, Main Street, and Sleeping Beauty Castle. They recommend using black and white film for nighttime movies - better than nothing, but not much!

Each land posed its own set of challenges for photographers. Main Street is bright and sunny. Adventureland finds us under a shady green canopy. Please use f8 and a shutter speed of 100! (I wonder what the fastest ISO for color film was typically available in 1956?). 

Meanwhile, the examples on the right panels are very nice (but too small!). Love those views of an empty Main Street with gorgeous skies. And howsabout that rare view of the inside of the Upjohn Pharmacy? 

I suppose most of Disneyland was pretty bright and sunshiny - and still is. I notice the mention of buckboards in Frontierland, I'm still not sure those operated much past the very earliest of days. How about those "Canastoga" wagons? I like the reference to "flashlamps". And even Kodak is in on the conspiracy to not take flash photos inside the dark rides!

Oh boy, three panels of wonderful photos! I love 'em all. They really pushed the saturation, but I'm Ok with that. Look at the great shot of the Stagecoach, it really looks like it's in the middle of a vast desert. And the Autopia with Professor Keller's tent in the background is really neat. And let's not forget the rare interior of Captain Nemo's "Nautilus", from the "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" walk-thru. 

I hope you have enjoyed this Kodak brochure!


Nanook said...


'Cloudy Bright' is one of my favorite photography terms. RIP Kodachrome.

Thanks, Major.

Andrew said...

People "laughing" on the Jungle Cruise? In 1956? What a premonition!

All of the skies (and pictures) are really nice. In those last panels, the pic with the Keel Bost makes the River look so bare! And that is definitely NOT the Disneyland Astro-Jet!

I wonder how many people that took pictures for GDB used this brochure. Now in a day of point and shoot, most people likely don't even consider such terms.

Andrew said...

On closer look, that is the Astro Jet. The saturation threw me off.

TokyoMagic! said...

I actually found a copy of this brochure in a vintage clothing store, back in the nineties. I haven't looked at it for a long time. Seeing it now, I realize there is something odd about that Dumbo shot.....other than the fact that the couple is standing up in the vehicle! I guess that was okay, as long as the ride wasn't in motion. First of all, the photo is flipped....Dumbo flies in the other direction. Also, I couldn't understand why there was no cutaway in the side of the vehicle, for guests to get in and out. Then I did a search and realized that in the VERY early days of the park, the Dumbo attraction didn't have cutaways on the sides of the vehicles. Has this been addressed here before, and I'm just forgetting about it? Anyway, it appears that the cutaways were there by 1957. Prior to that, I guess boarding Dumbo was like boarding the Rocket Jets or even the Astro Jets. Guests had to climb over the side of the vehicles.

By the way, in my research of the Dumbo vehicles, which was done entirely here on GDB, I found this pic of the vehicles without the cutaway: Dumbo Flying Elephants. Major, that post doesn't list a date, but you have the actual picture labeled as 11-55. Ken mentions in the comments, when Timothy and the "candy striped" arms were added. Maybe the vehicles were altered at the same time as one of those other additions?

Is it just me, or does that pic of Merlin's Magic Shop make the paint job on it look rather dreary? It's kind of reminding me of one of the sets from the film, "Metropolis."

One of the Jungle Cruise "laughing men" has a monocle. Perhaps it's Werner Klemperer!

Chuck said...

You find the best stuff, Major!

That exposure chart was critical for amateurs to get decent photos with the camera equipment of the day. I can remember being on a Scout trip in 1983 with my mom's old meterless, flashless, fully-manual Kodak Signet 40 35mm camera and having to use the chart printed on the inside of the Kodachrome box to figure out exposures. It was actually dead-on accurate for most of my pictures as long as I didn't backlight anything.

Kodachrome F had an ASA of 10 for daylight film and 16 for tungsten lighting film (two separate types of film). Ektrachrome F had an ASA of 32. In 1956, Kodacolor print film was going through a brief period where it was balanced between daylight and tungsten lighting. It wasn't offered in 35mm until 1958, around which time it returned to an ASA of 25 for daylight and 32 for tungsten. Tri-X B&W movie film had an ASA of 200 vs Kodachrome's ASA 10, so you can understand why Kodak would recommend it for night movies.

Andrew, I thought for sure that you were right that this was another Klaus Roto Jet since the paint scheme looked off to me, too, particularly the center column. On further research, however, it appears that the central column was repainted within its first six months of operation to a red-and-white checkerboard pattern to give it an even stronger aviation theme.

Check out the photos and history on this page at Inventing Disneyland, which includes two photos that are definitely at Disneyland prior to the repaint. This Daveland image from August 1956 shows the checkerboard pattern.

I agree that the yellow tint to the rockets in the Kodak brochure has to do with the oversaturation of the image in the printing process.

You are lucky that you still have an operating Roto Jets near you at Knoebel's.

K. Martinez said...

If there were super-realistic VR machines, this is the Disneyland I would want to visit. Disneyland in its infancy really fascinates me.

I love the Autopia pic with the red-and-white circus tent. Such an unusual image of Disneyland. Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

My dad has this brochure from one of his early Disneyland trips and I love it - it's one of my favorites that I'll never part with. I'll bet he used it while snapping pictures that we're enjoying on this blog.

I just noticed there are no women on the Jungle Cruise or stage coach. Silly male artist!

Thanks, Major, for this fun and colorful post! :)


JC Shannon said...

Great art and cool pictures. They really turned up the sat level on these beauties. I do love Disneyland art. Thanks Major.

Stu29573 said...

Chuck beat me to it on why B&W was better for low light. In addition, the grain was generally much tighter on B&W, and hence, everything was sharper. I miss the old film days (as I think I've mentioned before). Digital pretty much killed an entire industry, but that's progress for you. My favorite camera from my photographer years was my Yashica FX-3. It had a three light light meter (Red -, Green dot, Red +) which was the only thing electronic on the unit. You could easily shoot with no batteries at all, if you didn't mind not having a meter. Try THAT with a smart phone! Ironically, if you want a digital SLR that you have total control of shutter speed and aperture, you have to pay several thousand dollars. Not exactly progress in my book. I will now go off to grumble and yell at squirrels on the lawn...

Anonymous said...

F stops and shutter speed. Photography required a level of skill back then. Dad had a light meter which he would check to make the final adjustments on the camera. KS

Anonymous said...

What a depth of knowledge in the Junior Gorillas. I love the deep dive on film. It's been so long since I took film photos, I have forgotten all this info, and now reading it again brings it all back. Thank you, Chuck.

I had a 35mm SLR with a little light meter built in, and you are all right, it took some skill to use. I know I took a lot of Disney photos during the '70's, if only I could find them.

I don't miss it, though. I take a lot more photos with my phone and I don't mind that they aren't top quality. They remind me of all the places I go and people I meet, and I couldn't do that with a film camera.

Tokyo, great eye for Dumbo Detail, and Andrew/Chuck for the Rocket Jets. Like you, I thought that pic sneaked in from another park.

Casey Jr. crosses on a wood trestle, and what is that circus tent behind Autopia? Was that on or near Snow Hill?

The stage coach filled with lovely gals, heads out into a real desert, but I'm going to take a siesta on Captain Nemo's red velvet ottoman.

Thanks Major.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, maybe Cloudy Bright was Randy Bright’s great aunt?

Andrew, it’s weird that all the people on the Jungle Cruise are bald men. Why don’t you think that’s the Disneyland Astro Jets? I wish I was more knowledgable about things like f-stops and such, it would probably make life much better.

Andrew, hm, OK!

TokyoMagic!, why don’t I ever find cool Disneyland stuff in random stores?? I would have never noticed that the Dumbo pic had been flopped - I can only assume it was done because, compositionally, it looks better to have Dumbo facing “inward” toward the rest of the page instead of flying out of it. We have discussed the cutaways before, but I sure couldn’t tell you when! And I will have to leave it to better-informed readers to determine when the cutaways were added. I think Merlin’s Magic Shop looks OK! though I do have some photos where it appears to have been painted a strange greenish color at some point, and then it DOES look a little dreary.

Chuck, this Kodak brochure is not very hard to find, they must have handed out gajillions of them. I’m not surprised that you are well-versed in ASAs and f-stops and different kinds of films. I should have taken a basic photography class in college, but alas, I didn’t. You can see a pretty good photo of the Astro Jets with the striped central pylon (or whatever it’s called” HERE.

K. Martinez, I agree; since a time machine is unlikely, a really good VR experience would be the next best thing. It would be amazing!

Lou and Sue, I’m glad Lou had one of these! From the looks of things, it was just easier for the artist to dash off some very basic (“male”) heads instead of messing with hairdos and such. Still it would have been nice if he’d put in a woman or two.

Jonathan, I wonder how they upped the saturation in pre-Photoshop days??

Stu29573, I know that B&W was better for low-light photography, but I can’t help wishing that color film had been able to capture some of those dark ride interiors! Sure, we have some, and sometimes people used their flash for a blown-out image, but when you see what Daveland can do with a digital camera these days… it’s pretty amazing. I understand the love of film, and yet the convenience and flexibility of digital images is pretty wonderful, and puts lots of creative power in the hands of the average photographer.

KS, sadly my grandfather must have never mastered those things, because most of the slides he took turned out to be dark and/or blurry!

JG, I still have a beautiful Nikon 35mm camera that I bought for college, but it’s barely been used. It makes me sad when I find it in the closet every few years! As I said to Stu, digital photography is just so immediate and convenient, it’s hard to knock it. They still make movies using real film, maybe there’s room for both methods. The circus tent was for Professor Keller’s Jungle Killers, and I believe it was roughly where “It’s a Small World” now stands, though I could be mistaken.

Chuck said...

Major, thanks for the link to that 2012 post. The different paint scheme totally escaped me the first time I saw it (gulp) seven years ago.

JG, I totally missed Casey, Jr., on the wooden trestle. In fact, I had totally forgotten that that had ever been a thing (see, Major - Junior Gorillas forget stuff, too). So I never forget again, here are some great photos of that early era.