Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Three From Frontierland '78

Here is a trio of nice pictures from our Mysterious Benefactor! As always, he brings us more great images from Frontierland. 12 years had elapsed since Walt Disney's passing, but his presence was still very evident. There'd been changes of course, but it still felt like the park he'd created (with lots of talented help). 

This is a neat shot of Chief Wavy from a perspective that is not available to the average guest. The Chief's flowing headdress is magnificent, as is his noble horse - they both greeted the Columbia and its many passengers. I really like the lush and verdant shores along the river!

Say, it's the Columbia again! I noticed that the Flag flying from the stern is not the "Betsy Ross" version that we've seen in other photos. I wonder if this example of the Flag is more historically accurate?

And here's yet another unusual perspective - could it have been taken from Club 33? The Mark Twain is at rest in Fowler's Harbor, with a Keelboat nearby like an anxious pup. 

Thank you, Mysterious Benefactor!


Nanook said...

Those unusual views are the best - especially the first shot.

Thanks to the M B, and you.


Major: that’s not Chief Wavy - I’m sure it’s Chief Autoparts : you can tell because he’s on a PINTO. Or is that a MUSTANG? Over the years some of the Jungle Cruise humor was used by Keel Boat Rivermen.

Love that first picture!


Nanook said...

Touché. Actually, the Chief is riding atop a Brumby. (But, only 'down under').

TokyoMagic! said...

Looking at a satellite view of the park, that last pic could have been taken from the Swiss Family Treehouse. The angles line up for that particular view of the Mark Twain, in Fowler's Harbor. That might also explain the large leaves in the upper corners of the pic. If it was taken from the treehouse, I hope the photographer wasn't trying to show a group of kids how safe the floorboards were, by jumping up and down on them. ;-)

Chuck said...

The star pattern in that flag was definitely accurate to the time period, but so was the "Betsy Ross" design with a circle of stars. The legislation authorizing the flag specifies "that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation," but it doesn't specify what that constellation should look like. As a result, there were many different variations.

Concur with TM! on the photographer's location in the last shot.

Stu29573 said...

The captain of the Columbia must have been nuts to pilot her up a narrow river swarming with gesticulating natives! Still, it seems that it worked out ok in the end. That's an interesting wake being left by the mighty ship. Almost as if there were a motor involved...Hmmmmm...

JC Shannon said...

Goodness plus on the scans today. If the Chief were riding a pinto, it would have exploded by now. Thanks to Major and the MB.

Andrew said...

The picture with the chief would make a great publicity still. I'm also wondering why a Columbia CM is climbing the rigging in the second shot.

I'll guess that the last view "through the trees" was taken during a test of a zipline from the treehouse (like the one from the castle), but they were going to have Mark Twain himself land on Tom Sawyer Island. It's a shame it didn't happen...

Melissa said...

The back side of Chief Wavy.

"Lou and Sue" said...

JC Shannon, a mustang would’ve exploded, too (or at least caught on fire for no reason) which mine did in ‘79. Seriously. :(

Andrew, I love your zipline idea. Twain could zip down at the start of Fantasmic.

Love today’s pictures, thanks MB and Major!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I agree, that first one really takes the cake (whatever that means)!

Mike Cozart, oh I’ve heard all those Wally Boag-style gags about the Chief! I just made up my own thing, which (obviously) people can take or leave.

Nanook, is Brumby related to Gumby?

TokyoMagic!, I initially considered the Swiss Family Treehouse for photo #3, but the leaves in the foreground aren’t reddish, so I thought that it might be from the top of a building near the treehouse. I know that at some point those red leaves were replaced, but have no idea when that happened. The photographer had access to places that regular guests did not (such as the roof of the Haunted Mansion), so it could be from the roof of a building that we might not expect.

Chuck, with the way the flag is positioned, I couldn’t tell that there were 13 stars, but I appreciate the information (which I definitely did not know)!

Stu29573, the cap’n of the Columbia had that pioneer spirit - he continued forward even when things looked dire. He probably looked like Charlton Heston! And that wake is easy to explain - it’s a giant school of piranhas!

Jonathan, exploding Ford Pintos was a fact of life when I was growing up, what a time!

Andrew, seeing as these were taken for publicity purposes, it is not unlikely that photo #1 could have been used in “Disney News” or some other magazine. And Columbia CMs often climbed the rigging back in the old days - I have no idea if they still do.

Melissa, I never thought I’d see such a thing!

Lou and Sue, yes, even the venerable Mustang went through a bad phase, sadly. While the new ones are pretty nice, in a perfect world I would want one from the early years - 1965 or so. Everyone knows that Mark Twain was a fan of ziplines and bungee-jumping.

Stefano said...

Was Chief Wavy's arm raise timed every minute or so, or did the passing vessels activate his greeting? If the former it would have been spooky for maintenance folk or gardeners to be alone with him, like that Twilight Zone episode where mannequins came to life... "Marcia!".

Anonymous said...

Very special views today, Major.

Big thanks to you and the MB, whose special access is special.

I agree with Tokyo, the Fowler's view is from the lower reaches of the Treehouse, but a shot from the NOS rooftops would be amazing.

The auto parts joke makes sense if you are aware of the chain by that name. Since we don't have these around here anymore, I had to stop and think. Still funny though. To me, he will always be "Chief Wavy".

Did he raise his hand? In my (admittedly faulty) memory, he was a static figure like Shiny Boy?

As Chuck points out, Disney's flag hygiene is impeccable, and it adds a lot to the realism of the various scenes, for those who notice those kinds of details. In some ways, I'm surprised that the other Lands didn't have the same focus. Imagining the Hohenzollern flag in Fantasyland, or the UN colors in Tomorrowland, etc. These could have been "in-jokes" to observant visitors, or a source of irritation to the disgruntled, I suppose.

Hoping all you Junior Gorillas remain gruntled today.


Nanook said...


No, he's actually related to the BRAT.


Oh yes - the unofficial “ jungle cruise” type humor gets dates quickly . But since the slides were from 1978 , Chief Auto Parts was a commonly used alternative Keel Boat joke. In fact it’s still listed as an alternative in a 1992 Keel Boat spiel sheet. Chief Autoparts ( the Store) went defunct in 1998 according to Wikipedia.

Matthew said...

Beautiful photos! Many of these I believe I have seen in Disney News. Thank you MB!!

@ JG - Chief Wavy (but since I worked Columbia he will always be Chief Autoparts to me & Mike), did move his arm... I don't remember the timing but it was about every 45 seconds to a minute. It was automatic without a sensor.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Anonymous said...

@Mike Cozart, thanks for the info about Chief Auto Parts. I do remember them in the Central Valley, but up here now, the joke is "Come to Sonoma for wine, and Napa for auto parts".

@Matthew/Amazon Belle, thanks for the reminder about the movement, I had completely forgotten this.

Best regards.