Monday, January 27, 2020

Main Street at Night, November 1959

Today's pix are pretty special, since they are rare views of Main Street U.S.A. at night. Who took these pictures? Lou Perry did, way back in 1959. And Sue B. was nice enough to share them with all of us.

We'll start with this very unusual shot of the Gibson Greeting Cards shop - which would close sometime this year, to be replaced by Hallmark the following year. I wonder if the two blurry fellows near the Gibson door were known to Lou, or if they just happened to be standing relatively still during the long exposure?

Town Square looks pretty desolate, with all of the empty benches. Of course it might have been teeming with people, all rendered invisible by the slow shutter speed. 

This one is neat, but is kind of a mystery to me. "Kiddie Kounter"; where was this? I'm guessing that the boxes and bins contain candy, so this might be the Candy Palace - but somehow I don't think so. If you have any ideas, please let me know!

And finally, here's another unusual and very cool shot, perhaps taken from inside the Emporium (?). We get a great look at the architectural details. So many moldings! Plus the hanging lamps (are those still there to this day?), and that "skylight". 

Photo prints don't work quite as well when you want to zoom in, but it's still worth getting a better look at the displays. Wonderful tin automobiles are in good supply, while one fancy tank probably cost a lot of money at the time. Sitting on top of the counter are more items. To the right is a red display with the words "Cowboys and Indians" - not sure what that "roulette wheel" thing did. 

Right in the middle (against the black) is a toy car that has some blur, as if it was moving. Maybe the display rotated? 

A big thank you to Lou and Sue for these really fantastic photographs!


K. Martinez said...

I could be wrong, but I think that's the interior of the Crystal Arcade. I can see the Storybook Store to the right at the end of the arcade.

Is that the glass blower shop in the back of the arcade? Arribas Bros. or something like that. I'm probably all wrong on that one.

It's the interior shots that are really doing it for me today. Awesome! Thanks Lou and Sue.

Nanook said...


Yes - these interior shots are much-appreciated-! 'Kidde Korner', iindeed-! (And I thought we were better spellers back then).

Thanks, Lou & Sue.

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow! These are fantastic nighttime shots!

That is the Candy Palace. I remember those mirrors along the front of the counter on the right. Plus, that brick wall matches Google's street view, today. It appears that they did widen the doorway by getting rid of the molding on the right. But today, it has that same molding on the left side of the door. They also made the doorway taller, by getting rid of those skinny window above the door.

Ken is right about that other interior shot being taken in the Crystal Arcade. Lou must have taken it while standing just inside the doorway. And I remember when the glass blowers were locate along that back wall. Here the view today. It looks pretty similar. There have been some alterations made to that area, during various remodels of the Emporium. You can see that the glass is still there on the ceiling, although the actual glass panels might be different today:,-117.9190506,3a,26.6y,266.21h,90.13t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sunXVt5oMD0kNB3MXSjt6BQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

A great big thank you to Lou, Sue and the Major, too!

Chuck said...

Agree - Candy Palace and Crystal Arcade. When we were young AP holders who could stay up late, my wife and I would stay every other Friday night until they closed the rides at midnight, then stop at the Coke Corner for a large Coke and the Candy Palace for a Mickey Mouse chocolate bar to keep us awake on the drive back to San Bernardino.

Check out that display of die-cast vehicles in the glass case in the front of the Crystal Arcade. Or maybe they're assembled examples of plastic model kits. I remember seeing some high-quality die-cast toy cars at the Tinker Bell Toy Shoppe in '75 or '76 but was old enough to be able to read the prices and knew better than to ask for one. Besides - I would have rather had (and still would rather have) the Disneyland guidebook I got instead.

TM!, aaagh! What have they done to the Crystal Arcade!!?? Actually, now that think about it, I remember walking through here in 2009, but it was the end of the day, the kids were small, and my wife was in a wheelchair after a hospitalization a few weeks previously, so the changes didn't register other than a general "man, everything's part of the Emporium now." Was this another Pressler/Harris era "upgrade," or did it happen earlier and I just didn't notice?

Andrew said...

Thanks for all of the great info on the shops, everyone. All I can point out is how the character of a building is completely changed by window awnings. I know it's the most minute of details, but when I saw a picture of the Fire Station with no awning over Walt's apartment, I thought that it was a totally different building! I bring this up because I get a similar feeling from the Hallmark shop. Thanks to Lou, Sue, and Major!

Stu29573 said...

If anyone doubts Lou's photography skill, just show them these shots. Heck Disney didn't even try many night shots back then! Bravo!
Also, isn't that a rocket in back of those cars? It doesn't look like the Moonliner, so it must have been an off the shelf item from somewhere. Model rocket giant Estes Industries was founded in 1958, but although it looks like one of their designs, they didn't sell pre-built models in 1959 (as far as I know).Interesting...

DrGoat said...

Wow, super nice pics Lou & Sue. Must have been a great evening. Main Street almost all to yourself.
That army tank toy in the center of the bottom display is a
Bulldog tank, made by Remco. I had one, just like every other kid on the block did back then. It shot plastic shells, etc.
Thank you Lou&Sue, and Major of course. Nice way to start a Monday morning.

JC Shannon said...

Lou delivers great photos again. I love night shots of Disneyland, so many memories of strolling around the park as a teenager. Thanks to Lou and Sue and Major P.

Anonymous said...

These are mighty fine night views of the old Main Street.

Thanks to Lou and Sue and Major P for posting these. Interesting to see the elaborate millwork and lighting. This is stunningly expensive to do, and impressive that Disney did it.

Less impressive is what it has been turned into. Sigh.

@Chuck, I remember those expensive die-cast cars. I wanted the Thunderbird 2 rocket I found at the Queen Mary, and did not get, due to price. I wonder what it would be worth today?

Loving the old 50's bullet-style spotlights. No need for these today, since lighting has become so high-tech.


Anonymous said...

Sitting on top of the counter on the right is a Remco Giant Wheel Cowboys & Indians game (1958).

Behind that may be the Mattel H2O Two-Stage Missile (1958).


The tank in the mirrored case could be a Remco toy but I could not confirm it.

I'm rubbish with cars, so that's the best I can offer. Cool picture.

DrGoat said...

Most assuredly a Remco Bulldog tank. Had one.

"Lou and Sue" said...

WHERE are all the stuffed animals and keychains - the life-blood of Disneyland?!?!

Thanks, Major, for your work on these pictures! My dad and I appreciate all you do to bring out the best in them.

I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s nice comments to my dad. All of you really do make him happy by all your nice words. Thank you!


Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, the Crystal Arcade seems like a good guess. I am totally unfamiliar with the “Storybook Store”, not even sure I remember ever reading that name before. I can’t tell if that’s the glass blower, somebody else needs to chime in!

Nanook, I just like knowing about the Kiddie Korner, yet another thing I never knew of.

TokyoMagic!, OK, hey I got one guess right for a change. And Ken was right too, so he gets four points (my point system is very complicated). Boy I remember how much I loved to watch those glass blowers making little animals out of glass, it seemed like magic. I’m sure part of me wished that I could learn how to do it! I wonder how many of those trinkets they sold each day? For years I had a little glass dolphin, maybe we got it at Japanese Deer Park, or Sea World. Thanks for the google maps link!

Chuck, I would guess that those cars are nice-quality tin toys, though they may be die-cast too. I think you made a wise choice when you got the souvenir guidebook! I wonder what the thinking was that made them expand the Emporium the way they did. Was it for the sake of efficiency, or laziness? Maybe both.

Andrew, do you mean that there used to be an awning over Walt’s apartment, and now there isn’t? Obviously I’m not that observant! If so it’s probably yet another dumb example of cost cutting.

Stu29573, when you think about it, Disney could have easily had tons of beautiful night photos, either with crowds, or after hours, or during the time when the park was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. But Lou did it without any special help! I didn’t notice the rocket in the display, that’s kind of cool.

DrGoat, thanks for the ID on the Bulldog tank! Very cool. I’ll bet those things were expensive for their day - definitely something my mom would have said “no” to!

Jonathan, yes, I wish we had lots more night shots from Lou!

JG, there really is something about Disneyland at night, it has an entirely different vibe. When I was a kid it was such a novelty to be allowed to stay up late (even to 1 in the morning!) that I loved being there after the sun went down. It’s kind of impressive just how much lighting is in that Crystal Arcade, especially for the time.

Anon, Wow! Very awesome, great job IDing those toys! I especially love the Giant Wheel Cowboys and Indians game. THANKS!

DrGoat, you called it!

Lou and Sue, I’m so glad that the comments brighten Lou’s day. I’ve said it before, but my recent trips to the park found me going home with no souvenirs - I just didn’t care for what they had in the stores (though I was tempted by one item that I regret not buying, a litte bit anyway). Still, my real love is for the vintage stuff anyway. Thanks Sue!

"Lou and Sue" said...

FYI: I do have more nighttime pictures in Disneyland, that my dad took. I know I also have some nighttime shots of "other" hotels on the streets around Disneyland, too. My only concern is that our Major may retire before I get everything to him, for all of us to enjoy, here.