Friday, January 10, 2020

Monstro and Storybook Land, May 1961

It's time for some very nice vintage Fantasyland pix (circa 1961) - nothing super extraordinary, but just some good solid classic Disneyland, with nice color and composition.

Here's a formal portrait of Monstro the Whale, his skin glistening in the sunlight because he moisturizes with shea butter and aloe. Baby soft! It's part of his nighttime routine. 1961 is when they experimented with loud belching noises played (every 15 seconds) through a speaker placed on the roof of his mouth. Some say that Walt Disney himself recorded the belches, but I think that is just fan theory. 

Notice the man posing next to Monstro's eye. Was it his wife's idea to take the picture, or did he want it himself?

I really like this angle looking westward, with a wonderful view of the Storybook Land canal boats (there's "Wendy"), along with a very busy Fantasyland. The color and general feeling of energy comes through.

I'm not sure I have noticed that the little lighthouse had yellow and red lamps in the lantern room. Paper lanterns can be seen in the distance, you know those looked pretty at night. I'm wondering what was in that wooden bin... extra seat cushions? And there's a fire extinguisher handy just in case.


Nanook said...

That ‘gentleman’ looks a bit surly to me. Perhaps he just wants to give a professional pose for the family-? As for that wooden bin, I’m certain it contains a barrel of water with live fish that CM’s toss out to the occasional sea lion that plies the waters of Storybook Land-! It’s such a happy place-!

"Lou and Sue" said...

That 1st pic is terrific in every way! I love Monstro! And all those people look like they stepped out of my Chicago neighborhood of the past. They just don’t look like the usual Disneyland tourists.

Fun pics and commentary - thanks, Major!


Chuck said...

I know Monstro is mid-blink, but the angle of the eyelid and eye makes it look like he's looking directly at the woman taking her husband's picture. "Hurry up, lady - I can't hold this pose forever."

The second image shows all sorts of fun details on the canal boats i don't recall ever seeing before. Note the stylized castle logo on the top cabin door panel. Even the interior of the cabin appears to have been decorated, a nice Disney touch from the Walt era.

Anyone know what was inside the cabins? Maybe a break area for the sea lions?

Andrew said...

All Storybook Canal guides had to be adept in how to start a fire in case Monstro became grumpy, so that's what that box was for.

I think it's interesting that in old pictures, "Story Book" is two words on the planter, and at some point it was changed to one. Thanks!

JC Shannon said...

I'm pretty sure the guy in the first pic is muscle for the Dragna outfit. "Interest has accrued!" The guy in the red shirt is an engineer at NASA, taking a well deserved break from the Mercury program. "I could sure use a glass of Tang." Two winners today, thanks Major.

DrGoat said...

Agreed. First pic is grand.
Same here Lou & Sue, except West 34th street, Manhattan, NYC. He looks like my uncle Ray, the WWII Marine vet. He was a bit surly. I think he had good reason to be. We moved out to Tucson when I was 4, thank the lucky stars.
So when did the Park switch to the new Monstro, where the concrete goes right up to him? Also a redesigned Monstro himself. This link from Yesterland shows a 1958 version.
Thanks again Major and a good weekend to everyone.

zach said...

Great photos today. Great color and scenes within scenes.

Sue and DrGoat. Nope, New Jersey.

And it's life preservers in the bin.

At 13 in 1961 I probably would have snickered at the belching. At the same time I had a crush on every Storybook 'driver' so I needed to stay cool. Those were tough times.

I like how the engineer coordinated his shirt with the lighthouse.

Thank you Major P and the 'lost to time' photographer.

Anonymous said...

Come for the pictures, stay for the comments. It's the GDB way.

Where else can you sail down a whale's throat and live to have your photo made afterward?

As Chuck points out, the details on the boats are really something. Later versions are much more plain. I wonder if they made the boats more detailed in the early years since the ride was very plain to start?

Notice the post-Imagineering cushion on the nearest boat in photo 2. I bet that roof got pretty hard by the end of the shift.

I think the paper lanterns must be decorating around the teacups. The modern version has much bigger ones. Does anyone recall if this a theme from the movie?

Altogether, a fine Friday set, Major. Thank you.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I just thought the guy was squinting in the sunlight, like Monstro is doing. I wish there were fat lazy sea lions lounging around Disneyland, barking at guests, sinking boats, and doing all of the other things that they do.

Lou and Sue, interesting that you think that the guests look more “Chicago-y”. I wonder why? At first I thought it might be that they are wearing cool-weather clothing, but I only see one sweater, everyone else is in short sleeves.

Chuck, yes, Monstro looks annoyed, but he IS Monstro after all. It’s what he does. Did you lighten up the photos to see inside the canal boats? All I mostly see is blackness, like the inside of my soul.

Andrew, remember, Geppetto and Pinocchio escaped Monstro’s stomach by starting a smoky blaze, so fire-starting skills were probably a bonus for CMs.

Jonathan, I guess I need to read up on my mob guys! “Dragna” sounds vaguely familiar, maybe he showed up in some James Ellroy books. NASA engineers loved clothing in primary colors! Yellow pants? No problem.

DrGoat, I guess the folks in that first picture don’t look like the usual, suntanned Californians. I am not really sure when Monstro was redone, I would guess it was sometime in the 90’s, but if anybody out there knows for sure, please let us know!

dzacher, ha ha, I think those people look like they come from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin! “Disneyland doesn’t serve bratwurst in ANY of their restaurants?”. Just think how different you might be if you grew up in the old Manhattan neighborhood. I always wonder what kind of person I would be if my family had stayed in Huntington Beach (instead of moving to Pennsylvania).

JG, I never thought about it before… were the canal boats completely replaced? Maybe the original versions just rotted out. Now I want to do a “then and now” comparison to see. I wonder how long a shift was for the SBL ladies? I would think that sitting with no back support for a long time would get pretty old in a hurry, but then again, they were able to stretch and stand at the end of each journey.

Anonymous said...

Major, I think a then-and-now post of Storybookland boats is great idea.

This is one of my favorite attractions, and IMHO it has been carefully handled over the years, with comparatively tasteful additions and subtractions. Tracing the changes could be enjoyable.

Also, at some point(s), the CM guides included men. I have one photo from one of the blogs, possibly GDB, showing a big guy in a heavy overcoat and vaguely Swiss costume doing the tour guide position. Not sure if this is still the case, my last couple of rides were all hosted by ladies.


Chuck said...

major, I mostly see darkness, too, but there appear to be some painted flowers or something on the bulkheads. I found a photo at Daveland that shows that the doors were able to close, probably to allow the sea lions to change out of their work clothes.

JG, I think that cushion is actually guest seating, removed so passengers can exit the boat. If you look closely between the tour guide's legs (ahem), you can see the edge of a cushion with a guest seated on it, while another female guest is stepping on the bare bench seat to disembark. The Jungle Cruise used (and perhaps still uses) a similar process to pack the most sard-, er, I mean guests possible into every boat.

I remember seeing that photo of the guy in the trenchcoat, but I'm not sure where. I want to say that was a very early Disneyland photo, probably when the attraction was still "Mud Banks of the World." The guides were exclusively young ladies from probably 1956 until about 1994, the same time they allowed women to be Jungle Cruise skippers. I remember it was a big deal at the time.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, I agree, you are right, the cushion is the guest seating. I recall that now, they have a pad for guests and move the pad so you don't step on it as you move in or out. It's nice so you don't have sit where someone has stepped.

On the JC, only the yellow cushions float, but they don't make that joke here.

I bet the CM's wish their seat had a cushion, other than that awarded them at birth. That perch must require some strict attention to remain demure.


Melissa said...

That shea butter'll clog up your blowhole something fierce. Don't ask me how I know.

No such thing as a bad picture of the Prince of Wales!

Melissa said...

Dammit, autocorrect changed "Whales" to "Wales." Doesn't it know me by now?

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, the funny thing is that I have surprisingly few really good shots of the canal boats; and now with Photobucket down (for nearly a month!), it has really cramped my style as far as linking to old posts or even referring to them for my own purposes. I remember an acquaintance telling me about his daughter’s experience working Storybook Land back in the late 60’s. Without going into details, the costume caused some “female problems” for her. I guess because he was a doctor it didn’t occur to him that maybe she wouldn’t appreciate him telling some random guy about it!

Chuck, whoa, I never saw (or noticed, perhaps) one of the canal boats with the doors closed! Amazing. Didn’t even know that was possible. I agree with you re: the cushion - my understanding is that they have done away with the cushions altogether on the Jungle Cruise, though I don’t know if that’s true for Storybook Land’s boats. Can you imagine riding that attraction when there was nothing to see but dirt and mud? Do you think people got off the ride and thought, “What in the world was THAT?”?

JG, your comment about the females needing to be careful to remain demure connects directly to my earlier comment to you!

Melissa, the less I think about blowholes, the better! I agree, Prince Charles is a very photogenic man.

Melissa, I think you’re computer is purposely defying you, and needs a spanking.