Friday, January 03, 2020

Skyway Stuff

Both of today's photos pertain to the Disneyland Skyway, which had debuted in June of 1956; these pictures were taken shortly after that date.

Here's a view that you don't see every day! It's a backstage view, behind the Skyway terminal building; we're looking south (or a little southwest, to be precise), with the big parking lot visible just over the berm. The Disneyland Railroad is returning to Main Street Station - this was years before the Grand Canyon Diorama. It's neat to see behind the domed theaters of the "Rocket to the Moon" attraction. Just beyond the dome you can see a wall and tile roof of the old Dominguez home, which was being used as the Administration Building.

To show how such a photo could be taken, I found this neat 1962 aerial photo. By this time the Flying Saucers attraction had been added, and the building that housed the Grand Canyon Diorama; it also contained offices, such as "Cash Control", as well as employee locker rooms. But you can see that the rearmost part of the Skyway terminal would afford a view of the backstage area if you looked quickly.

Next is a nice ground-level view looking up at the Skyway buckets as they launched (and returned), gliding above the Tomorrowland Autopia (sponsored by Richfield Oil).


Nanook said...

Yes indeedee - that first view isn't something you see everyday-! Backstage at its finest.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I love that first photo. I also love the fact that someone back in 1956, thought the view was interesting enough to take a picture of it. Now we get to enjoy it, 64 years later. I wonder where those two guys dressed in white worked? Maybe they worked at the Space Bar and were just leaving to go on a break? I guess we will never know for sure.

Gnometrek said...

Thank you Major. These photos are especially interesting. The one taken from the Back of the Skyway Terminal is extraordinary. It could be an opening scene from the Twilight Zone of the Outer Limits.

DrGoat said...

Great pics. I've seen a few backstage pics but that one takes the cake. Something about it....could be the Disneyland Railroad receding into the backround that does it for me. Reminds me of the final shot in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
Love the bare architecture of the Rocket to the Moon building.
Thanks Major!

Andrew said...

It would be weird riding the train and having an overview of Tomorrowland. I wonder if you could see into the Jungle Cruise in those early days, too?

Richfield should've sponsored the Skyway and themed it to oil buckets. These are definitely some unique pictures, so thanks for that!

Tom said...

Woot! An awesome unusual angle from long ago! The quality of these old photos is truly astounding; they bring back to life views and structures that have been gone for decades. The view of the old Richfield sign takes me back to my first visit, and goggling over the amazing corporate sponsorship all throughout Tomorrowland. Thanks for sharing these!

zach said...

Thanks for sharing these! I wonder how many pictures of this area taken from the train survive. Can't get any more backstage than that.


Anonymous said...

The Rocket to the Moon buildings are certainly futuristic, could be observatories, or nuclear power plants, or exclusive Hollywood restaurants.

I love the white rock aggregate on the flat, flat roof, like a hat brim. So many houses and buildings in Southern California with that treatment. The nearer building gets plain old gray gravel, humble but functional.

At first glance, I thought the workers were painters due to the white garb, but Tokyo is probably right, the hats look more like food service.

Just another great series of photos today, thank you, Major!


Matthew said...

Happy New Year everyone... Dang late the party again!

That first photo is amazing. And look at that the Dominguez family home. How cool!! Thanks too for the aerial view. My locker was in that building when I started in 1986. OK... the third photo of the Richfield sign looks as if it could have been taken by the marketing department. I think I was probably 28 years old before I realized that the Atlantic Richfield Company is ARCO gas. I think I was wondering one day... what happened to the sponsor of the Autopia?

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Anonymous said...

The first 2 shots certainly demonstrate the remarkable change that has happened over the years. What I found interesting is how much the train was moved further out to accommodate the backstage building. Like Matthew, my locker was also in that building, I recall the girls had the bottom floor, along with Cash Control and the Barber Shop and guys had most of the top floor. This being back in 1969. KS

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it’s always such a big deal to find any photo that isn’t the usual view! I was very happy to find this one.

TokyoMagic!, yeah, you’d think most people would see that backstage area and think, “That’s ugly”, but this person was interested, thank goodness. Looking at the guys in white, they appear to be wearing those paper hats that restaurant employees might wear.

Gnometrek, yes, it’s after the nuclear wars, and the only people left are roving gangs in their white radiation suits! “Submitted for your approval”…

DrGoat, it is kind of neat to see the DLRR heading away from us, back toward Main Street Station where it will take on a new load of passengers. Gosh, I haven’t seen “Liberty Valance” for so long, I don’t remember what the final shot is. Is it a crane shot of an empty western street?

Andrew, somehow when you’re on the train and going through Tomorrowland you don’t really think about the anachronism. And good question about being able to see into the Jungle Cruise, I’m really not sure.

Tom, I’m not sure I really understood what “corporate sponsorship” was when I was a kid, but I was definitely aware of Monsanto’s tie to “Adventure Thru Inner Space”, or General Electric’s connection to “Carousel of Progress”, or even Goodyear’s name near the Peoplemover. It made me have the warm fuzzies for those companies, which I suppose was the point.

dzacher, My guess is that most people thought that these backstage areas were not worth wasting a frame of film on, BUT… even if they did take a photo, we might not even recognize it as being from Disneyland.

JG, It probably wasn’t a big deal to experienced builders, but I think that it must have been quite a thing to want two 30’ (or so) domes, probably wood-framed and covered with stucco. I wonder how they did it so perfectly? I’ve always thought those roofs with rocks on them were a weird idea, you still see them on older houses once in a while. Somehow it works with a mid-century home.

Matthew, 10:14 AM isn’t that late! Did you ever go into the offices housed in the old Dominguez family home? I know some people who were CMs in the 70’s who had lockers in the same building as yours. Funny about how it took a while to make the connection to “Richfield” and “ARCO”! I’m not even sure I got far enough to think about it at all.

Major Pepperidge said...

KS, yeah, it is kind of astonishing how much changed at the park in just six years. Walt was really firing on all cylinders in those days! I wonder if they gave the ladies the bottom floor because they are so delicate?

"Lou and Sue" said...

smarter. ;)


Anonymous said...

Major, a dome like that, in wood framing, would be a pretty good challenge to frame.

It looks like it is all clad in plaster too. This would be a challenge to waterproof, especially near the top, where the roof slope is practically flat.

Disney was a pioneer in state-of-the-art waterproofing, but I doubt that the excellent liquid products used on Space Mountain a few years later were available in the market at the time of original Tomorrowland.

I wonder if they just resigned themselves to a certain amount of water damage over time and planned to keep on it. So much of original and even 1967 TL looks pretty chancy to me, but with determined maintenance, could be kept up. We know how dedicated Disney was about upkeep in those early years.


DrGoat said...

Major, the last shot in Liberty Valance is the steam locomotive and cars, carrying Jimmy Stewart away from Shinbone, from the same perspective as in your pic....without the plaintive steam whistle with that great receding doppler effect, but just as nice.
Thanks M.

nick said...

Just wanted to add my thanks for sharing these.