Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Two Nice Random Views

Today's first scan is technically a "leftuggie", from the lot that featured the lovely and babushka'd Molly Holiday. She doesn't appear in this picture, but it's still pretty neat. Any look at the old Tahitian Terrace is worthwhile; this 1966 photo shows it when it had only been open for four years. I love the details such as the carved and painted shields (so many shields). Go in, enjoy some Palai Moa Niu Wai-u, Honua Papa Kuikawa, of some la'ko Lau. They all sound so good! And while you're dining, enjoy authentic native dancing and music. 

 The Tahitian Terrace closed on April 17, 1993. 

Next is a nice look at some of the ramshackle buildings of Fowler's Harbor, with the Columbia at rest (as is often the case). Most of you know the story - Admiral Joe Fowler knew that the Mark Twain and Columbia would require regular maintenance, and insisted on building a dry dock for that very purpose. "Fowler's Inn" is a tribute to the Admiral of course, and the sign for "Mauri's Lobster Dinners" is a tribute to Joe's wife Maurie (spelling be damned!).


Nanook said...


So much theming in these images - even the lowly trash receptacle is all dressed-up in bamboo finery.

My memory only recalls one visit to the Tahitian Terrace, probably some time in 1964 or 1965 - and a dinner show it was, too. And thanks to a not-so-behind-the-scenes connection to a Disney upper management level employee (the father of a boyhood friend), he arranged to have my dad "randomly" picked to come-up on stage to accompany one of the dancers as she "gave a tour of Polynesia" - or whatever gyrating motion was happening up there.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

The fella with the camera in the first photo is wearing a variation of the "colored strip down the front of your shirt" style worn by the kid in yesterday's photo. Is that a ticket book in his front pocket?

In front of him, a familiar popcorn box.

And in front of the Tahitian Terrace sign, there's a guy digging through an oversized bag perched on an empty stroller. I guess people have always used strollers to lug stuff around (other than kids).

Now I'm wondering how they lit those torches on the Tahitian Terrace sign? Was there some sort of spark device, or did they just open up the gas and have a laplighter come around every night?

For years I thought Fowler's Inn was an actual restaurant that was always closed on my childhood visits. Thus is the power of effective theming.

Thanks, Major!

Chuck said...

Make that lamplighter. And now I'm wondering what a laplighter would be...

Andrew said...

Can't guests walk underneath the awning of Fowler's Harbor now? You definitely couldn't do that in this view.

These are certainly worthwhile "leftuggies." Now excuse me while I go start a petition to bring back those bamboo trash cans!

DrGoat said...

What an absolutely great memory Nanook. I think we might have eaten there once or twice. I do remember the authentic dancing going on by very cute Wahines. (Had to look up the plural of Wahini).
Great shot of Fowler's Harbor and Columbia's funky anchor. They might have worked on that one a bit longer in my opinion.
Thanks Major, great leftuggies!

stu29573 said...

Now that tiki chic is back again, I bet Disney wishes they had never shut down the Tahitian Terrace! BUT IT'S TOO LATE DISNEY! YOU DONE MESSED UP!!! Ok, I feel better now.

zach said...

Random memory... Ever bonked your head on a crane hook? Not fun.

I will sign the petition, Andrew. Who has that trash can now, I wonder?

I knew about the Admiral Fowler connection but not his wife. Someone should write a book about these behind the scenes stuff. What?

Those gas pots on the Terrace sign remind me of, when I was a kid, the pots they put around construction sites at night to warn of the danger.

A nice pair of photos showing the amazing theming Disney is known for.

Thank you, Major,


Nanook said...

@ dzacher-

Yes - little 'smudge pots'. (I wonder if those were "genuine Toledo Torches", manufactured by the Toledo Pressed Steel Company-?

Anonymous said...

Nanook, thanks for that memory. This is what Disneyland pictures are all about.

For some reason, we never once went into the Tahitian Terrace, and I really regret that. I'm looking forward to seeing the new version, "Tropical Hideaway" which is supposedly cross-themed with the Tiki Room. I guess Disney is finally ramping up to make use of the empty spaces in the Park.

@Chuck, there are remote piezo lighters for decorative gas appliances that do not require manual lighting, just turn the switch and instant fire. I imagine these were available back then too. I recall once seeing a CM turning on the torches over at the Adventureland entrance by the Tiki Room, he lifted up a fiberglass rock and turned a valve.

@David Zacher, I agree, we had a couple of those pots on the farm. I have no idea how we came by them.

@Andrew, the original Fowler's Harbor buildings were originally "scaled down" and a bit tinier than real life, like the upper floors in Main Street, also off limits to guests. Maybe this was to make the schooner look bigger. The effect was similar to Rainbow Ridge. I always wanted to walk down into it. At some point, perhaps related to the construction of Splash Mountain, the area was re-worked into full size buildings selling food, and now you can walk right around the front of the Columbia, which is very cool.

You can see the attention to detail in this photo, notice how the main roof ridge sags a little, it's sway-backed like a real old building would be. and the soot stains on the chimney, David's dangling crane hooks etc. Also appears to be a Hudson Sprayer, or possibly a fire extinguisher in the shadow to the left of the porch. The eave of that porch was about five feet high, IIRC.

Thanks Major.


DrGoat said...

dzacher, I've never bonked my head on a crane hook, but the cave on Tom Sawyer's island got me good once.

K. Martinez said...

Tahitian Terrace is the one single dining location at Disneyland that I never experienced. It was because at the time I had so much exposure to all things Hawaiian and Polynesia (my grandparents born in Hawaii and family living there) that I just kind of sneered at it. Now I wish I could've experienced it if for nothing else to add the notch to my Disneyland belt.

Also, I thought the Mexican food at Casa de Fritos was crap, so I wondered if the Tahitian Terrace would be another sad attempt at ethnic food. As my sister once said "you'd think because Disney does such an outstanding job at creating attractions, then why not be as good with the food." Thanks, Major.

Clyde Hughes said...

What with crane hook head-bonking and less than stellar ethnic culinary attempts, a visit to Disneyland could leave one feeling less than ship-shape! I think that's the job of the bamboo trash cans and Tiki torches...
Admiral Joe Fowler may have even named his 3 crane hooks (with added winching power)! Plus, there seems to be mosquito netting on the back (right) porch area. I wonder if the Admiral had fevered dreams back there in his 'reclining' years?

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’ve always particularly appreciated the effort put into those “bamboo” trash cans. I remember you telling the story about seeing the Tahitian Terrace show, what an awesome memory. Sadly, I never experienced that place, much to my chagrin.

Chuck, by 1966 the faux-necktie was just a skinny stripe, like a venomous snake slithering up to bite his jugular. I guess that’s a camera in his hands, but it kind of looks like an old Viewmaster viewer. And I only just noticed one of those beautiful Tahitian Terrace menus on display behind his head. I definitely notice the popcorn box! And that man - THAT MAN RIGHT THERE - was the first one to use a stroller to carry his extra stuff. It’s all his fault! I have also wondered about the lighting of the torches throughout the park; sometimes it seems as if they leave them lit all day long, but clearly the ones in this photo are not burning. Maybe they have some Champion spark plugs hidden in the torches. We need Mike Cozart to tell us if a person went around like ye olde town lamplighter.

Chuck, I don’t know what a laplighter is, but sign me up.

Andrew, I have never gone over to Fowler’s Harbor, so I can’t say for sure if folks could actually walk under the awning. Don’t they have the bamboo trash cans anymore??

DrGoat, I would have guessed “Wahoonies” would be the plural of “Wahini”! I know that anchor looks odd, but I would bet dollars to donuts that it is historically accurate.

stu29573, you are so right, imagine how incredibly popular the Tahitian Terrace would have been over the past 10 years, even if they slightly reduced the size or length of the show! What a bad decision.

dzacher, are you telling me that hitting your head against a huge heavy metal thing is no fun? I am skeptical, and will have to do my own research! It took me quite a while to find the name of Admiral Joe’s wife, I assume he is in the new book “The 55ers” - after I’m done responding to comments I’ll go get my copy and take a look. Glad you liked these!

Nanook, “Toledo Torches”, you never cease to amaze me.

JG, I would have thought that my Navy dad would have wanted to see the Tahitian Terrace, but it never happened sadly. You can watch YouTube videos covering the Tropical Hideaway - I’m not champing at the bit to go there, but then again I’m a grump. Thank you for the info about Fowler’s Harbor, I was totally in the dark about any of that! Also thanks for pointing out the roof sag, I remember reading about Walt’s Barn and how he spent extra so that the doorway sagged just like the barns he remembered from childhood.

DrGoat, I also bonked my head in the caves, and got what looked like a bad case of road rash on my right forehead once. Ouch.

K. Martinez, I knew that you have been to Hawaii and were a fan, but somehow I did not know that you never experience the Tahitian Terrace. I guess I can sort of understand somebody from that part of the world thinking that the Disney version looked silly. But it’s a fun kind of silly! Bummer that the food at Casa de Fritos wasn’t good - it almost seems like, “How can you mess up Mexican food?”. Lots of basic ingredients. But if they cheap out or use processed garbage instead of real shredded beef (for instance), it can make a big difference. Also, Americans at that time didn’t want anything spicy! I still remember my Great Aunt gasping at the salsa at El Torito, which was so mild I could have sipped it as a pleasant aperitif.

Clyde Hughes, I’ve observed children falling and running into things at Disneyland - usually followed by screams and tears of course. My nephew was sitting on a swaying rope, and fell off - I swear I still remember the sound of his head hitting the cement, like a melon. He seemed OK though, after the shock wore off. Joe Fowler talked to the 3 crane hooks when he had malaria. “Boys, did I ever tell you about the time I was in South America?”.

Nanook said...


Boy, are you hot today-!

Sadly, you don't have to lower the bar as far down as 'theme park food' to experience less than exciting Mexican cuisine. I'm certain there must be some hidden gems up here in the Puget Sound area, but I have yet to find any of them.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Great laughs today - thanks, everyone! But I do feel sorry for all of you who bonked your heads! That wasn't funny.

I did get the opportunity to eat at the Tahitian Terrace a number of times in the 60's - and through the years 'til about 1976, as my parents enjoyed it. My mom especially loved it - and I remember times there with relatives and friends, also - lots of fun and laughter. Great atmosphere. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single thing I ate there. As a matter of fact, in all the years I went to Disneyland, in my youth - I don't recall anything I ate anywhere on Disney's property. (Strange, huh?!) I don't recall eating ice cream, popcorn, or anything there. There are only two items I can remember consuming, from all those early years of visits: fresh-squeezed orange juice; and one of those jumbo(!) suckers from the Main St. candy shop - but that was consumed at home, not in the Park. Yet, I can recall vivid memories of so many fun things I did at Disneyland, as a kid. Food obviously wasn't that important to me, back then - but that sure has changed now that I'm older.

On my one and only trip to Hawaii - one beautiful, warm, late evening we (me, my husband and friends) ate at a beautiful outdoor restaurant on Kauai - with lush greenery all around, and lit tiki torches. For a split second, my brain told me I was at the Tahitian Terrace. I also found myself thinking how neat* it was that the Hawaiian restaurant did such a good job of copying Disney (Tahitian Terrace; WDW Polynesian Resort). I guess that exposure to Disney, especially as an impressionable child, will do that to you . . . you find yourself comparing everything to Disney. Maybe that's what's meant by "life imitates art." (I'm sure a lot of you readers know what I mean. You can't help but compare places - like restaurants, hotels, amusement parks, etc. - to the wonderful Disneyland of the past. But, sadly, there's really NO comparison.)


*Andrew: The meaning of the word "neat" does not mean "orderly." In this instance, it means "cool." ;)

Chuck said...

Sue, I remember walking in Waikiki one warm September evening and thinking "this place smells like Adventureland."

"Lou and Sue" said...

Chuck, it’s amazing how Waikiki did that!!