Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Costumed Characters, June 1960

Some of Disneyland's early walk-around characters were not so huggable, but by 1960 it looks like they figured out the key to capturing a faithful likeness. Pooh bear is covered in a thick plush fur that insulates him during the winter, and makes him extra squeezy. I like this version with the hunny pot on his head (and a hitchhiking bee). It's kind of neat that they had pooh out in the parking lot for folks to enjoy before they even set foot in the park (or maybe to wave goodbye as they headed home?).

Since "Pinocchio" is probably my favorite Disney animated feature, I would have been very happy to see these two rascals - J. Worthington Foulfellow (aka "Honest John") and his mute flunky, Gideon. Honest John is sizing us up to see if we are likely candidates to send to Pleasure Island!


Nanook said...

I agree with you about the early versions of costumed characters - most of 'em could easily compete with circus clowns in the 'scary' department. And I'm going to go by your URL address notations for the date as being from 1970; for as we know, in 1960 the Monorail was still "berm bound".

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

A fun fact.....the top of the honey pot on Pooh's head was "open," so if you threw trash in there, it would land on the head of the person inside the costume! (The person inside was actually looking out at guests, through the letters that spelled out "Hunny.")

Chuck said...

Interestingly, you can see what eventually became the Winnie the Pooh parking area behind Winnie the Pooh - a long, long way behind him, in the SW corner of the lot. My wife and I ended up parking in Winnie the Pooh 10 once, two spaces away from the actual corner of the parking lot fence. We then walked to the front gate rather than waiting for the tram. That was a hike.

The stroller in the second photo is inexplicably small and lacking in luggage capacity. A proper stroller can hold two kids, a purse, a diaper bag, a camera bag, a backpack, seven souvenir bags, two balloons, an LCD entertainment system, and a row of spare gas cans across the back.

TM!, throwing a piece of trash in there wouldn't bee nice.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Just wow. That entirely vacant parking lot in the picture with Pooh is astounding. I can't imagine the (any!) lot near the park with so few vehicles!

Bear with me here for a while as I reflect.

This is actually a bit of a flashback to a very early memory, from my very first visit to the park. I'm having to reconstruct when it would have been... (living *there*... teenage/tween uncles... math... more math... family is asleep so I can't bother them now....). Maybe 1982 or 1983. Probably '83 as I have vague memories of the PeopleMover and the 'TRON' mentions/highlights in parts as you went past (I was a bit obsessed with the movie at the time).

We went, bringing my then pre-teen uncles along, as part of a larger trip (involving one of my uncles who hadn't had shrimp before, eating the "fisherman's platter" at some restaurant and wondering why he was having such a difficult time with the shrimp, tails and all). Most of the details are hazy to this day but I would have been maybe 6 at the time. The shrimp 'incident' sticks out and is *still* brought up a family gatherings to this day. The one that really sticks out in my mind more than the park or even the shrimp is the fact that my Dad (previously mentioned a few posts ago, having worked at an Automat) having locked us out of our own car hundreds of miles from home and in a rapidly emptying parking lot in the middle of the night.

Somehow, in the middle of this mass-exodus, my Dad managed to find someone in the lot with a good old-fashioned wire coat-hanger! I have visions of him working with that hanger under a lot-light until he successfully 'broke in' to our own car!

Sadly, I don't recall much else of that trip (maybe Universal Studios as I remember the earthquake and the tram buckling under the road). I must have been just a bit too young to have other indelible memories of my first trip. Maybe there's a fading hint of the Electrical Light Parade or maybe even fireworks, but I'm not certain those are memories or suggestions of what I feel I "should" remember. There's always that empty parking lot, me plopped on the hood of the car, my Dad fishing a wire coat hanger into the window of our car....

Thanks, as always for the amazing photos, but especially here for recalling many early memories with just a single photo. I feel bad for not remembering more of the park on that particular trip other then an empty parking lot. Still, it makes for a great recollection.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Thanks for the laughs, everyone, this morning! A great start to this day . . .

Chuck, you forgot to add, "coffee/espresso maker" to the stroller list.

Major, that parking lot picture is a rare one! You have a winner! An empty parking lot, with a Disney character freely roaming around, will never happen again. (I LOVE the bee on Pooh's head!)

Thanks, Major!


stu29573 said...

Ok, I never put it together that the "J" in J. Worthington Foulfellow probably stands for "John." Hence, "Honest John." It just never occured to me. I would NOT be a good detective. I probably would have ended up in the salt mines, I'm afraid...

zach said...

I hope Pooh wasn't making a run for it.

I always liked the parking lot with the tram ride; first ride of the day. And I liked looking at the parked cars, too. And the whoosh of the Monorail.

After I say hi to John and Gideon I'm headed for Tomorrowland assuming I already rode Peter Pan.

Thanks, Major


JC Shannon said...

I'm with Sue, I like to start my day with a little GDB. I sip my coffee and contemplate my day. Always great commentary and sweet memories. I remember my mom pointing out the characters walking around and thinking, that's great but the Submarines are calling to me. I always hoped to get the Nautilus. As always, thanks to Major for the morning cheer.

DrGoat said...

Lou & Sue, JC, there is no better way to start your day than a dose of GDB. Makes me smile, thanks to the Major and all of us in the peanut gallery.
Anon., great memory. The good old days when you could actually break into a car with a coat hanger. And wing windows, which were great either to break in or if you smoked in the car. Sucked that smoke right out.
That is one great, glorious expanse of asphalt Major. It would be great to take a go-kart out on that. Thanks M.

Melissa said...

The first time I got to hug Pooh in the Parks felt just as good as my memory of hugging the giant plush Pooh I slept with as a kid. And I feel it again just looking at that awesome picture.

I'm always reminded of a bit from a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode where a character in the terrible movie is climbing a tree:

"Aw, he's looking for hunny, like Pooh."
"Yeah, he's like poo, alright."

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, arg, so much for my “method” of preparing blog posts! I’ll set the date and time, put in the photos, add the title (this time erroneous), and then actually write the post later. Sometimes weeks later. So I used the typo “1960” as my reference when I wrote the text!

TokyoMagic!, I would never throw trash in Pooh’s hunny pot, but if I was chewing tobakky, I might spit in there in an emergency. I didn’t know that the CM looked out through the letters!

Chuck, I applaud you and your wife for walking that distance but am also puzzled as to why you didn’t just hop on a tram! Maybe it was Lent and you had sworn off trams for the duration? Maybe you suffer from Tramophobia? Maybe you’re just ornery! Ol’ Pooh could sometimes be unpredictable and dangerous (like a pit bull), which is why he was near the “Please Stand Clear” sign. And I know we’ve talked about this before, but how did mothers survive taking kids to Disneyland in those pre-“SUV” stroller days?

AlbinoDragon, I love your comment with all of those specific memories! As far as I can tell (and I’m probably wrong), that Pooh photo was taken in the morning, so it’s possible that the parking lot would be a lot more packed in just an hour or two. Something tells me that in 1970 there weren’t as many die-hard Disneyland fans who HAD to be there when the gates opened. Your first visit to the park was in 1982 or 1983? You’re just a kid! Funny about how your uncle didn’t know how to eat shrimp. May I recommend fish sticks with lots of tartar sauce? What a nightmare, being locked out of the car at night! Reminds me of when I drove some people (a few who I didn’t really know) to Dodger Stadium, and when the game was over my car wouldn’t start. It took FOREVER for AAA to come and get it started, and by then everyone in the group hated me. Or it felt that way anyhow! Most of my memories are like yours, just bits and unrelated pieces, and I couldn’t tell anyone when I was there the way some GDB readers seem to be able to do. Glad you liked these!

Lou and Sue, I do enjoy a good parking lot sign. Who could have ever imagined that the parking lot would be gone someday?? Not me!

stu29573, you know, the salt mines aren’t so bad; the food is always seasoned perfectly. It’s possible the “J” stood for “Joaquin”, and they called him “John” just to “Americanize” it.

dzacher, yes, the tram ride toward the gates was fun as a kid, and felt like a luxury when you were tired and needed to get back to the general location of the family car. I can remember looking back toward the entry gates and wishing I could go back the next day.

Jonathan, Aw thanks! I do remember seeing characters around Disneyland, but I was always too scared to go meet them! This is why I live in a plastic bubble today. Just your mention of the Submarines makes me think of how much I loved that ride back then, going down the little spiral stairs, popping the hinged seat down, and pressing my forehead against the cold glass window waiting for the show to begin!

DrGoat, I first start my day with 6 hours of intense meditation, staring at a candle flame. Then I eat a bowl of cold gruel. Maybe you’re way is better! Smoking in cars, ugh. It’s stil amazing to me that people could smoke on airplanes!

Melissa, I don’t remember having any plush Disney animals when I was a kid! I had a teddy bear, he was white (sort of looked like a lamb) with red pajamas. And my grandma gave me a plush monkey that I never liked because it was not soft and squishy - he was kind of stiff and the fur was unpleasant. Maybe my grandma didn’t like me!

Anonymous said...

A great picture of the parking lot, with WTP to boot.

Thufer would have loved that picture, he was always a parking lot bug.

@Tokyo, your comments sound based in personal experience, did you play WTP? I know you were a Christmas tree once...

I don't recall many of the characters that clearly from my kid visits, but JW and Gideon were among them. Pinocchio also. Maybe these characters were shaped and proportioned so they made more believable costumes, unlike, say, the Seven Dwarves, or even WTP.

I have an old picture of Pinocchio that makes me wonder if that particular day, the character might have been played by a young woman. The costume arms and legs are clearly just thin jersey sleeves and stockings, and those limbs look just a bit more shapely than a guy's might be. Seems reasonable since Peter Pan is often played on stage by women.

@Anonymous Albino Dragon; what great memories you have, thanks for sharing those. I still laugh about the time my Dad got squirted while cutting a cherry tomato in his salad.

Like most or all of the Junior Gorillas, this is what makes GDB so great. These old pictures bringing up memories to share with strangers. I usually try to start the day reading, but sometimes meetings and work get in the way. I'm finding that work is interfering with my best life more often lately.

Thanks Major, and everyone.


Chuck said...

Major, we arrived at an odd time and the trams were less frequent. One pulled away from the stop as we were about 50 yards away, no others were in sight, and we didn't feel like waiting for the next one. The Park was calling us...from right over couldn't be too far, could it? And I was 26 and she was 23. We could handle anything.

Like many of you, I also like to start my day here...which often leads to me being behind schedule within 10 minutes of getting out of bed. But it's totally worth it. You guys are awesome!

Dean Finder said...

Melissa, the MST3K movie with that like was Time Chasers

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, it sounds like you were friendly with Thufer, I wish I’d known him better. I miss ol’ Viewliner9000 (I think that was the name?) too. And CoxPilot, and Patrick Devlin. I’m sure there are others. One of my old girlfriends took a photo of me with Pinocchio, but I never got a copy, sadly. Why am I having trouble figuring out what “WTP” stands for? I am almost certain that young women usually played Pinocchio, and possibly many of the other smaller characters, though I’ve heard that Walt’s favorite “Mickey” actor was a man.

Chuck, I was pulling your leg, really; I figured you and your wife were just full of energy! Who knows, I might have done the same thing, as much as I liked a good tram trip. And yes, once you’ve driven all the way to the park, a jaunt across a few hundred yards of black top probably seemed undaunting.

Dean Finder, wow, you must have an encyclopedic knowledge of MST3K!

"Lou and Sue" said...

WTP = Winnie the Pooh

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, Pooh's hunny pot would have made a good spittoon!

Chuck, ha, ha! You are right. That wouldn't "bee" nice!

JG, even though the head of the person playing Pooh, was up inside the hunny pot, I was still too tall to wear the Pooh costume. But I was friends with the person who played him in the Christmas parade!

Melissa said...

Thanks, Dean Finder! I thought it might be either Time Chasers or Future War, but I couldn't gin up the gumption to look it up.

Anonymous said...

@Major, I commented on Thufer's blog occasionally and I think some emails too.

He just stopped posting on his blog and I'm sure he passed away. He was writing about his cancer treatments and it didn't sound promising.

Judging from his posts, we were about the same age. I miss him, but all the people you named are deeply missed as well.

@Lou and Sue, you got it!

@Tokyo, that's so cool. It sound like a lot of fun to do that.