Friday, July 31, 2020

Some Beauties From The 50's

Here are some nice pix from the 1950's... if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say 1956, or possibly 1957. 

First up is this really wonderful shot of the Rivers of America. It almost feels like it's from an MGM movie, there's so much activity. You've got Huck Finn's raft making the crossing, heading back to the landing near the Plantation House, by the looks of it. There's the short-lived riverfront bandstand to our right, and the Mark Twain, looking as grand and ornate as ever. A Conestoga Wagon can be seen on the distant shore, too. Love those barren hills, maybe they've been scrubbed by hydraulic mining techniques. There's no Cascade Peak yet.

This one was labled, "Thelma and Old Boat". Old Boat? Outrageous! 

Now that I think about it, I would expect to be able to see Skyway cables (or even a few gondolas) overhead, but I guess it's possible that they are just out of frame. One of Casey Jr.'s smokestacks is just visible to our left, and some of you will be happy to see the telephone pole and wires! 

I'd like to give all my readers a heads-up for a great new post over at the wonderful Long-forgotten blog. HBG2 shares some recent discoveries regarding Ken Anderson's early story concepts for the Haunted Mansion, including tons of images. It's really fantastic! Do yourself a favor and go check it out, you'll be glad you did.


TokyoMagic! said...

Maybe the photographer meant "Thelma and Old Bag." She does have a brown paper bag rolled up under her arm. And just what was in that bag anyway? Did Thelma smuggle a whole fried chicken into the park, like my great-grandmother did, back in the seventies?

An even better title for the slide might have been, "Thelma and Her Wedgies." The woman appears to be showing off her footwear.

"Lou and Sue" said...

If the sky was bluer, that first one would make a great early postcard for DL! Did you notice the fencing in the lower right corner? What was that for?! To keep the ducks out of the water?? To keep the duck in the water??

Major, you misread that 2nd photo label. It reads, "Thelma and Old Goat." He's the one with the hat, wearing a white shirt and black pants - walking away. They never got along!

Great umbrellas in that 2nd scan.

HBG2's blog is always interesting! I'll check out his new post, now.

Thanks, Major!

"Lou and Sue" said...

TM! It appears we're both trying to solve Thelma's mislabeling predicament. Speaking of that bag under her arm, at first glance it looked like a live groundhog.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Was the date on this slide - February 2?

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, ha, ha! I did notice that "face" on Thelma's paper bag!

JG, in reference to Major's post from eight days ago, it appears that that door on the focsle deck is open, just slightly (towards us).

"Lou and Sue" said...

I'll mention just two more things about that 2nd picture, before I "turn in" for the night...

That guy in the red shirt, exiting the "old boat," is kidnapping someone's kid.

Where are the sweepers? It's unusual to see so much litter, in those early years.

K. Martinez said...

Major, perhaps you don't see the Skyway gondolas because the Skyway wasn't open yet? You did say these might be 1956 or possibly 1957. The Skyway didn't open until June 23, 1956.

Nanook said...

What, no love for the Gullywhumper-? Wha a nice shot.

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

If these are from the same batch, I'm going to guess late (Oct-Dec) 1956 or early 1957 and the Skyway gondolas are either just out of frame or not running that day. The key visual cues are:

1. The rafts are operating. They opened 16 Jun 1956.

2. The sailor approaching the bandstand from right frame is wearing service dress blues, which is worn during the "winter" months, usually Oct-Apr.

Sue, that fencing was installed to keep the crocodiles from coming ashore.

Melissa said...

Get your butt offa that raft railing, kid! Nobody wants to have to jump in that dirty water after you!

Paper souvenir hat alert in the raft crowd, too!

DrGoat said...

Lou & Sue, the trash on the ground was the first thing I noticed in the "Thelma and Old Boat" pic. Must have been a rowdy crowd that just passed through heading for parts west. And that might be Thelma Lou looking for Barney.
Thanks Major

Stu29573 said...

I decree the first picture "Postcard Worthy." We can punch up the sky a bit in pre-production. By the way, that fence was there to keep out Commies! In fact, that was the very fence that kept out Khrushchev.
I also really like the second photo! The lady is actually holding star of TV and film, Higgins!(a.k.a Benji)
Great pics today, Major! Saaaaa-lute!

Omnispace said...

That first photo is amazing. I love the composition, all the activity on the river, and yes there's even one of the covered wagons in the background!

The Old Boat pic is fine but it really shows how barren that area must have felt before they added the rock grotto behind it.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who see Benji under the woman's arm.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I was going to make a joke about Thelma being an old bag, but it seemed so mean. Did your great-grandmother really smuggle a whole fried chicken into the park? Think of all the other things people must have smuggled in! Pork chops in their pockets?

Lou and Sue, yeah, these have a strange overly-warm color cast, but otherwise the photos are so nice. As for that fencing, it doesn’t seem to serve any clear purpose. Maybe it really was supposed to keep ducks out?

Lou and Sue, I thought the bag looked like a dog. A pekinese?

Lou and Sue, somehow you could tell that these photos were taken on the anniversary of the 1428 peasant revolt in Transylvania?!

TokyoMagic!, this is a family blog and I don’t appreciate naughty words like “focsle”.

Lou and Sue, boy, judging from those legs, the little kid is making a ruckus. No wonder dad is carrying her out of the boat! It IS a little odd to see so much trash on the ground.

K. Martinez, the slides are undated, but my spidey senses make me think that they are probably from after 1956. I assumed that the photo of the tuna boat somehow managed to completely eliminate the Skyway buckets and cables. I have no real proof though!

Nanook, am I missing the Gullywhumper? I don’t see it!

Chuck, good point, Tom Sawyer Island did not open until ’56, for sure. Also, good eye on the sailor, it took me a minute to find him!

Melissa, I probably would have sat on the railing too, so I can’t be too tough on the kid. I wonder if there was some sort of floatation device on the rafts that they could throw to a person in case someone did fall in?

DrGoat, it was probably a bunch of long-haired teenagers! With their dungarees, and their rock and roll, snapping their gum. Disgraceful! So weird, my brain wants to put “Miller” after the name “Barney”.

Stu29573, sometimes I admit that I am tempted to do a little Photoshop editing, but there is also a part of me that wants to show things just as they were. Something that matters only to me, I’m sure! And you know me, I’m always worried about those Commies. How in the world did you know Benji’s real name?!?

Major Pepperidge said...

Omnispace, I’m always happy when a conestoga wagon makes it into a photo. For one thing, it means that we can be sure the picture was taken before September of 1959, when they were removed (along with the stagecoaches). I have the feeling that Walt must have not been happy with the barren look of the area behind the Pirate Ship, I can just imagine him telling his Imagineers, “We’ve gotta do something to make it look prettier!”.

Stu29573 said...

I must confess, I Googled Higgins. Actually, I Googled Benji. I knew that he had a "real" name, and was also the Dog on Petticoat Junction, but I did NOT know his real name was "Higgins." I'm so ashamed...

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, that Gollywhumper’s hiding. It had great survival instincts (for a few years, at least) blending in with the dirt and rocks.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Gullywhumper, I meant to “say”

Chuck said...

Major, Gullywhumper is hiding between the raft's mast and the Conestoga wagon. Probably trying to sneak into port before they raise the submarine net.

Major Pepperidge said...

Stu29573, I didn’t know he was on Petticoat Junction! One of our greatest stars…

Lou and Sue, Keelboats have chromatophores that allow them to change their color and texture, much like a squid or cuttlefish.

Lou and Sue, I like “Gollywhumper”!

Chuck, oh THERE it is. It is definitely up to something sneaky. Probably smuggling a whole fried chicken, like TokyoMagic’s great-grandmother.

"Lou and Sue" said...

DrGoat, I love Barney as much as I love Lucy!!

Melissa, in the 2nd picture, on the "old boat," it looks like someone is getting "crowned" with one of those hats. What do you think??

Speaking of 'sneaking food in'...
When my boyfriend (now husband) and I were teenagers and dating, after eating dinner out one night we came back to my house (parents' house) with the entire lobster shell (minus the insides that we ate that night at the restaurant) and, without my mom's knowledge, my boyfriend set it up so that it looked like it was crawling out of the bathroom sink - claws, antennae and all. We waited and waited, watching TV, for my mom to use the bathroom, but after a couple hours, my boyfriend went home. Hours later, when my mom finally went into that bathroom, she screamed and screamed and screamed and screamed. Even after that, to her dying day, my mom thought my husband was the most-fun person ever.

Major and all, thank you for a FUN day!

K. Martinez said...

You're right, Major & Chuck. I think it's time for me to retire from commenting. I just keep getting stupider and stupider as time rolls on.

JG said...

Photo 1 looks almost like a real Western scene, especially with the mining rig up on the bare dirt hill. I think that little wire fence at the water's edge must be to keep the savage ducks from coming ashore. Maybe they would eat the plants?

Major, the red dynamite kegs were filled with styrofoam coffee cups for use as flotation devices. One is just visible behind paper hat lady.

Nice to see the little bandstand. I had always thought this was the one from Main Street relocated over here, but from this angle, it looks like a whole different design. Did the Main Street bandstand relocate somewhere in the Park before being exported?

Chuck and Ken, thanks for the dates. I think you are right, photo 2 might be taken from a point directly under the Skyway wires.

Photo 2 proves that the CoTS pirate ship looks good even without Skull Rock or even sails. Maybe Thelma has a spinnaker or foretops'l in that bag. Yes, the trash is appalling, perhaps the sweeper is on break? There's an usightly patch of dirt on the blue pavement to the right, behind striped shirt guy.

@Tokyo, I think you are right, the door (hatch?, what's the nautical term?) looks open, if only a little. Perhaps this is where they offload the "Tuna of the Barnyard" (chicken meat).

I am now going to call chicken "Tuna of the Barnyard" from now on...

Off to read "Long Forgotten". Thank you, Major. Good weekend to all my Junior Gorilla friends.


Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I could watch “The Andy Griffith Show” all day long, I really do love that show. Love the lobster story, and I’m glad your mom was a good sport about it! I could imagine some mothers saying, “I don’t ever want you to see that hoodlum again!”.

K. Martinez, oh boy, you are being pretty hard on yourself! I never know ANYTHING, so please continue to comment.

JG, I’ve always thought that the barren hillsides felt more authentic in a way; I’ve been to places that were gold mining towns over 100 years ago, and they used hydraulic mining to get the gold out of the hills. Even now you can see the devastated landscape, in spite of some plants growing back. My mom and dad bought a parcel of land in Northern California, there is a river that runs right through it, and then there is a steep bluff that I am convinced was formed by miners using hydraulic hoses. Yes, the bandstand along the river was there from day 1, in a way it’s a shame that it was removed. The pirate ship looks good from any angle, but the addition of the lagoon and Skull Rock in 1960 really raised the bar. I’ll bet they had to open that door on the ship to let some air pass through, imagine how hot it could get in there on a summer day!

Chuck said...

Ken, I agree with the Major - you're being way too hard on yourself. I love it when you're part of the discussion. You acn't stop commenting - you'd miss out on all of the juicy infrastructure photos!

JG, the Main Street Bandstand was moved twice - first to the future location of the Plaza Gardens prior to Black Sunday and then to Magnolia Park, between Adventureland and the Frontierland Depot, in 1956. It was moved to Corona del Mar in 1962.

Tuna of the Barnyard - brilliant!

Anonymous said...

Ken, never stop commenting. I've learned a lot from your posts over the years.

Chuck thanks, I knew the Main Street Bandstand practically had wheels, but I thought it did a stint here in Frontierland. I see now that I confused it with the structure in today's photos.

The little one we see in photo 2 might be the one that Aunt J. Employee Dave B is reminiscing about on Daveland's page about the River Belle Terrace. He describes watching Walt having breakfast in a little gazebo by the River.


Anonymous said...

@Major, we go rafting now and then on one of the Gold Country rivers and the hydraulic damage is very evident in spite of the years.

I guess the bandstand in the French Market was the replacement for the little one by the water.

I bet it did get hot in the Pirate Ship, I have seen photos (probably on Daveland) of the door leading to the kitchen (visible from the grotto dining), it had a screen door on it. Now, I've heard the joke about screen doors on submarines, but this was the first time I saw one on a Pirate Ship.


Dean Finder said...

I don't think anyone seeking to bring food into the parks will beat the Touringplans crew that brought a full Thanksgiving dinner into the Magic Kingdom in Orlando in 2014.

K. Martinez said...

Fellow GDBers - It has been a cumulative month of ordeals and stupid bungling on my part. Unfortunately my frustration spilled out here on the blog comments section.

I want to add that you folks are some of the nicest and pleasant people I know. I can't think of a better place to share. Thank you for the kind comments and support.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Dean, thanks for sharing that link - what an accomplishment! And funny, too!

Ken, I agree with you - the folks on this blog are all so kind and uplifting! I check in on this blog multiple times throughout most days for the smiles and chuckles to help me get through the day. Keep commenting! We appreciate you!