Friday, August 28, 2020

Beautiful Tomorrowland

Oh boy, it's vintage Tomorrowland. And this first photo is particularly beautiful, taken as the sun dipped low on the horizon. Everything was bathed in warm late-afternoon light, and the shadows were getting longer. It won't be long until the sky is blue/violet and the stars start to emerge. 

The Clock of the World must have been on the fritz, because it sure isn't 9:26 in the morning. I love so many details, like the tile base of the clock, or those towers in the distance, decorated with nautical flags. And I wouldn't mind moseying into the Hall of Chemistry for a look-see. I can't tell if this is pre-Skyway or not, but I think it might be.

Zooming in to the left, we can see a balloon seller in one of those spacesuit costumes that were not used for very long. For Melissa, notice the two girls in identical outfits - black tops, pink shorts, red socks, and the same little red and white caps! 

From another lot comes this wonderful shot (almost certainly taken from the Skyway queue) of the Tomorrowland Autopia. It's not as elaborate as it would be years later, but I'm sure it was still tons of fun. No guide rail! We also get a nice look at the C.K. Holliday pulling the freight train; this was long before there was a Grand Canyon Diorama to thrill guests.


Nanook said...

Love the two-tone, "fat" Mickey balloons. So much wide-open spaces around the Autopia - with plenty of room for a multiple telephone pole sighting-! There also seems to be a pick up truck near the C.K. Holliday.

Nice shots, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I like the shirt that the twins' dad is wearing. I think I also like the shirt that their older brother is wearing, although it's a little harder to see the pattern on that one.

I think the dad in front of the Clock of the World, just told his wife a lie. He is crossing his fingers behind his back!

"Lou and Sue" said...

That 1st picture is a gem! I see a father and son in matching shirts and hats. There’s something for everyone in that picture...even my favorite cheapy fencing is there.

Thanks Major!

K. Martinez said...

Love the Autopia image for its open view, the C.K. Holliday freight consist and the telephone poles on the horizon. The promise of things to come.

Is that a vehicle racing the C.K. Holliday along the railroad tracks? I remember seeing old film footage of a jalopy racing one of the SF&DLRR trains. Or maybe it's just a maintenance vehicle parked alongside the tracks.

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

Ah wonerful wonerful wonerful pictures today (my best Lawrence Welk impersonation). There is the mighty Moonliner in her best outfit, TWA red and white! She was designed by John Hench with input from Werner von Braun. Interestingly, the preconstruction drawings always showed a rocket more closely based on von Braun's Ferry Rocket (with large swept fins on the bottom, and smaller swept fins on the top). At this point she still had her guidance system that was lifted directly from the A4 (V2), vanes that deflected the thrust in order to steer the rocket. She would lose these as technology advanced, and gimbled motors became the rage. She's probably the most inspiring object ever built by a boiler making company. And she's only 1/3 of her "prototype" size! I'd love to see a full scale Moonliner! Great pics today, Major!

Andrew said...

Wow, both of these are great images... and they randomly made me think of this joke:

Q: How many Disneyland fans does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One to change it, and one to reminisce about how good the old one was!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think that balloon in the foreground has stunted ears, which is why it looks fat. Poor balloon. I love it when we can so clearly see the berm (as in photo #2). Does it look like there’s a water tower in the distance, to the extreme right? The kind used for filling locomotive tenders?

TokyoMagic!, that must have been some sort of golden age for men’s (and boy’s) patterned shirts, there are a lot of ‘em. Crossed-fingers man told his wife, “Of course I know how to read that clock, I’m not a dummy!”. Meanwhile the clock is wrong.

Lou and Sue, the dad and his matching son are funny - in about 10 years the son would rebel and become a hippie, but for now all is well. Notice how the cheapy fencing is always bent up!

K. Martinez, gosh, I have never seen that footage of a jalopy racing the C.K. Holliday, and I would like to! I wonder what that was from? I think I sent you a photo that I found online of the Bekins van, and it appears to be racing the DLRR. Or else they just happened to be next to each other.

Stu29573, all you need now is a good John Wayne, a Bogart, maybe a Jimmy Stewart and a Jack Benny, and you can make as much money as Rich Little did! I’ve seen lots of early Tomorrowland concept art that shows a moon rocket with 2 stages. The top stage would separate and become a winged vehicle (not sure if it would just be a glider though). I have a hard time deciding which I prefer, but the Moonliner that we got is so streamlined and clean that it is hard to beat. I’ve always thought that a full sized Moonliner would be so dang impressive - it truly would tower over everything!

Andrew, ha ha! I love it.

DrGoat said...

Along with everyone else, I love these pics Major. Everything already said stands.
I do remember back in those days that we kids would avoid places like Monsanto's Hall of Chemistry. Heck, why waste time in that boring old place when there's Adventureland, or any land for that matter, right over there! Like you, I'd love moseying through that place now.
Love the shirt on that guy in front of the twins. And that large child with that great balloon close to the camera in front actually has a watch on. That or they already have the cuffs on him for pilfering that balloon. A lot of us wore watches back then. How times have changed.
I do think that is a maintenance truck, and I bet a certain somebody could tell you the make and model if he chose to do so.
What a pleasure this morning, great pics Major. Thanks.
Rich Little was extremely popular wasn't he. Throw in a Buddy Rich to be sure.

DrGoat said...

PS stu, I was lucky enough to snag a resin model at the Disney store of the Moonliner. 1995 trip. About 18" tall. Being watched over by my Italian grandmother's religious statue.
Hope this link works.

Anonymous said...

DrGoat, It does seem to be getting his blessing! Very good!

Nanook said...

@ Dr. Goat-

If'n you're referring to moi... well then, the answer isn't so clear. There's something odd-looking about the rear end of that (perhaps) Ford pick up truck. In this image, anyway, it appears to be a "Gurr Mobile". Some'in just ain't right with it; but it could merely be the lack of resolution [or excessive sun spot activity].

TommyTsunami said...

Has anyone spent the time to decipher the nautical flags in the old Tomorrowland.? What exactly do they say if anything. I gave it a cursory shot and it didn’t seem to make much sense to me. BTW This is Pat Devlin,s brother. I think Pat could have figured it out.


What is with that tree in the center of the green split in the AUTOPIA image? Was someone trying to create a exotic space tree or was someone new to ornamental tree trimming?

Notice the Astronaut balloon vendor in a khaki colored suit as opposed to the silver walk/around Space People.

I have a feeling early on the Tomorrowland “nautical” flags may have had a message , but like many things in the early days the park didn’t always maintain things consistently and probably now are just placed to add movement and color.

I believe people have tried to translate the nautical flags at submarine voyage and the ones that once hung on the Columbia and couldn’t read anything that made sense. Sometimes a flag is just a flag.

I’m glad Walt chose the sexy sleek MOONLINER Rocket style for Tomorrowland , as the Von Braun 3 Stage Rocket was very Nazi-bomb looking and something that broke into into 3 sections wouldn’t be a very efficient means of regular passenger service. Tomorrowland was serviced by a “fleet” of Moonliner ships , but in the original show - passengers were placed on two different rockets as labeled in the boarding terminal : DIANA and LUNA.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Neat pictures. The bottom one gives lie to the statement we often hear that "the trains run on top of the berm." Except for a few places like Main Street Station, the trains run almost exclusively inside the berm.

Melissa said...

The COLORS! So rich, so warm, so fully packed! Twins in red socks! Hot and cold running Hawaiian shirts! Black ear balloons for everybody! Yesterday’s great big beautiful tomorrow!

@Amdrew, it’s funny ‘cause it’s true!

Sunday Night said...

These Tomorrowland photos are so beautiful. Back in the early 80s I was into a fad of taking Kodachrome slides with late day sun like the first pic. It gave that saturated warm glow to everything. Now thanks to digital, every photo is sooooo over color saturated.

I am also a fan of the little wire borders (LWB). Don't know why. Maybe because they are so early Disneyland. They must have bent them back straight every day. In today's photo it looks like no one has stepped on them - yet.

I noticed the Autopia does not have guide tracks yet. In fact it looks like you could almost pass other cars in some spots. Would the Autopia Highway Patrol pull you over if you tried?

Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Major.

I love the photos and the comments. The little train sure looks tiny.

This is the best Moonliner, no doubt. I'm struck with nostalgia for this when I see the SpaceX ships landing on their barge. Wonder if Mr. Musk will make a commemorative model of the Moonliner that really flies?

Everyone have a great weekend, thanks all!


Anonymous said...

I already built one, JG!

Anonymous said...

Well, that link doesn't seem to work, so here are a couple of articles I wrote on it many many moons ago...

Nanook said...

Depending on just how much you're willing to let your mind wander, that attempted "ornamental tree trimming" seems to be the topiary equivalent of a balloon poodle, gone horribly-wrong.

@ Sunday Night-
The 'old timers' tell stories of "accidents" caused due to 'aggressive drivers' attempting to pass not one, but two Autopia cars - as the roadway was about 2-½ car-widths wide, so many wet-behind-the-ears drivers got themselves into big trouble-! (Not to mention, without those center guide rails, some 'crazies' would attempt to use their Autopia cars as moving projectiles, aiming for CM's stationed throughout the attraction. And occasionally causing some injuries). Oh, those Fabulous Fifties-!

Kathy! said...

Nice colorful pictures, as has been mentioned. Patterns aplenty in the first one! The cream-colored bubbly things in front of twin dad seem to be forming an optical illusion where they look like they’re floating both in front of and behind the platform and umbrellas. Are those giant molecules?

Steve DeGaetano said...

I see the water tower you're referring to Major. However, that looks way too small to be a real railroad water tower. It appears to be about the size of the DRR tower. Perhaps the top of a grain silo? Or the type of smaller water tower you'd sometimes find on old building roofs to provide water pressure?

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, as much as I wish I could have seen the Hall of Chemistry, it might have seemed boring when put next to everything else Disneyland had to offer. However, I was always a fan of science museums; the one in Chicago is incredible, and the one in L.A. was near and dear to my heart. I loved those old exhibits! I’ll bet that boy got that watch for his birthday, and he was very careful with it, winding it every morning. I wonder if it’s a character watch? My first watch had Snoopy on it! I have no doubt that the truck is a maintenance truck, and in a way there is nowhere for it to “hide” for quite a stretch over there.

DrGoat, I love that Moonliner model!

Stu29573, yes, the rocket will definitely make it to the moon this time, no pesky meteors to worry about.

Nanook, considering that the truck is about .5” long even on the expanded view, there is definitely very little to go on!

Tommy Tsunami, I have actually tried to see if the nautical flags had any secret messages, and my conclusion is that they were just arranged to be colorful. And I know you are Pat’s brother, nice to hear from you! I hope you and your other siblings are well.

Mike Cozart, ha ha, that tree came straight from the planet Neptune. It almost looks like it has multiple legs for scurrying. I wonder if Disney still has some of those very old costumes in storage somewhere, or if they unceremoniously discarded them in a fit of cost-cutting? See my comment to Tommy Tsunami regarding the flags. The Moonliner looks very much like a V-2 rocket, so I don’t know if they divorced themselves from Von Braun’s vision of space flight completely. I wonder if any of the rocket designers in those days conceived of the external drop-away tanks that are now the way things are done?

Steve DeGaetano, I wonder where that idea came from (“The trains run on top of the berm”)? All you have to do is ride the train to see that this is not true! Maybe it just seems like it makes sense.

Melissa, this photo has everything, just like a Michael Bay movie!

Sunday Night, there’s a reason professional photographers loved to take portraits (and other photos) during that “golden hour”. Once I became aware of that trick, I noticed it over and over! I wonder how many rolls of that wire fencing they went through every month? They did make police car Autopia vehicles, and gave the drivers of those cars real guns with live ammo!

JG, I would love it if somebody built a functioning spaceship that looked as cool as the Moonliner, but… it’s still pretty amazing to watch the SpaceX rockets returning to earth!

Stu29573, oh I remember your flying Moonliner! I still can’t believe how great it looks, considering that you built it from scratch from the most basic of materials. What an amazing accomplishment!

Nanook, that tree must have been rescued from the path of the 5 freeway. All it needed is a little love. I have at least one photo of one Autopia driver pinning another against the curb, if I can find it I will put a link in the comments. No wonder they had to put those “crash guards” all around each vehicle.

Kathy!, yes, bold patterns were really “in” at that period. Funny how those things come and go. I think those cream-colored things were supposed to look more like planets (especially at night when they were backlit), but it’s anyone’s guess really.

TokyoMagic! said...

I am able to decipher at least part of a message in those nautical flags. What I've been able to make out so far is: "C" for "Come on over." "A" - Alone. "N" - Now. "O" - OKAY! "E" - Etcetera, etcetera.

Canoe, canoe?

DrGoat said...

Stu, your working Moonliner rocket is awesome, and I don't use that word often. Very, very cool.
I forgot, in that picture of the Moonliner model I have, there is a pen set next to it on the left that's a Moonliner pen, shaped like the rocket. It sits in a little cradle. Bought 5 of those in the 90s and gave them away all except for that one.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Andrew, I think the answer to your lightbulb joke is more like: 101. There's more than one of us, here, lamenting those old Disneyland lightbulbs! :)

DrGoat, you're right about the watches. I always wore one, up until the last couple years. My first one was a Christmas present when I was 4 or 5 years old - a yellow-banded Snow White watch that came with a 5" plastic Snow White figurine. I heard that kids aren't being taught how to read analog clocks and watches, anymore - and "they" can't read them. Seriously. Just go on YouTube and google "Jimmy Kimmel" and "Can Young People Read a Clock?" or "Kids Can't Tell Time Anymore." (Andrew, I know you're smarter and can read a clock.)


"Lou and Sue" said...

DrGoat, I love your Moonliner treasures! Thanks for sharing!

Stu, that Moonliner rocket is fantastic! I just showed it to my husband and he was impressed! We would've LOVED to have seen it take off. My husband used to build and fly Estes rockets in a farm field that was next to our previous house. In the fall, after the farmer would cut down his crop, my husband would shoot off the rockets and the neighborhood kids would gather round and help us chase and retrieve them. Some of the smaller rockets shot up so high that we couldn't follow them with our eyes and we'd lose them forever. But the bigger ones were easy to follow and chase. One memorable time, a little boy was chasing after one of the larger rockets and, just as it hit the ground, he tripped over his feet and landed flat ON the rocket - destroying it. He was upset, but we couldn't help but laugh - and we reassured him that he didn't do anything wrong. Fun times!

Thanks, all, for another really fun day!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, I thought the flags read, “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine”.

DrGoat, I had one of those Moonliner pens and foolishly gave it away. GAVE it! A friend admired it, and I was feeling like I had too much stuff. What a dope I was!

Lou and Sue, you make a good point. I really like watches just as beautiful things, whenever I would be in a department store with a girl who was shopping for makeup or jewelry, I would wander over to the watches and play the mental game, “If I could only have one, which one would it be?”. It seems hard to believe that kids can’t read analog clocks, unless they are very young! I hope that’s not true. It almost sounds like one of those, “Kids these days!” stories. I’ve seen those Snow White watches such as the one you had, they are such perfect gift items. There was at Cinderella version too.

Lou and Sue, the father of one of the kids in our neighborhood in Pennsylvania used to periodically set off Estes rockets in the large field behind our house. My mom was worried that they would explode and kill us all, so she was mad at this “grown man” who was “playing with dangerous toys”. There was one rocket that seemed large to me - in my memory it was several feet long - and it would come down with the aid of a parachute. It landed in the tops of some trees - it was up there for weeks.

DrGoat said...

Lou & Sue, well, that bit about kids and clocks is kind of sad. I guess it leaves more time for them to concentrate on their all encompassing smartphone life. I think my first watch was a Davy Crockett watch. I wish I still had it.
Love the Estes rocket story. I did some Estes rocketry myself. It was fun including the mishaps! Used to like making rocket engine test stands to fire those things up, thus eliminating the need for the rocket itself. Go figure. Had a few of the ones that used gasoline for fuel. They actually sold those in the ads for cool stuff in comic books.
Thanks Lou & Sue
Major, I foolishly gave away 4 of those pens!

stu29573 said...

Thanks everyone for the Moonliner love! She is still proudly on my piano. Also, I still wear a watch every day. I work in an elementary school, so I have two Mickey watches and a Haunted Mansion that I rotate out. I also have my dad's 1945 Bulova and a Fossel that is so heavy it always turns the wrong way on my wrist (so I never wear it). I used to have a backwards Goofy watch, but it stopped working (actually, I still have it). The same with my wind up Snoopy/ Red Baron watch...

Chuck said...

My first wristwatch arrived in my stocking on Christmas morning of I think 1974, so I would have been 6. It featured Puppy Pal (as in Pals Vitamins, if anyone remembers those). I don't know what happened to it, but I don't think I had it for long.

My kids are 17 and 19 and have a lot of trouble reading analog watches, so much so that the older one gave one back to me after he wore it once. It's a generational thing.

I had a roommate in college who had one of those backwards Goofy watches. He said it took him awhile to get used to reading it and had more than a few moments where he read it backwards.

Wait - didn't the Major some photos of Disneyland or something?


MAJOR: I may have mentioned this before but Disney has almost no samples of vintage park costumes prior to 1975 - with a few exceptions. In the 80’s costuming began storing their costume samples in a warehouse off Ball road in Anaheim - not far from the original Disneyland decorating buildings. Sadly a fire occurred in one of those costume storage buildings - and while the fire didn’t destroy too much the water damage did. Disney kept not only vintage cast member costumes but vintage band and character walk around costumes - also samples of retired audio animatronic costumes.

Today costuming AND the archives save a male and female costume sample. When the 1998 Tomorrowland “looking at The future” exhibit was being prepared for the Disney Gallery another exhibit was being proposed for display in the STARCADE featuring a retrospective of past Tomorrowland costumes and a preview of new ( all three of them!!!!) costumes for Tomorrowland 1998. Sadly it was discovered Disney had nothing really to show in such an exhibit so it was canceled. A reproduction of the Spaceman Walk around costume for the the canceled costume exhibit was displayed in the center of the Disney Gallery.

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, I just can’t believe that a reasonably smart kid can’t read an analog clock! Maybe I’m wrong. I think I still have my Snoopy watch, though the strap is gone, and the watch was overwound and doesn’t work. I didn’t know Estes rockets ever used gasoline for fuel!

stu29573, oh those backwards Goofy watches used to fetch a pretty good price in the collector’s market - not sure if they still do. My dad left a gold Omega watch to my brother, it’s self-winding and very cool.

Chuck, gosh, I don’t remember the Puppy Pals, and that is the sort of thing that should be in my memory. You are a few years younger than me, maybe that made the difference. I was more of a Flintstones chewables, myself. When the Disney Stores first opened and I was excited about them, I bought a number of watches - they went BIG into watches - but I’ve sold most of them on eBay.

Mike Cozart, now that you remind me, I am almost positive you did mention the fire and destruction of the old costumes. What a bummer. So much history, gone! I would have liked to see a display of Tomorrowland costumes, but it does seem kind of pointless if they had nothing to show! Hey, at least they made a reproduction of the Spaceman costume.

JG said...

@Stu, that is an amazing rocket. Thanks for sharing that!

My first watch was a Mickey Mouse, but oddly, it didn’t have the Mickey figure with hands.. It was just a plain face with Mickey Mouse lettering. I was always kind of bummed that it didn’t have the classic look.

I built some Estes rocket models and launched them in one of our fields. Both sailed out over the river and vanished. I quit model rocketry.