Friday, August 21, 2020

Rainbow Ridge & Jungle Cruise, 1956

Here are a couple of nice photos from 1956. Sure, 1955 was swell and everything, but things really started shifting into high gear at Disneyland in 1956!

This first one is kind of interesting; the photographer was obviously trying to capture an image of the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train as it emerged from the tunnel (where Rainbow Caverns was), back to civilization. Rainbow Ridge, that is. Notice that the train is a beautiful dark green. I can't decide which I like better, the green, or the "Nature's Wonderland" yellow from 1960 and beyond. It's like trying to choose a favorite among my robot children - I love them all.

Zooming in a bit we can see that there is some lumber piled in front of what would be the Mineral Hall, and looking through the window there is construction mess rather than a fully-realized interior. I think that the reflections in the double doors show us framing for Casa de Fritos, which would be to our right. Do you concur?

This one is not quite as interesting, but it's still a fine look at the Jungle Cruise loading dock. Look at the line! Everyone wants to see those hippos and elephants. There's nobody in the upper story of the boat house, but there is a sort of shade cloth for the late-afternoon comfort of the folks who would normally be up there. We can also just see the roof of the Plantation House. 

Some folks have to wear a suit and tie to work, but these guys can look like this! Beatniks, probably. I do like that no two outfits looks the same, giving a more shaggy, authentic look to this "remote jungle location". The boat to the left sports the Union Jack, a tip of the hat to the days when there were British colonies everywhere.


Nanook said...

... piled in front of what would be the Mineral Hall. How often do you get to say that when referring to a view of the Rainbow Ridge area-? Mineral Hall's [relatively] short life would begin on July 30, 1956, and close in December of 1962. And if I had to indicate a preference for which train color is my favorite - it would have to be the golden yellow.

The Jungle Cruise, on the other hand, would go on to fame and fortune. Look at those lucky devils, getting to see the 'jungle' in its formative years.

Thanks, Major.


Some interesting views . Especially the Primed but unpainted Mineral Hall. Years ago I worked on a project and we reviews many old blueprints of Mineral Hall and Casa MEXICANA ..... it was amazing how many times the interior of Mineral Hall had been altered - from exhibit and shop to various offices then to loney Mostly unused storage space.

The drawings that showed the actual layout of the fluorescent rock displays and glow-in-the dark sculptures. I would love to see the final display - oddly in Frontierland “ Patio Garden Of the Future” ..... glow-in-the-dark no doubt.


The 1955 Jungle Cruise boat house was torn down in 1961 - the reasons are not really clear .... I’ve heard it was because the Jungle growth , teenagers spitting from the observation tower onto guests below , to move the que line closer to the dock to open up the Adventureland walkways and add the tiki hat and market stall.. ( most likely the actual reason for the structure’s removal ) the shipment office was intended as a ticket booth but appears to have been used to sell donuts and coffee in the colder months. The original 1955 boat house was replicated at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005.

Chuck said...

I love the "viva Pecos Bill" graffiti in the first two photos. I just read about that for the first time earlier this week, and I thought "I've never even seen a photo of that." Now I have. Thanks, Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

I was going to ask when the original Jungle Cruise boathouse was torn down. Thanks for the answer, Mike! I do have another question about that pic. Were both of those larger palm trees, originally on the Dominguez property? I'm trying to remember if there were originally two "Dominguez Palms," and now only one survives, or if there was ever only one.

That first pic is pretty incredible. I love that we can see through the window of Mineral Hall, into the outdoor area behind the facade.

They should have never removed the Mine Train. I just thought I'd say that, in case I had never said it before.

Andrew said...

I wonder if when the mine train colors were changed, people lamented the death of the muted colors. ;-)

Take off the observation deck, and the Jungle Cruise boathouse would've made a perfectly fine train station. I had no idea that it was replicated in Hong Kong. Thanks Mike for that fact and Major for the pictures.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the fun thing about that first photo is that I did not detect any construction activity until I scanned the slide, so it was a nice discovery. Sort of a hidden surprise. I do love the bright yellow Nature’s Wonderland cars, but there’s something about the earlier dark green versions - maybe because they were around for much less time.

Mike Cozart, I didn’t know that the Mineral Hall had gone through so many alterations. Once it stopped being a store for the public to access, I suppose it makes sense that it would serve a number of functions. Glow-in-the-dark sculptures? That’s a new one for me!

Mike Cozart, ugh, I hope that it is not true that teenagers were spitting on guests below. Then again, teens can be gross when they think they are getting away with something. Seems like I always see the story that the tower became obsolete when the jungle got too lush, which does make sense, but still… just leave it there! It’s not hurting anything.

Chuck, that is some genuine old-timey graffiti right there! There’s probably more that we can’t see. “I (heart) Geronimo”, “Is This Trip Really Necessary?”, and so on.

TokyoMagic!, I always thought that the Phoenix palm (the large one to the left) was the “Dominguez Palm”, I didn’t know there was ever more than one. I wish I had my old copies of “The E-Ticket Magazine” handy, the info would probably be in one of those. I wish we could still have our Mine Train, but they ruin… oh, you know.

Andrew, probably in 1960 there weren’t as many Disneyland history fanatics, but it wouldn’t surprise me if somebody didn’t approve of the new brighter colors! In a way I guess a boat house serves much the same function as a train station, at least at an amusement park, but it’s still an interesting observation.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, that first shot is great for all the reasons mentioned - I love it!

Mike, which park has the best Jungle Cruise, in your opinion? And why?


Nanook said...

And how about: Kilroy was here-?

DrGoat said...

According to plantsofdisneyland, that is indeed the Dominguez palm of the left.
Similar pic:
I can't imagine not going up in the observation tower back then, but I don't recollect it at all. Do remember the Mineral Hall. Both my sister and I were rockhounds, so we were all over that, especially the fluorescent ones.
A dash of construction never gets old Major.
I had 6 or 7 E-Ticket Mags but I gave them to my cousin's son, who was a budding Disney fan. Gotta pass on the love you know. Did keep the Mr. Toad one.
Also, does anyone know what the sign over the Mineral Hall's door said? Rainbow Hall of something.
Thank you Major.

Melissa said...

I covet that lady’s white purse in the first picture. Early Jungle Cruise Skippers all look like they’re about to burst into a chorus of “The Banana Boat Song.”


LOU AND SUE... that’s tough . I really like the mysterious feel of Disneyland’s waterways , but there’s many elements of Florida’s I like - especially the flooded temple-shrine. Tokyo’s is almost a direct lift of Florida’s. Hong Kong has a very different Jungle Cruise all together with a pretty dramatic ending of a “Fire god “ and a “water god “ ( that’s what the native legend calls them) have a battle if power .... buts it’s volcanic activity that sets the area on fire and then a giant water geyser blast that puts it out creating a massive steam blast surrounding your boat ( nothing like the addition of extra steam in Hong Kong’s 103 degree heat and 98% humidity !!) again the Hong Kong JC is very different and uses less audio animatronics than the other parks , and the waterways are very vet wide in places almost like a real river! And the real jungle covered mountains of this island REALLY make their Adventureland seem like it’s real. The attacking piranha added to Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise during the 50th was an effect created for Hong Kong Disneyland. Another neat effect in Hong Kong is a simulated flash flood from a distant “rain deluge “ that originates from the Treehouse Island . Rock formations and dry gullys suddenly fill and and flood with water ( rain run off) then all of a sudden there’s all these waterfalls around you. And passing Jungle Cruise boats get a different view of all this water pouring into the Rivers of Adventure..... then as quick as it all appeared .... it’s all gone and dry again.

Walt Disney World has been planning to revamp their Jungle Cruise so as boats exited the flooded temple, a ancient curse sends the trespassing Jungle Cruise boats way back in time to a Primeval World section with dinosaurs. But around this time the dinosaurs would become a major element to the then NEW Universe of Energy attraction at EPCOT CENTER and it was decided the duplicated creatures would be too repetitive, so Jungle Cruise remained pretty much as it was in 1971. Nothing wrong with that! Disneyland would have had a water / dinosaur / primeval world adventure as phase Two of DISCOVERY BAY had it been built.

Anonymous said...

I like the yellow train because that's the one I remember from 1973. So there.
The Jungle Cruise is my wife's favorite ride. We usually ride it first when we get to the Magic Kingdom. She hasn't been to Disneyland, so I don't know if she would like the "templeless" cruise as well. Interesting fact (that I think I've mentioned before) Six Flags over Texas has a LeSalle's River Ride that was a pretty obvious lift of the Jungle Cruise. However, it had a part at the end where you came to a waterfall that blocked the river. As the skipper wondered what to do, the waterfall would dry up and the rocks would open to reveal a treasure cave that the boat passed through for the rest of the trip. It seems that WDW lifted the treasure cave from the Six Flags ride that was, itself, lifted from Disneyland. By the way, I've heard many times that the boat propulsion system from Six Flags Speeluncker's Cave (that;s the correct spelling) was used for It's a Small World and Pirates. So there was a lot of cross pollination going on in the 1960's it seems...

Anonymous said...

That should read Six Flags HAD a river ride. It's long gone. They ruin everything.

JG said...

Yellow Mine Train is my favorite, since like Stu, it is the one I remember.

Major, it's fun to see the construction still going on in Rainbow Ridge. It really seems like the opening was very rushed, with a minimum of completed attractions. But that was obviously ok.

I know ONE of those palms was the Dominguez Palm, thanks for the confirmation on which. Also, now I know why I don't remember the Observation Tower.

@Chuck, this may be the second time I was pleased to see grafitti. In Oxford, one of the Colleges preserved the scrawled comment "No Peel" (objecting to Robert Peel, Prime Minister 1834–35 and 1841–46, no relation to Emma).


Kathy! said...

I like the Disneyland pennant in the first picture. And those Jungle Cruise skippers have such comfy-looking clothes! And it’s fun they had a sign advertising what you’d see on your cruise ...squint... like the Amazon, Mekong, Nile, and Fabulous Hindu temple. Ok, I’ll take one of those 7 launches.

Anonymous said...

I can still remember the Mineral Hall with its florescent displays. The placing of the Hall next to the Mine Train/Rainbow Caverns made the glowing rocks all the more special to this 7-8 year old. KS

Omnispace said...

Nice photos today! I like the forced perspective of the cabin up on the hillside above the tunnel exit. I don't ever remember going into the Mineral Hall though.

I like the openness of the early Jungle Cruise dock. It seems much more like a regular working dock along a river. I can also see how all the guests are jammed up in the queue at the far end so it's understandable Disney would want to make the area more workable.

Stu, We were a "clockwise" family during our visits, thus usually making an immediate left turn into Adventureland. I remember enjoying those early morning visits on the Jungle Cruise with the sun lower in the sky and the coolness of the morning among the dense foliage.

Kathy, I saw that sign on the end of the building as well. I'll have to look for a complete photo of it. Naptha Launches, eh?

Melissa said...

There’s an old ragtime song that goes, “At the Devil’s ball, in the Devil’s hall...” Whenever someone mentions Mineral Hall, I always think, “At the mineral ball, in the mineral hall...”

Kathy! said...

Omnispace, I couldn't make out that word on my phone. Now I'm on the computer and see it, but still had no idea what that was. It looks like it's spelled wrong, and it should be naphtha. That's my new word for today!

Matthew said...

I think it's all been said already. But from my days on the Jungle Cruise, (1980's) we were told the boat house was torn down because of the lush foliage. Because of the possibility of derailment, one could look from the tower and spot the derailed boat (which I find hard to believe) thus knowing how to approach it. As the jungle grew the ability to view the boats was no longer available thus making the tower obsolete.

Also, I've been told that sandals that the Cast Members wore were difficult. Guest's entering and exiting would accidentally (or purposefully... depending how good the Skipper was) step on their toes.

Regarding the Union Jack, the boats would fly the flag of the nation the River was located in ("Rivers of the World."). No boat was named for a river in the United Kingdom; however, they could have been utilizing the British colonies and/or territories. The Boat appears to be either blue or green. It could be the Ganges Gal (India, Green), Irrawaddy Woman (Burma, Blue), Nile Princess (Egypt, Green), or Zambezi Miss (Zambia, Blue). These are only guesses.

I never knew Guests could go up to the lookout tower... unless the teenagers you were speaking of were the 18 & 19 year old Cast Members. ;-)

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, thanks! I look forward to seeing Mike’s answer.

Nanook, yes, only he would need a big handlebar mustache beneath his prominent nose.

DrGoat, “plantsofdisneyland”, who knew? I don’t think they let guests up in the observation tower, but I could be wrong. I thought it was for cast members, so that they could observe the boats as they went through the river. My family was full of rockhounds too, last weekend my mom had her box of fossils out. Nothing great, but Ioved looking at them anyway. She said she remembers being at a mineral show years ago and someone offered a nickel-iron meteorite, as big as a bowling ball, for $195, and she didn’t buy it. Now that thing would be thousands! And yes, there’s nothing wrong with passing your good stuff on to an interested kid.

Melissa, there’s no other song that would make sense!

Mike Cozart, I guess I’m too stuck on tradition, but I like the Jungle Cruise to feel somewhat like a real boat ride down “The Rivers of the World”. Adding fire gods, water gods, and dinosaurs… I dunno. I’m sure everybody else would love it! The waterfall effect in Hong Kong sounds neat. I would love to see some of the attractions in WDW specifically because some of them are relatively unchanged over the decades. If only they still had their “Mr. Toad” and “Snow White” attractions!

Stu29573, you can like whatever you want, it doesn’t bother me! I’m not happy that they reduced the length of the jungle river, but I DO like the Indiana Jones Adventure, so… I can’t complain. The LeSalle’s River Ride sounds pretty neat - I’m sure that propulsion system was invented by Arrow Development, which of course was so instrumental in the creation of so many Disney park attractions.

Stu29573, I’m afraid to ask what replaced the river ride. A roller coaster?

JG, they were able to build things so quickly back in those days, I’m sure that it felt rushed. When you think of the Matterhorn, Subs, and Monorail all going in within less than a year - that could never happen today. I think they’ve added something that looks like the old observation tower (added it many years ago) to the building.

Kathy!, yes, I wish we could see that pennant a little better. There are so many variations that it might be hard to figure out which one that kid is holding. The sign does a good job of hyping guests up!

Omnispace, I would imagine that the Mineral Hall was still there when I was very young, but I don’t remember going into it. Which is strange, since my grandpa AND my mom were both into rocks and minerals. They both loved a good rock shop. We went to one in Bishop that I used to visit as a kid, but it had lots of junky antiques and hardly any rocks or minerals. It seems to me that we headed right to Fantasyland, so not really a clockwise or counter-clockwise family. Did they really use Naptha as fuel on the real jungle boats?

Melissa, they don’t write ‘em like that anymore. Too bad this “Irving Berlin” never did anything of note.

Kathy!, I spelled it wrong too! And I actually use the stuff as a solvent. It’s that “h”, what’s it doing there? Like the “g” in “diaphragm”.

Major Pepperidge said...

Matthew, didn’t they have walkie-talkies back then? Or some more sophisticated form of communication? How about a nice flare gun? “Red flare means you’re in trouble!”. What kind of jerk would purposefully step on someone’s toes? I guess people are mean. And yes, I mention the British colonies, of which there were many back in those days. I’m sure that guests were NOT allowed in that tower - I’ve never heard that they were, at any rate.

Nanook said...

@ Omnispace & Kathy!-

Daveland to the rescue. THIS image is about the best I've found - although not perfect. That would be "naphtha launches to carry you in luxury and comfort in the tropic... something-or-another". 'Naphtha', refers to a small motor launch, powered by a naphtha-fueled engine.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Mike, thank you for all your info on the different Jungle Cruises...I would love to take a ride on all of them - especially Hong Kong's, with the flooding and waterfalls!


stu29573 said...

Major, they replaced it with a Roaring Rapids ride. No imagination at all...

Chuck said...

In 1956, what is today Zambia was the only one of the countries Matthew listed that was still a British colony, part of the "Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland." Zambezi Miss is probably a pretty good guess. I'm going to look for that flag detail in early JC photos from now on.

And yes, Arrow Development did design the propulsion system for Spee-Lunker Cave. A similar design was also used on Injun Joe's Cave at Six Flags Over Mid-America.

Matthew said...

Major, I don't know exactly when the walkie-talkies came to the Jungle Cruise, I believe some time around the mid 70's but other JC Skippers can correct me on that. I did hear of stories before the walkie-talkies that you really weren't sure where the boat was and would have to guess based on how distant you thought the sound of the gun shots were... something we had to do during the 80's if the walkie-talkie battery died.

Most of your readers already know but in case they forgot, the breakdown ammo on the Jungle Cruise was a 3/4 load instead of a 1/2 load that we used at the Hippo Pool.

Two shots - all clear, resume normal operation. We would fire two shots if you were the first boat to leave in the morning during the animation test (before Guests arrived) or if you were the first boat to leave after a break down. Two shots in the Hippo pool would also indicate that you are clearing the Hippo pool. Don't get me started about "shoot outs" between skippers.

Three shots - I've stalled or the river is blocked, unable to proceed.

Four shots - Medical or security emergency, clear the area ahead of me.

Six shots - I've derailed, and unable to proceed.

What about a five shot... it was assumed that it was a six shot with a misfire.

Finally, after we fired the gun, we would radio in to the dock to give the precise location and explain what happened. "I am six shot at the Skull Canoe" (the most common place of derailment).

Always your pal,

"Lou and Sue" said...

Matthew, thanks for sharing the info regarding the shots. Did you ever have a "four shot" experience, or anything interesting that you're willing to share here? (I love to hear Skipper stories!!) Have you ever seen yourself in any of the Major's photos (or other blogger's photos)? Just curious...


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I had an image that showed that sign clearly, but Photobucket has reduced it in size for some reason, now it is illegible. The Daveland picture works well enough!

Lou and Sue, that does sound pretty cool…

stu29573, I never like those sorts of rides, because the chances are good that you will get completely soaked. I hate walking around in sopping wet clothing!

Chuck, it is possible that the Imagineers were thinking of countries that had been British colonies, historically. Wikipedia says that the names “Mekong Maiden” and “Magdalena Maiden” were decommissioned, I wonder why?

Matthew, I guess maybe walkie-talkies were kind of fancy for 1956. They should have given each skipper a drum, and he could communicate that way - true jungle fashion! Interesting about the blanks that they used for different purposes. I wonder if a tree ever fell and blocked the river? In 60+ years I could see that happening! Shoot outs between skippers seems like a bad idea, blanks can be dangerous if misused. Why was Skull Canoe the most common place for derailment? Thanks for all your info!

Lou and Sue, you don’t even want to know what seven shots meant. Do you remember when John Lasseter was hoping that somebody had photos of him as a skipper? I never heard if any pictures turned up.

Dean Finder said...

All this talk of the Union Jack and British colonies makes me think of this image from the 2012 Olympics when the Queen was reviewing the parade of nations at the opening ceremonies.

JG said...

I’ve learned so much about the Jungle Cruise here, Thanks Everyone!


Matthew said...

@Lou and Sue - Sorry for the late update. Fortunately, I never had a four shot. I was the Lead however, on the day we did have one. A boy was experiencing a seizure. Once a four shot is heard, and radioed, every boat in front of that boat was expected to speed up, abort their speil, and return to the dock as quickly as possible. The Guests would be given a second trip as the dock needed to be clear.

Regarding your second question; unfortunately I have never found a picture of myself... yet... at any of our favorite blog spots. What is sad is that I have very few pictures of myself in costume. Those that I have... usually show me working (head down or back to the camera). I have a few professionally done by the Disneyland Line for example when I participated with Randy Bright on "rechristening" of the Columbia on her 30th birthday (1988). Let me see if I can dig that up and share.

@Major - Why the Skull Canoe... why not? Just kidding my friend. The reason is the boat travels from one of the widest and deepest parts of the river, The Hippos Pool, to a narrow and more shallow area (the Skull Canoe and Native Village). With a large wake building up behind the boat, any skipper who slowed down after exiting the Hippo Pool could find the wake catching them... lifting the boat up and derailing it. Thus the SOP spelled out very clearly... don't slow down after exiting the Hippo Pool.

your pal,

"Lou and Sue" said...

Matthew, THANK YOU for responding! I always love to hear all the JC stories!! PLEASE give the Major your JC pictures (all of them) to post here - would love to see you in action!


"Lou and Sue" said...

Matthew - THANK YOU for responding to my questions! I always love to hear JC stories. PLEASE give the Major all of your JC pictures to share, here - I would LOVE to see you in action!


"Lou and Sue" said...

Matthew, THANK YOU for your response! I always love to hear JC stories. PLEASE give the Major ALL of your JC pictures to post here - I would love to see you in action!


Matthew said...

Lou and Sue - I will take a look around and see what I can dig up. Thank you for your kind words.


keeline said...

Yes, in the early years the different boats (7 in 1955, 9 in 1959, 10 in late 1959) had flags for the countries that contained the rivers used in the names. These were not always the flags in use of the 1950s. Often they were historic flags in keeping with the (unspecified) earlier time period depicted by Adventureland. It is a fun project to find photos of the JC boats with flags and identify them compared with the lists in old cast member documents.

Flags were also used to indicate the era of Main Street (45 stars, 1896-1908) and portions of Frontierland (several types used then and now).

This is all part of the details that add interest for Disneyland guests who notice and recognize them. The old Yacht Club / Yacht Bar had paintings of the flag symbols used for different letters. The Frontierland / New Orleans Square depot has had recordings which famously replay a tiny portion of Walt's dedication speech. Even the Mine Trains had little details that were completely unnecessary for the nature of the ride but looked right to those who were familiar with the 1880s Porter locomotives they were intended to evoke.