Thursday, February 25, 2021

Disneylandish Matchbooks

I have a few oddball Disneyland-related matchbooks that I thought I would share with you today!

I'll begin with this first one, with a nice color photo of the Kodak store from Main Street USA, and on the other side, artwork depicting a very mid-century Kodak facility of some kind that was located in Whittier (California). 808 Rivera Road, to be exact. I found an article online that mentioned a Kodak distribution center that was located at 12100 Rivera Road (where it handled all shipping, repair and service operations in nine western states, including California). I'd hoped to find a vintage photo of the building pictured below, but it's possible that it was never actually built.

Well, OK, this is from the Disneyland Hotel, so I guess it is actually pretty directly related to Disneyland. As you can see, it is from The Oak Room, which I had heard of, but know very little about. Apparently at one time it was ...a Gentleman’s Private club that was an exclusive member’s-only dining club popular with upper class businessmen inside the Disneyland hotel. Women were admitted only in the evenings and had to be escorted. The club was modeled after an 18th century pub. It did eventually open its doors to the general public, perhaps after Club 33 because available to the wealthy bigwigs.

And finally, here's a neat matchbook from the 1964 New York World's Fair, featuring General Electric's PROGRESSLAND. I'm sure these were not distributed to the the average fairgoer... maybe they were given to Disney and G.E. VIPs and employees who visited the fantastic pavilion.

I have one additional oddball Disney-related matchbook, but it required enough research that I feel like it merited a separate post!


"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, how long will we have to wait to see the oddball matchbook? Now I’m curious as to what makes it oddball.

Thanks Major for posting these - I’ve never seen #1 or 3 before. Regarding #2, did Disney offer the ladies a special “place”? Am serious, not being a smarty, so don’t say “Why yes, of course, the baby changing room.” ;o)

Anonymous said...

What different times those were. This real life version of the He-Man Women Haters Club would certainly not fly today! Back then, nobody thought anything about it. In reality, I doubt many ladies would have been interested in what I assume was a cigar smoke filled, dark wood paneled, stuffy club, but hey I could be wrong (about every detail, actually).
I, too, am wondering about the "mystery matchbook!"

DrGoat said...

Pretty sure I might fit in that oddball category myself.
Sue, Could be that any matchbook is a bit of an oddball nowadays. Except at casinos etc.
#1 and #3 are also new to me. Extra large to get you through 2 packs of cigarettes. I've only seen Oak Room matches in the wooden variety in a small box. I think you're probably right about the ambience of that club Chuck. I can just picture it. Robert Conrad nursing a scotch over in the corner. And possibly a moose head head over the bar.
Please bring out the oddball, Major. You certainly have an eclectic collection of memorabilia. Covers a lot of bases. Thanks!

DrGoat said...

A two-headed moose evidently.

Melissa said...

The Progressland logo is delightful, but I think my favorite has to be the Oak Room matchbook. The wood texture! The scrolly pattern on the suit of armor!

I wonder if the Disneyland guests on the first matchbook were models, or just two randos who happened to be in the shot? Imagine being in Disneyland, going to buy some film, and ending up with your likeness on a matchbook.

JC Shannon said...

Swilling dry martinis in a bar is depressing enough. Doing it without anything better to look at than wood paneling and other depressed guys, is doubly so. I just don't get it. I have matchbooks from several old restaurants, here in town. The establishments are long gone, but the matchbooks are still around. I found the last one on ebay. If Rick's was a men's only cafe, Casablanca would have been one boring movie.

"Lou and Sue" said...

What’s on the sign on the store to the left of Kodak? Carmex? Tex-Mex?

"Lou and Sue" said...


K. Martinez said...

Love your commentary there, JC.

The G.E. Progressland matchbook is my favorite. I wonder if they had any matchbooks for the Pepsi-Co/UNICEF "it's a small world", Ford's "Magic Skyway" or the State of Illinois' "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln".

THanks for sharing more of your treasures, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, well, I feel like I have made that othere matchbook sound much more amazing than it actually is! You’ll have to wait, I’m afraid. As far as I know, there was no such private place for ladies; things were a bit more unequal back in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Stu29573, yes, it seems amazing that the Oak Room concept would be OK, except that there were many clubs that were just for men back then. And many of those clubs wouldn’t allow men if they didn’t happen to be the right color or religion either, so… not great. I guess that a club like that was good for making business connections, otherwise… who needs it!

DrGoat, I need lots of matches so that I can smoke several packs a day! There’s nothing as wonderful as cigarettes, as you know. Somehow I’m having a hard time picturing Robert Conrad at Disneyland, that guy seemed to have a temper! I should have just shared the odd matchbook today, since I don’t know if I have anything else to go with it when I DO share it.

DrGoat, that’s the best kind of moose.

Melissa, funny, the Kodak matchbook is my favorite (though I do love the Progressland example). The mystery of that mid-century building is very intriguing to me; I’d still love to know if it ever actually existed. No idea if the two “guests” were models, or plainclothes employees, or what!

Jonathan, true, I would prefer to have women around in a situation like that! But there are plenty of men who seem uncomfortable around women, for whatever reason. Someday I’m going to have to start taking photos of some of my many (MANY) non-Disney matchbooks!

Lou and Sue, you got it, it was the TIMEX store! There was a clock on the sidewalk just out of frame, too.

Anonymous said...

Major, how did you know I love matchbooks? My Dad had a huge collection from the era of these books, and I have a respectable collection from the 70's and 80's. We were not systematic, so they only come from places we visited and are not at all organized. I find these to be a lot of fun, and reminders of past travels, and even useful, as I still use the matches from ones we get recently. Many restaurants in San Francisco offer wood matches in a box, even though cigar smoking is frowned on now.

That whiz-bang Kodak building sure has all the best style elements. It's quite a production. I'm sure if it were ever built, it would be gone now or remodeled beyond recognition.

"The Oak Room" is a popular name for dark woodsy bars, since there is one in the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville too.

Just a reminder that some of those limits on "unaccompanied" ladies back in the day were to screen out "working girls", which would not have been the atmosphere that Disney would want in their hotel bar, even for conventioneers.

Major, I can't wait for the oddball matchbook post.


TokyoMagic! said...

Well, of course I have to vote for the Progressland matches as my favorite. But I do LOVE that concept art for the Kodak building! I grew up in Whittier, but I wasn't familiar with Rivera Road. After looking it up, I see that it is in what looks like an industrial area. Unfortunately, I have never been down that street before, so I can't say whether or not the building ever existed. You would think doing a Google search for "Kodak Building In Whittier" would bring up an image, if it ever did exist, but nothing came up when I searched.....but it sounds like you already did that, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

By the way....are your "oddball" Disney matches one of those VERY rare and almost impossible to find, "manufactured, but never distributed" books with the Burning Settler's Cabin on it? ;-)

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, matchbooks are cool, that’s how I knew! I love the tiny graphics on them, and the fact that there are matchbooks from almost anything you can think of. World’s Fairs, tiki bars, famous restaurants, theme parks, car dealerships, paint stores, liquor stores… you name it. I’m sure my collection would be laughable to a true matchbook collector, but hey, it’s good enough for me. “The Oak Room” is definitely a rather generic name, I’m surprised that they couldn’t come up with something a little bit more creative. I’m sure you’re right about the “unaccompanied ladies”, but I also am pretty sure that there was more than a little sexism going on. Not all unaccompanied ladies had to be “working girls”!

TokyoMagic!, yes, I was very surprised that I could find no record of that old building - you’d think that it might show up on a postcard, even. But there is NOTHING. That’s what makes me think that it might have never been built, especially since there really was a Kodak building on the same road, but up a ways.

TokyoMagic!, I have never even heard of a Burning Settler’s Cabin matchbook, are you joking? I mean, you did the winky emoticon!

JG said...

A Burning Settler's Cabin matchbook would be hot.


Sunday Night said...

Hmmmm…I found this on Flickr - A picture of a Kodak sign that looks like the one on the matchbook with this description: "Sign Manufactured…for Eastman Kodak Company offices in Whittier California." Interesting!

Omnispace said...

Bottom up: - I love the Progressland logo. And, if you round-off the bottom half and it turns into a nice burger and fries logo.

Men-only clubs! What??!! I'm sticking to my sports bars.

Great sleuthing on the Kodak building. It almost looks like an Armet & Davis rendering. My guess is that the building actually existed at 12100 Rivera. Looking into my crystal ball, aka Historic Aerials, there was a building at that address that in plan looks very much like the rendering, at least through 1994.

Sunday Night said...

Check this out - from "Whittier: The business and commercial hub of Los Angeles and Orange counties" comes this photo showing a part of the Kodak building on page 5:

Dean Finder said...

Is it possible that the address is for a local Kodak processing shop, and the illustration on the matchbook is a major Kodak facility somewhere else. Maybe the Kodak franchisees could order matchbooks with their address and phone on the spine, with set of standard pictures on the front and back.

Sunday Night said...

I found that Whittier changed many street numbers in 1966 to conform to the Los Angeles County numbering system, in which each address is unique. I couldn't confirm it (maybe because it's a commercial address) but there is more information here with a cross reference book from the period:

Chuck said...

Sunday Night, thanks for doing all that research! That's definitely the same building as the rendering on the matchbook.

TokyoMagic! said...

JG, ha, ha!

Major, I was kidding about the Burning Settler's Cabin matchbooks, but I think they should have made them!

Anonymous said...

Tokyo, they could have put the Cigar Store Indian picture on the front and the cabin on the back.

Wow, thanks everyone for the deep dive research on the Kodak building. Very cool indeed.