Friday, March 26, 2021

Beautiful Tomorrowland, 1956

Oh yeah, it's time for some vintage Tomorrowland! My favorite.

You have to love old Kodachrome slides... just look at that vivid color! The photo looks like it could have been taken yesterday. There's all of the usual, familiar sights - CirCARama, the Clock of the World, the Moonliner, a distant balloon vendor, and even the white wire fencing to keep people (and werewolves) off the grass.

This next photo is definitely postcard-worthy. To me, at any rate... maybe you guys are tired of the Moonliner. You're ready for bigger, more intense thrills! It still kills me to think that this beautiful rocket was crushed and turned into scrap in 1966. It would have looked great in my private miniature golf course (on my Montana estate). I let people play on the course, but they have to sign a contract promising to let me win.

That once guy is taking a close-up photo - to send back to RUSSIA! That's right, he's one-a them. "Nikita will give me glorious medal when I return to motherland!". Think again, Ivan... that lady "reading the sign" has been following you all day, and she has a blowgun with knockout juice hidden in her purse. 


K. Martinez said...

The TWA Moonliner photo is perfection. What a beautiful image. Thanks, Major.


I agree! The Moonliner is a design triumph! It’s proportions are sleek and sexy and perfect for future space travel. Considered classic now , It’s amazing how quickly it became dated it became if the fast changing industrial design world of the 1960’s. I think that’s why so much of early Disneyland was scrapped - the newest was considered better (and back then WED imagineer’s were topping themselves)

I first became aware of the Clock of Tomorrow from looking at my grandparents old Disney News magazines ..... the first time I saw it in color was probably at the Disneyland 25th Anniversary history wall inside Disneyland Showcase - the framed back kit color photo panels that once showed various Wurlitzer products were reused you show fallen Disneyland attractions. The World Clock looked like a coffee percolating urn!! The Monsanto House of the Future looked like a giant tooth to a friend of mine - and she said the inside smelled liked a dentist office!

I suspect most of you heard the Disney Company’s announcement Thursday for DISNEYLAND FOWARD.... the expansion of the Disneyland resort area 2nd and 3rd parks and expansion of Disneyland and Disney’s California Giant Dump Park ..... it looks like TOMORROWLAND will remain SORROWLAND for longer .....

The expansion(s) seem odd .... kinda like the way in the 50’s , 60’s ,70’s Knott’s Berry Farm had attractions around the main park like Jungle Island , the lake , Independence Hall , Henry’s Antique Auto Rides etc....

It makes Disneyland seem so cluttered and overwhelming ....

TokyoMagic! said...

Is the younger of the two ladies who are looking up at the Clock of the World, wearing striped hot pants? That pattern would make a very nice Disneyland shopping bag!

Stu29573 said...

Ah, the Moonliner. The most beautiful boiler ever built! Yep, the main body was made by a company that specialized in boilers. Also, if you asked most people, they would think that the rocket had a continuous curve from the nose to the tail, but it didn't. The main "boiler" section was a simple cylinder. The curviness of the nose and tail create the illusion. Actually, if you look in early promotional literature, the rocket shown does have a continuous curve. However, it was far easier (and cheaper) to do it the way they did. Remember, the Moonliner was one of the very last objects erected in Tomorrowland (about three day before opening, if I remember right) and they needed the *CHAD version so make the deadline!
On a not completely unrelated topic, Space X has shown us that gleaming white was probably NOT the best color for a reusable rocket.
The Russian version was built, but never flown. it sits in hanger 112 in Baikonur, right behind the Buran.

* CHeap And Dirty

JC Shannon said...

If there is one thing the 50s had plenty of, besides UFOs, its Russian spies. Disneyland, as we all know, was an espionage magnet. "If we had built Moonliner, we would have used cement." I see by the Clock of the World, it's 88 hundred hours in Lithuania. Edward Teller once remarked, "Theoretical physics is easy compared to reading that darn clock." Major, I will never tire of anything in the first two Tomorrowlands. The steampunk nightmare, not so much. Oh, and welcome to Montana.

DrGoat said...

Beautiful photos Major.
Stu, Thanks for the info. Now that you mention it, you can see the straightish section between the two curved surfaces. I think I'll go back to thinking it's a continuous curve. I don't need another change in my world right now.
Super great pics and just the right time period for jumping right in.
Mike, I looked up several articles about Disney Forward. As Bullwinkle would say, Holy Cow! I guess we'll see just how much money making stuff they can cram into that space. Like Pleasure Island on steroids.
Thanks Major.

Nanook said...

How can one tire of the Moonliner-? So sleek, almost 'fully curved', and so futuristic. I do believe the main component in the knockout juice is actually delicious prune juice. It's the drop of Strychnine that provides the 'punch'. (Or was it Retsyn-?) I always confuse the two.

Here's to the future that never was. Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, even I have to humbly admit that the Moonliner photo is pretty great!

Mike Cozart, nowadays the fact that the Moonliner looks so retro would be a feature and not a bug (which is why they brought it back in a smaller form), but I understand that Walt was not going for “retro”. I’m not sure when I first became aware of the Clock of the World, but it might have been in the book, “Disneyland: The First Quarter Century”. That was a real eye-opener. “The Viewliner??”. And the book by Randy Bright was also an education. And of course “The E-Ticket Magazine”. Cool detail that the Monsanto house smelled like a dentist office. My guess is that they had to replace the carpeting often, so it probably had that weird “new carpet” smell, if nothing else. I have not heard anything about “Disneyland Forward”, but am apprehensive to look into it. It’s not like the old days when I could be pretty sure they’d nail it. There have been too many failures or “almost good” attractions.

TokyoMagic!, those hot pants look pretty daring for that time period; you hardly saw women wearing pants, much less shorts!

Stu29573, it really does look like the Moonliner has a continuous curve, they sure did an amazing job disguising that the central section is a cylinder. And it doesn’t suffer from the cost-cutting measure at all. Early promo artwork show multi-stage rockets with little winged upper stages, and all kinds of variations that were far from the mark. But that’s what makes the artwork cool! I’m not sure I knew that they didn’t install the rocket until only days before the opening. I understand why white might not be the most logical color for a reusable rocket, but it looks so good. Tintin’s rocket was red with a black and white checker pattern around the middle!

Jonathan, there were plenty of Russian spies, but once they tasted an American hamburger, many of them came over to our side. Can you blame them? “In Russia we put beets on our hamburgers! We have no pickles!”. Edward Teller was a smart guy, but even the smartest guys have their limits. We all know that Einstein only ate Spaghetti-Os, three meals a day, for decades.

DrGoat, knowing that the Moonliner is really a cylinder with curved ends only increases my appreciation! And those curved ends couldn’t have been easy to make, at that size, and the way they fit perfectly. Maybe they filled in the gaps with spackle. The fact that you have positive things to say about your impression of “Disney Forward” gives me some hope!

Nanook, my grandpa liked to eat stewed prunes (or maybe he “had to”?) and I remember thinking that they looked gross. A golden drop of Retsyn improves everything, it’s been proven by science!

JG said...

Wow, outstanding pictures today, Major. Perfect for a Friday.

I still can't read the World Clock, but for the first time noticed the wild spiky ball on top! Is that a floating mine, a satellite, an enlarged ragweed pollen pellet? It's very threatening in a reticent manner. Also just noticed the digital display in the black ball. Imagine, kids today can't read an analog clock anymore.

The TWA Moonliner will always be the best, compound curves or not. Elon is making me a custom one with my initials on it, cause we are tight like that.

Anyway, you had my attention at "hot pants".

Cheers everyone!


DrGoat said...

I didn't intend my message to convey optimism about Disney Forward. I was being snarky, or sarcastic as we older folk say. I admit, I tend to lean towards pessimism but as Mike said, "cluttered and overwhelming". Like the Fashion Mall in Las Vegas. Three levels with 228 stores. Maybe Disney will go vertical too. Just think of all the Star Wars and Avengers merchandise they could cram in there. I wouldn't be surprised if Scrooge McDuck is behind this.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Fantastic Moonliner image against that beautiful, blue California sky! Or are we on the moon, in this shot?

Nanook said...

Considering the number of times I've observed the Clock of the World, you'd think I'd have paid more attention to its "finial". I wonder if the diabolically-pointy 'flail' or 'ball and chain' was its inspiration, or merely a way to discourage pigeons, et al., from landing atop it - (although it looks as if that could easily be accomplished by resting at a lower level). It's a good thing it never detached itself on any number of windy days.


At Disney parks many things have been painted in a stylized scheme or in a “contemporary “ accepted format ( many of 1955 Main Street USA structures were painted popular 1950’s colors and WDW Main Street has many late 60’s popular color schemes) . When MIT and Monsanto developed the House of Future it’s designers wanted it left unpainted , to show how the structure’s materials were resilient to the weather and created its own “color” Walt saw the test house at MIT and said “ no way that house isn’t going to be painted when it’s built at Disneyland” Imagineer’s felt the unpainted tan and honey color of the house looked too drab and like post WW Ii socialist /communist architecture and not bright and optimistic looking as guests at Disneyland would be expecting.

I’ve seen so many “master” plans for Disneyland over the years ..... some had great elements or intentions and so many were awful and changed everything Disney every learned doing parks ( like the Horrid Route 66 Hotel plan .... putting entrances into New Orleans Square , and Bear Country , for themed hotels ... to the poor concept of DCA . New satellite parks of Marvel , Star Wars, Jules Verne themes , but they all followed similar park planning layouts Disney has been successful with.

In early designs for Shanghai Disneyland - knowing most of the Chinese population could never afforded the cost of a day at the China Magic Kingdom , there were plans for some attractions to be accessible outside the main park .... like Fantasia Gardens ( later became an elaborate hub inside Shanghai Disneyland) but dumbo and the carousel were a sample of some attractions considered to be accessible for a individual fee without going into the actual park .... Star Tours , a Toy Story “ride” and Circle Vision “Wonderous China” .... all could have been experienced without going into the actual park .... it was like there was a poor people’s area , and Elite people’s area and then some sections where the poor could experience some of the elite people’s attractions for a separate price.

Not at all what a Disney park was about . That didn’t end up happening in the phase one opening . But it seems like some of these ideas are being re-considered for original Disneyland ... not divided in a poor/elite form exactly , but divided into a scale of Disney experiences .... shopping , shopping and dinning, shopping , dinning and selected rides/attractions .... Disneyland park # 1 experience , Park #2 experience , Park #3 ..... Themed Area FROZEN, Themed Area TOY STORY, Themed Area MUPPETS, Themed Area Planet of the Apes .....etc etc etc ...

Imagineers worked so hard to avoid a cluttered , carnival atmosphere until Disney could design it themselves.

DBenson said...

The Moonliner. The storefronts of Rainbow Ridge. Second floors on Main Street. As a kid I believed all of these housed attractions -- or at the very least, some cool displays -- that were maddeningly closed every time I was there. Now I'm more forgiving of false fronts, like Mr. Curb Feeler in Carsland. What could live up to that neon sign?

Anonymous said...

Re: Disney Forward.

I seriously doubt this represents anything like a real plan for construction.

Probably another negotiation ploy to extract concessions from the City for some other thing. We've seen this before from current management.

Shiny renderings are cheap and news releases cheaper still.

Just my two cents.


Nanook said...

@ JG-
Completely agree with you. The Disney fandom community is all-a-twitter with excitement over this announcement - not that I can blame them. But it does seem like more hype than any sort of reality-that-matters; and in the meantime - lots of "what-if's" for the Disney Fanatics to dream about - if clutter is your thing...

Melissa said...

Disneyland werewolves only come out when the Moonliner is full.

Chuck said...

There was a pretty good article in The "E" Ticket (as if that magazine ever had "bad" articles) on the Moonliner construction. Of course, I can't find my copy now but I remember something about a minor error in construction that caused a wrinkle in the skin. Most people didn't notice it at most angles, but I think that's what we are seeing just to the left of and parallel to the shadow line above the slot where the landing gear would retract into if it were a real rocket.

KellyM said...

One of my mom's favorite stories from her days working at the park: When my mom was a tour guide, she was one of the original 13 in 1957, she had taken her group on the Rocket To The Moon ride. Upon exciting the ride one of the women in her tour group pulled her aside and quietly asked in wide-eyed curiosity, "I know we didn't go all the way to the moon, but exactly how high up did we go?" ❤️🤣