Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Inside the River Belle Terrace, July 1978

Here are more vintage slide scans from the Mysterious Benefactor! Like so many of the slides, these are dated "1978" (July, that is); and all of today's examples are behind the scenes views from the River Belle Terrace. 

I love the first four pictures because they show a cast member making... Mickey pancakes! The stuff of legend. Some say that eating one of those pancakes adds a week to your lifespan, and I believe it. The maraschino cherry nose, blueberry eyes, and pineapple mouth are being arranged with the kind of concentration and intensity usually used during open heart surgery.

Aha! Powdered sugar on the ears! It all makes sense now. Is it considered bad form to have pancakes and a nice Danish?

Time for some last-minute fine tuning. So much care for something that will probably be eaten in two minutes! The guy looking over the glass is delighted. 

And there it is, the finished product. Notice the cellophane-wrapped toothpicks used for whiskers, even Mickey only had a "Fu Manchu" mustache during the early '70s. I'd like a little more of that whipped cream on the pancakes, but that's just me.

You can't have pancakes without pancake batter, and this fellow is stirring up a large batch for the crowds that appear every day. What a great workout for his forearms. And as I always say, forearmed is forewarned. A single golden drop of Retsyn™ is added to each bucket of batter, for reasons only known to a few.

This fellow likes to sing Italian opera while stirring. Pavarotti liked to sing while eating pancakes.

MANY THANKS to the Mysterious Benefactor!


Nanook said...

"...with the kind of concentration and intensity usually used during open heart surgery". I understand it's one of the main qualifications for hiring at that location-!

I can't figure out the 'mystery brand' of commercial floor mixer, as it's not a Hobart or Univex, or even a Globe.

Backstage shots are so much fun. Thanks to the MB!

TokyoMagic! said...

I wonder why Scott is mixing the batter by hand, when he has that industrial-size mixer right behind him! It appears that the large whisk attachment for the mixer is not connected to the machine, and that it might be hiding down inside that large stainless steel bowl. Perhaps his mixing of the batter by hand was just set-up for the photo? OR, maybe that isn't even pancake batter and instead, it's grits.

Nanook, at Knott's we had a Hobart mixer for mixing corn dog and funnel cake batters. Oh and it was also used for "watering down" mayonnaise.

Thank you M.B. and Major!

TokyoMagic! said...

It appears that the pancake mix is Krusteaz brand! Hmmmm, I wonder if that's where Krusteaz the Clown got his name? ;-)


I haven’t had pancakes in so long!! Major :all that detail work fir that Mickey pancake : remember the real definition of GOURMET is “ pleasing to the eyes” ...... so it’s gotta look good!

On a follow up to the post earlier this week about the MGM backlot: I watched Doris Day in Billy Rose’s Jumbo (1962) and our MGM town square and courthouse .... and the street leading away from it was the setting for the big Circus Parade musical number . The film setting isn’t specified , but everything in the film is horse drawn , but there is a gas generator that powers the carousel and a very early flying machine is featured.

And to tie Disney into it - some of the circus wagons in the film ( on loan to MGM) were on display during Disneyland’s Circus Fantasy In the 80’s . Also the parade number “ THE CIRCUS IS ON PARADE” was the song Disneyland used for the Circus Fantasy On Parade music ( I thought Disney wrote it!!! ??? - but it was lifted!) and actor Billy Barty appears in the film and of course He’s the voice of EPCOT’s Figment!!

Love these photos from late 70’s Disneyland !! Any coming up of Big Thunder construction??

Thanks Major and Mysterious Benefactor!

Chuck said...

Good thing I sat down to view these after I'd already cooked a bowl of instant oatmeal; otherwise, I'd be mixing up pancake batter right now and be really late for work.

Mike, I'm always on the lookout for Courthouse Square at Universal and Blondie Street at Columbia/Warner Ranch, but now that I've got a reference in my head, I'll be looking for the courthouse at MGM.

I think I may have told this story before, but I met Billy Barty once at a celebrity charity golf tournament in Dayton (Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were volunteer greenskeepers and in payment we were allowed to ask for autographs). With the exception of his putter, his clubs all had normal-length shafts but the heads were set at much more obtuse angles than a standard club. His long game was accurate, but it took him an extra stroke to get down the fairway.

His putting game was absolutely amazing, however. He had a short-shafted club set at a traditional angle, and because his eyes were so much closer to the ground than most of the rest of us, he could read the surface of the green very accurately. I saw him sink a really long putt that would have been challenging to most golfers.

Gojira said...

Nanook -- the mixer brand is a Triumph. I can just make out some of the letters on the front.

Great pics as always!

Stu29573 said...

I love Mickey pancakes, even though I'm more of a waffle man, myself (meaning I like waffles, not that I'm made of waffles). You see, waffles have those wonderful "butter and syrup catchers" built right in! Yum!
Ok, now I'm hungry.
Thanks, MB!

zach said...

I would like a LOT more of that whipped cream, please.

I've never had a Mickey pancake! I hope I'm still welcomed here. Perhaps all the Mickey Bars I've eaten will redeem my cred.

I have two of those shakers! I use them in the kitchen for salt and, of course, powdered sugar. I keep them far apart for obvious reasons. Stolen (not really) from my restaurant days. Is that Chip on the shelf to the left of the mixer?

And I have used one of those water sprayers when I washed dishes at (yes!) Sambo's in my teens.

Lots of memories triggered this morning. Thanks Major and MB.


Nanook said...

@ Gojira-
It IS a Triumph Mixer - from Cincinnati, Ohio. Good eye-! (Perhaps, about a 50-quart size-?) And on the adjacent shelf, a can off S.E. Rykoff 'something-or-another'. Yummy...

DrGoat said...

Wow. Bonus day. Great pics and great comments.
All eyes are on the Mickey pancake! The guy in the tank top, second pic, really has that look going, with the shades and everything. The last pic of the gal making the pancake is pretty special.
Mike ad Chuck, I don't collect autographed photos but one of my favorite things is my autographed photo of Billy Barty. What's not to like. My sister met him a few times and said he was such a pleasure to be around.
Chuck, I tried golf for about a year. The next door neighbor made golf clubs and was a retired golf instructor at one of the resorts in Phoenix. He swore he could make me a golfer. And swear he did. At the end of the year he told me to stick to Magic Carpet miniature golf course on Speedway. I can still hear him..."quit standing up when you swing G*!D*#@!!!".
Thanks Major. Really cool post.

JC Shannon said...

I am an anything with syrup and butter kind of guy. There is nothing more intoxicating than the sugar and carb buzz you get from a large stack. The golden drop of Retsyn assures your breath is sweet for the paramedics, as they attempt to restart your heart. Where I'm from, we have wild huckleberries growing everywhere. One of the things you can make with em is syrup. A little dash of it on your cakes and voila, instant heart protection. At least that's what we tell the tourists. I think that guy is more interested in the lovely Mickey maker, and not Mickey. Just sayin. Thanks Major and MB.

JG said...

These are really terrific!

Major, I devoutly believe everything you said about the health benefits accruing from Mickey Pancake consumption and the precision required in their assembly.

So many many good memories rolled up in these pictures, and not just of childhood Disney, as many other point out, I did my time in a commercial kitchen washing dishes, and later, as a Scoutmaster, teaching the basics of Mickey Pancake fabrication to the next generation of Eagle Scouts.

Tokyo, Krusteaz mix was what we used at home and on camping trips. The only place where pancakes taste better than the River Belle Terrace is out in the woods cooked over an open fire.

Good eye on that mixer. I wonder if Scott was staged for the camera, much as the photo of the pancake fabricator appears to be?

Dr. Goat, keep your head down and follow-through. Nope, never worked for me either.

Major and MB, thanks very much for these photos today, great stuff.


Chuck said...

Stu, waffles are just pancakes with abs.

DrGoat, I'm not really much of a golfer myself, although I do have clubs. My dad is the big golfer in the family. Come to think of it, I haven't golfed in at least 13 years. Which has me wondering if my memory is accurate - was I really in the Air Force?

Jonathan, I hear you. Syrup and butter on a nice filet mignon is to die for.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Great pictures, today, MB and MP - thank you!

I can't help but wonder if those Mickey Mouse pancakes got cold by the time all those face-fixin's were added?? But they do look good!

We had to take "golf" in high school gym class for a couple weeks. (As a result, I now truly admire good golfers, as I will NEVER be one.) When I took my very first swing, I was not holding my club tight enough. My club went farther than my ball.

DrGoat said...

JG, Just couldn't keep my head down. The ball went in the approximate vicinity of where it should have gone, but that's about it.
Chuck, I kept a 7, a 9 and this neat putter the neighbor made for me. They do come in handy around the yard.
Hey Sue, at least something went in the right direction. That counts.
Last time I ate anything Mickey shaped was a bag of Beignet with a lot of powdered sugar. The biggest sugar rush I ever had. It was glorious.

JG said...

Dr Goat & Chuck, I played for a while, but after a while, I realized I didn't enjoy it and preferred walking. Don't miss golf, although it is the only TV sport I can stand to watch.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, most Mickey pancake makers had at least three years of medical school. I sure can’t comment on the giant mixer, other than to say that I need one to mix my little cup of yoghurt and granola.

TokyoMagic!, maybe the only way to achieve perfect pancakes is to mix by hand? “They’re the lightest, fluffiest pancakes you’ve ever had, or I’ll eat my toque!”. You know, I’ve still never had grits. Someday! The idea of Knott’s being so cheap that they watered down mayonnaise is mind-blowing.

TokyoMagic!, my brother swears by Krusteaz, even though I think the name is sort of off-putting. And now they NEED a clown mascot, badly.

Mike Cozart, I usually get French toast when I have an option, of sometimes waffles, even though I do like pancakes. Somehow those other things just appeal to me a bit more. My brother makes pancakes for dinner all the time, as if his diet wasn’t weird enough already. Neat that you recognized some of the MGM backlot in “Billy Rose’s Jumbo”! I always wondered if some of those wagons from the “Circus Fantasy” in the ‘80s were leftovers from the Mickey Mouse Circus parade, but I guess those were long-gone 30 years later. It seems like you could play “Six Degrees of Disney”, and tie almost any actor or movie back to a Disney connection! I don’t think there are any pix of Big Thunder construction, unfortunately… I would love it if there were!

Chuck, I hope it was maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal, at least. NO cinnamon! It’s surprising to see Courthouse Square in movies and photos when it looks so different from the way it did in “Back to the Future”. We all know that it was redressed over and over, but sometimes it really does look almost unrecognizable. Neat that you met Billy Barty! He’s one of those actors that I remember from my childhood; he’d pop up in kid’s shows and random movies, and I guess a child might just identify with someone else who was smaller than usual. I hope he was nice to you and didn’t say any swear words, the way I would. I’m very unpleasant! Meanwhile, golf is a wicked game.

Gojira, listen, the mixer is nice and everything, but it’s a little much to call it a “triumph”! ;-)

Stu29573, there’s nothing wrong with being made of waffles. Just thinking about some hot waffles with butter and syrup, and some bacon and/or sausages on the side is making me want to go to IHOP. I miss the days when my dad would make “breakfast for dinner”, he’d make our waffles “to order” (light, medium, or dark). He also loved to make omelettes for dinner.

zach, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever had whipped cream on pancakes, though it does sound good. I do like whipped honey butter however. Those shakers are classics, probably unchanged since the 1920s (though they might not have been aluminum back then). I have a fancy antique cranberry glass sugar shaker that my mom gave me because she knew that it would remind me of the one she used my whole life. I think that IS Chip!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I like to prepare meals as if I am cooking for the crew of an aircraft carrier.

DrGoat, I don’t understand wearing tank tops… where are you supposed to put your cigarettes? There’s no sleeve to roll up. I’m trying to think if I own any autographed photos; the only one that comes to mind is one that I got at a Disneyana show, Tony Anselmo was there, and I thought, “What the heck!”. My brother has a signed photo of Kate Jackson (Charlie’s Angels) from when they were filming in nearby Westlake, Calfornia. And he also got tons of autographs from a big tennis tournament, Jimmy Connors, Ilie Nastase, John McEnroe, Chris Evert, and more. My dad loved to golf, and most of the men in my family do as well, but it has never appealed to me. A few times, dad dragged me out, and I wanted to try because it was quality time, but I was so bad compared to everybody else that it was no fun. Though one time I did make par on one hole, by some miracle!

Jonathan, I don’t often eat breakfast as a rule (in spite of it being “the most important meal of the day”), but it is one of my favorites. Especially if you get to go to a good deli or coffee shop! Visiting my sister is almost as good, she’s big on good breakfasts when company is over - last time she did “Egg McMuffins” (home style of course), and they were awesome. I don’t know if I’ve ever eaten a Huckleberry!

JG, I applied to wash dishes at a restaurant when I was in high school - and was turned down! How humiliating, ha ha. Maybe it’s because I demanded to be driven to work in a limo every day? My brother seems to remember every meal he’s ever eaten, in ridiculous detail, and he will still rhapsodize about pancakes that he ate at some coffee shop, someplace (I can’t remember what I ate this morning). Ah, those golf lessons: bend the knees, straight back and straight arms, don’t bend your wrist… I felt like I couldn’t move!

Chuck, ha ha, I suppose golf is something that military guys take up to help with the tedium. The folks I know who love it, really LOVE it. My younger brother is now the big golfer in the family after my Dad died (by the way, my Dad got his first hole-in-one when he was 79!). I can have plenty of fun at a driving range where I will murder a few gophers and it doesn’t matter how far I hit the ball.

DrGoat, I know that I just needed more experience, but was not interested. It just didn’t do it for me. On vacations, I love staying in bed while I hear my brother in law and my younger brother sneaking out of the house for a 7:30 tee time. Have fun, boys! My dad used to make clubs as a hobby, and he gave sets of clubs to lots of people. I wonder if they were any good??

JG, I love a good walk, or better yet, a good hike. No need to carry clubs or hit a little ball around. That’s just me! If folks love golf, I say good for them.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, yes, Knott's used to water down their mayonnaise. It came to us all nice and thick and rich and they would put it in the mixer and add water, until it was thin enough that it could be "poured."

I was going to say the same thing about that name, "Krusteaz"....it does NOT sound very appetizing! I've also never tried grits. Or mush. Or gruel!

Another sign that these photos are staged, is that we can see the grill (griddle?) in all the photos. It's that flat area, just beyond the hostess who is assembling the Mickey Mouse pancake. And there isn't one single pancake cooking on that grill! Although, I suppose they could have been cooked-to-order, especially on slower days.

As for the butter and the whipped cream, I was reading that the Mickey pancakes got a little scoop of butter, sort of like a "hat" for Mickey. We can see the pan of butter and the scooper in those pics. The whipped cream was used on the River Belle's waffles, after strawberries were added. Perhaps if a guest asked nicely, they would give them a squirt of whipped cream on their pancakes? For a $5.00 up-charge, that is!

DrGoat said...

Major, No to tank tops. Neither my Dad nor I nor anyone else in our family wore those ugly things. Besides, my Mom would not have lets us. When we moved from New York City back in 1953, my Mom wanted to leave that stereotypical New York Italian look behind. Leave the tank top, take the Lasagna.

Chuck said...

Major & JG, as Mark Twain never really said, "golf is a good walk spoiled." When my folks were stationed overseas and I'd visit during college summer breaks, I'd ride up to the golf course with them, then go rambling around the countryside for a couple of hours and then meet them for a soda at the clubhouse.

DrGoat, I have never understood why wearing tank tops became fashionable. The darn things are so heavy, and it's nearly impossible to get the main gun through a doorway.

Dean Finder said...

I know we're all commenting on the guy in the tank top, but how about kudos for the woman with the Farah Fawcett hair next to him. She got up at 5:30 to get all of that hairspray in place.

Melissa said...

The secret to good pancake batter is to mix it as little as possible, so I understand skipping the mixer. Although we never served as many pancakes as RBT, we always mixed them by hand at the restaurant where I worked through high school and college.

Mom used to make us Mickey-shaped pancakes with chocolate-chip eyes on Saturday mornings.

I have two Krusteaz mixes in my cupboard as we speak!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Dean: Hairspray, hot rollers and “Sun In.” The good old days.

Omnispace said...

My impression is that Sheila pours her heart and soul, and three years of medical school, into making the Mickey pancake only to have it rejected by the tank top guy. This irks Scott to no end. Back in the kitchen he starts mixing up what seems like random ingredients in a bucket while muttering "I'll show this guy what a REAL pancake is...!"

Say - those are some really nice Fancy toothpicks!! You don't see that much cellophane on them anymore.

Many thanks to Mysterious Benefactor for these fascinating images.

JG said...

@Omnispace, thanks for deciphering Sheila's nametag.

I enlarged that photo and squinted but i couldn't make it out. Good to memorialize her hard work on that pancake.


TokyoMagic! said...

JG and Omnispace, I also enlarged the photos and changed the contrast too, so I could read her name badge. I believe her name is Shelia. I'm pretty sure the "i" was after the "l".

I forgot to mention earlier, that I like the way she is apprehensively biting her lower lip, in the pic of her presenting the finished product. It's almost like she's asking, "Does it look okay? Did I do it right?" Maybe Shelia was a fairly new cast member? Or maybe it was just more of an awkward moment, because of all the pictures that were being taken of her.