Friday, March 05, 2021

Two Beauties From the 1950s

Boy oh boy, do I love today's first image! It is a postcard-worthy shot taken aboard the old Rainbow Caverns Mine Train. Yes, this is pre-"Nature's Wonderland", so even though it's undated we know it is from before 1960. As much as I like the bright yellow train and passenger cars, there is something about the dark green livery of the earlier version that I find very appealing. Guests are marveling at the wonders of the Rainbow Desert (or maybe the Saguaro Forest). There's bobcats and coyotes, wild pigs, antelope, and rattlesnakes, too. What a ride!

This second photo is not too shabby either - a beautiful shot looking into Tomorrowland from the Plaza, across beds full of flowers, with two of the original orange trees (bearing some fruit) framing the CIRCARAMA attraction and the Clock of the World. The yellow and blue rectangles are the backs of posters on display, I like that they went to the trouble of even making the backs nice to look at.


Melissa said...

Beauties, indeed! Sunny blue skies, lush, lovely greenery, and interesting angles. Bonus: all those happy faces on the train passengers! I can’t help smiling along.


Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever noticed the alternating colors of the tomorrowland entry corridor attraction poster frame backs! I think any pictures that showed them were in black and white.

I like both mine train color schemes . It’s interesting that when Tokyo Disneyland opened Big Thunder Mountain all their mine trains and ore cars were green ( was this a salute to the original Rainbow Mountain mine trains at Disneyland ?) at some point 1/2 of the BTM train fleet was painted red/green loco and yellow / brown train schemes used at Disneyland USA and Walt Disney World . Now the green scheme trains appear to be gone altogether .

JC Shannon said...

There are Disneyland attraction photos, and then there are classics like this one. I want to ride the Mine Train, green or yellow, every darn day. Melissa nailed it, it makes me smile too. There's quantum physics, alternate side of the street parking in New York City, and reading THE CLOCK. What time is it in Istanbul, you ask? I can't even tell what time it is in Anaheim. But hey, it's so cool looking, I don't even care. Thanks Major.

Andrew said...

That's a good way to get a picture of a train. Sit in the back, and it'll come out even better. I love "through the trees" shots, too. The second pic makes me wonder how many images are even out there from this angle. Thanks, Major.

Stu29573 said...

The train pic is great! It has a real "you are there" feel to it. The guests have just spotted Walt Disney sitting by a cactus eating a tuna melt!
The Tomorrowland pic is great too! With my new-found sense of direction, I think we must be looking due north from a side path. Alas, there's no Moonliner to be seen.
Still, great stuff! Thanks, Major!

Tom said...

Great pics today! Excellent framing, color and angle on each of them.
Any photo with the mine train in it is a good photo in my book. Bonus points for shots inside the the Rainbow Caverns though I know those are hard to get.

The people in the train are clearly enjoying themselves, I'm sure if the Disney execs in the 70's saw this photo they would have kept Nature's Wonderland going for at least another decade. Long enough for me to get a shot at riding.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, the thing I really like about these two images is that they really show the beauty of Disneyland; sort off a tribute to the landscaper’s art, I suppose.

Mike Cozart, yeah, I don’t know if I’ve ever noticed the colors on the back of the poster displays either. It reminds me of the back of the sign for the Disneyland Hotel, which was also painted several colors (I can’t recall if it was two or three hues). Interesting about the Tokyo Disneyland Big Thunder trains and cars. It’s a shame that they’ve all gone yellow now.

Jonathan, I liked the Nature’s Wonderland mine train when I was a kid, but I didn’t appreciate it nearly as much as I would today. I wish I’d gone of the attraction a lot more! Seeing that huge amount of land devoted to a single ride, I guess I couldn’t imagine that it would ever go away.

Andrew, I agree, having the train curve in front of you is a good way to capture the feeling that a rider might have. And the pointing arm makes me wish I could turn the camera to see what they were amazed or amused by! I don’t think I have any other photos like image #2, though it’s hard to remember them all.

Stu29573, I’ll bet Walt liked tuna melts. He was a simple man with simple tastes. I just bet Walt walked the tracks of the Mine Train more than a few times, as if he’d been shrunk down to five inches tall, walking through an elaborate tabletop train setup. I agree that the view in #2 is mostly north, maybe a bit northeast. I’m OK with no Moonliner this time - don’t worry, I have some good photos of that coming up!

Major Pepperidge said...

Tom, I only wish I had LOTS more photos of (and from) the Mine Train, although many pictures tended to be of the same stuff - the bubbling paint pots, “Old Unfaithful”, and the trestle bridge. Still, I love them all. I always have mixed feelings about Big Thunder Mountain Railroad; it’s a fun ride, but I can’t help resenting it for displacing “Nature’s Wonderland”.

K. Martinez said...

The Rainbow Caverns Mine Train pic is wonderful! Nature's Wonderland WAS Frontierland to me as a kid! I didn't get into the Rivers of America watercraft until my late teens. Me and my cousin would ride the Mine Train and Pack Mules back to back many times in the 60's and 70's. Why? Because we just liked doing it. It was such a wonderful area with so much going on.

The second pic is nice too. Whenever I see pics of flags at Disneyland memories come forth of when I'd go to Disneyland in the fall in the 1970's when Disneyland actually had an off-season and the park was dead. There'd be strong winds and those flags would be flapping all over the park and it would be loud because of the lack of crowd noise.

Thanks for another fun post, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Andrew, One of my favorite things about riding in the back of a roller coaster train is in addition to a great ride I love to see the train snake through it's course on the track. It elevates the excitement for me when riding roller coasters.

DrGoat said...

These two photos definitely embody the Disneyland that lingers in my brain. Like Stu said, the train pic really has such a great feel to it. Smiles and happy faces, plus someone pointing. That kid is really focused on the the Disney version of Saguaros. Hope Walt watches where he's sitting. The desert can be a prickly place. The World Clock photo with all it's vegetation is really enticing. Take me back, please.
Thanks Major. Beautiful and endearing post. Great comments, of course.

Nanook said...

So... I see there's more to life than the mere 'backside of water'; and that appears to be in the form of the 'backside of attraction posters'-! Who knew-? Undoubtedly, that woman is pointing at some form of flora (or perhaps fauna...) Or - the dreaded piece of errant trash.

Thanks, Major.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to find something to say about these photos that hasn't already been said. Fine examples of the small details of the old Park and I love them.

While I love the Big Thunder Mountain, Major, I'm like you in cursing it a bit for destroying the Mine Train. I wish they could have intertwined them and had a coaster for the brave and tough, and the old Mine Train for the very young and very old, sharing the same animatronic wilderness.

I haven't been to the Park since the DLRR re-opened after the Wookie World displacement, but the videos I have watched show that there are more animatronic animals and scenes similar to the old Mine Train added to the train route in Frontierland. I couldn't tell if these had been added to the spiel or not. They were placed opposite the part of the route where the screening of Galaxy' Edge is thinnest, undoubtedly to draw your attention away from any jarring theme intrusions.

I sure like photo 2, it must date to the mid-60's since the landscaping has grown up a bit. Most pictures of original Tomorrowland look kind of barren.

Thanks again, Major for posting these. Wishing everyone a good weekend.


Andrew said...

I see your comment about Alien Encounter from yesterday, Sue. I got to ride Stitch's Great Escape in 2014 and thought the effects were kind of neat, but then again, I was ten.

You're totally right, K. Martinez! It becomes surreal when you're also the only one on the train, with no screams of others.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, as much as I love the Rivers of America watercraft (and I really do), they don’t hold a candle to Nature’s Wonderland. Such a big, beautiful ride, so relaxing, so much wonderful design. A true masterpiece. I sure am jealous of the experience you and your cousins had, riding the Mine Train and Pack Mules over and over. I’m not sure I’ve heard snapping flags at Disneyland, but I sure know the sound you mean.

K. Martinez, there’s that, and also the fun “pulling” sensation as the roller coaster train goes over a hill!

DrGoat, talk about a photo that I wish I could step into… I’d take my seat in that mine car and just be overwhelmed by wanting to take it all in and record it in my brain in as much detail as possible. Maybe I’d have my digital camera with me to baffle the other passengers, and even to get some photos inside Rainbow Caverns!

Nanook, I figured there had to be a “back side of posters”, I just didn’t think it would be worth looking at! I wouldn’t think that a piece of trash would elicit enough excitement to get that lady to point, but maybe it was special trash. A discarded gun or something.

JG, it’s too bad that there will likely never be this kind of attraction again, where the vehicle moves slowly so that guests can be sure to catch all of the gags and features. I know other people have wished that they could have intertwined Big Thunder and Nature’s Wonderland, but having a roaring runaway train barreling through the landscape every 20 seconds would kind of spoil it. Maybe. Or maybe I’d be happy that at least we still had our Nature’s Wonderland! Who knows. I think that photo #2 is actually from the ‘50s, based on the kind of slide mount it was in, which I realize you aren’t able to see.

Andrew, I don’t even know, is Stitch’s Great Escape still in operation (or rather, was it, pre-pandemic)? Or has it closed? I don’t think I’ve ever been on a roller coaster with no other passengers, that would be weird.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Andrew, I think you would've LOVED Alien Encounter - but it's still good that you got to see Stitch's Great Escape. It (Stitch's) came and went during the years that I did not get to WDW (2003-2018), so I definitely missed it, unfortunately.

Major, that 2nd picture is not only unique, but the colors - especially the blues and pinks - are beautiful! Thanks for posting these!

TokyoMagic! said...

That lady is pointing at Tony Curtis, traipsing through the desert landscape.

And yes, I do realize that these photos pre-date that movie! :-)

Wonderful pics today, Major! Thank you!

Chuck said...

There are two kids in the locomotive cab in front of the engineer. Oh, man - that would have been amazing.

There's also a round Skyway bucket just th the right of the Circarama show building and what looks like might be a small air conditioning unit on the roof.

And what everybody else said.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, is it true that the alien in “Alien Encounter” was very similar to the one in the Alien movies? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an image of what it looked like. And you’re right, the combination of colors in photo #2 is very unusual and pretty.

TokyoMagic!, that’s it! “Look, it’s Stony Curtis! I mean Curtis”. Maybe that movie took 10 years to make?

Chuck, yes, you often see guests riding in the cab, with the engineer sitting out in the elements so that he gets a nice leathery, grizzled look. I assume the cab was so small that kids would fit best in it. I wonder how many of those old Tomorrowland buildings had air conditioning? At least one, anyway.

"Lou and Sue" said...

The WDW Alien had his own unique, creepy look - as you can see HERE.

Major, the best (and scariest) part of the Alien Encounter was when the ferocious alien broke out of the "teleport tube" in the middle of the room - and the lights went out and, while it was completely dark and you were harnessed tightly into your seat, you could hear the alien walking around - getting closer and closer to you. The terrorizing moment was when you felt the alien lean on your shoulder harness and felt his hot breath on your neck. (Mike, didn't he lick or touch your neck, too?? Or maybe I have a wild imagination?!) That was probably when people let loose of body fluids, as Mike was telling us all about yesterday...


Sue: yes! Many sets had a wet warm sponge thing cone out of the headrest into imply the alien was “sizing “ you up with its tongue. I think the most impressive effect was when the alien pounded against the glass teleportation tube over and over out of anger and shattered it - it sounded and felt like shards of glass flew out into your face!! All done with air , water and sound!! Using advanced 3-d sound every guest heard the guest next to them get ripped out of the seat and crunched into pieces and the “warm blood” squirt on them!!

And the warning that the alien was “ right behind you!” Added to the terror. I used to play life recordings of the attraction to friends and they couldn’t believe all the sincere fear screaming going on .... even knowing it was all implied and that nothing was really there you could help but twitch and squeeze your eyes closed hoping the imaginary alien would pass you by .

The shoulder harness did help to keep terrified guests from escaping their seats - but the real purposes was so the computer could view the guest in their specific seat and calculate where there ears where. The computer then adjusted the shoulder harness up to aline the speakers with the guests ears - not the shoulders .... also the location of the next would’ be located for the alien’s “lick!”

I can remember guests really being upset a frightened - all from touch, sound, warm water and their imagination!!


The imaginary company XS TECH TELEPORTATION’s double meaning slogan was “ What A Way To Go!”

"Lou and Sue" said...

Thanks, Mike, for the info! It even 'creeped ME out' and I knew what to expect.