Thursday, March 25, 2021

Two Beauties From December 1958

I think that both of today's scans are quite nice! Hopefully you will too.

This first one, taken from the Skyway (of course), has the camera pointed back toward Tomorrowland, with all of the usual familiar sights that you know as well as I do. The backstage area to the right gives us a pretty good look at the Administration Building, where the costuming and payroll departments were. And I know I point it out every time, but... look at all that farmland beyond the borders of the park! Amazing.

The Matterhorn was in the earliest phase of construction, which probably means that the photos were taken months before December. Still, it's interesting to see an area of dirt, bulldozed fairly level. There's a Skyway tower visible in the lower left - I think this is where there used to be a tower on top of Snow Hill... was this one new? 

Next is this nice image of the Fred Gurley a-waitin' at Tomorrowland Station. This one almost looks like it is just another view of the second photo from my tencennial. You know a person (me) is a real weirdo when the berm is almost as interesting as the beautiful little locomotive. Is that the moon, low on the horizon? It looks so small. Maybe it's just lens flare?

The lady on the bench is saying to her friend, "And then I punched him right in the nose!". 

The fellas who fly the train are looking back to make sure everyone is seated safely and that nobody has placed a penny on the track. Sure, you might end up with a squashed penny, but you might derail the train too. Then who will be laughing??


Budblade said...

Interesting pictures today, Major.

I love being able to look around and see so much that wasn’t the focus of the picture.

In the second picture, on the berm just above the standing engineers head, is that a bug riding another bug? A stick figure person riding a stick figure horse?

Nanook said...

It appears ‘cash’ was still an accepted form of payment to ride the DL Railroad. Good to know.

Thanks, Major.

Stu29573 said...

Strange, all I see in the first pic is that beautiful Moonliner!
I've seen the full sized WDW trains so much that it usually comes as a bit of a shock to see how small the DL trains are. Still, they are very charming and unthreatening...unlike the WDW trains that must be caged when not around their handlers.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how long the skyway was left running during the Matterhorn's construction.

DrGoat said...

Neat photos. Each one has got it's own draw for me.
The first two are classics. Images of Tomorrowland during that time period just suck me right in.
Yeah, that farmland. I'd be much happier if civilization was still that size. The same thing happened to the beautiful Sonoran desert around here.
That little bit of blurriness in the Fred Gurley pics doesn't take anything away from the photos. The blurriness seems to be evenly distributed in the wider view. Those ladies on the bench look like they're doing a little pick-a-little talk-a-little. Forgive me. Mom had the album and we heard those songs in the house back then. My Fair Lady, The King and I and Guys and Dolls all run through my head occasionally.
Thanks Major.

JG said...

Matterhorn construction photo is a plus.

Looks like cash was accepted more broadly in the early days than we thought.

I’m sure security caused the advance of the ticket regime.

Tomorrowland station is looking pretty weak, I’m glad we eventually got ( and kept) the little beauty we have today.

Thank you, Major.


Major Pepperidge said...

Budblade, I agree, often the stuff off to the side is where the interesting details can be found. I think that IS a bug riding a bug! ;-)

Nanook, yes, I noticed that… I wonder how long they continued to accept cash? All the way into the 1980s?

Stu29573, I do love the Moonliner, it’s always been one of my favorite Disneyland features. And I have the opposite reaction, I’m so used to the little DLRR locomotives that the WDW versions seem colossal by comparison! Same with the Knott’s trains.

Anon, I’ve never heard an answer to that question, but I just scanned a nice photo of the Matterhorn under construction (maybe 1/4 of the way done), I’ll have to look to see if the Skyway appears to be operating.

DrGoat, I sure would love to stroll around that Tomorrowland, especially to see those odd sponsored exhibits (the Crane “Bathroom of Tomorrow”, the Kaiser Aluminum exhibit, etc), and to do the 20,000 Leagues walk-thru. I’ve seen photos of the desert development, I guess some people think of the desert as having no value unless it has houses and malls on it. My dad used to listen to “The Music Man” soundtrack a lot when I was a kid, so I have a familiarity and fondness for it today. And my mom liked “My Fair Lady”!

JG, yes, I just scanned a photo of the Viewliner station, and the sign clearly says that they would accept 25 cents OR a “B” coupon (I think it was “B” anyway). I don’t think we’re seeing much of the actual Tomorrowland Station, which was brand new in 1958. It’s pretty minimal, but I like it!

JC Shannon said...

Bud, I think that's Don Quixote is on the berm. Wow, I was thinking Ike was president, and Buddy Holly was still with his Crickets. Major, I'm pretty sure that "moon" is a UFO. The whole country was positively swimming with em in the 50s. The lady on the right is saying "I hope that Nixon fella never gets to be president." If she only knew. Thanks Major.

Melissa said...

Disneyland: where even the dirt is noteworthy!

I think my favorite bit in all of these is the two engineers. I just like the way they’re framed.

DrGoat, our house was Cast Album Heaven, too.

DBenson said...

Ah, the berm.

As a kid and even a teen I found it sort of annoying/depressing when at Disneyland -- or any other theme park, midway, or
amusement venue -- I could see the outside world. Last visit in 2019, I hopped on the Monorail and was momentarily startled to find myself looking down on real traffic and chain hotels and restaurants. It was night and everything looked shiny and upscale, but I was in the zone where I'd lost awareness that Disneyland had definite borders and was surrounded by Southern California.

Immediately outside the berm it's just an ordinary day, not the Big Special Event it is for you and fellow park visitors.

I learned to accept that at most places. I even learned to enjoy how some of the rides at our County Fair elevated you for a view of the neighboring cemetery. But at Disney, even now, I sort of miss the suspension of awareness that dull workaday life goes on at surprisingly close range.

I've bloviated before about how you once had to take a monorail or boat to get to WDW's Magic Kingdom. There was a sense you were entering a different world. In fact, with a greenbelt and lack of development the whole of WDW felt insulated from the everyday. I'm guessing a bit of that applied when Disneyland first opened, out in seeming nowhere. Or even later, when surrounded by gloriously gaudy little motels that didn't look like the usual cheap hostelries everywhere else.

"Lou and Sue" said...

A Don Quixote topiary! I love it!


Regarding cash being accepted: I sent Major some Disney sign documentation he will share later that shows as of 1973 cash was being accepted on Main Street USA for all Main Street Vehicles , Main Street Cinema and The Disneyland Railroad ( apparently just at Main Street Station) dimes we’re still being accepted on Main Street vehicles up till just before the removal of individual tickets in 1982.

The whole reason for the A - E tickets existence was the labor of counting cash coinage and the movement and storage of it. Eventually the labor of collecting and counting tickets created the unlimited passport and eventually the removal of ride tickets and passports altogether.

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, I considered that the “moon” might be a UFO, but didn’t want to say anything. I don’t want to be dragged off by the men in black late one night! Nixon wasn’t great, but who knew how bad it could get?

Melissa, dirt is definitely noteworthy at Disneyland - it means something is going on. It looks like there must have been a recent rain, there appears to be puddles of water in the mud. I remember rain! I wonder what the engineers were saying to each other?

DBenson, the berm is such an interesting idea, and you know that it must have cost Walt a pretty penny to pile up all that dirt, instead of just scraping everything flat. But it is so great, particularly in Frontierland, the way it blocks (or blocked) all of the outside world, making it really believable that you were in the 1880s. I wonder if a little of the Disneyland magic spell continued past the berm if you stayed at the Hotel, or even one of the non-Disney hotels nearby? I guess I have learned to not expect a berm at most parks, and my brain is mostly conditioned to ignore the outside world. I hope someday I’ll get to experience that trip to the entrance to the Magic Kingdom, as you said, taking a boat or a Monorail really is like portals from “that world” to Disney’s World.

Lou and Sue, those Imagineers thought of everything!

DrGoat said...

Major, I will never say "it can't get any worse" ever again.
Melissa, my Dad played Harry the Horse in a local production of Guys and Dolls back in '62 or '63. Both my sister and I know all the words to every song. He brought us to one of the rehearsals once and Mom had to pick us up because we were laughing too hard.

Chuck said...

We were a cast album family, too. When I was in grade school, my mom was in productions of My Fair Lady, Mame, a musical sketch show, Oklahoma!, and No, No, Nanette and my little sister was cast as one of the kids in the high school's production of The Sound of Music when she was in the third grade. We also had season tickets to the Muny in St Louis and used to see a lot of productions at the local little theater, too.

Those records were in constant rotation at our house. Still kind of irritated I gave most of them to my then-girlfriend when my parents had a pre-move garage sale when I was 19, especially since my parents ended up keeping all of the other records that didn't sell in the end anyway and my girlfriend and I broke up a few months later.

Sunday Night said...

I'm extremely lucky. Growing up in So. Cal. I got to see many wonderful classic musicals. I once saw "Camelot" at the Pantages in Hollywood starring Richard Harris. A once in a lifetime event!

I think those classic musical LPs were probably always good sellers. Look at the musical LPs that made it to number 1 back in 1958: My Fair Lady, The Music Man, South Pacific and Gigi.

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, I know what you mean! Nobody in my family has had the urge to hit the stage, but it sounds like it would have been fun to go and see your loved one performing! The only Guys and Dolls song I know off the top of my head is “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat”, though it is a rouser.

Chuck, wow, very cool that your mom was so involved in those musicals! My grandmother was somewhat well-to-do, and she loved to go to the Schubert Theater, so I got to see a number of big musicals when they finally made their way to L.A. Sometimes she would take on of my siblings, which made me jealous, but I understand that she was trying to be fair to everybody. Bummer that you gave away your beloved records; hey, vinyl is back, you can buy copies of them again, and play them on a new turntable!

Sunday Night, oh nice, “Camelot” with Richard Harris. My mom saw Rex Harrison in “My Fair Lady” and said he was on autopilot, couldn’t be more bored. She also saw Yul Brynner in “The King and I”, not long before he died. I wonder if there will ever be another hit musical like those oldies? Maybe “Hamilton” qualifies.