Thursday, April 22, 2021

Frontierland River Views, 1984

Here's a group of nice Frontierland images, from photos taken by Lou Perry, scanned and shared for us by his daughter, Sue B. 

It's easy to take the river for granted, but it really is a beautiful feature. There's the Friendly Indian Village, with the pet moose. I wish I had my issues of "The E-Ticket" magazine handy, I can't recall if the river has any kind of flow, even if it's very gradual, so that the water doesn't stagnate. 

I've always liked this little tableau, showing one of the ways that Native Americans might deal with their dead. This small Indian village was on Tom Sawyer Island, something I was unclear about until the wonderful Long-Forgotten blog did an extensive article on the subject.

The next two views are from the upper level of the Hungry Bear restaurant, one of my favorite places to eat lunch and relax. Even on crowded days I could find a table overlooking the water; what could be nicer than watching the river craft go by, and maybe exchanging a friendly wave with the occasional passenger? You can also throw French fries to a passing canoe, the guests love to catch them in their mouths.

Sure, this photo is pretty similar to the previous one, but who's complaining? Notice the Keelboat moored to the right.

I've had the pleasure of riding the Mark Twain when the Disneyland Band marched aboard and played a concert as we journeyed around the Rivers of America. I'm the guy who thinks it's funny to yell "Freebird!" whenever there is a break in the music.

What I don't remember is if they dispense with the pre-recorded spiel when the Band is aboard? If so, I guess you'll just have to ride the steamboat twice if you need some color commentary.

MANY THANKS to Lou and Sue!


"Lou and Sue" said...

I wish to give credit, where credit is due,
These photos weren't taken by my dad-Lou,
But by my cousin-Stu.
These are just courtesy of Lou and Sue.

I hope you enjoy them!

TokyoMagic! said...

I love these pics, especially the one of the elusive "pet moose!"

Gee, the Mark Twain seems pretty full, and even appears to be listing in one of the photos. I'm sure that's just an illusion, as it rounds the corner.

Too bad there are no more tables at the Hungry Bear Restaurant, which overlook the water. Now, they all overlook the new concrete pathway leading to Wookie World.

Thank you Lou, Sue, Stu, and the Major, too!

JC Shannon said...

Wow, great river snaps. The whole ROA idea was pure genius. The illusion is so complete, you forget you are not somewhere along the Mississip. These photos show the extent Walt and the Imagineers were willing to go to make it pure magic. I can almost smell the water in these. I would like to hear Free Bird as well. Oh, and The Walrus. Thanks to Lou and Sue and Stu and Major.

Chuck said...

Major, the river has a general flow from south to north, ending near the Indian Village where the outflow pipe and pump are located that supply water to the high points in the "Big River" dark water system in Storybook Gardens and the former Motorboat Lagoon. Water enters the ROA through a pipe under the walkway that connects to the Jungle Cruise waterway near Tarzan's Treehouse. The "spring" under Tom & Huck's Treehouse on TSI and the "streams" that issue from it help keep the water circulating, as does the "brook" that runs in front of the Pooh ride.

Many thanks to Lou & Sue & Stu & you!

Stu29573 said...

Wow, Chuck, you sure know your Disneyland water! I had honestly never thought about it, but it HAS to have flow or the algae would form in such large clumps that it might become sentient and start demanding more than scale to perform (a common concern with algae).
These pictures actually ARE wonderful. I'm pretty sure it's because of the name of the guy that took them.
Thanks S,L&S!

zach said...

The band leader is scanning the crowd in the last photo, looking right at Major, wondering who shouted 'Freebird!'

These are great photos, and it's fun to say Sue, Lou, Stu and you! Thanks!


Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, oh, my mistake! Sorry about that.

TokyoMagic!, it does kind of look like the Mark Twain isn’t perfectly level, but as you said, it might just be an illusion. Caused by the curvature of the Earth and gravitational lensing. I prefer looking at a concrete walkway, who wants to look at dumb water anyway? ;-)

Jonathan, the river and its shores are such a large chunk of the park, Walt and his boys obviously knew that it had to be big enough to support that illusion of “infinite frontier”. They succeeded so well! Free Bird as played by a brass band would be interesting! How would they do that guitar solo? With a Sousaphone??

Chuck, thank you, and thanks to the link to that informative article. As I mentioned, The E-Ticket Magazine had an excellent article about Disneyland’s waterways, but all of those issues are at my mom’s house. I find myself stupidly assuming that water flows from the north, because on a map, north is “up”, see? I’ve always wondered if the put any sort of minnows or other small fish that would theoretically eat any mosquito larvae. You almost always see them in lily ponds or other places where the water isn’t highly chlorinated.

Stu29573, the park could sell paper cones full of river algae for guests to eat. Healthful, and eco-friendly! Your choice of three sauces. I HAVE IDEAS. It’s hard not to love photos of the river, so pretty and calm.

zach, you’re right, the bandleader knew it was me without even looking. “THAT guy again! I’ll wring his neck with my white-gloved hands!”. Little does he know I am as fleet as a deer and can run away fast.

Bu said...

Thanks for lovely peaceful photos. I'm thinking that most of these river scenes are not there anymore, and I think the last time I saw them WAS in 1984! That Mark Twain is FULL. This had to be a busy Summer day. The Summer of '84 was actually a bust because of all of the bad "crowd" press the LA Olympics was getting. People were warned of traffic, crowds, etc. None of it came, and it was a lovely Summer with loads of Olympians, Kings and Queens, Presidents and other dignitaries...and the usual movie star visitors. The park was very "dolled up" for 1984. We had to go through special protocol training by the White House staff and have more than a few FBI screenings depending on who we were in the presence of on any given day. A bathroom near where I was working went through a "re-do" as it was the only bathroom in the entire park that could be controlled by Secret Service/FBI etc. They wanted it to be pretty...I suppose every designer has their own "tastes". It turned out a wee over-the-top. The location and the "occupants" were confidential for obvious reasons. (To quell any questioning, it wasn't Walt's bathroom- which in 1984 was still sacred ground.) Back to the Rivers of America: Not sure why that Keel Boat was moored by the canoes- seems kind of weird to me as it should have been operating given the look of the crowds- they did have a great "spiel" on there...things about "Devils Island" "Cuz that's where you leave your little devils". The bandleader was the "young guy" (I don't remember his name)...Stan Freese may have moved on to other Disneyland titles by that time...I did enjoy the peace and quiet on the Mark Twain and even though the band joining was "special"...I remember being kind of ticked off that my peace and quiet turned to brassy tunes and I couldn't hear the Mark Twain narration. (I was a weird kid). I remember that really anyone could captain the Mark Twain if you had the stuff. We just knocked on the door and went up. At that time there wasn't was a hard core ladder- it might still be! You got a very nice certificate and they let you blow the whistle. The whistle blowing is actually a safety thing and it was a big "no no" to randomly blow it as it would signal something else that security would have to attend to. The timing had to be perfect coming into the dock. Lots of rules and all for good reasons. Canoes were always great fun, the guys were of the jocular sort- no girls back then..they all took some license with their shirt laces undone to the waist and sleeves rolled up past their biceps...and let's just say that they were indeed "cast for their role". I'm not sure if they do canoe races during summer any more- that was such a great thing. I captained two teams two separate years- the first year was for fun and giggling...and we did ...a lot of giggling- and ran into the island which is an immediate disqualification...With my second team I was a bit more particular about my team members, and we made it to the third round. This was a BIG DEAL back then- front page Disneyland Line news!. Usually the lifeguards from the Disneyland hotel won the biggie prize, with the canoe guys placing at the top as well. Everyone had a ringer or two- so did I. Even though the Disneyland Hotel was still with Wrather at the time, they let them join in. Everyone had special shirts that were designed by creative services with our team logo. I still have one...somewhere...I hope Disneylanders still have these sorts of things!

Anonymous said...

Really enjoying these photos, thank you, Lou, Sue, Stu, and Major.

The placement of the Indian Villages always intrigued me. On the classic ROA, we are first introduced to the friendly Indians on the Far Shore, and moments later, we see, on the island, results of the unfriendly Indians visit to poor old Bill, who wore his Arrow shirt to greet them.

The locations of the two tribes are skillfully selected so we can't go visit the friendly Indians since we can't reach the Far Shore, and the Treaty Line fence near the Fort means we can't swoop down on the unfriendly tribe and wreak our revenge on them for what they did to Bill, while providing a logical reason for the Location of the Fort. Effectively keeping the guests out of the backstage areas with plausible theming.

Stu, Chuck knows his Dark Water. The Dark Water system is of course, separate from the clear water systems of the submarines, Small World etc. which are free-standing. there have been several threads with expositions on the Dark Water. The ROA inlet is visible, near where old Cascade Peak used to be, but you have to know where to look. I don't know if changes were made as part of the Wookie World invasion.

Major, I envy you your cruise with the band. When you disembarked, you could rightfully say "Dude, don't hassle me, I'm with the Band."


Anonymous said...

Bu pretty much summed up the experience. The view from Hungry Bear out toward the Canoes was always idyllic. We Canoe guys liked the drama of having either the Columbia or MT behind always motivated the guests to paddle rather than us paddling them :o. Sometimes we'd let the boats pass by us if we were near the 'rapids'. We had total control of the 'ride' experience which was pretty rare. There was only one space for 2 keel boats at the keel boat dock. So if one was not in service, it would be tied up along the Canoe dock. SOP. Yep, running the MT...the whistle was used to signal traffic as well as alerting the engineer below...especially in an emergency stop. We did have a fixed intercom but the whistle was for immediate response. There could be a lot of river traffic around the first bend past NO Square and that was the skipper's most important responsibility. I have some pics of my Canoe crew back in the day. Yep some were jocks, which rubbed off on the rest of us. One ended up a starting NFL quarterback for many years. Great days and we are still a tight knit group today. KS

Major Pepperidge said...

Bu, thank you as always for the fun memories! I’d have to say that most of the times I’ve been on the Mark Twain, it’s been pretty busy - but i also admit that for many years I tended to visit during the busy holiday season (November usually). I do remember the amazing empty freeways during the ’84 Olympics, it was kind of like “Carmageddon”, everyone gets so freaked out about possible traffic nightmares that most people just stayed home. It’s possible that only one Keelboat was operating, though it is hard to say. Like you suggested, you’d think that both would be running during the summer season. I agree that the Mark Twain used to be a great place, particularly when it was running at night. Still one of my all-time favorite Disneyland experiences. I never thought about how it would be bad to let guests randomly toot the whistle on the Twain, but it makes sense. If you’ve seen some past blog posts with photos from our friend Huck Caton, you’ll see some canoe races from the 1980s.

JG, somehow I thought we saw the burning settler’s cabin before we saw the Friendly Indian Village, but I would not be surprised if I am getting things out of order. I can’t help thinking that at least a few times, determined guests must have managed to leap a fence (or whatever was used for separation) and wandered around the Indian Village that was on the island. And you should have seen the after-party with the Disneyland Band! Rootbeer aplenty, and gals in long skirts and high-necked blouses. But sometimes you’d see a bare ankle!

KS, ha ha, I’m sure that having a large ship bearing down on guests got them to paddle harder! And I’ve seen plenty of photos where it was clear that only about half the guests were paddling, and most of the propulsion was being provided by the CMs. I’ve always thought that some of those more arduous positions (like loading and unloading the Skyway) would be a great free workout!

Anonymous said...

Major...I was told that Buckets could be a great workout. KS

"Lou and Sue" said...

KS, you mentioned you have pictures of your canoe crew - please share them with us!

Am glad you enjoyed these. Thanks for all the nice (and fun) comments, everyone!