Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sub Lagoon, 1960s

Where can a guy find a good lagoon these days? Say, there's a good one in Disneyland! It's the color of a blue topaz gemstone, which is always a plus. 

This first view is my favorite because the composition included more stuff to the right, such as the curving Monorail track, and some Skyway gondolas going back toward the Tomorrowland terminal, and even a bit of the Autopia queue and the Space Bar.

Oof, that air is thick and chunky style; I'd like to be charitable and call it "haze", but - - it's probably just good old smog, in those leaded gasoline, pre-catalytic converter days. Still, let's pretend that it gives the images a dreamy quality - because we are lightheaded from the fumes. There's practically no line for the Subs!


JC Shannon said...

Air that has substance. Back then, if you didn't smoke, you were still gonna get a lung full of nasty anyhow. "More sulfur dioxide dear?" "Nah, just pass me a Camel." I'm betting it's early in the morning, so the Subs are just getting ready. I have an old pack of Luckies from WW II, let's all torch up and meet in Tomorrowland. I'll be the one sporting the gas mask. Thanks Major.

Chuck said...

In that first photo, you can see the thought the imagineers put into designing the Submarine Voyage. Noe the bubble generators just beyond the dock, the first effect to show movement and to make it seem as though you are diving. Not only do they create a great "dissolve" between the static dockside view of barnacles and starfish and the open "ocean" to enhance the cinematic nature of the show, but they are also strategically positioned to block your view of the tracks for the spur lines, further enhancing the illusion.

And wow - that is some chewable air. I remember driving up to the Rim of the World Drive back in '93 and looking back down at San Bernardino and the LA Basin. The air was crisp and clean where we were at 7,000 feet above sea level, but you could clearly see a layer of brown ick that extended several thousand feet up from the ground. I remember thinking "we breathe that garbage every day." And that was in the era of catalytic converters and unleaded gasoline. I can imagine just how much worse it was back in the early '60s.

I don't remember this, but my parents tell me that on our first trip to Los Angeles in July of '71, the air quality was so bad one day that we stayed indoors at my great uncle's house rather than doing any sightseeing. We can be nostalgic about a lot bygone things from vintage LA, but having to hack your way to the car through the atmosphere with a machete isn't one of them.

Jonathan, I always wondered why gas masks have drinking tubes but not cigarette ports. I mean, they've already got built-in filters, so what could be the problem?

MRaymond said...

As my dad said back in the 60's, "Never trust air you can see." My first trip on an airplane, in the 70s, I remember climbing out of LAX and noticing how the sky got bluer as we gained altitude. After being in the Rockies for two weeks, you could literally taste LA air when we got back.

zach said...

I remember hanging out at that point on the right waiting for a Monorail and Sub to come by. Where are we in that first photo? I feel like we have just blasted off on the Rocket to the Moon. Or I'm being carried off by the Richfield Eagle. I was pretty scrawny in those days.

I remember the smog when we arrived by airplane in the 70's. From high up it looked very thick.

I can't hear the word lagoon and not think of Brooke Shields. The Disney tie-in is Hannah Montana among other things, I think.

This area is certainly an excellent example of layering of attractions.

Nice scans today. I think I'll listen to the TL music loop this AM.

Take care, all, and thanks, Major

JG said...

MRaymond, LOL, Came here to say that. “Never trust air you can’t see.”

I heard that a lot in my time working in the area in the 80’s.

I vividly recall the bad air of the 60’s on our visits, of course the OC air was improved by the kids time but it didn’t really click until..

Several years ago, I had some projects in Glendale, Hollywood and downtown, and was pleasantly surprised by the change. The cleaner air was more noticeable with the Hollywood and Verdugo hills so close.

Major, these are fine lagoon pics, all that’s missing are mermaids.


K. Martinez said...

Both Submarine Lagoon pics are beautiful today! Disneyland was so wonderful back then with all the activity and movement. I always preferred the military grey subs over the yellow explorer subs of today.

I remember the air quality back in the 60's and 70's in SoCal. It was bad. I remember days when passing through Riverside County in our car that our eyes would burn from the smog. Things have definitely improved since then.

Nanook said...

These are certainly great views, if not a bit obscured by the 'fine, So. Cal. air'.

@ zach-
At the mid-point along the right edge of the first image we can see a Kodak Picture Spot sign. Is that where you stood-?

Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, I can’t help thinking of the old joke about breathing SoCal air and chipping a tooth. The idea of purposely inhaling smoke from cigarettes (like my brother does) multiple times a day is baffling to me, even though we all know that smoking is cool! My dad had a friend who had a WWII-era package of “Spud” cigarettes, which I’d never heard of, but the name is so great! I now have a tin that used to hold Spud tobacco.

Chuck, considering that the Submarine Voyage was probably mostly designed in 1958 (or maybe going back a year or two), it is clear that it was a technical marvel for its time. By the ‘80s a lot of people snickered at what they considered a “lame” attraction, but I never did. I LOVE the bubble effects, so simple but so effective - especially when they added some red lights to turn it into an underwater volcano. I can imagine fancier effects, but those red bubbles were amazing to me as a child; I imagined that I could feel the air getting warmer as we passed through the dangerous eruption. And yes, if you get anywhere up high on many days you will see a layer of smog - it’s always a bummer. But I really think it’s better today! I used to live in a place on a hill where, on a clear day, you could see all the way to the ocean (many miles away), and luckily we had many clear days. It was always magical to see the glisten of the water, even from there. I’ve seen photos of L.A. streets in the late 1960’s - for one thing… billboards by the jillions. And the smog! Even at close range it was apparent that the air was really bad.

MRaymond, yes, an airplane where you will get a good look at that layer of yuck! I’m not sure I’ve ever been aware of the air having a taste, but I am probably just used to it.

zach, the photos can only have been taken from the ol’ Skyway, though I like the idea of being in the clutches of the Richfield eagle (or on his back, “Lord of the Rings” style!), but we can see Richie the Eagle to the left of that yellow bucket. Funny, I hear the word lagoon and I think of “Gilligan’s Island”! I’ve never actually seen that Brooke Shields movie, but I’m sure it’s one of the greatest cinematic experiences one could have.

JG, considering the sheer number of cars in L.A. (and SoCal) compared to decades ago, it is clear that the more efficient, cleaner engines and better fuel have made a big difference. It would be great if L.A. could have a truly convenient and efficient public transportation system, but it’s such a huge area to cover, not to mention mountains all over the place. I used to live in Pasadena, where smog could be especially bad during the summer months due to an “inversion layer” that capped the valley like a lid on a tupperware bowl. As much as I loved Pasadena, the bad days were pretty gross.

K. Martinez, I’m with you, I prefer the military gray subs, even though I didn’t really mind the yellow ones that much. Once you were inside, it didn’t matter! I can’t help wondering what they could do if they wanted to keep the subs but jettison the “Nemo” theme (it will never happen, I know). I’ve seen people jogging on the hottest, smoggiest days and always wonder WHY?!

Nanook, ah yes, think of how many thousands (millions?) of photos were taken from that very spot! I wonder how they chose the “Picture Spots”? Did a Kodak representative walk around with a critical eye and declare, “Here!” whenever he/she saw a likely place?

Melissa said...

Sublagoons and pieces of eight
Pieces of eight

I was raised on jokes about L.A. smog, so imagine my surprise when I finally got there and the air was perfectly fine. And it smelled better than New York City.

DrGoat said...

I agree. nice lagoon shots. So wonderful to find our Disneyland lagoon so far away from the ancestral home of lagoons. There's always one child that wanders away to settle in a place far from home, much to our delight.
I prefer the gray subs too. There is only one real yellow submarine, as we all know.
I do remember, even on our trips back in the 50s and 60s, the difference in the air between Tucson and LA. A whole different environment.
Thanks Major.

Chuck said...

Random memory - I was the assistant safety officer at my first unit, which was stationed at March AFB in Riverside County for most of the time I was assigned to it. The safety officer I worked with was originally from Lompoc and had a great sense of humor (which is part of why we got along so well).

One of the things we would do was monitor the air quality reports and change out signs on the front door to let people know what the conditions were as they exited the building and the recommended level of activity and amount of time spent outdoors. The sign he made for the highest warning level featured clip-art of a vomiting bee and the recommendation "avoid breathing." It is a testament to the sense of humor of our leadership that we didn't get in trouble over that one.

Another random memory - the first shoot I participated in at the unit was with the director of operations, an absolutely legendary producer-director within the Air Force community. We were shooting a video version of the unit farewell photo, which was a silhouette of a videographer, a still photographer, and a guy holding a unit guidon (flag) at sunset, for use under the end titles of unit productions. We scheduled the shoot for the end of a duty day in early October, and he got really excited when he saw how lousy the air quality was. "That'll make for a beautiful sunset, Chuck!" Only time I ever saw someone rhapsodize over smog. And he was right - it was a gorgeous shot.

Melissa, I haven't seen the MMC Hardy Boys serial since 1975 and that song still resonates in my mind. Thinking back, that has to be Thurl Ravenscroft singing.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, depending on when you were here, the air really can be OK! Especially if it’s winter or spring, and if you’re REALLY lucky and the orange trees are blossoming, it’s about the best aroma in the world!

DrGoat, the only lagoon that I can think of that I have been to more than once (other than the one at Disneyland) is Malibu Lagoon. And it doesn’t have any submarines in it at all! What a ripoff! And thanks to your comment, I now want to watch “Yellow Submarine”, ha ha. I can only imagine how much cleaner the air is (was?) in Tucson, it was probably like smoking a pack a day during your visit!

Chuck, somehow I would have thought that Riverside didn’t have big smog issues, but I really don’t know (obviously!). I love it when the “higher-ups” are not SO strict that they can’t see that a little humor here and there is good for morale. Military people are still human beings after all. I’ve always been told that honey is basically bee vomit, I’m not sure if that’s entirely accurate. If so, I don’t care! I’m still putting it on my biscuits. And your colleague is not wrong, polluted skies make for some spectacular sunsets - when the brush fires are raging through the Southland, you can count on brilliant red and orange sunsets. I haven’t looked lately, but is the Mickey Mouse Club on Disney+?

Melissa said...

That whole Hardy Boys serial is on YouTube, and it’s definitely our Mr. Ravenscroft.

Chuck said...

Only the first five days of the show and the first Spin & Marty serial are on Disney + - basically just stuff they had already released on DVD in the 2000s. Same video quality as well - looks like they just scanned the DVDs. Still waiting for the Hardy Boys serial (which was also released on DVD) to start streaming.

Chuck said...

Melissa, I didn't know that was on YouTube. I will have to check it out.

I think that's amazing - Thurl had such a distinctive voice that I can remember it in a song I last heard 45+ years ago.


When groundbreaking began for Shanghai Disneyland the WDI character finishing group sent out exterior finish samples .... they were various assemblies of faux stone, brick , wood , assorted architectural details , roofing types and other little groupings so the materials , adhesives and paints could be tested in the elements. These testing pieces were sent to China and sat near the the construction site to be observed over time. About when major vertical construction was underway all the construction exterior samples were returned to Glendale for final evaluation. The final results were shocking.... the rain and humidity was thought to be a potential challenge .... but it was the severe air pollution that was causing so much deterioration. They couldn’t believed how quickly the modern faux finishes And substrates were being eaten at by the air pollution ... let alone the paint and coating wear. The samples only 2-4 years old looked like 15 years old. China is well known for its sticky yellow color air in cities. Hong Kong is very careful but gets the yellow air blown in from the mainland. It’s scary how a portion of the air pollution here on the west Coast comes from China and Mexico ( mainly Mexico City!)

I grew up in San Diego but I can remember a few times in the 70’s school was canceled because the air quality was dangerous. Today’s not perfect, but it’s a far cry from 40 years ago!

Omnispace said...

Very nice photos for today. In the second one you can see one of the interesting offset columns that supports the monorail beam. As a kid I thought, "How could they do that?"

Can you imagine going through the Submarine Ride with that "Yellow Submarine" Beatles song constantly playing all the way through it? I bet it would be as popular as "it's a small world"!! ;)

No doubt there are clear-sky days in LA. I'm always impressed by photos that show snow-capped mountains behind the Downtown buildings. It throws me every time.

zach said...

Nanook, yes, that's the spot. looking forward to the next time I'm there. I'll miss the Peoplemover though, and the Motor Boats, and the Skyway.