Friday, April 16, 2021

Town Square, August 1966

Here's a nice pair of photos from 1966, taken as the sun was setting, and the Disneyland day was ending for many guests, as evidenced by the large crowd heading through the tunnel out toward the parking lot. Why would they leave when there was still hours and hours of fun to be had? I'm guessing that the mom and dad with the two cute kids was buying balloons to take home, not to carry around in the park.

It's neat that the E.P. Ripley happened to be there for us to get a good look! 

I can't tell if this picture was taken moments before the first one, or moments after. You can see the mom and one of the kids to the right. The balloon vendors know that kids are naturally drawn to the sound of dozens of balloons bumping and squeaking. Maybe we could take one last train ride around Disneyland before we go home?



K. Martinez said...

Is the man in the white shirt drinking from a water fountain? I love flipping back and forth between the two photos to see the differences. I've always used the westside tunnel/portal to go to and from Disneyland, but rarely used the eastside tunnel/portal. Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

...or he's trying to discreetly pick his nose.

I absolutely LOVE all those balloons. Any picture with lots of Disney balloons is fantastic! I always thought it would be fun to say to Mr. Balloon Vendor, "I'll take ALL of them!"

Thank you, Major!

Melissa said...

That is a particularly practically perfect bunch of balloons. If I was one of those kids I wouldn’t be able to resist pestering Mom and Dad for one!

JC Shannon said...

As the sun sets slowly in the west, we have a babushka sighting at 2 o clock low. By golly I do believe Sue is right, the guy in the horn rims does appear to be picking a winner. Finally, is that little Pugsley on the far right? Maybe. Thanks Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, Sue, and JC, are ALL correct. That IS a water fountain, and that man IS attempting to get the boogers out of his nose. You see, he forgot to bring his neti pot with him to the park that day.

Andrew said...

Everyone looks to be ignoring Mr. Nose-Picker except for the fireman (?) on the train, who is watching with rapt attention.

You've been spoiling us on Fridays recently, Major. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

K Martinez has made me realize that I almost always use the west tunnel at WDW as well! I did use the east tunnel once, but it threw me off by about 50 feet all day long.

zach said...

I never would have expected nose-picking this morning.

I have always loved a bunch of colorful balloons as long as there's no clown around. E. P. Ripley is a bonus. My Father in Law (lives near Walnut and Ball) says he can hear the train whistle again.

The blond girl with the ponytail made me think of Hayley Mills. I used to think about her a LOT 60 years ago.

Left portal, right portal, it's like picking (there we go again) the left or right line at Pirates. I guess I use the West Portal, now that I think of it.

Googling neti pot in the morning was a BIG mistake.

Thank you, Major, Happy Friday all.

DrGoat said...

In the second photo, we have a guy making that most frequent move in Disneyland. Reaching for his wallet.
You got me thinking and I've got to say that usually I went right, to the east portal.
zach, I think they started running the Disneyland Railroad on April 7th. Check at about 1 min. 30 seconds into this:
Boy, I'd love to hear that from my house.
Thanks Major

Nanook said...

My vote goes to the west side 'portal'. The Dad reminds me of James MacArthur. "Book 'em Danno-!"

Thanks, Major.

JG said...

My goodness, the balloons are a beautiful sight, even if it means our day is at an end and we have to go home.

One Disney trip, my parents bought me one, right here at this spot. It made back to the motel where I let go of it in the room. It hit the "cottage cheese" ceiling and burst. I never bought another balloon again. I hope the little boy in the picture got to enjoy his. I wonder where he is today?

The little boy to the extreme left looks exactly like my son at that age, same hair, same clothes, but about 20 years too soon to be him.

I can see the blessed parking lot through the West portal, and the bulging shape of the Convention Center Auditorium over the entry gates.

Now that I think about it, we almost always go in the East portal and come out on the West, following the original Disney plan of the shops on the east side carried things you might need during your visit; suntan cream, film, funny hats, coffee, while the west side shops carried the souvenirs and gifts you might buy on your way home; books, candles, plastic flower arrangements etc.

I know lately we have entered through the West portal since we came from the Hotel.

I don't recall a water fountain where Mr. Horn Rims is standing, but I will go back and search Daveland to check. He is an odd feature in that photo for sure.

Zach and Dr. Goat, what great news that the train is running again. The Park will open someday.

Thanks Major!


Bu said...

That is a BIG bunch of balloons...we rarely had such large bunches, but since it was closing they probably gave this poor guy two bunches. I can tell by the "sway" it was windy, I can tell by the color of the balloons it was a very hot day. When you first inflate balloons they are more shiny, and if it is hot they start to get more of a matte finish. If you ever see a publicity shot of balloons they are almost always a matte finish because of the time it takes to take a shot. The heat and the slow evaporation of helium is what causes the balloons to die. It's interesting that the red string called "intrinsic" continued to be used into the 80's. It was very slick so when the wind was reeking havoc with your balloon bunch and twisting all the strings you could pull the string out from the matted mess. Also, with such a lovely balloon bunch at closing, that close to the exit, in my day, would also come with a very impatient angry mob of people surrounding you. At one point guests were so close to me I couldn't move my arms and the guests started to pull out their own balloons. That was no fun. Some of the ladies in those cases would let the entire bunch go if guests got too unruly. That was popular with management..."eek". In time, I learned to step over the fencing, and climb into the grass so that I would have a safety barrier in front of me. There was simply way too much cash in my apron to have guests so close! After I left the department, I remember seeing closing balloon vendors with a second person there to manage crowd control/cash control. A couple of factoids: if your balloon popped during your trip, or died an untimely death, we would replace them if they still had the dead balloon. This pleased parents a lot. Also, any unsold balloons at the end of the day were deflated, the balloons were put into a clothes dryer where they would regain their original shape (magic!), and we would blow them up again the next day. The tie on the balloon was a very specific "wrap" not an actual knot and there was a trick to unravel it without any damage to the balloon. If guests inadvertently let their balloon go, we did not replace them as we needed the neck of the balloon for accounting purposes- it was the only way to balance your cash, and the balance had to be EXACT. Balloons were .50. I forgot how many I would sell, but you would have a giant wad of cash on you by the end of the day. I can't imagine that this happens today. Selling balloons wasn't a favorite job of mine- I had literally thousands of pictures taken of me, and haven't seen one yet. Working in the "Balloon Room" which was behind Tomorrowland was AWESOME. Music, no supervisors lurking, we blew up balloons and would bring them on stage for the vendors, or gave breaks. Our breaks were loose and not so regimented like the on-stage jobs. I'm remembering an entire season in the Balloon room...and I drone on.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, if I had to bet money, I’d bet that the man was drinking water, but I’m a terrible gambler. I *think* I usually go through the western tunnel too, I wonder if Disney keeps track of such things?

Lou and Sue, he’s blowing his nose, farmer style. Once you see that as a child, you never forget it! I love the balloons too. I wonder how much one balloon cost back then? A buck? Two? That vendor might be holding $200 worth of balloons.

Melissa, I still remember pestering my mom and dad for a Mickey balloon before we left, getting it home, and accidentally letting go of the string just as we got out of the car. I watched it float away until it was no longer visible.

Jonathan, even on that nice summer day, there’s still one lady who has her babushka! Did she have a drawer full of them, and had to pick the one she was in the mood for?

TokyoMagic!, I remember going to water fountains when I was in school and seeing things (I’ll leave it at that) in the drain that made me want to hurl!

Andrew, the poor fireman is so horrified, he can’t look away. It’s like when you pass a car accident. He didn’t sleep soundly that night!

Stu29573, I’m guessing that people have to walk just a little farther to go through the east tunnel, and everyone is so amped up to get their Disneyland day going that they will take any shortcut.

zach, with some notable exceptions, Disneyland has been largely clown-free over it’s 60+ years, thank goodness. Sure, they showed up in some parades, but then they scurry back to whatever hellhole they came from and the rest of the day feels safe. Hayley Mills - I just watched “That Darn Cat” on Disney+ not that long ago, and she was adorable. I think she just wrote a memoir? And yes, Neti pots are gross. I’ve heard that people can actually get brain amoebas from using them.

DrGoat, ha ha, that guy’s wallet arm is going to be sore by the end of the day! I wonder if you went right to “Mr. Lincoln”? Then going to the right (eastern) tunnel makes sense. Otherwise it’s crazy! ;-) I agree, I would love to hear that train whistle, especially in the mornings or even later in the evening.

Nanook, It’s crazy to think how young that dad must have been at the time the photo was taken. 25 maybe? Possibly a little older. Still, a kid by some measures.

JG, I don’t know why, but the memory of the sound that those balloons made in a slight breeze made a real impression on me when I was a kid. We had cottage cheese ceilings too, until my parents decided that they were too dated, and paid $$$ to have them scraped down and repainted. I understand that they used asbestos for that process, and I doubt that any real safety measures were used back when we had the cheese removed. You’d think I’d go in the west portal, since I always wanted to go to Tomorrowland first, but in reality we almost always hopped on the Disneyland Railroad before we did anything else. It just became a habit.

Bu, I wonder if the seller just restocked knowing that many guests were on their way out? That was probably a good time to make the most money. Interesting trivia about the way the balloons look depending on the temperature! I always tried to keep my balloon going as long as possible, but you can’t fight leaking helium, and each day the balloon would get lower and lower. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that people were so pushy on some days, but on the other hand… chill out, folks! If they had cast members to protect the costumed characters, they definitely should have had them for the balloon vendors when it was busy. I never knew that they would replace a popped balloon for free! Thanks for the info on the price (fifty cents), I am frankly surprised that they didn’t charge a lot more. The “balloon room”, there’s a new one too. Thanks for all the fun info and memories!

Melissa said...

Bu, that was absolutely fascinating! I learned more about balloons today than I ever thought there was to know!

"Lou and Sue" said...

I echo what Melissa just said! Bu, thank you for sharing! That's interesting that Disney re-used the unsold balloons. I have a couple more questions for you, Bu, in case you wish to comment more:
What years did you work at Disneyland, and did you work in any other positions at that time? Did your arms get really tired by the end of the day? (I hope you share a lot more stories here on GDB!)

Grant said...

My guess about why the crowd was leaving early is sometimes Disneyland would close early for special private events in the evening. Corporate nights, grad nights, etc.

Bu, thanks for the behind-the-scenes story. We all love 'em!

JG said...

Wow, Bu, what an essay! Like Melissa, I have now learned more than I ever hoped to learn about balloons, thank you!

Please tell us more, stories are the best thing here! Come for the pictures, stay for the comments.

Major, yes, most of those old ceilings were ACM's (Asbestos Containing Materials). Asbestos was in everything back then. Amazing that we survived.

I love how everyone has their own habits in the Park, I don't think I have ever boarded the train in Main Street, although I have gotten off there.

I spent some time on Dave DeCaro's wonderful archive and found these photos which I think show the water fountain that Mr. Horn Rims was using:

He is either getting a drink, or adjusting a sack of C&H Sugar.

The original 1955 Town Square drinking fountains were ceramic bowls on a sort of pipe stem, inexpensive and not very themed.

But by the 1960's these were replaced with the fluted white wood pedestals. Now most or all of those are gone, replaced with versions that meet ADA wheelchair requirements, although still nicely themed to Main Street's era. I saw one of the old white fluted ones on my last solo trip, in the Tour Garden by the West portal. It isn't visible in Street View, so I can't tell if it is still there.


Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, when you appear on “Jeopardy!”, I hope “Balloons” is one of the categories!

Lou and Sue, yes, I would have never imagined that Disney came up with a way to “restore” old balloons. It almost seems like a joke, can a tiny rubber balloon cost them that much to make it worth it? But then again, TokyoMagic! has told us how Knott’s watered down ketchup and mustard (yuck).

Grant, your theory is very possible, though part of my always wondered if the tended to do the special events and corporate bookings in the off-season? I’d be mad if I went on my ONE day to visit, and they closed so that General Dynamics could take over at six o’clock!

JG, based on only a few other comments that Bu left on some other older posts, there are plenty of memories and stories! At least I hope that is so. Maybe there are photos to accompany the memories! We can dream. Until recently, I ONLY boarded the train at Main Street, and took the complete grand circle tour. It was within the last few visits that I started using the train as a mode of actual transportation and not just as “a ride”. Thanks for the links to Daveland showing the fountain. And yes, the early drinking fountains were very bare bones, with a chunk of wood for small children to stand on. I’m not surprised that the older fluted versions are mostly replaced, but it would be nice to see one now and then.

Bu said...

Thanks for the kind words. To answer a few questions: my arms did not get tired. My FEET got tired. Leaning, sitting, etc. was strictly forbidden. Regarding reusing balloons: Disneyland was very very very thrifty, and nothing was ever thrown out. Balloons had a street value of .50, so they were reused. We had to save any broken ones- whether from guests, or us popping them by accident. We got credit from the balloon factory when we returned "spoils". Every single balloon out of those 144 in each bag was accounted for. Spoils would be re-bagged in re-used bags in 144 counts as well. Everything was saved. This was also to control employee theft. All balloon counts had to be verified by a lead. They would count the returned balloons, the spoils, the unblown ones left in the was all put into a spreadsheet and was compared against the receipts of the day. And it better match. It was hardcore and probably still is. I worked in a lot of positions in the 80's- it was that regimented everywhere. It was a good business learning for a kid. In looking at the photos with my CSI brain...I'm not sure if it was closing time. Things to do not add up. The balloon vendor has rolled up his sleeves. This was against the rules EXCEPT when temperatures reached 90 degrees. If it was 90 degrees it was probably Summer. If it was Summer there would be no 6pm closing or private parties. Private parties were scheduled outside of normal operating hours. Private parties started at 7 or 8 depending on various factors, and we closed at 6 or 7 outside of Summer or other holiday periods. Hours were planned months and months in advance. Perhaps for Liz Taylor's birthday party we closed earlier- it's a faint memory and I am sure whatever happened that night was very well documented. Grad nights started super duper late...and went into the wee hours of the next day. Those were a bit unbridled with all those kids and hormones...perhaps for another time.

"Lou and Sue" said...

...based on only a few other comments that Bu left on some other older posts, there are plenty of memories and stories!

After reading Major's comment, above, I looked back at all the GDB post comments for the last 4 months and found Bu's comments left on the 2/8/21 post - but were posted at a later time. Just thought I'd mention it, in case anyone wants to go back and read some more fun comments about Bu's experiences.

THANKS, Bu, for adding lots of interesting info to GDB!

"Lou and Sue" said...

CLICK HERE to get to that GDB 2/8/21 post. (Sorry I didn't think to attach it to my comment above, initially.) Enjoy!

Major Pepperidge said...

Bu, I can only imagine how tiring it must have been to stand all day! I’m sure there were breaks, but still, many hours on your feet can only have been exhausting. I like the idea of balloons having a street value, like cocaine! So amazing to think that all of the balloons needed to be accounted for, but what a pain. Thanks for verifying that private parties were not done at the height of the summer! It only makes sense. I suppose it’s possible that the rules were a little different regarding rolled up sleeves in 1966? Especially on an August day. I have pinback button from the Liz Taylor private party! Cool that you were there for that. Did you see her? I have two friends who chaperoned a recent Grad Nite, and their reaction was… NEVER AGAIN!

Lou and Sue, here are the dates of other comments from Bu (sorry, too lazy to make links!): July 27, 2020; December 3, 2019; and September 11, 2019. You already knew about the one from February 8, 2021!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Thanks, Major! I enjoyed reading Bu's comments so I've added the links:

CLICK HERE for 9/11/19 GDB comments.

CLICK HERE for 12/3/19 GDB comments.

CLICK HERE for 7/20/20 GDB comments.
Bu, was that you, to our left (in that photo) - walking with the big Mickey ears?? Or were you just saying, in general, that you were in that parade?

Thanks, Bu!

"Lou and Sue" said...

^ ooops, my above link IS correct (for 7/27/20), but I have it listed as 7/20/20.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, it was the mayonnaise that Knott's used to water down, but now that I think about it, I'm surprised that they didn't water down the ketchup and mustard, as well!

Other "cheap" things that they used to make us do, was save the unsold popped popcorn from the popcorn wagons at the end of the night and put it in a big Hefty trash bag. Then whoever opened the wagon the next morning, was to take that big trash bag of popcorn from the day before, and dump it into the metal bin. They were then supposed to pop one or two fresh batches of popcorn, and mix it all together with the old stale popcorn to try and disguise the fact that some of it was "day-old" popcorn.

Another thing they used to do, was make us peel the corn breading off of the unsold corn dogs, and save the "hot dog" part of the corn dog until the next day. Then whoever was opening in the morning, was to take the hot dog and re-dip it into the corn dog batter, and re-cook it. Saving "unsold" balloons doesn't sound so bad now, huh?

These things were all done while the Knott family (children) still owned the park. They were the absolute worst, when it came to being cheap! I could tell you more "horror" stories, but I'll save them for another day!

JG said...




Melissa said...

At the restaurant where I worked through high school and college, we watered down the mayonnaise, sour cream, and bleu cheese dressing. It honestly was easier to work with that way, and we never got any complaints about it.