Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Indian Village and Mark Twain, 1978

It's been a while, but I have a selection of photos from the Mysterious Benefactor today. Frontierland, as usual - 1978. Let's take a look!

There's the Friendly Indian Village, almost swallowed by the lush forest that continued to grow year after year. It's easy to imagine those woods being full of deer and other game for the hunters. The warm sunshine makes this look like an altogether pleasant scene.

Now we're closer to the village and can see many more details; mostly industrious people going about their daily chores to provide food and clothing for the tribe. From this angle we can see the area just beyond the trees (not quite the vast forest implied in the first photo), where the Disneyland RR ran, soon to pass in front of "It's a Small World".

The next five photos are from a series taken as the Mark Twain splashed away from the photographer. I believe there were eight images in sequence, but thought you might not need to see every single view! So I selected the ones that I thought worked best. In this first one, the rhythmic sound of the churning paddlewheel would dominate our senses.

I like that the south end of Tom Sawyer Island still has the small grist mill and raft landing, instead of the rather gigantic Fantasmic! stage.

The water in these photos appears to be much more blue-green than in the Indian Village photos; I don't know if it's just a difference in sunlight, or if the dye added to the water had changed between photo sessions.

That duck (a coot, I believe) doesn't seem bothered by the turbulent water. He's seen it all! Someday maybe he'll put it all down in a book. Oh wait, he's a duck. Notice the Haunted Mansion, barely visible through the trees, and the Columbia, moored in Fowler's Harbor.

The "Twain" is starting to round the bend! Those lucky passengers are about to enjoy a peaceful and lovely journey that I miss so much.

Thanks as always to the Mysterious Benefactor for sharing these scans, and hundreds of others!


Nanook said...

Although these scenes are very familiar on these 'pages', they nonetheless are all standouts. All are so serene and relaxing, it's hard not to resist their inviting nature.

Thanks, as always, to the Mysterious Benefactor.


Nice set of images! A view to a list time when this part of Frontierland and New Orleans Square was still treated as a THEME LAND and not a viewing arena / support area for Fantasmic and a waiting and access area for Club 33 Members ! Even the beautiful Haunted Mansion exterior is used to hold giant Fantasmic audio speakers nowadays!! Note the extra row of trees along the river..... long torn down.

Thank you mysterious benefactor and major !!

K. Martinez said...

These are wonderful pics. Especially the multiple shots of the Mark Twain Riverboat progressing down the Rivers of America.

The front part of Tom Sawyer Island with the grist mill never looked more beautiful. Thanks, Mysterious Benefactor and Major.

Melissa said...

Of course there’s a duck- it’s FOWLer’s Harbor! Ha ha, I slay me.

It looks like a lovely day to be out on the water. Wish we were there!

Stefano said...

It only took 23 years or so for the Frontierland forests to become dense and luxuriant. Disneyland set an example of how we can combat a warming planet: more trees!

Among the things removed for Fantasmic was the half submerged barrel off the tip of TSI, to the left of the Old Mill. I loved that barrel, which canoe riders would sometimes try to pat in passing.

"Lou and Sue" said...

That coot’s a hoot - he’s wakesurfing!

DrGoat said...

I agree. Great pics major. Serene is a good word for it Nanook. The wake of the Mark Twain really pulls you in. That first pic of the MT really is cool.
All this duck talk has got me all riled up. I watched a whole slew of Chip n Dale vs Donald Duck cartoons this weekend. When those ducks showed up in these pics, all I could think of was "It's a duck, with a big fat fanny!" (quoting Up a Tree, my favorite.) I know, time to take my meds.
Chuck, just read your last comment on your conversation with Red shirt. Thanks for the laugh. The behavior of some people in obviously not normal, possibly precarious circumstances, boggles my mind. We were more on the ball just going south of the border into Mexico back in the old days.
Thanks Major.

zach said...

Hi all, I'm back from my Son's wedding and I admit I missed the daily photos and what is the quirky comment section of GDB! But I can always catch up as long as there are enough bits left in my laptop.

I would like to report a missing papoose.

Love the Mark Twain in photos but more in 'person'.

Thanks, Major


Tom said...

The dreary blue-green of the river scenes betrays the sadness of this particular era, fresh after the demise of the beloved Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland, and prior to the completion of Big Thunder Railroad. Guests consoled themselves with generous helpings of turkey legs and thoughts of seeing Star Wars for the 200th time.

Great pic of the Indian Village, very clear.

JC Shannon said...

What a great day on the river. Fantasmic, Star Warsville. Remember the line from Mystic Pizza? "You don't monkey with tradition!" Thanks to Major and the MB.

Nanook said...

@ zach-
You'll just need to focus your eyes a bit more carefully. Frick [or is it Frack-? - please... no hate mail-!] has been moved to the teepee on the far right.

Anonymous said...

Stephano reminded me of the old barrel that was to keep the canoes away from the TSI shoreline. Had forgotten about it as after a number of rounds steering a canoe, it became embedded in my subconscious. As a visitor, I always like riding the railroad through the Frontierland section. The lushness of the vegetation and lack of guests transported one into the feeling they were miles away from urbanity. And yes, that's a coot. We were always on the lookout to antagonize them with our paddles...at least to give them a good splash. KS

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, yes, we’ve certainly seen plenty of Mark Twain pictures over the years, but these are somehow unique. And who wouldn’t want to enjoy a journey around the Rivers of America right now?

Mike Cozart, I don’t really dislike “Fantasmic!” (though I don’t love it as much as many people seem to), but I strongly dislike what the show has done to Frontierland. One of my favorite places in Disneyland used to be Frontierland at night, but now it is generally to be avoided. Such a shame! I wish they’d been able to build a special stage for Fantasmic on the outskirts of the park instead of right smack-dab in the middle of “the frontier”.

K. Martinez, I knew you were going to like these! They make me miss the old Tom Sawyer Island so much.

Melissa, that is definitely a Disney-quality pun. Wally Boag would be proud.

Stefano, yes, the trees in Frontierland had grown very lush and beautiful by that point. My friend Mr. X complains about how many of those trees have been removed, and how you can now see structures outside the park because of it. He’s a stickler! I wonder if that half-submerged barrel served some function that was not obvious?

Lou and Sue, I wish it was a loon instead of a coot! I can’t hear a loon’s call without thinking of fishing in Minnesota with my grandparents.

DrGoat, the wake of the Mark Twain pulls you in - and chops you up like a Cuisinart! Fun that you watched lots of Chip ’n Dale/Donald Duck cartoons, there’s something comforting about watching old classic cartoons. You know what’s going to happen, but it doesn’t matter. Plus Disney cartoons are just so beautifully made! And even though I have been to Mexico once, I’ve heard so many horror stories, mostly about people being basically robbed by the Mexican police, that it has made me not want to go there more.

zach, you should have told your son that you were sorry, but you could not be there for his wedding. Some things are more important, like this GDB thing! I’m sure he would understand.

Tom, for some reason the more muddy, pea-green color of the river seemed more authentic to me, though I’m sure that the Mississippi can look completely different depending on the location and the conditions. I’ve never been able to bring myself to get one of those huge turkey legs - I like turkey, but there’s something off-putting about them. Maybe if they weren’t so big.

Jonathan, I believe the correct term is “Star Warsburg”. It was one of the key cities during the Star Wars. I barely remember “Mystic Pizza” except that Julia Roberts was so young and cute.

Nanook, I’d like to believe that the kids in the papooses developed the ability to sort of “hop” inside their contraptions. If you looked at just the right moment, you’d see one leaping about.

Major Pepperidge said...

KS, aha, you answered my question even though it hadn’t published yet! I had the feeling that the barrel must have been a sort of well-themed buoy. Those Imagineers think of everything! As for riding the railroad, there is no part of that experience that I don’t love. Coots, those darn things - my sister lives near a golf course, and many of the greens are covered with an ample coating of… coot stuff. There must be 100 of them. My brother in-law wishes they would get a dog to scare them off, or maybe a hawk!

JG said...

As the sternwheeler rounds the bend in the River, the Friendly Village emerges gradually from the mists of memory. Our stalwart friend, Shiny Boy and his faithful dog, Opiyel Guabiron, watch for us to arrive. The Chief's canoe is parked in the charging station, waiting for his next race with Davy Crockett.

The woods are filled with animatronic deer and small game, their acrylic hides stretched to dry waiting to become next year's loincloths. We can see the sun gleaming on the edge of the meadow, beyond which the Iron Horses ply their rigid routes to lands unimagined by the peaceful tribe.

The ladies industriously grinding animatronic acorns and weaving lampshades for the long winter nights, while the young man to the right is repairing a canoe tire, which wear rapidly on the submerged rails.

The teepees are sporting fresh paint and pinstriping on their poles, and bright new eagle feathers are added to the totem displays. The river gods will be well-pleased by the devotion of the People.

The guardian papeese have shifted their posts, in order to provide an even distribution of their kind and protecting gaze, looking forward to the time beyond time when, after the coming of the iron ships from the Sky and the displacement of the People, peace would return again to the River.

Major, I cannot believe you left out three images of the Mark Twain, how could you? We need every scrap of documentation from MB! Thanks so much to both of you!

Melissa, you quack me up!


Bu said...

I thought that the Indian village had a chain link fence behind it...it's deer skins. Very clever and authentic. I DO remember that grassy patch, and in the 25th Anniversary TV special Danny Kaye is trooping through that patch of grass singing something about Walt's dream and la la la...I'm not sure people watching understood the Danny Kaye connection...or maybe they did (?) I look at these photos like a forensic scientist....That strip of cream colored cast iron benches across from the River..it was such a cool custom made piece, and was so nice to sit there and watch the boats go by. I saw a video of the opening day (meaning...a few days ago opening, not 1955) tour by some You Tube blogger...I was horrified by some out of scale block wall that looks chunky and horrible along the river where pretty benches used to be. I then stopped watching You Tube videos of the "New Disneyland Resort". I never saw Fantasmic...I walked past it once and it seemed like kind of a nightmare with no way out. I totally understand the need for the Pirates bridge...I would have done it differently, but that's just me. We had Summer time shows on the river in the 80's...Pearl Bailey and the like...and the end of the show the Mark Twain came around with people waving around sparklers, and then a giant Eagle sprouted at the stage while patriotic music played. Was a little OTT, but people loved it. Pearl Bailey did not love it. In fact she would not let the show end with Giant Mr. Eagle...she wanted people to go away remembering her and not a giant plastic Eagle. You go Girl! I love Divas.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I agree with JG: Major, you never need to leave any pictures out. I can't think of any pictures that are boring. GDB is our little escape back in time to our favorite place, with friends.

Mike, I had no idea they placed Fantasmic speakers on the Haunted Mansion's site. Fantasmic is like the blob that gobbled up everything.

On a side note: DrGoat, thanks for sharing your photo of your grandmother's scarf, yesterday - what a treasure!

Thanks, Major, MB and everyone, for the fun and laughs today!

zach said...

Thanks, Nanook. I was hoping there weren't any dingos involved.