Friday, May 28, 2021

New Orleans Square, August 1966

I will be out of town starting today, and will be gone for the weekend! I might have some difficulty responding to comments, but I will definitely be checking in to see what everyone has to say.

I don't have the opportunity to feature New Orleans Square nearly as often as I'd like; as nice as it looked, my collection of slides from that land is pretty small. Today's scans are interesting because they are from August, 1966, when NOS had only been open for a month or so (maybe less when the photos were actually shot). It debuted on July 24, 1966, with Walt Disney and the Mayor of the real New Orleans (Victor H. Schiro) at the dedication ceremonies. 

This first photo is very nice, showing the narrow, winding streets that invite exploration. Interestingly, the Blue Bayou and "Pirates of the Caribbean" wouldn't open until the following year, on March 18th of 1967. So for now guests were limited to checking out the many shops, such as the Perfumerie and the "One of a Kind Shop", and they were probably treated to live music. There was also the French Market restaurant, as well as Cafe Orleans.

The narrow streets and two-story buildings often mean that there are shadows, and they can go very dark in vintage photos. A man and two women pose outside the Blue Bayou, though they can't get their Monte Cristo sandwich just yet. Check out those ruffled bell bottoms on the two girls to our left! Even in the darkness, we can see some nice details o the balcony above... a cast-iron chair and a little table to hold our mint juleps.

And of course there's the wonderful wrought iron that evokes old New Orleans so vividly. I've always assumed that there were offices upstairs, though perhaps that particular corner was part of what would become Club 33? Experts, chime in!


Nanook said...

Views of NOS are rare indeed on these pages. Everything still has that "new car smell". (Now... about those bell bottoms). Oh My-!!

Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, I believe that last picture is the corner where The Creole Cafe was (now Cafe Orleans)—which means Club 33 is “across” the street. Somebody correct me if I’m mistaken.

Melissa will LOVE today’s fashions, I bet! I have never seen ruffled bell bottoms like those thinking their mom made them—along with coordinating bedroom curtains.

Drive safe, Major, wherever you’re going! Thanks for today’s NOS post—one of my favorite parts of Disneyland!


Yes - there are Club 33 dinning rooms in the second floor of the Creole Cafe / Cafe Orleans building . That’s the first building you see exiting The Pirates of the Caribbean . Club 33 extends from The Royal Suite ( above Pirates entry ) and continues to The Grand Courtyard . A cast iron truss bridges the Club to the “island” structures of Cafe Orleans.

MAJOR : it’s so interesting you posted these images today - I was having a talk with a friend regarding the rarity of New Orleans Square slides and photos out there. The whole land should have been a 1960’s photographer’s paradise !

And here’s our theory : there are lots of pictures taken by guests of Disneyland’s New Orleans Square : HOWEVER so many people who are reselling vintage slides from estate sales , family slide collections or swap meets etc don’t recognize that it’s Disneyland’s New Orleans Square and think it’s really New Orleans or something other real historical location ...... the detail and authentic could really cool people - especially people who ate not Disneyland fans or theme parki-oligists . Even I find obvious disneyland locations misidentified by even the people who took the slides 50 - 60 years ago .

New Orleans Square was a zenith of the Imagineering craft ( at one time) but it’s been corrupted by entertainment , merchandise and special events managers and they along with time has taken Walts “Queen City” and disfigured her ....


SUE: I forget to mention I too have NEVER seen ruffled bell- bottoms! Your probably correct : that’s a mother’s custom touch added to her McCalls or Butterick pattern project! The design never took off , but they sure kept the sidewalks swept!! They make me think of 1960’s country style kitchen window curtains or those old fashioned country ruffled lamp shades that were popular in the 1950’s!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Mike, thank you so much for the Club 33 info—I learned something new! And I’m glad those ruffled bell bottoms never caught on!

Melissa said...

Happy travels, Maj!

I actually saw a pair of ruffled pants like those on a lady in New York City about 15 years ago. If they had been the same color as these, I would choose to assume it was the same person from this picture, wearing the same trousers fifty years later! I would love to think that she’s related to the fellow in the red Hawaiian shirt, but I’m not even sure they’re part of the same group.

Babushka sighting in the first picture!

The New Orleans Square of this period looks so inviting and relaxing. I can practically hear soft Dixieland, smell the bougainvillea, and taste the beignets. It reminds me a lot of the Port Orleans French Quarter resort at WDW. It’s one of the smallest resorts there, and full of all the same kind of architectural details like the wrought iron balconies and pastel stucco, plus pretty courtyards, lush greenery, and old-looking fountains. Also plenty of cool shade like you see in today’s pics. If I could afford a moderate level resort every time, I’m not sure I’d stay anywhere else. (Listen to me talking like I’d be able to go back anytime soon anyway! Never hurts to vacation in your head, I guess.)

TokyoMagic! said...

My talking "Bozo The Clown" doll (which Santa brought me when I was two years old) has ruffled pants just like that.

Perhaps the girl was auditioning for the Circus Fantasy Parade, but arrived at the park too 20 years.

Have a safe trip, Major!

Chuck said...

Those ruffled bell bottoms make me think that girl might be out for the day with her governess and the old bedroom curtains. The Captain will not be amused.

Even in its original configuration, Club 33 sprawled all over the place (although in its half-finished state at the time these photos were taken it's probably more accurate to call it "Club 16½"). The "secret" entrance was to the right of the Blue Bayou doors, which opened into an entrance lobby. You could take a set of curving stairs or an elaborate, wood-framed elevator to the second floor, where the actual dining areas were located.

To the left were the restrooms and a small, private dining room with a collection of taxidermized animals which I was told was where Mrs. Disney would usually dine when she came to the Park. To the right led to the bridge structure Mike mentions, that not-accurate-to-the-real-French Quarter-but-nobody-cares connection between the two buildings, which was sometimes used for a buffet spread and was your first (and best) opportunity to look down (quite literally, although hopefully not not figuratively) on other Disneyland guests. For those of you who have dined on the upper floor of WDW's Columbia Harbor House, particularly in the seating area that extends over the walkway between Liberty Square and Fantasyland, the view has a similar feeling.

After crossing the bridge, you entered the main dining room, which extended across most of the second floor of the Cafe Orleans. If you had a window seat, you could also look out past the partially-drawn curtains across the crowds towards the Frontierland depot or the Rivers of America, depending on which side of the building you were on. The windowed doors that lead out onto the balconies were all functional, but we were asked not to open them so as not to spoil the atmosphere for the guests down below (and probably to avoid drawing attention to the fact that there was an accessible space - but not to all guests - above the street level).

I've seen pictures of how it looks today, and I think something valuable and very classy has been lost.

I tend to agree with your theory about why there are fewer New Orleans Square photos, although the narrower streets may also contribute to guests taking fewer photos because it's hard to accurately capture the ambiance of the place in a photo or two, plus the modern crowds make it a less attractive view.

Interestingly, if you look at the Google satellite view of the Park that's out there today you'll find several vehicles parked on Royal Street and near the Pirates entrance bridge in broad daylight, something that they hadn't been able to do for decades until the COVID shutdown.

Melissa said...

(although in its half-finished state at the time these photos were taken it's probably more accurate to call it "Club 16½").

And now it’s Club 33 1/3.

Chuck said...

Melissa, that explains why it's been such a long-playing venue.


You know for decades there was lore and speculation as to how CLUB 33 was given its name : the most common theory was that there were 33 companies / sponsors at Disneyland when the club was formed - and THAT was EXACTLY the real reason for the Club 33 name .... if fact some rather common letter announcements regarding the NEW Club formation were documents in many collectors hands . HOWEVER , anytime the question of the Club 33 name origin appeared in a Disney News , a Disney Channel magazine or regular publications the official Disneyland Publicity response and the smug Dave Smith response from the Disney Archives was “ that just happened to be the address numbering system on Club’s entry building the Imagineer’s had come up with so that was how the club had the name. It’s odd the archives wouldn’t have known this with how common the introductory Club letter was ..... surely SOMEBODY at Disney must have brought this to Dave’s attention .... but no. Finally at a National Fantasy Fan Club Convention in the 90’s somebody brought a copy of the Club 33 letter to show Dave at a question and answer presentation ...eventually Disneyland and the Archives began to acknowledge the actual reason for the Club 33 name ....

Sadly the Disney Archives as well as the WDI Art Collections provides inquiries, researchers and publications with inaccurate information to this day.

zach said...

Anyone notice the old guy, white shirt, playing air trombone?

I rode Pirates in 1967 and rode it again in 2017 on it's 50th birthday and I have the button to prove it! NOS is one of my favorite areas, especially the plaza in front of the train station. I'm listening to the NOS loop right now.

Thanks, Maj, be safe


zach said...

Chuck- Ha! Good one


JG said...

Imagine loving a city so much, and having the resources to build your own. NOS never ceases to amaze me, and I can never decide whether I prefer the real one to the Disney one. The Imagineers certainly captured the feel of the real place without directly copying the layout. It is still amazing how big NOS feels, and how tiny it is in reality, pure magic.

Now that cocktails will be available in the Blue Bayou, the decision will be even harder. I think I spend more time in this part of the Park on my visits, taking most of my meals here and just hanging out. I don't even mind long queues for HM or POC since the views are so nice. I roundly curse Fantasmic for destroying evenings on the West side, and agree with the CM's whom i have heard say before that wretched show, "West Side was the Best Side".

Chuck and Mike, thank you for the back story on the details. Always fascinating. I have heard that in certain second floor locations, not subject to human traffic, the "wrought iron" is molded rubber, to reduce the need to paint. That gleaming panel in the last photo might be one. No idea if that's true or not.

Major, thank you for these rare and precious images. Have a good trip and have fun. It's good to be out and about after so long.


Nanook said...

Funny, I had never heard 'alternate theories' as to how Club 33 got its name; only the actual story. The Disney Company is notorious for creating stories or backstories to support a particular narrative they wish to 'push' - or whatever. And even when they get the 'facts right', the information is often hard to find and/or so truncated as to make it useless. Thankfully, fan sites (including this one - especially this one) are around to set the record straight-!

DrGoat said...

zach, I opted for the Disneyland Gallery Loop.
Lots of great comments and information! I miss the old New Orleans Square too. Had such wonderful times grabbing a few Mickey shaped beignets, covered in powdered sugar and maybe a hot chocolate to complete the sugar rush, then strolling around the area for an hour.
The train station plaza is a spot that drew me in too Z.
Tokyo, I had a Clarabell doll, which was quickly replaced by Froggy the gremlin doll from the Andy Devine show. I kept that rubber frog for the longest time. I sure wish he had survived.
Everyone have a safe and fun, or relaxing, Memorial Day weekend. I always think of my Dad a lot and what he went through in WWII, so thanks to all service members and ones that we remember even though they're not here anymore.
Safe journey Major. Thanks.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Lampshade bell bottoms! Fricken' Epic. I love this blog.

Walk off home run today Major!

Have a safe and fun holiday weekend GDBr's.

zach said...

Froggy the Gremlin! Just what the Dr (Goat, that is) ordered. I haven't thought of him(?) in years! 'Plunk your magic twanger, froggy'! Andy Devine was the ad voice for a local sub-division called Discovery Bay back in the 70s or so. I can still hear his distinctive voice saying 'Discovery Bay!'.


Anonymous said...

Mike...that was the story I knew and told others. At least I got that one right! KS

Grant said...

Really nice photos Major. NOS is one of my favorite places in the park too. Unfortunately I had to wait a few years after it opened to see it. Being a long hair I was persona non grata at my beloved Disneyland for a while.

I was fortunate enough to have lunch at Club 33 in 2013, before it changed. It was a great experience. It happened to be on a 100 degree day so after lunch we relaxed in the lounge area enjoying the air conditioning, looking out the window, watching the melting throngs of people below slogging through the heat. We felt so special :)

Enjoy your long weekend Major!

DrGoat said...

zach, Andy Devine was perfect in the role of Link Appleyard, the sheriff in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. (One of my favorites).
Froggy got in to a lot of mischief. I was about 4 or 5 years old,(just before moving out to Tucson), and my older cousin would grab him from me, tie fishing line around him and set him on on the sidewalk in front of the deli, then yank him in when someone would stoop to grab him. He did survive the trip to Arizona but after that, I have no recollection of his untimely departure from my possession.

DrGoat said...

PS I think Froggy disappeared around the same time that I got that white rubber Nebish doll. He took a hike several years later too.

"Lou and Sue" said...

DrGoat, you let Froggy and that Nebish doll get away?! Did you let Tinkerbell get away, too?? Cuz she just showed up on my doorstep!!! ;o)

Am busy at work, will stop back later...great post today!

DrGoat said...

Sue, you know Tinkerbell has a mind of her own. She goes where she wants to. You must have done some serious clapping!
Actually, my first metal Slinky got me in the most trouble. Dangled it out of the back window while Dad was driving us to Long Island, and it bounced under the car and wrapped itself around my Dad rear axle. It took him about 20 minutes with a pair of pliers to get it unwrapped. Needless to say, I was not too popular the rest of that day.

Dean Finder said...

Chuck, that dining area at Columbia Harbour House is one of my favorites in WDW. It's usually pretty quiet b/c people don't know the second floor is guest space.

I'd go with those bell bottoms to being homemade. My mom had pictures of her and some friends wearing stylish polyester pants they made from patterns in that era for a post-college trip to Europe. No lampshade bell bottoms, though.

TokyoMagic! said...

"Tokyo, I had a Clarabell doll"

DrGoat, "The Cow," or "The Clown"? I'm assuming The Clown, but a Clarabelle Cow doll would be pretty cool, too.

Melissa said...

I’m not sure a day went by in my childhood without one of my parents saying, “Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy.”

And I’m not generally disturbed by clowns, but the Clarabell doll in the toy box at Grandma’s house creeped me out even more than the musical grandfather clock.

DrGoat said...

Tokyo, I had the Clarabell the clown from the Howdy Doody Show. In hindsight, he certainly wasn't the most attractive looking fellow. I understand Melissa's creepy feeling.

TokyoMagic! said...

DrGoat and Melissa, personally, I think most clowns are as scary as heck. But for some reason, my Bozo doll didn't scare me. He says things like "Woweeeee Kazoweeee!" and "That's Rootin' Tootin' Dandy!"

Can you imagine having that clown doll from "Poltergeist," siting in a chair, next to your bed? Yikes!

"Lou and Sue" said...

TokyoMagic! I had the hand puppet version of that same Bozo...didn't he also say: "Geeeeeeee Will-a-kers!"?
and wasn't it(?): "Woweeeee Kazoweeee and a Howdy Do To You!"
and he said something like, "I'm Boxo the Clown, a one-man circus!"
Boy, we're going back 50+ years! (Bozo didn't say that, I did.)

"Lou and Sue" said...

TokyoMagic! I thought of one more...didn't Bozo say something like,
"Gee Mr. Ned, I'm a Rootin' Tootin' Dandy!" I'm not sure if that's correct, but he said something to Mr. Ned...I could be confusing and combining two of his sayings...

"Lou and Sue" said...

For those of you who don't have any idea of what I'm talking about (and maybe think I'm nuts), you pulled a string on the side of the Bozo puppet, and he said those different recorded sayings...

TokyoMagic! said...

Sue, I had to do some research. I know when I posted a pic of my brother's talking Herman Munster puppet (back in October of 2019), I found out that their was also a talking doll version, but they didn't say all of the same phrases. That might also be the case with the talking Bozo dolls and puppets. The taking Bozo doll said the following phrases, "Howdy, I'm Your Old Pal Bozo!" "Whooaaaaa Nellie!" "Jiminy Kazooks....Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!" "Just Keep Laughin'....Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha!" "Whoop De Doo Doo Diddly Doo!" "Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha...That Sure Tickles Me!" "Woweee Kazoweee!" and "That's A Ding Dong Dandy!"

There. Now everyone will think we are both nuts!

Chuck said...

Melissa, when I was very young, I used to wear Buster Brown underwear, undershirts, and shoes, and I have very clear memories of hanging out in my parents' bedroom while my dad got ready for work and my dad launching into "I'm Buster Brown, I live in a shoe,"“Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy,” and "Hiya, kids! Hiya! Hiya!"

The local PBS station ran kinescope re-runs of The Buster Brown Show around 1974, and I remember my mom being excited to see them again even though they were only 15 minutes long. I also remember her telling me that as a kid it was really strange to watch the show at first, since the TV versions of their characters didn't look anything like she had imagined them while listening to them on the radio.

And your fear of that Clarabelle doll and musical grandfather clock had nothing to do with clowns - you were very clearly terrified by Bob Keeshan.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Thank you, TokyoMagic! for the fun trip down Memory Lane!