Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Scenes at Dusk, November 1970

In general, my attempts to take photos at any time other than on a bright sunny day usually resulted in murky, dark photos that were fit for nothing but the trash can. Today's photos are dark, but they have a certain something that makes them still worthwhile.

The Haunted Mansion is looking appropriately gloomy, somehow refusing to reflect all but the bare minimum of light. Even the magnolia tree looks almost black. Look, there's almost no line, how can anybody resist? I love that we get a pretty good look at the sailing ship weathervane, which should be in my collection.

For some reason, lots of people leave Disneyland when it starts to get dark. I don't understand it, but it's true. I love seeing Main Street in blue shadows, with familiar signs blazing brightly. The Penny Arcade! The China Closet! Hallmark cards! The Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner! If ya gotta leave, this a pretty sight to end one's day on.


Nanook said...

As you noted, many of Disneyland's guests do leave at nightfall. This activity is to make room for all the local vampires who descend on The Happiest Place On Earth when the shadows are in full flower.

Thanks, Major.


Interesting that the Mansion’s ship weathervane has only one sail. It should have three! It’s possible that two rotted off , but in 1970 you’d think it would have been in pretty good shape from the attractions’s opening.

It wasn’t till I was in junior high school did we seem to stay into the night at Disneyland with a few exceptions. Ironically most of my very earliest memories of Disneyland are at night. One is being in line at Submarine Voyage and seeing a Skyway attraction poster. Another was being on my dad’s shoulders and looking up and seeing a vehicle go by and pointing saying “what’s that!!” And my dad saying “ that’s the PeopleMover!” Watching it pass I thought the name meant the people sitting inside were pushing the vehicle along like how the Flintstones propel their Flint-mobiles!! Another early memory was sitting outside the Haunted Mansion with my grandma because I was too afraid to go on it and watching my grandpa and uncles thru the iron fence walk up the entry path and disappear into the house.

Chuck said...

If these were taken in November, the Park has probably just closed in that last shot, although the shops on Main Street remain open for an extra hour “for your shopping convenience” (it has nothing to do with trying to squeeze a few last dollars out of the paying guest). I know I’m trying to sound cynical, but I just can’t - I love hitting Coke Corner or the Candy Shop on the way out, and the place would feel dead and lifeless if everything were closed as you headed for the turnstiles.

Mike, I just looked at a bunch of Haunted Mansion photos to see what was up with the weathervane. It was harder than I thought it would be; surprisingly, Daveland doesn’t have a lot of historic photos of the HM and it appears that most people who photograph the HM facade tend to cut the weathervane out of the shot. Anyway, the Mansion appears to have started out with a three-masted weathervane in 1962.. By 1968, it was down to a single mast, and it stayed that way at least through 1970. Today, it’s back to the original design. Why, I have no idea, and if you don’t know the answer, I don’t think I ever will. ;-)

TokyoMagic! said...

I do like the lighting in these photos. It seemed like whenever I went to the park with family, we almost always left around sunset....unfortunately.

Chuck, I remember the days in the seventies and early to mid-eighties, when the Main St. shops did not stay open for an hour after park closing. Does anyone know when that changed? Was it an Eisner thing? I remember the Emporium being open a little bit past park closing, but if you didn't get in there pretty quickly after closing time, they would have cast members standing at all the doors, and they would not let you enter the store. They would also work on the guests inside and try to corral them out of the building or to the cash registers, to make their final purchases. Tokyo Disneyland still operates this same way at the end of the night, with 99% of the stores closing right when the park does, and the Emporium closing about 30 minutes later, but the doors are blocked even sooner than that.

Mike, speaking of Tokyo.....there is an amusement park in Tokyo called Tokyo Dome City. They have a PeopleMover-type of ride that goes around part of the park, but you have to pedal it:

Sky Trip Ride at Tokyo Dome City

Anonymous said...

Wonderful shot of the Haunted Mansion!
I read somewhere that the areas under the eves are painted slightly darker to make the shadows appear deeper.
Also, Long Forgotten actually has a history on the missing and reappearing sails (of course they do!). It seems that our ol' schooner has had sail trouble pretty much from the get-go.
The second photo makes me nervous. I get that way when I'm in a store that starts closing (probably some childhood trama or something). Actually, I don't get AS nervous at Disney. I need to lie down.
Great pics!

DrGoat said...

Great night time photos. Especially the Main Street one.
Like Mike, I don't remember staying after the sun went down till later in the 60s. I think the deal was my parents had to pack us up and get to the car and drive that whole 2 blocks or so to the Peter Pan Motor Lodge, where we stayed 99% of the time on our Disneyland trips. We never walked to the Park for some reason. It wasn't that far. Had to drive to the parking lot.
Back at the motel they could relax or whatever. We would run around the lodge for a while and by then we were too tired to do anything else.
Enjoyed your memories Mike, thanks.
Thanks Major, I'm walking towards that Penny Arcade in that dusky, wonderful photo.

DrGoat said...

I just measured the distance from 2029 S. Harbor, home of the old Peter Pan Motor Lodge, and know now why we never walked to the Park. It's almost a mile.

K. Martinez said...

That Haunted Mansion photo is perfect. It really captures the spirit of the attraction. Thanks, Major.

JG said...

Excellent shots today, Major, Thank You. I'm willing to take even dark evening photos for my morning dose.

Perfect HM photo, IMHO.

@Stu, yes, I have read that the eaves, cornices, and soffits of the HM are painted slightly darker shades of white to appear darker even in the daytime.

For several years, in one job, I had access to a set of HM blueprints, the weathervane was traced out full-size on one 24x36 sheet. Unfortunately, 30 years ago, I did not have access to today's digital tech, and I couldn't replicate any of the drawings for my collection. Oddly, I can't remember how many sails were on the ship, but it seems rather more than less.

Main Street at night has to be one of the best views of any theme park or real city anywhere. Tivoli in Copenhagen might be in the running though, with the same little white lights. I understand it was a partial inspiration to Walt, along with about a thousand other places. But Disneyland has it all.


"Lou and Sue" said...

TokyoMagic! NO WONDER why the folks in Japan are in better shape than us!

Am enjoying today’s comments. Love the dusk pictures! We always stayed at the Parks as long as we could - soaking up the Disney atmosphere (fun to grab a bench, relax and people-watch).

Melissa said...

Pretty spooky, kids! Owoooooo!

DrGoat said...

I knew I spotted Count Floyd last time I was there!

Anonymous said...

Been gone a week. I agree with Chuck. For November back in 1970 and mid week, the Park could have closed as early as 6pm. Considering the setting sun was around then with Pacific Standard Time, the Main Street pic may not be far off that 6pm close. KS

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’m not sure that’s true anymore, since the park seemed to get more crowded as the sun set - all the locals came out to see the fireworks, the parade, and Fantasmic. I suppose those events were designed to do just that, bring guests in when they normally would leave.

Mike Cozart, not long ago I posted a photo of the Haunted Mansion, I think it was relatively soon after it opened, and “Long Forgotten” noted that the weathervane was missing altogether. Not sure what that was about. I love those memories of your night visits with your dad pointing out the PeopleMover!

Chuck, you are probably right. I should look at my brochures from 1970 to see when they typically closed (or better yet, look at Jason Schultz’s “Disneyland Almanac”). Now I am imagining how weird it would be to leave the park with all of the stores closed, employees glaring out the windows, holding machetes. Interesting about the weather vane mystery! Thanks for doing all that research.

TokyoMagic!, I don’t know if your family went to the park very often back in those days? You didn’t live that far away. I will now tell everyone your address, your Social Security number, and you PIN. Gosh, it seems like the shops have stayed open an hour for as long as I can remember, but then again, I probably didn’t pay attention to such things when I was a kid. Funny that Tokyo Disneyland herds people out. “Get lost! Thanks for coming!”. “Tokyo Dome City” looks sort of cute.

Stu29573, I wouldn’t be surprised if the rumor about the paint being darker under the eaves is true, that sounds like something John Hench (or one of those wise old-timers) would have come up with. Thanks for the heads up on the Long-Forgotten article, I’m sure I read it, and of course forgot it as usual.

DrGoat, although we did many trips during the day, the ones I remember the clearest are the Navy Nites from the early ‘70s, which of course didn’t even begin until it got dark. We had so much fun, and that was one of the rare times our parents let us stay up so late - we stayed until the park closed at 1:00! We were always exhausted but didn’t want to leave. As for walking to and from your motel to the park and back, that could add a couple of miles to your day!

DrGoat, there you go… so a round trip walk was 2 extra miles, after already walking your feet sore within the park. Ouch!

K. Martinez, maybe I should have saved that photo for October!

JG, gosh, that sounds like an unusual job with the blueprints of the weathervane. Oddly, many copies of blueprints are available for sale on eBay, i wonder if HM weathervane blueprints are out there? I also wonder if there is artwork of the vane in any of the several books about the Mansion? I’ve never experienced Tivoli Gardens, at night or any other time, so I’m giving the award to Disneyland.

Lou and Sue, I wonder if any riders on that “PeopleMover” thing in Japan regret their choice of rides? I once went on a paddle boat on a rather large pond, and after a while, I saw how far back we had to go and wished I could call for a tow! Very nice that Lou and your mom were like us, staying as long as they could.

Melissa, ha ha, I was going to mention Count Floyd, but DrGoat beat me to it.

DrGoat, favorite detail: Count Floyd’s drawn-on widow’s peak.

KS, even on vacation you should always check in on GDB! As a kid I would have been so disappointed to have to leave Disneyland at 6:00 PM. I guess I was spoiled by the late nights of busier seasonal visits.


TOKYO MAGIC : that peddle vehicle is similar to a stubby version of what was the earliest concepts for the “ ROCKET RODS” ..... the first idea was a peddle momentum ride called “VELOCI-PODS”. The system enhanced the speed if the guests wasn’t peddling enough but the concept was killed mainly with the problem of guests loading and unloading. Hopefully the real future of transportation doesn’t involve a 19th Century invention.

The Japanese people may be thin but they are a culture no longer considered “healthy” a National Geographic not long ago showed that japan has one of the highest ( and its increasing!!) death rates on Earth from smoking and stress. In the past 20 years the Japanese life expectancies have also dropped significantly.

I had somehow missed the history of the Haunted Mansion ship weathervane over at LONGFORGOTTEN . It’s funny how fans want EVERYTHING in Disneyland to have hidden messages and references to other attractions. Sometimes a weathervane is just a weathervane.
New Orleans being one of the oldest port towns in North America , sailing ship or nautical related weathervane would have been fairly common in the 1700 & 1800’s. And there’s no law that says a sea captain has to have a weathervane that depicts his own vessel .... maybe it was a ship the captain hoped to have when he retired .... lol! ( fans were arguing that the home couldn’t be a sailing ship captain’s home because the weathervane was not a merchant ship but a schooner).

It is interesting that full drawings were created with notes for studio metal fabrication ( same for the WDW bat weathervane ) so I suspect WED probably looked at a popular design of the period and copied it as opposed to purchasing one.

I’m am shocked at how long the weathervane was in a broken state!

That’s a common event at Disneyland especially if there’s a private party occurring that night to be rushed out of Disneyland at closing with ALL Main Street shops closed! Emporium included.

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, I am stunned to learn that somebody at WDI actually thought that a pedal vehicle was a good idea for replacing the PeopleMover. It doesn’t sound even remotely fun. Sure, we can all probably use more exercise, but yeesh, what a terrible idea. I’m sad to learn that smoking and stress are killing Asians - those darn tobacco companies have no shame. I’m so glad I never got hooked on that habit. And you are so right about fans wanting everything to have a hidden message, especially in the Haunted Mansion. I used to read fan theories on message boards that were absurd, but there was something fun about them too. Disney doesn’t realize that by answering everybody’s questions and solving mysteries, they remove the very thing that makes the attraction intriguing. I don’t have a problem with a sea captain having a ship as a weathervane, they have to “tell the story” in short order - it’s just that the actual sea captain storyline was never actually used. Still, it’s a cool artifact.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Mike, I’m sure that Mickey D’s has also added to their health problems, sadly.

Hahahaha! A pedal vehicle on the PeopleMover track(!)...I’m picturing Big Wheels going around overhead!