Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Tomorrowland Cast Members, 1979

Today I am happy to present more special photos, generously shared with us by our friend David W. You may remember some of his other shared photos - take a look HERE, HERE, and HERE!  All of today's are from David's time working in Tomorrowland, and he has provided some personal recollections to make the viewing even richer.

David says, I worked at Disneyland, right after high school from 1977-1981.  Some people were fortunate to hire directly into attractions, while others like myself, had to pay my dues working in food service (Coke Terrace) until I could put in for a transfer (this was done as soon as possible).  The 1st ride that I was trained on was Autopia, followed by the Submarine Voyage, PeopleMover & then Space Mountain.  Here is a picture of me 42 years ago working on the Tomorrowland Autopia (this & the other pictures were taken by my friend Tim L).

David sent this zoomed-in view of a photo that appeared on Daveland's blog, saying; The only other picture of me working at the park (that I have seen) is this one that someone sent to Daveland (not me).  I am in the back row (ground level) with the sub cast members (see attached closeup with arrow).  I may check with Dave from Daveland to see if his original picture is higher resolution than what he posted.  You actually commented on the thread-  I did too, as hannibal8.

This next shot shows Alida D., riding the 1st car into the loading area.  For those not familiar with the cars, there is a small running board on the driver side with an exterior pedal for controlling the vehicle.  In training, it took a little practice stepping onto the moving car that was coming towards you.

Next is Julie C. working the signal position & waving the cars in.  There is a small console in front of her with a knob to switch the signal lights-  & also a microphone (in case you need to address the drivers for some reason).

Off to the right of the picture, under the bridge, was a small office/storage area, in which there were some of the small replacement parts for the cars.  I recall a co-worker "borrowing" one of the extra plastic dash signs (that said - DO NOT BUMP THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU) to install in his own car.

MANY THANKS to David W. for sharing these wonderful behind-the-scenes photos, along with his great commentary! It sounds like his time at Disneyland was full of fun and friendship.


Nanook said...

Definitely a high point of GDB is the personal recollections [and images of] the CM's - and these images are no exception. CM's always manage to show a big smile, seemingly having as much fun as the guests.

I presume the hanging microphone by Julie C. is a Shure 514B Push-to-Talk Dynamic hand-held microphone.

Thanks to David W. for sharing more images.

"Lou and Sue" said...

What a great picture of you, David, in the first shot! I sure hope you still have that fantastic smile! In the group shot, I see that you’re wearing your hat “back”—similar to how your dad is wearing his hat in his group photo in the attached linked post.

Thank you for sharing these fun photos and memories!

"Lou and Sue" said...

David, is that also you in the back, in the 3rd photo??

Holy Terror is in the orange car, last photo.

Thanks, Major, too!

Melissa said...

David, you and your coworkers look like you’re enjoying yourselves and spreading that Disney spirit!

I love the bright colors of these costumes. It was going to be a great, big, beautiful, colorful tomorrow!

Interesting detail about the running board and pedal on the Autopia car. You learn something new every day on GDB!

"Lou and Sue" said...

One more question for David:
Why are some pants all blue—and others are blue and yellow?

K. Martinez said...

Love these contributions by CM's. All have wonderful smiles. Thanks for sharing the details of specific work positions. That version of the Autopia vehicle is my favorite too. Thanks again for sharing you memories with us, David.

Chuck said...

I first noticed that exterior pedal on the Turnpike cars at Cedar Point when I was a lad. I was trying to figure out how the cast members (which I thin they called "ride operators" in those days) could make the car go without getting in. Absolutely genius design feature.

I had forgotten about how the Autopia track did a "fly-by" of the loading area without stopping, visible in the background of the first photo. Was that the Tomorrowland or the Fantasyland Autopia track that went past the Tomorrowland load area there?

Believe it or not, I remember that Daveland post and the comment from hannibal8, although I don't remember the specifics of the commend. I think it was the reference to The Great Race that made your online handle stick in my brain.

Live everyone else, I love the smiles. Surely looks like it was a fun place to work.

Sue, David W. may know for sure, but I think the reason some pants are blue and yellow and some are all blue has to do with the color of cloth used during manufacture.

Thanks again, David W.!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

David, thanks for sharing.
Everybody gets to be overworked and underpaid in their youth (and still have fun doing it). You got to do it in style. Thanks again for sharing these great personal memories.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Chuck. <;op

Alonzo P Hawk, I like the way you put that! My first jobs paid me 50 cents and $1 an hour - and I loved them! I still love working, though I make a little more than that now. A good ‘work ethic’ definitely starts young! (I would’ve LOVED to work at Disneyland!)

zach said...

I agree with Alonzo P Hawk and Sue. $1.35 at the car wash as a 16 year old, getting to drive cars off the line! DL would have been so much better but those early jobs could be fun, too.

Thanks, David W for the fun personal recollections! This is quite the community the Major started. Who'd of thunk?


JG said...

Those smiles are contagious for sure, I will be smiling all day.

David W, there is at least a chance that you helped me with Autopia since I did visit during your time.

Thank you so much for the pics and the memories! Major, thanks for hosting.


Grant said...

David W., Very cool photos. Like most of us here I LOVE former CM pics and stories.

When I was a kid living in Anaheim in the late 50s/early 60s when my mom was working at the Park I expected to work there too when I was old enough. Moving to Newport Beach as a teen quashed those dreams so I now live vicariously with the CM memories of others. As with any job I know it wasn't always roses for those of you who worked there but I can't imagine a better environment for good times.

DrGoat said...

David, thanks for these great pics! As Nanook said, personal photos like these are priceless. Great smile. How wonderful it must have been to be young and working in the Park.
David, thanks for sharing and thank you Major for a place to share these moments in time.

JC Shannon said...

David, thanks for all these great photos. When I was a kid, the fam went to a dude ranch and I dreamed of being a cowboy (one of the wranglers) working there. Being a cast member at Disneyland would have been a dream job as well. The magic is only there when the cast members make it happen. Thanks for sharing these. Thanks to Major for today's scans as well.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, how does it come that you know so much about vintage microphones, or all things?!

Lou and Sue, good eye on the way that David wears his hat just like his dad!

Lou and Sue, I’m not sure even David will be able to tell if that’s him in that distant blur.

Melissa, I think that even today, a jumpsuit is “the clothing of the future”. And they could have gone for sterile white or boring gray, or even just blue, so I like that they added a dash of bright color.

Lou and Sue, I didn’t notice the differences in the Autopia outfits, but will be interested to hear what David says!

K. Martinez, I have a fondness for all of the ‘50s and ‘60s Autopia vehicles, but the Mark VII style is the longest-lived (I believe), and for me is the CLASSIC version!

Chuck, I wonder if the exterior pedal was an innovation thought up at Arrow Development? It really is a genius idea. I’m assuming that the Autopia track in photo #1 is the Tomorrowland version (notice the Tomorrowland train station in the distance). I could be wrong though! Yes, I remember conversations with hannibal8 before I knew who he was! Hmmm, the color of the pants… related to the color of the cloth… I don’t get it! ;-) Did Paul Reubens have anything to do with it?

Alonzo, one of our occasional commenters told me that he could actually make some pretty decent money at the time, though I’m sure he did work very hard.

Lou and Sue, I remember being offered $5 an hour for a job (working for a landscaper) when I was pretty young, and I thought I’d hit the jackpot! I could not conceive of making so much money per day or week. Time to head over to the Rolls Royce dealership and take a look around.

zach, while waiting in line, I will sometimes observe the cast members who are actually doing the work (for “It’s a Small World”, or “Space Mountain”), and they are really efficient and good at what they do. It looks exhausting!

JG, yes, I can’t help wondering if I was at the park when David was working there. Kind of a fun thing to consider!

Grant, I am always grateful to be able to see (and share) photos from cast members from the “golden age”, before things got less pleasant. I sure wish I’d lived close enough to the park to be able to work there, I definitely would have done it!

DrGoat, you probably had to be young to have the energy to work those jobs on the Autopia, Subs, and so on. But at that age kids could finish their shift without feeling like they need to go home to bed right away!

Jonathan, ha ha, there’s nothing more glamorous or easy than being a cowboy! ;-) I know that it looks like the best from the view of a kid, though. Why work in an office when you can ride a horse?! Glad you enjoyed these!

Anonymous said...

Major & everyone- Thanks for the comments. There were a lot of fun memorable times.

Nanook- Autopia cast members only endorsed Shure audio products, including phonograph needles & cartridges...;)

Lou & Sue- Fortunately I still have my teeth & smile, although now there is a mustache above the smile- something that was not allowed at the time. Yes, you are correct, I am wearing my hat the same as dad. I'm 99.9% sure that it is not me in the background of the 3rd photo. If there was not a center rail on the track, Holy Terror would have taken his car off-road. All the pants are blue & yellow- it is just that the yellow is on the outer half of the left pant leg. If viewed from a certain angle, all that you see is blue. In the last photo with Julie C., you can see a sliver of yellow at very bottom of the pic between the u & r of "Courtesy".

Melissa- There were a lot of good times. As you said- it was going to be a great, big, etc., but then they always have to ruin... you know the line...

K. Martinez- I'm partial to this version of the car, since I spent so much time with it

Chuck- The "flyby" track is part of the Tomorrowland track. That's neat that you remember the hannibal8 comment- The Great Race is among my favorite movies. Regarding the pants- see the response to Sue above.

Alonzo P Hawk- I couldn't of said it better...

zach- GDB is almost as much fun as working at Disneyland in the late 70s & early 80s...;)

JG- There were a lot of people that went on that ride, maybe so...

Grant- Definitely much more good memories than bad.

DrGoat- Thanks!

JC Shannon- I still dream of being a cowboy...:)

Major- As always, a big thanks!


Anonymous said...

Thanks David for sharing these pictures with us. It occurred to me last Friday that it was 44 years ago to the day that I did my final JC spiel and ended my CM career. The pics of smiling CMs brings back the joy of those times working with one another. BTW...after 3 months on Autopia in 1971...and after getting used to jumping cars...well, I headed back to the JC and 'Westside' for good. Still many I know consider their best days were on the Autopia. KS

Bu said...

Thanks David for sharing the pics. We crossed over for a couple of years, so I'm sure our paths crossed at some point. Tomorrowland had an awesome break room behind America Sings: it was moody dark and sooooo AC cool! They also had great vending machines- which were more like an automat than simple pretzels and chips- and really really cheap! This break room also had my favorite video game: Galaga. Yes...video games during your break...why not? And I think they were only a dime instead of a quarter. David: I don't know if you remember the extra strange furniture in the break room: I always thought it had to be from the House of the Future: it was molded foam and primary colors and giant...giant chairs, and squishy sofas. It was great to have an indoor break area as many were outside and hot. I overheard a lot of chatter from the sub guys taking breaks about helping guests out of the sub when your hand would accidentally slip into the sweaty arm pit of a stranger...I think the JC had this same thing based on how you were to help guests back to land. I was never a ride operator, so maybe some others can add some color. Interesting story: on my orientation our Area Guide would show us where all the break areas were (among other things). There seemed to be a lot of break areas! One employee said "Wow..there are a lot of break areas! You must be expecting us to get really tired!" There was actually a story behind all of the break areas: I guess when Ronald Reagan was Gov. of CA, there was some law that males and females must have separate break areas: hence break areas x2. Interesting factoid- the story rolled off the Tomorrowland Merch Leads tounge quickly- so she must have had some tenure- and clearly had been asked before! Thanks for the memories.


David : these are great!! Thank you so much for sharing them. Thank you Major!

Regarding the Autopia “all blue “ costume : this really perplexed me and I had to dig through my costume research. I figured out what the anomaly all blue costume was. It’s the regular Autopia costume seen at a profile and the yellow side bars are blocked from view. There’s no such thing as an all blue Autopia costume during this time.

Here’s some history : this yellow and blue costume shown here was Disneyland’s very first official Autopia costume introduced in the early /mid 70’s. Technically it was created for Walt Disney World by designer Tom Peirce with the intent it would also be used at Disneyland .

Walt Disney World’s Grand Prix Raceway attraction opened in 1971 using a medium blue jumpsuit with two narrow white stripes running the length of the costume - this was very similar to GOODYEAR’s ( the attraction’s sponsor )official racing team look of the period. In the early 70’s the Grand Prix Raceway was expanded and updated with new car color racing schemes , a new attraction poster - not used until 1978 and an expanded track . New costumes were also created to reflect the contemporary GOODYEAR race team uniforms - this new costume was later implemented at Disneyland and is the same type David is wearing in his picture.

There was a jumpsuit of the newer version for females but the jumpsuit wasn’t used at Disneyland and WDW eventually stopped using it . The shirts actually tuck into the pants creating a jumpsuit look when the blue matching belt is used.

This basic costume look was used at Disneyland from 1974-ish till 1999... with slight changes to the fit and the introduction of a standard black belt and discontinuation of the matching blue belt . WDW also required the use of a matching racing cap with GOODYEAR patch until WDW’s hats optional rule. Disneyland had a hat designed for it but appears to have rarely been used.

TOKYO DISNEYLAND used this same costume in red and yellow : the Bridgestone racing colors of the 80’s.

I sent major some images costuming documentation and some of the costume concept art. Hopefully he can add it or post them at another time if he’d like .

Chuck said...

David W., it's one of my favorite movies as well. My dad & I still use the catchphrase "Push the button, Max!" fairly frequently, and we probably haven't seen the movie together in 35 years. I'm going to have main title, instrumental version of "The Sweetheart Tree" in my head for the rest of the day. No complaints there; there's a reason it was nominated for an Academy Award. My dad brought a copy of the soundtrack on reel-to-reel back with him from Vietnam, and I played the heck out of it on my stereo in the basement when I discovered it in junior high.


I hope all you Great Race fans got a copy of the 3 cd master soundtrack set for the film - by La-La Land Records . It’s AMAZING!! I was telling David it’s my favorite film of all time .

Major Pepperidge said...

David W, thank YOU for sharing these great photos! Obviously the Junior Gorillas loved them.

KS, ha ha, I have read more than a few accounts of harrowing experiences working the Autopia. I assume that the CMs had to be pretty nimble, and couldn’t relax for even a second, or some kid would do real harm.

Bu, interesting about the Tomorrowland break room - I wish there were photos of it! Was it just located backstage in Tomorrowland? My understanding is that there were some underground areas as well, maybe the break room was subterranean. The story about hands and sweaty armpits… YUCK. Glad I already ate dinner. Thank goodness the break rooms kept males and females separate - just think of the chaos! Orgies would be inevitable.

Mike Cozart, yes, David W. pointed out that the yellow was just hidden by the position of the smiling CM. For those of you reading this, you’ll be glad to know that Mike just sent me some nice photos of costume artwork, as well as a few employee photos, so you will see those one of these days! THANKS Mike!

Chuck, considering that I think of myself as someone who enjoys classic movies, I sure do have a lot of giant gaps in my viewing experience. “The Great Race” is one of them, though I know I saw bits and pieces of it on TV when I was a kid. I was just reading (on Wikipedia) that it was the most expensive comedy film ever made at the time. There must have been something about fathers who went to Vietnam who bought reel-to-reel tape machines and put them in the basement - because my dad did the same thing!

Mike Cozart, did a famous composer do the music for The Great Race?

Anonymous said...

KS- Yes, once you got used to stepping onto the cars, it could be fun, but the 1st few times could be intimidating.

Bu- We may very well have crossed paths at some time. My memories of the break room furniture are vague, but I do remember the air conditioning. You mentioned video games- I recall working the closing shift on subs & after the park closed, the arcade next to Space Mountain stayed open, some of us would play the games for a short time before having to get ready to clock out. I never had the unfortunate experience that you heard from the sub cast member, but working on Autopia, sometimes the guest would need help exiting the car- I recall one time, a very pretty girl reached out her hand (like a princess getting out of her coach/carriage) so I could help her out of the car...:)

Mike Cozart- Thanks for all the additional costume information. The Great Race!!!

Chuck- Yes, the movie has more than a few great lines. One of my cousins (who used to be a truck mechanic) likes to say "Give me some fightin' room" before he would start on a project. Really good sound track as well.


Anonymous said...

Major- We were working on comments at almost the same time. Again, thanks for a place to share these photos & memories.

You have to put watching "The Great Race" high on your list of things you need to do- I'll leave it at that...;)

I would say that Henry Mancini is a famous composer...