Sunday, June 13, 2021

Too Dark!

It's too dark! Well, mostly because I am writing this at 3:30 in the morning. But in the case of today's photos, something went terribly wrong in the taking. But what?

You know that this first photo (of the Bertha Mae in July of 1964) must have been filled with light and color in reality, and yet we somehow wound up with this picture. The Keelboat would almost disappear against the dark trees if it wasn't for the passengers on top. It's a shame, I always like seeing the li'l Keelboats.

This next picture is from August of 1966; it's a late-afternoon portrait of a man silhouetted against the last minutes of sunlit Main Street. You'd hardly know that he was wearing a very loud shirt! I sort of like the way groups of guests have gathered near the base of the steps up to Main Street Station, including what I assume is a large family to the right of the steps.


Nanook said...

Regrettably the camera(s) used far taking today's images evidently lacked any sort of sophisticated metering allowing for differing lighting levels across the frame. And this is what viewers are left with. Too bad - as I really wanted to dig on Dad's groovy shirt-! Please move towards the light, sir...

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

There aren't any passengers on the lower level of the Bertha Mae, and yet, she isn't toppling over!

Run to the light, Carol Anne! I mean, mister man!

Bu said...

Maria Von Trapp called and she wants her drapery material returned from that shirt...I still don't understand how that Keel Boat tipped over, that must have been some mighty weighty cargo. Possibly it was flat bottom- I don't remember. I do remember that the ride was the "Jungle Cruise" of the Frontier- with a cheeky spiel to match- and frontier-like dialects (think Hillbilly). It was a very enjoyable ride!! I preferred to sit down below. Correct me if I'm wrong, I thought there were photos mounted on the wall down there from "Davy Crockett and the River Pirates" (?)

Chuck said...

Bu, while I rode both the Disneyland and WDW versions of the keelboats, I think I only rode the WDW version in my youth (which would correspond to your years of working at Disneyland). I may be conflating my memories, but I seem to remember a print of either a keelboat or flatboat approaching a waterfall among other pictures. I have since seen the same print associated with a young Abraham Lincoln in the past 10 years or so, although of course I can't find it anywhere right now.

That said, I have no doubt that your adult memories of the same era are accurate. Tying the attraction to its cinematic inspiration would be a logical decorative choice, particularly at Disneyland where that attraction debuted when memories of the Disneyland airing of the program were still fresh.

Related sidebar - there's a really neat collection of Davy Crockett and the River Pirates memorabilia at the lodge restaurant in Cave-in-Rock State Park, located on the Ohio River in Cave-in-Rock, IL. The scenes with Bigfoot Mason's gang were shot here, and the proprietors of the restaurant provided catering support to the crew. I can't remember the name off the top of my head, but there is a barrel or crate on one of the keelboats in the film marked with the restaurant owner's name as a thanks.

Today's pictures may be lacking in technical proficiency, but they can still spark a conversation. That's probably what these pictures did for their original owners as they viewed them at home ("hey, remember when we went to Disneyland and..."). Neat to think they can do the same thing here for us.

Andrew said...

I was listening to a podcast with several former Keel Boat CMs, and one told a story of how he tried to entertain a bored kid by hitting himself in the stomach with the rudder, getting tangled in the microphone cord, and so on.

I'm really glad that if a picture is too dark today, it can later be fixed in seconds!

JG said...

Light or dark, any old picture of Disneyland is fine with me.

We loved the keel boats, hated to see them go, but the lawyers brought the long knives.

On a visit to Nashville some years back, I found a small monument to the keel boats showing where they used to dock near what is now downtown, so they were real.

Seeing photo 2, it seems like that angle view looks much the same today. The circus colors of the “revised” Main Street aren’t as evident on the Train Station. Too bad about the shirt.

Thank you, Major.


Anonymous said...

Well, there are literally only three ways to come out with dark pictues (when there is plenty of light)
1. Shutter speed too fast.
2. Aperture to small
3. Evil gnomes.
Let's just pray it wasn't number three...

Omnispace said...

With that sun angle I'm surprised there's any detail at all on the front side of the keel boat, but what one can see is very nice with the decorative shutters.

The second photo once again demonstrates the wonky gravity effects under Disneyland. That man is standing perfectly vertical but everything else is at a slant - especially the train station.

Bu, I once went to an exhibit at an obscure gallery in San Francisco: a history of world art on polyester shirts. I don't remember seeing that man's shirt in there so it must be extra special.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, either the camera lacked sufficient metering, or the photographer was inexperienced! My grandpa was a smart guy, but man, he took a whole lot of terrible photos in his lifetime. I wish I could see Dad’s groovy shirt better too!

TokyoMagic!, the lower level is full of passengers, but they are all entirely dressed in black velvet. “Mister man” always makes me think of Annie Wilkes in “Misery”.

Bu, I have heard that some Keelboat captains would purposefully steer their boat in a serpentine motion to make it tilt to and fro, and that it is possible that one of them finally overdid it. Somewhere I have a photo of an overturned Disneyland Keelboat, I don’t think it had a flat bottom. And yes, the spiel was very jokey, something I didn’t know until I heard a recording from what I think was the last Keelboat voyage. I never rode that attraction, so I can’t confirm your memory of those photos.

Chuck, they definitely had mounted photos (of various Disneyland attractions) on the inside of the Monorail back in the day, so it doesn’t seem like a stretch that they might have them on the inside of the Keelboats too. Cave-In-Rock, I think I’d want to steer clear of that place! Interesting that they have some artifacts from the filming, so long ago. It’s also interesting that they didn’t just film closer to home, the Sacramento River Delta or some such place. I wonder if all the Davy Crockett episodes are on Disney+? It might be fun to watch those after so many years (and I might not have actually seen all three of them). I’m sure that today’s photos weren’t a total loss for the family to whom they belonged, but I hope they didn’t subject their friends to a slide show of hundreds of dark slides!

Andrew, I love that the Keelboat CM worked so hard to entertain a bored kid! Talk about going above and beyond. Some dark photos can be fixed, but in some cases (like today’s examples) they just get grayish and grainy.

JG, I’m sure that cost-cutting also went a long way toward dooming the Keelboats. I’d assume that some serious ballast could have helped prevent the likelihood of capsizing (plus new rules for the skippers to cool it with tilting the boat to and fro). And yes, I assume that other than the size of the trees, the angle from photo #2 would probably look almost the same today.

Stu, I KNEW IT WAS EVIL GNOMES! I was just afraid to say so. But now I have confirmation.

Omnispace (whenever I see your avatar photo, it looks like an Atomobile going through popcorn!), maybe Disneyland was built on a “gravitational anomaly”, just like the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz. That would explain everything, even the dark photos. A history of the world on polyester shirts?! Hey, why not!

DrGoat said...

Major, I've seen that shirt and the guy wearing it before. Check your May 28th, New Orleans Square post. I think that's him in the second pic.
Thanks, nice pics Major.


BU , MAJOR: the Keel Boats did feature framed Sepia like photos from film. I didn’t personally recall these. In the mid 90’s I purchased a great deal of stuff from some DL sign shop guys being forced to retire. Among some of the stuff was a large heavy duty envelope that said “KEEL BOATS” and a inter office type directional showing it was sent from the Disney Studios to the DL sign shop. Inside we’re about 8 or 10 wax paper like photo envelopes marked with numbers and a quantity of “6” each had 3 copies of Studio 8x10 photo stills from Davey Crockett and the River Pirates. They were printed on a very heavy paper that almost felt like a cloth. Anyway at the time I didn’t know what they were used for . Years later on STUFF FROM THE PARK blog , Patrick posted a vintage slide showing a 1800’s bill post sign in front of the Keel Boat landing with a rivers of America map and assorted photos around the “Bill board” and they were the SAME images as the ones in my Keel Boat envelope! Mine had to be much later prints than the vintage slide ... but there they were! In more recent times I was going thorough some 1985-1986 photos of some friends and I inside the KEEL BOATS and on the interior end walls you can see framed pictures and they are also some of the same images from that Keel Boat photo pack . Years ago I sold those pictures but I kept a portrait of Mike Fink and one of Davey posing on the boat deck with a keel boat ore in his hand.

What’s also interesting about those interior Keel Boat pictures, is that I distinctly remember that day because while waiting to board the keel boats we were talking to one of the cast members and he had told us that a few days ago the new CEO announced he was changing WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS to THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY.

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, MAN! How did you remember that guy and his shirt from weeks ago? I’m impressed! It is definitely the same man. Good job!

Mike Cozart, very neat that you acquired some of the photos used in the Keelboats; it still makes me very sad that they forced all of those old-timers out unceremoniously. “We’re making billions, but why pay those guys anymore?”. Interesting that it took you a while to figure out what those photo prints were for. I don’t know specifically what images you had, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were the same photos that were issued as press kits back in the 1950s (for newspapers and magazines). I’ll have to look at Patrick’s blog to see if I can find the photo you are referring to. Funny, I also remember when the name went from “Walt Disney Productions” to “The Walt Disney Company” - often shortened to just “Disney” now.

Nanook said...

@ DrGoat-
You are correct about that shirt-! Now I'm disappointed, as I thought the design would be more "out there". It's still kinda hard to tell from the NOS image just what we're looking at, but it appears tamer than I was hoping.

DrGoat said...

It's definitely not an Aloha or a Hawaiian shirt. Kind of a red flowers and some green. Could pass a a holiday season shirt. Poinsettias and stems. Can't tell.

Omnispace said...

Major, the show was the history of World Art printed on polyester shirts. It started with the cave paintings of Lascaux and went on from there: Egyptian, Michelangelo, Renoir, Picasso... From what I recall, they were all shirts that were in production in the 1970's. Imagine having such a collection - a shirt for every occasion!