Friday, September 24, 2021

Disneyland Turnstiles, 1956

I have a small group of slides from 1956, with the word "Jaycees" written on them. Who (or what) are the Jaycees? Wikipedia sez: The United States Junior Chamber, also known as the Jaycees, JCs or JCI USA, is a leadership training and civic organization for people between the ages of 18 and 40. It is a branch of Junior Chamber International (JCI). Areas of emphasis are business development, management skills, individual training, community service, and international connections.

Most of the people in these photos are considerably older than 40, but that's OK! This first slide shows the entry gates/turnstiles, through which guests passed, turning their world from drab and dull to colorful and glorious! Sort of like that scene in "The Wizard of Oz". 

One interesting detail is the presence of the large frames that would eventually hold those wonderful silkscreened attraction posters (about 26 to 28 of them, I estimate) that we all know and love. But for now there is nothing but a plywood backing.

We first saw such a thing in one of Lou and Sue's amazing photos from June of 1956. In that photo, the glass on some of the frames has some sort of graphic applied, though I can't quite determine what it is.

Next we see some of the Jaycees group aboard a Surrey (the less-seen brown Surrey). Look at how empty Town Square is! It appears to have been freshly-scrubbed. The gentleman at the reins might be laughing behind his hand, or coughing, or beat-boxing, or possibly speaking into a hand-held microphone ("Who wants to hear my Eddie Cantor impression?"). Something tells me that the man with the cool cowboy hat said something very funny, judging by the smiles on the other guest's faces. I love this picture!


Nanook said...

I believe Sue narrowed-down the [future] attraction posters photo of Lou's as being from June 13th - 15th. So, this image must be very close to those dates.

As for the fella in the last photo causing the big guffaw, I think he just regaled the crowd with an off-color ribald story - perfect for Town Square.

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

Definitely beat-boxing, Major. He accidently spewed some spittle on cowboy hat guy which, of course, got all the other guests giggling uncontrollably.

In the first pic, on the far right, Mrs. Doubtfire is shelling out the big bucks for the 15 attraction ticket book. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

I played Jaycee baseball one year, and it was an absolutely miserable experience (but not because of the Jaycees). Assistant coach was a yeller, and it was my first experience with aggressive sports parents and being mocked by my own teammates because I wasn’t very good at a sport. I was nine. Switched to soccer that fall. Never looked back, although I still have my ball cap with a big “JC” on the front somewhere.

I think we have proof positive here that the Junior Gorillas’ Manhattan Project-like effort to build a time machine and, um, “acquire” some mint vintage attraction posters will finally prove successful. That’s the only logical explanation for the empty poster frames. Great job, team! We should probably get started.

If you look under the “N” in the Disneyland sign in the first photo, there are a brother and sister wearing red coats. Check out Big Sis’ right leg. What is that? A walking cast? Leg warmer? Majorette boot? I have no clue.

I was thinking the guy holding the reins might be talking into a Mr. Microphone (“Hey, good lookin’! We’ll be back to pick you up later!”), but I agree that beat-boxing is probably more likely considering the era.


Stacks and stacks of freshly silkscreened - but dried- attraction posters Laying on plywood tables backstage at the sign shop awaiting their debut!! They’ve been referred to as “attraction posters” since the late 70’s by collectors ....... maybe even earlier. Guests called them “Ride Posters” and The Art Corner sold them as “Disneyland Style travel posters” ...... decorating called them “ Gate Posters” and the sign shop called them “ tunnel posters”. Its crazy to believe that guests were able to mail order the full 18 attraction poster set from the Art Corner for 24.00!! In 1987 the Disney Gallery began selling off the remaining vintage poster stock from the sign shop .... each poster was $300.00 across the board ..... Submarine Voyage , Haunted Mansion , was the same price as The Disneyland Hotel or Dumbo. Cast members bought up the rare titles pretty fast ....but the Gallery still had stock left into the early 1990’s. Eventually the posters that were not moving were sent to “Mickey’s Attic” sales rooms of Disney’s Official Disneyanna Conventions. I remembered the unsold stacks of Disneyland Hotel, Rocket Jets , Dumbo , America the Beautiful , Adventure thru Inner Space , Space Station X-1, Primeval World , and It’s A Small World being packed up and sent to Florida! They were sold for 100.00 each.

It’s funny how so many older folks in the 1950’s dressed like it was 1930.

Stu29573 said...

Garland, the town that I lived in for a few decades starting as a kid, and, ironically the town I was born in although we didn't live there (short, but boring story), had a Jaycees carnival every Labor Day for years (called the Jaycee Jubilee). It also featured a parade, and as I recall was pretty fun (although not as fun as the Lion's Club Carnival in Denison). I mention this because as a kid I had no idea of what a "Jaycee" was. In fact, I never even thought to wonder what that strange word meant. I'm still not exactly clear on it, but since the Jubilee is apparently a thing of the past, I guess it doesn't really matter.
Oh, and apparently Jaycees are required to wear ties as Disneyland.
Thanks for the pics!

Melissa said...

I was wondering about Miss Redcoat's leg, too - it does look like some sort of brace or medical thingamabob. The smiles on the surrey-riding Jaycees are priceless. Maybe the horse just left a little present on the road.

Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry
When I take you out in my surrey,
When I take you out in my surrey and the horse goes plop.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Chuck, I looked under the N in the second picture (close up of the first picture) and figured you were hitting the sauce early again, or something. My mistake, though.

I don’t have time, at the moment to research, but was the Emporium always called ‘Disneyland Emporium’? Or is that a different store?

Major, maybe these slides were set aside for the “Jaycees” annual yard sale?? No matter what the story behind them, these are classics.

Thanks, Major! Happy Friday, all!

JG said...

Major, thanks for the photos and the secret society expose’. I hope you don’t have to to live in hiding from Jaycee ninja assassins because of this post. I never knew what jaycees were either, but they infiltrated my hometown too

The entry turnstiles were a brief but important milestone on the way to the happiest day of the year, even better than Christmas.

For some reason, I’ve never felt like I needed an attraction poster, but I enjoy looking at them. Probably because I can’t decide which to buy. I’m content with the digital slideshow of scans.

I think these folks in the 50’s dressed like the 30’s because they were frugal and made those old suits and dresses last through the War like good citizens, and the garments were well made and would last. I know my Dad wore shirts for dress and church, when holes showed up, they turned into tractor shirts and finally cleanup cloths. Money was tight for years and those habits became lifelong.

I see that Moms white wire fence must have been an opening day attraction, along with that handsome horse. Most of these visitors probably grew up with streetcars and horses so this was old hat to them.

Chuck, we have plenty of time to build that time machine, all the time in the World.

Happy Friday, GDB.


K. Martinez said...


It's interchangeable. In the park it says "Disneyland Emporium" obviously, but in the Disneyland guidebooks it's listed as "Emporium". Whether it's the Disneyland Emporium or just Emporium, it's still the same store/shop and it has expanded over the years.

Nice pics, BTW. Thanks Lou & Sue.

Thank you too, Major.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
Oklahoma! - the show that keeps on giving.

@ JG-
I'm afraid living through both the Depression and WWII informed the habits of more than a generation for many, many years. (Not a bad thing, I might add - The result, not the cause(s)).

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I had to refer to the photo with Lou and Sue’s photo, so I did see that date! For some reason, thinking of a man like the one in the Surrey makes me think of my older relatives in Minnesota, who would sometimes tell off-color jokes that made you want to crawl under the table in embarrassment.

JB, that man invented beat-boxing! Remember, this was just around the same time that Marty McFly wrote Johnny B. Goode. I wonder if Mrs. Doubtfire had a little bag with “pin money”?

Chuck, let’s face it, you just weren’t giving it 110%! I used to go to many Little League and Soccer games for my niece and nephew, and it was always aggravating to see the parents who didn’t quite get the idea that sports was about more than winning. “Why are you screaming at that 8 year-old??”. One man berated the soccer coach so mercilessly that I thought they were going to come to blows. Oh, if only I could go back in time and get some of those posters for peanuts. People just didn’t value them the way they do now. I am fortunate that I own a bunch anyway, but I did pay plenty. I think you’re right about that girl having a walking cast… I think I can even make out the rubber “heel” that I’ve seen on some of those.

Mike Cozart, oh man! The thought of all those posters makes me drool. The fact that they sold off so many beauties for such a relatively low price is crazy. One of GDB’s readers bought some when they were in the Disney Gallery, those are probably worth $15,000 now. I knew that the Art Corner sold entire sets, but when you think about $24 in 1956, that is the equivalent of around $240 today. Definitely “worth it”, but tell that to some father back then! Thanks for the fun comment.

Stu29573, until I did research for today’s post, I never really knew what a Jaycee was either. I’ll bet the Jaycee Jubilee was fun, too bad it doesn’t exist anymore. “Lion’s Club Carnival” does sound better though! It’s funny how the Wikipedia definition says that the Jaycees is an organization for people between 18 and 40. Maybe it is NOW? None of those folks are under 60.

Melissa, I’ll bet the girl broke her ankle while doing gymnastics. See how I made up a whole backstory? Sure, she could have fallen off of her bike, but that’s not a good story. *Plop*

Lou and Sue, Chuck does like some Sriracha on his food. Pizza, pasta… it’s good for everything! He also likes hollandaise sauce, I’m told. Yes, the Emporium has always been the Emporium. Your theory might be right about the slides, but it’s impossible to be sure!

JG, I love those secret societies… er, I mean, “fraternal organizations”. I have a whole book on the history of the Freemasons, it is fascinating and weird! My interest in attraction posters started when I got an auction catalog from Howard Lowery Gallery in Burbank (mostly animation art). He had some posters, pictured in glorious black and white, but I suddenly decided I needed to get at least one! It took me a few years to finally bite the bullet, and the first one I ever got was the Matterhorn poster. It was quite a thing to finally see the posters in color, especially that “20,000 Leagues” example. I think you’re right about the way people dressed back then… it seems like all of my old relatives in the midwest wore suits and ties everywhere even remotely “nice”, even if their suits were 15 years out of style.

K. Martinez, oh, I wasn’t even thinking of the “official” name of the place, but for me, it’s always been the Emporium.

Nanook, I would love to see the Todd-AO version of “Oklahoma” next to the Cinemascope version - I believe that there is a Blu-ray with both. Fascinating that they filmed it twice!

Nanook said...

Yes, the BD releases of Oklahoma! [the individual title and the Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection] both contain the Todd-AO & CinemaScope versions. I've viewed many portions of the CinemaScope version, and clearly it hasn't seen all the love and attention as the Todd-AO version has received. (Actually, the Todd-AO negative was in pretty bad shape: "... wear and tear of more than half a century of use, or even from the most recent 65mm interpositive, produced long after the original had lost much of its yellow dye layer, the imagery flickers, has uneven fading, and does not allow reproduction of the film as it was meant to be seen... It's really by an odd confluence of events, the original elements going through restoration while there is still enough life in them to make them work, and the 8k scanning and 4k digital tools necessary to make the film appear as it should." In other words - the Todd-AO version as it appears on Blu-ray is a convergence of great luck and exceptional hard work).

Frankly, it seems far too grainy for a CinemaScope film from that era - indicating a strong possibility the 35mm camera negative wasn't used as the source material. Also, the color often 'shifts' slightly between some scenes, in addition to anamorphic lens-induced barrel distortion at the left and right edges of the frame. (The avoidance of close-ups eliminated the dreaded 'CinemaScope mumps' from invading the image).

Todd-AO not only has the advantage of being shot with a larger negative area (65mm), in the case of Oklahoma! and Around the World In 80 Days, it also benefits from a higher frame rate: 30 vs. 24-fps. The difference is stunning.

Although the CinemaScope version has it moments, as seen on the Blu-ray - overall it's a big disappointment - when merely compared to other 35mm prints of the same vintage. It's nice to have as a comparison piece - if one wished to take the trouble to A-B them; but having the Todd-AO version in all its splendor is truly a film-lovers gift.

Bu said...

I never saw the surrey in action on Main St. I'm not sure when it was retired, but they may have brought it out for parades and whatnot. In photos, I always thought the slender horse that pulled this wagon not strong enough to do the job- comparing them with the Percherons that pull the trolley. "Strollers and Wheelchairs enter here"...I think would be a very very very long line today. They used the middle little gate to let them in in the 80's and spun the turnstile manually for each body that went through that gate. I remember someone walking off with attraction posters from the surplus sale...and I kicked myself for not seeing them first. They were in frames...but more like box frames...I was completely fascinated by a fake giant cake that Mickey Mouse had jumped out of in a TV special. I thought it was from the 60's (10th anniversary)...but on closer inspection it was new-ish. I saw it on an ad for a TV special with Drew didn't have any Disneyland logo on it, so I left it there. It was also I left it. I did buy a extremely large and extremely heavy parking lot sign that had logos and all the victorian gingerbread of the main gate ticket booths. It was a guide to those who may have forgotten where their car side of the sign said "Harbor Gate" and the other "Katella Gate"...and then it had times and which parking sections were loaded at those times. Very organized and I'm sure it was well used. It had a lock on the cabinet so I never got into the places where all the sign pieces where....I'm wondering what treasures I missed in there...I never got to getting a locksmith to unlock it. It sat in my garage for a good 10 years...then I got divorced and left it in the garage. It would have been extremely hard to dispose of. Disneyland built that sign to last through a nuclear blast- a five guy transport for sure. Possibly, it is still sitting in that garage with people who have no idea what they are looking at. I think it was $10-20. There was so much stuff at that annual sale, a bit overwhelming- they had STACKS AND STACKS of silver plated..get this...escargot plates...(?) I could only think they came from Club 33, maybe they dropped the snails from the menus (?) I loved that old simple main gate...the excitement would churn, and then like you was Dorothy going into munchkinland all in color. The parking lot, ticket booths, and the gate were a very important part of the storytelling. I feel bad for everyone who never got to experience that. How very sad, but I suppose in 20 years they will be pining over the spectacular parking structure that was demolished for some other entertainment land/shopping/commerce/spectacular. I find it hard to romanticize about a multi level car park...but people think I'm nuts for romanticizing over a single level parking lot :)

Nanook said...

@ Bu-
The parking lot - for better or worse - was really a part of the 'show'. [Perhaps a part of the pre-show]. And depending on how one arrived at The Happiest Place On Earth, landmarks along the highways (and then the sighting of the Matterhorn) heightened the anticipation. Just a part of what has made Disneyland (& Walt Disney World) seem [for many] to be the most important thing in the world. Personally, I haven't the need to go that far, but...

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I’m disappointed to hear that BOTH versions of “Oklahoma” have not received a full restoration. All of those issues that you list could be fixed, but I realize that the ultimate issue is money. Who wants to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve an old movie that only a dedicated few want to see? I hope that they step up. I do remember seeing a side-by-side comparison of scenes, and it is so fascinating to see the slight variations in angle or composition - and just knowing that the actors had to do the scenes multiple times for the different formats, MAN. I knew about the higher frame rate, I wonder if that posed any problems? Presumably special projectors had to be used, meaning that not many places would bother.

Bu, I’m sure the Surrey was long gone by the time I came along. That’s why true Disneyland fans like seeing it trundling up and down Main Street. I don’t think that they required that much strength to pull, and from what I’ve heard, the Disneyland horses were very well treated. Thankfully. I’ve heard rumors that at least some of the attraction posters that were in Disney’s possession were marked for the dump, but a rather well-known person (in the poster world) basically took them. In my opinion he should be given a medal! The E-Ticket magazine has stories of cleanup crews tearing posters into small pieces to use as makeshift dustpans. Gosh, I wish we could have seen what that sign you left in the garage looked like! These days that kind of thing could go for a staggering sum of money in a well-advertised auction. But I know that you can’t hold on to everything forever, hoping that it might be valuable “someday”. Escargot plates, I always have a need for those! I envy the employees who happened to work for the park in the days when they would basically get rid of amazing items as if the stuff was junk. I have a friendly acquaintance who pulled amazing things out of dumpsters - items that are now worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Nanook, I think we all realize now that the parking lot was more than just a place to park your car. Everyone of a certain age remembers the excitement and anticipation of being SO CLOSE. Little things like that make a big impression, especially if you happen to be a child who is old enough to be observant. I can hear the train whistle! There’s the Monorail! Truly wonderful.

Melissa said...

There’s a dull golden haze on the medder,
But the Todd-AO print is much better.

Nanook said...

It’s less a matter of “bother”, but more a matter of the [relatively few] Roadshow locations - which would project the Todd-AO prints. (That, as opposed to regular screenings “At Popular Prices”-!) Philips initially built the projectors for Todd-AO - still considered the ‘Cadillac’ of movie projectors.