Thursday, May 26, 2022

Columbia and River, 1979

Here are more photos from my friend and person guru, the Mysterious Benefactor; yes, it's more photos of the Columbia, but they are very pretty, so I think you'll like 'em. Circa 1979, yo.

Thar she blows! I say that about anyone (or thing) that I recognize out in the world. The Columbia is gleaming with a fresh coat of Simoniz wax (for that showroom look!) and nautical flags that spell out something rude. I hope. 

Ever since the addition of the Haunted Mansion, the Columbia somehow manages to move, even without sails. Yes, I am saying that there are GHOST SAILS. Maybe not that scary, but maybe a little scary?

Here's a pretty view of the river, with Canoes and a Keelboat to our right (both hibernating for the winter), and a fantastically lush Tom Sawyer Island to our left. Was this photo taken from the Mark Twain?

Hmmm, maybe not the Mark Twain. The Columbia is rounding the bend (what a sight), and now the Hungry Bear Restaurant can be seen to our right. Even though it only serves grubs, berries, and partially pre-chewed salmon, the Hungry Bear has been one of my favorite places to dine because of the location right on the water.

 Thank you, Mysterious Benefactor!


Nanook said...

How loverly-!

Thanks to the M B and you.

JB said...

In #1: I just noticed that Ms. Columbia is lifting her apron-thingy to show us her shapely thigh... which is still enrobed in her flowing dress. Rather risqué. More of Walt's Hard Facts, I guess.
Beautiful colors in this photo.

In #2: One of the passengers is wearing a striped rugby shirt. I wore one that looked the same as his, only mine was yellow and green; his appears to be yellow and black (or dark blue, maybe). Rugby shirts were all the rage in the last half of the seventies... for a while anyway.

In #3: Major, judging from the height of the camera, it does indeed look like this photo was taken from the Mark Twain. Or maybe the Columbia, since it's being featured in the other photos. I suppose we'll never know which because there are nasty killer ducks EVERYWHERE!!! With that many ducks on the prowl, you just know that the photographer never made it back to the dock.

In #4: OK, so these photos were NOT taken from the Columbia. The camera is the same height as the Hungry Bear deck, so it must have been from a part of that building. Probably a part where guests aren't allowed to go.

Thanks to whoever took these photos (I think you told us a couple of times that the MB did not take these him/her self.) And thank you to MB and MP.

TokyoMagic! said...

Regarding the Columbia, and to quote Melissa and Kate Hepburn, "My she was yar!"

In that third pic, just adjacent to the Keelboat and the Canoes, there are two ducks who are "playing chicken." One of them might actually be a coot.

Major, unfortunately the Hungry Bear Restaurant is no longer located right on the water. It now sits next to a big ugly pathway that leads to Wookie World. Sadly, there was no end to the ruination of the park, when that land was being built.

Thank you, Major and M.B.!

JB said...

Tokyo!, a coot, you say? Is it an old coot? "You ducklings get off my pond!"


This period of time was nice because it was pre-Eisner and the company was trying to keep the quality of Walt’s day. Every project was “what would Walt do?” The first thing in 1984 Michael Eisner told the imagineers at his first WED meeting : “WALT’S DEAD!”

I’ve be always loved the views and feeling sitting at the Hungry Bear …. I still get excited when a train passes from the Disneyland railroad. And one of the most beautiful views was watching the Mark Twain churning its way into the frontier of the Rivers of America : now you see the clunky trestle and GALAXYS edge spires …. And you can see how much the river path was cut down.
I used to think the double deck hungry bear looked a little “70’s theme park “ until I saw sone vintage photos used in its inspiration : a double decked warf in Seattle used to stock and load up all kinds of boats and ships heading for the gold rush in the Klondike in the late 1800’s/ early 1900’s. - remember the story of Bear County’s origins was that a trapper came thru the area with a group of trained bears - sone could even dance! When the Klondike gold rush happened all the humans left the settlement behind fort the gold fields — and they left the bears behind. The bears didn’t know what else to do but continue to entertain and the bears created The County Bear Jamboree! ( called Country Bear Jubilee in early drafts)

Bu said...

The Country Bear Jubilee! I like it better! Jamboree sounds like the Boy Scout Jamboree, or Jamboree Rd. in Orange County. Both give me anxiety. I also heard that Walt was dead. I think the actual quote I received was "WE DON'T KNOW IF WALT WOULD LIKE IT OR NOT BECAUSE HE IS DEAD!" I heard it from a a few people over the course of a few years. I did not hear it from Michael Eisner though. I think I overheard it coming from Frank Wells at the Star Tours premiere.....(in between all the shouting.) That was quite a transformative time. "Ruination"...loving that word. How is Hungry Bear not on the water if it is on the water? If it's not on the water it IS "70's Theme Park"...the water and location was it's only saving grace. I'm not sure the Columbia flags spelled out something. A supervisor of mine was a lead in the 60's going into the 70's in Frontierland...he later ran the operations end of the Queen Mary. (that was a transitional project as well, but for another time). In any case, we wanted those flags up on the Queen Mary. Quite a different scale to the Columbia. The people that put those flags up on the Queen Mary had spent several months dilly-dallying around with laying them out in a VERY specific order. Well, the Eisners of the world wanted those flags up in any order...we just wanted them up. Period. My boss said "we did that on the Columbia all the time! It doesn't matter what they spell, it matters that it looks good! Frank and Micheal want this!" So I said...'push has come to shove' so our suits...connected the flags together and hoisted them up. One of the dilly dally guys DID come to help us (flags + wind can be dangerous) but we got those things up. I have to say it did look amazing. The purists were not happy. We also (not personally) painted the smoke stacks because the paint was peeling so badly (the Wrathers did not spend much money on preservation) . We couldn't get "Cunard Red" because it was trademarked/etc. not used because it caused cancer...etc. etc etc. We said "Cunard does not own this vessel. We can paint it any color we like!" So we painted it a very similar red (we did have SOME semblance of responsibility to authenticity.) That was unpopular as well. When appearance standards were enforced (there was a LONG transitional period to get the "crew members" accustomed) I made headlines for firing the guy that wouldn't shave his mustache. I suppose we all have our 15 minutes of fame...or was I part of ruination? back to the peaceful photos of the Columbia and the Rivers of America...thanks Major and MB. (side note...for Milton Bradley games commercials there was a tag line at the end that was sung..."BY THE MB!"...or was it "from the MB!" in any case...MP has a lot of different meanings: Military Police, or Mileage Plus which is the United Airlines Mileage program...or Members of Parliament...)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I know that my friend Mr. X is going to especially love those views of the river, looking empty and beautiful!

JB, yes, Ms. Columbia is almost doing that gesture that women do when they are hitchhiking and want to guarantee that a car will stop. Not sure what it means though. I have never worn a rugby shirt, but my mom did once buy me a shirt that was covered in NFL logos. No idea why, since I was more of a baseball fan at the time, but she meant well. It was an ugly shirt, by the way, I think it might have been from Sears. If I come back in another life, I want to be a duck on the Rivers of America. That has to be the best! Endless popcorn and churro pieces, plenty of excitement, and of course plenty of people to satiate my bloodthirsty tendencies. I don’t remember a part of the Hungry Bear restaurant curving around to allow a look down the river like in the last two photos, so I think that the photographer might have been standing in a spot where the public can’t go.

TokyoMagic!, I don’t know what “My she was yar” means, was Kate Hepburn eating a donut at the time? Maybe her mouth was full and it just sounded like “yar”. Ducks playing chicken, I have an idea: a new televised ABC sports program (hosted by Howard Cosell, how do we make that happen) with ducks facing off against each other. Tonight’s episode features Gabe Kaplan! I know about the changes to the Hungry Bear Restaurant, and hate that the designers are so short-sighted that they don’t even understand that their design stinks.

JB, old coots carry crooked sticks that they can shake at people. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Mike Cozart, I have to admit that I usually say “Walt’s DEAD”!” when I walk into a room. Trust me, it gets people’s attention. I loved eating at the Hungry Bear, but don’t remember even being aware of the Disneyland Railroad while I was there - we always grabbed a seat overlooking the water so that we could wave (like five year olds) at the Mark Twain and Columbia when it passed! Mr. X HATES that you can see the Galaxy’s Edge spires, it drives him crazy. Plus he said that when he was there last, the waterfalls near the trestle that got so much press were not working. None of them. Predictable? I did not know that the Hungry Bear was based on any actual building!

Bu, I can appreciate how frustrating it must be for people to try to second-guess what Walt Disney would have done or wanted, after a while it would feel like a foolish thing to attempt. I’m trying to decide if you were kidding about hearing Frank Wells say “Walt is dead” at the Star Tours premiere! Seems like a poor time to mention it. I once wasted a lot of time looking up nautical flags using a photo of some feature at Disneyland, and all I got was a jumble, nothing that made any sense. They just provide movement and color. I hate to say it, but the boss on the Queen Mary might be right. I would appreciate the attention to detail as to laying out the flags in a particular order, but honestly, that would only be noticed by a tiny percentage of visitors. Wow, so YOU’RE one of those people who fired someone for having a mustache! Legendary! I would have just covered my mustache with white makeup like Cesar Romero did as The Joker. Problem solved. “Cunard Red” is made from smooshed dolphins, so I’m glad you didn’t use it.

JG said...

Nothing like a freshly waxed sailing ship first thing in the morning. Thanks Major.!

If I squint, I can just make out the flags, they read “Please don’t put Pressler in charge”.


Tom said...

I love those last two shots, because they demonstrate how immersive Disneyland is/was. If you had no knowledge of where these photos came from, you might never be able to tell just from looking that it's from a theme park. There are people, there is dining, there is a river and a lot of vegetation... but it looks natural and time-worn. It feels relaxed and peaceful.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, sometimes you can see the giant industrial drums of sailing ship wax backstage from the Disneyland RR, it's pure carnauba. I'd love it if some smart CM managed to arrange nautical flags to say something negative about the "suits"!

Tom, I agree, especially the one without the Columbia... you could probably tell somebody that it was from Tennessee and they'd believe you. "Relaxed and peaceful", that's how I like my Frontierland.

Anonymous said...

A special place in my least the way it was back then. I agree, you could spend your day in that area feeling far away from the urban environment outside the berm. Mostly tranquil, the sound of the train running along the inside berm and across the trestle within Bear Country, the various watercraft going by. I have to say, having a view of all of it from a canoe made the day go by quickly. Once you left the dock...running at the speed of a paddle knowing that your contemporaries may be chocking on fumes working the Autopia, or 'throwing buckets' between unload and load positions, squeezed within massive lines collecting tickets at a turnstile. Well, many of us were still happy campers doing our Disney matter where. But those of us on the river craft thought we had the best experience of all. KS

PS. That #3 shot couldn't have come from the Mark Twain. There's no chop in the water from the paddle wheel.


MAJOR ; I TOTALLY agree with Mr. X!! The Hungry Bear building isn’t a direct copy of any specific building … but it’s all authentic ; the double deck dock having inspiration from that warf building in Seattle …. The main restaurant is a lodge like structure but it’s look and construction could be real … and the backside features a very authentic railroad snow shed : exactly like the kind built in the 1860’s be the Central Pacific Railroad Thru the Sierra Nevadas!!! And regarding the Bear Country RR trestle; it is built like a REAL railroad trestle of the 1800’s - 1920’s. It is in fact a authentic railroad structure for a functioning steam railroad. It’s designers either had knowledge of its construction methods and look or the researched it - a suspect a combination of both.

Now for the “new” cascade railroad trestle : this looks like it was designed by someone who gave no effort in researching what a real period railroad trestle should look like or how it should be built. In my option ; if you are an imagineer and you are working on any Disney park - ESPECIALLY DISNEYLAND # 1 …. YOU HAD BETER DO SOME *** DAMN RESEARCH BEFORE YOU BUILD ANYTHING!!!! If you don’t - you are in the wrong business!! It’s falls under

DREADFUL IMAGINEERING…. And sadly in the last decade or so , Main Street USA, Frontierland , and New Orleans Square has been getting CRAPPED ON with DREADFUL IMAGINEERING.

The falls have been working recently …. They of course can have their water flow intensity adjusted and can also have sections completely shut off to allow acess of maintenance water craft or entertainment support rafts to emerge from a hidden storage area behind the rock work of the falls.

Chuck said...

"My, she was Yar" is a reference to Denise Crosby and her role in the first season of Star Trek: the Next Generation. Kate Hepburn was truly ahead of her time.

Major, your sports program idea won't work. HOWARD'S DEAD!!!

TokyoMagic! said...

JB, it's actually a middle-aged coot!

Bu, so YOU are the one who fired the Queen Mary's mustachioed "captain," under Disney's management of the ship. I remember that incident. I think I even saved an L.A. Times article about it.

Major, I like your idea for a show about ducks facing off against each other. It could be called, "Celebrity Duck Ruckus!"

JG, the “Please don’t put Pressler in charge” is only part of the message. The rest of it reads, "Watch out for flying cleats!" Too soon?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Tokyo, I had forgotten that incident. How awful. No, not that!


JB said...

Major, Tokyo!, and others: "Celebrity Duck Ruckus!", every week the Disney Ducks would face off against various celebrities. The ducks would win every time, of course. But hey, there's too many celebs walking around anyway. Case in point: that family whose name sounds a lot like the Cardassians from Star Trek DS9. And others who are famous for being famous.

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike, Mr. X goes on and on about the loss of the big beautiful trees in that northwestern part of the park. Being able to see the parking garage is really horrible. I can’t say that I disagree, because it shows a lack of understanding of the details. Yes, many people won’t notice, but those who DO pay attention will have the theme shattered. Thanks for all the info about the Hungry Bear’s influences. I would think that researching old railroad history and trestles should have been a no-brainer, it’s such a part of the park’s history, but it’s as if somebody just drew it out of their heads based on movies and cartoons. I’m glad to hear that those waterfalls have been working lately - Mr. X goes nuts when he sees that a waterfall at Storybook Land isn’t working - for the umpteenth year in a row. Thanks Mike.

Chuck, NOW it makes sense! I have managed to come to terms with Walt Disney’s death, but I am still in denial about Howard Cosell.

TokyoMagic!, did you really read an article about a Queen Mary “captain” being fired due to his mustache? Maybe it WAS Bu! If there was some way to make “Celebrity Duck Ruckus” a “jiggle show”, it would be so much better. What is Suzanne Sommers doing these days? “Watch out for flying cleats”, OY VEY.

JG, yeah that was one of the worst things ever.

JB, so the Disney Ducks would basically be the Harlem Globetrotters? I’m all for it. I don’t know what family you are talking about, but they sound annoying and horrible! ;-) I am famous for being famous, but I use my powers for good rather than eeeevil.

Chuck said...

I read a blog post earlier today (I rarely reminisce about the future) where the author was describing the theming and design of Cedar Point’s Frontier Town. I think the excerpt below sort of gets at what’s wrong with things like the new cascade trestle at Disneyland:

“While Main Street U.S.A. is a Hollywood art director’s half-remembered / half-imagined vision of ‘small town main street-ness,’ the designs here at Cedar Point (coming as they were in 1967) are directly referencing the theme park representations that proceed them. We are at the levels of copies of copies, in which case any sense of original source material becomes completely obscure; the original doesn’t exist anymore.” [emphasis added]

The old touch of authenticity - even when it gets selectively compressed and certain, less-aesthetically-pleasing details are removed (telephone poles, for example) - is missing from many newer projects, and “copies of copies” are deemed “good enough.” Not certain what’s driving current trends; it’s probably not just one single thing but a combination of many to create a perfect storm of mediocrity - slashed budgets, managerial (and merchandising) interference, a catering to the lowest common denominator, and quite possibly younger designers who grew up in a different creative environment and just don’t know any better. And we are all poorer for the results as irreplaceable masterpieces of themed design are sacrificed at the altars of “new” and “profit.”

I’ve just discovered the Themerica blog today, but I’m already liking what I am seeing. The four-part series on Cedar Point starts here, and while I can nitpick a few factual errors (I remember first seeing Boneville in the summer of 1972; it wasn’t a ‘90s addition for Hallowe’en) I am really enjoying the observations and insight. Looking forward to some reading in the days and weeks ahead.

JB said...

Way to go, Chuck. Now I'm depressed, hearing your thoughts on "younger designers who grew up in a different creative environment and just don’t know any better". HUMANKIND IS DOOMED!!
But I'm easily distracted, and I'm sure the mood will pa... SQUIRREL!

Hmmm, where are Sue, Melissa, and Kathy! today? It's starting to feel like the Little Rascal's "He-Man Woman-Haters Club" (no girls allowed) here.

"Lou and Sue" said...

JB, it's nice to be missed! Some days I'm just lurking (because I'm too crazy-busy with everything I have going on, with work and all).

But, I'll take a couple quick minutes to list two of the many things I was thinking about, today, while lurking:

#1: Photo #3: That animatronic duck sure is making a big wide wake.

#2: I want to know more from Bu (and TM!) about that mustache story.

Fun day! Thanks, Major and all!

TokyoMagic! said...

JB, I have never watched any of that reality TV family's shows. But if it was a show where they were being sacrificed to carnivorous animatronic ducks, I would definitely watch that!

Major, Suzanne Sommers would be perfect. Gabe Kaplan could be just a voice over a speaker phone. He calls into the office every week and gives Suzanne her assignment of finding and capturing a criminal and blood-thirsty gang of ducks. She does not work alone. She has two sidekicks who help her do her job; Lynda Carter and Lonnie Anderson.

Major and Sue, there was an L.A Times article in the late 1980s, about the firing of the Queen Mary's "captain." I'm pretty sure that I saved it, but I haven't posted it yet. I did post an article (from 2000) a few years back, which references the firing of several Queen Mary employees. They are described as the ship's "first officer" and "two others." That article can be found here:

Bu said...

Letting people go is not a pleasant job no matter the circumstance, but as a leader it comes with the territory. HR and others are always involved in corporate situations. Decisions are never created in a vacuum. There is an "old saying": "Why was the CEO fired? Because he didn't fire the CFO." In all affairs, consistency is primary. By simply "making an exception" would open a door do thousands of others, and for many other guidelines/rules that have nothing to do with appearance. Others were also let go , however, they may have not been of interest to the press and were represented by their unions. Disney made large investments in their people, processes, and the restoration of a dying brand that Wrather did not and chose not to. Some employees embraced and enjoyed the change to work for a large company with the benefits that came with it and many did not. There are always several sides to a story, most of which is confidential - the rest you can Google. In the end, Disney opted out of a continued relationship with the Queen Mary/WCO Port Properties and clearly revised it's own appearance guidelines going into the 21st century. My career ended a short time after this incident, and I've worn a mustache ever since. Personally, I prefer the clean cut NASA employee look of Fantasyland/Tomorrowland 1955. I just picked up Jim Cora's book (which btw is an interesting read if you worked at the park during his time- lot's of familiar names) and apparently he is the one who helped push along the trend to Lederhosen and other costumes from the blue slacks white shirt and tie NASA look.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Bu, I concur. Rules are made for a reason and need to be enforced, especially with large groups of people. Or you can end up with a free-for-all. I, too, prefer the "clean cut" employee-look at the Disney Parks, especially after what I've seen more recently (and I'm not even referring to the facial hair). Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

Thank you, too, TokyoMagic! for sharing your newspaper article.

JB said...

Tokyo!, I would watch that series as well! I suppose it would have a very limited run because, well, the ducks would go through that family in just a few episodes. I'm sure it would win an Emmy though! And then they would be famous for something other than just being famous. Too bad they wouldn't be around to bask in their newfound glory.