Friday, May 20, 2022

Fantasyland in the Fitties

I have two swell views of Fantasyland from the early days, they are colorful and fun. Let's start with this shot - an unusual angle - from just outside of the Snow White dark ride (the mural is barely visible to our right), it looks like it was a busy day. The haze gives the scene a dreamy quality, don't you think? As busy as it was, the wait to board your mine cart couldn't have been too long, although those Fantasyland dark ride queues could be deceptive. 

I absolutely love these scenes from the classic 1950s Disneyland!

Nearby there was the Mad Tea Party ride, caught in mid-spin. The present of the Skyway tells us that this is at least 1956 - if I had to bet, I'd gamble that the photos are from that very year. It's nice to see the wonderful Skyway Chalet; while it sat unused for years, I'd always hoped that they might find a use for it. No such luck.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, these are terrific images - I especially love the first one, with the black-eared MM balloons, too.

Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...

Ahhh... that "haze". Since the Tinkerbell Toy Shop can be discerned on the sign, that would place these images sometime in 1957, at the earliest.

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

Major, dreamy is right. I'm imagining the sounds of the park fading away into silence as a wistful soundtrack with lots of reverb swells to tug at our emotions.
Back on planet Earth, I see that the NASA guys are in control of the Snow White dark ride. They always seem incongruous here in Fantasyland, but oh well, better than leather-jacketed Hell's Angels I guess.
I see a cloud of balloons on the left edge. lots of dark ones in the mix. I guess those are the ones with black Mickey ears on top. EDIT: Sue sees them, too.
On the left, just above the lady looking for something in her purse, is someone with what looks like green hair. Is that a hat? A beret, maybe?

The Teacups photo is excellent. Just enough motion blur to give it a little excitement. And that's a wonderful shot of the Skyway Chalet. There's a row of chainlink fence up on the berm to the left. I don't remember seeing that before. Something else I've never noticed before is that the lampposts around the Teacups all have different colored glass (or plastic) filters. Shouldn't we be able to see the Pirate Ship from this angle?


It may be close to Christmas 1957 as the castle courtyard appears to have sone green garlands hanging from it. Thus would hade been a period when holiday decorations were up only a few weeks before the actual holiday . Not 2 months before and a month after ….

TokyoMagic! said...

JB, the chain link fence was there to keep all of the Living Desert critters from wandering over the hill, into Fantasyland.

And that person with the green hair is Cesar Romero.

Chuck said...

Only vaguely interesting observation I have is the souvenir cavalry hat wearing a boy. Track down from the leftmost yellow curtain on the Snow White facade. He’s facing away from us and wearing a dark shirt. I had two of those as a kid, one from Disneyland and one from Six Flags Over Mid-America.

Oh, and “snow” spelled backwards is “wons.” That’s all I got; everybody else called all the good stuff.

Nanook, another giveaway that it’s at least 1957 is the sound of the Viewliner in the distance. It’s subtle clues like that that really help date an image.

JB, yes, we should be able to see the pirate ship from here. Just rotate the camera to the right past that red, white, and green post and you can’t miss it.

And if it’s 1957, those are NACA guys. NASA won’t be established until 1958.

TM!, you’re right - that is Cesar Romero! You can just make out a bit of white pancake makeup on his forehead.

Bu said...

Lots of suits and ties. So very proper. I'm wondering if people were told " must dress nicely! We were there any everyone was wearing suits and ties and cute sweater sets and hats!" so then...everyone followed suit (pun intended). I suppose now people say "oh...I was there and everyone was just wearing their just be as comfy as you possibly can...bring a pillow too! It's just like being on a plane!" I make a very specific decision to wear a proper jacket on planes- despite how hot or cool it is that day. I will say it does make a big difference in how you are perceived if you "show up" for the flight. When I go to Disneyland-( I have confirmed in my head that I "must relive fond memories of the past"...) I will perhaps not be so very cartoonishly dapper, but at least "show up." Maybe I should go like the NASA/NACA guys? I'm not sure I am into the red and green striped teacup light poles ....looks a little candy cane, and I do think it was a big upgrade to put the Tivoli gardens light arches with them. The Skyway building is so ornate and thought's criminal that the lazy bones people could not think of a use. In the early 50's they moved a big Dominguez hacienda across the we can't move a Swiss Chalet? I remember being sworn to secrecy about the demise of the Skyway buckets...whatever it was it was completely contrary to what was being publicly it was a HUGE "DO NOT REPEAT THIS EVER" thing...I buried it so completely I forgot what the real story was...but I do remember it had to do with the almighty dollar. "Snow Whites Adventures" to "Snow Whites Scary Adventures"...huh? I didn't understand it then, and I don't understand it now. It was always kind of "Scary"...but people...the story involves a witch poisoning a pretty princess- of course it's "kind" of scary...but worthy of changing a name for a ride? Who would you rather have running the ride? Brute-ish NASA guy? or pretty Alice in Wonderland sweet girl? That park was filled with the arm crosser staring in judgement at those tea cup people. 25 years later all of the brutes were mostly moved to the westside where they were more thematically cast. I just saw somewhere a picture of the OTHER Pinocchio balloon seller...but it wasn't Pinocchio it was some kind of weird clown with a giant-er bow and even more over the top britches. I should have saved the link to that photo...those balloon people HAD to be subcontracted...NASA guys and Balloon Pinocchios in the same land living insanity! Those were the days.

JG said...

I’m with Bu, proper dress has made all the difference for me many times, and especially traveling.

Cross-armed NASA CM is just hoping he doesn’t have to clean up a second “protein spill” in this shift.

The Skyway Chalet has one of the most complicated roofs I have ever seen in wood framing, it’s a work of art. “Was”, that is…

The castle spires emerging from the mists of Dream looking like a whole city full of Fond Memories. That’s all there will ever be, now.

Great stuff today Major, thank you. This post is very nostalgic, see my profile for definitions. I think I have something in my eye.


DrGoat said...

Wow, I have to type it again. Blogger error.
It was the Davy Crockett "coonskin" cap for me (Probably made of rabbit fur). Had a few too. They even had a white one back then for the ladies.
I'll second it that that is really Cesar Romero TM. Probably anticipating playing that iconic roll in the future and working part-time in the Alice ride.
My favorite Tea Cup patterns. Except for the solid colors. Never get in to a solid color tea cup if you can help it. Truth be told, once you were at the helm, it didn't matter.
Love these photos Major. I'll follow you in.

K. Martinez said...

Love the drapery and valance over the "Snow White and Her Adventures" entrance. It's almost like stepping into a movie screen from an old-time movie theater. Thanks, Major.

Bu said...

Adding: "Cesar Romero"...saw him come up the escalator at the Century City Mall in LA. No interaction (and generally you don't.) I will say though...he was an IMMEDIATELY recognizable person- even if he wasn't famous. The white hair you could see from SPACE. A very striking, very put together person. Coat and tie and looked like he was walking off a set. If you are celebrity hunting in LA- Century City tends to be a watering hole. Working there, I saw "them" every day. "A-Types". In the LA shopping-center-world: here was the hierarchy (starting in the Valley): Glendale: Grips, behind the scenes folk, the animation people, very occasionally a "someone" (Angela and Veronica Cartwright- together.) Sherman Oaks (all 3 malls) "B" Celebrities, TV types, Retro TV types. Woodland Hills/Topanga/West Valley: Fringe TV, Music People, Barbra. Bev. Center: (when it was "in") "A"-TV types. Some classics (Diane Keaton, Jacqueline Bisset, Randolph Mantooth, David Schwimmer.) Century City: A types: Vanna White, Carol Burnett, Bruce Willis, Priscilla Presley, Shaq, Earl Hamner ...I could go on. Beverly Hills: (NOT Rodeo) OLD Hollywood...Cyd Charisse, Lauren Bacall, Gene Kelly. These were all back in the late 90's...I'm sure some of the neighborhoods have changed after I left.. Warning: when you say things like Cesar Romero...I can drift...

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I’m not sure how long those black-eared balloons were used, but I think it was only for a few years. They look odd to me, since I’m used to the “regular” versions!

Nanook, good eye on the Tinkerbell Toy Shop!

JB, those NASA guys are using words like “apogee” and “nominal”, and when a mine cart returns safely, they both exclaim, “Outstanding!”. I watch too much TV. The bunch of black-eared balloons looks like an overgrown fungus. Yuck! Gee, it sure looks like that person has green hair! It has to be a hat though, no crazy hair colors in ’57. Like you, I don’t remember that chain link fence before, and assume it was there to keep exploring guests from climbing the hill into parts of Frontierland where they don’t belong. I think the Pirate Ship was more to our left in photo #2.

Mike Cozart, I think they should just leave the Christmas decorations up all year long. Also, the Haunted Mansion should always be the “Nightmare Before Christmas” version. Who’s with me?!

TokyoMagic!, you never know what those critters do by the light of a full moon! Or what Cesar Romero does by the light of a full moon, either.

Chuck, you had two souvenir cavalry hats? Or two dark shirts? Walt Disney liked to spell things backwards, so you two would get along just fine. The Viewliner played ice cream truck music that could be heard all over the park. I’ll have a Nutty Buddy! NACA/NASA, you can’t get away with anything around here, ha ha. Why do they call that white makeup “pancake” makeup??

Bu, sometimes the guests are so nicely dressed that I assume that the photo has been taken on a Sunday, when everyone has come directly from church. I’m not sure I’ve seen anybody at Disneyland in pajamas, but you see lots of sweatpants and t-shirts, which is basically the same thing. I want to be comfortable at the park, but I basically wear what I wear every day! I think the candy cane look for those poles was intentional, who knows. I agree, it is criminal that they never found a use for the Skyway building; to think that it was just torn down. It could have been a restaurant, or restrooms, or some other rest thing. The name change to “Snow White’s Scary Adventures” was probably directed at parents who wound up with screaming, crying children after the ride was over. At least they could say, “We TOLD you it was scary!”.

JG, did you get upgraded to First Class because you were dressed nicely? That’s always been my dream! I know lots of people who somehow got upgraded, but it never happens to me. Maybe it’s my KISS makeup. I’ve never looked at your profile before! Or most other profiles, to be honest. Your definition of “nostalgia” is a good one.

DrGoat, I’m sorry you had to retype your comment, it is such a pain. I think we had a coonskin cap at some point, but I seem to remember it starting to “shed” and fall apart, maybe bugs got at it. Sos, I’ve never seen a white coonskin cap for the ladies! I do wonder why they left some of the teacups unadorned, maybe it was so that there was more variety?

K. Martinez, I think that “stepping into a movie screen” effect was intentional - almost like Buster Keaton stepping into the movie in “Sherlock Jr.”.

Bu, I don’t see many famous people anymore, but then again, I don’t go to the places where I used to see celebrities. But if you hung around the Tower Records on Sunset, or went to Melrose Avenue when it was hip, you’d often see a familiar face. It was always kind of amazing to me that they would feel safe around people who are so “star crazy”, but I’m sure they had a sixth sense that told them when it was time to get out of Dodge.

Major Pepperidge said...

JB, my dyslexia strikes again, the Pirate Ship would be to our RIGHT.

Chuck said...

DrGoat, I also had a coon-skin cap (rabbit fur with a raccoon tail) that I got at the Fort Wilderness campground at WDW in 1979. It was in great shape until the dog got a hold of it about a year and a half ago. Still have it anyway.

Major, two cavalry hats. Thanks for asking for the clarification, further emphasizing that no, you can't get away with anything around here.

Some history on pancake makeup can be found here.

Melissa said...

The slight motion blue in both pictures adds a heaping spoonful of You Are There. Great images of a still brand spanking new park.

Anonymous said...

Chuck, you “still have” the dog...or the cap??


Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, I wonder what they did with the rest of the raccoon bits after they “harvested” for their tails? Maybe that’s why the hamburgers in Tomorrowland tasted funny. I’m happy to be “that guy” regarding the clarification about the cavalry hats! I didn’t really expect anybody to find info about pancake makeup, but I do appreciate that you took the time. Sometimes I’ll see people ask a question on Facebook, and I’ll think, “Don’t they know how to use Google?”.

Melissa, it is nice to be able to tell that the teacups were in motion - sometimes only the body language gives it away.

Sue, I assume he still has the dog, it’s only been a year and a half! He did say that he still has the cap though. I guess that the wear makes it feel more “old timey” and authentic?

DBenson said...

Looking at them now, the original Fantasyland dark rides -- especially the fronts -- clearly have their roots in the old "ghost train" rides you'd see at pre-Disney amusement parks and fairs. They were almost always horror-themed, and the traveling versions were contained in trailers, their comparatively small size concealed by lurid painted facades. Was Disney the first to make them funny and pretty instead of just scary?

The Disney crew didn't invent EVERYTHING from scratch -- time and money just wasn't there. But it's instructive how they plussed existing ideas and hardware.

JB said...

Tokyo!, Cesar Romero; what a professional! He spent 6 or 7 years living 'in character' before Batman even became a series. EDIT: DrGoat sorta beat me to it.
Actually, is that green-haired person wearing some kind of uniform? Looks like maybe a yellow neckerchief.

Chuck, so glad you pointed out "wons". I don't think I could've gotten through the day without that bit of essential knowledge. And, I think that's actually a cavalry hat wearing a souvenir boy. Close, but no cigar.
Also, I'm having a heckuva time rotating the camera to see the Pirate Ship. I've been punching the arrow keys on my keyboard for over an hour, and nuthin'!

Bu, drift on!

Major, the Pirate Ship is to the left, you say? What the... Chuck told me it was to the right! I've been punching the wrong arrow key! I'll try the left arrow for an hour or so... be back later.
I was going to go through a whole chapter on 'pancake' vs. 'waffle' makeup, but I think 'pan' refers to the shape of the makeup tin (round and sorta flat). And the makeup itself is caked in texture. I'm sure Melissa would know.

Major again, WHAT?!?! I guess I'll go back to punching the right arrow key again. Sooner or later it's gotta work, right?

Chuck again, Yay! I actually guessed correctly on the 'pancake' explanation.

Melissa, "motion blue"; hmmm. Does that mean that things are coming toward us at near-light speed, producing a Doppler shift effect?

Sue, yet another example of not getting away with anything here on GDB.

Major again, again, why use Google when you can guess? Guessing is much quicker, and you don't have to worry about being correct! Words to live by.

DBenson, that observation is Disneyland in a nutshell!

Chuck said...

Sue, yes, absolutely.

Major, that's a little harsh. I don't know how to use a google myself. I just don't work with numbers large enough to make it worth learning.

And honestly, I wanted to learn the history of pancake makeup myself. But once I did the research, I figured why keep it all to myself?

JB, you are welcome. As far as turning the camera, you have to hit the right arrow and the "¢" keys at the same time.