Monday, August 01, 2022

A Pair From April 1959

Let's take a look at more photos from Disneyland, circa April 1959! We'll start with this nice shot of the Autopia, as a boy with his red driving cap drives with the intensity of someone in the Monaco Grand Prix. In the next lane over, a mom looks much more relaxed, as if she was on the way to the store. Notice the fire extinguisher strapped to the street light - I wonder if any Autopia cars ever burst into flames? Now that's excitement! Just visible above red cap's head we can see evidence of some construction, probably for the soon-to-open Monorail.

Next is this fun view of two ladies at a window near what would be the exit for most mortals. I'm not sure what special services were available at that window; any ideas? We get a nice look at the passenger train rolling stock as it sat at Main Street Station on a beautiful day. It might be April, but it was warm enough for a light dress or Capri pants!



JB said...

Pic 1: Do you suppose that hat that Red Cap is wearing is a Disneyland souvenir hat? Or does he wear such things all the time? The shape of this model of Autopia car is kinda weird. It almost looks like the cars are facing backwards. I get the same feeling when I see a modern-day VW Bug; the front looks like the back.

Pic 2: Best photo of the floral Mickey, EVER! ;-p
This might sound silly but, is that white thing sticking up near the right edge the Matterhorn? I don't think so because:
a) It seems too far to the right.
b) It looks too small and too far away.
Even though it wouldn't make its debut for a couple more months, the Mountain would still be there.
Now I'll sit back and wait for everybody to make fun of my absurdly naive question. Go ahead, I can take it. Besides, I don't have a webcam so you can't see me cry.

Thanks for the vintage Disneyland pics, Major.

Nanook said...

I love the contrast between "Mom" and "Junior" - as you pointed out. I'm a bit worried that all the rust on Junior's front bumper was caused when a careless speed demon drove the autopia into the drink-! Have we ever seen any bumpers with its finish in such poor condition-?

Yes - a 'light dress or Capri pants' was always a part of my wardrobe arsenal back in the day.

My guesses for the attraction posters: Can't figure out the first two, as seen thru the left window of the booth. The next one is Storybook Land; the next one is totally obscured; Frontierland; 20,000 Leagues; Santa Fe & Disneyland RR - Main Street; Peter Pan; Skyway; Tom Sawyer Island.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, I think the posters visible through the left window of the booth are, The Columbia Sailing Ship (we can see a red "A" on a blue background, and maybe a red "I," too), and the Astrojets. On the Astrojet poster, we can see the tip of one of the rocket sort of looks like a hat on one of the guest's heads.

JB, I don't think that could be the Matterhorn. As you said, it is too far to the right. I think it is also too far to the right, to be the top of the Opera House. I don't know what that thing is.

Major, I think you are right about the Monorail construction. We can see Monorail beams that end abruptly, to the left and the right of that wooden scaffolding/construction. And in the far upper left corner of the pic, I think we can see a single Monorail track pylon in the distance, without any track attached to it yet.

Chuck said...

In the second photo, I think the orange-lettered sign above the window says:


The smaller white sign is a lot harder to parse out, but I think it says:


I could be persuaded otherwise. Wish I could find an optometrist who would write a prescription for spectacles that could correct for blurry photos.

Love that “Santa Fe & Disneyland” lettering on the passenger cars. Just curious - did any of you ever ride the line all the way to Santa Fe? My parents always made us get off before the train left the Park.

JB, I think that’s just another filial on the shade structure, but it’s overexposed and isn’t sporting a flag like the others, making it a lot harder to make out. Either that or it’s a very small UFO.

Nanook, what do you mean “back in the day?” I still keep a goodly stock of light dresses and capri pants in my clothing armory.

TM!, the length of those Monorail beams illustrates just how much shorter the ride was when it first opened.

Chuck said...

Forgot a detail in the second picture - note the silhouette of the security guy wearing a peaked cap in the window of that small building.

TokyoMagic! said...

TM!, the length of those Monorail beams illustrates just how much shorter the ride was when it first opened.

Chuck, it was also much more thrilling!

Personally, I prefer wearing pedal pushers to the park. Of course, a pair of gauchos can also work, in a pinch!

Nanook said...

@ TM!-
I definitely agree about the Columbia poster. The Astrojet - I'm not so certain. On the other hand - if not that - then what-?? (It is only 1959).

@ Chuck-
Would you believe I was thinking the exact same thing about the orange-lettered sign, but was too tired to type it after all the AP sleuthing-? I didn't think so.


The attraction posters “in action” appear to be - from left to right:


Chuck said...

TM! & Nanook, I guess hostess pants are out, then. Those are really only appropriate when you give smart dinner parties.

Chuck said...

Nanook, missed it by that much…

DrGoat said...

Great candid photos of people in Disneyland. A wealth of neat things as our previous commenters pointed out. That big blurry blue ball cap wearing person in the 2nd pic is checking out the scene. Something has his eye I'm sure.
Thanks Major. 1959, so long ago, yet so close in the mind.

Major Pepperidge said...

JB, I’m guessing that the kid is wearing a souvenir hat, but you never know! I kind of see what you mean about the Autopia vehicle’s shape, but… they’re so great. I don’t believe that’s the Matterhorn in photo #2, but as always, I am ready to find out I am wrong. You get used to it, when you’re me! You’re right though, by April of ’59, the top of the Matterhorn would be finished, while it was still being worked on further down.

Nanook, you know those bumpers took a beating, but the rust is weird. Maybe that happened to be a particularly rainy year? The car in the distance has a nice shiny bumper. I wonder how often they had to replace those things? And hey, I don’t judge if somebody (anybody!) wants to wear some Capri pants. Your list of posters is good, and I’m going to throw in a “Space Station X-1” just past the Tom Sawyer Island poster! Just an educated guess.

TokyoMagic!, that is definitely an Astrojets poster to the left of that one lady’s head. And YES, the Columbia is to the left of that, good eye! I’m still not sure what the “Matterhorn-ish” thing is, I thought about the Opera House too, but am not positive. And you are also right about the Monorail track (you are right about everything today)!

Chuck, I didn’t even attempt to decipher those signs, so I am going to say that you have figured it all out! “Prescription spectacles that could correct for blurry photos”… I once watched a YouTube video where Adobe demonstrated how they could “de-blur” photos, it was incredible. But they never included that particular feature in Photoshop. I love the lettering on the passenger cars too! Just one of those details. Maybe you’re right about that thing being a finial.

Chuck, it’s General Douglas MacArthur!

TokyoMagic!, it turns out that it was not cost effective to have the Monorail plunge to the ground. I feel guilty, since the whole thing was my idea.

Mike Cozart, I wasn’t even going to hazard a guess as to those final two posters!!

Chuck, what about Hostess cupcakes?

Chuck, you and Nanook are of one mind.

DrGoat, I can just imagine the kid with the ball cap, he’s looking at the train, and hearing the whistle (and bell), and oh man, it won’t be long now! He’s so close!

Stu29573 said...

Ah, the days where the park actually felt like a "park." At least I assume it felt that way. I wouldn't be born for another three years or so. It looks like it feels that way, so I say it did!

I think the difference between Junior and Mom in the cars is that Junior just stole his. Imagine his dismay when he found out that the track was a circle! Everyone laughed and laughed...and then they threw him in Disneyland jail for the next few years. Times were different then.

As far as the roaming mountain goes, I vote that it's a cloud.

Anonymous said...

I vote it’s the Matterhorn.
It just hasn’t been wheeled-in-place, yet.


Stu29573 said...

You might be onto something, Sue.

Nanook said...

I think our young friend in the second image leaning on the chain has the sleeve on his short sleeve shirt rolled up. (Soon it will contain a pack of cigarettes - unfortunately).

JB said...

Now that Chuck has pointed it out, the white thing does indeed look like the other flag support thingies on the foreground roof. They deliberately left off the flag and pole just to confuse us 63 years later.

Anonymous said...

When I look at the second photo, I hear the announcer and the bell ringing. Probably the top "Disney Sound" for me.

Did the Monorail have a jump feature? Because that would be awesome, like the end of Back to the Future, 80 mph or bust. Those Autopia, the days before the center rail!

That would be a great book title for an expose' of early Tomorrowland... "...The Days Before the Center Rail".

Thanks Major, an auspicious start to the week.


Major Pepperidge said...

Stu29573, it definitely looked “parklike”, with many more areas of green grass, flowers, and trees. It’s sad that they had to go in order to deal with the higher attendance. You’re right, Junior looks like he’s trying to get away from the cops!

Sue, is it on rails like a train?

Stu29573, Sue has ideas!

Nanook, I mean, a five year-old has to keep his cigarettes somewhere!

JB, I have done extensive research on Flag Support Thingies, but so far it’s been a bust.

JG, yes, the announcer, the train’s bell, and (for me) the whistle. And maybe the Monorail’s air horn! There was some movie that showed a roller coaster that had a jump. A horror movie. It was preposterous, but that’s what made it fun. And hey, I would read ANY Tomorrowland expose (or even just a nice detailed history)!

Anonymous said...

No, Major. Roller skates.

JB said...

I thought we established a couple of years ago that the Matterhorn is on casters?

Anonymous said...

Ooops, then castors it is.

Nanook said...

@ Sue-
So, would that be castors as in 'castor oil'-??

Anonymous said...

Haha! Yes, I goofed on that spelling...I can’t blame my cell’s autocorrect...


TokyoMagic! said...

TM! & Nanook, I guess hostess pants are out, then. Those are really only appropriate when you give smart dinner parties.

Chuck, correct! And I want to know how you knew that! :-)