Friday, August 05, 2022

Two Beauties From the '50s

Here's a pair of extra-nice scans from the 1950s! Let's start with this great look at the Tomorrowland Skyway terminal - which means that this one is from no earlier than mid-June, 1956. I've always loved the ultra-modern look of this structure, mostly no-nonsense horizontals and verticals; but there's also the addition of the tower with the colorful shapes that would turn in the breeze - like something that the Eameses would cook up. Below the tower and a little to the right, we can just see some of the vending machines at the Space Bar, where guests could presumably buy sandwiches, or maybe a hot cup of coffee, just like the automats in big cities.  The pine tree to our right blocks a decoration above the Space Bar showing Santa sitting astride a rocket.

If you walked through the archway of Sleeping Beauty Castle, you'd find yourself in this charming courtyard, with Merlin's Magic Shop to the left. I've always liked the half-timbered look of Merlin's, as well as the winding waterspout, and even the hanging sign. This photo is from a different lot than the first one, which is why we can see the entrance to the castle walk-through. That opened in April of 1957.


Nanook said...

I think the food and beverage selections ran more along the lines of: Sandwiches; Ice Cream; Soft Drinks; Pastry; Coffee; Desserts; Candy; Pepsi-Cola. Yum-!

I always liked the mail box at Merlin's.

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

Major, Ha! I thought you were making a funny, about Santa riding the rocket. But there he is! Well, part of him anyway. The people have that mid-fifties look to them, as opposed to the late fifties. Using your Skyway debut date of 1956, I would put this photo between '56 and '57. That colorful Skyway tower is clearly an early 'proof of concept' for the Tower of the Four Winds in '64.

Major, I think your left/right problem has surfaced again. Merlin's Magic Shop is to the right as you walk through the archway, isn't it?
The lady in the white sweater, leaning against the festive trashcan looks like she has her hand over the mouth of the blonde girl, "That's enough, dearie. We don't want to hear your dirty limerick."

Thanks for more fifties Disneyland goodness, Major.

Chuck said...

The few red clothing items in these images really stand out against the more somber shades everyone else has on. I like it!

In the first photo, check out the size of the iPad in that custodial guy’s back pocket! I wonder what kind of data plans were available in 1956?

Not only is Merlin’s half-timbered, it’s also half-plastered, which, if you ask me, is quite a trick in a dry Park. A magic trick, you might say. But probably won’t. And I support you in that decision; no need for both of us to be thrown out for gross buffoonery.

Good eye on the mailbox, Nanook. I always thought the label on the slot cover was a little redundant; we all know what the symbols that comprise the word are called.

JB, it really depends on which archway you walk through. In this case, I think the Major is referring to the archway marked “Exit to Frontierland,” which would be behind the photographer, putting Merlin’s ahead and to the left of you as in this picture. I guess it also would depend on the direction you walked through the archway as well, along with the fact that you would have to have your eyes open, but I think that’s heavily implied by the view. And I think we can give him a Mulligan for typing “entrance” when he meant “exit to the castle walk-through,” unless of course, he’s referring to the “Exit to Tomorrowland,” which does let you walk through the castle, in which case no Mulligan is required. But honestly, with his handicap, he could probably use a free stroke anyway.

Stu29573 said...

I really wish we could see the whole Santa/rocket decoration. It just reeks of mid-century Christmas crunchiness! Reeks, I say!

Wow with all the rights and lefts and entrances and exits about the second slide, I'm really glad I just base all my directions on relevant constellations. "Just head towards Orion, straight at Rigel, and then swing towards Scorpio- you can't miss it!"

I like the "little courtyard" feel of the Magic Shop. Of course, I like magic shops in general, and used to con my dad into going into one with me at the local mall quite a bit. I preferred buying (or asking him to buy) tricks that took little to no skill, since I had little to no skill.

Good pics today, Major!

TokyoMagic! said...


The lady in the white sweater, leaning against the festive trashcan looks like she has her hand over the mouth of the blonde girl, "That's enough, dearie. We don't want to hear your dirty limerick."

There once was a Beauty who was sleeping
While all of the park guests were peeping
She was awakened with a kiss
Maleficent was pissed
Then she and the Prince went streaking

"Pissed" and "streaking" were VERY dirty words in the fifties. When they all got home, the blonde girl had her mouth washed out with soap.....twice!

Chuck said...

Stu, take the second star to the right, then straight on 'til morning.

TM!, I hope it was with Lifebuoy.

Melissa said...

That area of Tomorrowland wa o light and airy. Good use of negative space.

Some interesting peoplewatching in #2! The matron in the blue suit with her coat over her arm looks like she sees the picture being taken and isn't happy about it. Fellow with the rolled-up sleeves near center has the firm chin and resolute gaze of a matinee idol. In a few years he'll get a call to play Dr. Kildare on TV, but he won't answer the phone because he's at Disneyland and they'll have to give the part to that Chamberlain kid. Love the lady casually leaning against that bijou of a trash can. And what's up with the one boy in the cluster to the right, with no hat? Are they kicking him out of Hat Club? First rule of Hat Club: wear a hat!

"half-plastered," hehe!

DrGoat said...

Speaking of hats, I like the white number the old gentleman has on in the second photo, left.
Stu, I remember the only trick I got at the magic shop on Main Street was the turn a penny into a dime. Hollow penny that disappears when you lay the magic magnet on it and Presto. a dime underneath. No skill required except a little finesse. I loved that little area around Merlin's shop too. Toad right around the corner and a carousel straight ahead.
Thanks for the trip back to the 50s Major. I needed that, especially today.
Tomorrowland looks heavenly. Just throw me in.

JG said...

The Skyway station certainly looks crisp, and inexpensive. A lot of mileage obtained from those canvas sunshades. Only one trash can visible from this angle though, and this area had 10 in one view a while back.

Seems odd that Merlin would get mail? Wouldn’t he just teleport and talk in person? I guess the letterbox is for us.

Two of the fancy hip-roofed trash cans in one pic. I did think the young fellow was Tom Swift, wondering where he parked his Flying Lab.

Stu and Dr. Goat, I got a little trick vase at the Magic Shop, you took out the ball and put the lid back on, then took it off leaving the part with the fake ball behind, looks like the ball came back. Dr. G, hope your day improves.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, don’t forget the lobsters! I have several photos of people munching on bright red lobsters.

JB, I know I’ve seen a better photo of the rocket with Santa on board, though not in my collection. Your guestimate is a good one! And I have always thought that the Skyway tower looks like a “trial run” for the fancier “Tower of the Four Winds”. As for where Merlin’s is, I pulled a fast one on you. Yes, Merlin’s would be on your right as you walk through the tunnel, but it’s on your left in the photo. Don’t expect me to be consistent!

Chuck, that’s actually an iPhone, it had vacuum tubes and a CRT screen. But thanks to Hedy Lamarr, you could already make cellular phone calls. And I don’t want to brag, but I’m half-plastered too. I’ve seen a few of those Disneyland mail boxes up for auction, what a cool souvenir that would be. See my explanation to JB about Merlin’s! There is a method to my madness.

Stu29573, it kills me that I can’t recall the very clear photo that I’ve seen with Santa and the rocket, maybe it was on Daveland? As for your directions, do you mean Rigel 7, or the original Rigel? I haven’t been in many magic shops, but I used to love one that was on Hollywood Blvd, I remember going in and buying trick coins for stocking stuffers. Nickels that were “heads” on both sides, pennies that were 3/8” in diameter, and so on. It was fun!

TokyoMagic!, I love your limerick, though I am disappointed that Ethel did not get a mention. Also, please use more dirty words on GDB!

Chuck, I prefer Ivory for its mellow notes and fruitiness.

Melissa, yes, that lady in the blue suit looks pretty angry. Maybe she had a premonition about “Galaxy’s Edge”? I always thought that “Kildare” was an odd name for a doctor, whoever came up with it was pranking us. I thought that the “lady” leaning against that trash can might actually be a young lady, but it’s hard to tell with those hairstyles and that manner of dress. I wish I belonged to Hat Club!

DrGoat, that man loved his hat so much that he wore it every day after his trip to Disneyland. His boss was impressed and gave him a raise, and also made him VP. True Disneyland magic! My grandma gave me a magic set when I was a kid, everything was made of plastic. I remember there was some sort of “disappearing coin” trick but you could always hear the coin “clunk” as it fell through the slot that your audience was not supposed to know about. Kind of ruined the effect! I still remember my grandma laughing when I did the trick for her, ha ha. It sounds like you are having a rough day, I hope things get better.

JG, somehow I love the minimal Tomorrowland Skyway terminal building, at the time it was probably shockingly “modern”, and of course now it looks “mid-century”. Because it was! The structure made no attempt to hide exactly what it was for. I hope Tom Swift’s Flying Lab was at the Kal-Kan Kennel. See what I did there? Your trick vase reminds me of a trick vase that was in my plastic magic kit; my vase had a small ball in it that was just wider than the neck of the vase, so you could fill the vase with water, but when you tilted it to pour the water out, the ball blocked it, and nothing came out. Astonishing!

Melissa said...

"I always thought that “Kildare” was an odd name for a doctor"

I know, right? "Kill" and "dare" are not two syllables I'd want to hear in a medical setting. I dare you not to kill this patient!

Anonymous said...

Was so dazzled by the garlands trimming that zigzag roofline, I almost missed Santa. Such a clever way to keep the Aluminum sponsor happy. Snaps for corrugated shade covers.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, I prefer my own physician, Dr. Bloodyhands.

Anonymous, I didn’t even think about Kaiser Aluminum’s sponsorship, I wonder if they contributed to that?!

Dean Finder said...

Major, according the the Disney's Land book that came out a few years ago, Kaiser Aluminum was pretty emphatic that their metal be used as much as possible in the park. It would not surprise me at all that they would want aluminum garlands in the decorations.

Melissa said...

Kaiser Aluminum was also the sponsor of Maverick.