Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Fun Main Street! November, 1957

I almost always love photos of Main Street USA. The exceptions are the photos that include cauliflower, because yuck, cauliflower. But otherwise they are pretty great. Today I have two very nice examples, completely free of all cruciferous vegetables, so.... yay! 

In spite of the lack of cauliflower, this first photo is good for you, full of vitamins and minerals, including my favorite, riboflavin. If I ever have a daughter, I will name her "Riboflavin". Take a look at Gibson's Greeting Cards,  the precursor to the more well-known Hallmark Butcher Shop, which sold greeting cards made out of meat. 

A gentleman is afraid to cross the threshold back onto Main Street, because the sidewalk is made of boiling hot lava. You understand. Four cops play saxomophones, just like they did in grandpa's day. "Halt, in the name of music!". No firearms necessary. 

I always like seeing the Pen Shop, and we can also just see the giant Indian-head penny hanging above the door, so there was also a coin shop. Notice the Christmas decoration, or maybe it's a diagram showing how bacteria are everywhere.

Next is this great photo of dad, who must have visited the Magic Shop, where he bought a novelty "knife through the head" prop. Either that, or he had a real knife through his head (an old war injury)? He won't let a little cutlery slow him down. He should make the acquaintance of the lady in this photo, they can talk about the radio stations that they can pick up.


JB said...

You're in good form today, Major. The commentary is full of wit and silliness.

1) Major, that guy could be playing 'the floor is lava' but I think he's just stuck in the doorway; it looks too narrow to fit through.
I'm not sure what the center of interest is in this photo. The saxomophone playing cops are relegated to the extreme edge of the photo. I suppose the Gibson building itself could be the point of interest. Maybe it was that globe-shaped wall sconce near the too-narrow doorway. Or maybe the photographer just liked the color ocher.

2) (the close-up) What was sold in the Pen Shop? Pens, presumably. But what else?

3) I think that head-cutlery would qualify as a cutlass. I love the expression on his face: sorta fun, sheepish, and goofy.

Thanks for the photos, Major. And thanks for the extra fun commentary.

Nanook said...

I'm afraid the gent in the first image is afraid to 'step on a crack' - or in this case - the threshold. And is the waving gal with the poofed-out green dress part of a giant Christmas ornament-?

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I see Dolly Parton was performing in the building at the end of East Center St. Or was that just the place where you could go to get a Dolly Madison Zinger, before they were included in the $50 Disneyland Snack Tray®?

Nanook said...

@ TM!-
I saw the "Doll...." there under that 'ornament'. Now we know the answer-! The 'sleuths' we have here on GDB. Major - you should be so proud-!

Nanook said...

@ JB-
The Pen shop was operated by Henry "Swanee" Fenenbock and his Lawson Engineering Company - who also operated the Coin Shop, Tobacco Shop and Adventureland Bazaar.

All opening day shops, the Pen and Coin shops closed in 1960 at the end of the original five-year leases Disney initially offered those lessee's. The space was incorporated into the 'new' Hallmark Shop - opening on July 1, 1960. You can read [the rather interesting] story of Henry Fenenbock, his downtown LA pen and card shop - including Swanee's Pen Hospital-! - his relationship with The Parker Pen Company, and Disneyland - along with four images from inside the Pen Shop, if you scroll down in the article. LOOK HERE

JG said...

Major, you are on a roll here, splendid stream-of-consciousness dialog.

My kids used to play that hot lava game, I think from Aladdin, but not sure.

As noted, the photo objective is unclear, but there’s so much fascinating detail that it doesn’t matter.

Glad to see Dad having fun, instead of worrying about spending $2000/day for the family in the Park.

I see the Pen Shop settled for a simple declarative name and signage, unlike the online business Pen Island, who has taken endless ribbing due to their unfortunate URL, which I will not post in a family blog.

Nanook, thanks for that link.

Major, how sure are you of the 1957 date? If these are definitely 1957, this would be the earliest confirmed sighting of a decorated trash can!


Nanook said...

@ JG-
"Major, how sure are you of the 1957 date? If these are definitely 1957, this would be the earliest confirmed sighting of a decorated trash can!" Well, in the last image, the AP behind "dad" is for Tom Sawyer Island - and there's a Daveland image of the Opera House with that AP prominently-displayed, and it's dated July, 1957. Take it for what it's worth.

Anonymous said...

@Nanook, excellent news. Wondering how often those AP's were changed or re-arranged.

Till now, all the photos I have seen that were definitely dated to 1957 had the plain green "out-of-the-box" cans, including one showing Walt leaning on one while talking to some boys outside the Jungle Cruise.

I wonder if they started on Main Street then?


Nanook said...

@ JG-
ALSO... Just barely visible to the left of the Gibson Greeting Cards signage - along the Main Street-side, is an "E" - which would not be a part of the Ellen's Gift Shop sign but instead, part of the 'E' in the Art Gallery sign. (A more-stylized font was used in the Art Gallery signage) - which occupied that space from sometime in the summer of 1957 thru sometime in 1959. Along with the Pen and Coin shops, the space was incorporated into the Hallmark Shop in July, 1960.

Anonymous said...

Pens next door to cards….someone earning their worth. But can you get stamps? We all know the PO box is nearby.
I’ll bet the tobacco shop actually included lighters…under one roof! (while cute ash tray trays were available everywhere)

JB said...

Nanook, thanks for that link. I wasn't expecting to read about boiled turtles today! Frank Fennebock's story is uplifting indeed.

JG, hahaha. Still chortling about Pen Island's unfortunate URL.

And it sounds like we (Major) made trashcan news today! What would the world do without us?!

Anonymous said...

JB, aiming to please here.

It looks like Nanook can definitely date that photo from "mid-1957" to "sometime in 1959".

I have definitely found the fancy cans in 1958 photos, so if we run the proof the other way, today's photo might still be "sometime in 1958 to sometime in 1959" if the TSI AP might have been in that same spot for a year or more.

Maybe Mike Cozart has info on the rotation of the posters. I would love for this picture to narrow the time frame somewhat.


Major Pepperidge said...

Hey guys, sorry, it’s been “one of those days”…

JB, that really is a tiny door, they forgot that even if the building was 5/8 scale, they still needed to get full-sized people into them. I’m assuming that the photographer was just trying to take in the general scene, sax-playing cops and all. The Pen Shop sold turtles, weirdly! No wonder it went out of business. AND… as I typed the word “knife”, I thought, “I wonder if somebody will be more specific?”. The answer was YES!

Nanook, I still find myself avoiding sidewalk cracks, even as an adult. I don’t believe in the superstition, I just do it. Because I am crazy. Yes, the girl with the poofed out green dress is definitely part of a stylized ornament!

TokyoMagic!, wow, that was early for Dolly, imagine seeing her in those days? :-) Her nickname was “Zinger” back then, not many people know that.

Nanook, all mysteries will eventually be answered on GDB!

Nanook, thank you for that info, and for the link to that great article! Really terrific. I wish there were articles with that much detail about all of the lessee-run shops. “Henry Fenenbock” is a great name. Just saying.

JG, I can’t remember when I first heard about the hot lava game, I think there might be a Roald Dahl story with that concept. I agree, there’s so much fun stuff to look at in photo #1 that I don’t need an obvious subject. It’s all good! Thank you for not sharing that naughty URL, which would cause children to become depraved hippies. I think that this slide was part of a lot in which some were hand-dated, though I don’t recall for certain. But I’m sticking with the 1957 date!

Nanook, good eye on the Tom Sawyer Island poster! And for not linking to Daveland, I can’t afford any more fees.

JG, I’d bet that the posters weren’t moved often, but as I said earlier, I think that the slide was hand-dated. Maybe there was a sort of transition period where the trash cans were slowly being changed out?

Nanook, wow, now that is some nice sleuthing! You have earned your deerstalker cap and briar pipe! Oh, and a Dolly Madison Zinger too.

Anonymous, you could definitely buy stamps in the shops. And I have seen many kinds of vintage Disneyland lighters, some that fetch surprisingly high prices on the collector’s market these days. I’ve also seen some nice porcelain ashtrays with various designs, though I am not 100% sure those are all from the Tobacco Shop.

JB, you are not going to believe this, but in my reply to your first comment, I just happened to make a joke about turtles, never imagining that Nanook would mention the Turtle King himself, Henry Fenenbock! As for trashcan news, it's sort of a dream come true.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I was just thinking, those painted plywood decorations were definitely displayed on Main Street in 1956, but I am less certain about whether they were there in 1957. If I had more time, I’ do a little research, but I just haven’t had time to relax today. Boo.

Bu said...

We sold stamps at City Hall at face value. Stamps were counted at the end of night, and each stamp sold had to be documented on a hand made receipt. No joke. People would come in with their postcards to Tibuktoo..."how much does it cost to send?"...we would have to have all regions and etc etc etc information to make sure the right stamp on there...and then they would want a "Disneyland" postmark, which of course is not legal, and post boxes clearly said that the mail was taken to Anaheim post office...which it would be via the mail room, and Kenny or whoever else was working that day. I saw Kenny from the mail room eat an entire cantaloupe once with a spoon. For another time. The mail room also had it's own costume. Costumes are easier than real clothes, and they used to wash and press them for you every day. I like "Pen Store". I like pens, but lose them. I just can't have nice things. Thanks for the link to the Pen story. Looks like Swannee Facebook also owned all the cigarette machines throughout the park. Gotta love that! Looks like he crossed over a very rich guy too...good for him. Nice pens are a joy to write with when they are so well balanced and the ink flows just so. In my travels of Africa pens are a commodity to be traded. I was wondering why I was told to pack so many pens...and the ones from hotels, and free ones from here and there...they were basically currency. Ball point pens with ANYTHING printed from the US would be looked at with awe. I feel bad now that I traded them for stuff, because everyone should have pens and paper. They did not. I did give brochures away from hotels/campsites/etc. from their own country. They had never seen such things on shiny paper- things we take for granted and throw away. I think that the change of the Gibson card shop to Hallmark was good for the architecture. I always liked the little crown above the raging hot lava underneath. Of course, later on Gibson came back to "card corner" and Carefree Corner was demoted to a tiny cubicle. That was popular. Dick Nunis (and all of us) were happy that a card shop was back! We all were "what is going to happen?!!!" when Hallmark left. Then...Gibson appeared almost overnight. I think at the same time Lost and Found moved, and the Lost and Found ladies and Carefree Corner ladies all got new costumes. The old costume was very ornate and very heavy. Light blue with lots of cape-looking things and embellishments....very heavy, and heavy fabric with multiple layers. Knife in head has interesting glove. I'm not sure if Knife in Head would be sold today...it seems really super creepy...don't kids get freaked out by that stuff? I'm kind of freaked out now. On that note...thanks for the walk down Main St. Major. PENS! who knew?

Nanook said...

"And for not linking to Daveland, I can’t afford any more fees". Hmmm... I'm certain the funds in your GoFundMe account have eclipsed $350K-! It shouldn't be an issue doing forward. (What - there's been nefarious activity already-? Shocking-!)

Major Pepperidge said...

Bu, now I want to send a postcard to Timbuktu. Funny that the park wanted to account for every stamp; looking it up, first class postage (not even “postcard rate”) was 22 cents in 1985. Somehow I thought I’d heard that there was a “Disneyland” postmark, but now that I really think about it, that makes no sense. An entire cantaloupe, well at least it’s healthy? Somewhere on this blog I have a photo of the mail room costume (from the 1960s anyway). I have so many darn ballpoint pens I don’t know what to do with them, mostly because my brother buys them almost obsessively, and I get to take home packs and packs of them just to make room in the drawers where he lives. Yes, he is weird. Interesting that pens were so valued in Africa, it makes you rethink your priorities. I also liked the crown on the Hallmark Store, though there was something appropriate about the name Gibson (as in “Gibson Girl”) on Main Street. No relation of course, but still. I have no doubt that “knife in head” would be deemed inappropriate by today’s standards. But I kind of love it because it is so gruesome!

Nanook, I needed that money for my new wine cellar! I don’t buy wine, but I do need a wine cellar. For appearances, you understand.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, all, for today’s nonstop laughs (and info).