Thursday, December 08, 2022

Main Street Pix, 1973

I have another nice selection of photos from good ol' Mr. X, pictures that he personally took back in 1973  with his new Nikon. We're getting to the last few from this batch, but don't worry, there are still some real beauties to come.

I love this nice photo of the Opera House, which was featuring "The Walt Disney Story" (which debuted in '73), and not "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln". Hey, what gives?

As much as people loved Walt Disney, they were upset at the removal of Lincoln, and there was a real public outcry. He returned to the stage in 1975 as part of "The Walt Disney Story Featuring Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln and Poochie". 

Love the bell-bottoms on the lady in blue!

Strollers parked out front are clues that at least some people were inside enjoying the show, or at least enjoying the air-conditioning.

Over to the right is a window display, all I can really discern is the name "Cinderella".

Meanwhile, in the Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner (up the street a spell) you might find Rod Miller tickling the ivories as guests enjoyed their hotdogs and beef Wellington.

Many thanks to Mr. X!


Nanook said...

"...Featuring Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln and Poochie". I musta missed those performances where 'Poochie' appeared-! The colors in these images are very inviting, displaying a bit more 'authenticity' than the more-surreal Kodachrome images did from the 1950's.

The image from Coke Corner must be from sometime around the early 1970's, as the Rod Miller 'groupies' hadn't yet taken up permanent residence on the backside of the piano... And as much as I liked Rod, Judy Carmichael's time at that piano was really special. (She's just one helluva pianist-!)

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

First one: That red Mickey balloon is bigger than the little kid in the stroller. I love the intricate carving of the "comedy & tragedy" masks and its surroundings. I wonder if it's plaster, cement, or fiberglass?

In the close-up of the Cinderella scene, the oval to the left of the Cinderella oval is, I think, depicting various images of the Owl character. Dressed up as Prince Charming in the cloak, boots, and hat, etc.

I don't think I would've gone in to see The Walt Disney Story. Most likely, we would have just entered the Park and would be antsy to get to the rides. I did go in to spend a few moments with Mr. Lincoln though.

Thank you to the team of Mr. X and the Major.


The color in these images is great! And I have NEVER seen that version of The Walt Disney Story playbill poster. It’s very similar to a Walt Disney World Walt Disney Story poster - the Disneyland version must be fairly rare as the attraction didn’t stay “Walt Disney “ only for very long.

I’ve heard the story before that guests accused Walt Disney Productions of being anti patriotic for removing Mr. Lincoln. But at the time a LIBERTY SQUARE was being developed for Disneyland …. And it was to have included The Hall of Presidents. In fact inside the Walt Disney Story was a display that announced Walt Disney’s dream of the Hall of Presidents opening at Disneyland was going to soon come true. Later a similar display re-worded mentioned that someday the Hall of Presidents could come to Disneyland remained until the Walt Disney Story was converted to the Disneyland Story in 2005. The gas crises / energy crises of the early -mid 1970’s affected many plans for Disneyland that either were completely cancelled or drastically altered. When the LIBERTY SQUARE ‘76 project was place on hold , Disneyland quickly returned Mr. Lincoln to the opera house. I have a opera house poster for Walt Disney Story /Lincoln that says “bicentennial edition” …… as to what the difference was of the regular Lincoln and the bicentennial edition was I’ve never heard - but it was enough to create special posters for it.

Chuck said...

Wow - the color on these is really, um, colorful! It looks very natural, too. All except the sky, illustrating why they have to use sky backdrops in a lot of films shot in Southern California - the sky is often so blue that it looks fake. True story - or, at least it’s true that that’s what they told us on a Paramount Studios tour.

Rod Miller with a (mostly) full head of hair! I can relate. Except I can’t play piano. Or attract groupies. Which is probably for the best - my way of making the world a better place.

Nanook, thanks for pointing out the “…and Poochie;” my eyes read completely past it. That Major - always trying to pull a fast one on us.

And now I can’t think of anything but Abraham Lincoln in sunglasses, a backwards ball cap and carrying a surfboard. TO THE EXTREME!

JB, it’s probably made from a thin, flexible rubber. If it were plaster, cement, or fiberglass, it would be too small to contain enough helium to make it float.

Mike, I am filled with a bit of awe when I think of how in 1973 they were still planning on opening a Liberty Square at Disneyland by 1976 and hadn’t even broken ground yet. Compared to the project timelines of today, that is simply mind-boggling. And then I remember the following facts:

1. They still had many members of that first generation of Imagineers, who had the experience and confidence to put things together quickly.

2. This wasn’t really whipped up overnight. Liberty Square had shown up on Sam McKim souvenir maps as early as 1958, so there had been a long period of creative gestation.

3. There was already a Liberty Square at WDW, and existing molds, engineering drawings, etc., could be re-used very quickly (see “Haunted Mansion” and “Pirates of the Caribbean”).

4. Disneyland already had a model of the U.S. Capitol in miniature, which was featured on souvenir maps and is still on display to this day. It’s a huge draw; the last time I was there, there were four people in that room - me, and my three friends who were sitting with their backs to it, resting their tuckered feet.

I dream sometimes of the Disneyland that might have been without the fuel crisis, the cost of EPCOT Center, and the Eisner/Wells leadership change. Then I learn I have to give a speech at the Opera House to a packed audience and can’t find my notes, and then suddenly I’m not wearing any pants. I usually wake up screaming. Every. Single. Night.

“Bicentennial Edition” means that they charged twice as much for admission to the attraction.

Catch you on the flip side, dudemeisters! NOT!


Chuck: very true. The Disneyland LIBERTY SQUARE ‘76 , while much smaller in area , used existing facades created for Walt Disney World; with one exception: a windmill. This was based on a prototype located in Colonial Williamsburg. Duplicated withdrawal hade been the entire East and South exteriors of the Liberty Hall complex , the Heritage House/Sleepy Hallow Refreshment complex (both complexes in the same relation as in Florida ) the facades of the Silversmith , Perfume , old world antiques complex was split with one half butting up against Casa De Fritos and the other half being it’s own complex facing the exit of Hall of Presidents. The Liberty Tree , stocks , and Concord Bridge was also included. The Liberty Square ‘76 entrance was to be located where Carnation Gardens stood. While Liberty Square for Disneyland was being developed from the work created for Florida , it was studied to go in three spaces : behind Main St. ( north of its appearance as Liberty Street on the Sam McKim maps) west of New Orleans Square (beyond the DL RR tracks) and the Carnation Gardens location that was finally selected . In the 1990’s behind main street was selected for a larger version of Liberty Square with The American Adventure replacing The Hall of Presidents.

The 1976 Liberty Square required a “chess game” of projects that were in the planing stages - but as soon as the energy crises disabled projects and altered priorities , Disneyland lost its Liberty Square ‘76.

The projects included Liberty Square , Fantasia Attraction, Island At The Top of the World attraction ( resurrected as part of Discovery Bay) , The Western River Expedition , the Thunder Canyon Explosive Company shooting gallery ( resurrected as The Fireworks Factory as part of Discovery Bay ) a BBQ restaurant ( evolved into Big Thunder BBQ) Thunder Mountain Runnaway Railroad , Pinocchio’s Village , relocated Dumbo ( evolved into 1983 New Fantasyland ) , Space Mountain and Tomorrowland Arcade., new plaza facing Tomorrowland dance pavilion located in Alpine Gardens replacing Carnation Gardens .

Stu29573 said...

The weird thing is that Disney actually owns Poochie now...

Nanook said...

I wonder when the signage on the Opera House changed from merely "Opera House" to "Disneyland Opera House"-? A 'certain site' has an image identified as being from 1968 showing the "new" signage - so it was there then.

JG said...

Beautiful shots, Major.

I have thoughts, I’ll be back after meetings.


Steve DeGaetano said...

Wow, a young Rod Miller! Wouldn't call myself a groupie, but I did compliment him once, and I usually sat for a few tunes nearly every visit during the late 1990s.

Kathy! said...

Fun fashion! Like Major mentioned, bell bottoms abound. I like the striped bucket hat in photo one. In the embiggened photo 2 (fourth pic down), we can see a woman violently swinging her purse from behind a pillar. It’s at a90 degree angle; how many people did she whack? I thought Rod was enjoying a tiny cup of Coke, but it’s probably water. Thanks for a colorful day, Mr. X and Major.

Chuck said...

I think about how amazing Liberty Square '76 and the other lost '70s projects might have been, and then I realize what might have been lost. If Liberty Square had gone ahead as planned, based on necessary construction timelines I would have no personal memories of Nature's Wonderland - it would have been torn out by January of '75, which was the first time I remember riding it. Not sure I'd want to make that trade.

It also would be interesting to see how those projects might have impacted or been impacted by later projects. Would there be a Galaxy's Edge, or would Liberty Square or Discovery Bay been removed or truncated to make room for it? Where would they have put Videopolis if Dumbo's Circusland was already on that real estate, and what might we have lost instead? Would these projects have eaten up the budget for EPCOT Center, giving us something much smaller like some of the early-to-mid '70s concepts, or would it have been postponed indefinitely? We'll never know the answers, but it's interesting to ponder.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, not many people remember the short-lived Poochie animatronic, the most advanced of its day. You really believed that he was doing a kick-flip! Man, he was cool. Maybe TOO cool for the general public? I didn’t know that Rod Miller had groupies, though I am reasonably sure that I saw him play at least once. Judy Carmichael, never heard her name before, I wonder why Rod got so famous but Judy did not (as far as I know)?

JB, 1973 was “peak balloon”, when an American could be proud of his balloon, because we used NASA technology to make them the best damn balloons in the world. I know that WDW used lots of fiberglass for Main Street architectural details, but have the feeling that 1955 was early for that. I’m voting “cast plaster”, but don’t really know. The owl character dressed as Prince Charming is from Sleeping Beauty, so… whatever we are seeing, I don’t think it’s that character. It does look like we’re seeing record albums, and maybe books, and… who knows.

Mike Cozart, interesting, I like that there is a version of a poster that you haven’t seen! It must be rare if that’s the case. Guests accusing Walt Disney Productions of being anti-patriotic is just silly, although it might have been a ploy to “guilt” the company into bringing Abe back. I guess it worked? I’m kind of glad that we did not get a Hall of Presidents, to be honest - let’s just avoid those recent controversies. I am not sure I knew that the energy crisis caused so many Disneyland projects to be cancelled!

Chuck, it is true, the color IS colorful! ;-) I see plenty of SoCal days with blown-out white skies, but there are certainly those “blue sky” days that I love so much. The thing you and Rod Miller have in common is that you both wear striped shirts and vests all the time. Maybe the Lincoln show needs updating so that kids can relate. When I was in animation, it became a joke, when they wanted a character to be “cool”, they had him skateboard, wear a baseball cap (usually backwards), and he could shred on an electric guitar. I worked on some Pink Panther cartoons where that was the case, and it was so dumb. Why not make the character good at math? Now THAT’S cool! You make many (or 4) good points about the very real potential addition of Liberty Square to Disneyland, and I am going to steal all of them for my book. Who were those dopey friends sitting with their backs to that wonderful model of the U.S. Capitol? They must be real wienies. They probably didn’t even watch the Lincoln show even though they were RIGHT THERE. I used to think of what Disneyland might have had if not for various other factors, including a period when I felt like Florida was getting all of the cool stuff, and Anaheim was being ignored. It wasn’t really true, but it FELT that way to me.

Anonymous said...


"For of all sad words of tongue or pen, The saddest are these: 'It might have been!' "


Nanook said...

Judy Carmichael's time at Coke Corner was relatively-short: From about 1977-1982 - explaining her 'relative' lack-of-fame among Disneylanders. Her real calling was much greater than what performing at Coke Corner could provide. She is described as ... one of the world’s leading interpreters of stride and swing piano. Count Basie nicknamed her “Stride," acknowledging the command with which she plays this technically and physically demanding jazz piano style. You get the idea.

It began, Miss Carmichael said, when she was 12 years old in Lynwood, Calif., and had been struggling through piano lessons for four years.

"My grandfather said he'd give $50 to any of his grandchildren who could play 'Maple Leaf Rag,' " Miss Carmichael said. "I told my piano teacher that I wanted to learn it, but she refused to teach it to me. She said I wasn't good enough. So I taught myself. I learned it note by note. As soon as I'd learned it, I played it for my grandfather, took the $50 and quit taking lessons."

As I said earlier - she played circles around EVERYONE else who ever played there.

Chuck said...

Major, as a matter of fact, no, they didn't watch the Lincoln show. How did you know that? Creepy - it's like you were right there with me...

Would Dumbo's Waterbed Emporium have had Hall of Presidents Day sales?

JG, "More sad are these we daily see: It is, but hadn’t ought to be.”

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely afternoon there on town square. I’m guessing September.

Thank you Mike Cozart! That’s some mighty fascinating backstory stuff! How it all fits together is my favorite part of the park.

Rod Miller was quite a flirt, that had to have helped his fame. He’d wink and trill. No wonder people flocked.


JB said...

Major, "Cinderella", "Sleeping Beauty". I always get scenes from those two movies mixed up in my head. They both have damsels-in-distress, princes coming to the rescue, fairy godmothers, helpful vermin, happily-ever-aftering. The End.

Anonymous said...

JB, "Helpful Vermin" was my high school band name.

Chuck, you are right. If those things had happened, would we also consider them part of TRE?

Major, I love these pictures of the Opera House. I remember seeing the Mr. Lincoln show as a boy with my Dad and years later, with my kids. Good memories. We thought that replacing it with the Walt Disney Story was somehow subversive, and were happy to get Lincoln back. Thank you to Mr. X for sharing them.

Going back to the earlier post this week on the Opera House, I researched the Site Who is Not to be Named, and found there were several pictures dated 1957, one of which clearly shows the TSI poster seen in the Knife In the Head picture. This photo is wider angle view and has a plain green trash can in it.

The next Opera House photo is 1958 and the Grand Canyon poster is in that AP frame, but no trash visible, and the one dated 1959 has the Submarine and Monorail AP's showing. It seems that the posters were changed at least annually. The 1959 shot has a fancy trash can, which is consistent with my earlier research.

So, if your photos in the earlier post are from the same batch, then they can be dated to 1957 on the evidence of the TSI Attraction Poster, as well as the hand-written date, and the fancy trash can was existing in the same Town Square as the plain one in the Daveland pic. And Nanook dates the signs in the other picture to mid-1957 or 58. So mid-1957 looks like a good range for the appearance of the first fancy cans. I'm thrilled.


Nanook said...

@ JG-
There was a professor at UCLA in the 1960's & 70's in the Film & Television Department who often 'crowed' "Thrill Me-!" to a student who was about to present his film to the class. (Are you related to Frank La Tourette-?)

JB said...

JG, to complicate things (or maybe clarify things), I have a 35mm slide (which I haven't sent to Major yet) that shows one of the bright green trashcans in Fantasyland in December of 1957.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, those are some sad words, but what about “I dropped my ice cream cone”??

Nanook, wow, Judy Carmichael must have been pretty amazing, I love that she quite taking lessons after getting the $50 from her dad. Count Basie had a nickname for me too, but it can’t be printed here.

Chuck, let’s just say that I have people watching. ALWAYS WATCHING. Dumbo’s Waterbed Emporium had Peanut Day sales (National Peanut Day is September 13th, of course).

MS, ha ha, I don’t know why, but thinking of Rod Miller flirting makes me picture a silent-movie version of him, making exaggerated expressions at everyone. Oh, and he has a handlebar mustache, too.

JB, Cinderella is the one with the motorcycle chase at the end.

JG, everyone in “Helpful Vermin” played a bass guitar. Unique! My dad loved the Lincoln show, he’d get all choked up. I liked it too, though I’m not sure if I can articulate WHY I did. I feel like those photos you mentioned only get us “so close” to a more specific date. Tom Sawyer Island debuted on June 16th of 1956, and the Grand Canyon Diorama debuted on March 31, 1958. For what that’s worth. As usual, I wrote Tuesday’s post months ago, so I barely remember the situation, but I do think that at least one of the slides had a date on it (a year if not a month). I’m OK with “mid-1957”!

Nanook, did that UCLA professor wear a beret and speak to his class through an old-timey megaphone (a la Rudy Vallée)? It goes without saying that he wore jodhpurs.

JB, your slide is more valuable than the Zapruder film! ;-) From what I understand (and I am very woozy) it sounds like the photo would help to clarify things, trashcan-wise.

Anonymous said...

JB, that's very consistent with my earlier observations. Decorated cans were not seen until 1958.

I'm thinking that the Main Street cans might have been the first ones to be decorated, maybe because they are so obviously lined up along the sidewalks on both sides. That regular rhythm is what first made me start counting them.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Mr. X, these are great pictures, and the colors in that first photo are gorgeous! The blue sky is even brighter than that gal's sky-blue outfit.

Thank you for sharing these, Mr. X and Major!

Anonymous said...

Just great to see Rod the way I remember him. But I don't even recognize myself compared to those days. What a fine entertainer and person! He was just as effervescent backstage. KS