Thursday, December 22, 2022

Thursday Beauties

Here's a pair of very nice photos - unrelated except for the fact that they are both from the planet Urf. 

This first one is date-stamped "July 1968", and shows a nice couple posing with the Carousel of Progress looming behind them - the ride had debuted only a year earlier (on July 2, 1967). As much as I loved the CoP, the feature that I miss the most is the view of the huge Progress City model on the upper level. I've always hoped that it would come back to Anaheim someday (the chopped up model, in need of restoration, is now on display at the Magic Kingdom, visible from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover), but I know that it is extremely unlikely to happen.

Next, let's head back to September, 1958. Folks are lining up to board a parking lot tram. Why are they all leaving the park so early? There's plenty of daylight left. Just look at that smog, yikes. That is some thick, chunky smog. 


Nanook said...

Pic #1 - The last vestige of mens hats.
Pic #2 - Suspenders-! Perfect attire for very smoggy days.

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

1) Planet Urf looks like a nice place to visit... almost Earth-like! Even the name sounds similar. What are the odds?!
I think those are some kind of flowers printed on the posing lady's dress; daisies, maybe. Not sure what that is in her husband's shirt pocket, ticket book?
I wonder if the Tomorrowland Terrace bandstand (behind them) rose up from the murky depths while they were there?

2) The guy in the polka-dotted shirt (on the right) is trying to decide if he wants to enter Disneyland, or stay in the parking lot and count cars. Difficult choice. The hoodlum on his right has his shirt untucked; very sloppy... And he's wearing thongs!! Would they even let him in the Park like that?

Thanks for the trip to planet Urf, Major.


I can’t boast about Tomorrowland’67 enough ….. the planning and design thought was extreme ….and images of it instantly bring great memories of a Disneyland and time quickly vanishing away.

Major: Progress City ( it’s remains) will not likely ever return to Disneyland . It is a Walt Disney World icon …. As it’s been in Florida since 1974/75. Way longer than it was ever at Disneyland. But Disneyland had the fully animated version.

Also the Progress City model was completely restored a few years ago. Completely cleaned and refurbished … alas the only animation is at the amusement park. But all the lighting and details were fixed. Another change that was approved my Marty Sklar before he passed was to replace the highspeed trains with monorails. The monorails are static …. And based on a Australian prototype …. As there was no money to create WDW style monorails. Over the years un official “visitors” to the model took souvenirs … to the point where many of the original scale vehicles were slowly disappearing. The prize “souvenir” : a WEDWAY PeopleMover car. Also the Casey Jr. Train …. There were two fabricated by WED model makers designed to operate … one as a backup. Today one full train exists but the locomotive(s) are king missing. The model vehicles in the 1967 model were mostly commercially available by manufacturers like Athearn, INGAP, Anguplas-EKO, and Wiking. These vehicles could have been obtained but the refurbishment crew used modern production scale automobiles.
But everything was cleaned and restored and repainted and new vegetation added. All the show lighting was also fixed.

It’s amazing that the progress city model survives at all as the space it sits in was intended to have been used by the show building’s sponsor RCA …. To showcase a “Tomorrowland” computer control exhibit. RCA wasn’t happy with the first computer show attraction and they held off until Space Mountain was ready. Flight to the Moon was duplicated and opened in 1971 without a sponsor. The display space was left empty as the WEDWAY PeopleMover didn’t open till 1975 . Since the carousel of progress arrived in 1974 the exhibit space was vacant and WED put the remains of progress city in as a temporary fill . The idea was that as the real EPCOT planing progressed changing models and concepts would be featured….. but Progress City still remains.

TokyoMagic! said...

That first photo is a gorgeous shot of COP's exterior and Rolly's pop-up stage.

Is that a scarecrow riding in the blue PeopleMover car? Or maybe it's a gingerbread man?

JG said...

Tom Hanks and his wife are posing to show off the themed speakers in the pop-up stage.

Tokyo, you are right, that’s a fine photo, maybe not great, but surely puts us in the time and place. They guy in the PM is NOT “keeping his hands and arms inside the car”. I think he’s got his arms hooked into and is leaning over the guardrails.

The tram pic is sure early, no hotel towers, lots of older cars, and “air you can see”. Also power lines! Big ones. The best kind.

Major, you are right about the model, it was the best part of the show, and as someone said in an earlier post, the view of Tomorrowland on exiting was the Final Act. They had shown us what was possible, and here it was in real life, go enjoy it.

Mike, good news on the refurbished model. It was too important to allow to decay.


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, old habits die hard with old-timers! I’ve never worn suspenders in my life, I feel like I’m missing something.

JB, are you sure those aren’t ranunculus? They sure look like ranunculus to me. (I have no idea what a ranunculus looks like). Imagine the thrill those two would feel if the stage suddenly rose, and The Entertainment Committee was rocking out! Maybe the guy with the polka dots is trying to decide if he should stay indoors on this thick, chunky day!

Mike Cozart, I did not actually expect that Progress City would ever return to Disneyland, especially with rumors of the demise of the Carousel Theatre. While I did not know that the Progress City model had been “restored”, I also meant restored to its full size and complete glory, with all of the working lights and mechanical pieces. I feel (this is just me) that the model belongs at Disneyland, it was probably shipped off to Florida to have something in Tomorrowland to look at in those early years. It’s crazy to me to think that people could just take pieces of the model; first of all, don’t people have any sort of conscience? And the fact that nobody was there keeping an eye on them to stop them. Crazy. Seems like a complete lack of respect for this historic model. I don’t really mind that they used some “off the shelf” miniatures for parts of Progress City, that’s a tradition in architectural models after all. Of course it would be super cool if they actually paid somebody to make bespoke objects that were unique! I agree with you, it IS amazing that Progress City still exists, by now I’d expect that it would have been torn out, mostly trashed, with occasional pieces showing up at auction for tons of money.

TokyoMagic!, ha ha, YES, that’s a scarecrow!

JG, Tom Hanks sure gets around. I guess if you have guardrails (armrails?) people are going to rest their arms on them. They should be put in prison, if you ask me. Harsh? It’s true, I rule with an iron fist. With no Peoplemover to ride while passing Progress City, I guess it is pointless to bring the model back (and as I said to Mike, I know that it will never come back), but imagine if it was in our Tomorrowland, in a place where guests could stand and marvel at it, a relic of one of Walt’s last dreams.

Anonymous said...

I remember riding on those trams with the wheel "hump". Not as efficient or as safe as the ones today but it did come with its own 'excitement' of being inches from falling off onto the pavement. Parents...hold on to your children!! KS

Dean Finder said...

Major, I think there were a fair number of Progress City superfans that felt like Disney showed no interest in maintaining the model, so they didn't think it was a big deal when they stole pieces that was falling into disrepair and headed for the trash heap.
I know of some former CMs who offered to work on the model in their own time, but were rebuffed.

Nanook said...

Initially I only noticed the one fella - on the far right - with the light blue shirt, sporting a 'middle-age father look' (what's up with that-?) wearing a pair of flip-flops [or zories, or the dreaded thongs, if one prefers]. But I see those young lads in the front of the last car are also wearing them. And I'm gonna bet they managed a full day of walking without injuring their feet in some way - even if a more "sensible" shoe choice was advised.


DEAN FINDER : oh yeah Disney would not allow that …. With the unions and HR and labor laws : working on a project on you own time went away with ditto machines and giant coffee table ashtrays!!

The Progress City model in Florida did get some regular maintenance by like anything over time things wear out get damaged or stolen ….. ( like the disappearing automobiles) and dust was getting into everything…. And in all honesty … current park management wasn’t giving it any priority. In fact bigger things were being neglected like the ACTUAL Carousel of Progress !! I’m sure most of you have seen the YouTube footage from several years ago at the COP … where two boys on drugs walk up onto act one stage and are totally confused and out of it .. one boy tries to open the prop window to climb out …. Then he grabs the vintage butter churn and breaks it into pieces …. Then one boy pulls the other to the floor and then finally normal people run up to get the guts out of there . And the video continues showing that many many hours later the damage sets , props and carpet are all still left on stage damage and strewn about!! While hundreds of guests continued to ride Thru!!!

But recently the Carousel of Progress has received much love … including a new exterior mural … so popular it appears on merchandise and even an expensive men’s lounge / club shirt! Also all new lighting and AA cast costumes and sone props … with references to pioneering imagineers and other Tomorrowland & Epcot attractions. Several new updates to the Carousel of Progress have been worked on over the years but now as Disney wrestles with its identity and WOKE issues … the Carousel of Progress is a hot potato and they are afraid to touch it right now as the subject of an American Family - what made Disney successful is now verboten.

JB said...

Thanks for the Model info, Mike!

Tokyo!, I think that's the first sighting of a scarecrow in Disneyland. If it's a gingerbread man, maybe there have been a few in various parades over the years.

Dang you, Major. You made me google "ranunculus". They are NOT ranunculuseses! Ranunculus look somewhat like roses, from what I can tell.

Bu said...

Quickly: who’s trying to get in the Park wearing a thong? That’s all I have time for :) COP rules. I want to visit WDW just to see that, and I’ll be good :)

Melissa said...

I don’t think I’ve ever seen that planter Mom and Pop are standing next to in front of the COP. Like so much of Tomorrowland 67, it makes wonderful use of negative space for that light and airy feel. I wore suspenders a lot in high school just as a fashion statement, but never to hold my pants up. Years later, I was able to help the chorus boys in Oklahoma!, who had never worn them before, to put theirs on straight.

Mike, I am aghast at that story of the hooligans on the COP. I’m sure there’s video out there, but I don’t know if I could stand to watch it. I was encouraged to see the final show scene got some cosmetic upgrades in recent years, so maybe there’s hope for the old girl yet. I am also more annoyed than surprised about people taking souvenirs from the Progress City model over the years. They would make lousy urban explorers. I would really love to see some kind of show come back to the Carousel theater in Anaheim, although at this late date I’m not going to hold my breath. A show about the history of Tomorrowland would be pretty cool, but probably have a limited appeal to guests outside of the Old Fogey Club, dangnabbit.

The tram picture is a people watcher’s delight. I love seeing everybody and their pastel vacation clothes, except for the occasional trend-bucker in dark plaid. I particularly like the two young boys holding their souvenir hats. Was it too hot to wear them, or were they just tired of them? I sometimes wish I had spent my childhood souvenir budget on a hat instead of a balloon, which lasted longer than it should have but not as long as a hat would have. I finally got my monogrammed ear beanie as an adult, but at the moment it’s sitting in a friend’s storage unit since my last move.

Major Pepperidge said...

KS, ha ha, it was Disneyland’s first thrill ride!

Dean Finder, I am almost positive that I read an interview with an Imagineer who said that he (and maybe a friend?) volunteered to restore Progress City and that they were turned down. CRAZY. As you said, they showed no interest in it, which somehow says a lot.

Nanook, I can’t imagine wearing flip-flops to Disneyland, it sounds very uncomfortable. Plus… people sometimes step on your toes. You know, queues and such. However, when I was a kid living in Huntington Beach, we loved to wear flip-flops as much as possible!

Mike Cozart, you mean there aren’t ditto machines anymore? ;-) I DID see that YouTube footage, it’s astonishing. And the way they run these rides (minimal staffing), there was almost surely no cast member within 100 feet. I think about the Tiki Room, that’s how it’s done now, the CM introduces the show and then vanishes. It probably wouldn’t be that hard to destroy parts of that show too (I hate to even write that down, as if it will cause it to happen). Not sure I’ve seen the new exterior CoP mural, I’ll have to look for it online. Sure, Disney made a ride about an American family, but what about an American family with light sabers??

JB, I guess you can sort of see the gumdrop buttons? As for ranunculus, all I can say is that I blame society.

Bu, I’ve seen women with low-riding jeans, showing off their thongs! Even that amazes me that they got in without a peep.

Melissa, as you probably know, that planter was the top of the Tomorrowland Stage, the one that would rise and then descend. So cool. I remember my grandma giving me a pair of suspenders for Christmas, but I had no desire to ever wear them. They had clips so that you could use them on regular pants if you wanted to. I don’t recommend watching that video (assuming it’s still available), it really is hard to watch. I’d like to believe that the guys got more than a slap on the wrist, but I never really heard any sort of followup. Whenever I hear any rumors about the Carousel Theatre, it usually involves tearing it down. Maybe it’s time. Good observation on the boys holding their hats, it can be brutally hot in September, though would you rather have a hat protecting you front the sun, or feel the cool breeze (ha ha)? I have a photo of three year-old me with my Mickey Ears, monogrammed I think. I still haven’t had the courage to share it here.

Bu said...

I’m back…tram employee giving off NASA realness. Classic costume with white shirt and Disneyland logo embroidered patch. Just goes to show you don’t have to be Monorail Retlaw material to rock a good costume. I think what the employees lack today is a sense of “put together”. I’m not asking to be surrounded by model types, just turn it out and show up. (Grumpy old man warning.) We’ve talked about that particular parking lot tram before: the one that took us backstage on my orientation tour. It still had the same awning. Do we really need guard rails and other accoutrements? I suppose we do for the hooliganism akin to taking apart the COP. Please people, can we please put our crack pipes away for the day? The Rolly Crump planter/stage was always iconic. They destroyed it, then “rebuilt” it in the “same spirit”. Don’t they keep architectural plans? Seems like “make like same” makes more sense than re-design…pay designers…pay architects…I will say again: “I thought you guys wanted to make money?” This reminds me of the Thompson Twins song “King for a day”. I want to be King for a day and wave my magic wand and make Tomorrowland ‘67 re-appear.

Anonymous said...

“I blew out my flip flop
Stepped on a pop top”

The danger of flip flops in Disneyland.


Anonymous said...

It was NOT SOP for the CM to disappear after waking up Jose during my day. We got to know the show quite well as a result. Yes...the occasional slip into the foreman's office now and then was tolerated but just that. And on a hot summer's day, it was a pretty "skate" position as we would say back them. KS

Dean Finder said...

Mike, I'm not surprised that the people who are constantly offended on behalf of others are up in arms over the Tiki Room, but I didn't think the CoP was also subject to the same organized aggrievement. I always thought it has an underlying message of women's liberation from domestic drudgery.
I think the ultimate destination of the CoP is installation at the WDFM in San Francisco. It can be restored to Walt's original version as an example of his sdense of futurism.