Friday, December 02, 2022

Two Beauties from 195?

I have two really nice scans for you, from the very specific date of nineteen fifty-something. When that thing happened was significant and all of America talked about it.  

It's fun to see the ol' Chemical Wagon, an earlier sort of firetruck than the Motorized Fire Truck; meanwhile it's interesting to me that Walt wanted more than one firetruck, I wonder if he remembered the old horse-drawn version and the motorized version from his childhood? In the background is a hill and the Skyway tower, pre-Matterhorn.

There's no room for even one more passenger, even that nice lady with the pink sweater. I like the souvenir hat on the little boy in front of the man with the red and white checked shirt. Notice also that three kids are wearing those rare Carnation headbands!

From the same batch, and with the lady with the pink sweater once again, comes this nice photo from the Jungle Cruise dock. A boat is unloading, I wonder if the woman and her husband (who presumably took the picture) had just exited that same boat and thought to grab a quick pic? 

That young girl had the best time!


Nanook said...

Wow... these images seem to be all about the 'fashion' - from headgear and glasses to "fancy dresses" and footgear.

I've always been curious why the Skyway tower on Holiday Hill is of a 'more industrial' design than its sleeker and more-colorful counterparts on the balance of the route. It's almost as if the Imagineers knew it was to be a 'temporary' tower, someday to be replaced with a 'Matterhorn' as its "tower".

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

That’s what I like to see: lots of pretty summer dresses and wall-to-wall souvenir hats. That one little boy on the chemical wagon looks like a tiny drunken sea captain. I think Mom and Dad need to cut his grog ration. I can’t tell if the ladies in the second picture are wearing crinolines or if their skirts are just puffed out by the breeze.

JB said...

One: I guess this was taken in the Plaza/Hub, but man! I'm having a hard time seeing this as Disneyland! It looks so rural, natural, and bare.
The ladies and girls all look to be dressed in their finest. While the menfolk (and boyfolk) are all dressed casual.

Two (the close-up): Interesting how so many of the Chemical Wagon passengers have a hand up near their face; either eating something or adjusting their glasses.

Three (and the close-up): I can't stop looking at the poofy shirts on the sisters(?) on the left. How do they make 'em look like that? Magic? Maybe there is a Van de Graaff generator wired to the dock?
Are the two guys in loud shirts and Panama hats JC Skippers?

Melissa, I hadn't thought about a breeze making their skirts poofy. I'm gonna stick to my Magic theory; this IS the Magic Kingdom after all.

I remember this date well, Major. Who could forget it, with all the significant stuff going on! Thanks for preserving the day on your Blog for all to see.


I’m not sure when the Fire Wagon was retired as an attraction , but during some of earliest Fall /Halloween ticketed parties in the mid 1990’s the horse drawn fire wagon and the Main Street Surreys would operate ….. as well as a Hay Wagon - which I think was left over from the Disneyland 25th Parade.

Before motorized fire fighting vehicles , horse drawn fire wagons would have often been dispatched in BRIGADES …. And would have included a hand pump wagon or A steamer Pump wagon … a ladder /hose wagon , and often a extra water wagon and a coal wagon to feed the steamer wagon ….. and in the cities a “crew” wagon and a fire chief’s buggy. The amount of time to hook up horses and prep steam pumpers it’s no wonder so many cities and downs easily burned down multiple times . The motorized fire truck must have been a god send!

From the looks of the overloaded Main Street Hose & Chemical Wagon , I don’t think it’s going to get to the fire very quickly.

JG said...

It’s a shame the photo isn’t more centered on the Fire Wagon, but I should be grateful we have the pic at all.

This is the vehicle now parked in the Firehouse, correct?

The area with pink flowers and lawn to the right is the future Snow White’s Grotto, I think.

Continuing the topic of fire suppression, I think there’s an old school fire extinguisher handy in front of the Skipper on the JC boat.

Fun to see all these happy people, the laughing young lady is going to go back and take up Trader Sam’s generous offer, “Two of his… …for One of yours.”


Chuck said...

This batch presents a slight mystery.

The Zambesi Miss is sporting a Union Jack (defaced with an as-yet-unidentified - by me, at least - circular emblem) on the stern. For a brief period, the Jungle Cruise boats bore flags that were related in some way to their namesake river. For example, about half of the Zambezi flows through what was then the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia and the British colony of Southern Rhodesia, which were combined along with the protectorate of Nyasaland into the short-lived colonial Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland from 1953-1963, which explains the Union Jack on the Zambesi Miss. The Amazon Belle displayed the flag of Brazil, the Mekong Maiden carried the Naval Ensign of Thailand, the Hondo Hattie flew the flag of British Honduras, and the Congo Queen sported the flag of the Belgian Congo (at least into 1960, when it became the independent Congo, which also had a similiar flag until 1963). I have found no other photos (yet) documenting what boat flew which flag.

The flags appear to have been removed around 1962, probably with the Marc Davis updates. With the "Winds of Change" sweeping across the African colonial landscape in the early '60s, I can see keeping up with flag changes would be challenging. Added to that might have been guest complaints ("Hey, I'm from Vietnam, and the Mekong goes through my country. You should fly the flag of Vietnam on the Mekong Maiden, not the Thai Naval Ensign!"). On top of that, there is the cost of maintenance of an element that wasn't original to the ride.

I mentioned a slight mystery. The earliest pictures I have found of enflagulated Jungle Cruise boats are dated 1959. This batch clearly shows the Snow Hill Skyway support, so it has to have been taken before Matterhorn construction began in 1958.

Chuck said...

Whoops - totally forgot to comment on the first photo!

I dig those Mickey Mouse sunglasses and Indian feather headbands on the kids in the front of the chemical wagon. I think that look should make a comeback.

I love the Disneyland Fire Department shield on the side of the driver's seat.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I think the fashion was just a nice side benefit of these fun photos. It is pretty entertaining to look at how people dressed at the park so long ago. The original Skyway tower looks like it was built using pieces from an Erector Set; now I am also wondering if they knew that it would be replaced in short order.

Melissa, ha ha, the “sea cap’n” got into the doctor’s specimen bottles and he drank all the spirits preserving his collection of rare critters. I’m voting “crinolines” for the skirts!

JB, it is definitely the Plaza, but you are right, where is everything? So much greenery and no “stuff”. Women like to look put-together, bless them. Interesting observation about the hands near faces… I saw some trivia that said we touch our faces 10 times a minute (or whatever the number was). Walt absolutely wanted a Van de Graaf generator installed in the Jungle Cruise dock, but Roy was adamant that he would not pay for one. So Walt got John Hench to put in a home-made generator at night. So sneaky! I think at least one of the JC cast members is a “load and unload” guy. I’m glad you remember that date as fondly as I do, what a time!

Mike Cozart, I was happy to see that they were at least running the motorized fire truck on my last visit. In fact they were running more Main Street vehicles than I expected (four of them). From your description, those horse drawn firetrucks were not of much use, but they DO look neat. At least we can still see the horse-drawn wagon (sans horses) in the firehouse, I finally went up and got a good look at it.

JG, don’t worry, I have a few other, better photos of the fire wagon itself. Just be patient, grasshopper! And yes, the fire wagon is in the firehouse, looking shiny and nice. I love that there are two (empty) horse stalls in the firehouse too. You might be right about the pink-flowered area being the future location of the Snow White Grotto, for some reason I have a hard time putting it there, mentally. But then again, I have a hard time mentally with many things. I always love seeing happy faces on kids in these old photos, just a pure happiness that even now makes me happy too.

Chuck, I noticed the Union Jack too. I love your comment, a classic “Chuck thing” if ever there was one! I’m glad that they seemed to have done their research, when most people would have never thought to even look at the flags. In 1956 all of that stuff you mentioned wasn’t even ancient history, though it seems like it to us now. It would be kind of interesting to find photos of each boat and the corresponding flag from back then. And I was just wondering when the flags went away, when you wrote the date of 1962, which sounds reasonable. I wish there was a recording of the Jungle Cruise spiel from before the days when it was funny. As you pointed out, these are definitely pre-1959, so I guess we can move the date of enflagulation to at least 1958!

Chuck, why you! How dare you skip the first photo! Yes, I love those souvenir glasses on those kids too, I’ll bet they’d sell for at least 80 bucks today, maybe more. And I never get tired of seeing that beautiful fire truck.

Chuck said...

Well, I guess the “little bit of a mystery” turned out to be a very little bit of one. I have discovered that the photo I found/at some random website of the Congo Queen and the flag of the Belgian Congo (not to be confused with the Belgian Waffle, which had yet to be invented) was apparently harvested from GDB and originally dates from 1958. So we can date the flag infestation from 1958-62 and today’s photos from 1958.

Chuck said...

“…so we an definitely date the flag infestation from 1958-62 and today’s entire batch of photos from a single visit in 1958.”

That’s what I meant to say.

And I am interested in finding a photo of every flag flown from the JC boats during that era. I have some theories as to what I will find, but I need proof. I want the truth!!!

Anonymous said...

Chuck, that is amazing research. I noticed the Union Jack after my comments and wondered why. Now we know the flags were part of the boat's identity.

Since the term for a squad of Roman soldiers large enough to carry a separate flag is a "vexillation", and the term for a flag specialist is a "vexillologist", and a designer of flags is a "vexillographer", perhaps instead of "enflagulated", the term "envexillated" might be used.

Also a hobbyist or general admirer of flags is a vexillophile, and I think many on GDB including us, qualify.

Full disclosure, I have no idea if "envexillated" is really a word or not, and neither does the googel. But it sounds plausible and follows at least some of the rules for word coinage.


Anonymous said...

Well, I learn something new every day on this site. This time it is that country flags were flown at the stern of each JC boat. The late 50s and 60s weren't kind to the stability of 'the colonies', and the news each night had something on showing a war or two for independence in one part of the world or another. Those flags would have been changed frequently...and would have become unrecognizable to many.

I'm amazed at the number of people on that fire wagon. There is no way that could happen today. The last time in Africa, I continued to notice people riding in the back of Toyota pickup trucks much like this. 19-21 in a truck.

I look at the dresses in the last pictures and wonder just how many folks the CMs could squeeze into the boat with those skirts! As we used to joke on the load's Cramalot! The fire extinguisher moved to the floor inside the boat by the time I was a skipper. And only two boats were still gasoline powered like the one pictured. I recall them being the Zambezi and Mekong. No doubt, I piloted this boat some 12-15 years later. The natural gas boats had a different throttle than the 'tiller' here. KS

Chuck said...

So, additional research has provided more informationalizicanomagnitionification.

I found a photo on GDB of the Congo Queen flying a blue flag (probably the flag of the Belgian Congo) in either April or August of 1957 (the same photo shows up in different posts with different dates in the file name), so that backdates their earliest appearance by a year.

Here's a 1958 photo of the same boat with the flag more prominently displayed.

I found a 1960 photo of the Nile Princess flying the 1922-58 flag of Egypt, which means it was outdated by the time the photo was taken.

And the Yangtze Lotus apparently carried the flag of Nationalist China, perfectly consistent with US foreign policy at the time which recognized the Republic of China (which has only controlled Taiwan and a few offshore islands since 1948) as the government of all of China.

I was also really curious as to which flags were flown on the boats named after American rivers, Swannee Lady and Kissimmee Kate. I managed to find a 1959 picture of Swannee Lady and was surprised to see it flying what looks like might be the initial, 7-star version of the first flag of the Confederate States of America, the "Stars and Bars." I guess that was considered "foreign-looking" enough to fit in with the theming? I found another photo from 1958, but the section that would be stripes seems to blend in with the stripes on the boat's canopy and we can't really tell what the flag is.

Chuck said...

And then I found a 1958 photo with a flag I simply cannot identify. Not that it's classified or anything - it just eludes my vexillogical skills. I probably need to rest a turn or two to restore my full VPs (vexillogical points).

I also discovered that at least some of the boatses were briefly reenflagulovexillized between 1968 and 1969.

At some point, they were all reflagged in Panama for tax purposes.

I may have made that last factoidionalism up.

Finally, I found it interesting that while they all maintained a single-smokestack configuration and their white paint into the 1990s, the spelling changed over time on the boat names (change is noted in bold below):

Iriwaddi Woman became Iriwaddy Woman.

Swannee Lady became Suwannee Lady.

Zambesi Miss became Zambezi Miss.

Richard F. Irvine became Liberty Belle.

JB said...

Mike, wow. I wonder how many times Disneyland's Main Street burned down and got rebuilt before they got their motorized fire truck?!
Seriously though, has there ever been a significant fire anywhere in Disneyland?

Chuck, great. As Major noted, thanks to your (Chuck Thing™) research, they're gonna have to rewrite the Disney history books, blogs, etc. to reflect the earlier enflagulation. Nice goin', Chuck. (joking)

Major, I guess the thing that makes the Plaza area look so bare, besides the lack of any Swiss mountains, is the 'untouched' look. No Disneyesque landscaping, except for that flower patch where JG says the Grotto will be. Just random grasses, weeds, shrubs, and trees. It looks like a scene from Little House On The Prairie.
I guess that's the backside of the Circarama building on the right?

Chuck again, mystery solved! (sort of). I loved the follow-up.

JG, too late. Enflagulated is seared into our brains.

KS, I was hoping you would chime in today with some JC lore. Thanks!

Chuck some more, too many neologocoinageisms! It's been awhile since we were treated to this extensive of a Chuck Thing™.

Chuck said...

Just noticed another typo in my monograph above...

"...the Republic of China (which has only controlled Taiwan and a few offshore islands since 1949)..."

Chuck said...

JB, um, you're welcome?

Anonymous said...

Digging Mr. Snazzy Hat’s fabulously printed shirt, perfect for a ‘Cruise, jungle or otherwise.

My father called that “make-out mountain”….more of a mole hill really, but could apparently get pretty cozy back there.


Melissa said...

Higitud Figitus Informationalizicanomagnitionification! Prestidigitonium!

We spent quite a bit of time in the Fire House on my visit to Disneyland because my colleague wanted to take pictures of the Chemical Wagon and other equipment for her volunteer firefighter fiancé back home.

I'm fascinated by all the vexillological discussion; I wasn't aware of the flagimocational history of the Jungle Cruise boats.

At first I thought the lady in the dark blue dress and paper hat in the first picture was the same lady in the dark blue dress and paper hat in the second picture, but on second glance I can see she's not. It must have been Dark Blue Dress and Paper Hat Day.

Bu said...

Lots of five dollar words today…I fritzed out. Fire Truck = A+. It has not been TRE’d, in fact the entire station is a quiet nod to 1955. Lots of details to explore. I have a fire story but it’s sooooo long. I’m
Better off doing a tick tick thing, as it needs all the body movements and theatricality to
Tell it. All I can say is that no one was hurt, and no
One was the wiser. If the Major ever posts a photo of the location, I will gladly weigh in. Not teasing - just have nothing left this fine first week of December :)

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, if only the Belgian flag had a waffle on it. Or maybe it does, I’m no expert in flagology. Thank you for narrowing down the date of today’s slides, I really do appreciate it! Had I been asked to guess, I would have thought perhaps “1957”, but that would only be based on a hunch and no real evidence. Because that’s how I roll.

Chuck, yes, I would like photos of each different Jungle Cruise boat when it sported its colonial flag, that’s the sort of thing that I love. But who has the time!

JG, yes, once again Chuck has shamed me by doing much more research than I have done for the entire run of this blog. But hey, at least I have my excellent posture. I used to love a few very old issues of National Geographic that my grandmother had - at least one had all of the flags of U.S. states in color, and I think (but am not sure) that there was one with “flags of the world”. Even as a kid I think I was attracted to the graphic quality of so many flags. I also became fascinated with medieval heraldry for the same reason.

KS, I think that all of those changes you referred to is one of the reasons why it is so interesting to look at old maps or old globes. I love an old globe! Especially if it has yellowed with age. I didn’t really think about how full the fire wagon was, but you’re right, it is jammed as full as can be. And thanks for the info about the two boats that were still powered by gasoline in your day, very interesting. “Cramalot”, ha ha!

Chuck, oh my gosh, it’s “attack of the Chuck thing”! So much research! So many facts! So many photo links! I’ll bet your teachers loved you. Your work makes today’s photos 200% more interesting. Maybe 202%! Interesting about the Nile Princess and the already-outdated flag of Egypt. And the flag of Nationalist China, cool. And yes, it is very interesting to see what they chose for the boats that bore the names of American rivers! Super cool Chuck, thank you so much.

Chuck, the trouble with many of these photos is that the flags are just not that distinct. Either they are far away, or partly obscured, or just hanging limp, making it hard to see the designs. I think you have made more observations about the boats and their flags than anybody else ever! I assume the spelling changed to be less Anglicized? Except for the Richard F. Irvine or course! I also wonder about the names that were discontinued, Magdalena Maiden and Mekong Maiden. WHY?

JB, as far as I know there have never been any significant fires at Disneyland, though firework debris has occasionally caused smaller fires that have been quickly knocked down. And yes, Chuck’s comments are great! Yes, the lack of a Matterhorn really does make that Plaza area look drastically different, but that’s part of what is so amazing. We’ve had that Swiss mountain for over 60 years, so not many recall seeing the park the way it looks here.

Chuck, we forgive you!

MS, is the Skipper “Mr Snazzy Hat”?? Or the little kid on the fire wagon? So many snazzy hats. And yes, supposedly that hill was a popular place for folks wanting to do some kissing.

Melissa, on my last visit to Disneyland, I finally went into the firehouse and really had a chance to look at the fire wagon and the building itself, why did it take me so many years? Because I’m always in such a hurry. I need to be one of those people who books four days at Disneyland, then I could truly explore so many little details. But… who can afford such a trip!

Bu, the fire truck would look a little better if it was purple and gold, but I suppose that red is OK too. A fire story, way to leave us hanging! You can make a YouTube video, maybe in “interpretive dance” form? Maybe if I knew the location you were talking about I’d look for photos of it!