Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Night Shots, September 1971

Today marks the beginning of a series of rare night photos, courtesy of Lou Perry, and (as always) scanned for us by Sue B. You all know that Disneyland at night is a special thing, and with today's digital cameras, people can get remarkable results. But in the days of film, your average Joe was lucky to get anything other than a dark blur. Of course, Lou was above average! 

Check out this beautiful photo of the Penny Arcade, aglow in the warm lights that outline the buildings and signs. Being September, it was probably still pleasant (not cold); I can imagine hearing the "area music", and  all of the usual sounds of Main Street, since they operated some of the vehicles into the evening. The Sunkist Citrus House beckons, a frozen lemon bar sounds amazing.

A bit further south we can see the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor. Main Street was really bustling that night! Perhaps it was a week or so before school was back in session, and all the locals were out for some fun.

Lou continued southward toward Main Street Station; the Crystal Arcade looks so inviting. I wish I could see the window display, I think I can make out Mickey's ears, and possibly a bit of Pluto's noggin, but it's hard to say for sure. The Emporium is to our left, we'll see more of that in future posts.

MANY THANKS to Lou and Sue!


Nanook said...

It sure does look inviting-! And considering the great number of incandescent bulbs - I only spy two burnouts.

Thanks to Lou and Sue.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Nanook, I was just counting the burned-out bulbs, too. I’m surprised we see any—unlike nowadays.


JB said...

Interesting how the lights are reflected in the lens of Lou's camera, creating strings of ghost lights. Two of my favorite Main Street places, right next to each other: The Penny Arcade and the Candy Palace.

In the busy second photo, I bet it's still pretty warm out, but without the heat of the day. Perfect for milling around, looking at the lights, listening to music.

Crystal Arcade: Major, I think you're right about Mickey and Pluto in the window display. That white banner says, "[something] al Dog". What could it be?

Nanook and Sue, I'm counting burned-out trashcans.

These photos aren't much for people watching, but oh, what a mood they create! Thanks Lou, Sue, and Major.

Chuck said...

Yay! Time exposures!

In that first image, I am trying to figure out how those dim, inverted (but not backwards) lights spelling “Penny Arcade” and the archway below it got there. It’s not a reflection because the image isn’t reversed, and it doesn’t make sense as a reshoot on the same frame of film because it’s upside-down and the tripod mounting bracket is on the bottom of the camera. I wish I had time to research the physics, but I’m going to guess that it has something to do with the peculiarities of whatever multi-element lens Lou was shooting with. Either that or chemtrails.

I think the banner in the window in the last photo says “-al Time.” Maybe “Special Time?” It looks like there may be some sort of wreath behind Mickey and some other greenery by Pluto, plus more in the leftmost window. Too early for Christmas decorations in 1971. I guess any time at Disneyland is special time, though.

Note that you can apparently get prescriptions filled in the Crystal Arcade, although I would assume the pharmaceutical selection is rather limited. My guess is that you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you get what you need.

Thanks again, Lou & Sue!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ooooh, I love these night shots! They are beautiful!

JB, I don't think those are strings of ghost lights. I think that's the portal to another dimension.

The stained glass windows above the Crystal Arcade display window has designs that obviously relate to the Upjohn Pharmacy, next door (the mortar and pestle design and the ℞ symbol/abbreviation for "prescription.") Maybe the Mickey and Pluto display shows them popping pills?

Thank you so much, Lou, Sue, and Major, too!

TokyoMagic! said...

I forgot to mention that we can also see the sign for "The Storybook Store", mounted to the wall, just outside of the Crystal Arcade. The shop was located in the very back of the Crystal Arcade/Emporium, and didn't have it's own door opening out to Main Street.

TokyoMagic! said...

Ooops, I see that Chuck had already noticed the "get your drugs here" symbols on the windows of the Crystal Arcade.

Maybe the Crystal Arcade's display window showed Mickey applying leaches to Pluto?

TokyoMagic! said...

"Leeches," not "Leaches"!

Bu said...

Night time on Main Street was always most magical...even after I worked there for 10 years in the beginning of my GOM phase (Grumpy Old Man.) Interesting enough...and very weirdly...without knowing or seeing this post...I woke up to the Disneyland Main Street version of Hello Dolly's "Put on your Sunday Clothes"...which even though is not Disney, is such a jolly turn of the century sound. Hello Dolly is a bit of a bear to get through, but I do enjoy that tune as it reminds me of Disneyland. Like "The Old Bamboo" reminds me of the ticket booths. ...Back to my 4am wake up story...so...I'm hearing this little tune in my head, and the next thing that comes to me is...a very specific message.... "Disneyland has lost it's innocence". Yes, I may be going crazy...but it was a very loud and clear message...and not too revelatory..and then my conscious mind took over and rationalized: "yes...that is the problem...it's not TRE...it's that the innocence is fleeting fast." Then I thought about all the photos I have taken of trees and plants and other things that I remembered prior to flashy paint, zany color schemes, over the top light shows, and over the top everything. I have validated why my favorite "rides" are things like Storybook Land, or Sleeping Beauty Walk though, or the decor in the Firehouse, I can go on...there are many things that have not been touched. It's kind of like Eve Plumb being cast in "Dawn, portrait of a teenage runaway" Jan Brady becomes Hollywood street walker. Not the best analogy, but the audience here will probably remember that 1976 TV movie. (Suzanne Crough from the Partridge family has a non-credited role...strangely.) I wouldn't call Star Wars land innocent, or even Star Tours which I saw developed and opened. I'm not sure innocent works for today's commercial market, but as all things are cyclical, perhaps there will be a return. Innocent, humble and nostalgic were things that Mr. Disney knew would draw them in, and even thought the banks said "no", it worked. Now, I suppose we have even more analytics to draw from, but these intangibles are not "spreadsheet-able". Thanks for the photos Lou and Sue! Main Street at night is a visceral reaction whether in person, or in photos. The orange and yellow lights on Sunkist were always so pretty, seeing the penny arcade machines, the Candy Palace when it was a crowded little shop. The bookshop that smelled of paper. Emporium windows plugging the latest Disney re-release (yes...it's commercial..but very well done). Alllll so much better at night!

MRaymond said...

I love time exposures. I hauled a bag full of camera gear to Disneyland in the late 70 just for taking time exposures. Sadly, they're all lost to time. Thank you for activating some memory cells, Lou & Sue.

DrGoat said...

Beginning from the first time I walked down Main Street, the Penny Arcade was one of my favorite spots in the park. Love these photos. As everyone noticed, the mood is perfect.
Thanks Lou & Sue, and thank you Major.

JG said...

Beautiful things, both the pictures, and the memories.

Thanks Lou, Sue, Major, and all my friends who love Main Street.


Stu29573 said...

Wow, these are great! I immediately thought of the Wonderful World of Color episode Disneyland After Dark from 1962. While obviously staged and pieced together from various other productions (including several "Day for Night" shots) it's still a lot of fun!

Lou took these masterfully (as always). It wasn't easy to get that amount of detail in low light without significant blurring of the moving people! Most photographers would have ended up with a street full of "ghosts!"

Fun, fun pics today Major! Thanks, Lou and Sue!

Nanook said...

@ Bu-
Wow... a Hello Dolly reference. Not one of Broadway's [or Hollywood's] better 'shows'-! Mostly a bore-fest of mediocre songs - the first part of "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" being the rare exception - although it ultimately lasts far too long. On the other hand, there's no denying the excitement of seeing the show live on Broadway, in 1967, with Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway-!

Me Ol' Bamboo always reminds me of the (brilliant) 1975 Michael Ritchie comedy, Smile. (I may have to watch that again, tonight).

Anonymous said...

The magical nights toward the end of summer. Attendance declined almost magically after Labor Day. In fact, you could tell the change even ON Labor Day. And there was that golden week or two early in the month where the Park was still open 7 days a week and all the Summer parades and fireworks were still going. THIS was the time to visit as I would share with anyone who asked. Of course, 1971 was before the MSEP which sort of brought in a few more guests and kept them there until after that parade. Still being open to midnight, the Park really would clear out and we CMs seemed to have the place to ourselves for an hour or two. It's very likely I was working the evening Lou took these pictures. Thanks Lou and Sue for the memories! KS

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I always wondered if the stories were true about how they replaced all those bulbs when they reached their 75% lifespan?

Sue, maybe now they just replace them after they’ve burnt out, rather than trying to take care of it before it happens.

JB, yes, I’ve noticed that effect in other night shots of the era, it must have to do with the series of lenses inside Lou’s camera? Not sure. I always loved Main Street at night, it made for an amazing finish to the evening as we made our way to the exit. I think the sign above Mickey and Pluto says “Sensual Dog”, one of the least popular Disney short films.

Chuck, if these are time exposures, they are short… the people aren’t very blurry in most cases. Lou must have been using fast film. As for the inverted (but not backwards) lights, I have no clue. I can think of many things that banner might say, “Special Time” is at least not creepy! I also thought it looked Christmasy, but as you said, that makes no sense for September. I’m pretty sure we’re seeing the Upjohn Pharmacy windows through the Crystal Arcade. Just go into the pharmacy and say, “Give me the good stuff!”. It always works.

TokyoMagic!, having just watched, “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once”, I think you are right. I am impressed with your ability to type the Rx symbol, which I am too lazy to figure out. Mickey and Pluto prefer inhalants.

TokyoMagic!, poor Pluto is woozy from the loss of blood, but the leeches look fabulous.

TokyoMagic!, spelling is overrated.

Bu, I’m not sure if “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” was used on Main Street pre-“Wall-E”. Maybe? I think other appropriate show tunes were used, such as tracks from “The Music Man”. I’ve never watched “Hello Dolly” in any form, it’s one of those things that has been “out there” as part of my world for as long as I can remember. I think of Carol Channing’s weird voice (I’m sure she was a nice person, but… kind of strange). You might be right about Disneyland’s loss of innocence, but that also might apply to everything. Any pretense of propriety has gone out the window ever since… well I’m not going there. People do still love the classic, simple Fantasyland rides, though I’m not sure that the Disney “suits” do. They need more flash, more IP, more capacity. I’m happy to say that I never watched “Dawn, Portrait of a Teenage Runaway”. Life is too short! Nothing against Eve Plumb. When I see how excited grown adults get when they see a person in a character costume, I think that there is still a child within most of us that is happy to be revealed. And Disneyland is one of the places where it is still OK, and where people don’t think you are a fool for being happy about something so basic.

MRaymond, oh gosh, I wish you had those time exposures!!

DrGoat, for some reason the thing that really got my attention at the Penny Arcade was the Mutoscope machines, where you looked in to see a series of cards with photos on them, flipped past to created the illusion of motion. It seemed magical!

JG, it’s funny how Main Street has become so important to me now, as compared to when I was a callow youth.

Stu29573, I can totally picture some of those “day for night” shots, some combined with matte paintings, but I love them in spite of their clunkiness. I don’t mind the long exposures that make the people disappear, in fact it’s sort of neat to see the park looking uncrowded, even though we know better.

Nanook, whoa, “Hello Dolly” with Pearl Bailey and Cab Calloway, now that would be worth seeing!!

KS, even my family knew that it was best to go to the park after school was back in session. Or even early Spring, we had some wonderful visits then too. I believe that we mostly went on weekends because that’s when my dad could take us, so we mostly got parades and fireworks, it was so much fun!

Melissa said...

These beautifully capture the dreamlike atmosphere of Main Street at night.


Hello Dolly the musical was based on the book “The Matchmaker” by the same author of OUR TOWN , Thornton Wilder. OUR TOWN was one of Walt Disney’s favorite plays/ movies and was his inspiration for the GENERAL ELECTRIC CAROUSEL OF PROGRESS.
HELLO DOLLY started off as the play / movie THE MATCHMAKER ( Stan jolly did sone if the set designs and he designed much of Main Street USA and Frontierland and tons of Disney Studio productions) … and that was originally written as THE MERCHANT OF YONKERS …. Which was a modernization of THE MERCHANT OF VENICE.

John Decuir Senior who designed the sets for Cleopatra also designed the sets for the 1969 film sets and overlay sets for HELLO DOLLY … the most elaborate and expensive films sets ever built and remained so until the movie Water World . The HELLO DOLLY sets were GLORIOUS!! Of course John Decuir took Dorothea Redmonds water color studies of Saratoga Springs NY for WDW’s Main Street and created the facades that were actually built. Watch 1969 HELLO DOLLY and you can see WDW’s Main Street. Many well known imagineers were greatly inspired by John Decuirs Hello Dolly set design .

Eddie Sotto who art directed EDLs Main Street used LOTS of design elements from Hello Dolly. The unbuilt elevated train station was a direct lift from the 1969 hello Dolly set … but the attraction was not built but adapted for the Main Street depot. The three hello Dolly tracks used on Main Street USA were recorded for EDL’s Main Street and between 1992-1993 were added to Disneyland and WDW’s Main Street USA music. That music was re-recorded in 2005 by Moras Modern Rythmists ( in ragtime) and is what you hear today at Disneyland.

WDI’s Eddie sotto used


Also the EDL closed horse drawn streetcars are copies of the Broadway & 14th Street Railway Horsecars from Hello Dolly in bith design and graphics . the 5 streetcars used in the film were redecorated vintage antiques 2 were once used in Los Angeles and 3 were once used in San Diego in Coronado and Downtown.

"Lou and Sue" said...

"Sue, maybe now they just replace them after they’ve burnt out, rather than trying to take care of it before it happens."

Major, apparently not. Look for the outdoor nighttime shot of Narcoossee's restaurant at WDW's Grand Floridian Resort - HERE. The burned-out bulbs almost make a nice pattern. ;o)

I shared all the nice comments with my dad, this afternoon, thank you!

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, maybe you are dreaming RIGHT NOW!

Mike Cozart, You don’t meet enough people named Thornton these days. I saw a production of “Our Town” when I was in high school, and found it to be quite good, even when performed by a small local theater company. “The Merchant of Yonkers”, awesome. I’ve of course seen photos of the magnificent Hello Dolly sets on the 20th Century Fox backlot, truly spectacular. If Eddie Sotto took inspiration from those sets, I wonder where John Decuir took his inspiration from? Or was he just a genius who could create such things out of thin air? I believe it’s possible! Thanks for all the info, as well as the info about the tracks used on Main Street.

Mike Cozart, I’m not familiar with the EDL horse drawn streetcars, but it surprises me that they didn’t just go with what they had used for decades. And yet… I also appreciate that they went for something different. Very neat!

Lou and Sue, well, I was trying to give them an out! Maybe they don’t change those bulbs at Narcoossee’s because of alligators? Yeah that’s it!

Melissa said...

Mike, I always thought the street sets for Hello, Dolly! looked like WDW's Main Street, but I never knew about the real-life connection! It's kind of like the saloon/theater in Calamity Jane and Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe. it's a small world after all.

I know I've mentioned before that Mom used to sing us to sleep with "Pore Jud is Daid" from Oklahoma! but she also used to greet us in the morning with the title song from Hello, Dolly! Sometimes she'd even do the Louis Armstrong voice.