Tuesday, November 21, 2023

A Mark Twain Quintet

The good old Mark Twain - it has been a popular subject for amateur shutterbugs since 1955, and the pros can't seem to resist it either. All five of today's pictures are courtesy of the Mysterious Benefactor, and were taken by a nameless photographer for possible publicity purposes (alliteration!). I'm not sure I'll have a lot to say about most of them, since we've seen many similar images over the years.

There's the MT, waiting at the dock, with Big Thunder Mountain looming in the background.

Another day, and some puffy white clouds add a bit of visual interest.

It's always nice to see Cascade Peak, or in this case just a part of Big Thunder Falls. The Disneyland Band performs at the bow of the boat.

Back at the dock, with a pair of Canoes racing past.

And finally, a beautiful night shot, with the lights on the Mark Twain reflecting in the smooth water of the Rivers of America.

 THANK YOU, Mysterious Benefactor!


JB said...

1) Beautiful! I'm a sucker for foreground tree branches hanging down, framing the subject. Wonderful lighting in this pic. Some might say the shadows are too deep, but I'm not one of those people. The semi-silhouette of the foreground objects focuses our attention on the Mark Twain, which is perfectly lit.

2) The focus is a bit soft, but the lighting is just as beautiful as the first photo. Looks like the Mark Twain is vaping.

3) Oh look, a kitty cat is sitting up there next to the Falls! Must be one of the feral cats... his name is "Rocky". Almost everybody on the MT is waving at us (or someone). They must have been told to do that, don't you think? So, who told them to wave? Further evidence that these were publicity shots.

4) They still have the Canoes in the Park, don't they? Of course, they're probably called the "Tiana's, Finding Nemo Bayou Explorer Canoes" now. But at least the Canoes are still there.

5) Ooh! Ahh! Reminds me of a birthday cake with a hundred candles all lit up. And we see the MT's headlamp brightly aglow.

Thanks to the Mysterious Benefactor, the Mysterious Photographer and the Mysterious Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

JB, maybe someone was using a megaphone to give direction to the people on the Mark Twain. "You're having a good time, you're laughing.....now you notice that someone is standing over on the shore, and you realize that you know them, so you begin to raise your hand as if to wave to them....."

That last shot looks very familiar. I wonder if it, or a shot very similar to it, was used for a postcard or in one of the DL pictorial souvenir books?

Stu29573 said...

I'm a sucker for the ol' "lights reflected in the water" shot! That and Oreos. Double Stuff Oreos. You can take them apart and make them quadrouple stuffed. For a while they had sonething like "Mega Double Stuffed Oreos." Combining them tended to threaten the fine line between dimensions and several folks were sucked into alternate realities, so they stopped making them.
Oh look! A boat!

JG said...

Major, I know how tired you are of MT pictures, so I am doubly glad you posted these. Thank you.

The MB had a more skill and patience framing these shots since he wasn’t aching to finish up and get in the line for Pirates, so these are always a little better than the typical guest pic. And these are better than most.

The night shot is the natural draw, but all of these are very nice. I rather like the canoe pic, imagining them paddling for their lives to escape the piranhas. Wait, wrong attraction. Never mind. Come to think of it, canoes in the jungle cruise would be great fun. Or the sub lagoon. The mind reels.

JB, these will be reflagged as Rise of the Canoe’s Run to Bayou’s Edge.


Stefano said...

By golly, it is a big beautiful boat (more alliteration). The only one to compare is the Cotton Blossom constructed for the 1951 "Show Boat", of which the third picture resembles an exuberant frame from --"The Show Boat's a-comin!" After MGM's prop auction, the Cotton Blossom did end up in an amusement park, Worlds of Fun, where it finally completely deteriorated.

I was fond of my childhood paperback 1961 edition of Mark Twain's LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI, both for his story and the cover illustration--the artist copied Disneyland's stern wheeler almost exactly. This also completely deteriorated, but there is always ebay.

Bu said...

I am in the process of completely deteriorating as well...and it's making me mad. That being said....The Mark Twain looks lovely in all of these photos...I was reading a sweet story about Walt hanging out around these parts and reminiscing about his time when boats like these existed...with the sounds of bells, steam whistles, paddles and steam...and then hearing them again decades later at Disneyland. Let's hope that this all stays intact for generations to come. I gather that there was some debate over stern wheel or side wheel paddles...where a stern paddle helps from getting stuck on sandbars...not that that is going to happen in Disneyland, but interesting all the same. I like the chain rail on the bow, and I do not like a wooden rail as it is not authentic and looks horsey and out of scale. I'm not a huge fan of sparkly gold smoke stack tops either, but color me cinnamon, I am a purist. I would like to have overnights on Mark Twain, but bio-breaks in the middle of the night seem problematic. Serving drinks and dancing was popular at one time, and it would be nice to see that come back: I'm not sure you can do any dancing any more anywhere in Disneyland...which was kind of fun to see back in the day with big bands/Annette/etc. etc. The "party" of nighttime Disneyland seems to have dwindled into "roasted dragon flambe", and "Fireworks con Zingers"...dare I say "bring back Videopolis?" :probably not, I had gang fighting for breakfast this morning. There are four canoes in that one shot: probably publicity shot set up like the waving people...or maybe it was that popular back then (?) The Mark Twain is an experience...with a little to see, and not much "to do", and isn't that what is missing in todays world of loop de loops, drops, lasers, and purple, and gold, and sparkles, and bubble makers...et al. Thanks MB and MP.

Anonymous said...

Give me those warm Summer days paddling by the Mt. smelling that (not so fresh) water. while giving a high sign to the Skipper in the Wheelhouse above. My own special world amongst the swirl of humanity surrounding me on the banks. What a great way to spend an 8 hour shift. But yes...taking a shower before heading into street clothes was normally the right thing to do. KS

"Lou and Sue" said...

That 3rd shot is all cast members and characters!

Stu, I bet you haven't bought Double Stuff Oreos lately. You'll be disappointed. They cut the stuff by 50%. Am serious. They're now the same size as the regular Oreos. Go figure.

"Roasted Dragon Flambé" HAHAHA!

Thank you, MB and MP!

Chuck said...

So what if these scenes are familiar? That’s part of why we come here. The other part has to do with subliminal messaging, brainwashing, and mind control. Oh, and Major Pepperidge is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

Stu, you had me at “Oreo.”

TM!, that quote sounds so familiar, but I can’t quite place it. It makes me think of Ann Darrow’s “screen test” on the deck of the Venture in the 1933 version of King Kong, but the dialogue is different.

Dean Finder said...

The "headlight" on a Morris Canal boat was called a "nighthawker" and looked similar in design (but smaller than the one on the MT. I wonder if that was a general term of the era, or just a local term.

JB, you might say the kitty cat is petrified. (I'll see myself out)

Major Pepperidge said...

JB, branches in the foreground always make me think of Viewmaster images! The shadows ARE a bit much, but that is the case on many of these slides - that’s what happens when the slides are duplicates. #2 might be the most conventionally “postcard worthy” of the five. I honestly had no idea what you were talking about with the “kitty cat”, but now I see him! Now I wonder if we’ll see the kitty in other Cascade Peak images? I just made a post (that you won’t see for months) with more Mark Twain photos from the MB, and one is clearly from the same batch as #3, except it shows the Twain at the dock, everyone is waving, characters are on the boat, etc. Yes, they still have canoes, no idea if they will be renamed. And the Twain at night is one of my favorite things to see at the park.

TokyoMagic!, I picture the guy with the megaphone wearing a backward beret and an ascot. He looks just like Phil Silvers. It is very possible that ANY of these photos appeared in souvenir guidebooks, pamphlets, ads, and such.

Stu29573, every kid has made a “quadruple-stuffed” Oreo! The true geniuses will go even further. Remember, the MB didn’t take these photos, but he did scan them and share them with all of us, which is awesome!

JG, it’s a weird thing, I love the Mark Twain, but I’ve seen enough photos of it to mast me a lifetime. Or have I? Remember, the MB shared these with all of us, but he did not personally take the pictures. Though he has taken thousands and thousands of pictures! The Twain at night is one of my all-time favorite things to see, it’s nice when Fantasmic isn’t running and you can actually ride the steamboat when it’s dark. A beautiful experience.

Stefano, I’m afraid I have never seen the 1951 version of “Show Boat”. But I did see the musical onstage in Chicago! And I’ve seen the old black and white film, a long long time ago. Sad that the Cotton Blossom went to an amusement park, only to rot away. I love “Life on the Mississippi”!

Bu, I suppose there must have still been some sternwheelers in the early 1900s and that Walt somehow saw a few when he was a child. I’d imagine that a lover of steam trains would not have to work very hard to love steamboats as well. I’d never heard that a side wheeler was considered for Disneyland, but I suppose they discussed all options. Somehow what we got is just perfect! I know what you mean about the wooden rail, but they have to worry about a clumsy public - apparently more clumsy than they used to be, anyway. I thought they were bringing Fantasmic back? Not that I want it, but it’s popular. Not sure about the dragon though. In a way they need a big finale with the flames, it’s visually impressive, even I have to admit. Was there gang fighting at Videopolis? I probably read about it at the time, and wished I was in those gangs. Chicks love a guy with a chain or a switchblade.

KS, I don’t remember the Rivers of American smelling bad, but of course anything is possible. Maybe now they dump gallons of Old Spice into it. That’s what I would do. I would definitely think that piloting the Twain would be among the more sought-after jobs!

Lou and Sue, I guess I can’t be surprised about double-stuff Oreos, but it is a disappointing thing to learn. At some point I decided that the original Oreos were just the right balance of filling to cookie. That means I’m all grown up!

Chuck, aw shucks! I appreciate the kind words. I know there are all kinds of other Oreo flavors (lemon creme, mint, chocolate filling, etc), but you can’t beat the original in my book. Now that you mention it, I’ll bet TM was channeling Carl Denham from “King Kong”!! It didn’t even occur to me.

Dean Finder, I don’t even know what a Morris Canal Boat is, because I dropped out of school to become a hoodlum. Please leave your key to the washroom on your way out!

Nanook said...

@ Bu-
All so true - especially the 'glittery-sparkly' thing - it almost makes everything Barbie seem sedate-! (Excuse me... I have to re-apply my gold glitter eyeliner following a fairly grueling day of brick laying).

TokyoMagic! said...

TM!, that quote sounds so familiar, but I can’t quite place it. It makes me think of Ann Darrow’s “screen test” on the deck of the Venture in the 1933 version of King Kong, but the dialogue is different.

Chuck & Major, I might have been unconsciously inspired by that scene in King Kong, even though I don't remember the specifics of it. I knew I had seen some kind of scene like that in some movie or TV show, but I can't remember what it was. I just made up the monologue/instructions myself.

After MGM's prop auction, the Cotton Blossom did end up in an amusement park, Worlds of Fun, where it finally completely deteriorated

Stefano, I didn't know that! And the showboat from the 1936 version of the film, sat on the Universal Studios backlot for decades, until it also rotted away. Sad! It was even shown on the tram tour maps (just before the "Parting of the Red Sea" effect) sitting on Park Lake: