Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Frumptious Frontierland

Here's another pair of slide scans that are very likely from 1955. An important year, because that's when Elvis Presley appeared on "Louisiana Hayride". I'm sure you all remember it like it was yesterday. It was also the year that Disneyland opened, did you know that?

We'll start with this "different" view taken from aboard the Mark Twain, apparently from to Hurricane Deck (that's the one where everyone is soaking wet) looking down on the steamboat landing and the eastern part of Frontierland. Ah, the days when they could have a grassy "island" with trees, before the crowds grew too nutty. The lady to the left is wearing one of our favorite paper cone hats that could also hold a scoop of pipin' hot chili. And then you could wear it again when you were done eating!

I guess there were seats placed near the stern rail, which I did not know about. Near the bottom-center of the image we can see an upside-down guidebook...

... this one! The very first guidebook, issued in 1955. It has no photos inside, just artwork. They are surprisingly plentiful, you can pick one up on eBay for not a crazy amount of money (though you never know with eBay). There was another 1955 guidebook released after this one, with photos "In Living Color", that one is quite a bit harder to find.

Might as well zoom in for a look towards the Plaza and the entrance to Frontierland. Hello, TWA Moonliner!  I only just noticed the flagpole, which appears to be made of wood instead of the usual white-painted steel. I realized it's probably just steel that's painted brown! To the left is the Miniature Horse Corral (and Chorale), and next to that is the Frontierland Shooting Gallery.

This next one is kind of crazy... it's a view taken from aboard one of the old Yellowstone Coaches! These ran the same route as the Stagecoaches, but were even more short-lived than the Stagecoaches. Any view of a Disneyland Yellowstone Coach is rare, but this is the first I've seen from a photographer who was ON one.


Nanook said...

Gotta love that shot taken from the Yellowstone Coach. (I hope everyone wore their rubbers on that journey-!)

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

Yep, nothin' says "old west" like a giant gleaming rocket ship plopped down in the center of town. The frontier was filthy with 'em. Even one-horse towns had at least 1 or 2 rockets.

Next to the guidebook, are those little chili peppers in that lady's purse? That would make sense, since Major has told us that her hat was probably used to hold a scoop of chili.

Love that classic Disney artwork on the cover of the guidebook..... OMG! I think I can see The Dent! ;-p

I wonder if anybody confused the Miniature Horse Corral with the Shooting Gallery? They may have thought that the two were part of the same attraction. That would explain why the miniature horsies weren't there very long.

You'd think the photographer would've taken at least one photo of the Coach itself. Maybe he did, but this is the only one that fell into your possession, Major. I think we've seen a couple photos of the Yellowstone Coaches on GDB over the years, but none from onboard, like you said. Evidently, the highlight of the trip was splashing through this mud puddle.

Thanks for the Frontierland photos, Major. I thought we were gonna see photos of Elvis in "Louisiana Hayride", but these are nice too.

TokyoMagic! said...

Before there was a Matterhorn splashdown, there was the Yellowstone Coach splashdown! The biggest thrill of them all, at the Magic Kingdom!


I didn’t know the Yellowstone Coaches stopped being used before the others ……. I figured because they were more open they were used only during warmer parts of the year. One of the Yellowstone Coaches was kept at Disneyland and used in parades and into the 1980’s was used as s photo op in BEAR COUNTRY. The other two Yellowstone Coaches were sent to Walt Disney World in the early 70’s to help out carrying guests from their campsites to Pioneer Hall. They were given new wheels then and also ( like thrr egg Knott’s Stagecoaches) given modified disc brakes.

The MARK TWAIN has gone thru lots of changes and rebuilds including the re-location of the original stairways and as you can guess there is very little of the 1955 MARK TWAIN left ..… as we speak she is getting a new stern wheel … into the 1980’s the wheel was made with American oak … but since then new woods from Asia are used that resist water damage and insects. The Disneyland MARK TWAIN has operated longer than any real riverboat of the 19th Century ever did.

Frontierland looks very “beige” and “tan” …. With its color schemes ..

Melissa said...

They'll never get anywhere holding their guidebook upside down!

Anonymous said...

My favorite things of the day: The Guidebook and the Frontier Moonliner! I can see how the Yellowstone Coaches might be fun- especially if you pushed your little brother out and into that puddle. He slipped, Ma!

Melissa, that guidebook isn't upside down. It was a preliminary plan for the Australian park...

JG said...

Upside Down Guide Book use results in returning to your starting point I guess.

There is a surprising amount of detail in that one photo. I’m chuckling at the hose bib faucet behind the bench and the raggedy paving. Everything is so raw and unpolished. And very few trash cans yet. Maybe a pale green one near the corner of the shooting gallery.

The back country is even worse, bare soil, tiny plants, and a decidedly casual attitude to storm drainage. I wonder if guests had to get out and push if the wagon got stuck?

No wonder they took the trouble to teach those horses to sing. That rocket ship is wood-burning, to stay in theme.

Thanks Major! Love that beautiful guidebook cover too!


Melissa said...

I spy two young ladies right under the Pepsi-Cola logo who appear to be dressed alike, but at this distance they're probably just dressed kind of alike.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I always go to Disneyland in a full wetsuit.

JB, it’s a little funny to see the rocket from up high, but what can they do? I guess a strategically placed pine tree might have done the job. I don’t think those are chili peppers, but then again, I can’t quite tell what they are. Just random fruits? Shooting a miniature horse while it is penned up in a corral is the ultimate challenge! Our photographer did not take any other photos of the Yellowstone Coach, sadly - but I’m glad I have the one that he DID take.

TokyoMagic!, I thought that hunting “the most dangerous game” was the biggest thrill of all!

Mike Cozart, of course I am basing what I know about the Yellowstone Coaches from secondhand sources, so there is always a chance that they are wrong. But my understanding is that they did not run for more than a year or so, which is why photos of them are scarce. I’m not sure WHY they were not used for longer, since it seems like they would provide better views than the standard Stagecoaches. I remember that you said that the Yellowstone Coaches were around for a long time (and that others went to Florida), I wonder if any are still around?

Melissa, it’s true!

Stu29573, I do like the idea of a guidebook that is so early, they couldn’t even take photos of the attractions yet. The later photo guidebook is very nice, but all of those pictures were also used as postcards, so I’m almost too familiar with the images. No surprises.

JG, it’s always fun to look for little details in a big overview image like that one; thank goodness for cameras with decent lenses. Being 1955, I’m sure there were plenty of rough edges that would eventually get polished off. I’m weirdly intrigued by the “back country” parts of Frontierland, and wish I could go back in time and walk the trails. If you don’t hear from me by tonight, notify the rangers!

Melissa, yeah, it’s impossible to tell if they are truly twins or not, but I’ll bet they were.

Chuck said...

If these are from 1955, then we have to add a new data point to our skubalchronological research files. This would be the earliest dated photo we have seen since we began pioneering this cutting-edge scientific discipline to show themed trash cans.

I count three "wooden" cans in the first photo, plus the gray-green one JG mentioned to the left of the Frontierland gate and possibly another one between the doors of the Golden Horseshoe.

Also - if you zoom in real close in the first photo or the close-up after the souvenir guide cover, you can see the chemical wagon on the Hub through the gate.

That last one has an amazing you-are-there feel to it, which is nice for those of us who never were there.

Thanks, Major!

Andrew said...

Very cool how we can see all the way to the Rocket to the Moon show building next to the Moonliner itself. I'd imagine that this view is still largely the same today, with the Astro Orbitor now visible instead of the Moonliner. Thanks to Chuck for pointing out the chemical wagon through the Stockade gates. That splashdown on the Yellowstone Coach looks much more fun than any log flume!

Dean Finder said...

"Frontierland rocket" sounds like an episode of The WIld WIld West.

I don't see a single kid in that Frontierland shot from the MT. Did people not think to bring kids to Disneyland for a while?

Chuck said...

Dean, that would be "The Night of the Frontierland Rocket." :-)

Anonymous said...

Chuck, and it would be really creepy to a six year old! There were a few like that!

Steve DeGaetano said...

Major, I don't think that's the "stern" rail; the passengers are facing forward, and the mast is visible to the right of the photo's edge.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chuck, the “1955” date is an educated guess, but I think that I had at least one 1956 slide in which you could see a guest carrying one of those guidebooks, so it’s possible that this is from ’56. Since I scanned this lot so long ago now, I forget which other ones are in the batch! Good eye on the Chemical Wagon!

Andrew, yes, at this point the trees have not filled in so much that they block the view of the show building for “Rocket to the Moon”. The Astro Orbiter isn’t nearly as tall as the Moonliner was… is it? I don’t really know!

Dean Finder, Miguelito Loveless would definitely have designed a frontier rocket! And he would have strapped James West to it. It *is* kind of amazing how few kids are in some vintage Disneyland pix.

Chuck, ya gotta have the word “night” in there. “Death” is good too, but perhaps too intense.

Stu29573, I do remember some episodes of WWW that definitely were creepy!

Steve DeGaetano, ha ha, I think you’re right!

Anonymous said...

A fascinating POV perspective from the stagecoach. Amazed at the color quality. Rare to say the least and a look at what was to become the Painted Desert for the Mine Train. It makes me giddy, but it's also been a slow day. KS

Anonymous said...

I especially love the last image — a great you-are-there action shot!

Thanks, Major.