Monday, November 06, 2023

The Columbia

Hoo-boy, I have a whole lotta Columbia and Mark Twain pix coming up, courtesy of the Mysterious Benefactor and the large lot of vintage scans that he so generously shared with us. 

A guest bearing a bag full of weasel furs wants to board the Columbia. "I've been in the wilderness for six years, yours is the first voice I've heard!". "Say it, don't spray it!" says the CM. I know, rude. Bu would write him up, for sure.

Here's an unusual angle, with the Columbia moored in Fowler's Harbor. Like all of us, it occasionally needed its bottom scraped (sorry). It's nothing to be ashamed of! If I'd built the Columbia, I would have used one really big block (i.e. "pulley") instead of a bunch of little ones. Then I could pass the savings on to YOU.

Back in those days, vampires were a real problem. This cannon was loaded with garlic and (for some reason) Parmesan cheese, which made the vampires very unhappy, and made the passengers hungry. 

Guests line the rail, in case of seasickness. They'll probably get used to the motion after a few weeks. 

"Cap'n! We're runnin' low on Parmesan cheese!". "Then use the Pecorino Romano, ye swab!". A good sea captain is always resourceful.

THANK YOU, Mysterious Benefactor!


Nanook said...

The Columbia is so photogenic. And again - the MB's images are beautiful.

Always appreciate the shout-out to Pecorino Romano: An incredibly-wonderful Italian cheese that often isn't used in enough recipes.

Thanks to the MB.


These are later images from mysterious Benefactor as we can see the “pirates of the Caribbean” bridge completed in 1986 …. For the Disney Gallery’s January 1987 opening .

The Columbia is the GEM of the ocean and she’s truly outrageous.

JB said...

Do fur trappers clean and process the hides as they collect them? If so, how? And if not, won't they get really stinky really fast? I shudder to think how smelly 6 years worth of weasel furs would be. But oh! What a pretty picture of the Columbia!

The second photo makes the Columbia look especially complicated and technical. A lot of people are wearing red in the background. Hey people! This isn't 1957! The Keelboat CM is opening a big crate of whoopass to deal with the AEDs.

I tell ya, vampires aren't safe anywhere anymore, what with garlic cannons and all. (I bet you won't find any mention of garlic cannons anywhere else on the internet, but here on GDB.)

In the 4th photo, it looks like that photographer is pointing their camera right at us! Now we need to see that photo! Surely it will show all of us Junior Gorillas looking at the camera?!?!

Last photo, the CM seems to be taking great joy in aiming that cannon at something... perhaps a helpless moose? (They are rather static after all). Oh wait, I know, he's gonna blast a convoy of AEDs before they have a chance to wreak havoc on the Columbia! Go get 'em!

Thank you, Mysterious Benefactor and Major P.


JB - pelts ( the majority being beaver and some raccoon and otter )would be cleaned and cured long before they would be traded -trappers would be bringing pelts in the 100’s on multiple mules and horses. I have read of a trapper who would come to Sutter’s Fort with 7 pack mules laden with beaver pelts. But cleaned or not …. I can guarantee the inside of a ship like the Columbia would have WREAKED!! …. Think of the sea water from storms that got into the cargo holds …. And muck the would form … and there’s two bilge pumps on the Columbia for a reason. And the smell of the crew ….

TokyoMagic! said...

Mike beat me to the ugly and obtrusive pirate bridge observation. It might not have been so ugly, if they had painted it hot pink. Or electric blue.

Thank you for these, Major and M.B.!

TokyoMagic! said...

I wonder if there were any trappers out there, named John?

Bu said...

I don't think Trapper John is Trapper may be Trapper Jan. Why is glasses employee smiling so widely? Maybe he is internally giggly about Trapper Jan's get up? That Columbia costume is certainly very bright and shiny and well maintained. I always thought that personal glasses interfere with the "show", but I guess people need to "see". I wanted them to dictate what kind of glasses could be worn and what style with what costume. A bit autocratic, but those were the days.... There's a lot of rigging going on there in pic #2. Maybe maintenance guy is plotting out the storming of the Keel Boats so that it rolls ever-so-freely next time on the water. I do miss that ride, it was like JC on the river. I don't mind the POC bridge in this photo...however, in person: way too horsey. I think something more delicate would have been better but that's just me: complaining about everything. I see that it is "real rope" in pic 4. Thats all black vinyl or some non organic stuff now I think. Still in "rope" styling: just a bit shiny. Perhaps hemp degrades? Since they still find in on vessels from hundreds of years ago? (more complaining). Nice that Employee posed for the photo wearing beanie as directed, hair as directed with ear showing, and a clean shave. Yes. It's possible. I don't mind bearded dudes on rides like this, I just don't want to see them everywhere: like in Fantasyland or Tomorrowland where styling should be more "clipped". In my perfect world, appearance guidelines go back to a clean, scrubbed and manicured look. You can be a barbarian on vacation, but bring your NASA back after you make your way back to Anaheim. Just saying. Thanks Major and MB for the morning fun, and blocks of Parmesan I think would really hurt...garlic: smelly and would "smart" rather than hurt you. Ever lift a block of Parmesan? It's rather "dense".


Regarding the Pirates of the Caribbean bridge; technically it has a good design and proportion … HOWEVER…… it’s way too close to the pirates facade and the two stairs are leading to the upper level are historically not accurate and tacky looking and the “sunken” pirate loading courtyard would have been filled with water in a matter of days in real New Orleans …. The stairs were understandably an interest draw to get guests to venture upstairs to The Disney Gallery … and the stairs were always a problem … when it rained they would be closed off and guests would be directed to the stairs in the Royal Courtyard …then guests who had no interests of intention of seeing the Disney Gallery would clog the steps to watch Fantasmic and Fireworks … the Fantasmic crew would rope off the steps during Fantasmic …. And tell Gallery guests we were closed. And management couldn’t understand why gallery sales totally stoped!! There were also some irritated guests who came back in the evening to pick up purchases later in the day and were told the Gallery was closed for the day by Fantasmic crew ( the gallery offered purchase holds long after the rest of the park required items be sent to package pick up) this was partly due to the nature of the gallery merchandise .. lithographs …. Original artwork … etc.

JG said...

Sorry, I’m a bit late, I was brushing my weasel-skin hat.

I’ve mentioned it before, but a great story of Early California is “Two Years Before the Mast”, story of a ship much like the Columbia trading in hides on a journey to Spanish California. The author mentions the stench, and the effort to lever the stiff hides into every nook and cranny of the hold. The initial curing did not produce soft leather, that came later in New England before stitching them up into shoes etc. in the Massachusetts leather-working factories.

There was even a brief reference on Zorro to the quantity of cattle hides produced by one of the rancheros.

I love the Columbia and I appreciate these pictures. I wish I was on the Pirate Bridge now, waiting for the show.

Thank you Major!


Melissa said...

Gorgeous pictures. Shame about the cheese weevils.

JG said...

Also, now I want cacio y pepe. All this talk of cheese etc.

Italians do a thing with a big wheel of parmigiano, pour a puddle of grappa on top of a big wheel and set it on fire, slurping the burning liquor around till it makes a hollow in the top of the giant cheese, then tossing the pasta in the molten cheese & brandy mix.



Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, sometimes I get a tub of Pecorino Romano AND Parmesan at Trader Joe’s. I have a special license.

Mike Cozart, good eye, I did not notice the bridge back there.

JB, I can guarantee that things were generally stinky to some degree 150+ years ago. Although it is known that weasel furs smell like wintergreen Lifesavers. I wish I had dates on some of these later Mysterious Benefactor images, but he often didn’t have the information. Vampires should never be safe, not on my watch. I need my blood for dozens of reasons. I would love it if I could find the photo that the person on the Columbia took, that would be amazing. And I’ve never seen a hapless moose. Most of them are FULL of hap.

Mike Cozart, you forget that ships of that era often had those little cardboard pine trees placed liberally around the vessel. Everything smelled like a pine forest!

TokyoMagic!, I do like electric blue. Just not on castles.

TokyoMagic!, I wonder how many youngsters would have no idea what you are referencing!

Bu, I dunno, I still think the trapper might be a John. I suppose it’s not impossible that there would be no evidence of long feminine hair, but it seems unusual. I know what you mean about the glasses, but that’s just a bridge too far for costuming. I’ve never understood why they couldn’t have just added more ballast to the Keelboats if they were so tippy. Except that they had no intention of keeping them anyway, they had what appeared to be the perfect excuse to get rid of them. Maybe the Pirates bridge needed to be over-engineered for the millions of people who stand on it year after year? It would be nice if it was a bit more airy, but that probably wouldn’t be practical. Whoa, they use vinyl for the ropes now? I guess I didn’t notice, so I can’t complain, but it’s the idea that’s kind of gross. I’m sure that the actual hemp ropes needed replacing every couple of years. “The Disney Look” was developed for a reason, but I agree, Frontierland and Adventureland might be allowed a little more leeway. And by that I mean face piercings.

Mike Cozart, I have no idea if the stairway is historically accurate or not - did they not base it on any real building? As for the other issues, I blame Fantasmic!. People love it, apparently, and were happy to watch it over and over and over. Once was enough for me, it was fine, but I didn’t lose my mind over it. As for rain, what can you do, it’s hard to plan for rain in SoCal!

JG, I downloaded “Two Years Before the Mast”, but got sidetracked reading something else and never went back to it. Those “Twilight” books are so good! I’m “Team Edward”, personally. How about you? Just think of how heavy a bundle of hides would be, not to mention the smell. Why not sprinkle some of the Old Spice cologne that all ships carried back then?

Melissa, new from Kraft: Krunchy Cheese Weevils.

JG, I only just had cacio y pepe for the first time a few months ago. News flash: it was delicious. But we weren’t at a Buca di Peppo, so the portion was like a child’s plate. And no bread! Yes, I wrote my Congressperson. Whoa, that thing with the grappa sounds wild. Those Italians know how to live.

JB said...

Mike, Oh that description of the interior sounds absolutely pleasant! I'll pack a picnic lunch and we can have a nice meal below decks! (I hope there are a lot of animal pelts!)

Major, I love wintergreen Lifesavers; I'm gonna go out and get a truckload of weasel furs right now!!!

JG said...

Major, it is likely that your cacio portion was scaled as primi piatti, (first plate) and so not the larger servings that we anglo-saxon savages have come to expect over here in the colonies. Pasta like that is nearly always only a first course over there and followed by another course like a cutlet or a roast with some nice vegetables.

Now, I'm really hungry.

Little Known Fact, Old Spice was developed just for that purpose.


Chuck said...

JG, in my experience, that’s about all grappa is good for. Well, that and stripping paint. YMMV.

JG said...

Chuck, grappa gets a bad rap because the good stuff rarely gets outside of Italy. And to be fair, the stuff found commonly in the US is only one step above paint thinner, if that. But...

Anything from Poli is worth having, and Jacopo is a really nice and funny guy.


Major Pepperidge said...

JB, yes, wintergreen Lifesavers are the best! Well, maybe cherry is the best. I can’t decide.

JB, I don’t think the menu said anything about first plate, I think it’s probably just an authentic Italian-style restaurant (owned by actual Italians) that does not cater to U.S. appetites. It wasn’t a huge deal except I liked the food so much I wanted more!

Chuck, I’ve never had grappa, and only know about it from Hemingway. Tyler Hemingway, my neighbor.

JG, is it better or worse than retsina? That stuff made me weep.

Major Pepperidge said...

Oops, JG, I accidentally typed “JB” for your response!