Friday, December 01, 2023

Beautiful Peoplemover, April 1974

Oh boy, the PeopleMover! A ride that many of us miss so much. It's stunning to think that it has been gone for 27 years - grown adults with children never had a chance to ride it.

Check out this first beautiful photo, a dynamic composition with Peoplemover trains in three flavors (lemon, blue raspberry, and cherry) move steadily on the track - cherry and lemon are heading toward the Plaza, but will soon turn left and into the Adventure Thru Inner Space building. Blue raspberry is heading back toward the load station with the rotating platform. The photo is just a tiny bit too dark, but still has some good color and energy.

Holy Toledo! Just look at those crowds! This was pre-Space Mountain. Any ideas what ride attracted such a mob?

Next is this neat and unusual view heading back toward the station. I've always wondered about the angled texture on the roof of the Peoplemover - was it purely decorative? Did it add strength to the fiberglass? Inquiring minds want to know!



Nanook said...

"Any ideas what ride attracted such a mob?"

You just know it was for Free, Hostess/Dolly Madison Zingers day. (Who needs the Peoplemover when chemically-filled, diabetic coma-inducing, sugary, food-type products are available for the taking-??!!)

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, ha, ha! Yes, that line curved around and went all the way up the ramp of the Carousel Theater, to the second level. As Nanook stated, the Zingers® were free, but if you wanted to stay up there to view the fireworks, you had to pay the $125 upcharge.

Actually, I think that line is to get into the seating area for the Tomorrowland Stage. They are all there to see the Osmonds perform "Age of Aquarius," and other delightful ditties.

JB said...

Well, the people are a little dark, but everything else is just right (said Goldilocks). Not sure which I miss most: riding the PeopleMover, or just seeing it in action, bringing color, excitement, and movement to Tomorrowland. Part of riding it would include going up the ramp, standing on the rotating platform, and getting into your personal train, watching as the roof tilts downward and the train doors magically close.

Interesting how only the "cherry" and "blue raspberry" PM trains are visible in the last pic. Actually, this blue is darker than the blue raspberry train in the first pic. Maybe this one is blueberry.

Wonderful Tomorrowland views, Major. Thanks.


The angular design of the PeopleMover canopy was inspired from
A plastic soap dish pattern purchased at I think a Fedco or Unimart store . The zig-zag pattern one way was perfect for keeping a bar of soap elevated from puddling water …. The other way it was perfect for dispelling water away from the PeopleMover roof! Bob Gurr said the pattern was perfect! Modern looking and functional.

PeopleMover cars are FIESTA YELLOW ..….

Great PeopleMover action shots …

Bu said...

I had the same idea about the Osmond's...but for real....if you look at the gaggle....looks like a lot of teenage girls...seems that they are probably waiting for something going on at the stage (?) It's definitely an anomaly, I'm not sure Mission to Mars/Moon, the Carrousel, etc would dictate a line akin to Space Mountain. POSSIBLY it was a big group traveling all together all over the park with chaperones that forced them to stay together "WE ARE ALL GOING ON THE ROCKET JETS AND EVERYONE WILL STAND IN LINE TOGETHER AND WE WILL ALL WAIT FOR EACHOTHER AT THE DESIGNATED AREA AFTER EVERYONE COMPLETES THE RIDE!" Oddly, but not so oddly..that did happen frequently. If giving a tour, and you saw these herds traveling would LITERALLY need to run to get in front of them...or else: add another 1/2 hour to that queue. Try wrangling 30 guys in a rock band that WANTED to stay together, it wasn't easy even with three of us. Elton (oops) said: "no...we won't split up, everyone wants to stay together" and then: TOTAL chaos. What a jolly group they were. Except for one person :) I digress: How wonderful to see the PeopleMover in it's prime...still so clean and shiny. I did not appreciate the "whiting-out" of all the colors....the cars were SUPPOSED to stand out: not get it's "go away off white" disappearing act. I suppose at least it was still open. I know: Star Tours and all that...still don't care. Now it's an archeological find...decaying slowly. The tracks are still amazing: especially the super high one that exits out of the carrousel building above the former Skyway. All very photographable, even with no ride at all. Which says something about the architecture of the track itself! I hope the those close to Bob Gurr are capturing all the memories/stories/etc. Historically, these are important things: design and engineering choices that affected global culture. The zero degree of separation to Walt Disney adds an entire other level of history that should be captured. I'm sure we all agree: just saying it out loud. Thanks Major!

JG said...

Major, the “bash” in the PM roof would also serve to strengthen the panel, as well as to facilitate drainage as Mike notes.

The same type of denting is used in big sheet metal fabrications (think HVAC ducts with Bruce Willis crawling through), it stiffens the big flat areas of flexible material, making the panel less subject to a permanent dent or sag.

What wonderful photos! Really captures the best Tomorrowland ever.

Also, What Bu Said.

Thanks Major!


K. Martinez said...

Today, that long line would be for a collectible $25 plastic popcorn bucket. The things Disney fans do these days.

These People ReMover pics are great! Thanks, Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, maybe they got TWO Zingers?? I mean, they were delicious (I was partial to the vanilla flavor), but that is some line!

TokyoMagic!, I would gladly pay the $125 upcharge, plus an additional $50 for a folding chair (no cushion). I find it hard to believe that Disneyland would allow the hard rock sounds of the Osmonds.

JB, you are so right, the Peoplemover was almost as fun to look at as it was to ride. Almost! And the whole process of getting up to the platform was part of the experience, sort of a “pre-show”. I’ve seen aerial photos in which you can see many Peoplemover trains backstage waiting to be loaded onto the track, you’d think they would be more aware of mixing up the colors. But… time is money!

Mike Cozart, now that you have written that (thank you), it sounds familiar, I might have read it in Bob’s book, or maybe in “The E-Ticket”. I do like the angled pattern, it’s so unusual, and definitely adds visual interest to something that might otherwise be bland.

Bu, yeah, it seems hard to believe that the *not new* Tomorrowland attractions would cause that sort of crazy line. A large group… maybe it was Grad Nite? Thousands of high school students. Though I don’t see any suits with wide lapels and giant neck ties. I would think that there would be a limit to how large a tour group could be, due to logistics. I was at the park last year with a group of about 30, and most of us could not hear what our host was saying 90% of the time. Plus a stopped group will cause a real obstacle to the flow of traffic. I appreciate that Elton wanted his large group to stay together, I guess nobody says “no” to Elton. The choice to repaint the Peoplemover cars white is an odd one. At least they weren’t purple. There have been calls to have the Peoplemover track removed, and I get it… but I will miss it if it ever happens. It will feel like the final nail in the coffin for the idea of such a ride ever coming back.

JG, hey, I’m no engineer (even though I play one on TV), but I would think that a slightly domed roof would serve just as well for something that size. I have no idea how flexible that plastic was, but I was just using paper for something and it just wouldn’t stop from rolling up. Just a few careful folds, and… voila! It stayed put. Bruce Willis should have crawled on top of the Peoplemover. You know I’m right. Thanks JG.

K. Martinez, yes, I have listened to podcasts in which the host explains that he went to the park and waited in line for two hours for a Baby Yoda popcorn bucket (or something, not sure there ever really was a Baby Yoda popcorn bucket). I guess I’m lazy, I would never do that!

LTL said...

Ha! Fedco!! ... cool

Before the internet I assume reseach/inspiration choices would be the studio or WED library, the Burbank or some nearby public library, and after that (besides the Sears catalog, no doubt in the studio library) it's off to Fedco or Builder's Emporium.

And maybe Buddy's Fun Shop on Lankershim Blvd.


Follow up Regarding the PeopleMover roof canopy. The early plans and just before fabrication have a nylon fabric canopy with very wide stripes over an aluminum frame. This felt too “old fashion” like the omnibus canopy or the 1912 Namptha Launches at jungke cruise. So Bob quickly came up with something fitting for Tomorrowland. I’m not sure the soap dish story ( I have one of them i) I got in an interview from Bob for my TOMORROWLANDLOUNGE blog. One day … incidentally the real PeopleMover canopy features a raised lip on its perimeter that channels any water to specific drain areas away from guests and track. I don’t think WDI has records for inspirational details like that .

I’ve read incorrect stories too about things .. like some people who said WED purchased boat / marine light covers for use on the red and green PeopleMover running lights … this is not true … WED sculpted and casted their own from their own design … And their are drawings and tooling tracking numbers for these elements . I think a fan probably thought the PM lights looked like something from a boat … and over time an incorrect LORE developed ….

Like Another Disney lore regarding Walt Disney creating the idea of the swinging doors on the Disneyland trash cans to prevent trash from falling out. This is untrue … as the doors were offered by Miller engineering - the trash can’s original developer and manufacturer as early as the 1920’s for ocean liners and later called “squirrel deterrent “ doors.

Walt probably said to ORDER the trash cans with the swinging doors … but didn’t invent the idea .

Major Pepperidge said...

LTL, I used to like Builder’s Emporium, didn’t they have that “construction worker beaver” mascot? I also liked National Lumber’s mascots, I wish I could remember their names. One was a chicken!

Mike Cozart, I’m glad they didn’t go with the fabric canopy, that’s pretty old-school for the World of Tomorrow. Why not use earthenware tiles?! One of the coolest things about the Peoplemover was the way the roof automatically lifted when the train returned to the station. It wasn’t necessary, but it felt like “the future”; I assume that Bob Gurr came up with a simple and dependable way for that to work. There is no shortage of bad info out there when it comes to Disneyland, I’ve read some doozies on various forums (though I don’t really look at forums anymore). I’ve mentioned it before, but somebody claimed that the Viewliner was never at Disneyland. OK! Maybe the thing about the trash cans is that Walt Disney liked the swinging doors, and then somebody ran with it and made up the story about how the concept was Walt’s idea?

Anonymous said...

Delicious photos today


Nanook said...

That’s the ‘Builders Beaver’ at Builders Emporium-!

Anonymous said...

Nobody ever mentions the important function that the PeopleMover tracks still function…shade. And style.


Anonymous said...

I looked up the BE Beaver logo, and it instantly came back to me.

Bonus, that page has giant Fedco sign, too