Sunday, December 24, 2023

Christmas Parade, 1963 - PART 4

Whoa, it's Christmas Eve! I hope you are all wearing your ugly sweaters and sipping hot cocoa with mini marshmallows. Today I am sharing the last of the photos from the 1963 "Christmas In Many Lands" parade. Go back and take a look at the first three installments if you haven't seen them yet, for gosh sakes. 

Full disclosure: this photo should have been shared in the first parade post, but I saved it for today because we can see a very special person in the Horseless Carriage - Fred MacMurray! Professor Brainard himself. I'm sure that car is powered by Flubbergas, but it wouldn't do much good to have the car soaring hundreds of feet above the crowd. I'm quite thrilled to have a photo of Fred MacMurray, I'll tell you what.

Back to our regularly-scheduled parade floats - I mentioned in the first parade post that December 22nd not only was date of the "Christmas In Many Lands" parade, but Jason's Disneyland Almanac also mentioned the debut of the "Parade of Toys". I wondered if they did that parade earlier in the day, but now that I'm sober, I can see that the Parade of Toys was sort of the Grand Finale of the whole shebang.

The Motorized Firetruck is driven by a toy fireman, and the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty (Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather) are along for the ride. Behind them, some mouse elves (?) sit atop a giant mouse trap, which is pulling a red wagon sporting a giant tin clown.

Next, a choo-choo pulls a float with puppet versions of the Golden Horseshoe Revue dancers. I would think that it might be tricky to keep one's footing on that moving float! But the puppet showgirls don't seem worried.

Another toy train pulls a float with a trio of choir singers. Those choir figures look very much like some little  German figures (made of lathe-turned wood) that my mom has had since her trip to Europe in 1948! 

And it wouldn't be a Disneyland Christmas parade without the platoon of toy soldiers from Babes in Toyland. I'm always happy to see them.

Those mysterious presents seen behind the guests in all the previous photos actually held hundreds and hundreds of colorful balloons, which have been released for a colorful daytime finale (as the Flag is being lowered, apparently). Disneyland used to do these balloon releases for big occasions, but at some point people realized that all those balloons had to wind up somewhere. Perhaps in the ocean, or some other place they shouldn't be.

Still, they do look amazing!

I hope that you have enjoyed these parade pix from 1963!


Nanook said...

Once again, this sure looks like a great parade - which I may have actually seen. Is that hat worn by the toy fireman in the 2nd image an homage to the Firehouse Five Plus Two-?

This was a great series of images-! Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

HA! Major, you are FULL of surprises, aren't you?! What a wonderful Christmas this is - Uncle Walt showed up to join in our festivities. Our favorite relative.

Thank you for a special Christmas Eve celebration, Major! I'll check back later, as I'm looking forward to reading everyone's comments, today....

DBenson said...

Time to dig out "Disneyland Around the Seasons" with its Christmas finale. Always wondered how many of those giant toys were actual props from "Babes in Toyland". I know they had at least some big ones for the scenes where shrunk-down Tom and Barnaby duel, but others were seen as toy-sized when the kids were assembling them and in the stop-motion parade scene.

Never saw the big head good fairies before. Yikes.

JB said...

Who's the guy in the front seat? Anybody we know? ;-) The crowd sure seems pleased to see such beloved celebrities in their midst.

Even toy clowns look scary! It must be a Universal Law that clowns just look scary, no matter what! The three Sleeping Beauty fairies look a bit creepy as well. I don't know how they managed to do that, but they did. The mouse elves are kinda cute though.

Of course the puppet showgirls don't seem worried... they're PUPPETS! They've got wood for brains. The showgirls are also wearing high heels; doubly impressive on that moving platform. Looks like Beetlejuice is driving the choo-choo.

The mouths on the choir figures look like they open and close. The Alice in Wonderland Caterpillar is walking behind the float. I like that they added numerous arms and legs to the costume.

Looks like there are 16 Toy Soldiers. And I agree, it's always nice to see them in a parade.

I spot a whoooole bunch of hidden Mickeys in that cloud of colorful balloons. I'm pretty sure it was unintentional, but they're there. I saved both of these balloon pics; I can't help it. I'm attracted to colorful things. Especially when there are TONS of them.

An excellent series of parade photos, Major. Thanks.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Bu, if you read this, and you aren't too busy wrapping all of our Christmas presents, PLEASE share your Walt's 'car' story, here. PLEASE. ;oD

TokyoMagic! said...

I have also never seen those big headed Fairies before. They appear to be related to the "Clod Mickey" and "Clod Minnie" costumes.

Those large choir singer figures were in "Babes In Toyland." They also appeared on the cover of a "Babes In Toyland" comic book.

That kid is still up in that tree in front of the Wonderland Music store. He bugs me. I do wish that Bu would go yank him down and give him a firm talking to.

I just noticed something in this batch of parade photos. There is a small wooden soldier inside a small guardhouse, to the right of the Opera House entrance. I know the "Babes In Toyland" exhibit was inside, and I think we have even seen that soldier outside the door before, here on GDB. I went back and looked in the earlier posts of this parade, and it can be seen, but it's more in the shadows in those other pics. The parade was long, so maybe by the end the sun had moved enough and was now shining on the soldier.

Could the flag have still been at half-mast, for John F. Kennedy? His assassination would have been just a few weeks earlier.

Thank you Major, for this wonderful series of parade pics.

TokyoMagic! said...

I just did a search. The State Department ordered flags to be flown at half-mast for 30 days following the assassination of President Kennedy, which occurred on November 22nd. So these pics were was most likely taken within that 30-day time frame.

Melissa said...

Look at all the cute babushkas and scarves in the crowd! Fred ius wondering if the insurance on Walt's flivver comes with double indemnity.

That fire truck is speeding straight out of a nightmare, but I love the black saloon girl costumes. Holy crud, they're trusting Goofy and Pluto with a cannon? I guess that's what you call Arf-tillery. (I'll show myself out.)

For some reason, the artistic style looks better on the caroler figures than on the clown and train engineers. And it looks like maybe their mouths could move? And look, there's the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland! I don't think I've ever seen him as a walkaround character before.

I love that the toy soldiers' basic design hasn't changed in all these years. Thank you for your service, boys!

That flock of balloons makes the whole park look like a confetti snowglobe. Sharp eye on the flags, TM!

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate tomorrow! My daily dose of GDB and commentary is like the orange in the toe of my stocking.

Budblade said...

It’s a special gift for us to see Walt (and Fred) on Christmas Eve. I wonder who the lucky girl is sitting next to Fred.

It looks like there is a park guide and a female Mickey Mouse club member (not Annette) near the big presents on the left. Or at least guests dressed as reasonable facsimiles….but I didn’t think that would be allowed.

I also spy a mob boss with his sunglasses and shiny boutonniere.

JG said...

Major, an amazing collectors item, photo of Walt and Fred MacMurray. What a score! Was this from the same parade batch? If Walt is driving that car, it looks like he is steering with a tiller, not a wheel. I think I’ve heard of this before. Maybe Bu or Mike will enlighten us.

Fred will go on to buy a vineyard in the Russian River Valley and make wonderful Pinot Noir.

Creepy fairies for sure, amazing that those were green lighted. They resemble the John Tenniel illustrations of the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland, and she was “supposed to be” terrifying.

Nanook, I think you are right about the fireman’s hat, and another odd mask too.

In the pic with the wooden carolers, we can see the “locomotive” tire behind the decorative wheel. I wonder if the decoration was a practical effect with the push rod sliding back and forth?

Yes, balloon releases were probably harmful, but amazing. Now we have vegan projections and GMO-free laser drones.

Thanks Major! Merry Christmas to all the Junior Gorillas!



The car Walt is driving is one of 4 “1901 Electrics” …. Its look is greatly inspired by the 1901-1903 Curved Dash Oldsmobiles ( the Oldsmobiles were gas combustion … but electric automobiles were the most common until about 1910) . Like all the Main Street USA vehicles , were also designed by Bob Gurr . Like most of the earliest automobiles of the United States , England , France and Germany … the tiller was the common means steering early horseless carriages as it was a simpler and lighter mechanism than a steering wheel. In reality it was also dangerous and difficult to control … a small rut in the road could jerk the tiller out of the operators hand and send the auto in an erratic direction. Eventually the more controllable steering wheel became the standard. The 1901 electrics were used open - as in this picture and with a fringed top …. They were used as service attractions for guests but because they were very limited of capacity were eventually regulated to parades and VIP transportation around the park. A friend of ours has discovered evidence that for a short time regular guests could purchase a special VIP tour that took them
Around the whole park in one of these automobiles …. And he has discovered quite a few photographs of the little cars in different parts of Disneyland with a DL tour guide and regular guest! The special tour was not offered for very long.

All four of the 1901 Electrics still survive …. However in 1980 one of them was gifted to Walt Disney World where it was used for parades and grand marshal guests during the WDW Tencennial parade .

All four of the cars were identical , except each had its own 2 color scheme . Bob Gurr says the maroon with cream trim was Walt Disney’s “favorite” to use … and this may have been true … but the yellow with red trim auto seems to have been the most photographed and most used for VIP service and as a attraction vehicle. Recently the green with white trim car had been on display inside the Disneyland opera house during the 50th exhibit. The white with blue trim car was the one sent to Florida. It was slightly altered when it was repainted with the WDW Centennial blue and a brighter white body color …

01 yellow w/ red trim ( home : Disneyland)
02 burgundy w/ cream trim ( home : DL) WALT’S FAVORITE!!
03 green w/ white trim ( home: DL)

04 white w/ blue trim ( home: WDW since 1980)

The 3 Disneyland 1901 electrics ate stored in the parade float warehouse and one is always kept fully charged and ready to go if needed.

Kathy! said...

Everyone looks so happy seeing Walt n Fred, as they should be. Another instance of wondering if the other photos and movies we can see being taken have survived. Nightmare fuel clowns and fairies — and inaccurate, they weren’t all blondes! But yes the mice are cute, though I’m worried about how close they are to a trap. Is that Anaheim High School in Revolutionary soldier outfits behind the tin soldiers? I’m used to seeing the soldiers playing instruments so their round “bead” hands looked odd. Happy Christmas Eve, Major and Jr. Gorillas!

Nanook said...

On more careful observation, it would appear Walt is clutching a cigarette in his right hand.

Anonymous said...

Nanook. From Walt himself "Walt Disney doesn't smoke. I smoke. Walt Disney doesn't drink. I drink". So, I'm rather hard pressed to think that he would openly be holding a cigarette while on "official duty". Just a thought. The Toy Soldiers, next to Santa himself, have been such an iconic fixture through the years. It was always a joy to see them marching. Merry Christmas Eve to all. KS


Walt Disney smoked like crazy … it’s what killed him. He also drank. The Disney archives and the WED /WDI photo library began a program in the early 90’s to airbrush out or remove photos from the reference binders that showed Walt with cigarettes in his hand or smoking … and images of Walt pretty snockered ( most of the New Orleans square opening day photos cannot be shown to the public because Walt was toasted .

In one famous included - a photograph showing Walt helping Lilly into one of those 1901 electrics …. The airbrush artists / focused on removing the lit cigarette from Walt’s hands , accidentally airbrushed out Lillian’s legs from the image!!

In all these altered or airbrushed images the master prints of negatives remain untouched- but hidden from public view or even in house research display and the original image must be requested to view now.

These hidden Walt images are nicknamed “the studio anomalies” … like the famous Vatican anomalies of art work and artifacts with strange or bizarre images now hidden from public view …

Bu said...

Late to the party: Happy Christmas Eve: I do have a great Walt Electric Car story…It’s long…but involves the Chinese Govt, the CIA, blonde TG’s, and the Anaheim Fire Department. I’ll tell the tale when I have a moment this holiday week: keep checking back. Great photos today: I knew this parade had to be something special. Balloon releases A++++! Miss them. Thanks Major!

"Lou and Sue" said...

KS, I thought the same thing at first (about Walt not smoking in this parade) but, looking closely, I think Nanook might be right. Mike, your info is interesting - and backs-up the two-finger point that was instituted as a result of one of Walt's cigarette photos - unless that's just a rumor. Which wouldn't surprise me. Question: Weren't people allowed to smoke throughout the entire park, in the early years?

Fun comments. Enjoy your Christmas Eve!

DBenson said...

There was a tobacco shop on Main Street, and I believe our host has shown Disneyland matchbooks. Back in the day it seemed like everybody smoked, including nice people. In the 50s, how many American adults would spend a day in a park where it was cold turkey for the duration?

Smoking, like alcohol, was something terrible and wrong only when kids indulged; once you were old enough to vote both vices were socially and commercially encouraged.

Chuck said...

Late to the party. So happy to see Walt in this archive. Only thing I can add is I met Fred MacMurray once. He was pleasant but exhausted after playing at that point 35 holes of golf in two days.

Thanks, Major!

Anonymous said...

I probably was looking at the picture with today's sensibilities. is a quote from Walt himself discussing the differences between himself as a person and as the brand. Yes, smoking was a social vice back then without the formal acceptance that it was harmful. Hey...even back in the 80s it was acceptable to smoke in an office environment...or for there to be smoking sections in commercial aircraft. Glad those days are over. KS