Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Matterhorn, 1960s

The real Matterhorn (in Switzerland) is one of my top 10,000 mountains. Some of you might be surprised to learn that the Disneyland version is in the "top 10"! Let's face it, the real mountain has a bunch of features that are not that fun. Real snow. Actual altitude. Bugs (I assume). A lack of basketball half-courts. I rest my case, your honor! 

Just look at this photo, with the Matterhorn looming loomily; it just occurred to me that the mountain appears to be very dark gray, which is how it looked when it was pretty new - at some point it was repainted (by Earl Scheib) in a lighter tone. Or else it just looks dark in this photo, which is no fun. And something else occurred to me! I don't think there were orange Skyway gondolas in the early years (because Earl was out of orange) so this probably isn't a very early photo of the Matterhorn, and I don't know why you even brought it up. 

Great googly-moogly, look at that crowd! I haven't seen that many people since I performed at Woodstock (you might recall that I played on day 2, after Canned Heat but before The Grateful Dead). 


JB said...

Major, it stands to reason that you rate Disneyland's Matterhorn over that one in Switzerland. Besides the reasons you mention, does the Swiss mountain have nostrils? Does it have a Skyway running all the way through it? Does it have bobsleds zipping through caves? Does Tinker Bell fly down from the peak on a regular basis?...... I THINK NOT!!!

Fudgie! 'Tis been so long since we've seen ye! And he's as plain as day here, too! Plus, there's a Bobsled! That makes this photo doubly special.

I can tell that Screechy is nervous about her/his egg, seeing all these people milling around. And those two UFOs hovering overhead aren't helping matters any. Is this photo taken from the Monorail? Maybe the Monorail station?

Thanks for letting us get reacquainted with Fudgie, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yep, there's ol' Fudgers. His tale looks much lighter here, but it's there. And behind him, there appears to be another fish, maybe an angelfish, jumping straight up into the air. Perhaps it's trying to nip at Fudgie's tail.

In the second pic, there is an orange and yellow bobsled that is on it's way back to the loading area. Or maybe it's red and yellow....either way, I don't remember ever seeing that color combination before.

Chuck said...

I don't recall seeing those banners on the light poles before. They are reminiscent of the US Yacht Ensign. I like 'em!

The file name for the first image is "MattQueueA." I think "Matt Queue" will be the name of my world-famous, hard-boiled detective character. Now I just need to write a novel and get it published. Should just take a couple of weeks.

TM!, I think the red-and-yellow bobsled was Harold's first victim.

Bu said...

I think I prefer a more "steely" Matterhorn than the "Grey"....not TOO much snow, as it is now...the mountain certainly looks the same decades later, and nothing like it at all. How does that happen? I think the holes gave it some additional scale where it felt bigger than it does today. Crowds then, crowds now. Everyone loves the Matterhorn. My body does not love the Matterhorn. At. All. However, after I place my developing physique into the bobsled ever so gingerly: I am pretty set in stone there until the end of the ride, when the anxiety sets in and the ride operators go running for the shoe horn. I'm not sure my spine has aligned yet after that trip. In any case, great to see these vintage shots...I can see a sweeper there in pic #2....and like how they sculpted more "Matterhorny type rocks" against the Subs. There is also a smattering of rocks on the backside of Matterhorn as well. With some cute little rock shaped water fountains. I'm wondering if the popularity of the Motor Boat cruise was impacted by the Matterhorn opening? Did more people ride? That's quite the adventure as well. It also turned into the most exciting adventure ever when it became one of the few places in the park to smoke (decades ago). Time does fly. Thanks Major for the Matterhorn Morning: it's reminding me to reserve my Matterhorn Edelweiss so I can try once again in 2024 to naturalize it.

Stefano said...

Major, this must be one of the earliest pictures of the Matterhorn, because Fudgie and the bobsled backside of water will be filled in soon, along with the four open levels behind the waterfall facing Main Street. Also this crowd looks more Eisenhower than Kennedy; in ten years they will be turned away from Woodstock for inappropriate attire.

The folks in the bobsled line are at a favorite spot; you could touch the mountain there and feel the rockwork quivering from passing sleds. Plus hear the pneumatic hisses issuing from rocks around the Sub lagoon. No doubt about it, some fake rocks are better than real ones.

Grant said...

You probably don't remember me Major but I was the stage hand who helped you set up your gear at Woodstock.

I gotta tell ya folks, his band, the Gorillas, were amazing. Major was a killer triangle player. Ding, ding, ding, ding. One, two, three, four. He never missed a beat. By the end of his set the crowd was chanting "More triangle, more triangle". Fito de la Para, Canned Heat's drummer, and Billy Krutezman and Mickey Hart, the Dead's drummers, were standing side stage totally in awe.

Clearly the best act of the entire festival. Thanks for the wonderful memories Major!!

Oh yeah, nice Disneyland photos :)

Anonymous said...

You forgot that the Swiss version is made out of cheese. Green cheese, I believe. Or maybe that's Mars? Who the heck eats green cheese? Nobody, that's who! And that's why Disneyland's mountain is so much better. It's made out of 100% grade A American cheese, baby! That Walt was a real patriot!
Nice pics! Thanks, Major!

Anonymous said...

Definitely my favorite mountain, for all of the reasons cited.

It's good to see that all the waterfalls are running, must have been a good snow year.

Over the years, the Matterhorn has suffered only lightly from the seemingly endless "refurbs" and "plussing", if anything, it is better that it was. I know some folks complain that the ride speed is slower, or the jolts and jars more pronounced, but these are minor complaints. I think the hardest thing to take was the closing of the opening at the top of the lift, but overall, still a great ride almost 65 years later. I wonder if the Mountain will apply for Social Security?

Oh, and I really like the "wind" sound effect that is most pronounced on this side by the Lagoon, makes me feel a chill every time I walk by, whatever the weather.

Thanks Major!


LTL said...

TM!, interesting colors on the bobsled in pic #2, I think that's from when Tower Records went back in time to sponsor a sled.

According to awesome Tower Records documentary All Things Must Pass, the Tower colors were chosen by a friend of the founder who specifically ripped them off from the Shell gas station logo... so, maybe this sled is actually sponsored to subtly promote Shell, therefore no time machine needed!

Major, I tried to have a mountain painted at Earl Schieb once, because the radio ads said "I'll paint any mountain any color for $9.99". Then I got there and they said "Hmmm, this mountain needs a lot of body work, it's too dangerous for you to keep using. That'll be another fifty five dollars". So I left.

Major Pepperidge said...

JB, when Walt was sitting on that bench in Griffith Park, eating peanuts and watching his daughters, he thought, “There oughta be a place where a mountain has nostrils”. Such humble beginnings, but it’s all true. Oh yeah! There’s Fudgie. It’s been so long that I forget to even look for him. And I feel like I’m slipping if I didn’t even point out the bobsled. Screechy is ALWAYS nervous about her egg, so don’t worry about it. And UFOs make me jumpy too; no more ice cold probes!

TokyoMagic!, Fudgie’s mother can call him “Fudgers”, but it embarrasses him! His old roommate calls him “The Fudge Man”, and he doesn’t like that either. Can’t say I blame him. I think I’ve seen orange/yellow bobsleds and green/yellow bobsleds; not sure if there were other color combos.

Chuck, oh, good point, I don’t recall ever seeing those banners either! An unusual detail. As for file names, I sometimes really have to work to come up with unique names for the 500th Matterhorn image (or whatever), I admit that they sometimes get pretty out there. I hope Matt Queue is handy with his fists!

Bu, I kind of like the darker gray Matterhorn, but understand that the lighter shade enhanced the “aerial perspective” that I’m sure they were going for. I do still enjoy a ride on the Matterhorn, even though it is rough. My friend Mr. X swears that it used to be so smooth, but I admit that I don’t remember that vividly. It is still fun, you just have to wedge yourself in and try to not get whiplash. I have no idea if the addition of the Matterhorn affected the Motor Boats, but my family had no problem finding the boats, and we missed a LOT of other stuff!

Stefano, ah, I did not know that Fudgie was filled in, that explains why he only shows up in relatively few photos. I wonder why they did it? Did water from the waterfall get inside the mountain, or drench guests? I love the sense-memories you mentioned, things that we might not necessarily think about, but that make a real impression. Did the queue really get so close that you could touch the mountain??

Grant, ha ha, Woodstock is all a blur now. I can’t go into details! I do play a mean triangle, having learned from a master in Austria. He only takes one pupil per decade, so it was an honor. I wanted to learn the tambourine, but it was too complex. The next time you see Davy Jones singing while playing the tambourine, maybe you’ll have more respect! ;-)

JG, nothing drives my friend Mr. X crazier than seeing that ANY of the Disneyland waterfalls are not working. There was a time when he would call Operations from the park and complain, and watch while somebody walked out to open a valve. Now when I go to the park, he always asks me, “Was the little waterfall at Storybook Land working??”, and I always have to tell him, “No”. I agree with you, in spite of the Matterhorn’s faults, I still love it. I like that wind effect, and hearing the roar of the abominable snowman!

LTL, ah, Tower Records, I miss the days when I would drive a little extra to go to the one on Sunset. I saw Prince there once. And got a record signed by the band “X”. Red and yellow are just good colors, they really pop. I’m sorry your experience at Earl Scheib was not great, but painting a mountain is no small feat. All that masking for the “snow” was definitely going to cost extra!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Fudgie! I do see the angel fish, too, TM!


I love these images.

Thank you, Major.