Thursday, February 15, 2024

Many Mark Twains

I have another selection of scans, courtesy of the Mysterious Benefactor. While undated, I am guessing that most of these are from the 1970s, or possibly the early 1980s. These were taken for potential publicity use, and most of these are "postcard worthy"! I should add that the folder of scans that I am working through is almost exclusively pictures of the Mark Twain, scores of 'em. So gird your loins!

I love this first beauty, taken as the sun was setting. The Mark Twain is mostly in shadow, but the stacks and taller trees and the hoodoos of Big Thunder Mountain glow with warm sunshine. Was this photo taken on one of the days that the park was closed? Did they even do that anymore by the late 1970s?

The park was certainly not closed when this picture was taken, the steamboat is packed with hu-mans!

Here's another pretty photo, it reminds me of the pictures in "The Magic of Disneyland and Walt Disney World", by Valerie Childs, published in 1982. It is full of nice pictures of the parks in glorious saturated colors. You can also buy books by Ms. Childs only featuring Disneyland, or only featuring WDW, but I couldn't find those on Amazon. If I had my copies at hand, I'd definitely look to see if this picture was published in one of them.

And finally, here's a lovely image taken from Tom Sawyer Island, as a family crosses the Pontoon Bridge, with the Mark Twain in the distance. Look at how lush and green Frontierland is!

THANK YOU, Mysterious Benefactor!


Nanook said...

My sources say February 5, 1985 was the last day Disneyland was regularly closed. So yes - it's possible the first image was taken during one of those siestas. It does seem kinda late for the Park not to be open 7-days a week, but there you have it.

Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

I have a copy of that Valerie Childs book! It's like having a hard copy of a Gorillas Don't Blog post. The steamboat and her reflection In the water may sail together, but never the Twains shall meet.

Little Billy on the pontoon bridge looks like he's about to give a nice big bounce. Bounce, Billy, bounce! You know you want to!

JB said...

[JB pauses his reading of Major's commentary to gird his loins............] OK, loins girded!

1) Major, the Park was not closed... exactly. This photo was taken on one of the "ghosts only" days. We can't see them but the Mark Twain is filled to capacity with ghosts!
The photo looks a little blurry. Maybe a ghost was standing in front of the camera lens? I love pictures taken during the 'golden hour'.

2) This is what the previous picture would look like if we could see the ghosts. The MT is stuffed to the gills! There are two people (dressed in white) sitting at the bow of the boat. They've both got their hands up to their faces. Maybe they're shouting to someone on shore? Or maybe they're both blowing their noses into their hands.

3) Like you said, this photo has wonderfully saturated colors. Almost magical! I wonder where our photographer was standing, to be fairly high up like this?

4) This photo is especially nice! Another jam-packed Mark Twain, with the family working their way across the bridge. This one is certainly postcard worthy!

Yes it's the Mark Twain, again. But these are very nice exemplars. Thanks MB and Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, 1985 seems a little late for the seven day a week operation to begin. I can never remember who did it first, Knott's or Disney, but one followed almost immediately after the other one did it. It seems like it was earlier in the eighties, like around '82 or '83.

JB, I noticed those two people on the bow of the Mark Twain, in the second pic. I figured they were either blowing their noses, or playing harmonicas.

Thank you, Major and M.B.!

Melissa said...

Today's VFA (Vintage Fashion Award) goes to the patriotic, color-coordinated family in the third picture. The crowning touch is the two kids in matching hats and the two kids in almost-matching hats.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, 1985 seems to make sense, Eisner had been there about a year (I think?), and I’m sure the idea was that there was too much money not being earned on those “closed” days.

Melissa, I really like the Valerie Childs book, it’s full of gorgeous photos of the park - I’m kind of surprised that not many people seem to know about it. I’d recommend it to any Vintage Disneyland fan.

JB, I wish I could go to the park on a “ghosts only” day, but… I’m not a ghost. OR AM I? I do like wearing sheets. “The MT is stuffed to the gills”, I didn’t even know it HAD gills. You learn something new every day. I no longer blow my nose into my hands, I’m all civilized and use my sleeve. Hmm, where *was* the photographer standing for that third photo? It’s possible it was just on shore, as it is a bit raised on the west bank. Stay tuned for many MANY more Mark Twain photos - I like them, but to be honest, I’m also looking forward to getting past them eventually.

TokyoMagic!, I didn’t know that Knott’s was also closed two days a week. I always assumed that if somebody showed up at Disneyland and it was closed, they could have just driven 10 minutes to Knott’s and saved the day, but maybe not!

Melissa, even today you’ll see families at Disneyland in matching outfits, it’s a bit weird, but I guess it makes it easier to find each other in a crowd.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, Knott's and Disneyland weren't closed on the same days, in the off season. Disneyland was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Knott's was closed on Wednesdays and Thursdays. During Knott's employee orientation, they told us that schedule was arranged on purpose, so if visitors to So. Cal. were in town for just a day or two, they would find at least one of the parks open.

Bu said...

For the "closed day's" thing: I think it pre-dates the Eisner regime, and '82 sticks in my mind...I was there and I STILL don't remember. Monday's and Tuesdays when you worked and the park was closed was strangely quiet and strangely noisy: this is when they would do things like jackhammer asphalt and whatnots...with trucks and things driving all over the park. After the "normal operating day of tradesmen et was blissfully peaceful...and you were able to take your lunch or snacks wherever you wanted and sit at a bench: which internally felt kind of "naughty"...since normally eating chewing drinking...and most other normal human activities in view of guests was absolutely verboten. Orders must be followed. I remember this first Mark Twain photo color-wise as it was on the cover of the guidebook...but if I remember correctly, passengers were depicted on-board. Perhaps this was a lighting test shot (?) The pontoon pic also looks familiar, but I think that was a common photo set up to appear in many iterations of the press/publication. I loved jumping on that bridge to fling other people around. I was quite the rascal before I started working there...even as a guest: if you are an employee there was a certain level of decorum you had to adhere to. I love being surveilled...all. the. time. I remember the Valerie Childs book with Ambassador Susan Donald on the cover...I'm sure I had it, but don't remember it very well. The link provided to Amazone shows 1982...but Susan Donald was Ambassador in 1977....The Rivers of America look so green and lush...a lovely backdrop to the white of the Mark twain. Like a picket fence rolling across the river. Thanks Major and MB for the trip back in time.

JG said...

These are wonderful photos, the last two are real keepers!

When I see these, I imagine Herve’ Villechaize in a white suit standing on the paling of the Fort shouting “The Twain, The Twain!!”

Thanks Major and MB.


K. Martinez said...

The first pic of The Mark Twain and Big Thunder Mountain is beautiful.

The last pic featuring the Mark Twain and Pontoon Bridge reminds me so much of a certain postcard I have.

Great pics today!

Thank you, M.B. and Major.

Melissa said...

Bu, one of my favorite memories of my first trip to the Magic Kingdom is jumping up and down on the barrel bridge with my sister.

Anonymous said...

Major.... From one who started many days before the 'rope drop", that first picture was taken in the early morning, not in the evening. The shadows tell me so. Whether it was closed that day or not, the MT would look just like that before opening. BU pretty much summed up what the park was like on closed days. And I never felt guilty about walking around and enjoying the sights and sounds all to myself. I realized how lucky I was. With the lack of crowd noise, the prerecorded music and announcements were all the more clearer. You could hear them from a distance and between lands. It was kinda cool because it was hard to appreciate it during operating hours.

TokyoMagic!...I too recall those very comments...that Knott's and Disney coordinated off days. Now to confirm it! KS

Dean Finder said...

Something about the angle on the third pic makes the MT look like it has an underbite.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, very interesting, and cool that the two parks cooperated on something like that. Thank you for letting me know!

Bu, oh the “closed Mondays and Tuesdays” thing goes back to at least the 1960s, and maybe earlier than that - I have brochures! Obviously during the peak seasons, they would be open 7 days a week. While I would be very disappointed to find Disneyland closed, it is a bit of a drag to walk past the Haunted Mansion and hear the unpleasant sound of jackhammers in the middle of an otherwise nice day. As a TG, why would you need to be there on those closed days? Maybe for training, or to take care of mundane office stuff? There are so many photos of the Mark Twain that it’s hard to remember one specific example from the past, but I do believe that they would only want to show that vessel during park operation, when it was full of guests. 1977 sounds right for the original release of the Valerie Childs books, or at least the original Disneyland volume. I’m not sure when the combined Disneyland/WDW book came out - I have it, but it’s not handy at the moment.

JG, I shall forgive you for that pun! Also, “paling”?? A word I don’t know.

K. Martinez, I think I know the postcard you are referring to, who knows, the same photographer might have taken both photos!

Melissa, so YOU and your sister are the rowdy kids?!

KS, I guess it looked like the sun was setting in the west to me in that first photo, but I would never argue with an expert! The odd warm colors do make it look sunset-ish, but it’s clear that the color is a bit “off” on that one too. I envy many of your experiences as a CM, and your description of being at the park on quiet closed days sounds amazing.

Dean Finder, the Mark Twain hadn’t had its headgear yet.

JB said...

Tokyo!, Or maybe they were blowing their noses into harmonicas!

Major, your "ghosts day" reply made me wonder; was the photographer also a ghost? I guess CMs and company photographers were allowed in the park on those days.
I just let the snot run down and drip off my chin; saves on kleenex expenditures.

Bu, yes but, was blowing your nose into your hands, or picking your nose, in front of the guests also verboten? Man, they really were strict!

JG, your "The Twain!" joke made me smile as I visualized Herve V. uttering the line.

KS, I thought the 1st photo might be early morning as well; it just has that look. But I am notorious for getting all sorts of Disneyland things wrong, so I just went with what Major said... because, as we all know, Major knows all and is never wrong (he has told us so). :-D

Anonymous said...

Major, thank you for forgiving me, you are very generous.

Here is some background on the phrase, it is from the Latin and is an archaic and alternate precursor of "palisade".

The usage with which I am most familiar is the "beyond the Pale" since this is also the context where I learned the phrase. I somewhat disagree with the wiktionary commentary, but I'm just nitpicking. Far more likely for an English expression to have arisen in an English-speaking country, rather than Russia.

JB, I'm glad you enjoyed. I have dreams where HV is disclaiming this from Main Street Station, with the clanging bell in the background noise.


Nanook said...

@ TM!-
That 1985 date came from Jason's Almanac - usually an extremely reliable source. It's certainly possible there were time periods prior to this date - and not during a "holiday window" - where some Mondays and Tuesdays were 'open for business', but I'd stick with Jason's unless conflicting info directly from Disney can be had.

In actuality, the first closure day was Monday, Sept. 12, 1955, and those Monday only closures would continue thru December 19th - resuming again on Monday, January 9, 1956. The Monday closure swapped with Tuesday (February 13th-14th, 1956) for some reason. During Spring break, it was 7-days/week operation. 7-day/week Summer operation began on June 18th, 1956, eventually re-starting Monday closures on October 1st.

Same was true for most of 1957; but once 7-day/week operation began for the Summer 1957, the park sustained 7-day/week operation [with two exceptions] all the way thru Monday, September 15, 1958 when the Monday-Tuesday [off-season] closures began in earnest. And yes, there seemed to be other [non-holiday] Monday-Tuesdays where the Park was open; but that 1985 date still holds true for breaking-free from any repetitive Monday-Tuesday closures.

Bu said...

Hmmm....1985....sounds good! I'll go with it, but under penalty of law I'm not sure I'd die on that proverbial cross. Perhaps I am confusing Passports and the elimination of ticket books....and the timing of being open 7 days. Now that I think about it, if I was working a Monday or Tuesday when the park was closed it could have been in 82-85....Tour Guides staffed the phones, and even in ODV there was always work to do "out and about" the park from a maintenance was definitely a skeleton crew, but we we working and also had to be in costume: which at the time I thought didn't make sense....but getting Disneyland's clothes dirty was better than getting your own dirty...I suppose. On closed days guests would still come to the park, and ticket sales could happen, and the "outside the gate" newsstand was open. I wasn't like their were crowds of people, but there were people. Envisioning it: it's kind of like that scene in Willy Wonka: where Charlie is looking through the gates of the chocolate factory...things are going on inside: but you can't see them. Things were generally kind of messy in the park on closed days: the guests see pristine "on stage"...closed days was peeling back the scenery, picking up rocks, and finding bugs....I remember (oddly) lots of concrete dust and general dirt all over the pavement and walkways. They did not power wash on closed days. By the time guests arrived on Wednesday: it was all spit polished, power washed and gleaming. I feel kind of special that I saw it that way, which until the Covid closure: would never be seen again.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Great pictures, thanks MB and MP.

I never tire of seeing the Mark Twain. He definitely has a bad underbite, Dean, in that 3rd shot. The gulper-eel-look.

It's interesting to hear about working in the Park on the closed days. Thanks for sharing, Bu and KS. To be able to wander around and eat lunch on a random bench in DL sounds wonderful. Is it true that the Jungle Cruise soundtrack is always playing?

I don't have Jason's book regarding the Park hours and days, but I do have my dad's yearly DL calendars (with hours, etc.) that were given to him (being a Magic Kingdom Club Director). But darned if I can find them now. Major, did I give them to you?? In my searching, I found a 1983 Disneyland Hotel magazine and it has ads and coupons for Knott's Berry Farm. KBF and DL definitely learned to co-exist and play nicely together.

JG, I have to correct you. It's "De Twain! De Twain!" ;o)

Am thinking about the pontoon bridge. I think it would be fun to get a bunch of Jr. Gorillas on it together and see if we can send someone flying. Anyone game?

Thanks for another fun day in DL!

JG said...

Sue, like Melissa, I have precious memories of scaring my mom on the pontoon bridge. If we can do a GDB crossing, I’m in.


TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, thanks for that info! Now that you have revealed "your source," I can say that I definitely trust Jason. Like Bu, I might have been confusing the change to 7-day a week operation, with when they eliminated the individual tickets for the attractions. That was another change that Knott's and Disney did pretty much at the same time, one following right after the other. Like Sandy Duncan and her Wheat Thins.

Anonymous said...

Sue...Many of the sounds were in operation on a continuous loop. KS