Thursday, May 23, 2024

Fantasyland, June 1962

I just scanned a batch of slides from June, 1962. Many of them are pretty nice, though the dreaded JUNE GLOOM had descended upon SoCal, resulting in gray skies that kept things cooler for the guests, but also made the pictures a little less dazzling.

Let's start with a look at Skull Rock, a strange natural formation with more than the usual compliment of waterfalls. Viewing this now, I kind of wonder if there was any discussion about making the skull bigger, and perhaps not having the rocky outcropping to the right - it's taller than Skully. Personally I would have liked a big, big skull staring at me with the green lights inside the eye sockets at night! But I'm nit-picking. 

Not too far away, the Three Little Pigs and their frenemy, the Big Bad Wolf have set aside their petty issues (such as the BBW wanting to eat the 3LPs) to pose with their fans. It's interesting to consider that "The Three Little Pigs" animated short was from 1933, which seems like ancient times to us, but was only 29 years before this picture was taken. Perhaps the blonde lady to the right saw the film in the theatre when she was a child.



Nanook said...

The Skull looks awfully good just as it is, if you ask me. Memories of experiencing it in the 'flesh', never get old.

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

The Mermaid is blessing Skully with her wand/scepter. Or maybe she's causing all that water to pour out of Skully's mouth and other orifices. A mermaid's idea of fun can be rather elusive.
I think someone here told us what the 'tower' was for, in years past. Seems like it housed the pump, or something?

I sense that the little kid on the left isn't gonna get any closer to the BBW. If I was his age, I'd be leery of those big sharp teeth too! I hope Wolfie's tongue is firmly attached; I can picture a rambunctious kid yanking on it, just 'cuz it's there. I guess the CM inside the Wolf had to look out through the wolf's mouth? Seems awfully limiting.

Even with the gray skies, these are nice pics, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Awww, it looks like Skull Rock has a tear in the corner of his right eye. Maybe he foresees his ultimate demise in another 20 years.

Chuck said...

”Personally I would have liked a big, big skull staring at me with the green lights inside the eye sockets at night!”

You want Disneyland Paris, then, although you may have to bribe someone to change out the socket bulbs to get the effect you’re looking for.

I’ve always thought that “our” Skull Rock looked a bit more impressive from above. Maybe it’s because you can see more of the cranial dome and waterfall layout. From that angle, that outcropping to the right that held the pumps looks more natural.

I am not authorized to confer VFAs, but my nomination goes to the three little girls in front of the 3LPs. They are all wearing dresses and cardigans, and two are wearing adorable straw hats.

JB’s comment about the CM inside the BBW looking out of the mouth gave me a thought (which I may have thunk and expressed before but have forgotten)…in interacting with any of the costume characters, do any of you find yourself making eye contact with the costume rather than the CM inside?

Sru29573 said...

Ah, Skull Rock! What can be said that hasn't already been said about this wonderful former landmark?
How about this: It's no secret that Six Flags Over Texas and Disneyland shared (stole?) ideas from each other in the early years. 6FOTs Skully was Skull Island. That skull had a slide coming out of his ear for some reason, and wasn't nearly as well sculpted as ol' Skully. Still old timers long for him much as Disneylanders long for Skully. He went away when 6FOT became an amusement park instead of a theme park. Heck, the whole island went away... So goes (business) life, I suppose... Still, it's sad.

JG said...

Skull Rock, my single-most-missed bit of Disneyland, with the worst case of post-nasal drip ever seen pre-COVID.

I don’t know for sure, but imagine the rocks were sculpted just for effect, no reason to have pumps up in the air. The pumps were, in fact, in a ground floor room accessed from the grotto under the skull. We have seen the door in some earlier posts.

I remember that Wolf costume, it’s hard to see here, but the tongue was shiny red vinyl with a wet look. Very effective!

Thanks Major!


zach said...

Great photos today. Scully was one of the best vignettes in the park. Sorry we lost it.

BTW, Mike, 'tilts in perplexity' is the best band name ever! (I'm a day behind).


Bu said...

Skull Rock will come back in my fantasy Disneyland...where nothing is TRE'd, symmetry and theming is in place, and the use of color is appropriate. Appropriate may be subjective: but it's not in my fantasy Disneyland. Skull Rock, in COMBO with the Pirate Ship: is the entrance to the new, expanded and improved Peter Pan's Flight. Using "old school" mechanics: ship on a rail...and new things down below. Also adding tremendous capacity to the attraction with larger ride vehicles (flying boats)...hence shorter yet longer lines. Longer lines because it would be even MORE popular than it is now. Skull Rock at night is the best, and I would stare into the ViewMaster for hours looking at it. Possibly View Master would be the closest thing I would get to going to the Park without going. I wouldn't mind a VR tour of's not the same...but I would still enjoy it. I think I've spewed my idea of the VR 1959 and 1967 Tours of Disneyland. Someone has money do develop it: so go at it people! Not sure what the market would be...but it seems that VR could be a good teaching tool with many uses of "going back in time"....Pre-Revolutionary US....Grand Canyon...Yosemite...LA 1950....LA 1901....I can go on and on...maybe this is the "new" ViewMaster. Feel free to steal my ideas. I knew the 3 pigs and the song when I was a kid: so seeing them at Disneyland was understandable. I'm not sure how relevant they are now...possibly even books are still used by kids...I'm unclear if Golden Books are still around. Miss Chicken of the Sea is rather buxom..and is it wand or a scepter? Wands are always good things to have on hand. Wand me back in time to see Skull Rock again please. Thanks Major!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I do love the skull as it is, BUT… I still think that it would be even more impressive at 200%!

JB, the Mermaid is generous with her magic. As long as the thing you want is a tuna sandwich! I’m sure the tower housed pumps, since some of the waterfalls spring directly from it. I don’t blame that kid for keeping his distance, I admit that some of the costumed characters intimidated me when I was a child. Not Tigger, I always wanted to hug him. But some of the others were REAL BIG!

TokyoMagic!, the Skull is crying because it has foreseen the cancellation of “Welcome Back Kotter”.

Chuck, for some reason the link isn’t loading, I think it’s because of the Freemasons. I’ve seen photos of the Paris version of Skull Rock, but I guess I never noticed that it might be bigger than the old Disneyland version. With the Skyway going overhead, I’m sure that the Imagineers designed Skull Rock to be seen from an aerial view, and it did look great! The trio of little girls is pretty adorbs. I don’t have a lot of experience interacting with characters, but I think I looked at Buzz Lightyear in his eyes - though in that case I’m not sure where else to look. The thought of looking at the “mail slot” in a LIttle Pig’s hat is kind of funny!

Sru29573 (?!), I have no idea if a “Skull Rock” is part of the original Peter Pan story, but it’s possible that the concept goes way back. I have a slide of the skull at SFOT, and I like it, but you’re right, it’s not as nice as the Disneyland version. When looking at brochures from some pre-Disneyland fairs and expos, there are often MANY features that would wind up in some version at the park. I’ll have to scan some of those!

JG, I dunno, I’ve had some pretty bad post-nasal drip. I don’t want to brag! Hmm, I guess it does make more sense to have the pumps at ground-level, though I don’t recall seeing the door you mentioned. I forget a lot! Shiny red vinyl with a wet look? Just like my suit!

zach, I wonder if the idea of removing Skull Rock was contentious, or if everybody just shrugged and said, “It has to go”. I hope it was a tough decision! “Tilts in perplexity”, a prog band for sure!

Bu, I agree that the combination of Skull Rock with the Pirate Ship made for one spectacular tableau. The Skull was always something I looked forward to seeing as a child, particularly at night, I got a thrill seeing those empty eye sockets with their green glow. I like your idea of somehow incorporating a new, improved Peter Pan’s Flight with the Pirate Ship and SR, though I do love the ride just as it is. It’s fun to imagine what they could do if they had twice as much space and endless money, though! View Master reels… I have a lot of them, and there was a time when I did spend a lot of time soaking in the stereo views of the park as it was 50 years ago. Part of me toys with the idea of selling off my collection, but then I look at the pictures again and change my mind. I’ve always thought it would be incredible if somebody could design a “Vintage Disneyland” VR experience, though it would be quite a task, since so many tiny details would have to be dealt with somehow. The Mermaids artifact looks wand-like, but who knows, maybe it is a scepter!

Nanook said...

"I’m sure the tower housed pumps..." - if the pumps were located in the 'tower', they were most-likely at ground level.

I have to agree with JG on this one. Sure, you can place the pumps at the water 'output', but you have to 'pull' the water up just to get it into the pump, proper. Pumps used to harvest well water must do this but, the use of self-priming pumps is necessary to overcome the challenges of air entrainment. Would make more sense to install the pumps at ground level for ease of access, maintenance, etc.

Dean Finder said...

Bu, teaching history through VR makes me think of the Simpsons clip where Lisa imagines a VR history class where they meet Genghis Khan.

JB said...

Welcome, Sru29573. Is this your first time commenting on GDB? ;-D

Lou and Sue said...

^ probably twins separated at birth. :o)

I love and miss Skull Rock.

Fun pictures, thanks Major.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, well, OK… I would put the pumps out on a plank over alligators, but you do it your way!

Dean Finder, somehow I was expecting George Takei’s voice. No such luck!

JB, I welcome Sru and hope that he enjoys our planet!

Lou and Sue, maybe they WEREN’T separated!

SRU29573 said...

Humor has been detected.
Condition response initiated.