Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Mark Twain Details

The photos of the Mark Twain are endless! Or so it seems. But I'm not complaining. Today I have five more taken-for-publicity-purposes photos for you, courtesy of the Mysterious Benefactor. 

That cast member looks tired, because he just finished prying a few more guests aboard the Twain, using a giant crowbar (designed by Bob Gurr). Each guest was required to coat themselves with goose grease so that they could be packed in even more tightly.

This guy looks pretty smug because he does not have crowbar duty on this shift. Or any shift. His hands are uncalloused and baby soft (more goose grease).

"Look Margie, that man fell into the river!". "Should we help him, George?". "No, he's probably one-a them robots I heard about. It's all part of the show". "Land sakes!". 

Somehow this man has secured a seat at the bow of the Mark Twain, and nobody else has joined him. Looking at the far shore, there doesn't appear to be a single guest, which makes me wonder if this photo was taken on a day when the park was closed to the public? He appears to have an arsenal of cameras, perhaps he was one of the official photographers for Disneyland.

And finally, here's a photo that could have been used in a souvenir guidebook, or a Grad Nite brochure. The spotlights illuminating the steamboat look like they were blindingly bright! But it made for a good picture.

 MANY THANKS to the Mysterious Benefactor!


walterworld said...

That fella in the second picture has city hands; he's been countin' money all his life...

Thank You Major!

Nanook said...

"Blindingly bright", indeed. Just how many lights were used to generate that 'daylight' image-? It's very impressive. With the guy and gal standing on shore, the MT almost looks as if it were part of a background plate being front (or rear) projected on a screen.

Thanks to the M B and The Major.

JB said...

1) The CM looks a little more than just "tired". He looks positively perturbed, like he sees someone doing something unnatural just out of frame. Unnatural, like maybe someone putting ketchup on their hotdog(!)... Actually, I like to do that too. Sometimes mustard; sometimes ketchup; most times both. Maybe I'm the one he's scowling at!
The people on board look like ordinary folks (except for being slathered with goose grease), not a "publicity crowd" placed there for a photo shoot. Maybe they're relatives of CMs?

2) Someone (hi,Bu!) might have a bone to pick with that CM leaning against the MT, arms folded, foot scuffing up the paint on the railing. But to me, the pose looks refreshingly natural for a real-world employee to do.

3) Major, I like your one-act play featuring Margie and George. I was gonna say that the person on the left looks like a young Elliott Gould. But I'm not sure if he's a he or she's a she. The face says "man", but the clothing says "woman"... perhaps I should just change the subject now....

4) That's quite a distinctive hat the photographer is wearing. And the camera straps make it look like he's wearing suspenders. Together, they make him look like an Okie during the Dust Bowl days.

5) Man! Those lights really DO look bright! Like, surface of the Sun bright! They probably had to repaint the Mark Twain after this photo shoot because all the paint bubbled up and peeled off!

Thanks once again to the Mysterious B, and to the mysterious M.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I think that last photo was actually taken on a Grad Nite. Everyone appears to be dressed up. Also, red and white umbrellas like the one on the far left (off in the distance), were used for "backdrops" at some of the Grad Nite character photo locations. You can see two of them in the Grad Nite photos I posted, back in June of 2019.

I wonder if they would still allow a cast member to stand on the outside edge of the Mark Twain, today. It seems like a sure way to get your foot caught between the boat and the dock...or even your entire body, if you fell.

Thank you, Major and M.B.!


It must be a very warm day in that first photo : operations would allow the rolled up sleeves and open vests when the temperature hit certain levels … I recall there was a “temperature table” …. As the temperature rose - off came the clothes!! Maybe BU or Ken remember the specifics …(??)

Stu29573 said...

Speaking of those robots...
Years ago I was in the Magic Kingdom early in the morning aboard the Liberty Belle (I know- wrong park, wrong boat, but hang with me). Anyway, it was all peaceful and nice, and a four foot long gator began swimming next to the boat right below where we were standing. A woman next to me asked her husband in hushed awe, "Is that real???" Her husband simply laughed and proudly said, "This is Disney. Nothing's real!" I didn't say anything, but I told the castmember on the dock when we got off. He said the gators do that all the time and that he would call animal control. So there are people that think it's all "robots!"
Of course the AEDs ARE robots, but more on that later...

Bu said...

Button your vest. Roll down your sleeves. Really? Are you that miserable? Ops person that gets a break every hour. Please: go to foods: you will know sweat then! You are not a character with a big head sweating away for the love of Pete. Beauty is hard and can be painful. The temperature thing I don't think was global: some were 85 degrees, some 90, and some: not at all. In plaid: wearing your wool coat was not (generally) mandatory in any case, however...if you weren't wearing it: it was frowned upon. Don't plan on becoming a lead or anything else unless you had the discipline to be 100% in your costume "as designed." Unless it was completely unbearable: 95+ , otherwise: my coat would stay on. Guests can see you better in plaid. Guests get super distracted by shiny objects and popcorn. In ODV: was a different world: as would all of foods. Don't get me going on on being "too hot" at Coke Terrace...it's all hot all the time...go see the guys in the kitchen...soooo....guy on Mark Twain: please. Folding arms: let's talk. Where is Rory? Where is Larry? They were rules guys: so I'm not sure how this happens. This is sorcery. Folding arms blocks interpersonal communication. Might as well have those hands in the pockets. Rant day 2024. Thanks MB and Major.

JG said...

These are fun and quite different from the usual MT pics.

Seems like they would use duck fat instead of goose grease since there are so many ducks in Frontierland.

Major, your dialog for photo 3 sounds spot on, and look at the wild bag that person is carrying! Was that a Disney design?

Seven (7)! Trash cans being surveyed by Tom Sawyer the photographer. Easier to find and count with no crowds.

In the last pic, what is the thing at the extreme left margin? Red and umbrella? A flower? A cryptid?

Thanks Major, much appreciated.


Anonymous said...

90 degrees seems to me to have been the magic number on the JC dock. Supervision would notify the foreman who either would tell us directly if we were nearby or we'd read the small chalkboard on the pony fence which separated the dock from Tropical Imports. We would all know the forecast of course so the word would get out quickly. Generally that would mean we could remove those 'd*%$' ascots which were around our necks for the duration of the day. The summer costume was short sleeved, so no roll-up was necessary. I'd usually roll up the sleeves on the MT. Provided that they were half way between the wrist and elbow, that was generally acceptable at any time. Standing on the gunnel was the norm when coming into to the dock. We'd jump off to get to the rope which tied the MT to the dock. This would be while the MT was still gliding along. It was a judgement call as to whether the MT was gliding too fast for the rope. We didn't wait for the MT to come to a complete stop. We rarely would have to lift it off the cleat and have the engineer put the MT in a slight reverse to pull it back to position. Those guys were usually spot-on the-mark so to speak. Of course we know what happened with the tragic accident with the Columbia a couple decades later from my tenure. Also interesting to see the chain 'railing' along the dock in the background. I don't recall any such 'safety feature' back then. KS

Anonymous said...

And one other thought. That solo picture looking out toward NO Square was definitely an early morning shot. The park did have 10-6 operating hours at times, so showing up at 8 am could have produced this result. These shots are special to me because I got to experience it this way. There was something magical to have the place to yourself. The smell of the river mixing with the morning dew. OK..so that doesn't sound appealing. But really, it was unique to the specific situation and time of day and, remember, we raced canoes in the early morning hours on (sometimes in) it. No big deal. KS

Melissa said...

1. The brooding CM looks like he's about to break into a chorus of “Old Man River.” “Old Man Disney, that Old Man Disney, he don't pay nothin'”

2. Is that the same guy from the first picture? He's really getting into character! He uses Goose Baby Soft brand Goose Grease. HONK HONK. (Ryan Gosling is their new spokesmodel.)

3. I love the androgynous pair and their matching prints in different colors! They both clash with the Disney shopping bag. George has seen Westworld one too many times.

4. At first I thought the guy in the fourth picture was a CM from Tom Sawyer Island; his crossed camera bag straps looked like suspenders, and his hat has a real Huck Finn sort of thing going on.

Major Pepperidge said...

walterworld, I want one of those money-counting jobs!

Nanook, I honestly would like to know how much prep was required for the “daylight” image. So many spotlights! You’re right, that last one does look like a rear-projection shot.

JB, my guess is that CMs see “unnatural” things done by guests every day. With that many people, it’s just bound to happen. “They picked each others noses!” (sorry I know that was gross). Yes, that CM with his arms folded looks a little too relaxed. Happy even. That won’t do, it won’t do at all. Imagine looking like Elliott Gould, but people can’t tell if you are a man or a woman! I’ll bet a professional photographer who is outside all day needs a big hat like that. It reminds me of the hats I wore when I used to do plein-air painting. They did have to repaint the Mark Twain, but they added pinstripes and flames, which was pretty bitchin’.

TokyoMagic!, yes, I do think that one photo was Grad Nite. No blue jeans, do you hear?? I see the red and white umbrellas, thank you for pointing them out, now I know what they were for. My guess is that standing on that edge of the Mark Twain would be a big “no-no” today, I’m surprised it was OK even then. But we’ve seen people standing outside the Keelboats, and even outside the railing on the Tom Sawyer Island Rafts.

Mike Cozart, good observation, we know it can get very hot in Anaheim at times, I hope it was OK for the CMs to make appropriate adjustments to their costumes.

Stu29573, I admit that it would be weird to just see a gator in the water, like it was no big deal! Your story reminds me of when I went to Disneyland with my then 8 year old niece. While aboard the Mark Twain, she would say, “That’s real” or “That’s fake” if she saw something. And she wasn’t always right!

Bu, this was before they had the Mark Twain costumes with the short shorts. Don’t worry, those shorts were made out of flannel, so they looked historically authentic. I have many cities punched into my weather app, and of course Anaheim is one of them - I have to admit that it is often a bit cooler in Anaheim than it is where I live. But… it’s only a matter of a few degrees. I truly feel sorry for the people in those character costumes, and can only imagine how hot it must be inside. Don’t you think that a TG would be held to a higher standard because you were so much the focus of attention? Rory and Larry were passed out from the heat!

JG, they bought goose grease by the barrel from Army surplus! Hmmm, that sure looks like it must be an official Disneyland bag, but I don’t recall seeing that particular design before. Interesting! See TokyoMagic’s comment re: the thing to the right.

KS, thank you for the insider info! 90 degrees is hot, and if one happens to have to be out in the sun a lot - brutal. Ha ha, ascots, I’ve never worn one, and hope I never do - although I would have made an exception if I worked the Jungle Cruise. I know that the park had “Summer” and “Winter” versions of costumes, now I think they just give CMs overcoats - I remember the pretty female Carrousel operator was all bundled up. That maneuver with the rope sounds pretty “iffy”, obviously when things went fine, no big deal. But the potential for something going wrong was there. And yes, that Columbia accident was truly awful.

KS, aha, a morning view makes sense, notice how gray it is, probably the morning “marine layer” hasn’t burned off yet. Rivers often have a particular smell, even the Rivers of America - it sounds OK to me!

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, actually he was about to sing “Disco Duck”. You just never know! I can’t really tell if the guys in the first two pics are the same person. Goose Baby Soft Goose Grease has lanolin, so you know it’s good. Is it possible to see Westworld too many times?? The guy in the fourth picture has probably used that hat for years, it is sort of a badge of honor to have a hat beat up “just so”.

Nanook said...

"They did have to repaint the Mark Twain, but they added pinstripes and flames, which was pretty bitchin’".

Oh please, no. They Used Tex-Cote®, naturally-! (Whatever happened to those commercials from the 1980's: "This is Sol Skolnick for Tex-Cote..." It's kinda hard to control where a 'spray product' ends up... I've seen the results of a Tex-Cote coating, that continues onto the plants, dirt and hose bibs. [At least it's thorough].

Melissa said...

"I'm Earl Scheib, and I'll paint any steamboat any color for $29.95."

Anonymous said...

Melissa.... "No runs, no drips, no errors." KS

Anonymous said...

Yes that is a real Disney design bag Mr. Groovy is holding. I still have few. An early plastic type with handles for less tearing and more carrying.

I dream of having the park to myself like the photographer does, and have succeeded many times, early and late…but that was another century. Someone is with him taking a nice quality photo of him enjoying the moment.


TokyoMagic! said...

Oh, yeah...I meant to comment on the photo with the merchandise bag. I thought it was odd because I think most or maybe all of the M.B. pics we have seen previously, have been from the late 1970s or early 1980s. That bag was definitely used in the 1990s. I don't know when they started using it, but it would have to be the late 1980s, at the very earliest. And MB is correct, it was one of the earliest, if not the very first, of the plastic merchandise bags. (Not counting those huge grocery-size plastic ones that they sold in some of the shops.) So what doesn't make sense to me is, that the clothing styles in that photo look older than the time period for when that bag was used. Maybe they were time travelers?

I posted a pic of me (sans white oval, if you can believe it!) holding one of those bags, in my "1994 Vintage Trip Report" post, this past January. But here is a close up shot of one of them:


TokyoMagic! said...

Correction, "MS" was correct about the bag being one of the earliest of the plastic versions!

Melissa said...

(I know- wrong park, wrong boat, but hang with me)

Since reading that comment this morning, I've had this Cole Porter song stuck in my head all day.

It's the wrong park, and the wrong boat,
That gator's a robot and it won't float.
No, it won't float, and that's all she wrote,
And it's all right with me.

It's the wrong coast, in the wrong state.
That gator's a robot; it can't swim straight.
It's got a faceplate, and its feet are skates,
But it's all right with me.

You can't know how happy I am that we're here,
Depending on just where we are.
There are things in the river that fill me with fear,
And things that are kind of bizarre.

It's the wrong land, with the wrong name,
That gator's a robot with a steel frame.
Though it sounds lame, that's what they all claim,
And it's all right with me.