Friday, May 10, 2024

Two Beautiful Randos

Randos! You never know what you're gonna get. It could be a picture of a Jungle Cruise hippo, mouth agape. Or it could be a photo of Elvis Presley riding the Matterhorn. Who's to say?? There's no Elvis in either of today's photos (as far as I know), but they are still worth a look.

This first beauty is from June, 1960, a view captured from the Tomorrowland Skyway terminal, giving us a slightly elevated look at the Autopia queue structure. We might even be a tiny bit higher than the 3-car Mach-I Monorail ("Li'l Stubby"). We've startled Screechy, the Richfield Eagle, now flying away from us (egg still clutched in powerful talons). And there's other stuff in the photo too! The color on this one is top tier.

Next - another Skyway view, from May 1968; below us is the Exasperated Tea Party (it wouldn't become "Mad" until 1972), but the main subject is the Fantasyland Theatre. It's air conditioned, yo! But we can't ignore the cute little ticket/information booth to the right, or the semi-covered dining area for the "Fan 1" eatery. Beyond that, the forested hillsides of Frontierland. 

Sure, you could snooze in the Fantasyland Theatre, but you could also watch some classic cartoons. In this case, you get the wonderful "Pecos Bill", from Melody Time (1948), and "Rugged Bear", a 1953 Donald Duck animated short, featuring the second appearance of Humphrey the Bear. That one was nominated for an Academy Award, but it lost to "Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom". 


Lou and Sue said...

I never realized there were TWO Screechy’s!

These ARE nice shots - thank you, Major!

Nanook said...


These are both swell images - especially the 1st one - which sort of pulls you right into the image... just not far enough to get hurt.

Thanks, Major.

walterworld said...

Welch's Grape Juice Bar sighting! I went there a bunch since my big brother loved the juice. I did too, sure wish I could go back to those 70's days.

We only ducked into the Theatre once, and then after only about a minute we decided to go somewhere else...oh well.

Thank You Major!

JB said...

Wow! These really ARE nice Randos! The Matterhorn looks especially gray today, with very little snow. The slide says "June", but maybe this was the height of summer; that would account for the trifling amount of snow. "Ladies and gentlemen, the backside of Screechy!" We can see Screechy's mate off in the distance to the right. (Dang, Sue beat me to it!)

Color, color, and more color! Is that building in the background Rainbow Caverns? I count 6 trashcans (?). They aren't all the same design.

Two Randos posts in a row, but that's OK, I like Randos. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...

Randos! The Musical! No book, no score, no libretto, just random songs, random characters, random costumes, you never know what you're going to get. Randos! Catch it this fall on Broadway! Or somewhere else! Tickets randomly priced! It's the story of some guy who did something, and the girl who maybe had an opinion about it! If the day has an R in it, some of the chorus might be singing in the same key! Randos!

These pictures are definitely brought to us by the concept of stripes. Even the things that aren't painted in stripes suggest stripes from this angle. And the sunshine is bringing out all the lovely bright colors of Fantasyland. I love how the line of yellow arches draws your eye straight to the eagle's butt. See, it's not my fault! I'm not some kind of bird pervert!

"...below us is the Exasperated Tea Party (it wouldn't become "Mad" until 1972)"

Once when I made hats for a show, I put labels in them that said, "The Perfectly Sane Hatter HAHA!"

Chuck said...

Look at all those skirts! (I mean that in a literal sense, in that there are a lot of women wearing skirts, not in a slang sense to mean "Look at all those dames!" I hope you regular readers know me well enough that I would never refer to a broad so crassly.)

I never noticed that Fantasyland's Screechy's perch was higher than Tomorrowland's Screechy. You can just make out the top of the Fantasyland depot to the right of the Monorail.

Somewhere in the forested hillsides of Frontierland is KS' picnic table. A half hour (or more) there sounds wonderful.

Weird to think that Disney was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Cartoon Short Subject in the same year. Is that even a category anymore?

JB, do you mean six trash cans in both photos? I count two in the first (including one of my childhood favorite "astronaut" trashcans) and four in the second. I think that the three to the right in the second photo may all be sporting the same paint job, but we are just seeing different sides of it. The "hip roof" can at left should make JG happy.

Melissa, "Once when I made hats for a show, I put labels in them that said, 'The Perfectly Sane Hatter HAHA!'" Brilliant! It's the "HAHA!" that sells it.

Thanks, Major, for a colorful start to the day!

JG said...

These are really above average today! Thank you Major!

The eagle backside is perfectly aligned with the Matterhorn Nostrils, this has to be a sign of cosmic significance.

Yes, two cans in photo 1, one is a rare bullet top can of the type used in queues.

Photo 2 is equally brilliant. Like Walterworld, I only peeked in once and decided I could watch cartoons at home and no waste my precious minutes in the Park. Now I would gladly settle in air conditioned comfort.

Chuck, thank you! Four cans here, one of the coveted hip-roof type, which are only found in the castle courtyard area, AND a bonus ash urn in the Tea Party. Just heaven.

I’m also enjoying the collection of odd rooftop equipment, ventilators, coolers, pipe vents etc. on the theater. Disney went with cool roof white coatings before it was mandated. And the big gray roof beyond covered Rainbow Caverns, I can hear the theme music now.


Stefano said...

There's Fudgie, above the Matterhorn bridge. Soon to be filled in, along with the other backsides of water.

I liked exiting Welch's with a refreshing cup of juice, and every 12 seconds hearing the Witch's blood-curdling scream from Snow White's Adventures (Scary). If Things Go Better With Coke...

Melissa said...

"Yes, two cans in photo 1"

Toucans AND an eagle butt? Maybe I AM a bird pervert!

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, oh yes, two Screechys, one for each Autopia!

Nanook, like you, I really do love that first image.

walterworld, it’s funny, when I was a little kid, one of my favorite things was ice-cold Welch’s grape juice on a hot summer day. Now it has been decades since I’ve had it. Why? No idea. And yea, the Theatre, unless I was suffering from heat stroke, I don’t think I’d want to sit and watch cartoons at Disneyland.

JB, I never know if it’s just the film stocks of the time, but the Matterhorn really did look more slate-gray than it did later, or even now. They made it more multicolored in a very subtle way, with warmer tones mixed in. I do believe that that building housed Rainbow Caverns, though I could be wrong.

Melissa, I like your idea for a Rando! musical. Everyone has to wear at least one roller skate. Your story concept is solid gold, too. I guess stripes are exciting? I never really thought about it. But Disneyland was all in on stripes in those early years. Why not paisley? Eagle’s butts are part of nature, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Unless you are, you know, WEIRD. I hope people actually noticed your “perfectly sane hatter” labels.

Chuck, I’m just glad you didn’t use the word “chicks”, which is very low-brow. And hey, why IS Screechy’s Fantasyland perch higher? I’m sure there’s a good reason. Maybe it would have been blocked by other stuff in that part of the park. I love KS’s story about the picnic table, but I also love that the park provided a picnic table in that particular spot! Disney went through quite a dry spell with Academy Awards for Best Cartoon Short Subject, MGM and UPA took all of their thunder. But then people realized that many UPA cartoons, while stylish and “modern”, were actually poorly timed and surprisingly dull. There, I said it!

JG, Nostradamus wrote about what would happen when the backside of an eagle aligned with the Horn that Matters. I think he said it would result in a lot of bad reality TV. Watching cartoons at Disneyland seems like a waste of time, I always think the same thing when I see people playing checkers on Tom Sawyer Island. Do that at home for free, homies! With a number of Disneyland attractions advertised as “air conditioned”, it is clear that keeping guests cool was a priority.

Stefano, I can’t really make out Fudgie’s shape, but I believe that he’s there. I WANT to believe! The witch’s blood-curdling scream, I always wondered if the CMs who work that ride went crazy hearing it for hours, or did they manage to block it out?

Melissa, my new band, The Bird Perverts. Techno-punk.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Stefano, I think I see Fudgie now, too! (I'm glad you noticed him.) Isn't he behind the thin stream of water - between the blue and yellow gondolas? His tail looks like it's 'riding in' the yellow gondola, and the rest of his oval body is between and below the blue and yellow gondolas.

Nanook said...

@ JG-

I noticed the same collection of 'roof penetrations' as you. I presume the pair of curving ducts were a part of the projection booth ventilation system. (I wonder if the booth was built to the old nitrate-based film standards-?) Seems a stretch, but still possible. I don't see any (typical) equipment which would provide exhaust for the projector lamphouses. I wonder if the straight vent pipe closer to the Welch's Juice Stand was for a DHW heater used in its 'kitchen'-? Earlier roof views (from the 1950's) don't show the package AC unit above the theatre, which begs the question: what area did it serve-? Did it provide [dedicated] A/C to the projection booth, where prior to its appearance, booth A/C was shared with the auditorium system; or the booth lacked A/C altogether prior to this install-? Ahhh, the questions.

Melissa said...

The taste of cold Welch's grape juice always takes me back to church; that's what we used in Methodist communion.

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, soon you will be seeing Fudgie EVERYWHERE!

Nanook, I sure couldn’t add anything as to whether those curved ducts were an artifact of the days when theaters used nitrate film, but it is a cool idea! You’d think that by the mid-1950s, nitrate film would have been extinct (except for what was in archives), but Hollywood is also big on tradition.

Melissa, wow, really? Grape juice for communion? I had no idea!

DBenson said...

Isn't there anyone here old enough to Get It? Forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but it's easy to forget how different it was for cartoon fans and others just a few decades ago.

The Fantasyland Theatre was a much bigger deal back in the boomer age. Cartoons in theaters were growing rare, and most new product was barely above television. For a lot of us, color TV had yet to come home. And this was pre-video and pre-cable. Vintage Looney Tunes and Popeyes poured out of the tube daily, but Disney cartoons did not.

For all its presence in comics and merchandise, the Disney Vault was barely open a crack in the early 60s. Sunday night's "World of Color" might paste up some shorts and package feature segments into a themed hour; the 60s syndicated version of Mickey Mouse Club meant a daily Mousekatoon while it lasted; and if you had a 16mm projector plus a lot of money, you could rent some. If memory serves, 8mm home reels weren't available until the 70s. There might be a re-release of a classic in the theaters, with new ones appearing years apart. So chance to see a classic Disney cartoon on a big screen in Technicolor WAS a big enough deal to rate some theme park time. And there was something about a seeing it right there in Mickey's kingdom, like eating seafood on a wharf.

Now the whippersnappers have Disney (and tons more) on tap 24/7, and a kid can binge watch the features we had to wait years for. I was a teenager when I finally caught "Pinocchio", after graduating from book and comic adaptations to volumes of animation history (and buying an 8mm silent reel of the Monstro the Whale sequence). The Fantasyland Theatre MEANT something.

And don't get me started (again) about when the Main Street Cinema showed actual silent movies ...

Anonymous said...

@Nanook, since you brought it up, here's my analysis of the roof penetrations visible in photo 2, proceeding left to right.

Far left in back appears to be a curb mounted static vent, that is, attic ventilation, I don't believe there is a fan associated with this item. It's to prevent overheating and exhaust moisture from the attic (all those breathless moviegoers).

There is "something" inside the left battlemented tower because we can see the horns of the access ladder above the parapet edge.

Likewise "something" dark brown or dark red inside the right battlemented tower, but there doesn't appear to be a ladder here?

The tall cylindrical stack with the rain skirt appears to be a hot stack as you noted, possibly a water heater or gas furnace.

The small gooseneck curb-mounted item might be a plumbing vent. The pipe on the roof runs from what I think is an air conditioner, (possibly a swamp cooler) to the right. This would be a condensate pipe and routing it to the plumbing vent would be a convenient way to get the water into the building plumbing for disposal.

Just behind the marquee battlement are two curb mounted gooseneck ventilators. I'm not familiar with the theater internal layout, but these "might" be venting for the projection booth. I believe these items would be connected to inline fans below in the attic, and thus are active motorized vents, possibly on time clock or thermostatic, or "just in case" triggered by fire alarm or fusible link. If these are emergency ventilation for the projection booth, these might have been code-required even though no nitrate film was planned for use. Superannuated building code provisions are harder to eliminate than government agencies and are markedly resistant to changes in technology. I've worked on a number of performing arts and theater venues in my career, but mercifully, none with motion picture film projection. All the booths in my portfolio were limited to sound and lighting control, so I don't have any professional experience as a guide.

Last, just behind the battlement flag is a air conditioner of some kind sitting on a non-penetrating curb, again possibly a swamp cooler, although it could also be refrigeration as both types generate condensate water. The intake grilles are visible in the side we can see, there are undoubtedly others on the back and hidden side. This has a side outflow vent that transitions horizontal to vertical and down through a roof curb penetration. This unit looks pretty small to condition the whole theater, but maybe there are others that we can't see.

Unrelated: Looking at the photo in the highest zoom I can muster, there looks like a wooden handrail next to a trail heading up the Skyway hill towards Rainbow Ridge. I wonder if Ken's picnic table is on the route? I think we can just make out some of the RR buildings though the foliage.

Thanks, fun to speculate on these topics.


Dean Finder said...

Major, I don't know about the Evil Queen's scream driving the ride ops crazy, but I was once stuck on a line for a Dr Seuss ride at Universal Orlando. There was a 30-second loop of music in the boarding area that was maddening. When I got to the front of the queue, I asked one of the ride ops how they deal with the music. His response: "What music?" He apparently tuned it out completely.

Chuck said...

DBenson, you bring up some great points. Even those of us who grew up in the ‘70s had a similar experience to the boomers when it came to Disney cartoons (although there was a brief moment in time when we could catch The Mouse Factory once a week in the early ‘70s. That show is a barely remembered memory, but the programming burned itself into my brain.

We burned a pile of C coupons on my first visit in 1971 to watch Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and that made a huge impression on two and a half year old me. I’m sure my grandparents and pregnant mom were happy to sit down for an air conditioned half hour as well.