Friday, June 21, 2024

Mules of Mirth, June 12, 1973

Mules! Why did it have to be mules?? Today I am featuring a fellow named Ralph (you might remember him from an earlier post); In today's images, Ralph was game to take a ride on the Pack Mules over in (where else?) Frontierland. In this first picture, he's getting safely strapped on to his faithful mule (I shall call her "Buttercup"). "When I was a boy, I rode a mule to school, uphill both ways, in the snow!". 

Incidentally, I always love to refer to Jason's Disneyland Almanac when I have an exact date for slides, so LET'S GO. June 12, 1973 was a Tuesday; park hours were 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM; it was a Grad Nite! And temperatures were a pleasant high of 72º, with a low of 61º.

Hey Ralph, keep your eyes on the trail! Good thing he didn't own a cell phone, am I right? He's still telling us about his school days. "I would bring an apple for the teacher, and in those days you could get a house by trading one apple". "I especially liked rolling a hoop with a stick". "I wish I still had my broad-brimmed hat with the blue ribbon". I know, Ralph, I know. The pack has just gotten underway, so we haven't even begun to enter Nature's Wonderland.

I believe that the pack was now on a pretty part of the trail that was above Rainbow Ridge (which might have been below to our left), and Bear Country was going to dazzle everyone soon. It probably goes without saying, but I regret never riding the Pack Mules. It's a sobering thought to realize that this attraction closed forever just months after these pictures were taken, sometime in October of 1973.

I have a few more pictures with Ralph and Buttercup, coming soon!


Nanook said...

It's nice to 'dress up', but I think Ralph needs to lighten-up. The final shot with the line of mules heading underneath the tree canopy is a real beauty and sadly gone today.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Awww, it warms my hear to see Ralph again! But where is Florence? You won't be able to convince me that she was riding behind Ralph and took these photos. I'm going to guess that their son, Al took these. He probably took the first one, while the muleskinner was helping Ralph with his safety strap, then he jumped on that available mule behind his Dad.

I'm looking forward to more Ralph and Florence photos, Major. I almost feel like they are "family." ;-)

TokyoMagic! said...

Ha, ha! "Warms my heart!"

JB said...

If ya asks me, "Buttercup" looks more like a "Licorice", because of her color. Which brings up a point of interest: Were the mules all males or all females or mix and match?
Wow, the Park sure wasn't open very long in them days: one (1) hour! ("9:00 AM to 10:00 AM") ;-)

That last pic looks pleasingly pleasant. Pack Mules on a picturesque path through the pastoral parts of the Park.

We don't usually see the mules close-up like this. Many thanks for the mirthy mules, Major.

JB said...

Dang, I shoulda said, "Pack Mules plodding on a picturesque path..."
Now I'm scared. Leaving out that one word probably changed the outcome of the universe; y'know, a butterfly flapping its wings and all that. Now I gotta go out and stock up with a year's supply of SpaghettiOs and beef jerky... just in case.

Bu said...

I am very sorry that I never went on the pack today it would have been one of my favorite rides: although perhaps I would no be putting the poor mules through supporting my developing physique....Ralph is no shrinking violet, but he is giving off some Roy Disney vibes: looking very dapper. It seems kind of amazing that this type of adventure and attraction would exist in these days...but we can dream. Just seeing the word "Grad Night" kind of makes me shudder....I worked it once in each dept...and never again: we had to work the chaperone headquarters at the Plaza Inn...the chaperones were worse than the kids! In the park as a vendor, all I heard all night were jokes about Frozen Bananas...but it wasn't that bad overall in the park: don't know much about being a ride operator and the possible shenanigans in that regard. Seems like at the time if you even a hair got out of place you would be winding up in the Disneyland Jail...they didn't mess around. Thanks Major for the Mules!

K. Martinez said...

Loved the Pack Mules. My cousin from Culver City and I used to always ride the Pack Mules right after going on the Mine Train. It was an 'E' coupon. My uncle always had a shirt pocket full of 'E' coupons, so we were able to go on one 'E' ticket attraction after another. And I did ride the Pack Mules in its final year as well. It's hard to believe they disappeared over half a century ago.

The Pack Mules and Mine Train were another example of Disneyland attractions intertwining and overlapping each other.

Thanks, Major.

JG said...

Ralph is a good sport, to say nothing of Buttercup. Of course Buttercup is getting paid, so that helps a bit. Mules insist on fair treatment. He’s flashing his gold Rolex there in photo 1, as well as his class ring and Pearl tie-pin. The man is fashion-forward. It’s a shame we can’t see his shoes, but I’m guessing hand-made cap-toe oxfords in a tasteful chestnut brown with black socks (although possibly navy/gray argyle would be appropriate for the casual occasion).

That leafy tunnel is something that will never be seen again. No crash helmets, knee pads, guard rails or wheelchair ramps, not even a fire extinguisher like Autopia. I miss the past of sensible people.

Next, perhaps Ralph will do some shooting at the gallery and bag a brace of ducks, then enjoy a cigar from the Tobacconist. A day filled with manly pursuits and sporting pastimes, thank you Major!



I doubt I ever rode the Disneyland Pack Mules …. As I would have been only 5 when they were removed ….but I do have memories of riding the pack mules at Knott’s Berry Farm … I’m uncertain as to how long they lasted . While the Disneyland Pack Mules had a landscaped wilderness to see , I distinctly remember the Knott’s pack mules being mostly behind rather run-down building backsides and alleys of GHOST TOWN .

In 11th grade I had a biology teacher who despised anything Disney . His father even worked at WED Enterprise for many years . As a teacher he refused to show any Disney Educational Media in his biology classes because he said the Disney educational films too often add un-factual human reactions and emotions to animals , insects and other organisms. I later found out the real
Reason for his hatred of Disney ; he was kicked out of Disneyland on his GRAD NITE! While he didn’t reveal the details he insisted he was was I innocent and he had been grouped together with other guilty students .

Anonymous said...

These people are living the Dream and don't even know it... Great photos!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, aw, I give Ralph some slack for being “old school”. He’s making some effort, at least!

TokyoMagic!, unfortunately, Florence only showed up in that one photo. She’s sort of like Greta Garbo! I’d like to believe that she had a bit of the spirit of adventure in her, so maybe it’s not impossible that she rode a Pack Mule… but I agree, it was probably a son or daughter who took the pix. Sadly, I think there are only two or three photos from this batch to go!

TokyoMagic!, I didn’t even notice the typo until you corrected it!

JB, I don’t like licorice, so I would never give a cute mule that name. Maybe KS knows about the mules and the boy/girl mix? My guess is that they were all girls (if I had to bet). “9:00 AM to 10:00 AM”, ha ha! Better hurry!

JB, those darn butterflies, always flapping their wings. Why don’t they do something constructive, like Disneyland blogging??

Bu, I’ve never been a big fan of riding horses, so I am not inclined to ride other equines. My mom had a horse when she was a girl, and she used to take us horseback riding whenever possible! I just didn’t get it. It was OK, but I was always glad when it was over. Ralph looks like he was a stern boss to somebody, putting up with no nonsense or silliness. Or maybe he was the “kindly grandpa” type! “Chaperone headquarters”, that’s new to me, I don’t ever recall hearing about such a place before. Frozen bananas, yuck. I like a plain old banana, and that’s it. I don’t like things flavored with bananas, or with bananas in them, etc. I’m hard to please! I want to see a photo of “Disneyland Jail”, ha ha.

K. Martinez, you and your cousin were smart! Sounds like many Jr. Gorillas didn’t experience the Pack Mules, sadly, that’s probably one reason they went away. Very cool that your uncle had a pocket full of E tickets!

JG, I’ve always heard that the animals at Disneyland were well-treated… pampered, even. So I’d like to believe that these nice mules got plenty of breaks, drinks of water, bags of oats, etc. Maybe even a carrot or two! Good eye on Ralph’s fancy details, I hardly ever wear a Rolex. I do have that one I bought in TImes Square for a bargain! But I save it for special occasions. I do love that “leafy tunnel”, I can imagine some pleasant breezes, maybe even the nice smell of pines and other trees… and of course you were enjoying the fabulous Nature’s Wonderland!

Mike Cozart, I would have been 11 when the Pack Mules were removed, so I definitely could have done them. My family was weird, we had our rides that we always did, and we never deviated. Which is why there are so many classic attractions that I could have enjoyed, but didn’t until I was an adult. Like the Monorail, or the Tiki Room! Poor Knott’s, they are so hemmed in by the city now; the last time I rode the railroad there, half of the trip involved looking out the window at a big, solid, wooden fence. Kind of disappointing. If your teacher was really kicked out of Disneyland on false pretenses, I don’t blame him for being mad, though you’d think that at some point he’d lighten up a little.

Dean Finder said...

Disneyland being open from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM sounds like something from the current regime. If you want to stay until 5:00 PM, you need to buy your Disney's Magic Afternoon (R) hard ticket, and to stay until 9:00 at night, you need the Disney Enchanted Evening (TM) hard ticket.


I seem to recall that the pack mules up to Quarter Dome in Yosemite were all female … I remember the last time my mule was named “Daffodil” and one year “Daisy” ( Daisy-Mae) and there was “Pokey” : she wasn’t named that because she was slow it was because previous riders had had their eye poked out!

Ok I made the last part up.


About Pokey the pack Mule

Major Pepperidge said...

Anonymous, they really are!

Dean Finder, I like the way you think; Disney will be contacting you soon, you’re hired!

Mike Cozart, reading ahead, I’m glad to know that nobody got their eyes poked out by Pokey the Pack Mule! I don’t remember the names of any of the horses I rode, even though my mom made us do it every Summer. She even made me take a few riding lessons when we stayed at my Aunt’s farm in Wisconsin, I really didn’t like those!



MULES OF MIRTH - presented by Dr. Scholl’s