Tuesday, June 11, 2024


I'm continuing to share the many Mark Twain images (there's a lot of them, folks) shared with us by the Mysterious Benefactor! 

Let's start with a look at the Cuisinart blade in the back, it will chop, shred, and julienne whatever you throw into it. Ducks, wallets, dark glasses, ANYTHING! No more need to do this chore by hand like Grandma did.

"Ahoy up there! My name's Shifty Bill. Where can a pilgrim find a good honest poker game in this town?". "I don't know, Shifty, I've been raised in this tiny pilot house my whole life". 

It's nice to see Captain Mike again after so long! "Over yonder is where I rassled a bear for a $5 gold piece when I was 10 years old!". Obviously Captain Mike won, and now keeps his cigars in a humidor made out of the bear's skull. HARD FACTS!

Another day, another pilot. This one was famous for making the Mark Twain do a "wheelie"! You wouldn't think that would be possible, but I merely report the facts.

Captain Mike, you sly dog! He knew just how to charm the ladies. And what gal wouldn't be impressed by a real riverboat captain? She's having the time of her life.

 THANK YOU, Mysterious Benefactor!


Nanook said...

What a nice series of images of the 'ol MT. They put a smile on my face immediately. I do believe the 'charmed lady' in the final image is wearing THIS Mickey Mouse charm.

Thanks, M.B.

JB said...

"Twainapalooza". Huh. I was expecting to see pictures of Shania. Oh well, these will have to do.

1) "But wait! There's more!! Order in the next ten minutes and we'll include the pasta extruder attachment for FREE!!! (Shipping and handling fee is a mere $59.95.)"
Kind of an interesting shot of the MT; partially hidden, to make us study it more carefully.

2) If the Cap'n has been raised in the pilot house his whole life, does that mean he is 5/8 scale?
Really nice pic of the pilot.

3) I notice that Captain Mike has his vest unbuttoned... I'm sure Bu will have something to say about that! Maybe it was hot out, and thus allowable. Maybe Captain Mike had special privileges.

4) I wonder if KS recognizes this pilot? Hmm, now that I'm confronted with an image of the wheel, what exactly did it do? How does one steer the Mark Twain? Is there a large rudder in back somewhere?

5) My, what a pleasant photo! Beautiful expressions. Although, where was the photographer while snapping this picture? From the previous pic, there doesn't seem to be any room for him to stand, behind the wheel. Was he perched precariously outside the pilot house?

These are more interesting than the usual Mark Twain pics. Thanks, Mys. Ben and Maj. Pep.

walterworld said...

All shots are ready for the next DLguidebook or Vacationland magazine...

Thank you MB and MP!

TokyoMagic! said...

I noticed that Mickey charm on that lady's necklace.....thank you, Nanook, for the closer look at it!

There is a late 70s/early 80s Disneyland merchandise bag, peaking up over the lady's left shoulder. And her purse might be sitting next to that bag. Was she a "real" guest, rather than a model?

Thank you, Major and M.B.!


Tokyo : I’m pretty sure she was a model . She appears in many Disneyland 25th printed material like the 25th gate guide , Disney news , and Disneyland Golden Days ticket events ( for senior citizens) and some DL 25th trade ads …. and she also appears in several Tokyo Disneyland preopening booklets and flyers that use existing Disneyland and Walt Disney World images as stand ins for the under construction Tokyo park. She’s usually shown with a man wearing a white hat presumably suppose to be her “husband” and both reveal to be DL 25th grandparents .

Bu said...

Grandma I've seen in a few things as well...with Grandpa, and sans Grandpa. I'm not sure if she was an employee...possibly a model...could be...but it was easier for Marketing to pluck "randos" and give them comp tickets, or get Mary who works in accounting...to do things "gratis"...someone knows who Grandma is, and I am meeting with a DL Marketing person from this time period in September and will be asking her a variety of questions..."Enquiring minds want to know!" (National Enquirer Ad Spot: 1975-76). That being said...unbuttoned vests! NO NO NO NO....not ever...lazy..slovenly...and it was rampant!! I don't care what you are doing backstage....Shifty Bill I don't remember, but at least his vest is buttoned. It looks so much better that way. Mike: sorry: you get an "F" in appearance guidelines. Same with blondie who is really pushing the envelope with the sideburns creeping to NO NO NO Land. Handsome guys, but come on...Costumes must be worn as designed! Blondie I do remember...although my memories put him in a Pirate costume, or Big Thunder costume...the guys on here from the West Side probably know....It's nice that even something that guests would never see: the helm: is finished so nicely: and see how it's cut out at the bottom to accommodate it. I'm not sure if this wheel actually did anything...something else for the West Side guys to illuminate. If anything, it's a great prop. Speaking of great props, the Mickey charm is some great unobtrusive marketing....although I'm not sure if a rando would be wearing that....product placement is key...it could be "rando: put this on, and you can keep it if you don't mind being in these photos that we will own forever...." and BTW: the ladder going up to the wheelhouse is a very skinny ladder: and is just that: a fixed ladder. Grandma still has her oats if she got up there: good for her! Perhaps Mike knows if in the recent MT rehab, if they put in stairs rather than the ladder to accommodate those employees that might not be able to climb a tiny little ladder (?) The new Mark Twain is very shiny and nice, but of course: I'm old school and like the original scheme: I'm not a fan of the railing on the bow (done whenever that was done...) as it messes with the scale horribly. I suppose with the tens of thousands of people who visit the park every day, I'm the only one that is troubled with things like that....Thanks MB and Major!

K. Martinez said...

I've seen that last pic before and the mature model in it. Nice Mark Twain pics. Thanks, M.B. and Major.

JG said...

These are wonderful. Somewhere in that wheelhouse is the throttle and steering that really works.

I can hear Tattoo calling out from the tower on the fort… “The Twain, The Twain!”

Thanks Major and MB, whoever he is…


Anonymous said...

I have the time to jump-in today. These pictures put a smile on my face. The Mark was a joy to operate. And in answer to JB's comment, no I don't recall that CM at the helm. Reading Bu's comments, it is likely he, and these pics, were taken after my departure in 1978.

So just what does the wheel do? Remember, Disneyland is a stage and it is basically a show. And so, that's what it does. Makes for a great show and is just freewheeling. And that means we could really crank it up. But that was funny for only a time or two. And then you played the part...and enjoyed it by turning the wheel in a manner in which it looked like you were actually steering it. This was one of the few CM positions where you could feel you were truly an integral part of the show. Both ships run on the same rail similar to the JC.

We frequently didn't button the vests and still looked the part and did so without complaint from supervision. Some of us were rather robust and it could be a little too form fitting. We'd even roll up our sleeves on warm/hot days. And really it did give the look of a working stevedore.

Yes, the wheelhouse and the deck below with the bed was nicely appointed and rarely seen. The ladder was true to the boat design. Attached to the wall and straight up. I was more concerned about coming down than up.

what is not shown is the intercom and buzzer used to communicate with the boiler engineer on the main deck. The plug above the CM's head is connected to the outside spotlight. Look closely and you can see the handle. The grille in front is the heater for cold nights.

I could go on. Miss those days with Capt. Mike in charge. He lived aboard his own boat in real life for a time. He should have his own window on the Mark. KS

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, why, that charm looks like it’s 14k GOLD! I think you’re right about it being the same as the one in the pic you sent.

JB, Shania is pretty, but I have a very hard time listening to contemporary country music! Hey, a home pasta machine might be neat, can I make noodles shaped like E.T.? Everything in the Cap’n’s life is 5/8 scale. EVERYTHING. Good observation on Captain Mike’s vest, but after all, he is the Captain. He is the king on his boat! I’ve wondered if the wheels on the Mark Twain and Columbia do anything, or if they are just “dummy” props for people to spin? It looks like the photographer could have been inside the pilot house, depending on how he took it. You know, almost like a selfie, just hold the camera out and hope for good results.

walterworld, remember, all of the Mysterious Benefactor’s photos are from a large lot of images taken for publicity purposes!

TokyoMagic!, man, good eye, I would have never noticed that shopping bag. I have one of those! As well as the same design but with a white background, and another with a light blue background. But yellow was by far the most common.

Mike Cozart, I think that there are photos in the MB’s collection that also show the “husband”, in fact, I thought maybe he was even in some of the Pilot House pics. But I am not at home to look right now. As I said to walterworld, all of these photos are for potential publicity use.

Bu, funny, I was wondering if the photographer might have just seen some wholesome-looking people and asked them for permission to take their pictures. There are plenty of photos of people who are clearly just guests in the park, although they aren’t as “staged” as the picture with the lady at the wheel of the Mark Twain. Why are you meeting with a DL marketing person? To tell him/her about this cool blog that you read?? From what I’ve read in past posts about Captain Mike, he really was a special character in Frontierland, beloved even, and he “ruled the roost”. I feel like Frontierland characters (mule guys, stagecoach guys, etc) perhaps had a little more leeway. Facial hair, etc. Cigars! Wait until you see some photos I’m going to share of Mark Twain CMs opening smoking cigarettes while apparently on the job! It’s nuts. I didn’t know you could only get up to the Pilot House via ladder. I demand and escalator! A railing on the bow isn’t the end of the world, after all, they used to have a cheesy little chain, it didn’t look that great. But I’ll have to look for recent photos to see for sure.

K. Martinez, according to Mike, some of these photos with that lady showed up in several publications, so that must be where you saw her!

JG, somehow I picture a giant gearshift in the Mark Twain, like they had in the movie “Airplane!”. It makes no sense but it makes me laugh.

Anonymous said...

JD....nope....no propulsion control in the wheelhouse. All down by the boiler engineer. They would visually monitor the loading taking place and note when the ship was secure. The deckhand would signal the wheelhouse and the CM would use the whistle as a final signal for departure. The engineer would put the Mark in a gentle reverse to be able for the deckhand to disengage the bow rope from the forward deck cleat and then put in in 'forward'. While docked, going through the load and unload process, the Mark's paddle wheel would turn slowly in forward to keep the bow deck rope taught. The wheelhouse was the 'eyes' of the operation. The most traffic would be around the first turn with rafts, canoes and the Keel Boats maneuvering around. It was up to the CM to make the decision if a hard stop was necessary requiring whistle and buzzer communication to the engineer. It was rare, but it could happen. It did with me. The Mark can push out a lot of steam in a hard stop and that paddle wheel can go pretty fast in reverse if needed. Plus the sound of the hissing steam when doing so will get the attention of just about everyone around the river. If not, you must be deaf. KS

Anonymous said...

Whoops...that was for JG.

Major Pepperidge said...

KS, thanks for your memories and insight! I always had the feeling that the wheel on the Twain did nothing, why would it? The boat was on a rail after all. However I thought that maybe it could make the steamboat go left and right a tiny bit, sort of like the Autopia cars can be “steered” a little. I have no doubt that working on the Mark Twain could be warm work on a hot Anaheim day, it almost seems cruel to not allow cast members to unbutton those vests. I guarantee that real steamboat guys back in the 1880s didn’t look half as dapper as the Disneyland guys! A bed on the Mark Twain, I had no idea! How fascinating! I love the details about how one position communicated with another, it all worked somehow. Thanks again!

KS, oh interesting, I guess I also assumed that the pilot was the person who made the boat go forwards and backwards, if nothing else! When waiting to board, I always watch the subtle movements of the boat, moving very slowly in one direction or another. It’s impressive the way they control that thing to a matter of inches (or less). Are you aware of the Twain ever needing to come to a hard stop? If so, do you remember why?

Anonymous said...

@KS, thank you so much. Always fascinating to hear the real story about operating these amazing machines. Sounds like MT was as complex to control as a “real” steamboat.


Dean Finder said...

Major, my pasta machine can't make ET noodles, but can I interest you in a 40 year old can of Pac-Man Spaghetti-Os?

Anonymous said...

Major...that hard stop would have likely been because of river traffic in front of it when making the first turn. The movement of the rafts, canoes and keel boats was all up to the CMs operating them. And of course we all knew the protocols and right of way (the MT). It would be a rare instance when something just wasn't moving properly in front of the MT. It was up to the Captain to give a good blast on the whistle upon departure to signal the rest of the river operators. Safety was #1 and for me, I didn't like what I saw in front of me one day and made the full stop decision. So yes, up in the wheelhouse the living is easy but it also had an element of responsibility with it. KS

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, yes, any insider info is very welcome, ALWAYS.

Dean Finder, those Spaghetti-Os are well-aged like a fine wine. Connoisseurs would detect cherries, oak, lemon zest, and half a pound of salt!

KS, thank you, I figured that avoiding the other river traffic had to be the primary reason the Twain would have to do a hard stop. It must have been a weird experience for the guests on board, having the boat suddenly come to a halt!