Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wednesday WOW: New Orleans Square Model and Frisbees

I love miniatures; I think it’s fascinating how our world can be captured in a much smaller size, and am very appreciative of the artisans who can capture those often hard-to-see details. Miniature models are what often sells a hard-to-grasp concept. Without going to the expense of building something full-sized, The Imagineers have often convinced the number-crunchers to loosen the purse strings by allowing them to “see” and “touch” what their money is going to be spent on. Today, with computer technology, virtual simulation is taking the place of miniatures. Will this be another art form lost to the ages? My first photo is (I believe) a previously published shot of the miniature for New Orleans Square. Recently, I came across a collection of vintage color prints showing what appears to be the same model. Where these shots came from I have no idea. The setting almost looks like somebody’s basement, but may be the Disney Studio in Burbank. If you compare the color shots with the vintage black and white shot, it does appear to be the same model.

This vintage July 1968 shot shows practically the same vantage point: not bad for sticking to the model!

Even the Blue Bayou restaurant is faithfully captured here in miniature:

This appears to be an overhead shot showing the future Court of Angels:

I sure wish Disneyland had a Praline shop now!

Some of you may recall the long series on 1960’s Supermodel Twiggy. Thanks to a websearch, Martin from fristory recently contacted me about the frisbees in the background of some of the shots of Twiggy goofing around in the Fantasyland Tinker Bell Toy Shop.

Zooming in for Martin on the frisbee, I was able to get this grainy closeup:

Martin filled me in on this particular frisbee sold in The Toy Shop:

“In frisbee collecting, we try to piece together the lineage of molds and production runs to try to get a better sense of when things were actually being produced and discern among different variations. Flyin' Saucers were first made in the late 40's by Fred Morrison and Warren Franscioni with the molds going to Southern California Plastics for production. Eventually, Fred and Warren parted ways. Fred made a new mold and called the disc the Pluto Platter which was eventually sold to Wham-o and it's name changed to Frisbee.

“Flyin' Saucers (as they were called on the package) are believed to have been first produced for Disneyland in 1958 through an agreement with Southern California Plastics who had connections to Monsanto (creators and sponsors of the House of Tomorrow). We know this because of a Monsanto advertisement for the Flyin' Saucer on the back of Dell comic books in late 1957 which called out SCP as the manufacturer. Plus, there are some existing contractual documents between SCP and Disney that have been reproduced in Phil Kennedy's book "Flat, Flip, Flies Straight." As far as we collectors knew, these discs were only sold through the late 50's, but your photo shows one on the racks in 1967 (so some further investigation is required to try to determine exactly which period disc is in the bag and try to tell from the packaging when it was it may just be old stock on the shelves...). SCP went out of business in 1969, so it is entirely possible they were manufacturing these until they closed their doors...eventually, we know the mold went to several different other manufacturers and was re-tooled several times but has since disappeared and is probably in a scrap yard somewhere!”

Thanks for sharing, Martin, and filling us in on some of the more interesting little-known details about Disneyland. Meanwhile, another reader has asked for assistance in identifying these badges and what they may have been used for. Anyone?

See more vintage and current New Orleans Square photos at my website.


Matterhorn1959 said...

Hey Dave,

I have one of the frisbees in the original packaging. I believe it is old stock as my frisbee came out from an old unopened box that was found 10 years ago.

As far as the badge, I believe it is for equipment. I have a similar stamped badge (which looks a lot like an early name badge.) I think the equipment is sound equipment, generators, etc.

Davelandweb said...

Thanks Patrick! I'm guessing that frisbee isn't coming out of the package any time soon!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

WOW indeed! Where is that model?? Dave, do you have a basement? I love the overhead shot! Thanks Dave!!!

Major Pepperidge said...

I used to see those frisbees at collector's shows "back in the day", and they weren't too terribly expensive. Now when they show up on ebay - - $$$. Wish I had bought one! Love the models and the comparison shots.

William Bezek said...

Cool model pics. You can see how nothing was accidental or haphazard with the park, everything well planned out before anything was built.

robby431 said...

I love these pictures of the models. It would be amazing to see them in person.

Anonymous said...

Check here for info on the badge