Thursday, February 18, 2010

Travel, Snow, and The Circus



I will admit that my blog has been less than stellar lately; actually, I was in Philadelphia for the last week, visiting family and getting a reminder of why I no longer live on the east coast or the midwest. SNOW! Yup...and a ton of it. As you can see from the first 3 shots, taken from my plane on an early sunny morning in San Diego, everything started out just ducky.





And then I landed in Dallas for my layover. Nothing but white for miles. It was a mess. Fortunately, I was on one of the last planes to leave Dallas before the airport shut down. It was a nailbiter as I felt the wheels skipping on the runway during takeoff, but I made it safely to Philadelphia, and got to watch the de-icing process to boot!



In Philly, I was pretty much on house arrest due to the weather, but still managed to snap a few photos.







You folks aren't here for my travel shots though, so let's get back to the show...or more specifically, the circus. Recently, I bid on a number of negatives that were labeled 1955 Gil Gray Disneyland Circus. I’ve read that Gil Gray’s Circus was involved at Disneyland, but whether it was during the Mickey Mouse Club era or after is unknown to me. Maybe one of the historians out there can fill in the gaps for us. My guess is that it must be during the MMC period since it appears by the bunting on the lightpoles that it could be Christmas time. Unfortunately, one of the better negatives got away from me, but here's a low-rez version of what was advertised. If I were a betting man, I'd guess that the man on the left in the dark uniform is Disneyland Band Conductor Vesey Walker.



And here are the 3 shots that I was able to acquire. Looks like this truck was about to unload its contents. Detail shot included for all the Gladys Kravitz's out there.







The clown on the truck looks similar to the clown featured in this color photo from December 26, 1955.



And a shot of the Calliope going through what is now the Tinker Bell meet-and-greet area.



Chances are the Gil Gray troupe handled the circus part and the Mickey Mouse Club was added for branding. That's my theory! See more vintage Mickey Mouse Club Circus photos at my regular website.

12 comments:

Skinny Arbuckle.... said...

i enjoy your blog site so much! it appears that both of us have had circus on the brain lately.

Davelandweb said...

...or clowns at least. Enjoyed your survey!

thepicklebarrel said...

Dave...

that disturbingly cool clown man is none other than early adult Mouseketeer, Bob Amsberry.

As well as the MM Club, he performed regularly at Disneyland until his somewhat unfunny death in a horrible car accident.

Pics of him are rare.

thepicklebarrel said...

....btw, his clown-man name was "Chucko the Clown".

Major Pepperidge said...

I don't think anybody was complaining about your blog!

Davelandweb said...

Major - Nobody was complaining...but then again, not too many were commenting! Jordan - Bob Amsberry was Bob-O the clown. Chucko was played by Charles Runyon. I've had different people swear up and down that the photo is Chucko and some have said it's Bob-o.

thepicklebarrel said...

You are correct. Hear I am tawlkin like I know somethin!

Yes, Bob-O was the correct name! Chucko took over after Bob-O ended his Disney tenure. My bad.

I bought some amazing pieces from Bob's collection years ago, including his opening day ticket!

For those with inquiring minds; In the late 50's, eligible bachelorette, "Bob" the clown became the first wife of Greek shipping magnate, Aristotle Onasis....thus, "Bob-O", the clown.

Unfortunately, it didn't last. Ari soon found solace with some dame from Washington.

Chiana_Chat said...

Ah that's now the Tinkerbell Meet & Greet area huh? Well this early pic gives us a clue how that came about.

If you look towards the middle of the splendidly draughted coach, you can see what you may think is steam from the Calliope playing. But it wasn't. It's the poof cloud resulting from an accidental collision with a pixie. Calliopes are real pixie catchers and it's reckless to cart them around like that. Look what happened to the Stagecoaches.

Yes, it was dicey around there until House of the Future was put up, which actually pleased the mid-century modern Tink. For years after it was removed, Tink pixiecotted the park, try as they might to use a lady on a wire during fireworks shows to suggest Tink was around. But then Triton and company were moved into that grotto and you know Tink and mermaids. Tink had mermaid envy. A series of accidents began cropping up and the Skyway had to be removed due to inexplicable turbulence. It became clear they had ticked off Tink. Diplomacy eventually won the day and now the area is dedicated to her...

Okay, but maybe that load o' hooey entertained for a moment. :)

Chiana_Chat said...

ps - thanks Dave. :)

Davelandweb said...

You are welcome Chiana - and thanks (as always) for stopping by!

Chiana_Chat said...

pps - I like those pics of the bird with the punk hairdo. :)

TokyoMagic! said...

Love your photos of the Cardinal, Dave! That was a Cardinal, wasn't it?

That Calliope was used again in DL's 25th anniversary parade in 1980!