Friday, February 17, 2012
2000th Post Extravaganza: Moving Up Main Street, Pt. 1
Let's continue our journey down Walt Disney's Main Street U.S.A., courtesy of my special Time Machine. This delightful trio of February 1960 guests is standing on the east side of Main Street in front of the Yale Lock Shop and The Butcher Shop. Huh...I wonder if you could get EXTRA lean ground beef at the Butcher Shop?
On the corner of East Center Street and Main Street, guests could find the Swift Market House. Plenty of good times could be found within...
"Oh Madge, you just would NOT believe what is going on here at Disneyland..."
On the other side of the street is The Crystal Arcade, which really weaves its magic at night when it is all lit up, as seen in this 1966 shot:
The Disneyland Marching Band is passing the Book & Candle Shop in this shot. Forget Borders...THIS is a book shop I wish I could have gone to.
Check out all of the hand dipped candles that you could find here!
Daveland reader JG was kind enough to send his fond remembrances of this shop from days of yore:
As fashion would have it, candles became a feature of pop culture in the mid-1960’s with bright colors, exotic scents and all manner of accessories, holders, and candlesticks to match. The old style dipped tapers were retained only as props and the Flower Children’s vision took over the shelves. Mom loved this too, she bought several plastic flower and candle arrangements over the years. I don’t recall that any of this merchandise was explicitly “Disney” or had any kind of brand or movie tie-in at all; it was just the sort of fairly expensive, tasteful (for the era) gifts you would find at Macy’s or another specialty store.
I was an early reader and I was fascinated with the book shop, it was very well designed to sell to children, there were free-standing tables with display panels for large-format books only inches off the floor, right at little kid height. There is a great picture at this link. When I look at that picture, I remember sitting on that checkerboard tile by that little table.
For years, my souvenir of each trip was a book. When I was younger, there were books about the Disney movies; 20K Leagues, Bambi, Pinocchio, etc. As I got older, there were other titles, too, such as science-related books on physics, natural history, dinosaurs, etc. These had subtle connections to Nature’s Wonderland, Tomorrowland, Adventure Through Inner Space, the Grand Canyon and Primeval World, etc. but these were not Disney-branded or marked as a tie-in. There were books by Disney, of course; some even tied to the Disney TV Show like “One Day at Beetle Rock”, but not everything, or even most, were Disney titles. I still have many of these books, both cartoons and science books. I read them to my children as they grew. I can’t read them anymore; something keeps getting in my eye when I do, and so I put them away.
Disneyland was a lot more fun when Main Street was a special experience, found only at Disneyland. Once upon a time, you could get a feel for life in the 1890’s by visiting Main Street. Now it’s just a big mall.
The Disneyland book store became less interesting when the books all became “comic books” about the characters, Main Street became less interesting when all the shops changed from (simulated) real places into “Disney Stores”. I can go the Disneyland Emporium now by walking to the Disney Store here in my home town; it’s all the same stuff. There’s nothing wrong with hats, key chains and princess costumes, but there used to be so much more.
On the corner of West Center Street and Main Street, guests could tour the Upjohn Pharmacy and receive free vitamin samples.
The guests in this 1956 photo appear to be enthralled with the exhibits contained within:
And if the pills don't knock you out, then surely the Dapper Dans with their tight vocal harmonies will do the trick!
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