Saturday, January 03, 2015

Babes in Toyland at Disneyland

Here we have the Main Street Opera House at Disneyland, circa May 1962. Nothing really remarkable seems to be going on until we zoom in. On the right, the Dapper Dans are split into two, with each duo sharing a bicycle-built-for-two. At the Opera House entrance area itself, there are red letters that say, "Babes in Toyland Village."

The 1961 Disney movie "Babes In Toyland" starred Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands.

It was a colorful live-action film that turned a very modest profit, never really having the following of some of the other live-action classics that came out of the studio at the time.

In a definite case of recycling, Walt took the fanciful sets that seemed more stage-like and had them put into the Main Street Opera House.

Longtime readers of Daveland have seen this 1962 portrait of the Devlin family who were frequent visitors of the park. What makes this shot so remarkable is that it gives a rare view of the "Babes in Toyland" sets:

For the first time here is a comparison shot:

A 1963 Devlin family portrait:

followed by the comparison shot:

From all that I have read, the "Babes in Toyland" sets only stayed at the Opera House from December 1961 through September 1963, yet this September 1964 Devlin family photo clearly shows a staircase that was used in the film.

Perhaps the staircase stayed behind when the Opera House was being used as the Mickey Mouse Club Headquarters.

Are you wanting more? Of course you are; you're only human…at least I hope you are. March on over to my main website and see more photos (vintage AND current) of the Disneyland Opera House.

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K. Martinez said...

I've never seen the red letter marquee/sign for the "Babes in Toyland" exhibit before. That's a cool find. Was this from one of your older acquisitions and you just discovered it? Or did you acquire the photo specifically because it did show the exhibit sign?

I actually like the film "Babes in Toyland" quite a bit. It has a quaint and vintage feel to it and I like the stage-like look which I think was intentional. Another great post! Thanks, Dave.

K. Martinez said...

One thing I didn't catch on first glance were the toy tin soldier signs and candy cane-striped guard houses at the entrance to the Opera House. Always something new to discover.

Dave DeCaro said...

It's a new acquisition that was part of a set; happy coincidence that it contained the BIT signage.

Patrick Devlin said...

Man, oh man, I look at those shots of my family and think, "Was I ever that young? And after the picture was taken me a my younger sister (the next smallest person in the shots) would run off to spend the day in the park by ourselves! Different era, different standards...

K. Martinez said...

Dave, Thanks for reply. Definitely a nice find and surprise!

Patrick - Thanks for sharing your family photos. Nice to see the comparison to the BIT sets.

Patrick Devlin said...

My brother Tom (tommytsunami) gets the credit for hanging on to those photos for all these years and then being nice enough to share them.