Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Nixon Family & Disneyland, Pt. 3

Today the Nixon family explores Frontierland aboard the Mark Twain, August 11, 1955. I really like this first view of the family, standing on the banks of the Rivers of America. The girls, Tricia and Julie, are in their perfectly starched dresses, patiently anticipating their first voyage on the “floating wedding cake.” Julie remembers Walt fondly: “Walt was such a visionary—mother and father thought so much of him. The west is a land of opportunities. My father had a different view of the world because he was from the west; everything was a possibility. This helped him to open the doors to China and accomplish things that others might not have thought possible. Walt was the same—he was a futurist. He had big thinking, which was characteristic of those in the west during that time.”

Vice President Nixon takes a turn “steering” the Twain while a photographer cautiously navigates the small deck around the wheelhouse. 

Julie gets to sound the bell:

A beautiful shot of the Twain rounding the bend with the Nixon family aboard, passing the Chicken Plantation Restaurant.

Nixon waves heartily to the photographers and guests:

Those buckets can still be seen atop the Twain today:

Walt gave the Nixon girls Mickey Mouse hats which they used to put on plays at home; Karen was Julie’s favorite Mouseketeer. Tomorrow, the Nixons get invited to be honored guests at the June 14, 1959 new attraction festivities. See more Nixon family photos at my website.


Major Pepperidge said...

I wonder what those metal containers were for that are visible in the last two photos? They appear to be empty...

outsidetheberm said...

Dave, these are really great. Do you know if the Nixon Museum in Yorba Linda ever displayed them? Some look familiar. -- It's a phenomenal museum for those of you that haven't been.

And Major, the buckets appear to be old-timey prop 'fire buckets'.

Thanks, Dave!

Daveland said...

Not sure if the Nixon museum displayed them or not; some are from Disney (they were in a book that Disney gave to Julie) and some are from the USC Digital Archives.

Katella Gate said...

Major: Yes, the red pales are firebuckets. They are supposed to be full of sand, and if that didn't put the fire out, you started in with water.

Dave: Thanks for this very interesting expose about the Nixon visit. How interesting Julie's memories are about the day on your main website.

Remember as they say on Vulcan: Only Nixon could go to China. I have on my mantle three sets of Chinese vases from the first commercial trade mission after the Nixon visit, of which I am very proud. They coordinate nicely with a kitchen drawer full of funky Chinese gadgets, none of which work quite right. I am less fond of them.

Chris Merritt said...

Wow! Nixon up on the Texas deck! Awesome stuff Dave...