Saturday, May 23, 2009

Moonliner Madness!

Almost 55 years after its creation, it is probably somewhat difficult for today’s generation to totally understand the significance and meaning of the Moonliner to children and adults of the 1950’s. The Moon was an unexplored frontier, full of possibilities, mysteries, and myths. The ability to fly there was a dream just on the horizon, and would be proof of the capabilities of Americans. Today, the moon itself probably triggers very little other than a yawn and a “been there done that” attitude. So, as a salute to the amazement and wonder of the 1950’s, here is a little tribute to the Moonliner of Tomorrowland. Image #1 is from August 1955. The young lad looking up at the Moonliner really says it all and visually expresses how that generation viewed space travel: it was the hope of the future.

Shot #2 and its detailed companion are from a series of 1950’s True Tone commercial slides:

Image #3 is a Daveland re-run, but still a good one, dating back to 1955:

Last shot for the day is also from the 1950’s:

The last image is one from a batch of slides that I will begin showcasing tomorrow. See more Moonliner photos at my regular website.


outsidetheberm said...

Looking forward to seeing more from the batch with that last shot, Dave!

Thufer said...

it was a different time. i remember day dreaming while walking around in that tomorrow(land) how wonderful it would be. man, was i wrong.
amazing pictures.

Viewliner Ltd. said...

There are a few places in my life time that I have visited, that have had a real impact on me. And Tomorrowland of the 1950's was one of those places. It created a dream, for me, of possible great things to come. It was literally a place where you sat down in front of the world clock or the moonliner and took it all in.

I would hope that Tomorrowland does that for someone today. But I have my doubts. Considering that (in my opinion) it displays no future at all.

Thanks for the great pics Dave.. The memories are awesome!

CoxPilot said...

When I first visited Disneyland in July of 1955, Tomorrowland was the first thing I wanted to see. My parents were more interested in Main Street and the shops, but I pulled and pulled to just see, and ride in, the Moon liner. I never dreamed that I would be working day after day in it's shadow.

The 6 years working under the Moon Liner never jaded me. Each day we would leave the wardrobe building and enter the Tomorrowland area through the gate just to the left of the domed builders, and I would always look up as I passed through the big gate. The feeling was like leaving black and white Kansas and entering into the color world of Oz. The smell of new slurry and compressed air, and the sounds of the announcers (not tape then) telling people to remove their tickets and remain seated while the ride stops.

Of all the changes in Tomorrowland over the years, the only thing that was a huge disappointment was the removal of the liner. Three major icons of Disneyland will always remain: 1) Sleeping Beauty's Castle, 2) The Matterhorn, 3) The Moonliner (regardless of the logos and/or paint job). They mistakenly dismissed the last as passe, not realizing the iconic attachment of so many to it's simple majesty.

Hrundi V. Bakshi said...

Thanks for the great shots Dave.

Some of my earliest memories are from a trip to Disneyland in 1965, I was almost 5 years old. A few images have always remained in my head, the clearest of which was riding the Moonliner - the circular room, rows of seats and watching the earth fall away below me.

My Mom tells the story of how I REALLY believed that we WERE going to the moon and that everything going on was absolutely real.

My Dad worked in the space program (Gemini, Mercury, Apollo, Skylab, Shuttle and the various Mars lander missions) - and I was aware of this even when I was very young, so apparently I thought that my Dad had arranged a real trip to the moon for us!

Apparently I was rather vocal during the "flight" (unusual for me as a quiet, shy, only child) expressing my excitement.

Though I never worked at Disneyland as CoxPilot did, it never ceases to amaze me how so much of my life has been tied in with the place. My wife worked there, we more or less "courted" there, we were married at the Hotel - and now we both work for the Studio in Burbank.

We all control our own destinies, (to varying degrees) and I often wonder how much that exciting "trip to the moon" played in the way things have all worked out.

Katella Gate said...

This Tomorrowland was created by an America that believed it could solve any problem.

This future died when Americans decided that they were the cause of ALL the world's problems.

CoxPilot said...

Has anyone happen to notice the difference in color of the vector fins at the bottom of the rocket? Some early shot seem to show them black, and some gray. Which came first?