Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Frontierland and Indian Joe: Mystery Solved

I know that I am not alone in wondering whether or not the Frontierland Wooden Indian and the Main Street version are the originals from 1955. Today, I can announce that half of that mystery has been solved for me. Recently, I was contacted by the owner of ol’ Indian Joe who cleared up the Frontierland portion of the story:

“In 2005, for the 50th anniv. they FINALLY replaced both Indians with new, freshly painted models made from the exact same mold (from fiberglass) One ended up in San Francisco and one ended up with us (purchased at a small store in Buena Park).”

How does Joe look after all these years? Well, let’s just say a little better than Sally Struthers, who chose to straddle the poor guy for this photo op:

And here’s the replacement Joe currently residing at the park:

See more Frontierland photos at my website.


Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

That's clears that up - Thanks Dave! Nice to know they are at least made from the same mold. Why no just repaint the existing ones, its looks like they held up really well (Sally, not so much...)

Major Pepperidge said...

I have to agree, the one in the hallway looks like it is in decent shape. Seems like it would be easier to patch any cracks and chips and repaint, rather than make new ones. On the other hand, if the new ones last 50 years, they will have gotten their money's worth!

A few years ago I saw one Indian at the Glendale collector's show. For sale. I forget how much, but of course it was more than I could afford!

thepicklebarrel said...

Hey Dave...

Well, the story is partially true.

The Indians were made out of fiberglass from a mold. They still are. In fact, I'm always amazed how flimsy they seem in the park. In fact, that's the problem. The fiberglass guys take a lot of wear and tear. they actually would be replaced every five to seven years from what I've heard.

I actually bought the second Indian that the poster mentions. It was in San Francisco with an antique dealer who purchased it directly from the Disney prop warehouse. I heard there was another.

The one I have is from Frontierland with the green cape. I believe the other one was from Main Street.

My Injun is in pretty good shape with the only damage being a light crack in the rifle top which was always the first to go.

The thing that gets me (which is a symptom of Disneyland's horrible art direction today) is that they are supposed to CARVED CIGAR STORE INDIANS from the Victorian era. The old Disney Indians were painted that way...even with a simulated patina to look like old polychromed carvings.

The new one's are painted like....well, I don't know what. they sure are ugly and scary. Original turn of the century cigar store Indians don't have flesh or wrinkles. They are meant to look like carvings. I have an original 1900s carving and it's AMAZING how much my Disneyland Indian looks like the early 1900s carving!

Anyhow, thanks for posting as I was wondering where the other Indian went! we should get these two brothers together and show them to Disneyland management so they know what they are supposed to look like!

Davelandweb said...

Maybe someone should tell Sally that she's straddling the wrong Indian! Jordan - thanks for the great info!

Katella Gate said...

I hear the Picklebarrel's lament about art direction on Main Street. Remember that in the 50's Walt's generation were actually Victorians, and lived in that period so the replication for Main Street came as first hand nostalgia, just as we 50 year olds today can authentically re-create mid-century and Tiki because we actually lived it.

The problem is today, "Victorian" needs to be studied (strike one), there are now several layers of supervision that weren't there before (strike two), and there is always a strong impetus to use the present market's color pallet (strike three).

The result is "funny colors" on main street... generally over saturated and conflicting.

The Castle is the prime example. It's always had elements of blue and pink, but when you look at older photos, you realize it once used a lot of gray and tan to moderate the two conflicting hues.

Today, it looks like a giant Barbie doll carrying case.