Monday, June 06, 2011

Disneyland, March 1957, Pt. 1

I've got to say I was extremely overwhelmed by the response to my 5 year anniversary post; the comments continue to come in; some motivated by the giveaways, some by Steve Martin's tweet, and some just because. I am going to share some of the more memorable ones here before I dive into today's first part of a March 1957 series.

From Amy C. Spaulding:

Congratulations on your 5-year anniversary in the blogosphere! I just wanted to comment. (No need to enter me into the drawing -- I am trying to downsize!)

What strikes me about your blog post is that it supports what I am coming to suspect: That everything we do in life eventually helps us get to where we are going; we just may not know it then.

I understand Steve Martin's comedy a lot better now knowing that he started as a barker at an amusement park as a kid. Is there any better training for being a comedian? My folks had the good fortune of seeing Steve Martin perform at the Westchester Theatre when Steve was first starting out. They came home late that night and told us that some young guy with white hair was wearing an arrow through his head and was getting booed on the stage. My dad said he was funny; my mom said she felt sorry for the guy. I love remembering this story because it shows me that genius is often ahead of its time -- that courage and persistence are an equal part of a person's success.

You just never know, do you? Everyone has a little bit of the Magic and we are all part of the Mystery! And if this comment seems a little preachy, "Well, Excuse Meeeee!" Happy 5th Anniversary!

Amy - so true. One never knows the path life has planned for us. Heck, I never figured I'd be doing this for 5 years!

From Christopher:

I read Born Standing Up a year ago and your post has inspired me reread it. The stories about Steve's early years at Disney Land and Knott's Berry Farm were meaningful to me because it all took place while my parents, newlyweds at the time and soon to be expecting the birth of my older brother, were regulars at Knott's during the time Steve worked at the Birdcage theater there. Your post is especially timely given the passing of Wally Boag and to you, good sir, I tip my hat. Nice job!

These are the stories I love; memories from readers that are inspired by the photos posted...memories that when told sound as fresh now as when they happened. Here's to more of those! And if you haven't read Steve Martin's book "Born Standing Up," do so! It is well worth it to hear not only about Disneyland and Knott's in the early years, but to learn of his journey of how he became the talented comedian that he is today.

Another great personal memory from Thom:

Thank you to Steve Martin for directing me to this great site. My dad loved anything Disney. He visited Disneyland the first and second year it was open and was among his favorite memories. When he passed away I found a box of his souvenirs from those trips. My favorite things was a novelty paper and two guidebook. It gave me a feel for what its was like compared to when I visited it several times in the 90's when I lived in Long Beach. I wonder if Steve Martin sold them to my dad?

From Matterhorn1959, the creator of Stuff From The Park:

Dave- congratulations on 5 Years and a fantastic story on the anniversary!! You know I appreciate your blog and the images you present, including the fantastic shots from you personally. I wish I had your photographic skills!! I hope you can keep it up another 5 years or more!!! Thanks again for sharing your finds, your pictures and your adventures.

That one was especially meaningful to me, as it was Patrick's blog that I first found when I was searching for vintage images of Disneyland on the web. I remember spending hours going through each post and being amazed by his collection of photos. In addition, he is one of the most knowledgeable people on Disneyland history. AND a nice guy to boot, too!

The contest ends today at noon (PST). I will be gathering all of the commenters who were interest in entering and picking a winner. Again...thanks to ALL for making my 5 Year Anniversary such a great day!

Back to regular bizness! Ellen’s Gift Shop is probably unfamiliar to most as it had a fairly short run on Main Street (1955-1957). Let's zoom in to see what's in the window.

This was the closest I could find in my collection (mental note for next visit!) of the same area of shops on Main Street. Ellen's Gift Shop is now part of Disney Clothiers.

Your basic March 1957 castle shot...

which reveals a bit of repair or construction going on:

This 2009 shot shows the castle still looking pretty majestic some 50+ years later. I know I'm being redundant, but here's another request to restore the color back to its original pale pink color from its current pepto-bismol garish shade.

Moving around to the side of the castle, our 1957 photographer captured the Skyway buckets in the background.

There appears to be some construction going on here behind the castle. I am guessing that it might have to do with the imminent opening of the Sleeping Beauty dioramas that were set to open approximately one month from when this photo was shot. You can also see Merlin's Magic Shop in the left.

Interestingly enough, the closest present day shot I could find from my personal collection shows the construction of the restoration of the SB Diorama.

The Rumor Mill: Apparently, the Mission Tortilla Factory at DCA has closed.

Rumor has it that it will be replaced by this:

That's a change I definitely could live with! More March 1957 goodness to come! See more vintage & current Golden Horseshoe photos at my regular website.


Connie Moreno said...

You know, I ALWAYS learn something from your blog. I had never heard of Ellen's Gifts!

In that side photo of the castle I was blown away to see that there is no Snow White's Grotto! I thought it had always been here.

Last but not least, how does one purchase a print from you? That shot of Main Street at night is begging to hang on my wall.

HBG2 said...

Belated congrats! The debt we history geeks owe to you, the Major, and Matterhorn59 is incalculable. Keep it up, man, keep it up.

I'm wondering if that roof construction on the castle may also be due to the Diorama? Perhaps they had to do some wiring or something that was best accessed from above?

Jason Schultz said...

Ellen's Gifts! I've never seen a photo of it before. I'm looking forward to the rest of this series.

The Mission Tortilla Factory has definitely closed for good. On Tuesday it was not open and you could see through the windows that they had started to take it apart. By Thursday or Friday the interior of the windows and doors had been covered in black.

Major Pepperidge said...

Hmm, I have a photo of the castle with some construction going on in October 1958, but i must be unrelated to yours from March 1957. Maybe it was just a simple roof repair!

PS, I don't need to be in the drawing for the plates! Good luck to the other folks.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Great post, never seen "Ellen's Gift" before, what a treat.

I was going to say Congrats Saturday, but after you got 80+ posts I was way to intimidated....

So I'll take the opportunity here to give an extra big THANKS to you Dave, just like how you discovered "Stuff from the Park" I discovered your blog back in 2007, read every old post and was inspired to create my own blog.

Thanks again for all your hard work and dedication (and Club33 !!!!)

Daveland said...

Connie - Let me know what size you want.

HBG2 - that's what I wondered...I can't imagine what else (other than something fireworks related) that would cause construction on the roof.

Jason - The Tortilla place was fun, but can't say I'll miss it.

Major - I know you are holding out for the disposable Dixie plate giveaway I have planned for my 5.5 year anniversary.

Tim - Thanks for the thanks! Can you believe not a single comment from the gaggle of gals?!?

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris & Andrew said...

I forgot to wish you a Happy 5th. It almost seems like you've been here for more than 5 years. Keep up the good work!

Christopher said...

HBG2- I think that section of the building was added as a staircase so that guests could get into that main chamber of the castle.