Saturday, October 06, 2012

Miss U.S. at Disneyland

This lovely lass was photographed on August 1, 1955, getting ready to board the Nile Princess on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. In the original 1955 Bank of America Disneyland brochure, this attraction was referred to as The Explorer’s Boat Ride through the rivers of Mexico, Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Australia. By 1956, it had been shortened to Jungle River Boat Ride, with a re-tweeking of the title in 1958 to Rivers of the World Jungle Boat Cruise. Finally, by 1965, Disneyland brochures called it the name we all know it by: The Jungle Cruise. Here's the original publicity blurb that accompanied this photo:


Vermont's Carlene King Johnson, Miss United States in the Miss Universe Contest, climbs aboard one of the seven Adventureland Boats in Disneyland at Anaheim, Calif., Aug. 1. Miss Johnson won her title recently at Long Beach, Calif.

From the now defunct “Eye for Beauty Blog” comes this background info on Miss Johnson:

On July 20, 1955 43 beauties took to the stage in Long Beach, California to compete for the 4th Miss USA title. 15 delegates were selected to be in the running for the crown. After that the top five were announced. They were the delegates from Arkansas, California, Georgia, Nebraska, and Vermont. The judges then deliberated to make their final choices. Georgia was called as the fourth runner-up. California was the third runner-up. Nebraska was the second runner-up. The delegates from Arkansas and Vermont were left standing. It was then announced that Arkansas was the runner-up. 22 year old Carlene King Johnson from Rutland, Vermont was the new Miss USA. She was crowned by the reigning Miss USA/Miss Universe, Miriam Stevenson. Two days later she was on stage again to try and win a back to back Miss Universe crown for her country. Johnson was one of the top 15 delegates but she did not advance to the top 5. The contest was won by Miss Sweden. To date Johnson remains her state’s only Miss USA titleholder. Sadly Carlene King Johnson died very young at the age of 35 in 1968 due to complications of diabetes.

If you recognize the tableau above, you might want to check out the back story on a previous post.

See more vintage and current Disneyland Jungle Cruise photos on my Jungle Cruise web page.


K. Martinez said...

I remember in "The Magic of Walt Disney World" documentary from the 1970s, the Adventureland attraction was referred to as "Jungle River Cruise". That's the name used in Hong Kong Disneyland today.

I do miss those seat cushions.

Major Pepperidge said...

Aw, I am sorry that Carlene's story had a sad ending... gone at only 35. Such a shame.