Friday, November 09, 2012

Whatever Happened To The Xmas Star?

Back in the 1960's, Disneyland's Matterhorn was crowned with a giganormous star for Christmas. Measuring 24' wide, it was put in place by a crane. My earliest photos showing it are from December 1961.

One from January 1962:

And a nice December 1963 view...

accompanied by a closeup of the star itself:

Lit-up at night, I am sure it was a sight to see.

Even over in Frontierland, the star was difficult to miss:

While I'm at it, I can't help doing a few zooms, showing the gent on the bench shooting a movie and his lovely companion chomping on popcorn:

While at the other end of the shot, the Gonzalez Trio is entertaining guests:

The last photo I have of this bygone Christmas tradition is from December 1968.

Anyone out there know what spelled the demise for the Christmas Star?

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Major Pepperidge said...

I'm sure you have read that, supposedly, the energy crisis in the 1970's was the reason the star was no longer placed atop the Matterhorn. Guess all those lightbulbs used a lot of juice. Of course that might only be part of the reason...

Davelandweb said...

Major - I never quite bought that explanation; it might have contributed to it, but there must have been something else that put the nail in the coffin.

Hannahx2 said...

I think they could bring it back... Not this star as it is decidedly 60s, but a modern one complete with LEDs and new technology! The Matterhorn does have a slight "Christmas tree" shape so it doesn't look too out of place.

DBenson said...

Personally, I'd just as soon have the Matterhorn go untopped. It's one thing to decorate buildings and trim trees; it's something else to remind us the mountain isn't real.

Maybe somebody at Disney had the same opinion.

...But It Wasn't Always That Way! said...

I LOVE the Matterhorn star!! I think Major is correct that it was the energy crisis. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that the star also **rotated** That must have been quite a sight to behold at night... all lit up, especially from the freeway. *sigh* :-)

Also, I just noticed how pueblo-y the Casa de Fritos building looks!

TokyoMagic! said...

That's a good question! What did happen to the star? Could it still exist somewhere or did they scrap it? I would love to see it return to the park. And yes, according the book, "Disneyland: The First Quarter Century", it was retired "as part of Disneyland's energy conservation efforts."

I remember as a kid that MANY business signs (restaurants, gas stations, etc.) in Southern California rotated, but most of them stopped turning during the energy crisis of the seventies.

Anonymous said...

Energy Savings might actually have been enough excuse, especially factoring the added savings of not putting up and taking down, which had to be expensive and disruptive.

About the same time, the Flamingo Hotel in Santa Rosa stopped their iconic neon from turning.,r:9,s:0,i:101

Sorry for that goofy link, but its a good picture circa 1969. The sign only started turning again about 10 years ago.


JG said...

I liked the star and want to say thanks for the great pictures.


Anonymous said...

It sat in a boneyard at Disneyland for many years. I remember it being there in the late 70s/early 80s. Not sure if it was cut up or taken to a warehouse.