Tuesday, August 11, 2015

60 Years Ago Today: Nixon at Disneyland

60 years ago today, the Richard Nixon family visited Disneyland for the very first time.

Six years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Nixon's daughter, Julie Nixon Eisenhower, who graciously shared her memories of that day. She had nothing but nice things to say about Walt Disney. “He was so kind; and very approachable. He was also a very nice looking man.” Her father was given the “Key to City Hall” by none other than Davy Crockett (Fess Parker). “I was in heaven, meeting Fess Parker! It was a big deal to be there at Disneyland, especially because of the weekly broadcast that introduced the world to Disneyland with each episode. The characters, the castle...seeing it all in person was fantastic. It was such a joyful place!"

A closeup of the Key to City Hall shows that Walt didn't miss an opportunity to plug one of the Main Street Vendors, Yale Lock Manufacturing.

Here's an August 1955 image of the Yale & Towne Lock shop:

This particular trip was a family reunion for the Ryans (Pat's family) and the Nixons, and Julie enjoyed the company of her 7 male cousins. The family rode the Autopia cars (with 2 secret service men in tow for Vice President Nixon) as well as The Mark Twain, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Adventure.

The rest of today's images show the Nixon family enjoying the attractions in Fantasyland, beginning with Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Fess Parker watches as the Nixon girls get loaded into the Dumbo attraction:

Two of the Mad Tea Party:

Julie shared this other tidbit: "My favorite ride was (and still is) the Peter Pan ride.” I can't disagree with her on that one!

More Nixon family at Disneyland on my main website.


Fifthrider said...

I never get tired of seeing famous political figures and celebrities at Disneyland enjoying it like everyone else. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I saw that last pic posted on some social media which was used to ridicule Nixon, getting out of "Dopey's" car. The poster didn't credit the USC Digital Archive.

Thanks, Dave. These are fun pictures and memories.


Unknown said...

Did you mean 60 years, not 50? :-) Great pics.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Daveland said...

Anonymous or not...I am glad someone can do math! It obviously is not me when I write this stuff at 5am.

outsidetheberm said...

The first two shots give us the extra added bonus of seeing CV Wood pre banishment from Walt's side (the man in the black suit ). Once trusted by Walt and management, he was shown the door early on for still unknown reasons. You may remember that he went on to build Freedomland in New York. Great work, Dave.

Fifthrider said...

..and thanks to you I've just spent the last hour reading up on CV Wood and Freedomland. I should get back to work, but that's some great info to know about who he was and the falling out with Walt.