Monday, June 05, 2023

Melodyland Monday

This panoramic view of the Disneyland sign on Harbor Drive hails from July 1964. The “new” Disneyland Hotel Tower rates prime real estate on the entrance sign.

Shifting to the left, you can see the Saga Motor Hotel and the sign for the Melodyland Theatre. John Raitt is on the marquee, starring in “The Pajama Game.” The publicity shot below was captioned:

Cute Bonnie West, principal dancer in “The Pajama Game,” current Melodyland Theatre stage attraction, clowns it up with star John Raitt during a rehearsal break. The hit musical runs two weeks and will close Sunday, July 19.

Melodyland opened July 2, 1963 and was Southern California’s first theater-in-the-round, featuring top-notch entertainment such as Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, Sonny & Cher, and The Grateful Dead. In 1969, it became a church, retaining the name and signage out front. Demolished in 2003, it “paved” the way for Anaheim GardenWalk.

Panning a little further to the left, you can see The Lancers Restaurant, which featured lunches, dinners, and cocktails.

According to their matchbook, dinner dancing was available 7 days a week!

I wonder if Walt ever used this ashtray?

See more Disneyland entrance photos at my main website.


Anonymous said...

My folks and I went a number of times to see big name entertainment "in the round". It hard to imagine the stars of today actually using such a small venue. A different time and place and what great memories! KS

Fifthrider said...

Very cool. Never knew, never went, but thanks to you I have an idea what it was about. My congratulations to the builders of the Garden Walk for making a mostly abandoned mall from opening to present. I can't imagine why I'd go more than the one time I went. The matchbook is a nice discovery.

Daveland said...

KS - Those smaller venues provide a more intimate experience. We had the Valley Forge Music Fair where I grew up, which was also a theatre in the round. Unlike regular theaters, you had more "good seats." It was replaced by a Giant supermarket, which went belly up about a year and a half later.

Bryan - It takes great planning to create something like Garden Walk. An abandoned mall is something few have the guts to create!

Nanook said...

I saw comedian Don Adams perform his "The Don Adams Show" at Melodyland. More memorable was the 'opening act': Liza Minnelli, who among other selections sang I'm Liza with a "Z". According to The Liza Minnelli Scrapbook, that show ran from March 22-27th, 1966. Good times.

Fifthrider said...

Wow. Don Adams and Liza Minnelli. Liza OPENING for Don?!?! Unreal. Congrats on seeing an amazing slice of the 60's happen live. Impressive.

Daveland said...

Nanook - You have officially blown my mind.