DisneyHistory has edited together scraps of found home movies from Disneyland in 1955, its opening year, harvesting only the sharpest, clearest shots highlighting the rarest and least-seen elements. The result is one of the most vivid views of that year I’ve ever seen. There’s also a list of spot-the-rara-avis moments from the footage, including the… READ THE REST
The shots of Main St remind me of all the fake towns the Chinese are building now to escape to a world they wish existed.
So Main Street when it opened was designed to be an idealized main street of a US town 50-60 years before then. Whereas today Main Street is an idealized main street of a US town 50-60 years before now.
Really? I thought with all the barbershop quartet type things it still is supposed to be small-town USA circa 1910 or so – it isn’t really themed to be 1950-ish.
My parents went to Disneyland a year or two after the opening. Now I know what it looked like!
The strangest part of this to me is the stage coach ride. Live horses, dirt road, people piling in just like they would have in the olden days.
Sigh I grew up watching The Wonderful World of Color on Sunday nights. The show would occasionally have features about Disneyland rides . . . and then of course there was the incredible hype when Disneyworld started construction. Disney’s brother pitched that.
Back in 1968 I had a Summer job at WED (for Walter Elias Disney), the design facility for Disneylands, due to being an art student at Chouinard, which was becoming CalArts under Disney sponsorship. I painted all the “shoes” (actually molded foam) for the pirates in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, put together HO scale plastic model houses for a City of Tomorrow diorama, and worked with an artist who went by “T. Hee” on a humorous space alien shooting gallery for Tomorrowland that never got built. And I got to see a lot of behind the scenes stuff at Disneyland. All the canal boats, each of which was different, had freshly painted duplicates in storage, ready to be swapped in. A lot of the other stuff had duplicates, too; there was a policy that nothing was to look worn out except for deliberate effect.
White fantasies. Antebellum south without negroes, Africa with tame negroes, the wild west without negroes, the future without negroes, charming mainstreet of yesteryear without negroes. Either black folks didn’t find revisionist american history so entrancing, or this is one of the greatest demonstrations of structural racism as the point of current nostalgia in America. So cute.
Really, the point of contact is more with sentimental Nazi images of the racially pure past than it is with Chinese simulacra towns. And top it all off with Ludwig II castle, sheesh.
I want someone to run a face-recognition program on all posted D’land photos from this era to find Steve Martin’s every appearance at the park, from his days at the entryways handing out programs all the way to the Magic Shop and the Horseshoe Revue.
The music is…interesting. It sounds like what they play at the end of Dawson’s Creek while they’re previewing next week’s episode. Very beautiful footage and editing, wish they’d tone down the music a tad.
I was at Disney World in February.
What struck me, was how thin and well dressed everyone was in 1955.
Other than that, nothing else has changed
The lack of advertisement and visible sponsorship should be inspiring…
Even if Samantha and Darrin live in a mid-century ranch house, they still do their shopping in Thornton Wilder’s imagination.
Which Darrin, though?
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