Monday, May 30, 2011

Walt Disney Brings in Treasure Island Actionful Saga of Fabulous Pirate Gold

05.30.11 - Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adventure is now translated to the screen in color by Technicolor, with Bobby Driscoll, Robert Newton and Basil Sydney topping a great cast of characters.

Eureka! — Marooned Ben Gunn reveals pirate loot to awe-struck Jim Hawkins (Bobby Driscoll), Long John Silver (Robert Newton) and Squire Trelawney (Walter Fitzgerald), in Walt Disney's all-live action Treasure Island, in color by Technicolor, based on Robert Louis Stevenson's saga.
Walt Disney has brought to the screen his completely live action production, Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, as a thrill-studded melodrama filmed on a spacious and realistic scale and with a story of a great prestige and red-blooded appeal to all amusement lovers, young and old.

Scene by scene and in color by Technicolor the producer matches the turbulent action, the play of elemental passions, the terrific character conflicts and the suspense inherent in famous saga of pirate treasure that lured to a distant island the young cabin boy Jim Hawkins, as played by Bobby Driscoll, the deadly rogue Long John Silver, as played by Robert Newton and Captain Smollett as played by Basil Sydney.

Treasure Island was filmed in England to get full location and atmospheric values and certain casting advantages for this "great adventure". Principals in the all- male cast, in addition to Newton, Bobby Driscoll and Sydney, are Walter Fitzgerald as Squire Trelawney, Denis O'Dea as Doctor Livesey, Ralph Truman as George Merry, Finlay Currie as Captain Billy Bones, Geoffrey Keen as Israel Hands, Francis de Wolff in the Black Dog role, John Laurie as Blind Pew and Geoffrey Wilkinson as the marooned Ben Gunn.

The all-live action method of picturing the swashbuckling tale is radically different from the animated drawings medium in which Disney customarily works his screen wonders. He organized his production personnel accordingly, selecting Director Byron Haskin for his repute in the living action field; Lawrence E. Watkin, well-known novelist and screen writer, for adaptation of the adventure tale which has been read by some 200,000,000 persons; Thomas Morahan for the stagings which supplement the outdoor English locations described by Stevenson, and his veteran producer. Perce Pearce, to manage the project.

Stevenson wrote his great sea tale of pirates and buried treasure and the hunt and battle for it expressly for his 13-year- old stepson, Lloyd Osborne. But he confessed that he himself and his older friends thrilled to the immortal saga as it came full-blooded from his pen. The author's work now has been translated to a living form, conceded to be electrifying in its impact on the screen, as the greatest adventure of all.

From the original 1950 Treasure Island press materials.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pirate Costume Aged Some 200 Years for Ustinov as Blackbeard's Ghost

05.28.11 - A pirate costume for hefty, bearded Peter Ustinov, who looms larger in the entertainment industry than his physical 270-pounds, was a problem beyond mere size.

Peter Ustinov stars as free-wheeling, fun-loving (and somewhat rummy) spirite of a long-dead pirate who returns to earth — with hilarious results, in Blackbeard's Ghost, Walt Disney's newest comedy-fantasy in color by Technicolor.
For the lead in Walt Disney's new comedy, Blackbeard's Ghost, his swashbuckling garb had to be aged some 200 years to be authentic since the film takes place in contemporary New England, the actual site of the real pirate's pillaging.

"We took one problem at a time," confessed Chuck Keene, Disney Costume Department Head, "and fitted him with off-white canvas pants, a beige raw silk shirt, brown velveteen vest, navy blue wool full-length coat, and auburn velour hat; all of which were tailored to design specifications of our chief designer, Bill Thomas.

"His boots were specially designed cavalier boots, coming knee high with an extra-wide cuff. Constructed of black kangaroo leather, the boots had to be sturdy enough to support his massive hulk, yet still be comfortable to his wide foot and high instep. At the cost of $175, they were made by a craftsman who does nothing but make footwear for stars in specific roles.

"To age these boots two centuries, we sandpapered the leather and bruised it without breaking the support features down," continued Keene. "Then we sprayed them with a brown aging solution, waxed and powdered them. It's not really a complicated process, but it certainly gets results.

"We use the same process to age clothing. But in addition to sanding the material, we sometimes sandblast it, and that ages it in a hurry. His blue coat became an antique in a matter of seconds, buttons and all. A light brown spray of the aging solution was followed by a generous dusting with 'rottenstone,' a grey and brown powder, which discolored the navy fabric to a non-descript blue. Blackbeard's other garments were made old in similar fashion."

"I felt like a walking antique," quipped Ustinov, "wearing these relics from the costume department where they became museum collector's items overnight."

Filmed in color by Technicolor, Blackbeard's Ghost stars Peter Ustinov, Dean Jones and Suzanne Pleshette. Robert Stevenson directed the Bill Walsh-Don DaGradi screenplay, which is based on a novel by the noted illustrator Ben Stahl. Walsh is co-producer of the Buena Vista release.

From the original 1968 Blackbeard's Ghost press materials.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

First Kid to Run Through Sleeping Beauty Castle Now Guards the Resort

posted at the Official Disney Parks Blog on March 16th, 2010 by Heather Hust Rivera, Manager, Social Media, Disneyland Resort

Robb Fischle Runs Through Sleeping Beauty Castle

See that tow-headed little boy in the checkered shirt in the center of the photo, behind the boy in the glasses? That is Robb Fischle, and he was one of the lucky kids to run through Sleeping Beauty Castle for the very first time.

It was July 17, 1955, and it was opening day for Disneyland park.

Fast forward 55 years and you can still see Robb Fischle at the Happiest Place on Earth (and one of his favorite places in the world), but it’s not just a place for him and his family to play. Robb now works at the Resort as a Security Officer (and has been working here since 1972).

We found this video of Robb that we taped during the 50th anniversary celebration. In the interview, Robb talks about how he would spend Sunday nights watching “Disneyland” on television to get the latest construction updates and how he and his family would try and peek at the construction as they drove down Harbor Boulevard. I especially like hearing his memories from opening day.

Take a look back.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

1975 - America is Marching Down Main Street

05.12.11 - "America on Parade" premiered last June as a joyful, colorful, wonderful patriotic pageant of the music, people and heritage of America — both past and present.

From the first strains of "Yankee Doodle" to the closing bars of "God Bless America," Disney's "America on Parade" is itself destined to become a part of the Americana it celebrates: something to be seen, remembered and treasured for years to come.
Thousands of Disney guests have already watched and cheered as Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck proudly lead the three-quarter-mile-long procession through the center of each theme park.

The 50 giant-size parade units in the fun-filled musical extravaganza depict a variety of historical and memorable moments in the nation's 200-year past and highlight the contributions and achievements of the country's people. They present a stylized, whimsical and never-to-be-forgotten festival of America as only Disney can present it.

Towering above the throngs of young and old who gaze with delight and amusement are Disney's newest creations, the eight-foot-high, doll-like "People of America" — from Indians to auto drivers, Can-Can dancers to Ben Franklin, a Keystone cop to Uncle Sam — they dance their way through America's history and into the hearts and memories of those who watch one of Disney's most unique and delightful creations.

The parade, which features more than 150 people, is performed at both Disney theme parks daily and 3:00 p.m. During the summer months and some holidays there will be special evening performances of the parade followed by a red, white and blue fireworks display. As an extra attraction, each week the parade will salute one of the 50 states.

The parade's grand finale features high school and college marching bands especially invited to take part in this bicentennial salute.

From the first strains of "Yankee Doodle" to the closing bars of "God Bless America," Disney's "America on Parade" is itself destined to become a part of the Americana it celebrates: something to be seen, remembered and treasured for years to come.

From the Fall/Winter 1975-1976 edition of Vacationland magazine, published by Disneyland.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A major Disney museum in Glendale? It may be the future for the company’s past



This is a longer version of Geoff Boucher's article that ran Friday on the front page of the Los Angeles Times (June 2010).


After Walt Disney died in 1966, his grieving staff sealed his office suite in Burbank, and even as work proceeded on “The Jungle Book” there was anxiety that the company’s past might be brighter than its future.

Four years later, those worries deepened as key executives approached retirement, including Walt’s older brother, Roy O. Disney. That’s why, in 1970, the company handed the key to Walt’s still-sealed office to a former UCLA research librarian named Dave Smith, who was sent into the chamber to learn its history.

“I didn’t expect this to become my life’s work, but it did,” Smith, 69, said on a recent afternoon as he gave a tour of the Disney Archives, a massive collection spread across several in-house libraries and high-security warehouses filled with Disney movie props, costumes, toys, art, animation, vintage theme-park gear and company publications.


It all began with the items that Smith found in Walt’s desk all those years ago.

“It was an eerie thing to sit … in his chair and count the paper clips in the drawer,” Smith recalled with a nervous chuckle. On the bookshelves, he discovered books and letters given to Walt by Upton Sinclair, Winston Churchill and C. S. Lewis, who inscribed one of his books of poetry with the words: “From one visionary to another.”

On Friday, 40 years and a day after he was hired, Smith announced his imminent retirement from a corporation that, as he put it, “reuses and returns to its past more often than any company in the world.”

His one-man history department has become a team of 12 that is busy going through hundreds of boxes of artifacts never fully cataloged. For years, there simply wasn’t time for Smith to do anything more than grab, save and store. Now, with wide eyes and sometimes racing hearts, the younger preservation experts make almost daily discoveries of forgotten treasures.


On a recent afternoon at one of the archive’s secret Glendale warehouses, Disney archive manager Becky Cline held up one recent find — a cache of storyboards and concept art for the 1964 classic “Mary Poppins.”

“This hasn’t been seen or touched since the movie came out, and it’s never been reproduced in any way,” said Cline, who will take over Smith’s title as official archivist after his departure in October. “This is simply amazing stuff. And we’re going to get to show it to the world.”

The texture of the job is different these days, but the spirit of the mission remains the same, Cline said.
“When I talk to Dave about it, it’s the same,” Cline said. “He was searching in different places but the job is the same. Find it, catalog it, save it. We’re still finding wonderful unique material. We just got cutting records from ‘Snow White’ that had been filed strangely in 1940 in the music department and no one came across them until now. I can’t tell you how it feels when something like that shows up.”
When Disney President and Chief Executive Robert Iger got his first tour of the warehouse — which resembles the piled-high repository shown at the end of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” — he knew the artifacts could be collecting more than dust.


Iger said this week that a fully dedicated Disney museum is a possibility and, when asked if the company’s largely undeveloped industrial park in Glendale might be an option, he said yes. That parcel includes the old Grand Central Airport, a 1920s Art Deco relic that might be a candidate, according to some Disney sources, but Iger did not speak about that building specifically. At the least, Iger said, the company heirlooms will be displayed at the D23 Expo planned for next year in Anaheim or in a touring museum exhibit.

“I’m certainly intrigued by that idea but we’re exploring multiple ways to do it,” Iger said. “It could be that end up in partnership with an existing museum, figure out ways to exhibit these great works at museums around the country or the world. It also could be that we create our own — obviously there’s significant investment associated with that. As we consider any significant investment we look at what kind of return we could get on that investment. In meantime we know one return from this would be all the great goodwill we’d see from making this collection accessible. We also need to be practical about it from the dollars and cents perspective.”

In its early years, Smith’s work was hardly revered in every corner of the company.

The research librarian got the job by being the right man in the right place at the right time. At UCLA, he had toiled on a Disney bibliography, and one day at the campus he overheard one of his bosses tell a Disney executive that the company should create its own in-house archive to hold on to its past. Smith was enthused Birdincage and offered his services, but no one in Burbank was sure what the job description could or should be.

Smith took a two-month leave from the Westwood stacks to poke through filing cabinets, unlock dusty storage rooms and interview Disney old-timers about long-gone colleagues and half-forgotten projects. Some staffers were puzzled or amused by the earnest young man scribbling down dates and names. In those days, the notion that youth entertainment deserved the permanent-record treatment seemed, well, goofy.

Smith wrote a proposal for an in-house archive and in 1970 officially joined the Disney payroll. The job was a mix of discoveries and dashed hopes in the early years. Some employees were reluctant to surrender caches that were so much a part of their history and, in many cases, connected to their current work. Others watched the parade of departing boxes with a smile.

“They were just happy,” Smith said, “to get the office space.”

Smith’s work was far more than a paper chase. Within a few years of its founding in 1923, Disney was licensing its characters to companies of all sizes and sorts for toys, trinkets, apparel and bric-a-brac. The Disney corporate attitude toward this mountain of “outsider” product was lack of interest or vague disdain. But the new archivist saw the Mickey Mouse wristwatches and “Fantasia” figurines as true artifacts, pieces of history.

“This was a period before there were a lot of Disney collectors, so it was easier to find things and they didn’t cost nearly as much as they would now,” Smith said, sitting in a Burbank office lined with rare Disney memorabilia.

“Take a look at this. I got this at the Rose Bowl swap meet for $18 in the 1970s,” Smith said, reaching for a small 1930s Donald Duck toy in a tiny, faded carton. “It’s in the original box, which is quite unusual. It’s preserved in perfect condition and worth about $2,500 now.”


In the corporate corridors, Smith used to run into people who assumed he and his pesky school project would be gone within a few months. Roy O. Disney’s ferociously loyal secretary fought his efforts to get access to her boss’ papers and effects. Finally, the archivist prevailed.

Among Roy’s stuff was a ticket stub he kept in his top drawer. “It’s marked ‘No. 000001,’ Smith said, holding the first Disneyland ticket ever sold. “Roy bought the first ticket when the park opened 55 years ago. He paid $1 for it and then he kept it all those years right within reach.”

For the creative teams at work in the company today, the archive is a resource of the highest order.
“I think it took a few years for the company to realize it had an archive and what that meant,” Smith said. “It took a few years to understand how the archive could help them. Our primary reason for being is to help the various divisions….There were 10,000 employees when I started; now its 140,000. It’s a much different company and it makes it incumbent upon us to collect much different materials. When people come along in 30 years and want to know what this moment in time was like, they will be able to come to us and find out.”

Is there a list of rare items or lost information that Smith wishes he could find before he leaves his archive in the hands of a new generation? “The short list is really just one item. We have no lists of artists who painted the backgrounds for our cartoons. We have lists of directors, we have lists of the animators, we have lists of the voices in most cases — but the backgrounds, which had beautiful artistry, in a lot of the cases we don’t know who did the work. That bothers me.”

These days the archive is growing faster than ever. Iger issued an order in 2006 to all business divisions that if the archive wants something, it gets it — an acknowledgment of the growing value of movie props and Disney artifacts in the eBay era. Through the years, too many treasures walked out the door or went in the trash.

The team is now known around the company as the “Raiders of the Lost Archive.”

“We did get a little bit of a reputation for being the people who came in and said, ‘OK, we’ll take that and that and that …’ In a way, we are like, ‘We have our warrant and we’re coming in,’ ” said Steven Clark, vice president of corporate communications, who also oversees the administration of the archives.
“We try to be gentle, but we are taking things to be protected. And we are going to take them,” said Becky Cline, the archive manager.


So, despite turbulence, the team recently returned from Anaheim with three prized trophies from Disneyland: Melvin, Max and Buff, the three mounted animal heads that for decades serenaded visitors at the now-dismantled Country Bear Jamboree attraction.

Clark said that Iger has given the archives a budget that, for the first time, allows the team to acquire key Disney artifacts from private collectors. For instance, the carpet bag carried by Julie Andrews in “Mary Poppins” may soon be back in the company’s possession, though Clark won’t reveal details.
“We’ve found it,” he said somewhat cryptically. “We’re working on it.”

The job is defined by long hours of meticulous research and methodical cataloging. But there are flashes of adventure in unexpected places. Last year, Clark and Cline were in Orlando, Fla., to meet with Walt Disney World leaders to explain archive policies and plans, and they were told that, the next day, the attic section of the Haunted Mansion ride would be gutted to make way for a major renovation. The California visitors were told they were welcome to save the vintage assets — if they were ready to do it all on their own.


In borrowed work clothes and hard hats, the two archivists went to work with drills to save the items that made up the entire spooky tableau. “Everything was screwed down,” Clark said, “because otherwise it would have walked off years ago.”

It was grueling work; the ride — and the air conditioning — were shut down and there were decades of spider webs in every corner. “If you’re the Haunted Mansion,” Cline noted, “you don’t even think about dusting.” In sweltering heat, the two gagged and wheezed through their face masks. The work was worth it. The two packed up The Bride and enough trappings from the ride sequence so that someday the entire scene could be re-created. On a recent afternoon, Cline and Clark were sitting in Smith’s office at Disney’s Burbank headquarters, chatting about their planned trip to Hawaii to gather props from the just-completed ABC television series “Lost.” Smith smiled as he listened in.

“They offered us the airplane — and I mean it’s a plane — but we had to say no,” Clark said. “Sometimes you do have to say no. But we are going to take the interior.”


During the meeting, Smith got up at one point and reached into a corner for something he wanted to share. It was much smaller than a commercial airliner and, really, much more impressive. Immediately interested and hushed, everyone leaned forward to inspect the yellowing pages of a booklet.

“People told me all the time that Walt wasn’t that interested in his own history and once he finished a film he put it away and never looked at it again. But when I inventoried his office, I found this,” Smith said.

He presented a 12-page sheaf with chunks of text interspersed with pencil drawings of a jaunty-looking cartoon character on a riverboat escapade.

“It’s the script for ‘Steamboat Willie,’ the first Mickey Mouse cartoon,” Smith said as he offered the 82-year-old artifact for inspection. “His chief artist, Ub Iwerks, did the drawings and Walt would have typed the text. I saw this and I knew Walt cared about his history, just like I do. Just like we do. And just like people always will.”

– Geoff Boucher

Friday, May 20, 2011

Behind the Screams at the Haunted Mansion

Disney Insider was just dying to scare up some trivia about Disneyland's Haunted Mansion attraction. So we hopped into a Doom Buggy and unearthed some spooktacular stories that answer visitors' most creepy questions.

Is the Haunted Mansion really haunted?
Aside from the official 999 happy haunts, cast members working on the closing shift have reported hearing strange sounds and seeing mysterious shadows after the attraction has been closed down for the night.

Do you know why the outside of the spooky house is so incredibly well kept?
When Disney Imagineers first pitched the idea to Walt, the sketches showed a house that had fallen into disrepair. Walt felt that the exterior should be kept clean yet mysterious, and said, "We'll take care of the outside, and the ghosts will take care of the inside."

Ever wonder what the names of the three hitchhiking ghosts are?
The little one with the ball and chain is named Gus; the tall, skeletal one is Ezra; and the hunched-over fellow with the top hat is known as Phineas.

Do you know who the woman in the crystal ball is?
That's Madame Leota. She uses her incredible mediumistic abilities to allow guests to see the spirited spooks. If you want to know the nuts and bolts, the face you see is that of a former Disney Imagineer known as Leota Toombs Thomas. The voice is provided by Eleanor Audley, who also voiced the wicked Maleficent ("Sleeping Beauty") and mean Lady Tremaine ("Cinderella").

The organ in the Grand Ballroom looks awfully familiar - where did it come from?
You should recognize it - it's the same one Captain Nemo played aboard the Nautilus in Disney's 1954 film "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea."

You've now got plenty o' trivia for your next visit to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. But beware! You may have such a ghoulishly good time, you'll never want to leave - or the permanent residents may not let you!
From May 2002, Disney Insider

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Videopolis - The 100-Day Miracle

05.18.11 - Fondly referred to as "The 100-Day Miracle" by Disneyland Management, Videopolis encapsulated the beat of the 80s and the birth of music videos.

Videopolis offers a high tech teen dance area with a 5,000 square foot dance floor and70 television monitors offering popular music videos.
A blur of brilliant-colored neon. Flashing strobes. Whirling lights. And the pulsing. driving beat of electrifying music that seems to surround you. Towering stacks of MTV-style music video monitors flank the stage, mirroring the excitement of the sound. While high over head, huge "skytracker" follow-spots slice through the night sky. The band is wailing. The crowd is jumping. It's another Saturday night at Videopolis, Disneyland's first teen dance club, the place to be. The kids who dance here call it "radical," "wild" and "the best." Management calls it one of Disneyland's most successful attractions in recent years. But to the designers and engineers who produced it, Videopolis is better known as "The 100-Day Miracle."

"We had our first meeting on February 14, 1985," says Steve Carroll, Manager of Disneyland Show Operations and one of the key conceptual idea men behind the project. "And we scheduled to have it open by June 21, the first day of Disneyland's summer season... which just happened to be exactly 100 days later."

Carroll first put his ideas for a teenage dance spot on the back of a placemat in a Chinese restaurant. "But I typed it up before I submitted the idea," he adds with a grin. That was two years ago. The project was originally titled "Galaxy" and was intended to replace the Space Mountain stage. Instead a 3-D theater was scheduled for the area for the Michael Jackson film, "Captain EO" (tentatively set to open this Fall), and the teen club site was changed to its present location in the meadowby "It's a Small World."

Late 1984 brought a keen interest in making Disneyland a viable place in today's teenage market instead of relying as heavily on tradition as in the past. "Today's teens are caught between being a child and being a young adult, with the pressures in society pushing them to be this young adult. They want a place to go where they can feel comfortable — where they can dress up and be part of their peer group. Videopolis provides that for them. And that was our goal," recalls Dennis Despie, Vice President of Entertainment.

Because of Disneyland's high operating standards, Videopolis has the added advantage of putting parents' minds at ease. "It's a very safe, fun place that lets teens have a good experience without all the problems that may occur in other clubs in the city," Despie adds, himself the father of a I6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, "My kids come out here as often as they can for those very reasons."

The collaborative effort of the Disneyland Entertainment Department and the "Imagineers" at the Walt Disney Imagineering Division, the Food Division and the Costume Design Department, resulted in a sparkling high-tech video nightspot that dazzles the first-time visitor with its sheer size and complexity.

Videopolis features a versatile 90-foot wide stage, three dance floors (one of which measures 5,000 square feet), and seating to accommodate up to 1,500 people. Two 12' by 16' video screens loom overhead, flanked by 90 television monitors which create a video "wall paper" effect around the floor. The main superstructure and the lively peristyle entrance is made of dramatic black scaffolding, based on the design used in the 1984 Olympic Games venues. Some of the structure actually contains portions of those very same historical venues.

Tucked in amongst the wild profusion of some 300 linear feet of neon graphics are five special effects called "light sticks." At first glance they appear to be simply vertical rows of red lights. But each stick is actually a matrix array of LEDs (light emitting diodes) which project up to 16 different light images such as stars, musical notes, dancers, surfers and palm trees. The trick is, these banks of LEDs blink on and off so fast the observer can only catch the image being projected as his eye tracks across it, not while looking directly at the light stick. The results are quick snatches of lighted pictures that catch guest by surprise as they appear to float independently in space.

Completing the facility is a snack bar called "Yumz" where club-goers can treat themselves to pizza, nachos, churros, popcorn and soft drinks. And a merchandise stand offers Videopolis T-shirts, visors and other accessories for those who want to take home a little of their dancing experience.

The show itself consists of a combination of live bands and music videos frequently hosted by a Disneyland emcee or a "guest" disc jockey from a local radio station. Three live television cameras scan the action on the floor televising dancers and their performances on the various video screens. And matching the mood of the moment, are some 600 lightning instruments on massive moving trusses that can drop as close as 12' above the floor.

"What we're using is concert technology versus disco technology," Steve Carroll explains. "The setting changes throughout the night, and the effect is definitely an environmental experience rather than just a show."

"If you could take an x-ray of the sheer volume of conduit running underneath the concrete all over that area you'd be amazed," says Videopolis Show Designer, John Kavelin, who estimates that number to be in the thousands of feet. "The reason for that is because we had to provide not only for Videopolis' current needs, but the needs of the future. We're not finished yet you know. This was just the first go-round."

Some of the future plans include more neon, more television monitors, and a "video wall" in which electronically enhanced multi-colored images will be created, using black and white cameras and spot-lighted dancers. There are also plans in the works to build a Videopolis railroad station so that the club can operate during Disneyland's winter season even when the rest of the Park is closed.

"Videopolis can never be complete," Steve Carrol explains. "It will never be what it was last year, because we keep coming up with new ideas to match the kid's changing entertainment styles."

From Disney News, Summer 1986

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Fling at Disneyland

05.16.11 - Annette Funicello, the Elliott Brothers... During the 1960s, teens flocked to Disneyland to see these bands, and many more, at the Spring Fling.

The grand prize at the 1962 Spring Fling is this 1962 MG Midget courtesy of the British Motor Corp.
Spring Fling at Disneyland has been announced as a special party Saturday night, April 14, to set off the beginning of Spring Vacation with dancing throughout the Park and hundreds of special prizes topped by a brand new MG Midget sport car.

Party time is 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets for the Spring Fling at Disneyland include admission to the Park, admission to any attraction as many times as desired, dancing to four bands in four locations, and a chance to win a wide array of exciting prizes.

For dancing and listening, the Elliott Brothers and their big band will swing at the Plaza Gardens; the Young Men from New Orleans will be at their old stand on the decks of the Mark Twain Riverboat; the Space Men will appear at the Space Bar in Tomorrowland; and the Barry Dane group will play in the Golden Horseshoe in Frontierland.

Grand prize is a brand new sport car, the MG Midget, through the courtesy of British Motor Corp., Ltd., world's largest producer of sports cars.

Among the hundreds of other prizes will be trips to San Francisco via Western Airline Fan Jet, Tanner Gray Line Tours, sport clothes, special dinners, and tickets to future special shows at Disneyland.

Advance sale tickets, priced at $4 each, are available April 9 through April 13, at Music City in Hollywood, Lakewood, and downtown; at Desmonds in Pasadena, Crenshaw and Fashion Square; and the Disneyland box office all day and evening April 14, at $4.40 each.

Disneyland's regular daytime schedule on April 14 will terminate at 7 p.m. The Park will then close for one hour and reopen at 8 p.m. for Spring Fling at Disneyland. Tickets to Spring Fling will not be honored until 8 p.m.

From the 1962 First Spring Fling Press Release

Sunday, May 08, 2011

1958 - Summertime at Disneyland - The Columbia 1790 sailing ship in Frontierland and Alice in Wonderland for Fantasyland

05.08.11 - The diversified Summer season at Disneyland gets under way in early June, when Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom will unveil two more spectacular new attractions, the Columbia 1790 sailing ship in Frontierland and Alice in Wonderland for Fantasyland.

Then, with bands playing, fireworks cascading a shower of color, and a wide variety of entertainment added to the popular attractions in the Park's five "lands," the Summer season will be underway.

By day, Disneyland is a beehive of activity. The Disneyland Band marches up and down Main Street and presents concerts in shaded Magnolia Park. Another group, the Strawhatters, plays lively Dixieland tunes from the bandstand overlooking the Rivers of America in Frontierland. A Mexican trio, Hawaiian entertainers and the Main Street Saxophone Quartet perform.

But daytime is only half the "show" during the Summer at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom.

Each evening from June 13 to Sept. 14, Disneyland presents the spectacular "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks display and Date Nite dancing entertainment, both provided free of charge for the enjoyment of nighttime visitors. During this Summer period Disneyland is open every day from 9:00 a.m. until Midnight, and until 1: 00 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

"Fantasy in the Sky," multi-colored bursts of fireworks, explodes over Disneyland each evening at 9:00 p.m. in a thrilling aerial show. This shower of color almost turns the mild Southern California evenings into daylight, and may be seen from anywhere in the Park.

Popular bands playing dance music to suit every taste highlight the nightly entertainment under the stars during the Summer months.

Each evening features a different type of musical and dancing entertainment, until 12 Midnight weekdays, and on weekends until 1: 00 a.m. There will be Western square dancing, polka and Rhinelander, and personality and talent nights each weekday evening. Friday and Saturday nights are special highlights, with three Date Nite bands performing.

In presenting these diversified attractions and special shows, with many things for every interest and every age, Disneyland continues to live up to its reputation as a place for people to have family fun together. In the words of Paul Speegle, columnist for the San Francisco Call Bulletin:

"The clear fact of the matter is that the moment you walk inside Disneyland's brightly-painted monument to childhood you check the nagging cares of the world and enter a land where everyone looks at everyone else through the joyful eyes of the young in heart. And don't look now — but the adults are bigger kids than the kids!"

From the Summer 1958 edition of Disneyland Holiday magazine, published by Disneyland.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Concrete Highway in the Sky From the March 1959 edition of the Disneylander employee publication

05.06.11 - Watch closely Disneylanders, for right here in Disneyland, U.S.A., history is being made — a preview of tomorrow's transportation systems.

Soon we will see a Stephens-Adamson "Speedramp" or moving sidewalk, carrying passengers from the ground level to the futuristic 2nd story station of the "concrete highway in the sky" — a beam-way reaching heights of 35 feet and supported by concrete pylons.

Under Walt Disney's personal direction, the architectural and engineering talents of Bill Martin, WED, Disneyland Engineering Dept., Roger Broggie, WDP, and Ernst Schroeder, Ernst Wendt and Eberhard Lemcke, of the Alweg Company, Cologne, West Germany, have been combined to produce the first rapid transit monorail system of its type to operate daily in the United States.

The Disneyland-Alweg system will cover four fifths of a mile of track, with two modern trains running on rubber tires over a concrete beamway.

The bluepints of the beamway and the wheel sections of the new attraction show some of the things most of us will never really see as the construction progresses. For instance, each wheel section has six, yes six, rubber tired wheels — two above and two on each side of the beamway. Because these tires are similar to those used on our automobiles of today, the contact surface has to be extremely smooth, and the precast forms must be of the finest concrete, with a surface tolerance of 1 16th of an inch.

The track will follow a route that crosses over and under itself, over the Autopia Freeways and the Submarine Lake, curving, then straightening, then curving again.

The track, like all other Disneyland trains will have a switch to a siding and maintenance area. This switch is interesting in itself. It will be the only section of track that will not be concrete. It will be an hydraulic powered aluminum beam capable of 12-15 second operation.

The close tolerance of the entire project is evident when you realize that every section of these precast concrete beams when placed end to end over the supporting pylons, will form a continuous length of track totalling 3,830 feet with no more than 3/8ths of an inch separation between any one of the sections.

These 3-car futuristic trains of tomorrow will preview the high-speed inter-urban transportation systems which could well be the answer to the growing problems of metropolitan area traffic congestion.

From the March 1959 edition of the Disneylander employee publication, published by Disneyland.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Get Ready for the Monorails From the Summer 1959 edition of Vacationland magazine

Crossing lakes and circling the Matterhorn, the Monorail provides a "first" in family fun, and a preview of tomorrow.
05.04.11 - Someday in the not-too-distant future, residents of many of America's major cities may be speeding across their metropolis aboard a monorail train. Electrically operated, these futuristic trains are regarded by many authorities as the answer to traffic congestion and speedway traffic tieups.

Summer visitors to Disneyland are previewing tomorrow's transportation — today!

Two streamlined monorail trains, racing across and around the entire new attraction area at the Magic Kingdom, are introducing Americans to the first daily-operated monorail system in the United States.

The Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System is letter-perfect in every detail. Demonstrating and testing every aspect of a monorail system for large cities — from high speeds to complete safety — the system has been described by Walt Disney as "not only an outstanding entertainment attraction, but a practical prototype of tomorrow's interurban transportation."

Two ultra-modern 82-passenger trains are providing Magic Kingdom guests with spectacular views as they race over the Submarine Voyage's coral lagoon, above the many-level Autopia Freeways and the new Motor Boat Cruises, and around Matterhorn Mountain. The trains run atop a concrete "highway in the sky" — a beamway supported by sturdy concrete pylons and reaching heights of up to 35 feet.

Even the access to the Monorail Station is futuristic. A Speedramp, or moving sidewalk, transports visitors from ground level to the loading platform and back down — while they don't even take a step!

Another great "first" in Disneyland entertainment: a preview of life in the future aboard the Disneyland-Alweg Monorail System — now operating at Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom.

From the Summer 1959 edition of Vacationland magazine, published by Disneyland.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The Matterhorn comes to the Magic Kingdom [1959]

The popular Skyway — the Swiss aerial cable-car trip between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland — passes directly through the Matterhorn Mountain, giving its passengers still other views of the colorful interior.
05.02.11 - Beautifully-hued grottos and caverns inside the Matterhorn are seen from the Skyway, the Swiss aerial cable cars, which now pass through the Mountain.

Thrilling bobsled runs down and through Disneyland's Matterhorn Mountain present a panoramic view of the Magic Kingdom, as well as a close look at the colorful Alpine grottos and caverns inside.

Rising skyward today at Disneyland is one of the most memorable sights in any land: the spectacular "snow-capped" Matterhorn Mountain.

Southern California's newest landmark is an exact replica of the famed peak in the Swiss Alps. Towering 146 feet above the Magic Kingdom, it's twice as high as the neighboring Sleeping Beauty Castle — once the tallest structure in the area.

Sight of the man-made Matterhorn alone will be a "show stopper," its "snowy" peak glistening in the Summer sun. From top to bottom, the Mountain is awesomely impressive, with every nook and cranny, slope and "snowcap" a perfect reproduction of its Alpine reality. But there's much more:
Two thrilling bobsled runs travel first to the near-summit, then circle downward to present a breath-taking panorama of the surrounding countryside. Before reaching the "glacier lake" below, the bobsleds glide through the Mountain itself for a view of Alpine caverns and grottos.

And now, the popular Skyway — the Swiss aerial cable-car trip between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland — passes directly through the Matterhorn Mountain, too, to give its passengers still other views of the colorful interior.

Once again, with the creation of the Matterhorn and other new attractions at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney has continued to fulfill his promise that Disneyland will always be adding new adventures that you and your family may participate in together.

From the Summer 1959 edition of Vacationland magazine, published by Disneyland.
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