A waaay younger me in New York, 1988
I'm playing the Ghost of Christmas Past this week and taking you with me to revisit another holiday season that happened twenty-one years ago. (Ready? Touch my robe!)
We've traveled backward in time to this exact week in November, 1988. I was a skinny kid working with a few other creative "kids" from Disneyland's Entertainment division on Christmas windows for New York's famous Bloomingdales department store in Manhattan.
Every year beginning at Thanksgiving, the store-front windows at Bloomie's (as women with designer sunglasses and gigantic handbags call it) are as much a part of the New York tradition as slush in the winter. In 1988 the retailer had asked Disneyland for assistance in coming up with something unique.
For the first time in history, several of Disneyland's original Main Street Emporium window displays, featuring hand-made scenes from Disney animated films, went on a road trip.
Each set of miniature figures and scenery was carefully cleaned and restored (some were decades old even back then) and shipped to the East Coast for a month-long engagement along Lexington Avenue.
We installed the displays in full view of people passing by in the street outside, attracting crowds of lookie-loos, as you can imagine. It was a lot of fun!
Bambi scene made in the early 1970s
(Say, how much are those doggies in the window, anyway?)
This scene with Peter Pan and the kids flying off to Neverland was actually kind of a headache for us, I remember. The monofilament that suspended the animated figures would get wound up in the mechanisms (located above the arch) and sometimes break. If the characters didn't end up dangling by their ankles over the London cityscape, then they had dropped completely onto the buildings below. We were constantly rescuing them.
Peter Pan figures from the late 60s.
Robin Hood and the gang
from the animated film's initial release, 1973.
And lastly, here's a scene the public never saw...
The backside of the displays! The windows at Bloomingdales were a lot bigger than those of Disneyland's Emporium, so custom prosceniums were built to narrow the openings down to the edges of the miniature sets.
There were a few more scenes, as well, including one with Captain Hook and the Crocodile, but I wasn't able to photograph everything. Maybe some New Yorkers out there have more pictures??