Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Storybook Fashions

Tailored and trim as a tulip, in gloves and mad hat...  
like the blossoms at Disneyland's Flower Market, you'll never wilt!

Our pal, Tim Haack recently discovered a treasure trove of twelve original color negatives showcasing females in fabulous clothes against the fairy-tale backdrop of Disneyland. 

Who took these wonderful photos? And who are the three ladies, each one giving her all to look stylish in awkward poses and over-the top outfits?  We wish we knew.   But we do know the photos were taken for the April 9, 1961 issue of Midwest Magazine, a supplemental newspaper insert in the Chicago Sun-Times.  Anyone out there have a copy?

Take time to click on them and enjoy at full size. Each one is pure gold.

Dinner, cinema, dancing - wonder fabric stays wide-awake all evening. 
 Still looks terrific when he says goodnight!
Why is a raven like a writing desk?  
Who cares when you look like this! 
In your pretty play suit of spring flowers, you're certain to get picked!  
There's just no telling what might happen when you choose high-waisted banana capris and a clown blouse.

Five o'clock, add a turban, meet your date and go!

Big game falls readily to a safari swim suit with matching jacket.

Off the port bow... a cool cotton caftan, side slashed!

Passengers on board Disneyland's new Columbia sailing ship will never get scurvy... especially if handsomely suited in gay tangerine. 

Even the river pirate Mike Fink "hisself" would adore a pair of these shipshape slacks in cream cotton faille.

Greet them like a modern southern belle, whether along the shores of the Mississippi, or outside Disneyland's Oak Tree Tavern.

Get the "movie star" attention you've always dreamed of in a pair of crimson velveteen shorts and stitched-on mouse tail.

(Thanks for sharing your collection with us, Tim!  This stuff is priceless!)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Farmland vs Fantasyland

1955:  Old Anaheim trees on the outskirts of Fantasyland

UPDATE!  Photos taken this week...
  2011:  The huge trees are still alive and well, 56 years later.

These surviving sentinels from Anaheim's rural past currently provide shade for a snack stand near the Fantasyland Theater.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Architect of Delight

Illustration by Kevin & Jody for Los Angeles Magazine

Rolly Crump is one of our favorite designers in the whole wide world. Whether we're talking about his theme park contributions for Disney, or his satyrical counter-culture posters, Rolly rules.

So, when Los Angeles Magazine asked us to create an illustration to accompany a new interview with the legendary artist for this month's issue, we both shouted yes.

What else can we say here about Rolly, that isn't more eloquently said in the splendid article by Marcel Bonner and Steve Daly?  Probably nothing, so let's treat ourselves, instead, to some visual delights from Rolly's imagination.

In 1962, as the Tiki Room at Disneyland was coming together, Walt asked Rolly to design some pre-show tikis to be placed outside in the landscaping, to "set the mood" for waiting guests. While researching Pacific island culture and mythology, Rolly became enthralled with a little book by Katharine Luomala he discovered in the UCLA library called Voices on the Wind.

Rolly sculpted this small sun god in about 45 minutes. 1962

Luomala's retelling of the ancient Hawaiian legends of Hina, Rongo, and Pele inspired wildly imaginative interpretations in Rolly’s drawings. In island lore the god Maui, who had tethered the sun in the sky, thus regulating time and establishing the seasons, materialized as a water-powered clock, producing a rhythmic tick-tock with a length of bamboo. 

"Natives call me The Mighty One."  
Original sketch by Rolly Crump, 1962.

When WED sculptor Blaine Gibson explained he was too busy with other projects, Rolly sculpted most of the nine tikis himself, something he hadn't tried before!  "In those days, " Rolly explains, "we did whatever it took to do it."  

Rolly's first sculpture, "Maui", before the mold was made. 

The tikis were modeled in plasticene, a soft oil-based clay, over foam armatures, in the parking lot behind WED.  Outdoors in the warm California sunshine, the clay stayed soft and the work went fast.  

 Rolly inspects the newly installed Maui fountain at Disneyland, 
June, 1963.

Rolly's tiki creations are fantastical Disney characters in their own right, each one with a distinctive look and personality.  Today, over 47 years after it debuted, Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room is so familiar a concept, that it's difficult to measure the impact this little "musical luau" has really had...on art, technology and on popular culture. Something I am sure of, however, is that there's still nothing quite as much fun as having your imagination carried away by talented make-believers like Rolly Crump.

Rolly today. 
Photo by Gregg Segal for Los Angeles Magazine.
If you live in Southern California, the magazine is a cinch to find at any grocery store.  But if that doesn't work for you, order a copy online here!

Past post about Rolly:  Muse of the Weird and Wonderful