Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Welch's Grape Juice at Disneyland 1955

Welcome to Welch’s Grape Juice Bar at the Mickey Mouse Theatre in Fantasyland! You’ll know it by those big bunches of luscious Concord Grapes you see in the picture. Head for those—you’ll be heading for the greatest refreshment treat in Disneyland."

Welch's Grape Juice Mural at Disneyland 1955
(Centaurs and centaurettes, a unicorn, a faun, and several winged cherubs traipse through a Sleeping-Beauty-esque landscape hauling a bounty of Concord grapes. The mural was designed by Eyvind Earle, can't you tell? Make sure to click it to make it bigger!)

Welch's Grape Juice at Disneyland Exterior 1955
"We whistle while we work. We have a reason, too.
We know that we’ll be drinking Welch’s Grape Juice when we’re through."

Disneyland Welch's Grape Juice, 1955

“Don’t miss the ‘Mr. Toad' ride,” advises the beloved Dopey. You’ll thrill to a series of misadventures in a 1903 automobile, knock over a cow, crash through a barn, and glide through the Pearly Gates. You’ll meet lots of old and good friends in Fantasyland. One of the best, especially when you’re thirsty –is cool, delicious Welch’s Grape Juice."

Mickey Mouse Theater 1955

"Look for the gay and colorful Welch’s Grape Juice Bar right at the Mickey Mouse Theatre. Make it your headquarters for healthful refreshment."

(In 1965 the theater was renamed the Fantasyland Theater and you could catch a humdinger of a show there that summer called "Humdinger!" The Theater and the Juice Bar were torn down in 1982 to make way for Pinocchio's Daring Journey and the Village Haus Restaurant. Nevertheless, this particular area of Fantasyland has left a purple stain on my heart that nobody's ever been able to wash off.)

Welch's Grape Juice at Disneyland 1970s

Friday, July 18, 2008

in amazing realistic presence...
Sleeping Beauty Castle Sketch, 1955Okay, Disneyland, old boy...It's your birthday today, so blow out the candles on your cake and make a wish. Atta park! Now, what did you wish for? Oh, I know it spoils the wish to blow and tell, but tell us anyway.

What does a 53 year old cultural institution wish for? A pretty new Skyway, maybe? How about losing a little weight - you could start with "Honey I Shrunk the Audience"!

I bet you're wishing you could be 10 years old all over again, just like all of us do; a bright-eyed young thing with your Main Street still in its original and best color scheme, a swanky Tahitian Terrace packing 'em in every night, and big bands with big headliners...or at least a little Dixieland jazz. You know, I really miss your Dixieland jazz. How about merchandise that is specific to each of your themed lands - golly, that would be a total diller, wouldn't it? Man!

Say, I'm just thinking, if you were 10 again, Walt would still be around, wouldn't he? I bet you still miss him. We do too - terribly. At least your castle is about to re-open with a beautifully restored "Sleeping Beauty Walk-Thru" attraction - Walt would certainly be thrilled with that, I imagine! Do you think he'd let you drop that awkward "Resort" moniker and let you just be plain ol' Disneyland again? Why not - that's your real name, for goodness sake??

Oh, sorry if I'm getting too personal. How rude. After all, it's YOUR day, and whatever you wish for is your own business. You know, you still look great - a total knockout actually - and I predict a wonderful future for you. I won't say "don't ever change" but just don't stop being yourself, okay? Have a happy, fabulous, amazing birthday, Disneyland - and many, many more. Fifty-three is something to be really proud of...Heck, I'm right behind you myself....a ways!

Today I'm sharing three pieces of 1955 artwork created for a full-color newspaper section advertising the opening of Disneyland. Some of the color illustrations seen here were also printed as the Park's very first souvenir postcards. Pretty cool, huh?

Here is a portion of the text that accompanied this 2-page spread:

"Enter this fascinating realm over the drawbridge of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, whose parapets and towers rise dizzily above you. Here in Fantasyland, Walt Disney recreates the fairytale folk he has immortalized in film, book and television --Peter Pan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, Mr. Toad from Wind in the Willows, Dumbo, the Flying Elephant, and a host of others. Here they are, close enough to touch, in amazing realistic presence. You may ride them, or stroll with them, in the pirate galleon to Never Never Land, to a mad tea party, whirling with Dumbo in aerial gyration, to the diamond mines with the Seven Dwarfs, to King Arthur's courtyard -- to many happy ports of Fantasy."

The original pencil layout...
Fantasyland Centerfold Sketch, 1955

...and the same piece with its original vellum overlay containing the text...
Fantasyland Centerfold with Type Overlay, 1955

And in case you think I'm a day late in my birthday's proof that the rest of the world started celebrating a day early! ;-)
Happy Birthday Disneyland - 53 Years Ago Today....

And THANK YOU, TONY BAXTER for restoring the Castle Walk-Thru! We can't wait for December to get here, so we can all see it!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

2008 Tiki Luau at the Egyptian Poster - Kevin Kidney
Did you get your invitation in the mail for this?? No? Well, thank goodness I'm here to tell you about it so you won't miss out!

Every year (since 2005) the American Cinematheque puts on this big luau dinner (Southern California-style, as they call it) in the courtyard of the Egyptian. They show tropical-themed films in the big theater and there is live music and all sorts of fun.

The movies this year are:
Friday July 25 - "Fair Wind to Java" and "Aloma of the South Seas"

Saturday July 26 - "Her Jungle Love"
Saturday Luau Dinner with Musical Entertainment by King Kukulele and the Friki Tikis with the Polynesian Paradise Dancers!

Also Saturday, I'll be hosting a pre-movie-screening of "Tiki-TV" .
(This is a condensed 20-minute version of the presentation I gave at Hukilau in Florida in June, in case you missed it.)

Also there will be tropical vendors and more surprises!
Can you even stand it?

More Information...

Advance Tickets:

The historic Egyptian Theatre is located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, LA, CA 90028

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Our little stroll along Main Street finally brings us to the Gibson Greeting Card Shop, in this original layout sketch created for a 1955 newspaper insert.

"When you come down Main Street, you'll find one of the busiest spots in Disneyland - the Gibson Greeting Card Shop. The official Disneyland card center will play host each month to thousands of "visiting firemen," young and old, as they stop to send a Gibson Greeting Card to the folks back home.  In the near future, special Gibson Disneyland Cards will appear on the racks of this store as well as those of Gibson dealers throughout the country.

"Clanging past the Gibson Greeting Card Store on its dash down Main Street, the horse-drawn hose and chemical wagon, pride of Disneyland's Fire Department, answers an "alarm" as the "volunteers" cling tight for the thrill of a lifetime.

"Inside the Gibson Greeting Card Shop you'll find sentiments older than Frontierland on cards as fresh and new as Tomorrowland. For this is the cream of the "new look" crop of Gibson Greeting Cards --"the most unforgettable way to remember."
And the quaint old charm of the shop itself forms a sharp contrast to the newly-planned modern $3,500,000 home of The Gibson Art Company, 2000 miles away in Cincinnati, Ohio...where hundreds of millions of cards are created each year.


"Gibson, one of the nation's largest and best-known greeting publishers, is one of the three sponsors of the hour-and-a-half television program of Disneyland's invitational preview on Sunday afternoon, July 17th, over ABC-TV. They will introduce the new Gibson "Musicards" on the program - beautiful cards containing a record by Rosemary Clooney singing the New Happy Birthday Song.
You have a standing invitation to visit the Gibson Greeting Card Shop of Disneyland...anytime!"