Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Refrigerator of Tomorrowland

CIRCARAMA, Disneyland's original motion-picture-in-the-round, was a gotta-see-it Tomorrowland attraction from Day One in 1955.
A spectacular 360 degree tour of the American West - spanning the Sunset Strip to the Grand Canyon - viewed on eleven screens in a giant circular theater. First-time visitors must've been utterly bowled-over by the effect.

But that's not why I've brought you here today. Oh, no. We're going to find another wonder of early Tomorrowland: the FOODARAMA!

Got your ticket?
Follow me!

As your eyes adjust to the indoor lighting, here's our first view of the theater. Not quite what you expected? Yep, there really are five automobiles parked in here! All sparkly fresh 1955 models by American Motors. But what's really surprising is the absence of ropes or stanchions protecting the displays! Evidently, people of the Fifties were well-behaved and respectful of everything.

Moving to the center of the room, we pass a sporty two-door Metropolitan within our reach. (Well, what do you know... there are fingerprints all over it!)

Glancing back at the entrance, half of the room looks like a Nash dealership...
...while the other half resembles an appliance center!
Let's look around. Try to resist the temptation to tug the door handles, or twist all the knobs on the washing machines, okay?

And *Gasp* there it is! The fabulous new FOODARAMA by Kelvinator!!

The Rolls Royce of Refrigerators

The "last word in foodkeeping," the futuristic FOODARAMA can hold 166 pounds of meat in its freezer, has a handy Breakfast Bar for eggs and bacon and 2 pitchers of juices, Cheese and Butter Chests, an aluminum foil dispenser, and even an unrefrigerated bin for bananas!

Imagine that! A special bin in your refrigerator that is unrefrigerated! Now that's something!

And the FOODARAMA offers much more. You see, not everybody here in the 1950s can afford a kitchen full of Kelvinator appliances like Donna Reed or June Cleaver have on television. A quarter of American families in 1955 (approximately 50 million people) were poor working class folks - people who had saved their way through the war, and not terribly long before that, had faced the hard times of the Depression.

Extravagances such as the FOODARAMA embodied optimism for a tomorrow stuffed to the rafters with bountiful plenty. Even Richard Nixon, in his famous 1959 "kitchen debate" with Nikita Khrushev, asserted that the superiority of capitalism over communism was not in ideology or military might but in the comforts of the suburban home, "designed to make things easier for our women."

Author Stephanie Coontz in her excellent book The Way We Never Were comments, "Acceptance of domesticity was the mark of middle-class status and upward mobility." By the mid-fifties the "glorification of self-indulgence" in family life was at the center of the postwar American dream.

Okay, shush now, everybody. The movie is about to start, and it's a good one!
As the lights begin to fade, I wonder...will the little light inside the FOODARAMA stay on?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

By George...

Vintage newspaper ad, February 1961

Vintage newspaper ad, February 1963

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Mr. President

                                     Vintage newspaper ad, 1963

 "A Look Behind the Scenes Walt Disney's Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln"  
Free Souvenir Flyer from Disneyland, 1965/1966.  

Monday, February 09, 2009

Daytime Fun! Night Time Magic!

                                Newspaper ad, Summer 1963

Newspaper ad, 1961

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


                          Vintage newspaper clippings, circa 1960.

Monday, February 02, 2009

New Fun for '61!

                                Vintage newspaper ad, Summer 1961