Saturday, June 26, 2010

Concept de Fritos

1955 Concept and Final Poster

 The orange and black Casa de Fritos restaurant poster is one of my favorite vintage Disneyland posters, ranking up there with the Grand Canyon Diorama and the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea posters. I like the stark contrasts of the colors, and the fancy details on the mysterious charro in the foreground.  

The Casa de Fritos building is also depicted on the poster.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Frito Kid in ACTION!

Feelin' snacky?  Talented artist/animator Jim Campbell has fashioned a crunchy little flash animation experience for those who've always wanted to see the Frito Kid do his thing at Disneyland.  Click this link right now, drop the coin into the slot and stand back!

(And after you've had your virtual-fill of those dee-licious chips of corn, check out more fun diversions on Angry Jim's website.)

1955 free Party Ideas booklet given out at Disneyland.

I'll tell you what, nothing goes better with Mexican food than a paper cup of grape juice.

The fabulous Casa de Fritos of Frontierland, September 1955.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Turn On The Old Music Box

 Illustration by X. Atencio, 1956

Recently one of my own childhood wishes came true... we bought a player piano!  I have wanted one for as long as I can remember, probably from the moment I first encountered the tinkling sound inside the Wonderland Music Store at Disneyland. I was entranced by the perforated paper roll going 'round and 'round, causing unseen fingers to play the keyboard. It was just about the happiest thing I'd ever heard.

In the early 1970s the Wonderland shop and piano were near the exit to Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.

Just beyond the racks of Disneyland Records and Big Golden Books, in its own magic spot was the player piano, surrounded by rows of red and white boxed music rolls that you could buy for your own piano at home (if you were lucky enough to have one!)

The QRS Company has been manufacturing paper piano rolls since 1900, and (unbelievably) is STILL IN BUSINESS!!! with over 45,000 titles -  everything from Minnie's Yoo Hoo to Guantanamera.  Still in those same red and white boxes.

And here's a 1994 photo of the original Wonderland Music Player Piano in storage backstage in the Arcade Warehouse... Could it still be there?

The Wonderland Piano was a real old antique, even when it appeared at Disneyland in 1955. Made by the Chase & Baker Co. in Buffalo, New York, the piano would be 125 years old this year.  On opening day it stood in the original Music Store (near the current Magic Shop), and in 1960 both store and piano moved next door to Lincoln.  When Bear Country debuted in 1972, the piano was installed in the Wilderness Outpost where it must've played "Oh My Darlin' Clementine" a million times until it was finally retired in 1986 (though we hope not "lost and gone forever!")

The insides of player pianos are completely insane!

And now that we're all in the mood for it, let's have a little song we can join in and sing!  I have here an old QRS "word roll" with the lyrics printed right on the paper. 
"Muuu-sic, Pro-fessor!!"

"Turn On The Old Music Box", from Pinocchio (1940)