Thursday, December 7, 2023

Fantasy On Parade & Christmas at Disneyland - 1981

Today, I have ten photos from Disneyland's 1981 Christmas parade, "Fantasy On Parade."  These are all from the same year that I was in the parade.  I have to thank Sue B. of "Lou and Sue" fame, for giving me the heads up about these photos being listed on ebay.  She knew that I was a "Christmas Tree" in the parade, so she was initially letting me know about the listing for the photo of the "trees."  But I was pleasantly surprised when I found out that the ebay seller also had nine more shots from the parade!

These first four photos are of the parade's Cinderella unit.  I have posted similar pics of this unit in the past, but I think the quality on all of these is very nice.  Plus, I feel like I could never have enough photos from the actual parade that I was a part of.

The "Knights On Horseback" led the parade.

 They were followed by the "Fanfare Musicians."

The "Court Dancers" followed Cinderella's pumpkin coach (not pictured in this post).

And last up in the Cinderella unit was, the "Castle" float.

"Geppetto's Workbench" was just one of the many floats from the Pinocchio unit.

Here are the main characters from The Jungle Book unit.  Notice Mowgli, who's pretty much hidden by Baloo's shadow.

This "Fireman Clown" from the Dumbo unit, was played by Richard Ferrin.  He also designed the parade's cast T-shirt that year, and for many summer seasons, was the calliope-playing "King Lion" in the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Prince John's coach from the Robin Hood unit, was led by four "Royal Elephants."

The Toy Soldiers from the film, Babes in Toyland, have been a staple of Disneyland's Christmas parades for many decades now.

And last up, we have the photo which Sue originally contacted me about, asking if this was the same year that I was in the parade.  Unfortunately, I was always a green Christmas tree, so I know that I am not inside one of these gold trees.  However, I am VERY glad to have the photo, either way.....and all of the other photos, as well!  Thanks again, Sue!

To see more photos from this parade, as well as some cast member paraphernalia, you can click below for some of my past "Fantasy On Parade" posts:

I Was A Teenage Christmas Tree

Fantasy On Parade 1981 - Part 1 (The Disney Classics Units) 

Fantasy On Parade 1981 - Part 2 (The Christmas Finale Units)

I want to wish all of my readers out there, a very happy holiday season! 

*****BONUS ITEMS!*****

I've decided to include three Disneyland cast member publications, from December of 1981.  I picked these up at various backstage locations, and have held onto them all these years.

This first one is the Disneyland Line, which is still in publication today (now called the Disneyland Resort Line), and will be celebrating it's 55th year, in 2024.  The image on the cover of this issue, is a reproduction of the very first Walt Disney Studios Christmas card.

Does the park still hold blood drives?  I'll give blood, but please send me to the bloodmobile at Tokyo Disneyland!  Although at that point in time, Tokyo Disneyland would have still been just a construction site, since that park did not open for another 16 months.

I wonder if the Disneyland Custodial Department still produces a "Yearbook"?


Wow....only $180 for half of the rent on a condo, just one mile from the park!

Next, we have somewhat of a rarity.  It's the very first issue of CastleView magazine.  Charles Boyer, the famed Disney artist, painted the image on the magazine's cover.

Dick Nunis wrote an introduction for this premier issue of the magazine.  What I don't know is, how long this magazine lasted.  I have never seen another issue of it anywhere out there.  It was stated in this first issue, that it would be published eight times annually by "Cast Communications, the Disneyland University, Disneyland."

This three-page article about getting the park ready for Christmastime, begins with a photo of the "Fanfare Musicians" from the Cinderella unit of Fantasy On Parade.

This is back in the day, when a real tree was acquired for the park.  I used to drive by the park's backstage area everyday on my way to work, and I would watch the progress being made on the tree during those weeks of prepping and decorating.

I'm guessing that all of the preparation that went into the tree (painting it?), before they even started decorating it, might be the reason why they switched to an artificial tree?  Of course it could have been because they wanted to stop killing real trees.  Nah, it was probably just to save some money by using the same tree every year.  The article also mentions the two white trees, which used to be placed in the Castle's moat every year.

There is much more to this magazine, including articles on the construction progress of EPCOT Center and Tokyo Disneyland.  Other articles include a history of Fantasyland, and the replacement of some original 25+ year-old structures at Disneyland, such as the stockade at the entrance to Frontierland, and the miniature buildings within Storybook Land.  The original elm trees along Main Street were also being replaced at this time, because they had "grown out of scale for Main Street," according to the article.  I will try to get the rest of the magazine scanned and posted in the future.

And here is something that I believe just might be as much of a rarity as that issue of CastleView magazine, if not more so.  This is a December 1981 issue of the Rainbow Ridge Clarion, which was published monthly, by and for cast members who worked on the "west side" of the park.  Again, I'm not sure how long this publication was around, but the very first issue was published in September of 1981.  As stated in that first issue, it's name was taken from the fictional newspaper office, formerly located in the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge, overlooking the loading area for the Nature's Wonderland Mine Train.

The first page begins with cast members' "wish lists" for Santa, and they continue on to page three.

The article on the next two pages, covers the history of the Christmas season at Disneyland, including such things as the park's original "Christmas Bowl" and the annual Candlelight Procession.  The Matterhorn's "Christmas star" also gets a mention.

Next, we have the listing of cast member birthdays (west side only), for the month of December.

"The Center," which is mentioned below as the place to buy tickets for various cast member activities, was located backstage, between Main Street and Space Mountain.  The mobile home-type of structure is still standing, but I don't know if it has been given a different name and/or usage for today.

A rehab schedule was included for "west side" shops, restaurants, and attractions:

And cast members shared some of their personal recipes:


Friday, November 10, 2023

Mickey's 50th Birthday Celebration!

Mickey Mouse is turning 95 this month!  Back in 1978, the little guy was turning 50, and there was a lot of hoopla about it.

The Fall 1978 issue of Disney News Magazine featured an article, about Mickey's milestone birthday.

Ub Iwerks was given credit in the article, as the co-creator of Mickey....or at least, for his and Walt's "combined talent."

The article mentioned "The Mickey Mouse 50th Birthday Parade," which was running at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

My dad took these next two pics of the parade, during a 1978 visit to Disneyland:

If we zoom in on the photo above, we can see part of a construction/refurbishment sign for the Matterhorn.  These pics were most likely taken prior to the attraction's May '78 reopening as, "The New Matterhorn."

That Disney News article also mentioned the birthday celebration ending on the weekend of November 18 & 19, with a special climax.  This pic from the book Disneyland: The First Quarter Century, was taken that very weekend.  I have a friend who was at the park that day, and he said that it was so miserably crowded, that there weren't any vacant benches available, to sit down and take a break.  He also shared a story with me, about how free pieces of birthday cake were being handed out to guests.  However, as he and his friend got near the cake, they noticed that there were some guys hanging around the cake, who kept spitting on it!  So, of course, they "passed" on the free cake!

Until just recently, I had never heard of the theatrical film, "Mickey's Birthday Party Show."  Apparently, it played in movie theaters as a feature-length compilation film.  Released on September 30, 1978, the film contained five classic cartoons starring Mickey and his friends (including Mickey's Birthday Party from 1942), as well as a special guest appearance by the New Mouseketeers. Also included, was the 1955 live-action feature Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.

Here's the official trailer for the film:


On November 19, 1978, NBC was airing a special 90-minute version of The Wonderful World of Disney, in honor of Mickey's 50th.  I like the artwork in this TV Guide advertisement, which used the names of all the stars appearing on the show, to create the image of Mickey.

(I've attempted to list here, all of the stars who were appearing;  Anne Bancroft, Jonathan Winters, Jodie Foster, Bruce Jenner, Anne Murray, Dean Jones, Mickey Rooney, Raquel Welch, Elliot Gould, Annette Funicello, Doc Severinsen, U.S. Marine Corps Band, Joe Namath, O.J. Simpson, Alex Karras, Peter Strauss, Rev. Billy Graham, Jacqueline Bisset, R2-D2, Johnny Carson, Burt Reynolds, Gene Kelly, Charo, Kenny Rogers, Ruth Buzzi, Red Buttons, Sally Field, Helen Reddy, Gary Owens, Ken Berry, Helen Hayes, Susan Clark, Bob Hope, Goldie Hawn, Gerald Ford, Roy Rogers, Eva Gabor, Mel Brooks, Bette Davis, Steve Garvey, Lawrence Welk, Kermit The Frog, Elton John, Rich Little, Edward Asner, Jack Albertson, Roger Miller, Chewbacca, Ronnie Schell, Dyan Cannon, Adam Rich, Cheryl Ladd, Cantinflas, Gregory Peck, Dick Clark, James Stewart, Hans Conreid, Christopher Lee, Dale Evans, Henry Winkler, Shields & Yarnell (what, no Mummenschanz?), Dick Van Patten, International Children's Choir, Peter Sellers, Sterling Holloway, Jan-Michael Vincent, Shirley Jones, Barbara Walters, Willie Nelson & Band, Phyllis Diller, Jo Anne Worley, Carol Burnett, and Karen and Richard Carpenter.)

Four days later, on Thanksgiving Day, Mickey was making his annual appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Here is a color view of that same balloon, going down the parade route.

As for that special episode of The Wonderful World of Disney, I've searched for it on YouTube for years, and someone finally uploaded it, just a couple months ago!


To use a Lucy Ricardo quote, "Happy birthday, Mickey Mouse.....and I hope you live another 95 years!"

****** BONUS ITEM! ******

I thought I would include this birthday-themed Colorforms "Cartoon Kit" in the post, even though it is not specifically a "Mickey's 50th Birthday" item.  This originally belonged to my brother.  It's undated, but it was given to him in the early 1970s.

The board:

The pieces:

The instruction booklet:


Monday, November 6, 2023

Rest in Peace, Suzanne Somers (1946 - 2023)

This is an "in memoriam" post for actress, author, and businesswoman, Suzanne Somers, who passed away just last month.  I will be sharing a few related TV Guide covers and articles, from my personal collection.

This first one is from May 20, 1978.  I believe this was the first time she appeared on the cover of TV Guide.  Also on the cover were Joyce DeWitt and John Ritter, her costars in the classic TV show, Three's Company.  The show had debuted just about 1 year earlier.  The cover art was created by famed artist, Richard Amsel.

I didn't include the cover story article from the issue above, because it was exclusively about John Ritter (nothing against John Ritter, however!).

Just six month later, Miss Somers appeared solo, on the cover of this November 25, 1978 issue.

This time, the cover story was exclusively about her.

Here is that Newsweek Cover, that was mentioned in the article:

A little over two years later, there was a lot of coverage about her being "let go" from Three's Company, by the show's producers.  The article in this March 14, 1981 issue, covers both sides of the story.

On Tuesday of that same week, the characters "Mr. and Mrs. Roper" were making a return visit to Three's Company.  This was almost a year after their spinoff show, The Ropers, had been canceled.  Suzanne Somers' character of "Chrissy Snow," had made her final appearance on Three's Company, the previous week.  She was replaced by Jenilee Harrison (pictured below), who played "Cindy Snow," the cousin of Suzanne Somers' character.

I was able to be in the audience for a live taping of Three's Company, on January 26, 1982. However, this was about 10 months after Suzanne Somers had already left the show.  I just thought I would include the ticket, here.

Rest in peace, Suzanne Somers.