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An outpost at the intersection of Life and Disney

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Disney Gallery - "Day One Disneyland"

The Disney Gallery is one of those quiet places which make Disneyland special. Although I never got to experience the gallery in its original home in New Orleans Square, I'm glad that it (eventually) found a new location in the old bank building (next to the Opera House on Main Street, U.S.A).

The gallery exhibits are changed periodically.  The last time I was in Disneyland I was fortunate enough to catch one called: Day One Disneyland - Original Inspirations for "The Happiest Place on Earth":

Disneyland Jan 2011  110

Disneyland Jan 2011  111
"... Disneyland was planned, designed and built in less than two years.  ...Such Disney Legends as Herb Ryman, Sam McKim, Harper Goff, and Marvin Davis were churning out amazingly evocative renderings at a breakneck pace.

...This exhibit looks at that prolifically creative time in Disneyland history, showcasing early ideas, concepts and visions that led to the creation of 'The Happiest Place on Earth' and the way it was envisioned (but not necessarily built) for Opening Day, July 17, 1955."  

This exhibit was a real treat for fans of early Disneyland concept art.  Concept art gives us a chance to step back in time, offering hints and insights into the creative process, and in some cases lets us peek into Elseworlds that might have been.

Disneyland Jan 2011  113

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Disneyland Jan 2011  114

I thought it might be fun to go through my Disney bookshelf when I got home to see how many of the images I could find reproduced therein. 

[A] - The Art of Disneyland by Jeff Kurtti and Bruce Gordon. 2006, ISBN: 1423104595
[B] - The Architecture of Reassurance: Designing the Disney Theme Parks. Karal Ann Maulding. 1998, ISBN: 2080136399
[C] -The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland by Alex Wright and The Imagineers. 2008, ISBN: 1423109759

Check out Imaginerding.com for reviews of these and other great Disney books.

Here's the results of what I've found so far.  If you happen to have any of the above titles on your bookshelf, then feel free to play along at home:

Day One Disneyland  4
Top - Castle Courtyard.  Herb Ryman ([C] pg 81)
Middle - Dumbo.  Bruce Bushman, 1954. ([A] pg 86, [C] pg 83)
Middle - Mad Tea Party.  Bruce Bushman ([C] pg 95)
Middle - Fantasyland Concepts.  Bruce Bushman ([C] pg 91)
Bottom -Fantasyland (??)

Day One Disneyland  5
Sleeping Beauty Castle comes to Anaheim.  Herb Ryman, 1955 ([A] pg 73)

Day One Disneyland  6
Top - Sleeping Beauty Castle Courtyard.  Herb Ryman ([C] pg 80) 
Middle - Fantasyland Concepts (??) 
Bottom - Snow White Facade, Eyvind Earle. 1954 ([B] pg 75)

Day One Disneyland  3
Top - Frontierland Entrance. Bruce Bushman, 1954 ([A] pg 35, [B] pg 71)
Bottom - Mark Twain concept.  Stan Parkhouse ([C] pg 50)

Day One Disneyland  1
Top - Jungle Cruise (??) 
Bottom - Jungle Cruise dock and Adventureland (??) 

Top - Indian Village(??)
Bottom - Frontierland (??) 

This little "scavenger hunt" was a lot of fun, and it reminded me of some Disney books I need to dive back into.  Thanks for coming along.

As you can see, I wasn't able to track down all of the images (although I would swear I've seen them before).  If anyone can help me find a reference I would appreciate a comment.

- Chris


BobZero said...


Gator Chris said...

Thanks Bob.

It was a fun exhibit -- any chance to see original work like that is a real treat.

- C.

Chris Bradley said...

Nice post, Chris. The artwork at this show was so great! Did you, by chance, get good pictures of the drawings? I'm looking for a better version of Main Street that Sam McKim did, among others.

I only got a quick cell phone shot. You can see it here: http://www.lookatthesedrawings.com/dgallery_mckim1.jpg

Gator Chris said...

Thanks Chris!

The artwork at that show was indeed great.

Alas, all I had was my cell phone that day. The blog images (as liked to flickr) are the best I have.

The picture you linked in your comment looks better than anything I managed to get. Thanks for sharing it.

- Chris

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