Saturday, July 11, 2020

Weekend Post

Here's another excerpt from my book, THE ME GENERATION... BY ME (GROWING UP IN THE '60s).   Check out my website.  It's loaded with photos and videos, and here's the best part -- If you want to buy the book, you can!   Seriously!  It's for sale!   I'm posting this because Disneyland is currently closed (among one or two other places).  And if I can't have Disneyland, at least I can have fond memories. 

So travel back to 1964.  We take a family trip to the Magic Kingdom.  

My other grandmother, Nana Pearl, surprised me later that summer by saying, “Fuck!” You don’t expect to hear your dear sweet old world, refined grandmother scream, “FUCK!!!” And at Disneyland no less.

The family made a sojourn to the Magic Kingdom and took Nana Pearl with us. At the time she was probably in her mid-60s. No one knew the ages of their Jewish grandparents back then. They all came over from Europe or Russia and no one arrived with accurate documentation. If Cher had entered the country via Ellis Island she’d claim to be 36 today.

But Nana Pearl was a kick. Always full of life. Your basic strudel-baking furniture-cleaning grandmother but game for anything…except…

Thrill rides.

So at Disneyland she was not interested in any roller coasters. We found ourselves at the Matterhorn bobsleds and of course Corey and I wanted to go. My father suggested Nana Pearl join us. He told her it was just a nice lazy boat ride. Dad has a mischievous streak in him. Either that or he was getting back at her for grounding him one weekend in 1939. Anyway, Nana Pearl agrees to go.

I’m in the back of the bobsled and Nana Pearl is in my lap. The sled slowly ascends up the center of the mountain. About halfway up she figures it out. That is when, for the first time ever, my grandmother dropped the F-bomb.

The bobsled begins hurtling down the mountain and all the while she is yelling, “I’m going to KILL him! If I ever get off of this damn thing I’m going to fucking KILL Clifford!” I didn’t help matters by laughing hysterically.

I think she chased him through three Lands.

My favorite Disneyland ride at the time wasn’t a ride at all. It was the Monsanto House of the Future. You just walked through this ultra modern house made entirely of plastic. A plastic house might sound ridiculous but when they finally closed the exhibit in 1967 and tried to demolish it, the wrecking ball just bounced right off of it. The one day demolition took two weeks.

Among the House of the Future’s visionary features – an oven that cooked food within seconds not hours, a TV that hung like a framed picture on the wall, telephones that allowed you to see the other party, and the most unbelievable wonder of all – a toothbrush that was electric! You would just push a button and the bristles rotated all by themselves! I’m sorry, this was beyond science fiction.

Like all kids, and probably adults too in 1964, we thought that by the year 2000 we’d all be living like the Jetsons. We’d all be flying around in space ships that folded into briefcases and even brushing our teeth without having to move our hands up and down.


Lemuel said...

I remember when plastic was cool. Now older versions like Bakelite are auctioned off as semiprecious minerals.

Elf said...

Actually, Disneyland opened today. Apparently the company is just starving for money...

Mike Bloodworth said...

Maybe he was trying to kill her for the insurance/inheritance. No one would question a heart attack on The Matterhorn.

It has literally been decades since I've been to Disneyland.

The "House of the Future" is very similar to G.E.'s Carousel of Progress. That was one of my favorites. The venue eventually became The Country Bear Jamboree. I've never had any desire to see that.

No one uses this expression any more, but back then it was very popular, "That's an E-ticket ride." For those of you too young to remember, when you entered the park they handed you a ticket book. Rides such as the Tea Cups were A-tickets. The better, more popular rides e.g. The Haunted Mansion or the Matterhorn were E-tickets. They always gave you more A-tickets than E-tickets. However, the good thing about them was that they didn't expire. You could bring them back and use them the next time you went to Disneyland. (In the old days you could afford to go more often than once every twenty years.)

Hearing your grandmother say "Fuck" is great, but now I like it when women use the "C-word."


P.S. That's you on the left? You haven't changed much. Although, I'm not sure if that's a compliment.

iamr4man said...

I wonder how many people know which Disney film the Matterhorn ride is associated with? It’s Third Man On The Mountain, which is one of Disney’s best live action films. It’s largely forgotten today unfortunately, and not even available on Disney+. You can rent it on Amazon or iTunes though. If you’ve never seen it you should check it out.

YEKIMI said...

Closest I got to any Disney parks was Disney World. We were moving out of state, and since grandma lived nearby, we did a detour to see what all the fuss was about. They had started the process of building it. They had just carved dirt roads out of the wilderness and it was probably the last time the place wasn't packed with people. No Mikey Mouse yet but all the real mice [and rest of the animals] were packing their bags and fleeing the place. Been back in that area for business conventions laat couple of years and you couldn't pay me to live there now,too many people. You fart and can knock over 20 people and give the rest of the county Coronavirus.

DBenson said...

Disney obsessive checks in:
-- The Carousel of Progress became America Sings; not sure anything is in that building at the moment. Country Bear Jamboree got its own building, but was replaced by a Winnie the Pooh ride.
-- "Third Man on the Mountain" is on DVD from Disney Movie Club.

My favorite Disneyland memories are things that were a Big Deal in the day but, arguably for the better, no longer.

The Main Street Cinema was a round room without seats showing silent films -- comedy shorts and single reels from features -- on six screens. The idea was that people would wander through like a museum exhibit, but I'd watch each of them all the way through. You have to remember those pre-video days when there were precious few chances for a kid to see silent films. A rerun of "When Comedy Was King", a rare showing on Educational Television, and just maybe 8mm prints at the public library. Now I've got shelfloads on DVD, but then it was huge. Main Street Cinema is still there, its screens showing early pre-color Mickey Mouses. One cartoon that was released in color is shown in B&W to blend with the others.

Almost as huge: The Fantasyland theater, a sit-down, air-conditioned cinema with character murals on the walls, would run three toons or a featurette, like Winnie the Pooh. This was when theaters were mostly dropping cartoons, and the Disney stuff was stingily parceled out on Mickey Mouse Club (one toon per episode) or the occasional World of Color episode (edited to fit into framing stories). And my family was still B&W (lousy reception). So big-screen Technicolor vintage Disney, with air conditioning, was worth a half hour. Especially as there was never a line. That space is now the Pinocchio ride. Again, now have shelfloads but miss the thrill of seeing big-screen Disney in the heart of Disneyland.

Visited last year for the first time in decades. The trick with the Matterhorn and Big Thunder Mountain is to brace yourself against horizontal movement; otherwise you rattle like a marble in a cocktail shaker. I'm a non-robust senior citizen, and that made both of them dandy rides.

Randy @ WCG Comics said...

It's funny to hear people reminisce about the Carousel of Progress. That was before my time and *I* was sorry when they took out its replacement at Disneyland, America Sings, which I kind of grew up with. But when I took the family to Disney World in Florida a few years back, we discovered that both Carousel of Progress and Country Bear Jamboree still live on there!

Troy McClure said...

I also love your story about the time you were listening to a news presenter on the radio say “Help KXFM find the hooded rapist” and your grandmother said “Such a contest!”

Mike Barer said...

You talk about your grandma in her "mid 60s", It seems old, but I'm soon turning 63, ouch!

Unknown said...

To paraphrase Tom Lehrer, when my grandmother was my age, she had been dead for two years. Yikes.

Greg Ehrbar said...

"Country Bear Jamboree" first opened at Walt Disney World in Florida and the second one was created in Disneyland, which is now the Pooh ride. The Pooh ride also first appeared in Florida, then at Disneyland.

"Carousel of Progress" opened at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair General Electric Progressland exhibit then moved to Disneyland. It was replaced in 1974 by America Sings, so the elements were sent to Florida where the song was changed and the narrator went from Rex Allen to Andrew Duggan. It was revised years later with Jean Shepard as the narrator and a rare Disney performance by Janet Waldo in the cast. There was at least one more revision since then, but it still stands today.

The "E" Ticket phrase became mainstream after astronaut Sally Ride described riding the space shuttle in those terms.

Unknown said...

I enjoyed the book. Its currently free with Kindle Unlimited. And you can probably get a free trial of Kindle unlimited if you don't have it. So therefor, you can get Ken's book for free.

JoeyH said...

Rex Allen...what a great VO artist!