Sunday, January 08, 2017

Snapshot Missouri! - Rocketing Through Kansas City

Back in 2011, we featured a short series entitled Snapshot Missouri. It featured photos from a Disney-centric midwest road trip that my son and I had taken that year.  The series fell victim to what became my regrettable, erratic publishing schedule and ended after a mere four posts.  My son and I have since become roadtrip warriors (as documented both here and on our sister blog Boom-Pop!) and revisited the Show-Me State in 2015 and again last summer.

Our visit to Kansas City last June was not Disney-focused as it had been in the past, and time did not permit the usual touring of Walt Disney historical sites such as the McConahy Building and 31st Street.  But we did manage a quick freeway exit detour to the old TWA headquarters building, located at the corner of 18th Street and Baltimore Avenue.
TWA sponsored the Rocket to the Moon attraction at Disneyland from 1955 until 1962.  At the same time, TWA displayed a replica Moonliner on the roof of their headquarters building in Kansas City. That original replica is now preserved at the nearby National Airline History Museum.  The building itself was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002 and a restoration was completed in 2006.  Part of that restoration involved the placement of a new Moonliner replica that we now happily showcase here.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Snapshot '73: The Fort Wilderness Railroad

It remains a little remembered but still treasured piece of 1970s Walt Disney World iconography.  I speak of the Fort Wilderness Railroad.

Author Michael Broggie noted in his book Walt Disney's Railroad Story:
"Built with the best of intentions, the Fort Wilderness Railroad serves as a prime example of a simple concept that turned into an operational nightmare.  Four quaint, five-car steam trains were planned to operate over a 3 1/2 mile route, providing transportation through the Fort Wilderness campground area at Walt Disney World Resort.  Considering the $1 million cost to build its locomotives and rolling stock, however, the line was hardly a cost-efficient operation--running for a relatively short period between 1973 and 1977."
There is no argument that can truly be made on behalf of this failed endeavour (the chapter in Broggie's book is entitled "Fort Wildnerness Folly"), but it can make one nostalgic for a time when cost efficiency wasn't necessarily the highest priority at Disney World and experimentation was encouraged rather than immediately subjected to a cost-benefit analysis.

These impromptu snapshots date from 1973 when the railroad was just getting up and running.  One interesting footnote - two of the coach cars were modified to become Pleasure Island ticket booths in 1989.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Windows to the Past: Brother Juniper the Mouseketeer 1958

Brother Juniper was a long-running one panel comic strip created by Frederick Francis McCarthy.  It featured the diminutive and ever cheerful title character whose name was derived from the historical Brother Juniper, a companion of Saint Francis of Assisi.  McCarthy was a Franciscan friar who created his comic strip character in 1942.  The comic strip entered newspaper syndication in 1958 and lasted more than three decades.

Shortly after its debut at the beginning of 1958, Brother Juniper payed homage to the then stellar popularity of original Mickey Mouse Club.  This strip was published on February 19, 1958.