November 15, 2010

Disneyland Attraction Posters: The Main Street U.S.A. Collection

Note: Today, I want to introduce a new series- Disney Theme Park Attraction Posters. As I do these series of posts, I want to thank the various sources from which I have collected these over the years. Some come from the incredible Daveland blog-  a very fine source for current and retro Disneyland history, photography and other fun tidbits, some "unofficial artwork" from Greg Maletic, and some from many others- including scans and photographs by me and others. Thank you to everyone involved in documenting these!

As you view these posters, you'll notice changes in colors, names of attractions, and even multiple posters for the same attraction. I am hoping the blog posts will be "living" in the sense that you the readers would feel free to send me any new ones or better scans that you may find. Lastly, have fun! This project has been growing over many years- and it has been a blast!
As Walt Disney and his team were planning Disneyland, they instinctively knew this was going to be a different type of park. How could they communicate to the public what they would see in it? Of course, television played a huge role in sharing the vision and the details.

With a plan for the park to be defined by the railroad tracks, it was only natural that the Main Street U.S.A. train station would be at the park's entrance. It would have two tunnels in which to pull guests from the front of the turnstiles into Main Street, one on the left and one on the right. Inside these tunnels, the Imagineering team proudly created posters advertising the attractions.

Over the years, the attractions would also be found in front of the park along the fences and over park benches as guests found seating alongside the main entrance. It's only fitting that we begin this look at the attraction posters by starting with the ones first encountered by the earliest guests- the ones for Main Street U.S.A.

Although the Grand Canyon Diorama was a very small part of the route, this poster did a magnificent job of communicating the grandeur and beauty to be found by guests making the full circle tour on the trains.

Primeval World would come later and provide even more thrills.

It's difficult to tell which color scheme of the attraction poster was actually used. Either way, the artist's use of colors not normally associated with railroading and bold imagery created a stunning representation! The beautifully intricate version at the top of this post came many years later, communicating the elegance of Disneyland's railroad in an entirely different way than earlier versions.

The Red Wagon Inn restaurant was the predecessor to the beautiful Plaza Inn and operated by that name until the mid 1960s. Again, the colors in these two posters are slightly different.

Arguably the greatest attraction found on Main Street U.S.A., Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln was quickly recognized as a masterpiece of engineering, artistic accomplishment, and exquisite storytelling. The poster above advertised the attraction at its opening, the one below for Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration.

The posters for attractions found on Main Street, U.S.A. are quite an impressive lot! There's more to come as we explore the other lands of Disneyland- and eventually Disney parks all over the world.Next time, we'll take a look at those posters for attractions in Adventureland. The exotic attractions form a very beautiful basis for another set are great artistic interpretations. Stay tuned for the next segment in this series!

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)


Eric Scales said...

Mark, There were often many variations of these posters- sometimes a color would be switched after a number of years or a sponsor would be changed or left out of later runs of the poster, or text would be changed. THe color variations you show are just the result of the different digital enhancements the posters have had over the years. It used to be that when the Company released an image of the poster in a book or something it was a straight color photo, well photographed, but without any digital enhancement. These tended to be a bit gray and faded looking, often because the poster being photographed was so old. Eventually, as the Company began making more and more merchandise featuring these posters, they went to the time and effort to scan and digitally clean up these posters, eventually having them fully rendered as a vector type program. This allowed them not only to remove stains and fading but also to play with the colors. Often I think the web pics that abound are overly saturated and do not really reflect what was printed. I can't tell you which of the Plaza Inn posters is more accurate but the bottom one strikes me as too saturated and the top Main St. Station DLRR poster does as well.

Mark Taft said...

Eric, your explanation makes so much sense- and thanks for sharing it with everyone. I really appreciate your work- and your Splash Mountain painting is beautiful and playful all in one!