Friday, October 17, 2014

Rare 1955 Disneyland 20000 Leagues Under the Sea Exhibit View-Master Color Pictures

These extremely rare color pictures of the 20000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit which opened at Disneyland Tomorrowland in 1955 and in which were displayed the original decors from the 1954 movie are View-Master pictures. Photos of the DL 20000 Leagues exhibit - specially in color and in this definition quality - are almost impossible to find and it's thanks to Todd Popp that i am able today to share them with you. These 20000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit photos were released by View-Master in 1955. At that time color photography was not as common as it became later and while Todd was doing his research for his upcoming book, he learned that View-Master was one if not the only licensee permitted to photograph Disneyland at its opening in 1955. View-master then released sets of View-Master packets which at the start were sold exclusively at Disneyland as "Park Souvenirs".

Below, a picture showing the entrance of the 20000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit in Tomorrowland in 1960.

The next picture is a Tom Scherman and David Holman artwork showing the different rooms of the exhibit.

On the left after the entrance was displayed a Nautilus model that was used in the film, in front of a Vulcania matte painting by Peter Ellenshaw...

...and on the right the first decor that Disneyland guests could see was the Nautilus wheelhouse.

One of the highlight of the exhibit was of course Captain Nemo Grand Salon in which Disneyland guests could see Captain Nemo's famous pipe organ, which is now in Disneyland Haunted Mansion ball room.

Another picture of the Grand Salon, with Captain Nemo library.

Of course, what amazed Disneyland guests was the giant squid that they could see through one of Nemo Grand Salon window.

A little bit further in the exhibit was the Nautilus diving chamber.

And right in the center of the 20000 Leagues exhibit was the "Nautilus resting place" with a giant Nautilus.

I'd like to thanks again Todd Popp for these rare 20000 Leagues exhibit View-Master pictures, and his high-quality scans! Those of you interested by View-Master will find a whole chapter in my friend Pascal Pinteau excellent book about cult toys called "Jouets Cultes", here.

Pictures: copyright View-Master. Scans by Todd Popp.

Thanks to Daveland for the 20K Exhibit entrance picture.

Artwork: copyright Disney, Tom Scherman


K. Martinez said...

I have the 1955 Disneyland View-Master reel sets. It's nice to see these in high-quality scans. It's a shame there's nothing at Walt's original park related to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea anymore. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

I remember this exhibit quite well. We had been going to Disneyland since opening day, which was also my 13th birthday. This exhibit wasn't yet open then but we came back a couple of months later and it was open. As usual I had separated myself from my parents so I could go where I wanted. I headed right for this exhibit because I knew it would be open and went through it marveling at all the cool sets. This movie had been my favorite Disney Live Action movie and I was really exited to see it. Remember I was 13 at the time. I got to the last scene, The Final Resting Place of the Nautilus and had to hold on to the Porthole frame to kind of get up on my toes to look in. I took one look and the emotions just flooded over me so much that I just started to cry and cry big huge sobs that were so loud the CM who was at the exit door heard me and came into the room. I was choking at this point. He came over and was very calm and spoke to me very quietly. It's just a model not real. The real one is somewhere else now quite safe under Mr. Disney's care. He got me away and out the door remaining very calm and keeping me calm. As soon as we were out and I had stopped crying I ran out of Tomorrowland looking for my parents. I finally ran up to my Dad and jumped on him and started crying all over. It took while for me to stop and they were just scared of what had happened to me. Thru sobs I told them what had happened and they both understood me so well they kept me safe and we went to the Chicken Plantation for a big chicken lunch watching the ships on the Rivers of America and the rest of the day went fine. But I never again set foot in that exhibit.

mr.Lime said...

Indeed, it's really a shame that DL Anaheim (created by Walt himself) has no more references to 20 000 Leagues. I think it could be interesting that DLParis sold its Nautilus attraction to Anaheim for 2 reasons:

- DLP could use the money to pay back a (small) part of the debt to the WDC. While the (new version of the) Nautilus would be back in its original "home" in Anaheim.

- Since the arrival of Buzz in Discoveryland, the retro-futuristic Jules Verne theme is simply gone. Now from a thematic point-of-view Discoveryland is quite confusing. But Buzz will stay there, and soon (2017, according to Forbes) a Star Wars expansion is expected. So why not turn Discoveryland into a spaceport, and get rid off the lovely Nautilus. (At the same time they could replace the Hyperion in Videopolis by a spaceship. If they store the balloon in a decent way, they might be able to turn it into Up's Spirit of Adventure, and use it above the entrance of the future Soarin' attraction in Adventureland.)

DLP fans might not like this idea, but at least Discoveryland would have a consistent theme. And the Nautilus would be back "home" in its original 50's location. Being added to the original Disneyland could be a great tribute to the excellent work that Tom Scherman put into this unfortunately underrated (by most visitors in DLParis) attraction.