The "E" Ticket
by, 06-06-2012 at 07:52 PM
Leon and Jack Janzen grew up in the San Fernando Valley. Their first visit to Disneyland was in 1958. The brothers were hooked. The became frequent visitors to the Park and began to collect souvenirs, photos, and memories.
Many years later, in the Spring of 1985, they read a Disney News article about Disneyland collectibles by former Disney Chief Archivist David R. Smith. The brothers were inspired and decided they would produce a newsletter for dealers and fans that collected vintage souvenirs from Disneyland.
After much consideration, the newsletter was named after a suggestion by Jack’s wife Mary Ann; The “E” Ticket. The brothers explained their choice in Issue #1 in 1986. They said “there was a time when you carefully removed the best ticket in your Disneyland ticket book…the “E” Ticket…and exchanged it for a ride on the Jungle Cruise, the Mark Twain, or maybe the Pirates of the Caribbean. These wonderful little coupons permitted you to enter the very best attractions in the park or, for that matter, in any park.”
They added, “For most of us, this particular thrill passed with tickets books and childhood. We hope to rekindle some of this innocent excitement by taking a nostalgic look at all theme parks, their memories, and collectibles. Disneyland will be the focus of this newsletter.”
In 1986, Issue #1 was released. The brothers Xeroxed 200 copies for $60 and put the black and white pages between a two-color printed cover. They decided that the back cover would always feature a photo of Walt Disney. They gave the first issue away for free. The response was positive and immediate.
The first four issues featured mostly vintage Disneyland souvenirs from their own collection. Issue #5 would suggest the future when Imagineer Tom Scherman contributed an article about the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit in Tomorrowland.
The magazine became a mix of rare photos and drawings done by Jack. Leon focused on the editorial content. They went beyond Disneyland to cover Knott’s Berry Farm, Pacific Ocean Park, and other Southern California destinations.
The real breakthrough came in Issue #7 with an interview with Imagineers Marc and Alice Davis. This was the beginning of a long series of talks with the people who worked with Walt Disney and built the Park. The brothers recorded the stories of Bob Gurr, Rolly Crump, Roger Broggie Sr., Ken Anderson, Ward Kimball, Harper Goff, Wally Boag, John Hench, Sam McKim, Ollie Johnston, Bill Martin, Blaine Gibson, Tony Baxter, Bill Evans, Wathel Rogers, Frank Thomas, Marvin Davis, Bob Sewell, Marty Sklar, Fess Parker, Bud Hurlbut, Ray Bradbury, Michael Broggie, and Art Linkletter.
The popularity of the magazine continued to grow and by Issue #15 they had graduated to glossy coated paper and by Issue #21 they even added limited color to the interior pages. All of these advancements were bound in a new cover format.
In February 2003, The Walt Disney Family Museum had begun the process to house the brother’s work and to republish back copies. Diane Disney Miller said, “An important part of our museum’s mission is to continue to support research and acquisition of materials…interviews, letters, artifacts, that deal with my dad’s life and work, that we can present to those who seek us out. Nobody has done a better job of gathering, and preserving material related to Disneyland, to theme parks in general, than Leon and Jack Janzen.”
Tragically, on September 9, 2003 Leon Janzen passed away. Jack continued a few more years but decided to cease publication in 2009 with Issue #46.
Diane Disney Miller added, “The “E” Ticket is a treasure that will enrich our museum’s archive, and that, with Jack’s guidance; we will continue to make available. Each issue has something of interest, of meaning, to all who have memories of their first visit to Disneyland, and those who want to know more about how it all happened. The talented people who designed the park, created the rides, made my dad’s dreams and convictions happen, come alive in the issues of The “E” Ticket. There’s much to learn there, in these beautiful magazines, and to enjoy.”
And what about you readers? Do you treasure The "E" Ticket as much as I do? Did you stalk Disneyana on Main Street for signs of a new edition? Did you read it cover to cover or just look at the photos and read the captions?
Sam Gennawey is an urban planner, historian, and author.
If you enjoy reading SAMLAND, you'll love his book. Walt and the Promise of Progress City is a detailed look into how Walt Disney envisioned the future of communities. Along the way, we explore many facets of a fascinating man.