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  1. #1

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    Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    I've been going through my collection of Disneyland Railroad photos, and thought I'd scan these in. These photos were taken by Earl Vilmer--the guy that actually built the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Railroads (story here: Untold Story - MiceAge.com).

    Earl was on hand with his camera on two important dates in Disneyland history: June 18, 1955, the date of the Ripley's first "steam up;" and July 4, 1955, the date of the famed "Penthouse Club" Fourth of July Party for studio employees. Vilmer could build a railroad without equal, but his photography skills were perhaps not his strong suit. That said, these photos are nearing 60 years old, and offer some rare glimpses into Disneyland history. They are printed on Kodak "Velox" paper and measure only 2.5" x 3.5".

    Here's our first photo, showing a couple buddies enjoying the train:



    From July 18, 1955. You may have seen a similar image elsewhere; Because this was the Ripley's first steam-up, there were some professional photographers on hand to capture the event; though hard to see here, Disney PR staff also made sure Walt and Mickey were wearing identical shirts and jackets for the occasion!

    Our next photo shows someone else many of you may know:



    This date was also Michael Broggie's 12th birthday--that's him sitting on the tender seat. Walt is actually "firing" the engine in the cab. The engineer is Harley Ilgen, chief engineer on the Santa Fe & Disneyland Railroad until his death.

    Our next two photos were taken a couple weeks later, on July Fourth:



    This may be the end of the film roll: Note the perforations on the left. The 48-star American flags on the engine offer a nice patriotic touch for the holiday. That appears to be Ward Kimball at the throttle.

    Finally, a shot of engine No. 1, the C.K. Holliday:



    Also taken on July 4th. Not sure who the folks riding on the tender are. Note the piles of dirt still lying around just days before the Park's official world debut. This is in Frontierland; the Ripley can be seen on the passing siding behind the Holliday.

    OK, hope you've enjoyed this little glimpse into the Park's past, flawed and tinged with age though they may be.
    Last edited by Steve DeGaetano; 08-06-2012 at 08:33 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Thanks those are realy cool

  3. #3

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Great contributions as always.
    "You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates. You can torture me with your thrice daily swill, but you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer."

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    As I started thinking about it, I wondered why there were no photos of the C.K. Holliday's first steam-up. I mean, Walt made a pretty big deal out of the Ripley's "birth" on June 18th (The Ripley, while bearing No. 2, was actually completed first).

    While many claim Walt preferred the C.K. Holliday as his "favorite," he was most-often photographed at the throttle of the Ripley--the Penthouse Party being the exception.

    Could it be that the C.K. Holliday's first steam-up was on July 4th? The party was held only 16 days from June 18th, and Walt was at the throttle of the Holliday most of the day (Ward and Walt had fun "playing trains" well into the evening).

    Walt had already run the Ripley a bit; maybe July 4th was his chance to "play" with the Holliday on her first day under steam?

  5. #5

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Finally, a shot of engine No. 1, the C.K. Holliday:



    Also taken on July 4th. Not sure who the folks riding on the tender are.
    At least two of the passengers riding on the tender appear to be wearing skirts.

    Steve, is it possible that they might be Lillian, Sharon, and Diane?

    If you sent a copy of the photo to Diane, she might be able to tell you who they are.
    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    Steve, is it possible that they might be Lillian, Sharon, and Diane?

    If you sent a copy of the photo to Diane, she might be able to tell you who they are.
    You may very well be right. I'll try and get her a copy.

  7. #7

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Brings back many memories, thanks for posting. I always look forward to riding the train with my youngest Grandson. The second cut on my Disney CD always brings back the fun.... "The Santa Fe and Disney Railroad......"
    Last edited by AhpalovestheDuck; 08-05-2012 at 03:40 PM.

  8. #8

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Incredible photos Steve -- many thanks for posting them!
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


  9. #9

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Great photos! Thanks for sharing!

  10. #10

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Wow! Thanks Steve!

  11. #11

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Those are neat pics!



    "Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up." - Alfred Pennyworth - Batman Begins



  12. #12

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Incredible photos, thanks for sharing!
    Stockholder and Walt Disney Autograph holder!!

  13. #13

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Thanks for sharing these with us! Disney's history is awesome!

  14. #14

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Very interesting. So are these the actual photos? And if so, why do you have them in your collection, Steve?

  15. #15

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    Re: Early Days on the Santa Fe & Disneyland RR

    Quote Originally Posted by danyoung View Post
    Very interesting. So are these the actual photos? And if so, why do you have them in your collection, Steve?
    These are the actual scans of the tiny photos I have in my collection. Slighty modified so they appear OK on a monitor.


    Why do I have them? Because the people to whom they belonged tusted me with them.

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