Years ago, when I interviewed WED art director Bill Martin, he generously allowed me to copy a number of his personal photos. This is one of them. The original was badly faded. And, to be honest, my copy isn’t the best. But I’ve tried to clean it up as best I can. The antique oval framing is mine. So if you hate it, blame me, not Bill.

Here’s what I love about this image. It expresses the honest exuberance of two extremely successful men. Walt Disney, pictured here, was well into his 50s. Seated beside him, Admiral Joe Fowler (who oversaw construction at Disneyland, if not most of the park) was even older. These two men–barely fitting into this stock amusement park car–are puttering along a street just outside of the Arrow Development plant near San Jose. Starting in 1954, Walt Disney worked with Arrow Development to create unique attractions for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, among them the unique tubular steel track system for the Matterhorn, the ride vehicles for most of the original 1955 Disneyland dark rides, and the ride systems for the original Dumbo Flying Elephant attraction and the Mad Tea Party. Based on other photos taken at Arrow, I believe this one to have been taken in 1958. But that, I emphasize, is only an educated guess.

–Todd Pierce

Pin It on Pinterest

Enjoy this?

Then, share this post with your friends!