Saturday, November 28, 2015

Photographing Disneyland for 40 Years

Whilin' away the holiday weekend? Here's some fun, nostalgic pictures to pass the time.

Technically, Disneyland is not in Los Angeles. But I don't care; it's only as far as Anaheim. Angelenos go there regularly and love it as if it were our own home town.

Renie Bardeau was at Disneyland for 40 years, taking beautiful shots of the park's rides, fireworks, and scenery, as well as of celebrity guests who posed with Mickey and Minnie. There are photos of Walt Disney as well, including one that I read is truly iconic: a black and white image of Sleeping Beauty's castle in the early hours before Disneyland opens for the day, its pathways slick with water. Right in the middle is Walt Disney, hands in pockets, taking a stroll through his quiet domain. It's titled "Footsteps" and you can see it here.

And for your visual enjoyment, a hundred of Bardeau's photos are gathered together in a slide show presented by the Orange County Register. Enjoy!

Bardeau was a college student when he first started working for Disneyland in the late 50s. This photo of VP Richard Nixon and his family in a Monorail is an early one in his career. That's Art Linkletter, up there in the bubble top ready to play pilot, as Walt Disney himself poses outside. The occasion--and Bardeau's first big assignment--was the dedication of the Disneyland Monorail System.

I will understand if you want to go straight to Annette's picture--she's number 55. You'll also find photos of Michael Jackson, Jim Carrey, Nat King Cole and other celebs, athletes from Joe DiMaggio to Kobe Bryant, presidents and heads of state, performers like Artie Shaw in concert, and much more. Then there are the shots of the park itself, of rides in motion, flowers surrounding the castle,fireworks exploding, and the attractions that have never changed as well as some that have disappeared.

Bardeau, btw, started with a summer job and became a staff photographer, enjoying a warm relationship with Walt Disney himself. For the last 23 years before he retired in 1998, he was chief photographer. As the OC Register says, he has some stories. He now lives in Arizona.

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