Light/Breezes

Light/Breezes
SUNRISE AT DEATH VALLEY-Photo by Tom Cochrun

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

HAPPY IS RIGHT & CALIFORNIA BOYS

THE DAY THE MAGIC BEGAN
    Fifty-seven (57) years ago today, Disneyland opened in Anaheim California and America was changed.
      We were married and making our first trip to California when I saw the magic kingdom for the first time.  Lana had been there as girl, shortly after the opening in 1955, but to me it was always the place I saw on television or in magazines and desired to visit. Until that day in 1969 when we passed through the front gates and onto a sun blessed main street it had been an aspiration.  
       I was overwhelmed by the light, the color and yes the true happiness the place exuded.  Years later I would meet with Roy Disney and other of the wizards and learned how things were painted, planted, laid out were all done to maximize the visual aura and appeal. It worked.  Of course the natural infusion of light is simply a California "special effect," but everything else was designed to capture, hold and maintain a youthful innocence, suspension of disbelief and joy.
       It was a natural extension of California light, color and mood, enhanced by the design and creative genius of Walt, Roy and their teams.  I have since learned there are real life main streets that come close to the same vibe as the Disney version.  Not surprisingly, most of those idyllic  villages are also in California, dotted around the golden state. Yet you can find them elsewhere, though too rarely.
      I wonder, though, if local communities would work as hard to maintain those charming towns, villages and small cities if it were not for the model of Main Street in Disneyland?  All too many places in America have seen their hometown main streets disintegrate under the competition of shopping malls. 
       And in what might be the ultimate "proof" of my hypothesis is how so many shopping mall developers have now begun to create "life style" centers, you know those rows of shops, restaurants and plazas that look like they were modeled after Main Street in Disneyland.
       It was July 15, 1955-the middle of the year, the middle of the optimistic '50's in the middle of the century that a kind of magic was loosened on America.  Where else but in
California would it be forever right, to be forever young of heart?

PERPETUAL ADOLESCENCE 
Spotted at a winery




AND THE PERFECT SEGUE
See you down the trail.

14 comments:

  1. I owned a couple of Chevvy Impalas in my day - back in the '60's.

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  2. My mom owned a 1960 Impala convertible just like this one, only it was copper instead of red. I remember flying down the interstate with the top down, my mom in a headscarf, the radio turned up, and the wind swirling around us, not on our way anywhere, just driving. I miss those easy days of summer--thanks for reminding me.

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    1. Cool. I enjoyed the ride via your memory.

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  3. My Mom had convertibles,they were her favorite cars. Mom had about 4 Impalas, 1 Caprice, 1 Belair. I asked about her favorite? She said the first one, a '53 Mercury Monterey. Pale yellow with pale yellow and green leather interior. Rare and worth a fortune today.

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    1. So you get your car crazy genes from your mom?

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  4. Tom, have we known each other that long? You,too, Bruce. =w=

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    1. You were the state house bureau chief in '69 when I joined that news powerhouse.

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  5. Check out the "Americana" an old-town type mall in Glendale. Even has a little lake in the middle. Especially nice when decorated for the holidays.
    Maryann

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    1. That is one I have not yet seen. Will do. Thanks.

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  6. I remember walking down Mainstreet in Disneyland when I was nine and I thought I'd entered the best place on earth.

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  7. You need to visit my hometown, Orange. Built in 1890 with a fountain in the Plaza. Buildings still have the old painted signs fading through, even the one for the Bank of Italy. Movies are shot here all the time.

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    1. John,
      That is on our list. I've heard about it from other Californians.

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  8. The Main Street program is alive and well in many communities, but the economic downturn since 2008 has taken a toll. Despite what our politicians at all levels of government have and are saying, being a small businessperson is a difficult tightrope walk even in flush times. And at the end, government is not there to bail the small business out. The Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes (big box)experience has come at a cost. Only Target has seemed to acknowledge what we have lost, even if in a token gesture.

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    1. Jed-
      To a certain extent, we all are to blame. Spending at the box boxes means dollars not spent on a local merchant.

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