Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Phantom boats, 1890, Tallmantz, Sears & Anaheim

Today's photo shows one of Disneyland's earliest and shortest-lived attractions: The Phantom Boats. I think I may have snagged this image from an eBay auction post, long ago.
Kathy Sedler's website now includes a brief description of O.C. as it was in 1890 - the year after we broke off from L.A. County.

Viewliner Ltd. has posted an article about noted local aviators Paul Mantz and Frank Tallman. They've also posted two illustrated entries on Sears' catalog houses: Part 1 & Part 2.
Exterior restoration on Anaheim's Woelke-Stoffel House (a.k.a. "The Red Cross House") began last week. Work on the interior will come later.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, never heard of the Phantom Boats before. I would have been more interested in Disneyland if they had attractions like this. What do you believe Walt Disney would think about that place today? I always preferred Knott's Berry Farm growing up, Disneyland always seemed fake. When I used to go to Knott's it always felt real and exciting.

Anonymous said...

I think Walt would be confused by a lot of the decisions and changes that have been made at Disneyland since his death. How could he understand decisions that are driven by wildly fickle modern stockholders who can't see past the end of the current quarter? And would he recognize his company now that it's a bureaucratic mess of competing departments with no clear vision?

As for the Phantom Boats,... In their excellent _Disneyland, The Nickel Tour_, Gordon and Mumford write:

"They were the Tomorrowland Boats from July 20, 1955 until August 16, 1955 when they were renamed the Phantom Boats. They lasted until the Christmas season of 1955, when they were to be replaced by the Airboats, the flatbottom boats used in the Everglades, in a river surrounding Autopia. Of course, safety at Disneyland was concerned about the propeller being so close to the guests, so the idea was scrapped, and the Phantom Boats returned for the summer of 1956."

And then they went away for good. They were sort of the "Rocket Rods" of their day.

Anonymous said...

Good post!

I believe Disney would be outraged if he saw the company bearing his name today.

I am also of the opinion that Walter Knott would be unhappy with the current state of Knott's Berry Farm, and of Orange County in general, due to the negative impact corporations have had on his park and on the area.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Great RARE photo, thanks! I notice in these old Phantom Boat photo's that a Cast Member is always in the boat too, I'm guessing they didn't trust the guest since there was no guide rail!

Anonymous said...

look at all these brave people posting anonymously... oh wait I'm posting anonymously too.

itsnotaplace said...

What was so "phantom" about the boats? the fact that the cast member piloted it from the back? Not sure I get the reasoning for the name.

Chris Jepsen said...

It takes a wide array of people with a wide array of talents to create and perpetuate something like Disneyland. But it wouldn't be the wonderful creation it is without one individual who had the vision, the will, the money and the leadership skills to make sure it was done RIGHT.

Ultimately, it's individuals (or on rare occasion, a couple working together as an individual, like Walter & Cordelia Knott) who accomplish impressive things. Committees and Boards of Directors may sometimes be neccessary tools in running a business, but they never achieve anything resembling greatness.

BTW, I think it's probably a good idea to post anonymously when bad-mouthing mega-corporations. I don't blame anyone for doing that.

Anonymous said...

I don't blame anyone either

Anonymous said...

The reasons I'm posting anonymously are because I can't think of a username, I have no "blog" of my own, and have never been a registered "blogger."

I think several dozen of us should get together and start a regular message board to discuss Orange County history. Chris can be the moderator and run the whole thing. In that case, I would happily adopt a username.

Okay, with that out of the way I'll do some more corporate bashing. The last time I visited the Knott's Berry Farm restaurant in May 2004, which is also the last time I ever visited Orange County, the chicken and mashed potatoes (what little mashed potatoes I got) wasn't worth the money and the company that now owns Knott's Berry Farm, Cedar Fair, sounds like the name of a furniture store.

As for Disneyland, well I haven't visited that place since 1984 - and I don't miss it one bit.

itsnotaplace said...

Anonymous said...
> I think several dozen of us
> should get together and start
> a regular message board to
> discuss Orange County history.
> Chris can be the moderator
> and run the whole thing.

I think that is kinda what we are doing here at Chris's Blog. :-)

Chris Jepsen said...

The forum is an interesting idea, and I've long wished that the blog was even more interactive. All your comments make this a much more rewarding experience for me, because I learn things too.

But honestly, I barely have time for the blog these days, much less becoming a moderator for an online forum.

However, I have an alternative idea that may work even better. Let me hash out the details and I'll get back to you.

Anonymous said...

Chris Jepsen has an excellent blog here, and I like the format where he puts up a different photo every day or two and we all make comments about them. He should continue to keep this blog going.

I just would like to see the format expand to include a message board, alongside this blog (connected by a link), that allows for threads involving topics that are more random concerning Orange County history. For example, if someone wanted to start a thread about how the Irvine Company has raped the land, with their overdevelopment, and destroyed too much of Irvine's history a separate message board would be perfect for that.

This thing can become pretty big over time. I believe it is possible that an Orange County history message board linked to this blog could easily get 50-60 people posting there on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

I read the comment that Chris just made, apparently he posted a message while I was posting my long previous message. If he is too busy to be a sole moderator of a message board maybe he can find a couple of friends to act as co-moderators of a message board. That way, there wouldn't be a huge burden on Chris.

Chris Jepsen said...

First of all, thanks for the kind words.

One of the things that appeals to me about this blog format is the fact that I have control over the content. This is important not only in that I can keep things historically factual, but that it pretty much discourages flame wars, politics, and the sort of general nastiness that can often crop up on message boards.

However, I think I have a solution for you. has a message board feature which sounds exactly like what you're looking for:

They tend to be more nostalgia-oriented than I am, but you can pretty clearly take the conversation wherever you want.

Hope this helps.

itsnotaplace said...

anyone know the answer to my question about the naming of the "Phantom Boats"? What was so "Phantom" about them? why that name?