Monday, March 24, 2008

Disneyland's Wonderful Wizard of Bras

Today's photo shows what may have been the earliest robotic figure in Disneyland: “The Wizard of Bras.” The Wizard was the mascot of the Hollywood-Maxwell Brassiere Co., and hosted a display in their Intimate Apparel shop on Main Street, U.S.A. (The exterior can be seen in a recent post on Gorilla’s Don’t Blog – The same post which inspired me to research this stuff.) The shop was open on Disneyland’s opening day, but was one of its shortest-lived features. It closed in January 1956, and was replaced by the "China Closet" shop.
The photo above, which ran in a July 15, 1955 insert to the Register, shows C.V. Wood (left) vice-president and general manager of Disneyland, along with Herndon J. Norris, president of Hollywood-Maxwell.
Here are a few excerpts from the article that accompanied the image:

“[The] exhibit features the Wonderful Wizard of Bras on a revolving stage, on one side of which is a complete re-creation of the fashions and intimate wear of the 1890s, and on the other side a showing of the fashions of today… On stage, acting as master of ceremonies, via a tape recorder, is the Wonderful Wizard,…

“The exhibit will portray a typical 19th Century shoppe. The Wonderful Wizard and modern day clothing will occupy one-half. The remaining part will be devoted to a Victorian ‘front-room’ complete with period fireplace, drapes, large mirror, sofa, and old fashioned showcase. A most unusual… part of the display will be an authentic Singer Sewing Machine circa 1860. In addition, 3-D illusion boxes will be featured depicting both outer and intimate apparel of the by-gone era.”

The image below shows the Wizard as he appeared in a Hollywood-Maxwell ad in the same newspaper supplement – but not as he appeared in the Main Street display. Copies of the Wizard’s audio-taped spiel were once sold via the “Disneyland Forever” CD kiosks in the park, and copies continue to float around the Internet.

Speaking of Disneyland, there's yet another new blog involving the park's history: Disneyland Nomenclature.


outsidetheberm said...

Very nice. Never saw that Register article. We'll have to do some digging to find our brochure from this shop.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris, just found your blog. Very cool! Talked to you 2+ years ago and you helped me with a guide to googie spots in Orange County. Glad to see you're still in the O.C. history biz.

Chris Jepsen said...

Jit: Yes, I remember our conversation and the article! That was great! I'm glad you found me again. If I can ever help with historical info, don't hesitate to ask.

outsidetheberm: I'm looking forward to seeing that brochure. This is clearly one of the strangest and least-documented attractions in Disneyland.

Jason Schultz said...

Chris, thanks for posting the scans (and the mention!). Do you think they're actually in the middle of conversation, or just pointing at the floor and pretending to be conversational (ala this Kevin Kidney post)?

Chris Merritt said...

AMAZING! I've never seen a photo of that display - very very strange... Thanks!