Disneyland Memories

I spent most of my early childhood growing up in Southern California during the late 60s and early 70s… and for sure Disneyland was a big part of my childhood. It seemed like I went nearly every month, though it was most likely 4-5 times a year. Recently I was going through some of my stuff and came across a few things from this time in my life. Nothing of value, but obviously the memories they conjure up are priceless …

I don’t know when i got this small, rubber with wire inside Donald Duck, but some how he made it through my childhood in fairly good condition ..I mean I didn’t set him on fire, as was often the case .. but that’s for another blog 😉 !

View from the Skyway looking at the Submarine ride … no “Little Nemo” back then, thank goodness 😉
My Dad should have been a movie director .. he was great at telling folks what to do, and in this shot he’s telling Mickey to take a picture with Me, now ! … but Mickey wasn’t about to let him push him around …
and as my Dad took this picture, Mickey, slipped me a Mickey ..and pinched my neck … sheesh … creating this now classic picture .. and scaring me for life !

Pair of plastic Dumbos … the battle damaged one was eaten by my Mothers poodle…

I’d sell everything in my Ultraman collection before parting with this .. it’s worthless of course, but for me the story is priceless.. My family was watching a Christmas Parade at Disneyland, when Santa appeared at the end of the parade .. of course kids rushed up front to see Santa .. I was too small and only saw the tip of his cap … after he passed by my Dad handed me this plush and said Santa had given it to me (!) I was thrilled of course … and without ruining the story lets just say in the ensuing years I learned the real Santa story ;-P My Dad has passed on, but I often think of the example he set and try to live up to that with my son … thanks Dad.

Oh and for you obsessive fans out there, the plush was Made In Japan (!)

This shot was shortly after they added ice coverings to the inside of the Matterhorn.. prior to that you could see all the girders and what not inside…

To this day I still get scared inside the Haunted Mansion, in fact it was years before I could even ride the darn thing … my parents bought this record for me to get me use to the “ride” .. it didn’t work .. the art work alone kept me up at nights … funny thing is years later i would look at this cover when doing the Goosebumps book covers I did !
One thing that still stands out for me about most any Disney attraction from this era was the audio or voices associated with them … the sounds really set my mind going..Thurl Ravenscroft you may not know, but I assure you you’ve heard his voice from the Haunted Mansion, Tiki Room and Pirates of the Caribbean.. just to name a few …

and talking about pirates, who doesn’t love pirates ?! I still have this glow in the dark skull bought in the gift shop in the 70’s , good times !

About toykarma

Over the years Mark Nagata has collected thousands of toys and a fair amount of titles. The man behind San Francisco-based Max Toy Company is widely known as: Toy Collector. Illustrator. Magazine Founder/Publisher. Toy Designer. Artist. Author. Husband. Father. But the one description that might fit best is an unofficial one – Kaiju Toy and Art Ambassador. In the Japanese-inspired art and toy area, as well as throughout the larger toy collecting community, Mark is welcomed and recognized for his personal passion and commitment to supporting artists all around the world and the unique works they create. Beginning as a collector in his youth, Mark has had for years a keen eye for great art and a personal interest in collecting that he has spread through a variety of outlets. Trained at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, Mark honed his skills working for himself and for some of the most notable businesses in the country. As a freelance commercial illustrator, he completed works for such prominent companies as Lucasfilms, DC Comics, Hasbro Toys, IBM, Sony, and numerous advertising and design firms, both national and international. Mark’s colorful style graces over 40 cover paintings for R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps book series – Give Yourself Goosebumps. After hundreds of assignments, Mark made the decision to move in another direction, and that choice has led to whole new career as a successful businessman. For four years, the owner of one of the largest Ultraman toy collections in the world co-published Super 7 Magazine showcasing the finest in Japanese toy collecting. “I’d been collecting Japanese toys all along and suddenly realized it would be cool to have a magazine of some type devoted to them,” Nagata says. Mark’s devotion to presenting collectors with a selection of original figures inspired by classic Japanese toys from the 1960s and ‘70s as well as new versions of licensed Japanese characters is at the heart of Max Toy Company. Named for his son, Max Toys specializes in custom and limited editions of “kaiju” (Japanese monsters) toys and artwork. Many of the original toys produced are hand painted by Mark, a tradition that goes back to Japanese toy makers of the past. “Since our target is the soft vinyl Japanese toy collector, which is a very small niche, our runs of toys can be extremely small,” Mark says. “Runs range from 500 pieces of one toy to just one for a hand-painted, one-of-a-kind custom figure.” Through Max Toys, Mark has taken great pains to widen the reach of his two passions – toys and art. He played a significant part in the development of the first group kaiju show in the United States. Held at the Rotofugi Gallery in Chicago, Illinois in 2007, the “Toy Karma” Show featured detailed work from artists from Japan, the U.S. and South America. Participants marveled at the custom-painted toys and art on display. “Toy Karma” led to Mark being asked to be one of the artists spotlighted in the “Beyond Ultraman: Seven Artists Explore the Vinyl Frontier” exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The October 2007 show, held jointly with the Los Angeles Toy, Doll and Amusement Museum, marked the first time – in a museum setting – that the influence of Japanese toys on California artists was explored. The exhibit featured more than 30 of Mark’s original paintings, toys and a selection of his vintage toy collection. Mark continued to be at the forefront as interest in Japanese-inspired art and toys expanded in 2008. Prestigious art houses Philips De Pury and Christie’s in New York and London sold Mark’s hand-painted custom kaiju toys in its auctions, spreading this unique art and toy movement into new and uncharted areas of the art world. In 2009, Mark once again took his love of toys and art overseas this time to a receptive and welcoming audience in Tokyo, Japan. Here, Mark curated the “Kaiju Comrades” Art Show, once again bringing together artists from various aspects of the kaiju toy realm in this first-of-its-kind toy art show. The following year found Mark in Barcelona, Spain co-curating with Emilio Garcia “Kaiju Attack,” the European country’s first kaiju art show. As the growth of kaiju art and toys increases worldwide, Mark continues in his unofficial role of Kaiju Toy and Art Ambassador. He has written and had his artwork and toy designs included in several books and magazines, both domestic and international. In 2010, Mark served as guest lecturer on kaiju and the toy-making process at the Morikami Museum in Florida. The San Francisco resident and his art can also be spotted in the first volume of the “ToyPunks” DVD and the “Toys R Us” DVD, while the video for the number one song by Owl City “Fireflies” featured Mark’s popular Kaiju Eyezon character. During this same time period, Mark has spearheaded the “Toy Karma 2” and “Kaiju Comrades 2” shows and has plans for future shows both in the U.S. and overseas. “Max Toys allows me to produce original artwork, new toys and work directly with a lot of talented artists,” Mark says. “Max Toy is a synthesis of toys and art, both life-long passions.”
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