We’ve all heard the story time after time. It’s a good one, though, and so our memories are imprinted with how Walt, Roy, and even that huckster C.V. barely got Disneyland built in 1955. There might be a few other names floating around the fringes, such as Buzz Price, Joe Fowler, or Van Arsdale France. Theme Park Press has added to this list, introducing us to even more who got their start that infamous summer and would go on to make a lasting impression on the place—Bob D’Arcy, Tom Nabbe, and “Sully” Sullivan.
But behind all of these was a faceless, nameless throng of folks who applied for a job at this newfangled thing in town and pitched in to make it work. Up to this point they’ve been largely background noise, unnoticed, unimportant. David Koenig’s fantastic The 55ers: The Pioneers Who Settled Disneyland changes all of this, putting not only names to those shadowy figures, but bringing to life their stories and personalities. Over the years he’s collected hundreds of interviews and information on original Disneyland employees, some who became lifers, others barely lasting til fall. It’s been a crusade with him to give these individuals their due, to finally make it known that these were everyday people, with everyday lives, dreams, troubles, and adventures. And boy do they have stories. These weren’t merely employees…they were your fathers, grandmothers, and next-door neighbors. Chock full of amazing photographs we’ve never seen before, David has produced a beautifully packaged and well-written book that is certainly a must-have for any Disneyland fan’s collection.