When Disneyland opened in 1955 it had a corset shop on Main Street. Under a sign of “Intimate Apparel, Brassieres, Torsolettes,” it was one part sales shop and one part attraction, telling the story of undergarments — from “Grandmas day” to “today’s girl,” of 1955. The automated tour host was The Wonderful Wizard of Bras, the marketing symbol of the Hollywood-Maxwell Brassiere Company.
You may be surprised to know that old Walt allowed such a lascivious thing as lingerie — but, as you know, money talks. And Walt wanted his dream theme park to open, so he took the money. But he also took precautions…
To discourage eyeballs — and business — he placed a giant porch out front of the shop, making it less visible. Being less visible made the shop less enticing, of course, and Hollywood-Maxwell left Disney in 1956. The China Closet shop next door expanded into that building, and has remained there ever since. Here’s a photo of what was once the lingerie shop on the Disneyland Main Street; it’s the blue building, still with the large front porch.
You can read more of the Disney lingerie story here.
It’s worth nothing that ads for Hollywood-Maxwell only seem to have featured the Wizard Of Bras during 1955, their one year at Disneyland. This is a Canadian ad from that year with the wizard in the bottom corner. (Note that it promotes a free booklet for girls; but does not mention Disney or Disneyland.)
Not all ads from that year feature the wizard; here’s one from 1955 which does not. But it does feature Hollywood-Maxwell’s Torsos (long-line bras) and their Whirlpool (circle-stitch) bras.
Here’s a fabulous color ad from this post-Disney period, 1956.
According to Yesterland, Hollywood-Maxwell didn’t last longer than 1958 as an independent lingerie brand:
In 1958, the Hollywood-Maxwell Company of California combined with the Vassar Company of Chicago, a part of Munsingwear. The result was the Hollywood Vassarette Intimate Apparel Division. At one time, Munsingwear was America’s underwear giant. Today, the Munsingwear brand is marketed by PremiumWear, Inc., and is best known for knit golf shirts with the penguin logo. PremiumWear, Inc. also markets Jockey brand underwear.
I’ve more to come on Hollywood-Maxwell bra history — the years before Disney. Stay tuned!