Saturday, August 01, 2015

Bus Stop and Train Station

Summer always makes me think of travel; my family did lots of summer travel, and whether it was aboard a comfy jet, or in the back of a hot station wagon, I always loved it. Let's go horseback riding and trout fishing in the Sierras! Let's go see Grandma and Grandpa in Minnesota (and... go fishing for walleye while we're there)! Or maybe we'll go to my Great Aunt's farm in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin (always an adventure)! Such wonderful memories.

So... today's theme (such as it is) is "travel"; starting with this awesome, undated photo (surely from the 1950's) of an unknown city street, with a bus sitting at the curb. I'm guessing that the folks standing around are waiting for their luggage to be unloaded. The ladies are all in dresses and hats  and the men are in suits and fedoras. 

These ladies look like extras in an old movie! The vintage luggage is cool, too.

This one is from 1956, and shows a woman and her parents standing on the platform (?) of a train station in Glendale, California. Ooof, it is a smoggy day. I can't explain why, but I love the modest bungalows in the background, along with the rows of tall palm trees.

I knew it was unlikely that I would be able to find a modern view from the same angle; but I found a nice picture (on flickr) of the front of Glendale Station; the palm trees are still there!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Nifty Pix From Fifty Six!

I love today's first photo, featuring the original Autopia! A Shirley Temple lookalike rides with her mom in a sleek white sports car along the guide-less miniature highway. Hey mom, let the kid drive, for crying out loud! That vast empty field behind them is a strange sight to behold; I can't quite get my bearings to figure out what might be there today.

The Carrousel in Fantasyland (pre all-white horses) looks great from any angle - even this weird one. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vintage Main Street Viewmaster Scans

A long time ago, I thought I would try to scan a whole bunch of vintage Disneyland Viewmaster reels, or at least the most interesting frames from those reels. I made it through most (but not all) of my Main Street packets before I started to go crazy! So... that project is on the back burner until further notice. 

But I still have some scans that might be fun for you to look at; that way you don't have to spend the time (years) and money (lots!) that I spent acquiring my collection. First, here's a nice overview of some of the different kinds of packet covers. 

At the top are the extremely rare single-reel and two-reel packs. 

The next row shows a common "S-3" (third Sawyer style) packet; then there is a scarce "D" packet - these were only sold inside the park, and have different views compared to the S-3s; and then there is an "S4" packet, with an attractive full-cover image. The "E-Ticket" magazine referred to these as "parchment packs" because of what looks like a little strip of parchment in the upper right.

In the third row, we start with a rare "swing out" packet, that was supposedly only test-marketed in a few places in the US. GAF acquired Viewmaster (and became the official film of Disneyland), as we can see on the middle packet. Note the addition of Primeval World. And third is a later GAF packet. There are some other minor variants, but these are the basics.

Let's get to the images! I love this one, showing a horseless carriage heading down Main Street. I don't think I've ever noticed the drivers of these cars wearing dusters and driving caps like this fellow. The Sunkist Citrus House is just behind them. Mmmm, lemonade popsicles!

Eat your heart out, Fellini. What in heaven's name is supposed to be going on in this photo? 

Here's a nice shot of Town Square, with good foreground elements to help give that 3-D effect when you are looking through your vintage viewer (I can almost smell the Bakelite!). Good old Vesey Walker leads the Disneyland band at the base of the flag pole.

If you enjoyed these, perhaps I will share more!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln - Gate Handout, 1965

It's time for another fun piece of Disneyland paper ephemera! In this case it is a flyer, given to each guest as they passed through the gates of the park (along with their complimentary INA guidebook).

This is from 1965, when "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" was still playing to amazed crowds at the New York World's Fair; Walt seemed to be in a particular hurry to show off his Audio-Animatronic triumph at Disneyland... Mr. Lincoln debuted on July 18th of 1965 - the tenth anniversary of the day that the general public was admitted to the park. I have always wondered where this show would have gone if the Opera House wasn't already there for the taking.

The handout resembles an old-fashioned broadside that might have been seen a century before; I love the variety of fonts, contrasting large, ornate lettering with smaller type. And the addition of a pointing hand is always a plus!

At the bottom of the flyer, we see that the new Plaza Inn was going to open that same summer.

There must have been many thousands given to guests, and yet these flyers seem to be rather scarce. I am very happy to have one!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Nice Walt Disney World, November 1974

Here are more pictures from The Magic Kingdom in Florida....

This first one is similar to another that we saw not long ago; it was taken in the morning, obviously before guests were allowed in, which gives us a great Edward Hopper-esque view of a deserted amusement park. I see a single cast member in the middle of the street, way down toward the castle!

Our photographer hot-footed it over to Adventureland to see the still-new "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction, which had opened only about a year earlier. It's so weird to see no people around!

This image is a little bit to the right of the previous one. I have no idea what any of those other buildings are (could that be a train station in front of us?). Can anybody help?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Circarama Theater & Telstar

There's only one picture today; but it's a pretty nice one. From the legendary stash of Instamatics comes this nice shot of the Clock of the World, with the wonderful "Circarama Theater" (home of "America the Beautiful") in the background. The "Bell System" logo makes me happy, for no logical reason.

It's hard to ignore that strange thing protruding from the top of the building; it is a model of "Telstar",  an early communications satellite that Bell Labs helped to build. Actually, it resembles both "Telstar 1" and "Telstar 2", launched in 1962 and 1963 respectively. They are still in orbit today (though inactive)! 

Apparently the "boom" that the satellite was on would rotate, which is pretty cool. Photos of this feature are not common, so it was fun to find this example. If I knew anything about 3D animation, I would have tried to replicate how it might have looked.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Snapshots, September 1968

I admit it... today's snapshots are pretty snooze-worthy. But it's Sunday... the day with the least-amount of readers. Where do you all go? 

This one is almost too mundane to write about! Three nice folks take a break on a bench at the entrance to Tomorrowland, next to the swirly flowers (designed, as it turns out, by Rolly Crump). Look at that other photographer, he thinks he is a great fashion photographer. "Come on, work it baby! Yeah!".

Why take one boring photo when you can take two?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Inglewood Train Station, 1969

A few years ago I found this photo of a very cute little train station in Inglewood, California (part of Los Angeles). It almost looks like a dollhouse version of a train station; there must not have been a lot of passenger service. 

A knowledgeable pal of mine passed along some info: "That's the Inglewood Santa Fe station that opened in 1887 and was demolished in 1974 after it suffered irreparable damage in a 1972 fire... it's so cool to see your depot photo in glorious COLOR!"

My friend include two vintage photos... this one must be from the 1950's. The slightly-crooked telephone pole amuses me.

Here's another angle - undated.

These slides had the specific date of "April 22, 1969" written on them; something was going on, as this huge locomotive (painted a devilish red!) was there. 

The Santa Fe 1010 is (according to Wikipedia), "... a 2-6-2 type steam locomotive built [in 1901] by Baldwin Locomotive Works for Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway". In 1905 it was used as part of a one-time, record breaking passenger train that went from Los Angeles to Chicago (2,265 miles) in a mere 44 hours and 55 minutes! That was 13 hours faster than the previous record.

The 1010 was donated to the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, and you can see it there today!

EXTRA! EXTRA! GDB commenter Chuck has kindly gone to the trouble of merging the two photos into one (because I was too lazy). There's some funkiness with the car hood, but otherwise it came out quite nicely!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Special Guest Post!

Today I am happy to feature more photos from GDB friend Huck Caton (who shared those amazing Disneyland wardrobe photos from a few years ago - those things wound up all over the internet). Huck has been digging through boxes, and he has uncovered a bunch of his own personal photos, both of the park as well as some "backstage" photos from when he worked there. Awesome! 

We'll start things out with a bang with this rare photo of the Motor Boat Cruise when it was briefly given a "Gummi Bears" overlay in 1991. Part of the "Disney Afternoon" slate of cartoons, the Gummi Bears always seemed like an odd thing for Disney to acquire (in my opinion); I admit that I never watched a single episode. I was more of a "Duck Tales" guy!

While I had been aware of this overlay, with plywood "flats" of the Gummis and their homes, I did not realize that it was only there for 8 months (from March 1991 to November 1991). No wonder pictures of it are hard to find! 

I was also surprised that this was before the dreaded Paul Pressler era, when budgets were slashed to the bone,  rides were closed, plush dolls were sold in every location - all in the name of increased profits (it worked, too). Perhaps he isn't as entirely to blame for the precipitous drop in quality as I had always assumed? 

Next is this image of the Autopia entrance sign; poor Tomorrowland has gone through some rough patches, and this sign, while not terrible, has a strange 1950's vibe that just didn't fit with the rest of the land. I wonder if the popular "Blast to the Past" promotion (1988 and 1989) had anything to do with this retro style?

I've never seen this sign before, which is cool; Huck thinks it looks awful, but I have to admit that I like it! Look at how those arrows are part of the cloverleaf design. And the colors remind me of the costumes that some cast members wore. Presumably this is dated earlier than the previous photo; notice the small bit of the Autopia marquee that is visible, with its very 1970's colors.

Here's the costume I was talking about - a parking lot attendant, circa 1973.

Many thanks to Huck for sharing his photos! There's lots more to come, so stay tuned.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

GDB Greatest Hits - Tomorrowland

It's time (yet again) for some "greatest hits"! Let's head over to Tomorrowland, shall we?

Look at that cute li'l 3-car red Monorail! It's like a puppy version of the later, longer, sleeker versions. This image was originally posted way back in 2006, but the photo itself is from December of 1960. As you can see, there is a low construction wall in front of us, though I haven't the foggiest idea of why it is there. Is that the Midget Autopia to our left?

Here's a neat photo (posted in 2007) showing the longer, sleeker Monorail I mentioned before; this time it's the yellow one, heading in to the Disneyland Hotel station. Look at those lucky ducks in in the front of the Monorail! Someday I need to make sure I ride up there. Just visible in the background is the dome of the Anaheim Convention Center, while a hotel tram waits below. (The photo is from 1969).

What a spectacular view of Tomorrowland, as seen from a Skyway bucket as it heads toward the Tomorrowland station; You've got your subs, and the Monorail, and some Autopia, as well as a smidgen of Astro Jets, and even the Disneyland Railroad. Look at all those trees outside the park!