Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beautiful Tomorrowland, August 1960

I've become so used to similar views of the old Sub Lagoon that, at times, I get jaded and forget how cool scenes like this are. But look at it! If I had never heard of Disneyland, and then somebody showed me this picture, I would want to go there. Blue blue water, Autopia cars, coral reefs, a Monorail, and Merms! 


This one's a beauty too. Love the Skyway passing overhead, along with the old Moonliner and Yacht Bar. And… more Merms.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nature's Wonderland, July 1967

I am always happy to revisit the wonderful (and much-missed) Nature's Wonderland. What an attraction! 

Two male elk, almost hidden by trees and shrubs, are battling it out for those barely-interested females. In fact, they girls are actually watching a small black and white TV just out of frame (it is always showing animals programs like "Gentle Ben", "Flipper", "Lassie", and so on).


Here's a nice portrait of the rock formations in the desert. They get the job done, but the craftsmen who specialize in rock work have improved by leaps and bounds over the years. The desert looks especially green in this picture, I wonder if the photos were actually taken a few months before July, in the cooler months of spring.


Does anybody know if there is some sort of real-life, natural version of the "Devil's Paint Pots"? Yellowstone has some bubbling pots of hot mud, but I think they are just plain old brown. My guess is that they were just an imaginative idea, playing on the "Rainbow Desert" theme.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Murky Cruise, January 1965

Here are two more images from a set of slides in which many (but not all) of them are mysteriously dark, and soft focus in places. In spite of the flaws, they still manage to retain some visual appeal - maybe you could argue that they have a "noir" quality.

There is stuff to be seen on both sides of a Jungle Cruise launch, which makes for some less-than-optimal photos. Clearly our photographer was trying to capture the dancing natives on the opposite bank, but instead got a silhouetted picture of fellow guests (craning their necks!). I almost expect Crow and Tom Servo to be there too (any MST3K fans out there??). 


I'll bet the person who took this picture didn't even know these people! Still, it's moody and dreamy, like looking through an antique pane of glass.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Random Pix, August 1969

Here are some more of those August '69 photos; I have analyzed them with my atomic Pictometer, and they fall dangerously close to the "meh" category. Fortunately I am wearing proper lead-lined clothing and safety goggles.

Cascade Peak looks pretty in the late-afternoon sunshine; the river feels so empty and still - not a canoe, keelboat, or sternwheeler to be found. If this was a real river, I'd want to go for a swim! But then I remember that the water is Disneyland water, and who knows what's in it.


Look at how close those Mine Train tracks get to the lower falls. We need to install a railing, or better yet, replace the waterfalls with high-definition video projections (don't forget to add Nemo). Nobody will know the difference. (My atomic Snarkometer is in the red zone!).


Nature's Wonderland had its beauty, but it had its danger too. Like this marmot! Sure, he looks like the cuddly gopher from "Caddyshack", but don't let that fool you. With his shape-shifting abilities, powerful talons, poisonous fangs, and prehensile tail, he is basically a killing machine. If he was in the water, a great white shark would swim in the opposite direction.


Meanwhile, over at the Enchanted Tiki Room's outer pre-show area, we get an odd closeup of Tangaroa, the "Father of all Gods and Goddesses. Here in this land of enchantment, I appear before you as a mighty tree. Stand back! Oh mystic powers, hear my call. From my limbs, let new life fall!". I always love it when the little baby tikis emerge - and always want to pluck one and put it in my pocket. I'd take him home and feed him raisins and Slim Jims and Gatorade, and teach him tricks, and we would be best pals (since those Sea Monkeys turned out to be such a dud).


Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Pirate Ship, 1956

Here are two not-very-exciting pictures featuring that most-photographed ship named for a canned fish product! 

I am wondering if the photographer was trying to just get a nice photo of that lady and small child who seem to be waving at us from the upper deck (only to have the shot spoiled by those three interlopers)? I kind of think that wasn't the case, since those folks don't show up in any other photos. Maybe the guy with the camera was just really into anchors. I can almost imagine him exclaiming, "Look at the flukes on that baby!", only to get slapped by an outraged woman. This did not happen to me, and if it did, I would deny it.


Ah, there we go… that lady up by the wheel looks familiar, or at least her jacket does. Which leads me to mentioning that these are more photos from the bunch that GDB pals Kevin and Amber found for me months ago. Thanks, K & A!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bride of "Train Related"!

I have always loved Disneyland's trains, and as my appreciation for them grew over the years, I found that other trains (especially steam locomotives) were pretty appealing too. My guess is that more than a few of the GDB readers feel the same way. So… here are three photos of different trains from around the country.

This first one shows a cute little train. "Edaville", what's that? Mr. Wikipedia sez, "Edaville Railroad is a heritage railroad in South Carver, Massachusetts. Opened in 1947, Edaville Railroad is generally regarded as one of the oldest heritage railroads in the United States. Edaville Railroad is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge line that operates excursion trains for tourists. It was built by the late Ellis D. Atwood (initials E.D.A, for which Edaville is named) on his sprawling cranberry plantation on the inland end of Cape Cod". 

Of interest to me is the fact that C.V. Wood, infamous for helping Walt Disney to realize his dream of Disneyland (and later stricken from the official record for taking too much of the credit) leased some of the Edaville equipment for Freedomland U.S.A., and Pleasure Island.


Here's a neat photo from 1950, taken at the "Duluth and Iron Range" Company Depot on Sixth Street in Two Harbors, Minnesota. On display outside the depot is the #3 locomotive (with a 2-6-0 configuration), which was built in 1883 at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. Isn't it a beauty? It has an interesting history, which you can read about HERE if you like! Happily, the locomotive can still be found in Two Harbors, where it is undergoing restoration.


And just for the halibut, I figured I would include this one, even though I have precious little information about what we are looking at (other than a bunch of trains). It reminds me very much of Travel Town, located in beautiful Griffith Park in Los Angeles (though it could be someplace else, of course - chime in if you know anything!). Meanwhile, you can still visit Travel Town and walk among many gigantic old trains and trolleys, and you can even climb on them. I still remember seeing an episode of "The Monkees" in which the Prefab Four clowned around on the trains during one of their musical numbers.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Frontierland, March 13 1958

This first photo is a real beauty, featuring the wonderful Casa de Fritos restaurant in adobe glory. I love the stripe of blue painted at the bottom of the building (makes me think of Taos, New Mexico for some reason - probably inaccurately). You can see some of the colorful painted tables and benches inside the main doorway. Notice the painted sombrero above the door; it's fun to observe the way the Imagineers have played with scale.. that balcony isn't very big. And there is even a crude lodge-pole ladder, like one might have found at the Montezuma Castle National Monument. 


Zooming in a little to the left, we can see part of the Mineral Hall, sponsored by the "Black Light Corporation of America". I love things that light up and/or glow, so this place would have been a favorite of mine - if I had ever seen it.


And lastly, here's a wonderful photo of the Golden Horseshoe Revue as seen from the upper deck of the Mark Twain. That sky is just spectacular, and the park looks so neat and tidy - and empty!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Knott's Berry Farm, 1950's

It's time for some more vintage Knott's Berry Farm!

Mom, dad, and two identically-dressed little girls are about to enter the tunnel that was led to the Gold Mine (where you could pan for real gold!). When I was a tiny tot, I wasn't so sure I wanted to walk into that dark tunnel. What's in there? Is it scary? Turns out it wasn't scary at all, but that's how a little kid's mind works. I like the crude wooden buildings; it's easy to imagine that they were built by prospectors who weren't especially skilled, and had to scrounge for lumber. Nearby is a sleepy burro who would be mighty glad if you went over to scratch his ears.


The Ghost Town didn't change a whole lot (as a rule) over the years - until relatively recently, that is. I'm amazed at how much the people in a photo change the feel of the place. Moms and their kids in mid-century outfits definitely elicit a "50's" vibe. The rusting hulk of "Old Betsy" can still be seen at Knott's today, which is pretty neat. 


This pretty scene was over near the Church of Reflections… as far as I know, the lake didn't have a name. There was an "island" in the middle (not really an island, as it was connected to the north and south shores by narrow pathways) where Indian teepees (and a "trading post") used to be. If you look through the weeping willow you can see a lady in red pants staring at us!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Special Guest Halloween, 1965 - Part 2

It's time for more vintage Halloween photos from the personal collection of Ken Martinez! This post (and the next one) feature photos from around the Martinez home circa 1965. As before, Ken has provided great descriptive captions (highlighted in orange) for each photo. Let's go!

Image 1 - JACK O'LANTERNS - Here are five Jack O'Lanterns carved by us five kids. Odds are they were picked from a pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay a week earlier.

My sister always liked the littlest pumpkins, I'll bet one of Ken's sisters carved the tiny one!


Image 2 - PRE-PARTY - One of the things my parents loved doing for us kids was making the holidays extra special throughout the year. The cake in this photo looks like it is out of the pages of some Good Housekeeping type magazine (holiday edition). It was probably where my mom got her ideas.


Image 3 - DAD AT TABLE - My dad dressed up every year for Halloween until I hit the double digits. I think he was trying to go for a Mr. Hyde/Phantom type look. He was really into the old Universal horror classics and that was probably influential in his costume idea. My dad and I used to watch all those old horror classics together. I even remember collecting all the monster models back in the 1960's.

Oh yeah, those awesome Aurora models! I know I had King Kong and the Mummy, while my brother probably had Dracula and Frankenstein. I loved those things!


Image 4 - PARTY IN ACTION - The party is in full swing with my sisters, two cousins and a neighborhood kid at the table enjoying cake and fruit punch. My mom and teenage sister are working the punch bowl. I think that's a homemade skeleton made out of black construction paper hanging on the cupboard.

All I can say is that Ken's family had WAY more fun on Halloween than my family did!! It was all we could do to get our costumes on, much less have a big party.


Image 5 - SCARED STIFF - Here's my father again with creepy attitude. My sister and cousin look more fascinated than scared. It's really the wallpaper that's scary.

Yes, the girls don't look very frightened, but Ken's dad is a method actor - always inhabiting the role!


Once again, a big thanks goes to Ken for sharing these awesome family photos. There's one more batch to go!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

More Walt Disney World, November 1972

We're getting down to the last few slides from this lot of 1972 views (3 more after today). In my opinion, these are pretty nice!

Like this one. As much as I loved Disneyland's fleet of realistic nuclear submarines, they can't compare to the Florida subs - each one a spiky, magnificent Nautilus. Wow! And then they were place in a tropical lagoon (Vulcania?) surrounded by palms and other leafy plants; with the beautiful Florida skies, and the deep green-blue of the water, this scene was a real knockout. I wonder how they made that rock work, which looks like the remains of an old weathered coral reef?


Walt Disney World's trains are bigger than Disneyland's; the locomotives were purchased from Mexico, and date back to as far as 1916. I haven't seen them for myself, but friends say that they are wonderful (and I believe them). This one is the "Roger E. Broggie", named after one of Walt's original Imagineers, who was so instrumental in the building of Disneyland and WDW.


This one is interesting! I believe it was taken from the WDW Railroad as it passed through Frontierland - which looks like it was barely finished. Dumpsters and metal containers of all kinds can be seen amongst the mud, although a few totem poles can be seen to our right. Was something specific being built back there in '72? Or was it really just not completed yet?


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EXTRA! Following up from yesterday, here's a scan of the "Jumbo" Columbia postcard. I think that there are at least 26 cast members up in the rigging (though I am sometimes assuming that if there is a guy on one side, there will be another guy on the other side that we can't quite see). Pretty crazy!