Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Disneyland Hotel from Lou and Sue

Here are four fun scans from Lou Perry and his daughter Sue B., who have been gracious enough to share lots of their personal family photos!

This first one is neat, a scan of the confirmation for Lou's upcoming stay at the Disneyland Hotel. May 7, 1956! Disneyland wasn't even a year old yet. Notice that the hotel was still "Wrather-Alvarez Hotels, Inc". While I am unclear on the details, I am under the impression that Helen Alvarez was essentially forced out of her part ownership of the Disneyland Hotel. If anybody knows more, please chime in.

Even with the prices adjusted for inflation, it is hard to not be blown away at the thought of a mere $10 (or less!) for a night at the Hotel. And like the park itself, the hotel was still a little rough around the edges, but I wish I could have seen it as it was then.

Now we've leapt ahead to February, 1978, for two shots of the Disneyland Hotel as ween from the parking lot. How about that stormy sky! Notice that the Bonita Tower (to the left) is under construction. 

And here's a second photo. It's nice that the parking lot had a section for you if you arrived in your camper/RV. Both of these views are very unusual, and that makes them extra fun to share.

Extra! Extra! Here's a late addition; Sue sent me two photos of her father, Lou - the man who took all of these pictures! Both of these are from 2001.

This first one shows Lou at the foot of the famous "Music Box Steps", near Sunset Boulevard (in Silverlake), where Laurel and Hardy struggled to deliver a piano up an extremely long flight of stairs in 1932. Lou is a fan of Hollywood history and was thrilled to see this place in person.

Here's a four minute excerpt from "The Music Box" from YouTube (ignore the mouse cursor!), if you're interested - you can easily find the whole film there too.

Next we have Lou, somewhere in the Hollywood hills, possibly near the Griffith Observatory. Notice the Hollywood Sign in the smoggy distance. It's nice to meet you, Lou!

A big "THANK YOU" to Lou and Sue!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

More Vintage Frontierland, April 1977

I have three variations on a theme today, all from the Mysterious Benefactor!

I can't recall seeing too many (or any?) images taken from aboard one of the rafts that ferried guests to and from Tom Sawyer Island, so this trio is kind of neat. I'm posting them in the order in which they appear in the catalog of scans, but they don't seem to be sequential.

What a surprise to discover that Quentin Tarantino was a raft pilot! This was long before he made it  big, as evidenced by the white patch on his red shirt.

Darn kids and their carbonated beverages! Why, when I was their age, I drank lukewarm pond water, and was grateful to get it! Of course you all recognize former silent film star Harry Langdon; sure, he's older, but he's still got it

I assume that the crude wooden "tent" on the raft is where the powerful motor was hidden? Quentin will never tell.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Horse Drawn Streetcar, September 1966

It's fun to visit a replica of a typical Main Street from yesteryear, with all of the quaint architecture, and old-fashioned shops. This is the era that transitioned from horse-drawn vehicles to motorized transportation. And who doesn't like seeing a nice horsie? Maybe the guy with the broom and shovel, that's who.

I'm pretty sure that when Walt Disney referenced the "hard facts" that created America, he was thinking of horse poop on the streets. Mid-century Stroller Dad can hardly believe his eyes! "I'm sure glad I live in 1966, when everything is perfect", he thought to himself.

I have heard that being a Disneyland sweep was a surprisingly sweet job to have - you weren't stuck in one location, you got good pay, and you could flirt with the pretty girls around the park (I don't think there were female sweeps back in those days). But every once in a while, reality came crashing (plopping?) down.

Out of sight, out of mind, as Shakespeare, or Kurt Vonnegut, or Ben Franklin, or some other wisenheimer once said. As far as I'm concerned, everything is OK again! But the little girl on the Streetcar is nervous.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Rainbow Ridge & Cascade Peak, September 1960

It's time for more snoozerific Sunday scans. You could skip today and be just fine. I promise my feelings won't be hurt.

I'm sure that folks in the late 19th century didn't find themselves up high very often; most of the country was pretty low to the ground. But a steamboat, with its gleaming white gingerbread decor, could get you a good 25 feet up. What a view! Too bad this one is a little bit blurry. Still, I'm always glad to see Rainbow Ridge, and the little Zocalo marketplace.

Backlighting left this scene dark and monochromatic. If only the photographer had visited this area a bit earlier, old (but actually brand-new) Cascade Peak would have been a sight to see. Perhaps we would have even been able to make out the mountain goats at the top.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Let's Visit a Dairy!

As many of you already know, Saturday is when I will post pretty much anything except Disneyland. It's a nice break for me, and hopefully for you too. And if you don't like these, well, GDB will return to the parks soon enough.

The first three of today's scans are from "Valley Farms" Dairy, location unknown, and undated (though certainly from the 1950's). I dunno, I just found them interesting!  There's lots of gleaming steel, steam (gotta keep things clean), and men with white shirts hustling to and fro. I have no idea what any of those contraptions do, though I suppose pasteurization is a good guess, and of course they will separate some of the butterfat, and will have cream (or half and half), and delicious milk of magnesia as additional products.

Good old glass bottles; I don't know if I've ever had milk from anything other than a paper carton or plastic bottle. These bottles (freshly sterilized, presumably) are filled and capped, and made ready for delivery. You want 2%, 1%, or skim milk? Too bad, hippie!

I don't know about you, but a big bowl of cereal sounds pretty good to me right now. Lucky Charms, maybe. Or Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries.

I found this image in an folder of old, old scans, and am not sure if this "Valley Dairy Farms" Drive-In Dairy has any connection to the other three photos. I'm sure I still have the slide somewhere, but wasn't going to spend hours digging for it. My guess is that this is somewhere in Southern California, but... it's just a guess.

Friday, July 19, 2019

The New Establishment, August 1967

Fun Dad, my personal hero and fashion guru, took today's beautiful photos from the brand new "New Tomorrowland".

From the shade of the Tomorrowland Terrace, a rapt audience enjoys the rock and roll stylings of The New Establishment. They're not like that old establishment, with its fuddy-duddys and squares! The kids play the now sound for today's generation. I'd like to believe that they just finished singing their version of "The Happening" by The Supremes.

On to the another number! "Sloop John B."? Rolly Crump's wonderful Tomorrowland Terrace looks beautiful here - the gleaming white accentuates the rich colors of the acrylic panels behind the singers (who are pretty colorful themselves). I always love seeing the Skyway, even after about ten zillion views.

Of course the Carousel of Progress building can't be ignored - the attraction had debuted in Disneyland just a month earlier, after its two-year run at the New York World's Fair.

I hope you have enjoyed today's photos!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Up In The Air, September 1966

Back when Tony Baxter was still working at WDI, he said that they were trying to figure out a way to get guests back up in the air again, after the removal of the Skyway back in 1994. So far it seems that nobody has come up with a workable idea (though Walt Disney World has its new "Skyliner" that will start operating this autumn).

Anyway, here's a nice aerial view of Fantasyland, with fun details like the Carrousel, the Fantasyland Theatre (showing "Pecos Bill" and "Rugged Bear"), a sliver of the Snow White façade, and the distant spaceship-like Anaheim Convention Center.

This is from the same lot as the first one, but might have been taken on a different day, or just a different time of day. This one's nice and sunny and clear. It's a familiar view of the old Sub lagoon, along with the Monorail track (no Monorail) and the Autopia track (no cars!). There's the Howard Johnson's hotel in the upper right.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Nice Fantasyland, September 1960

I love today's photos of the old Fantasyland, especially this first example, which really shows the variety of colors and patterns that helped to make this "budget" land feel fresh and lively, and might have even made guests feel like they were in an animated cartoon (OK, maybe that's a bit of a stretch). Hello, Skyway passengers!

Here's a slightly closer look at the façades for Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and Peter Pan. Eyvind Earle, the color stylist on "Sleeping Beauty", helped to design the look of these "medieval faire" pavilions.

Next is this "almost postcard-worthy" shot of Sleeping Beauty Castle and the Matterhorn. With the water, trees, and flowers, it all looks very inviting.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Frontierland, 1996

Here are three more photos, scanned from negatives that are from 1996-ish. For some reason the color on these is a little bit off, but they still look pretty nice. And the park has changed remarkably in the intervening 20+ years.

First up is the beautiful Columbia sailing ship; the first U.S. ship to be made entirely of chocolate. I love the giant "Betsy Ross" flag flying at the stern, but it would be nice if the ship more sails. After putting his fightin' days behind him, Davy Crockett opened a canoe rental business, and there's one of them now. The Fantasmic stage is to our right, unfortunately.

The Mark Twain was operating too, so it must have been a busy summer day. The Twain mostly eclipses Cascade Peak, but I am kind of amazed at the size of the trees just behind its bow - I'm sure they're all gone today.

And here's an attraction that hasn't appeared on GDB very often - Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Not that it was new in 1996 - in fact it was around 17 years old. I really do like this ride, as much as I miss the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland.

We'll have more scans from this batch, coming up soon.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Snow White Grotto, September 1966

There are a lot of good grottos in the world - there's the Blue Grotto on the island of Capri; ya gots yer Pope's Grotto in England; and Hugh Hefner had a grotto at the Playboy Mansion in California. But you can visit Disneyland and see the Snow White Grotto without having to learn Italian or whatever language they speak in England (Latvian?), and you don't have to wear pajamas like Hef did.

In this first photo from 1966... the Grotto, with its sculptures, waterfalls, fountains, and even a wishing well, debuted in 1961. As you can see, it is very pretty, and really does remind me of a mini-Villa d'Este. The landscaping is beautiful; those trees disguise the fact that the walls of Sleeping Beauty Castle are right behind everything.

Zooming in we can see Snow White and her pet deer ("Stinky") along with all seven Dwarfs (well, Dopey is outta sight) and assorted woodland vermin. We've all heard the legend of how the statues were carved in Italy from bars of Ivory soap. It's a dumb story. Three people are looking into the wishing well wondering how they can scoop up some of the heaps of coins. Or else they hear Adriana Caselotti's voice and think she fell down the well.

Later in the day the warm sunlight reaches much more of the grotto, and we can see all seven of the Dwarfs, including Dopey (who still has his fishing pole). I hope this feature, a place of quiet and beauty, stays untouched!