Wednesday, June 29, 2016

GDB Rescans - Disneyland Hotel & Tomorrowland

It's time to rescan some oldies that, in retrospect, don't look so hot anymore. Like this first slide from July, 1963; it's a view taken from the Monorail as it passed through a corner of Disneyland's massive parking lot. As is often the case in these old scans, the darks went very black, while the rest was grainy and orange-ish.

Ah, that's better! I believe that the street running through the lower third of the photo was called West Street in those days - now it's Disneyland Drive (it was renamed sometime around 1998 or 1999). I love the view of the old Disneyland Hotel. 

Back in 2006 I published this grainy photo of the early Tomorrowland - it's undated, but probably 1956. 

The rescan gets rid of more of the magenta that plagued this slide, and it looks sharper and better in every way. Notice the bright red trash cans (hard to miss!); to our right is the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry, though the sign on the façade hasn't been installed yet. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Grand Prix Raceway, Magic Kingdom

Here are two more nice photos from The Magic Kingdom, taken during the Thanksgiving holiday break in 1971!

"Mr. X" was quite taken with the Florida version of the Autopia, aka the "Grand Prix Raceway", and it is easy to see why. This first photo shows a portion of the wide open spaces available in Orlando, with the sporty little race cars winding their way along 4 lanes through a green countryside.

To be honest it looks a little flat when compared to the criss-crossing tracks of Disneyland's Tomorrowland, where the Autopia shared space with the Monorail, Peoplemover, and (to a lesser degree) the Motor Boats and Submarines. That's the perfect example of the Imagineers turning the dearth of Anaheim real estate into an asset. But... come on, the Grand Prix Raceway is still pretty awesome. Check out the flame job on that red number in the lower right corner!

This is the only photo from the entire lot that really shows a long line... hundreds of folks are queueing up. There are plenty of extra vehicles sitting in the area closest to us, I wonder why they weren't being put into action on this busy day?

Monday, June 27, 2016


Well well well, it looks like we got ourselves an artiste in our midst! Probably went to some fancy college. Instead of taking photos with the horizon on the level, he's decided on some Dutch angles to leave us feeling disoriented. Like the 1966 Batman TV show.

I think that this one was taken from a window of one of the Monorails as it paralleled (and passed) the C.K. Holliday. I've got to admit that its kind of a neat view, including a bit of the Autopia. The train is practically running through a gully, which is kind of odd. Notice the castmember in the upper left, it appears as if he is trying to start a stalled Autopia car? It happened to me on more than one occasion.

Not too far from the first photo is this crazy view of the Matterhorn. I really wonder if the angle was an artistic choice? I've always loved the colors used on the buckets at this period, with the metallic blues, silvers, golds, and so on.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

King Arthur's Carrousel, January 1963

Disneyland's Carrousel is on the short list of attractions that have been at the park since opening day. It's a beauty, and even as an adult I sometimes like to take a spin. 

I have a trio of photos taken in early 1963 - so far this ride is strictly for the 5 and under set. OK, maybe that boy to our left is 7. I am going to be very tiresome (what else is new) and point out that this is from the days when the horses were painted in a variety of colors. which I like. Ultimately the ride is fun no matter what color your horse is, though!

"Let's get this show on the road! What are we waiting for? I guess I'll swing my legs impatiently and murmur some curse words under my breath so that Mom won't hear. I learned a good one from Dad yesterday when he was working on his car".

"Wave at the camera, Susan... we'll send a print to your grandparents!". Susie has been programmed to obey and does so dutifully. Oh, those childhood haircuts; Mom probably did it herself.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Random U.S.A.!

 Today's photos are somewhat random, but they're still fun views taken around America. 

This first one is undated and unlabeled, but it shows a beautiful Chris Craft motor boat as the Cap'n "guns it" on a glassy-smooth lake. Chris Craft was famous for their high-end, high quality powerboats, often made of fine mahogany and teak. Celebrities such as Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra were fans of the boats.

Next is this photo of the "famous" One-Log House in California. In 1938 this house was hewn  from the trunk of a 2100 year-old redwood tree; it is about 32 feet long, with a full kitchen, bedroom, and living room. You can find photos of the interior online, and it looks very much like a cozy camper. This house has moved around (notice that it is on wheels), and it can currently be seen in Garberville. Admission used to be free, but now you have to part with a dollar to go inside!

Friday, June 24, 2016

The Matterhorn and Skull Rock, May 1962

When I can, I like to try to post something a little better than usual on Fridays. I'm not sure if today's offerings qualify, but they're still pretty nice.

I love this view of Fantasyland, circa 1962. The vivid colors really pop! That blue sky, those reds, those yellows. There is nothing like a clear sunny day at Disneyland. Even the hues of the Skyway buckets are very pleasing. 

How about those crowds? It looks pretty busy. The tented snack bar is doing gangbusters. Whatever that means. I am somewhat surprised that not a single souvenir hat is visible! How can this be? How could they resist the giant ostrich feathers, the mouse ears, the Civil War kepis, the Tyrolean hats?

It's hard to miss the bright yellow Monorail passing in the background....

Meanwhile, things don't change much over at Skull Rock and the Pirate Ship lagoon. Until 1982, that is. Somehow this feature still looks kind of new (with the plants and palm trees still appearing a bit scraggly), even though it debuted in 1960. As I've said over and over, I miss this lovely feature a lot.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Vintage Knott's Berry Farm Postcards

Today, Ken Martinez continues sharing his collection of vintage amusement park postcards - this time the park is more familiar to many SoCal residents. Here's Ken:

Knott's Berry Farm

I was hesitant to do postcards of Knott's Berry Farm since many blogs have covered the park and its attractions already. Still I have a bit of Knott's stuff so I'll share some of it with you. If there's interest in these cards, I may post more. Knott's has always been one of my favorite parks as there's a certain charm and funkiness that seems to be rare in the modern theme park era.

I'm a big fan of the old RPPC postcards of Knott's Berry Farm. Here we have a view looking down one of Ghost Town's streets. I love the clothing style of the visitors walking around. Notice the label "Knott's Berry Place". [Note from Major Pepperidge... I believe that the name places this card at or before 1946].

Here's another RPPC postcard showing the Calico Saloon. I like these photos because they show this major tourist attraction and its patrons well before Disneyland arrived on the scene.

I also like the artist postcards that were done for Knott's and this one's my favorite. The drawing of the hangman's tree sort of puts the ghost in Ghost Town. [Major P. again; notice that this artwork was by Paul Van Klieben, who was instrumental in designing the look and feel of the early Berry Farm].

Of course I had to include a postcard of the beginning of Knott's Berry Farm with Walter and Cordelia Knott posting next to their original berry stand. Does anyone know if the berry stand that is still at Knott's is a repro or not?

Here's an exterior shot of Mrs. Knott's famous Chicken Dinner Restaurant. One of the things I loved about the chicken dinner was the sides that were included in the dinner like the cherry rhubarb, the biscuits in clusters and the cabbage salad. I read recently that they are remodeling the restaurant. I sure hope they don't modernize the dining rooms too much. I love the older look for the restaurant and hope they keep a little of the patina intact.

Here's an interesting postcard of a garden area at the Farm. I'm not sure where this garden was located and if it still exists today. Maybe our resident Knott's expert TokyoMagic! would know.

I hope you have enjoyed these postcards and I'll definitely share more if readers are interested in Knott's Berry Farm.

Information Source Material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko

What can I say, I love Knott's! It has an atmosphere and a history that is unique, and so different from Disneyland in the way that it sprung up organically, as a response to the immense success of the chicken restaurant. I look forward to more from this classic SoCal park!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Main Street, July 1958

Good old Main Street U.S.A... of all the "lands", it is the one that feels the least-changed since the 1950's (even though, yes, it has definitely had its share of changes).

Both of todays photos are from 1958; let's start with this unusual angle looking toward the Opera House (long before Mr. Lincoln moved in) and the Bank of America, with the Wurlitzer shop to our left. I know that they had organs and pianos on sale, but I wonder if you could have (theoretically) purchased one of those beautiful jukeboxes that Wurlitzer produced. 

The park looks as neat as a pin, as usual. Notice the prominent fire hydrant, with a little drinking fountain just to the right of it. 

Now we're up at the hub (or Plaza) looking toward Main Street Station. Ya gots yer Coke Corner to our right, with a lamppost sign for the then-new Alice in Wonderland attraction. The Chemical Wagon is heading south, while a distant Streetcar heads toward us.

Just for fun, I decided to zoom in a bit. More for the people than the buildings!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Two Miscellaneous Photos

Today's photos are "leftuggies" - scans left over from other past lots, that somehow didn't get posted before. 

This first one (from 1966) is kind of interesting taken along a walkway leading to the front gates - eventually! Darn, that is a long walk. Couldn't they have waited for a tram somewhere?

Even this far out, flowering shrubs have been planted (deadly oleander!) to soften the appearance of the parking lot and those huge electrical towers. From this great distance, only the Matterhorn, the Douglas Moonliner, and the Monorail tracks are visible.

Next we are aboard the Skyway in 1969, heading toward Tomorrowland. Those tunnels were carved by years of alpine winds and water, along with an abominable snowman or two. Notice the little conifers, placed in built-in planters up to the snow line.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Columbia and Burning Cabin, April 1960

Initially I didn't think that this first photo was anything special, but then I noticed that Cascade Peak is still under construction in the background, so that's pretty cool! In addition, this is one of those times when the Columbia was moored on Tom Sawyer Island. I think this happened at least one other time (in 1963).

This next one is not a good photo, but it is a bit interesting because it is such a low-level view of the burning settler's cabin. Was this take from a Canoe? A Keel Boat? The lower level of the Mark Twain? The Columbia's sails peek up from the other side of the island.