Tuesday, January 19, 2021

A Few From December, 1998

I'm using up some scans from my friend Mr. X, from photos that he took in 1998 (with one exception), so let's go!

Here's an unusual view taken from the back of a Casey Jr. Circus Train looking at the track and undulating hedges (which presumably blocked off some unsightly backstage views). Notice the chain lift in the track, this is where Casey thinks he can.


Next is a shot from Frontierland - I believe that Rancho del Zocalo would be roughly behind us, and the Rivers of America in front of us. Hard to believe that we can't see any of the water, or even a bit of the Mark Twain or Columbia peeking up above the trees and plants.


By 1998, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad had been at Disneyland for 19 years - just a little less than its predecessors - the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train (1956-1959) and the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland (1960-1977). It's a fun ride, though it lacks some of the charm and depth of the old Mine Train rides.


This last one is from 1999, and of course it shows the wonderful Snow White Grotto, brought to you by Mountain Dew Red. It's EXTREME! Make an extreme wish at the nearby wishing well, won't you?


Many thanks to Mr. X!
 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Stuff From The Box - More World's Fair Items

It's time for more Stuff From the Box, but this is all World's Fair stuff. So... I apologize in advance if you think it's boring! 

First up is this tiny brass pin (about one inch from top to bottom) from the 1933/34 Chicago World's Fair. "A Century of Progress" was that Fair's slogan. The pin is from the natural gas pavilion - I don't know if this would have been worn by a person working at that pavilion, or if the pins were sold to fairgoers - my guess would be the former. 

If you're curious, there is a short film with some very nice color footage of that Fair, see it here (sorry, my HTML link doesn't seem to work):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGfRgU4cPrY&t=1s


The 1939/40 New York World's Fair got a ton of publicity, but San Francisco held the Golden Gate International Exposition - "Pageant of the Pacific" was its theme. It was sort of a "sister fair" to the one in New York, and some people traveled from coast to coast to see both. Let's all go to "Sally Rand's Nude Ranch" in the amusement zone! 

Planter's Peanuts had a presence at both fairs, and wooden pins like the one below were given out each; as you can see, this example has Mr. Peanut leaning on the Tower of the Sun, while the New York version has him leaning on the Trylon and Perisphere.


Here's an odd medal from the 1939 New York World's Fair, celebrating the Order of the Easter Star. I knew that the Order had something to do with freemasonry, but I had to go to Wikipedia for a little more info: The Order of the Eastern Star is a Masonic appendant body open to both men and women. It was established in 1850 by lawyer and educator Rob Morris, a noted Freemason, but was only adopted and approved as an appendant body of the Masonic Fraternity in 1873. The order is based on some teachings from the Bible,[1] but is open to people of all religious beliefs. It has approximately 10,000 chapters in twenty countries and approximately 500,000 members under its General Grand Chapter.


I have lots and lots of pins from the New York World's Fair, and the example below is pretty common - a nice shiny pin with orange and blue paint and a classic Trylon and Perisphere design. But this one is extra nice because it's still on the original card on which it was sold. It has a pleasing, bold graphic design.


And here's another tiny pin, around 1 inch in size, on its water-damaged backing card. 


Here's a strange souvenir; a sturdy brass Social Security card with a fantastic enameled (painted) design. I know nothing about how these were issued; did a guest buy the blank card, take it home, and engrave the relevant information on it themselves? Or did somebody do the engraving at the Fair? I've seen two other brass cards with a completely different designs, so guests could apparently choose their favorite.


That's it for now! The next Stuff From the Box post will be World's Fair free.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Scenes From the Jungle Cruise, August 1966

If I'm sharing so-so photos of the Jungle Cruise, that means it's probably Sunday. Who needs a calendar? Not you! 

I remember the first time I saw "The Lion King"; the film begins with hundreds of animals gathering at Pride Rock to witness introduction of Simba the cub. And my brain being what it is, I immediately thought of the "African Veldt" scene in Disneyland's Jungle Cruise. Only in this case the lions are feasting on one of their pals. No big deal!


There's nothing like a nice swim on a hot day, even elephants know it. The Sacred Bathing Pool needs a slide, and maybe a bar where they can buy overpriced cool drinks. It'll be the most popular place in the jungle!


 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Mitchell Corn Palace, South Dakota

Mitchell Corn Palace (in Mitchell, South Dakota) is one of those wonderful, unique (and a little odd) examples of Americana  that so many of us love. While I'd been aware of this place since I was a child, I didn't really know much about it. Wikipedia to the rescue!

In the late 19th Century, a number of cities on the Great Plains constructed "crop palaces" (also known as "grain palaces") to promote themselves and their products. As the idea succeeded, it spread, including: a Corn Palace in Sioux City, Iowa, that was active from 1887–1891; a Corn Palace in Gregory, South Dakota; a Grain Palace in Plankinton, South Dakota; and a Bluegrass Palace in Creston, Iowa.[3] From 1887 to 1930, at least thirty-four corn palaces were built across the Midwest United States; only the Mitchell Corn Palace has remained intact.

Notice the large panels on the side of the building (seen here in 1962), decorated with multicolored corn cobs, and what I assume is corn silk on those cylindrical features. This is known as "crop art".


Here's another view from 1962. The original Mitchell Corn Palace (known as "The Corn Belt Exposition") was built in 1892 to showcase the rich soil of South Dakota and encourage people to settle in the area. It was a wooden castle structure on Mitchell's Main Street, constructed on land donated by Louis Beckwith, a member of the First Corn Palace Committee.[5] In 1904–1905, the city of Mitchell mounted a challenge to the city of Pierre in an unsuccessful attempt to replace it as the state capital of South Dakota. As part of this effort, the Corn Palace was rebuilt in 1905. In 1921, the Corn Palace was rebuilt once again, with a design by the architectural firm Rapp and Rapp of Chicago. Russian-style onion domes and Moorish minarets were added in 1937, giving the Palace the distinctive appearance that it has today.

So much reading! Sorry.


As you can see in this probably-1950s photo, the crop art murals were in the midst of being redone. The exterior corn murals are replaced and redesigned each year with a new theme, with designs created by local artists. From 1948 to 1971, the artist Oscar Howe designed the panels. Calvin Schultz designed the murals from 1977 to 2002. From 2003 to 2017, the murals have been designed by Cherie Ramsdell. No new mural was created in 2006 due to an extreme drought. Beginning in 2018, designs have been created by Dakota Wesleyan University students. As of 2018, it costs an estimated $175,000 each time the Palace is redecorated.


The Corn Palace is used as a concert venue for many musical acts, some listed on Wikipedia. Johnny Cash thrice (once in 1968), The Beach Boys in 1969, Willie Nelson twice (once in 2003), Brad Paisley in 2004, Styx twice (once in 2005), Chubby Checker in 2005, Weird Al Yankovic in 2007, David Cook in 2009, Charlie Daniels Band in 2012, Billy Currington with Jake Owen in 2012, The Turtles with Mark Lindsay in 2013, Warrant with FireHouse in 2014, Pat Benatar in 2014, and Theory of a Deadman in 2015.

I don't know who Brad Paisley is, or Billy Currington & Jake Owen are, I'm guessing they are country acts? I'm not up on that stuff. If it ain't polka, I don't want to know.


I hope you have learned a little something about the Mitchell Corn Palace!

Friday, January 15, 2021

Two Beauties

It's Friday, and that usually means that I try to post some better-than-usual photos to ease you into your weekend. I think you'll like today's selection!

This first one is a swell view (from August 1962), taken from beneath the Monorail track (here comes "Old Bluie"), with the Matterhorn to our right, and the Yacht Bar to our left. I've always been a little bit baffled by the Yacht Bar. Why not the Rocket Bar, or the Zero-G Bar, or... you get the idea. There's a line, I hope you don't need your hamburger right away. Notice the swirled balloons that you could get if you didn't want one with black mouse ears.


This next one is from October, 1961. There sure aren't any long lines at the ticket booths, but then again, it looks to be later in the afternoon. The clock appears to read 2:35, but that doesn't seem right. Look at all those posters, the ones stuck to the Monorail's support pylons, and the ones back by Mickey's flower portrait (how many can you ID?). October can be a fine time to visit Disneyland, I wish I could step into this picture!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Skyway Views, June 1963

Today's first image is really the star of the show, with a busy and colorful Fantasyland below us, the snow-capped Matterhorn in front of us, and a sky full of dramatic gray clouds, even though the sun is shining (for now) where we are. I always think that looks cool. 


And YES, there is a bobsled visible!


Next is a perfectly nice, but also very common view of the Submarine Lagoon, with the shadow of the Matterhorn cast over its blue-green surface. What can I say that I haven't said many times before? How about this: I have never had a Philly cheesesteak. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Random Pix

Sometimes photos are just kind of random. It's not their fault - they ate their vegetables and did their homework. But they never quite fit in. Luckily, they discovered their love for playing the Sousaphone and marching in the school band, where they made friends and learned that it was OK to be themselves.

What were we talking about again? 

Oh yeah, the Jungle Cruise, known by Sousaphone players as The Fabulous Jungle Cruise. They love those superlatives. Here we are, in August, 1966; our photographer is taking one last look at civilization before vanishing into the depths of the misty jungle FOREVER. Some say that if you listen closely, you can still hear the sounds of a distant Sousaphone playing over the screeches of monkeys and birds.


I'm sure there was a perfectly good reason that this next photo (from September of 1960) was composed the way that it is. 50% empty asphalt (I think? This doesn't look like the famous "slurry" that we all love so much). The lower part of an Alpine waterfall is nearly dead-center, was that what the photographer was trying to capture? Or maybe they were just a little quick on the draw with the single bobsled that was about to cross over the stone bridge. The world may never know.


 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Around Main Street, 1984

It's time for more photos from Lou and Sue, with a special guest... Sue's cousin Stu! He took today's pictures, and judging by these examples, he and Lou made quite a team. 

I like this first picture looking down what I believe was called East Plaza Street. There's the Plaza Inn at the end of the street, and the Baby Station (sponsored by Gerber) to the right. "Listen, my baby is really cranky, and they won't let me leave him in one of the lockers. Can I check him here instead?". 

Mr. Smee and Captain Hook  seem a little out of place in this turn-of-the-century area, but I'll allow it. The little boy and girl want their pictures taken with these great celebrities, but they also don't want to get too close. Naturally those ladies walked right in front of the camera - happens every time. Notice the Carnation truck to our left (not on West Center Street), I was a little surprised that it was still on display in 1984 - in an old post I learned that Disney got rid of the vehicle sometime in the early 2000s.


Nearby is the INA Carefree Corner. It appears to have a mouse infestation! But these are nice mice, so it's OK. I am happy to see these cheerful dressmakers from Cinderella, you don't see these characters every day. Did they have names? Cinderella is there too, and while she wanted an entourage, she didn't want the usual bruisers in suits, carrying walkie-talkies and brass knuckles. Notice the woman carrying "Le Bag", so '80s!


The next three pictures are from one block south on Main Street, at the ooooooold Flower Market. That's how you have to say it, by drawing out the "o". No photographer could resist the riot of intense color that was on display, and who can blame them? Along with flowers, you could also buy classy hanging decorations such as teddy bears or leaping dolphins. What to teddy bears have to do with a flower market? About as much as dolphins do! But it's all good.
 

Let's see, I'll take a dozen of those orangey things, and four of those pink ones over there, and mebbe six 'o those white ones. Grandma will be so happy to not have to water these faux flowers.


I think of outdoor flower markets as being more of a European thing. Americans like beef jerky markets! 


A big thank you to Lou and Sue, and to special guest Stu!

EXTRA! EXTRA! GDB friend Mike Cozart kindly shared this photo of a directional sign pointing to the Ice Cream Cone window. This one is from 1985. Mike also sent some other related photos, and I decided it would be nice to do a stand-alone post to feature those. Thanks, Mike!

Monday, January 11, 2021

Knott's Berry Farm, April 1971

Here's a series of photos from Knott's Berry Farm, circa 1971. Nothing great, but Knott's is always fun.

In earlier years, there was on older lady who played the old steam calliope, but by 1971 a young woman had taken over. Play "Freebird"! Was that unusual wagon built just for Knott's? Or did they purchase a genuine circus antique and modify it? 


I wonder if these two were a couple, or if the lady to the right just wanted to pose with a Knott's cowboy? We can see part of his nametag so we know he was an employee. She's holding her hand on her tummy, she might be expecting. 


The Timber Mountain Log Ride was less than two years old in 1971, having opened in July of 1969. It was a hit from day 1, and is still one of the most popular attractions today. It's a masterpiece!


Flamingos were really a thing for a while, there wasn't a zoo or amusement park that didn't have at least a few of these long-legged birds for guests to look at. I assume that they were bred in captivity, sort of like ostrich farms. Only pinker.


The little red schoolhouse was a popular exhibit, allowing groovy late 1960s folks a chance to see the kind of school their grandparents might have attended. The VHS machines were hand-cranked! It looks like they've added boards to the roof in case the maintenance workers needed access to the little belfry. 


I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Knott's Berry Farm!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Parking Lot and Train Station, March 1958

Today's photos would ordinarily have been the kind of thing that you'd see on any other day but Sunday (the day reserved for slightly-irregular, factory-blemished photos). But... at least this first one has the unfortunate flaw of lacking a crisp sharp focus. It's not terrible, but I wish I could wave a magic wand and get rid of the slight blur. I assume that the large open avenue in front of us was there so that guests arriving at the park would have a pleasing view of Main Street Station as they approached the ticket booths. City Hall is clearly visible to the left, while the Opera House and Bank of America are visible to the right.


From the same batch is this closer (and in-focus) view of Main Street Station, with the ol' Kalamazoo Handcar parked out front, and Mickey Mouse's smiling face greeting everyone. The photographer managed to completely avoid any trace of attraction posters on the fence, though we know there were there since June of 1956.