Saturday, October 22, 2016

SeaWorld, San Diego - September 1968

Today I have some nice early photos from SeaWorld in San Diego. This park was the first of several SeaWorlds (including locations in Ohio, Orlando, and San Antonio) - it debuted in 1964.

Take a look at this first photo; it's a display of critters - fish, crustaceans, marine mammals, bivalves, cephalopods, and so on) dressed in Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts, leis, and other touristy garb. Notice the fierce carved tiki! Apparently this was a kind of "Chuck E. Cheese"-style animatronic band... from what I can glean on the internet, "Punchy" (the pugnacious mascot of Hawaiian Punch) was later added to a revamped tableau.

Next is this nice image of SeaWorld's Japanese Village area. I've always loved this peaceful, beautiful style of garden, with the manicured shrubs and stone bridges. The water was teeming with koi fish. The small structure to the right houses a very large taiko drum. I think that the building to our left had pearl divers, as well as a selection of merchandise.

Hawaiian Punch again. It's a conspiracy! This was the Hawaiian Punch Village, where you would be able to enjoy a nice "Polynesian-style drink" (presumably no alcohol?). 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Beautiful River, May 1958

Here are two more vintage photos of Frontierland, taken on a perfect day in May.

Here's a beauty taken from the Mark Twain (the Columbia wouldn't come along for another month or so... more on that in a future post); the scene is so tranquil and inviting. It doesn't take much to imagine being able to drift on the river all the way down to Memphis while taking a nap.

It's hard to tell what time of day it was, but I believe that it must have been a little after noon. If so... hardly a soul can be seen, except for the red-shirted guy wrangling that raft (is he pulling it toward him, or pushing it away?) and a few people way in the distance. To the left of Rainbow Ridge is the hill where Cascade Peak would hatch in two years.

Looking in a northwesterly direction, we can see another dock for rafts (I suppose it would have been used on especially busy days), as well as Fort Wilderness and some of the rocks and caves on Tom Sawyer Island. Just a bit further, there's the settler's cabin burning fiercely. 

I love how glassy the river is - the waterway was dredged from Orange County orchards just a few years before, but by 1958 it is easy to believe that you might catch a catfish, or spot a hideous alligator snapping turtle!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Vintage Postcards - Midway Mania

And now for something a little bit different! This is another installment looking at Ken Martinez's collection of vintage amusement park postcards. But... well, I'll let Ken explain it:

Midway Mania! - Classic Carnival Rides Part 1

Today I'm sharing postcards of classic carnival rides that could be found at the county fair of local carnival that came to town. My childhood was filled with visits to these types of places.

Here's the "Rock-O-Plane", manufactured by Eyerly Aircraft Comapny. The eight caged vehicles rotated back and forth allowing riders to travel upside down. I remember my sister losing her keys on this attraction as they clanked all over the cage and out below. The location for this postcard is Rotary Playland in Sacramento, California.

The "Octopus" was another Eyerly Aircraft Company flat ride. It was also the first carnival ride I ever rode. The sixteen vehicles rotated on the eight arms which moved up and down and around hence the name "Octopus". The location for this postcard is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

I've only seen the "Twister" once at the county fair in Pleasanton, California. It was manufactured by Chance Rides which was a manufacturer of many carnival flat rides. All I remember is it had a rally loud and noisy motor.

The "Spider" was sort of a second generation version of the Octopus except that it had six arms/legs. It was also manufactured by the Eyerly Aircraft Company. A larger version called the "Monster" which had rotating extensions off the arms/legs and held four vehicles on the extensions, could usually be found at the larger theme parks across the country. The location for this postcard is the Iowa State Fair in Sandusky, Ohio.

The "Flying Scooters" were manufactured by Bisch Roccho. I've only seen one of these and I didn't ride it.

Hope you all enjoyed visiting the midway today. Part 2 should appear soon!

Information Source material: The Flat Joint -

Thank you Ken! Part 2 will be here in a week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Today marks the first of many posts that will feature photos from the personal collection of Steve Stuart, aka "Nanook"! He was kind enough to send me a box of dozens of slides so that I could give them the Gold Star Gorilla treatment™. There are photos of Disneyland, Pacific Ocean Park, Santa's Village, and (as they say on TV) much more!

Steve was also nice enough to take the time to share his recollections, which will be fun. Today's scans are from June, 1958 - Disneyland, of course. Let's hear from Steve:

The first image on the SBC "ramp" shows yours truly, wearing what I would think is some sort of souvenir cap, but I'll be damned if I remember anything about it. I do remember always seeming to get some sort of "personalized" hat when visiting Disneyland in my pre-teen visits there. I'm standing next to childhood friends De De (Diane) and her younger brother, John. The "cool kids", standing to our right, safely separated by pennants, are unknown to me, although each one of them somehow resembles kids I knew back then. And I can spy a ticket book in the pocket of "the nice young man" standing next to me. (I should have stolen it. As if). The bigger question is - just what were we pointing at? One assumes the swans - perhaps seeing a black one. But with those grins on our faces, maybe we were laughing at the the expense of others - such as someone falling into the moat...

In the second image, if I have my bearings right, my mom appears to be sitting out near the corner of the Tinkerbell Toy Shop (under the clocktower), as the entrance to the Arts & Crafts Shop we see in the distance is located between the castle entrance, proper, and the entrance to the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthru. The image manages to "shift the focus" back to the Sleeping Beauty Arts & Crafts Shop, and not quite on my mom's face. Interestingly, the gentleman exiting the Arts & Crafts Shop is carrying a 1957 guide book, but the image should be from 1958. (I'm often doubting the dates linked to certain images seen on these pages, and here I am with the original slides in my hot little hand, and I'm scratching my head, wondering if the image dates from late 1957, but the processing date indicating a delay of a full six months! My mom didn't date the Disneyland portion of the images, only the ones from Santa's Village, as from 1958). But then, I have no idea just when the updated guidebooks are offered for sale.

At Storybook Land, De De is sitting up in the prime spot with the "guide" - and back then - still piloted exclusively by men; although that did eventually change to all women, before the "role" was finally opened to both sexes. I'm sitting along back on the port side, looking intently at the dock -? John is sitting behind me looking at De De. This shot perfectly shows the spur track where the boats go for a bit of R&R - often referred to by the guides as: "Never-never-land as we never, ever, go there!". The lever apparently used to switch the tracks can be seen on the right side, beneath the cactus plant.

Thank you, Steve! I hope everybody enjoyed these (I know you did) - stay tuned for more, coming soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Skull Rock & Geppetto's Village, September 1963

Skull Rock is still one of my all-time favorite features at Disneyland. Just look at this first photo, and I won't even have to explain why (but I'm going to anyway). The Imagineers did a brilliant job of adding a tiny bit of Never-Never Land to the park, imitating the rock formations and lush vegetation shown in the film. This small tropical paradise fit right in amid Fantasyland's flat medieval faire façades, spinning rides, and other charming features. 

As I've mentioned before, one detail that always surprises me nowadays is how small the skull was... in my foggy recollections I would have sworn it was two or three times larger - big enough to have been the world's coolest secret hideaway. It certainly made a large impression!

Happily, Storybook Land, with its canal boats and the Casey Jr. Circus Train, is still there to enchant people of all ages. This photo was taken from one of the circus trains, looking down upon Geppetto's Village. It's his village because he rules with a wooden fist. His nickname is "The Toymaker".

Zooming in, we can appreciate the level of detail; cobblestone streets, tiny gardens with miniature plants, stone walls and bridges, fingerposts, and a variety of "old" cottages and buildings - all backed by the jagged peaks of snowy mountains. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Parade Snapshots, 1974

I have a few photos from what I believe is the classic, long-lived "Fantasy On Parade" at Disneyland. In my mind I can almost hear Jack Wagner saying the parade's name, though I don't know if he actually voiced any commercials at the time.

Our photographer had primo spot near the Plaza, and he boldly stepped out into the street to get the best view possible (at great risk to his own personal safety). Leading the way is Dumbo, who had probably seen a parade or two in his circus days.  Riding that giant drum is Mickey Mouse himself. Everybody loves him! Goofy, Donald, Pluto, Chip & Dale, and Minnie Mouse can also be seen.

Goofy ("The Enforcer") has intimidated us back onto the curb. Notice how his left hand is about to curl into a fist! In spite of the hand rail on top of the drum, it looks like Mickey could have easily tumbled through to the ground. Maybe his shoes were nailed to the drum head. There's Chip again - I never loved his cartoons that much (he and Dale were stinkers!), but I liked seeing him at the park. Just visible is "Little John" from "Robin Hood", which had come out in theaters only four months before this photo was taken.

It's the Three Little Pigs (Practical, Piper, and Fiddler). Thanks to those helium balloons, they are very light on their feet. 

It's everyone's favorite crockery... teapots from Alice in Wonderland! For some reason I love that oddball features appeared in this parade. Why the heck not! Just look at the crowds, all orderly and well-behaved. Because they have all been turned into Audio Animatronics! Celebrity sighting: the Walrus. Goo-goo-g'-joob!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sleeping Beauty Castle, June 1963

The first photo for today's Sunday post is very nice - taken on a beautiful June day, with bright sunshine and a lovely blue sky. Nanook has already seen it! Long story. With the little family in the foreground, it could almost be a picture right out of a souvenir guidebook. 

Another photo, same day (apparently earlier...), same general location, but it isn't as pretty. Still... wouldn't it be nice to be there with nobody around?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

New York, New York

I have a few scans from New York City in the 1950's... people seem to like those! 

We'll start with this dramatic view (circa 1953) looking southwest, with the lower part of the island of Manhattan stretching out before us; our photographer was at the "Top of the Rock" - the observation deck of Rockefeller Plaza, approximately 850 feet (260 meters) high. As you can see, it affords a beautiful view of the Empire State Building. Barely visible in the distance we can juuust see the Statue of Liberty in the Hudson River, halfway between the Empire State Building and the right edge of the photo.

Here's a relatively recent photo from the same vantage point.

Next we have this undated, slightly mungy photo taken at the junction of the Avenue of the Americas and 49th Street. There's Radio City to our right. Let's stop off at HoJo's for some fried clams and orange sherbet!  The nearby buildings looks surprisingly old and un-skyscrapery. 

Using Google's "Street View", this was about as close as I could get to the previous image. Things haven't changed a bit!

Friday, October 14, 2016

I Heart Tomorrowland - May 1962

Hey folks... it appears that Photobucket (my photo host) has experienced a massive outage. They are supposedly "working on it" - who knows, by the time you read this, maybe the issue has been resolved. I am also without my computer at the moment - it is on the fritz - otherwise I would just re-up the pictures via Google. I apologize. A word of advice: DON'T EVER USE PHOTOBUCKET FOR ANYTHING!

I have some nice photos from Tomorrowland, 1962 style!

I love this first one, taken as the sun was setting on a lovely May afternoon. The colors are really fantastic! Lemon yellow, coral pink, blue-violet, deep green. The American Flag has already been lowered - it's hard to tell, but it looks like the Clock of the World says that it is around 5 o'clock.

Zooming in a bit affords us some primo vintage people watching. Look at the way that rocket gleams! Notice that the "TWA" logo is gone, soon to be replaced with the "Douglas" paint scheme.

Next is this picture, taken shortly before or after the first one; it's the Monsanto House of the Future, almost appearing to hover like a friendly flying saucer (no probing aliens here) above the lush landscaping. I've always loved that sign to our right. I love it so much I'm going to marry it.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Vintage Postcards - Knott's Berry Farm

Oh boy, this time Ken Martinez takes us (via his vintage postcards) to....

Knott's Berry Farm Part 2 - Ghost Town Buildings

With today's post I wanted to feature four of my favorite buildings in Knott's Ghost Town. Of course all the Ghost Town buildings are my favorite. With all the changes to Knott's Berry Farm for better or worse, I'm grateful they still have much of Ghost Town intact. That and Calico Square are pretty much the reason I go to Knott's.

This is one of my favorite postcards of Knott's Ghost Town. The Iowa School which was built in 1879 was actually from Beloit Kansas and moved west by a group of Iowa farmers. The school house was moved to Knott's in 1952 and included the original furnishings. The bell tower was added by Knott's.

The Bottle House was built in the 1940's. It's also one of my favorite buildings in Ghost Town. I noticed when waiting in the queue for Radiator Springs Racers at the Disneyland Resort they had a similar style of bottle house hut in the queue. I also like this set of postcards because the architectural details really stand out. Nowadays the orange rising pylons and track of the Silver Bullet roller coaster rise above these buildings.

Here we have the Miner's Bank with the "blown out" second floor. This building was added in the 1950's. Another thing I like about these postcards is all the costumed characters. There are no tourists present and the photos are staged as if it were taking place in the time period portrayed. This one's a great example of an action scene portrayed in the old west.

Finally to close out today's post is the famous Bird Cage Theater which featured live old time melodramas back in the day. I have never been inside. According to the Knott's website, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies (formerly Billy Hill and the Hillbillies of Disneyland) are currently playing at the Bird Cage Theater as well as The Marshall Purdy Show on alternate days during the summer of '16.

Hope you have enjoyed today's postcards of some great classic buildings from Knott's Ghost Town. Long live Ghost Town!

Information Source material:

Once again, thank you to Ken Martinez for sharing his collection and writing these great posts!