Thursday, December 12, 2013
General Motors' "Futurama" was the single most-popular attraction at the 1964/65 New York World's Fair (although the Vatican pavilion gave it a run for its money). The enormous pavilion (230,000 square feet) had many wonderful displays, but it was the the ride system, consisting of a continuously-moving train of up-to-three-passenger "lounge chairs" that allowed a capacity of some 5,500 people per hour. A busy day could bring as many as 70,000 visitors through "The Ride" (it was repeatedly referred to as "The Ride" in some promotional material). What an experience it must have been.
Today I have four photos from The Ride, starting with two that showed how life in the future would include undersea farming, mining, exploration, and recreation. I couldn't find any mention of what this specific structure was supposed to be used for… you can see at least one tiny person inside the dome of the saucer-shaped structure, as if he was overseeing some delicate industry.
This thing looks pretty fragile, but I'm sure that it was made with transparent aluminum and could withstand the pressure of thousands of atmospheres. The vehicle was used to retrieve golf balls from the nearby underwater driving range.
Now we've left the sea, passed through deserts and mountains (all improved through science and technology) and we're flying through the air. In the distance, a modern city can be seen. Let's swoop down for a closer look!
This city of the future looks like something out of the movie "Logan's Run" (it's time for Carousel!), minus the giant glass domes. The city worked on multiple levels, with lower levels for some mass-transit, utilities and infrastructure, as well as the moving of freight, which could be achieved without affecting the fully automated highways up above. The upper levels were for fun and happiness and minimal Morlock invasions.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Today I am sharing the last of my vintage Mickey Mouse (and friends) pinback buttons.
Here are four smaller pins, an inch or less in diameter. The first two are nice early examples with "waving Mickey" poses. The third is from a set that featured various movie stars, and The Mouse was included along with the flesh-and-blood actors. The drawing resembles Mickey as he was seen on a number of British products, but I don't think that the button is from England. The fourth pin is apparently from Australia… I've seen color variations of "Pick-Me-Up" pins (Hake's Americana says that Pick Me Up was some sort of sauce, possibly a spaghetti sauce). I think every one I've seen had at least some spotting.
Speaking of Australia, the Donald pinback is from down under… Parramatta is just outside of Sydney. The second pin is unusual, printed on cloth; I've seen color variations of this one - it seems to have been made to put on your felt beanie. The third pin is from a set given away with Donald Duck peanut butter. The fourth pin features good old Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, but this is from after he was taken away from Walt Disney; Walter Lantz over at Universal was making Oswald cartoons.
Now for some larger buttons, around 2 inches in diameter. The first example was supposedly worn by employees in music stores… I'd love to find a copy of this book to accompany the button! "Mickey Mouse: World Reporter" was a pin given out by Vicks cough syrup (bleah), and the Peter Pan pinback is another one that is rumored to have been worn by store employees.
And now for the final three! The example on the left is supposed to be one of the first Mickey Mouse pinbacks produced; the drawing of him is oddly stylized (as if Mickey wasn't stylized enough to begin with). In the middle you have a button with a fold-over tab for Mickey Mouse shoes. This one must be pretty rare, I don't see many of them. And lastly, we have a generic walkin' & wavin' Mickey in a scarce small size.
I hope you have enjoyed these vintage pinback buttons!
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
It's high time for a visit to Santa's Village, starting with this nice shot of the little train… I am guessing that it really was a steam locomotive, and not one of those little gas-powered abominations.
These photos were taken in September, when Santa wasn't so busy. Lucky for this little girl, she got to meet the man himself! I like how the girl's pants appear to be patched with the same fabric that made up her shirt. Her sneakers match and her babushka is adorable!
Either she is showing off her engagement ring, or she was caught in awkward mid-wave. Love those giant mushrooms! You might remember this girl from a picture from Jungleland USA .
Monday, December 09, 2013
It's time for the second installment of Christmas Parade photos, circa 1996 - graciously shared with GDB by Ken Martinez. Thanks Ken!
When we left off the last time, we saw some Chinese "toys", and they can still partially be seen in the bottom of the frame. Atop the float is none other than Roger Rabbit! Looks like he's going to be pumping some iron while he's up there… somehow I picture the weight falling all the way to the street, with Roger's arms stretched 25 feet long.
Sometimes I want to wear my PJs all day just like Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore are doing. Pooh seems to have slimmed down a bit from the old days, I guess he has cut down on the Hunny (Blogger's autocorrect will only let me type "Hunny" if it is capitalized - otherwise it changes the word to "funny"). I wonder how they find young kids who are able to participate in regular parades… do they pick different children from among park guests and let them march in a single parade?
Meanwhile, a dancer in a music box can be seen in the distance.
Snow men and women boogie down as only snowfolk can do. I think I detect a do-si-do, but it might be a waltz. Giant walking snowflakes look like escapees from the old "Adventure Thru Inner Space".
Hey, the snowflakes are on roller skates! What a fun idea. I hope they don't get their wheels stuck in the streetcar track. Notice the lights on top of the buildings for the nighttime version of the parade.
I love this group of cooks, their costumes remind me of Maxfield Parrish and his illustrations for the book "The Knave of Hearts" (which I assume was the inspiration).
Mmmm, nothing says "Christmas" like gingerbread! If I had designed these, I would have given at least one of them a crescent-shaped bite out of the top of its head.
Wow, we've got Lumiere (from "Beauty and the Beast"), Cinderella and Prince Charming (from… well, you know), and behind Lumiere we can just see Snow White and her prince.
Never fear, we'll have one more post of parade photos from our pal Ken Martinez!
Sunday, December 08, 2013
I almost feel bad posting today's dark, dismal photos. But when a blogger is running short of new images, I guess I can't be too choosey.
The coming of the "New Fantasyland" was heavily advertised in local SoCal newspapers, and I was certainly well aware of it; all of the artwork that had been printed showed the level of detail and craftsmanship that this revamped area received. I love the forest of chimneys atop each building, and of course the sailing ship weathervane is a great touch.
These timber-framed buildings have a wonderful "old Europe" feel that works well with the fantasy and fairy tale theme. It even works with the Matterhorn!
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Let's set the wayback machine to 1960; the place - Holland, Michigan. Not surprisingly, the city had been populated by Dutch settlers, and in 1928, a city beautification project saw the planting of 100,000 tulip bulbs. Each May since 1929, the city of Holland has celebrated its "Tulip Time Festival" with fireworks, shows, arts and crafts, concerts, food, and everything else that makes life worth living.
There are also three parades, because one parade just wasn't enough! Here's a group of wholesome kids performing a bit of klompen dancing, which must have made a glorious sound (though it wasn't good for the pavement).
Reader's Digest proclaimed that the Tulip Time Festival was the best small town festival. What about the Over-cooked Brussels Sprouts festival? Or the Aerosol Cheese Extravaganza? I demand a recount. The blond girl is adorable; she is somebody's grandma today. Just look at the turnout for this parade, pretty impressive.
I guess that boys were not interested in klompen dancing, because even the "boys" are girls in this picture. How could you not stay at a hotel named "Hotel Warm Friend", especially when it has been recommended by Duncan Hines?? Screw those Michelin stars, I prefer cupcakes.
I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Tulip Time Festival!
Friday, December 06, 2013
Today's photos are bright, colorful views of the Matterhorn, with a generous dollop of vintage Tomorrowland added to the first example.
From the upper level of the Carousel Theater, you could get the unusual perspective of being above the Skyway as the buckets left (and entered) the Tomorrowland terminal. Multi-hued Autopia vehicles and the Peoplemover add to the nostalgia.
Here's a great worm's eye view of the Swiss mountain. One of the single-vehicle bobsleds was captured on its way down the icy slopes.
Thursday, December 05, 2013
Let's continue our look at a group of early 70's WDW photos…
Some sort of little parade is making its way up Main Street. Or maybe it's a big parade. Anyway, it's nice to see the Walrus from Alice in Wonderland, he's a character that isn't seen too often anymore. His pal the White Rabbit is nearby.
Hey, there's "Big W" again. I like his groovy 70's mustache, and so do the guests. In the background you can see the tropical lagoon that housed the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction.
I've always liked the day-glo orange fur on Tigger, and he looks so fluffy and huggable. These kids clearly agree. Extra points go to the kid with the plumed chapeau; it's the look that never went out of style.
Flower the Skunk is another character you just don't see these days. Wouldn't he be popular? I say yes. Just look at the smiling fans nearby. Now I see that big sis is the true owner of that hat, but I like the fact that she put it on her little bro in the previous picture.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Of all the plastic houses I've seen, the Monsanto "Plastic Home of the Future" is the best. It looks like a giant toy, doesn't it? Life-sized Barbie and Ken (also plastic) could live there happily. It's amazing how homey it looks (to my eyes, anyway) when surrounded by the lush plantings. If I had one of these homes, I would have to build a fairytale castle nearby.
Here's a nice view taken from the stern of the tuna boat, looking toward the Storybook Land canals, the Casey Jr. Circus Train, and Cinderella's castle. The eucalyptus trees in the background are left over from the original fruit orchards (they were used as wind breaks) - they make a nice natural wall between the park and the outside world.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Here are two more from a small set of glass-mounted slides. These aren't the most exciting images in the world, but their age helps a lot!
The Dance Circle was always a popular draw back in those days - children seemed especially fascinated by the show. Here's a hoop dancers; according to Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge), "North American Hoop Dance is a storytelling dance incorporating anywhere from one to 30 hoops, which are used to create both static and dynamic shapes, or formations, representing various animals, symbols, and storytelling elements. It is generally performed by a solo dancer with many hoops." This fellow was probably just getting warmed up.
Tom Sawyer Island was newly-opened in '56. The necessity of taking a raft to get there didn't hinder its popularity - if anything it made the place more interesting because you couldn't just saunter over to it. While it has suffered some unfortunate changes in recent years, it is still a fun place to visit.