Thursday, August 28, 2014

Murky Exit & Main Street, 1956

Here are two dark photos from November 1958, taken at the wrong angle (or wrong time of day). Avoid letting the sun backlight your scene, homies! 

The exit to Disneyland. Such a sad sight! What the hell, the sun is still up, why are we leaving so early?? Well, I have the feeling that our photographer was just arriving, and happened to take this picture as he/she walked toward the entrance. The multicolored pennants are a nice touch, as are the attraction posters (as always). If you look just to the left of the guy sitting on the stool, you can see the black light that could see the mysterious glowing hand-stamp in case you were going to return that day. When I was a kid I would always get my hand stamped even if I wasn't coming back later. 

What if you were really careful and didn't wash your hand? Would the glowing ink last until the following day?

Whew, this one is hard to see. But the Disneyland Band is around the flagpole, presumably for the flag-lowering ceremony. Lots of folks are looking on, and one fellow even seems to be saluting (though he may just be shading his eyes). What a nice tradition, one that makes Main Street feel more authentically "small towny".

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New York World's Fair Panoramas, 1965

I recently found some strange-looking slides from the New York World's Fair, probably taken from around the Fair's end (it closed in October of 1965).

They all have a kind of slightly-foggy appearance… it reminds me of the way things look after I've been swimming in a heavily chlorinated pool for some time. But it doesn't necessarily ruin the images. Another thing is that they were taken from the top of the Port Authority building. I have many hundreds of slides from the '64-'65 Fair, but I believe that these are the only examples taken from this vantage point!

Here's the first view, looking down on the Chrysler pavilion's giant "one million horsepower" engine. Notice the US Rubber tire-shaped Ferris Wheel, seen edge-on. And of course the entire rest of the Fair is laid out in the distance, including the wonderful Unisphere.

Panning just a bit to the right, there's the large Transportation and Travel pavilion, including the iconic moon dome. The New York State pavilion with its two observation towers is just beyond. 

SO… just for funsies I decided to see if Photoshop could stitch these two images together, and by gum, it did a pretty good job! I could have cropped off the odd edges, but I like the way they look. Otherwise, you'd never know that this was actually two separate photos that had been magically joined. Photoshop's "photo merge" gets all the credit, I hardly had to do anything.

The next slide looks mostly down upon the distinctive angular building that housed the Chrysler puppet show performed by Bil Baird. In 1964 this building was primarily white, but it got a startling new paint job for the Fair's second season.

Now panning to our left, we see the "world's biggest car", at 80 feet long and 50 feet wide. In the background, the skeletal rotunda of the Ford pavilion is to our left, while the boxy U.S. pavilion is to our right. Shea Stadium is just above the Ford building.

And once again, I used Photoshop to merge the two photos into a single image. Pretty slick, no? Technology is our friend (except when it isn't).

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the top of the Port Authority building at the New York World's Fair!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Indian Village, 1958

I would love to know what exactly is going on in these photos of the Friendly Indian Village ("FIV") from March, 1958. It looks like all of the teepees are either being completely rebuilt, or at least reskinned and/or repainted. They sure looks strange in gleaming white rather than their more familiar buffalo hide colors. 

At first I wondered if, perhaps, the FIV didn't even exist until 1958, but here's a link to a 1956 photo that appears to be the exact same location. So there.

Moving right along the river, you might be distracted by the meese frolicking in the shallows, or by the Natural Arch (for the pack mules to walk across). But I can't help staring at the giant tin-foil ball in front of that teepee. That must have been the result of years of saving every Juicyfruit and Double-mint wrapper. What an achievement!

Our photographer must have taken another trip on the "Twain" (The Columbia wouldn't be there until June), and he took one more photo - it's not a good photo, but I might as well include it here.

Extra! Extra! A comment from our pal Tom got me to thinking. Could you see the Natural Arch bridge and Cinderella Castle from way up by the Indian Village? So I found a nice aerial jpeg on Google Images and made a little diagram. By gum, it works! The red line is the "line of sight" (more or less) in the second photo.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Random Snapshots

I have a few lonely, orphan snapshots. Let's put them together so that they can form a family! Just like in a Disney movie.

I never get tired of seeing the Submarine lagoon when it's been drained for refurbishment (although it was a little bit disappointing when I was at the park and wanted to ride the subs). There they are, all 8 new-kew-lar powered submarines! How often do you get to see them all at once? They are having their audio-animatronic barnacles scraped off.

This one is undated (as is often the case), but the Santa Fe sign on Main Street Station has been replaced by a more generic "Disneyland Railroad" sign, so we know that this is post-1974. But that doesn't help much! It could be from the 1980's or 90's.

The well inside Fort Wilderness seems to be pretty darn interesting to these folks. Is there a goblin down there? Did somebody fall inside? We will never know. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Some Crazy Castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle. It's named after her, but it doesn't belong to her! Some kind of licensing thing - I don't pretend to understand it. She probably gets an annual fee, like the one I get from "Major Pepperidge Sock Emporium".

ANYWAY, I figured I'd share two photos from slightly different years. Like this first one from August of 1960. It's August, and there's no ice cream vendor in the location just to the right? Sacre bleu! Maybe this is from that short-lived period when all you could get at the park was lentils. "Would you like the large cup of boiled lentils, or the extra large?". Dammit, Walt wanted you to be healthy. But the public will have their ice cream. Ingrates. 

Two years later, these two boys appear thrilled to pose for another photo. "Hurry up ma, gee whiz". They wear horizontal stripes so that they can lay down in the tall grass and blend in with the scenery when lions are hunting. Then there's that other kid walking westward with a purpose - he finished one of those big cups of lentils a few hours ago, if you know what I'm saying.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Freedomland, June 1960

In Soviet Russia, they had amusement parks such a "Gulag World" and "Proletariat Park". But in America, we had FREEDOMLAND! Here are some photos from June, 1960 - the very month the park opened.

This first view was taken from one of the Tucson Mining Company ore cars (aka the sky ride) as is passed over the section of the park known as "The Great Plains". The "Chuck Wagon Snack Stand" has a circle of not-yet-covered covered wagons to provide seating for some folks who prefer to not eat at a picnic table. In the distance, the Borden Dairy Company sponsored "Elsie's Boudoir", which is just weird. Apparently Elsie was quite the attraction though, and guests flocked to see her in her luxurious living quarters. Her husband Elmer (of glue fame) went out for cigarettes one evening and never came back, leaving her to raise young Larabee and Lobelia by herself. 

Now we can see a stage coach (is that another one to the extreme left?), part of the "Pony Express" ride that took guests to "The Old Southwest" area. Also to the left is a large tethered balloon, presumably there to add visual interest. Or to bring down strafing Messerschmitts. You'll see nearly-identical balloons in some of the very earliest photos of Disneyland's Tomorrowland. Notice the stockade with the target...

…. it is a shooting gallery known as the Cavalry Rifles. I can almost see the moving targets in my mind. Herds of buffalo; Indians (I have no evidence, but it wouldn't surprise me); desperadoes; prairie dogs; werewolves; the usual stuff. The sign on the corner seems to be unfinished.

There are a few more Freedomland images to come!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tomorrowland, August 1970

Here are a few groovy photos from Tomorrowland, circa 1970. My favorite!

Check out this neat, moody (and rare) view of the Mighty Microscope, from the wonderful "Adventure Thru Inner Space". Boy, did I love this ride. It was just about perfect, although I can't help wondering what they could have done with some slightly higher-tech effects. From what I've read, the Star Speeder in "Star Tours" sits right where the Microscope was.

I decided to go in and lighten the picture up, even though it looks weird now. But at least you can see a few more details!

Meanwhile, outdoors…! There's the Carousel of Progress, and the Tomorrowland Stage (where the Entertainment Committee is rockin' out!), and even the Tomorrowland Terrace.

Happy tears!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Monorail & Lagoon, August 1962

I have the feeling that Monorails never caught on because you can't put a penny on the track (so that a passing train could smoosh it). The public never forgave monorails, and history was altered forever.

I'm sort of fascinated by some of the artificial sea life that was in the lagoon. The fish on strings weren't so great, but look at those anemones! Amenomes! Anenmonnys! Just look at them.

I got nothin'.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Random Snapshots

Once in a while it's fun to buy random snapshots at paper collectibles shows. You never know what you might find!

This first one was obviously clipped from an old photo album, and shows a scene from Jungleland in Thousand Oaks (you've seen it on this blog several times). To be honest I'm not completely sure this is an amateur photo - it has a retouched look to it that makes me think that it was purchased. Oh well, I like it either way.

Here's Chief Red Feather over at Knott's Berry Farm, circa 1958. Did he work for tips? I could swear that I've read that the man portraying the Chief drove a sports car (a Porsche, I think) home every night. Good for him!

This one appears to have been taken at a roadside trading post; maybe in Arizona? Who knows. Perhaps you could buy a nice woven blanket with a colorful geometric design. Or howsabout a beautiful glazed pot? Or beaded moccasins, those are always good. I like the faux-Indian sitting aboard the wagon, and the cute little girl squinting in the sun.

The same girl is now at a small amusement park - again, "location unknown". She's going 'round and 'round in a horse-drawn two-wheeled buggy. Some fun! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Li'l Piggies, July 1967

You might have to wait in line 3 hours to meet Anna and Elsa, but you can meet two of the Three Little Pigs RIGHT NOW! 

This pig is not just known as the "Practical Pig", he even LOOKS practical. Eyes straight ahead, determined to get where he's going (the bathroom, pro'lly). God help any kid who tried to stop him… pigs can be dangerous when riled! And this one carries a hammer (or so I've heard). However, he is always happy to answer your any questions relating to "do it yourself" home projects. "Should I use redwood for my Craftsman-style pergola, or pressure-treated lumber?". "Carriage bolts or drywall screws?". He'll steer you in the right direction.

Meanwhile, his brother, Fifer Pig, is happy to be posing for pictures. Mom looks controlling. "You kids stop screwing around and stand still! Your father is trying to take a picture to send to your Grandmother!". It's weird to see all of that green planted area in the distance… what's there now?