Friday, May 24, 2013
I just scanned some nice 35mm negatives from December 1998, all of which feature the old Autopia before it closed in 1999 and was completely refurbished (reopening in 2000 with new cars and a track that combined the Fantasyland and Tomorrowland tracks). My pal "Mr. X" had heard about the upcoming changes and decided to take a lot of pictures for posterity.
Here's a great shot showing the distinctive sign that graced the entrance to the Autopia for a few years. I like it, but it is a weird mish-mash of steampunk and 1950's styles.
This one is really all about the little pathway to Tomorrowland Station, with a little bit of Autopia added for flavor. I think it looks pretty much the same today, with minor alterations.
And finally, a nice overview as seen from the Monorail platform. The former Peoplemover track was the Rocket Rods track at this point (more on that in a future post). Hard to believe that this was 15 years ago!
Thursday, May 23, 2013
The Flower Mart lasted a long time; for over 20 years, baskets and bouquets of artificial flowers brightened West Center Street. I wonder if that means that the sale of these faux blossoms was pretty brisk?
The boy reminds me of Lon Chaney Jr. (I'm honestly not trying to be unkind), and the lady reminds me of Barbara Bel Geddes in "Rear Window". She also reminds me of my favorite teacher, Mrs. Cole, from second grade. I loved her! I wonder what they are both looking at... maybe they are reading the names on the second-story windows.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Here's a bright sunny photo of the Mark Twain, decorated with patriotic bunting - either for fourth of July, or maybe as part of the opening of the new attractions in Tomorrowland (you know which ones I mean). My favorite detail is the pair of cast members in the foreground, with their groovy straw hats. Tom and Huck!
And I like this picture of a busy Frontierland. Do I see three canoes (one is partly hidden by another, and a third is waaay in the distance)? There also appears to be another raft to Tom Sawyer Island just to the left of the mill - I have never confirmed that there was more than one raft landing, but am pretty sure that there was. A few guests can be seen on the island, and one of Huck Finn's rafts is unloading one bunch of passengers while more are boarding.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
I recently found a small lot of stereo slides that I am guessing are from around 1970 or '71. Not all of them are gems, but hey, I can't be too choosy.
This first one is pretty neat, who doesn't love a view of the original "New Tomorrowland", looking fresh and crunchy. The Peoplemover trains never looked better than when they were painted aqua, royal blue, yellow, and (not seen here) tomato red. Adventure Thru Inner Space, man, did I love that attraction.
This one's OK, mostly showing the Skyway, Matterhorn, and the teeming masses (waiting to ride the Subs, perhaps).
That kid mighty glad to be at Disneyland, and I don't blame him. In the background is a brand-new Mark III Monorail (introduced at the park in 1969). Notice the outdoor speaker to the right of the kid... any idea what it was used for?
Monday, May 20, 2013
Well whaddaya know... GDB celebrated its 7-year anniversary about a week ago, and now another milestone has been reached; today marks the 2,500th post. BUT... I'm not going to make this an excuse for another "hooray for me" fest!
I have an unusual series of photos for you, featuring some sort of work being done on the Monorail track. The slides are date-stamped "November 1961", and the Monorail had been extended to the Disneyland Hotel that year, so it is safe to presume that this work had something to do with the new track.
As you can see, workmen are up on the beamway, operating a concrete saw that appears to have been mounted to some sort of custom jig that acted as a guide. Maybe Bob Gurr was involved in designing the jig! I wonder if the extended area in the front and back were there in order to make the unit the same length as a Monorail car? (Maybe not, it looks a bit short to me).
A little extra bonus is the rare peek at a sliver of Holidayland, the picnic & playground area once located outside the berm (to the west of the park, in part where the Haunted Mansion show building is now located). Looks like it was a windy day, check out those trees!
Who's the guy in the suit? That is like potentially dirty work up there, with water and concrete dust flying. I'll bet a concrete saw sounds great, too.
I wonder if they were just smoothing off some rough edges, or if some part of the 2.5 mile addition was too wide. Or maybe a groove was being cut. WHO KNOWS!
Mr. Suit isn't just standing around twiddling his thumbs, he is in there working! Hmmm, I wonder what the view would be like from up there?
Oh, like that! There's a vantage point that you don't see every day. Over to the left, part of the Holidayland baseball diamond is visible.
This day was more blustery than Winnie the Pooh's; tables have been knocked over and Eeyore lost his tail.
Thanks for sticking with GDB for 2,500 posts!
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Here are three snoozetastic Leftuggies™ (known to most people as leftovers) - previously unposted scans that are sure to put you to sleep immediately.
By 1963, animator/Imagineer Marc Davis had put his stamp on the Jungle Cruise, introducing small tableaus with gentle humor. This example is a weird one! "So, we'll have the mother elephant with her rear end facing the folks in the boat. Flanking her will be two baby elephants." "And....?". "That's it, my homey. It is existential or Kafkaesque or something". "Oh. Ha ha?". I have noticed that a lot of the scenes involving elephants, particularly around the bathing pool, could undergo small changes, and in some cases would just vanish or move to other locations.
"Here comes the sub, doobie doo doo...."; it's one of George Harrison's most beloved songs. And the only one about a Disneyland attraction! One might expect an attraction involving nuclear (nucular!) submarines to be hard-edged, cold, and intimidating. But this ride involves colorful lagoons (surrounded by nice landscaping) and fanciful underwater settings.
Geysers and multi-hued paint pots help make this part of the desert a real Nature's Wonderland. The hat in the foreground helps too.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Today's "Anything Goes" entry celebrates trains. Everybody loves trains, even communists.
This first photo shows a beautiful miniature locomotive that was once located at Crandon Park, Florida (famous for its miles of sandy white beaches). From what little I could glean online, this 2 foot gauge train debuted around 1949, and was powered by gasoline rather than live steam. Accounts vary, but it seems to have operated until the mid-1970's, when it was replaced with a completely different train - but as of now none are still there.
This next picture is from July 1971, and it features the California Western Railroad (affectionately known as the "Skunk Train") up in Mendocino County, California. Wikipedia sez, The CWR runs steam and diesel-powered trains and rail motor cars 40 miles (64 km) through redwood forests along Pudding Creek and the Noyo River. Along the way, the tracks cross some 30 bridges and trestles and pass through two deep mountain tunnels. Sounds pretty neat! The locomotive dates back to 1885 when, as the Fort Bragg Railroad, it hauled redwood logs to lumber mills.
And I'm throwing this one in as a bonus, even though I don't have any info about it. At first I thought it might be another view of the Skunk Train, but there is a sign on the building to the extreme left, and I think it says "Burlington Route", which operated throughout the Midwest.
Friday, May 17, 2013
We'll start today's selection with this great, colorful picture of a mom and two girls near the exit to Disneyland. Even though it is the afternoon (that other mom and her kids are done for the day), it looks to me like they are just heading in to the park. Mom acknowledges the camera with a bullfighter's flourish ("Olé!"). The train is at the station, and quite a few posters are visible in the distance. Any idea what those vehicles are to our right?
Here's a nice shot of the Fire Department, with the old Chemical Wagon resting inside. I never really noticed that green door before, is that how Walt Disney accessed his apartment upstairs? Or was there a secret back entrance for him?
I added this shot of the Friendly Indian Village just "because"... it's not like we haven't seen a zillion similar pictures of it before.
And finally we have a fun photo looking down on the Autopia (taken from the Peoplemover, I think). The dreaded center rail has been added, which means that this is post-1965. There appears to be some sort of traffic jam in the lane to our right; a cast member has his foot on the bumper of that yellow car. Somebody probably stalled - it happened to me more than once.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
It has been over two months since we've visited the 1964 New York World's Fair, so let's hop in our cardboard box ("Calvin and Hobbes" style) and head back in time.
The New York State pavilion was an extremely popular destination, in large part because of the striking bird's-eye views that guests could get atop the 226-foot observation tower. And striking views meant that the cameras came out, resulting in many thousands of photos snapped from up there.
This is kind of an interesting view... I'm wondering where the photographer was standing that gave him an even more elevated view as he snapped a picture of his wife and son (near the Unisphere). The Fair below almost looks like an elaborate diorama. Notice the blue light globes that surrounded the edge of tower roof.
World's Fair freaks have seen images like the next 3 a jillion times, but the average person will hopefully still find these interesting. SO... there's the wonderful Unisphere. In the upper left corner is the United States pavilion; lower left (with the blue squares) is the New England States pavilion. In the upper right corner, the red tile roof of the Republic of China building is prominent.
The white-domed General Electric pavilion ("Progressland") is easily spotted in the upper left of this picture. In the upper left, the hexagonal Better Living Center, and next to it, the Pepsi Cola pavilion (with the Tower of the Four Winds out front). The Eastman Kodak building is just below the Pepsi pavilion. Sweden's building at the bottom is modern, but the blue and gold façade reminds me of a medieval banner. The wavy roof of the Sermons From Science building is also distinctive.
The huge oval building at center/right (with the frilly "tent" on top) is the Vatican pavilion (where guests could see Michelangelo's Pieta). And to the left of that is the Belgian Village (go get a waffle!). The large structure in the lower left was originally going to be the French pavilion, but it never was built. So instead it was The Pavilion of Paris and French Industry.
I think it's time to scan some more World's Fair slides.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
I love old pinback buttons, and have quite a few. They are colorful, and you can find them relating to almost any interest. Politics, comics, cars, candy, farm equipment, sports, movies, TV cowboys, space exploration... ANYTHING. When the buttons in question are vintage Disney, it's like two cool things in one.
Today's examples are, for the most part, non-Mickey Mouse pins. For example, there's the Big Bad Wolf! "The Three Little Pigs" was a sensation when it was released in 1933, and many items were produced bearing the images of the trio of oinkers and the BBW. The "Dumbo D-X" button was supposedly given out by gas stations in the early 1940's. And the Donald Duck "Wanna Fight?" pinback (this one seems to be somewhat scarce) shows the duck when he had a small head and a long bill - he was redesigned with his familiar rounder, plumper look in 1936.
Next we have three buttons featuring Pinocchio (my favorite Disney feature!). The first example on the left seems to be a somewhat generic "fan" button, although I wouldn't be surprised if it was given out at various stores and events. It has its original Kay Kaymen back paper, which is always a cool plus. The colorful button in the center was handed out to children by dentists (Pinoke and Jiminy are on the path to "good teeth"). The back paper says, "Distributed by the Bureau of Public Relations, American Dental Association". And the button on the right was distributed to children (perhaps at Christmas time) at Hudson's department store, which had its flagship store in Detroit.
The next three pins are a bit of a departure; the one on the left and the one in the center were both given to members of the "Mickey Mouse Weekly" club in England. The Mickey Mouse Weekly magazine continued to be published until 1959. The "Mickey Mouse Chums" button was issued on Mickey's 8th birthday on September 26, 1936, and is nice heavy nickel-plated brass with real enamel. The "Jungle Club" seemed to be related - but different - from the "Chums" club, and the pin is scarcer than the other one. It's also less desirable because it doesn't show Mickey! The example on the right is a wonderful, heavy brass badge that was distributed by the Schutter Candy Company in 1940; kids had to send in 5 Pinocchio candy bar wrappers along with 10 cents. It was intended to look "... Exactly Like The One The Blue Fairy Gave Jiminy Cricket".
And finally, here are three pinbacks starring Donald Duck. The first one on the left is a tin-litho button advertising Donald Duck bread. Now with more feathers! The Icy-Frost Twins button is scarce, from an ice cream company of course. And finally, a smaller button for Sunbeam bread, probably from the 1950's.