Monday, January 23, 2017

Two More From DrGoat

Here are two more scans, courtesy of Peter, also known as "DrGoat" in the comments. Hooray!

Peter sez: This one is from '60 or '61. I was always enamored of the Columbia, being obsessed with pirates and Tom Sawyer Island. A lot of it had to do with the fact that I saw Disney's Treasure Island (with Robert Newton) that year. one of the most over the top portrayals of Long John Silver ever.

Robert Newton might be over the top, but I love that movie! And it looks great too, I think the production designers used N.C. Wyeth's illustrations as a jumping-off point. 

Peter thinks this was from the same trip as the previous photo. It's funny, I never get tired of seeing Skull Rock. My mind instantly recalls how amazing it looked at night - spooky and beautiful at the same time (see a nice night photo on my fourth anniversary post).


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Jungle Cruise Critters

It's Sunday, and you know what that means... it's a boring post on ol' GDB. They can't all be winners.

We're deep into the darkest jungle on a nameless river, completely cut off from civilization. I'm already sizing up the other guests in the boat, in case we need to eat somebody. To our left we suddenly see a huge African elephant! I can't tell if this is the mother in-law or not. We must have surprised the pachyderm while he (she?) was noshing on those sweet Valencia oranges nearby. It is a relief to know that this elephant won't get scurvy.

You know what the worst animal in Africa is? The rhinocerworst! They're near-sighted, short-tempered, and kind of smelly too. And yet... I love them.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Vintage Amusement Parks

Today I have two nice scans featuring scenes from two unidentified amusement parks (or maybe I should say, "kiddie parks"). 

I love this first one, showing parents and kids aboard a miniature railroad. It looks like "back East" to me, but who knows, it could be anywhere. Maybe even another planet. Check out the boy in his little fedora! 

If you were to hazard a guess as to when this was shot, what would you say? I would have thought that it was from the early to mid-1950's. Maybe even late 1940's. And yet the slide is date-stamped "May 1960"! As you can tell, I am very surprised. Maybe the roll of film sat in a drawer for 10 years before it went to the Photomat.

This next one is actually older than the previous shot (based on the red cardboard "Kodachrome" mount, at least), though the colors are still fresh and vibrant. A cute little girl waves happily from her galloping steed - she has the merry go-round all to herself. Just behind her is a little roller coaster; some of those hills are over 6 feet high! Too intense for me. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Main Street, June 1963

Let's visit Main Street U.S.A.!

I love this first image, looking south toward Main Street Station. Two horse-drawn streetcars are passing each other. The slide was date-stamped "June 1963", and that looks about right, though the crowds are not bad at all. I love seeing the old classic shops, such as the Hallmark store and the Swift Market House to the left, and the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor and the Upjohn Pharmacy to the right.

That guy to the left of the streetcars has an early double-wide stroller - a portent of things to come!

I can't imagine that there are any prominent fire hydrants anymore. They help give Main Street a veneer of verisimilitude that it lacks today. Notice the little boys, fascinated by the passing streetcars.

And there's the train station itself, with patriotic flags and banners aplenty. It's almost noon, the day's half over! 

As usual, I enjoy looking at the people, like the group of kids with the woman dressed in yellow, or the ladies in their nice summer dresses. Also as usual, the Santa Fe logo makes me happy.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Disneyland 1961 - STEVE STUART

Hey! Ho! Let's Go! It's time for more photos from Steve Stuart. This time he and some of his pals are at Disneyland, circa 1961. Once again, Steve has provided some fun context:

Apparently keeping-up with the “tradition” of wearing hats while at The Happiest Place On Earth, ‘us guys’ paid a visit to the local haberdasher, and came-away with a ‘feathered collection’ we shamelessly showed-off.  The date on the slides (ah-hem) – there’s been quite a hullabaloo as of late regarding the often inaccuracy of such annotations – but the slide box indicated March, 1961.  (I would ‘think’ a visit closer to my birthday [June] would seem more in-order, but this is what we’ve got to work with).  So, I’m either nine years old, about to turn 10, or – happy 10th birthday to me-!

Down front we see Ricky and Peter; and in back – yours truly and Andy.  Once again – I have questions without answers.  It’s sort of like “the sound of one hand clapping…”  Just what am I looking at – again with the sinister grin-?  And, what is that pin Andy is wearing-?

In this next image I seem to have an answer to one of my questions:  That “pin” Andy is wearing is no pin at all, but instead a patch – a MLB team patch.  And to get really specific ‘me thinks’ the one “featured” on Andy’s left shoulder in the first image belongs to the Baltimore Orioles, from the 1960’s.  And could my ‘grin’ be in response to the rather “supercilious grin” on that caterpillar-?  "Whooo ... are ... you-?”  You’d a thunk I’d be more interested in the rather curvaceous gal loading-in two caterpillars behind us – or perhaps that strange-looking hat on the gal-? disembarking from the next caterpillar back, with that very long, pink something-or-another cascading down the side.  “Whaaat … is … that-?”

There are actually two more photos of the guys in the Alice caterpillars, but I am miserly and will share the others in a separate post. THANK YOU, Steve!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Vintage Dorney Park Postcards

It's time for another batch of vintage amusement park postcards from the collection of Ken Martinez! It's for Dorney Park - a place I am completely unfamiliar with. Here's Ken:

Dorney Park before Cedar Fair

Today we visit another wonderful Pennsylvania park.  This was Dorney Park before it became known as “Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom” and before Cedar Fair took over and Snoopy moved in.  The park can trace its history as far back as 1860 when it was known as Dorney’s Park.  Like many of the other traditional parks of the day it became a trolley park (end-point destination to encourage riders to utilize the entire trolley system).   It eventually grew into a full-fledged amusement park and has now become a modern theme/amusement park owned by Cedar Fair.

I love the colorful central support tower from what appears to be a very early midway attraction.  There are many photo images of attractions like this.   It definitely served as the inspiration for Disney California Adventure’s “Golden Zephyr”.  This shot was taken from atop the lift-hill of the park’s wooden roller coaster.  Note the Mill Chute ride similar to Hershey Park’s “Lost River”.

Here we have a PTC coaster train climbing the lift hill of the park’s wooden roller coaster simply known as “Coaster” from 1924 to 1988.  It is now known as “Thunderhawk”.  Originally an out-and-back coaster, it was modified in 1930 into a figure-eight coaster.  It’s great to see that there are still several of these golden age roller coasters that have still survived into the 21st century.

Featured here in this postcard image is a coaster train plummeting down a drop.  I’m not sure if it’s the first drop but it’s still a wonderful shot.  I love the old style PTC trains here.  These three postcards are some of my favorites as they capture that old-time feel of the traditional parks in the eastern U.S. at the time.  Today, the coaster is now dwarfed by the modern “Steel Force” coaster towering 200 feet over the 80 foot tall classic wood coaster.

Hope you enjoyed your vintage visit to Dorney Park!  Stay tuned for more.

Information Source material: 
The Great American Amusement Park copyright 1976 by Gary Kyrazi
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Roller Coaster Database

Dorney Park, huh. I should have known this place. I love the classic look of the grounds and rides! Thank you as always to Ken Martinez.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Trip To Disneyland, 1958

Today I have something a bit different for you; a few years ago I bought a lot of Disneyland brochures and other items. Among the stuff was an envelope that contained a letter that is a record of a trip to the park taken by a woman and several of her friends on June 19, 1958 (a Thursday). There are some fun details about how they got there, etc. I was amused by the old-fashioned (or odd) names. Faetta, Whenn, Nellie, and Vesta! To spice things up, I added some photos from past blog posts. 


Vesta, Nellie, Whenn, Faetta, and I met at the P.E. (Pacific Electric) Station at 9 a.m. I missed a bus and had to wait 20 minutes, so I was five minutes late. Vesta and Whenn had gone on to the bus station on the street below the depot (on Los Angeles street). Our bus left at 9:20 - we couldn’t all sit to-gether, so V., N., and I sat in the back and F & W sat to-gether by the rear door. We went via Knott’s Berry Farm.

It took a little over an hour. Vesta gave all four dollars and fifty cents from club treasury, the fare round trip was $2.22.

The weather was perfect, altho it got a little warm in the early afternoon. We all bought a book for twenty five cents. Guess all got them to send away to friends. Vesta & Nellie got some post cards right away. They were 6 for 25 cents.

We went on the Grand Canyon train first - it was trully (sic) a beautiful trip, but so different from what we expected. The train went through a tunnel & the scenes were behind glass windows - it wasn’t a painting but made up of real things. The goats and wild animals were stuffed but had been real once - it only took a few minutes to go through the tunnel but it was very nice anyway. 

We looked around some and Vesta, Faetta, and Whenn went into “Alice in Wonderland”. Nellie and I sat in the shade and chatted and waited for them. Something broke down inside the building and the ladies were a while in getting out. It was one of the newer attractions and hadn’t been perfected as yet.

Faetta & Vesta went to the Carnation snack room to eat (on the main square), & Nellie, Whenn and I ate in “Tomorrow Land”. We ordered what we wanted and ate from chairs with a wide arm.

Then we all went to see “2000 (sic) Leagues Under the Sea”. It was 10 cents. None of us got the “ride books” - we got general admission for 90 cents each. I guess it would have been just as well to have gotten the books as we rode on the train - 50 cents - 50 cents for a ride on the new sailing ship “The Columbia”. It had only been in the water 5 days. It is a very beautiful ship and Faetta took several pictures in color of it at all angles - one they had put up 2 huge sails - then when it came around the lagoon they were down. It is made like the real old time ships.

From there we walked around in the different shops & every little while we rested - Vesta & Whenn went back to L.A. on the 3:30 bus. They said the last bus that goes on Glen Oaks left L.A. at 6 or 6:30 so they had to leave then. Faetta, Nellie and I stayed on. We went to Tom Sawyer Island, and climbed to the tree top & went in all the caves - - over the rocks - then we came back to the main land & went to the Indian Village. 

They put on a dance every two hours or so.There are 16 Indian tribes that (illegible) some activity in Disneyland. The main speaker for the dances was a Hopi from Arizona, he was very pleasant & friendly. He told us about the new sailing ship. It had only been completed 5 days.

We went through the village and Faetta bought a small Indian doll for her daughter in law. We went back to the main part & Faetta and I had a waffle at Aunt J. kitchen - Nellie didn’t want a waffle as she had a salad in a little snack place a few doors from where we ate. 

[Note: Here's a small Indian doll that was in a recent Van Eaton Gallery auction - when I saw it I wondered if it was like the one that Faetta bought. It's only 7 inches tall].

[Note #2: Inside the envelope was this item, presumably taken from the table while they ate at Aunt Jemima's. There is another version that says it's from Disneyland - those are very valuable - but this one is generic].

We took the 7:51 bus back to L.A. only we didn’t go directly home. The busman must have been a new man as crossed hiway 39& went up Norwalk Ave.We came to a road block & he asked a man in the service station. We came back to #39 - & went to Knott’s Berry Farm to pick up some people. 

The bus driver told the people in the front part of the bus he was going to phone, but he didn’t. We got into L.A. after 9 - I called Earl so he wouldn’t worry. We all took the same bus home. Faetta & Nellie waited until my #25 bus came along. I got home at 10:15 - we had a nice day.

I'm glad our unnamed letter writer had a nice day! It really is more of a memoir, since the document does not start with "Dear Patty..." (or whatever), and it isn't signed at the end.

I hope you enjoyed reading about a 1958 trip to Disneyland!

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Trio from DrGoat!

Today I have three more vintage slides from the family collection of GDB reader Peter, aka "DrGoat"! Check 'em out.

Peter says: This first image is of me and my Dad, circa 1967 I believe, about 8 years after the shot of me and him in the Autopia car. That was a great trip. I was just about to graduate from high school. Wish I still had whatever we were reading there. It was just Dad, Mom, my sister and I that year.

I wish I had a photo of me with my Dad at Disneyland!

Peter thinks that this second one if from the same trip (makes sense, being the same square format). It's a nice shot looking North on Main Street on a wonderfully uncrowded day. 

In spite of the fact that this one is also square-ish, DrGoat thinks that it might be from 1961. So the park had probably just opened; it looks like Peter's family was heading to Tomorrowland right away, or maybe they wanted to ride the Matterhorn before the lines got too long.

Many thanks to DrGoat for sharing his family photos!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Snapshots, July 1971

Here's a small group of only three vintage snapshots from July, 1971. Nothing great, but they'll do. They all have a common theme: music.

First up is this photo taken at the French Market in New Orleans Square. with guests protected from the summer sun by those swaths of cloth - kind of an ingenious solution, since a single piece of cloth would act as a huge sail on a windy day, and would probably exert a lot of force on whatever it was tethered to. Anyway, in the distance the Straw Hatters (I think) are performing. 

At first I thought that the little girl in the foreground seemed surprisingly interested in that Dixieland music, but then I noticed that Br'er Bear and Br'er Fox are just to our left!

Now we're over at the Carnation Plaza Gardens, with Harry James and his orchestra performing for  enthusiastic dancers. Take a look at these photos from a previous post to see Harry in the same location circa 1972.

I almost skipped this one because of the blurry quality, but what the hell. It's parade time in Town Square, and Mickey Mouse is leading the Disneyland Band; a few Dwarfs can just be seen behind the Band - perhaps this is "Fantasy on Parade"? If so, this was the final year for that iteration (though it would return a few years later), since the Main Street Electrical Parade would debut to huge success the following year.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Roadside U.S.A.

For lack of a better idea, I decided to post two rather random photos which fit neatly under the broad umbrella of "Roadside U.S.A.". Hop in the old station wagon and let's go!

Let's start with this photo from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, circa September 1960, at the corner of US 191 (aka Broadway)  and Glenwood. Nowadays, Jackson Hole is pretty touristy, being a popular ski town in the winter, and on the way to Yellowstone National Park. If this really was taken in September, the town looks pretty sleepy. A few classic cars are parked outside "The Roundup"; I need the biggest cowboy hat they have in stock! That way everyone will know how important I am, being a world-famous blogger and all.

Here's a screen grab from Google Maps showing the same corner as it looks today. The Roundup is gone, sadly. 

Also from 1960 (November) is this photo of a tidy li'l motel - the "El Palomino". It looks pretty cute, you could probably do a lot worse. And they have TV, so you won't miss your favorite 1960 shows, like "Maverick", "Walt Disney Presents", "The Ed Sullivan Show", "Dobie Gillis", "Wagon Train"... so much to choose from.

I was unsure of the location of the El Palomino Motel, but after a bit of searching, I am relatively confident that it was (is) on Illinois Street in Sidney, Nebraska, which is roughly 120 miles northeast of Denver as the crow flies. The architectural details seem to match, in spite of the new paint job and sign. But where-oh-where are all the trees?