Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More WDW Snapshots, December 1971

Here are the last four vintage snapshots (from a lot of seven), dating from the park's opening year. 

Walking through the tunnels beneath the railroad tracks brings you into Town Square; there's the train station, looking huge even from this oddball angle. Pluto has stopped to pose with some kids while a mom and her brood wait their turn. Do characters in either park just stroll around anymore? Or is it there always a line? 

Heading up Main Street U.S.A., we can admire the architectural details, and the 1971 fashions (like those yellow bell bottoms to our right)!

Looks like dad is considering stopping for a breakfast (check out those long morning shadows, they must have just dropped the rope), but his little girl wants to keep on heading to Cinderella Castle. 

This is a very pretty shot, with all the flowers and striped umbrellas. I have NO idea what restaurant that could be, though I'll bet some of you do. I sure wish I could have seen the Florida park in its early days… just like Disneyland, it has undergone many changes over the years.

Never fear, I have more vintage Magic Kingdom photos to come!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Two Twains, 1956

Ay-yi-yi, sometimes I am not sure I can bear writing about another Mark Twain slide. What's left to say? At least these are nice, early views, so they've got that going for them. I was wondering what that thing was in the foreground (the wooden thing with the white trim), it looks like some sort of ramp, although boarding the Twain normally doesn't require a ramp, so I have no idea. 

Oh, who am I kidding, I still love the old riverboat!

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Orleans Square, September 1976

I can never get enough of New Orleans Square; it is one of the least-represented lands in my collection (though I have even fewer from Critter Country, and none from Toon Town!).

I'm sure many of you recall the woman who ran for mayor of New Orleans back in 2006 who used a photo of Disneyland's New Orleans Square on her campaign web page. Was it on purpose (because it looked so clean), or did somebody not know the difference? Anyway, I'll bet that if you told the general public that this was a photo of the real Crescent City, they'd buy it. The curved wrought iron balconies feel so genuine! By the way, I am going to be running for Mayor of New Orleans in the next election; Sure, I'll have to wait four years, but it'll be worth it. Vote early, vote often.

Anyway (!), the line for Cafe Orleans (sponsored by Sara Lee) is short, let's go there for our Monte Cristo sandwich and mint julep.

Here's another view of Cafe Orleans, looking shady and lovely. It looks like there's a waitress to the left, do they still have a wait staff to take your order and bring you your food? Or has it switched over to a window service eatery? (For some reason I labeled this slide "Creole Cafe", which is just dumb).

Sunday, November 23, 2014

In Fantasyland, August 1969

Here are two sort of oddball photos from Fantasyland, circa 1969. The 70's were almost here!

While I like this shot of the crowds milling about on a summer day (in between the Carrousel and the Snow White attraction), the photographer seemed to be mighty interested in those cloth banners that provided a tiny bit of shade in that mostly-treeless part of Fantasyland. I'm sure that a typical summer day could easily be in the high 80's or 90's. Or maybe the photographer was interested in the various flags and pennants. Who knows.

Hugh Hefner and Snow White have something in common: they both have grottos! Why can't I have one too? Hef has yet to invite me to one of his parties, so I am going to have to give the "win" to Snow White… but I can always be persuaded to change my mind.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Ringling Bros, Sarasota - March 17, 1956

Today I thought I'd share a few fun photos from Sarasota, Florida, where the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus had their winter headquarters (established in 1927). It makes sense, since so much of the USA gets hit with harsh winters; why not find a sunny, warm place to relax? The circus folk didn't just sit around eating bonbons and watching soap operas though - they still performed for crowds of fellow snowbirds.

This first photo is neat, I love the group of people on the back of that elephant - you can almost imagine the swaying, slightly bumpy ride that they are experiencing. The word "Gajasala" is Hindi, and means "elephant stable". 

In another area, folks gather around to watch all kinds of performers doing their thing. Before I zoom in for a closer look, I am noticing some horses out in that field, grazing happily; presumably these are the same horses that pull the wagons or prance in parades during shows.

Well, looks like just about everybody is here! The strong man, beautiful showgirls, clowns, the lion tamer, an acrobat, and (since there is a low tightrope), even an incognito tightrope walker or two. 

Go ahead, reach into the cage and pet the lions! What's the worst that could happen?

Considering that March 17th was a Saturday, crowds are pretty sparse - but then again, there are plenty of jackets, sweaters, and babushkas, so maybe it was chilly by Florida standards. The elephants don't seem to mind. I wish I had scanned the photo of the baby elephant who could fly (I think I can see a little mouse in his cap), but I forgot to.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey winter headquarters!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Beautiful Tomorrowland, 1956

Oh boy, more vintage Tomorrowland! My favorite. And the "Clock of the World" is also my favorite.  I can have lots of favorites! I love the way the Clock is trying so hard to look futuristic, and yet, to 2014 brains, it is about as retro as can be. The blue tiled base, the gold spiky sun (and moon, on the other side), even the font used for the numbers, it all screams "mid-century". Which is awesome. In the distance is a certain moon rocket...

…. and here's a closer look. I'm not sure if the camera's exposure was just set differently, but things look much lighter and brighter. The rocket is SO COOL! I never grow weary of it. In the background, the vertical sign still says "Space Bar" rather than "Skyway" - the Skyway would not open until June of '56. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Greatest Hits - Fantasyland

Here's another selection of "greatest hits" from the past - this time we'll concentrate on Fantasyland.

This first image is from a badly damaged slide (originally posted in 2007) - it took some considerable effort in Photoshop to get it back to a presentable state. And it was worth it, as it is one of my favorite images (reminding me of guide book pictures). The sense of motion is nice, and the lady's smile is really what sells it for me!

A family de-caterpillars from the Alice in Wonderland dark ride in this 1966 photo. I love those vehicles SO much - but would really like to know what other concepts (if any) were considered before they settled on the snooty larvae. Maybe a Cheshire Cat vehicle? That would have been pretty cool too.

This 1962 photo appeared in my 900th post at the end of 2008; it features the lovable li'l Midget Autopia. A single car winds its way through a beautiful flowered landscape that reminds me of some of Mary Blair's artwork for "Alice in Wonderland", for some reason. It really does feel as if we're in a dream.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sleeping Beauty Castle, March 13 1958

I love these two photos of a mother and daughter posing in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at different times of the day! 

What's with all the "suits"?! And where are all the other children? I think the castle looks wonderful with its soft shades of blue and gray (with only a hint of pink above the archway). The daughter is cute in her blue coat and babushka. All of those semi-circular seating areas were recently removed thanks to Cal OSHA and the Disney lawyers. I feel safer already!  

Later in the day dad took another photo, this time from an oblique angle that is very pretty in the late-afternoon sunlight. There's not another soul to be seen! I guess people wanted to be home in time for dinner. If you look carefully you can just see part of the Skyway tower on Holiday Hill over to our right.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fantasyland & Carrousel, 1956

Here are two slides from Fantasyland - both from 1956, though from different days.

This first one looks very wintery (by SoCal standards), with overcast skies and guests bundled up in coats and sweaters. One lady is even prepared for rain! In spite of  the gloom, Fantasyland is bustling with a pretty good crowd. I would love to head over to the Mickey Mouse Theater to see the 3-D movie that played there, starring Jimmy Dodd and the Mouseketeers; I am very curious to know if this film survives. 

Next, it's a sunnier day, and we get a nice look at King Arthur's Carrousel back when there were horses of a different color. I think it was in 1983 when somebody had the theory that everyone wanted to ride a white horse; nobody consulted me!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Moody and Murky, 1965

Continuing a series of oddly dark and moody slides, I have to admit that I wish I had posted this first one closer to Halloween. We're aboard the Mark Twain, on the starboard side; note the stage on the shore of Tom Sawyer Island, presumably for "Dixieland at Disneyland" performances. Maybe Louis Armstrong would be playing later that evening! In the distance, we see the Haunted Mansion (still years from opening), looking like a ghostly apparition. It's just schmutz on the lens - OR IS IT??

This one looks much like an old, age-darkened landscape by George Innes - except that he never painted any burning settler's cabins. The spirit of the dead settler only had to cross the river to find a grand home for all eternity.