Sunday, April 05, 2020

"Meh" Frontierland Pix

Today's Frontierland images are not really that bad when compared to the usual rubbish that you might find here on a Sunday. They're clear, and have good color. They're just not quite ready for prime time.

Tom Sawyer Island was riddled with caves - mysterious and potentially dangerous, especially if Injun Joe was in there. No self-respecting boy or girl could resist exploring these passageways with their dead-ends and bottomless pits. Risk be damned! This outcropping shows one of the cave exits. I think the lantern to the right is interesting, held in place with some rusty chains. The island closed at dusk, so I'm not really sure why they needed lighting, unless it was for CMs. Any idea what that wooden structure is in the upper left?

Here's a pretty scene - though it would get prettier when the plants on the island filled in and got green (I wonder if this was taken during a hot, dry summer?). A pair of elk stop for a cool drink of water, next to a peaceful Indian encampment. 

Saturday, April 04, 2020

More 1939 New York World's Fair

It's time for more 80+ year-old photos from the 1939 New York World's Fair! This batch is better than the previous one, I think you'll agree.

If I had a time machine, but was only allowed to see one attraction at this Fair, I would probably visit General Motors' FUTURAMA, designed by Normal Bel Geddes.  This was the most popular exhibit, with a daily capacity of over 30,000 people. Bel Geddes said that Futurama is a large-scale model representing almost every type of terrain in America and illustrating how a motorway system may be laid down over the entire country—across mountains, over rivers and lakes, through cities and past towns—never deviating from a direct course and always adhering to the four basic principles of highway design: safety, comfort, speed, and economy.

Next is the Illinois pavilion. We all know that Walt Disney brought Abraham Lincoln to life in 1964, but in '39 they had to settle for a statue from sculptor Clyde DuVernet Hunt. Titled, "The American Spirit", the 9 foot-tall bronze shows a stovepipe-hatted Abe with his hand on the head of a boy representing "Hope", while a woman ("Faith") kneels at his feet. Today you can see this tableau at the Bennington Museum in Vermont.

The Illinois building contained a large-scale model of the city of Chicago. It consisted of all 450,000 buildings, hand-painted and placed in their exact location. The diorama showed public buildings, parks, waterways, railroad terminals and yards, elevated rail systems and utility networks. The Illinois building was the showplace of modern Illinois and its rich history.

Over in the Government Zone was the Italy pavilion, with this rather striking combination of architecture and sculpture: The Italian Pavilion displayed a combination of classical Roman and modern Italian architecture in its design. A statue of the goddess Roma stood atop a 200 foot high pedestal with a waterfall cascading down the steps into a pool at the base of the monument which was dedicated to Marconi.

Eastman Kodak had a well-loved pavilion; among it's most notable features was the "Hall of Color". The Hall of Color proved unbelievably popular with its newly-developed sight and sound show. The performance utilized eleven specially constructed slide projectors at a cost of $100,000. Twenty-foot high and 187-foot long screens around the entire circumference of the hall, and over 200,000 slides. Eight photographers spent a year on assignment, collecting color photos of hunting dogs, babies, athletes, newlyweds, and every fantastic landform.

The Polish pavilion had a sobering history; it opened on May 3, 1939 to commemorate the 148th anniversary of the Polish Constitution of May 3, 1791. This is generally regarded as Europe’s first and the world’s second constitution, following the 1788 ratification of the United States Constitution. 

On September 1, 1939 Nazi Germany attacked Poland and Polish personnel at the World’s Fair had no choice but to stay in New York along with everything that was presented at the Polish Pavilion. 

Seen here is a statue of King Jagiello (1362 - 1434), victor of the Battle of Grunwald. You remember!  

I hope you have enjoyed these photos from the 1939 New York World's Fair.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Vehicles In The Plaza - 1950's

I wish today's photos had been taken on a bright sunny day; instead we get that gray "June Gloom" sky that is, well, gloomy. But I do love these photos from the Plaza, bustling with guests and vehicles. I just hope it doesn't rain.

If you're gonna ride in a horseless carriage, it might as well be a car the color of cream of tomato soup. Looks like a whole family is trying to cram into that small compartment - I recommend smearing them with lard and using a shoehorn, but that's just me. 

Nearby is one of the Horse Drawn Streetcars, with those brass finials on top to attract lightning for some reason. It's always fun to see the towers on Holiday Hill, pre-Matterhorn. I also love the sandwich board sign; "Ride the ultimate in luxurious motor cars". Don't mind if I do.

One of the stops for the Horse Drawn Streetcars was right in front of the castle. Jeez, the color and quality of the light is so strange in these. Maybe it's tornado season? And we can just get a glimpse of a yellow sign through the tree branches, advertising Professor Keller's Jungle Killers. The little girl to the right is adjusting her mouse ears so that she picks up the horse races from Santa Anita racetrack.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Kodak Brochure, 1963

Everyone loves old Disneyland paper ephemera, it is one of the constants of the Universe theorized (and later proved) by Einstein. And today I am capitalizing on that love by sharing this scan of a 1963 brochure presented by Kodak; they were the providers of film and film accessories in the park for many years. It's pretty common, but still fun to look at.

There it is, that oh-so-1960's illustration on the cover. It's colorful, it's energetic, it isn't beholden to the artistic styles of previous generations. It's almost "pre-psychedelic". It looks like they used art markers, and while I am not sure when those came into use, 1963 seems early. Of course it might just be watercolor, too.

Unfold it to reveal two additional panels, with handy hints for amateur shutterbugs. If it's cloudy, what shutter speed should I use (assuming I'm using Kodachrome II)? Kodak's got you covered, baby! Most of the photo examples aren't that exciting, though I do enjoy the one with the spaceman balloon vendor, with the Moonliner (sans "TWA") in the background.

But the best part is this unique, stylized map of the park. Ink and gouache, perhaps? Like the cover, the graphic look is right in step with what was popular at the time. At first I thought the artist painted a fountain in the middle of the plaza, but now I realize that it is a tree. Notice the red dots (30 of them), indicating the location of all of the "Kodak Picture Spots".

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

More Shooting Gallery, June 1978

I'm continuing a series of photos featuring the Frontierland Shooting Gallery (we saw some other pix a few weeks ago). Let's go!

Pay no attention to the girl with the shorts and crop-top. We're here for Disneyland! The Imagineers have taken a simple long shed and added some rustic decor (those bumpy logs), and a great sign which I need to own. At night those lanterns add a warm, flickering glow that helps with the shootin'.

In the previous photo you can see a boy with a yellow hat approaching, and in this photo he is already plunking away at ducks and bison, rabbits and meese. It's good luck if a pellet bounces back and hits you in the face. 

I'm not sure I can call the next three photos "interiors", since guests are only standing beneath a shallow overhang. But you know what I mean. A friendly and helpful CM helps a boy get his weapon ready. Notice the metal oval pieces to prevent any guns from pointing too crazily.

I only just noticed what I thought were drawers down by the ground, but now I realize that they are built-in, pull-out steps for shorter folks. Mr. Green Shirt wants a turn...

... and there he is! There's nothing more satisfying that watching one of those metal animals fall over after you've hit one with a "bullet". The current shooting gallery uses infrared beams or some such nonsense, and it was not much fun when I tried it. 

Stay tuned for more pictures from the Mysterious Benefactor!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Fantasyland 1958 From Lou and Sue

I am sharing a pair of photos from "Lou and Sue"... the father-daughter team of Lou Perry and Sue B. Sue sent these scans of some prints from 1958, which is good and early. I wish I could have seen the park back then! But ol' Major Pepperidge wasn't around just yet.

There's the Fantasyland Skyway terminal, built to resemble an ornate Swiss chalet. I love all of the scrollwork and painted decorations! It's a shame that the area where the gondolas came and went is so dark, I would have liked to get a better idea of what it looked like (since I sure don't remember).

Here's a familiar Skyway view... nobody with a camera could resist snapping at least one frame of the colorful Mad Tea Party! It appears to have been out of service that day, which is too bad. I always enjoy observing the people in their teacups, laughing and leaning this way and that. 

THANK YOU to Lou and Sue!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Motor Boats

I have some vintage snapshots for you today, and while I like the subject matter - the long-gone Motor Boats - the quality of the photos leaves a lot to be desired. Still... I'll take them.

Let's start with this shot of the loading docks. I think? Or maybe this is where they stored unused boats. Kind of hard to tell in all that grain and murk. We get a special guest appearance by the Matterhorn and Skyway. It's like having Tony Orlando and Dawn in your variety show!

Next we are approaching the barrier that separated the clear water of the Sub Lagoon from the "dark water" of the Motor Boat Cruise. It's kind of neat to see the "Seawolf" from this low angle. I assume it is heading toward the caverns where it could dive to crushing depths and where strange sea creatures could be found.

You know it's going to be a good day when you see the Peoplemover gliding along its elevated track. Tomorrowland really was a "world on the move"!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Bad Pix, June 1974

You should probably just move along and not waste your time on GDB today. These pictures are REALLY BAD. But it's Sunday, and that's how it often goes.

I always enjoy a nice graveyard, and Tom Sawyer Island had at least two of them. One was behind Fort Wilderness, but the Native American's had their own burial ceremony in the form of these mortal remains placed atop an elevated platform. A circle of bison skulls adds a noble but spooky touch. 

And here's a dark and murky picture of the Matterhorn, without so much as a single bobsled to bring joy and laughter to us. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Walt Disney World Selection

I have a bunch of slides from the Walt Disney World that I have yet to scan; like Disneyland slides, many of the WDW show the same old stuff. But the blog is a hungry monster that requires content every day, so why not feature some of the latest scans today?

First up is this view of the Grand Prix Raceway, circa 1976. As someone who has never been to Florida, I always assumed that the WDW version of the Autopia must be huge, with miles of winding track for drivers of all ages. And yet... Mr. X tells me that it was always smaller than the one at Disneyland, and in fact has been reduced in size more than once. With all of that acreage?? I don't get it. I haven't seen a recent photo of what is now the "Tomorrowland Speedway", but it seems as if they did not take the care to landscape the attraction the way they did at Disneyland.

Here's an oddball shot from Bay Lake, looking toward the steamboat landing, with the Monorail Station beyond that. I love the idea of arriving at the Magic Kingdom (or anywhere!) via Monorail or boat, but I guess that buses are the main mode of transport these days. I know there's the new Skyliner, but am unclear as to how much use it is for guests.

Next is this 1973 photo looking down on the main corridor through Fantasyland from the Skyway. It's so empty! The only attraction that I can ID for sure is the Carousel, and I think that maybe "it's a small world" is in the lower right.

I like this unusual view of the much-missed "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" load area. Those Harper Goff "Nautili" are the coolest! His iron-plated, riveted design is practically the definition of "steampunk", though the subs predate that word by decades. I love the green "eyes" (did they glow at night?) that fooled mariners into thinking that Captain Nemo's submarine was a hideous sea monster.

I have lots more Walt Disney World for you!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friendship Train and the Monorail, November 1977

It's time to rock out with the FRIENDSHIP TRAIN! FT seems to have been a bit different from the usual "four guys and a gal" lineup (like you might see HERE or HERE); this time you get three fabulous babes in robin's-egg blue jumpsuits. Maybe they're singing Abba's "Dancing Queen"? Or "Give a Little Bit" by Supertramp? Sorry, guy playing bass guitar, nobody's looking at you.

Also from November of '77 is this unusual angle looking at a Mark III Monorail. Bubble dome! I can't quite tell if this is Monorail Green or Monorail Blue. Don't you wish you could hop on board and take a ride?