Thursday, August 31, 2006

Artists, 1960

Artists have taken over Center Street! The smocks and berets are a dead giveaway. The famous Art Corner in Tomorrowland closed in 1966, but there was a short-lived Main Street location as well. I don't have much information about it, but I can only assume that this was part of it. Since the date of this slide is 1960, they must have coexisted for a while. Several years ago, Howard Lowery auctioned off the sign that hung outside the Main Street location, what a great item. Any info about "the other Art Corner" would be appreciated!

Business looks slow, doesn't anybody want their portrait drawn in genuine pastels? It's interesting to see what was being could buy large paintings of the Chicken of the Sea pirate ship, Fort Wilderness, an Indian brave, or the Flower Mart (which was still on West Center Street, I assume). They are not exactly great art! But I sure would love to find one of them in a thrift shop. You know they just have to be out there.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Disneyland Band, Main Street

I think Main Street USA could be improved with some rock music instead of that corny old fashioned stuff. And put in a moving sidewalk so that I don't have to actually walk (and while they are at it, why can't they add a loop?) ;-)

But even I have to admit that this great vintage view is still pretty neat. The Disneyland Band is marching bravely down an uncrowded Main Street in their nice blue uniforms. I only recall seeing them in red or white (or a combination of the two). Maybe they spilled mustard on the blue ones, that stuff never comes out.

Do the guys in the Disneyland Band get babes?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Toad Exterior, October 1969

Some of my earliest Disneyland memories involve the Fantasyland dark rides, and Mr. Toad was always among my favorite experiences. I wasn't familiar with the "Wind in the Willows" featurette at all, but it didn't matter...most folks love the idea of driving and crashing their way through Toad Hall, across the countryside, and through the city. After a hasty trial, you are sent to prison...presumably you escape, and head towards and oncoming train, followed by the trip to HELL! Those googly devils and sudden blast of heat are still one of the best endings of any dark ride.

In this slide you get a good look at the old Medieval "tent" theme of the pre-1983 Fantasyland. I included an enlargement so that the mural out front can be seen (not too clearly unfortunately). While I miss some elements of the old Fantasyland, the new version, with its beautifully detailed buildings, is a big improvement.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Red Wagon Inn

Most Disneyland nuts know that the Plaza Inn was originally called the Red Wagon Inn. It was leased by Swift & Co., and "featured entrees of chicken pot pie, Swift's premium baked ham, Swiss steak, traditional chef's salad and a fruit plate." Mmmmm, fruit plate.....

There was a private VIP lounge in the back (complete with booze), as well as an employee dining area (no booze).

The top photo is an unusal shot of folks dining at the Inn, out on the covered patio area. From the smiles of their faces they are obviously eating premium ham (not that common back-alley ham served elsewhere). Sorry about the graininess, it was a very dark slide.

The second photo is a nice evening shot of the sign, with a sliver of Tomorrowland in the background. I'm not sure I've ever seen an exterior of the Red Wagon Inn in which the super-rare poster was in view, though it must have been there at some point.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Main Street, September 1960

In May of 1960, the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train became the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. This slightly fuzzy photo shows one of the banners that were often strung across Main Street, announcing the latest attractions (or to welcome special guests, such as the Directors of the Santa Fe RR).

Besides touting the shiny new Nature's Wonderland, you can see an additional plug for the Art of Animation exhibit which also made its debut in May of 1960.

At the other end of the banner there is a partially obscured segment...I am reasonably sure that it is advertising the new "America the Beautiful" Circarama film that was introduced only a few months before this photo was taken.

Sorry about the fuzziness, only puppies and kitties should be fuzzy!

Friday, August 25, 2006

New Orleans Square

Here are two considerably different views of the New Orleans Square area of Disneyland. In the first view, the Square hasn't actually been built yet. There is a big green construction wall (with attraction posters)...since this slide is undated, the wall might be hiding the steel and concrete foundations for the early walk-through pirate attraction. You get a good look at the loading area for the rafts as well. Yes, this is yet another photo taken from the Mark Twain!

The second slide was thrown in just for the heck of it. It is dated 1968, and you can see the distinctive cupola on top of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction building. I assume that all of that wrought iron is part of the Club 33 restaurant? The crowds are pretty heavy, I'm sure there was a lot of public interest after all of the hype. Check out those cool ornate benches, and the magnolia trees in bloom.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Frontierland Indians, August 1960

I sure have a lot of slides taken from the decks of the Mark Twain, and here is another one. 46 years ago (this very month), this was the scene in the Indian Village. Curious parents and kids are gathering to experience a taste of the Old West and witness the ceremonial dances of several American Indian tribes. Everybody knows that authentic Indian costumes included hot pink shirts (in postcards he also wears screaming purple).

It's fun to look at the kids waiting nearby to get a snapshot, while one dad (in his way-cool shorts) is probably getting the camera set.

1964 New York World's Fair Panorama

For a change of pace, I thought I'd post this interesting panorama of the 1964 New York World's Fair. I found some slides from that fair, and among them there was a sequence of images taken from the top of the Better Living Center (see the red dot on the black and white aerial photo). Although the photographer did not use a tripod, I was able to stitch four slides together in Photoshop. The results were pretty nice, with only a few areas of minor distortion. For a much larger image (around 500kb), click HERE.

At the extreme left, you can see the Tower of the Four winds, the wonderful kinetic sculpture in front of Pepsi Cola's "It's a Small World" (designed by Rolly Crump). Nearby, (with the giant photos on top) is the Eastman Kodak Pavilion, and a bit to the right of that you can see the distinctive "flying saucer" towers from the New York State Pavilion (they still stand today). Further to the right, there is the famous 140-foot-high Unisphere, designed by Harper Goff. And if you continue to the right (in the distance) you can see the Ford Pavilion, where Walt Disney's "Magic Skyway" was featured.

One of the best things about this image is that we get a good look at the beautiful "Carousel of Progress" building. Look at the line waiting to get in! I'm not the first person to wish that Disneyland's COP building had looked like this.

On the horizon, you can see the home of the Mets, Shea Stadium, built in 1964 (and where the Beatles played in August 1965). To the right of that, there's the giant "egg" on top of the IBM pavilion. The body of water was called the Pool of Industry, and it contained the Fountain of the Planets.

I hope you've enjoyed this slight detour away from Disneyland. I have some other slides taken from the top of the New York State Pavilion that might be stitchable, if folks seem interested I'll give it a shot one of these days.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Harper's Mill

Here's a nice early view of the mill on Tom Sawyer's Island ( IS Harper's Mill, isn't it?), taken from the Mark Twain. You can see the shadow of one of the smokestacks (or whatever they're called, since smoke doesn't come out of them)! It's a beautiful, sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. Folks are already exploring their brains out, mom is leading the way in the foreground. One thing that occurs to me is that, even though this mill can't be more than one or two years old, they've managed to somehow age the wood so that it looks like it has been there for many years. How?

I love the stuff in the distance, the Fort, the Keel Boat, and the Train. While the slide is undated, the foliage is pretty sparse out there...I'm guessing that this is around 1957.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Marvin & Phyllis, 1960

Meet Marvin and Phyllis. Phyllis....the wind whispers her name, her beauty haunts me like some fever dream. Marvin's standing a little too close, back off man!

Nobody looks better in a cardboard bonnet than Phyllis. Marvin is keeping their day organized by carefully checking off the attractions they've visited in his guidebook. In the background...more hats!

This tiki appeared in the very first photo I posted on Gorillas Don't Blog (waaay back in May), and therefore I love it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


It is frustrating to find a damaged slide with an image like this! Why couldn't they have used Kodachrome slide film? But it was such a nice shot of the Stage Coach that I decided to do a bit of quick Photoshop work to make it presentable, at least.

Here you get a pretty good look at the queue area with its rustic, wood and adobe construction. One of the horses looks like he is just waiting for the signal to giddyap. In the background, you can see folks heading out on their Pack Mules in front of Rainbow Ridge.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Adventureland 1955

Here's an unusual detail from Adventureland. One of my few slides from 1955! Is that one of the Jungle Cruise skippers up on the balcony? Maybe he is taking a break...spending so much time in the jungle is tiring work. And of course he probably has malaria or dengue fever.

Does anybody know how many upstairs rooms are in use at Disneyland? Walt's apartment and Club 33 are famous, But I've always wondered if some of the other upper levels are in use, as offices, employee lounges, or just for storage.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Tomorrowland Rocket

The Rocket to the Moon is poised for takeoff in this nice (undated) photo. I've always thought that the rocket was pretty awesome. It reminds me of some of Chesley Bonestell's wonderful paintings from the 40's and 50's (where the rockets always landed on the moon in an upright position). Check out the awesome example of his artwork!

I'd love to see a movie using this kind of retro sci-fi design. Are you listening, Pixar?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Frontierland Trees

I know this is kind of a lame (undated) photo, considering that the Conestoga Wagon is mostly hidden by trees. But I still like it! I don't remember seeing the wagon painted blue in other photos. Were there two wagons? In some images the wagon says "Oregon or Bust", and in others it reads "Westward Ho", but maybe it's just two sides of the same wagon.

If you look to the upper right you can just make out the bear that would run around much like the rhinos in the Jungle Cruise. You don't see too many photos of him!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Disneyland Entrance, October 1960

These folks are mere moments away from walking underneath the railroad tracks and into Main Street USA. I'm jealous, especially since they will be seeing the Disneyland of 1960!

All they have to do is decide which ticket books they want to get. The 10 Adventure, the 12, or the 15. Money doesn't grow on trees, and the 15 Adventure book for a child was $3.75, after all. Forget about it, the Alligator Farm is just up the road, let's go there instead!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


The setting sun lends a warm glow to Frontierland in this pre-1959 photo. It was taken from the treehouse on Tom Sawyer's Island. According to early maps of the island, that was the highest point in Disneyland until the addition of the Matterhorn.

There are some postcards that are very similar to this photo (though they are post-1959)....I only wish the photographer had included less sky and more park in this composition!

(Be sure to look at my extra MYSTERY image for today, pictured below!!)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Jungle Cruise loading, January 1959

Here's a nicely dressed all-American family getting ready to say goodbye to civilization. They will make a lovely set of shrunken heads, don't you think? The Skipper's costumes changed a lot in the early years. I've seen striped shirts, white shirts, red shirts (this guy has a turtleneck), etc.

I kind of miss the colorful awnings on the boats, maybe because they were a throwback to the 1950's. You can see more of the jungle canopy nowadays, but the boats themselves have lost some of their charm.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Tomorrowland looks kind of empty in this 1957-ish photo....Walt and his planners wisely allowed a lot of room for those crowded days, when people would elbow to elbow. Is the fence to the extreme left part of the Wenmac Flight Circle?

I can't think of much to say about this one! It's a fairly nice view of the Skyway loading area, the Space Bar, and the Autopia entrance. I do like those kids dressed so nicely (the boy is wearing a jacket and tie!) and holding hands.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Autopia and the E.P. Ripley, 1957

Here's a wonderful photo, a 1957 view taken from the Tomorrowland Skyway loading platform showing the Autopia as well as the E.P. Ripley comin' round the bend. Of course, in Disneyland the trains are almost always comin' round the bend. Look how the brass and paintwork gleam on the locomotive! Love those yellow passenger cars as well.

The Autopia looks pretty busy. The plantings are still sparse...looks like there's been some landscaping and earth moving since 1955, those hills weren't there originally, I believe. The cool sign advertising the Autopia's sponsor, Richfield, is reminiscent of the artwork seen in Disneyland television programs such as "Man in Space" and "Mars and Beyond".

Friday, August 11, 2006

Clock of the World, 1958

Here is a nice shot of the Clock of the World. I think the man in the white shirt (Fred Mertz?) is trying to figure out how the darn thing works. Is that a piece of litter in the foreground? I was tempted to photoshop it out because I was so ashamed.

There is some construction going on to the right, you can just see some framing. Could it be for the Monsanto House of the Future or the surrounding gardens? I do believe that this slide is from 1957 or 1958. It would be great to find a real construction photo of the plastic house of the future.

Sorry about the very late post, everybody. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Merlin's Magic Shop

From 1955 through 1983, Merlin's Magic Shop was the place to go for magic tricks, guide books (I have one from 1960 with a price sticker from the magic shop), gag gifts, and who knows what all. As kids my brother and I always wanted to go in and look at the rubber monster masks, and if we were lucky, my grandmother would buy us a gag gift such as a squirting plastic flower, disappearing ink, or a plastic dog that smoked little cigarettes and blew smoke rings.

I wish I could read what Tinker Bell is selling on that sign in the window. If I ever get a better scanner maybe it will become legible.

When Fantasyland underwent its renovation in 1983, Merlin's closed to become Mickey's Christmas Chalet. Snore!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Indians & New Friend

This slide was from a small group of early images that I really liked. The gentleman in the middle has several photos of himself with the American Indians. My guess is that the fellow on the right is about to take another picture, although when I first viewed it on a light table, it looked like he was offering the older guy a brownie ("From scratch just like mom used to make").

I've always wondered if the Indians who performed at Disneyland liked their jobs, or did it become a repetative nightmare. Hopefully they were happy, at least for a while.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Town Square, 1950's

There's a traffic jam in Town Square! Two "Gurr-mobiles" and the Surrey are waiting for the Marching Band to march out of the way. Hey Matterhorn, there's a drum head that looks much like yours (only the one in this photo is worn from so much banging).

Town Square looks so clean and bright...I like the group of girls in their poofy skirts. And I also like the Bekins wagon, I think that this horse-drawn wagon was eventually replaced with a motorized Bekins van.

Who knows, maybe Walt was up in his apartment above the Firehouse eating a can of chili when this photo was taken!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Yellowstone Coach

The Disneyland Stagecoach is a fairly well-known icon of the 1950's. But in the early days they had two coaches, the other being the brightly painted Yellowstone Coach. I never knew what it was called until finding a very early souvenir slide that named it. And if you do a Google Image Search for "Yellowstone Coach", sure will see photos of coaches that look just like the Disneyland version.

Wonder why they were so short-lived? It doesn't look like they would have suffered from the problem of being top-heavy (supposedly an issue with the Stage Coach). I like the fact that it was pulled by mules!

There is a very scarce Disneyland postcard, an artist's panoramic view of the Frontierland/Mine Train area. There in the lower left is the good old Yellowstone Coach.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Tom Sawyer Island

This is a pretty nice image of two Indian War Canoes in the wake of the Mark Twain. But what's happening on Tom Sawyer Island? There are a bunch of trees boxed and waiting to be planted, as well as a cement mixer, and what appears to be a big generator. Near the red generator there is a pile of two-by-fours, and I think there is a structure being framed. Any idea what it could be?

Once again the slide is undated, but I know that Tom Sawyer Island did not open until June of 1956, so I am guessing that this is from before that date.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Casey Junior, 1956

It is hard to believe that Anaheim was ever as sleepy and rural as it appears in this wonderful shot taken from the Skyway 1n 1956. Little Casey Junior is chugging away over the patchwork crazy quilt of what was by then called Storybook Land (rather than the "Canal Boats of the World"). The Skyway opened only one week after Storybook Land (in June), for those of you interested in that kind of thing!

Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, 1955

At Tangaroa's request, here is another scan from the set of glass slides that I mentioned in the last post. It took a lot of Photoshop work to bring it back to something resembling normal!

The neat thing in this image is the fact that the Pirate Ship is still under construction. It did not open until August 29, 1955...I'm sure it was a source of curiosity for passing guests. Even in the photo, you can see several folks checking it out. It was torn out for the 1983 expansion and improvement of Fantasyland. Now there's no place to get a good tuna sandwhich and a glass of grape juice.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

K7, Tomorrowland 1955

Years ago I bought a box of big glass-mounted slides, and was happy to find a few from Disneyland, 1955. They are from sometime within the first month of opening (the Chicken of the Sea pirate ship was not yet open). In spite of the fact that they were kind of a mess (magenta and splotchy), there were some great images.

Here is the intrepid spaceman known as K7. I hope his suit is climate-controlled, there's nothing like Anaheim in July/August. There's still a sense of innocent "gee whiz" fun in the Tomorrowland of the 1950's, and the feeling of a happy and exciting future for all of us. Say cheese, spaceman!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Alice in Wonderland, 1961

The colorful caterpillar ride vehicles from the Alice in Wonderland attraction are my all-time favorites...I love the snooty expression on the caterpillar. Other ride vehicles have been sold over the years, flying elephants, "Toad" cars, and so on. But I've never ever seen a caterpillar for sale.

If the woman in this photo is not named Aunt Mimi, she should be. She's got her sneakers on for a day of comfortable walking, and she is blissfully unaware of the scary guy sitting behind her (he is not having fun).

Behind them all is a glimpse of the ticket booth shaped like a mushroom. I am betting that Matterhorn1959 will have a much better photo of this!