Saturday, September 30, 2006

Rivers of America

The "Rivers of America" is way up on my list of favorite things at Disneyland. You don't even have to be on an attraction to enjoy it! Just watching the various watercraft go by can be a treat. I have to admit that I am usually running around the park trying to cram as much stuff into one day as time will allow. But on rare occasions I will get a chance take in the ambiance. Seeing the Mark Twain at night, lights reflecting on the water (with some gentle music in the background) is a beautiful sight.

Fantasmic has changed the river so much...I'm probably in the minority when I say that I am not that into the show. Love the dragon and the fire, but not as much as I loved the quiet riverfront at night.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Single-Reel Viewmaster Packets

Last week I posted photos of the scarce 2-reel Disneyland Viewmaster packets. At the risk of being repetative, this week I am posting photos of the even rarer single-reel packets. I didn't even know these existed until I found this set. Inside, they have a copyright of 1958 (the 2-reel set was from 1956). I love the artwork on the packets, each one using its own color. Simple yet still striking!

There are a few unique images found on these reels, such as the Skyway photo seen above (was this taken from one of the castle's turrets?), and the great image of the Tomorrowland Spaceman with the kids.

During my crazy Viewmaster collecting mania, I was so "into" it...wanting every variation. "I need an S6 edition B!" (I'd explain it if it wasn't so boring). And then the madness was over. Can't remember the last time I bought a packet of any kind. Life, she is funny, no?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tomorrowland Skyway Station

There's nothing like a nice sunny day and a blue sky full of puffy clouds to help make a day at Disneyland extra special. Sometimes you find otherwise nice photos taken on an overcast day, and you can feel the difference.

Take a look at that rare Santa Fe & Disneyland RR poster! It's a beauty...wish I had one. Or better yet, two! I like how they used the tinker-toy light fixtures as poster displays.

To the left is the Autopia loading area...wish I could see it a bit better, since there appears to be large piles of earth if you look through the railing. The Autopia did undergo a number of landscape modifications, maybe this is just the addition of the many hills that were not there when the attraction first opened.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Storybook Land, July 1958

The person who took this 1958 photograph seemd to be aiming at nothing in particular, though he/she captured quite a lot anyway. Over Monstro's shining back you can see Casey Junior chugging along beside the canals of Storybook Land. Just above that is the whimsical little Fantasyland Station (passenger train just departing), and to the right you can see the Motor Boat Cruise.

You also get a good look at rural Anaheim, though there appears to be some developments that weren't there in 1955. The 5 Freeway can be seen as well, looking itty-bitty compared to today's huge roadway.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Pack Mules, December 1960

The sun is setting on the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge, and a passel of tenderfeet are heading out on their trusty pack mules. I never noticed the signpost that informs us that this part of R. Ridge is "Trail St.". Looks like one of the young 'uns is wavin' goodbye to someone in the saloon. Save some redeye for me, pappy!

The warm glow gives this photo a wonderfully nostalgic feeling. I seem to recall that the Pack Mules stopped operating at, isn't this dusk? It would have been fun to ride through Nature's Wonderland as the night approched - just like the rest of the park, night time would have added an extra touch of magic. But the mules needed their beauty rest, so it was not to be!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tomorrowland, August 1968

Yep, it's Tomorrowland as it looked 38 years ago. Look, there's some kind of ride that moves people, but I forget its name. And there's the Autopia, Carousel of Progress, Rocket Jets, and the beamway for the Monorail is visible. There's even a few Skyway buckets. LOTS going on, it really was a "land on the move".

This is kind of an unusual angle, but you really get a sense of the way the various tracks weave over and under each other...I wonder if the Peoplemover went uphill out of necessity, or to prove that it was capable of doing so (since there was some small hope that this system might actually be adopted in cities), or just because it made the ride cooler.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday Stuff...

I was feeling lazy today and thought I might take a day off from blogging, but after seeing that all of the other guys did such a nice job, I figured that I would take this opportunity to post several photos...none of them are the most exciting things in the world, but they are still nice vintage images. And by grouping them together, maybe they add up to a fun Disneyland experience!

The Main Street and Matterhorn photos are from March 23, 1960, and the Frontierland photo is undated. You can just see the Mineral Hall in the Frontierland view, but not as well as in Daveland's photo! And although it is almost too tiny to see, inside the Penny Arcade there is *half* of a Main Street Station poster on display. For some reason the bottom half is either cut off or covered over.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Pirate Ship

Here's a nice colorful image of the Chicken of the Sea pirate ship...I forgot to date the scan, but I believe that it is from 1962. Not much to add except to say that I think it's purty. Some things look a bit askew (the trashcan, fer instance), maybe that's a lens issue!

I'd actually love to get a good look at the souvenir stand to the right. You can see a few hats on display, including a beanie that looks a lot like the one that Matterhorn1959 had on his site.

The postcard rack has lots of the foldout books facing us...there are probably some valuable cards on other parts of the rack! Maybe a nice E-7 (interior of the Nautilus), buy one for a nickel in 1962 and sell it for $80 in 2006!

Friday, September 22, 2006

2-Reel Viewmaster Packets, 1956

I was inspired by Matterhorn1959's "Souvenir Fridays", so I thought I would take a crack at it once in a while (I hope you don't mind me ripping you off, Matterhorn!). My collection can't hold a candle to his, but I have a few interesting items to share with you on occasion. For a year or two I was an avid collector of Viewmaster packets, and of course the Disneyland packs were especially desirable. It's amazing how much there is to learn about something as seemingly simple as Viewmasters! S-3 packets, S-4, souvenir packets, "swing-out" packets, "R" reels, "D" reels, and so on. Besides trying to get all of the various packet styles, there are variations within those. It's really pretty nutty!

I had been aware of the rare 2-reel packets, and at one time was outbid on a set on ebay for a staggering amount. Luckily I found an complete set years later for a tiny fraction of that price. These are particularly rare, much harder to find than the swing-out packets or souvenir packets. In my opinion they are among the most attractive packet styles, but I guess that their less compact shape made them unpopular. Besides, who wants 2 reels when you can buy the more-common 3-reel packets!

Some of the reels have a few unique images, which is always fun. Viewmaster packets offer a unique opportunity to see the park in glorious 3-D and full Kodachrome color...which is especially cool in these early photos!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Keel Boat & Riverfront, October 1962

When I first viewed this slide, I thought it was a nice but not-very-interesting view of a Keel Boat. But on closer inspection, you can see that there is a lot of construction going on in the background! I believe that this is where the old Chicken Plantation House used to stand (it was closed in January of this same year) was removed as part of Frontierland's expansion, and this area eventually became part of New Orleans Square.

There is a large structure being built behind those construction walls, does anybody know what it is? And is that an old pickup truck parked on TOP of the building (just to the right of the Keel Boat mast)?

You can also see a small bandstand that seems to migrate around the park. And just beyond that, there is a counter-service's hard to read the name, but it looks like it says "Plantation House Chicken Shack". I had no idea that there was a temporary replacement for the Plantation House!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Conestoga Wagon

The old prarie schooner is headed through some barren land in this undated photo...I sure hope they get to Oregon. In only a few years the trees and other foliage will help to soften this view...I admit to being a bid discombobulated, but I think that this was taken from the Mark Twain at the southern portion of the Rivers of America, looking north east through part of the Rainbow Desert. You can just see the masts of the Chicken of the Sea pirate ship, and the Skyway to the right. To the left there are some rather prominent telephone poles visible, are they actually inside the park? Seems amazing that they would be right there for everyone to see in Frontierland.

The Conestoga wagon seems to be stopped, maybe it halted once in a while to get a better view of certain things, such as the friendly Indian village and those crazy Elk.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Subs and Tomorrowland from Skyway, 1960

We're heading towards the Tomorrowland Skyway station, and wow, what a view! I've always loved that blue-green sub lagoon...on a hot summer day I've imagined jumping in even without the lovely mermaids.

The passenger train is chugging by in the distance...just about to roll into the Grand Canyon diorama (I think). This is 1960, so it's pre-Primeval World, at any rate.

Even in this rather narrow view, I can see six attractions (seven if you count the Space Bar), the park was chock full o'fun in those days. And it still amazes me to see the amount of undeveloped land so close to Disneyland (I amaze easily)!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Main Street from Plaza, August 13, 1955

This photo was taken from right about where the "Partners" statue is these days, affording us a great view of Main Street only one month after the park opened. I have noticed that in older photos, guests tended to stay on the sidewalks more, like in a real town...hardly anyone is walking in the street. I love the fact that people are enjoying the charms of Main Street, waiting in line for popcorn, resting on the benches under the trees, and generally taking it easy. Both Horse-drawn streetcars are operating, as well as the Surrey.

Check out the "greaser" with his back to us, with the rolled up sleeves and dungarees. Disgraceful! The kid with the sailor hat is another nice 50's touch...I hardly ever wear a sailor hat these days, except to job interviews.

I think I'll take that corner room at the Plaza Apartments, and invite everyone over for frosty chocolate milk shakes!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Yacht Bar & Matterhorn, 1963

Sorry for the late post today! Here's a nice view of the Yacht Bar with some sort of mountain thingy in the background, I think it's called Mr. Toad's Wild Mountain. I guess I could look it up on the internets, but who cares about some old ride that isn't even there anymore!;-)

This is an especially nice amateur photo, it has a kind of "dreamy" feeling to it (smog?). The skyway is about to vanish into those misty caverns in the side of the mountain, probably to go back in time. It could happen. There's something about the few nicely dressed groups of people walking around that gives this the look of an official promotional photo.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

E.P. Ripley, 8-13-1955

Not E.P. Ripley the person, E.P. Ripley the locomotive! This photo was taken about a month after the park opened, and the passenger cars still sport some patriotic bunting. Look at how the "Ripley" gleams with its colorful paint and polished brass. I'm not sure what's up with the wooden structure, and the barbed wire seems a bit out of place at the happiest place on earth! Maybe they were having problems with people sneaking in without paying. There is a man working beside the track (hard to see, but just to the left of the train)...does anybody know where this photo was taken? I would guess that it could be just after the train left Main Street Station. The track splits into two, which should be a clue for those who are in the know.

While I love all of the locomotives, the E.P. Ripley and the C.K Holliday are extra special because they were built at the studio for the park...Walt's ultimate model railroad. Later additions are actual vintage, narrow-gauge engines. The Fred Gurley was originally built in 1894! The Ernest S. Marsh and Ward Kimball were from 1925 and 1902, respectively.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Columbia, October 1958

Ahoy mateys! It's not unusual to see the Columbia docked, since it seems to only operate when the park is crowded. This slide is dated October 1958, and the Columbia began it's operation in June of that same year. I'm not sure if this photo shows some early rehab work being done, or perhaps the picture was taken before the ship opened to the public, and the photographer waited a few months to develop his film.

There are a few interested onlookers watching a guy in a wetsuit at the back of the boat (I mean the stern!). For the sake of authenticity, he is probably wearing the same sort of wetsuit that was worn in the 1880's! There are some construction walls behind those onlookers, any idea what those are for?

The Columbia is a unique attraction, and certainly is a reflection of Walt Disney's interest in American History (not to mention his faith that guests would be interested as well). It's hard to imagine anything like this being built for an amusement park beautiful as the ship is, there are no thrills, no character or movie tie-ins.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Astro Jets, October 1959

Tomorrowland was still largely unfinished when the park opened in 1955, and the Astro Jets did not debut until March of 1956. With its bold red and white checked pattern, it looked like a giant toy. The cyclops headlights are a nice touch, I'm sure it was quite a sight after dark! The Monorail and Submarine Voyage are just visible, they both opened only a few months before this photo was taken.

The jets were removed in 1966, I wonder if they were relocated to another amusement park, or if they went to the scrap heap. I'd love to have one of the rockets!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Birch Bark Lodge

Have you ever wanted to live in a wig-was-i-ga-mig? Thanks to this detail of an informative sign at Disneyland (from an August 1961 slide) you can practically build one yourself. One of these on a standard-sized lot in Southern California should fetch about $750K!
I know that Tangaroa will appreciate the hand lettering on this wonderful sign, I sure wish I could find more images with details like this!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Riding the Disneyland Railroad

This is an unusual image taken by a passenger on board one of the old freight cars being pulled by the C.K. Holliday. The "cattle cars" were not in use for long, and the open-topped cars seem mighty unsafe. It looks like everyone is standing, what happens when the brakes are applied?

I've had this slide for several years, but when I gave it another look this morning, I noticed the tent in the distance. The Mickey Mouse Club Circus tent! Now there's something you don't see in many photos. I am pretty sure that by the time this photo was taken, the Circus had closed (it opened Thanksgiving Day 1955, closed January 8th 1956), replaced by Professor Keller and his "Feline Fantastics".

Anyway, it's a pretty neat bit of obscure Disneyland history, I'm glad to have a photo of it!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Adventureland Beauty, 1964

This lovely wahine is beckoning weary travelers into the Adventureland Bazaar in this 1964 image (from a stereo slide). Who knows what exotic wonders are to be found inside this picturesque store? Rubber snakes...shrunken heads...colorful shirts...trinkets galore! And just look at the selection of fashionable hats available outside. The tall cone-shaped number is mine!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Monkey mania

Well, even though it's a day late, here's my monkey! Note that this particularly stylish monkey is wearing a coonskin cap...Davy Crockett was *that* popular. The little kid behind the woman looks like he is about to give her a swat, though I'm sure he means it in only the most complimentary way.

According to Wikipedia, organ grinders were often paid to go away, due to the repetative and out-of-tune one time they were considered a real nuisance in many places. Adolph Hitler banned them in Germany, and Fiorello LaGuardia banned them in New York City in 1936 (they were welcomed back in in April 2006!).

So now you know.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Viewliner Station

There goes the Viewliner, on an exciting figure-eight through parts of Tomorrowland and Fantasyland! The Viewliner was basically a scaled-down version of General Motors' Aerotrain, and it survived at Disneyland for only 15 months before being removed (and eventually replaced by the Monorail in June of 1959).

This Tomorrowland Viewliner had cars that were named after planets, while the blue Fantasyland train had cars named after Disney characters. For some reason the blue Viewliner seems to have been photographed much less than its sibling, maybe they didn't run it all the time? For a nice color photo of the blue train, see "Disneyland: The Nickel Tour".

It's pretty interesting to compare this photo to yesterday's post, and observe the considerable changes that occurred in just about a year. And for those of you who are interested (DisneyDutchman!), you finally get a pretty good look at the back end of the Viewliner train...I've provided an enlargement for ya.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Submarine Departure, 3-23-60

Here's a neat look at the Patrick Henry leaving the dock for an adventure through liquid space. It's kind of an unusual view, although it was clearly taken from the'd think there would be plenty of others just like it, but it's the only one I have!

I loved the elegantly simple effect achieved by going through a storm of bubbles, as a kid I was convinced that we were really diving. Nevermind that seconds later you could still see the surface shimmering just above you! I guess the "suspension of disbelief" was in full force for me.

There's the Yacht Bar in the background, probably a good place to grab a burger or hot dog. During what little research I manage to do for this blog, I discovered that September 6th (yesterday!), was the 40th anniversary of the closing of the old Yacht Bar.

I will be happy to see the submarines up and running again as of next year, the Nemo theme could be fun. But I still miss the classic voyage!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Monsanto House of the Future, 1957

This boy and girl and their dad look like they just stepped out of their plastic House of the Future to pose for a photo before going back inside to do, I dunno, futuristic stuff. Like washing dishes with sonic waves or something. This Monsanto-sponsored attraction debuted the year this photo was taken, and lasted just over 10 years (closing just after the introduction of the "New Tomorrowland" of 1967.

Here's a silly fantasy: after winning the lottery and filling my mink-lined swimming pool with Faberge eggs, I would build an exact replica of the House of the Future on a hillside lot overlooking Los Angeles in order to enjoy the nighttime view. And I could live happily ever after in 1960's splendor! If the house seems too small, maybe there could be a second story added?? Like I said, silly...but fun!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Interior of the INA Carefree Corner, 1970

While the rest of the Disneyland guests visited the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Jungle Cruise, or the Submarine Voyage, sensible children always wanted to go to the INA Carefree Corner. Whoo hoo! "Dad, are you sure you are fully covered in case of a zombie attack?"

The Insurance Company of North America sponsored the Carefree Corner from 1956 until 1974. It was a "hospitality and guest information center", according to The Nickel Tour. There were also guest books (one for each state!) that you could sign. I believe that some of those guest books can be seen on the shelves behind the blonde. Maybe they had one BIG book for folks from other countries? I wonder if you ever received anything in the mail after signing the guest book. There are countless little INA Disneyland guidebooks out there, and a friend of mine has a first edition Disneyland map (1958) with an INA imprint.

Anyway, since this is an uncommon view, I thought that you might like to see it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Over the years there were various sets of souvenir slides available for sale at Disneyland. The Pana-Vue sets are probably the most well-known (look on ebay for Bill Cotter's excellent CD of restored Pana-Vue slide images). But there were other manufacturers, including Sawyers (makers of View Masters), "Super View", and "Treasure Tone".

This neat slide is from the Treasure Tone series. It's certainly an unusual angle, perhaps taken from the roof of the Rocket to the Moon building(?). Just a great early Tomorrowland image.

I have about 40 Treasure Tone slides, and at least some of the images were released in sets produced by other companies - - or maybe all of them were. But the Treasure Tone versions retain their vivid colors some 50 years later. While they might be slightly less interesting than slides taken by Disneyland guests, I think you'll agree that this one is worth a look!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Mark Twain, 1956

I love this photo! The Mark Twain is steaming around Tom Sawyer Island (where else would it go?), and a happy guest is waving at her companion. The island itself looks like it's undergoing some major work. Is that the Main Street Station in the distance (near the woman's hand)? Sure looks like it to me. And there's a boat of some kind with a lone occupant. This is a rare view of the unpopular Disneyland Dinghy! ;-)

I know this is a lame post, but hey, it's 1:43 in the morning.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Chemical Wagon, 1958

It's Christmas time, California style in this 1958 slide! You can get by with short sleeves and capri pants, even though (judging from the angle of the sun) it is still well before noon.

Folks are hopping off of the Horse-drawn "Chemical Wagon"...I love how shiny and bright the paint is.

I love Disneyland, and yet I have never actually gone inside the Fire House. Don't hate me! I want to, but the people I'm with are always in a hurry to get to their favorite rides. For those of you who do savor the little details (I'm jealous), does the Fire House contain the Chemical Wagon, or the motorized Fire Truck (or both)?