Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Frontierland Anachronism

It is fairly amazing how often we see vintage photos of Frontierland with old automobiles or other anachronisms in plain sight of the guests. There is a story in which Walt Disney gave one employee a scathing reprimand for parking his car in what was supposed to pass for the 1880's. In this photo we see a boat with an outboard motor zipping along the Rivers of America in broad daylight. What gives?

To the right we can see that Castle Rock is still surrounded by scaffolding. In the foreground is what I believe is the old load area for the Stage Coach.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Frontierland Indians, 1956

It must have been a chilly day in 1956, because these Indian dancers are huddled around a real campfire. I like this candid shot from the first Indian can almost believe that they used the tipis as shelter on a windy or drizzly day. A mug of cocoa and a few marshmallows would come in handy.

Did you know that marshmallows were originally made using a mucilaginous extract from the root of the marshmallow plant?

Monday, February 26, 2007

Omnibus, June 1958

Here's a terrific look at one of the Omnibuses during the introduction of the wonderful Grand Canyon Diorama (which opened on March 31, 1958). It's the largest in the world, folks. Tell me you've seen a larger diorama. Can't do it, can you?

There was an auction years ago that had one of the strips of "mini posters" from the Omnibus, I sure wish I had made a bid! But that was from before the days when I even dreamed of owning an attraction posters. Those bus versions have to be terribly rare.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Motor Boat Queue

These boys are smiling now (well, one of them is), but these fools are about to risk life and limb on the thrilling Motor Boat Cruise. I wish I could find the other photo from after the ride, their hair turned completely white from terror. They were never the same afterwards, the poor wretches.

But I kid....I kid because I love!

I have but a single personal memory of riding the motor boats. It was at night, and the fireworks started while we were cruisin'. Which was pretty cool. I was riding with my grandpa, and even he was surprised that you couldn't steer, accelerate, or nothin'.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fantasyland details, June 1958

Arg, why is it that so many slides that would otherwise be amazing turn out to be blurry? Such is the case with this view overlooking Fantasyland. What I wouldn't give to make this a clear photo of the Fantasyland Viewliner station (with blue Viewliner)! And there's the Fantasyland train station as well.

There's a curved, paved pathway that I presume went around (or partially on) Snow Hill (or Holiday Hill or whatever it was called). In a matter of months the whole thing would be gone, and the hill and Viewliner would be replace by attractions that nobody remembers much today (!!!).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad

Who doesn't love choo-choo trains?? I'll tell you who doesn't love them - - - commies!! They hate 'em! That's why I never trust a commie. Sorry for getting so political! Here is a great vintage shot of the E.P. Ripley...looks like its just leaving Main Street Station. The two girls must have requested their great seats, right behind the engineer. If you asked the conductor these days, would they allow you to ride up front like that? You can see that there are two parallel tracks, allowing one locomotive to pass the other.

Here's a photo from a different lot, but it must have been taken at around the same time. This guest liked sitting in the back, and took a nice "goodbye" photo of the Main Street Station. Love that Mickey Mouse flag!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Disneyland Details, 1958

I have a bunch of slides taken in June, 1958...they are nice, although the photographer had a maddening tendency to take long-distance images. Very few nice clear closeups. And while this is a bit disappointing, I have discovered some interesting details along the way.

First up is this not-especially-remarkable photo looking down on the Casey Jr. track. Casey's not even in the picture to liven things up! But I do like the view of the "backstage" areas. In the distance, you can see the red barn and other buildings (as well as some great 50's automobiles) that were part of Owen Pope's stables for the various horses and mules used throughout the park.

Below is a closeup. You can also see a guard gate, complete with guard! I'm sure his name was Clancy, and he kept ne'er-do-wells and sneaky kids from getting into the park for free. Wonder if he was armed?

When I first looked at the photo below, I thought it was one of those mysterious "pictures of nothing" that you see once in a while. But then I noticed something on top of the rock.

By gum, it's a horse! There were many animals that were visible from Frontierland (maybe this was taken from the Mark Twain), but I did not know that Stormy (that's the name I've given him) watched over us with an intelligent gaze. I feel safer just knowing that he's there...if I fell in the water he'd fetch help, and then vanish mysteriously. (I know, I need a life). I've provided a detail below, and lightened it a bit to make him more easy to see. Sorry about the off-kilter colors...even though these are Kodachromes, they seem to have shifted somewhat.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Skull Rock & Pirate Ship

Here's a beautiful photo of Skull Rock in all its glory. This slide is probably from around 1967. In this first photo, note the fun sign in the upper right for one of the many Kodak "picture spots" that were all around the park. You can also *just* see some of the umbrellas for the eating area (or "muncheteria").

Arrr, here be another cursed picture of the scurvy ol' Pirate Ship!

Just as I was posting this blog entry, it occured to me that I might be able to merge both photos into a nice panorama. Maybe you can use it for a desktop if you have a widescreen display? Anyway, I think that it turned out surprisingly well, all things considered. I only wish it was a night shot, since I loved the skull's glowing green eyes!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Indian War Canoes

Today is officially "Canoe Day". You probably didn't know it because I just made it up, but it IS official. Please take your canoe to work. In this first (grainy!) image, we see a fully loaded war canoe heading past the shore of Tom Sawyer Island. I've never noticed the furrowed area before, I am assuming that this is where the peaceful Indian tribe is preparing to grow corn. Indians used corn to make all kinds of dietary staples, such as Doritos.

Next we see two canoes. When was the last time you saw more than one canoe on the water at Disneyland? You can see the feathers of the brave Indian guide's headdress in the closer vessel. They're headed right for us! But don't be afraid, they are friendly. They just call their canoes "war canoes" because the ladies love it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Barker Bird and Dead Settler (together at last!)

Today's first image is from a 1964 stereo slide. It's not very remarkable in most respects, but I noticed that in this photo, the Barker Bird clearly sports bright red plumage rather than the blue feathers seen in the image I posted on December 11th, 2006. I have to admit, the red feathers are very eye-catching! Here's a detail below.

Next up is a photo of the burning settler's cabin (taken from the stern of the Columbia?). The unfortunate settler has considerately expired on a mound of earth so that we can get a good look at him. Instead of blaming Indians, the explanation should have been changed to this: The settler was running with an arrow in his hand, and he tripped. It's still tragic (why couldn't he listen to his mother?), but there would be no need to blame exploding moonshine stills or add endangered eaglets.

Take a closer look. Is that more fire burning just to the right of the corpse? They should have had his ghost in the Haunted Mansion, with an arrow sticking out. It would have been a nice inside joke!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Plantation House

This view of the Plantation House is very similar to one that I posted way back on June 6, 2006. Judging by the growth of the foliage, this one was taken later. The "OPEN" sign is still present, although construction walls are surrounding the first floor. All of the outdoor seating has been removed as well. Since the slide is undated it is hard to guess exactly what was going on. I think that the photo was taken during the late 50's, so I don't believe the walls had anything to do with the impending construction of the Haunted Mansion's exterior or other early New Orleans Square additions.

Any ideas?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Tomorrowland, November 1961

With all of the many photos I own that were taken from the Skyway, this image surprises me. I don't believe that I have another one like it! It looks like we've just left the Chalet, and have passed the Chicken of the Sea pirate ship. In the lower right corner is the tent-like roof of a Fantasyland eatery. Storybook Land is out of the frame to our left. And there's the fabulous Monorail! This photo wouldn't be much without it...I can almost hear the distinctive air horn.

There is a Richfield eagle, is that for the Fantasyland Autopia? You can also see the loading area for the Matterhorn Bobsleds, and we are about to pass through the mountain into Tomorrowland.

Look at all the benches for tired guests (or for places to eat if there are no tables left on a busy day)!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Frontierland and Main Street, 1970

Here are two more slides from 1970. First up we have a view of the Indian Dance Circle. At some point, bleachers were built...before that, folks stood wherever they could find a space. Now they had seats and shade! That was nice, although you would lose some of the intimacy of being so close to the performers. There were still a few seats right down next to the action for those who got there early!

Next is a photo taken from the top of the Omnibus (who would ever want to sit on the bottom level?). We're looking back towards "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" (sponsored by Lincoln Savings), as well as the Wonderland Music Store, the Mad Hatter hat shop, and the Hills Bros. Coffee Garden. Look at all the people headed for the Lincoln attraction!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Fantasyland, November 1961

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

There sure is a lot going on in this photo! I love all of the colors and patterns. And of course when you were there you had sounds, smells, and movement as well! Our Skyway bucket is just passing over Casey Jr. (and the fanciful ticket booth for that attraction), soon to be going past the Teacups and a Fantasyland eatery to the left. And I believe that the colorful façade of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is just to the right.

I've put the original slide away, and am not 100% sure where it is (sometimes I scan these many weeks in advance). But there is a mystery...according to most sources, the Rocket to the Moon should have Douglas markings by 1961, and yet it sure looks like the TWA paint scheme to me. So either I screwed up or somebody's info is wrong!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mermaids & Monorail, June 1960

Wuzza, are those MERMAIDS? I would check the CO2 levels, except that I am sitting in front of my computer and not in a submarine. "All tales of ocean monsters should be classed as fiction, along with the myths of mermaids--a pure flight of fantasy, belonging to the realm of make believe."

This is a great photo, with the mermaid waving to the passing blue Monorail, while two other two others make themselves busy with mermaid stuff. Combing their hair, playing a lyre, that kind of thing.

I'd love to know more about the mermaids. Where did they go when they were done for the day? Did they swim into the caverns behind the waterfalls? They can't just walk away, obviously. How long did they typically have to bake in the sun? I wish we could hear from some of these "on stage" folks to learn about their experiences.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fantasyland, 1970

It's 1970, baby! The Beatles announced their breakup, there was an Expo in Osaka, the Concorde made its first supersonic flight, the National Guard fired on students at Kent State, the legendary "Isle of Wight" rock festival took place, the Ford Pinto was introduced, Doonsbury first appeared in newspapers, and Elvis began his first concert tour since 1958. I don't know why I'm telling you all this, except that history is cool! (Don't be a fool, stay in school!).

Speaking of cool, check out this cool photo taken in Fantasyland. It's kind of odd, as if the photographer wanted to take a picture of the lines, but in doing so he captured and angle that is unlike any other I have seen in slides. Wonder what amazing souvenirs are available at that stand? PanaVue slides, plush animals, and other things that start with the letter "P".

Next we get our 1000th look at the pirate ship in Fantasyland (there will be more!). Notice that it is now "Captain Hook's" rather than "Chicken of the Sea", which ended its sponsorship in 1969. The lady in the baby-blue outfit never smiles in any of the photos of her, but I choose to believe that she is smiling on the inside.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Monorail, May 1960

Here's kind of an unusual view of the Monorail...possibly the photo was taken from the Disneyland & Santa Fe Railroad (or maybe even the Autopia? Let me know, experts!). There's that mysterious little bridge in the foreground, I can't even guess what it is for.

The Monorail looks so cool, streamlined and tomato-red. In the distance, Motor Boats "thrill" guests. I've always wondered, how could the Imagineers have made the boat ride more futuristic, or at least space-themed? Canal boats of Mars?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tom Sawyer Island, 1950's

Here's a great look at Tom Sawyer Island (probably from 1957 or '58)). Many of the features shown here have already been altered, in the name of "safety. Or something. It will be interesting to see how much will change in the next year or so when it changes to "Pirate's Lair at Tom Sawyer Island". Tom and his gang did like to pretend that they were thieves and pirates, so I am hoping that this will be done right and add to the fun.

One thing puzzles me in this photo...there appears to be another raft waaay in the distance, to the left. Why would a raft be over there, while the other one is right in front of us? If it IS another raft, then you can see three of 'em in this photo (one is loading up on TSI). Another itty-bitty detail is that you can see a stagecoach to the extreme right, over on the shore. Cool!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Tomorrowland Views, October 1960

Here are two nice views of Tomorrowland, taken on the same day in 1960. In this first image, the Matterhorn looks very impressive (maybe even majestic) as it towers above the three ladies in front of us (one of them is wearing a souvenir hat).

This second images has an "early morning" look about it (or is it just the lower autumn sun?)...there are hardly any people visible. October must have been a good time to go! To our right, there appears to be a construction wall in front of the Hall of Chemistry.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Crowded Tomorrowland!

Yikes, lookit how crowded it is! I would have guessed that this first picture is from a busy summer day, except that some folks are wearing long sleeves. Maybe this is from an equally busy Christmas season? As usual, the Subs and Monorail are big draws...I expect that we'll see lines like this again when the Submarines reopen (later this year?).

I'm afraid that I've been to the park when it looks like this (or worse). Once I went with my brother in the middle of summer, I think we got onto five attractions all day. I felt bad for him, since he was visiting from out of town...I can go any old time if I really want to!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Columbia, Gem of the Ocean

Let's take a look at the Columbia today! In the first image, this tribute to the first American ship to sail around the world is brand spankin' new, having debuted less than a month earlier (the "below decks" museum wouldn't be opened for another six years). Is that the little riverfront gazebo to the left? Looks like the Strawhatters would be playing sometime later.

In this second photo (from 1961), we get a deck's-eye view of things. Looks pretty crowded. Cascade Peak is dead ahead, if you look closely you can see the bighorn sheep (only the pointy bits at this angle). A little girl is more interested in the boat than the scenery. You can see in this photo how beautifully crafted the Columbia is, no detail was too small.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Bear Country 1964, and more

These dusty old bears don't need to pilfer "picanic baskets", there's plenty of fish in Bear Country. The narration from the mine train describes the bears as "lazy", because all they do is scratch and sniff and swim (that is, when they ain't sleepin'). I always expected the narrator to comment on how he wished he was a bear, or something along those lines!! But somehow that darn pre-recorded spiel never read my mind. (My mouse ears were lined with foil to prevent the Russian microwaves from scrambling my thoughts, so maybe that was the problem).

At the risk of repeating myself (again!), look at that landscaping, it is amazing how convincing it really believe that the "river" goes back and back, and the wilderness continues up the valley (possibly to some snow covered mountain range!).

And speaking of snow covered mountain ranges, here is another vintage photo ('58?) of Storybook Land for Perky Pickle. Maybe the buildings you were looking for are in this picture! If not...well I tried.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Pack Mules

Looks like them pack mules picked up a passle of young'uns. I would have wanted to ride a white one, and I would have named him "Ghosty" (girls, you can call him "Snowflake"). Giddyap! In the background, the old dark-green Mine Train awaits a new batch of passengers. The engineer is probably catching a bite to eat in Mother Murphy Meals.

In this second photo, we've been riding through the Living Desert, and just passed beneath the Natural Arch. As we turn and look behind us, we can see some of the Mules crossing the bridge. The rockwork on the bridge isn't as sophisticated as other's almost a throwback to older amusement parks. I do like the addition of the streaks of minerals running down the face of the arch!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Odds and Ends

Today I decided to post some miscellaneous odds and ends. Maybe, grouped together, they make an interesting post! First up I thought I'd show this image of a little mountain village from Storybook Land. You can almost imagine gangs of yodeling teenagers keeping hardworking toymakers awake. Perkypickle, didn't you need a shot of this area? Hopefully this shows whatever you were looking for.

I love this next picture! There was an entire lot of slides with this swingin' couple (the lady on the left is a mystery). In every photo, the woman on the right was dressed like a former Las Vegas showgirl. Lots of fringe, bared midriff, big hair, and groovy accessories. The gentleman often had a gold medallion around his neck, and he was partial to kimonos. And they went to a lot of parties! All three folks have that paper ticket on a string, was that some sort of pass?

OK, I know that the photo below was taken from a Jungle Cruise boat as it returned to civilization. But what is the name of the restaurant that had this musical trio? This was from way before the Tahitian Terrace. I could do some research, but that would involve effort!

And finally, here's another slide from August 13, 1955. There aren't too many people around, maybe it's early morning. In fact it MUST be early morning...see the milkman climbing aboard?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Dumbo from Skyway, 1950's

These photos are from three different lots of slides, believe it or not. I guess it is easy to imagine riding in the Skyway, and being attracted to the kinetic fun of Dumbo's Flying Elephants. The photo above looks like it might have been taken in the winter, though you still see some short-sleeves. There is some sort of eatery just behind the Dumbo ride. At the middle, right hand side of the photo there are perhaps some phone booths (back near the posters)? The hill provides a nice separation between Fantasyland and Frontierland.

Nothing much different to note about the second photo, although you can see the "natural arch" that the pack mules crossed. I even think I see some tiny specks on a hillside near the natural arch...looks like people, but it's hard to tell.

In this third view, we are nearing the Skyway Chalet, and can see folks waiting in line for their trip to Tomorrowland.