Friday, October 31, 2008


Happy Halloween, Boys and Ghouls! Sorry if I frightened you with that "Boo!" in the title. Jeez, what scaredy cats. I don't have much in the way of spooky images for you, but I threw something together. Major Pepperidge saves Halloween!

First up is this super scary photo of a wax Bela Lugosi as that most famous of all vampires. Yes, even more famous than Count Chocula! This might be from Movieland Wax Museum in Buena Park, though the slide looks pretty old, and is obviously unlabeled. Anyway, not a bad likeness, as wax museums go.

I know that this is from Movieland Wax Museum, because I remember the scene! My brother had a polaroid photo taken of himself, just like this guy (a Century 21 realtor?) is doing. Hey buddy, you seem to be getting pretty fresh with the monster. But I shouldn't judge! This likeness is franky awful. Frankly! Get it? The great Boris Karloff looked incredible in Jack Pierce's makeup; just thinking about that first scene in which the monster turns around and you see him for the first time gives me a thrill. So cool! Instead of wax, he was sculpted from lumpy caramel. But at least he has delicate little hands, much too delicate to strangle the sculptor. He was missing a finger or two by the time we met him.

I thought I'd throw in these Haunted Mansion pix (from July 1964) at no extra charge. As most of you know, the Haunted Mansion's exterior stood for years before the attraction was ready for guests. I believe that it was built in 1963, so it had already been there for a year or so. The Imagineers did such a beautiful job with the house, the manicured grounds, and even the wrought iron fencing... if it looked this good on the outside, just imagine how it must be on the inside?

By the time the Mansion opened its doors in August 1969, the public was went crazy, and record crowds showed up. And while it has undergone a number of changes over the years, it is still one of the most popular attractions.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tickets & Toads

I've got two rather random images for you today, leftovers of a sort. But still worth a look! Like this nice colorful view of the old ticket booths, circa August 1960. Looks like it's midday judging by the overhead sun. The line is... well, there really IS no line; maybe everybody is already inside!

Here's a closeup of the ticket prices. Admission and 15 tickets, under five bucks for an adult. You were still considered a child up to the age of 11, and a "Junior" until you turned 18! Servicemen (in uniform) and Clergy were also admitted for the price of a Junior's ticket. Under 3, get in free (except for the Carrousel, Pack Mules, and Junior Autopia).

Yep, that's about how Fantasyland looks when I'm there! Arg, that's gotta be at least a 30 or 40 minute wait for Señor Toad. Maybe longer, those queues are deceptive. Just when you think you're almost there, you find yourself walking away from the load area. And "Peter Pan's Flight" looks just as bad!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Yuck! April 1966

I think I can say without any qualms that this first photo is one of the ugliest I've ever posted. It's gray, and just plain barfy. But it does have its silver lining...

...through the haze you can see the "It's a Small World" show building while it was still under construction. No playful Mary Blair/Rollie Crump decorations grace the front of the large structure. If you look closely you can see the boxed trees that still grace the top of that attraction (I've always thought that the trees were a neat touch!). If you look down at the supports for the Monorail beamway, you can see some red steel structures that I can only assume would be part of the support system for the Peoplemover track.

And, just because I had it scanned (and because it's from the same lot), here's a murky photo of King Arthur's Carrousel. Before all of the horses were white! The dark quality of the picture makes this ride seem vaguely manacing. It's gonna eat you!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Skyway & Tomorrowland, August 1960

Boy howdy, I sure do love me this first picture! "Colorful" is a good word for it. Much better than "crunchy", although it is definitely crunchy too. The blue sky, the Skyway buckets in warm shades of orange, copper and yellow, the blue Monorail below, the still-new Matterhorn (looking especially nice here), and just a bit of the Alice in Wonderland attraction... this one's got it all! Unless you wanted a photo with a sign in it, in which case this one doesn't have it all.

Tomorrowland is crowded, looks like it's time to start making some dee-licious soylent green. To the left is the pylon where The Yachtsmen often played. Towering above it all is the TWA rocket. I am going out on a limb and guessing that the wind sock is from the Flight Circle, but it seems awfully far away. Maybe it is over the Flying Saucers?

Monday, October 27, 2008

I Heart the Jungle Cruise

It's time to give some love to the Jungle Cruise, which is all-too-neglected on this blog. I love it, but so many photos are just like the last. However, I get a kick out of these particular views because they give you a sort of "guest's perspective" from 50 years ago.

Like this one, which appeals to me for reasons I can't quite explain. You can't see much of the scenery (except for Schweitzer Falls) or the boat, or even the boat's pilot. I suppose it is that feeling that "you are there"... what else could it be?! I think I see 3 souvenir hats. My mom used to have one very much like the flowered example to the right, and she always told me that she bought it at Disneyland. I didn't believe her, and laughed. Laughed, do you hear? By the way, anybody have a guess at what that arm is pointing toward?

What kid didn't wish that HE (or she) was steering the boat?? Especially when the pilot spun the wheel really fast to avoid various obstacles. Here we are looking over the pilot's shoulder and the controls (looks like a Chris Craft!) towards the ruined monkey temple guarded by hungry crocodiles. Who knew that crocodiles were so protective of monkeys?

Most people remember the elephants, giraffes, giant pythons, tigers, gorillas, and head-hunters, but few remember the savage Jungle Duck. This duck is known for his ferocity and ability to spit poison up to 20 yards. Aieee! My eyes! And they can change colors to match his surroundings - - if they want to. This animatronic wonder was so terrifying that he was removed after only a year or so. The figure gathered dust in a warehouse next to the Hatbox Ghost until they both vanished into history (along with the Ark of the Covenant).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Disneyland Band On The Road

Here's a sort of random oddity... from a slide that had turned intensely magenta, unfortunately. So I chose to turn it into a less painful sepia tone. Anyway, there's Vesey Walker and the Disneyland Band, but where the heck are they? Is that the Disneyland Hotel? What's the deal with that small stage in the background? Obviously they were waiting for some very important people.

Well, it turns out that this is from the opening of a Montgomery Ward's in Santa Ana. I wonder if Walt Disney was going to be there as some sort of "master of ceremonies"? Whatever the case may be, it was kind of fun finding this image.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Indian Village, July 1964

Here's a nice view from the top deck of the Mark Twain, looking down on the old, long-gone Indian Village. Notice the queue area in the lower right for the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes (one kid in the line has his mouse ears on)! I don't recall seeing so many totem poles and other artifacts from the Northwest territories. It looks like some teepees and maybe a "long house" have been replaced.

At some point these shaded bleachers were added, presumably due to large and enthusiastic crowds. There certainly are a lot of people in this photo! Notice all of the younger kids right down front, ready to hop into the circle and bust a move.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hallmark Souvenir Cards

I picked up these three Disneyland Hallmark greeting cards a few years ago. At the time I wasn't particularly interested in them except for the fact that their photos were the same as the wonderful "PDL" postcards (also by Hallmark). I was seriously collecting Disneyland postcards at the time!

Anyway, here they are (I have their original Hallmark envelopes as well)! I love the 60's style cartoons, think of the endless novelty items produced with similar drawings. This first one is the plainest of the three, a fairly standard single-fold with goofy multiple choice interior.

This next one is considerably fancier, unfolding into a triple-wide color photo. Nice! You've got your standard cartoon character, but that silhouette is actually a die-cut shape.

And finally, another 3-panel color photo. These cards aren't really that funny, but how many store bought greeting cards are? In any case, I've been told that these cards are somewhat hard to find, so I am happy to have these three examples in my meager collection!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Giant Rubber Critters

When Disneyland first opened, there were no costumed characters wandering the park for photo ops and autographs (I still think that the idea of getting an autograph from one of them is weird). But today it is just one of those things that the public expects when they go to a Disney park! As a kid, those giant heads freaked me out.

But they don't worry this little girl, she was much braver than me! She's standing (somewhere in Tomorrowland) with the Practical Pig and the Piper Pig (and wearing her mouse ears). The Practical Pig is scary, come on! He looks like he's going to hurt someone. Eat them, maybe.

Here's all three oinkers, they've just robbed the Bank of America and are making a getaway!

The whole family had to get in on this one... Mickey Mouse himself (wow, he really is short) poses with a happy bunch. Cat's eye glasses were the order of the day for the ladies. Everyone looks pretty fresh, they must be arriving rather than leaving!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scenes from the Treehouse

I am grateful that there is still a big treehouse in Disneyland's Adventureland, even though I miss that crazy Swiss family that used to live there. Though they did play their polkas too loud! Apparently, kids were unaware that there was a Disney movie tie-in, and how can any kid appreciate an amazing, intricate, huge treehouse if there isn't a movie tie-in?? It's just not possible. So the family moved out, and Tarzan moved in (redecorating as most new owners are prone to do).

But we've still got photos of the good old days! Here's a vertigo-inducing shot looking down from the treetops... the fascinating series of belts, pulleys, and thingamajigs all worked in concert to bring water right up to your room. The family REALLY didn't want to walk downstairs to wash or get a drink! I mean, think about it. Those Swiss, what are you gonna do! But I love 'em for building this contraption, as a kid I could stare at it for hours, or at least until my dad told me to move it.

There were plenty of useful goods salvaged from the ship that was wrecked on a reef (what was the name of the ship? I couldn't find the answer...). Like this canon! Handy for fighting off bloodthirsty pirates, or a Gorn. (Look it up, non-nerds!)

Here's a view from up in the branches. When you are from Switzerland, and you are very homesick, and the heat and tropical haze is just so, you can almost believe that you are seeing the beloved Matterhorn way off on the horizon. But that would be impossible, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Knott's Berry Farm, September 1970

Although I went to Disneyland many times when I was a kid, I don't have a single photo of myself in the park from those days. Seems hard to believe, my mom was a real shutterbug! But I recently found some snapshots from a few other Southern California amusement parks. Like this one from Knott's Berry Farm! It's taken at the load area for the classic Log Ride, with five kids on board. From left to right: my friend Ronnie Smith, yours truly (in my cool "Hang Ten" shirt!), my big brother Tom (waving happily), his best friend Curt Holmes, and my little sister Mary in the back. We look like we're having a pretty swell time! Know why? Because we WERE having a swell time.

I'm reasonably sure that this is our log plummeting down the final flume! You can sort of see my freakishly white/blond hair (and my sister in the back all by herself). I always knew when that last drop was coming, you would first pass through a dark cavern with only the faintest blue light visible at one end; but that just got my adrenaline going! What a great attraction.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Living Desert, 1956

I've got four images from the old Rainbow Ridge Mine Train attraction (before it was expanded in to Nature's Wonderland).

Among the desert's unusual features is the saguaro cactus forest. Unusual because they are made of fiberglass! In the background are some weathered mesas. The forced perspective of those tiny pueblos on top almost works in the Southern California haze! To the left you can see one of the tumbling rocks, which spun madly like one of Barney Rubble's bowling balls.

Here's a clearer view of those same mesas and rock formations...

Sometimes the heat of the desert can make you see things. Crazy things! Like these little cacti, they almost look like people. Or maybe like the trolls from Magic Mountain.

And finally, one more look at some of the tumbling rocks, the vibrations from our passing train set them off. Look out!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Entrance to Frontierland, April 1957

Looks like it was another gloomy day in 1957! Here we have to views of the entrance to Frontierland. The castle's normally-cheerful pastel colors can't liven things up much. I wouldn't be surprised if it snowed! Well, maybe a little surprised.

The tree stumps are still outside the stockade, evidence of how the durn thing was built. Don't those settlers know that the stump is the tastiest part? The trading post is visible through the gate, surely full of all kinds of wonderous souvenirs! Just above it I can see a line of fresh 2 by 4's, I wonder if that had anything to do with Rainbow Ridge?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Columbia times two

The Columbia. Icy. Forbidding. Oh wait, that's Mount Everest. The Columbia is actually pretty inviting. Even IF there are creepy guys in watching you from the ropes, like giant, stripey spiders. Several ladies are emerging from "below decks", squinting in the sunlight like squinty squinters. I don't know, I'm just writing.

See those guys up at the stern rail? They seem to think that something is mighty amusing. Every time I see somebody smiling at Disneyland I get suspicious. What are they up to? What kind of shenanigans are being shaniniganed? Why are they so darn happy? I have questions.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Walkin' Around the World's Fair

Today I have three slides from the 1964 New York World's Fair. They don't feature any specific buildings (well, one of them does I guess), but I like them because you can get a feeling for what it was like to walk around the grounds.

In the background is the zigzag roof of the train station. An empty tram passes by, and cheerful flags of the world add a splash of welcome color to the surroundings.

I don't know, Mabel, the line for the that RCA exhibit is awfully long. Of course, we can go see ourselves on a real color TV. Or we could go party at the Mormon pavilion instead, there's nobody over there!

To our left we can see the columns of part of the New York State pavilion, and in the foreground there is a bit of the Africa pavilion, and I think that the Sierra Leone pavilion is off to the right. Trams come and go while a distinctive fountain erupts in the background. I tried to find out what it was called, but to no avail. Maybe next time I will try harder!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Three from May, 1968

Today we'll be looking at a few slides from 1968 Frontierland.

I'll start with this familiar view of Bear Country (the original Bear Country!). It's a nice photo all by itself, but might be of additional interest if you look at similar photos from other years, like this one, and this one.

Ever feel self-conscious when having your picture taken? That dude sipping on his soda sure does. Notice his ticket book sticking out of his shirt pocket. I really should know which restaurant this is, since it is right outside the Golden Horseshoe. But I don't. I could look it up, but that would involve effort. It is a sobering thing to consider that the paper cups, plates, and that box (all with "Disneyland" emblazoned on them) would all fetch a tidy sum on the collector's market today. One man's trash...

And finally, a look at the El Dorado, the rootin'-tootinest hotel this side of the Mississippi. Nice beds, $1. Sheets are 50 cents extra. Bedbugs and lice are free! Just like the all of the best things. Nearby is a friendly saloon in case you need to wet your whistle, or have a hankerin' for some tinny pie-anny music, or need to break a balsa wood chair over some varmint's head.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Matterhorn, April 1966

Here are two nice photos of the Matterhorn, presumably taken mere minutes apart. The round Skyway buckets are gone, replaced by roomier rectangular models. Most of Fantasyland looks pretty sleepy - - the Teacups might not even be operational. Even the line for "Mr. Toad" is practically nonexistant!

This one looks hazier, but maybe it's because of the way I scanned it. I'm in a hurry so often these days! Anyway, it's nice because of the Pirate Ship "lagoon" in front of us with its reflections, giving us an unusual view.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tomorrowland '72

It's time to visit yesterday's future! Tomorrowland 1972, to be exact. As I have said (over and over, endlessly, until each of you can hardly stand it...), this was the Disneyland of my childhood; and many of my fondest memories of visiting the park were forged during this time.

This guy didn't succumb to the temptation to grow his hair long and forgo bathing like those darn hippies! Who knows, maybe he had served in Vietnam. As you can see, the Autopia cars now look like Corvette Stingrays - - I believe that this model was introduced in 1967, and they were in service until the attraction received a major overhaul in 2000. Love the extra large, plaid bell bottoms on the young woman to the right!

Here's the classic Rocket Jets platform, you were already a good 25 feet (or so) above the ground before your rocket took off! And once you got going, THAT was fun! The level below the Rocket Jets was the circular load area for the Peoplemover. What I wouldn't give to bring that ride back...! At the top of the elevator gantry are what look like two television cameras covered with tarps. Is that what they are?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Golden Horseshoe Staff, '65 & '68

Happy Columbus Day! Today (by special request), Speedy the intern was asked to choose the photos, and I think you'll agree that he did a swell job. He picked two fun pictures of the helpful and always-smiling waitresses (and one waiter) from the Golden Horseshoe Revue.

This first one is from August 1965. They look like they could be mother and daughter! Hubba hubba, the girl on the left is about as cute as you could ask for. She's wearing a corsage, maybe she's going to the prom! The striped corsets are very 60's, reminding me of everything from "Mary Poppins" to the television show "The Wild Wild West" (which premiered a month after this photo was taken). Plenty of bags of Frito's corn chips are on the bar to the right. (Hey Klondike!)

Thank goodness there was always lots of ice cold Pepsi Cola to go with 'em. I liked to pretend it was whiskey.

Now we move on to July 1968. The girl's costumes haven't changed too much, but the hairstyles have. I defy you to find three more all-American, Disney-type kids anywhere! Since this was July, I'm guessing that these were just some of the many local youths who sought summer employment at the happiest place on earth.

Thanks again Speedy! You've earned your official beanie; wear it with pride!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dumbo, 1962

The lines for the Dumbo attraction remain long over 50 years after it's debut; there's just something about riding a flying elephant! Here are three cute kids (the girl in the middle should be familiar by now) getting ready for takeoff. The boy has been caught with the same goofy expression that I seemed to have in many childhood photos. He's clutching his 10-adventure ticket book.

And here they come, not very high off the ground. Somebody pull back on the stick! In the background, the walls are covered in a fortune's worth of classic silkscreened attraction posters.