Monday, November 30, 2009

Fantasyland, April 1970

Today we'll take a rare foray into the 1970's. Barely! These photos are from April 1970.

I like this first photo, it kind of reminds me of the scene in "The Wizard of Oz" when it transitions from sepia to glorious 3 strip Technicolor. As we emerge from the shadows of King Arthur's Carrousel, the rest of Fantasyland (Dumbo, the Pirate Ship, the Matterhorn, the Skyway) dazzles us with a bright blaze of light and color.

Captain Hook took over the pirate ship, and the Chicken of the Sea mermaid moved away. Gramps can't believe that she's gone. Poor gramps!

Monstro's basketball-sized blue eye looks directly at us, while gramps and friends take a break. Is that kid wearing a propeller beanie?? And what is that colorful structure to the extreme right? Part of "It's a Small World" I would guess, but I don't really know. It has a very "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" look about it!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fantasyland Views, 1957

Today is a speedy post (not posted by Speedy the intern, but a post created in a hurry)! Please forgive the lack of... everything.

From the queue of the Fantasyland Skyway chalet, we get a view of part of Fantasyland. Not even a very good view either. Who can I sue?

I've discovered an incredible, never-before-revealed secret about the Teacups ride at Disneyland. They are actually coffee cups! Stop the presses, alert the trilateral commission, call your mom and tell her you love her.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Boring Pictures, September 1959

That's right folks, I admit that today's photos are not especially exciting. But I had to use them some time!

When I go to Disneyland and decide to stop for a meal, the restaurants never look like this. Empty tables everywhere! The ornamental metal chairs and light fixtures, and polished terrazzo floor add a touch of elegance that is absent at most amusement parks.

Another great thing about Disneyland is that there are plenty of benches for weary guests. If you happen to be full of beans like that little girl, you can opt to dance around even if your parents are relaxing.

And to finish up, how about a look at the back side of water?

Friday, November 27, 2009

3 from Knott's, July 14 1964

Here's a nice look at Knott's Berry Farm's "School Road". You know, the one with the saloon at the end! There is also a Livery Barn, a Town Hall, and the Calico Hotel. With the exception of the Saloon at the end, were these other structures empty? If the photographer had timed it just right, we would have seen the train at the end of the street.

Once upon a time, there were beautiful models of each of the 21 Spanish missions in California, founded by Father Junipero Serra. I sure would love to see photos of all of them; in grade school, I had to build a diorama of Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. I used sugar cubes as bricks, mosty. It took forever. And then, as I took it to school, a swarm of hungry bees swooped down and carried the model away. At least that's what I told the teacher.

Man, those seals had the life! Just lounging around in the sun, plenty of fish and popcorn to eat, a bell to ring when folks weren't paying attention... what more could you want?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wurlitzer & Castle '57

In this first photo, it's a beautiful winter day (see the Christmas decorations?); could the sky be more blue? Right smack in the middle of the picture is ye olde Wurlitzer shop, gleaming gleamily. My uncle and aunt (Harold and Florence!) have an electric Wurlitzer organ in their magnificently finished basement in Minnesota, and if you are lucky, Florence will dazzle you with her rendition of The Association's "Windy" ("Who's walkin' down the streets of the city, smiling at everybody she sees?").

From a different lot of 1957 slides comes this very nice picture of Sleeping Beauty Castle. It has an antique quality that reminds me of the covers of Disneyland's early souvenir guidebooks. Let's stop and get a fudgesicle, and then we can head into Fantasyland!

I'd like to wish everybody a very happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Art Corner "Squeaker" Postcards

It's souvenir time again; today I'm featuring some wonderful Art Corner postcards. These are known as "squeakers", because there is a small air bladder sandwiched in between the front and back pieces of the postcard (so they're about 1/2" thick in the middle). Give it a squeeze, and it squeeks! Some fun, eh kids?

Chip and Dale are "Riding High" at Disneyland. I know some of you out there can relate. Those two mischievous chipmunks have left Donald Duck's backyard choo-choo alone now that they can play with the shiny new Monorail.

This card is one of my favorites. As you can see, Jiminy Cricket is trying out the Flying Saucers! This one can be pretty hard to find, and I love it because of the fantastic artwork, and because it relates to the Saucers. Other than a few other postcards (and the rare attraction poster) I can't think of any other Saucer-related souvenirs.

Professor Ludwig Von Drake first appeared on Walt Disney's "Wonderful World of Color" in 1961, and was famously voiced by none other than Paul Frees. On this squeaker, he continues his role as a teacher and mentor, helpfully recommending Disneyland to his criminally insane viewers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Color Versus Black and White!

Mixed in among a nice lot of color and black and white snapshots from 1959 were these fun examples. I can only assume that both mom and dad had cameras, one with color film, the other B&W. Makes sense, right?

Here's a terrific photo of two cute kids posing with Aunt Jemima in front of her pancake house. I don't know what an ice cream wafflet is, but for only 25 cents, I'll take three!

Apparently our two photographers were standing about 8 feet apart and snapped their photos at almost the same time (notice that Auntie's eyes are open here!). The boy still has his guided tour sticker on his shirt. I can't decide which photo I like better!

In these next two, we see Trinidad, the famous "white wing" surveying the nearly-deserted Town Square. He's done a great job, that street looks spotless!

And here's the companion shot in color. With the exception of the slight change in perspective, they are VERY similar. Notice the Liberty Square facade in the background (It's a lie!), with the Rocket to the Moon peeking up from behind it. Is that Civil War canon still there? I don't recall seeing it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Skyway & Matterhorn, June 1962

Today's offering consists of two very nice photos featuring Tomorrowland. If only it wasn't overcast when these were taken! But you can't have everything.

If you happened to be waiting in line for your turn to ride the Skyway to Fantasyland, you'd get this slightly elevated view of many Tomorrowland highlights. I like the perspective on the Skyway, with the colorful buckets getting ever-smaller as they head towards the cavern in the side of the Matterhorn. It appears that the buckets were repainted at some point; rather than the soft metallic blues, golds, coppers and bronzes, they are now orange, red, buttery yellow, and several shades of blues. Check out the queue for the Monorail and Subs, zowie! A climber stands at the top of the Matterhorn, and the yellow Monorail sits at its station.

This second shot is almost as good as the first. We've boarded our bucket and are on our way!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The North Pole

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is only a few days away? I can't. And that means that I am completely unprepared for Christmas, as always. So far I have yet to hear Christmas songs in a store, but then again, I haven't been in too many stores recently.

Anyway, today seemed like a good day to post these slightly mysterious slides featuring a Christmas-themed kiddie park, in Somewheresville, USA. They are undated, unlabeled, and unsalted. As you can see in this first slide, there are no giant psychedelic mushrooms a lá "Santa's Village". And yet, there's Santa himself standing in front of his house. Those conifer-covered mountains sure feel like California...

There's the famous North Pole, covered in ice 365 days a year no matter how hot it gets. Don't put your tongue on it! Not only is the mere idea disgusting, but then you'll stick to it, and they'll have to cut you free with a pair of rusty scissors. An assortment of characters has assembled around the Pole for some dark and bloody purpose forgotten by time. I recognize Little Miss Muffet, Red Riding Hood, Mary and her little lamb. Any guesses as to who the others are supposed to be?

Here's a closer look at Santa's house; it's crowded, but I think people just want to get out of that blazing high altitude sun.

Awwww, baby goats! They're adorable, aren't they? The adult goats are nowhere to be seen, but I did notice that the hot dogs had a goaty aftertaste. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. Instead of a handful of Purina goat chow, you get to nurse the kids with bottles of milk.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fantasyland Pix, September 1959

When Walt Disney was dreaming up ideas for Disneyland, it was a tossup between "Fantasyland" and "Creamed Spinachland". Luckily for us, Fantasyland won. True story!

Here's a lovely photo of Sleeping Beauty Castle, looking through some sub-tropical foliage (since the photographer was standing at the entrance to Adventureland). Hmmm, not much more to say about this one...

Sunny day, pirate ship (sails unfurled), pea-soup green water... A+!

And there's li'l Casey Jr. He thought he could, and by gum, he did it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pack Mules & Conestoga Wagon, 1957

I have decided to ditch by environmentally unfriendly gas-burning automobile and switch to a more "green" alternative. Yes, you'll see me on the 405 freeway driving my conestoga wagon! The 405 never goes more than about 5 miles an hour anyway, so it will work just fine. This swell photo is what inspired me. Behind the wagon is the load area for the Pack Mules... you can see three little girls in identical white tops and red pants.

Now that pesky wagon has moved out of the way, affording us a better look at those groovy mules. The third kid back is stylin' in his cowboy hat! I could easily see myself taking consecutive rides on the Mine Train, Pack Mules, Conestoga Wagon, and Stagecoach; each one with their slightly different perspective of the Rainbow Desert.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Disneyland Entrance, 1957

A day at Disneyland involves waiting in lines, everybody knows that. I was just thinking that after waiting in line to get your parking pass (in your car of course), and then waiting for the tram, the ticket booths were already your third queue of the day. Not that anybody was complaining; the sense of anticipation was as thick as fluffernutter. Christmas decorations are apparent, and nearly everyone is wearing coats and sweaters, so in spite of the bright sun and blue sky, there is a slight chill in the air. The clock reads 10:30, so the park has probably been open for a half hour, and it looks like a busy day. The little boy to the left is hauling a brown leather(ette) case that's pretty large. Could it be dad's movie camera?

This second photo was presumably an attempt to capture the C.K. Holliday as it passed by. It came out blurry, bub. But that's OK, I still like it!

By request, here is a closeup of that mystery poster to the left. Believe me, I tried to figure out what it was! I think I can discern a stylized train, and is that Donald Duck? I also can make out the last two letters of a word: "...VE". Here's my theory! This could be a poster for a toy drive for needy children. It is around Christmas time after all, and I believe that I've seen photos of Walt involved in a charity toy drive. I'd love it if somebody could find a clear picture of the full poster!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Attendant & Guides

I have two fun employee photos today! Let's start with this first picture from July 17, 1968. July 17, why does that date ring a bell? Anyway, I love this image of a pretty parking lot attendant in her candy-striped outfit, accented with a red carnation, red stockings and her red jockey cap. And how can we ignore the riding crop, to help her point. At least I hope that's what it was for. In the background, it appears that a tram has just dropped off a load of passengers, and they are all headed towards the ticket booths. The curving Monorail beamway is supported by columns covered in attraction posters, whoo-ee!

Now we step back in time to August 28 1965, for a look at three cheerful tour guides. Their outfits are interesting, clearly designed to maximize their visibility on a crowded day. I guarantee that nobody else will be dressed like them! A propeller on top of their caps would have been a nice touch.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Knott's Berry Assortment

Thank goodness Walter Knott didn't want to grow broccoli. Think about it.

Anyway, I have three randomish photos of the Berry Farm (Berries! That's it!) from the nineteem fitties.

I decided to try one of those dee-licious chicken dinners I've heard about, but I didn't expect to see some genuine San Francisco cable cars during my visit to the Farm. They look great too, not rusty or run-down, but shiny and clean and inviting. I would want to hop on board while they are in motion, like people do on TV and in movies.

From June 1958 comes this lovely photo of the "Church of Reflections". From what I've read, this church dates back to 1876, and it started out its existence in the Ozarks. As you can see, it stood next to the lovely "Reflection Lake"; I think it's interesting that it was an active church, not just a convincing façade. You could actually go there on sunday and hear an exciting sermon! I would have liked to go to church there, but for some reason I burst into flames when I walk into churches.

This undated slide might be from the early 50's, based on the other slides that were with it. Here is the corner of Stage Road and Market Street, but it's almost a photo of nothing; A broken down fence, some eucalyptus trees, and an adobe structure that I can't identify. The Calico Saloon? Rest rooms? Knott's Piercing Parlor?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mine Train Stuff, February 1964 (plus a bonus!)

Let's look at a few random scenes from the ol' Nature's Wonderland attraction, shall we? It's that, or photos of my Beanie Baby collection.

I thought so!

It's nice to know that the care taken by the Imagineers when designing all of the details at the little minin' town of Rainbow Ridge was appreciated by Disneyland guests. Folks took a LOT of pictures of the place, especially the Hardware Store and all of the useful items that we might need when we move to the wilderness. I'll take a stove pipe, a kerosene lantern, a shovel, and an ethernet cable (shielded). And a stoneware jug - not to hold moonshine, but to make beautiful music.

The Living Desert is a harsh environment, but there is beauty to be seen; like those mysterious and colorful bubbling pots of mud. Blue, red, yellow, and puce. I'm pretty sure there was puce! The Imagineers could have made this scene even more realistic by pumping the heady aroma of hydrogen sulphide through the scene (think rotten eggs). Boy, did they miss out.

And finally, a mangy looking bobcat is perched atop a stone outcropping. He needs a leave-in conditioner (but who doesn't?). I feel as if he is singling me out because of my hat with the giant dyed ostrich feather.

EXTRA! EXTRA! After yesterday's post showing LIFE magazine's photos of the Monsanto Plastic Home of the Future, Chris Merritt sent along the following amazing photo that his grandfather took back in 1960. Nearly 50 years ago, the idea of a TV that big (and thin) really did seem like something from fiction. Notice how the addition of the dried flowers, sculptures, and other knick-knacks give the interior a warmer, more "lived in" feel.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

LIFE looks at Monsanto's Plastic House

I consider today's post a bit of a cheat, since these images don't belong to me; but they are so nice that I had to share them with you! Through Google Images you can access LIFE Magazine's photo archives. The search function could use some serious tinkering, but you never know what you might find. I decided to do a search for "Monsanto", and found these wonderful vintage images of Disneyland's Plastic Home of the Future. Some are credited to photographer Ralph Crane, from May 1957, while others are undated (and clearly from a little bit later).

How about a beautiful night shot for starters? Notice the woman in the right wing...

... she's still there the next day! At least she moved her chair. Landscaping has barely been tended to yet, and the pond has no water in it.

You can see how unfinished the plastic house is; those horizontal seams could use some epoxy filler and a little paint!

Another angle, and the woman has wiggled her nose and transported to the inside.

The next three photos are among my favorites, because they are beautiful (and scarce) interior shots! The decor feels cool and modern; lots of white accented with splashes of color. And no clutter (where do you store your stuff?). Look at all those speakers! Muzak wherever you go. The house is a bit small, hopefully our pretty hostess isn't planning any large family get-togethers. It looks like the plastic window panels have had a foggy film applied for both color and a bit of privacy.

The kitchen appears to be considerably more roomy than it did in this postcard (which is obviously from a later date); I get the feeling that something is missing! The clean and tidy contours remind me of the sample kitchens at IKEA.

I love this picture of the bathroom! Hardly a straight line in sight. The oval lights add a "sci-fi" air to things, as does the lit ceiling. Is that a small television up on the wall (no more magazines necessary!), or a picture phone? Not sure I'd want one of those in the loo. A variety of mysterious push-button controls line the walls. And judging by the towel rack and inlaid soap holder, there is an area for a shower somewhere nearby. But where? Maybe you were cleaned with ultrasonic waves.

Some time has elapsed since the previous photos; the exterior of the house has been smoothed and painted, assorted shrubbery softens the geometry, and the pool has been filled with moon water. Or something.

Pretty, ain't it? I'm telling you, I wouldn't mind owning one of these babies. Notice that there's no Matterhorn yet.

Here's one final look at the fantastic plastic house! There are a few additional pictures on the Google LIFE archives, but they consist of views that were minor variations of the ones posted here. Check them out if you are a weirdo completist (like me). Hope you enjoyed these!