Thursday, December 31, 2009

Color Snapshots, 1959

I am going to pretend that today's snapshots were from a box in my parent's garage, even though they weren't really. It helps me cope with the fact that my family has NO photos from our many trips to the park.

I've always loved that kooky old exterior for the Alice In Wonderland attraction, with the stylized gigantified garden growing from the corner of the castle. It makes no sense, but neither does the ride. And that's what makes it great!

I confess that this snapshot might not be from 1959... it's undated, although it was in the same lot as the rest. It just looks older! Anyway, I'm always happy to see the Plantation House.

Might as well end on an oddball note, with this askew view of this waterway that is flowing away from the castle, and towards Frontierland and Adventureland. I believe that this was covered over at some point, but that the water does still flow the same way. Does anybody know if that's a fact?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Squeakers!

I thought I'd share a few more wonderful Art Corner "squeaker" postcards with you today! (See the first installment here).

First up is this rather rare postcard featuring Donald Duck, behind the wheel of an old roadster. He is a bad role model, he doesn't keep his eyes on the road, and is waving that distracting pennant instead of keeping both hands on the steering wheel (at 10 and 2).

There's Mickey, he's stolen Pinocchio's clothing for some reason. The thin, icy-cold air at the top of the Matterhorn has made him woozy, and now he's starting to disrobe.

Fortunately, Pinocchio always keeps a spare set of clothes for just such emergencies. He's pretty stoked about it!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Frontierland & Construction, April 1962

April 1962 would have been a good time to visit Frontierland with a camera... there was a whole lotta construction going on in those days, with the earliest New Orleans Square additions, not to mention a certain mansion.

This photo looks like many others showing the Mill at the end of Tom Sawyer Island; but what's that mess over to the right?

Well, I admit that it doesn't look like much. Some construction walls, a bit of excavations, and some lumber. Still, it is cool to know what the eventual results would be!

In this related shot, you can see some of the same construction area to the right. There is a sign, we can only see the back of it... I sure wish I knew what it looked like from the front! Meanwhile, check out the line waiting to get into the Golden Horseshoe.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Walt Disney World, circa 1973

I don't post very many photos from Walt Disney World - mostly because I don't have very many. But I thought I'd share three photos from the early years.

Here's a look at Florida's Fantasyland; I think it's sort of interesting that they continued with some of the flat façades and "medieval faire" designs... those choices were used at Disneyland due to budgetary constraints, and for all I know, that's why they were used again. I keep hearing about how the second version of the "Snow White" ride is an improvement on Disneyland's!

I certainly read a lot about WDW when I was a kid, and it seemed that almost every story was accompanied by a photo of the A-shaped Contemporary Resort Hotel. I like this neat interior photo showing the Monorail waiting to take on a new load of passengers; the CRH isn't the nicest hotel down there, but I would love to stay there because to me, it's as much a part of Disney World as the Magic Kingdom. $$$$!

Hey, teenage boys, don't you know that you aren't supposed to want to ride the Keel Boats? You want thrills, not a unique experience with plenty o' atmosphere! Teenagers, sheesh. Disneyland's Keel Boats were aged like a fine cheese, but this boat looks fairly new and shiny. On the mast you can see the octagonal loudspeaker just like on the Anaheim examples. Due to an accident, the Florida Keel Boats were removed some time in the early 2000's. Bummer!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Last of the Astroworld Viewmasters!

Sorry for the slightly later post today folks! They only let me out of jail about an hour ago.

Anyway, I have been so busy watching my reality shows that I completely forgot to post the last of the Astroworld Viewmaster scans. (See the other posts here and maybe here too why don'tcha).

"Dragon 'startles' professor in Lost World Adventure". Yes, that goofy dragon would startle me too. He must be a relative of the silly sea serpent in Disneyland's old Submarine Voyage.

"The Mill Pond Ride". Floating bumper cars, just like the ones ("El Bumpo") at Magic Mountain!

"A twirling ride on the fabulous Black Dragon". They had one of these at Magic Mountain as well, I think they called it "The Octopus". Or something. It looks much more like an octopus than any dragon I've ever seen.

"River Boat approaching the Wrecked Ship". Hey, weren't we just here?

"Aerial vie of Mod Ville". Just look at all of that glorious Texas dirt! I wonder if any of those double Ferris Wheels have survived; there was one at Hershey Park (from my years in Pennsylvania), and there was the "Galaxy" at - yes - Magic Mountain.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Monorail Yellow, April 1962

Do you feel a disquieting sense of anger, despair, or even nausea when you see a Monorail that is red, blue, green, or purple? If so, today's post is for YOU!

Looky, it's yaller! The brightest, sunniest yaller a boy could ever want. Girls too. It's like a speeding pat of butter, or the world's fastest ear of corn. I'd also like to give a special shout out to the purple Autopia car; that color seemed to exist for only a few years.

Oh boy, there it is again! You can see the tiny silhouetted heads of the lucky riders and the even luckier pilot. The yellow flashing lights indicate that the Monorail can be used as an emergency vehicle, just a long as the emergency happens to take place somewhere along the beamway. Notice the rooftops of a number of flivvers, which were also visible in this photo.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Main Street USA at Night, September 1968

Merry Christmas!

Today's photos don't really have anything to do with the holiday season, but they evoke similar feelings in my wizened, walnut-sized heart. The are both from Main Street USA - at night! That's when Main Street (arguably) looks its very best, turning from a reasonable facsimile of an old fashioned street to something a bit more magical (oh how I've grown tired of that word!).

We'll start with this overall view, facing towards the castle from Town Square. The buildings are ablaze with lights, which their warm glow over everything. The street looks especially busy this night - I wonder if the photo was actually taken in August, when kids were still out of school and the park would be at it's most crowded.

Now for a look at Town Square, where our pregnant friend is resting on a bench. Film speeds had improved enough so that a long exposure wasn't necessary... there are only a few blurs, rather than the streets full of ghosts seen in earlier night shots. I didn't think to zoom in on the Emporium windows to see what dioramas were on display!

I'd like to wish all of my readers a very happy holiday season, no matter how you celebrate it. Hopefully you are with people you like, eating good food, and opening plenty of presents!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa's Village!

Well, it's Christmas Eve, and I haven't been celebrating the holidays at all on my bloggy-blog. So today seemed like a good day to dig out the slides of Santa's Village! I believe that the first two photos are from the Santa's Village near Santa Cruz, while the last one might be from Skyforest (near Lake Arrowhead). Please correct me if I'm mistaken!

This lady is posing next to a bevy of (apparently) free strollers; the sign says "Walking is hard on little feet, use a stroller with a comfy seat". Hey, my feet are little, maybe I'll use a stroller.

Right in the center of this photo you can see the Christmas tree ride, a "Dumbo"-type spinning attraction, only without Dumbo's extreme thrills! Feral, man-eating goats roamed the grounds; whose idea was that? Notice the drunken elf sitting in the tree.

For a second I thought the place was closed, but the front door is open, and there are cars in the parking lot. It's amazing the way that snow on the roof peaks doesn't melt! The sleigh pulled by invisible reindeer was always a popular photo subject.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Main Street Views, June 1962

Today I have two nice photos from Main Street USA. At the foot of Main Street is the lovely train station. It looks pretty grand, elevated above everything else. And those stair railings are totally rad for grinding with my skateboard! The lady at the foot of the stairs (wearing the long dress) is carrying some sort of large parcel... could she be an employee in one of the shops?

Here's a nice shot of the Opera House, one of the prettiest buildings on Main Street IMHO. That's right, I said imho, and I'm sticking to it. The ornate facade reminds me of a piece of antique furiture, like a Chippendale dresser.

If we zoom in a little closer (and lighten things up a bit) we can see that the sets from the movie "Babes in Toyland" are on display; apparently there was a toy store located inside too, in case you felt the sudden need to lighten your wallet.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fun With Double Exposures, 1957

AAAARGH! No, I'm not playing pirate, I'm expressing my frustration with today's double exposure. Our photographer stood in roughly the same spot and took two photos on the same frame of film. Malfunctioning camera? Bad juju? Anyway, inn one photo the Disneyland Railroad is passing by, with one of the "cattle cars" visible just in front of the caboose. The other showed the back of the Viewliner, stopped as a load of passengers climbs aboard. Of all the pictures to be cursed with a double exposure, why did it have to be this one?

And here's a familiar view of the TWA Rocket to the Moon, taken from the Skyway.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Scenes at Knott's, September 1969

Howsabout some vintage Knott's photos?

In this first example, we are standing on Stage Road, and looking at some buildings on Main Street (which runs perpendicular to Stage Road). Just so you know. There's the Post Office... could you get your cards and letters postmarked at the Knott's Post Office? Next to that is the General Merchandise store, and beyond that you would find the Blacksmith. Those eucalyptus trees sure add a lot to the scenery.

I can't decide what's better, this view of the Music Hall, or the groovy chick in that colorful dress. I am assuming that the Music Hall was where you could play the giant music box with the punched metal disk "records"? To the left you can see where you could catch a ride on the Stagecoach.

Right next to the Music Hall is the famous Bottle House. It's called the Bottle House because it belonged to Bertha Bottle. Anyone who's been inside that house remembers the effect of the light coming through the various colors of glass, it's pretty magical in its simple way.

NEWS FLASH! If you are into Knott's history, go check out Chris Merritt's new website: As Chris says, "It's ostensibly to promote the book (also called Knott's Preserved), which is coming out this March - but even more, to show many of the images that were cut from the book due to size limitations. Trying to fit 90 years of history into a 144-page book will do that!"

Take a look!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cascade Peak, April 1962

Cascade Peak has been gone for about 11 years now, and I still miss it! You didn't ride it, and except for the splashing waterfalls, it didn't "do anything", but it sure was a striking visual element along the Rivers of America. As you can see, the Mine Train passed beneath the lowest (and largest) waterfall, cooling riders just a bit on a hot summer day. The mechanical mountain goats are gone at this point, although you can see where one of them cavorted up near the top. I wish they'd left them there, even if they remained motionless!

In this slightly more distant shot, you can see the Pack Mules heading for the base of the mini-mountain.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Faded Fotos From Fifty Six

From a random box of slides comes these three faded images from 1956.

Here's a neat early photo of the ticket booths... the park definitely still has that "just moved in" feel. Notice the kid to the left wearing his mouse ears, and I suspect that the kid near the center is also wearing ears. To the extreme right is the sign advertising Professor Keller's Jungle Killers!

Jeez, the place is pretty empty today. The population sign reports a mere 5 million visitors so far, I'm still hoping to see a photo with an even lower number some day.

Even Town Square feels a bit Twilight Zoney (except that Willoughby was much busier!). Two officers (Navy?) are carrying their sack lunches (liverwurst and onion sandwiches, dill pickles, and animal crackers). This is in strict violation of Disneyland rules, and they were subsequently thrown into Disney jail.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Knott's Berry Farm Viewmaster, 1960-ish

It's time to enjoy some classic Viewmaster fun! I have quite a few vintage Knott's Berry Farm Viewmaster packets, and had originally planned on scanning an earlier version; but the images were kind of murky. So I changed to this packet from the early 1960's. I am going to include the reel captions (in quotations).

"Ghost Town - Iron Horse meets Indian Chief at trestle." Great shot of that train!

" 'Your money or your life!' demands the train robber." I love the Chief attempting to dive out the window.

" 'Old Betsy' once served the Borax Mines of Mojave." She doesn't look nearly as broken down as I'm used to.

"Ride mule or train through the Calico Mine." Well, this is news to me; you could ride the mules through the mine?

"Calico Mine Trains wind through old 'diggings' ".

"Passengers see miners at work in the Glory Hole." What a neat shot!

"Trains whistle through the Cavern Room."

More to come...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kibbles And Bits

Today's photos are a selection of leftovers and orphans from various years.

Let's start with this nice look at the Monsanto Bakelite Shack of Tomorrow (there's a new bit of nomenclature!). I'm tellin' ya, the future looks pretty nice... when I build my exact copy, I'll be sure to surround it with plenty of greenery and a peaceful pond just like this.

Here's one from 1977. Santa Fe has left the building, and I still think that the station and trains look kind of naked without that distinctive logo. The population sign reads "157,000,000"; I think that in early photos I've seen it as low as 5 million. I want to see the earliest, lowest number that was posted!

Even folks who don't like "It's a Small World" get a kick out of the mechanical clock and these Mary Blair-ish figures as they cycle around every 15 minutes. The surfer is always a favorite of mine!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tomorrowland Entrance, November 1960

Boy, am I disorganized! Today's slides are part of a lot that I thought I had finished sharing long ago. But not so fast! I'm sure that many of you will remember Dorothy and her dainty, magical white gloves. She's armed with a movie camera too, what a gal! These photos were taken in November, but should the shadows really be that long at 11-ish (according to the Clock of the World)?? The air is so thick that a straw will stand up in it, but it lends a slightly dreamy appearance to Tomorrowland.

Well, the clock isn't broken, anyway! Now it's around 2 o'clock and some of the haze has lifted. The winter sun is still bright; Dorothy's gloves have come off (probably when she at lunch), but she seems to be afraid to go much further into Tomorrowland. Come on Dorothy, it'll be fun!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

3 From September 1968

Today's photos all have one feature in common. Well, OK, two features in common. They're all in Disneyland, and they all show this blond lady with the loud plaid blouse. She seems to be sporting a rather advanced "baby bump", which explains the yellow plaid.

In almost every other photo of her, she's sitting down. She's gotta save that energy! Lucky for her, Disneyland has benches aplenty, and even an appropriately rustic structure to provide shade. I'm pretty sure that the Mine Train load area would be behind us.

I suppose she can't go on the Matterhorn, can she? She looks so tiny and lonesome here as people pass her by. But we know that the photographer was her biggest fan!