Monday, September 20, 2010

Viewmaster and Nature's Wonderland

I decided to dig through some of my old Viewmaster packets and scan some stuff. It was that, or do real work. Today it's all about Nature's Wonderland. Let's begin with this interesting ground-level view of three inhabitants of Bear Country. Three ITCHY inhabitants. May I recommend some Gold Bond Medicated Powder? I do like the fact that a Disneyland visitor would never be able to see these bears from this viewpoint, since they would be crossing the trestle some 15 feet up.

You didn't have to ride the Mine Train to see Nature's Wonderland... you could ride a mule too. Here's an unusual photo, apparently taken from the trail that was actually above Rainbow Ridge. If you look carefully at this photo you can see some stealth mules above the little buildings.


Again, a view that you won't see in any tourist photos, looking past the geysers and colorful bubbling pots of mud towards a Mine Train.

And finally, how about a rare photo taken inside Rainbow Caverns? I can only think of one other professionally-taken photo of the caverns, from a 1963 National Geographic (which you can see here on the Vintage Disneyland Tickets blog). Neither photo really does the thing justice (where's all the color?), but at least it gives a general idea of its beauty.

24 comments:

TokyoMagic! said...

Wow Major, what's the secret for getting such great scans from Viewmaster reels?

Sam Towler said...

Love the third shot; very rarely do you get the whole train in frame.

Chiana_Chat said...

* imagine bouncing emoticon here *

Cool! I've never seen them so thank you for adding them to the show!

These are different views all right. Boy those bears wore the bark off them trees. Their hides must be super tough. Imagine the insects it must take to bother them!

What cute kiddies, but the team leader sure has his hands full!

Great job on the colors of those paint pots, best I've ever seen them.

As for a glimpse in Rainbow Caverns: coool.

Nancy said...

beautiful pics today....

i never knew that the mules (or anything else) went up behind the buildings of Rainbow Ridge. i am always learning something new here

i rode a horse once at WDW, kept going offa the trail, and i dont know how to ride a horse so it was not much fun. he was a rogue!

Chuck said...

Your additional link shows a very rare photo of an operational test of the once-secret HAVE MULE stealth technology demonstrators. The program was run out of Edwards AFB, about 100 miles due north of Anaheim, and Disneyland's close proximity made it a perfect location to test the technology's feasibility in a high-visibility environment. The operational tests at Disneyland in the 1955-73 timeframe were not as effective as had been hoped (as the photo suggests), but they did provide a wealth of data that was later worked into the HAVE BLUE and F-117 programs.

Rich T. said...

Thank you for posting these!!! I had that Viewmaster reel pack and loved it! Then I left it in a wall-projector toy too long and melted one of the slides. :(

Connie Moreno said...

I am so glad that Chuck is here to enlighten me on the stealth mules. Now I can show off my knowledge at the next cocktail party...

Thufer said...

Good stuff here. Inside those caverns were a joy for the eye.

Katella Gate said...

Anybody here have the Photoshop skills to tint that Rainbow Cavern picture? Certainty not me, mine would come out like those early colorized movies, where the face, eyes, hair, and tongue are all "flesh" colored. Like Filmation Cartoons.

Major Pepperidge said...

Chris, there's no secret except that they have to be scanned at a very high dpi, since they're so tiny.

Sam, I hadn't thought about it, but you're right!

Chiana, the Viewmaster photographers obviously had access to places that most people wouldn't.

Chuck, now the commies have access to all of that classified material you just mentioned. Connie might be a spy for all we know.

Rich T., if you wanted, I'm sure you could get a copy of this Viewmaster packet for relatively little on ebay.

Nancy, your horse riding experience is just like most of mine! And Thufer, I know what you mean.

Katella, I could probably give it a shot, although I have no idea what colors should go where. Most of the water in this picture (geysers, waterfall, and pool) would all be a single color, so... not much of a rainbow effect here.

JG said...

Wonderful pictures, I remember this vividly, except the stealth mules...that part is kind of hazy.

Did they operate like the Shadow, with the power to cloud men's minds? If so, they certainly worked.

Remember how humid that cave was? Hot and humid and smelling of diesel.

Love it.

JG

Connie Moreno said...

ugh, you just reminded me of the humidity and the smells...ugh...

Orange Co Native said...

When I was a youngster in the mid 1960's and thru the 1970's , my family always took the train. I guess my dad and mom figured you didn't get to see inside the mine by taking the mules. More bang for the buck. I always remember this ride as being one of my favorites. I am not sure if kids today would be that excited about the ride. Last time I rode on it was in 1975 when I was 14 years old. Even at 14 I thought it was a great ride. It is too bad it is now gone.
I have been hearing rumors that Frontier Land might be expanded into the Circle C Ranch behind the berm and incorporated the unused Festival of Fools area that use to be the geyser and painted desert areas. Anyone else heard about this?

Orange Co Native said...

Circle D Ranch. My mistake

Anonymous said...

YES, you just reminded me of the humidity and the smells...LOVED IT TOO!

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I admit that my memories of Rainbow Caverns are not very vivid... I did not recall the humidity (obviously other folks do!).

In my (faulty) memory, the caverns were cool after the sunny desert scenes, and the smell was of chlorinated water. Oh well!

As for the diesel smell, maybe it was some other petroleum aroma... I am reasonably sure that the mine trains ran on rechargeable electric batteries. Seriiously!

Orange Co Native, I have heard the same rumors, but don't know what the plans are for that land. Perhaps there are no real solid plans as of now.

HBG2 said...

Actually, there are several professional shots of the Rainbow Caverns interior, including two postcards, and the grotto shot used in the View Master was also used for a Panavue slide. If you're an RC fan, you can see a collection of photos and concept art here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29883059@N05/sets/72157615403737205/

JG said...

Major, now that i think about it, the diesel smell is definitely from the Disneyland RR in the Grand Canyon diorama, and I might be conflating it with RC, but Casey Junior runs on diesel too, even today.

@HBG2. Thank you.

JG

Major Pepperidge said...

HBG2, I stand corrected. I even have the postcards and the old guidebooks, but forgot about 'em. Matterhorn1959 posted a Sawyers slide very recently (Sawyers was bought by GAF, which made Panavue, so... same image).

That flickr page has one of my photos, weirdly colorized!

Anonymous said...

It's a bit late, but as a former MT operator, the trains were run off of a marine battery located in the tender which the operator sat. They were recharged nightly. The caverns were always a pleasant experience.

JG said...

Thanks Anon, it must have been the Disneyland RR that gave me the diesel smell memories.

JG

keeline said...

Part of the problem with Rainbow Caverns photos and film is that the longwave UV "black light" that activated the dyes in the water also tended to overexpose film.

When mineral collectors wanted to photograph their fluorescent minerals (mostly illuminated with shortwave UV) they had to use a pale yellow Wratten filter to block a lot of the unwanted UV and just get the fluorescent color from the glowing rocks.

We have the same kinds of problems today with the digital cameras but at least we get some instant feedback on what settings work and which do not.

Note that the film clips of the caverns are b-w and even when there were color films of the outside, the caverns were not shown. Likely the film did not come out and was overexposed.

There's more to say on this topic but a blog comment seems like a limiting place to do so.

James Keeline

keeline said...

Regarding the mules, I have some old film clips that show them walking on the trail behind the main row of buildings on Rainbow Ridge. So much for forced perspective! I also have a few clips showing people ON the mules. It seems to have been a bouncy ride.

James Keeline

Major Pepperidge said...

Thanks for your input James! Hmmm, I wonder if one of those pale yellow filters would have made my UV photos of my attraction posters any better?

As for the forced persepective... yes, it was kind of ruined by the "giant" mules and riders at the top of Rainbow Ridge.