Sunday, January 31, 2010

Two Main Street View, April 1970

I can practically read your minds; "Hey, Major Pepperidge, what's with all the crappy photos lately?". Well, I have no excuses. Except that I am very very drunk. But fear not, for ye shall see some better stuff soon. Yea, verily!

Main Street, 1970. Grandma and grandpa are thinking that their home towns looked nowhere near as cute and quaint as this place. They did have a robotic Lincoln though, but that's another story (one I am not allowed to tell). Grandma holds her souvenir map (for her grandson Ned) and her INA complimentary guide (which will never get thrown away). The vehicles add a lot of life to Main Street; I've been told that Florida's version no longer has ANY vehicles. Criminal!

The Omnibus might be my favorite Main Street vehicle, but I would have to intimidate those kids into giving me their seats, because that's where I want to sit. I'm good at pushing 5 year-olds around. Hey look, there is a hole in the front of the Omnibus for a crank, did they actually require one to start up? Or was Bob Gurr just a stickler for details?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snores Aplenty, April 1962

For insomniacs everywhere, I present three slumber-inducing photos from Fantasyland! You've seen lots of pictures like these, ladies and gents. But, in an effort to keep this blog going, I'm going to post 'em anyway.

From our Skyway bucket, we have just left the Fantasyland chalet, and are gaining altitued as we are about to pass over Casey Jr. That kid in the back is staring right at us. How rude.

I guess that this is a somewhat interesting angle on the Pirate Ship. I like the little family crossing the bridge, both mom and daughter look spiffy in their sunday hats.

***Another detail: on the deck of the ship, you can see somebody (hopefully an employee!) opening the soda machine, apparently to give a soda to a kid.

What was the photographer going for here? Seems like a whole lot of stuff, but nothing in particular. You do get a glimpse of the Monorail "roundhouse" in the upper left though.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ghostly Horseshoe Revue, January 6 1957

Here are two early photos from the Golden Horseshoe Revue; the dark theater (and slow film speeds) required the use of a tripod and a long exposure, so the performers wound up looking like phantoms. Up front is Betty Taylor, and I assume that to the left (our left) is Wally Boag as Pecos Bill, and at the microphone, Donald Novis. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

In this second photo, I think that's Mr. Novis (who would be replaced by Fulton Burly in 1962) serenading a lovely hoop-skirted lass (not Betty Taylor?).

Or maybe, just maybe, these are REAL GHOSTS! (Cue crashing thunder and a minor chord on a pipe organ).

Sorry if I scared you!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Tigger & Carrousel, circa 1976

Here are a couple of undated photos - I am guessing that they are from about 1976 or '77. I mean, just look at the bell bottoms on that lady! She is all about the bicentennial, don't you think. When you are standing next to a bright orange Tigger, you need to make a fashion statement if you don't want to be overwhelmed by his glory. Her friend's pink pants and flowered top look subdued by comparison.

I'm always happy to see a photo of King Arthur's Carrousel from the days when the horses were a variety of colors, and not just white. Guess I'm in the minority! Wouldn't you like to choose a black horse, or even a red one?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Knott's, March 1963

I know we were just at Knott's Berry Farm five days ago, but I don't think I'll get too many complaints if we visit there again today.

In this first photo, a football referee angrily waves his ice cream cone at one of the Berry Farm's locomotives. Another dairy-related hate crime. He's probably a diesel fan. Or crazy. Well, I think the train is swell, so there.

From the expression on her face, I'd say that lady must have a pretty good pile of gold dust in her pan. Her 50 cent investment has already paid for itself. Some advice for the kid with the red sweater vest; don't slosh the water around too much, or it will splash all over the front of your slacks, and everyone will laugh at you. Not that it ever happened to me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Semi-Random Tuesday

Here's a group of orphan slides, leftovers that have been gathered into a sort of family for this occasion.

Main Street USA still manages to look great in spite of the threatening skies; attendance is light! Hey lady, what's in the bag?

I thought it was kind of interesting to compare this photo (from August 1963) of the Elephant Bathing Pool to the next photo! Notice that the baby elephant is to the right, and there's that fella with his head up in the air, trunk aimed behind him.

In this photo, from about six months later (dated February 1964), the baby is gone, and so is the other guy! Where did they go? Were they out being repaired, or were they permanently removed? I want answers!

And finally, here is my last slide featuring the white-gloved Dorothy (see her here and here). She's enjoying the view (I think), but not using her movie camera. Bad Dorothy! I don't see the bighorn sheep atop Cascade Peak, maybe it's just our vantage point. They should still be there in November of 1960.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Night, January 6 1957

Hooray, it's time to blog about Disneyland again! The nightmare is over.

Ordinarily it is hard to get too excited about photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle. But these lovely night shots are exceptional! The slides are hand-dated "January 6, 1957", and as you can see, there are still some Christmas garlands on the castle - - not to mention that glowing red tree. The reflections in the glassy water are a nice touch as well.

Here's a second shot, taken from the east side of the hub. While it appears that the park was deserted, the other guest probably disappeared during the long exposure.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Marineland of the Pacific, 1950's

Today is the 7th and last day of "A Day Without You-Know-What".

Marineland was a park that I loved as a kid, but we didn't go there very often; I guess it didn't encourage repeat visits. Once you'd seen leaping porpoises, seals and whales, you pretty much got the picture. However, I like these early views of that park, which was closed in 1987.

This first slide is undated, but I suspect it was taken not too long after the park's 1954 opening (when it was the world's largest Oceanarium). Those bleachers in the background look unfinished (compare them to the third photo). Seals are always good for a few goofy laughs; can you stand on a cylinder and balance a ball on your nose? The view of Palos Verdes is amazing to me, with the undeveloped hillsides that are now covered with very expensive houses.

This photo is from 1957... notice that the seal's stepped podiums are now painted a circusy red with a star. I wonder if Captain Winston knew Professor Keller? Mortal enemies, I'll bet.

And from May 1958 we see two adorable children getting up-close and personal with a sea lion. Or maybe they are sharing their cigarettes, which is mighty neighborly of them. I'm not so sure I'd want to put my fingers through a chain link fence with a sea lion on the other side... have you seen their teeth? CHOMP! There goes my career as a pianist. And once a seal has tasted man flesh, it's all over.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Knott's Berry Farm, January 1967

Day Six, homies!

These slides from Knott's Berry Farm are dated "January 1967", but of course they could have been taken before that. Note the low-key Christmas decoration on the old Saloon; a simple garland of spruce branches. I like it! No need to make it look like Las Vegas. The place is very busy, perhaps the kids were still out of school... I assume that the saloon was really a place to get a quick bite to eat, and maybe some kid-friendly beverages. I'll have some boysenberry juice - and put it in a dirty glass. No, I mean it.

This picturesque old wall must have something to do with the displays of California Missions that used to be a Knott's. El Camino Real (also known as "The King's Highway") refers to the 600 mile California Mission Trail. A large part of that trail is now Highway 101. If any of you Knott's experts know more about this feature, I'd love to hear it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sixty Four World's Fair

Day Five of "A Week Without That Place In Anaheim"... so dizzy. So very dizzy.

Time for another detour to Flushing Meadows, New York, for the 1964 World's Fair. Back in 1938, Westinghouse buried a torpedo-shaped time capsule, intended to remain buried for 5000 years. Their pavilion for the '64/'65 Fair was on precisely the same spot, and a new capsule, "Time Capsule II" was being readied for burial. Among the items included was a Beatles LP ("A Hard Day's Night"), a bikini, a piece of a space capsule's heat shield, birth control pills, a ball point pen, contact lenses, freeze-dried food, and a bible. To name but a few!

This lovely lady is signing the guest book that would eventually be microfilmed and included in "Time Capsule II". The name she used is "Rusty Bedsprings", what a card! To her right are buttons (the kind with the fold-over tabs) which said, "My name is in the Westinghouse Time Capsule for the next 5000 years".

The Fair was bisected by Grand Central Parkway (I believe), and you needed to cross a pedestrian bridge to get from one side to the other. Here's what you would have seen if you had the Westinghouse Pavilion and the General Motors Pavilion behind you, and you were heading towards the main portion of the Fair.

I can only assume that this is part of China's pavilion. Perhaps an entrance to a restaurant? I really don't know. But it's fun and colorful!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vintage Travel Decals, Yo!

Day four of "A Week Without Whatchamacallit". We're more than halfway done now. I know you guys are hating it, but I am a mean old bastard.

I thought I'd scan some more vintage travel decals. The ones you soaked in warm water to stick on the window of your Ferrari, you know?

This Universal Studios decal is one of the greatest works of art I've ever had the pleasure to see. You have to admit that it has a certain je ne sais quoi.

Here is the venerable RMS Queen Mary plowing through the seas. Well, her plowing days are over, bub! Now she's sitting in Long Beach, missing her pal the Spruce Moose.

The Long Beach Pike is gone (removed in 1979), but I wish I could have seen it in its heyday; Back in the day there was a string of amusement parks up and down the California coast, like a "bizarro" version of the California Mission Trail. The Pike had a roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, and other carnival-type attractions, and by all accounts, had gotten very run down; In the 1950's it had been renamed "The Nu-Pike", could this decal predate that?

This is one of a series of Freedomland decals, celebrating that short-lived park in The Bronx. I wish I had the whole set!

I love this supremely cheesy decal for "Alpine Village" in Torrance. The Village is still with us, and apparently you can celebrate "Oktoberfest" there all year 'round. I dance a mean polka. Don't eat that mushroom, kids!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Antique Car Ride, Seattle World's Fair

It's day 3 of "A Day Without You-Know-What" (remember, I'm not even going to say the name). Are you experiencing nausea, double vision, the shakes? Welcome to my world!

This seemed like as good a time as any to return to the Seattle World's Fair. Over in the amusement zone, they had their own tiny antique car ride, apparently with no themeing at all. Just be happy the thing works, kids... the whole place was built by toothless "carnies". As you can see, the diminuative cars had a steering wheel in front and in the back, which you hardly find in cars these days. And it comes with a full-sized spare tire, which is pretty nice. Check out the kid in the front seat... judging by his body language, they just hit a hobo and his conscience is torturing him.*

I wonder if Arrow Development had anything to do with this ride? They certainly built their share of auto attractions. In the background, the colorful "wild mouse" roller coaster ads a festive touch. Meanwhile, mom loves being the ultimate backseat driver.

*No hobos were actually harmed in this creation of this blog post.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Universal Studios Panorama, 1972

Welcome to day two of "A Week Without You-Know-What".

Today I have stitched together two photos of Universal Studios into one glorious panorama. Isn't Photoshop amazing? Except for the black squares in the corners, they stiched up perfectamento.

It's a pretty clear day, you can see all the way past beautiful downtown Burbank to the San Gabriel Mountains. Closer to us is the Lakeside Golf Club, and the lovely (ha ha) L.A. River. Howsabout a few closeups?

In the foreground you can see various props that kids could climb on, including scissors (from "Land of the Giants" (?), a police car, a jet fighter, and a stage coach with a background painted in a continuous loop that would turn when you pressed a button. To the left you can see a mere edge of the "New York" buildings. Moving to the right are some of the actor's bungalows, and then a lake with a Mississippi steam boat.

Looking further east you can see the walls of a medieval city. I'm not sure if that's where they filmed some of the scenes from the 1931 version of "Frankenstein"... anybody? Slightly to the right is the western town, where zillions of "oaters" were filmed. I sure would love to be allowed to just explore on my own down there!

And finally, looking past the Warner Studio soundstages you can juuust see Walt Disney Studios. They were probably working on their animated version of "Robin Hood" right about then!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Mystery Shack!

Today is day one of "A Week Without Disneyland"! That's right, seven days with no mention of The Happiest Place On Earth (excepting this paragraph, of course). Hey, it'll be over before you know it. Let's go!

When I first saw today's slides (circa 1957), I thought that they might be from Knott's Berry Farm's "Haunted Shack" - but they're not. Maybe they're from the "Mystery Spot" in Santa Cruz, or one of several similar crazy shacks from around the country.

Look, that water is running uphill! Sacre bleu! As you probably know, these mystery shacks are all built on sites where there are unexplained gravitation anomalies. My theory: there are UFOs buried beneath them. It's the only logical explanation for this gravity-defying phenomenon. If you wanted to build a swimming pool here, you'd have to build it upside down. Think about it! (Don't think about using the bathroom however).

Jumpin' jehosaphat, that boy is standing on the wall! He is a warlock, STONE HIM! To the right you can see the little trough where a marble will roll uphill due to the presence of dark matter. I would explain it, but it's very complicated.

You might think that somebody nailed junior's shoes to the floor as a prank, but that's not the case. He is defying the very laws of gravity and spitting on the graves of Galileo and Isaac Newton. BURN HIM!

I hope you have enjoyed day one of "A Week Without You-Know-What".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Der Matterhorn, July 1 1959

The Matterhorn was still brand spankin' new on July 1 1959 (it opened on June 14th, only about two weeks earlier!). I think I still see some bubble-wrap on it over there on the side. We've become jaded over the years and have forgotten how spectacular this must have looked to the hu-mans back in the day. You can see the Yacht Bar, and at the top of the Matterhorn is a silhouetted climber. Stop sitting around and dance or somethin'.

The sun has set, but the Matterhorn is bathed in the last peach-colored glow reflected from the sky. Looks pretty nice, huh?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tomorrowland Entrance (undated)

You just get one photo today, folks. I've been lazy and this was the only scan left on my 'pooter. But don't worry, I plan on spending an hour or two slaving over a hot scanner (the old fashioned kind that runs on propane).

Meanwhile, at least you get to enjoy this classic view of Tomorrowland (my favorite!). It's undated, but somewhere between 1956 and 1959 - I'll let you decide! Let's go to CirCARama first, I think they have a new film now.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Parkling Lot, January 6 1957

It is an odd thing; in posting a few pictures of a parking lot, I will be making some people happy. Who knew?

Yes, today's post features two parking lot images; technically I guess that they are really pictures of Main Street Station, but it's the cars that get my attention. Look, there's a Ford Frijole, a Pontiac Gnome, and is that a Chevy Molar over there? Of course my favorite is the Nash Mosquito, or maybe the Buick Seizure-88. Boy, do I know my vintage cars!

Oh man, check out those two-tone beauties, like the Mercury Mongoose, the Studebaker Knobster. And that might be the front end of a Oldsmobile Chiclet. They don't make 'em like that anymore, folks! I'll just silently tip-toe away while you feast your eyes on those babies, and dream of a time when cars were works of art.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Auntie Alice, April 1962

I have dubbed this cheerful lady "Auntie Alice". It just seems to fit! With her ultra cat's eye glasses and colorful hat, she looks like one of Samantha Steven's delightfully dotty aunts. She is striking a pose in front of a couple of attraction posters, and that plastic house we all know and love.

If Auntie Alice was a witch, she was afraid of heights! The next two photos show her staying safely on the ground while we abandon her. Still, she smiles just as sweetly as before.

Seriously, how did that work? "We're heading to Tomorrowland, auntie! See ya later!". I hope they took a round trip and came back for her.

Meanwhile, my eyes wander to the two fabulous bouffant babes with their sweaters and poofy skirts.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sub Rehab, February 1964

When you have a Submarine attraction, it's going to have to be spiffed up once in a while. It's one of Newton's laws. I remember being disappointed to find that the Subs were closed during one visit oh-so-long ago, but was fascinated by the spectacle of the drained lagoon! I tried taking my own photos, but it was night, and I was too dumb to realize that my Magic Cube flash wouldn't light the entire lagoon.

Here are two totally boss photos (plus a couple of details) of one such rehab in 1964. The water filters out so much color (leaving only blue-green), it is surprising to see the rocks and "corals" painted a fairly vivid reddish orange. Coverall-wearing workers are polishing the giant clams and oiling the treasure chest that opened when it was full of bubbles. The temporary, wheelbarrow-friendly ramp allowed easy access to the floor of the lagoon.

Judging from the empty peach baskets, the workers enjoyed their fair share of peaches! Or maybe those containers held new, shiny shells, corals and seaweed.

This second angle faces the entrance to the "show building", where the attraction became a dark ride. That's the part I would have loved to walk through. Or better yet, get a snorkel and some fins and swim through!

What could be in those big metal drums? Paint? Adhesive? Waterproofing? Yoo-Hoo? Along the dock are many smaller paint cans. No wonder the Submarine Voyage was such an expensive ride to maintain, it was a huge job!