Monday, May 31, 2010

Main Street at Night, August 1965

Disneyland is extra bitchin' at night, even a crazy person knows that. Back in 1965, it wasn't so easy to take good night photos, but an anonymous photographer took a few that I will be sharing with you, and we can all pretend we are there after the sun has set.

Summer evenings are always bustling at the park, and folks are certainly enjoying the mild (probably not cool) temperatures after the heat of the day. Maybe the fireworks just ended and a lot of people are on their way home - but not before one last look in the stores. It's hard to see, but there is a sign on the lamp post to the right with the distinctive shape of the Opera House; it must be announcing the debut of "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln", which opened only weeks before. Meanwhile the show was still running at the New York World's Fair!

It looks like Mr. Lincoln is has gone to bed (and is dreaming of electric sheep)...

... after all, it is nearly 12:30 in the morning!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Calico Ghost Town, June 1958

We're back in the Mojave Desert for a return visit to Calico. See part one here.

Here's a nice general view up one of the streets, and it all looks pretty barren. You wouldn't mistake it for Disneyland! Those dead trees appear to have been added, their bare branches made the ghost town look even more ghostly. Plus it's a good place to put a noose if you need to hang a desperado. The little mine train in the distance must be the "Calico and Odessa Railroad". Notice that the people in the street are all wearing long coats - it must be cold!

That's a pretty neat looking old fire wagon. Steam powered pumps? Makes me wonder if they actually had some sort of working fire engine; all of that old dry wood is a disaster waiting to happen.

There are the weathered remains of some of the original Calico structures. There's the little mine train again, along with various ore carts and wagons and ramshackle structures.

I'll have more Calico for you, so stay tuned!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Something Steamy, April 1966

Sure, some people think the Mark Twain is a beautiful steamboat. But in this head-on photo it resembles a frowning, many-eyed skull with two huge black horns. It's a creature from hell! I'm not crazy!

The souls of the damned are on their way to the underworld. I hope there are churros there.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Cloudy Fantasyland 1956

Here are two images from a small group of 1956 slides. First up is this shot of the "Fantasy of Disneyland" shop, which I believe eventually became "Tinker Bell's Toy Shop". Some overly-curious children have been transformed into mannequins, now on display in the window. Don't you wish you could see what rare and wondrous goodies are in that store? That wooden door to the left is intriguing, I wonder if it was merely another entrance to the shop.

I don't see a single child aboard any of the Dumbo ride vehicles. Back in the early days, Dumbo made a horrible shrieking sound that, it turns out, kids didn't like.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New York World's Fair Smorgasbord

I decided to throw a bunch of oddball World's Fair photos in one post today!

As a kid I was fascinated with America's space program, so I would have loved to see this. It's a full-sized model of a Gemini space capsule (as part of the US Space Park); the first Gemini mission would not launch until March of the following year. This capsule is only 1.5' wider and 1' taller than the single-passenger Mercury capsules!

The Pavilion of American Interiors had ...exhibits of furniture, floor coverings, fabrics, tableware, paints, decorations and lighting fixtures are housed in this four-story, two-wing pavilion. On view are model rooms created by leading designers, and a number of "do-it-yourself" exhibits. The crowds never materialized for this exhibit, and it barely limped along in the 1965 season, eventually realizing a financial loss.

This is a sort of interesting view, dominated by one of those strange inflatable structures that look like giant clusters of insect eggs. Mothra? I think that those things indicated the location of snack bars.

OK, I have NO clue what this is from. A kangaroo and her joey wear a leopard-skin coat, just like they do in real life. If anybody knows what this is, tell me!

It turns out that Abraham Lincoln wasn't just a robot, he was actually a real U.S. President! Who knew?! You'd find this equestrian statue of Honest Abe out in front of the Illinois pavilion. Sculpted by Anna Hyatt Huntington, it was entitled, "Abraham Lincoln: On the Prairie". His future as a great President was foreshadowed by his ability to read a book and ride a horse at the same time. Just like I can drive on the freeway and text all of my peeps. L8R!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Random Trio

Just like the title says, here are three pictures, randomly thrown together...

All of the geysers are shooting full-blast in Nature's Wonderland. This is WAY better than that crummy Yellowstone.

Mickey Mouse is bangin' the big drum for the debut season of "Fantasy on Parade". I can't quite make out what he is wearing, but it appears to be olive drab pants and shirt, cowboy hat, and a yellow kerchief. Is he in the boy scouts? The cavalry?

Indians in da house, yo! I watch VH-1 so I can talk like the cool kids. And speaking of cool kids, check out the souvenir hats on those kids down in the front row. It takes confidence to wear something like that and make it work.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Freedomland, June 1960 - Part Four

Here are three more from Freedomland! All of today's images were taken from Freedomland's equivalent of the Skyway - the "Tucson Mining Company Ore Buckets".

First up is a neat look at the Ernest S. Marsh as it waits at the "San Francisco" area's Santa Fe Railroad Station. The wooded area to the right is probably part of the "Northwest Fur Trappers" river ride; the store fronts in "San Francisco" are not very convincing... it makes you appreciate the endless detail found in Disneyland's Main street.

Judging by the log structures and the (un)covered wagons, this was part of "The Great Plains". I'm assuming that the crowd of people is the chow line (or the bathroom!). You could take your hamburger and eat it on a luxurious wooden bench, or in an open wagon. Good luck finding a shady spot, the trees have not had time to fill out.

The Stagecoach looks great, although it is a bit strange to see it crossing a large paved area. Someone has left a ladder leaning against that steel tower, let's climb to the top! There's nothing stopping us.

I have one more group from this lot... but there will be more Freedomland to come!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Two Beauties, April 1962

Here are two great pix snapped from the Skyway, starting with this great shot from Tomorrowland. The blue Monorail is gliding as softly as a cloud over the blue-green submarine lagoon. Did you know that the lagoon held over 75 gallons of water? In a few years this scene would become even more amazing with the addition of the Peoplemover.

I love this crisp, colorful bird's-eye view of the Mad Tea Party (aka "The Teacups"). That swirling turntable has me HIP-MO-TIZED! The old Fantasyland had a certain charm in spite of its low-budget limitations. Most of the cups have happy families, friends, siblings; but one contains a lone serviceman. Won't somebody be his pal?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Casey Jr., 1956

I'm feeling lazy today. Well OK, I feel lazy every day. But even more so today.

Let us quietly - very quietly - contemplate this scene, as the colorful Casey Jr. Circus Train takes on a new load of wild animals to transport through Storybook Land.

Doesn't that tiny castle look an awful lot like the castle at Disneyland Paris? OK, I'm going back to bed.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Two from August 1963

The beautiful blue Submarine Lagoon is one of my favorite features in Tomorrowland; there's just something about it! The bubbles and waterfalls, the coral reefs and seaweed, and the subs themselves as they move slowly through the water - all part of what is a nice "free show" when you want to relax.

We've seen plenty of views like this one before, but I still love it. There's a single bobsled (they haven't been doubled up yet!) zipping past. And of course the Skyway, not only moving through the mountain, but moving up my list of "most missed" attractions!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sinclair Dinoland, New York World's Fair

Sinclair Dinoland was a very popular exhibit at the New York World's Fair; kids love dinos, but let's face it, adults do too.

The world was a better place when the Apatosaurus was known as as Brontosaurus. Some genius decided to change the name, and bingo! Everything went to heck in a hand basket. Did you know that the Brontosaurus was 80 to 90 feet long and weighed about 20 tons? His long neck enabled him to curl up, bite on to his tail, and roll around the countryside like a giant tire.

I mistakenly labeled this slide "Hadrosaur", which is stupid because I've already shown a picture of this Trachodon. If a cow married a giraffe and they had a baby, this is what you would get.

And finally, it's everybody's favorite dino, the Tyrannosaurus rex! He had teeth six inches long, which is really all you need to know about him. We have confirmed that his jaw opened and closed like a bad ventriloquist, and his tiny arms moved as if he was playing an invisible piano.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hollywood Kiddieland, June 1966

Today I have four photos from a small (and extinct) amusement park that used to be in Lincolnwood, Illinois (near Chicago) - Hollywood Kiddieland! If it has "Hollywood" in the name, then you know that it is classy. I haven't found too much information about the place unfortunately... only a few articles online in which people reminisce about their childhood memories. And who wants to read those? It seems to have been pretty typical of many small amusement parks, with a Ferris wheel, Tilt-a-whirl, merry-go-round, trampolines, batting cages, and more.

If you've ever been lucky enough to ride in a real helicopter, then you can imagine how exciting this whirlybird attraction must have been. A real white-knuckler! There's Shoppers World beyond the chain link fence; we can buy all the fixins for mustard and marshmallow sandwiches on our way home.

Somebody needs to mow the grass! This looks like a kiddie-car ride crossed with a jungle attraction. Notice the plywood cutout that looks like Mickey Mouse, sorta. And the dual steering wheels, much like the Midget Autopia. In the distance is the Hollywood Kiddieland quonset hut. Ticket office? Storage shed? Missile Silo?

Kids aren't picky. Spin them around in a circle all day long, they won't complain. In this case they are in fabulous rockets designed in the best 1930's Buck Rogers "Tootsie Toy" tradition. If only sparks shot out of the back they would be perfect! Other than the diminutive size, they aren't that different from Disneyland's Astro Jets. I've read about similar rides being built using surplus WWII aircraft fuel tanks (or whatever), I wonder if that's the case here?

Do you think you can handle the high-speed thrills of this motor boat ride? DO YOU? This one is better than Disneyland's boat ride because the kids get to pull on a rope that rings an annoying little bell. You don't want to accidentally run down any cod fisherman in the fog. I'll bet those kids rang the hell out of those bells. Thank the invisible man in the sky that you can't hear them.

We miss you, Hollywood Kiddieland!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tropical Imports, July 17 1968

Today's photo was taken on Disneyland's 13th anniversary. Since superstitious folks don't like 13th anniversaries, I'm curious if the park had any festivities going on that summer?

Anyway, this is a great picture of a lovely cast member from (according to the slide's label) the "Tropical Imports" shop in adventureland. Just look at all those hats! And try to imagine how much money was generated from the sale of hats throughout the park. In almost any photo, at least one person will be wearing a souvenir topper. I wonder if that plastic pith helmet to the left had a compass embedded in it?

Check out that cool costume; presumably the fabric was custom-made for Disney? It has a wonderful pattern of native shields and masks. "A" for AWESOMENESS! I'm sure one of these would fetch a buck or two on the collector's market today.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Town Square Vehicles, 1956

Today's photos are stereo views from Town Square (there's City Hall in the background), featuring some Gurrmobiles.

There's a horseless carriage at the foot of Main Street, taking on a pipin' hot batch of passengers...

... and there it goes! I think that's Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver in the back seat. "Gee Wally!". The carriage looks great; I can see the family resemblance to Mr. Toad's cars. In the background, a group of women and girls has barely entered the park, but they already have their paper souvenir bonnets in place.

Well, OK, I really don't know if Bob Gurr had much to do with this Horse-Drawn Streetcar. It looks pretty authentic, but then again, so do his motorized vehicles. In any case, the streetcar continues to add color and movement to Main Street over 50 years later.

Just to be annoying, I'll say it again: Gee Wally!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Three Goodies

Today just happens to be the 1400th post on Gorillas Don't Blog! But, seeing as I just celebrated my four-year anniversary, I am keeping it a bit more low-key today.

In any case, I do have three very nice photos for you, starting with this fun July 1964 image showing the Tomorrowland Spaceman and Space Girl. Space Girl looks fantastic in her rather daring mini-dress and silver go-go boots. Hubba hubba! And her atomic headgear is what all women should be wearing today. Meanwhile, the real Spaceman must have been sick that day, so his skinny teenage son had to fill in for him.

This undated slide of Fantasyland is probably from around 1956 when the "3-D Jamboree" debuted at the Mickey Mouse Club Theater. Look at the line for the "Snow White" attraction! I can only assume that the lines were at least as long for "Mr. Toad" and "Peter Pan". Can you find the two girls in identical blue and white dresses?

These two happy women appreciated the colorful popcorn stand so much that they wanted to have their photo taken next to it. What could be in that large paper bag? A genuine animation cell? A souvenir map? That lady is also carrying a movie camera - I hope she got some good footage!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Today is admittedly a "blah" day... two mediocre photos. They were scanned and I might as well use them, but yeesh.

These folks are leaving the park even though it can't be much past 3 o'clock. Go home, see if I care! We'll have lots of fun without you. I just get emotional. One lady is carrying her souvenir guide while a mysterious stranger lurks in the shadows to the right.

You've seen the back side of water; this is the back side of the Pirate Ship. We are looking up at folks standing on the poop deck. Heh heh, poop.

I apologize for these photos.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Adventureland 1956

Here are two slides from a small lot of 1956 images; they were all taken late in the day, with a sky full of rainy-looking clouds, so they tend to be somewhat dark. Still worth a look though!

Grandpa is annoyed, he wants to go on the rides and his wife keeps wanting to take his picture. She loves you, gramps! You can tell this is an early photo because of that cheesy little wire fencing around the plantings. Isn't there a body of water on either side of that walkway? What's to keep people from falling in? I guarantee it happened.

Here's another very dark slide, but that only makes the jungle feel that much more dangerous and mysterious.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Douglas Rocket, April 1966

Here's a terrific picture showing the Douglas Rocket to the Moon. I know that the TWA paint scheme is traditionally preferred, but I have to say that the rocket still looks pretty great here! I don't know why the rocket was named after Mr. Douglas from "Green Acres", but I'm sure they had their reasons.

Notice the Flying Saucer attraction tucked behind the rocket, and the Flight Circle to our right. You can even see one of the "Hobbyland" booths! The rocket, saucers, Hobbyland, and Flight Circle would all be gone by the following year when the New Tomorrowland opened.

In the background there are some interesting details; to the right and just above the Flying Saucers ride you can see the Dominguez home, part of the original Disneyland property (although it had been moved for use as the old Administration Building). Ron Dominguez eventually became Executive Vice President of Walt Disney Attractions! Near the home you can see that the building that contained the wonderful Primeval World addition to the Disneyland Railroad is being built (I believe that it would also house the new administration offices as part of the same structure).

And in the distance you can see the distinctive dome of the old convention center (thanks TokyoMagic!!), I found a good photo of it on the web here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Amusement Parks, USA

Today I have four vintage slides featuring three old-time amusement parks!

First up is this neat shot from the 1940's; this familiar-looking ride is one that was seen at many parks throughout the years... the woman and her son are hanging on for dear life as they whip around the bend. The park is Savin Rock in West Haven, Connecticut; it was a popular seaside resort that apparently had an amusement park in some form going back to around 1870! Wow. Unfortunately, the park closed in the 1960's, and it was not my fault in any way.

This 1960 slide was unlabeled, but it is a photo of Hershey Park (in chocolaty Hershey, Pennsylvania!). The "Shoot the Chutes" ride is yet another typical early amusement park attraction that you'd see at places like Luna Park or Venice (California) - which makes sense considering that Hershey Park has been around since 1907. I used to go there during my years in Pennsylvania and have lots of fond memories of it - particularly the smell of chocolate when you took the factory tour!

These last two are from July 1961, and show a place called Buck Lake Ranch in Angola, Indiana. It is still around today, and according to the website, it "...looks the same as it did in the 50's and 60's". It sounds like a swell place to camp or fish, or enjoy a nice picnic (pic-a-nic!). I can't tell if "Fort Laramie" and this great stagecoach are still around; they used to have a neat train ride as part of their "Pioneer Town" as well.

Simple pleasures for simpler times. I love this photo, a real piece of Americana!