Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Matterhorn & Skyway, July 1961

You can't ride the Skyway anymore; it's sad but true. There are many theories as to why; I tend to favor the "proliferation of idiots" theory. Anyway, we can still ride it in our imaginations - when I'm driving on the freeway I often close my eyes and pretend that I am high over Tomorrowland with the wind in my face and loud truck horns blaring.

Here we've just left the Tomorrowland Skyway terminal; boy-howdy, just look at that crowd down below. Each person has a story to tell. A long, boring story involving Tupperware.

We've nearly crossed over the Sub lagoon, and are approaching the Matterhorn; it sure looks great with the waterfalls turned on full.

Even though a mere two seconds has elapsed, it's time for yet another photo! And you know what? I actually left out two other pictures from the same Skyway trip. You can clearly see the red light that was atop the buckets. When the light was on, it meant that you wanted a beer.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Frontierland Views, 1956

Frontierland Fun today....

Here's a bright, sunny look at the entrance to Frontierland as seen from the hub. There's that little wire fencing around the plants, nobody could possibly step over that. Walt's faith in people went a but too far, unfortunately. The trees don't have the lush, full appearance that we are accustomed to. Also, the sign that is towards the left was probably only there for the first year or two. If you look carefully, you can see the "open book" sign for Frontierland, near the Trading Post.

At first I thought that perhaps a Knott's Berry Farm photo had snuck into this lot. But it is certainly Disneyland, since the sign in the upper left tells us that one of the mules was named "Lilly Belle"! I'm sure Walt's wife was thrilled. Lilly (the mule, not the woman) was foaled on May 21, 1955, weighed 20 pounds, and was 19 inches high. Just like me!

Monday, June 28, 2010

New York World's Fair, September 1964

More from the Fair....

...starting with this great shot of the AMF Monorail! There is no question that the AMF Monorail lacks the futuristic appeal of the Disneyland Alweg Monorail. And yet it is lovable anyway, kind of like a VW bus. When I see "AMF" I think of bowling, but did you know that the company once owned Harley Davidson?

They called this the "Tower of Light" because it was made of balsa wood and only weighed 14 pounds. The building, rising in a forest of aluminum-faced prisms, is sponsored by 150 investor-owned electric utility companies. Inside there was a show featuring the lovable Reddy Kilowatt; he performed a song with Ben Franklin! A 12 BILLION candle-power beam of light shone up from the building at night, attracting hordes of flesh-eating moths.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mighty Microscope!

Today's post is a cheat. There, I said it.

This is a scan from a page in the Spring 1974 issue of "Vacationland" magazine. I liked the picture so much that I decided I needed it as desktop wallpaper. Perhaps you do too?

And still I continue to shrink....!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Night Views, August 1965

Here's a nice night view of the Plaza Inn, which had only been open for about two months (having previously been known as the "Red Wagon Inn"). It became famous for its Eskimo cuisine, including muktuk (whale blubber) skewers and seal flipper pie.

Now we're inside a store. Which store? You tell me! It looks kind of girly. Cinderella gazes adoringly at Prince Charming, while he looks over her head at the Laker game on TV.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Two From Knott's, 1958

Who is in the mood for Knott's Berry Farm?

Today's photos had turned a violent shade of pink, but I tamed them both by leaving them in solitary confinement for three months and feeding them gruel. I wonder if this elegant lady and gentleman were a couple in real life? We've seen them before (in another 1958 photo) here. Presumably they would stroll about, stopping to chat with visitors, at least the ones who weren't too weirded-out by them. The Indian Chief thinks his feathered hat looks better than hers.

Here's a nice exterior showing the Pitchur Gallery. You and a friend could have your pitchur taken for a mere 75 cents (groups 35 cents per person), or you could rent a camera for a quarter.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Son of "Damaged!" 1956

Here is the third in a series of damaged slides!

OK, I'm feeling stupid. How exactly was that "emergency door" supposed to work? The heavy rock would bring the contraption down to close in a jiffy, but what is holding it up? Was there an even heavier rock on the other side? Maybe you had to say, "Close, sesame"? Also, where do babies come from?

Here's another angle, and it is a swell picture in spite of the film defects; however, it doesn't clear up that emergency door thing at all. I just know that when one of you explains it to me, I'm going to feel very embarrassed.

If the photographer had been really clever, he could have positioned himself so that it looked like the woman had antlers.

There's more damaged photography to come!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Main Street At Night, April 1966

Here's some more night photography, from the same fellow who took that nice Skull Rock photo a while ago.

The long exposure makes every lightbulb glow like a small sun - if you stood too close to the bigger lights, you'd sizzle like a slug under a magnifying glass. Even though it's only April, it must be a warm evening; the girl on the bench to the right is wearing shorts.

I like the way people disappear when you leave the shutter open for a few seconds. Because I don't like people, and they don't like me. Maybe if I bathed more. Anyway, doesn't Main Street look great here? If you go into the Crystal Arcade, you'll be nuked like a Dodger Dog.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Freedomland, June 1960 - Part Five

Today I have the last of this particular batch of Freedomland slides. They weren't the most exciting photos, I have to admit. Which is why I have tracked down the family of the original photographer in order to sue them. I'm workin' the system!

The double "Skyway" (you already know it was the Tuscon Mining Company Ore Buckets, or you should) is actually pretty neat, but the rusty color is awfully drab. What you can't see in this photo is that, at the end of the ride, the bottom of each bucket opened and dropped the passengers about 20 feet into a pile of tailings.

The pack mules of Freedomland were tough, switchblade-carrying New York street mules instead of the mellow California versions used at Disneyland.

This delightful family portrait was so nice that eventually one of the kids decided to sell it on ebay. Guess you can't eat happy memories! Unless your happy memories are about recently-baked cookies.

For better or worse, you haven't seen the last of Freedomland!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Madurodam, August 1964

At first you might see today's photos and think, "Why am I looking at pictures of an old airport?". But on closer inspection you'll realize that this is a scene created entirely in miniature! We're back at "Madurodam" in The Netherlands - see my first post for some history on this venerable European attraction.

From what I can see in those older 1955 photos, there was no airport, so it made for a great post-war addition. What could be more exciting than the sight of a dozen or so gleaming white jet airliners waiting on the tarmac, preparing to fly to who-knows-where? Paris! New York! Buenos Aires! Oxnard!

There's a Shell gas station, a good place to fill up your rental car before returning it. I love the details, the tiny gas pumps, the car carrier, the little Citroens and Peugots and various trucks.

I'm tellin' ya, if it wasn't for those legs in the upper left, a person could be fooled into thinking that this was a real airport.

The folks in the background give you an idea of the scale here. I like how some of the miniature people are standing at crazy angles!

I hope you've enjoyed today's visit to Madurodam, because I have more to come.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Panorama Postcards, Part 1

I have mentioned my Disneyland postcard collection before; it was a lot of fun hunting down all of the cards that I needed at countless postcard shows (and ebay of course). There are still a few that I'd love to find, but have to admit that I haven't been looking very diligently for the past few years. ANYWAY, today I am sharing scans from my favorite series of postcards - the panoramas! They're twice as wide as your ordinary card, which allowed for some pretty stunning landscape views. I believe that these must date from around 1956 or '57, and some of them can be pretty rare; it took me a while to get the whole set.

Here's a neat view looking up Main Street as the Disneyland Band makes a turn. I wonder how much effort was made in composing these photos, since the Surrey is to the right, and those two ladies in the Emporium doorway are juuuust right.

The little green Mine Train looks fantastic as it traverses the Living Desert and those mysterious tumbling boulders. The rock work is a bit primitive, but that just adds to the charm in my opinion.

Here's the Dance Circle in a great portrait; this card is interesting because a standard-size card was also printed from the photo ("C-13") showing the center part with the Indians.

And lastly (for today), the Stagecoach passes by with its teeny-tiny horses.

I'll have more of the panoramas coming up!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Subs and Alice, April 1966

Here are two sort of random photos today...

Fantasyland had oodles of flowers to brighten things up. I like flowers just fine, but usually don't get too excited about them to be honest. These are pretty spectacular though! Oh yeah, and there's the Alice in Wonderland attraction too...

You know this was originally supposed to be a glass-bottom boat attraction, didn't you? It's true. While I'm glad that they hit upon the submarine concept, I can't help but wonder what the Imagineers would have cooked up for the glass-bottom boats.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Nature's Wonderland, April 1966

It's time for a few "Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland" photos!

This first one isn't so great, but I'm jealous of those kids riding in the cab. To be honest, you got a much better view from one of the open-air gondolas, but seriously, where would you rather ride?

....As we come out of this first tunnel, we'll be entering Beaver Valley. Looks like the beavers are building another dam... yes sir, they're really busy as a - heh heh well, busy as a beaver. Wa-waaaaa!

...You know, bears are one of the most playful animals there is. Lazy too! All they wanna do is lay around and scratch and fish and swim; that is, when they ain't sleepin'! Those bears are infested with chiggers, I'll wager. Say, what are those mysterious ripples in the river?

Well, I'll be! It's some of those fishin' bears we just heard about. Looks like that one's a keeper, let's just hope his license is up to date.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Golden Horseshoe Revue, July 17 1968 (Part 4)

It's time for some more vintage goodness from the Golden Horseshoe Revue! See part one, part two, and part three if you dare.

I'm not sure anyone enjoyed a job more than Fulton Burley! He's mighty entertained by Wally Boag, who is doing some sort of jig (with a mouth full of lima beans). I've got to get me some of those furry chaps for my next job interview.

Betty Taylor has returned to the stage (in a new dress), it looks like she might be talking to the crowd (instead of singing a solo). For some reason I am really craving an ice cold Pepsi.

The three stars of the Golden Horseshoe are together, and in spite of the hundreds of performances together (or thousands by this point?), they seem to be genuinely enjoying themselves.

Part five is coming, it's the last of the bunch.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Today's post is another in a series of elaborate serigraphs from 1976, which included the Bicentennial Railroad poster that you saw a while ago.

Unlike the railroad poster, this Jungle Cruise poster is not numbered or signed; I wonder why? I'm guessing that, like the Bicentennial RR poster, it also used 60 colors used in its production. This is the only example that I personally have ever seen with my two eye bones, though there are certainly others out there (didn't Chris Merritt say he had one?); it was in pretty rough shape when I got it - perhaps it was actually displayed in the park at one time. I decided to have it mounted onto a linen backing, but was too miserly to pay for the touch-ups that it still needs, which is why you will see tiny white dots in places. I could probably do it myself with some watercolors if I wasn't so lazy. Anyway, here it is in its entirety...

The elaborate border is beautifully rendered. Check out the colorful insects and tiki masks, not to mention that scary snake. I'm no reptile expert, but that appears to be cross between a boa constrictor and a diamondback rattlesnake. And a moose. Those poison glands are full of venom!

Iguana, butterflies, orchids...

The boat is named "Tropic Queen", which is not among the names of the Disneyland boats OR the WDW launches (it breaks the rule of naming each craft after a river!). My guess is that they chose a generic name that could be used at both parks. Was a Florida version every produced? The skipper is about to get a spear through his throat, and doesn't even know it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Disneyland After Dark, August 1965

I propose that a giant dome should be built over Disneyland so that it can be night ALL the time. All of the balloons that kids accidentally let go of could be retrieved from the ceiling and resold - the dome will pay for itself in no time. Genius!

In the mean time, here are three nice vintage night photos. West Center Street looks inviting here, with crowds checking out the artificial flowers at the Flower Mart, or having their pictures taken with the Carnation truck. I also like the stained glass mortar and pestle above the Upjohn Pharmacy door, it's great to see it lit up.

The bright lights of the Crystal Arcade are drawing people in like moths. Once inside, everybody flutters and bumps around spastically.

Look at all the people milling around City Hall at night. Maybe there's a bathroom nearby, because there sure isn't that much to do in City Hall itself.

Monday, June 14, 2010

More fun from April 1966

I've got three nice pix for you today, starting with this great shot of the Barker Bird out in front of the Enchanted Tiki Room. He has his red plumage (see his blue plumage here), I think I like the red. The straw skimmer and bow tie add to his jaunty appearance!

The old Skyway buckets went bye-bye in 1965, giving way to the familiar boxy models that stayed until 1994. See the tiny balloon in the sky (or is it a cluster of balloons)? I hope some kid isn't crying; or at least that he is far enough away that we don't have to listen to him.

Chip and his mom are hangin' out by the river, maybe they're thinking about taking the raft over to Tom Sawyer Island. We know they went there because we've seen Chip climbing Tom's Treehouse. I think that Chip must be watching some icky girl doing icky girl stuff.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Python! Busch Gardens, Tampa - July 1979

I used to have one really excellent vintage slide showing Knott's Berry Farm's classic "Corkscrew" roller coaster - the first roller coaster in the world to turn you upside-down. Twice! Well, somehow I lost that photo, I've looked and looked and concluded that it is gone forever.

However, I just found these two slides of the "Python"! It was located at Busch Gardens Africa in Tampa, Florida and was an identical twin of the Corkscrew (except for the paint scheme). The Knott's coaster debuted in the summer of 1975, and Python opened about a year later. The whole ride lasted less than two minutes! Doesn't it look great?

You can still ride the Corkscrew, which was moved to Silverwood amusement park in Athol, Idaho. Unfortunately, Python was demolished in 2006.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Snow White Grotto, April 1966

Right near the hustle and bustle of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, you'll find a peaceful place to relax: Snow White's Grotto.

As you can see in this first photo, it is beautifully landscaped with plenty of trees and plants. There is a picturesque little bridge, and even a wishing well. The main attraction is the rocky grotto, with waterfalls and playful fountains, and white marble scultpures of Snow White, the seven dwarfs, and a few forest friends.

Regular readers will remember Chip's father, who took so many wonderful photos from this April 1966 group that I have been posting for months. Well, he took this swell picture of the grotto at night (he also took that great Skull Rock photo from a few weeks ago). Thanks, Chip's dad! I'll have more nice night photos comin' up.