Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Frontier Town, July 1961

I recently found a small bunch of photos of a western-themed amusement park called "Frontier Town". Where was it? Well, I had to do a little detective work. And while the term "Frontier Town" brings up a lot of options, I believe that these are from a campground/amusement park in Ocean City, Maryland. It's still there, too. However, if anybody out there sees that I am clearly wrong, let me know!

Mom, Dad, and Junior are heading into the dance hall. I wonder if there was some kind of cleaned up burlesque show to see, or if the dance hall was just a place to get a root beer and a hot dog?

This is a great little steam train... if you look at the photos in the link that I posted earlier, you can see that it is still running (with a new paint scheme). Any park with a genuine steam locomotive is aces in my book!

More train fun. It's not fancy, but it gets the job done.

It's the world's tiniest stockade! Now I see where Disney got the idea for the House of the Future. The design is just the same, only this one is logs instead of plastic.

I'll have a few more photos of Frontier Town comin' up!

Monday, August 30, 2010

View From Snow Mountain, August 1958

Before there was a Matterhorn mountain at Disneyland, there was a semi-landscaped pile of dirt known as Snow Mountain. For a brief time guests were encouraged to hike it's winding trails or just sit on the benches at the top and take in the view. Matterhorn1959 recently had a great picture of these trails and benches.

In June of '58, the Alice in Wonderland attraction opened, and mere weeks later these photos were snapped by a photographer with a short right leg. The "Alice" ride is almost as fun to watch from afar as it is to ride, thanks to the elevated track that winds through the giant plants, and those fantastic caterpillar vehicles.

If you look very carefully, you can just see bits of one or two of the female cast members who wore Alice-style blue dresses with white pinafores.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Pair From July 1962

I had to lighten today's photos up considerably in Photoshop, and they are still too dark. Some poor photographer had his camera settings messed up, and his slide shows were the laughingstock of the town.

I sure wish I could experience the brief thrill of passing through the Matterhorn while aboard the Skyway. It was so cool to be able to look down and see the large open space (pre-abominable snowman) and hear the shrieks of the 'coaster riders, or even the occasional passing bobsled.

Looks like the Mine Train has just started its journey... one of the first things you did after leaving Rainbow Ridge was go around Cascade Peak, past (and even beneath) Big Thunder Falls, before you entered Bear Country.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Frontierland, 1958

Here's a neat photo of the Bertha Mae scooting across the Rivers of America, apparently heading towards the shore in front of the Plantation House. Did it load and unload there? There is a load area for the Tom Sawyer Island rafts to our left, but I'm not sure about the Keel Boats. I like all of the colorful umbrellas and paper lanterns in front of the Plantation House, this must have looked amazing at night.

Come to think of it, the Keel Boats may have loaded over near those red barrels to the left. Who knows! There's a spare raft resting in Fowler's Harbor, while another one crosses the river to our right.

And as long as we're looking at river-related stuff, here's a magnificent elk. He's standing near the little Indian Village (that had it's own small portage); I don't think that this Indian Village was there for too much longer, but don't really know for sure.

Friday, August 27, 2010

More "Damaged", 1956

Here are two more from a lot of faded and damaged (but otherwise gnarly!) slides.

We've barely entered Frontierland in both of these images... in fact I believe that the log post to our extreme right (partially obscured by somebody's thumb) is part of the stockade. Our little family poses in front of an authentic-looking building (more logs!); a sign to the left says "Assay Office". Notice that everybody has a souvenir hat. Except me.

Just to the left of the previous view is the entrance to the Frontier Trading Post (sans wooden Indian). It must be summer, everyone is wearing light colors in an attempt to stay comfortable. I tried zooming in on that window to see if I could make out any specific souvenirs, but it was just too indistinct.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Three From Knott's, July 1963

It's time once again to visit the Berry Farm!

That's the Bakery to our left, which means that the Candy Parlour or the original berry stand must be behind us. I believe that the little group of folks is waiting outside the Steak House. Meanwhile, a few ladies are taking a break next to flower beds full of colorful roses and a modest fountain little fountain. If you continued past the Steak House, you'd have the "pan for gold" area to your right.

I wonder how long this feature was at Knott's? Fairbanks Gold Dust Washing Powder was a real product featuring two black children known as the Gold Dust Twins. According to one online article ...the twins were one of the best known trademarks of the 19th century. Let the Twins Do Your Work was the tag line.

And finally, a too-dark view of the Calico Mine Train's distinctive exterior rock work... it ain't realistic, but I love it for its quirkiness. The waterfalls help keep you cool at certain points in the queue. Notice the little mine train in the lower right!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

1500th Post

Today marks the One thousand five hundredth entry on Gorillas Don't Blog. It looks even more impressive when it's written out. FYI, that's 500 more than I ever planned to do, just think of the value you are getting for your blogging dollar.

On with today's photos...

Well, looky there - - it's the Viewliner crossing Tomorrowland Lake (as seen from the Skyway, of course). I'm not sure how futuristic the Viewliner was, but I love it anyway, with its classic 50's styling. There were a lot of empty seats on it this time around. Meanwhile, we also get glimpse of still-rural Anaheim.

Here's a wonderful view of early Main Street USA... it was in a batch of slides that were labeled "1956", and yet there's the "Intimate Apparel" shop; aka "The Wizard of Bras". Perhaps that means this is actually a 1955 photo? (Sorry about the horse poop)!

Here's a closer look at Hollywood Maxwell's short-lived store. There was a dummy of an old lady sitting in a rocking chair on this porch, but she is apparently tucked into the corner out of sight from this angle. The fact that this store really existed in Disneyland is pretty great! Isn't "torsolette" a wonderful word?

We've seen this lady (and her hat) before; when the wind picked up, she could fly through the air and solve crimes. I love this 1956 view of the Jungle Cruise dock; notice that the sign in the background says that there were only 7 naptha launches - eventually there were 12. Name them all and win my gold-plated admiration!

Here's a colorful photo from September 1967, showing The New Establishment rockin' out on the Tomorrowland Stage. My guess is that they are singing "Windy" by The Association (a big hit in '67). "Who's peekin' out from under a stairway, callin' a name that's lighter than air?" Greatest. Song. Ever. I love the way the reflected light shines through those plastic panels, infusing everything with a warm glow. To the left we can see the Tomorrowland Ticket Booth, designed by Rollie Crump. Wonder what that guy in the blue work shirt is doing over there?

I decided to close with this beautiful photo of Sleeping Beauty Castle, circa 1958. The tropical plants in the foreground are part of the entry to Adventureland, while the folks mid-ground are crossing the bridge from Frontierland.

I am officially claiming to have the smartest and best-looking readers on the interwebs, and I'm not just saying that so that you'll send me money, bags and bags of wonderful money. Thanks to all of you for still reading (or looking, if you just like the pictures). Will we see a post #2000? I can only promise to keep on keepin' on until "blog burnout" fries my brain completely, or until I run out of photos. I think I smell something burning.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Frontierland 1956

This slide is labeled, "Entrance to Western Land". Western Land? Dude! Come on! Everybody knows it's Frontierburg. Enjoy this early view for its extreme earliosity, won't you?

Here's a nice shot taken from the top of a Keel Boat, looking down into Fowler's Harbor (named after Admiral Joe Harbor). The harbor reminds me of Sweet Haven (where Popeye liked to hang out). Doesn't it look like the Keel Boat loaded right here? Meanwhile, luv those crazy 50's shirts.

Monday, August 23, 2010


I'll admit it - I'm a bit baffled by this first photo of a Stagecoach as it returns from a harrowing trip through the wilderness. Is this even Disneyland? Maybe it's Knott's Berry Farm. I'm so used to seeing Rainbow Ridge behind the Stagecoaches when they're "home", but here all you see is trees. I do recall reading that the coaches originally loaded in a different area, so perhaps that's the answer. Unfortunately the slide was a bit on the dark side, so many details are lost.

This slide is definitely Disneyland! I am guessing that the coach is passing the northermost edge of the Rivers of America, and is about to turn east.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Main Street & Vehicles, August 1958

I've got a few not-very-exciting slides for this sleepy sunday, featuring Main Street and a few of the vehicles that we all know and love.

Did any American town ever have such a grand train station? I'm not talking about big cities of course. Just a regular, prosperous 'burg. Not even Fort Collins, Colorado had a train station that was anything like this one (Fort Collins was used for much of Main Street's inspiration by Imagineer Harper Goff). Barely visible in this photo are signs for the debut of the Columbia.

There used to be quite a few vehicles running up and down Main Street; here's a li'l red Gurr-mobile. Notice the signs for the new Alice in Wonderland attraction.

And this yellow vehicle appears to be a variation of the red one.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Davy Crockett Explorer Canoe, April 1974

I'm glad that the Canoes still run at Disneyland, at least during the busy seasons. Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes are good, but I think I liked the Indian Warrior Canoes (pre-1971) even better. That's just me. I've read that these canoes could hold up to 20 guests... but from the look of it, I'd say maybe 16 guests and two cast members is right. Unless some of those rows could hold 3 people? Still impressive though. Was there ever an instance of a canoe capsizing?

The friendly Indian Village is always a veritable beehive of activity. That woman is busy grinding corn (or whatever), those dudes are working on a tiny boat. I think that some meat is drying on the racks in the foreground, while a baby is drying in its papoose.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tomorrowland, September 1967

The old Tomorrowland was a wonderful place, there's no doubt about it. But 1967's New Tomorrowland was pretty incredible too! It's the version that I grew up with and loved so much. Seeing these two photos made me feel the same thrill that I used to experience in this Land when I was a kid!

SO... here's the entrance of Tomorrowland shortly after it reopened (in July of '67). The sky is blue and cloudless, and the setting sun casts a warm light on everything, reflecting off the metallic silver sculpted panels on either side of the entry. Notice the prominent display of logos for Bell, Monsanto and (in the distance) GE. Any views of the Peoplemover are welcome, especially in the original colors. I can almost hear the music and feel the rumbling movement of the cars. The two-level appearance was inspired for practical reasons and because it just looks supa-cool.

I am a bit bummed about the blur in this photo, but it is still kind of nice. It won't be long until the sky is completely dark, and all of the lights have been switched on. Close your eyes and imagine this same scene, full of movement and sound, on a warm summer night - don't you wish you were there?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Old Mine Train, 1958

I love the post-1960, bright yellow Mine Train; its so cheerful and toy-like. It fit the ride's newly added humorous scenes (courtesy of Marc Davis' brain). But the earlier version, with its more somber dark green and black feels a bit more authentic. Check out this nice image from 1958, it almost looks like a hand-colored black and white photo. Hey, that little girl is perched precariously high on the edge of that mine car... if she falls out and gets eaten by rabid weasels, her parents are to blame.

Mom has been doing some serious shopping, take a look at that extra-large bag! Not to mention her stylish souvenir hat. To our left you can see the Mineral Hall, sponsored by the "Black Light Corp. of America". Aren't they the secret organization that actually controls all of the world's governments? I'm not sure I've seen that sign in the background that is just legible:

Mineral Hall
Free Exhibit
Rainbow Hall
Rock Display
World's Largest
Many Other Attractions

Sounds cool, I like stuff that glows! This exhibit was entirely responsible for the hippie movement, but I'll forgive it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cypress Gardens Beauties, 1950's

Cypress Gardens was a must-see tourist destination for folks who visited Florida in the 1950's (and that was a lot of people). It was famous for its water ski shows and the beautiful gardens... folks from the chilly midwest must have thought it was a paradise!

Cypress Gardens also had lovely "Southern Belles" stationed around the park in colorful dresses with big hoop skirts a lá Scarlett O'Hara. Fiddle-dee-dee! Pretty girls make everything better, don't they?

Here is a trio of Belles (circa 1952), like an arrangement of tropical blossoms. Meanwhile they are totally hogging the only bench that's in the shade. My guess is that CG was a popular place to work during the summer if you could stand the heat. "Just sit there and look pretty". Heck, I can do that! Do you think that the costume department had a big drawer full of those cameos? And I'm making a prediction right here: hoop skirts are coming back in style in 2011!

Jeez, what are these girls, 14? I'm not sure I'd want my sister working there. You know how guys are. GDB readers excepted, of course! Anyway, you can see the lush gardens, and in the upper left you can just see a sliver of the bay where the water ski shows were.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Frontierland, January 1960

If you were lucky, you might see the Disneyland Band (feat. Vesey Walker and Snoop Dogg) performing in Frontierland. Here they are next to the Mark Twain load area. I'm guessing they will be boarding the Twain when it returns to the dock; they'll hog all the good front seats on the lower level. Vesey has just spotted a UFO.

That mountain lion could easily fly to our boat with his tiny vestigal wings, but luckily he has just eaten a Mousketeer and he won't have to feed for another six months. I did my research. Notice the spotlight, not very well-hidden in the tree to the left.

This sure doesn't look like the happiest place on earth to me. It's dark, it's gloomy, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few ghosts hiding in the shadows of the Chicken Plantation House. Don't worry, ghosts, there will be a house built just for you guys pretty soon!

Just thought I'd let my readers know that the Vintage Disneyland Goodies blog is back up and Jed is posting some neat stuff. Check it out!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Smorgasbord

Smorgasbord! Smorgasbord! Yay. Eat all you want from this selection of odds 'n ends.

Seems to me we haven't seen a photo of Sleeping Beauty's Castle for at least a few minutes. Symptoms include double-vision, tremors, nausea, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and the ability to fly (I have to admit, that last symptom is pretty cool). Merry Christmas, castle!

1955 was a significant year for Disneyland, only I forget why. Here's a photo from that year, with the Coca-Cola Refreshment Center (where "Pepsi" was a four-letter word). This was back in the days when there was only one Coke. No "Coke Zero", "Diet Coke", "Coke Black" (I loved that stuff!), and so on. Well, OK, maybe you could have ordered a cherry Coke, but they had to mix it up special. Next flavor experiment: peanut butter Coke.

Tomorrowland! As captured in a fuzzy, screamingly magenta slide. I did my best to restore it, but it's only "so so". The Yacht Bar is so strange... I guess they thought that yachting would be a big deal in the future?

Main Street USA looks pretty sleepy in this oddly greenish-tinted photo. Two gentlemen are a little too interested in the flag pole, while the rest of the family stares at the Horse Drawn Carriage, trying to screw up the courage to climb aboard.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Frontierland, January 1960

There are many dangers along the Rivers of America. Yesterday one passenger of our steam boat got a nasty splinter, and have you noticed how itchy the blankets are? Anyway, we are always on the lookout, but the Indian Village up ahead is known to be friendly. I recognize "Stands With Red Windbreaker" to our left, he's a good guy. The village looks kind of deserted, all the canoes are safely stowed, and one of Tom Sawyer's rafts has drifted ashore.

Well, that explains it; they're having a party! Cookies and artificially-flavored orange drink for all. I see that the long house in the distance has tarps on the roof, it probably leaked a lot during the winter rains.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Panorama Postcards, Part 2

Here are more postcards from the scarce set of early panoramas. See the first part here!

This is an amazing photo, because we are on a Jungle Cruise boat, and yet we are looking through a time warp at ourselves in the future as we pass the front side of water! Incredible! Or it might just be another boat. See that skull on the pole to our left? I generally try to avoid neighborhoods that have skulls on poles. One of my rules.

I know that it looks like this skipper is shooting a hippo, but he was actually shooting at a vampire bat that was attacking the poor defenseless fella. Thanks, skipper!

Since I am an unabashed Tomorrowland enthusiast, it should come as no surprise that this is my favorite postcard in the entire set. I believe that in the wonderful book, "Disneyland: The Nickel Tour", they say that nothing in this photo exists anymore, and I would say that they are mostly correct... except for the Autopia. I'll admit that the Autopia you see today looks totally different from the one in this picture though... maybe that's what they meant.

This is a great, unusual view of Town Square as seen from the top of the Opera House. How do they take such wide-angle photos with no apparent lens distortion? Seriously! I'd love to see a similar photo from today. Notice that the Disneyland Band is at the base of the flag pole, performing for just a few people.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment!