Thursday, September 30, 2010

Three From April 1974

For those of you who weren't there, 1974 was basically a year in heaven. Nothing bad happened for 12 whole months, and everybody was given a free ride on Skylab. It was great!

It was also a great time to go to Disneyland. Hey, what's that warm, inviting glow? Let's follow those moths and take a look. Why, it's a souvenir stand, conveniently placed near an exit. Looks like plush critters have already started to take over, smothering the world with their adorable fuzziness. At least you can buy a postcard or two, and some Pana-Vue slides. Or some GAF film (ugh, that grainy stuff?).

That's some crowd aboard the Mark Twain. And one of them is a cold-blooded killer! Thankfully, he eventually bought a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, and became a warm, cozy killer. I love a happy ending.

See the climbers scaling the Matterhorn? Two words: lederhosen rashes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dance Circle, June 1963

I know what you're all thinking; why is that Indian wearing a traditional Swedish shirt? Also, you are thinking about seasoned curly fries. Those two little tow-headed boys give me the heebie-jeebies. The are from the village of the damned, for sure.

All the kids are invited to participate in the show. Little did they know that they were required to dance in a circle in the hot sun for hours and hours until they hallucinated. The two damned children knew, and they wisely sat this one out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Storybook Land, March 1958

Here are three nice photos from Storybook Land - one of Disneyland's most charming attractions in my opinion.

This first picture is especially nice, I like how it captured another boatload of guests over there. Instead of a pretty girl in a dirndl, you've got an undercover KGB agent running the boat. I don't like it! Toad hall looks magnificent, even in miniature. And that arched bridge for the Casey Jr. Circus Train is pretty nice too, reminding me of Roman aqueducts. If we look through the middle arch, we can see a blurry building... is that where Cinderella lived with her cruel stepsisters?

Even this modest house of sticks - home for one of the three little pigs - has some intricate details. Look at the door and the tiny doorknob, or the crooked stove pipe, and even the itty-bitty mailbox and flagstone path.

And finally, there's the cottage that belonged to the seven dwarfs. It's pretty faithful to the artwork from the 1937 film. With all of the attention to detail, I wonder why those out-of-scale mushrooms were placed there? Also, I can't remember, but do sounds emanated from these miniatures? Perhaps the "Silly Song" from that fun musical sequence?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Knott's Berry Farm

There are two nice photos from the Berry Farm today!

Here's an especially swell picture from 1959, looking East on School Road. In the distance you can see one of the locomotives near the water tower - in just a year, the Calico Mine train would be built right near that location. To the left, a worker appears to be hosing down the streets, which were probably sticky with berry juice. Love that old truck of his! Check out the trio crossing the street with their long overcoats. I was honored to have this photo appear on the back cover of Chris Merritt's book, "Knott's Preserved" (which you really should buy).

I've been posting a bunch of damaged slides from Disneyland, but there were a few Knott's images in the mix as well. This one is a neat shot of a sign that was placed next to an old Stage Coach that was purported to have been robbed by none other than Black Bart!

Here's a closer look, for those of you interested in trying to read it. I increased the contrast, but admit that it is still not easy to decipher. The orange blotches don't help. Still, it can be done. Turns out ol' Bart wasn't such a mean varmint after all.

Here's a scan of an old postcard (that I nabbed from the interwebs) showing the very same coach as it appeared in the 1940's. Believe it or not, you can still see this coach at Knott's today!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

New York World's Fair, International Pavilions

For those of you who love the international pavilions from the New York World's Fair, sit back and enjoy! I confess to being more enthralled with the industrial exhibits. Futurama! The Magic Skyway! Sinclair Dinoland! And so on. But there would be no World's Fair without the countries of the world, now, would there?

So here's the Indonesian Pavilion. Apparently its design is based on a sketch done by then-President Sukarno. Various aspects of life on Java, Sumatra and Bali are shown, and there are demonstrations of puppetry and handicrafts. I came for the culture, but stayed for the puppetry!

Here's the United Arab Republic pavilion. Originally the UAR was a union between Egypt and Syria, but that ended in 1961 when Syria seceded. Egypt continued to use the UAR moniker until 1971. So, this is basically the Egyptian pavilion! Anyway, I thought that Egypt was nothing but sand and pyramids and mummies and sphinxes (sphinxii?), but boy was I wrong. Models of the Aswan Dam and the Suez Canal are among the many displays that emphasize progress in this ancient land. The snack bar's "Tutsicles" did not sell well.

There's the pavilion for the Republic of the Sudan. Displays include 4000 year-old relics of Nubian civilization and a newly discovered fresco of the Madonna. Among the items sold in the gift shop were leopard skin stoles and ivory trinkets. There were too many elephants anyhow...

You can still see the dome of the Sudanese pavilion, but the kooky, wavy building in front of it is the pavilion of Jordan. The age-old cultures of this land -- a seedbed of civilizations and religions - are graphically displayed in an unusual pavilion. I guess it wouldn't kill me to learn something.

Finally we get to move inside one of the pavilions - in this case it's Pakistan's. An ancient land's history and hopes are reflected in priceless relics and models of modern industrial projects. In this photo we see a tapestry and display heralding the exciting and erotic world of jute processing. Those burlap pants you are wearing? Made from Pakistani jute, my friend.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Frontierland Fitty Eight

I have three vintage photos of Frontierland for you today.

OK, maybe this one isn't so amazing, but I do think it's kind of interesting that people are fishing from two docks (aka a paradox). I don't think I've seen that before. If we catch a trout, mom can carry it around in her purse all day. She won't mind!

There's just something about a mountain - even a man-made mountain - that people have to climb. Even ladies in dresses are getting into the act. It's such a shame that this feature has been removed; I'll bet the view from the top was pretty nice.

There's our favorite shiny Indian, standing on the overturned canoe with his talking dog. Two babies are being left out to dry, while everyone else pretends to be working when we know they are actually texting.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Country Bear Jamboree, April 1974

The Country Bear Jamboree made its debut at Walt Disney World in 1971, and Disneyland's version debuted about 6 months later (in March 1972). You can still see the Florida version, but Disneyland's made way for Winnie The Pooh in 2001.

I have to confess that I wasn't as crazy about the CBJ as some... I guess it's a subjective thing; I love the use of Audio-Animatronics in attractions like the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Splash Mountain. But (with the exception of the Carousel of Progress), I was less enchanted with the various musical revues featuring mechanical performers. I know, it's heresy to say so. Please don't hate me. I also don't like coconut in candy. Or licorice. Or anything that brings joy and happiness to others.

ANYWAY, I have three great photos from the attraction, starting with this nice portrait of Henry. He was our master of ceremonies, which is why he is wearing the starched shirt front (with a gleaming ruby), a bow tie, and a top hat. I dress the same way!

Here's Melvin the moose. He was part of a trio of "stuffed" heads (the other two were "Buff" the bison and "Max" the stag). He looks kinda dopey because he was kinda dopey.

I wasn't sure who this fella was; my extensive research (2 minutes on Wikipedia) lead me to believe that his name was Terrence. He was also known as "Shaker", a nickname he earned in prison. He can make a shiv from almost anything. But I digress. Ol' shaker is wearing the hell out of that polka-dot bandana.

CORRECTION: TokyoMagic!, who sees all, knows all, sez that the bear with the polka-dot bandanna is Zeb, and not Terrence/Shaker as I thought.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Opryland USA, Part One

While digging through a big box of slides, I found a group of Pana-Vue slides for Opryland USA. Like all Pana-Vues, they had turned magenta, and I was about to toss them, when I decided to look the park up. And I discovered that it closed in 1997! So I thought that there might be somebody out there who might be interested in seeing these.

Opryland USA opened in 1972 in Nashville, Tennessee (where else?)... these slides must have been from around that time. Here's a great shot of one of the three locomotives at the park; this one was called Rachel, and she was the only steam locomotive (the other two were diesel). She was built in 1922 for use in the coal fields of Pennsylvania - she was originally a saddle-tanker, but was completely refurbished for Opryland. What a beauty! Rachel is now in Grapevine, Texas. If you stood on your head, this photo could almost pass for Disneyland (although the train is going the wrong direction).

This slide was labeled "New Orleans Street Scene". If you say so! It lacks the charm and detail of Disneyland's New Orleans, but perhaps it isn't fair to compare the two. It has a very "Six Flags" feel about it.

If you enjoy paying for unflattering portraits of yourself, why not get a caricature - drawn by a real hippie?

Mmmm, old-fashioned candy! Think of all the flavors.... peppermint, coffee, cinnamon, caramel, cherry, and new chicken 'n gravy.

As I mentioned earlier, Opryland USA is gone, having closed for good at the end of 1997. There is now a fabulous shopping mall in its place. As long as there is a "Hot Topic" and a "Forever 21" I will be OK.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Disney Park Pinbacks

How about a look at a few old(er) pinback buttons from Disneyland and beyond? I can do without most of the pins featuring portraits of Mickey and pals, but these are a lot more interesting.

As you can see, this first button celebrates Disneyland's 25th birthday. 1980 doesn't sound very old, but 30 years is a long time, let's face it. I wasn't there on July 17, but I'm pretty sure I had been there only a few weeks before that.

Lucky kids in the audience of the Golden Horseshoe Revue received buttons like this one. Pepsi Cola probably footed the bill, I'll wager. Follow the link to this photo, where you can see some blurry boys in the lower left proudly wearing their buttons.

This one is a newer version; I'm guessing the first one is from the early 60's (or even the 50's... this same Pepsi logo can be seen on the attraction poster), while this one is from the mid-to-late 60's; maybe even into the 70's. Does anybody know if there were other variations?

Many of you already know that Walt Disney World was not supposed to get a version of "Pirates of the Caribbean". Instead they would get something called the "Western River Expedition" - it would have been similarly lavish, only with cowboys and indians. However, the public demanded a version of POC for Florida, which finally opened in December of 1973. I love this pin! Imagine the excitement, especially if you were a kid.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Universal Studios, 1970-ish

I've got three nice images from Universal Studios for you today! They are undated, but I am guessing that they are from the late 1960's or early 1970's.

There were many amusing "photo ops" around the studio when you took the tour. You could pose with a giant shark (eventually), or in a fake snow storm, or next to Ben Hur's chariot, or in front of an enormous telephone (from "Land of the Giants" or so they told us). But nothing could surpass the thrill of sitting at the wheel of a motionless flivver while a painted backdrop revolved behind you. The rumor is that this was removed because it was too terrifying. I believe it.

Another photo op for those who have always wanted to be publicly humiliated in wooden stocks. This guy seems to be enjoying it, anyway! The structure behind him has a sign for KMPC (710 on your AM dial!), a radio station once owned by Gene Autry; it was one of the most popular stations in Southern California. Nowadays, the call letter's KMPC are for a Korean-language station.

Our photographer had a case of the "yips", nearly every photo has some degree of blur. Try a decaffeinated coffee already. Anyway, here's a cool old tank (World War I era?). I would lay down and pretend to be on the verge of being run over, because it would be hilarious and everybody would love me and I'd become a big star.

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.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More Scenes From Calico Ghost Town

Today I am posting the last of my vintage photos of Calico, the former silver-mining town out in the Mojave desert that was turned into a tourist attraction by Walter Knott. There are many similarities to Knott's Berry Farm's ghost town.

BUT FIRST, blog reader "JG" (Juan Gonzalez?) was kind enough to send me some of his own photos of Calico taken during a trip in 2004. He took a ghost tour late in the evening (that sounds like fun!), and then attended a church service the next morning before heading to some place called the Grand Canyon. I think I've heard of it.

First up is his photo of the morning church services. I wonder if they do this every Sunday? I like the open-air stage doing double-duty as a chapel. I'm sure the quiet and emptiness of the desert add to the services.

Here's a nice bust of Walter Knott, I'm glad that he is remembered at Calico, even though he donated the place to San Bernardino County back in 1966. JG apologized for the long shadows, but I like the way the streets look as the sun is just coming up. If you ever forget where you are, the name of the town is on the hillside in giant white letters!

And for the last of JG's photos, a nice shot looking up one of the streets. There is a surprising number of people there so early. Or is it almost sunset??

JG mentioned that he took a lot of photos of the graveyard. Well, he didn't send any of those, but I have lots of vintage pictures of the place. I'm not sure if it is ever referred to as "Boot Hill", but I want to call it that anyway. Here's the entrance to the cemetery; somehow in the bright sun and the deep blue sky, it looks relatively cheery.

In the grand tradition of old West cemeteries, the grave markers have funny or sardonic epitaphs etched on the rough wood. Joe Crabbe apparently liked a bottle of Zima now and then.

One had to worry about varmints when burying a body. A pile of rocks will help deter them. But not me!

Proof that life in the desert was harsh, and that working the silver mines could be deadly.

And here's one last view of the final resting place for some unfortunate people who lived and died here so many years ago.

MANY THANKS to JG (whoever you are!) for sharing his photos of Calico!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

2 From Fantasyland, August 1958

Today's first slide is tons o' fun to me... sure I like the neat view of the Skyway buckets heading to and from the chalet in the distance, and the colorful umbrellas, and the clear blue sky. All that jazz. But in this case, the people are fun to observe as well. Isn't that Ward Cleaver in the foreground?

Thar she blows! Monstro looks great in his old paint scheme. I wonder if he is painted blue these days because he's blue in the old attraction poster? It only just occurred to me! Meanwhile, check out the little lighthouse/ticket booth, it is actually in use. Were folks buying those individual tickets, or was this where you had the ticket removed from your book? Or both?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sky Jump & Sky Cabin, Part One

In 1976, Knott's Berry Farm made some big changes with the addition of the new area called "The Roaring 20's", which included the famous Corkscrew roller coaster. The area was so successful that it was expanded to include the "Roaring 20's Airfield", and in 1977 a giant 200-foot high tower went up. It had two attractions on it... the parachute drop known as the "Sky Jump", and the the "Sky Cabin", a donut-shaped (and flavored) enclosure that rode up and down the tower, affording some pretty incredible views. FYI, these photos are from March, 1977.

Whoa, that's a loooong way up.

Now we're aboard the Sky Cabin, and have started our ascent. In this neat photo, you can see the track of the Motorcycle Chase attraction - it was an updated version of the old "steeplechase" rides of Coney Island, but was fraught with safety issues. You can also see the "Gasoline Alley Auto Race" cars, and the silver "Galloping Goose" locomotive is hooked up to a long line of railroad cars parallel to La Palma Avenue. Near the horizon, in the middle, you can see a tall sign that is for Movieland Wax Museum.

This one is pretty much like the previous example, only we have gone up 10 feet 3 inches.

HEY, guess what? There are more photos from this series to come. But you're gonna have to wait. Mwah ha ha!