Sunday, October 31, 2010

Frontierland in Black & White, 1956

Here are a couple of nice black and white photos for you today! Starting with this nice shot of the Bertha Mae Keelboat scooting by. You can sit on top of for a better view, or down below where there are comfy cushions on the seats and cover from flying Indian arrows. A canoe is also passing; since the canoes only operate on busy (mostly summer) days, it is surprising to see everyone wearing a coat. Even the guides have eschewed their Indian garb. That's right, I said eschewed! Boxes and crates are piled on the dock for the rafts on Tom Sawyer Island, presumably because the Island has not opened for fun yet.

Well well, seems the Bertha Mae was heading for home. To the extreme left you can just see the tunnel for the train, and to the right of that, basically obscured, is the pedestrian tunnel to the Indian Village.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Along The River, April 1974

Ay, chihuahua! I think I am glad that I wasn't planning on riding "Pirates of the Caribbean" in April, 1974. One look at that line is enough to make a grown man cry. What's amazing is that POC is such a "people eater" that the wait probably wasn't too terrible. I'm not sure they could have squeezed another soul onto that raft, either.

Even the Columbia is packed!

Friday, October 29, 2010

USSR Pavilion, Expo '67

(Oops, forgot to set the correct "publish" time! Sorry about the late post).

You know, I'm no commie, but I have to admit that the USSR had a pretty cool pavilion at Montreal's "Expo '67". See for yourself, comrade! I'm thinking a stiff wind might cause this entire building to take off like a kite.

It was pretty cool inside as well, especially when they displayed their aerospace technology. Here's a scale model of a Tupelov TU-144 - the Soviet supersonic transport aircraft (SST) that bore a striking (too striking?) resemblance to the French/British Concorde. The actual aircraft would not fly until several years after the fair.

Here is a selection of bitchin' Russian spacecraft and satellites. Is that vertical thing with the solar panels a space station of some kind? The smaller vehicle that is headed towards us is a Vostok spacecraft - nearly identical to the one that Yuri Gagarin flew in when he became the first human in space. The round part is the "capsule" in which the cosmonaut sat; it still amazes me that the Russian capsules land on the hard earth rather than in the ocean like the U.S. craft, and yet it seems to have worked pretty well over the years.

I've got lots more Expo '67 stuff, so I hope you enjoyed this post!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Moods, September 1967

Let's spend a late Summer evening at the Tomorrowland Terrace, circa 1967! All of the hip teens are there, rockin' out to THE MOODS. They're doin' the Slide, the Boogaloo, the Swim, the Monkey, and maybe even the Batusi. 1967 was "The Summer of Love", a time when the hippies really came into their own. But at Disneyland, The Moods still wore jackets and skinny ties, and their hair was an acceptable length. Perhaps they are playing "Happy Together" by The Turtles. Or maybe "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison.

I love the glimpse of the Carousel of Progress building in the background!

Here's a second photo... blurry, but worth including anyway.

If The Moods got into a rumble with The Yachtsmen, who would win? (Keep in mind that the Yachtsmen were kung fu masters).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

World's Fair at Night!

Amusement parks and World's Fairs really come to life at night, with the play of colored lights on water and metal, stone and stucco. I love today's photos from the 1964 New York World's Fair!

Check out this dramatic image of the oft-photographed Unisphere. It almost seems to float above the fountains, which look like jets of flame. Tiny silhouettes of pipples help to give a great sense of scale.

General Electric's "Progressland" dome is appropriately dazzling at night. Here you can see one of the many colorful patterns created in the lights that covered it. It must have been quite a sight in person, and twice as nice with the reflection in the pool that contained the "Fountain of the Planets".

We've seen the Tower of Light before, but I don't think I'll get any complaints for showing it again. Each night "amid appropriate ceremonies" (according to the official guide book), a 12 billion candlepower beam was turned on, pointing straight up into the heavens. Passing geese were instantly fried!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rebel Railroad, Pigeon Forge Tennessee

It's time for another visit to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and the Rebel Railroad (See a previous post with lots of info about the place here)! Today's photos are from October, and it is possible that the park was closed this day.

Take a look at this striking dimensional billboard, with another beautiful steam locomotive used as a static display. Only one more mile and we're there!

In the distance, there is a sign for another amusement park called "Funland". I sure wish I had some vintage photos of it...

We're not there yet, but here is another old-tyme steamer. I wouldn't be surprised if the Rebel Railroad folks acquired these for only a few hundred bucks. In the background, the "Sky Room Restaurant" and a "Sky Lift", which obviously took you to the top of the Smokey Mountains for a beautiful view. Pigeon Forge really wanted to become a tourist destination!

Finally, we're there. But the train doesn't appear to be running. Rats! These photos were taken in October of 1963, perhaps the park closed after the summer. It sure looks like it was a lovely day, however. Fortunately we now know that there's lots of other stuff to do nearby!

And it was worth the drive just to get a good look at this wonderful train, wasn't it??

I just found five more photos of the Rebel Railroad; you'll see those someday!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cinderella Castle & Main Street

Cinderella had a castle at Disneyland years before the one in Florida - in Storybook Land. Here's a very nice portrait of it; even in miniature it looks kind of imposing perched atop that rocky mountain. The castle itself is rather cartoony and stylized - nothing wrong with that - and it bears only a resemblance to the castle in the 1950 movie.

As you can see in this detail, the scene is getting a bit of TLC. Cracks are being filled and rockwork is being repainted.

I'm surprised to see the Disneyland Band marching down Main Street when the sun has almost completely set. Perhaps the flag in Town Square has just been lowered, and the band is returning to the secret room where they are unplugged at night (because they are robots, see??). Notice the little girl in the blue dress right behind the band, getting into the swing of things.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Did you know that the word "Columbia" is a poetic name for America? I've been to America, it's a nice place. Great hamburgers!

I'm telling you this because I have nothing new to write about the lovely sailing ship at Disneyland. Other than the fact that it debuted only a few months before these photos were taken. And it looks swell!

These landlubbers are all seasick, which explains why they are hugging the rail.

If he pulls that rope, something dreadful will happen.

Sorry, I know today's post was less than wondrous.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Christmas Parade 1965

I hope that all of you are like me and have finished your Christmas shopping!

Maybe some photos of a vintage Disneyland parade will put you in the correct frame of mind. We've got ourselves a primo spot on the steps of the train station. It just so happens that my favorite scene from any Disneyland parade is passing down below; a magnificent Rajah seated in his palanquin. But who cares about him? I'm all about the scantily-clad dancing girls!

Oooo, the magenta spotlight! We all know what that means! Wink, wink. Actually I have no idea. I was hoping you could tell me. For a better look at those dancing girls, please take a look here! You'll be glad you did.

Goofy's on shore leave, and has invited Minnie Mouse out for a spin in his old wreck of a car. Did Bob Gurr have anything to do with that automobile??

Please use the word palanquin 10 times today in casual conversation.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Hub & Carnation, 1956 (maybe)

I have a couple of fun ones for you today, homies. They date from either May 1956, or from October 1955, since various photos in the same lot (clearly taken on the same day) have different dates on them. These were restored from magenta images with varying degrees of success.

If you're going to take a photo of the family with the castle in the background, it might help if you could actually SEE the castle. Would that be so difficult? You've got mom, big brother Pete, and Margaret (aka "sis"). And some lady with a mink stole.

Margaret is wearing the hell out of that wonderful souvenir hat from the Carnation Corner! Isn't it awesome? I'll bet Matterhorn1959 has some of those.

Margie shows us that driving the Carnation truck is so easy, she can do it with her eyes closed. Or perhaps she is narcoleptic. Either way, it works for me.

We'll see more of this family, including some of Margie almost all growed up at Disneyland!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Pair From February 1969

Welcome to February 1969! As you can see, it was another brutal Southern California winter. Every day was like that in my Disneyland memories! Notice the E.P. Ripley at the station, and the bit of souvenir stand visible to our left. Meanwhile, why are those people leaving the park? It's only 2:30!

This shot reminds me of a postcard, in which you can see the same beds of yellow flowers.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Colorado Gold Rush Centennial, July 1959 - Part 1

Let's take a detour away from Southern California, and head on up to the mile-high city; Denver, Colorado, circa 1959! I found a group of photos of a mysterious little western town that was set up right near the capitol building. I was baffled - until Patrick (aka Matterhorn1959) stepped in and helped; he knew that this was part of the celebration of the Colorado Gold Rush Centennial. Hey look! There's a bank...

... and a saloon; so far so good! I'll get me a redeye, in a dirty glass. (Gee, there sure are a lot of people gathered in front of those storefronts).

WHAT THU....?! At least, that's what that little girl is thinking, and I don't blame her. It's a cowboy clown. Or a clown cowboy.

Oh man, a gunfight? Can't we solve our differences with a dance-off, like in the movies?? Some dude in a calico shirt is moseying along with the payroll, and the sheriff (looking badass in all black) is not amused. Meanwhile, check out the rocket in front of the capitol building... in 1959, outer space was becoming all the rage.

Oooo, you winged him, sheriff! With your flawless aim, you've spared his sorry life. Just long enough to hang him from the nearest tree! I wonder if the actors got to switch roles? "It's MY turn to be the bad guy!".

I have some more photos from this little western town, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Storybook Land, March 1958

Storybook Land is a lovely, peaceful little ride that has been a part of Disneyland since 1955. When it opened it wasn't really finished, lacking the beautiful miniature scenes that are so familiar to many nowadays. It has had a few changes over the years, but to me it manages to feel almost the same as when I was a kid.

Toad Hall is one of my favorite scenes; at one point it was entirely removed, and replaced with the Sultan's palace from "Aladdin". But eventually Toad Hall was added in a different location. Here you can get a pretty good look at Moley's house, beneath the gnarled old tree.

Almost hidden in the shadows lies the Dwarf's cottage.

Geppeto's village is another favorite of mine... from my favorite Disney animated feature!

Monday, October 18, 2010

River Country, June 1982

Today's photos are from Walt Disney World in Florida. I didn't recognize this water park, but Chris (aka TokyoMagic! from the Meet The World blog) was his usual helpful self and identified the location as River Country. It was part of the Fort Wilderness Resort - the ultimate swimmin' hole, with rock formations and plenty of trees and other rustic details. It's almost like it was discovered rather than built. I think it looks amazing; what a great place to go on those hot Florida summer days. But it was smaller than the other two water parks at WDW, and apparently less popular.

River Country was closed in 2001, never to reopen. Follow this link to see photos of it as it looks today, and prepare to weep.

Many thanks once again to TokyoMagic! for his help.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sub Lagoon, July 1961

Let's take a trip over the Submarine Lagoon, shall we? It certainly looks inviting, that blue, blue water in the bright sunshine. If you dipped your toe into it, would it come out blue? Most of the attraction is really an indoor dark ride, but the Imagineers made the most of this part.

I can't imagine anybody walking past this and thinking, "Nah, let's skip that one!".

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tom Sawyer Island, 1956

No matter what you are doing today, I'll bet you wish you could step into this picture and transport yourself back to this beautiful day in Frontierland, circa 1956. Don't worry, you won't get your feet wet. The only way to Tom Sawyer Island is via a raft, which is pretty cool. I would have suggested a catapult, but understand that it might have had some drawbacks. There is just something about the Island that makes you want to explore it from shore to shore. It appears that Tom hasn't built his treehouse just yet.

This photo is also from 1956, but from another lot. It gives a great view of the Suspension Bridge!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sky Jump & Sky Cabin, Part Three

Here are the last four images from my Sky Jump & Sky Cabin series! Things get a little repetitive, but I think you'll still enjoy them. See part uno here and part dos here.

This first one is pretty neat; a large portion of the Log Ride is visible, including the final splashdown. The railroad train is loading up with passengers, and you can see the depot just above that yellow car. To the right of that is the Calico Saloon. Partially hidden is the Church of Reflections, and near that is a portion of Fiesta Village. In the distance, the reproduction of Independence Hall is easily visible.

A slight change in perspective indicates that we are finally heading back down to ground level. Otherwise, as I said earlier, things get a bit repetitive.

Once again we are looking towards La Palma.

And finally, we are nearly back on terra firma again, but not before one last look at the Log Ride's crinkly rockwork. It seems that the Pilot Rec Area consisted of standard carnival-type games of "skill". Your dad really does want you to win, but he does not want another goldfish to take care of.

That's it for this series, but never fear, there are more Knott's photos to come.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Opryland USA, Part Two

Today I am posting the last four photos from Opryland USA! (See the first batch here).

The "Antique Car Ride" looks like very similar to the kind you might have seen in Freedomland, Astroworld, or even the New York World's Fair. I wonder if Arrow Development had anything to do with this version?

Every amusement park worth its salt needed a "Sky Ride" back in the good old days. Opryland's version was a doozy, it looks like it was really tall! The lush Tennessee foliage added beauty to the trip.

A second view positions us above a roller coaster that reminds me very much of the "Gold Rusher" at Magic Mountain (for those of you familiar with that park)!

At first I thought that somebody had taken a photo of my bedroom, but this is in fact the "Menagerie Gift Shop". Plush animals in every shape, size and color. Made in China too I'll wager, which means you get extra melamine and lead in each toy. Mmmm, melamine...

I hope you've enjoyed your trip to Opryland USA!