Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Queen Mary, January 1974

It's time for another visit to that unique Southern California attraction, the Queen Mary! In beautiful Long Beach, don'tcha know.

This firsts photo shows a mom and her two daughters, walking on the long covered gangplank (or whatever they call it) that took you from parking lot level to the ship. They're actually leaving at this point, which just shows you that these are in no particular order.

Hey, there's Santa Claus, loafing on a sign that says that the QM is a PSA Hotel. According to Wikipedia, Hyatt operated the hotel from 1974 to 1980 (when it the Wrather Corporation - owners of the Disneyland Hotel - signed a 66 year lease). I guess this must have been from just before Hyatt took over.

Here's an interesting POV shot from the deck, looking out at Long Beach harbor and the glamorous, exciting parking lot. What the heck is that little mock-Tudor village?!

Hi mom! She's standing above the stern of the ship, looking so alone. Notice the little booth for radio station KBIG, which was one of the highest-rated stations in Los Angeles back in those days. "Beautiful music" was their format - lush instrumentals and some vocals. Yarg. Now they play "Hot Adult Contemporary" music.

Mom is standing next to a beautiful model of the RMS Mauretania. When it was launched in 1906, it was the biggest, fastest ocean liner in the world (holding speed records that lasted 22 years). Its sister ship was the Lusitania, which was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the early days of World War One. The Mauretania was retired in 1934. Read about it in your local liberry!


D ticket said...

The mock Tudor Village is the Mary's Gate Village, The Queen's Marketplace, or now known as the Queen Mary Seawalk. It was built in 1974, and looks like it's not quite finished in the photo. It's still there today.

TokyoMagic! said...

Does anyone know if they still do the haunted maze thing on the Queen Mary for Halloween?

Too bad Disney didn't go ahead and build their "second gate" next to the Queen Mary as they had once planned and then maybe Disneyland would still have it's original parking lot today and maybe there never would have been a "DCA"!

Debbie V. said...

Love that 70's look. The bell-bottoms, the straight hair, granny glasses (pretty much any glasses with wire rims). I had one of those light brown corduroy pea coats as well. Wore it all through high school 65-69. I think my mom might have it in a closet somewhere. Not that it fits.
I remember listening to KBIG from my FM clock radio in my room. My parents also had a long console stereo where I enjoyed listening to "easy listening" music like KBIG and KPOL in between the Beatles, Bee Gees, Stones, Monkees (yes I did), and all the rest. Remember turning it up and signing along when your parents were away?
My mom still has the console in her living room and I am tempted to have the turntable repaired. The speakers are still quite good.
I never did get to the Queen Mary though.

The Viewliner Limited said...

Real nice pics Major. Spent lots of enjoyable times here with my family.

Irene said...

Yikes - that clothing brought back a flash back moment. I only recently parted with a coat just like the one on the left.

I remember when they built the Tudor Village. Really enjoyed going there as it was free, unlike the Queen Mary.

Yes, they still do a very good haunted attraction there. It's called Dark Harbor:

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Nice pics. The bell bottoms are way scary. And dangerous too. Wear those on the old Knott's Parachute Jump and with the grated floor you might fly out!!!!

Katella Gate said...

Parking and traffic circulation at the Queen Mary was always a mysterious thing...

In the early days, there were two parking lots, the one adjacent to the ship was for hotel and restaurant patrons, convention-goers etc.

Tourists and day trippers were parked in the more distant parking lot (on the other side of the access road). The idea was the Gate Village would act as a shopping district, similar to Main Street. When the tourists were ready to embark on their tours, the massive hords would be held in a staging area at the far end of the concourse and "pulsed" into the ship, each group lead by a guide. Needless to say, after a few months, the vast hords disappeared and the elaborate (and expensive) staging area was abandoned.

And, alas, the Gate Village never worked out right as a shopping center. There was no obvious entrance, or exit, and traffic was never forced through. As a consequence, it never received a fraction of the foot traffic that was on the property at any one time. The shops mostly sat empty.

Most people made a bee-line from the cars directly to the ship (only to be annoyed because the ticket booths were placed elsewhere).

JG said...

I remember all of this so clearly, even the clothes.

We could have taken these pics, but of course, did not.

We visited the QM several times, always part of a Disney visit. We did stay in the hotel on board once, for a laugh, must have been during the Wrather period. The staterooms were wonderful, complete with salt water plumbing in the shower, (non-functional now, of course).

Last visit there was in 1984, for a conference. Hyatt was in charge, but we stayed with friends. The bars were still in great shape with all the art deco trimmings, as an adult, I could enjoy them.

I remember the Tudor village, Mom loved that place. We went in there more than once. There was a competing shopping area somewhere close, called Ports Of Call Village, or was that name used for this place and I am confused?

@KG, do you remember?

If I remember my family history, my uncle was shipped out, or returned, or both, on the QM, to England during WWII. He visited the QM with us once. He spent a long time in the mock-up of the troop carrier deck, but didn't say much about it.

Thank you for these pictures and the background info. I thought the village disappeared due to the bad economy in the late '70's. I remember it's carcass there from the '84 trip. Never thought it was due to bad design, but that makes sense. Disney's Main Street was a stroke of genius, you can't get out without passing every store.


Katella Gate said...

@JG: No, you have that right. "Ports of Call" was/is a New England style shopping mall, but it's in San Pedro. It's always done reasonably well, partly because they made the wise decision to build it right on the water's edge.

Major Pepperidge said...

D ticket, I am surprised to know that the Tudor village is still there, even if it's under a different name.

TM!, it's funny, I just sold a bunch of Walt Disney Company quarterly reports, and some from around 1990 mention the beginnings of talks about a possible park in Long Beach. The only problem is that it probably would have been built "on the cheap" a la DCA, don't you think?

Debbie V., I don't think I listened to KBIG, but I certainly heard plenty of easy-listening stuff growing up. My mom had a stack of Carpenters albums, and The Monkees "Daydream Believer" is one of the first songs I remember loving when I was a kid. We'd go to a local restaurant and always play that one on the juke box!

Viewliner, I have a few more Queen Mary slides to share in future months.

Irene, you should always dress like it was 1974. Sooner or later everything comes back into style!

Alonzo P Hawk, I remember you wearing bell bottoms in Herbie Rides Again.

Katella, forgive me for not remembering, but didn't you once work at the QM, or for a company that was involved with it somehow? And I kind of agree, I think of Ports o'Call and think "San Pedro".

JG, I haven't been aboard the Queen Mary since the early 70's!!

Connie Moreno said...

These were cool to look at. I always enjoy the Queen Mary when I go. Last time was in early 2008. I went to a Ghost Dinner. We had a very nice dinner and then went on a guided tour into the deepest, darkest parts of the ship. It was cool! (No ghosts, though)

Nancy said...

wow, this ship is beautiful!! would be a great place for one of those haunted parties! hope to see it one of these days (man, that list is getting LONG!)

btw, the sister on the right has my purse! just over this past weekend i was using it and the string knot inside broke off...i guess its getting so dry that it is time to stop using it and just enjoy it on the shelf

Katella Gate said...

Yes Major, I used to run the Exhibits Department on the Queen Mary.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, Yes, I'm sure it would have been built "on the cheap" just would not have been DCA. It was supposed to be Port Disney, wasn't it? I think some of the basic concepts for it ended up going into Tokyo DisneySea, but if it had been built it in Long Beach, you just know that they would not have spent anywhere near the 4 billion dollars that the Oriental Land Co. spent on DisneySea.

Disney Nametags and More said...

Anyone here remember something called "Club 39" that was associated with the 'Voyage to 1939' event that Disney staged with the QM? I have a nametag from "Club 39" but I have not been able to find any clear information about it.

JG said...

@Connie. I should tell you the story of the ghost I met on the USS Hornet in Alameda. I didn't believe in ghosts before that...

Never saw any on the QM, tho.


Hrundi V. Bakshi said...

Sorry to add the Village is still there, but a few weeks ago we took a Segway Tour of Long Beach ocean front and entry to the Village is blocked, it appeared there have been no tenants for some time and it is in serious disrepair.

I might be mistaken but I believe it looked like it was only half the size of the village in the photo from the 70's. Maybe some was already torn down?

Looks very much like it is on its way to Yesterland.

Katella Gate said...

@DisneyNametags.. sorry for the slow response. "Club 39" was an advertising campaign Disney instituted for the Queen Mary. It was very short lived, so I don't recall the exact angle... I DO recall that it was an unfortunate selection. World War 2 broke out when Hitler invaded Poland Sept 1, 1939, so the year has unpleasant connotations (although I'm sure they were trying to evoke the Worlds' Fair in New York.)

Katella Gate said...

@Hrundi, you're right, the village next to the Queen Mary has been getting smaller over the years. It was originally triangular, but the buildings at the south apex were torn down decades ago, I think to make way for the Spruce Goose plaza. It would not surprise me if more had been torn down in the mean time. There's just no foot traffic through the area.