Monday, January 31, 2011

Bagpipers, August 1955

I think this first photo is pretty neat; a herd of bagpipers stands proudly on the bridge in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Were they a regular feature in 1955, or there for a special occasion? Bagpipes are suitable for every occasion, especially romantic dinners.

Here's a closeup. Those guys look like tough customers, don't they? Check out the gentleman with the leopard skin robe-thingy (please don't call it a dress). "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" performed on bagpipes? Exquisite.

From the same lot is this very nice photo of the Pirate Ship, polished to a showroom gloss. I've seen pirate ship showrooms, so I know of what I speak. Love the Chicken of the Sea mermaid figurehead!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Mark Twain

You know, yesterday's Columbia post was such a great idea (says me) that I decided to do the same thing with pictures of the Mark Twain. Don't worry, I have plenty of repetitive photos of it to share in future posts!

This first picture is both super and duper, and rates high on the "Postcard Worthy-o-meter" ™. The blue sky, the Mark Twain gleaming white, and all those fabulous 50's folks add up to smiley face.

This one's not bad. But - - yawn.

This one is cropped funny, is kind of blurry, and smells like a band-aid. Go ahead, sniff it and see what I mean.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Columbia

I love the Columbia, I really do. But daaayum, do I have a lot of pictures of it. So I decided to post three of them today, and maybe get a little break in the future. (PS, whenever you read the word "future", you should always imagine that it sounds echo-ey and dramatic).

Clearly, barnacles are a real problem for the Columbia, since it spends so much time in dry dock. Disneyland is too cheap to spray the hull with lemon fresh "Barnacles Be Gone". I use it every day and have nary a barnacle on me.

All of these people shop at Sears. To be honest I like that old guy's greenish plaid shirt. This blog is now about shirts. You have been warned.

Hey, that's not a picture of a shirt, it's a picture of the Columbia. I'm going to fire the editor of this blog immediately, if not sooner.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Stagecoach & Gold Panning at Knott's

Here are two photos from Knott's Berry Farm, circa 1975. This first one features the Stagecoach, with a full load of passengers. Look at all the trees; the Lorax was really doing a good job back then. I doubt a single one of these trees remain. You can still ride the stage at Knott's, although the city has encroached upon the park so that you don't see much these days. I wonder how different it was 30 or 40 years ago?

No trip to Knott's was complete without panning for gen-u-ine gold dust. The employee may look like a greenhorn, but he knows how to get every speck of gold from that dirt. He learned all of the secrets from grizzled prospectors, by cracky!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dumbo, 1958

I can't quite tell if those flying elephants were in motion in this photo, or if dad just had the shakes. My vote is for the former, since Dumbo himself is pretty clear. There's something about the warm, muted colors in that I find very appealing! See how happy the kid is?

Well, he's not so happy here. In fact, he looks 80 percent bored, and 20 percent aggravated. And 10 percent peeved. (I was never good at math). I'm going to wear a plaid outfit just like this one (shorts included) on my next date. No chick will be able to resist me!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Marineland, California - 1967

"Marineland of the Pacific", in beautiful Palos Verdes, was a wonderful place to visit. It opened in 1954 (pre-dating Disneyland), and closed in 1987.

I'm not sure when this 414-foot tower was added, but it was a landmark for many years (and continued standing until 1995). As you can imagine, it provided spectacular views from the top. The gondola appears to have been a double-decker.

The next two shots are from the gondola as it ascended the tower. There are lots of differnt smaller water tanks at ground-level. In the lower left you can see the zig-zagging ramp that led spectators up to seats to the largest aquariums; I believe that you could view these through plexiglass windows from the lower levels.

You can see some apparatus that was used for performances by seals, while at least one smaller side tank has a dolphin (or porpoise?) in it. I think I even see the ring that was set on fire and swung out over the water for a death-defying stunt dolphin to jump through.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

World's Fair

More random images from New York, 1964 & 1965:

West Virginia's building is ultra-modern, with clean geometric lines, set off by reflecting pools and colorful abstract shapes. Even the logo is pretty cool! They wanted to dispel any idea that West Virginia was just a bunch of coal mines and hillbillies. The exhibits inside featured (among other things) a display heralding the new radio telescope and described "how it probes the secrets of the universe"; industrial displays; panoramas of the state's tourist attractions; and a working model of the Echo II satellite; glass blowers; and yes, a simulated coal mine. Tickets were handed out to each visitor, and at the end of the fair, one lucky winner won five acres of West Virginia mountaintop property, and a new vacation lodge. Pretty sweet!

There's a whole lot going on in this neat panorama! In the center, right on the horizon, is the Unisphere. To its left is the T-shaped Port Authority building, and to its right is the rotunda of the Ford pavilion. In the lower left is the Schaefer Center, with its "air filled plastic roof". It served food and drinks, including Schaefer beer of course! In the lower right you can what had been a vacant lot in 1964; the lines for General Electric's "Progressland" (which included Walt Disney's "Carousel of Progress") had been so enormous that in 1965 the company leased the vacant lot and built those blue and white striped coverings to help protect guests from the elements.

This photo was probably taken from the Aerial Ride; it looks down upon a "wild mouse" roller coaster in the Amusement Zone. One of the little bug-like ride vehicles is maneuvering along the twisting track.

And why not finish with another look at some full-sized rocket models at the U.S. Space pavilion. These give you a good idea of how the space capsules fit atop these powerful machines

Monday, January 24, 2011

Matterhorn 1960

Note: Thanks to Mike D. (not the Mike D. from the Beastie Boys) and to TokyoMagic! for alerting me to the fact that I posted these images the wrong way around. Yes, they should be flipped (or is it flopped?). I am way too lazy to go back and fix them, but this way you at least will be forwarned.

The mighty Matterhorn has been around for over 50 years, and there has never been anything else like it. Here is a series of 3 photos from 1960, when it was still brand new.

First we have this long shot, with 2 bobsleds visible (can you find 'em?)....

... and now, we're just a liiiittle bit closer; this time the red Monorail makes an appearance. It looks like it's giving that yellow bobsled a kiss (awwwww!).

And finally, closer still; the family poses in front of the man-made mountain. See that girl peeking out from behind the other girl, over to the left?

Well, we've seen her before, only a few years younger. And we'll see her at Disneyland again, only more grown up!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fantasyland 1956

I've got two views from 1956 for you today, featuring Fantasyland.

This first one is a nice shot of the new Skyway, and the Chalet that is nestled so nicely in those miniature Alps. Sharp-eyed viewers can see the "picture book" billboard that heralded the arrival of this new attraction that would take you directly to Tomorrowland.

Monstro and Storybook Land; The ride doesn't appear to be in operation - nobody is in line or buying tickets at the little lighthouse ticket booth, and I don't see any canal boats in the water.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Storybook Land

Today I have a few vintage photos from Storybook Land. Here's Monstro, in his original (pre-blue) incarnation. This is much closer to the movie Monstro than the cyanotic version you'll see there today.

This charming church is part of the village where Alice lived (when she wasn't cavorting around Wonderland). I like the detail of the tiny graveyard and tombstones; somehow it makes my brain think about the generations of people who lived in that village years before, and who (whom?) are now gone and buried. Even though it's just a model! Crazy.

And finally, a pre-Matterhorn look at Geppetto's village. There's his workshop, right by the water. In the movie, I think his shop was depicted as being at the end of a winding street, but this way you can see the tiny toys in the window.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Gonzalez Trio, August 27, 1965

Here's a great photo of the Gonzalez Trio, performing in the little ornate bandstand that used to be in Frontierland. I'll bet they were a lot of fun, and added some authentic Mexican atmosphere. The Señorita certainly is pretty, doesn't she have a great smile? It's hard to believe, but she wasn't always a part of the group...

I found this photo in the November 1959 "Disneylander" magazine for cast members! I wonder when they brought sis (?) into the act?

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Welcome to Corriganville! We're in glamorous, exciting Simi Valley, and visiting a real movie ranch where countless westerns for TV and movies were filmed. Won't you please check out this post from eons ago? Then you will be hep to the jive.

I believe that this frontier town was known as "Silverton". You could expect to see stunt shows, gunfights, and other mayhem during your visit.

Those rocky hills are a familiar sight to me, and to anybody who drives highway 118 on a regular basis. I'm trying to figure out why this building has an upper balcony/deck, and yet there is no second floor or apparent way to get to the thing. Nevertheless, I'll bet more than a few stunt men fell off of it, mortally wounded by blanks.

This ranch house is just oozing frontier charm with its crooked windows and faux-adobe construction.

They must have spent at least $1.98 on that sign for Boot Hill! Pious folks were buried right along side horse thieves and other varmints.

Gram and Gramps are having a blast. I can tell! But they are from the midwest, and their emotions run deep.

See, I told you; look at Grandma's smile. She's even wearing a souvenir cavalry hat, while her daughter sports the latest in 1860's millinery.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

View From a Twain

Here are a couple of not-too-exciting photos taken from the Mark Twain as it waited at the dock in Frontierland. The covered queue area is in the foreground. Does anybody know the significance of the flags? One appears to be Great Britain's Union Jack. The Golden Horseshoe is in the distance; considering how popular this legendary show was at the time, I'm surprised that Walt Disney seemed happy enough with those "temporary" cloth banners for so many years.

Looking slightly to the northeast, we can see the little blue-roofed bandstand where the Gonzalez Trio performed. Beyond that is Casa de Fritos, resembling the adobe pueblo in Taos (New Mexico). And to the right, the long reddish building is the Frontierland Shooting Gallery.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Expo '67, US Pavilion

Today I'm featuring some photos of the United States Pavilion from Montreal's "EXPO '67".

This geodesic dome was designed by none other than Buckminster Fuller. It measured 250 feet in diameter, and was 20 stories tall. I wonder if any of them were scary stories? To the right you can see the wing-like U.S.S.R. pavilion, which was the most popular at the fair. The US Pavilion was only the third most popular. I blame myself.

Here's another nice shot, with the "Minirail" in the foreground. The Minirail passed right through the dome of the US Pavilion, providing riders with a preview of what was inside. Kind of like the Peoplemover at Disneyland, oui?

Inside the impressive dome, there were "six levels of exhibits, connected by escalators ...based on the theme of: "Creative America - the positive use of creative energy". The exhibits included everything from American Folk Art and Elvis Presley's guitar to NASA’s Apollo Space Capsule and Lunar Excursion Module." I would have loved it!

Apparently the pavilion was rather popular with everyone except Americans! They thought that the exhibits gave the impression that the US was all about movies, crazy Pop Art (Warhol, Lichtenstein, etc), toys, rock and roll, and other things that seemed frivolous.

The next time we visit Expo '67, we'll see some of what was inside the dome!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Frontierland Scenes, March 1961

I have three nice photos from Frontierland; they're all a little on the dark side, but still worth a look.

This sign tells the story of the Indian Village (see a slightly better shot of the sign here). Once the Indians of the Pacific Northwest were represented in the village, this sign would have been obsolete. There's another sign in the distance with info about the birch bark lodge nearby, which you can read about here.

Another sign, in the form of a shield, tells the story of the burial ceremony: AFTER DEATH, A BRAVE'S BODY IS WRAPPED, PLACED ON HIGH POLES AND FACED TO THE EAST...


I like this photo of the Friendly Indian Village as night approaches. As you can see, the industrious Indians continue to work until the very last sunlight is gone. The shiniest boy in the world still stands on his upturned canoe, as well. You can see a tiny red light to the right, presumably part of the signal system for the Disneyland RR.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Santa's Village, 1965

I'll bet you thought that Christmas was over, but you were wrong! In fact, tonight I'm going a-wassailing. Today's photos were kindly donated by the mysterious and secretive JG, from his own file of family snapshots, circa 1965. The real, genuine snow on the ground adds to the Christmas cheer. I can already smell the aroma of wet wool mittens.

Let's start with this cookie cottage, also known as the Good Witch's Bakery. Those flower-shaped cookies on the roof remind me of Burry's "fudge filled shortcake" cookies. What, no cute name like "fudgetastics"?

Here's the Easter Bunny's House; he doesn't require much room, so Santa leases the property to him for cheap.

Hooray! It's the legendary Bumblebee Monorail. The only adorable Monorail that I am aware of. I have 30 or 40 photos of Santa's Village, but no pictures of this ride.

Santa's House! St. Nick's magic has caused the mushrooms to grow to unheard-of sizes, not to mention the groovy colors. Children of all ages could visit Mr. Kringle here, and tell him what Nerf toy they wanted under the tree that year.

There's that Christmas Tree ride again (oh, and Bumblebee Monorail alert!). The tree has a very Rankin-Bass look to it. Oh man, imagine how cold it must have been up there, that's a lot of snow on the ground.

MANY THANKS to "JG" for sharing these great photos of a long-gone California attraction!!