Thursday, March 31, 2011

A World's Fair Assortment

Here's another pipin' hot batch of images from the '64 World's Fair.

This first photo is from the Avis Pan-Am Gardens. As you can see, this photo shows a billboard that heralds the wonders of the Pan American Highway as it passes through Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Altogether the Pan American Highway system totals almost 30,000 miles of roadway!

I believe that this is the Chun King Inn: A pagoda-style restaurant with a lake-dotted garden offers comfortable, inexpensive dining. I would have had the Hong Kong Burger, a double-decker burger with bean sprouts, cheese, lettuce, and a special sauce. So authentic!

As you can see, the Caribbean pavilion had no salty old pirates. In fact, it mostly consisted of a large restaurant that served up calypso music, steaks, and rum drinks.

This one is kind of a mystery to me (though I'm sure that one of you out there will know what it is); I thought that this must be a display of crowns and various trophies and other precious royal objects from Great Britain. BUT... apparently there was no pavilion for Great Britain! So I'm wrong as usual. Help!

Here's "Lowenbrau Gardens" (... a replica of an open-air cafe in a village square) looks like something that Frankenstein's monster should be stomping through - along with a horde of angry villagers (pitchforks & torches in hand).

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Independence Hall, Buena Park

First-time visitors to Knott's Berry Farm might be surprised to see a replica of Philadelphia's Independence Hall in the middle of Buena Park - but it's been there since 1966, and is now something of a landmark. Walter Knott was about as patriotic as they come, and the building (with its equally exact replica of the Liberty Bell) was his way of paying tribute to the founding fathers and the formation of the country that Mr. Knott loved so much.

Here's a shot taken from a car in 1977; we are looking up Beach Boulevard from the corner of Crescent Avenue. I am wondering if the "sidewalk" that is bordered by the low fencing is in fact the roadway for the Tijuana Taxis... does anybody know?

Another car photo (from Beach Boulevard?)... the Hall is almost hidden behind a eucalyptus tree. To the right, you can see a billboard - but only I can read it! "Open Today, 10 AM to 9 PM - Enjoy Wild West Shows - Shop and Dine 10 to 9". Independence Hall is across the street from the main park, which means that most visitors miss it altogether.

Here's a photo taken in "tilt-o-rama". I visited the Hall last year on a Sunday, the first time I'd seen it since a grade-school field trip a zillion years ago. Chickens still wander free on the grounds outside the building; it was remarkably quiet over there, and the morning was sunny and warm. A single employee - a woman in colonial garb - was silently knitting inside. It brought back a lot of memories as I wandered around this beautiful building, looking at the dusty, faded exhibits. It could use some TLC, but I'm just happy that it is still there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Six Gun City Revisited

Over three years ago, I shared some vintage photos of a park in Jefferson, New Hampshire called Six Gun City. There were a few more pictures from that lot that I'd never gotten around to scanning, so they are getting their 2 minutes of fame today!

For some reason, stocks were a popular photo op for many tourist attractions. What's more fun than pretending that you were being publicly tormented! This little girl is having a swell time.

Six Gun City was anything but fancy back in the old days. It's a shame that those ugly telephone poles and wires ran right up the main street! The streets were upaved, and obviously got pretty muddy after a good rain. Authentic western charm.

Dad's in jail again. He's not worried because it looks like you could kick your way out of that jail in about 14 minutes.

Looky, it's a genuine grizzled old timer. Probably toothless, which adds bonus points. Actually, it's hard to tell in the photo, but I'm not 100% convinced that the beard is for real. Maybe he bought it at Woolworth's.

Here's an old hearse, complete with a dead body! Or is it just some lazy employee taking a nap?

That's all for now!

Monday, March 28, 2011

3 From Frontierland, January 1961

Here is an unusual view of the far end of Rainbow Ridge, the last few buildings before the wilderness takes over. The Pack Mules are on a trail above the town, they are on the last leg of their trip before they return to town. Just in front of the buildings, the trail into Nature's Wonderland can just be seen.

Next, a general view of Frontierland as seen from the Mark Twain. This photo makes me think of the recent "Dapper Day at Disneyland"! Even the more casual guests rise above the shorts and flip-flops crowd.

This is a very rare view of the time portal that the mine train passed through in order to travel through Nature's Wonderland. It's been redressed for Disneyland, but...

... as you can see, it is definitely the same portal.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Well homies, today's photos are nice enough I suppose; but we've seen plenty just like them before. What can I do! Anyway, they date from May of 1960. Every visitor to Disneyland (the ones armed with cameras) had to get a straight-on shot of the castle. Maybe four or five! This one is above average, and it has the advantage of showing a Surrey as it passes.

The flowers in the Flower Mart are both phony and baloney. But they are pretty, and that's all that matters.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Just because Christmas was three months ago doesn't mean that we have to lose that yuletide feeling. Today's photos should give you a little extra holiday boost.

There's the big tree, back in the days when they used a real tree, instead of the projected hologram that they use now. Drinking fountain alert. Drinking fountain alert!

Everybody is so darn proud of their groovy 1974 fashions. When will these crazy patterns come back in style, darn it? Sis looks relatively subdued in her tasteful denim outfit - she probably grew up to be an attorney.

I presume that this scene is somewhere right near Disneyland. There's the Regal Inn back there, which means nothing to me, but it probably means something to one of you smart people out there.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Fun

Today I decided to post a mix of old photos from a few Southern California attractions.

Let's start with this first view of a mom and her kid, with Pacific Ocean Park in the background. I'm not sure where this picture was taken from; possibly one of the nearby apartment buildings?

Next up is this picture of a shootout at Corriganville, in glorious black and white. I'm guessing that the photo was taken around 1957.

And finally, here's a fun snapshot taken in the old desert mining town of Calico, circa 1964, when the town actually belonged to Walter Knott. He donated it to San Bernardino County in 1966. This painted photo-op is very similar to the examples found in Knott's Berry Farm's "Pitchur Gallery", although this one appears to be a personal photo, and not a purchased souvenir. I like how gramps is holding his hat!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Fair

It's time for another random selection of photos from the 1964/65 New York World's Fair!

Folks came from all over to marvel at the wonders of this amazing Fair. Of course, this couple could easily have lived right there in Queens, too! If this photo makes you wish you had an ice cream cone, I'm with you. Notice the queue in the background with the blue and white covering - that was the line for Progressland. Take a look at this photo and you'll see what I mean.

The Swiss Sky Ride would have been a "must ride" for me! Here's a nice look at the station near the Swiss pavilion - the other station was across the fairgrounds near the Korea pavilion. The maximum height reached was 113 feet, which is pretty darn high.

If you're going to have big successful companies participating in your World's Fair, then Coca Cola needs to be included. The tower with the Coke logo held the world's largest carillion, with 610 bells that were electronically amplified. Who doesn't love a carillion?!? One exhibit inside the building was the "Global Holiday", a 15-minute walk in which fairgoers visit such faraway places as a bustling Hong Kong street, a serene Indian garden, a Bavarian ski lodge, a Cambodian forest, and the harbor of Rio de Janeiro.

Here's the Eastern Air Lines pavilion; if you flew on Eastern with a "World's Fair ticket", you would be shuttled from Idlewild/La Guardia to our exclusive World's Fair terminal... with telephones, rest rooms, baggage facilities ... and more. Seems like a pretty sweet deal!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Main Street, May 1960 - plus a bonus!

Here's a beautiful shot of Main Street Station, with the "Fred Gurley" locomotive at rest next to the Kalamazoo hand car. This loco was added to the Disneyland Railroad on March 28, 1958. Unlike the C.K. Holliday and the E.P. Ripley, which were brand new in 1955 (having been built at the studio), the Gurley was originally built in 1894.

And here's another nice photo looking up Main Street toward the castle. Most folks are sticking to the sidewalks (with a few exceptions, of course). If you look to the right, just past the Swift Market House on the opposite corner, it appears that the Gibson Greeting Cards store is walled up, about to turn into the Hallmark store.

And now, here's something cool that was cooked up by Chris Jepsen (from the OC Historical Blog)! He took two stereo images from Knott's Berry Farm that were posted here recently, and made an animated gif that alternates each image rapidly, creating the illusion of 3-D without having to cross your eyes or wear funny glasses. I think it works quite nicely! I've played around with this type of image, but mine just seem too "earthquakey". If I ever get some to work better, I will share them with you. Meanwhile, thanks to Chris for this example!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Jungleland Elephant Show, September 1959

I've been lucky enough to find a few small batches of slides from Jungleland (formerly in Thousand Oaks, California). Today's pair is from a group of about 10 photos, all taken from the same vantage point, and all showing some elegant elephants as they put on a show. If it was a choice between this or an episode of "Glee", I'd choose the elephants.

Ever seen five pachyderms forming a conga line? Well, now you have. You're welcome. Life is all downhill from here. I think we have become so used to seeing these enormous creatures in zoos and on TV that we take them for granted; but they are pretty incredible. I love 'em.

You'd never see a show like this today, with nothing between the elephants and the people except a foot-high ring. Notice the special devices on their heads to prevent them from flying away!

Stay tuned for more Jungleland!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Pair From March 1961

Here's a neat view of Tomorrowland as seen from the Skyway load platform (it's almost our turn!). There's a lot going on, with the Autopia, Monorail, Matterhorn, Skyway, Submarines, and even a Rocket Jet or two if you look carefully. If only this was a stereo view, think of the great 3-D effect that would have been produced.

This second photo is from the same lot as the first, and some clouds have come rolling in. It even looks a little like rain. The monorail looks swell here. I was going to use Photoshop to eliminate that man's cigarette, because the mere sight of a person with a cigarette in a movie or photo will drive most of you to take up smoking. It's a proven fact! But then I decided to eat some Doritos instead.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Storybook Land, March 1961

I guess it's kind of hard to get very excited by today's photos. So I will refund everybody's money asap. Still, Monstro looks extra shiny because he has been cleaned with new Pledge for Whales, which was only available in stores for a short time.

I'm generally more interested in the "backstage" stuff seen in this photo (with the exception of that tunnel that leads back to the area where canal boats were stored and presumably refurbished). is that long gray building a part of Disney's property back then? If so, I wonder what was in it. Something cool, no doubt. Cheerful little Fantasyland Station can also be seen to the right.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

More "Queen Mary", 1976

Today we'll spend a brief time in the bridge of the grand old ocean liner. This was one of my favorite places to see when I visited the Queen Mary long ago. Just look at all those gleaming brass thingamabobs! You can see the funnels that were used in to shriek commands to some sweaty guy in the engine room. And what kid wouldn't want to steer a big ship like this, spinning those wheels, pulling levers, and ordering people around just because you're the Captain and they all have to do what you say.

More shiny stuff than you can shake a stick at. Sure it looks cool, but you don't want to be the poor dope who had to polish that brass.

I guess this car was placed on deck to help give visitors a sense of what the world was like in the 1930's. Today, I would buy this car, shoot it up, splash some ketchup around, and tell people it was Bonnie and Clyde's death car. Because that's how I roll.

There's more photos from the Queen Mary to come!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hersheypark, Pennsylvania, 1957

When my dad was still in the navy, we moved around a lot. In the 70's we wound up in land-locked (not counting Lake Erie) Pennsylvania, near the capital city of Harrisburg. More importantly, we were only about 20 minutes from the town of HERSHEY, home of the famous chocolate factory, and the only real amusement park to help me through my Disneyland withdrawals. I always thought it was called "Hershey Park", but apparently the correct name is "Hersheypark" (possibly a play on the name "Disneyland"). Today's photos are from many years before I visited the place!

This flume ride was seen on this blog once before; notice that instead of water, the boat floated on melted chocolate! Just over that big wall you can just see the top of the twin Ferris Wheel...

... which can be seen more clearly here. It was added to Hersheypark in 1950, and was 66 feet tall. Looks like the wheel on the left was out of order on this particular day.

This wooden roller coaster is known as "The Comet". It was built in 1946, and is still at the park today! Its maximum speed is about 50 mph, which sounds pretty impressive for such an oldie. Love the photo with the kids in the rowboat.

This 1919 Carousel was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, and replaced Hersheypark's original carousel (a 1912 Denzel) in 1946, for reasons that are unclear to me (apparently the Denzel was considered one of the biggest and "most magnificent" carousels in the area at the time). The one seen in this photo is still at the park.

Here's another Ferris Wheel; I believe that this is a small version that was added to the park in the 1920's. They really REALLY didn't want you to fall out! Those icy Pennsylvania winters really took their toll on these old rides. I assume that this one is long gone.

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to Hersheypark!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Train Und Twain, 1957

Let's start with this early photo of a Mine Train returning home after a thrilling trip through the Rainbow Desert. No "Nature's Wonderland" yet folks - you'll have to wait three years. To the left, we can buy dry goods - plain ones and fancy ones. Nothing but fancy will do for me. "Proprietor, give me the fanciest, driest goods you have."

To our right, the Mineral Hall, sponsored by the Black Light Corporation of America. I like glowy things, and it's free, so I will definitely be going in there. If you stay in there long enough, you'll get a San Tropez tan, too.

I really just threw this photo into the mix because... what the heck else was I going to do with it?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tomorrowland & Spaceman, 1958

I'm always especially happy when I get to share particularly nice pictures from vintage Tomorrowland. We'll start with this great photo from the entrance to T-land; it has so much great stuff, from the Circarama façade, the Clock of the World, the TWA Rocket, and just off to the right, the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry. Oh, and there's posters too! In the lower right, you can see the Tomorrowland Spaceman surrounded by fans. Let's go say "hello"!

What a great portrait. Souvenir guide book worthy, I'd say. Imagine being inside that helmet on a hot August day! I'm almost positive I've posted at least one or two photos of this same guy before, but when I do a search, I can't find him. Time to start my meds again.

I decided to throw in this closeup of the ornament that topped the Clock of the World; it's nice to be able to see so much detail.