Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Pair From March 1961

Let's start today's post with a photo taken from the Skyway as it is about to pass through the mighty Matterhorn. This is an unusual view, in which you can see a small section of the mountain close up. The tubular steel track - a first for roller coasters - criss-crosses below us, while an alpine waterfall cascades into a small pond. You can also see the normally-hidden dirt-filled planters that were used for the small fir trees. Are there still trees on the Matterhorn? In the background is the sign for the Fantasyland Autopia.

This strangely grayish photo looks cold, and it must have been at least a little bit chilly; sweaters and coats are on almost all of the guests (except for the tough guy in the foreground)!

Monday, May 30, 2011

On Main Street, January 1974

We're out and about on Main Street U.S.A. today!

The Fire Truck looks swell parked in front of City Hall (there's the Fire Station in the background). If your dog house is on fire, this little truck is just the thing to put it out! Anything larger than that, and you are out of luck. Only one fireman can ride on that thing too, so I hope you don't need a big crew.

Kids love Goofy! He is holding court in front of what I believe is the "Mad Hatter" shop (those could be hats in there, couldn't they?). Ernie from "My Three Sons" is trying to work up the courage to go up to the great man (or dog or whatever he is).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

View From HoJo's - 1970's

We're taking a little detour away from Disneyland, but not very far from Disneyland... it's the nearby Howard Johnson's hotel (aka "HoJo's"), just to the east of the park - and visible from inside the park in such photos as this one and this one. Besides the familiar tower building, there were these lower two-story "bungalows" (for lack of a better word). From this view over the curved roofs of the bungalows you can see the big scary fence and trees that were part of the backstage area in the Tomorrowland area.

You would even be able to see the Monorail go by on the beamway, and I'm sure the fireworks can easily be seen in the evenings as well.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Frontierland Indians, 1957

Westerns were still incredibly popular fodder for movies and TV shows in 1957, and the public's obvious interest in the old west is reflected (I believe) by the large number of photos that guests tended to take in Frontierland. Plus the place was bitchin'.

There's the Indian Village, the one that folks could visit and learn (thanks to plenty of educational signage) and perhaps watch a dance or two. The berm is doing its job of keeping the modern-day world out!

There's another Indian Village, but this one was for the eyes only. No frolicking among the teepees there. You can see a bit of the Rainbow Desert in the middle of the picture, as well as the riverside trail for the Stagecoaches and Conestoga Wagons.

Old Chief Wavy says hello! But his friends up on the hill seem to imply that you might probably don't want to hang around here for very long.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Calico Mine Train Postcards, Part One

I have always had a special place in my heart for Knott's Berry Farm's Calico Mine Train. When I lived in Huntington Beach, my family spent lots of time at Knott's, and the Mine Train was a "must ride" attraction every time. It debuted in 1960, and was groundbreaking at the time (even inspiring Walt Disney). The ride's creator, Bud Hurlbut, passed away just this past January, and I have a series of posts as a kind of tribute to him, all featuring vintage postcards. In fact, all of today's examples show just the façade. Never fear, we'll go inside pretty soon!

In this first image, you can see the little ticket booth out front, and the mule train passing by. Kids love mules apparently! The wooden structure is the Shootin' Gallery.

Here's a great view taken from the outer balcony of the Calico Saloon (I think!). You can really see the unique rock work; not especially realistic, but great just the same. A waterfall from a subterranean river adds a nice touch. Not to mention that beautiful train!

Even the sheriff is impressed. The prospector with the burro, not so much.

The faux mountain was a big change in the geography of the Ghost Town, as you can see here. Formerly there was an oval arena that featured horses and riders, and before that... nothing!

And finally (for today), another shot very similar to the first one. Notice the different locomotive.

The next post will focus on the little Mine Trains themselves.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tomorrowland, March 1961

The gleaming Rocket to the Moon seems to draw guests like a giant magnet. To the left would have been the Art of Animation exhibit, and to the right the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea walk-thru. But you can't see them here! Note that at this time, the rocket lacks the TWA logo, as sponsorship had ended.

Here's an oddly-composed photo of the Autopia, with a forest of miniature street lights to keep the drivers extra safe on the freeway of tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Strawhatters & Delta Ramblers

Howsabout a little live music? It used to be a lot more evident at Disneyland; oom-pah-pah bands, rock and roll music, barbershop quartets, mariachis, calypso music, and of course, Dixieland and jazz.

Here are the Straw Hatters - in fact, you can see the straw hats on top of the piano in the background, so there ya go. I totally dig those dark orange/red polyester pants and the white shoes. The little stage can be seen in various parts of the park (see it here near the Nature's Wonderland queue); I can't quite place where this photo was taken. Can you?

This slide is labeled "Delta Ramblers", but it's the Royal Street Bachelors. These fellows were a familiar sight in New Orleans Square for many years.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Orleans Square, October 1975

Of all the "lands" at Disneyland, New Orleans Square is by far the least-represented. So any chance to share a few pictures from NOS is a welcome one.

Both of today's images are very similar; this first one, from earlier in the day, is pleasantly sunlit. I've always loved the winding streets here, narrow enough to evoke the real New Orleans. I'm guessing that at least one or two designers wanted to make the streets 100 feet wide in anticipation of the huge crowds that "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Haunted Mansion" attracted. To the left is the entrance to the Blue Bayou restaurant. I've still never eaten there! Always in too much of a hurry. Right in front of us is "Le Gourmet", a shop that sold all kinds of cooking paraphernalia. I need one of those things that scrambles the egg while it's still inside the shell, because scrambling eggs the old fashioned way is just way too difficult and dangerous.

Our photographer came back just a few hours later and stood in almost the same spot for a second photo. There are more people milling about, possibly to hear the Dixieland sounds from the Royal Street Bachelors, performing in their usual place (in front of the One of a Kind Shop).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Approaching the Main Gate, 1957

I have two images from two different 1957 lots, both featuring the Main Street Station and the entrance to the park.

It must be springtime; the flowers are blooming like crazy. On the other hand, that's not unusual at Disneyland. The park just opened (it's a little past 10:00), and you couldn't ask for a more beautiful day. There is a small group up on the platform for the Disneyland Railroad, and a few people passing through the tunnel, but it looks pretty uncrowded. Poster alert! Let's play "how many do you recognize" again.

This second photo was taken on a less flowery day, and later in the afternoon. The thing that catches my eye is the bike rack. Imagine being a local kid, able to pedal over to the park with a pal, whenever you wanted! Of course it would set you back $2 or $3, so you'd have to save up your nickels and dimes from your paper route. I'll bet those bikes didn't even have locks on them.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Today's "Special Guest" contributions come from Patrick McGilligan - check out his previously-posted photos of Disneyland here. There will be no Disneyland stuff today, however!

Let's start with this great souvenir photo from Knott's Berry Farm's "Pitchur Gallery", circa 1961. The li'l cowpoke is Patrick's older brother. Giddyapp!

I love this photo from the 1965 Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena. Patrick's grandmother and aunt pose in front of a Beatles-themed float; the Fab Four are performing atop an elephant (sure, why not), while a human barricade of Bobbies struggles to keep screaming girls from eating them alive.

Now we're at Universal Studios in the glorious 80's. These two fellows sure are tiny. Oh wait, now I get it, the desk and chair are BIG! Was this setup put there just as a photo op, or was the giant furiture left over from some TV show or movie? Maybe "The Incredible Shrinking Woman"? Can't be "Land of the Giants" props. Any ideas?

MANY THANKS to Patrick for once again sharing his family photos!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rainbow Ridge & Battling Elk

Nothin' too exciting today, but fans of the old Mine Train ride should be happy. Here we are in Rainbow Ridge; we all know about Town Square's opera house (home of Mr. Lincoln), but how many people would be able to tell you where Disneyland's other opera house was? If you look up near one of the red barrels, you can see two pack mule riders.

Those elk are battling for the affections of those three does, who look pretty uninterested in the whole thing.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Zorro Parade, 1958

Here's part two of my vintage Zorro parade photos! See part one HERE.

Looks like the Stagecoach has been recruited to carry an adorable bouquet of colorful little señoritas! How could the tiny tots participate in a daily Disneyland parade? Maybe they are audio-animatronics.

Say, there's the lovable, kindly Sergeant Garcia (actor Henry Calvin); he's looking right at us! Ohmigosh, I'll never wash my eyes again. Snow Hill is in the background... in just about a year the Matterhorn would sprout up right there.

Sure, Zorro looks cool in his all-black ensemble, but this couple dazzles in their white and gold outfits on those beautiful Palominos.

This young lady sits elegantly side-saddle on her noble steed, and is enveloped in a cloud of ruffles and lace. Zorro is probably barely remembered by most Disneyland guests, but I'll bet a parade celebrating California's Spanish Colonial days would still be popular!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

New York World's Fair

It's time for another trip to the Fair!

This aerial view looks down on the Eastman Kodak pavilion. On top there is a cube (resembling one of Kodak's "Magicube" flash cubes) displaying giant color prints, which were change on a regular basis. The building itself was all wavy curves. Behind it you can see the Tower of the Four Winds and Pepsi's "It's a Small World".

We're still at the Eastman Kodak pavilion; here's an unusual fountain that rained water down into the pool below. Those sculptures resemble giant dandelion puffs.

Here's the huge Belgian Village (with a sign that says "Now Open"). Considering the short life of the fair, the builders of this area did a remarkable job. The theme was supposed to be a Flemish village circa 1700; there were cobblestone streets and even faux dirt and soot on the buildings to make the place feel authentically ancient.

From the top of one of the New York pavilion towers, we're looking down on the "Bourbon Street" area. The industrial steel sheds that made up this area were barely disguised. Still, there were restaurants, Mardi Gras parades, street artists, and plenty of live jazz music. In the lower right, the Westinghouse time capsule was displayed. If you're around in about 5000 years, you can go watch our alien overlords open it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tomorrowland, March 1961

It's vintage Tomorrowland time! Starting with this photo of the Clock of the World. You can't tell what time it is from this side, but you can see the electrical cord trailing out of the base. The dazed balloon seller wears a hard hat to protect himself from meteorites; the balloons are the black-eared variety that looked like they had Mouseketeer ears. How many attraction posters do you recognize?

And now for the obligatory Skyway view, looking down on the odd little stage (like the bow of a fishing boat) where the Yachtsmen are performing. Seems like I usually see them in all their dress whites, but they look like they are at a dinner party here. I'm going to say that they are singing "Lemon Tree".

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Three From May 1960

Here are three leftuggies from two separate lots of slides from May 1960! That's 51 years ago, homies.

I call this one "March of the Crazy People". Look at all those people leaving in the middle of the day!

Even the little bit of landscaping that you can see here makes a huge difference in Frontierland's appearance. It really does seem as if Disneyland was the only park that realized how important trees and plants were (are).

If this hut had a computer with high-speed internet, it would be perfect for me! A roof to keep the gentle daily rains off, open sides to let the warm tropical breezes through (and geckos!), and a boat full of food right next to it. What more could a person want?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Knott's Assortment

Let's reverse the polarity of our tachyon fields and fling ourselves through a rift in the fabric of space and time so that we can visit Knott's Berry Farm from the 50's and 60's. It's easy!

Here we are on School Road, which is still unpaved at this point. Good old fashioned dirt and gravel did the job juuust fine. Except maybe when it rained. Barely visible at the end of the road, down near the Calico Saloon, is one of the railroad trains.

One of the many things to love about Knott's is that it has a brothel: Goldie's! One of Goldie's "girls" dangles a well-shaped leg out a side window in an effort to entice Gramps. I think it's working! The leg gave a gentle kick every once in a while. Walter Knott was a patriotic and pious man, but he could see the humor in having a place like Goldie's in his Ghost Town; which makes him awesome.

These last two pictures are of the lovely pond, one of the oldest features at Knott's (now gone, of course - loveliness does not fill the coffers). Lined with reeds and rushes, water lillies and weeping willows (and Pampas grass), the peaceful pond is easy on the eyes and calms the frazzled soul.

By 1956, an Indian canoe was parked in the middle of the pond. How he got to it without ruining his moccasins is a dark and bloody mystery. Other vintage photos show the canoe with its occupant sitting silently - maybe he's in there, but just laying down for a nap.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tom Sawyer Island, January 1974

Tom Sawyer Island has undergone many changes over the years - particularly in the last decade. Fans of the old TSI tend to grumble (include me in that group), but my guess is that younger Disneyland fans are perfectly happy.

This nice view taken inside Fort Wilderness, which used to be the centerpiece of the TSI experience (in my opinion, anyway) - the "castle" of this land-within-a-land, so to speak. Now its gone, replaced with a strange structure that looks terrible, and is off limits to guests. SO... I love any photos that help remind me of the simple pleasures of original fort!

A familiar view, perhaps taken shortly after the park opened? The Columbia, one Keelboat, and one raft to TSI are all out of commission, it seems.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Parrot Jungle, 1950's

Boy oh boy, what a crummy week for folks who use Blogger. There were problems with posting and with leaving comments (on my fifth anniversary too, boooo!). And now I discover that 10 completed drafts are gone. It's going to be a busy weekend.

Anyway, today we will visit Parrot Jungle, just south of Miami Florida! PJ was founded way back in 1936 by Franz and Louise Scherr, making it one of the very first tourist attractions in the Miami area. Here's a description: Parrot Jungle was built as a winding nature trail dug through the coral rock and hammock land, indigenous to the area. All the natural plants were left undisturbed. .... visitors each paid 25 cents admission to see and hear Franz Scherr talk about his birds, trees and flowers.

Parrots live for a long time (or so I'm told), maybe this cockatoo went on to star as "Fred" in the TV show "Baretta". It could happen.

Visitors from frozen Indiana must have found Parrot Jungle and warm, sunny Florida to be an incredibly appealing place to visit. Check out the lady who's dress is practically falling off!

In more recent years, Parrot Jungle moved to Weston Island in Miami, and officially changed its name to "Jungle Island". The old location is now a municipal park known as Pinecrest Gardens, with nary a parrot to be found these days.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Random Friday

Today I have an oddball selection of images from various vintage tourist attractions from around the USA.

This first photo (from June 1962) of an "Old Jail" is a mystery to me! It was in a lot of slides that also had a number of Freedomland pictures, and at first I thought that this might be from that park. But I'm not so sure now. Those figures are awfully crude. If anybody has an educated guess, I'd love to hear it!

Ringling Bros. Circus had its winter headquarters in Sarasota, Florida (notice the cypresses covered with Spanish moss in the background). This photo from the 1950's shows a woman posing next to a wonderful antique circus wagon, with carvings evoking India and the elephants found there.

From 1967, here's a closeup of the sign that you saw when entering Santa's Workshop, which is at the North Pole. New York, that is! If you look closely you can just see the ghosts of old words on the sign, it appears to say something to the effect of "Home of Santa's Workshop NORTH POLE".

Here's a photo from 1961, showing a corner of Silver Dollar City, found in the Ozarks (near Branson, Missouri). The park had opened only about a year earlier (May 1, 1960). Nearby Marvel Cave with its beautiful natural caverns had been a tourist attraction for many years, but Silver Dollar City is now a typical theme park with a western atmosphere. There are flume rides, roller coasters, and all kinds of amusements.