Sunday, July 31, 2011

Knott's, October 1975

Welcome back to Knott's Berry Farm! I'd offer you a slice of boysenberry pie, but all I have left is a slice of snozzberry pie. It's yours if you want it, though.

Once again we are in front of the Calico Mine Train attraction, which was 15 years old at this point - but still great. One thing that's different from other photos that we've seen is the exterior queue winding back and forth, which I can only assume means that the ride saw some healthy crowds recently. And one can't ignore the sawhorses placed near the train tracks, with a sign apologizing for the inconvenience. I originally thought that this might have to do with the opening or construction of "The Roaring 20's", but that opened about 4 months earlier. Construction for "Knott's Beary Tales" began at about this time, so maybe that's what was going on.

One of my favorite things to do is to get really, really drunk when I go to an amusement park. So a saloon holds tremendous appeal to me; unfortunately this one only served soft drinks and ice-cold boysenberry juice. But I can't stay mad!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Tijuana!

Today we're heading south of the border - but just barely - to wonderful Tijuana, circa 1967. Nowadays, Tijuana is the largest city on the Baja peninsula, and is only second to New York City in terms of the sheer number of visitors in the western world. As Wikipedia says, the city "exerts a strong regional influence on economics, education, culture, art, and politics".

But 40 or 50 years ago, tourists from the U.S.A. (and elsewhere) went to Tijuana for a convenient getaway for a day or two. Go to the numerous bars, bet on the ponies, get a quickie divorce, buy all kinds of souvenirs (sombreros, woven goods, pottery, and so on), and generally have yourself a swell time. There were some less savory things you could do there too, but we'll leave those to your imagination!

I love this picture of four gringos getting ready to have their photos taken on a street corner. Some entrepreneurs have painted a donkey with zebra stripes, placed a painted backdrop on the donkey cart, and provided a selection of sombreros for the tourists to wear. "Cisco Kid" is my favorite. I can see a "Just Married" hat in the background, and I've also seen photos with another that says "Just Divorced". In fact, I've managed to find several photos of this same photo-op location; I'll bet they made a nice chunk of change.

Here's another photo from the same lot, showing some of the local attractions. The Nuevo Kentucky Cafe, the Long Bar, and "BUM BUM", which looks like it was a "nite club" where you could also get married or divorced. I want to be illegal fireworks, can you tell me where to buy some, por favor? Meanwhile, dig the cool cars.

Friday, July 29, 2011

More From Orlando, May 1972

Let's look at some more scans from Walt Dizzy World, from the early days. I admit that these three photos are not exactly the most interesting in the world, but perhaps those die-hard WDW fans will find something to love.

I am not entirely sure, but I believe that this first image was taken from Main Street Station's covered platform, near the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. Please correct me if I am wrong! Notice the Monorail beamway; and you can't miss the fabulous Contemporary Resort Hotel. Somehow I never really noticed the restaurant on top of the Contemporary (I manage to not notice a lot of stuff!); is there another place on the roof where these photos could have been taken, or were they shot from inside the restaurant through the large windows?

It sort of looks like our photographer panned to the right to take this image of the Monorail Station (complete with one Monorail train!). I think. You can definitely see the railroad tracks here. I'm trying to imagine how this same scene might look today, with large mature trees.

And finally, a third, very gray photo - possibly taken from near the location of the first two pictures? - looking towards part of the lake, and what I think is a covered boat house or landing where the steamboats and ferries loaded and unloaded passengers. On the horizon to our right is a structure that appears to be in the earliest stages of construction. Not surprisingly, I have no idea what it could be!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More Matterhorn, January 1960

I've got two neat views of the Matterhorn for you today, from back when it was still brand-new.

This first photo is from an unusual perspective; our photographer was standing in the queue of the Tomorrowland Skyway station, It's kind of neat to see the Skyway cables and buckets from this angle! Hopefully none of the people in line fall into the categories of "spitters" or "swingers".

This view is a bit more conventional; we're standing at the hub, with the House of the Future partially hidden behind two orange trees that can hardly hold more fruit! The Matterhorn's snow line is not as low as it became later; that's always a tipoff that you are seeing an early photo.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tomorrowland, January 1975

Hooray for Tomorrowland '75! That was MY Tomorrowland, the one that I grew up with and loved. Sure, the Carousel of Progress was gone by then (replaced by "America Sings" in 1974), but you still had the Skyway, the Peoplemover, the original Submarine Voyage, Adventure Thru Inner Space, America the Beautiful, and more. Construction for Space Mountain would begin in the summer of '75 too! Notice the Peoplemover castmember up on the track, in the strangely stylish blue and yellow costume.

Well well well, it's the Monorail Green! For some reason this particular monorail wasn't captured on film very often (there were three other Monorail trains - red, yellow, and blue). It looks pretty fantastic, doesn't it?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Walt Disney Postage Stamp, 1968

It's "Fun With Philately" day!

I inherited my grandmother's collection of postage stamps when she passed away about 10 years ago. She didn't really collect them so much as she hoarded them (a collection would be organized). If there was a design she liked, she'd buy an extra sheet of them and put it in a folder, never to be used. And she liked a lot of designs. Every once in a while I still like to flip through the folders and see the variety of designs and subjects.

Anyway, among the many unused sheets of stamps were two sheets from 1968, commemorating Walt Disney. I thought it would be fun to share a scan of them with you.

There it is, 50 stamps; a mere six cents would get your letter to wherever you wanted it to go! The stamp made its debut on September 11, 1968 (less than two years after Walt died); the "First Day" ceremonies were held in Marceline, Missouri, which Walt always identified as his boyhood home town (even though he lived in several places when he was a child). Over 150 million of these stamps were eventually sold!

Here's a closeup. Boy, the printing quality leaves a lot to be desired.

Fortunately, I found a nice image of the original painting by Disney artist Paul Wentzel. It's a great, lively portrait of Walt! Another artist (Bob Moore) painted the little children of the world emerging from the castle.

I'm glad my grandma saved her stamps!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

Some of you may recall my post from long ago, revealing the happy fate of the Carnation milk truck. Well, here's a followup photo, kindly sent to me by Elbridge Stuart (the son of the man who was responsible for Carnation's presence in Disneyland). As you can see, Disney legend Bob Gurr managed to make his way up to the Seattle area (in the summer of 2010) to revisit his baby! Pretty neat.

Here's a colorful photo from August 1971, featuring a balloon seller as he tries to keep his balloons organized. In the 70's it is not generally known that Disneyland hired men from the U.S. Air Force combat forces to sell balloons - you can tell by his scarlet beret. Either that or he was a big fan of Fred "Rerun" Berry (Google it!). I have one of those balloons - with the Mickey portrait and the word "Disneyland" on a scroll - in a box somewhere; I carefully untied it and it's still somewhat pliable.

Speaking of reruns, this is a photo that I posted once before, but I rescanned it and it came out a lot better. You get two Surreys for the price of one!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Fantasy On Parade, 1966

I know there are those of you out there in blogland who enjoy pictures of the parades. So today is your lucky day!

These photos are from 1966, and feature "Fantasy on Parade". For some reason I think I remember seeing commercials for Disneyland advertising FoP (from years later); I can almost hear the announcer's cheerful voice!

First up is this circus wagon (complete with calliope) , pulled by a baby elephant. Awwww, baby elephant! I want to have one for my very own. I'd feed it pickles and potato chips (and the occasional hamburger). I think that's one of Cinderella's mice (Jacques?) driving the wagon. Notice that the parade passed by the Haunted Mansion, which wouldn't open for another three years. The bricks of the wall already look like they've been there for decades, with the white mineral coating that's been leached out of them. Word of the day: efflorescence.

Those lovely horses probably pull the streetcars down Main Street on most days. Today they are pulling a buckboard with a farmer and his daughter, and three creepy scarecrows (one that has been crucified). I wonder if the "farmer" could be Owen Pope (who ran the park's "Pony Farm")?

This oddly-proportioned sultan can be seen in this photo (right near Pinocchio).

And finally, Prince Charming (?) helps guide Snow White and her mine cars full of jewels. Notice, to the left, the sign that was in front of the Haunted Mansion for years, encouraging ghosts to come and stay!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - View From An Airplane

I've been on my fair share of airplanes, but I still love to peer out the window, particularly when the aircraft is at relatively lower altitudes. I'm just fascinated by the geometric patterns of farmlands, the miles of highways (with teeny tiny cars visible), and cities/towns down below. The cool kids just want to read their John Grisham novels and "People" magazines. How I pity and despise them!

This all has a point, believe it or not. I found today's photos in a group of slides; both were taken from the window of a passenger jet in July of 1964, and I got a kick out of them. The jet took off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City, and our photographer snapped a picture looking southwest. You can see the huge green rectangle that is Central Park (you can even see the reservoir in the middle); to the left is the Empire State Building. In the middle of the East River is narrow Roosevelt Island, and closer to us is the Triborough Bridge (now the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge). Not to mention a thousand other details!

As the jet flew a bit further, we see something BIG going on down below. Why, it's the 1964 New York World's Fair! How cool is that?

Here's a closer view of the fair, with a few labels on some notable landmarks to help you get your bearings. Get out your parachutes and go to the fair.

The moral of the story is: Be sure to look out your airplane window, you might see the 1964 World's Fair.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Beautiful Tomorrowland, January 1960

Whoo-hoo, I am loving today's pair of photos from Tomorrowland! 1960 was a pretty good year to visit Disneyland, with all of the new additions from the previous summer. You know the ones I mean, I won't insult you by listing them here.

Check out this unusual view of the Autopia (pre-guide rail). Was this taken from the Monorail? I'm a bit discombobulated; is the rock work part of the Submarine Voyage? The kid in the purple car (purple, yeah!) is stylin' with his souvenir trilby hat.

Here's another gorgeous shot, with the Monorail framed by the Matterhorn and the beamway, and the Skyway overhead. The Alpine stream and landscaping add much to the beauty of the view.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

More Frontierland, June 1962

Here are three photos from the summer of '62, featuring Frontierland.

There's Big Chief Wavy and his posse of warriors; they are all but swallowed up by the luxurious greenery. I know I point this out often, but again - hard to believe that this is in the middle of Anaheim.

We can see the Mark Twain's pilot up in the wheelhouse. That's the place to be! Someday I'm going to have to ask if I can go up there. I'll talk to the pilot about my thimble collection until he leaps overboard, leaving ME in control. It can't fail.

You knew there had to be a picture of the F.I.V. (Friendly Indian Village), didn't you? And you were right, hooray. Any idea what that rectangular thing in the water is, by those two rocks? A replica of something Indians used to catch fish (or crawdaddies)?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Omnibus, January 1975

I think that the Omnibus might be my favorite Main Street vehicle, mostly because of the 2nd-level views it provides. Who sits on the lower level (besides grandmas and babies)?? Here's a totally omni bus, getting a new load of winter-coated passengers. Notice the scaffolding in front of the train station, and the tarp covered thingamajigs - probably spotlights for the Christmas festivities.

Since I represent the poster-obsessed Disneyland fan, I wanted a closer look at the unique signs that used to grace the sides of the Omnibuses. I always assumed that these were silkscreened onto metal, but one collector has a set of these signs, and they are hand painted. Many years ago a set was sold at a Hake's American auction - I'm not sure if they are the same ones as my collector friend owns. In any case, they are extremely rare, and I love 'em.

Town Square looks a LOT more Christmasy in this part of Town Square. Wreaths and garlands, the tree, and even though we can't see them, I'll bet there are some wonderful animated displays in the Emporium windows.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sleeping Beauty Castle & Twain, 1957

Today we're going to look at 2 of the most-photographed Disneyland icons. You've seen them SO many times, I know. And there are many that I don't even bother scanning!

Yes, Sleeping Beauty Castle. What can I say about it that hasn't been said before? And yet I still like the photo, with the Surrey and the trees and the flowers and the "Be a Fireman" sign (I thought that sign was only seen in Town Square, but obviously I was wrong).

Daredevil Vesey Walker stands perilously close to the edge of the bow of the Mark Twain, while conducting the Disneyland Band. What if the pilot of the Twain slams on his brakes?? Vesey will be all wet. ;-)

Two cast members wait at the dock; I wonder if their hats had badges just for steamboat workers?

Monday, July 18, 2011

More Knott's, March 1977

Today's first Knott's Berry Farm photo is this rather unlovely picture taken in the new "Roaring 20's" area; but if we zoom in a bit, we see a few interesting features...

At the extreme right, near the "Roaring 20's" sign, you can see just a sliver of the Calico Mine Train building. Panning left, there's the Buffalo Nickel Penny Arcade (gotta have an arcade in the 70's!). The fountain was a prop from the movie "Hello Dolly". And finally to the left you can see the building that housed the much-beloved "Knott's Beary Tales" ride.

Now we're in Boot Hill, looking at the tombstone of Joseph Nagnabber. He nabbed nags! I love that he died of "suspended animation".

And finally, from sometime in the 70's, here are those crazy seals again. Notice the sign in the background for the "educated animals".

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Souvenir Dungeon" - Map Time!

Let us walk down the long spiral stone staircase into... the gloomy depths of the souvenir dungeon!

I've always loved Disneyland maps of any kind. How many kids pored over their INA brochures, souvenir guidebooks, or (best of all) the huge poster maps, reliving their most recent trips to the park? The maps I am sharing today are a bit less conventional, but still cool.

Let's start with this wonderful tin "TV tray". It is undated, but must be from 1955, judging by the charmingly inaccurate artwork (it resembles the map in the Mattel "Your Trip to Disneyland" record set, which you can see at the Vintage Disneyland Tickets blog). The tray is 17 inches by 12.5 inches, and is not super rare - although they can be hard to find in good condition.

Zooming in on Main Street, you can see that the Bandstand is smack-dab in the middle of Town Square. Mickey's flower portrait shows him in profile, and there is another street east of Main Street that looks like a rudimentary version of "International Street" - never built. Notice the big circus tent! Adventureland looks pretty accurate, all things considered.

Frontierland shows the Rivers of America with buildings that look like the kind you might see on an 1880's trip along the Mississippi. The stagecoach doesn't go through a painted desert; instead it heads through a mountain pass, into an area with box canyons and mesas. In Fantasyland, the teacup ride is shown with giant figures of the Mad Hatter and the March Hare (?). Dumbo looks like it is still in its "pink elephant" phase.

And finally, the Tomorrowland corner of the park is dominated by a large expanse of grass! In fact, it actually looks like that big area was still a part of either Main Street or Fantasyland, with some sort of buggy or chariot ride through the countryside. There's the Autopia and the Phantom Boats. The basic layout of Tomorrowland looks pretty close to the finished version, with the Clock of the World, the Rocket to the Moon, and the symmetrical show buildings on either side of the main walkway.

Our second map comes courtesy of the Hallmark Company (they had a store on Main Street, remember). This is a paper place mat, intended for a child's birthday party. The area outside the train tracks is die-cut - the fact that it wasn't removed and thrown away is a miracle. I love the little drawings of kids at play! Several of Disneyland's landmarks (the Train Station, the two Jungle Cruise launches, the Mark Twain, the Castle, the Rocket to the Moon, the Matterhorn, and the Submarine) have also been die-cut so they can be folded into a simple 3-dimensional map.

I hope you've enjoyed today's visit to the dungeon!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, 1961

Almost everybody has heard of Grauman's Chinese Theater (opened 1927) on Hollywood Boulevard. But Grauman's Egyptian Theatre (just a few blocks east of where the Chinese Theater is) was built first; and for a few years it was the most glamorous place to see a movie. Built in 1922, it was even the site of the first Hollywood premiere - Robin Hood starring Douglas Fairbanks.

Like many of the old movie palaces, the Egyptian had started to fall on hard times - although it still looks pretty good here. For some reason the theater is showing Ben Hur (winner of 12 Academy awards) in July of 1961 even though it was originally released in November 1959. And they're making a pretty big deal of it too! What gives?

Just to the right of the Egyptian is the site of the Pig 'N Whistle restaurant - once a popular chain of eateries. But that yellow triangular sign in the window says "for lease". Ooops! Fortunately, the Pig 'N Whistle was purchased and restored by new owners, and you can still eat there today.

I always like to see what the place looks like today, and here's a screen grab from Google Maps. Pretty different, huh? By the 1990's, the theater had fallen into disrepair; the city of Los Angeles sold it to the American Cinematheque for one dollar on the condition that they would restore it. Nearly 13 million dollars later, the theater reopened, and it is often the host of various movie festivals. I'm glad this part of Hollywood history is still around!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Century 21 Expo, September 1962

Here are four more photos from Seattle's "Century 21 Expo"!

This building was the Safeco Information Center - the official information center for the fair. You could sign the official fair guest book, ask about any tourist destinations of interest in the Pacific Northwest, and help visitors with questions about the Expo itself. All in the name of increasing tourism!

The laminated wood shapes above the Christian Pavilion recall the stone arches in gothic cathedrals. Gee, suddenly I'm remembering all the bad things I've done. Oh well! The gentleman in the foreground looks like somebody who would have been in TV commercials. Maybe for Burgie beer!

Welcome to the Gayway, where everyone is happy all the time. The upside-down umbrella roofs of the souvenir booths are interesting. Did they have a drain in the middle? I think the booth closest to us sold lamp-worked glass doo-dads ("Handmade with Corning Pyrex Glass"). I used to love watching the artisans working with a blue flame and molten glass when I was a kid.

The view from the top of the iconic Space Needle was pretty spectacular. There's part of Puget Sound in the distance; parking aplenty; and the amusement zone below us. Let's take a closer look.

There's the "Wild Mouse" roller coaster, and the "Octopus"-type ride was known as "The Meteor". To it's right is the "Flying Coaster". In the lower right, the façade for the "Flight to Mars" attraction; The building with the Union 76 ball is one of the stations for the Skyride.

Once again, I'd like to recommend Bill Cotter's book, "Seattle's 1962 World's Fair" for folks who want to learn more. It's a great reference with tons of neat info!