Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Queen Mary Interiors, September 1973

Welcome back to the Queen Mary!

We've seen a lot of the exterior of the 1934 ocean liner, so today we're going to take a peek at the inside. Most of the luxurious cabins were gutted and transformed into offices, hotel rooms, and public areas, but a few of the rooms were preserved for visitors to experience. Those twin beds look tiny, I'm sure my feet would stick out at the end by about a foot! I love the details, like the built-in book shelves, the burl-wood (maple? walnut?) headboards & footboards, and even the old-fashioned telephone. The inlaid wood mural on the wall is pretty impressive too.

This had to be one of the officer's quarters; notice the hat! Looks cozy. The doorways into these rooms were covered with plexiglass to keep people from throwing pennies, gum, and other junk inside. You know how people are!

Some wealthy travellers not only got a little bedroom, they even had a sitting room, with a writing desk, a sofa for company, and even a fireplace! I assume that the horrible fluorescent lighting was added late in the ship's existence, or maybe even just for the tour.

Wood paneling everywhere! And not that crummy knotty-pine stuff either. Another comfortable sitting room, complete with champagne glasses and brandy snifters filled with delicious epoxy resin. Mmmm! I presume that all of the furniture from the many demolished rooms wound up being auctioned off, probably for a song too. I need some of those club chairs.

Stay tuned for more from the Queen Mary....

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More Frontierland

Here are a few "leftuggies", leftover slides that need a home and someone to love.

Say, that cabin across the way is on fire! And fire is cool, right Bevis? This photo was taken from the Disneyland Railroad (circa 1967); we usually see the burning settler's cabin from the viewpoint of one of the river craft.

For years, Tom Sawyer Island had several landings for the rafts; I think at times there were as many as three different places you could catch a Huck Finn raft over and back. I'm not sure exactly where this landing was, but assume that it was somewhere on the western shore. They should do away with the rafts altogether and use giant slingshots. Genius!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Storybook Land, September 1963

Good ol' Storybook Land! What it lacks in thrills it more than makes up for in charm and craftsmanship. And of course there are two ways to enjoy it. You can ride in a canal boat, as seen below, as one boat is about to pass the "patchwork quilt" landscaping, with Toad Hall right next to it on the other side.

OR... you can ride on the Casey Junior Circus Train, caged like a wild animal! I always like passing over that stone bridge.

And, before there was a Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World, there was this mini version, towering above all of the pygmy-sized scenery!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Random Frontierland, 1958, 1956

Oh, it's "Cheat Day" here on GDB... this first image is a crummy repeat! That's right, those of you who have been paying attention might remember it from years ago. Which means that, for most of you, it'll be like new.

I love this late-afternoon shot of the park as seen from Tom's Treehouse on Tom Sawyer Island - the highest point in Disneyland in 1958 (pre-Matterhorn). Everything is bathed in golden light, the way Disneyland should always be! The Mark Twain is chuffing away at the dock, and other familiar landmarks are visible; Rainbow Ridge, Sleeping Beauty Castle, the Rocket to the Moon, the Golden Horseshoe, and maybe a few more if you have sharp eyes.

Staying in Frontierland (this time in 1956), we gaze across the river to the dock where one of the rafts has docked on Tom Sawyer Island. Just to the right of that, a bunch of guests are fishing for trout (and bluegill, I think)... maybe this was the first time those suburban kids ever got to experience the thrill of catching a (captive) fish.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Anything Goes Saturday" - Randomness

Today's "Anything Goes" post is a bit of a departure; instead of featuring a single subject, I just grabbed two slide scans that I like, both unrelated to each other.

For you train lovers out there, here's a humongous diesel locomotive on a street somewhere in Oakland, California (1957). Another photo from the same lot showed a partial view of what appears to be the entrance to a train station, but my research (minimal and unsatisfactory as usual) yielded no useful info. It might be the old station at the end of 16th Street. Anyway, I love the old automobiles and the massive train heading right up the middle of the road.

Here's another slide that I like, in spite of the fact that it is unlabeled, so the location of this hotel is a mystery. I can tell you that it is from 1960, however. The manganese-blue pool of a TraveLodge (home of the Sleepy Bear) provides some fun and sun for on-the-road families. I can almost smell the chlorine! "Marco!" - "Polo!"... world's most annoying game. The lumber yard seen across the street might make this "somewhere in the Pacific Northwest". Or not! All we can be sure of is that these kids will be back in the family car the next morning and on their way to points unknown.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Two Beauties! 1958 & 1960

I sure love this first photo, in glorious Kodachrome! Suspended above Tomorrowland in a colorful Skyway bucket, away from the hubbub, I can imagine the soft breeze, the sounds from below, the gentle sway of the vehicle... I miss that Skyway, dammit. Notice the golden Autopia car, my favorite!

Here's a repeat, but it's a good one. Fantasyland circa 1960, with King Arthur's Carrousel right smack dab in the middle of the picture. Notice the dad carrying a 1960 souvenir guide book (he's the only person in short sleeves - it must be wintertime).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Knott's, June 1962

I've said it before, and I'll say it agin'.... I love that there was a house of ill repute in Knott's Berry Farm. Talk about the "hard facts" that created America! Walter Knott was my kind of dude. Goldie's "Hotel" was place where a lonely prospector could drink, gamble, get a good meal, listen to a pi-anny, and maybe enjoy a little feminine companionship.

Here's the statue of "Seldom Seen Slim". Yep, that's what he was called. He may have been seldom seen, but I'll be he often smelled. Fortunately the "Hai Karate" cologne that his donkey wore kept things from getting too unpleasant.

Yeah, you better get a haircut, you darn hippie! And get some new glasses too, you look all blurry and stuff. The barber shop was (is?) the site of one of the famous "peek in" scenes, in which a barber realizes that his customer is the same man seen on the "wanted" poster.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Souvenir Pins, 1939/40 World's Fair

Today you get to put up with my "collecting bug"! I shared some photos of my souvenir pins from the 1939/40 New York World's Fair once before, and here are some more.

I love the turquoise enamel on the rectangular pin for Turkey. Pegasus soars above the Perisphere for Mobilegas. And why not have a souvenir pin that also does something practical, like tell you what the temperature is?

The metal and enamel pins for the USSR pavilion are especially striking, featuring the statue of "Big Joe" (nicknamed by workers at the Fair). The white-metal version is considerably harder to find. The pin on the right is an odd one, I've never seen another one like it. The Perisphere resembles a geodesic dome!

The pin on the left is an oddity; I suspect it's plastic, although it looks like it has been carved from mother of pearl. There are a number of variations on the "lady's hand" pin, including one that points to the right. And the little needlepoint pin appears to be made for a gentleman's lapel.

Here are 4 small metal pins for (upper left) the American Gas Association; (upper right) George Washington, because the Fair was originally a tribute to the 150th anniversary of the first President's birthday, although the "World of Tomorrow" theme is what is generally remembered today; (lower left) the Maritime Building - I assume that there are similar pins for other pavilions, but this is the only one I've seen of this kind; (lower right) Another unusual pin; I actually sort of like the wear and patina.

War was brewing in Europe, and Poland had been invaded by German on September 1, 1939. This pin (part flat celluloid, part pinback) seems to have been issued in support of Poland. The hanging pin is weird because it is enameled with pink and baby blue rather than the standard (official) Fair colors of orange and blue. The pin at the upper right has a wonderful art deco design. in the lower right, a funny little dangly thingamabob.

I hope you've enjoyed these... I've got more!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Queen Mary, September 1973

Here are four more from The Queen Mary in Long Beach.

There she is, looming in the distance; the QM has become a real landmark in Southern California, but there is part of me that thinks it's a shame that she isn't out sailing the Atlantic anymore. Time marches on...

There's the pointy end of the ship! Something tells me that passengers weren't allowed out there by the tippy tip back in the ship's sailing days. Too dangerous, with ropes and chains and other equipment. Plus there was always the possibility of a narwhal attack; I'm still so worried about narwhals that I never leave my home.

The QM can't hit an ice berg anymore, but you never know, an ice berg might strike it! Never underestimate and angry ice berg. Luckily there are plenty of life boats hanging from the row of davits, ready to ferry folks 50 feet to shore.

I like this photo's composition, with the three giant funnels shrinking toward the horizon. Perspective! The many cables are there so that teams of trained monkeys can clean the entire ship each night.

You know I have more Queen Mary photos!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Photo Fun, 1956

Way back in nineteen fitty-six, right near the Red Wagon Inn, there were several plywood cutout displays that provided a fun "photo op" for guests.

Here's one featuring Dopey, probably the most popular Dwarf among kids (with Grumpy not far behind, according to my entirely made-up research). This kid is really getting into the part. He was "method" just like Brando.

This Davy Crockett display is pretty awesome; the kid appears to be looking right at the b'ar. Notice the little step stool in the lower right so that shorter humans could get their faces up to the hole.
If I could only choose one display for my "fun photo", it would be this 20,000 Leagues painting! Who wouldn't want to pretend to be exploring the ocean depths (and finding chests full of gold doubloons!) with Captain Nemo?

And finally, Mickey's pal Pluto gives a cowpoke a friendly slurp. The cowboy reminds me of Stinky Pete from "Toy Story 2".

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Snow White's Li'l Fellas - September 1963

Nobody bats an eye when a cartoon Dwarf walks around Disneyland. Except for that little girl, anyway, she's delighted! Sleepy (that is Sleepy, isn't it? Not Surly or Remorseful?) seems to be looking right at her, which puts to rest the rumor that he demanded no eye contact (and a bowl full of green M&Ms in his dressing room).

Meanwhile, see that little sign near that woman's head, with the number "15"? Any idea what that signifies?

That is one happy Dwarf. A little too happy if you ask me. He's heading straight towards us, and he hungers for human brains.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

"Anything Goes" Saturday - Around California

Today we're going to visit a few Southern California landmarks - in the 1950's! I love SoCal's history, which seems so colorful and glamorous when looking back through rose-colored lenses. My grandmother moved to Los Angeles in 1921, and I used to listen to her stories of all the places she and my grandpa liked to go for fun.

Here's a photo of the world-famous Grauman's Chinese Theater, on Hollywood Boulevard. It opened in 1927, and became the site of many film premiers. The footprints and handprints in the forecourt still draw thousands of tourists a year. One interesting thing about this photograph is that the film being shown, "Windjammer" (a documentary that followed the voyage of a 17,500 nautical-mile sailing trip by the Norwegian vessel Christian Radich), is the only film to be produced in "Cinemiracle". Cinemiracle was a wide-screen (2.59:1) format that used three cameras and two mirrors which (according to Wikipedia) "... gave the left and right cameras the same optical center as the middle camera; this made the joins between the projected images much less obvious than with Cinerama". The patents for Cinemiracle were eventually bought by Cinerama, and that was the end of that.

This is a picture taken out in front of the Hollywood Park racetrack, from around 1950. Look at how nice everybody dressed to bet on the ponies! The track opened in 1938, and had many its board of directors was a Hollywood "who's who"; Jack Warner, Raoul Walsh, Mervyn LeRoy, Al Jolson, Wallace Beery, Bing Crosby, Joan Blondell, Sam Goldwyn, and some guy named Walt Disney.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Tomorrowland, June 1968

Oh yeah, it's the New Tomorrowland in all its glory!

There's the Carousel Theater, still showing the "Carousel of Progress". It seems strange to me that the COP was only at Disneyland for about 6 years before being moved to Florida. Anyway, I still think that the concept of the Carousel Theater, in which the audience revolved around a central stage, is especially brilliant. Notice all of the folks heading down from the 2nd level, where they just got a gander at the giant model of Progress City, which should be fully restored and displayed somewhere in Disneyland's Tomorrowland! That's right, I'm controversial and don't care who knows it.

Here's a shot taken from that second level, looking down upon the Autopia, while a bright yellow Skyway bucket has just been launched from its station. The Peoplemover track curves across the frame, but no vehicles are to be seen. Boooo! Love that sign - "Richfield Imperial BORON!". And let us not ignore humble Tomorrowland Station, the little station that could.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Along Main Street, June 1969

Welcome to blur-o-rama! Featuring two views from Main Street USA, circa 1969.

The Omnibus cruises slowly past "Rings and Things". Hey! I need two rings and four or five things! That's the store for me. Next to that is a cookie shop of some kind. Any idea what the full name was? It isn't on my list of Main Street shops, and therefore it never actually existed.

There are those nutty Dapper Dans on their bicycle built for four. I would be more impressed with a unicycle built for four. Note that the building in the background (former home to the Wurlitzer store) houses an exhibit entitled "Walt Disney - A Legacy For The Future". Inside you would find (among other things) a display of Walt's many awards - Oscars, Emmys, and various plaques and medals. You could also see the desk that Walt sat at in first grade at Park School in Marceline, Missouri (complete with his carved initials). And there was also a 10 minute film that gave a brief overview of the many accomplishments that Walt achieved in his lifetime. This exhibit closed on February 11 1973.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

World's Fair Sky Ride, October 1964

I love Skyways, Sky Rides, Skyfaris, Astroways, and all of the other related gondola-lift attractions that used to be so common at amusement parks in the USA. Many of them have gone away over the years, unfortunately. It makes me sad to think that my niece and nephew may never get to ride in one!

Anyway, today we can enjoy a look at the New York World's Fair's "Swiss Sky Ride". Built by the Von Roll company (the same company that built Disneyland's Skyway), the Sky Ride ferried guests between the Swiss and Korean pavilions.

The Sky Ride took about four minutes to get from one station to the next, and lifted passengers 113 feet in the air at the highest point (about twice as high as Disneyland's Skyway). A vehicle left the station about every 14 seconds.

See? You were way up there! And what a view. If you look carefully you can see the Tower of the Four Winds in the distance, with the Eastman Kodak building to the right. The bumpy building in the foreground is the pavilion for the country of Jordan.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Plaza Restaurants, October 1967

Disneyland's "plaza", smack dab in the middle of the park, is the perfect place to put a restaurant or two. Think how many times you pass through the hub on typical visit! No matter where you are, you're never that far from a place like the Plaza Inn, for instance.

This restaurant started out as the Red Wagon Inn; but Walt Disney clearly wanted something even nicer!

I could yammer away, but why don't we let Mr. Disney talk for himself (via the 1965 "Tencenniel" episode of "The Wonderful World of Color"). I think it's fascinating that he is so excited about his new restaurant that he devoted several minutes to it on his TV show. (What ever happened to that aviary he mentions?).

On the opposite side of the Plaza, near the entrance to Adventureland, you'd find the Plaza Pavilion. It appears to be closed on this particular day, and yet there is a large crowd of folks over to the right for some reason. The only explanation is that somebody was giving away free chunks of liverwurst.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Jungle Cruise, May 1963

The "elephant bathing pool" was added to Disneyland's Jungle Cruise in 1962, and has remained a popular photo subject ever since. Elephants are just cute, that's all there is to it.

This happy fella is in the best place, beneath a splashing waterfall! That's where I would want to be. On a technical note, it is impressive that this animatronic figure can continue to operate day after day in with all of that water around.

Most of those faux elephants look pretty convincing, and even the more caricatured examples (like the one on the right) still feel surprisingly realistic. Notice that "curtain" hanging behind that one elephant (slightly to the right of center); presumably real plants or rockwork eventually replaced that temporary barrier.

I am reasonably sure that the elephants at the bathing pool have been rearranged fairly often, some being removed altogether. If I had nothing better to do, it might be interesting to compare photos from various years to see what changes were evident.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Knott's Berry Farm, January 1974

Today's photos of the Berry Farm, from 1974, lack a lot of the charm that is present in most pictures from the 1950's and 60's. Why is that? Anyway, at 38 years old, these still qualify as "vintage", I'd say.

Where could you stand in Knott's that would allow you to look down on the stagecoach? I'm not sure I ever noticed those little leatherette benches before. Look at the sideburns on that one dude! Hippy, or Civil War enthusiast?

Goats! Why did it have to be goats? This billy goat knows how to be the center of attention; I'm not sure where this was exactly... it kind of looks like part of Fiesta Village. Billy is particularly fond of crunchy fingers, and he's about to get some.

You can't have an old western-style general store without a wooden Indian out front. He's holding what might be a bundle of cigars, or maybe a barrel of monkeys. The nice lady stands near a sprig of evergreen with a red ribbon (the slides are stamped "January", but of course the pictures could have been taken weeks before).