Sunday, September 30, 2012

Two From October 1967

This first photo almost looks like an "Oops, I didn't mean to push the button" picture. Or else the guy was really amazed by that quality thatched roof - something you don't see every day. Unless you live in Tahiti. Anyway, it's the Adventureland Bazaar, where you can buy a woven handbag in which to carry your chihuahua.

I don't know about you, but I go to Disneyland for the drinking fountains. The fact that there are rides there is just icing on the cake.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Aeroplanes of Yesteryear

Planes, trains, and automobiles! No, not the movie... those are three subjects that I know little about, and yet I have a sort of layman's appreciation for them as things; masterpieces of industrial design, in the best cases. I'm always happy to find vintage slides of airports - because of the planes, but also because of everything else that one associates with travel. Adventure, reunions with distant loved ones, exotic locales, stuff like that.

In this first picture, we see two beautiful Lockheed Constellations with their distinctive triple tails. Dwight D. Eisenhower's presidential aircraft was a Constellation, you know. The fuselage is described as "porpoise-shaped", and coincidentally, the planes made high-pitched porpoise noises and ran on fish. They were popular for many years, but became obsolete once jets made the scene, daddy-o.

Hey, another Constellation! This one is a "Super Constellation", a "stretched" variety that could hold an additional 23 passengers. Remember Eastern Airlines? They went kaput in 1991.

This colorful photo was from a teeny tiny slide that was only about 1/2" wide, presumably taken with a Minox camera. Who knows what kind of plane this is? I sure don't! But the "Flagship Lake Ontario" sure is a beautiful machine.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Random Stuff

Today's "odds 'n ends" assortment begins with this wonderful photo taken from Tomorrowland's Monorail station, circa August1961. I don't know if I've ever seen a view quite like this one before; right in the center is a helpful attendant, and the beautiful red Monorail is approaching the loading platform. It's hard to tell, but it sure looks like the attendant's outfit is very much like this version from 1969.

From September 1964 we have this photo of the Red Wagon Restaurant. The name was formerly the "Red Wagon Inn", I wonder why it was changed? Did guests not understand that they could eat there?

And finally, from July 1958 comes this unusual shot from the Jungle Cruise, with the head and neck of a giraffe towering above the tangle of foliage. I wonder how much of the animatronic giraffe was fully sculpted? Was it just a stick for the first 8 feet?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Souvenir Letters, 1955 - Part One

It's souvenir time, my homies! We love vintage souvenirs.

Disneyland opened with a splash in 1955, and it is safe to say that a ton of postcards and letters were sent to the folks back home, all about their amazing experiences. But what if you had no talent for descriptive prose, or were just plain lazy? Never fear, various shops around the park sold a series of six pre-written, illustrated letters that you could sign, address, stamp, and drop in the nearest post box. They are marked "Bob Dickey, Humorized Products © 1955, Walt Disney Productions". I'll share three of the letters today, and the remaining three in the future.

This envelope was sold with the first letter...

You could buy a letter from each individual land, or you could just cut to the chase and send this example that covers everything. I love the enthusiastic tone, and the fact that it is thinly-disguised ad for the park (which, I suppose, all souvenirs are).

Here's the Main Street, U.S.A. envelope.

Say, this letter was written by some kind of wisenheimer! Can someone please explain the remark about "whiffle tree trouble" to me? 

The envelope for the Adventureland letter; there's a monkey that resembles the scruffy primates who used to be seen in the Jungle Cruise.

And the Adventureland letter itself. Notice how it mentions the orange grove that was on the property before DIsneyland was there! I wonder if there really was a man named "Joe Taylor" who wove custom palm-leaf hats for guests?

I hope you have enjoyed this first installment of souvenir letters!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Instamatic Rejects - Unrejected!

I've been scanning quite a lot of vintage Kodak Instamatic negatives (from a batch given to me by a friend), and, being negatives, sometimes it is hard to know what the final result will look like beforehand. It seems like one out of five turn out to be burry or flawed in some manner. I was not going to bother sharing any of these problem scans, but this morning I thought that it might be better to just share them all at one go and let you see them in spite of their flaws.

This first shot shows one of the Surreys, pulled by cute little piebald horsies; it would have been nice, but a light leak (or a poltergeist) left some unfortunate pale streaks on the final image.

This is a nicely-composed shot (though blurry) from the old Indian Village, especially with the yellow passenger cars from the train in the background. 

The C.K. Holliday is almost lost in the darkness here. And it's a little blurry...

Maybe the soft focus gives this a bit of a dreamlike feel?

Twinkle, twinkle, blurry star...

It's nice to see the Columbia with sails, even if it is not entirely in focus!


And one last blurry image for you, from Nature's Wonderland.

I'm sure there will be more rejects as I continue scanning... maybe I will unreject them as well!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

1964 New York World's Fair

Welcome back to the 1964 New York World's Fair!

Meet the Corythosaurus, who could be found over at Sinclair Oil's "Dinoland". He was around 30 feet long, and his name means "helmet lizard", which coincidentally is the name of my hardcore punk band.    Cory's turn ons: swamps, aquatic plants, long walks on the beach. Turn offs: deadly asteroids and phonies.

Did you know that there was a pavilion celebrating "Hollywood U.S.A" (not to be confused with Hollywood, Uruguay)? It's true! And it looked just like the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater in the real Hollywood (see a photo of it here). They even had hand and/or footprints of contemporary celebrities out front. Here is Hugh O'Brian's slab (complete with embedded gun!)... he was best known to the public as the star of The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, which ran on TV for seven years.

Outside the Hong Kong pavilion was this adorable li'l boat. I don't think it's a junk, and I don't think it's a sampan, and at that point my knowledge of Chinese boats is exhausted. 

Spain (or España) had a "striking modern pavilion" (in other words a big box). From the souvenir guide book: The country today and its role in the discovery, colonization, and independance of the Americas are portrayed in three attached buildings which enclose a rich collection of exhibition halls, restaurants, and dinner patios. Patios? Why didn't you say so?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tomorrowland Entrance, December 30 1969

I'm so used to seeing pictures of the pre-1967 Tomorrowland with the clock of the World and the Rocket to the Moon, that it is almost a surprise to see this view of the "New Tomorrowland". The metallic façades had an entirely different look compared to the somewhat plain industrial sheds that were there previously. And of course you've got the Peoplemover and the Rocket Jets!

Say, I wonder what the view would be like from one of those Peoplemover cars, looking back this way?

It would look something like this! From this raised viewpoint you can see the playful swirling pattern of yellow flowers, and those futuristic palm trees. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Souvenir Sunday - Knott's Steak House Menu

It's vintage souvenir time! GDB reader Steve Stuart has generously shared today's scans of a 1957 menu from Knott's Berry Farm's Steak House. 

A beautiful Indian maiden (in a full chief's headdress!) - painted by Paul Van Klieben - graces the cover; you can't go wrong with a pretty girl. The menus were clearly intended to be kept by restaurant patrons - or better yet, sent to a frozen family member in a wintery part of the country. Make them jealous and advertise Knott's at the same time.

A brief history of the berry farm is provided, along with gracious welcome notes from Cordelia and Walter Knott. I love how Cordelia was always given her share of the credit for the success of Knott's Berry Farm! She mentions their 900 employees, a fairly staggering number to me, considering how relatively small the Ghost Town was. Of course they also had multiple restaurants, plus all of the attractions, the kitchens that produced preserves and other goodies (a substantial enterprise), and the actual boysenberry farm.

I just love the look of this menu, with the graphic treatment on the right, inspired by Indian textiles (or pottery), and the watercolor illustrations on the left. Dwight "Andy" Anderson was married to Marion Knott, and he managed the steak house. Steve Stuart points out that the $4 Miner's Special Steak sounds like a bargain, but when you adjust that for inflation, it would be over $30! I am hankerin' for some of that Pioneer Beef Stew, along with hot rolls and boysenberry jam. Mmmmm-MMM!

THANKS once again to Steve Stuart for today's awesome scans!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Around the USA, then and now

I'm always fascinated by "then and now" photos - pictures that show a subject the way it was years ago, and then how it looks today. 

Let's start with this great picture from South Orange, New Jersey. Undated, but perhaps from the late 1950's? We are standing in the middle of West South Orange Avenue, near the intersection of Valley Street/Scotland Road. You know where that is! This area has a wonderful ambiance, with lots of mom-and-pop stores, and of course the groovy vintage cars. In the distance you can see the overpass for the commuter rail. South Orange looks like a swell place to live!

Here's how it looks nowadays, thanks to Google's "street view" feature. Still nice, though a lot of that old-fashioned charm has been chipped away in favor of some generic buildings.

Now we're in Jackson, Wyoming, looking south on North Cache Street (from sometime in the 60's). Located in the Jackson Hole valley, it is a popular destination for folks visiting Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. And Jellystone. Motels, gas stations, souvenirs, ice cream - what more could you want? 

Aaaaand here's how the area looks today. It's so hard to get an exact match on Google, due to the type of lens that they use, the position of Google's vehicle when the picture was taken, and of course the fact that so many landmarks from long ago are not there anymore.

I hope you have enjoyed today's "then and now" installment!

Friday, September 21, 2012

"Alice" Caterpillar, September 1959

If I could only have one genuine, authentic, vintage Disneyland ride vehicle cluttering up my rumpus room, I think I would have to go with one of the wonderful caterpillar vehicles from the Alice in Wonderland dark ride. But what color? They come in an assortment of brilliant hues, including pinks, aquas, oranges and yellows.  At the moment I like the one pictured below!

Disneyland's "Alice" ride was just over one year old in these photos, and I consider it to be an excellent addition to Fantasyland's classic dark rides. In fact, the wacky episodic quality of the movie translates pretty well to a 2-minute surreal experience.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Main Street at Dusk - October 28 1996

It's time for some more photos from the crazy 90's! 

It's 6:15 PM, and in October that means that the sun is down and all of the lights on Main Street are blazing. Isn't this a beautiful shot? Mr. X (my friend, who took this image) had heard that changes were coming to the Carnation ice cream parlor, so he took a LOT of pictures of it, both inside and out, daytime and night. This particular view is one of my favorites!

Just a few minutes earlier Mr. X had taken another photo from across the street and further towards the hub, looking back at the Carnation building. Notice the crows up in the sky - a familiar sight to Disneyland visitors as the sun sets.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mira Costa High School Yearbook, 1963!

Today I am sharing some scans sent to me by GDB pal Steve Stuart (aka Nanook)! Steve has a copy of Mira Costa High School's 1964 "Hoofprints" yearbook, in which several color photos were taken at The Happiest Place on Earth. That's right, math class! I mean, Disneyland! I wonder if these pictures were taken on a day the park would have been closed (years ago it would be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during the off season). Or, as Steve suggested, maybe they were there for homecoming. Also, why did Mira Costa High get to feature kids at the park when there are many schools closer to Anaheim?

Check out this awesome image of a quintet of gals from the Color Guard as they stand atop the Nautilus over at the Submarine Lagoon. Oodles of Disney cast members get climb on the subs all the time, but mere mortals practically never get the chance. 

Ready? O.K! Five cheerleaders bask in the glow of the footlights at the Golden Horseshoe Revue. There are some audience members, which might mean this photo was taken on a regular operating day. "Ventures into of Imagination"?? Looks like something I would write. But in fact the complete sentence was "Pep Club Ventures Into a World of Imagination".

MiCoHi "yell leaders" (I prefer the term "shout technicians") strike an awkward (but adorable) pose in Frontierland. Those kids sure are clean-cut (and blonde!); how many would turn into hippies in just a few years? TOO MANY, that's how many!

Thanks to Steve Stuart for sharing these fun images with us today!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Skull Rock, October 1967

With a name like "Skull Rock", you'd think that this feature would be spookier than it appears in these photos. The splashing waterfalls and the tropical plants softened the stern gaze of those empty eye sockets. (At night, it was still pretty spooky though)!

This picture was taken from an unusual angle as our photographer was standing in the cool, shaded grotto behind the falls. It has a certain dreamy beauty...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Li'l Yellow Mine Train, August 1960

For you fans of the Mine Train, this first picture should make you smile. There she is, chugging yellowly around Cascade Peak, which was still brand-new in August 1960. This fantastic view could be seen along the riverfront for years - it was one of those little extra pieces of goodness that brought movement and life to that particular bend. I wonder what the view would be like if the brave Mine Train engineer looked to his right and up?

Pretty much like this!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Two From October 1967

When the concept of Disneyland's Matterhorn was cooked up, I wonder if the Skyway was always supposed to pass through? Perhaps at some point it was just going to pass by. Why aren't you telling me? What's with all the secrecy? 

A slight zoom into the nasal cavity (along with some shadow adjustments) gives us bit of a look inside; you can just see part of the lift hill angling up to our left.

This view was not inside the Matterhorn at all.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Motel Madness

I get a kick out of vintage photos of hotels and motels from around the USA. They evoke tons of nostalgia for the way that ordinary folks took time away from their daily lives to enjoy a bit of adventure, some sunshine, and the chance to explore this vast country.

This first photo is undated and unmarked, but I suspect that it is "somewhere in Florida", possibly Miami. Just a guess of course; visitors to this hotel enjoyed a view of the beautiful ocean, while the grassy courtyard provided shady areas to eat and visit with pals. Love the colorful umbrellas!

Did you know that Poplar Bluff, Missouri is known as "The Gateway to the Ozarks"? Knowing my readers, you probably did. I love the look of this place - the beautiful vintage car doesn't hurt, of course; I would stay there if I could! Hernando de Soto's exploration party passed near what would become Poplar Bluff way back in 1539.

Here's a vintage postcard of the Northwold Autel ("Autel"... that's a good one!), looking just a little different. Love the sign. I found one reference that referred to the Northwold as "demolished", which is a bummer.

And finally, here is another undated/unmarked image featuring a teensy motel room; assuming that the boy and girl were with their mom and dad, image fitting four people (and beds and luggage) in that nursery-sized structure. Presumably the bathroom was located elsewhere. Hey, that's all part of the adventure! The license plate on the car tells us that this is from 1955, and the car is from Michigan; who knows where this lilliputian hotel was! Somebody who reads this blog, I'll bet.

I hope you have enjoyed today's "Motel Madness"!