Friday, November 30, 2012

A Pair From December 30 1969

Brilliant December sunshine makes the Mary Blair tile mural practically incandescent in this nice photo from 1969. I like the multicolored doors - exits from "America the Beautiful"? Notice the overcoats, it's colder than it looks.

Meanwhile, over in Frontierland, sturdy mules return from their journey through the spectacle of Nature's Wonderland. No fast thrills or extreme g-forces were necessary... just the gentle motion of the living animal beneath you, the trust in your brave guide, and the amazing tableaus created by Walt Disney's Imagineers were more than enough for 10 minutes of memorable fun.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Painted Desert & Matterhorn

Here are two nice images from a set of stereo slides that just won't quit! Sorry, no Wigglevision today.

These geysers were located in the "Living Desert" section of Nature's Wonderland, even though I assume that they were a fanciful version of geysers at Yellowstone National Park, which is definitely not in a desert. I love how the hillside in the background is planted with 25 or 30 trees, somehow implying that there is a vast forest that continues beyond our view without consciously thinking about it. It makes the place seem much bigger than it really was, a common Imagineering illusion.

And here's a great photo of the subs and the Matterhorn, looking mighty impressive as it gleams against a deep-blue sky. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Century 21 Expo, Seattle 1962

It's time to head to Seattle (circa 1962) to visit the Century 21 Expo! 

Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries were a popular treat at the 1964 New York World's Fair, but as we can see in this first picture, they were first served at the Seattle Expo. Sounds dee-lish!

As long as we're in a snacking mood, let's go find a vending machine for a quick bite. Those buckaroos are getting as much ice cream on their faces as in their tummies.

Hey look, it's the Go-Go's! That must be Belinda in the center. I wonder who had the idea to do a water ski show in the middle of a dirt stadium? Genius! I'm also wondering how many tricks they could do on that narrow strip of artificial ocean. There's a ramp for a jump, and I suppose the could make a human pyramid, and then the side-by-side thing that they're doing in this picture. They also made a circuit of the stadium simultaneously eating turkey legs. Exciting? You bet!

It all looks pretty dangerous, to tell the truth. One slip, and WHAMMO! That's right, the company that makes Frisbees and Hula Hoops shows up. I don't understand it, I merely report it.

I'll have a few more Seattle Expo photos coming up!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Three From August 1964

Here's a random selection of photos from August 1964 - each one taken in a different "land"! 

Over in Adventureland, Jim and Pete take a break. Nice blue argyle socks, Jim! Suede shoes too, cool. Pretty dapper for a day at Disneyland. I like the sculptural details on the façade of the Bazaar.

Pete and Jim take another break, this time in the shade of a tree in Tomorrowland. This picture is interesting because they are looking in the direction of the Flying Saucers attraction, just visible in the background.

Jim and Pete take a third break by completely submerging themselves in the Rivers of America!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Matterhorn, August 1963

Yeah, yeah, it's the Matterhorn again. I asked my super computer "Beatrix" to calculate the number of photos that have been taken of this attraction over the years, using a complex set of algorithms, but even Beatrix's mighty brain couldn't handle a problem of that magnitude. Now she belches the alphabet all day long (with a charming British accent). But I digress! Our photographer timed it perfectly and got a nice photo with the waterfalls and the little bridge and a single bobsled speeding past as a family walk by obliviously. I wonder what it would look like if we glanced upward?

Oh, like that. Cool! Thanks, interwebs! 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Walt Dizzy World, December 1971

I've been scanning a group of slides from Walt Disney World dated "December 1971". There are some nice views, but today (being a sleepy Sunday) I am going to get some of the less-interesting images out of the way.

OK, I do find this photo to be interesting! Is this a view one would see when entering the park? You can see the Magic Kingdom waaaay in the distance, including a few identifiable landmarks like the tower of the Tropical Serenade, Cinderella's Castle (of course), and the tall pylons in Tomorrowland. Oh, and the Monorail track.

A marching band is performing in front of Cinderella's Castle... could this actually be the Florida equivalent of the Disneyland Band? If so, WOW... looks like there are over 100 musicians. Everything is bigger at the Florida park, I guess!

Beware the dwarfs! This unsuspecting lady is checking her movie camera, unaware that she is about to be eaten alive by a hoard of ravenous miners. Their teeth are razor sharp!

Awww, the magic of Disney World has calmed Doc's cannibalistic tendencies. That kid to the right has a style all his own, I would dress like that today if I could get away with it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Anthing Goes Saturday - Florida

Tourists have been flocking to sunny, beautiful Florida for decades; today's pictures are all from long before Disney moved in.

Here's a nice shot from Miami Beach in 1952. The slide says it was December... imagine living in some frozen state up north; instead of dealing with icy roads, burst water pipes and snow-clogged driveways, you could spend your Christmas lounging on the warm sand under a blue sky, with the relaxing sound of ocean waves. Paradise.

This Kodachrome slide was labeled "Florida Campground", and that's all I know. It is certainly from the 1950's... I love the vintage trailers and campers, and those wonderful cars of course - how about that "woody" station wagon. Just visible is a blue lagoon, perhaps one of the many freshwater springs that are found all over the Sunshine State. Let's go swimming with manatees!

Monkey Jungle is a 30-acre wildlife park (founded in 1933!) in the Miami area, featuring hundreds of primates. Folks can't get enough of chimpanzees acting like people. This fellow (let's call him "Cornelius") is obviously involved in NASA's "Project Gemini" (this being 1965). His rocket is made from the finest galvanized steel and and an upside-down trash can. Cornelius definitely has the right stuff!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Instamatic Mix

Here's an unusual view of the venerable Disneyland Hotel, circa 1970. This photo is sharper than most of the older Instamatic photos, so my friend must have gotten a new camera! You can see the Sierra Tower in the distance, with the brand-new Marina Tower to the right. 

This next image is from a negative that was extremely scratched and beat up. It took me a lot of time in Photoshop to make it somewhat presentable, but I thought that it was worth it for this neat interior view of the Matterhorn, as taken from the Skyway.

Wow, Frontierland is extremely crowded in this undated photo! It is clearly chilly (everyone seems to be wearing a jacket or sweater), but the sun is shining, and even the rafts to and from Tom Sawyer Island are packed. I can only assume that "Pirates of the Caribbean" had opened recently (it debuted in March 1967), and everyone and their grandmothers wanted to see this amazing ride that they had heard about.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mickey And Minnie, August 15 1959

Mickey and Minnie are causing quite a stir outside the Bank of America in Town Square. They are big stars after all, even though they have remained humble and lovable. Every parent wants a picture; the price of fame. I don't want to sound paranoid, but I think Mickey is whispering something to Minnie - about me

Mickey has been using a new conditioner, which leaves his head shiny and manageable (no split ends!). Someone has handed the mice a warm, juicy baby, and yet nobody seems to have a camera at the ready; what gives? Meanwhile, Minnie takes a moment to dream of the day when she and Mickey have a pup (i.e. baby mouse) of their own.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

25th Birthday Parade, April 1980

Wow, how can Disneyland's 25th Birthday be 32 years ago? It was a big deal at the time, and as is generally the case when Disneyland has something to celebrate, there was a parade.

Cinderella and her magnificent pumpkin coach (complete with liveried footmen) were featured in plenty of publicity images for the 25th. It's easy to see why, it makes for a neat picture. Was the coach built specifically for this parade?

Some of the Country Bears liven things up as they take a hayride around the hub. Who can name the bears? Not me! The one playing the banjo looks kind of grotesque in this photo; he's gonna eat ya!

Ever tried prancing on a moving parade float? It requires years of experience and a Level-3 Prancing License. Peter Pan and Alice make it look easy.

Giant chipmunks wearing cowboy hats and gunbelts? Nothing strange about that at all. Chipmunks never know when they might have to kill somebody because everyone is after them for their nuts. Walnuts, for cripe's sake, walnuts. Sheesh. Check out the float behind them, a little stage for a little Golden Horseshoe Revue, which is pretty cool.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Disneyland Entrance, 1950s

Posters! Posters! Oh yeah, and the train station and that other stuff. But the posters, boy howdy. I have two Alice in Wonderland attraction posters, but I need the version seen here, with the word "Fantasyland" at the bottom of the image. It's way rarer than the non-"Fantasyland" version that I have. And the wonderful "Rocket to the Moon" poster is practically the Holy Grail for collectors... it's rare and has an amazing, iconic design.  Something tells me I'm not ever going to have one of those, though I recently had an opportunity to get one for $6000 - actually a reasonable price, you might be surprised to hear. But... no can do. Oh well!

Now (from a different lot) here's a view taken from the station looking out toward the entry gates and the parking lot beyond. I think that the little display to our right held issues of the Disneyland News.

Zooming in, we can see The Fonz trying to talk his way in without buying a ticket. The ticket takers appear to be wearing a costume that includes military-style "garrison" hats. They had licenses to kill!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Views From the Mark Twain, March 1959

I still enjoy taking a raft over to Tom Sawyer Island and exploring the caves and trails. But back in its heyday, the features on the island were just a little bit less safe and a lot more fun. Just look at this picture of Castle Rock, with the other rock features near by. Teeter-Totter Rock (which kids could actually use as a Flintstonian seesaw), Merry-Go-Round rock (that's it to the left, kids could spin it), and other features made for climbing and exploring, not falling and suing. Least favorite detail: Castle Rock almost perfectly hides the Matterhorn, which is under construction!

Zooming in on an area of the previous picture, I can see some sort of critter (a bear? a bobcat?) climbing up an angled tree trunk. Was this part of the old Rainbow Caverns Mine Train ride (which would still be open until October of 1959)? I'm not sure I've seen a picture of this before.

Well what do you know, there's a li'l bit of the Matterhorn in the upper left, still only framed in wood and steel. This view is better than nothing I suppose! The photographer wasn't even interested in that... I think they were aiming at the the elk partially hidden in the underbrush.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, January 1960

I wonder who ever came up with the name "Chicken of the Sea"? It's pretty goofy. "Nobody wants to eat fish, but what if they think it's a chicken that lives in the ocean??" There's some kernel of genius there, I have to admit. Anyway, the company sponsored the Pirate Ship restaurant at Disneyland for many years, so they are OK with me. Hey look, pampas grass! A tall ornamental grass introduced from South America, with feathery flower head plumes. Tastes great too. (I made that last part up, please don't eat pampas grass).

The soft fuzzy focus of these two photos reminds me of how things look after spending too much time in a swimming pool.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Today's "Anything Goes Saturday" features girls! Or in the case of this first photo, maybe "young women" would be more apt. This photo is undated, though I would guess that it is from the 1940's (it was in an unusual green cardboard mount). Could this be all of the girls in a small school's graduating class? Debutantes? The Homecoming/Prom Queen and her court (five of them are wearing enormous corsages)? Whatever the case, they are all dressed in their finest gowns (I'll bet a number of those were made by thrifty and talented mothers) under a proscenium. I hoped that the yellow and white flag barely visible to our right would at least tell give me a clue about the state that this school was in, but it doesn't resemble any flag that I recognize. It's frustrating to not know more about it.

From a different bunch of slides comes this picture from a school dance (junior high?) from the 1950's. A few boys have headed to the top of the bleachers in the hopes that nobody will notice them, which dozens of girls gather like a colorful bouquet. Did they all stay right there the whole night? Did any brave boys ask any of the girls to join them on the dance floor? You will just have to make up your own stories.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Two From October 1967

Here are the final two images from a lot from October 1967...

This is an unusual view taken from the empty queue area for the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. The ride was a "people eater", but it still surprises me to see NO line for this legendary attraction. If I wasn't so lazy, I would want to go back through my images to see if I have ANY pictures of the Mine Train with a line out front.

The Skyway began (or ended, if you are a pessimist!) at this charming chalet in Fantasyland. It looks so great, perched up on that hill and surrounded by that forest of evergreens.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tram & Tree, 12/30/1969

It is interesting to compare this photo from 1969 to this photo (undated, but probably 1965 or '66). At some point the old trams with the side seating were replaced with much bigger, more efficient cars that clearly held a LOT more people. They're still pretty nice, but lack the charm of those earlier versions. 

The Christmas tree is still up in Town Square for the last Christmas of the 1960's. Here come the '70's! For Disneyland, that was a pretty great decade.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Knott's Berry Farm, September 1978

How can 1978 be 34 years ago?  It ain't right! Here are some vintage images of Knott's Berry Farm from the end of the '70's. 

"Knott's Old Time Adventures"?! It's almost as if the name of the park had been changed, although I know that isn't true. Still... weird to see that sign. Is that "Montezooma's Revenge" (which opened in '78) in the background?

Here's a great shot looking up "School Road" toward the Timber Mountain Log Ride. You can just see one of the yellow train cars near the end of the street.

Nelle and Belle are a classic part of Knott's. Here they've had fresh paint jobs and look as youthful as ever!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Around Adventureland, August 1963

In November 1962, the wondrous Swiss Family Treehouse made its debut in Adventureland. This first photo, taken only nine months later, show that it was a popular attraction!

Of course the Jungle Cruise is the main event, and no visit to Adventureland would be complete without at least one ride. I like to go once in the daylight, and then again at night! 

I think this elephant is trying to hide, but it's not easy to do when you are 12 feet tall and weigh 6 tons.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Plaza Gardens, 1996

Carnation's Plaza Gardens was a part of Disneyland's history since 1956, but it's gone now - a new princess-themed "Fantasy Faire" is being built in its place. I can't get very excited about another "meet 'n greet" but who knows, maybe it will be delightful once we see it. Fingers crossed!

Anyway, back in 1996, my friend took some nice pictures of the entrance to the Plaza Gardens. Like this daytime shot from July 1! This area was often deserted; was it empty because the food service counters were seldom open, or were the food service counters seldom open because nobody ever went there to eat?

Here's a beautiful night photo from November of '96.

From October, we have the next two images, taken at dusk. I post so many vintage photos that it is weird to see one of the "hoodoos" from Big Thunder peeking up over the trees. The tent to our left is where so many legendary big bands performed for decades.

Goodbye, Plaza Gardens!