Tuesday, April 30, 2013
It's time for more delectably damaged slides from 1972 - though the damage on these was relatively easy to fix in Photoshop.
Tom Sawyer Island isn't the flashiest thing in Disneyland, but I have always love the concept. First off, it's an island, which is cool! And it has trails to investigate, swaying bridges to cross, mysterious caves, a treehouse to climb, and (back in those days) a log fort to explore. But that's not all! Over near Castle Rock, there were rock formations that formed a natural teeter-totter, and another that formed a merry-go-round. When I lived in Pennsylvania, we would wade out to small islands in the Susquehanna River (when it was low in the summer) to explore them. It was fun, but not as fun as Tom Sawyer Island!
Dad poses next to Monstro, almost as if he had caught him on a fishing expedition. I know, I know, whales aren't fish; they are insects. I like the detail of the little kid gazing into the whale's gaping mouth. When I was a tadpole I always hoped to catch the moment when Monstro's big blue eye would blink.
Here's a greenish photo of Snow White's grotto. The fish are doing their Busby Berkley thing, but it looks like Dopey's fishing pole has disappeared.
Monday, April 29, 2013
I have so many photos taken from the Skyway, but shots looking in this direction (south-ish) are not common. There's the li'l House of the Future - its days are numbered! The yellow tent is part of Monsanto's exhibits; just above the point of the tent you can see the large administration building. Some familiar Main Street rooftops can be recognized; but what is that flying saucer thing on the horizon?
Why, it's the futuristic Anaheim Convention Center, or at least the steel skeleton of it! It's kind of neat to see it under construction. Nowadays the convention center is considerably bigger, and is the site of the D-23 Expos, among other things.
Monorail tracks cross the massive parking lot - now the site of Disney California Adventure - and I believe that this shot was taken from a Monorail train as it was headed to the Disneyland Hotel.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Today's pictures are among the top-rated - on the snooze meter! Yes, they can't all be winners. But I will give each of them a blue ribbon just for trying.
Well, OK, this angle of the castle looks a bit different than we might be used to; the slide is date-stamped March 1959, though of course it might have been taken before that. At any rate, it appears that Snow Mountain (or Holiday Hill or whatever) is still there. Does anybody know what month construction began on the Matterhorn?
The settler's cabin is really ablaze here; sometimes the flames were less impressive. I've always wondered what the structure was made out of; presumably steel and concrete? Meanwhile, the settler is wishing he had stayed in Virginia, where there was a much smaller chance of finding an arrow in your chest.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Uh oh, it's time for me to fire up the scanner! My "miscellaneous" folder is practically empty. So, the photos for today are leftuggies.
I have almost no information for this first picture; it is undated, and I have no idea where these sailcloth teepees were located. It could be anywhere I suppose! I like the colors on the teepee in the distance, the pinks, yellow and aquas feel more like the early 1960's than like authentic earthen colors used by Native Americans.
As I've mentioned before, I always get a kick out of pictures like this next one. A vintage aircraft sits on the tarmac, rollaway staircase in place, and happy travelers (or in this case, one traveler and a stewardess?) prepare for an exciting journey. The slide was dated September 1961, but I don't know the location of the airport. Looks kind of like Burbank to me (a half-assed guess), but I'll wager that some smart reader will be able to glean more info based on the airplane's numbers.
This next photo shows a parade in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the slide is carefully hand dated "May 26, 1953". I would assume that the parade is in honor of Memorial Day, but that holiday fell on May 30th (a Saturday) that year. Why would the parade be done on a Tuesday? In any case, some soldiers sit at an anti-aircraft gun, recalling scenes from many WWII movies. In the background, the Milwaukee Central Library building (built in 2895) looms impressively over the festivities.
Friday, April 26, 2013
More photos from a humble Kodak Instamatic....
This first picture is interesting because it was taken from a Matterhorn bobsled - notice the Skyway cable in the middle of the image, much lower than our vantage point. All things considered, the picture is surprisingly in-focus. I don't see any buckets along the Skyway wire, so perhaps it wasn't operating. Trains of Peoplemover cars are evident, as is the Rolly Crump-designed Tomorrowland ticket booth. And in the distance, glorious Anaheim!
There's the Monsanto House of the Future, as seen from the entrance to (and exit from) Tomorrowland; kind of an unusual angle.
And finally, a third photo taken from an unusual vantage point - the camera appears to be just a couple of feet above the water as Mr. X took this picture of one of Huck Finn's rafts as it arrived at Tom Sawyer Island. Was Mr. X in a canoe? Beyond the raft full of people you can see more of Tom's island, including Castle Rock.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
It's time for more pictures from Freedomland USA (from a small group of stereo slides labeled "World's Fair")! They are undated, and rather poor in quality. But any pictures of Freedomland are scarce, so these are still worth sharing.
The lanterns, wrought iron, and columns (reminiscent of a Louisiana plantation house) can only mean that those kids are standing near the entrance to the area known as "New Orleans: Mardi Gras". The official guidebook says, Mardi Gras means "fat Tuesday", the last day before the Lenten feast, and throughout the Latin world it's a day of Carnival. New Orleans, with its French and Spanish past, throws the biggest carnival in America, and you can take part in it every day at FREEDOMLAND'S perpetual Mardi Gras.
After that buildup, things look a bit grayer and more quiet than one might expect!
On a complete tangent, that kid on the right....
... reminds me a lot of this kid in Diane Arbus' famous photo, "Child With Toy Hand Grenade, Central Park 1962". Only our kid isn't so loony.
If you look behind the three kids, you can just see this classic Freedomland attraction - the Buccaneer! I love the gruesome detail of the sailor hanging from the yard. What heinous crime did he commit? Maybe he stole some grog. The Buccaneer was a dark ride; a house of surprises where a longboat takes you through scenes from the age of Jean Lafitte, the New Orleans pirate king. You'll be caught in cannon-fire between two pirate frigates and witness a pirate hanging. Sounds cool, and a lot like another ride that we know of (which wouldn't be built for years)!
This murky, blurry photo is (I think) from the "Little Old New York" area (although you can see part of a Great Lakes sternwheeler to the left). Is this one of the harbor tug boats that took guests around the lake?
I'll have more murky Freedomland pix for you soon!
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Here's a familiar (but nice) view looking down on Skull Rock over in Fantasyland; somehow I never really noticed that taller outcropping of stone behind and to the right of the skull. From the front I would imagine that forced perspective helped with the illusion that the skull was part of a small mountain range. And perhaps the faux peak also helped to isolate Storybook Land on the other side, making it feel more like a cozy little land unto itself. If you look up toward the top edge of the photo, you can see great piles of earth, presumably part of the construction of "It's a Small World" (which would open in about 9 months); and near the upper right corner you can see a row of candy-striped lights that were a part of the old Fantasyland Station - soon to be removed.
The unusual perspective on this photo, taken aboard the little Mine Train, is pretty neat. And since this is from a stereo slide, I had hoped to make a "wiggle-vision" version. But it turned out too jarring; the people in front of us leapt around, back and forth, making one's eyes fall out of their sockets. Anyway, look at how the forced perspective works here as well; if you could walk into that opera house, it would be the size of a small child's bedroom.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Back in ye olden days, Frontierland had two rides that couldn't handle a lot of people, and they were probably relatively expensive to operate, all things considered. I'm talking about the Conestoga Wagons and the Stagecoaches. Hey, lookie over there! You can see one of each as they trundle along the shores of the Rivers of America. Frontierland still looks pretty raw in '57, but we know that it will be a more convincing "untouched wilderness" in a very short time. Over in the right corner two fellows are apparently planting trees (or burying bodies) on Tom Sawyer Island. (I should add that today's photos might be from 1956, if our photographer mixed pictures from two visits into one bunch).
Here's a different angle looking back toward the shore; I believe that the area where the little Stagecoach is would eventually be the location of Cascade Peak.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Here are two personal Viewmaster pictures taken by a friend of mine in July, 1965. They both feature the mermaids in the sub lagoon! In this first image, "Cerise" appears to be strumming the heck out of her lyre (probably playing "Wild Thing" by The Troggs - it was a hit in '65); I can't quite tell what "Goldie" is doing. Zooming in didn't help because it is too fuzzy. A third mermaid wades in the shallows. To the extreme right is a woman in yellow... is that a cast member? I don't remember seeing Submarine worker's uniforms that looked anything like that.
So close, and yet so far! The merms are waving enthusiastically. Note the large speaker sticking out of the water... presumably Triton's daughters could actually talk to guests? Or maybe not. Either way, that speaker wasn't there very long.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
I like this nice detail of the figurehead on the mighty Columbia. If I was going to circumnavigate the globe, I would feel better knowing that she was leading the way! Here's something I can't figure out though... she appears to be going the wrong direction. I checked to see if the slide is flipped, but it wasn't. What's going on? Where am I? Who are you and what are you doing in my head?
I wonder if the Indian Chief who was the "master of ceremonies" at the Dance Circle invited all of the children in the audience to come down to the front when the performance started? They are all right there - and it makes things convenient when the kids were invited to jump up and participate in a flash mob!
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Who likes vintage cars? Everybody, that's who. Today we're going to look at a few.
In this first photo, a woman has turned on her cloaking device in order to become nearly invisible as she stands in front of that awesome red car. This is such an odd picture, possibly dating to the late 1940's or early 1950's. OK experts, what kind of car is that?
Now we are in Fayetteville, North Carolina; the slide is undated, but is certainly from the 1950's. In the background you can see the famous Market House, built in 1832. A bevy of awesome autos are parked along Gillespie Street. I think that blue beauty is a Pontiac Chieftain (though I wouldn't put money on it). And its torpedo-nosed neighbor must be a Studebaker?
And finally, from Los Angeles comes this slide, inscribed "Bob and Ann's New Plymouth". I looked up "Marshall & Clampett", and it was on South Figueroa just north of 18th Street. It's not the most amazing photo in the world, but I just love those cars! Look at the gas tank cover on that red number (and those fins!)... that little piece of metal has more character than most cars do today.
Friday, April 19, 2013
I've been digging through some boxes of photos that, for the most part, have already been scanned and seen here on GDB. But there were a few that I skipped back in those days. For instance, both of todays images are from a lot that turned ultra pink. But I did the best I could adjusting them in Photoshop, and I thnk they look presentable.
Especially this first beautiful view taken aboard the Skyway, leaving the Tomorrowland terminal and heading toward Fantasyland. Of course there is no Matterhorn in 1956; instead there is the rather featureless pile of dirt known poetically as "Snow Hill". There's the Yacht Bar, and the lake that used to have Phantom Boats in it. Off in the distance you can just see the Junior Autopia over near the Fantasyland train station. But the main attraction is the Skyway buckets, which look so great here. Bucket #13 in front of us is ferrying a certain dapper couple that some of you might remember (the fedora is a clue)!
Next, a nice lady (I can tell that she is nice) poses in front of the floral Mickey and the freight train that is waiting at Main Street Station.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Here are some unusual vintage Disney collectibles dating back to the early 1930's; old bottle caps featuring four classic characters. I don't know much about them, but assume that they could be found on bottles of various Mickey Mouse sodas that were sold circa 1932. The Mickey Mouse cap on the left is not too hard to find, but the other three seem to be pretty scarce. Mickey is seen in his familiar "walking and waving" pose, while Minnie waves an amiable "Hello".
Pluto "The Dog" (not "The Pup"?!) and the lovely Clarabelle Cow get to star on their own bottle caps; I'm always happy to see Clarabelle, who was phased out as her design made her too primitive. I wonder if a character had his own soda flavor, of it they were used randomly. And have any of you seen other caps with other characters? Horace Horsecollar, Goofy, maybe even Donald back when his bill was longer?
Here's a picture of a bottle of Mickey Mouse "Lime Rickey" soda - I don't own this, unfortunately, but found the photo on the interwebs. I've seen these bottles sell for hundreds of dollars! There is also a ginger ale flavor, and another that just says "Carbonated Beverage". Once I was in an antiques store in the midwest that had several bottles - still full! For some stupid reason I didn't buy even one, and I'll bet the price was a lot less than the auction totals I've seen online.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Today's not-so-vintage photos feature the wonderful Casey Jr. Circus Train. He thinks he can! I love this classic attraction; what it lacks in thrills it more than makes up for in charm.
This first picture is really nice, taken from the rear of the train looking forward as Casey Jr. heads over the stone arch bridge. With the lush landscaping, even the Matterhorn feels like it belongs.
Here's a nice detail of the little depot (and former ticket booth). I hate to be critical, but that sign is a bit much; a simpler, more graphic approach would look much better in my opinion. But it's not a big deal! I wish I could find a copy of Bruce Bushman's (one of the very early concept artists) original sketches of this structure... the finished product is remarkably faithful.
And finally, one last look as Casey returns from his journey. The cave to the right is the "Cave of Wonders" where Aladdin found his lamp; that scene is only visible from the Storybook Land boats.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
This is a fun view of the teacups on a gray winter day. Notice that the teacups are doorless... in those days, people managed to ride this for years without falling out! BUT HOW?!?! The blue cup, powered by three little boys full of Pepsi and hamburgers will be soon spinning like crazy. And see that little boy in the other teacup?
Well, here he is again, standing with his grandma and his best pal (or brother?) in front of Monstro's toothy mouth. I hope he flosses and uses Listerine. The boy, not Monstro - that would be silly.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Here are some cute kids who have found a pup; they want to take him home. Can they, mom, can they, can they? They will feed him and walk him and train him every day, they promise. The pup looks like he thinks it's a pretty sweet idea! Meanwhile, watch out for that little boy in the shorts. He is an interloper and a communist.
The kids managed to ditch the commie, and now they are enjoying some futuristic furniture out behind the Monsanto House of the Future. Mom and one boy sit on what resemble headless giraffes; little bro and little sis are on what look like amorphous Henry Moore sculptures. Comfort shmumfort, they are cool and that's what matters.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
I recently acquired a group of a dozen black and white negatives featuring photos of Florida's Main Street U.S.A. At first I had no idea when they were taken, but one detail helped to place these in 1973.
First up is a really great picture looking down toward the grand train station; the Imagineers really pulled out all the stops for The Magic Kingdom's Main Street... it is rich with detail - and of course it is huge compared to Anaheim's version. Light crowds would have made this a great day to be there.
"Books • Records • Toys"? Those are three of my favorite things! If only we could go inside and buy stuff! The flags are whipping around, must have been a little breezy, but from what I've heard about Florida's humidity, a breeze sounds like a good thing.
Zooming in on the girl and the woman (look at the diameter of those bell-bottoms!) gazing at the window displays, we can juuuust read those little signs that say "Mary Poppins". Poppins was re-released in 1973, so that is a good clue to help date these pictures. By the way, the film grossed about $9 million, which translates to over $47 million dollars in 2013. Not bad!
These black and white images almost give the impression of being from the 1950's or 1960's - which is impossible of course. But they bear a real resemblance to old Disneyland snapshots if you don't look too closely. Here's the train station as seen from Town Square. That thing is just huge. Is the upstairs area used as offices, or is it empty space (or used for storage)?
The set builder's art is in evidence here; probably a lot of what appears to be stone, brick, or even milled lumber is in fact fiberglass. I know that fiberglass and various plastics are being used more and more in contemporary construction for things like crown moldings or "gingerbread" details; the Imagineers did it first! Here is "The Cup and Saucer", which must have sold bicycles.
I'll have more black and white Main Street for you comin' up!
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Welcome to Cherokee, North Carolina - sometime in the 1950's. Located about 30 miles from Pigeon Forge (in the Oconaluftee River Valley), Cherokee is the headquarters for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. It has been a tourist destination for years, home to several roadside attractions, such as "Santa's Land"(I think I might have pictures of that one). Scenes from Walt Disney's "Davy Crockett - King of the Wild Frontier" were filmed in Cherokee!
In today's photos, we are looking down U.S. 19 (Tsalagi Road), revealing a treasure trove of old hotels, restaurants, and souvenir stands. And yes, fabulous old cars! Imagine the riches to be had in those shops... tomahawks, genuine arrowheads, feathered headdresses, beaded moccasins, peace pipes, blankets, pottery, bows and suction cup tipped arrows, basketry, and who knows what else.
Here are some more glorious mid-century automobiles for you. You can only have one, so choose carefully! North Carolina looks about as green and lush as a place can be; as usual, I'd love to visit - 50 years ago especially.
I tried to do my usual Google Street View thing with the first photo, but it the buildings have been changed beyond recognition over the years. However, the structure that held "The Indian Store" (with its distinctive teepees) is still there, looking rather run down.
Friday, April 12, 2013
Yet more pix from my stash of Instamatic negatives....
I'll start out with two photos taken from the parking lot (now DCA and Downtown Disney) where "Mr. X" captured images of the Monorail as it passed by in the distance. The cars aren't quite as much fun to look at as they were in the 1950's, but I kind of like the sporty blue model near the center of the picture.
Remember, we are parked in lot "C". That's C for Cinderella. Everyone inside the Monorail had, for the duration of the trip, higher IQs. Maybe even telepathic abilities. But when they disembarked, they became ordinary schmoes like the rest of us.
This one isn't super exciting, but it is an unusual view, taken from the Hub. Right where the "Partners" statue is today. Mr. X noticed that this was a Kodak Picture Spot, and he obediently snapped a photo. You can see the construction walls (in various shades of pink) blocking the entrance to Tomorrowland as it is transformed into the NEW Tomorrowland.