Friday, May 31, 2013

More Unrejected Instamatics!

It's time to UNreject some previously rejected Instamatic pix. In spite of their flaws, they are still kind of great. Just like all of us!

Here's an odd one. Some guy (disguised as Roy Disney?) has the park all to himself. It doesn't look like this was taken first thing in the morning, so where the heck is everyone? I would enjoy this photo even better if it wasn't so blurry.

I say old chap, look at those geysers! Did you know that the Brits pronounce "geysers" as "geezers"? It's true, and it must makes me sad that their way is better. This picture was taken aboard the Mine Train, and is not so great.

This might have been a great picture of the exterior of the Alice in Wonderland attraction, except that our photographer was holding his gate handout in his left hand, and it was blocking part of the lens.

Well, I guess this one could have been worse! Inside the Opera House (where "Great Moments with Mr. Lincon can be found), you can see this beautiful model of the Capitol building. Pointing a flash directly at glass is a bad idea, but it mostly hit the mullion, luckily. Still... not a good photo.

I like this last one, even though it is too dark. Look how low the Peoplemover is, I didn't recall that it was ever at ground level. Of course it is heading uphill so that the Autopia can pass beneath it.

Oh yes, there will be more unrejected slides to come.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Carnation Plaza Gardens, 1996

About two months ago, the medieval "Fantasy Faire" debuted at Disneyland, forever replacing the old Carnation Plaza Gardens. Beloved as a place to hear live music and enjoy some dancing, this venue was admittedly a ghost town during the day. Why didn't they use this prime location as a major dining venue? Who knows.

There it is, looking almost completely deserted. I always found the red and white colors to be cheerful and festive. The pathway under the sign is calling to me...

The lush landscaping made the place very inviting too; looking at this photo, you would never guess that the hub was mere steps away.

There should be a long line of people beneath that red awning, waiting for their ice cream treats! I can only assume that the 1985 purchase of the Carnation company by Nestlé, which discontinued the brand (although they allowed it to still be used in Disneyland) had something to do with this area's demise. Sharp eyes might spot part of a Peoplemover poster beneath one of the umbrellas - even though the attraction had closed the previous year.

And here's one last look at the tented pavilion where so many legendary Big Bands performed over the years. At least we still have our memories!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Knice Knott's!

Today I am sharing the first two pictures from a batch of vintage slides from the mid-1950's. They nicer than usual!

Here's a great view of Goldie's Place. Get yourself a room, maybe take a hot bath (the first one in months!), and enjoy the company of Goldie's gals (you can see a girl looking out each of the upstairs windows). The leg that is sticking out of the side window is one of my all-time favorite details; every now and then it would kick fetchingly, driving men wild! 

OK experts, tell me if I'm wrong, but is that box just to the right of the kicking leg a sort of periscope (used so that Sad Eye Joe in the Town Jail can see who is talking to him)?

Things are a little quiet over at the Gold Mine... there are plenty of lookers, but only one little prospector. The guy with his arms crossed reminds me of Ward Bond, manly-man actor from about a million John Wayne movies. The other guy reminds me of Floyd the barber (those are two references that you will only get if you are over a certain age)! On second thought, maybe the dude on the right reminds me of Ron Swanson.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Town Square and Da Hub, August 13 1960

Nothin' too exciting today, just some sleepy views from around Main Street, U.S.A. Like this shot in Town Square, with the Horse Drawn Streetcar. Who knew that horses could draw? But they were good, I have to admit. Whenever I see the Firehouse in these early years, I like to imagine that Walt is there.

And there's Sleeping Beauty Castle at the other end of Main Street, framed by olive trees and lovely  flowers (pre-"Partners" statue). Looks like a beautiful August day.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Autopia, May 1973

Like many other Tomorrowland attractions, I never seem to grow weary when it comes to looking at pictures of the Autopia. Maybe it is due, in part, to my love of cool cars! 

The "Mark VII" vehicles debuted in 1967, and they are the model that I remember from my childhood. In fact they continued to be used until 1999, when the ride closed temporarily for a complete redo and the addition of new cars. 32 years is a pretty good run! Here's a mom and daughter in a sporty red number. Presumably mom is driving because the kid is too small to reach the gas pedal (and pushing down on that gas pedal takes some real oomph)!

I can almost hear the familiar purr of dozens of cars putt-putting along the freeway of Tomorrow!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Casey Jr. Circus Train - 1957

Time to use up some of those pictures that some people may consider to be junk. One of those people might be me.

There he is, Casey Jr., the star of today's posts. This picture is the best of the bunch, and it isn't great. Still, I do love the little circus train and the quilted landscape. 

If it wasn't for the blur, this one would be my favorite. But the photographer had the yips.

And finally, a view from aboard one of the open-air cars (as opposed to the cages full of monkeys and wild animals).

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Royal Gorge Scenic Railway

It's "Anything Goes Saturday" yet again; what shall we look at today? Well, I just scanned some old stereo slides, and liked a couple of shots featuring the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway. It was based in Cañon City, Colorado, at a frontier town called "Buckskin Joe". Originally built in 1957 as a movie set,  it eventually became a western theme park, similar to Knott's Berry Farm. There were gun fights in the streets, a "Mystery House" (presumably akin to the "Haunted Shack"), magic shows, a horseless carriage ride, and of course, a saloon where guests could order a sarsaparilla and a buffalo burger. 

But we're here to enjoy the miniature railroad! Built in 1958, it provided stunning views of the Royal Gorge during its 3 mile, 30-minute trip. It included a wonderful view of the famous Royal Gorge Bridge, and an exciting trip across two impressive trestle bridges. The photos below are circa 1960. Notice the crude wooden "viewing platform".

According to one website, "...the trains were built in Cañon City by Royal Gorge Fabricators. The engines are 1952, 6-cylinder Spitfire flatheads. The trains are open-air and run on a 15-inch narrow gauge track called 'Mountain Gauge'. This type of track was used in mines where standard width was too large for the narrow passages."

The last day of operation for Buckskin Joe was September 12, 2012. The town, including the miniature railroad, was purchased by a Florida billionaire who planned to relocate the whole kit-and-caboodle to his private ranch.

Say, watch a video of a trip aboard the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway why don'tcha!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Autopia, December 1998

I just scanned some nice 35mm negatives from December 1998, all of which feature the old Autopia before it closed in 1999 and was completely refurbished (reopening in 2000 with new cars and a track that combined the Fantasyland and Tomorrowland tracks). My pal "Mr. X" had heard about the upcoming changes and decided to take a lot of pictures for posterity.

Here's a great shot showing the distinctive sign that graced the entrance to the Autopia for a few years. I like it, but it is a weird mish-mash of steampunk and 1950's styles. 

This one is really all about the little pathway to Tomorrowland Station, with a little bit of Autopia added for flavor. I think it looks pretty much the same today, with minor alterations.

And finally, a nice overview as seen from the Monorail platform. The former Peoplemover track was the Rocket Rods track at this point (more on that in a future post). Hard to believe that this was 15 years ago!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Flower Mart, December 1959

The Flower Mart lasted a long time; for over 20 years, baskets and bouquets of artificial flowers brightened West Center Street. I wonder if that means that the sale of these faux blossoms was pretty brisk? 

The boy reminds me of Lon Chaney Jr. (I'm honestly not trying to be unkind), and the lady reminds me of Barbara Bel Geddes in "Rear Window". She also reminds me of my favorite teacher, Mrs. Cole, from second grade. I loved her! I wonder what they are both looking at... maybe they are reading the names on the second-story windows.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Twain and River, 1959

Here's a bright sunny photo of the Mark Twain, decorated with patriotic bunting - either for fourth of July, or maybe as part of the opening of the new attractions in Tomorrowland (you know which ones I mean). My favorite detail is the pair of cast members in the foreground, with their groovy straw hats. Tom and Huck!

And I like this picture of a busy Frontierland. Do I see three canoes (one is partly hidden by another, and a third is waaay in the distance)? There also appears to be another raft to Tom Sawyer Island just to the left of the mill - I have never confirmed that there was more than one raft landing, but am pretty sure that there was. A few guests can be seen on the island, and one of Huck Finn's rafts is unloading one bunch of passengers while more are boarding.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Three From the 70s

I recently found a small lot of stereo slides that I am guessing are from around 1970 or '71. Not all of them are gems, but hey, I can't be too choosy.

This first one is pretty neat, who doesn't love a view of the original "New Tomorrowland", looking fresh and crunchy. The Peoplemover trains never looked better than when they were painted aqua,  royal blue, yellow, and (not seen here) tomato red. Adventure Thru Inner Space, man, did I love that attraction.

This one's OK, mostly showing the Skyway, Matterhorn, and the teeming masses (waiting to ride the Subs, perhaps).

That kid mighty glad to be at Disneyland, and I don't blame him. In the background is a brand-new Mark III Monorail (introduced at the park in 1969). Notice the outdoor speaker to the right of the kid... any idea what it was used for?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Monorail Track (and post # 2500)

Well whaddaya know... GDB celebrated its 7-year anniversary about a week ago, and now another milestone has been reached; today marks the 2,500th post. BUT... I'm not going to make this an excuse for another "hooray for me" fest! 

I have an unusual series of photos for you, featuring some sort of work being done on the Monorail track. The slides are date-stamped "November 1961", and the Monorail had been extended to the Disneyland Hotel that year, so it is safe to presume that this work had something to do with the new track.

As you can see, workmen are up on the beamway, operating a concrete saw that appears to have been mounted to some sort of custom jig that acted as a guide. Maybe Bob Gurr was involved in designing the jig! I wonder if the extended area in the front and back were there in order to make the unit the same length as a Monorail car? (Maybe not, it looks a bit short to me).

A little extra bonus is the rare peek at a sliver of Holidayland, the picnic & playground area once located outside the berm (to the west of the park, in part where the Haunted Mansion show building is now located). Looks like it was a windy day, check out those trees!

Who's the guy in the suit? That is like potentially dirty work up there, with water and concrete dust flying. I'll bet a concrete saw sounds great, too.

I wonder if they were just smoothing off some rough edges, or if some part of the 2.5 mile addition was too wide. Or maybe a groove was being cut. WHO KNOWS!

Mr. Suit isn't just standing around twiddling his thumbs, he is in there working! Hmmm, I wonder what the view would be like from up there?

Oh, like that! There's a vantage point that you don't see every day. Over to the left, part of the Holidayland baseball diamond is visible. 

This day was more blustery than Winnie the Pooh's; tables have been knocked over and Eeyore lost his tail.

Thanks for sticking with GDB for 2,500 posts!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Here are three snoozetastic Leftuggies™ (known to most people as leftovers) - previously unposted scans that are sure to put you to sleep immediately.

By 1963, animator/Imagineer Marc Davis had put his stamp on the Jungle Cruise, introducing small tableaus with gentle humor. This example is a weird one! "So, we'll have the mother elephant with her rear end facing the folks in the boat. Flanking her will be two baby elephants." "And....?". "That's it, my homey. It is existential or Kafkaesque or something". "Oh. Ha ha?". I have noticed that a lot of the scenes involving elephants, particularly around the bathing pool, could undergo small changes, and in some cases would just vanish or move to other locations.

"Here comes the sub, doobie doo doo....";  it's one of George Harrison's most beloved songs. And the only one about a Disneyland attraction! One might expect an attraction involving nuclear (nucular!) submarines to be hard-edged, cold, and intimidating. But this ride involves colorful lagoons (surrounded by nice landscaping) and fanciful underwater settings.

Geysers and multi-hued paint pots help make this part of the desert a real Nature's Wonderland. The hat in the foreground helps too.

There will be more Leftuggies™ to come, you can count on it.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Train Stuff

Today's "Anything Goes" entry celebrates trains. Everybody loves trains, even communists. 

This first photo shows a beautiful miniature locomotive that was once located at Crandon Park, Florida (famous for its miles of sandy white beaches). From what little I could glean online, this 2 foot gauge train debuted around 1949, and was powered by gasoline rather than live steam. Accounts vary, but it seems to have operated until the mid-1970's, when it was replaced with a completely different train - but as of now none are still there.

This next picture is from July 1971, and it features the California Western Railroad (affectionately known as the "Skunk Train") up in Mendocino County, California. Wikipedia sez, The CWR runs steam and diesel-powered trains and rail motor cars 40 miles (64 km) through redwood forests along Pudding Creek and the Noyo River. Along the way, the tracks cross some 30 bridges and trestles and pass through two deep mountain tunnels. Sounds pretty neat! The locomotive dates back to 1885 when, as the Fort Bragg Railroad, it hauled redwood logs to lumber mills.

And I'm throwing this one in as a bonus, even though I don't have any info about it. At first I thought it might be another view of the Skunk Train, but there is a sign on the building to the extreme left, and I think it says "Burlington Route", which operated throughout the Midwest.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Instamatic Pix

We'll start today's selection with this great, colorful picture of a mom and two girls near the exit to Disneyland. Even though it is the afternoon (that other mom and her kids are done for the day), it looks to me like they are just heading in to the park. Mom acknowledges the camera with a bullfighter's flourish ("Olé!"). The train is at the station, and quite a few posters are visible in the distance. Any idea what those vehicles are to our right?

Here's a nice shot of the Fire Department, with the old Chemical Wagon resting inside. I never really noticed that green door before, is that how Walt Disney accessed his apartment upstairs? Or was there a secret back entrance for him?

I added this shot of the Friendly Indian Village just "because"... it's not like we haven't seen a zillion similar pictures of it before.

And finally we have a fun photo looking down on the Autopia (taken from the Peoplemover, I think). The dreaded center rail has been added, which means that this is post-1965. There appears to be some sort of traffic jam in the lane to our right; a cast member has his foot on the bumper of that yellow car. Somebody probably stalled - it happened to me more than once.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Views From The New York Pavilion, 1964 World's Fair

It has been over two months since we've visited the 1964 New York World's Fair, so let's hop in our cardboard box ("Calvin and Hobbes" style) and head back in time.

The New York State pavilion was an extremely popular destination, in large part because of the striking bird's-eye views that guests could get atop the 226-foot observation tower. And striking views meant that the cameras came out, resulting in many thousands of photos snapped from up there. 

This is kind of an interesting view... I'm wondering where the photographer was standing that gave him an even more elevated view as he snapped a picture of his wife and son (near the Unisphere). The Fair below almost looks like an elaborate diorama. Notice the blue light globes that surrounded the edge of tower roof.

World's Fair freaks have seen images like the next 3 a jillion times, but the average person will hopefully still find these interesting. SO... there's the wonderful Unisphere. In the upper left corner is the United States pavilion; lower left (with the blue squares) is the New England States pavilion. In the upper right corner, the red tile roof of the Republic of China building is prominent.

The white-domed General Electric pavilion ("Progressland") is easily spotted in the upper left of this picture. In the upper left, the hexagonal Better Living Center, and next to it, the Pepsi Cola pavilion (with the Tower of the Four Winds out front). The Eastman Kodak building is just below the Pepsi pavilion. Sweden's building at the bottom is modern, but the blue and gold façade reminds me of a medieval banner. The wavy roof of the Sermons From Science building is also distinctive.

The huge oval building at center/right (with the frilly "tent" on top) is the Vatican pavilion (where guests could see Michelangelo's Pieta). And to the left of that is the Belgian Village (go get a waffle!). The large structure in the lower left was originally going to be the French pavilion, but it never was built. So instead it was The Pavilion of Paris and French Industry.

I think it's time to scan some more World's Fair slides.