Saturday, August 31, 2013

Motel Madness

On today's "Anything Goes Saturday" I am celebrating the humble motel. In the days that most of these photos were taken, even color TV was a selling point. Free HBO, what's that? WiFi? Hey, as long as the beds have "Magic Fingers", I'm good.

Howsabout the "Downtowner"? I love this photo, it is almost looks like Pop Art - maybe an Ed Ruscha painting. At least we know that the Downtowner has a swimming pool.

From July 1963 comes this impressive sing for King's Motel. A telephone in every room, holy moly! "Chinese American" dining room and cocktail lounge, sounds OK to me. I am already looking forward to my free breakfast. Wish I knew where this was.

One might assume that the Quality Courts Motel of Mount Vernon (circa August 1966) would be located in Virginia, near George Washington's famous home. But, as it turns out, there are a number of Mount Vernons around the country. New York, Ohio, Illinois, Washington, Iowa, Indiana, and so on. This huge sign was meant to be noticed, it seems to be a cousin to the beloved Holiday Inn "great signs".

Friday, August 30, 2013

Two From the 1950's

Here are the last of some old slides from the 1950's that had turned magenta; I've done my best to make them presentable to you.

Two nice ladies (I can just tell that they're nice!) relax on one of the ornate, painted cast-iron benches that used to be found in Fantasyland. Just behind them is a Monorail pillar (this is October 1959, so it all checks out!), and even further back you would find the Midget Autopia. As always, the shrubs and flowers help to make the park look pretty.

This next one was taken from the steps up to the Fantasyland Skyway chalet (circa 1956), a vantage point that provided a nice elevated view of Casey Jr., the Skyway, and even the Pirate Ship.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Columbia, Below Decks

When you visit the Columbia sailing ship, you don't have to stay up on deck looking at all that crummy scenery. You can go "below decks"! If you like cramped spaces, then this is for you. It looks OK here, devoid of people, but imagine it full of unwashed sailors. It would be pretty dark down there ordinarily, but for a whale oil lamp. There are tankards on the mast for your serving of grog (add some lime juice so you don't get scurvy), and a sturdy table where you can eat your salt beef and salt cod, lobscouse, spotted dog, hare soup, goose and truffle pies, treacle-dowdy, solomongundy, portable soup, syllabub, and so many other treats.

Carpenter's tools were important on a wooden ship. A storm broke your mast in two? No problem, a little Elmer's glue, some thumbtacks, and some glitter (to make it pretty) - voila! That saw can take off a leg too, if you have a severe cutlass wound. Ropes and grapnels are handy for playing "Batman". If the photographer had only panned a bit to the right, we would be able to see the early wooden version of Ms. Pac Man.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More Autopia 1998

More Autopia, more more more! 

The Fantasyland Autopia's day's were numbered in 1998; the ride closed the following year and it was combined with the Tomorrowland Autopia for a new, bigger attraction. These photos are a nice record of the way it used to be.

Red, yellow, green and blue cars zoom through the beautiful "countryside". If only highways really looked like this!

Traffic is heavy today, but who cares? We're at Disneyland.

Same angle, different cars. I may try to find a decent aerial shot showing the layout of the old Fantasyland and Tomorrowland Autopias, and then grab a Google satellite image of how the track is laid out now, for the sake of comparison. If I get anything worthwhile, I'll share it here!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Skull Rock & Storybook Land

Stereo slides are pretty bitchin'! You'll have to take my word for it, since I have temporarily (or maybe permanently) retired "Wiggle Vision™". One of my favorite things is to view subjects that ordinarily move, like waterfalls - but in a 3D slide, they are frozen in space. It almost looks like magic! Or like The Matrix.

Nearby Storybook Land looks neat and tidy; the water in the canal ripples like glass and reflects the Casey Junior circus train.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Blurry Instamatics

I have been having so much fun scanning the hundreds of Instamatic negatives that were given to me by "Mr. X"; the collection has been a real treasure-trove. But I suppose it is inevitable that some of the pictures turned out less than perfect. They're not a total loss though, which is why I am sharing some of them here.

Peace out, man! That kid is totally groovy in his tomato-red Autopia car. I am grateful that he didn't use a different gesture. Just above his head, an aqua Peoplemover train passes by, with a tour guide in one of the vehicles. It's strange to see the track dip down so low to the ground!

Considering that this photo was snapped from a speeding Matterhorn Bobsled, it came out surprisingly well. Fantasyland can be seen below us, spread out like a table-top miniature. 

You can't have too many pictures of the old Disneyland sign! This one was shot from within mom's car. The sign says that there is a new tower open at the hotel, but which tower? That would help to date this photo if we only knew.

Aaaaannnd, another one taken from inside the car as we pass Main Street Station. Yes, it's blurry, but I still get a kick out of this view. Mickey's smiling face, the Disneyland Railroad, and the Matterhorn all make cameos.

I have more blurry rejects to share one of these days!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Wild Frontier, August 1960

You know the drill by now; Sundays are generally reserved for boring pictures. Google data shows that readership goes way down on Sundays. What are you doing, watching golf? 

I call this guy "Chief Wavy", and frankly it drives him nuts. "I do so much more than wave; I sing, I dance, I do difficult Sudoku puzzles, I cook, I write dirty limericks, I enjoy CosPlay... in other words, I am a complete and complex person. 'Chief Wavy' indeed!". 

I apologize, Chief.  

It's just like the ads say, natural gas really IS the most efficient way to heat your home. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Clown at the Steel Pier, Atlantic City - 1957

Part of my amusement park fascination includes the many beach-side amusement piers, from Venice, California to Coney Island. Today's pictures are from Atlantic City, on the Million Dollar Steel Pier. Among the amusements available were popular bands (Stan Kenton! Les Brown!), aerialists, diving horses (you can see the ramp for the horse), performing bears, and more. 

Hey, who is that lone figure walking toward us? Cheese it, the cops!

The Clown Cop is not afraid to use brute force if necessary. He looks like he stepped right out of a Charlie Chaplin movie! I wanted to see if I could find out anything about our clown... 

After some Googlin', I found a blog ("Yesterday's Towns") that had a 1952 photo from the Steel Pier, featuring the cast of the Hamid-produced circus that was there for many years. Notice a certain clown cop to the left! The blogger helpfully identified the cop as Charlie Franks.

Here's a closeup, provided by the "Clown Alley" blog; both blogs posted these photos back in 2006, and one commenter said that Charlie was still working at the pier not too long before that date. Amazing! Another comment said that his coat "was unbelievably heavy from all of the police and sheriff's badges that were given to him from real officers all over the country".

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Atlantic City's Steel Pier!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Auto-topia, November 1972

If lovin' the Autopia is wrong, I don't wanna be right! Aunt Rose thinks her sporty red car is the cat's meow, and you can tell from her posture that this is what driving is all about. Why can't all cars be on a nice safety rail? The kid on the curb SO wants the red car, but he can't have it.

I think this second photo might have been taken from the Peoplemover (or one ofAutopia's overpasses?). It's surprising how many cars are out of commission, but then again, it's November. We also get a look at the Tomorrowland Skyway station and the G.E. Carousel Theater.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Magic Kingdom, early 1970's

Today we're continuing a look at some early slides from Florida's Magic Kingdom. They're not all great, but hopefully together they add up to something significant.

Dad looks groovy in his patterned shirt, very similar to the one seen in this Disneyland photo from about 1970. He is trying like hell to look casual. Surprisingly, he's actually hundreds of feet in front of that palm tree, but careful alignment provides that "holding up the leaning tower of Pisa" illusion that we all love so much.

I wish this one was a little bit sharper; the colorful balloons are a nice accent to the Fantasyland view. In the background is a ticket booth; the red awning is the façade for the Mickey Mouse Revue; and the blue awning to our right? I have no idea what that was for. Señor Toad mebbe. Notice that some of the balloon's have malformed ears, likely due to the use of DDT.

I wonder if this photographer was using a cheap Instamatic, since the picture quality is often a bit soft or dark (in other words, crappy). This fuzzy photo looks across the Rivers of America toward Liberty Square. A Keel Boat is at its landing. Any idea what that object floating on the water would be? At first I thought it was a miniature sail boat, but on closer inspection.... I still don't know what the heck it is.

Over in Town Square, the band (I almost called them the Disneyland Band) has arrived. Security guards have established a perimeter, and they have synchronized their Mickey Mouse watches because that's what security guards do. They have licenses to kill as well. Just try them, I dare you! Presumably it's time for the flag-lowering ceremony, though it appears as if there is plenty of sunlight left. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sub Rehab and Skull Rock, October 1972

I always love photos of the Sub Lagoon when the water has been drained; it give us Disney geeks a little peek "behind the scenes" so to speak. In this example (from a slightly-damaged slide), the whole lagoon looks like it's been scrubbed clean... there's no trace of corals or sea stars, clams or seaweed. Who gets to keep all of the spare change that has been dropped by Skyway riders? All 8 subs (Nautilus, Sea Wolf, Skate, Skipjack, Triton, George Washington, Patrick Henry, Ethan Allen) can be seen at rest at the docks, where they are having audio-animatronic barnacles removed I guess. Hello, HoJo's.

King Kong and Captain Hook have to share Skull Rock; it leads to some wacky situations. Soon to be a prime-time sitcom on ABC.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Three Snapshots - Posters and Signs

Here's an odd assortment of vintage snapshots from the 1970's. There's a theme (besides being snapshots), "posters and signs". In fact, I consider this my doctoral thesis. 

Poster (noun) - a large printed picture used for decoration or as a means of conveying information for the purposes of advertising or propaganda. 

Yep, that about covers it! This photo shows a series of Disneyland attraction posters; I'm not entirely sure where this covered area was located - was this someplace inside the park, or was it out in the parking lot? Not sure. Anyway, you can see the wonderful posters for Tom Sawyer Island, Swiss Family Treehouse, Adventure Thru Inner Space, Jungle River Cruise, and Primeval World. Nice!

Speaking of Adventure Thru Inner Space, thar she blows. Here's the exterior sign, as seen from the Peoplemover. I LOVED this attraction, in all of its trippy, imaginative glory. The sign itself is a lesson in simplicity, with no playful hint of what was inside. Come on, at least an atom? Please?

United Air Lines was the sponsor of Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room from its debut in 1963 through 1976, when Dole took over. Even now, when I hear the name "United Air Lines" a part of my brain thinks of the Tiki Room. I'm sure that hand-carved wooden sign was, in fact, sturdy fiberglass, skillfully painted by the Disneyland sign makers.

Monday, August 19, 2013

More From the Autopia, December 1998

Today we're continuing our look at the old, pre-revamped Autopia, circa 1998.

Five Mark VII vehicles "race" around the beautifully manicured landscape of the Fantasyland Autopia. Nobody said a race has to be fast, right?

Barely a car to be seen here, but the Mark V Monorail sneaks in for a bit of photo-bombing. I wonder if those street lights were entirely custom-built for Disneyland, or if they were existing, small-ish versions that just happened to work on the scaled-down freeway?

Zooming in, we can see (or rather, can't see) some ghosts riding a Rocket Rod.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Skull Rock & Falls, August 1963

Wind, water, and aliens have shaped a natural stone feature into the amazing shape of a human skull! Zowie! The Imagineers did a pretty good job, but I think it would have been awesome to add some hilarious googly eyes. Also, why not cover it with orange "fun fur"? And the skull should have talked too; "People love to take pictures of me because of my chiseled good looks" or "I wish my brother Yorik was here", and "Somebody get this pigeon off of my zygomatic bone!". I have  big ideas, homies.

Here's an odd angle with one of the skull's waterfalls in the foreground, with that additional rocky outcropping near it.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Shriner Saturday

Well, OK, these might not really be Shriners, but they are some form of Masons... Elks, Owls, Odd Fellows, Moose, Knights of Columbus, Knights Templar, Knights of Pythias, Red Men, Woodmen... the list goes on and on. There is something fascinating about these strange fraternal organizations - some, like the Shriners, are well known for their charitable works (and driving around in little cars). Some say their secrecy hides all kinds of sinister shenanigans. That's a nut I'm not going to crack on this blog!

What we DO know is that these guys love a parade. Mystical "Oriental" costumes are generally favored. "Salami, salami, baloney". Resplendent seems to be an apt description! These costumes are much more comfortable than the furry animal costumes some of them wear at home. You can see that this photo was taken along Michigan Avenue at Abbott; in 2013, Abbott street doesn't really even intersect with Michigan Avenue anymore. There's newer construction all around, even a People Mover station. Who knew! Anyway, I love the old buildings and vintage signs (EAT GOOD FOOD) in the background. 

Here's a photo from October 1961, in an unknown town, though I am guessing it must be near York, Pennsylvania based on other photos in the bunch. Also, the banner in the foreground shows part of the word "Harrisburg"(the capital city of Pennsylvania). Maybe this was a Columbus Day parade - the perfect time to put on turbans and silk pants and slippers with curled toes.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

More Instamatics

As is the case with all of the Instamatic photos I have been sharing, today's examples are undated. They're still great pictures, but sometimes a date would be useful! For instance, in this first image we can see lots of neat stuff; I've always loved that lozenge-shaped Peoplemover sign. Mostly hidden behind it is the (lowered) Tomorrowland Stage; and you've got Skyway buckets (that appear to be empty), a beautiful 4-car red Monorail, and yes, pplmvr.

The next two shots appear to have been taken on a different day (who knows); over the edge of our Skyway bucket we look down on the Autopia and the Pplmvr (see what I did there?). The Pplmvr trains are sitting there, empty and still... the attraction hadn't opened yet, although it looks nearly ready.

The fact that the Pplmvr isn't up-and-running yet can help to date these to at least pre-July, 1967. Please write that down in your GDB journals, because it will be on the test. By the way... where is everybody? The park looks so empty. If this was May or June 2013, there would be thousands of people.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rainbow Ridge, October 1972

Welcome to the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge!

I have stayed in the El Dorado Hotel; the accommodations are first class. Friendly bedbugs, sheets washed twice a month, convenient outhouse, it has it all! Admittedly the wi-fi could be better.

Miner's Hardware? Hey, I'M a miner! I'll need some of those screw doohickeys, and one of those digging things, and maybe a large twisty thingamajig. On second thought, make it two thingamajigs. And some duct tape.

I hear they're gonna put in a new building here, for something called "roller disco". The sale of leg warmers and sparkly tank tops has gone through the roof! Grizzled miners love tank tops.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Walt Disney World, early 1970's

I recently found a large batch of slides from Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. They are undated, but there are a few clues (not visible in today's scans) indicating that these are pre-1974. There's nothing super exciting, but I always enjoy early views of the Florida park.

I love WDW's Main Street Station, it is big! Hopefully it hasn't been "juicing". One might expect the entrance to be crowded, but one would be mistaken. Perhaps everyone was in a hurry to get inside and start having fun.

Up near Cinderella's castle, a Horse-drawn Streetcar comes clip-clopping along. Are these identical to the ones at Disneyland? They sure look like it to me. My guess is that they have more fiberglass and less wood. Unlike Anaheim, Florida always has such great skies. Meanwhile, if you look to our left, you can see a tour guide (in blue) heading toward the castle. Quick, if we run after her, we might catch up!

Got her! I like the fact that the guide's outfit is different from the ones in California, although blue might not stand out in a crowd quite as nicely. The boy's striped shirts must have been purchased on a single shopping trip (Sears?).

I have lots more Magic Kingdom pix from this lot, coming up!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rivercraft, August 1996

Today's four photos are the last of a batch from 1996; I wish I had more, but all good things must end. My pal "Mr. X" took these, he was a big fan of Cascade Peak and the various craft that sailed the Rivers of America.

The old Keel Boats did not run on a track, and one of the highlights was when the skipper got super close to the waterfall of Cascade Peak.

The li'l Keel Boat survived to sail another day. Unfortunately they would close forever the following May.

This is an especially lovely shot with a nice view of the peak and its falls, and an Explorer Canoe rounding the bend.

And no pictures of the river would be complete without at least one more photo of the Mark Twain!

Many thanks to Mr. X; luckily for you and me, there will be more excellent pictures that he took, including the Magic Kingdom in 1971, and some amazing Disneyland pix from 1973. Stay tuned!