Saturday, November 30, 2013

Basement Party - the Sequel!

Some of you may recall when GDB visited a vintage basement party. Well, today is the sequel. 

These images are undated, but are probably from the early 1950's. A group of consenting adults have all gathered in a cozy finished basement for drinks, cigarettes, stimulating conversation, and some hot music! This was not ordinary basement, either - the varnished plywood walls are covered in awesome vintage pinup girls (possibly cut out from calendars, or issues of Esquire magazine). The ladies don't seem to mind.

This fun-loving trio had a raw sound that was a strong influence on later bands such as Nirvana. "Hey Frank, don't forget to bring your drum kit". Rose could play the piano so beautifully that you would weep.

Alright, there's the bar! You know how much I love to get drunk. This is like a scene from "Mad Men" only without John Hamm or Christina Hendricks. And really, would it be any better with them? 

Notice the pinup poster on the wall, from a painting called "No Milk Today", by Robert Skemp.

Here's a better look at the illustration. Heritage Auctions sold the original painting back in May, 2010 for over $11,000!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Vesey Walker & The Disneyland Band, March 1958

Here is a great pair of vintage photos of the Disneyland Band!

Vesey Walker conducts the band, which has stopped near the Red Wagon Inn to  entertain the bystanders. For some reason those sharp-looking blue band uniforms weren't used for very long (they usually are seen wearing red or white), but I really ilke them. 

And there they go, marching toward Main Street Station; maybe they were about to gather around the flag pole to play some patriotic classics (as opposed to the disco they usually played).

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Caterpillar vs. Elephants - November 1972

I always love a good photo of the Caterpillar vehicles from the Alice in Wonderland dark ride. Not to mention the giant leaves and those groovy light fixtures that look like a dandelion puff (or whatever). The picture was taken from an elevated vantage point… any idea how that was possible? The Monorail is one option, but this is crystal clear and doesn't seem to have been taken from a moving vehicle. 

 The Sacred Bathing Pool is full of elephants. Again. I used to think cockroaches were a problem, but elephants…. come on! 

Let's finish up with a whimper with this boring photo of a topiary heffalump acting more than a little heffalumpish. 

I would like to wish all GDB readers a very happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


It's time to clear out more scans that almost went to into the virtual trash can. 

This first shot, showing the Gullywhumper as it passes by, isn't too bad, but it was a very dark, grainy image that required more work than it was worth to get it to this point. 

Here's Castle Rock over on Tom Sawyer Island; the image is weirdly fuzzy and while it's colorful, it still isn't that great. What it really needs is a bunch of Yippies!

There are nice aspects to this third picture - the bobsled about to splash down into the glacial pond for example - but this is an odd composition otherwise… probably taken from a moving vehicle.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

More From the Seattle World's Fair

Here are more scans of some stereo slides from the 1962 "Century 21" Expo, also known as the Seattle World's Fair.

Here's a Sky Ride station, with the jolly orange Union 76 ball perched on top; did you know that this famous sign made its debut at the Seattle fair? I still think it is a brilliant piece of signage; I went to an art gallery where one of these orange balls was at ground level. It had to have been at least 8 feet in diameter. It was lit up, and people would actually walk up and hug it! 

In spite of China's enormous size and population, the Republic of China pavilion mostly concentrated on life in Taiwan, strangely. According to Bill Cotter's book about the fair, "… the focus… was on the modern industries the island government encouraged. Exhibits about textiles, furniture, ceramics, and other products were complimented by displays on life throughout the country"

Looking down the street called "American Way", we see the Bell Pavilion to our right, as well as the base of the ubiquitous Space Needle. To our left is the Hall of Industry.

Looking past the Republic of China building, we can see the NASA exhibit in the distance, which celebrated recent successes in the space program, and had models of concepts for future lunar modules and other wonders.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tomorrowland Snapshots

Here are two terrific vintage snapshots of Tomorrowland, probably from the late 1960's. 

Crowds are pretty heavy in this first shot, with the Carousel of Progress mostly out-of-frame to our right, and the entrance to the Autopia mostly out-of-frame to our left. The Skyway station is almost dead ahead, and of course the wonderful Peoplemover glides silently overhead. Because this is a photo and has no sound.

I'm not sure if this was taken on the same day as the previous image, but it is possible; just a pivot to the right and there's the Carousel of Progress again; loads of folks are waiting to get in, while others are emerging from the top level (where the amazing Progress City model could be seen); guests had to walk down that inclined ramp which afforded some nice elevated views.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dumbo and Teacups, 1957

Dumbo's Flying Elephants has been a popular attraction since it opened, resulting in surprisingly long lines on busy days. Waiting an hour to ride this humble spinner is out of the question for me, so I propose that they enlarge the diameter of the ride to half a mile, allowing the addition of 400 additional elephants. You're welcome, Disney! You can see the hinged ear that briefly allowed Dumbo to flap his ears.

Most of you have heard about Snow White's Scary Adventure, in which the rider was supposed to BE Snow White. Well, in the Mad Tea Party, the rider is supposed to be tea. So there.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fremont Street, September 1958

I know there are plenty of fans of vintage Las Vegas out there in GDB land; and why the heck not, Glitter Gulch was awesome back in 1958!

Here's a great shot looking up (or is it down?) Fremont Street, with Vegas Vic watching over all of the gamblers like a benevolent deity. The Silver Palace, The Mint, The Pioneer Club, The Golden Nugget, The Lucky Strike Club... I love those old casinos!

AND… it looks even better at night. If I had a choice of visiting Vegas in the 1950's, or maybe later on in the Rat Pack 1960's era, I would have a tough time deciding… but I think I'd choose the 1950's.

To whom it may concern: your old pal Major Pepperidge will be returning home tonight! I look forward to reading your comments and to the piles of money-filled envelopes that you have all been sending to my lair while I've been away.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Instamatics!

It's time for a few more old Instamatics! Courtesy of "Mr. X", who fights crime by night.

Ah, Tomorrowland in it's glory days, as seen from the Peoplemover track. The Peoplemover "ate" guests so fast that the blue train in front of us is practically empty. If only I could enjoy Adventure Thru Inner Space once more (I loved it best when it had all of  the Monsanto ads, weirdly!) and hey, why not take a spin on the Rocket Jets for a dizzying view of the land.

Walt's Imagineers certainly allowed plenty of room for massive crowds when they built "It's a Small World" - nowadays that can be seen for the good idea it was. In the photo, however, I am reminded of the early days of Bear Country, when there were wide, virtually-empty boulevards leading to a single attraction.

Look, Tomorrowland had a chocolate waterfall way before Willy Wonka ever dreamed of such a thing.

Only one more day of travel, I'll be home tomorrow night! Thanks for checking in, everybody.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Characters at Knott's - 1950's

Today I have a pair of nice vintage Knott's Berry Farm pix featuring a few of the characters that populated the Ghost Town (things look pretty lively for a ghost town, I'd say).

This one is my favorite, a man who resembles Buffalo Bill chats with a lady who has a stack of complimentary maps to hand out. Depending on what year these are from (they are undated, unfortunately), this fellow may have performed over at the Arena where horse riders performed feats of daring. As always, I love doing a bit of people-watching in these old photos. 

I'm not sure where this was taken, but I assume it was near an eatery of some sort. Two well-dressed ladies were loitering outside - their mere presence added elegance to whatever was going on. Of course, the real star of the picture is that guy's shirt! It appears to be a cartoony map, though whether it is of a real place or not, I couldn't say.

Hey homies, I'm still away from home and away from computers. Or as I like to call them, "Pooters". I'll be home soon!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

More Early WDW Pix

I have come to the realization that this group of early(ish) photos from Walt Disney World is kind of a dud. Not a total loss, but I've got better stuff to share. Time to start posting them in larger groups!

I do like old views of Florida's Autopia, with the vehicles painted to mimic race cars. I want one with flames, please. You might recognize the two boys in the blue car - or maybe you don't. In the distance you can see the part of the elaborate Skyway structure that allowed that attraction to dogleg to the left (or right if you're coming from the other direction) -  an unusual feature I didn't know about until recently, and didn't even know was possible with sky rides.

I've seen other pictures showing cast members waving checkered flags for the guests finishing their rides. 20 minutes of waving a flag vigorously will wear a person out.

"I wish those darn rides weren't in the way, how's a guy supposed to get a clear picture of those clouds?". Not the most dynamic composition in the world; still, there's a few Dumbii, Timothy the cruel whip master, and even the White Rabbit.

Was the Florida Dumbo ride called the "Fantasy Faire"? Isn't that name being used for something else now? Our girl in the yellow t-shirt can be seen in line along with her brothers.

Yo yo yo! Wherever I am, I am sure I am having a wonderful time! There are no Disney parks nearby, but that's OK. I'll talk to you all when I return.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fantasyland, October 1972

It's back to 1972 we go. Nixon's through in '72! Only he wasn't. Over in Fantasyland, we find my girlfriend (previously seen in a glamorous closeup)

Holy mackerel, look at those early 1970's fashions. Yeesh! I guess the dapper days of the 1950's were truly over.

Here's an oblique view of "It's a Small World" (as seen from the Monorail?); if you look closely you can see the red caboose from the Disneyland RR as it moves on toward Tomorrowland and then through the Grand Canyon Diorama.

NOTE: I am on day two of my six-day vacation, I look forward to reading and responding to your comments when I return!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Two From August, 1960

Not only do I know that this first photo was taken on August 13 1960, but the photographer also noted that it was taken at 1:45 PM. What use is that? NONE! I just like knowing it. Tom Sawyer Island is teeming with activity, from explorers already on the island, mighty fishermen, and a raft arriving (or maybe leaving).

Flower. Mart. Boring. Picture.

Editor's Note: starting today, I will be away from the blog for almost a whole week. Hopefully the withdrawal symptoms won't be too severe! Please keep tuning in, and I'll talk to you when I return.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Two From August 1982

I've got two leftover photos from a batch from August 1982 - an oddball match, but that's how it worked out! Here's a nice view of the Sub lagoon as seen from the Monorail station; it sure looks beautiful, gleaming in the bright sunshine. The subs come, and the subs go!

Walt Disney's father Elias worked a number of jobs throughout his life, one of them being a contractor. And that is how he is remembered in this window on Main Street (located above the Emporium). Nice!

Hey, faithful GDB readers…. I wanted to let you know that I will be going on a week-long trip starting tomorrow. It's going to be one of those trips where I will be avoiding computers and the internet as much as possible! Please keep checking in, as there will be new posts for you every day. I'm not going to be able to respond to your very-welcome comments until I return, but I look forward to reading and responding to all of it when I can. Thanks! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Day at the Beach

Summer is but a memory, but we can still enjoy some vintage photos of people having fun at the beach! Smear on some SPF-50 lotion and let's go.

I think it's safe to say that this first picture is from somewhere on the East Coast - where exactly, I can't say. I love the varying patterns and colors of the umbrellas! It is not difficult to imagine the sound of the waves, the smell of the salt water and seaweed, the cry of gulls, the hissing of nearby giant squid, and the warmth of the sand beneath one's feet.

Here's another undated photo, labeled "Dolly and Rod". Rod's shirt seems to feature some old military insignia, some marines in action, and even a duck that strongly resembles Donald. Let's go get an ice cream bar at the snack hut! Eat if fast, you don't want the ice cream to fall off the stick.

Now we're at the beach in Atlantic City, NJ (probably in the early 1950's). Speaking of ice cream bars, gramps and the kids are enjoying their sweet treats while mom and grandma resist temptation. Looks like the umbrella was a rental. Notice the sign just above mom's head featuring the grinning face of "Tillie" the mascot of Steeplechase Park (named after owner George Tilyou). The park opened in 1897, but closed forever in 1964; in its heyday it was " of the most influential amusement parks of all time". 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Indian Crafts - Indian Village

Today I am happy to share two unusual photos (from 1956 I believe)! Frontierland's Indian Village was an educational environment, with various authentic native structures, the dance circle, the canoe landing, and talented craftspeople from different tribes. "Educational" does not equal "boring"; many vintage photos show the area packed with guests... it was a very popular place. Here are two photos from the Village!

I love this neat picture of a woman spinning yarn from wool, probably in the same manner as had been done for hundreds of years, if not longer. Next to her is a loom on which she is weaving a blanket in typical patterns and colors. I can't even imagine the patience and skill it takes to create something like that.

Nearby, another Indian pauses while in the middle of creating a sand painting. Beside him are small bags with different natural colors of sand... his "palette", so to speak. Navajo medicine men were famed for this art form, and according to Wikipedia, the paintings are used for healing purposes. Genuine sand paintings are considered sacred, so examples created for public viewing were often made with purposeful errors and reversed colors.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Pirate Ship, 1958

This first photo shows the old Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship bathed in the warm glow of the nearest star. The Skyway almost looks like it could get tangled up in the rigging. It must have been a busy day, look at the line for "Casey Jr.". I love the early photos of the Skyway, where the buckets are painted in metallic bronze, gold, silver, copper, red, green, and blue.

Hmmm, I originally assumed that these two photos were taken on the same day (since they were in the same lot), but there are crucial, red and white-striped differences. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't notice this until I scanned the slides, but there ya go. 

Here's a closeup for TokyoMagic!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jungle Cruise Scenes, July 1963

I've seen a lot of pictures of the little thatched hut and its accompanying boat, once was visible from the loading dock (a version of it is still there), but I don't recall ever noticing that the little outrigger was so brightly decorated with colorful artwork. Pretty neat!

As an honorary gorilla, I feel a special fondness for the monkey idol seen here. I choose to believe that he is a benevolent deity - even if he is guarded by that big gnarly spider. Monkey was tired of people trying to steal his ruby belly button.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Autopia, May 1973

Any vintage images of the Autopia are welcome as far as I'm concerned... I never get tired of it. "Tired", get it? 'Cause cars have tires. Call me, John Lasseter; there's more where that gem came from. We've seen that little girl before, hanging out on Tom Sawyer Island. A red convertible is more her style, I can tell. 

When I rode the Autopia six weeks ago, a little girl in front of us kept taking her foot off the gas, coming to a complete stop a dozen times. Darn kids! I would have said something to her, but she looked kind of like a badass. So I glared instead. She got the message!