Saturday, May 31, 2014

Walt Disney World, November 1980

I don't often post Disney stuff on Saturday's anymore, but I don't have much else scanned and ready to go at the moment. So…..

...Let's head to Walt Disney World in icy, forbidding Orlando! Today's pix are from 1980, which means that we are looking at WDW as it was 122 years ago. 

Look at that ultramarine blue sky! Main Street Station appears to be so high-up and far away in this picture. Because, in those days, the speed of light was slower, which made things seem further away. I'd explain it, but it's pretty technical.

Oh MAN, what's with the crowds? We're always here on the busiest days. It must be a holiday or something, because the park has clearly reached maximum capacity. (Isn't this a pretty view?)

Of course Florida's Main Street is bigger (like everything else at the Magic Kingdom), but I am so used to Disneyland's that seeing that building in the distance (City Hall?)… three stories tall not counting the tower… it really looks massive. What kind of "small town" is this??

The Flower Mart looks very much like its counterpart in Anaheim. It really does seem like nobody was entirely sure what to do with the "Center Streets" (both East and West), since the Flower Marts and the short lived Art Market (Anaheim again) feel like space fillers. 

There will be more from this lot coming up!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Instamatics

Oh man, it seemed like these wonderful vintage Instamatics would last forever, but I see the number of unpublished examples getting smaller and smaller. Bummer! Still, I am so grateful to "Mr. X" for giving them to me, they have been amazing.

I especially love this wonderful late-afternoon (early evening?) photo of the Alice in Wonderland dark ride exterior. Giant Mary Blair leaves tower over the tiny people aboard their snooty caterpillar ride vehicle. The fellow in the back seat couldn't be more bored.

This one is a bit odd; I asked Mr. X if the lady in the red dress & chapeau was a relative, but he said she was an innocent bystander. And YES, I noticed that this one is flipped. Or flopped. The joys of scanning negatives. But I already added my watermark, so flopped it remains. Maybe I'll get around to fixing it. Maybe not!

City Hall is never backwards. Otherwise chaos would reign. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… you know. I like to sit on the porch and yell advice to the people passing by. "Neither a lender nor a borrower be!". "Remember the Maine!". Stuff like that.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Disneyland Entrance

It's time for some more GDB "greatest hits" (formerly known as "repeats")! Today we won't even get as far as the turnstiles, but that's OK, the photos are fun anyway.

Yay, the Disneyland sign, and there's the Matterhorn! I saw it first. This photo (circa 1961) wound up floating around the interwebs quite a bit, much to my surprise. The sign is so cheerful; I don't know what this "Disneyland" thing is, but let's go see what all the hubbub is about!

I've always loved this beautiful shot of the entrance and ticket booths, with the dramatic sky and brilliant winter sunshine (1957). "Look, Margaret, they have an exit sign and everything! The folks back home will never believe it. Better take a picture." 

Oh, and look at the posters! There are some real rarities. "Rocket to the Moon", Main Street Station, "Satellite View of America"… wowee-wow-wow.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A few from '62!

Say, howsabout this swell photo of the wonderful Tahitian Terrace, from October 1962! I think you'll agree that it's a pip. I lub lub lub the lettering on those wooden shields; artifacts like that probably wound up in some dumpster, which makes me weep. The Tahitian Terrace had opened in June, but looks like it is closed here. Maybe the picture is actually from before June? It can happen.

The benches were a popular attraction. See how much fun this lady is having? When Walt Disney provides benches, they are the benchiest benches ever. And all for one "A" ticket.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, August 1984

Hooray, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad has recently reopened at Disneyland after an extended (14 month) refurbishment. Our long national nightmare has ended! Today's photos are from 1984… 30 years ago! It's funny how I still think of Big Thunder as a relatively new attraction.

Somebody was having "fun with filters" in this first picture… it resembles an iris shot from a silent movie. "Meanwhile, back at the Big Thunder mine…".

Say, that's some pretty swell looking rock work they got there. The little town is still called Rainbow Ridge as a nod to the ride that preceded Big Thunder (I don't have to tell you what that was!). I need to search online and see if the buildings look any different, since my understanding is that many (if not all) of them were in bad shape and needed to be replaced.

The fella don't look like much, but he's the meanest cuss this side of the Rockies. He spits, bites, drinks, fights, gambles, and steals. And he's the town preacher!

Wheee! I can almost feel the g-forces and hear the delighted shrieks. It's nice to have you back, BTMRR!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Omnibus & Flower Mart, July 1963

I'm trying to figure out where our photographer was standing in this first shot; my guess is that he/she was on the little bridge leading to Adventureland. Maybe not. Anyway, it's a pretty photo looking toward the hub, with the little waterway that was part of the same system that included the moat, the Rivers of America, and the Jungle Cruise river. The Omnibus is full-up, and the House of the Future has photobombed the picture as well.

"You boys go ahead and ride your rides, I'm going to look at these fake flowers for 20 minutes!". My favorite detail is the little girl's permed hairdo. I've been thinking about changing my own hairstyle (apparently mullets are no longer cool), and I think that's the look I want. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Fort Wilderness, October 3 1956

Fort Wilderness was a welcome sight for weary travelers. Because they knew that, in spite of its crude construction, it had a soft-serve ice cream machine inside. As you all know, in the 1840's, "frontier ice cream" was mostly made of tallow, sassafras root, and adobe. So genuine soft-serve was quite the treat! Nobody had invented the chocolate-dipped cones just yet, hence the phrase  "roughing it". 

There was also a tiki bar in the officer's quarters, although they often ran out of pineapples and had to use spuds instead. This was one of the "hard facts" that Walt Disney referred to in his famous speech.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Steel Pier, Atlantic City - August 1960

Today I have a few photos from Atlantic City, New Jersey, over at the famous "Steel Pier". Built in 1898, the pier has been a destination for fun and recreation for millions of people. You could dance, watch world-class singers like Frank Sinatra or Al Jolson, see the "Miss America" pageant, and enjoy all manner of classic amusement park attractions. 

This first picture is neat, you really get a feel for the sheer size of the Steel Pier (though a fire in 1970 shortened it by 1/3). Nearby are rows of beach chairs for folks who have come from all over to enjoy a day at the shore. 

I like this guy's style! Wouldn't you love to be able to ride the "Spooks Shangri La Steelplechase"?? If it was even half as cool as I imagine, it would have been amazing. Just to the right of that ride is what appears to be a carbon-copy of the ride known as the "Astro Jets" at Disneyland. I wish the rockets were up so that we could get a look at them.

One of the more famous and popular acts seen on the pier was the high-diving horse. Somehow a horse was coaxed up a long ramp. At the end (waaaaay up high), the floor literally dropped from beneath the horse and it would plummet into a pool below. Maybe they got used to it? You can see that the horse in this photo is still streaming with water. Notice the spotlights for evening performances!

There were also death-defying aerialists. Just looking at this picture makes me dizzy. That guy doing the handstand - oh man. And the rocket presumably orbited the tower, with a pretty lady to act as a counterbalance.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Steel Pier!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Skyway & Rainbow Ridge

Here are two unrelated photos - unrelated other than the fact that they are both in the square "126" film format. Man, do I love this first picture (from June 1965)! It's SO nice with that orange Skyway bucket perfectly positioned. It looks like a publicity photo; the kind you might find in a souvenir guidebook. Those kids are soaking it all in; even the slightly out-of-focus background details below add to the depth and charm of the image.

From August 1964 comes this nice shot of Rainbow Ridge (taken from the back of a pack mule?). In fact it's practically the very end of civilization… once you passed these buildings you really entered Nature's Wonderland. Which I wish I could do!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Special Guest Photos!

Hooray, here's another day of Special Guest Photos! These are from the personal collection of Ken Martinez, and are from a trip to Walt Disney World that he took in March, 1982. He was kind enough to provide his own commentary on each photo, which made my job easy.

"Big Thunder Mountain Railroad; While I'm not a big fan of our (Disneyland) Big Thunder Mountain, I love the Magic Kingdom version. As a roller coaster it is a far more exciting ride experience".

"Cinderella Castle; What can I say about this shot. Not much. It was impressive, but I still like ours better".

"Fantasyland East; This is where 20,000 Leagues, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride and Mad Tea Party were located. Space Mountain is in the background. Notice how the Skyway in Tomorrowland area is in a different direction than the Skyway above Fantasyland. That's because of the turn-around in the middle of Grand Prix Raceway".

"Fantasyland West; This is where It's a Small World, Skyway chalet and Peter Pan's Flight is located. They actually tore down their Skyway chalet sometime last year".

"Grand Prix Raceway; This is so different than our Autopia and actually quite boring on the scenery. I like that you can see the Skyway in this view as well as the Contemporary Resort Hotel tower rising behind in the backdrop".

"Star Jets; This view is looking down the corridor from the bridge off the hub toward central Tomorrowland. Ahead is the WEDway PeopleMover loading platform and the Star Jets attraction on top of that. Notice the PeopleMover tracks go down the sides of the building instead of down the center corridor like they do at Disneyland. The building on the left contained the Mission to Mars attraction and the building on the right contained Monsanto's Circle Vision 360 theater".

"Tomorrowland; Space Mountain, WEDway PeopleMover, the Skyway, and the Grand Prix Raceway are all pictured here".

THANKS as always to Ken for sharing these great pix from Florida! He has more to share in upcoming posts, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Omnibus & Castle, March 13, 1958

Just when I think that I can't look at another old photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle, I find one like this. The castle does look great of course, but it's the combination of bright sunshiny foreground and dramatic dark clouds that really make the photo. Maleficent is coming! Plus it's nice to see the Surrey out front.

I've zoomed in - not so much to see the Surrey better, although that's a bonus - but if you look carefully, you can see a bit of construction just above the horse - the Alice in Wonderland dark ride was under way.

Hey Chuck, here's a closeup of that sign! It isn't entirely legible (to me, anyway)… "Plaza Gardens - closed for remodeling - (something) Reopening Easter Week - Dancing (something) Disneyland DATE NIGHTS". Maybe you can make out what those other words are?

Well, the clouds just keep on coming, now blocking the direct sun completely. It looks like the Streetcar tracks have had some work done, I wonder why. Here comes the Omnibus!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, 1956

Today we're focusing on the much-missed Fantasyland Pirate Ship. I loved it best when it was sponsored by Chicken of the Sea, largely because of their wonderful mermaid! She appeared on the stern of the ship and served as the fanciful figurehead, as seen here. It's also nice to see the ship with the red and white striped sails unfurled… many times they are either furled or missing altogether.

No, I didn't zoom in, this is actually a different photo. Although if you look at all three of today's pictures in rapid succession, it reminds me of cinematic editing. 

OK, now I zoomed in, for a better look at My Favorite Mermaid (how can that not be a 60's TV show?). She's waving a wand, which means she must possess magical powers. When Chicken of the Sea stopped sponsoring the restaurant in 1969, the mermaid swam home and Captain Hook took over.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Special Guest Photos!

It's time for another batch of photos, generously shared with us by Chuck Hansen. Do a blog search, he's contributed many pictures in the past!

As usual, I will let Chuck do the commentary: "The first slides are of the Haunted Mansion. I was really into architectural details at the time, and that explains why I didn't shoot any wide shots. Plus I was averse to including crowds in my pictures. I've always liked the cactus planters, giving the place an eerie, unfriendly air despite the pristine condition of the building".

"The second photo was intended to create an atmosphere of foreboding, but I think the foreground is a bit too dark".

"The last three are pretty standard pictures of Disneyland's Great White Fleet, although there are a few details that stood out on closer inspection. In img534 (below), you can see how the bridge across the POTC entryway really facilitates traffic flow when there are good-sized crowds. While I miss the old ground-level walk-up (mostly because we normally visited in the off-season), I think this was a really good upgrade, even if it pushed wheelchair access to the exit".

"You can see the Columbia's loading ramp/staircase in img537 (below) pushed off to the side. I never realized how non-ADA-compliant that thing is. Has that been modified to accommodate disabled guests?"

"In img538, you can see the size of the crowd embarking/disembarking from the Mark Twain. That ship can really hold a lot of guests, yet it rarely feels crowded aboard. Wish I could see what flags were flying in front of the passenger waiting terminal. In the background, you can see a train heading up a lift hill on Big Thunder".

MANY THANKS as always to Chuck for sharing his personal photos with all of here on GDB!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mark Twain, 1960

I have SO darn many photos of the Mark Twain! Sorry everybody, I know you must be getting sick of them. Today's aren't even especially nice. One of these days I'm just going to put all of my various scanned "Twain" pix in a single post. 

Well, I am more interested in the Plantation House in the distance, probably because I am in the mood for some fried chicken. Mmmm-mmm! The park looks crowded. 

I don't even know what to say about this one!!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Random America

Here are some random (and hopefully fun) vintage photos from around the U.S. of A!

Back in 1958, a chain of "Golden Point" restaurants was founded, the first one being in Highland Park, Indiana. According to one website, there were eventually at least 80 locations throughout the country. The distinctive A-frame buildings were topped with a 21-foot golden spire. Some of them seemed to be drive-ins, but this one (from August 1960 - location unknown) looks more like a walk-up, counter service restaurant. I love the orange and blue (World's Fair colors, or maybe Howard Johnson colors). There are no more Golden Point restaurants, but many of the buildings have been repurposed for a variety of other businesses.

Ah, Minnesota! I have a fondness for that state, having spent many summers fishing there with my grandparents. And when I was a little fella, we made the pilgrimage to Bemidji to worship the giant statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Just like these people are doing in this 1972 photo.

I wish I knew where this was but I am just going to say it's the USA. If there ever was a house that needed to be haunted, it is this Victorian example, up on its own little hill. The leafless (dead?) plants are a nice touch (though it is winter, to be fair). Norman Bates' mother would feel right at home. It definitely has an "Addams Family" vibe. Maybe there is a harpsichord or a spinet in the parlor. And a mournful child with a pet spider up in the tower. You don't even want to know what's in the cellar!

I hope you have enjoyed these vintage pix!

Friday, May 16, 2014

On the Way In, February 1965

Sometimes I will buy boxes of random slides, anywhere from a few hundred to well over 1000 slides per box. And weirdly, when there are pictures from Disneyland, there will occasionally be only one or two out of all of those vacation images. Maybe the others were picked out and sold before I got my hands on the box! Anyway, today's pair were all by themselves, but I think they are quite nice.

This kid is way better-dressed than I ever am when I go to Disneyland. The ticket taker is ex-KGB, and his instincts have kicked in - should he kill the photographer, or merely maim? I love everything about this picture, the posters, the yellow passenger cars for the Disneyland RR, the Mickey flower portrait, the turnstiles, the rose bushes, even the chain link fence!

Here's another wonderful shot of a couple posing with four friendly tour guides. I would love to interview a guide from this era - any one of them should have tons of great stories, don't you think? 

It's hard to tell, but they are holding stacks of gate handouts… but what kind?

Why, this kind! In honor of the park's 10th anniversary, the handouts had this great "Disneyland '65" artwork in blues and golds.