Monday, November 30, 2015

Classic GDB - Main Street Station

Today I am re-sharing two lovely photos of Main Street Station - both from 1957, and both featuring a nice look at the amazing attraction posters that line the fence near the Mickey floral portrait. 

This first one was originally posted in March, 2009 and was hand-dated "January 5, 1957".  There's the E.P. Ripley,  under a beautiful sky with the yellow passenger cars (or at least the Combine); those things might have been slow to load and unload, and they didn't provide the best seating for optimal vistas, but they are still my favorites just to look at. 

Posters, posters! "Space Station X-1", "Rocket to the Moon", "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", the rare "Tri-level" Frontierland poster... wowee. 

This next one was posted in August of 2009, and once again we see the E.P. Ripley, this time accompanied by his li'l buddy, the Kalamazoo hand car! The color in this one is especially fantastic. Everything looks so crisp and neat. And there's an über rare "Art Corner" poster (I've only seen one with my own eyes), a "Main Street Station" with its unusual lilac background color, "Storybook Land" (one of the most iconic posters, imho), and the "Astro Jets". So awesome!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Frontierland Shore, August 1963

For those of you who thought that last Sunday's Jungle Cruise pix were lame, you ain't seen nothin' yet! The same lot yielded these uglies from the shores of Frontierland. You have been warned.

I guess those are deer. Who knows. You can barely see them. I wish they were monkeys. Why can't I have monkeys in Frontierland? Disco monkeys, especially.

This one is kind of fuzzy, but I was surprised to see the Indian "sentinels" still standing on the hillside behind Chief Wavy. For some reason I thought that they had been removed by 1963. So that's something.

I admit that I like this moose. What's not to like? He is dignified, but not snooty. And he is open to new kinds of music. He likes everything from Sinatra to Skrillex. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano is a historical landmark dating from the days when the Spanish settled much of California. Capistrano is the seventh of the 21 famous California missions, and was founded in 1776.

It is largely in ruins thanks to earthquakes and neglect, although the oldest building still in use - "Serra's Chapel", built in 1782 - still stands. Capistrano has been a popular destination for tourists for decades. I think my only visit was for a school field trip! Here are some vintage images, undated, but surely from the 1950's.

Some of you may have been to the mission in recent years, and it sure doesn't look like this anymore. By now development has encroached, and those trees are mostly gone. I love the presence of a liquor store just yards from the picturesque entrance to the grounds!

Even this little entry arch has changed since these photos were taken... presumably the old one was damaged in yet another earthquake, possibly the 1971 San Fernando quake (which I still remember vividly!).

Father Junipero Serra is a familiar name to California schoolchildren; he was the Franciscan friar & priest who helped found the first nine California missions. Surprisingly, the chapel in San Juan Capistrano is the only extant structure in which it is known that Father Serra celebrated mass.

This last photo is my favorite! The central fountain is certainly picturesque, and is surrounded by lots of ladies (and one boy, as far as I can tell). These white doves are always in evidence, though Capistrano is most famous for the annual return of migratory swallows that have flown 6000 miles (from Argentina). St. Joseph's day (March 19th) is listed as the day the "miracle of the swallows" occurs. 

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to San Juan Capistrano!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Two Beauties from March, 1958

Here are the last two scans from a bunch of slides taken on March 13, 1958. All good things must come to an end, darn it. I'm not crying, I just got something in my eye. 

Say, what's that speedy little train doing here? Why it's the Fantasyland Viewliner (in Tomorrowland)! The icy-blue version seems to have been used (or at least photographed) less often than its salmon-colored sibling. Just visible through that spindly tree is the bridge that crossed Tomorrowland Lake... I'll bet that was fun to cross. I am puzzled by that curb in front of us, seemingly placed there just to trip over.

I love this nice clear shot of one of Frontierland's rarely-photographed critters, a wild stallion that looks like he is surveying his domain, making sure that all is right and good. I've always jokingly called him "Stormy", and that name seems especially apt as he stands beneath that moody sky.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Vintage Postcards - Six Flags Over Texas, Part II

It's time for another installment of vintage postcards from GDB pal Ken Martinez! Today we'll be "visiting" Six Flags Over Texas for a "part two". Here's Ken:

Six Flags Over Texas - Spain

In an earlier post I featured the Mexican section of Six Flags Over Texas in its early years. Today's postcards feature the Spanish section which represents the time when Texas was part of the Spanish empire. The area was quite small and opened with only one attraction. It was one of six themed areas representing Texas history with the other sections being Mexico, France, the Confederacy, Texas, and the United States.

An original attraction at Six Flags Over Texas, the Burro Ride only lasted two seasons. During its existence it was the only attraction for the Spanish section when the park opened. The attraction was removed to make way for the world's first log flume ride.

During the journey on the Burro Ride, guests were guided by a host dressed as a Spanish Conquistador through Palo Duro Canyon. The entrance to the attraction was a replica of the ruins of Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, the first Spanish mission of Texas.

Casa Magnetica opened in 1962, during the park's second season. It was similar to Knott's Haunted Schack and the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, but with a Spanish theme. This part of the house is known as Don Juan's Dining Room where illusions of gravity were demonstrated.

"El Aserradero" (the saw mill) was the name of the first log flume ride in the world. To most guests it is simply referred to as the log ride. Built by Arrow Development and introduced at Six Flags Over Texas in 1963, it became so popular that a second flume was added in 1968. As with Disneyland, Arrow played a big role in developing rides for the park in its early years.

Here we have riders plunging down the drop of the world's first log ride. Since then flume rides have become a staple in the amusement park industry.

Well, that was the Spanish section back in the early days of America's first successful non-Disney theme park. Today, Six Flags Over Texas has changed much and the only attraction left from the early days of the Spanish section is the log ride. Hope you enjoyed another visit to Six Flags Over Texas of yesteryear. More to come!

Information source material:
The Great American Amusement Park, copyright 1976 by Gary Kyriazi
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
The History of Six Flags Over Texas -

THANK YOU, Ken Martinez! I look forward to more installments from Six Flags Over Texas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Vintage Viewmaster Scans - The Plaza Inn

Here are some more scans from vintage Viewmaster reels; today I decided to feature the Red Wagon Inn/Plaza Inn.

This first one is the earliest, when the place was still the Red Wagon Inn. Notice the weather vane - I never have before! I wonder if it is in somebody's collection. They might not even know that it is from Disneyland. Anyway, the landings and architecture are very harmonious and lovely, like something from a movie.

On July 15, 1965, the restaurant became the Plaza Inn, though it was much more than just a name change. It looked pretty much the same on the outside, but the weather vane has been changed to a rooster. I don't covet that one so much because I was frightened by chickens as a child. Those beady little eyes!

I've seen other photos that show pretty ladies (usually in yellow dresses) out front, greeting guests. Which is unusual... did any other restaurant have anything like that? Those little girls are hoping that she has matches so they can enjoy their Marlboro cigarettes (unfiltered).

NOTE: Hey! I will be out of town starting today,  and as usual I won't have much access to a computer. Sure, I'll have my iPad along, but have you ever tried to do much typing on an iPad? It's no fun! Time to buy a Bluetooth keyboard.

Anyway, I'll be gone until Sunday evening, but there will be new posts every day, so keep on checking in. Have a great holiday weekend, everybody!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Country Bear Jamboree at Night - November 1971

Yes, it's time for more of those awesome night photos from the Magic Kingdom, taken by Mr. X during the park's first Thanksgiving season (when WDW was only a month old). 

I have two images featuring the exterior of the Country Bear Jamboree, which was an opening-day attraction, and is still going strong today. As you can see, it was presented by Pepsi & Frito-Lay (Hey Klondike!). I can think of no better meal than a giant bag of Fritos and a liter of Pepsi.  

I thought I'd zoom in to try to see the interior a little better, but the results weren't great.  All I can really make out is what appears to be paintings of pastoral scenes. Tex is wondering about all the hubbub, while the lady behind him is wondering about Tex. Yep, he's single! Go for it, Ella.

Here's a second shot. I have never personally been a big fan of the CBJ, though I acknowledge that it is beloved by many. And hey, Marc Davis was a genius, so I am probably in the wrong!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Two Instamatics

Oh man, the supply of these awesome vintage Kodak Instamatic photos is getting low! After over 200 images, we are down to the last 20 or so.

Here's a lovely shot of the happiest clock in the world, caught by "Mr. X" as the parade of mechanical children from all over the globe march past the familiar tick-tock face. This one was previously a reject due to many small abrasions, but the new scanner did a nice job of cleaning it up!

Meanwhile, on a somewhat gloomy winter day, we spy a Horse-drawn Streetcar passing through Town Square, clippety-clop. I can't think of much to say about this one, except that I like it.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Beautiful Disneyland, August 1962

Ooops, at the last minute I realized that I didn't have a post ready for today. Rather than post the usual near-rejects and leftuggies, I went into my folder of scans featuring images that, for some unknown reason, I skipped when I was scanning the rest of the lot years ago.

Walt Disney wanted his park to be a beautiful place; things were a bit rough in the first few years, but by 1962, much of the landscaping had had time to flourish. In this first photo, this lady has not even stepped inside the gates yet, but there are zillions of zinnias and roses to soften that prison-like chain link fence. Dad thought it would be the perfect backdrop for a portrait of his lovely wife. (I realize that the pink flowers are probably not be zinnias, but I liked the alliteration. So sue me!). 

In the background, Kal Kan's Ken-L-Land.

Meanwhile, how about this lovely scene? I could be wrong, but I think this might be the pond and landscaping near the Monsanto House of the Future. Is that the striped awning of the Carnation Plaza Gardens in the distance?

Man-oh-man, I love water features. Fountains, waterfalls, ponds... they all add so much beauty and serenity somehow. Imagine living in your ultra-futuristic home with this view from your front step!

Well whaddaya know, after I wrote this post I found the old scan of the second photo (from 2008). The rescan is better!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Los Angeles, March 1961

Here are two 1961 photos featuring some iconic Los Angeles buildings. Hooray!

First up is the picture of the Los Angeles Central Library building as seen from South Hope Street. This lovely structure is the third-largest public library in the nation. It was built in 1926, and designed by Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue (now that's a name) borrowing elements from ancient Egyptian and  "Mediterranean Revival"  motifs. According to Wikipedia, the library (which has been expanded over the years) now has nearly 89 miles of shelves. ZOIKS! 

To the right you can see the sign for the "Church of the Open Door", which is described as non-denominational, but Evangelical. Locals are probably most familiar with its large "Jesus Saves" sign (now atop the nearby Ace Hotel). The church relocated to Glendora in 1985; in 1987, the building seen in this photo was damaged in the Whittier Narrows earthquake, and subsequently razed.

This next photo shows the wonderful Richfield Tower, which was the headquarters for Richfield Oil, naturally. They sponsored stuff at Disneyland! Like the Autopias, don'tcha know. The Tower was built in 1928/29 and was notable for its striking black and gold Art Deco façade. There were rows of terra cotta angels encircling the top. 

Richfield outgrew these headquarters, the building was destroyed in 1969, in spite of the efforts of local preservationists. Such a shame!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Frontierland Riverfront, plus Bold Lochinvar, September 1964

Today I am posting what I believe is a little "undiscovered treasure"... a slide that I seem to have skipped for some reason, even though I scanned others in the same lot years ago. 

I love this beautiful view of the riverfront area, with Aunt Jemima's Pancake House in the background. Even though there is nothing obviously amazing, the image is so pleasant and colorful in a way, looking like a place that I want to be. In the upper right we can see just a bit of the Swiss Family Treehouse, with a couple of guests starting up the stairs.

You know me, I enjoy my vintage people-watching! 

More nosiness. That lady has let go of her stroller! We're all going to die!

Here's another one that I skipped, because it was so dark. The new scanner and software enabled me to salvage it, which (in my opinion) was worth the effort because the Storybook Land Canal Boat is the "Bold Lochinvar". 

"Lochinvar" is a poem written in 1808 by Sir Walter Scott, and it tells the story of a brave Scottish lord who arrives at a wedding just as his beloved, the Fair Ellen, is about to marry an unworthy suitor (Ellen's father refused to let Lochinvar marry his daughter for some reason). He danced Fair Ellen over to the door, swept her onto his horse, and off they went. Men in the wedding party gave chase, but could not keep up with Bold Lochinvar.

I wonder if this tale was well known to every school boy and girl 100 years ago? My grandmother had books of the works of Sir Walter Scott, and I'll wager that many of the Imagineers remembered this thrilling verse from their younger days.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

1964 New York World's Fair - Eastman Kodak Pavilion

Today I have some wonderful nighttime photos of the Eastman Kodak pavilion from the 1964 New York World's Fair. 

First up is this picture of the famous 80 foot-tall "Picture Tower" (resembling a giant flash cube - except that this had five sides);  the photos were 30 feet high and 35 feet wide, and were not backlit, as one might think. Instead, they were prints (changed every 4 weeks) lit with powerful xenon lamps. So powerful that this photo of a Native American is blown out (and this is after some Photoshop help). Still, the overall colors in this early-evening image are warm and lovely.

Overhead is the "moondeck", where guests could stroll along undulating pathways for some striking views of the Fair. Beneath a circular hole is a fountain, with "rain" falling from the deck above into the pool in front of us. In the pool were seven metal-rod "dandelions", designed by sculptor Harry Bertoia. 

In 2013 a single 75-inch tall dandelion sold at auction for $152,500, while others have gone for over $500,000. Wow! They do look great... modern, abstract yet organic, light and airy, and playful.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Complimentary Santa Fe RR Tickets

Today I thought I'd share a few complimentary tickets from the Santa Fe company - sponsors of the Disneyland Railroad! I wish I had info as to how anyone might have received one of these tickets; perhaps they were given out as an occasional promotion or bonus "goodie" to cross-country travelers headed to Los Angeles. Notice that these are all "child" tickets - maybe these were the train equivalent of the "junior pilot" pins that kids used to get on airplanes. This ticket would get you in the gate, but after that you were on your own. I recommend a "Big 15" book!

This first one is from 1959, in a dignified gray that would match my flannel suit. This was from the days when Disneyland was "Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom", and Walt Disney World was just a twinkle in Walt's eyes. Notice the very low serial number, which appeals to collectors for some reason.

Pffft, serial # 000030? How about #000014? I win! This ticket is a nice orange-sherbet color (and flavor!). Like the other tickets, this one is unused, but that ragged upper edge drives me koo-koo bananas. I do love the pen-and-ink renderings of the modern diesel locomotive contrasted with the steam loco (the E.P. Ripley?) beneath it.

This next one doesn't even have a serial number! It's a lovely orange juice and grenadine hue, and was good until the end of 1968 because in 1969 everyone magically turned into hippies!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Pair From August, 1970

Here are two nice pix from 1970, starting with this shot of the Disneyland Hotel as seen from the far reaches of the Disneyland parking lot. To the left is the Sierra Tower, originally built in 1962 (and no longer saying "Hotel Disneyland" since its expansion in 1966), while the Marina Tower is to our right (construction was completed earlier in 1970). You can just see the yellow Monorail through the oleanders.

Next is this nice view, taken from the Tomorrowland Monorail station. I love the beautiful turquoise lagoon, along with the original "nuclear" gray subs - and the Peoplemover of course. I always like this angle because it shows that little pool just above the tunnel and waterfall - doesn't it make you want to swim there?

Monday, November 16, 2015

Beautiful Tomorrowland, August 1964

Here is an orphan slide from August, 1964. Say, look at that wonderful view of Tomorrowland! My favorite. There's plenty of concrete, but the Imagineers have made the land look more inviting with little islands of landscaping. "Bird of paradise" plants looked suitably Venusian for a land where space travel is a regular thing.

It's a hazy day, and that haze gives everything a distant, soft blue tone. Small splashes of yellow and bright red or orange keep things from getting too monochromatic. The area with the benches (to the right, located under those strange umbrella-like shades)  resembles some sort of airport (spaceport). What time does our flying saucer leave?

I wanted to zoom in on the Hat Bar... you can see stacks of those hats with the ostrich feathers. Fun fact: Steven Spielberg originally wanted Indiana Jones to wear one of those. Unfortunately, aerodynamic considerations forced him to change it to a fedora, but we can still dream, can't we?

I see cutouts of Mickey's face, presumably that was where the mouse ears were stacked. To the right are postcard racks - the most prominent one holds those foldout "portfolios" of cards. You can get one for each land, or just get one that covers the whole park. Or buy one of each, if you want to be cool like me.

Love that Tom Sawyer Island poster too.

And just because, here's a final crop showing the magnificent Douglas Moonliner!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


You know the drill... Sunday is the day I generally share scans of slides that are not ready for the big leagues (and never will be).

This one is a heartbreaker, because it would have been an exceptional shot, IF it wasn't horribly damaged (by moisture or mold or poltergeists). Maybe it is "Saint Elmo's Fire" (an electrical phenomenon that was considered to be a good omen by sailors)? 

In spite of the damage, it's still kind of a neat shot of the Skyway, and especially of Snow Hill during the brief time that people were encouraged to climb that big pile of dirt - which is all it was, let's face it. 

This next one is from 1956, and had faded to a reddish purple, and had a large scratch in the emulsion (up there by the observation tower). Again, this is a shame, because it is a pretty nice photograph, otherwise. 

Which palm is the Domiguez Palm? Is it the one about 1/3 from the left edge?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Palm Springs

One of my boxes of slides has a nice little batch of vintage views from sunny Palm Springs, California. Roughly 100 miles east of Los Angeles, Palm Springs has been a popular destination for rest and relaxation for decades. Sonny Bono used to be the mayor (in the 1980's), and if that isn't a cause for celebration, I don't know what is.  Plus there are more golf courses than you can shake a stick at, whatever that means. The dry heat of the desert is beneficial to people with certain maladies, and there are a number of spas that take advantage of natural hot springs in the area.

This first photo shows the distinctive mid-century colonnade of the Palm Springs Spa; the spa was designed by William Cody, Donald Wexler, Richard Harrison, and Phillip Koenig and was built in 1959. For decades it was a trendy  place for out-of-town visitors, but in recent years it was showing its age, and the number of visitors had declined. There were rumors that the structure was in danger of being demolished, but local preservationists had hoped to save at least part of it.

On September 3, 2014, the building was unexpectedly razed, to the surprise of many.  

This next photo is from 1954, showing  the pool area of some unidentified hotel. There is something so classically 50's about this great photo, I find it very appealing! The blue skies, palm tree, nearby mountains, and that gleaming, glowing turquoise pool look like a vintage postcard.

I need to scan more of my vintage Palm Springs photos! There are some nice ones showing the shops in the downtown area.

Friday, November 13, 2015

View From an Airplane, July 9, 1979

A few months ago I bought a series of color negatives (eleven of them) from July 9th, 1979.  The photographs were taken by a fellow who flew his small plane around Disneyland and the Disneyland Hotel; they were all snapped within the space of a few minutes, so they are variations of the same scene (in other words, they get a little bit repetitive). The photographer's attention was primarily focused on the hotel, though the park appears in the background in two or three photos.

The negatives were affixed to paper using some sort of adhesive, which resulted in discoloration that required a lot of Photoshop work (more than you might think), and they still look blotchy and weird. But... aerial photos are still fun, so I hope you enjoy these.

Well, there it is, visible through the nasty summer smog... Disneyland! And the Disneyland Hotel, of course. Look at the size of that parking lot! It's nearly twice the area of the amusement park. Housing tracts, small industrial parks, hotels, motels, and some empty parcels of land make up this chunk of Anaheim. The turquoise pool of the hotel stands out in this grungy image.

Since we will get plenty of better views of the hotel, I decided to zoom in on Disneyland itself. I wish the photo was sharper, but there's no point in crying about it (though I am thinking about taking another crack at scanning it again; I've been busy, so it will have to wait). We can see HoJo's, and the Global Van Lines headquarters, and all of the obvious landmarks inside the park that you don't need me to point out.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is mostly a russet blob, but I wanted to point out that the attraction would not open until about two months after this photo was taken. The park has changed a lot in the intervening years, with some major changes to come starting in January.

Stay tuned for more from this series, coming up!