Thursday, June 30, 2016
It's time for more of Ken Martinez's collection of vintage postcards - it's back to Kennywood we go! Here's Ken:
More Kennywood Park
It's time for another visit to what's considered to be one of the best, if not the best traditional amusement parks in the United States.
For me, one of the big pluses at an amusement park is water and water attractions. Here the Kennywood Lagoon fills the bill, where you can rent a row boat and leisurely enjoy a trip out onto the lagoon waters. Nowadays you can take a human-powered paddle boat out into the lagoon for an extra fee. So really that hasn't changed that much in all those years.
Now known as the "Olde Kennywood Railroad", this miniature train ride still uses the original locomotives with gasoline-powered engines from when the ride was installed in 1945. The locomotives were from the 1939 New York World's Fair. The passenger cars have changed though. I like all the various little gardens in the park.
Here's another example of the beautiful gardens and trees that are all around Kennywood Park. It's a beautiful setting. That must be a wishing well.
Kenny Kangaroo has been the park's mascot since 1974 and just like Mickey Mouse he has four-fingered hands. Apparently he has been joined by Garfield and Odie recently as costumed characters roaming the park.
The "Merry-go-round", now a National Historic Landmark is considered to be and is often referred to as the "soul" of Kennywood Park. The carousel was built in 1927 by William Dentzel at a cost of $25,000 [note from Major Pepperidge... that's about $350,000 is 2016 dollars!]. Originally built for the 1926 Philadelphia Sesquicentennial, it was not completed on time and so it was bought by Kennywood. According to the Kennywood website it consists of four rows and has 72 animals in all (twenty stationary, fifty jumpers, one lion, one tiger and four chariots).
Added in 1966, the Turnpike operated at Kennywood until 2009 when it was removed for the Skyrocket steel coaster. There is talk of bringing back the Turnpike to another area of the park. Here we have modern gas-powered cars, but in 1987 the cars were switched out for electric antique style autos.
I hope you've enjoyed your vintage visit to beautiful Kennywood Park.
Information Source material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
THANK YOU Ken, for another excellent article!
Wednesday, June 29, 2016
It's time to rescan some oldies that, in retrospect, don't look so hot anymore. Like this first slide from July, 1963; it's a view taken from the Monorail as it passed through a corner of Disneyland's massive parking lot. As is often the case in these old scans, the darks went very black, while the rest was grainy and orange-ish.
Ah, that's better! I believe that the street running through the lower third of the photo was called West Street in those days - now it's Disneyland Drive (it was renamed sometime around 1998 or 1999). I love the view of the old Disneyland Hotel.
Back in 2006 I published this grainy photo of the early Tomorrowland - it's undated, but probably 1956.
The rescan gets rid of more of the magenta that plagued this slide, and it looks sharper and better in every way. Notice the bright red trash cans (hard to miss!); to our right is the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry, though the sign on the façade hasn't been installed yet.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Here are two more nice photos from The Magic Kingdom, taken during the Thanksgiving holiday break in 1971!
"Mr. X" was quite taken with the Florida version of the Autopia, aka the "Grand Prix Raceway", and it is easy to see why. This first photo shows a portion of the wide open spaces available in Orlando, with the sporty little race cars winding their way along 4 lanes through a green countryside.
To be honest it looks a little flat when compared to the criss-crossing tracks of Disneyland's Tomorrowland, where the Autopia shared space with the Monorail, Peoplemover, and (to a lesser degree) the Motor Boats and Submarines. That's the perfect example of the Imagineers turning the dearth of Anaheim real estate into an asset. But... come on, the Grand Prix Raceway is still pretty awesome. Check out the flame job on that red number in the lower right corner!
This is the only photo from the entire lot that really shows a long line... hundreds of folks are queueing up. There are plenty of extra vehicles sitting in the area closest to us, I wonder why they weren't being put into action on this busy day?
Monday, June 27, 2016
Well well well, it looks like we got ourselves an artiste in our midst! Probably went to some fancy college. Instead of taking photos with the horizon on the level, he's decided on some Dutch angles to leave us feeling disoriented. Like the 1966 Batman TV show.
I think that this one was taken from a window of one of the Monorails as it paralleled (and passed) the C.K. Holliday. I've got to admit that its kind of a neat view, including a bit of the Autopia. The train is practically running through a gully, which is kind of odd. Notice the castmember in the upper left, it appears as if he is trying to start a stalled Autopia car? It happened to me on more than one occasion.
Not too far from the first photo is this crazy view of the Matterhorn. I really wonder if the angle was an artistic choice? I've always loved the colors used on the buckets at this period, with the metallic blues, silvers, golds, and so on.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Disneyland's Carrousel is on the short list of attractions that have been at the park since opening day. It's a beauty, and even as an adult I sometimes like to take a spin.
I have a trio of photos taken in early 1963 - so far this ride is strictly for the 5 and under set. OK, maybe that boy to our left is 7. I am going to be very tiresome (what else is new) and point out that this is from the days when the horses were painted in a variety of colors. which I like. Ultimately the ride is fun no matter what color your horse is, though!
"Let's get this show on the road! What are we waiting for? I guess I'll swing my legs impatiently and murmur some curse words under my breath so that Mom won't hear. I learned a good one from Dad yesterday when he was working on his car".
"Wave at the camera, Susan... we'll send a print to your grandparents!". Susie has been programmed to obey and does so dutifully. Oh, those childhood haircuts; Mom probably did it herself.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Today's photos are somewhat random, but they're still fun views taken around America.
This first one is undated and unlabeled, but it shows a beautiful Chris Craft motor boat as the Cap'n "guns it" on a glassy-smooth lake. Chris Craft was famous for their high-end, high quality powerboats, often made of fine mahogany and teak. Celebrities such as Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra were fans of the boats.
Next is this photo of the "famous" One-Log House in California. In 1938 this house was hewn from the trunk of a 2100 year-old redwood tree; it is about 32 feet long, with a full kitchen, bedroom, and living room. You can find photos of the interior online, and it looks very much like a cozy camper. This house has moved around (notice that it is on wheels), and it can currently be seen in Garberville. Admission used to be free, but now you have to part with a dollar to go inside!
Friday, June 24, 2016
When I can, I like to try to post something a little better than usual on Fridays. I'm not sure if today's offerings qualify, but they're still pretty nice.
I love this view of Fantasyland, circa 1962. The vivid colors really pop! That blue sky, those reds, those yellows. There is nothing like a clear sunny day at Disneyland. Even the hues of the Skyway buckets are very pleasing.
How about those crowds? It looks pretty busy. The tented snack bar is doing gangbusters. Whatever that means. I am somewhat surprised that not a single souvenir hat is visible! How can this be? How could they resist the giant ostrich feathers, the mouse ears, the Civil War kepis, the Tyrolean hats?
It's hard to miss the bright yellow Monorail passing in the background....
Meanwhile, things don't change much over at Skull Rock and the Pirate Ship lagoon. Until 1982, that is. Somehow this feature still looks kind of new (with the plants and palm trees still appearing a bit scraggly), even though it debuted in 1960. As I've said over and over, I miss this lovely feature a lot.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
Today, Ken Martinez continues sharing his collection of vintage amusement park postcards - this time the park is more familiar to many SoCal residents. Here's Ken:
Knott's Berry Farm
I was hesitant to do postcards of Knott's Berry Farm since many blogs have covered the park and its attractions already. Still I have a bit of Knott's stuff so I'll share some of it with you. If there's interest in these cards, I may post more. Knott's has always been one of my favorite parks as there's a certain charm and funkiness that seems to be rare in the modern theme park era.
I'm a big fan of the old RPPC postcards of Knott's Berry Farm. Here we have a view looking down one of Ghost Town's streets. I love the clothing style of the visitors walking around. Notice the label "Knott's Berry Place". [Note from Major Pepperidge... I believe that the name places this card at or before 1946].
Here's another RPPC postcard showing the Calico Saloon. I like these photos because they show this major tourist attraction and its patrons well before Disneyland arrived on the scene.
I also like the artist postcards that were done for Knott's and this one's my favorite. The drawing of the hangman's tree sort of puts the ghost in Ghost Town. [Major P. again; notice that this artwork was by Paul Van Klieben, who was instrumental in designing the look and feel of the early Berry Farm].
Of course I had to include a postcard of the beginning of Knott's Berry Farm with Walter and Cordelia Knott posting next to their original berry stand. Does anyone know if the berry stand that is still at Knott's is a repro or not?
Here's an exterior shot of Mrs. Knott's famous Chicken Dinner Restaurant. One of the things I loved about the chicken dinner was the sides that were included in the dinner like the cherry rhubarb, the biscuits in clusters and the cabbage salad. I read recently that they are remodeling the restaurant. I sure hope they don't modernize the dining rooms too much. I love the older look for the restaurant and hope they keep a little of the patina intact.
Here's an interesting postcard of a garden area at the Farm. I'm not sure where this garden was located and if it still exists today. Maybe our resident Knott's expert TokyoMagic! would know.
I hope you have enjoyed these postcards and I'll definitely share more if readers are interested in Knott's Berry Farm.
Information Source Material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
What can I say, I love Knott's! It has an atmosphere and a history that is unique, and so different from Disneyland in the way that it sprung up organically, as a response to the immense success of the chicken restaurant. I look forward to more from this classic SoCal park!
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Good old Main Street U.S.A... of all the "lands", it is the one that feels the least-changed since the 1950's (even though, yes, it has definitely had its share of changes).
Both of todays photos are from 1958; let's start with this unusual angle looking toward the Opera House (long before Mr. Lincoln moved in) and the Bank of America, with the Wurlitzer shop to our left. I know that they had organs and pianos on sale, but I wonder if you could have (theoretically) purchased one of those beautiful jukeboxes that Wurlitzer produced.
The park looks as neat as a pin, as usual. Notice the prominent fire hydrant, with a little drinking fountain just to the right of it.
Now we're up at the hub (or Plaza) looking toward Main Street Station. Ya gots yer Coke Corner to our right, with a lamppost sign for the then-new Alice in Wonderland attraction. The Chemical Wagon is heading south, while a distant Streetcar heads toward us.
Just for fun, I decided to zoom in a bit. More for the people than the buildings!
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Today's photos are "leftuggies" - scans left over from other past lots, that somehow didn't get posted before.
This first one (from 1966) is kind of interesting taken along a walkway leading to the front gates - eventually! Darn, that is a long walk. Couldn't they have waited for a tram somewhere?
Even this far out, flowering shrubs have been planted (deadly oleander!) to soften the appearance of the parking lot and those huge electrical towers. From this great distance, only the Matterhorn, the Douglas Moonliner, and the Monorail tracks are visible.
Next we are aboard the Skyway in 1969, heading toward Tomorrowland. Those tunnels were carved by years of alpine winds and water, along with an abominable snowman or two. Notice the little conifers, placed in built-in planters up to the snow line.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Initially I didn't think that this first photo was anything special, but then I noticed that Cascade Peak is still under construction in the background, so that's pretty cool! In addition, this is one of those times when the Columbia was moored on Tom Sawyer Island. I think this happened at least one other time (in 1963).
This next one is not a good photo, but it is a bit interesting because it is such a low-level view of the burning settler's cabin. Was this take from a Canoe? A Keel Boat? The lower level of the Mark Twain? The Columbia's sails peek up from the other side of the island.
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Ordinarily I am happy to find a batch of slides from Universal Studios (California, of course), but this group of eight from 1974 is so horribly bland, so unbelievably insipid, that I am posting them all in one not-so-glorious post.
Hey, ya can't park here! Apparently this little roundabout was for cabs and other pickups and drop-offs. Why that Glamor Tram is there I have no idea. In the distance you can almost see the San Fernando Valley through the smog. Notice the flowers, arranged in the shape of a star. Because Hollywood.
War is hell. Miniature sea warfare is like a tiny hell. This model Destroyer (or whatever) is about to open a can of whoop-ass on an enemy U-boat.
Oh, those sneaky submarines. Maybe it was the other way around, and the Destroyer got whomped by an itty-bitty torpedo. Does anybody remember? The stone structure in the background was built for the 1965 Charleton Heston epic, "The War Lord". You all remember that one!
Meanwhile, over at the stunt show... I guess that fella just dropped a penny, and is diving to retrieve it. Back in the 1800's you could buy a house for a penny.
Down below two varmints demonstrate the art of bullwhippery. If that isn't a word, it should be. The guy with the whip is putting everything he has into his stunt. If only we knew what it was.
And you can't have a western-themed stunt show without some fisticuffs. Hopefully they used a few breakaway chairs and bottles made out of sugar glass.
I like this view looking up a typical western street. In the distance is the train depot, complete with what I presume is an authentic steam locomotive. Can't you just picture some opening shot, with the Sheriff waiting at the station for his bride to be, just arriving from Philadelphia?
And finally, here's a photo of the famous "flash flood" scene that one viewed while aboard one of the trams. This little Mexican village experienced a sudden downpour, resulting in a sudden deluge that ran right down the middle of the street. The tree in the foreground fell toward the tram (slowly), but when it was all over, I always looked behind me to watch it reset into its upright position.
Well, I guess that wasn't so bad! I have more Universal Studios slides to come, and I think they are generally better than today's offering.
Saturday, June 18, 2016
It has been quite a while since I've shared some of Rol and Jo Summit's great photos of the MGM backlot, right around the time of the historic auction in which everything was sold to the highest bidder. Wagons, costumes, armor, furniture, and props of all kinds went to buyers all over the world. Today's photos are from the sixth in a series of personal Viewmaster reels that I scanned for them.
Here's Rol himself, demonstrating his prodigious strength - just because he can. Hey, I would if I could. Rol isn't even breaking a sweat.
Here is the lovely Jo, posing with several very cool looking chariots. I wonder what films these were built for? The quality of the construction is impressive.
There's Jo again, checking out a gaily-painted gypsy wagon. It's perfect for camping with the kids.
More wagons! One is of the circus variety, and looks like it might have carried a steam calliope at one time. Behind that is one advertising "Fighting Man BROCK Fighting Dog (huh?)", which rings no bells whatsoever. Of course this could have been used in any number of television programs.
Here's a placid man-made lake that reminds me of Disneyland's Rivers of America. If it wasn't for that submarine (?) to the right, this could be somewhere in Ohio or Missouri instead of glorious Culver City.
Sorry, ducks, but it won't be long before you're going to be looking for a new place to swim.
One of the fascinating things about studio backlots is the variety of settings that could be found in a relatively small area. You might find a European village, a turn of the century city, a New York street, a suburban street, and yes, even a bucolic farm.
Believe it or not, I have two more Viewmaster reels of Rol & Jo's personal photos to share with you!