Sunday, July 31, 2016

Storybook Land, September 1963

I want to live in Storybook Land. I can stomp through the adorable countryside like Godzilla, spewing radioactive flames, and protecting the Three Little Pigs, Mr. Toad, and Pinocchio from Ghidorah, Mecha Kong, and Hedorah (aka the Smog Monster).

Cinderella spent most of her life as a scullery maid in the quaint village at the bottom of this photo, but she moved on up to a de-luxe castle in the sky. All because of some Pyrex shoes. I love the details  on the half-timbered structures, with stone archways, bridges, tile roofs, and cobblestone streets. Each home comes well-appointed with energy efficient appliances, hot tubs, 4K high-def televisions, and complimentary wi-fi.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

How about them Viewmasters?

I didn't know what to post for today's "Anything Goes Saturday", so I decided to delve into my folder of vintage Viewmaster scans. Hopefully you'll find it at least a little interesting!

We'll begin a neat shot of the cutest li'l firetruck that ever sailed the Spanish Main. That thing will go zero to sixty in 3.5 seconds, and won Le Mans in 1967. C'est magnifique!

Uh oh, the cops! Just sit there and look innocent. They've launched into the complete Ring Cycle by Wagner, so we're going to be here for a while. 16 hours, by some estimates.

This one's from a different Main Street reel, and shows the Saxomophone Quartet in front of the Mad Hatter shop. In my brain I can only hear "Minnie's Yoo Hoo", the version that has appeared on many "Music of Disney Parks" albums. You've probably heard it. 

What are the odds that, just before this scene was set up, the photographer ran into the shop and got one hat for each child? Of course that one girls mouse ears are personalized, so maybe that cancels my theory.

And just because, here's a nice look at Main Street Station, complete with train, posters, the Mickey flower portrait, and even a few ticket booths.

I hope you've enjoyed today's Vintage Viewmaster scans!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Pack Mules, Stage Coach, and More - November 1955

Here is another selection of images from 1955! This time I am sharing two exceptionally nice photos from Frontierland. Both are from the same general area, where guests could queue up for a ride on a Pack Mule, or a Conestoga Wagon, or a Stagecoach.

I love just about everything about this first photo, with a line of Pack Mules returning from a trip through the wilderness - this was pre-Nature's Wonderland of course, so at this early date the scenery probably consisted of a lot of freshly-created hills sparsely covered with scrubby plants. I guess the Rainbow Desert was there by now, so at least they would have seen some bubbling paint pots (?) and kooky saguaros. 

The cut ends of the fences still look fresh. I like the crude little corral in the middle, complete with a wooden trough for some comedy relief bumpkin to fall in.

Now we've moved up a few steps, and to our right are the load areas for the Conestoga Wagons and the Stagecoaches. Unlike most Western tableaus, there is a Bavarian castle peeking up over the bluffs. Pay it no mind! Ah, to have been there in the park's first year, knowing what I now know... it would be amazing.

I wonder why that guy has a shovel? Probably going to dig a hole. Yeah, that's it.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

More Rescans

Today I have a few more rescanned slides; when viewing the images as thumbnails, the difference is not readily apparent. But when you view the full-sized images, you can see that the color is better and the photos are clearer. 

Just because, I decided to use two photos in which some massive Frontierland construction is underway. This first view was posted in 2007, and was kind of dark and drab.

The rescan improves things a little; it's certainly sharper. I really love this shot of the raft to Tom Sawyer Island, with Frontierland reduced to mounds of dirt, wood framing, and a few scraggly trees. (The slide is dated April, 1962).

This next one is also from 1962 (and originally posted in 2008). It's one of those slides that had turned an unpleasant shade of orangey-pink.

As you can see, I had previously cropped the square slide into something more resembling a 35mm slide. Now I'm including the complete image. It's hard to tell with that big sternwheeler in the way, but I think that this picture must have been taken roughly around the same time as the first one.

Zooming in to the left, we can see work trucks, while men dig in the foreground. I think we can just see the Monorail beamway in the background.

Over to the right, more vehicles are vislble, while the Disneyland Railroad passes by.

I hope you have enjoyed today's rescans!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tomorrowland Lake, 1956

One of the things that is so interesting about 1956 photos of Tomorrowland is that nothing has survived the intervening years. Yes, I know that the Autopia exists, but it was completely reconfigured in 1967, and again in 1999. 

Anyway, this first photo was taken from the Skyway as it passed over Tomorrowland Lake - former home of the Tomorrowland (or "Phantom") Boats, which by this time had already been retired (although they did come back briefly during the Summer if 1956, so perhaps that is why you can still see the loading dock to the extreme right). I'm sure the ducks were much happier not having to deal with those smelly boats.

Just look at those acres and acres of undeveloped orchards and farmland!

Just for yucks I wanted to zoom in on the Autopia.

Here's another angle looking in a westerly direction, right above the Phantom Boats dock. When construction began for the 1959 additions to Tomorrowland, this lake was boxed up and shipped to Minnesota where it was soon accepted by the other lakes and lived happily ever after.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Walt Disney World, November 1971

I'm getting down to the last few slides from Walt Disney World's first month of operation. 

This first one was taken inside the Contemporary Hotel - it shows the huge tile mural designed by Mary Blair, and represents the Grand Canyon and all of its flora, fauna, native peoples, and history. Mary famously included a five-legged goat, though it is not visible here.

Those plastic trees are kooky!  

This next photo seems to have been taken from the top of the Contemporary, looking out toward Bay Lake. You can see for miles! I am assuming that the boat is one of the ferries that brought guests to the Magic Kingdom; as far as I know those 3-story buildings were torn down to make way for the massive Bay Lake Tower - some of the most expensive rooms at the resort!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Two Indian Villages, August 1970

Why have a single Indian Village in Frontierland when you can have two?? One was open to guests, and they could see various kinds of Indian dwellings, Native craftspeople at work, and the Dance Circle. 

In the 1950's and 1960's, Westerns were immensely popular in the U.S., but by 1970, the public's interest in cowboys and Indians had faded. This village closed in May of 1971, less than a year after this photo was taken. In 1972, Bear Country opened in the same spot.

Further along the river, guests could view the "Friendly Indian Village" from the Mark Twain, the Keel Boats, the Columbia, and the Canoes (and the Disneyland Railroad, I believe). The village showed a peaceful tribe grinding corn, drying meat, preparing hides, and other activities that were a part of life on the plains (and elsewhere). As most of you know, this was recently razed as part of the Star Wars Land construction.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Two "Meh" Photos, September 1972

I kind of lied in the title of this post. That's right, I am a dirty liar! Because this first photo rates so low on the "Meh Scale" (invented by Dr. Heinrich Meh in 1903) that it doesn't even qualify. I love love love those orange fiberglass Skyway buckets; and that Matterhorn mountain ain't bad either.

There is something exuberant about the busy graphic look of the "it's a small world" façade. Wouldn't it be cool to build an accurate scale model of this massive structure? If only I wasn't so lazy, I'd make it about 5 feet wide. Foam core, polystyrene, balsa wood, and other hobby store supplies would be do the trick.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Wildcat Mountain Aerial Tramway, August 1958

Today's somewhat random photos were taken at Wildcat Mountain, which (as you can see) is located at "Pinkham's Notch" in New Hampshire. Who was Pinkham, and why did he have a notch??  Was it a happy notch?

That yellow thingamabob is one of the gondolas that would carry visitors to the summit of the 4000-foot peak of Wildcat Mountain. It was used by skiers in the winter, and sightseers in the summer. I wonder if it was built by Von Roll? 

The gondola opened on January 25th, 1958 (only months before this photo was taken); 23 towers were erected to carry the gondolas, which were kept somewhat close to the terrain to avoid high winds. Based on this photo, it doesn't look like you could fit more than two people in that pod, unless one was a small child.

Here's a second view... that's quite a climb!

Here's a postcard view... these original gondolas were decommissioned in 1999 (they were actioned off); there are now several  kinds of lifts that take visitors and skiers up and down. One of the lifts uses boxy 4-person gondolas during the summer season.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Wildcat Mountain!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Two Beauties From the 1960's

Today I have two undated photos, though they are definitely from the 1960's. In my opinion, both are pretty sweet!

Like this one, taken just inside the gates as a mother and small daughter pose in front of Main Street Station. The colors really "pop"; look at mom's purple skirt! The train station's clock tells us that it is just past noon, and while there is some haze, the sun is just managing to cut through it. Notice the ladders near the "Disneyland" sign - - roof repairs, I suppose? 

Of course I can't ignore those incredible attraction posters! So wonderful; I consider the posters to be one of the most graphically beautiful Disneyland items ever produced. To the left is the über rare Santa Fe & Disneyland RR poster (aka the "Main Street Station" poster) - one that I covet, though I am lucky to be able to see one regularly at a friend's home. The lilac-pink background is so unusual, and yet it works.

This is not from the same group as photo #1, but it is also from the 1960's, and is cool and unusual. The roof of the red automobile shows that rains had recently passed through, but it looks like we won't need our umbrellas. I hope. Just beneath the Monorail track we can see the what I believe is the C.K. Holliday. A few of the taller Main Street structures are visible, as well as the ubiquitous Matterhorn.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Vintage Postcards - Six Flags Magic Mountain, Part 4

For folks who grew up in Southern California at a certain era, Six Flags Magic Mountain was one of the primary amusement parks for families. I know I liked going there a LOT. Ken Martinez will share more of his vintage postcards - this will be part four of his Magic Mountain offerings!

More Magic Mountain (Part 4)

It's off to Magic Mountain again.

The Swiss Twist was a Schwarzkopf Bayern Kurve ride on a circular track. It operated from 1973 to 2008. It looks like an Olympic bobsled theme going there. I'm not good at troll identification so maybe a reader out there knows the name of this troll. [Major P here... I think it's "Bloop"!].

A blue monorail, sky ride and auto ride with guide rails! Where have I seen that before? The Grand Prix, the Metro Monorail and both Eagle's Flight sky rides no longer exist at Magic Mountain. The Sky Tower is hanging on though. Note the Eagle's Flight sky rides have two different styles of support towers. For the Shangri La/Galaxy line it's solid and for the Shangri La/Eldorado line it's a skeletal support structure.

Is the Mini Pree Magic Mountain's version of the Midget Autopia? Round and round it goes. I worked my share of the kiddy rides at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Sometimes I thought the kids behaved better than the adults when it came to these little rides. Look! Magic Mountain had an orange monorail before Disneyland did.

Here's the Electric Rainbow (Super-Round Up). Today it's Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth. I wonder how many riders have spilled their guts while riding the Lasso of Truth.

The Circus Wheel was a theme Chance Trabant. Trabants are unique in that their motion resembles that of a spinning coin. Does anyone know what the covered area in the back was for?

This is one of my favorite postcards of Magic Mountain. There's a lot to see here. You've got the twin drops of the Jet Stream, the pagoda style stations of the Dragon Car ride and the Eagle's Flight Shangri La station. I still can't remember what that modern silver-ish structure to the right of the Sky Tower was for.

Hope you enjoyed another visit to 1970's Magic Mountain.

Information Source material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko

I DID enjoy my visit to 1970's Magic Mountain! It's still a fun place to go, but it has become so "coaster-centric"... I miss much of the charming rides that used to be there. Thanks, Ken!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Aboard the Monorail, September 1972

It's always fun to find photos taken from the Monorail; and in today's examples, our lucky guests sat in the front with that large nosecone windshield providing an exceptional view.

In this first one, we're zipping through the tangle of transportation systems found in Tomorrowland, with the Peoplemover overhead (is it still a Peoplemover if no people are in it?!), and the Autopia roadway below. It's quite a feat of engineering.

Next we're scooting alongside Harbor Boulevard; the vast parking lot is to our right, and you can see the wonderful sign for the Disneyland Hotel. If you look carefully (try standing on your head) the reflection of the colorful shopping bag can be seen...

... you know, this kind.

To our left are some of the motels that Walt found to be so tawdry and ugly. Ironically, now they are beloved as prime examples of mid-century architecture. We can see the Sands, the Carousel, the Tropicana, and the Mecca, with Denny's thrown in as an added bonus.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Swiss Family Treehouse, January 1963

I'll start today's post with this neat photo taken from the upper branches of the Swiss Family Treehouse! This was certainly a man-eating tree, which might explain the strange (and cool) red leaves. 

Anyway, what a beautiful view. In the distance we can see that the Christmas star is atop the Matterhorn; wasn't there some rumor that a new improved star was to make its appearance a year or so ago? So much for rumors. 

Down below is the entrance to the Jungle Cruise with its distinctive sign, probably made from the skin of an endangered animal.

Next is a photo - not a very good photo - looking toward one of the huts; you can't really see it, but the pipe organ (source of the "Swisskapolka") is in this hut. I love the way bits and pieces of the shipwreck are incorporated into the structure. Some say that when you hold the tree to your ear, you'll hear the ocean!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Magic Kingdom, November 1971

I have two more nice photos from The Magic Kingdom, back when it was brand new! 

I find this view of Adventureland to be fascinating; it is so different from the familiar Anaheim version. The building to our left seems to have a kind of "Casablanca" vibe - does anyone know what was housed in this structure? Perhaps an animatronic Humphrey Bogart in a white dinner jacket? I also get a kick out of the girl "walking like an Egyptian", and the kid wearing his mouse ears, behind her. 

Harper Goff really hit one out of the park when he designed Captain Nemo's "Nautilus" - it's about as cool as it gets. As much as I loved Disneyland's Submarine Voyage, there was a part of me that wished we had the 20K subs. 

Of course what I really wish is that I could have been able to swim through the ride with a snorkel and mask!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Critters, September 1963

You know what I hate about the jungle? Critters! It's lousy with beasts of all shapes and sizes. They'll bite you, sting you, or asphyxiate you (I just wanted to say "asphyxiate"). But these poor crocodiles are just trying to avoid being made into fashionable handbags and footwear. Look at these three, you don't have to be a swami to know what they're thinking. All I want is to steal the gems from that monkey idol, is that too much to ask?

These elephants won't eat you, but they might squirt you. And what if you just got a perm, like I often do? The water is quite sudsy - proof that this truly is the sacred elephant bathing pool. Elephants are known to prefer Mr. Bubble for their baths.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

San Diego, 1956

Here are a few more vintage photos from beautiful San Diego, California. Did you know that it's official nickname is "America's Finest City"? Sorry, lesser cities. 

This first image is a nice slice of Americana, showing a group of women waiting in front of the Hotel del Coronado, a grand old Victorian hotel dating back to 1888. Luggage is organized into neat little groups - I think my grandparents had a set of Scotch plaid luggage! 

Zooming in a little, it's fun to see the ladies in their poofy dresses. Presumably that man is a porter, but he looks like an airline pilot. I would feel the need to salute him (before tipping him of course).

Nearby is the Coronado Boathouse, circa 1887 (so it actually predates the Hotel del Coronado by one year). It is a pretty little structure, built in the Queen Anne Revival style of architecture; one article describes the "bellcast-hipped roof with a widow's walk supported by brackets; a variety of dormers graces all four sides of the roof. Approximately 40 feet square, the Boathouse has three stories, and includes an exterior observatory area at its peak".

Both the hotel and the boathouse still stand today, happily! The boathouse is now a restaurant.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Construction Walls, 1966

Today I have three more photos taken during the construction of the "New Tomorrowland", taken by my pal "Mr. X". In the title of today's post I dated these to 1966, but who knows, it was just a guess. 

I love this first one, taken along a curving pathway that appears to be skirting the edge of the entrance to Tomorrowland (notice the Matterhorn just to the left). I'm amazed that the construction walls are so low, affording an easy view for guests who wanted to monitor the progress.

In the background, the Peoplemover track curves into the unfinished "America the Beautiful" building.

Looks like the pathway continued quite a ways into Tomorrowland; maybe you could still catch a ride on the Skyway? The wall is much higher here, but we can still see the upper platform where the Rocket Jets would eventually go (the gantry appears to be nearly complete), while the level below that is where guests would eventually board the Peoplemover.

The Carousel of Progress building looks like it is pretty far along; the abstract blue mural looks like it's done and all of the embedded lights on the top level are lit up. My guess is that the inside is in much rougher shape. But they wasted no time in getting the GE logos up!