Monday, April 24, 2017

The Magic Kingdom, December 1971

Here are four more photos from Walt Disney World's first few months!

Presumably this group of musicians was in Adventureland, since steel drum music evokes a sun-drenched tropical vibe. Doing a little research (emphasis on "little"), I have found references to "J.P. and the Silver Stars", a pretty awesome name for a band! They continued to perform at the Magic Kingdom all the way into the mid-1990's - perhaps longer.

Listening to various podcasts, I get the impression that live music is not quite as easily found at Walt Disney World compared to Disneyland. Having never been there, I can't say, personally. You can find a few videos of J.P. and the Silver Stars on YouTube.

Meanwhile, over at the Swiss Family Treehouse... just look at the line! Those Swiss really know how to throw a party, and everyone knows it. My guess is that the surrounding jungle has become quite a bit more luxurious over the past 40+ years.

And here's a pretty shot of Cinderella Castle, taken on this awful, cold December day. This photo is 89% "postcard worthy", but it juuuust misses the mark!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Too Dark Park

Uh oh! I just noticed that there seemed to be NO NEW POST today. I screwed up and forgot to tell the little man in the computer to publish this post at 12:01 AM; instead it was going to publish at 4:30 in the afternoon. D'OH. Anyway, here is today's anticlimactic post.

It's always a bummer when a slide that would be a very cool view turns out to be way too dark. This first one, from October 1963, shows (or is supposed to show) Tiki's Tropical Imports in Adventureland. I don't have many photos of this souvenir stand, so I wish that this one hadn't turned the shadows to inky blacks. So much for seeing what goodies could be had.

This next one comes from 1957; while it is dark, it's not a total loss. I always like views of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship from the less-photographed side. And all the sails are unfurled. Presumably this photo was shot from a Casey Jr. Circus Train.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Vintage New York City

I listen to a LOT of podcasts. Disney related, pop culture stuff (movies and TV), skepticism, and tech are some subjects that I enjoy. And I recently started listening to a podcast called "The Bowery Boys", devoted to the history of New York City. Nobody can deny that NYC has an incredible history full of amazing places and fascinating characters. Nobody, do you hear??

Anyway, listening to these shows made me want to dig out my very small box of vintage New York slides in order to scan some and see if there was anything interesting. In my opinion, there is! Like this 1958 photo taken at a train platform. It's full of vintage goodness! Unfortunately I have no specifics as to the exact location of this train station - if anybody recognizes it, please chime in!

Next is this undated (but 1950's?) shot taken from 5th Avenue looking west on 42nd Street. That's the wonderful New York Public Library to our left. The odd gothic structure in the distance is the 16-story Wurlitzer building, finished in 1919. I can find remarkably little info about this building (are you there, Chuck?), such as when exactly it was demolished, though I believe it was within the last few years. At some point the Cinematheque Theater opened in the building, and it showed some of Andy Warhol's movies back in the 60's. The Velvet Underground performed there as well.

Here's a screen grab from Google's "street view" as the scene looks today.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fabulous Autopia, 1957

I love today's slide scans from 1957 - that old Kodachrome was hard to beat. You probably recognize these two brothers, aboard a sleek blue Autopia vehicle. Big brother gets to drive of course, it's just the way things go. Just on the other side of that fence is a white hard had, though I don't see any "Keppy Kap" markings on it. That "Richfield" billboard is always fun to see, with its futuristic space station.

Well what do you know! Look there, beneath the underpass; it's a rare view of a Phantom Boat, cruising the calm waters of Tomorrowland Lake. Pretty sweet.

Here's another look at the area, just because. For you fans of telephone poles... you're welcome.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Final Voyage of the Queen Mary

Here's something a little bit different - a real piece of SoCal history! Many of you have visited the grand old ocean liner, the Queen Mary - it's a tourist attraction, for those of you who don't know; today's photos, courtesy of Steve Stuart, were taken as the QM arrived in Long Beach on December 9th, 1967. I think these are really great. Steve has done an awesome job writing up a nice account for us - here it is:

On Saturday, December 9, 1967, the Queen Mary arrived in Long Beach, California to begin another chapter in her storied life – now as a tourist attraction, hotel, etc., and I was there to welcome her to [what has so far been] her final resting place.  Here are some quotes from the L.A. Times marking the event:  

The Queen Mary arrives in Long Beach following a 39-day voyage from England.  The city of Long Beach purchased the 31-year old vessel, which was slated for the scrap heap, for $3.45 million to serve as its waterfront centerpiece.”  The copy went on to describe the event as:  the arrival “… at her permanent residence in exile amid a tumultuous welcome that was bigger than any celebration in Southern California since the day World War II ended 22 years ago.”  Who knew-? 

"Tens of thousands – perhaps a million or more – on land, sea and in the air greeted the Queen as she glided along the coast and past the Long Beach Harbor breakwater at 10 a.m. on the last mile or so of the 39-day voyage from England, the home she will never see again”.  Oh, how sad.

About 1,200 passengers…  (let’s hope the ship’s manifest contained numbers more accurately representing the actual count, rather than “about”; otherwise I’m thinking someone could have attempted the ‘perfect murder-at-sea’-!) “…paying $8,000.00 each, [$58,428 in today’s dollars-!] took the final voyage.  Being too wide for the Panama Canal, the Queen Mary sailed around the tip of South America to reach Long Beach”.

Major Pepperidge here... I just love the masses of boats that came out to greet the Queen Mary as she arrived in Long Beach harbor, ranging from small sailboats to fancy pleasure boats, to what might be a Coast Guard escort!

Wow! What a great shot. It is definitely bittersweet to think that that magnificent ship with the distinctive 3 funnel profile was mere minutes from its final resting place.

Steve continues: You would have thought with all this hoopla and record-breaking numbers I would have stronger memories of the event.

Nope – nothing, nada, zip, bubkas-!  I have no doubt I was in attendance, in spite of the fact the only identifiable person seen in these images is that of my mom in the final photo – wearing, appropriately-enough:  A babushka-!  We did own a sailboat, but we certainly did not sail it down from Marina del Rey for the event.  Evidently whoever invited use along on his boat to witness the festivities up close and personal, was also lost to the ages along with other memories from that day.  Undoubtedly my mind was elsewhere – such as The Happiest Place On Earth – where any true Disneyland fan would rather be, wanting to take-in the still [almost new] New Tomorrowland, and even Pirates of the Caribbean.  (How did the commentary move that direction-?  I couldn’t possibly fathom a guess).

If anyone can ID any vessels or other mechanical contrivances seen in these images, please sing-out.  Thanks to The Major’s ‘eagle eye’, careful perusal of photo #5 reveals the Goodyear Blimp floating around overhead, capturing many images documenting the glorious day.

MANY THANKS to Steve for sharing these awesome photos. I thought that this was going to be the final post of his images, but he has since sent me a few more, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Some nice rescans!

I'm still out of town, kind of unexpectedly, but I hope you will enjoy today's beautiful rescans!

I'm on my third scanner since starting GDB, and have learned a lot about both scanning and color correction. Today's rescans turned out especially good!

Let's start with this image from August, 1958 (originally posted in 2008). The whole thing has a sort of greenish-gray cast, as if it was taken through a pair of Foster Grants.

Here's the 2017 version - lighter, brighter, sharper, richer colors - all in all I am very happy with the way this one turned out. It's stroller-iffic! 

Next is this scan from an August, 1955 slide, originally posted in 2007. My super computer (with lots of spinning tape reels and blinky lights) calculates that 2007 was 10 years ago. Thanks, Uniblab™! Anyway, it's neat to see a photo from just after the park debuted, but it is strangely cyan in places, reddish in others, and grainy too.

That's much better! The colors are cleaner, there's less grain, and everything is generally crisper and crunchier. You can see that the Disneyland Band is performing in the Gazebo, which is (I believe) roughly where the Carnation Plaza Gardens would eventually go.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

1982 EPCOT guide

EPCOT Center? Say, I've heard of that place! Never been there though. Ken Martinez has been, however! And he has the guidebook to prove it. Here's Ken:

Eastman Kodak EPCOT Center Guide 1982

My first visit to EPCOT Center was on March 22 1983 when the park was less than six months old.  I went with the realization that this was not Walt’s final dream, but still wanted to see it anyway because all things Disney theme park related interested me.  On the first visit, I was really taken back by the scope and sheer size of the place.  Back then it was brand new and the landscape was yet to fill out.  I think what impressed me more than the educational aspect of the park was the sheer spectacle of the place.  All the various conveyance systems, from the traveling theater seats in Universe of Energy to the various styles of Omni-mover systems in several of the Future World pavilions fascinated me.   One of the things I love about Disneyland is the mechanical aspects of the ride systems and Audio-Animatronic figures.  There’s one thing for sure, EPCOT Center was loaded with Audio-Animatronics back then.  With the removal of World of Motion and Horizons, I think it lessened.

This is my favorite Disney World theme park guide which was handed out at the admission gates.  I like the styling and that it was made of firm paper cardboard.  I also like the original fonts used on this guide like the “Walt Disney World” with its mouse-eared globe inside the big ‘D’ and the all-caps “EPCOT CENTER”.  Also featured on the cover are the centerpiece attraction for Future World “Spaceship Earth” and the centerpiece attraction for World Showcase “The American Adventure”. 

Featured on the first open foldout is the map of EPCOT Center and a dial page in which you could select the pavilion name to view its description and location in the park.  This was probably the most expensive free guides to produce that Disney ever handed out at the entrance gate.  I don’t know any other guides that used firm paper cardboard and contained a dial guide.  It’s one of my favorite Walt Disney World pieces of ephemera and I actually got it on my first visit to EPCOT Center in the spring of 1983, not from eBay.

One of the things I loved about early EPCOT Center was the use of simple graphic icons for each of the Future World Pavilions.  From what I’ve read these are no longer in use at the park or in publications.  On my first visit to EPCOT Center there were only six pavilions and one of them was closed during both visits it went.  In addition Horizons was under construction on my first visit.  Unfortunately the pavilion that was closed each visit was Spaceship Earth, so I still haven’t been on it to this day.  The two pavilions that impressed me the most were ‘The Land” and “Horizons”.  I enjoyed “The Land” pavilion because it actually was a functional experimental lab and I loved Horizons because it was like the ultimate tribute to Disney futurism.  

I remember World Showcase feeling pretty massive with its large lagoon and spread out pavilions.  I really loved the American Adventure and El Rio del Tiempo, but didn’t see any of the Circle-Vision films or Impressions de France.  While I thought World Showcase was an impressive undertaking, I just couldn’t imagine it as really being anything like the countries each pavilion represented.  Also, any restaurant I wanted to see was either too expensive or a hassle to make reservations.  Being on budget I only ate at the fast food style places. 

Featured here is a map showing what the Florida property consisted of as far as attractions and lodging available. 

Here’s a continuation of the Information page with services available at EPCOT Center.

Of course since the EPCOT Center guide booklet was from Eastman Kodak Company there was information on the back related to its product.  This was also the back part of the dial guide so the dial could still be used to view various Kodak product descriptions.

We’ll I hope you enjoyed the guide booklet and my recollections of EPCOT Center.  It’s been over thirty years since I last visited Walt Disney World and since then two more theme parks and two water parks have been opened and quite a few more hotels have been built.  I’m sure the nature of the place is totally different than when I visited the place during its early years.

Thanks once again to Ken Martinez for all of his hard work (slaving over a red hot scanner, typing until his fingers bled) and the generous sharing of his collection!

NOTE: Hey guys, I am leaving this morning on a sort of not-very-planned trip for about three days - I probably won't be checking in on the computer for most of that time, but one never knows. I'll be anxious to read everybody's comments when I return!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Hills Bros. Coffee House Menus

Old Disneyland menus are popular collectibles among those who love paper ephemera. Some of them can get very pricey too! But menus from the Hills Bros. Coffee House on Town Square tend to be relatively affordable.

Here's a neat image scanned from a 1959 multipage newspaper insert.

I have several variations of these menus, though they all have  the same cover. Here it is!

And here's the interior of the first version that I am aware of. Everything sounds pretty good, except for that chopped egg sandwich. The egg sandwich with bacon is barely an improvement.

I love Disneyland maps, and this menu has a wonderful example. The artwork also helps date the menu because it has the Columbia and the Grand Canyon Diorama, both of which debuted in 1958 - but it doesn't have the Matterhorn, which (as you know) opened in 1959. One fun detail is the Viewliner, in the upper right corner, just below the steam locomotive.

Here's the interior spread of the next version - sorry for the crummy condition. At the time I scanned these, I could not find my example that is much mintier. Please memorize the names of each Hills brother so that you can impress everyone with your deep trivia knowledge.

Once again, the menu is undated, though this more-rendered map now includes the Matterhorn, Monorail, and Subs. Since the Monorail exited the park to the Disneyland Hotel, I consider this to be a 1961 menu, though it is just a guess.

Next is the inner spread for a 1966 version; they finally got rid of that chopped egg sandwich! Our long national nightmare was over.

And here's the back of the '66 version. I only learned of this one's existence while at the home of a fellow collector, and found one to buy a few months later on eBay. Hopefully I can upgrade someday. My friend said he's seen yet another version with nothing on the back at all. Something to look for.

I hope you have enjoyed these vintage Hills Bros. menus!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Shoulda Been Rejects

Both of today's photos are from June of 1958; but they both have flaws. Boo.

The Columbia was brand new, having only opened the same month that this picture was taken. It's a shame that it's underexposed, but even so we can see that the deck is packed with potential Soylent Green ingredients. I prefer mine on toast! The Plantation House is always a plus.

When I first held this slide up to the light, I was very excited. "This one's gonna be a real beaut!". BUT... it's blurry. Not surprising, considering the low light, but it was still a little disappointing. Nevertheless, I love the peachy colors of the sky not long after the sun had set, with only a few lights visible below. The Skyway tower on Snow Hill is kind of neat too.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Universal Studios, July 7, 1961

Even though today's images are from Universal Studios, they are not the typical photos you might see from the famous Studio Tour (no "Glamor Trams", no flash floods, no Western Streets, no stunt shows).

I believe that this first one was taken at the lower studio entrance off of Lankershim Boulevard, at what is now called "James Stewart Avenue"; but I could be wrong! If so, please chime in and let me know. It's hard to tell because the studio has undergone so many massive changes since 1961. 

This appears to be the guard gate to keep looky-loos and nosy people (like me) from getting on to the studio lot; I would imagine that this is where movie stars and other folks would have to show their passes. And yet it makes me wonder how our photographer managed to get past the steely-eyed guard. 

Howsabout that beautiful peach-colored car? I think it might be a '58 Pontiac Bonneville, but Nanook will let us know for sure!

We can still see the Pontiac, so this mere yards from where the first photo was shot. Helpful writing on the slide's cardboard mount tells us that that blocky gray edifice is where Edith Head's office was. Edith was a legendary costume designer for directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, and so many others. She won eight Academy Awards, though she was nominated 35 times! 

Among the films she worked - - - "The Sting", "Double Indemnity", "All About Eve", "Sunset Boulevard", "Roman Holiday", "Breakfast at Tiffany's", "Vertigo", and "The Ten Commandments". What a career!

Here she is in her heyday (without her famous round glasses):

And of course, Edith was the model upon which "Edna Mode" from "The Incredibles" was loosely based!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Two Leftuggies

Like the title of today's post says... it's time for some tasty Leftuggies™! 

How could this first photo be a leftuggie? I mean, it's got everything. Action! Suspense! Romance! Skullduggery! Cannibalism! But that's how the world works, oh my children. It also has a shiny Viewliner scootin' through the far reaches of Fantasyland with a Motor Boat among the rocks. I think this one is pretty swell. Don't you think the Viewliner looks like the offspring of an Edsel and a Monorail?

Meanwhile, did the Motor Boat Cruise always have so many darn rocks? Or were they eventually removed? I only recall calm, un-rocky water.

The second leftuggie™ is a great vintage view of Main Street on what appears to be a winter day, sometime in the 1960's. Only a few free-spirits dare to step onto the actual street, for fear of getting a ticket for jaywalking.

A group of sailors walks past the Main Street Cinema; I know it's hard to see, but in their midst is a gentleman with a fedora and overcoat, with what appears to be an impressive white mustache. Could this possibly be "Trinidad", the White Wing, in his "civilian" clothing? 

Here's a better look at Trinidad:

We can see two Streetcars, an Omnibus, and a Horseless Carriage. It's almost strange to see people wearing cold-weather clothing at the park!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

More From Huck

Today I have three more nice images from Huck Caton, circa April 1995!

Let's start with this shot of a very large crowd waiting to get into the Indiana Jones Adventure, which had only opened one month earlier (March 4, '95). AT&T was the sponsor (and would be until 2002), so guests in the queue received those little cards to help decipher the mysterious "Mara font" hieroglyphs on the walls deep inside the temple. I wish I knew how long the wait was from this point!

Here's the Golden Horseshoe Saloon (of course) - I think that Billy Hill and the Hillbillies performed on the stage at this time. 

This is a nice shot of the Tomorrowland Autopia, before they "Chevronized" the attraction and changed those sleek "Corvettes" into cartoon cars.

Stay tuned for more from Huck!