Friday, May 26, 2017

Pack Mules, February 1961

Looking at today's Frontierland, it almost seems hard to believe that there used to be a time when guests could ride a gentle, trustworthy mule through a spectacular wilderness. But it really happened, by gum! I have the pictures to prove it.

In the early days there was just the "Rainbow Desert", but by 1961, the fabulous "Nature's Wonderland" had hatched. And you could view the many amazing sights from a Mine Train, or from the back of a mule. Each had its own particular charms.

I guess there was no height limit, because this buckaroo is less than pint-sized. I'll bet this was a new sensation, riding this living, breathing, swaying critter. His brow is furrowed, but I'm sure it's more a result of intense concentration than worry.

I wonder how long a trip via mule took? It was probably a pretty leisurely pace, giving guests time to really soak it all in. Of course the Mine Train went through Rainbow Caverns at the end, while the mules did not.

That lucky cuss, he's about to see bears, battling elk, geysers, a saguaro forest, wild pigs, rattlesnakes, antelope, beavers, and crazy rock formations. I'll trade places with you anytime, Tex!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New York World's Fair, August 1964

Welcome back to the World's Fair! I need to scan more of my Fair slides - there is still a good amount to share with you.

Monorails are just cool; the original Disneyland Monorail is the coolest, but I love the AMF Monorail that was at the Fair, too. Of course one major difference is that it was suspended from the track, unlike the Disney versions or the one in Seattle. In this photo, a Monorail (with no passengers?) has just left the interesting, angular station; our photographer was standing on the pedestrian bridge that crossed above the Long Island Expressway. The buff-colored tent was part of the Continental Circus exhibit - the circus did not survive past the 1964 season; in 1965 the area became Continental Park. To our extreme left, I think I see a Tilt-a-Whirl! It is the Amusement Zone, after all.

This next photo was taken from the Monorail itself, looking down on the Amusement Zone. You can see the spinning "Jaycopter" ride to the right, and the Flume Ride just to the left of center. Just past the Jaycopter you can see the Belgium Pavilion, and on the left edge the huge canopy of the Futurama exhibit is visible. 

Zooming in, I'm not entirely sure what that group of small covered structures is - possibly just an assortment of snack and souvenir stands. Right in the center of the photo you can see a Mold-a-Rama machine, where guests could watch as a plastic dinosaur toy was cast while they watched! I loved those machines. They had some in fine working order at the Los Angeles Zoo until fairly recently (I always got a gorilla, naturally), but they were gone the last time I went. Why??

Here's a photo of three Mold-a-Rama machines from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Another reason to go (as if I needed more)!

This next one is more "Fair-related" than from the actual World's Fair - there were two locations from which Fair visitors could take an "Aquafoil" - a hydrofoil boat, able to hold 72 passengers - back and forth from Manhattan and the Bronx to Queens (where the Fair was located).

This poor woman probably does not realize that her massive brain is exposed to the elements! She needs no boats to cross the water... her psychokinetic abilities enable her to fly.

Here's a page from the June 7th, 1964 edition of the Chicago Tribune, with the story of the amazing Aquafoil!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Two from 1999

Here are two more 1999 photos from our friend Mr. X! We'll start with this nice shot of the Matterhorn, looking suitably impressive. It's surrounded by palm trees, just like the one in Switzerland! The thing that makes this photo slightly unusual is the glimpse of a Rocket Rod running along what used to be the Peoplemover track. 

From all accounts, ridership for the Peoplemover was way down by the mid-1990's. Seems hard to believe, but anything is possible. It is unfortunate that the Rocket Rods turned out to be something of a debacle; perhaps it was rushed into being? In spite of its ignominious end, I can't bring myself to hate it - I just wish we had our Peoplemover!

One of my favorite spots in Disneyland is the Snow White Grotto, with the Wishing Well nearby. The splashing water, gleaming white (fiberglass) statues, the squeaky voice of Snow White singing "I'm Wishing"... love it. I always bring approximately $6000 in change to toss into the well.

Mr. X said he would prefer it if there weren't so many people in this photo, but I like the way it is. It is very much like the kind of photo you might see in a souvenir guidebook.

Thank you to Mr. X for these great photos from 18 years ago.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Life Savers Building, Port Charles NY

Here's something kind of different! Steve Stuart ("Nanook") put together this little photo essay (with words of course) featuring the factory that made Life Savers candies for so many years. Even today I like Life Savers a lot - I remember messily crunching Wint-O-Green Life Savers in the dark bathroom so that I could see the mysterious sparks that would result ("triboluminescence") in the mirror. I was also particularly fond of the wild cherry and tangerine flavors, and my grandma often had a roll of "Butter Rum" candies in her purse. Here's Steve:


Sometime [I’m guessing] around 1984, and undoubtedly through a Disney connection of some sort, I ended-up meeting someone who had recently been in Port Chester, New York, and took several pictures of the original Life Savers factory, and happily sent me copies of those images of the building’s exterior.

As you are about to see, a part of the rather lovely original architecture of the building (1920) has been decidedly upstaged by five appendages in the form of giant Life Savers rolls.  On the side of the building running parallel to North Main Street, three Life Savers rolls are featured – which appear to be Pep-O-Mint, Orange and [perhaps] Wint-O-Green. 

And on the Horton Avenue side, Wild Cherry & the Five Flavor rolls are strutting their stuff. 

As you can see from this postcard view from around 1939, if compared to the current day view, during 1948-1949 the factory was enlarged along Horton Ave.

And here’s my “translation” of the message written on the reverse-side of the post card:  Print your name for me.  Dear friend.  I reed (sic) card.  Very glad to exchange (?) with you.  Do you like pen pals.  Perhaps we could be good friends.  I will have to send to N.Y. City to get a card with state capitol on it.  I like views and water views.  Sincerely.  Those of us who collect post cards are quite familiar with odd-ball messages, or more commonly – ‘the best laid plans’: messages started, never finished, and never mailed.  As you can see, in this case, the card was successfully mailed to Prospect, Ohio.

As an aside to the factory building itself, here’s a little bit of Life Savers trivia…
The Life Savers factory moved to Holland, MI., around 1984, when they abandoned their original home in Port Chester and in 2002 moved to Montreal, Québec, Canada.  (And at some point in their history, there was also a factory in San Jose, CA.)  I hadn't realized their checkered ownership past, including Beech-Nut (E.R. Squibb); Nabisco; Kraft; and now Wrigley's - which essentially means M&M Mars - as they own Wrigley's.  These days, Life Savers continues to offer their ‘traditional’ flavors in hard candy, but has also added Life Savers Gummies.  Here are some blast-from-the-past flavors:  "Wint-O-Green, Cl-O-Ve, Lic-O-Rice, Cinn-O-Mon, Vi-O-Let, Choc-O-Late, and Malt-O-Milk – not to mention Cola & Musk-!  In 1935, the classic "Five-Flavor" rolls were introduced, offering a selection of five different flavors (pineapple, lime, orange, cherry, and lemon) in each roll.  This flavor lineup was unchanged for nearly 70 years, until 2003, when three of the flavors were replaced in the United States, making the rolls pineapple, cherry, raspberry, watermelon, and blackberry.  However, orange was subsequently reintroduced and blackberry was dropped. (The original five-flavor lineup is still sold in Canada). In the late 1930s and early 1940s, four new mint flavors were introduced: Molas-O-Mint, Spear-O-Mint, Choc-O-Mint and Stik-O-Pep".  Who-O-Knew-??

Following Life Savers move to Michigan, a developer purchased the building and converted it into a 198-unit condominium, re-christened “1 Landmark Square”, and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

And now for something completely different…. apparently on that same trip, our photographer was passing through Hellam Township, Pennsylvania, (very close to York, PA) and happened on Shoe House Road (and why not-?) and this unique roadside attraction.  According to our friends at Wikipedia, The Haines Shoe House was built in 1948 as a form of advertisement by Mahlon Haines, a shoe salesman – often referred to as “The Shoe Wizard”.  The house is 25 feet tall and contains five stories (I guess you have to ‘lower your head and watch your step’ while traipsing-through the house, or not-?), and at one time was rented out to couples.  Presently it’s open for public tours.  Haines had the building built by handing a work boot to an architect saying, “Build me a house like this”.  Geez – the exact same way Walt had Disneyland built-! 

THANK YOU to Steve Stuart for this fascinating side trip down Candy (and shoe) Lane!

Monday, May 22, 2017

More Snapshots from 1963

Here are three more snapshots from 1963, featuring a red-haired kid who reminds me so much of a childhood friend of mine (are you out there, Ronnie Smith?).

First up is this heroic portrait of our boy, as he stands near the Wenmac "Thimble Drome" Flight Circle. "Mad Max: Beyond Thimble Drome". I can practically hear the whine of tiny combustion engines! Maybe our old friend Cox Pilot was demonstrating the itty-bitty boats, cars and airplanes that day.

Is the kid wearing a classic "ugly Christmas sweater"? I had one very much like it.

We're still near the Flight Circle, with a nice view of the Skyway and nearly-empty entrance to the Tomorrowland Autopia (perhaps it was down for maintenance?). Note the purple merchandise bag, I have a small one with that design, but need a large one just like that! Who knows what wonders it held - maybe an animation cel from the Art Corner from "Sleeping Beauty", "Alice in Wonderland", or "Lady and the Tramp".

Yes, if I was that boy, I'd be smiling too; the original Submarine Voyage was a pretty great ride, especially when you were his age. In just a few years, the "New Tomorrowland" would debut - I wonder if this kid ever saw it like that? For all we know he was from Delaware or Maine, or some other far-flung locale.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

SBC, 1963

Hoo boy, today's photos are so "meh" that it was probably not even worth the time it took you to get to this page. BUT... I scanned 'em, so I'm going to post 'em. You know how it goes for GDB Sundays. Come back tomorrow, I promise it will be better!

SO... two photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle - surely one of the most (if not THE most) photographed object at Disneyland. These particular photos went very dark, and in lightening them up, they got weird looking. See how the foreground trees have dark "haloes" around them? It all feels very evil.

This one is less evil, but equally boring.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Around Hollywood

Due to sheer indolence (too lazy to scan anything), I need to rely on some older scans for today's "Anything Goes Saturday" post. Put on your best clothes, and buy a ticket on PanAm so that you can go to Hollywood! Yes, you can smoke on the airplane.

Here's a 1961 photo looking east on Hollywood Boulevard, with Grauman's Egyptian Theater to our right (showing "Ben Hur"). I saw the Spanish horror film, "Mark of the Wolfman", (in 3-D!) at the Egyptian when I was a kid. It starred werewolf legend Paul Naschy (actually the movie was called "Frankenstein's Bloody Terror" when I saw it, and supposedly it was so scary that the theater had a nurse available at all times). And while I don't remember the movie being scary or particularly good, I think it might have been the first 3-D movie I'd ever seen - the effect was startling to me. "That skull that the mad doctor is drinking out of looks like it's so close that I could touch it!".

ANYWAY, you can see some nice landmarks, such as the Vogue Theater, Musso and Franks (still going strong!), and M'Goo's restaurant. The El Capitan and Chinese Theaters would be behind us.

Next is this 1950's shot out the back window of a moving car. The photo was taken near the corner of Hollywood Boulevard looking north on Vine Street, where the familiar Capitol Records building looms. Locals will enjoy the barely-visible Dupar's restaurant at the base of the "stack of records".

If you continue westward on Hollywood Blvd, you will eventually leave the glitzy (sleazy?) zone full of theaters, shops, banks and restaurants, and will find yourself surrounded by a slightly sleepier, more residential area. This photo is looking west from roughly the corner of Gardner Street. There are lots of apartments, and St. Thomas the Apostle's Episcopal Church (to our right) can be seen, with graceful palm trees lining the way.

Here's a screen grab from Google's street view - things look surprisingly the same.

Hooray for Hollywood!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Frontierland Construction, May 1962

Today's scans feature two slides that, at first, seem to be some rather "blah" images of Frontierland. But upon closer inspection, they reveal a few neat details!

Here is the first scan... see what I mean? "Nothing too special!". However, as we've seen in a few other photos, notice that the Columbia is moored at Tom Sawyer Island.

Zooming in, we can see a whole lot of major construction going on, with acres of dirt, and many boxed trees. This work included the removal of the Plantation House, and additions to the Indian Village. I believe that this is also when the large underground area that was to become the never-actualized "Thieves Market" (the early wax museum version of what would become "Pirates of the Caribbean") was excavated. To our left is the skeleton of the Swiss Family Treehouse, which will debut in November of '62! 

Here's a second shot, with a raft from Tom Sawyer Island heading back to the mainland. Not quite as neat as the first photo, but still pretty nice.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Two From July, 1963

Main Street U.S.A. just wouldn't be the same without an old-fashioned marching band - thanks (probably) to "The Music Man". Was there ever a time when small towns actually had regular marching band performances? I want it to be true.

Looking at the clock, we can see that it's 5:30 (ish), which seems a little early to be the flag-lowering ceremony. What you don't know is that at 5:29 there were no flowers in that dirt at all - the music caused them to emerge from the soil, like cobras from a wicker basket. 

I love the sign for the "Horse Cars" (?!), and those Mickey balloons with the black ears. Not long ago I watched a recent YouTube video of the current Disneyland Band - they all look like high school kids! They sounded good though.

High (but not too high) above Fantasyland, we are gliding backward toward the now-demolished Skyway chalet. Even with the "June Gloom", Fantasyland looks colorful and enticing. The Matterhorn somehow looks even bigger with all of that misty atmosphere. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Pair From 1959

I'm using up the last two scans from a lot of slides from 1959. 

Here she comes, the Chicken of the Sea Mermaid, with her scepter raised as if to grant us a fishy wish. Close your eyes, maybe it will come true. In spite of the many (MANY) photos that I have seen of this ship-shaped restaurant, I am still impressed with the level of detail that Walt's Imagineers used. That rigging! The invisible sails! The poop deck (heh heh)! The scent of bilge water was piped into the restaurant for that extra touch of verisimilitude.

Did you drive all the way to Anaheim with your pet in the car? I don't know why you would do that, but luckily you didn't have to leave Buster or Mittens in the hot car all day - there was a cool, comfortable kennel right outside the entry gates. A can of Ken-L-Ration food was included as part of the deal. Each pet also got one pack of Marlboro cigarettes - used as currency while in "the joint".

Plenty of blossoms added color and beauty, even here. Meanwhile, I don't think that the fire hydrant was placed there by accident!

I used to have a pet mouse named "Ringo", I wonder if they would have been able to accommodate him? His drumming might have bothered the other pets, admittedly.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

More From Huck,

Today I am continuing a series of 35mm photos taken by GDB reader/contributor Huck Caton back in 1996. They are very nice! And hey, 21 years qualifies as "vintage", don't you think?

We'll start with the great shot of the Swiss Family Treehouse. This was three years before Tarzan would move in, so you could still climb the steps and see the rooms that the Robinson family ate, slept, cooked, and relaxed in. Such a great attraction, requiring just a little imagination. What kid wouldn't have given his Pog collection to live in a treehouse like that?

Over by the pastel-colored "It's a Small World" building, guests have lined the path as "The Lion King Celebration" parade started. Hakuna Matata, yo! The parade ran from June of 1994 through to June of 1997.

Over in Tomorrowland, the original "Submarine Voyage" was still operating, though the gray subs had been repainted in a bright yellow to resemble research vessels. They totally ignored my suggestion to put googly eyes on the subs though.

The line is pretty long! The stroller parking looks fairly restrained by today's standards. That guy in the middle with the popcorn bucket is super flattered that Huck wanted a picture of him, and he has adopted his "sexy" pose to be helpful.

I'll have more from Huck very soon!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Snapshots, 1963

Snapshots, we love snapshots! Here are four of them from 1963.

That kid wore yellow because he wanted to match those flowers - or perhaps he wanted to be a flower. Hey, I don't judge. I think that might the boy's older sister, in the green outfit - she's kind of cute! Or she might be his mom. I have no idea. 

Gramps is trying to remain incognito so that he won't be mobbed by screaming fans.

Gramps, you are doing a terrible job of being incognito. Perhaps he just has low self-esteem. "I'll just stand here next to the trash can; it's what I deserve". Oh, Gramps. Notice the faces carved on some of those trees in the background. Damn kids and their graffiti! A few years in the Marines would do them some good.

Is this the boy's mother? Grandmother. She looks like the kind of lady who had candy in her purse, a tissue to wipe smudges off of your face, and a hug whenever you needed one.

Whoever the heck these people are, I like them!

Yes, there are plenty of snapshots to come.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday Leftuggies

Yes indeedy, it's another Snoozer Sunday, with two "why even bother?" photos, for those who need a Disneyland fix no matter how inane. 

All that being said, I do love that old tuna boat. Inside, there was a restaurant, 3000 square feet (they used Tardis technology). You could get tuna burgers, tuna shakes, tuna salads, tuna tacos, or a delightful peanut butter and tuna sandwich. Try the tuna juice!

I guess this was supposed to be a photo of a swan, but the bird is pretty hard to see in those inky shadows. Nevertheless, I like this because it's a photo of a small tucked-away area, usually ignored, and actually quite pretty.