Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Vintage Postcards, Balboa, California - Part Two

Here is part TWO featuring Steve Stuart's scans and excellent text featuring some beautiful beaches and high-priced real estate (today, anyway). I love these postcards because they are so "California" to me. Here's Steve:


Here are two views of the Balboa Pier, which unlike the views seen in the previous post, sits upon the Pacific Ocean – the first view from 1956, followed by a more panoramic view of the area, taken in the early 1960’s.  Just look at all those happy ‘anglers’ hoping for the occasional nibble.  Hey – just as on Tom Sawyer Island-!

The large island “behind” the pier is Balboa Island, and the small island to its left is the ‘tony’ Lido Isle – one of its former residents being John Wayne.  And in the distance, we can see both the Lower & Upper Newport Bay.  Back to the pier, the location where the little building is sitting at its end, now houses a Ruby’s Diner.

Looking southwest, and with Lido Isle as a backdrop, The Balboa Bay Club sits prominently down front.  Today the ‘Club’ has grown to astronomical proportions, enlarging just about everything on its property, including their rental and long-term residences.

Here are three views from 1956/57 showing the ‘main drag’ on Balboa Island:  Marine Avenue.  

This first image from 1956 was taken, looking north at the intersection of Marine & Park Avenues.  The Market Spot [featuring Van de Kamp’s baked goods-!], originally owned by Tony and Mina Hirshi (later changed to Hershey) is now named after them [Hershey’s], and although not operated by the Hershey family, the property is still owned by them, by gum-!

Howdy – moving a little bit farther north down Marine Avenue, we see a slightly different view.  Of special note is the blue, two-toned 1956 Studebaker down front, next to that red, 1956 Chevrolet.

And finally, we move even farther north down Marine Avenue to the intersection of Balboa Avenue.  Boardman’s, on the left, now houses several shops, including Balboa Candy on the corner.  The Cottage Waffle Shop next store now appears to be Barolo By the Sea Fine Italian Cuisine.  In the distance, we can just see the bridge connecting the island to the mainland.

I hope you enjoyed this little trip back to Balboa.  It certainly brought back some great memories for me.

Many thanks to Steve for all of the scans and all of the great info. I sure wish I could go back in time and see Balboa the way it was 50 or 60 years ago!

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Selection of Snapshots

It's time for another selection of mid-1990's snapshots, courtesy of GDB regular Irene and her brother!

First up is this photo of the "retro" sign over at the Tomorrowland Autopia - at this point they had already given up on any sort of futurism, instead relying on the nostalgia of a 1950's drive-in diner (or something). "Happy Days" in the future! It's just odd. Anyway, up to the right is the former Peoplemover track, getting ready for the Rocket Rods. I believe that the current very large Autopia structure was added to the park in 2000.

This photo actually had a date ("1995") on it! We're looking at the former "Mission to Mars" building, although that ride had closed in 1992. As far as I know the structure remained unused until it became "Redd Rocket's Pizza Port" in May of 1998. Notice the sign for "Captain EO" on the pylons to the right, as well as a small sandwich board back toward the Mission to Mars entrance...

... and here's a closeup of that sandwich board! The most exciting sandwich board in the world. The addition of those tiny photos from "EO" is strange - one can barely tell what they are unless you are right on top of the sign - there's Michael Jackson, Angelica Huston, and (most importantly) the Kodak logo. Perhaps it didn't matter, as Captain Eo was nearing the end of its initial run (1986-1996). Fun fact: I never saw "Captain Eo"!

This next one is undated, but the Rocket Jets were still whirling (up high, where it belongs!), so it is from 1998 or before. The Mary Blair murals on the north side of the walkway are still there, but the Peoplemover appears to be closed by this point. You win some, you lose some.

Thank you to Irene and her brother!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Frontierland, July 1966

Today's Frontierland photos are not the best things ever - but they aren't the worst, either!

Let's take a look up the Rivers of America. The Mark Twain has just passed Fowler's Harbor, with Castle Rock to the right (on Tom Sawyer Island). The top deck is super crowded! July, what are you gonna do. Even the raft to Tom's island is about as full as it can be; it must have just touched land, everyone is facing in that direction.

It almost seems hard to believe that Disneyland actually had a "dead settler" prominently displayed near the burning cabin; I can't imagine that they would have such a thing today. All the mommies and daddies would complain, I suppose. With all of the changes to the island during the Star Wars Land construction, there was a part of me that hoped that a version of this burning cabin might return. How hard would it be to cook up (bad pun) a story that isn't offensive to most people? Alas, it didn't happen.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Detroit Skyline, 1954

Both of today's photos feature views of Detroit (Michigan), as seen from across the Detroit River, circa 1954. 

The black-hulled vessel is the venerable "Eastern States" ferry, built in 1902 as part of the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company, and providing service between Detroit to Buffalo. By 1954, the ships of the Detroit and Cleveland (etc) line had fallen on hard times, and in 1957, "Eastern States" was set ablaze in order to make it easier to salvage the steel.

The white-hulled vessel behind it might be the "Western States" ferry. But maybe not!

I did my usual 30 seconds of research in an attempt to identify some of the buildings. NAP TIME!

Here's a current-day photo scrounged from the interwebs; things have changed a bit, but you can see a few familiar structures, like the Penobscot Building (looking much cleaner and whiter here).

I believe that our photographer panned slightly to his right for this next shot; I couldn't ID any of these buildings based on modern views; as far as I can tell, all of these old buildings are long-gone. Of course, I am counting on the GDB readers to let me know if I am mistaken!!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Detroit.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Chemical Wagon & Omnibus, June 1958

I recently scanned a small group of slides dated "June 1958"; as with most batches, they were mostly unexceptional. But this photo of the Chemical Wagon is a real beauty! Thanks to a clear sunny day, and Kodachrome film, the color is gorgeous. The sky is the bluest blue, and that red wagon just "pops".

Off to the left is the Monsanto house, while the Moonliner's nose can just be seen through the trees.

Here's a nice closeup for you. I wonder if the men who worked on this attraction had unique hat badges, much like the cast members who worked various positions on the Disneyland Railroad ("Brakeman", "Fireman", etc) did?

As usual, I like seeing a fruiting orange tree inside the park - presumably from the original grove from which Disneyland was carved.

Oh man, the photographer didn't have a steady hand when this photo was taken; otherwise it would be another "A+" effort. Note the sign on the side of the Omnibus advertising the brand-new Grand Canyon Diorama ("Largest in the World") - still one of my favorite things at the park.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Disneyland's "Summer '67" Guidebook, Part Five

I think GDB readers have really been enjoying Ken Martinez's look at the wonderful "Summer '67" Disneyland guidebook. It is so full of unique and amazing photos of features that one doesn't usually see that it is one of the very best guidebooks! Here's Ken:

Summer ’67 Disneyland U.S.A. – Part 5 Entertainment, Shows and Exhibits.

Today is the fifth post in a six part series featuring the “Summer ’67 Disneyland, U.S.A” booklet.  Featured today are the free shows and exhibits at Disneyland as well as the live entertainment.  As usual, I’ll let the booklet pages tell the story.

As a kid, I remember there never being a shortage of entertainment at Disneyland.  Musicians, singers, dancers and marching bands seemed to be everywhere.

This is when the entertainment at Disneyland was top notch and involved human talent. What an era!

A bank on Main Street?  Who would’ve thought it.

There’s the INA Carefree Corner counter. Think I’ll pick up a few extra Disneyland Guides.

Disneyland Sponsors - Also Part of the Disneyland Story – Besides Coca-Cola, I don’t think any of these sponsors are at Disneyland anymore.

Next will be Part 6 the finale of the “Summer ’67 Disneyland, U.S.A” booklet.  Hope you enjoyed today’s post.

Thank you, Ken! There's one more post for this guidebook, but Ken has lots more to share.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

1960 Disneyland Ticket Info

I just scanned a very nice pamphlet from Disneyland, circa 1960! As you can see, it is incredibly important. Please don't blink while reading today's post. This piece is larger than most paper items from the same era... 10" X 5.25" closed, and nearly 16" wide when unfolded. Miraculously, this example is in crisp mint condition - not a crease or fold (excepting the ones that are supposed to be there). Somehow, nobody immediately folded this in half.

I'm not sure if these were handed out as guests paid their parking fee (likely), or if they received them while buying tickets.

If you don't use Disneyland ticket books, you are a chump! WHAT A VALUE. Don't cheap out and buy that "Big 10" either - you know you want the "Jumbo 15". FOUR "E" coupons, four "D" coupons, three "C" coupons... etcetera. You'll save $1.60 if you use the Jumbo 15 books instead of buying individual tickets - which might not sound like much that's over $13 in today's money.

The rest of the brochure helpfully lists all of Disneyland's 43 exciting adventures by ticket value; among the "E" offerings were the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland, the Submarine Voyage, the Monorail and Disneyland Railroad, the Jungle Cruise, the Matterhorn, and... the Pack Mules?!

Kids, please don't read this Special Message for Adults! It contains mature themes and intense situations. I kind of love the skillful soft sell (or maybe it's a hard sell?). 

One of my favorite things about this brochure is the sheer number of awesome tiny spot illustrations. 43 in all - one for each adventure. Look at the fearsome squid from the 20,000 Leagues exhibit, or the  father and son enjoying the Art of Animation exhibit! I've isolated each tiny drawing so that you can have them tattooed onto your favorite extremity. Send tasteful pictures afterwards, won't you?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Two From 1973

I have a whole new appreciation for photos of Disneyland in the 1970's. After years of pretending that decade never happened, I now enjoy the terrible clothing, bad hair, and ugly cars. 

Here's our groovy family, posing in the parking lot near the Disneyland Hotel's Monorail station (bubble dome!). It's an unusual angle; not a nice angle, but unusual. I'm guessing we've got three kids, mom, and grandma. Grandma is saying a bad word (guess which one!), mother is comforting younger son, and big brother sports a magnificent helmet of hair. Sis gives us a peace sign, which is mighty neighborly of her. 

Now we've got the floral portrait of Mickey Mouse; grandma and mother are wearing the same clothes, but big brother now has a red shirt. Hasn't he ever watched Star Trek?? I think grandma is saying another bad word.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Vintage Postcards, Balboa, California - Part One

Today's post is a bit different from the usual theme park or world's fair subject matter; GDB pal Steve Stuart has scanned over a dozen of his postcards featuring photos from an area of Southern California that (chances are) folks from elsewhere have never heard of. And yet it's been a draw for tourists and locals for decades - a beach community on steroids, perhaps? Don't blame Steve for that terrible analogy, I own that one all by myself. 

Anyway, Steve has also provided an amazing writeup to accompany the scans - WAY more work than I would ever do. Hey, there's television shows to be watched. Because Steve scanned so many cards and wrote so much great text, I have split it into two posts, with the second installment coming in one week. Here's Steve:

Balboa – The Peninsula – whatever you call it – is that wonderful seaside town made famous in story and song-?  Okay, perhaps in TV & movies – The Baileys of Balboa and The Girl Most Likely, among others.  (Talk about obscure references-!)  Also, home to some pretty fabulous ‘estates’, the “historic” Balboa Pavilion, the Fun Zone and noted surfing spots.  Well, at least it was when these images were current.  (Come to think of it – I suppose, that really hasn’t changed.  Maybe you can go home again).  Just bring plenty – and I do mean plenty – of money.

Ahhh, what could be more fun and relaxing than a trip on the Balboa Island Ferry-?  I’ve ridden on all the ferries in the fleet: The Admiral, The Commodore, and The Captain many a time, in cars, on bicycle and on foot – from back in the days as pictured in this image (early 1960’s) prior to the addition of an enclosed wheelhouse on each ferry – well into the late 1990’s.  Although the “journey” is a mere 800 feet, it’s still one of life’s little pleasures.  The Beek family, who purchased the line back in 1915, still operates the boats.  Who says there’s no such a thing as tradition-??

Here are some images from the Balboa Fun Zone.  The first two are from 1957 and the third is from some time in the early 1960’s.  

In this first image from 1957, the Rides area is off to the left, behind the storefronts.  Either in that green building in the background, or just off to its left was where as a 10 or 11-year old, I had a custom, airbrushed tee shirt made.  I can’t recall the image which I chose, but undoubtedly it was ‘cool’ – or so my young mind thought.  (One can only speculate how cheap the rent must‘ve been back then to allow such a low-margin business to exist in what must now be ├╝ber-prime real estate).

Here’s a view from within the Rides area.  The building in the back houses the Penny Arcade, and I quite vividly remember its many pinball machines and the always-fun ‘mechanical claw’ machines, and who-knows what else it housed.  The cupola of the Balboa Pavilion can be seen just off to the right of the miniature Ferris wheel.

Here is a more flattering view of the Balboa Pavilion, with the Fun Zone off to our right.  On many occasions, we rented boats from the Boat Rental business seen here.

And here are three more views from the 1957-1959 era showing the public beach area facing Newport Bay.  Wow – talk about ‘petite’-!  “Just elbow your way right on in there, folks, and please don’t trip on that playpen…”

Man, that looks like a fun place to be, especially on a warm, sunny day. Fortunately there are a lot of those! Once again, many thanks to Steve Stuart for all of his time and effort. Stay tuned for part two!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Frontierland Views, October 1962

Well, hey! For a Sunday, today's photos ain't half bad. 3 skootches better than usual, if you want to get scientific about it. 

It's October, 1962 (or thereabouts), and somebody on the Mark Twain (or Columbia) snapped this picture looking across Tom Sawyer Island toward lovely Cascade Peak - doesn't it look great? My guess is that the four people standing next to Teeter-Totter Rock just happened to be there, and were not supposed to be the subjects of the photo. Notice Merry-Go-Round Rock in the lower left. 

Aaaaaaand... you know it, you love it, you can't live without it... it's the Friendly Indian Village! Somehow it looks especially busy in this photo, with all of the Native Americans preparing food, fixing canoes, scraping hides, and doing other useful activities. Maybe we are invited to dinner! Tonight they are serving fricassee of prairie dog. Mmmm-mmm! (Hey, I'd try it). 

I always get a chuckle over the two babies propped up against the teepee in the lower left.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Let's Go to the Airport!

Let's go to random airports! George Bailey ("It's a Wonderful Life") thought that the three most exciting sounds were "...anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles". You wouldn't argue with George Bailey, would you? Of course, nowadays airports are just oases of fun, where everyone goes to buy a tasty Cinnabon and read a quality novel (such as "The DaVinci Code"), while enjoying some good-natured ribbing with the TSA employees.

I love this first photo (undated) at the gate onto a nearby runway. The wooden cart stacked high with luggage (including one tartan bag) is novel, but the people are what make this the most fun. A nice gentleman wipes the tears from the face of a woman (hopefully a woman he knows) - is she happy to have just arrived, or sad at the thought of leaving? It will remain a mystery, though I suspect the woman was about to fly to either Flint, Michigan or New York. I'll be curious to see if any clever GDB reader will be able to name this airport. There aren't many clues except for the sign for "Capital Airlines" - which at one time was the fifth largest airline in the country. 

Here's another undated, unlabeled image at some unknown airport; I suddenly feel the need to drive a bright orange vehicle. This airport appears to be a bit more modern than the one in the previous photo, with fancy mobile stairs! No leaping 10 feet to the ground here. In spite of the dearth of information about this photo, I love it anyway.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Beautiful Fantasyland, February 1961

Like most places, Disneyland looks best on a bright, sunny day - as evidenced by today's first photo. We're looking at Fantasyland in the early part of 1961. Everything is so colorful, and the clarity is great. The Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship gleams like a gemstone against that dramatic blue sky streaked with cirrus clouds (why so cirrus?).  

One might suggest that the photo has just a bit too much sky, and I am inclined to agree. I hate the sky! If it was up to me I would have the sky banned. Let's crop it down to a nice square. Bingo! This is a good photo for a bit of vintage people-watching. Like the Plaid Family! Paul and Patricia Plaid, with their daughters Pamela and Paige (too bad we can't meet their little dog Petey).

I can't tell for certain if this is the same pale yellow Skyway bucket as the one in the previous photo, but I am pretty sure that it is.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Disneyland's "Summer '67" Guidebook, Part Four

Today's continuation of Ken Martinez's scans of a "Disneyland '67" guidebook feature images of restaurants and shops - many of them are unique and fascinating looks at places that were rarely photographed.

Summer ’67 Disneyland U.S.A. – Part 4 Dining and Shopping at Disneyland

Today is the fourth post in a six part series featuring the “Summer ’67 Disneyland, U.S.A” booklet.  Featured today are the dining and shopping options at Disneyland.  How many of these concessions have survived through the history of the park?  I’ll let the booklet pages tell the story.

I love the Donald Duck caps the burger munching trio is wearing.  Anyone ever get one of those duck bill caps?

(Editor's note: I have one of those duck bill caps! I know right where it is, and might even have a photo or  two of me wearing it when I was about three years old).

Ah!  It’s a rare image of Sunkist “I Presume”.  The red lei the mother is wearing adds a nice Adventureland touch to the photo.

Shopping at Disneyland, when there was actually a lot of cool non-Disney branded stuff you could purchase.

Next will be Part 5 featuring the live entertainment, free shows and exhibits that were at Disneyland.  Hope you enjoyed today’s post.

Pretty cool, eh? Man oh man, those were the days! Thanks very much to Ken for sharing these scans.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tomorrowland, October 1970

Man oh man, I recently scanned a group of slides from October, 1970. There are some nice images in the bunch - or there would be, if the photographer hadn't used GAF film. You've never seen such dark, murky, grainy, horrible results in your life! Most photos look like they were taken right after a volcano released millions of tons of ash into the atmosphere. The two examples today look sort of OK, and that was after considerable slaving over a red-hot computer. GAF must stand for "G**-Awful Film". (ZING! Eat that, GAF).

Anyway... here's Tomorrowland! Rectangular Skyway buckets, Mark VII Autopia cars, the Matterhorn, Green Mark III Monorail at the station; there's lots to like. Plus a ghost of that yellowish-gray murk.

You can't tell here, but that Monorail is deep mossy green - not graphite gray. The Mark IIIs retained much of the pizzaz (not pizzas) that the Mark II versions had. Bubble dome alert! 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Special Guest Post - Busch Gardens, Tampa - 1972

Today I am happy to share some family photos, generously shared by GDB reader Mark H. Besotted! You've probably seen his name if you read the comments. He doesn't  personally appear in any of the pictures because he hadn't been born yet. Yep, that old excuse. Mark's young parents visited Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida, and... well, Mark included an entertaining writeup to accompany the pictures, so I'll let him do the honors. Here's Mark:

Many moons ago, 45 years' worth, in fact, my parents took advantage of their childfree, young-adult lifestyle to visit Florida. In one week during September of 1972, they visited Busch Gardens Tampa and a younger park in the wilds of Orlando. Here are some pictures from the first day. Busch Gardens Tampa was already 13 years old in 1972, and only had three rides (counting the escalator to the brewery tour). It was mostly focused on wild animals and free beer. My mother focused her camera mostly on the animals, though we can see some incidental monorail track near the end.

Here's a good-looking kid, and also my father, only 26. The petting zoo area was in an area called "Boma." (That's Swahili for "small animal enclosure," if the park maps of the time can be believed, which makes me wonder about the naming of that restaurant in The Animal Kingdom Lodge.)

More from Boma. Everybody loves petting ruminants!

I can only assume Mom took this photo from the Serengeti Express Railroad (which had just opened the previous year). The rock wall behind that tall cheetah hides the baboon enclosure, where large apes were entertained by a constant stream of humans being ferried past. 

We're off the train now, and on the far side of the park. This is Flamingo Point, with the brewery peeking up over the trees in the background. Fun fact: like all flamingos, these birds got their vivid pink color by eating their own weight in maraschino cherries every day.

These parrots provided a wisecracking introduction to a show where the flowers sing, and tikis play drums. And just like the ones up the road, they did so in a collection of hilarious dialects. Behind them, you can see the home of beer samples, the Hospitality House. 

Gazelles are so fast, they can outrun a snail on a turtle's back. 

Our elevation above the crocogators suggests that we're finally on the monorail. The architecture of the park didn't show a lot of imagination then, but I enjoy the scaly walls of the enclosure. (That's not fair, really. The park did include a kiddie area with storybook cottages and giant mushrooms. The nocturnal animal house was dressed up as a mountain, complete with waterfall. Sadly, Mom didn't take pictures of those.)

This time, the tall cheetah is ducking down, to make herself look smaller, and therefore further away. It's an old theme-park trick called "forced perspective."

Rhinos don't have very good vision, and they've mistaken us for the family who loaned them ten dollars, They're pretending not to see us. It's embarrassing all around.

In Eagle Canyon, there's an eagle. It's a salute to all geographic formations, but mostly canyons.

In the back left, we can see the park's only restaurant at the time, The Old Swiss House. It's a replica of a famous restaurant in Lucerne. To the right, we can see most of the monorail station. Unfortunately, there's some kinda hippo in the way. 

Ah, that's better! Here's a nice close view of the monorail station and supports. (Since the Busch Gardens Monorail is a hanging type, it needs those side supports.)

My mom knew Thufer would want to see powerlines, so here they are. Funny how actual wide-open spaces can feel less expansive than a properly-engineered berm on the Jungle Cruise. 

Here's a herd of... something. Wildebeest? Ibix? Moose? I can only give a positive ID on those palm trees.

A thing rests in the shade. I *think* it has horns. Maybe a mutant wolf?

This is another picture of a thing. No reason to even post it. 

I couldn't find a decent contemporary map to link to. (I relied on one from '70, and one from '76, neither correct to what the pictures show in '72. But both together helped me get a feeling of where in the park the pictures were, and coincidentally led me to suspect Mom filed them out of order. No matter.)
Here's my bibliography:

I hope this is interesting and fun for everyone, and look forward to writing up the WDW pictures. I'm swapping out photo albums this week, and moving on. I know there are pictures in 1982 from the Knoxville World's Fair, and early early EPCOT Center (with the creepy giant-head characters around World Showcase). If you're interested in any other random things (there's a quick trip to DC in '75  or so, with the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum heavily featured, plus Savannah and other places), let me know. As I said, I'm scanning everything, so I'm happy to share it all. 


MANY THANKS to Mark for sharing these photos of Busch Gardens, and for all the work in scanning them and providing the accompanying text. I'm interested in the photos from the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum circa 1975, and the Knoxville World's Fair sounds good too, so I'll probably be bugging him for those. (Sorry Mark, no good deed goes unpunished)

Guess what? His parents also visited Walt Disney World, and Mark has shared the photos from there as well. Stay tuned!