Saturday, November 18, 2017

Greenfield Village, 1954

Today we are returning to wonderful Greenfield Village (circa 1954) - Henry Ford's wonderful collection of historical buildings and artifacts, as well as a recreation of a town from days gone by - all located in Dearborn, Michigan. I've always wanted to go there, but... well, you know how it goes. 

If you so desire, check out two previous posts about the Village HERE and HERE.

Henry Ford was an admirer and friend of Thomas Edison, and several buildings that were important parts of Edison's history made their way to Greenfield Village. This particular structure is Edison's 1878 Menlo Park machine shop - or rather, a faithful 1929 recreation of it, since the original had been torn down. 

I am pretty sure this is where Edison invented Shake-A-Pudding.

Next we have the sturdy little Smith's Creek depot, built around 1858/59. While I am very glad that it has been preserved here, it is not the most beautiful railroad depot ever. So why is it here? The (probably apocryphal) story goes that a young Tom Edison, working as a "news butcher" on the Grand Trunk Railroad (who else do we know who worked as a news butcher?) was tossed off of a train at this very station after setting a baggage compartment on fire. He was fooling around with phosphorous, as one does. 

Because Henry Ford was such a fan of Edison's, he negotiated for its purchase, and transported it brick by brick.

If Henry Ford was going to have a museum, it was going to have some cars. And this one is a 1939 Lincoln "Sunshine Special". This convertible was a favorite of Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, and he apparently brought it with him to places such as Yalta, Teheran, and Casablanca. 

It originally had a siren, running lights, a 2-way radio, and extra wide running boards for Secret Service agents to stand on. Armor plating was added at some point, along with bullet-proof tires, and storage compartments for machine guns and the like. Just like my Honda!  

The car was retired in 1950.

Check out this huge 1891 Edison electric generator and steam engine! It is 12 feet long, 20 feet high, and generated 625 horsepower.

I can only assume that this is the same generator, since moved indoors (I'm glad to see), to protect it from the elements. It received a nice coat of paint and would make a wonderful conversation piece for any home. Order yours today!

I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Greenfield Village.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Slide Scans, 9-1-1

I recently found a bunch of Disneyland slides from the early 1960's. Most of them were perfectly fine, but about 1/3 of them (the Ektachromes) had turned very pinkish. Initially I thought I should discard the slides, but some of them appeared to be nice images - if I could restore them.

Here's what I'm talking about - this is the scan with no adjustments at all. (The images are from July, 1961, by the way).

After some futzing around in Photoshop, I wound up with this. Not too bad! Many of the images from this lot appear to have been taken around sunset, so that they probably had a warm, rosy glow - just not as rosy as the first example. It made things tricky, because I wanted to remove the red, but not all of the red.

Anyway, I think this is a beautiful shot of the old Tomorrowland, with the "Rocket to the Moon" (sans the "TWA"), the Skyway, the Space Bar, the Astro Jets, and the Yacht Bar just sneaking in at the lower left

I've noticed that slides that have turned magenta tend to look pretty grainy when enlarged, but it's a small price to pay. I wanted to point out one detail... the Yachtsmen are performing on that odd little stage near the Sub Lagoon.

Happily, our photographer went over to take a better picture of them. Here's the unadjusted version...

... and the color-corrected version! These guys really look like they just walked off of an aircraft carrier in Long Beach and decided to bring their instruments to Disneyland for a little jam session. Two sailors in the foreground feel right at home.

Incidentally, I recently received a special comment on an old blog post... here it is:

Hi. This is Kevin Shipman of The Yachtsmen. I am doing fine as are Carl and Mickey. We have lost Jay, Bill and Scotty. I miss them every day. We were all great friends. If you want to hear and see a bit more of our history you might check this out:

Very neat to hear from an actual Yachtsmen! Thank you Kevin, I hope you see today's post.

I saved the red versions of all of the scans from this bunch; do you guys like seeing them in comparison with the corrected versions? Or have you already had enough of those? Let me know!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

On the RIver at Dusk, August 1969

Today's scans are from a pair of Instamatic slides (from... you guessed it... Mr. X himself). The sun was on its way down, which left both photos fairly dark, but in a way that just makes them more interesting. 

Let's begin with this view of the Columbia! The ship itself is practically lost in the shadows (though you can see that it is loaded with passengers); what we mostly  notice is how the sails are reflecting the last golden rays of sunshine (as is Castle Rock in the distance). More often than not, the Columbia doesn't sport any sails at all, so it looks pretty great here. And that blue-violet sky is very pretty too.

I tried to decipher those nautical flags, but all I can make out is the word "Ovaltine".

Next we have this very shadowy image of the Bertha Mae Keelboat as is scoots past us. How I envy those people on the top level! Tom Sawyer Island looks so dark and mysterious. One thing that is very noticeable is that lady's day-glo pink top. It was 1969, after all!

I zoomed in just a bit to try to get a better look at the Keelboat's controls; not exactly authentic to the 1880's! I wonder if these were basically the same as those found on the Jungle Cruise launches?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Grand Concourse at Night, November 1971

Today I have more scans from a series of 35mm negatives, all from photos taken by my friend Mr. X during his first trip to Walt Disney World.

As I mentioned in a previous post, X took a lot of photos of the Contemporary Hotel, not that I blame him. I'm going to try to parcel them out so that you don't get overloaded! Today's examples were all taken in the hotel's "Grand Concourse" - the giant atrium inside the "A-frame" structure - where the Monorails would come and go.

These were hard to scan! My Epson didn't quite know what to do with those dark, warmly-lit spaces, so I had to do a lot of adjustments. They were also pretty grainy - a common problem in low-light situations. In spite of those challenges, I think that the scans came out pretty good. I particularly love this one, with the dining area below bustling with guests, and "Monorail Red" on the platform.

Here's another nice angle, with those nutty acrylic trees. Another Monorail is present - possibly "Monorail Gold". I am very jealous of all of those people who got to see WDW in its earliest incarnation.

There's "Monorail Blue". Collect 'em all! 

You'll see more of the Grand Concourse in future posts.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Disneyland in Black and White

Do not adjust your eyebones. Today's photos are in shades of gray! They are scanned from two strips of undated negatives - there's not much to go on as far as determining the date, so I am going to generalize and guess "mid-1960's". 

I have often wanted to sit in giant crockery, so the "Mad Tea Party" attraction was kind of a dream come true. And you know what? It was everything I thought it would be. 

This first picture shows a CM striding among the teacups, making sure that all is well. He looks confident, as if he's done this a thousand times (and he probably has). He also looks like he is barely out of high school.

 Notice the patch on his shirt, along with what appears to be one of the brass employee ID badges that were only given out in the early years - which makes me wonder if these photos aren't actually from the 1950's.

I can almost feel the centrifugal forces pulling on me! Two girls are enjoying their ride, with one of them doing all the work. I sympathize, since that's usually my job. Hopefully her friend won't reward her by barfing.

Monday, November 13, 2017

More Snapshots, April 26, 1965

I have a few batches of old snapshots that I still haven't shared; a lot of them are sort of the "same old thing", nothing extraordinary. But I might as well start scanning them! 

One of the prints was helpfully dated "April 26, 1965" on the back - I always like knowing when they were taken. The little girl in most of these images is named "Lisa-Anne" (another note on the back). Here she is at the Flower Market. She's got her mouse ears, so it's already a good day!

There's Lisa-Anne again, in front of the castle that she apparently just purchased!

Don't lose those ears, kid, they cost a buck-fitty.

Here's an unusual (but poorly-photographed) angle looking from the Hills Bros. Coffee Garden toward Town Square, which has been besieged by rampaging wild animals.

Let's say farewell to Lisa-Anne as she rides her chestnut palomino around and around. She's having the time of her life!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Tale of Two Shipies

Little did Charles Dickens know that, 158 years after he wrote "A Tale of Two Cities", some dumb blogger would make a really dumb pun from the title of his classic novel! Maybe he would have become a dentist instead. 

After 1958, Disneyland had two big sailing ships (although only one of them actually moved); this November, 1959 photo shows the new Columbia in the early evening (or even late afternoon, since it gets dark so early at that time of year). Some lights are on over at Tom Sawyer Island... my guess is that they had already rousted all of the island's visitors (it closed at dusk). I admit that, as a kid (and even as an adult) I wanted to be able to explore and play on TSI in the dark!

The other ship was, of course, the static-but-beautiful Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. This photo is rather dark, but it is always nice to see this ship with all of its sails unfurled. I've seen so many pictures taken from roughly this same angle that it takes a little more effort to appreciate the layers and layers of detail tucked into this one small corner of the park.

In the distance is an orchard of some kind. Walnuts? Oranges? Avocados? sometimes it's hard to believe that Anaheim was once a farming community.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Photos From Yurp

Once again, I am using some fairly old scans on this "Anything Goes Saturday". The images are from Yurp!

How's this for an impressive photo? That bridge is waaaaay up there! And it is cool to see the old steam locomotive chugging along. There was no indication of where this was (and there was no date on the slide), but I eventually determined that this is the Forth Bridge (it crosses the Firth of Forth - let the puns begin!) in eastern Scotland. The track runs roughly 150 feet (46 meters) above the water.

Here's the Forth Bridge under construction; it opened to rail traffic in 1890. For nearly 40 years it was the longest single cantilever bridge in the world. Quite the engineering marvel! 

Here's a vintage postcard; if you look in my scan you'll see a small cupola in the lower right... that same structure is visible on this postcard!

This next shot is a look at Piccadilly Circus, the famous roundabout in London's West End.  There are no monkeys at this circus, however. Just lots of cars, and some gigantic advertisements. Bovril! Coca-Cola! Schweppes! Slim Jims! Just kidding, no there were no Slim Jims to snap into in 1953. As far as I know. 

The fountain is known as the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain, with Anteros (Eros' brother) perched on top. Lord Shaftesbury was a politician and philanthropist, but he did not have a Disneyland photo blog, so I am not that impressed.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Pair From September, 1963

Please take a moment to think about the many veterans - men and women - who have sacrificed to make our lives better!

Here are two very nice images - the last two from a batch circa September 1963. Hopefully they were worth waiting for!

Oh baby, it's that supa-cool Mark II Monorail, looking sleek and vaguely shark-like as it digests its most recent meal of about 60 passengers. It almost has eyes. Those black eyes, like doll's eyes. The "General Dynamics" logo is still present on each end of the "Submarine Voyage" sign. While I am happy being a Major, perhaps someday I too will be a General. Although "General Pepperidge" doesn't quite have the same ring, admittedly.

Notice the tour guide to the right, she seems to be waiting for folks to disembark from the Monorail.

Here's a better look at that logo... how can something so simple be so evocative?

As an added bonus (and because I found it on the internet), here are some samples of Erik Nitsche's posters (he did many more than these 15). SO fantastic! I would like one of each, please. Or two.

Next up is this fun photo featuring the Golden Horseshoe Revue. There's the beautiful Betty Taylor, a be-masked Wally Boag, and a bemused Fulton Burly. Wally is removing one mask - I believe he wore yet another mask beneath it. Zing! Does anybody know what song accompanied this bit?

This waitress isn't crazy about the loud BANG from the gun Wally is holding! Or else she doesn't like the singing.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Plaza, October 1962

I have two photos from 1962, starting with this fun shot taken in the Plaza on a hazy (smoggy) October day. The crowds are not bad, but there's still enough hustle and bustle! Two details I enjoy are the one of the peaks of the Tiki Room building, and the Swiss Family Treehouse (appearing a delicate pink in this chunky atmosphere).

A Horse Drawn Streetcar is rounding the hub, with the Plaza Pavillion partially visible right in front of us. 

Two Omnibus cast members seem to be making sure that there's no more room on the upper level (where most people would want to sit, I'll bet). I'm digging the style of the couple to the right!

From the same lot comes this portrait of a cheerful lady in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, and next to one of the semi-circular seating areas that were removed within the last year or so. Notice the complete lack of pink on the castle! 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Walt Disney World, November, 1971

Following Ken Martinez's post about the early plans for Walt Disney World, I thought I'd share some more photos from the first month (or so) of the park's existence.

It's a shame that Walt Disney did not live long enough to see the realization of his dream park in Florida. And while I have no idea if the wonderful A-frame Contemporary Hotel was on the drawing board at the time of his passing, I think he would have been mighty pleased with it. I love this shot, looking across the Seven Seas Lagoon (I believe). A ferry and a few sailboats skim across the surface of the lagoon, and an arched expanse of Monorail track can be seen as well. 

Over the years, additional structures have been added, including a tower next to the Contemporary - I like this clean, early view.

Moving in much closer, it is evident that work is still being done - landscaping in the mid-foreground, while a crane peeks up from over the top of the hotel. I have a question! The Contemporary Hotel almost always appears bright white in photos, and yet it looks more of a sand color here. I admit that scanning negatives can be a challenge, so perhaps I did a poor job of adjusting the images.

Here's a wonderful angle, with one of the Monorails leaving (or entering??) the Grand Concourse.

"Mr. X" took lots and lots of photos of the Contemporary Hotel and the Grand Concourse, so I hope you have enjoyed these examples!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Orlando Sentinel, February 1967

Ken Martinez has scanned a fascinating item for you today! It's a special 1967 edition of the Orlando Sentinel, with lots of early details about how this massive project would change central Florida, and about what people might expect from this new Disney park. I guess it's not surprising that Walt Disney World would not open for another three years.

The pages are large, and at first I considered trying to cut them up into smaller chunks, but ultimately I couldn't figure out a way to do so efficiently. SO... each jpeg is over 3 megabytes. I hope you don't have any trouble loading the images. When clicked on, they should easily be large enough for you to read.

Here's Ken:

Orlando Sentinel - Disney World Souvenir Edition Part 1

Today is part one of the Orlando Sentinel - Disney World Souvenir Edition.  This special edition of the Orlando Sentinel was released on February 3, 1967 around the time of the announcement of “Disney World” as it was then called.  At the time of this edition release, only two months had passed since Walt Disney died.

Featured today are two full pages from this special edition.  Also of interest is that the majority of the articles focus on EPCOT as it appeared to be the main driving force behind the Florida project.

Of interest is the mention that the monorail will be the main transportation throughout the 43 square mile property.  In addition it is stated that the theme park will be five times larger than Disneyland.  I would assume that actually meant the “Vacation Kingdom” which included Seven Seas Lagoon, Bay Lake and the resorts.  The Magic Kingdom was definitely not five times larger than Disneyland. 

It’s interesting looking at this artist rendering of the Industrial complex which would showcase industry at work.  Might it have been the inspiration for “Future World” at Epcot Center?  Also mentioned is an international area featuring imported merchandise, food and entertainment from different nations around the world.  The Imagineers surely must’ve drawn from this when creating “World Showcase” for Epcot Center.

There will be one more post from this souvenir edition.  I hope you’ve enjoyed a bit pre-history on the “Disney World” which opened approximately five years later as “Walt Disney World”.  More to come.

THANK YOU, Ken Martinez!

Monday, November 06, 2017

Men at Work, October 1963

Today's first photo shows a bunch of construction workers toiling away on a very ripped up Main Street! Did the original 1955 asphalt become so cracked and awful that it needed to be replaced after 8 years? Was it full of broken heels from all of the ladies' shoes that sank into it on opening day? Did they find the fossilized remains of mastodons, giant sloths, and saber-toothed cats? 

Let's zoom in, shall we? This was some fairly substantial construction that was happening right out in the open, which seems to go against Walt's "bad show" ethos. Maybe he decided that it was better to get it done as fast as possible, even if it meant a less-than-perfect park for a few days or weeks. 

I've seen photos from this 1963 construction (without the Matterhorn, admittedly) on Facebook, listed as "Main Street, 1955". How I chortled as I nibbled my caviar on toast points!

Here's a second shot, much closer to the Matterhorn, but from more or less the same angle. Somehow the Monsanto House of the Future has completely vanished. Witchcraft?! The paving shows evidence of earth-moving vehicles coming and going. Perhaps the park's "slurrification" was in progress.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Parade Snapshots, April 26, 1965

I hope you all remembered to "fall back" one hour last night! It's not too late to do it right now.

Every once in a while, I will still buy a batch of vintage Disneyland snapshots, sight unseen. Sometimes it works out, and other times, not so much. Today's examples fall solidly into the "meh" category, being a series of parade photos (all helpfully dated "April 26, 1965"). I don't really know which parade this was, but I'll bet one of you does!

It's a bit odd that the parade ran through the gate of Frontierland... this must have run past the Haunted Mansion eventually; I wonder where the participants wound up. Backstage at the north end of the park? Anyway, here is Pinocchio, Honest John, and Gideon - characters from my favorite Disney feature.

There goes Alice, along with the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit. Notice the cast member to the right... a Jungle Cruise skipper? Following the White Rabbit is a pack of marching playing cards.

Yeah, those guys! That deck needs to be shuffled, they are too precise and orderly.

A bunch of medieval knights on "horseback" trot through Frontierland's portals. Hopefully none of them leave any horse apples behind.

Disneyland used oversized figures for many parades over the years, but I can't help noticing how much these figures resemble the dolls in "It's a Small World" (or even the giant dolls of "America on Parade"). Of course that attraction had been going strong at the New York World's Fair by April of '65, though it wouldn't come to Disneyland until May of '66.

And finally, a rickety jalopy carries Goofy (in his 1910-style duster) and Minnie Mouse. Hands at 10 and 2, Goofy!