Sunday, December 31, 2017

Uninspired Sunday

For today's lazy Sunday post, I have two random (but snoozeriffic) scans to share with you.

What's going on here? The kids seem as baffled as I am. All three of the Little Pigs appear to have ganged up on the Big Bad Wolf (barely visible), trapping him against that fence. The Practical Pig might be carrying a baseball bat with barbed wire wrapped around it - I'm almost positive! It's enough to make one feel sorry for a wolf.

This second photo is probably from the 1950's (or early 1960's), looking down from the Skyway at the Space Bar, with the Astro Jets to our right. But the interesting thing (to me) is the row of tables (closer to us than the Space Bar), lined with all manner of wondrous souvenirs. I believe that this is the area known as "Hobbyland", and I don't recall ever seeing it quite so clearly in other similar photos.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Apache Movie Set, December 1960

Both of today's slides were mixed in with a large lot of random stuff; they are date-stamped "December, 1960", and are hand-labeled "Apache Movie Set". What in the world could that be? At first I thought it might be "Apache Junction" in Arizona, but recent photos show buildings that are much more dilapidated than these tidy examples. After a few more dead-ends, I discovered that the photos show "Apacheland" (Arizona). According to the "" website:

Apacheland Movie Ranch was about 40 miles east of Phoenix near what is now Gold Canyon. It was built in 1959 by Nat Winecoff, who had worked for Walt Disney in designing Disneyland.

As a studio, Apacheland specialized in B Western movies and TV shows. Some people will tell you that John Wayne filmed movies there, but that apparently is not true. Actors who filmed there include Nicholson, Steve McQueen, Richard Boone, Jason Robards, Stella Stevens and Elvis Presley.

Very cool that there is at least a slight Disney connection!

Much to my surprise, photos of Apacheland are hard to come by; but there are some vintage postcards on eBay:

Here's my second slide scan. As is often the case, the saloon is the most popular spot in town. Notice the loudspeaker above the porch roof - I wonder if it played old cowboy songs, such as "Tumbling Tumbleweeds"? Or perhaps it was just a muted soundtrack of harmonica and gee-tar.

More from Apacheland opened in 1960 as an 1,800-acre movie set and operated as such for many years. "Have Gun — Will Travel" and "Death Valley Days" are among the productions filmed there. A fire May 25, 1969 destroyed most of the buildings. The sets were rebuilt and filming resumed. A fire Feb. 14, 2004, consumed the property again, and that was the end of its movie-set days.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Apacheland!

Friday, December 29, 2017

More Beautiful Tomorrowland

Hooray for Mr. X, who has been so generous to me (and, by proxy, generous to you!) over the years. I'm sharing more photos, taken by him back in July, 1970, and featuring Tomorrowland. 

One of my most favorite features of the "New Tomorrowland" was this wonderful station that combined a restaurant on the lower level, the ingenious Peoplemover station on the second level (with that rotating load platform), and the just-plain-cool Rocket Jets on the top level (which was reached by that gantry/elevator). SO GREAT. 

The multihued Peoplemover trains make for a cheerful scene; barely visible below are some of the lozenge-shaped signs that held little dioramas advertising Goodyear products in the most charming way possible. Does anybody remember if those dioramas had movement?

Meanwhile, above the Submarine Lagoon, a green, five-car Mark III Monorail hummed along, with more Peoplemover  goodness nearby.

I sure do love these pictures!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Walt Disney World "Vacationland" Magazine, Fall 1971

I have been a big fan of Disneyland's various magazines, from the early "Disneylander" issues, to "Backstage Disneyland",  to "Holiday" (the precursor to the "Vacationland" titles), and even "Disney News". But there were "Vacationland" magazines specifically geared to Walt Disney World, which is pretty cool! I might have one in my collection. Ken Martinez will be sharing scans of this first issue over a series of three posts. Here's Ken:

Walt Disney World Vacationland Magazine Inaugural Edition Fall 1971 – Part 1 Walt Disney’s Dream Becomes a Reality

Like its sibling park in Anaheim, Walt Disney World had its own Vacationland Magazine published quarterly.  The articles shown here are from the inaugural edition of the magazine focused on Walt Disney World and other area attractions.  While I know this is the first issue, I’m not sure how long Walt Disney World’s version of the Vacationland magazine lasted.

The first article in the inaugural magazine is “Walt Disney’s Dream Becomes a Reality” which serves as an introduction to the newly built “Vacation Kingdom of the World”.

What I enjoy about these early magazines are the photos and descriptions of what’s in store for the visiting and vacationing guests to Walt Disney world in that first year.

(Major here... I love the photo of the animatronics from the "Hall of Presidents", featuring William Henry Harrison chatting with President Burt Bacharach).

Here’s the continuation of the article.

Here’s the final page of article with an ad for Marineland.

There’s more to come from this inaugural Vacationland magazine including articles on Cinderella’s Castle, Liberty Square and the Disney World resorts.  Hope you enjoyed today’s post.

Thank you very much to Ken Martinez for sharing this fun, early look at Walt Disney World!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Two From June 1962

I have two nice photos from Tomorrowland (or is one from Fantasyland?) today... nothing spectacular, but they're perfectly respectable. 

You get two - TWO - Monorails for the price of one here (with the bubble dome of a second example barely visible to the right). The windows are open on the red train - I would be tempted to stick my arm out the window and wave it up and down, "surfing" the wind. But that would be breaking the rules, and Honorary Gorillas like me always follow the rules. 

So... was this photo taken in Fantasyland? Or maybe even Main Street? I guess the Matterhorn was still a part of Tomorrowland back in '62, and you've got the House of the Future. I'm so confused. Life, she is funny, no?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Dance Circle and Muddy River, October 1970

In two previous posts I have shared scans from this same batch of GAF slides - you know, those slides that are so degraded and terrible. How I love them! Well, today I am posting the last two that show the muddy riverbed in Frontierland.

I'll start with this view taken from the bleachers of the new and improved Dance Circle -  not only was there "stadium style" seating, but they even provided shade with those cloth awnings overhead. Definitely more comfortable, but in a way it seems as if they lost a bit of that feeling that you were right in the middle of the action. The new setup was more akin to watching a performance on stage.

Of course the fun part is the riverbed. Who knew that mud and dirt would be so interesting? For some reason, this photo (taken in the shade of the awnings) came out beautifully exposed, with good color. I wish they'd all turned out like this!

Instead they look like this, even after fiddling around in Photoshop. You can really appreciate how much real estate the Frontierland waterway takes up - the proportions seem perfect when it is filled with water, feeling like a big river, but still allowing good views of the land on either side. Those Imagineers knew what they were doing!

That's the last of the pix of the empty river, I hope you enjoyed them.

I'm still out of town, but should be home tomorrow!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, everyone! (Or, if you don't observe Christmas, have a bitchin' Monday. It's all good). I have two photos from December, 1969 - 48 years ago - with a slightly pepperminty flavor. And if you put your nose right up to your monitor, you will smell the subtle scent of pine. 

Our photographer was approaching the end of Main Street U.S.A., with the INA Carefree Corner to the extreme right. The gentleman in the foreground is wearing a straw boater - he has to be a cast member, don't you think?? Or maybe he is just the coolest guy ever. I love the little bright spots of color - a popcorn wagon and a horseless carriage.

The subject of the photo was (presumably) supposed to be the Matterhorn, topped with a gigantic light-up star. Garlands, ribbons, wreaths, bells and ornaments make for some tasteful Christmas decor.

Meanwhile, Sleeping Beauty Castle is similarly festooned with relatively subdued adornments. It's not dripping in lights and ice crystals - I don't really mind the overload of today (at least at night), Notice the white-flocked trees springing from the moat!

Aaaaand... just because I had this slide already scanned, here is a fun non-Disneyland scan from Christmas morning, 1949. Two cute kids pose in front of the Tannenbaum, complete with icicle ornaments and a miniature train at the foot of the tree (that's right, trees have feet). to the right is the tiny Sentinel television, clearly much more important than the small radio on top.

They might have watched "Colgate Theatre", "Captain Video and his Video Rangers", "The Lone Ranger", "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts", "The Life of Riley", or "Texaco Star Theater" - to name but a few.

I hope each and every one of you has a warm and wonderful day today!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Souvenirs - 1948 Chicago Railroad Fair Items

Originally I had a pair of very boring photos for today's post - as you may know, I often share not-so-great images for Sundays. But it's Christmas Eve! So I decided to change things up and share some photos of some souvenir items that are from the 1948 Chicago Railroad Fair, which was held along the shore of Lake Michigan. It is considered the last of the great railroad fairs. This is the event that was famously visited by Walt Disney and Ward Kimball - it was without question a huge influence on Walt's idea of what Disneyland would eventually be.

Let's start with some pinback buttons. I love pinbacks! This first one is the plainest of the bunch. "I have been at the Chicago Railroad Fair" - if only.

Here's one, with the logo of The Milwaukee Road line, also known as the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad, which existed from 1847 to 1986. The numbers at the bottom were presumably part of a contest or drawing - I sure would like to know what the grand prize was.

This next pinback shows a modern diesel locomotive, not too different from what we might see today - or so it seems to my untrained eyes, anyway. "Wheels A Rolling" was a grand pageant that told the story of the development of the nation's railways, accompanied by songs and dancing.

Next is my favorite of the four pinbacks, with nods to the earliest railroads and historical events, but still including modern diesel locomotives - railroad companies did not want to be seen as merely a thing of the past, but also as a useful and important service of the present and future as well.

Here's a decal from the Fair, demonstrating technological progress over the past century. 

And finally, here are two great souvenir photos (from the D-23 website) featuring Walt and Ward, goofing around for some olde-timey fun. They're both wonderful, but I especially love the example on the right (from the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry), with the two guys really getting into their roles! I can't help being reminded of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

I hope you have enjoyed these items!

(I'm still out of town...)

Saturday, December 23, 2017

New York World's Fair, July 1964

New York City does a lot of things well, but one thing they have done really well (twice) is World's Fairs. I would give my entire collection of porcelain thimbles from the Franklin Mint to go back in time and see either one of them with my own eyes. That's how serious I am! (I would not give away my Hummel figurines however - let's not even discuss that crazy idea).

All three of today's photos were taken on a rainy summer day - June or July, most likely. Folks aren't carrying umbrellas or rain coats, so they must have been fairly confident that the precipitation had ended. In this first image, the impressive Republic of China pavilion looms; the official guidebook says, "The opulent red and gold pavilion is a reproduction of a traditional imperial palace - the first of its kind ... ever erected in the Western hemisphere. Within the structure are exhibits of ancient and modern Chinese culture, and many rare and beautiful objects". 

The Sky Ride moves back and forth overhead, 

Next up is this neat shot of the area near the Mormon Church pavilion (with a scaled-down replica of the temple in Salt Lake City). It's cool, but I love all of the other stuff going on. First of all, check out those wonderful luminaires - these are particularly large examples (they were built in many sizes, colors, and configurations). Or how about the line of phone booths to the far right? I also love the ticket stands for the "Oregon Timber Carnival" and "To Broadway With Love". Did somebody say show tunes?! 

And finally, here's a cool photo of guests as they go to (and from) the brand-new Shea Stadium (having opened on April 17th of that year). It was the home of the Mets and the Jets, of course, and was also the site of two famous Beatles concerts in August of 1965. I love the colorful flags (presumably just random graphics and not flags of nations?), as well as the blue and orange steel panels on the outside of the stadium - very mid-century modern.

Shea Stadium was demolished over a period of several months, and was gone for good in February of 2009.

I will be out of town starting today... as always, there will be new posts for you while I'm gone, and I'll try to check in on the comments when I can.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Slides 9-1-1

It's time for more rescued slides from July, 1961. Thanks to the miracle of Photoshop (invented by Dr. Laszlo Photoshop), I have restored these faded images to something near their former glory.

First up... this view of Fantasyland, with the Pirate Ship, and all that other jazz. I don't need to tell you what's there.

And here it is, after fiddling with a few knobs and pushing a few buttons. Oh, and I pulled a big red lever, too. Anyway, it turns out that the photo shows a lovely twilight view of this area - the last warmth of the sun is rapidly fading, and the cooler evening colors are more apparent lower down. It's great to see the sails fully unfurled on the Pirate Ship! 

The lights are on, which looks very pretty. I can almost hear the sound of the waterfalls gushing from Skull Rock, the joyful cries of guests on the nearby Mad Tea Party attraction, and can almost feel the cooling air rushing past our Skyway bucket.

I thought I'd zoom in a little, to spy on those folks dining behind the Pirate Ship. That's where I would eat!

Occasionally, other photos of the Pirate Ship have signs touting the appearance of the "Pirate Trio". I don't know about you, but I imagined three unshaven (and possibly unwashed) men playing, I don't know, maybe a guitar, a lute, and a clarinet, or fife, or whatever.

I certainly did not think that the "pirates" would be three charming ladies! This is definitely more like it. Not only are they adorable, but I'll bet they sounded great too. I love this picture!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

In the Plaza, 1956

Good old Kodachrome has done it again, with these two views - over 60 years old, but with colors that look fresh and immediate. Some of you may remember the two boys in this first photo - you've seen them HERE, and HERE. This time, they make an appearance with Mom while passing through the Plaza (or Hub, as they say in Sweden). 

As you can see, there is some work being done to our left - construction on the Carnation Plaza Gardens, which would open in August of '56. There is a structure just over that striped wall - I think that someone mentioned that it was the building that contained Rainbow Caverns, though I could be mistaken. It's interesting also to see that berm dividing Frontierland from Fantasyland - a friend of mine mentioned climbing that berm on his lunch breaks, and looking down into Nature's Wonderland. If only he'd taken photos!

This was a busy day! I love details like the men with fedoras and Panama hats, and ladies in 50's-style skirts. They look like extras from a movie. Sleeping Beauty Castle looks pretty neat here - even though it is considerably smaller than Florida's counterpart, forced perspective does a good job of making it looks taller. Some folks have suggested that SBC needs to be enlarged, but I disagree - it's perfect the way it is.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On the River, May 1959

Today's photos feature scenes along the Rivers of America. So many rivers, so little time. First of all, there's the Susquehanna. Next, the Potomac. And the Mossossopo. Then there's the Cuyahoga. Hey, what do you know, I guess there's only four rivers in the U.S! And I named them all. Don't be jealous - get hooked on phonics, like me.

For some reason both of these images skew towards the blue spectrum, probably due to the explosion of a nearby denim factory. It's the only logical explanation. But in spite of the blueness, this is a lovely view of Fowler's Harbor, with the Columbia getting some work done - apparently it needs work OFTEN. In the distance, a Keel Boat has snuck into the picture. I love how Frontierland still looks like a frontier.

And here's a great picture of the old fishing dock. "Poles and bait"... no thanks, sonny, I brought my own bait. My years in the Scouts taught me to always have a few anchovies in my pocket. (GDB reader Chuck knows what I'm talkin' about). 

Anyway, I love the eager looks on the guest's faces as they hope to land a lunker! I also like the layers of activity, from the fisherfolk to the Mark Twain, to the crowds of people on shore, all the way back to the Matterhorn. Are my eyes deceiving me, or is the Matterhorn still covered in scaffolding?

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Pirate Ship and Skull Rock, 1961

Let's visit Fantasyland, circa 1961! And you can't go to Fantasyland without stopping by the magnificent Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. This is a striking photo - the photographer was obviously careful to keep the "three C's" in mind - Composition, Color, and Calories. For those of you paying attention, you know that I like it when the striped sails are unfurled - it just looks more pirate-y. ARRR!

I can't help noticing the turquoise colored slurry on the ground - not especially exciting, but it puts to rest the theory that the slurry in each "land" matched the color used on the maps of the free INA guides.

See what I mean? Pink.

Nearly all of the slides in this batch lack the crispy crunchy focus that I normally prefer, but they are still pretty nice. I need a house that looks like Skull Rock - of course it would need to be much bigger than the Disneyland version (an adult probably could not stand upright inside that skull) - and of course it would have to be on some other property, since my replica of the Monsanto House of the Future is on my estate in the Hollywood Hills. Maybe the Skull house would look good in Malibu?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Special Guest Post - WDW 1977

A short while ago, I was contacted by a GDB reader named Warren Nielsen. He offered to share some of his personal photos from trips to Disney parks, and I am more than happy to take him up on his generosity. All three of today's images are from a trip to Walt Disney World in 1976, and they feature Warren's wife, Kyle (aka Kai).

Here's Kai in Frontierland with Chip and Dale, whom she was especially fond of. The feeling seems to be mutual! 

Warren added: The 3 shots you have selected are all from our 1st trip to WDW in Sept. 1976. We were getting ready to have our home built and figured we should make the trip to Florida while we could. We had talked about it for awhile, and thought we should go while we could go. We weren't sure how tight $$$ would be after building, and we were thinking about maybe a family fairly soon after that too. You know the expression: Git while the gitting is good! We stayed off property, the budget dictated that, but decided that if we ever got back, the Polynesian would be the place to stay.

Now in Adventureland, Kai has encountered Doc, who has ditched his six cohorts. A guy needs break once in a while! Warren says, Every time I look at that pic of Kai and Doc, I marvel at the little girl just walking past on the other side of that wooden pillar, acting like 'Ho hum. It's just another character, so I am just going to walk away." I doubt if ANY character could walk around now like they did then without being mobbed by everyone within a 40 foot radius. It's no wonder they have people with them at all times now.

The next one is a bit dark, but we can see that Kai is on the ground floor of the Contemporary Hotel's "Grand Canyon Concourse" - with Chip and Dale again! Warren wondered, Were these guys stalking us, or was there a secret dinner date arranged?

I have more delightful photos from Warren coming up! Many thanks to him for sharing his personal photos with GDB.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

DLRR & Flower Market, October 1962

Here are two images from October, 1962, for your viewing pleasure.

Let's begin with this nice shot of the Fred Gurley (ol' #3) waiting at the station. That guy in the cab, whoever he may be (Engineer? Science officer? Navigator?) looks like he's ready for a vacation. We get a nice look at the combine, where freight was stored, passengers could sit, and pizza rolls could be deep-fried. I like the brightly-colored balloons down below.

There's that darn Flower Market again. I don't know how many people bought the phony-baloney flowers, but they sure did like to take pictures of them. Hello, li'l Carnation milk truck!