Friday, March 23, 2018

Skyway & More, July 1972

Here are some neat photos of a bustling Tomorrowland, circa 1972. 

First up is this cool shot as we zoomed away from the Tomorrowland Skyway terminal - we are moving backwards toward the Matterhorn and Fantasyland. I love so many details, such as the Peoplemover vehicles overhead, the cobalt blue steel in the Skyway terminal, and the Autopia. I assume that the little souvenir booth was designed by Rolly Crump? Looks like it needed a makeshift shade to keep the sun off of the poor employees.

Hey, there's one of those weird pale yellow gondolas! Doesn't someone have a list of the official Skyway gondola colors (maybe Mike Cozart, knower of all things)? I love the flashes of bright colors on the clothing, including the woman's dress with the bright green stripes in the lower left. 

Next, we are on the upper level of the Carousel of Progress building, looking toward the Tomorrowland Terrace (who is performing?!). Look at all the people! It was July, after all - peak season in those days. Folks are lining up to ride things like the Rocket Jets, Adventure Thru Inner Space, and that mover of people. Others are lining up to eat the most delicious hamburgers in the world.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Frontierland Scans

You know them, you love them, it's more donated scans from the Phantom of the Scanner. He lives beneath the Paris opera house, which is pretty cool, you have to admit.

First up is this lovely shot from 1962; we're standing in Frontierland - barely - looking out toward the Plaza and the snow-capped Matterhorn.

The next three are random-ish views along the river, from February 1965. If the photographer was trying to capture examples of Frontierland's typical flora, he gets a "B". If he was trying to capture Fort Wilderness, he gets a "D minus" with a frowny-face, and a note to speak to me after class.

Hello, Chief Wavy! It's nice to see you. Sorry about the steam, I know it wreaks havoc on your feathered war bonnet. Say, who are your friends up on the hill? All of you should drop by the fort later. we're having Swanson's "Hungry Man" TV dinners. You can have the Salisbury Steak (with apple cobbler), and I'll have the battered fish filet.

Meese. Why did it have to be meese? I've spent a lot of time on lakes in Minnesota, and never saw a single moose up there. I did see one in Canada, but he spoke French, so it was awkward. 

Stay tuned for more Frontierland scans!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Photos of Walt

It's always fun to find some unfamiliar photos of Walt Disney. Today I have two scans of black and white 8 X 10's from Mr. X! 

First up is this photo of Walt and his wife Lillian, dining at the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, from 1939. Look at the clutter of stacked dishes! They look like Chinese dishes that my mom has - and maybe those are some chopsticks sticking out of the side of one nested pair? 

Zooming in just a bit, we can see that Lilly is decked out in a velvet dress with a fur-lined hat, and an exotic necklace of some kind (my mom is into ethnic jewelry, she guessed that it might be from India). 

What do you think, is Walt eating chili, his favorite?

Next is this scan that was sent to Mr. X after he wrote to the studio, wondering if there were any photos of Walt with Laurel and Hardy (particular favorites of X). They just sent this to him, for free (this was many years ago, of course)! Amazing. It appears to be a bit earlier than the previous image, though not by much. Could they be at the Academy Awards? Everybody appears to be very friendly!

This neat artwork was sold by Heritage Auctions not long ago; clearly it was created and sent to Oliver Hardy as a token of Walt's admiration! Perhaps the photo of the three of them was taken when "The Three Little Pigs" won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Poking around the Internet, I found this next photo - producer/director Hal Roach has joined the boys.  Among the many amazing things Hal Roach produced were the "Our Gang" comedies, "Of Mice and Men", and of course, Laurel and Hardy films.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Casey Jr. & Storybook Land, April 1969

Casey Jr. ("Casey Jones Jr." on his tax forms) is the most cheerful, most colorful, hardest-working, think-I-can-iest little train that ever was. Prove me wrong, internets! Prove me wrong.

He's also awesome because he is right out of "Dumbo", one of my favorite Disney animated features. I love how Casey's eyes are truncated cones, which gives the illusion that he is always looking right at you. So ingenious!

Maybe it's just nostalgia clouding my brain, but it is hard for me to imagine a Disneyland without Casey Jr. or the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Just typing that out makes me worry that I have now jinxed it. (Note: I composed this post before Mike Cozart left his alarming comment a few days ago...)

Speaking of the Canal Boats, there's one now! Does anybody know if the guides actually run the boats, or do they run autonomously? This particular CM has forgotten her spiel, so she is winging it: "Over there is where Peter Pan and Snow White fell in love after being lost in the candy forest and killing Godzilla". Works for me.

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Few From Nature's Wonderland, October 1961

The Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland has been gone for just over 40 years now (having closed in January of 1977), and it seems as if its reputation as one of the great Disney attractions has continued to grow - perhaps because it is the type of ride that will likely never be done again - vast in scope (both in sheer size, and in the variety of different scenes), somewhat slow-paced (a good thing, in this case), imaginative, and sometimes beautiful. I have three scenes from that ride for you today.

Not long after our little train left Rainbow Ridge, we traveled through Beaver Valley, and then made a turn that brought us alongside the Rivers of America. Just ahead of us is a natural arch (part of Cascade Peak); when we pass through it, we will be behind a roaring waterfall. That's something that you don't see every day!

After scooting around Cascade Peak, we emerge into Bear Country, passing over a rickety trestle bridge. Beneath us we see lots of bear activity. Some are scratchin', some are fishing, some are investigating a beehive, while one or two are taking a siesta. 

Did you know that a group of bears is called a sleuth or a sloth?

Here's a pretty view of the Rainbow Desert, with the mysterious geological formations practically glowing under the last rays of the setting sun. Everything in shadow has touches of blue-violet. Note the geyser spouting as we look through that stone arch.

Man, do I miss that ride!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Jungle Cruise, May 1958

I love the old Jungle Cruise, but man oh man, photos of it can get a bit repetitive. All those darn hippos.

But not today! Instead, I present unto thee an less-photographed tableau. Nature, red in tooth and claw, and all that jazz. There's pride of lions, pretty stoked that they found this already-dead zebra, saving them the trouble of running, and killing, and all of that hullaballoo. Overhead, a pair of vultures lick their lips (?) waiting for the leftuggies.

Taking a closer look, we see the male lion, taking all the credit, while two females roll their eyes. The two cubs don't care, they just want to listen to their rock and roll music and watch TV.

Did somebody say hippos?? Here is a whole flock of them. They'll eat breadcrumbs out of your hand - just try it.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Asheville, North Carolina, and more

I have some fun vintage photos for you today - one with an easy I.D., the others a mystery. But perhaps not to you!

We'll start with this view of downtown Asheville, in western North Carolina. This slide was undated, but could be from the late 1940's. Maybe you car experts can see if any appear to be from the 50's? 

That's Pack Square right in front of us, with an obelisk monument in honor of Zebulon Baird Vance (Governor of North Carolina, as well as a Senator); the art deco building in the center of the photo is Asheville City Hall, built in 1926. The taller building to our left is the Buncombe County Courthouse, which was originally supposed to be a twin of City Hall, but... no such luck. Also notable is the smaller white structure, "Hayes & Hopson Auto Supplies". It was in danger of being razed a few years ago, but is now the trendy "Pack's Tavern".

I found this relatively recent photo on the Interwebs. Look at all those trees! At first I thought that perhaps most of the surrounding buildings had been torn down in the intervening 60+ years, but it seems that the photographer for the vintage image used a long lens that compressed the scenery considerably. For instance, the obelisk and those buildings to the right in the old photo are still with us. Asheville looks like a lovely town.

Next is this undated (but certainly 1950's) photo of an elementary school; there's no indication of where this is. But I think that it is in Key West, Florida. Note the sign for U.S. Route 1, which passes through Key West (though the route is almost 4000 miles long, so.... yeah). 

We can see a legible street sign on the corner for "White Street". There is a White Street in Key West, near (but not on) Route 1. I originally thought that the school might be "Glynn R. Archer School" (which is on White Street in Key West - it's now the City Hall), but it doesn't really look the same as the one in this photo - even older photos don't match. If anybody has a clue, chime in!

How about another Mystery Town? Granted there is not much to go on. To me it looks like Massachusetts, but it could be in any number of States in the northeast. Does the red and white license plate help? The street sign on the corner says "Jackson"; it might as well say "Maple Street". I'm wondering if the stately white home is a famous landmark, or if this is just one of those "Why?" photos that are so common in large boxes of slides.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 16, 2018

New Orleans Square, August 1967

New Orleans Square debuted in July of 1966; Walt Disney was still with us, and he had the mayor of the real New Orleans (Victor H. Schiro) to help dedicate the first new "land" since the park's opening. At that time, neither of the big attractions that we associate with it ("Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Haunted Mansion") were ready, but it was still pretty great.

This first photo, from August of 1967, was taken about a month after "Pirates" had opened. Notice the blonde mom (?) wearing her tricorn hat, instantly identifying her as a pirate. In a way I'm surprised that the crowds aren't crazier! I love the laid-back feeling that this image evokes - it's a sunny, beautiful day, and we have lots of genuine 1960's people to observe. Ornate cast iron (or cast aluminum?) benches surround the planter - you can face the Square, or sit on the other side and watch the activity along the river. Magnolia trees and bright flowers add to the beauty.

It looks like our photographer walked along the shore toward Frontierland for this next shot. The Bertha Mae Keelboat glides by the Old Mill, which is engulfed in lush greenery; even Fowler's Harbor looks like it's being reclaimed by nature. In the background rafts move to and fro.

Melissa will enjoy the two girls in similar dresses! One with red stripes and blue anchors, the other in blue stripes with red anchors.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Random Instamatics, July 1970

The day: February 20th, 2018. The time - before 8:00 in the morning. If you happened to look at GDB early, you saw both of today's photos already - because I stupidly had TWO posts set to publish at the same time. Realizing my mistake, I first leapt out of bed and cooked a lavish breakfast. Then I called my agent. Then I looked at Facebook. And then I rescheduled the errant post to publish today.

Mr. X has done it again, bring you more vintage Instamatic photos that he took back in July, 1970. 

Here's a nice portrait of the Haunted Mansion as it neared it's first birthday. It sure doesn't look very scary here, with the bright sunshine and cobalt-blue sky. If anything, it looks very inviting! Those clever ghosts - they'll lure you in, the way a Venus fly trap lures in bugs. And then they eat you by slowly dissolving you. I really like the look of the Florida version of the Mansion, but this Anaheim version will always be my personal favorite.

Meanwhile, in Adventureland... we get a good look at this interesting, very Crump-ish sign. Look at those toothy, grinning faces on either end! They remind me of Jack Skellington, just a bit. The attraction was sponsored by United Air Lines, and by gum, you weren't going to forget it. How else were you going to get to Hawaii? By walking? 

We've actually seen this photo before, although it was scanned from a small photo print. This version, from a 35mm transparency, is much nicer.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Surviving Mr. Toad, July 1972

What could seem less "Disney" than a dark ride in which you wind up going to hell? Good old Mr. Toad's Wild Ride does it, though, and that's what makes it so great. Today I have three photos showing a previously-seen family as they exit the ride, having just passed through the final "crash doors", back into the sunlight.

Well, those two kids had a swell time! They're laughing their heads off, and craning their necks for a last glimpse of those wiggling demons. Hell is pretty fun, I guess.

Mother and daughter had a good time too. Paging David Cronenberg - those walls look like glistening entrails. 

Uh oh! Maybe it was just a little too intense for these youngsters. The boy is in tears, and big sis doesn't look very happy either. She's hanging on for dear life! 

They may be traumatized for the moment, but I feel like I always appreciate a scare or two in my dark rides. Hopefully it was that way for these two, as well. Eventually.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

More Frontierland Scans, 1965

Here are three more graciously-donated scans from a man of mystery! They are all dated "February 1965".

Thanks to the long afternoon shadows, we can tell that the first two images were taken (moments apart) from the deck of the Columbia as she passed Rainbow Ridge. Happily, there is a little yellow Mine Train visible, as well as the charming Pack Mules and adorable little ticket booth. 

The family that entered from our right in the first photo has altered course for some reason - I'm guessing that the entrance to the queue is right next to the ticket booth. Is it still a "queue" if there are no people in it? The Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland is a walk-on. Notice the drinking fountain (resembling a tree stump), right out where nobody could possibly miss it. 

Here's a pretty view looking across the big river toward Tom Sawyer Island and the old mill. A raft is loading up with passengers to our left, while other folks wait for another raft just to the right of the mill. We can just see Tom's Treehouse, as well as the top of Cascade Peak in the distance.

Monday, March 12, 2018


Here are two "leftuggies"! I'll serve 'em up with buttered noodles and a nice salad. 

When I held this slide up to the light, I was all excited because it looked like the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship had black stripes on it's unfurled sails - I'd never seen that before! And it somehow looked a little more menacing than the bright red stripes usually seen. But the scan shows that the stripes are more of a deep, dark maroon, or a sort of brownish-red - like dried blood, perhaps? I always like glimpses into the outdoor dining area in the back.

The ocean looks kind of choppy today! I think a Nor'easter is coming. The lady on the gangplank might be swept away. Check out the treasure on the sandy shore. 

Next is this bright and lovely photo of the old mill on Tom Sawyer Island - a fine example of art direction. A single Keel Boat rests along the distant shore. To our right, a CM sweeps the dock at Tom's Landing, while a signpost nearby points guests in the direction of such wonders as Injun Joe's Cave, the Fishing Piers, the Suspension Bridge, and Fort Wilderness.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Snoozer Snapshots

I would guess that most people who went to Disneyland over the years brought their handy, affordable Kodak cameras, and had their drugstore or Photomat develop little square snapshots. That's what my family did! No fancy 35mm slides for us. Unfortunately. 

Here are some typical examples! Like this shot of the Columbia, modeled after America's first nuclear-powered sailing ship; passing beneath the polar ice caps was just one of its many amazing accomplishments. 

Meanwhile, folks are standing on what used to be the old fishing piers, though by this point I think they were used as places to sit and reflect, and maybe enjoy a refreshing cigarette.

What?? I certainly never expected a photo of the Mark Twain! Have I ever mentioned that I am a terrible poker player?

Everyone loves a good waterfall, and Cascade Peak lived up to its name with an assortment of them. Notice the cloud of steam from the Mark Twain.

And, ya got yer Friendly Indian Village; the boy on the canoe now has his dog. Did the dog have a name? Did he have hopes and dreams? I believe that the sunlit area through the trees was a small meadow where the Disneyland Railroad passed, although the tracks might have been moved with the addition of "It's a Small World" in 1966.

I hope you have enjoyed today's humble snapshots.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

New York, New York

Who loves New York? I do. I wish I could be one of those cool people that knows the city like the back of my hand. Instead I wander the streets like a hayseed. "Golly, pa! Do you think alla them tall buildings have indoor outhouses?". "Not so loud, son, you're scaring the mule". I have three vintage images for you, although two are not quite "top shelf" views.

Say, maybe you knowledgeable types can assist with this one! It is dated 1947 (71 years ago, wowee) and is labeled "toward Wall Street". Even with that theoretically-helpful label, I couldn't place exactly where this photo was snapped. Do any of the buildings look familiar to you? Help a brother out! 

In spite of my considerable lack of knowledge, I still love this image. It's safe to say that, wherever this was, it looks completely different today.

I included this one (dated "April, 1959") showing a nighttime photo of the Roosevelt Field Shopping Center. For a time this was the largest shopping mall in the world. Sorry, no "Hot Topic" yet, Nanook. Probably not even a "Hot Dog on a Stick".

I could try to tell you a little about this place, but I strongly recommend reading the excellent article that can be found at the wonderful "Pleasant Family Shopping" blog. Check it out HERE! If you're like me, you'll easily lose an hour or so browsing the site before you realize that your tuna-noodle casserole is burning in the oven.

Next is this slightly blurred photo looking eastward along 42nd Street (from a photo dated October 1958). There's the Chrysler Building in the distance; along with the beautiful old-fashioned buildings, it is hard to ignore those brilliantly-lit cinema marquees. The "Selwyn" is showing "The Black Swan", starring Errol Flynn and Maureen O'Hara. 

Next to that is the "Apollo" (obviously not the famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem) - I can only see part of the titles of the movies being shown there, but I believe that one is "Poor But Beautiful" (an Italian flick), and "The One That Got Away" (a British film about a WWII German prisoner who escapes back to the Fatherland). Beyond that, the "Victory" theatre, showing "The Life and Times of Major Pepperidge" - winner of every Academy Award.

Here's a Google street view showing the same area (more or less) as it appeared fairly recently. It's SO CRAZY how much it has changed. The Selwyn is now the "American Airlines Theatre". 

Friday, March 09, 2018

Slides 9-1-1

It's time for another adventure in slide restoration - bringing vintage (July, 1961), terribly faded images back to their original glory (or something close to it, at least), through a mixture of sorcery, psychokinesis, and jazzercise (with leg warmers).  

Here's a pinky-brownish-orange shot, taken from the Skyway, looking down on the Matterhorn Chalet. If you've ever had pink eye, this is how everything appears.

After some color-correction, things look a little bit better. As I've mentioned in the past, one of the challenges with these particular slides is that many of them were taken as the sun was setting; which means they were already warm and rosy to begin with. I didn't want to overdo the correction and get rid of all of the warmth.

Anyway, I love the glimpse of the Motor Boat Cruise, along with the 4-car red Monorail, and even the rustic appearance of Anaheim in the distance.

Does this photo of Sleeping Beauty Castle make you want to tilt your head to the right? 

This one does too, but at least there are some blues, greens, yellows, and other colors. The procession of guests looks like the world's worst parade (they are marching to "Baroque Hoedown" played at 3X speed, in reverse). Nice shorts, gramps! At least he doesn't have knee-high black socks. 

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Fantasyland Pix, 1961

Today's scans are from some slightly-oversized color transparencies (not 35mm) from 1961.

This first example is one of my favorites! All by itself it doesn't appear to be anything that interesting, but it is a nice detail from the old Skyway Chalet in Fantasyland. In the upper right we can see the Skyway cables heading out into the blue, along with some elaborately carved and polychromed decor that guests might otherwise never notice. Then, just to make things homey, there's a row of colorful pots with bright blossoms set along that little shelf. Are the flower plastic? Possibly taken straight from Main Street's Flower Market? We'll never know!

Nearby, a nice lady hunkers down inside the car reserved for monkeys. Come on in, there's room for at least 10 more people! I'm sure that lettering overhead was done by hand, and isn't it nice? We can admire some of the gold-leafed filigree applied to the sides of this particular car, and even observe some of the wear caused by the passing of many thousands of feet on the little threshold.