Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Walt Disney World Vacationland - Part 4

Here is Part 2 in a series from Ken Martinez, with more memories of Walt Disney World the way it was some 43 years ago. Here's Ken:

Walt Disney World Vacationland Magazine Spring 1975 – The Vacation Kingdom 

Here’s the fourth and final installment of the Spring 1975 issue of the Walt Disney World Vacationland Magazine.  Today’s article is titled “Sailing with the Fleet of the Kingdom”.   One of the early features played up in the Vacation Kingdom’s early years were the recreational water activities, whether it was boating, water skiing, tanning on the beach or swimming.  Much has changed between then and now. 

I like the image of the Bob-A-Round boat.  I had no idea they were equipped with stereo music.   I’d be curious as to how many of the various watercraft exist still today.  Do the paddlewheel steamers “Southern Seas” and “Ports O’ call” still exist or were they retired over the years?

Here’s a fun map of the Vacation Kingdom and what it had to offer early visitors.  There’s still only one theme park at this time.  I like the oversized people and Disney characters on the map.  Some of them are almost as tall as Space Mountain.

Here’s an ad for Walt Disney World’s host community Lake Buena Vista.  The early hotels at Hotel Plaza were Dutch Inn, Howard Johnsons, Royal Inn and TravelLodge.  I  wonder if most of those hotels have different owners now. 

The “Vacation Kingdom” also included a horse ranch called the “Tri-Circle D Ranch” for Disney’s various horses both in the Magic Kingdom and for recreational use at the Fort Wilderness Campground.

What I find interesting about this article is how Disney had to prepare and plan this ranch and train all the horses and hire all the right people all before the opening of Walt Disney World.  So not only were they working on opening a theme park, but the campground, the horse ranch, the various activities on Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon and the two hotel properties, Contemporary Resort and Polynesian Village.  It certainly seemed like a more complex operation than Disneyland.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s article.  This is the final for the Spring 1975 issue of Vacationland Magazine, but there are more Vacationland magazine articles to come.  Stay tuned.

Thank you, as always, Ken! There are more articles from him coming up.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

More Rescans

Here are two more attempts at rescanning old slides that originally appeared on GDB in ye olden days, before your old pal Major Pepperidge knew what he was doing. As usual, the results were mixed.

Let's start with this example, originally posted way back in November, 2006. It shows Main Street Station as seen from the last few yards of the old parking lot. As we can see by the shadows, this is a morning view (sun coming up in the East, of course), and yet the colors are so warm that it looks more like a late afternoon shot.

The rescan and readjustments cooled things off nicely - I was pleased with the way this one turned out! The parking lot is wet - did it rain during the night? Did the maintenance crew scrub the streets with a sweeper of some kind? I love seeing the original yellow passenger cars. 

Zooming in a bit, some tasteful Christmas ornaments can be seen on the station. I wondered if this could be from the park's first holiday season, but then I spied the Skyway poster. So... perhaps it is from 1956. It also looks like people are walking away from the exit turnstiles, but they are probably just walking toward the ticket booths, which were centrally located.

Here's a Tri-Level poster - sadly I do not have one of these.

The next rescan was less successful; here's an odd (but interesting) shot taken from a Nature's Wonderland Mine Train (circa 1963) that originally published in 2007. I love that we get a look at guests riding the Pack Mules as they crossed the natural arch bridge. 

So... the rescan. Looking at it now, I wonder why I didn't lighten it up more. I brought out some details in the sky, but who cares about the sky? I honestly don't think I can put this in the "improved" category. And yet... I will still sleep like a baby tonight. Because Major Pepperidge only cares about one person, and that's Major Pepperidge!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Castle Rock, 1959

Here are two 1959 photos of Castle Rock on Tom Sawyer Island. It was a place to climb and explore and bump your head and skin your knee. And have tons of fun. Grownups could enjoy it on their own level, while kids could run along pathways, jump on the pontoon bridge, go spelunking in the mysterious caves, listen to their echoes in the bottomless pit, find the escape tunnel out of Fort Wilderness... so much to do!

People are drawn to the peak of Castle Rock by the same curious instinct that guided King Kong to the top of the Empire State Building.  Hi, kids!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

In the Queue

I have some strips of black and white negatives that I believe are from the late 50's - or possibly the early 60's, though it's hard to tell for sure. The B&W makes everything look antique! 

Both of these are kind of snooze-worthy, but they can't all be winners, can they? For some reason our photographer seemed to be interested in the squirmy boy hanging on to the fence. The boy and his mom only show up in these two photos, so I don't think the photographer was related.

"When are we getting on the ride? Where's Mickey? What's going on over there? Are we going to eat soon?". Etcetera. Dennis Hopper's brother Fred is giving us the stink eye.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


I have some photos of cool vintage cars for you today - thanks to my brother for helping with the IDs, especially the second example!

We'll start with this photo from June, 1975, featuring a woman happily posing with her new Porsche 914 (along with a glass of wine in her hand). I like her style. It seems like I used to see a lot of those Porsches around, they must have been fairly popular. At first I thought that this must be Southern California, but based on the license plate on the El Dorado in the background, I think that it must be Arizona (they had yellow plates with green lettering at the time). 

Since the rear bumper guards appear to be rubber (rather than chromed or painted) I think that this must have been a 1975 model. Correct me if I'm wrong!

This photo was undated and unlabeled, but it is very appealing - this family is living the life! Looking at the scenery in the background, it could be any one of 1000 places, so I can't even hazard a guess. The man at the wheel is clearly very proud of his Austin-Healey 3000 (thanks to my brother Tom for helping with the ID). According to Wikipedia, in 1963, 91.5% of the all Austin-Healey 3000 cars were exported to the United States!

Since the vintage slide is slightly obscured in the front, I thought I would include this contemporary photo (scrounged from the web, as usual). What a beauty!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Autopia & More

It's Friday, and that means (in theory) that I will be posting some photos that are at least slightly above average, or more interesting than usual. 

This first scan is an uncommon angle of the Tomorrowland Autopia, with a line of cool miniature cars loading and unloading. Teenagers especially loved this ride, clearly! You can see that the CM in the foreground is holding a version of a seat belt for the incoming passengers - I wasn't sure if the Autopia had seat belts in those early days (they were just starting to be accepted for full-sized autos in the U.S. at around this time, I believe). 

Skyway riders are exiting the load platform down that flight of steps, and there is a helicopter in the sky - presumably one of the L.A. Airways aircraft that ferried guests to and from LAX.

Any idea what that crude wooden structure might have been for? At first I thought it could be early construction for Tomorrowland Station, but that didn't open until some time in 1958 - it was such a simple structure that it certainly did not take two years to build. If you go back to the first view, it appears that there is another framed-in structure in the shadow of the Autopia building. Perhaps it had something to do with maintaining cars that were out of service, since there is a wall, and one car can be seen with its hood up.

Here's a nice view of Tomorrowland Station (previously posted) from July, 1958.

Changing gears (see what I did there?), I have this photo from April, 1958; It's a bit dark, but still nice!  Guests are handing over their "A" tickets to see the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-thru dioramas, which had debuted almost exactly one year earlier. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Four Beauties From Frontierland!

Here are four more excellent slide scans, courtesy of a Mysterious Benefactor!

Ever wonder what it would be like if you were a fish and took a trip to Disneyland? Of course you have, what a dumb question, I'm sorry I even asked. Everyone knows that fish have bugged out eyes, and therefore everything looks kind of stretched and bendy. Nowadays they have corrective lenses, but in the 1960's NASA had not developed the technology to help fish everywhere (they were still stymied by "The Tang Conundrum").

Well, we've all learned a lot about fish and NASA and other things, so why don't we move on to this wonked-out view of the Columbia. Interestingly, this is how Ken Kesey saw everything.

And there she goes!

Now here's a very neat view; the file name tells us that this photo was taken from the roof of the Haunted Mansion! Pretty cool, I don't think I've ever seen another picture quite like it. And that's saying something.

From 1969 comes this early evening view of the old Casa de Fritos. While the Frito Kid was no longer seen in the park, some say that he still lived in the catacombs beneath the restaurant (Walt insisted on catacombs, much to Roy's displeasure).  On nights when there was no moon, park employees reported seeing a shadowy shape emerge from beneath the adobe building, and shamble along the river's edge. Ducks were reported missing the next day. If you listened closely, you could hear the jingle of his spurs and the distinct sound of crunching as he scattered crispy golden Fritos behind him.

Sorry to be so scary!

There are plenty more scans from the Mysterious Benefactor.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

1966 Schwinn Bicycle Catalog - Part 2

Here's is the second of three posts from Steve Stuart ("Nanook"), featuring scans of a 1966 Schwinn bicycle catalog. Man, I love it when other people do all of the work, so I don't have to! If you missed part one, Steve provides some context and info that you might want to check out. On to part two!

The backdrop behind the gals’ ‘modeling’ the Ladies Super Sport & Varsity Tourist bicycles, is the wall of the building containing The Art of Animation.  The ‘half orbs’ along the wall always reminds me of Neptune’s Courtyard, just beyond the entrance of Pacific Ocean Park (POP).  In both instances, the ‘orbs’ provided a visual “feature” placed along a large, concrete [or the like] wall – at POP, a wall of the Westinghouse Enchanted Forest LOOKIE HERE to see how POP used their orbs.  And, *fun fact* the orbs lit-up at night – just as in Tomorrowland.  I do love the juxtaposition of the bicycles with the Douglas Rocket to the Moon.

For those out there who had a hankering for, or actually owned one, the Sting Ray was a bicycle to be envied.  And according to this brochure, the Sting Ray was equally at-home in both Tomorrowland and Frontierland.  As for me, I’ll happily surrender my Sting Ray in exchange for a trip or two – [or more] on the MINE TRAIN thru Nature’s Wonderland-!

And just in case you thought the brochure was only about Schwinn, here’s a plug for Disneyland’s new attractions for 1966, and on the following page, mention of the Disneyland-Alweg Monorail.  (Interesting that both Monorail shots featured Monorail Yellow…)  Must be a decorator thing.

Look for the final installment soon.

I realize that I am biased, but I think that this 1966 Schwinn catalog is their best, even though I love the 1970 Knott's Berry Farm edition too (I just looked at the 1976 Knott's Schwinn catalog, and I had forgotten that it is a dud). Those familiar (but still striking) Disneyland scenes make for some spectacular backdrops. A big thanks to Steve Stuart - and stay tuned for part three!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

WDW Vacationland Magazine, Part 3

It's time for the third of four installments featuring Ken Martinez's scans of his 1975 Walt Disney World Vacationland magazines! This time we get an article about Caribbean Plaza, a fascinating area unique to WDW. Here's Ken:

Walt Disney World Vacationland Magazine Spring 1975 – The Treasure of the Caribbean Plaza 

Here’s the third installment of the Spring 1975 issue of the Walt Disney World Vacationland Magazine.  Today’s article is titled “The Treasure of the Caribbean Plaza.  This sub-section of Adventureland was one of my favorite places in the Magic Kingdom. In this article merchandise from the three shops is discussed.  The three shops that existed in Caribbean Plaza in the first year were the Golden Galleon, the House of Treasure and La Princesa de Cristal.  

On this page there’s mention of bottled vessels, called Ship-in-the-Bottle art.  As a kid I always wondered how they got the ship inside the bottle and tried to imagine the various ways it could be achieved.  Then one day I finally saw a demonstration on how it was done and was amazed by how simple the idea was. 

And now a world from GAF…

That does it for today.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the article.  There’s more to come from the Spring 1975 issue of Vacationland Magazine.  Stay tuned.  

Many thanks as always to Ken for all of his time and effort helping my lazy butt out!

Monday, September 10, 2018

3 Random Photos, April 1969

Like the title for the post says, I have three - not one, not two, but three glorious photos for you today, all for the low low price of nothing. Call now.

Photo #1 puts us on the Autopia freeway, scooting along through some lovely scenery. Maybe we're in the Pacific Northwest. In front of us is a blue Mark VI vehicle, which is a little weird; in theory the Mark VII cars were introduced in 1968. I suppose the transition must have been gradual. I wonder what they did with the old Mark VIs when they were done? I heard they were acquired by a billionaire who owns the Ponderosa Ranch.

Photo #2 shows us the Mary Blair mural that was on the south corridor wall of Tomorrowland. The overcast skies rob it of some vibrancy, but it still looks great. As you can see, happy children frolic and cavort while the sun threatens to become a red giant (not enough mass to go supernova) and fry them into cinders. Pretty dark, Mary Blair, pretty dark.

Oh boy, a ride on the Carrousel is always a good thing. Even a baby can tell, and babies are dopes! Fun mom is 65% more fun in her hot pink outfit. Just imagine how she lit up beneath the black lights of the classic dark rides.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Along the RIvers of America, 1957

Once in a while, I try to put myself into the mind of a Disneyland guest from the early days. Why would he/she take a photo of a fiberglass elk? "I need to preserve this moment forever!". And yet, lots of people took pictures of the various deer, meese, elk, and mountain lions that lined the Rivers of America. My guess is that they were so impressed with the realism of this river and "wilderness" in the middle of Anaheim that they had to record it; otherwise, nobody back home would ever believe it.

Zooming in to the upper right, we can see some teepees from the Friendly Indian Village, but if you look carefully, one of the Stagecoaches is just visible through the trees. We can even see the top of the train tunnel in the upper left.

Here's a familiar sight - the Burning Settler's Cabin, sponsored by Duraflame™. As many times as I've seen this, there are often little details that change. It's not uncommon to see an anachronistic, modern boat at the water's edge, but there also appears to be a sunken log raft as well, I don't recall seeing that before.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Bleeker Street, New York - September 1962

Delving into my small stack of vintage New York slides, I scanned two neat views of Bleeker Street, circa 1962. Here's what Wikipedia says about it: Bleecker Street is a west–east street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is most famous today as a Greenwich Village nightclub district. The street connects a neighborhood today popular for music venues and comedy, but which was once a major center for American bohemia. The street is named after the family name of Anthony Lispenard Bleecker, a banker, the father of Anthony Bleecker, a 19th-century writer, through whose family farm the street ran.

I find both of these slides to be fascinating due to the presence of some sort of farmer's market set up along the street, right in the middle of southern Manhattan. Decades and centuries earlier, the island had swamps and meadows and farms - hard to believe when one looks at the level of development today! 

I could find no info about the presence of these produce stands; maybe they were set up every Saturday or Sunday. The street looks like a movie backlot (only not as real!). "Bill's Radio &  Television Service"? Awesome.

Here's a screen capture from Google's "street view". It's nice to see that this area has managed (for now) to escape the takeover by 60-story steel and glass monstrosities - the neighborhood still has some character.

Another "movie backlot" scene! There's a lot of of charm to be had in these old streets. I love all of the brick buildings and their spidery fire escapes. Those produce carts look like they were brought into the city by horse. I'm sure the horses trotted up to Central Park to nosh on some grass.

And here's another "street view" grab. In spite of some cosmetic changes, it all looks much as it did over 50 years ago. The best thing is, now you know where TOOSH is. For all your Toosh needs. 

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Bleeker Street!

Friday, September 07, 2018

Two From the 50's

I have two random photos for you today - not from the same lot, but both are from the 50's. 

This first example is a real beauty, with a look at the horse-drawn Firetruck ("chemical wagon") as it heads around Town Square. Apparently guests aboard the Firetruck had to stand! Those milk-white horses are very striking. To our left we can see a Surrey and a Horseless Carriage, while to the right is a popcorn cart and a cannon. This photo is classic Disneyland, which makes me happy.

Next is this nice shot from the Skyway looking down on Dumbo's Flying Elephants. I love the color and energy in this picture, with people milling around here and there while the elephants are whirling. As others have pointed out in similar views, the wall to the left of the "Fan 1" snack bar (that tent thingy) separates the Rainbow Caverns show building from Fantasyland.

Sometimes it's fun to zoom in for a closer look at the people. Why? I don't know! I just like the way they are standing, or their clothes, or I'll try to figure out what they are pointing at. Or I will do the "old zapperino" and place myself down into the scene with everyone else. Notice the dad in the Dumbo vehicle with a movie camera to his eye - I wish I had that footage.

Now let's zoom in to the right side of the picture. Most ladies are still wearing dresses, but that will change in a hurry - it really does seem like pants become acceptable women's wear by '58 or '59. I wonder why? Did a movie star make them chic?

In the upper right we can see the little ticket booth for the Skyway, that doesn't show up very often.