Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Scenes From October, 1963

Most of you know that TWA was the original sponsor of the "Rocket to the Moon" attraction in Tomorrowland - their logo adorned the 80-foot rocket from 1955 to 1961. By 1962, McDonnel Douglas became the new sponsor, and new markings were added. They weren't as elegant as the TWA version, but you know what? I still like them. I'd give them a solid "B", with a smiley face. 

This October, 1963 photo shows a remarkably empty Tomorrowland - the shadows indicate that it is morning-ish, but even so, there is room to swing a whole lotta cats.

And now for something completely different: the Swiss Family Treehouse. Even now I find those red leaves to be a surprising choice - most people would reach for their green crayons if they were going to draw a picture of a big tree. Of course, nature is much more complex than a box of Crayolas. Anyway, I miss the old Swiss Family (even though they were always out when I stopped by to visit) - they had great taste in music, and had some new ideas in plumbing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Walt Disney World, November 1971

Here are more random scans of photos taken at Walt Disney World during its first Thanksgiving season, courtesy of Mr. X.

I've shared a few other photos taken in front of Cinderella Castle before, but this is a different one. It sure is pretty! The soft colors of dusk with the bright colors accented by the lights, the Omnibus loading up with passengers for a trip back down to Main Street Station... very nice.

Here's a night shot (low light, y'all) as a pea-green Monorail leaves - or arrives?! - the Grand Canyon Concourse. Acrylic trees are almost as fun as bubble domes. Check out that carpet, with 70's interpretations of woven Navajo rugs! 

And why not take another look at Main Street Station? It appears that the #3 locomotive is pulling into the station. That would be the Roger E. Broggie, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1925. It is a virtual twin to the #1, the "Walt Disney".

I guess most of the crowd has already entered the park, but a gentleman is setting up his tripod to take what was probably a high quality portrait of the three ladies accompanying him. Where are those photos today?? 

PS, here's a detail from the 3rd photo for Ken Martinez!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Friendly Indian Village, May 1958

Here's a familiar scene, featured on this blog so many times over the years. The Friendly Indian Village was a regular beehive of activity. The wilderness provided, but it took a lot of work. I like this photo because it seems particularly clear and vivid (not sure why that is). 

Zooming in a bit, we can observe details, like the paintings on the teepees, the buckskin clothing, and a trio carving a dugout canoe. 

Over on Tom Sawyer Island, Fort Wilderness looks suitably spiky and tough - the kind of place that would help a weary traveler feel safe while traveling across the plains.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Christmas in February

Are you missing the scent of evergreens? Do you long for the sound of Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas"? Are you craving egg nog, and other random and sundry nogs? Well, then you are in luck, because it's Christmas at Disneyland, circa 1967. 

Something kooky was going on at Sleeping Beauty Castle, though I'll be darned if I know what, exactly. Maybe Briar Rose was trying to improve her TV reception. And how do we know it is Christmastime? Because of the six measly wreaths on those banners! Where are the twinkling lights, the gleaming icicles, the fake snow? Meanwhile, it appears that the Disney family crest has been added to the shield above the archway by this point. I'm still unclear as to the specific date for that addition. 

Also, above each banner, there is a sconce containing a light, or maybe even a gas flame, something I've never really noticed before.

After walking through the arch, you'd find Goofy trying to distract guests from the scaffolding.

Is that a loudspeaker above the "To Frontierland" arch?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Theater Candy Counter, 1951

Today I have a fun vintage photo for you, scanned from an old Kodachrome slide; it's a great picture of the candy counter in an unidentified movie theater... maybe this was the girl's first job, and Dad wanted to record this moment for posterity.

The photo was undated, but of course the banner with the movie title "Bird of Paradise" allowed me to date it to 1951. The movie starred Debra Paget and Louis Jourdan; here is the IMDB description:
Andre Laurence (Jourdan) takes a trip to a Polynesian island with his college roommate Tenga (Chandler). He assumes the native life and marries his friend's sister, Kalua (Paget). The island's volcano erupts and the Kahuna, the island's shaman (Maurice Schwartz), decides that the volcano god can only be appeased by the human sacrifice of Kalua to its molten depths. Following her death, Andre says his goodbye to Tenga and returns to civilization.

Presumably the faux palm  trees (complete with birds and monkeys) had been added just for this auspicious occasion.

Just look at all that candy! How many can we identify?

I see many kinds of gum - Wrigley's Spearmint, Doublemint, and JuicyFruit; Adams Clove and Blackjack flavors; Chiclets and Dentyne. How about some Life Savers (multiple flavors), Charms candies, Tootsie Rolls, Juicelets,  or Jujyfruits? There are plenty of familiar candy bars too; Nestle's Crunch, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Clark Bars, Hershey's , Mr. Goodbar, and 5th Avenue.

Are you tempted by a candy apple wrapped in colorful (and sanitary) cellophane? Or peanuts, or popcorn with creamery butter? 

There are other candies that I couldn't ID, maybe you can! I'm looking for: Milk Duds; Good and Plenty; Raisinettes; Sugar Daddies, Sugar Babies, Black Cows, Slo-Pokes; Red Hots; Chuckles; Mounds, Almond Joy, Snickers, Charleston Chew, Oh Henry!; Mike and Ikes; Smarties; Necco Wafers; Turkish Tafffy; Zagnut and Abba Zabba; Sno-Caps; Jujubes; Junior Mints; and many, many more!

I hope you enjoyed this photo! Go eat some candy for breakfast.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Beautiful Tomorrowland, October 1961

Aww yeeeeaahhh....! Vintage Tomorrowland, my favorite. And today's pair of photos, circa 1961, are beauties.

Like this wonderful shot of the "America the Beautiful" building. I decree forthwith that this photo is postcard worthy. Bright, sunshiny, deep blue sky, and an especially nice look at the front of the "America The Beautiful" building in all its mid-century glory. Is the area too sterile? Add flags! It's the theme park equivalent of throw pillows.

I zoomed in a bit, hoping to glean more details from inside the AtB building, but... there's not much to see. I'm not sure what that red "Maltese Cross" thingy is, but it looks like it probably rotated. Maybe.

Also from 1961 is this familiar (but lovely) view of the Moonliner - no longer sponsored by TWA. Birds of Paradise and other bright flowers add colorful accents. If you squint, you can see piles of souvenir hats (with ostrich feathers?) in the distance!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Frontierland Scans

It's time for more scans, courtesy of a Mysterious Benefactor, and featuring Frontierland, circa 1964. The donated batch has a LOT of photos of the Columbia, so we're all gonna get nice and friendly, see? Nice and friendly.

Hey, who's that up in the rigging? It might be a crew member, or it might just be a guest in funny clothing. Wear a striped shirt and you can get away with anything on the Columbia. Did the CMs who  did the climbing get some sort of hazard pay? One slip and... ker-splat.

There's the brave pilot; without his skill, we would never make it around the Rivers of America safe and sound. The important thing to remember is: NEVER TURN LEFT.

You want to see something funny? Let's make those folks on shore scatter like bowling pins! We'll load that cannon up with lima beans. They sting, but don't maim. We're not monsters, after all.

I've seen some ferocious rapids in my life, but nothing as terrifying as the ones that we've just survived. We lost Bob, and Skinny Joe, but that's the price of exploration. I think that one lady near me might have scurvy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Magic Mountain Postcards

Today we're going to visit Magic Mountain (in Valencia, California) for a look at one of the earlier looping 'coasters... The Revolution! Courtesy of Ken Martinez and his voluminous collection of vintage postcards, of course. Here's Ken:

Magic Mountain Part 7 – The Revolution

Today’s post features postcards of Magic Mountain’s classic roller coaster the Revolution.  It was the world’s first modern 360 degree looping coaster similar to how Knott’s down the road introduced the first inverted coaster.  Unlike Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain kept their historic ride and even recently revamped it.

This classic shot shows The Revolution with the Skytower in the backdrop.  It’s strange to see it open here without the tree growth hiding a lot of the track and Tatsu hovering above the Revolution’s loop. 

This multi-scene shows off the coaster trains nicely.  I like the vintage “Magic Mountain” name placed on the top of the front coaster car.  Later on OTSR (over the shoulder restraints) would be added to the coaster trains.

This image is nice in which the coaster train is traveling on the loop portion of the track while another coaster train passes through the loop on another part of the track.  How often did this happen?  I’m not even sure the track layout would even allow this to happen during normal operation.  This element would sort of be repeated in a different way when Knott’s opened its Jaguar coaster with the track passing through the center of the Montezooma’s Revenge loop.  It’s sort of like threading the eye of a needle.

Here’s a nighttime shot of the Revolution with its lift, various hills and loop.  Back in the 1970’s this was a pretty spectacular sight.

Whether it’s called The Great American Revolution, Revolution, Revolucion or New Revolution, it’s still a fun coaster and an historic one at that.  Hope you enjoyed today’s post.

Thank you, Ken Martinez! I still remember the thrill of riding The Revolution, before loops on a roller coaster were a common thing. It was awesome!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Main Street U.S.A., July 1972

When I was a punk kid, all I wanted to do was smoke clove cigarettes, hang out at the video arcade, and dance at the disco. So I was WAY too cool to enjoy the charms of Main Street USA. Sure, I liked it, but I walked through as fast as possible to get to the other lands (possibly stopping to visit Mr. Lincoln).

Nowadays, I wish I had slowed down a little to do things like... ride the Horse Drawn Streetcar! Something I still haven't done, much to my shame. This family was smarter than me. There's mom, and another lady (friend? sister?), along with a bunch of bambinos posing for a cheerful portrait.

YOU ARE THERE! Apparently, dad (the photographer in most cases) hopped aboard at some point; the Streetcar has already headed up Main Street and is now on its way back toward the train station, flanked by the firetruck.

You knew this was coming... it was inevitable... the castle, with plenty of ivy to soften the appearance. By now the compass rose has been added to the plaza in front of the bridge. As is often the case with this batch from '72, I love the occasional accents of pure color here and there.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Fantasyland, 1957

I sure love that pre-1983 Fantasyland! Sure, the new, improved version is pretty nice too, but those early cost-saving painted fa├žades are very appealing to me. They look a lot like Eyvind Earle's graphic style (he was involved in some early color studies, after all). Look at the crowds! It's about as busy as it got back in those days.

As I've mentioned, some of the slides in this batch were dated 1957, others were not dated at all, but I have begun to suspect that those are from 1956. In fact, I am officially calling it. Please notify Congress.

I'm not sure if our photographer was standing in line to board the Skyway, or if they took one last photo before their bucket "landed" in the Fantasyland chalet (behind us).

Notice the Skyway, vanishing toward a rather unimpressive, weedy hill with the romantic nicknames of "Snow Hill" and "Holiday Hill" depending on.. well, I'm not sure what, exactly. 

Here's a lovely look at Storybook Land, with its star, Monstro. Look at that line! Why, people might have to wait as long as 10 minutes! Outrageous. Notice the "Storybook" billboard/sign in the lower right corner, another clue that this photo is from 1956.

It appears that while the canal boats were running, Casey Jr. was down... there are men working on the track on the "I think I can" hill. Notice the canal boat high and dry in that backstage area.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sleepy Sunday

Neither of today's photos will set the world on fire, but I think they are slightly better than my usual Sunday fare! Both are from August, 1967.

This is almost a postcard-worthy photo, though the olive trees encroach just a bit too much. This is why I don't like olives! And I don't like coconut either. Likewise, I can only stand ginger in small doses. Wait, what were we talking about again?

The Plaza looks pleasantly busy; there are enough people to add energy and interest to the scene, but not so many that you wish you were someplace else. And I love the spots of vivid color from some clothing, like the Fruit Stripe Gum shirt to the right, or even the tiny pink Mickey balloon in the castle archway.

Looking to our right is the world-famous Matterhorn. The Monsanto House of the Future is still present, though only for another four months or so. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Miscellaneous Amusements

I found today's first photo in a box of random slides; it is dated "1964", but beyond that, I had no idea what I was looking at. It was very appealing though! After a bit of online research, I discovered that this is the "Bunny Bridge" that led to the Phoenix Zoo's "Children's Zoo". The Phoenix Zoo was built in 1962 (founded by Robert Maytag - yes, the washing machine family). I wish I could find more information about this particular section of the zoo, but so far my searches haven't been very fruitful.

I did find this image, and a few others that were very similar. While this area is long-gone, I found a 2012 article that said that the last surviving 6-foot tall bunny would be on display for photos for the zoo's 50th anniversary.

Next is this snapshot from an unidentified carnival or amusement park - I have no idea where! There's not much to go on, admittedly. But these clean-cut kids are having a swell time. Let's go eat lots of food and then lose it on the Tilt-a-Whirl!

Friday, February 09, 2018

Two Nice Leftuggies

Today I have a pair of very nice photos... both in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, and taken only about a year apart, although they look very different, somehow.

Let's begin with this fun, colorful view (circa 1958), showing guests as they cross the bridge over the weasel-infested moat. This is definitely an example of a Disneyland slide that is all about the guests! I love the style of the lady with the blue shorts, carrying her 1957-style guidebook (perhaps this photo was actually taken in '57? You know how that goes) - you can tell by the three columns of color. She and her mother (?) have "coolie hats", fresh from Adventureland, and mighty handy on a sunny day at Disneyland. Only a year or so before this, it would have probably been unthinkable for a woman to wear anything but a dress.

Zooming in to the left, we see lots of swan-watchers (!), gazing into the moat. I believe that the little girl looking right at us is holding a Richfield brochure from "The World Beneath Us" exhibit in Tomorrowland. Another girl looks wistfully off to our left (maybe toward the entrance to Frontierland?). And the elegant lady in the pink dress looks very dazzling!

Next is this photo, from 1957. Judging from the elderly trio out front, this might have been taken on a Sunday, so things aren't quite as casual or colorful. Still, the castle looks wonderful (hardly any pink to speak of), and I like the sleepy, old-fashioned atmosphere.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

"It's a Small World" Flyers, 1964 New York World's Fair

Before "It's a Small World" was driving people crazy in Disneyland, it made its debut at the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. As all of you know! Here are two scarce flyers from the Fair.

Ah, the Pepsi Pavilion! I can't help thinking of large glasses of fizzing soda with plenty of ice, condensation dripping down the sides. Maybe there's a bendy straw. Perfect for a hot day! 

There are those familiar dolls, each with a similar face, as if there was so much that we share. I'm sure it was mostly a matter of economics, but I think it was ultimately a good call to make all of the children the same, with the exception of skin color and hair variations. 

By the time this flyer was produced (presumably in 1965), the attraction could already be proclaimed as a one of the biggest hits of the Fair. The artwork doesn't really reflect the stylized look inside the attraction, which seems a little strange. I could be wrong, but the drawings resemble the work of Sam McKim, in my opinion.

Don't forget that UNICEF was involved too!

A second, smaller flyer is also somewhat uncommon. That tiny image of the pavilion is actually the architectural model. I like "Disneyland fun at the fair".

Now this example appears to have been released before the Fair; "...the magic and excitement of Disneyland, which has enchanted 40 million youngsters and young-at-heart grownups, will be transplanted East for the first time". But not for the last!

Robert Moses, the never-controversial head of the 1964-65 World's Fair, predicted that IASW would become one of the three of four top Fair attractions. And he was right. Way to go, Bob.

I hope you have enjoyed these flyers from the World's Fair!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

More Donated Frontierland Scans

Here are four more slides, contributed by...

SO mysterious. He wears a cape, so you know he's legit.

All four of today's photos (dated May, 1964) make Frontierland appear to be the Loneliest Place on Earth. That poor lady needs a hug and some hot soup! A few folks wait for a ride over at the queue for the Nature's Wonderland Railroad, but things feel very Twilight Zone-ish. It seems hard to believe that there was a time when an off-day at the park could be this empty.

It would be fun to mail a letter from Disneyland - except that I seem to be the LAST MAN ON EARTH! Or it feels that way, anyhow. I suppose there could be worse places to ride out the next several decades in complete seclusion.

At least the sun is out in the next two photos. We get a nice look at the water tower for the Disneyland Railroad. I like prosaic details like the ordinary green garden hose coiled up on the ground, and the spotlights on a stand (for night refillings) under the roof's overhang.

Ah, this one feels a little less gloomy. The wonderful yellow Disneyland Railroad passenger cars (pulled by the Ernest S. Marsh) are loading and unloading at the old Frontierland Station. The landscaping is very pretty!

Stay tuned for more donated Frontierland scans.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Tiki Room Pre-Show, July 1970

Way back in 2013, I posted the very same photos that you will see in today's post. The difference is that those examples were scanned from vintage photo prints. Not long ago, good ol' Mr. X found the slides that were used to make those prints! While the new scans look nice, I am a bit surprised that the difference is not as huge as I'd expected. Still... they're worth another look. I hope you agree.

There's Hina Kaluua, the goddess of rain (notice the rain pouring from her hat). To our right is Tangaroa Ru, the goddess of the East Wind.

Pele looks pretty fierce, with those freaky red eyes and razor sharp shark's teeth. Flames spout from her head - that can't be pleasant. If you look at current-day photos of this same figure, the paint scheme is considerably less colorful - which is strange, considering the trend toward more color in the rest of the park.

To the left we can just see Ngendei, the balancer of the world!