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. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Kennedy Space Center

Today I have some fun scans, shared by Warren Nielsen (we've seen photos from him on several occasions). These are from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, circa 1976. By then, the Apollo moon launches were over (the last one in December of 1972), although other programs such as Skylab and Apollo/Soyuz kept the dream alive for us space-crazy kids. 

Warren says: These are from the same Sept. 1976 trip, and we are doing a 'mostly bus ride tour' of Kennedy Space Center. As I recall, the bus would stop for photo opportunities, but the people in charge wouldn't let you stray more than 30 feet from the bus for the most part. 

The display rockets are neat, but I can't help looking at those launch towers in the distance!

Warren continues: We couldn't get too close to much of anything, except for right outside the 'visitor center' and at one of the early blockhouses. I am going to guess that some of your other readers will know or research more information on the various pieces of hardware seen here. I have other shots, but these I think are the best representation of what we saw then.

The signs tell us that the original Mercury 7 astronauts (Gus Grissom, Alan Shepard, Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Wally Schirra, Deke Slayton, and Gordon Cooper) launched from this pad. Cool!

Say, you can read that sign all by yourselves! Especially if you are hooked on phonics, like me.

Check out those scary missiles, including the "Polaris", designed to carry nuclear warheads. Wheee!

Rocket engines are just cool. Looking up the G-38 engines, they were used on Navaho ICBMs. "The intercontinental-range Navaho G-38 was the ultimate development of the German A-9/A-10 concept. At the time the Navaho program was cancelled on 13 July 1957 missiles were in fabrication with first flight test planned by the end of 1958".

I don't know anything about this rocket, but it looks like a giant toy.

 For this next photo, Warren says: I am somewhat amused by the juxtaposition of the lighthouse and the nearby rocketry. Very similar shape, similar size in some cases, but very different purposes and centuries of difference in technology.

And finally, here are some very impressive and huge rocket engines; I'm not sure if they are the Rocketdyne F-1 engines used on the Saturn V rockets, perhaps one of you will know. Chuck? (No pressure!).

Many thanks to Warren Nielsen for sharing these fun photos!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

More Devlin Scans!

Today I am happy to present more Devlin family photos! Tom Devlin was nice enough to share these with all of us, and he gave me a little background on who the man in the pictures is:

The gentleman in the photos is my wife's father, Dick Bechelli.  Dick along with his brother, Joe, owned Bechelli Belts which was based in San Francisco.  The story goes that the Bechelli brothers were contacted by Disney to produce a souvenir Disneyland belt.  It appears that part of the meeting included a visit to the park.  (Apparently on a very slow and uncrowded day.)  

There's Dick Bechelli, standing at the rail of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, looking like a real go-getter!

Tom continues: As you can see the slides have no date but I'm pretty sure this is no more than a year or two years after the park opened. I've tried to find out what the belt looked like but nobody on the Bechelli side of the family can tell me.  I'm sure it would be quite the collector's item now.

If anybody out there is familiar with this rare souvenir belt, please chime in!

Tom shared some additional photos of his father in-law on the wonderful Daveland blog... see some of them HERE, and some more HERE.

Many thanks to Tom Devlin and his wife for sharing these fun family photos!

Monday, March 05, 2018

Instamatics! July 1970

It's a "repeat Monday" today; both of these have appeared on the blog before, although I only had little 4" X 4" photo prints... now I have the original Instamatic ("126" format) slides.  HERE is how it looked before... compare to the scan below. I love this shot of a bright yellow Horseless Carriage on Main Street. 

I am almost certain (say, 98%) that I have posted this image before, but for some reason I am unable to find the previous instance on GDB. Let the games begin! If I didn't know better, I would think that this was scanned from an unfaded Pana-Vue slide because it looks so good. The sub is moving through the warm turquoise water, having just visited Atlantis, gone beneath the polar ice caps, past erupting volcanos, and down in the most extreme depths where dark and fearsome creatures live.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Dumbo, April 1969

Remember that scene in "Dumbo" in which you meet all of Dumbo's identical clones, created by the military for some top-secret project? Of course, it was 1941, so we can only guess at the ways flying elephants were to be used to smash the Axis. Don't rule out poop (I never do). 

Perhaps some of you don't know that in several early pieces of conceptual art, the flying elephants were going to be pink. I guess I understand the reluctance to bring the specter of drunkenness into Disneyland, and yet... I kind of wish it had happened anyway.  

Timothy, the sadistic ringmaster, whips the Dumbi with ever-increasing fury! (I feel bad even saying that as a joke, since Timothy is one of my all-time favorite Disney characters. I apologize, Timothy). 

'Round and 'round they go. Similar machines were used to test the nerves of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronauts.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Century 21 Expo

Back in 1962, Seattle hosted a World's Fair - the "Century 21 Expo" - the first Fair in the U.S. since the 1939/40 New York World's Fair. Though not as gigantic as the 1964 Fair (which was an "unofficial" World's Fair - not sanctioned by the Bureau of International Expositions), it still looks like it would have been inspiring and a ton of fun.

There's that crazy Space Needle - still one of the coolest structures ever. Paging George Jetson... the Needle is 184 meters tall. That's 605 feet. (Am I the only person that wishes that the U.S. had just switched to the metric system back in the 1970's like the rest of the world? Let's get angry about it!). Love that "re-entry red" paint.

Here's a bunch of men, relaxing on the Fairliner Tram. Notice the little ticket booth in the background, as well as the souvenir stand and the sign for the food concession. We even get a glimpse of another form of Fair transportation, the "Electricab".

Here's a view looking out the window (yes, windows for Rainy Seattle) of a Skyride vehicle, looking down on the "Gayway" amusement area. Beneath the purple gondola is the "Flight to Mars" dark ride - man do I wish I could see that for myself!

There's just something about a marching band, especially when they are dressed in white; it's like they just arrived from heaven! The girls at the booth selling Danish pastries only have eyes for the Sousaphone players.

I hope you liked these, because there are more to come!