Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Frontierland, May 1966

Here are three more scans from a batch dated "May, 1966" - all from Frontierland this time. 

There's Polly, elegant as always. I'm sure she's just holding that cigarette for somebody else, she would never smoke (unless it would somehow save the life of an orphan). Zeke Jr., the bartender, is getting some fresh air in between performances at the Golden Horseshoe. Or maybe he's just heard "Bill Bailey" too many times.

It's the Davy Crockett Frontier Arcade! Not many people know that Davy had the high score in "Centipede", "Asteroids", and "Space Invaders". His frontier pal Georgie Russell was #1 in Ms. Pac Man, which earned Davy's respect. At some point there really was a small shooting gallery in the back of this building, as well as a spot where you could have your photo taken with Davy and Georgie (wax mannequins). 

And lastly, here's a pretty picture of the shores of Tom Sawyer Island, abloom with hundreds of yellow flowers (any guesses as to what they are?). Castle Rock looks like a termite mound - I see some termites! Quick, get the Raid! (I was going to say, "Quick, Henry, the Flit!", but figured that reference was too obscure).

For you Dr. Seuss fans....

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sleeping Beauty Castle, October 1963

Of all the Bavarian castles built in the 1950's, Sleeping Beauty Castle is one of my favorites. Definitely "Top 20". Let's take a look at some nice 1963 photos of the thing, shall we?

I am not the first person to point out the serendipitous juxtaposition of the castle and the Matterhorn - they work so well together that it's hard to believe that it wasn't always planned that way. I love the little arched bridge in the foreground - I think Mr. Vintage Disneyland Tickets mentioned that it had been rebuilt at some point, and the arch was ironed out. Boo.

Here's a scan of a Disneyland note card (from a set of 4 different designs) that was designed before the park was open - interesting that they put some snow-covered mountains in almost the same spot as the Matterhorn.

Hmmm, what does it look like from this angle? Still very pretty, turns out. Those were the days when you could still afford to have an expanse of green grass, just because. Now grass is to be despised and laughed at! The mushroom-shaped lamp shades remind me of the miniature golf course that I used to go to with friends. I always won, of course - you probably read about it in the tabloids. Darn paparazzi. 

Apparently a nearby volcano dropped a fine coating of volcanic ash, making this photo rather gloomy and gray. Hey! There's Pluto! He is the most huggable of the Disney characters (sorry Tigger). Do you have greasy fingers from popcorn? His fur will soak it right up. 

EXTRA! Here are the other three note cards that were in that 1955 boxed set:

"The River Boat"... something tells me that they had not pinned down the "Mark Twain" name yet!

"The Railroad Station"... notice that the train is going the wrong way, and that Mickey's floral portrait shows a sort of 3/4 profile rather than the front-facing portrait that we are so used to.

"Main Street"... looks pretty faithful, to be honest!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Two From '57

It's time for two of the "usual suspects" - photos so familiar that you'll think you've already seen them. Totally understandable!

I have dipped each of these scans in orange shellac. You know how I am when I'm in one of my moods! It gives the photos a warm, old-fashioned appearance, which is appropriate for a photo of a steamboat that should be 140 years old. 

Not many people know that each one of those crates was filled with gold coins; the weight prevented them from being moved by the wind or other unsavory forces.

Those poor schnooks are probably hoping to see some droids, Ewoks, or Wookies, but they are 60 years too early.

While some people bemoan the small size of our castle, I think it's perfect just the way it is. I'm OK with the idea of making it look like an X-wing crashed into the upper towers, though. That would be rad! 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Scans of shame

Holy Toledo, today's scans are pretty grim. I wasn't sure how terrible they would be until I actually went through the effort of running through the old "Scan-o-matic 5000". My heart was full of joy, and I was whistling a merry tune - until I saw these results. BUT... they are perfect for a Sunday - the day when so many people have something better to do.

OK, this first one is bad, but not horrible - I can't be too upset at those nice black horses (pulling a Surrey, I presume), with the Emporium in the background. A Disneyland CM is crossing the street, but what is his job? Does he drive a Horseless Carriage? Take tickets on the Horse Drawn Streetcar? 

What. The. Heck. This is a terrible photo. Or is it great art? I can't tell the difference.

This next one is neither the best nor the worst picture of the Friendly Indian Village, but it is so "meh" in its color and composition. MEH, I say! Don't make me say it again.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Portland, Oregon - January 1956

I found a few slides marked "Portland, Oregon", and dated 1956. I particularly liked this first moody photo in the snow, with the vintage Richfield gas station in the foreground. Looking for further clues to try to find this street, I saw the Christian Science Reading Room in the distance, as well as the Dutch Inn Hotel. I was gettin' nowhere fast! (Look at the sign for the Civil Defense "Emergency Route" - in case the Russkies invaded?). 

While looking for Richfield stations in Portland, I found a website called It showed a different Richfield station (converted into a "Battery X-Change" shop). On a whim I decided to contact the website and see if my photo rang any bells.

A friendly and helpful woman named Debra Seltzer knew just where that was, based on the partial sign in the background ("BUR...."). This is on Burnside Street at the corner of SW Vista Avenue, looking eastward. The taller buildings on the left side of the street are the same ones we see in photo #1. Here's a Google Street View:

The Richfield Station is long-gone... it would have been right about where that sign for "Zapan's Markets" is.

A second scan revealed a corner of the same gas station, but this  time we can see a rather impressive edifice - the "Envoy" - a luxury apartment building from 1929 (the year the Great Depression began!). You can read more about the history of it HERE.

Using Street View, we can see that the Envoy is still there, still full of luxury condos (and apartments). I had to move up the street a bit so that we could see it from Burnside Street.

And finally here's another shot from snowy Portland. I couldn't figure out which street this was, but I'm OK with it.

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to Portland!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Fantasyland, May 1958

I find both of today's Fantasyland scans to be very appealing! Nothing earth-shattering, just some nice, classic Disneyland. 

First up we have this nice shot of Storybook Land and a lot of craggy rock work, while a Casey Jr. Circus Train passes through the tunnel beneath Cinderella's Castle. I wonder if there ever was a plan to have a scene inside that tunnel? It seems like a wasted opportunity.

I zoomed in a bit, but we can't see the people too well. I like the be-hatted couple near the tunnel exit, and the groups in the caged cars look kind of funny. My one and only ride on Casey Jr. (I normally do the canal boats) found me and my date sitting in the front car, feeling very proud of ourselves for getting such prime seats - until we realized that we would be getting hot fumes in our faces for the entire ride.

Next is this interesting view overlooking Storybook Land (as seen from, what else, the Skyway). There is evidence of construction for the "Alice in Wonderland" ride at the very bottom of the image. The wait for the canal boats will be brief, let's go there next. I'm always fascinated by the area beyond the berm. How much of that belonged to Disney? 

Business at the "Fan 2" eatery is booming; umbrellas look like giant flowers from up here!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Tomorrowland, January 1979

I kind of wish the first of today's scans showed a bit more of that fantastic Mark III Monorail as it zoomed away from us, but this is still a pretty sweet image. Bubble dome! For a park that is so relatively small, it feels big here. And notice that we can just see a bit of the top of the "hoodoos" of Big Thunder Mountain - a ride that has only appeared on GDB on rare occasions.

It's also nice to see the Skyway, Submarines, Disneyland Hotel, and oh yeah, the Matterhorn! I can see at least one bobsled, which means I have now earned 7 Indian-head pennies.

The Mark IIIs had much larger windows than the previous two versions. I assume that the clear "glass" is actually plexiglass? Or could it be real honest-to-gosh glass?

This next one is nothing we haven't seen dozens of times before, but it's so nice! Crisp and clear, bright colors, blue sky... let's all kiss our bunched up fingers the way Italian chefs do.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Random Photos

I have a folder of new scans featuring Mr. X's photos - possibly from around 1967 or '68 - from some Kodak Instamatic negatives that he found recently. Today I picked some random views.

The more I see photos of the old Nature's Wonderland attraction, the more I miss it! I am actually crying right now (big gulping breaths, runny nose, annoying whining, the whole deal). For instance, this photo shows the familiar scene of bears catching trout in pool; but it looks so great! Hey, I want to catch trout with my teeth too. One of my favorite details is the "creek" that heads off into the upper right - it is easy to imagine it heading all the way up to some snowy mountain passes. In fact, the creek points in the general direction of the Rainbow Caverns show building, I believe.

Mr. X mentioned the following tidbit to me; "...there was a powerful waterfall back in that corner to the left just along the Mule Pack trail.  I used to take breaks up there at the top of the falls, though I was very careful to stay out of view". Doesn't that sounds amazing?

Here's a nice shot of the Royal Street Bachelors performing on the steps in the Court of Angels. Nothing like a little live music! One of the things that occurs to me is how subtle the colors are. Later on, those steps and the bannister were painted a vivid blue, probably on the theory that guests "like color". Everyone likes color, that doesn't mean you have to hit people over the head with it (so to speak).

The presence of the papier-mâché figures in the lower right indicates that this is from the earliest days of New Orleans Square. 

This next one was going to go into the "reject" pile; some mysterious object (a camera strap?) fell across the lens while young Mr. X was trying to capture a photo of Old Unfaithful. But I might as well post it!

Extra! Extra! Mike Cozart generously contributed these neat photos of two New Orleans Square signs; one indicated "Le Grand Court", and the other "The Royal Courtyard". Thanks, Mike!

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Knott's Berry Farm Assortment

I have an odd assortment of snapshots and scans from Knott's Berry Farm that I am going to share with you today!

Let's start with this undated snapshot of a mother and 3 kids aboard the wonderful Log Ride. I believe that they are just starting their journey along a log flume, where they will eventually wind up at a saw mill, and will narrowly escape being sawn into kindling.

I might as well take this opportunity to repost a photo from one of my early trips to Knott's - there I am, young Major Pepperidge, second from the front. I think that we were at the park for my birthday.

Here's another snapshot (undated), with a couple posing in front of the Dreger Clock - it's strange to see the clock painted white with red trim - I think it was dark green whenever I saw it.

From 1961 comes this too-dark photo of one of the old San Francisco cable cars that used to run along a track at Knott's. I think it was pretty amazing that Walter Knott took advantage of the fact that San Francisco was scrapping most of their legendary cable cars... what a great idea for an attraction.

Some of you have long memories, so you may remember seeing this family before, both at Disneyland and at Knott's. Maybe the homemade yellow and white dresses on the girls will ring a bell. I am relieved to learn that Sedaville is only 17 miles away.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Knott's Berry Farm!

Monday, October 08, 2018

Submarine Voyage, July 1959

The title of today's post is "Submarine Voyage", but the stars of the first photo are the members of the family who have just completed their exciting voyage through liquid space. But first I will point out that they are about to pass beneath the exit ramp from the Monorail platform above them - did people walk down on their own, or was there a speedramp? Spiny, leathery plants retrieved from the surface of the planet Mercury are planted nearby.

I'd say that little boy had an amazing experience! Maybe he's talking about the wacky sea serpent that was the grand finale. It looks like he is wearing a miniature six-shooter in a tiny leather holster from a sort of bolo tie thing, while his brother (? behind Dad) might be wearing a similar tiny pistol on his hip. 

This second shot almost feels like an "oops", but I like the view of the distant Autopia cars crossing the Lagoon.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Random Snapshots

Sorting through some old scans of snapshots, I found a few that had been skipped for being too boring. Perfect for Sunday! If you are looking at the blog today, well... I apologize in advance.

How about a dark and murky photo of Skull Rock? In 1960 it magically appeared in Fantasyland one morning, no one quite knows how it got there. If you look closely you can see two boys dutifully waving at the photographer.

Hey, it's those meddling kids again! I tried to scare everyone away from Disneyland so that I could buy it for a pittance, but those kids foiled my plans when my glowing rubber mask (purchased at Merlin's Magic Shop) fell off. Don't think I won't try again!

I have plenty of pictures of the Burning Settler's Cabin, but this one is not among the best. Somebody needs to trim those trees, you can hardly see anything. Still, I miss this non-PC feature, even though I have finally come to terms with the realization that it will never return (I sort of hoped that a version of it might appear on Tom Sawyer Island when the Rivers of America reopened in July of 2017, but... no such luck).

Saturday, October 06, 2018

Mt. Cranmore Skimobiles, 1958

The four slides that I am sharing today were a mystery to me - it appeared to show some sort of ski lift, or tiny funicular railroad, or... something. What is it? Where was it? With little to go on, it took me a while to figure it out! 

What we're looking at is the Mt. Cranmore (New Hampshire) "Skimobiles", designed and built in 1936 by local mechanic George Morton. According to one website: Morton’s lift featured 60 cars that ascended a wooden trestle, pulled by a cable under the track. Gibson named the new lift the "Skimobile", and the ski world was introduced to a new form of uphill transportation.

The Skimobiles turned out to be a popular Summer attraction as well, taking visitors to the top of Mt. Cranmore to take in spectacular views. The first Skimobile trestle ascended Cranmore to the halfway point, and its popularity in its first season, as well as Hannes Schneider’s insistence, led to the construction in the summer of 1939 of an upper trestle that reached the summit of the mountain.

It really does look like fun!

At the transition point between the upper and lower trestles of the Skimobile, passengers had to change cars. This elaborate platform and pair of buildings was located where the two trestles met. This was the only Skimobile ever built with two trestles, although a similar lift, called a trestle car, was built at the Homestead Resort in Virginia.

According to another websiteThe skimobile continued to be a popular lift for years drawing both winter and summer visitors. In 1989, most likely to make room for more modern lifts with greater uphill capacity, the Skimobile was dismantled. Its cars can be seen in front of various businesses in the North Conway area. There is also a car at Cranmore Mountain and another at the New England Ski Museum.

YouTube has some grainy home movie footage of the Skimobiles in action. We miss you, li'l Skimobiles!