Sunday, August 25, 2019

Even More "America On Parade", September 1976

Just when you thought it was safe to look at this blog on a Sunday, you find yourself visually attacked with bad photos from "America On Parade". 

Here's a typical keelboat, much like the kind you might have seen on the Mississippi ("Commerical highway, romantic waterway"). There's dancin', and fishin', and snoozin', and maybe a little boozin'. 

The parade designers got fancy... the ornate thingamabob that these river folk moved represented the fancy gingerbread filigree on a Mississippi riverboat.

"Stagecoaches brought more and more people to the frontier, as pioneers left comfortable homesteads and headed further west". "Simi Valley Route", was that a real thing? 

Steam locomotives opened the west to the average citizen, bringing goods and passengers across the nation. Sadly, Pringles potato chips did not exist back then, so the trains didn't carry those.

"The traditional Sunday picnic brings out Americans' love for the fun food, like ice cream, candy, popcorn and hot dogs. But the all-time favorite and best snack of all is the giant jumbo sandwich!".  

Don't worry folks, there's only one more "America On Parade" post remaining. It will all be over soon.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Shootout at Knott's Berry Farm, August 1959

I have a series of photos featuring a shootout in Calico Square! I believe that they were all taken from the upper balcony of the Calico Saloon. 

Some desperadoes have heard that the train was going to be carrying the weekly payroll, and they thought they might help themselves to it. One varmint has already been shot, and he is crumpling to the ground. It's so funny to see the men, women, small children, grandmas and grandpas, all watching the carnage right up close.

Is it over so soon?! Did the other gunman get away? Two train officers appear to be trying to calm the locals ("Nothing to see here folks, move along!"), and perhaps remind them that crime doesn't pay most of the time. To the right it looks like the Indian Chief is helping to keep that young boy at a safe distance from the gore.

I love observing the people in the crowd! One boy (to the left of the denim-clad deputy) is suspicious. "Hey, I think he's still breathing!".

I noticed some odd diagonal shadows on the mail car (or combine?) and decided to zoom in for a closer look...

... as you can see, it has been pierced by many arrows as it passed through the plains. That was too close.

The top-hatted undertaker has finally arrived, and the dead 'un is being hauled away to his just rewards. Boot Hill is too good for him!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Matterhorn & Autopia, November 1975

It's time for more views from a runaway Peoplemover train, circa 1975.

 This first shot is very pretty; it's kind of surprising to see Tomorrowland looking so lush and landscaped. How do I know it's tomorrow if all I can see is trees? A question for the ages. I think our Peoplemover car was near the Carousel Theater, though of course it now held "America Sings" and not the Carousel of Progress.

This second shot gives a nice look at the Autopia, with the Skyway gondolas heading back and forth from the Tomorrowland terminal which was practically right beneath us. I love the colors of the Autopia cars, red, yellow, blue, and green. Very toylike! It's nice to see the Monorail station with its zig-zag roof, and It's a Small World gleaming in the distance.

I was driven mad with power, so I cropped in a little bit for this closeup view.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Souvenir Time

Kids who lived in Orange County had many fun things to choose from. There was Disneyland of course, and Knott's Berry Farm. And there was Movieland Wax Museum, and Japanese Deer Park, Movie World (with Planes of Fame and Cars of Stars), and last but not least, the California Alligator Farm. It was right next to Knott's, across La Palma.

My mom took us to see the gators a few times. There was just something about these reptiles that was so fascinating! I've always loved the cheeky "Drop In" slogan.

The smell of the place made an impression, but hey, it's a zoo after all. A creepy zoo! I remember alligators being coaxed to go up a ramp and slide down the other side, and the way the gators snapped at chicken carcasses at feeding time. Mostly they just basked in the sun. Another memory is of an absolutely enormous Nile crocodile, alone in his own pool (because he would probably eat the smaller gators and crocs). Thanks to the text below, and my own incredible math skills (1907 + 50 years) and my Cray super computer we know that this flyer is from 1957.

The place didn't just have alligators, oh my goodness no! Snakes, lizards and turtles could also be enjoyed for a satisfying afternoon for amateur herpetologists.

Due to lagging attendance, the Alligator Farm finally closed forever in 1984. Wikipedia says that the animals were moved to a private estate in Florida! Yikes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Random Pix From August 1967

Here is a random pair of photos from Fun Dad!

Guests are milling about near the Submarine lagoon, beneath the Monorail track (I almost typed "trackS"). The picture is sort of a neat perspective, with the people in shadow in the foreground, and then the sunlit folks beyond that, and then the lagoon and Sub (plus the Autopia, Peoplemover, and Motor Boats) beyond that. As is the case in many of these 1967 photos, I just love the styles, colors, and patterns on the clothing. Polka dots, stripes, plaids, it's all here.

How about a nice lunch over at the French Market? You can hear some live Dixieland jazz too, courtesy of the Strawhatters.  In the distance,  you can see folks walking up the steps to Frontierland station to the left, while the brick walls surrounding the Haunted Mansion are just visible to the right. 

Thank you, Fun Dad!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Keelboat and Cascade Peak, 1996

I'll bet a lot of today's Disneyland fans (or "whippersnappers", as I calls 'em) have no idea that there used to be two little Keelboats that plied the Rivers of America back in happier days. But WE know! Mr. X took many photos of the Gullywhumper as it headed toward us. Slowly, slowly! But nobody is in a hurry.

Part of Fort Wilderness can be seen on Tom Sawyer Island, I think this was around where the emergency escape tunnel used to be, though I'm pretty sure it was long-gone by '96.

One of the highlights of a ride aboard a Keelboat was when the pilot would take guests perilously close to Cascade Peak's big waterfall. Meanwhile, I've never been clear on what that object that looks like a hangman's gallows was supposed to be. Any ideas?

Aw, he could have gotten closer than that! Maybe he was avoiding an reef or a sandbar that only an experienced river pilot would know about. I went a little heavy on the "saturation" slider on this one. I blame society.

Unlike the Mark Twain or the Columbia, at this point the Keelboat was only about halfway along its journey around the Rivers of America (since the dock was over near the Haunted Mansion). Enjoy it while it lasts, folks, the Keelboats would close forever the following year. 

Thank you, Mr. X!

Monday, August 19, 2019

More Nice Pix From Lou and Sue!

I am proud to present three more wonderful scans of photos taken by Lou Perry, and graciously shared with us by Lou's daughter Sue B; the photos are from September, 1977.

In May of '77, Disneyland's Space Mountain made its debut, and 42 years later it is still one of the most popular rides at the park (and one of my favorites). Here's how the speed ramp looked in September, 1977. It actually worked!

Here's a wider shot - the line doesn't look too bad, really. I thought that the photo showed a green-haired woman, but I guess she's wearing a kerchief or babushka. Which is disappointing. Green hair is cool!

Here's a great look at the front of the Mission to Mars attraction, which was pretty new at this point - the ride had changed from "Rocket to the Moon" (1955) to "Flight to the Moon" (1967), and in March of 1975, it reopened as "Mission to Mars", where you would find my close personal friend Tom Morrow. 15 extra points are awarded because we can see the Peoplemover reflected in the glass!

A huge THANK YOU to Lou and Sue for these wonderful photos from their family collection!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

More "America On Parade", September 1976

I'm so, so sorry, everybody, but it's time for more bad photos from "America On Parade".  Did I mention that I am sorry?

It's hard to tell from this terrible picture, but that's supposed to be none other than Benjamin Franklin, inventor of the 100 dollar bill. "This man carried the word from the Colonies to the King of England that this new land, America, wanted its independence". That's cool and all, but not as cool as flying a kite during an electrical storm.

There's the disco Liberty Bell! "Let freedom be heard, let the Liberty Bell ring out across the land!". By golly, I'll do it.

There are two of the many cannons that were used in the fight for freedom. The bright colors struck terror into the hearts of the redcoats.

Aw yeah, there's Betsy Ross. When the country was fallin' apart, Betsy Ross got it all sewed up!

"Pushing across the frontiers into the west, pioneers made their way in covered wagons. New land was being explored; America was expanding". When did this happen? I never got the memo.

Yes, there will be yet another installment of photos from "America On Parade". So very, very sorry.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Vintage SoCal

I have two vintage photos from around Southern California; perhaps these will only be of interest to folks who live (or used to live) here?  I never know.

This first one (undated, but probably from the early 1960's) was in a batch of random slides, and I could see that the license plate on the car in the foreground (Nanook?) is a California tag - but the area didn't ring any bells. Luckily, there is a legible street sign to the left; "Plymouth Street". There were several Plymouth Streets to choose from, but I eventually found one that crossed North La Brea Avenue, in Inglewood (in southwestern LA). Eureka!

Granted, this is not a particularly beautiful or exciting photo, but I really like these typical street scenes from 50 or 60 years ago. "Eddie's Inn" and the "Pink Garter" would be swell places to have a brewski. There's "Carlson's Auto Radios and TVs" (a TV in an auto??), "Art's Hobbies", a motorcycle shop, a beauty salon, a Safeway, a Richfield gas station and a Shell gas station. On our side of the street, we can go buy a 1960's Harley! Also to the left is a Chevron billboard with Santa Claus.

Here's a Google "street view" screen grab, showing how the area looks nowadays. Of course things have changed over the decades, and many of those small businesses are gone.

Next is this undated (but 1950's?) photo looking southeast along Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach (at the corner of Cliff Drive). This is another photo that's nothing that exciting, but it oozes 50's charm. Notice the sign for the Victor Hugo Inn, a restaurant that was built in 1938, and finally closed in the 1970's (it became Las Brisas Mexican Restaurant in 1979).

These days the Laguna Art Museum is on the corner to our right, and there is a eucalyptus tree that might be the very same one closest to us.

Here's a vintage postcard - the photo is older than my example - notice the change in street lights and the missing telephone poles. Still, it's a similar angle.

And from the other side of PCH (and a different old postcard), we get another look facing southeast!

Friday, August 16, 2019


Here are the last two Instamatic scans, photos that were taken by Mr. X when he was a mere teenager. I'm sad that this is the last of the square-formatted Kodak images; so many of them are really nice.

We'll start with this beautiful photo of the Monorail, Skyway, Yacht Bar, Sub Lagoon, and Matterhorn. The red really pops, and the blue sky and warm, sunlit Swiss mountain really look incredible. The bubbles in the lagoon are likely from a volcanic vent, and they help hide some of the wonders below the water.

How about a closeup? Just for fun. It's interesting to see how the rocks were applied to that concrete wall. There's just something about the park at this time!

And finally, here's a lovely twilight shot of the blue Monorail as it passed above the queue structure for the Motor Boat Cruise (which would place this in Fantasyland, I suppose). The open windows on the Monorail allow us to see the lucky passengers. It's sort of fun to observe the guests milling around, relaxing, and enjoying a perfect evening in Disneyland.

Many, many thanks to Mr. X for so generously giving me these incredible photos. I still have more non-Instamatic photos from him, coming up.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Souvenir Time

Today I am presenting a fun souvenir item from Lincoln Savings, the bank that sponsored "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" at Disneyland from June of 1966 through January 1st of 1973. I'm unclear as to whether these flyers were handed out at the park (seems likely?), or if they were just available at Lincoln Savings locations.

Here's the cover, with a famous painting by illustrator Neal Boyle, who did quite a lot of work for Disney back in these days.

The flyer opened up to a three-page spread with lots of great information. I'll share closeups of each panel so that you can read the text more easily.

The majority of this souvenir relates to the Lincoln exhibit at Disneyland - no surprise really. Looking back it seems that the audacity of building a mechanical version of the 16th President was fascinating to the public.

"Audio-Animatronics"?? I must be living in a dream! The text says that Disney technicians labored for over a dozen years, and that is no exaggeration; Roger Broggie and Wathel Rogers built a crude, small figure that could dance and "talk" way back in 1951. I love the mention of "space-age" technology, "stereophonic" sound (none o' that monaural junk!), and the way all of it wa stored on a one-inch magnetic tape. 

The photo of the men watching three closed-circuit TV screens (with an oscilloscope on the desk) looks like something out of a TV show. "All systems are functioning within nominal parameters, Jim". "That's affirmative, Al".

Somehow, this panel is the most interesting to me. Lincoln Savings had a historical center in Sherman Oaks, California, where guests could go to view "Lincolniana", including Abe's stove-pipe hat, vintage photos by Matthew Brady, and rare documents and manuscripts. There was also a "43-seat circular theatre" where visitors could learn about the Lincoln-Douglas debate, and (I am guessing) other significant historical events during Lincoln's lifetime.

You'll also get a free print of a sketch of Abe, suitable for framing! If any of you happened to go to last year's "That's From Disneyland" exhibit of Richard Kraft's collection (sold at Van Eaton Galleries for unbelievable sums), you stood right across the street from the building pictured on the back of this flyer - though Lincoln Savings went kaput back in 1989.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Frontierland, 1956?

I have a pair of fun Frontierland pix for you today, most likely from 1956.

The star of both photos is this pretty lady in red, sporting a woven souvenir hat. She's got style! You'll see more of her in future posts. A group of folks has gathered along the wrought-iron fence that bordered the Rivers of America in this location - they are all taking in the spectacle of it all. The rafts to Tom Sawyer Island are ferrying guests back and forth as fast as possible, while even more people are on the distant path to the old Indian Village.

Pic #2; I can't go on without mentioning the Plantation House, which I've always heard was in the location where the Haunted Mansion is now - but it seems too far south to me. I guess I must bow to the general opinion! The gentleman to our left has his ticket book in his pocket, as well as a 1956 "Welcome to Disneyland" flyer (it has Tinker Bell on the cover, for those of you in the know).

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Nice Frontierland, September 1960

Who likes Frontierland? Well, you're in luck! Too bad, all you folks who like the other lands.

It's our charming "shorts gal" again, with her polka-dotted purse; her husband sure liked taking her picture. "Honey, let me take one with you and that pirate ship in the background!" (people always called the Columbia a pirate ship). And he was right, it's a swell photo. Look at the decks of the Columbia, folks are packed in like sardines in oil. A CM had to climb up into the rigging to avoid "the squishing". 

BTW, be sure to see my new Netflix movie, The Squishing, starring Nicholas Cage as Major "Mustang" Pepperidge. His sidekick? An orangutan! His mission? DANGER!

This next one is fun and unusual (just like The Squishing!), as well as baffling. To me, anyway. Where in the heck were these folks standing? I'm guessing that they were north of Frontierland Station, but I don't recall ever seeing that little shack before. Maybe that was Walt's other apartment. The water tower's hinged pipe seems to be pointed away from us. And there is one of the freight train cars at rest. I anxiously await your theories (sitting in front of my computer with a box of popcorn)!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Carnation Truck, Coke Corner, September 1966

Here's another pair of scans from September of '66 - we haven't even made it past Main Street yet. But that's OK! 

First up is this nice photo of the Flower Market, featuring a good look at the Carnation Milk Truck. Doesn't it look great, with its red and white livery, gleaming brass lamps and radiator, and that elegant lettering on the side? Gramps is so impressed that he's going to enjoy a Chesterfield and just bask in the glory. Plus he knows that he looks good surrounded by flowers.

A little further north, you would pass The Coca Cola Refreshment Corner. There's nothing like an ice-cold Coke on a hot day! The white wire chairs make this tableau look like the outside of a Parisian cafe, which is fitting - Coke is "American Champagne" after all.