Sunday, March 24, 2019

Along the River, September 1966

I've got Steamboat Fever! Symptoms include an insatiable desire to hear banjo music, the tendency to wear a white linen suit with a string tie, and vomiting. Thankfully there is a cure - 20 mint juleps. But back in 1966, people with Steamboat Fever (spread via mosquito bites) just had to ride it out. Get it? Ride it out? Because the Mark Twain is a ride! I will accept checks, PayPal, and crypto-currency.

Just when I think I've had enough photos of the Mark Twain to last me a lifetime, I find this pretty view looking westward - not the same old view. Those two gentlemen have noticed the potential for a memorable photo, in spite of the lack of a Kodak Picture Spot marker. 

This view is a bit more standard, but I like how it is right between the still-unopened Haunted Mansion and the closed-at-the-moment Columbia sailing ship.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Liberatchy Home

Here's a weird one for you! Going through a pile of old slides, I found one hand-labeled "Liberatchy house, Sherman Oaks". First of all, I love that Liberace was spelled "Liberatchy". Second of all, I used to live near Sherman Oaks, and wondered if Liberace really had a house there once. So down the internet vortex I went. As it turns out, he did own a home, at 15405 Valley Vista Boulevard - I've driven right past it on my way to merge on to the 405 freeway.

Here's the 1958 photo - it's surprising how modest it looks compared to the the mega-mansions that we expect celebrities to own these days.

Here's a vintage postcard with a better view of the home, which was built just for Liberace (he moved in in 1953). At the time it was supposed to be very modern, with push-button conveniences. It was a house of the future, only not made of plastic.

One of the most famous features was the swimming pool, shaped like a piano!

Looking at a Google satellite view, the pool is still there.

Apparently Liberace's mother, who lived in the home, was attacked by two masked men in 1957. Realizing that the house was just a little too accessible to fans (and non-fans), Liberace sold the house in 1958. Fans still flocked to the Sherman Oaks house, and the subsequent owner had to resort to placing a sign in his front yard.

Liberace was one of those people I would see on TV when I was growing up... I always thought his schtick was odd, and yet the audiences loved his gaudy costumes and corny jokes. The guy could play the piano though. I'm reminded of a joke from "The Benny Hill Show". "I called one of my dogs Skinny, on account of he's the leanest; I called another dog Killer, on account of he's the meanest; and I called the third dog Liberace, on account of he's the pianist". It's one of those jokes that works better when heard, rather than read!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Teacups & Pirates, April 1969

Here are two fine photos from Fun Dad, my personal hero. There aren't too many left from him, and I am hoarding them like Scrooge McDuck hoards money. Still, the day will come when they've all been posted, and then what are we supposed to do with ourselves? It's back to motorcycle gangs, I guess.

I have plenty of photos of the Mad Tea Party attraction, but none that look quite like this. Fun Dad got right up to that beautiful chain link fence to capture the colors and patterns of Old Fantasyland. The teacups themselves are in tasteful pastels, while the turntable of the attraction is a swirly of red and yellow. Lanterns are overhead, with various familiar sights in the distance such as the Dumbo ride, "Fan 1" (seemingly shuttered), the Skyway chalet, and that mini-berm separating Fantasyland from Frontierland. The Fantasyland Theatre is showing "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree", the first in a series of popular animated featurettes featuring the hunny-loving bear.

Next is this nice shot of the entrance to "Pirates of the Caribbean". As is so often the case in Fun Dad's photos, the people milling about are half the fun. Who is your favorite? The lady with the plaid skirt (to the left) is carrying a souvenir wall map, which is always cool to see. 

It's strange to see the way the façade used to look, when guests just strolled up like they owned the place. I believe that the bridge/walkway was added around 1987 in conjunction with the opening of the upstairs Disney Gallery. 

I hope you have enjoyed today's photos!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

More From The Magic Kingdom, November 1971

We're getting down to the last 10 (or so) scans of photos taken by your pal and mine, Mr. X. What a treat they have been!

Can you say "postcard worthy"? Because this first one definitely qualifies. You've got the beautiful "Admiral Joe Fowler" steamboat next to that lovely 2-level load/unload building, the glassy river, a Canoe gliding past, and the stately Haunted Mansion in the background, all beneath a glorious blue sky.

Check out this unusual night shot of the motorized Fire Truck (did the Magic Kingdom ever have a version of the "Chemical Wagon"?). Considering how dark it was, I'm surprised it came out as well as it did. Notice the custodians, possibly cleaning up after a parade - or maybe just keeping the place spotless as usual. Twinkle light alert!

And this last one is kind of a cheat, because I have actually posted it before. Mr. X gave me a stack of photo prints that were mostly Disneyland, but this shot of WDW's "Main Street Confectionery" was included. See it here. This scan, from a negative, looks a lot better.

Many thanks to Mr. X

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

More Cool Frontierland Views! - 1977

Frontierland scans. Mysterious Benefactor. You know the deal! Here are five images from 1977 that I think you will enjoy.

This first one is a beauty, with one of Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes (formerly the Indian War Canoes) preparing to get underway. I wonder how hard it was for the CMs to control one of those big canoes when they were being powered by 20 inexperienced guests? It seems like it would be a workout, for sure. The fellow to our right looks like he has gotten into the spirit of things with his cowboy hat and jaunty red feather.

Listen, there's been just a little too much running around on Tom Sawyer Island, and these three are ready for a break. I personally like to lay down under some bushes for a snooze, but that's not for everyone. 

I love this photo of Tom's Treehouse. He and his pals took more time than most kids do when building a treehouse; there's an entrance and an exit, instead of just a rickety series of wood planks nailed to the side of the tree. Does anybody know if there was anything inside the treehouse (furniture, maps of caves, an X-Box 360, etc), or was it just an empty room?

This one was hella dark, but Photoshop helped to make it somewhat presentable. You can see that Tom, Huck Finn, Joe Harper, and the other boys used boards from old crates (plentiful along the wharves) as lumber for their treehouse. Too bad they didn't use aluminum siding, which is attractive and impervious to bugs and weather.

And finally, here's a nice view of the interior quad (or whatever you call it) of Fort Wilderness. Looking at plans for Fort Astoria (1811), the open middle area is referred to as the "Parade". So there.  Like the rest of Tom Sawyer Island, Fort Wilderness offered simple pleasures, but that doesn't mean they weren't truly fun. It's all gone now, of course.

As always, many thanks to the Mysterious Benefactor for his generosity in sharing these great scans.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Disneyland Matchbooks, 1970's

I have a small collection of various matchbooks relating to Disneyland in one way or another, and decided to share five matchbooks that must date from at least the late 1970's (since one of them features Space Mountain, which opened in '77). They're not super rare, but eBay sellers sometimes ask nutty prices for them. Caveat emptor. 

I'm certainly not the first person to share these... GDB pal TokyoMagic! had them on his blog nine years ago! But perhaps you've forgotten them, or you are ready for another look.

What could be more classic than the castle (in kooky kolors!), along with Tinker Bell? I've decided to take up smoking just to use these matches. Turkish cigarettes, or perhaps those clove dealies.

Frontierland, eh? I've heard of it. The Country Bears were still in "Critter Country", but I always thought of that land as an adjunct to Frontierland. The striker side of the matchbook shows a Davy Crockett type in front of a Lincoln Log Fort Wilderness.

I love the graphic style on this one - it is so evocative of the era. Sort of a post-psychedelic thing. If only these matchbooks could have resembled velvet blacklight paintings. Genius! On the flip side, New Orleans Square. Strange that of all the things that they could have featured for NOS, they chose a lantern, but oh well. There aren't any good attractions in that part of Disneyland, when you think about it.

There are so many iconic attractions at Disneyland, it's a bit of a surprise that the Blue Bayou got it's own matchbook. Again with the lantern? Some swamp people live in those boats, and believe me, it is like heaven.

And finally, my personal favorite, the Tomorrowland matchbook, with Space Mountain, and the Rocket Jets in fanciful hues. While I acquired the others over the years, I saved this one from a trip to the park when I was much younger.

I hope you have enjoyed today's matchbooks!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Disneyland In Black and White, 1962

I've got three more black and white snapshots for you, circa 1962! We'll start with this interesting photo of the ground-level area next to the Swiss Family Robinson's treehouse. This was their yard, I suppose, with a dining table, something that appears to be a food locker of some sort (resembling a fridge!), a table set with items salvaged from the shipwreck (as well as other items crafted from resources provided by the island), a washtub, and casks and barrels (any idea why that one cask is atop the food locker?). If you're going to be shipwrecked, this looks like the way to go.

Now we're on the Skyway above the old Astro Jets, with the Flight Circle (nothing to see there), and the Flying Saucers in the upper left. The Moonliner has the Douglas paint on it at this point.

I'm not sure if this third pic was taken atop some rocks on Tom Sawyer Island, or from the Mark Twain or Columbia - my vote would go for the rocks. We're looking across at the loading area for the Indian War Canoes; I initially thought that they were not in service, but we can see one canoe loaded up with passengers to the right. In the distance is the Indian Village.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Freakin' Swans!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

For some reason I keep winding up with photos of Disneyland's swans. Who knew that so many people were willing to use multiple, precious film frames for these birds? I've heard that they were fed raw meat to make them extra aggressive, but it might just be a rumor. I believe every rumor I hear, just in case.

All the swans are black in today's pix, and they sure look graceful and cool, but they also have poisonous spurs on the tips of their wings, with a toxin that will paralyze you. I think Admiral Joe Fowler had the bright idea to put these killers in Disneyland.

They look so peaceful, but that's how they get you to drop your guard. And then - KERSPLISH! I... I can't even describe what happens next (tears streaming down face).

This third photo is actually kind of pretty; it appears that he (she?) is not in the main moat of the Castle, but in one of the smaller tributaries. Maybe if we all took the time to know the swans, we could live together in peace and harmony.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Frontier Town

Today's "Anything Goes Saturday" post features scans of some mid-1950's slides with pictures of a western-themed park called "Frontier Town". In one of the photos a sign indicating the Pigeon River helps place this park somewhere near Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, but I can find no information about it at all. Part of the problem is the very generic name of the place.

It's not the most detailed Western Town I've ever seen; many of the buildings appear to be a continuous flat façade, presumably disguising something more ordinary. Metal industrial sheds? Who knows!

A single postcard on Pinterest is all I could find, and the back wasn't scanned, so it wasn't much help, even though I was glad to see it.

This man reminds me of actor Mark Rylance in the Spielberg movie, "Bridge of Spies". I suspect that old Frontier Town wasn't open this day, considering the absence of other people, and the presence of only two automobiles. 

The arrow-shaped sign says "Pigeon River Court" - one of the few useful clues. The larger sign advertises "Homespun Valley Mountaineer Village" (in Gatlinburg, only a mile south of Pigeon Forge), which, according to author Tim Hollis, "...opened in 1951 as arguably the town's first true tourist attraction outside of the craft shops and candy stores". 

I would imagine that this place was busy with happy crowds during the summer vacation season; but it looks so gloomy and sad in these pictures.

The buildings appear to be so unsubstantial that I am not 100% certain that people could actually go inside. You'd think that the Dodge House would be the place to get a nice ham sandwich or some lemonade. Ditto the Silver Slipper Saloon, although that looks rather small and kind of chintzy.

Yes, yes, Dodge House, I've already mentioned you. I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, you're probably the best Dodge House that ever dodged. And I appreciate the random wagon wheels. These days, Frontier Town would make for an excellent Halloween Haunt location. It makes me think of Scooby Doo, glowing green ghosts (the old caretaker in disguise!), and those meddling kids.

Over 200 miles west of Pigeon Forge is a town called Madison; they had their own Frontier Town. Completely unrelated to our town, of course.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Frontier Town, Tennessee. If you have any information about it, please chime in!

Friday, March 15, 2019

Rescans, 1955

I don't have many slides from 1955 in my collection - but I have some. And a few of those have turned pink to one degree or another. Those were posted long ago, but I've decided to take another crack at them to see if I can improve the way they look. Results were mixed!

I'll start with this neat view looking down Main Street, from a slide dated August 13, 1955. Just a month after opening day, roughly. I was bothered by the reddish cast that infuses nearly everything, which is what inspired me to try again.

Well, I guess that's an improvement, anyway! It still leaves something to be desired, but I'll take what I can get. This early view has many charms, like the tiny trees, the "Plaza Apts" (replaced by the INA Carefree Corner in September of 1956), and the popcorn vendor, doing boffo biz.  

Just for yucks I zoomed in to this little family resting on the bench; most folks have those blue-striped popcorn boxes in hand, and sailor boy is chowing down. 

Next is this photo of the Disneyland Band marching somewhere near Town Square (note the sign for the Red Wagon Inn). Jeez, there's nothing here but umbrellas, benches, trees, and dirt. Where's all of that famous Disneyland stuff?

The new restoration attempt has at least restored the sky to a nice blue, and the uniforms on the band members don't have that odd blue fringing. It's a bit sharper too. You can tell that this is early because those dark blue uniforms weren't use for very long, even though I think they look swell.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Mark Twain & Rainbow Ridge, May 1966

We haven't seen Molly (our Polly Holiday lookalike) since last November, so it's nice to be able to check in with her again. Here she is (with her friend) on the top deck of the Mark Twain, waiting for their journey through the wilderness. Molly might be a vampire, she's avoiding the direct sunlight a little too obviously if you ask me.  In the distance, we can see the colorful tables and benches from Casa de Fritos. 

The lady who brought an ice cream cone on board has the right idea!

The Mark Twain might have still been at the dock when this photo of Rainbow Ridge was taken (maybe toward the back of the boat?). 

The Mine Train was not operating that day, from the looks of things. Any idea what that construction to our left was for? Perhaps it was the platforms for guests who were going to ride the Pack Mules - it's much easier to climb on a mule from two feet up! I like seeing the small ticket booth.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Frontierland, 1997/1998

GDB pal Mr. X has done it again, and presented me with about 50 color slides from photos that he personally took about 20 years ago - while many are undated, X guesses that most are from 1998. Twenty years doesn't seem that vintage, but it's surprising how much has changed in two decades.

First up is this nice photo of the south end of the Rivers of America, as seen from the Disney Gallery (which closed in 2007) - which, as many of you know, was going to be the site of Walt's new apartment, had he lived long enough. Imagine waking up to this view! At the extreme lower edge of the photo you can see people walking along the elevated queue to enter "Pirates of the Caribbean". And... seeing a Keel Boat along the river means that this must be from no later than 1997, since they closed in May of that year.

This end of Tom Sawyer Island saw some major changes when "Fantasmic!" was introduced in 1992. The original Old Mill was moved eastward, and a massive stage area (full of hidden lifts and other stage tech) was built. I know that many people adore Fantasmic!, but I wish this part of the island didn't look so crummy during the day. The Columbia is nestled peacefully in Fowler's Harbor.

And there's a Keel Boat again, gliding past Cascade Peak, with its waterfalls still going strong at this point. Cascade Peak was razed in the Fall of 1998 (for some reason I can't find a precise date - probably because it took days or weeks to demolish the peak). It sure looks pretty here! Fort Wilderness can be seen (barely) in the distance, it closed for good in 2003.

Stay tuned for more photos from Mr. X!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tour Guide, October 1963

Hooray for the famous Disneyland tour guides; smart (usually multilingual), informed, helpful, and charming. Adorable too. It would have been a lot of fun to experience a guided tour back in the "Walt years". 

Here's our dimpled guide, standing next to one of the massive landing struts of the Moonliner (it would have had the Douglas color scheme by this point). In the background, the entry to the "Rocket to the Moon" attraction, which seems to have evolved over the years. I think that those white spheres held displays of some sort - I sure wish I knew what, exactly. 

The guide is wearing her golden "D" badge, as well as a diamond-shaped pin with her name. It's impossible to see, but it almost looks like there are small dangling charms hanging from the bottom of the name tag - not sure I've ever observed that before. Note that she also has one of the triangular tour guide tags hanging from her riding crop, no doubt she held that above her head in crowded situations so that people could follow her like baby ducks.

I've heard that at the end of a guided tour, everyone got to go up to Walt's apartment to shake his hand,  use the bathroom (if necessary) and see if there was anything good to eat in the fridge. "Dibs on the strawberry Jello".

Here's a zoom in on that name tag, on the off chance that somebody out there is interested. Sorry it's not sharper.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Random Frontierland Views

It's time for another selection of Frontierland slide scans, courtesy of our Mysterious Benefactor! It's sort of an odd batch, but that's what makes it fun.

There's something about this first one that looks so 1970's; maybe it's the blonde's hairstyle? It is labeled as being from 1970. The musicians are part of the New Dixie Rebellion Band, which is certainly new to me.  All I care about is the man with the fez in the background. I hope he drove his tiny car to Disneyland.

Above the Mark Twain/Columbia queue building is an assortment of flags from various eras in U.S. history. Too bad they're not fully unfurled; I can see the "Betsy Ross" style, George Washington's "Pine Tree Flag", and the Union Jack.

This slide is labeled "Golden Horseshoe Flag", but it doesn't look like the Golden Horseshoe building to me. Help!

Here's an unusual view from inside a Frontierland restaurant, looking outward. Say, is that Boz Scaggs about to order a burger? 

This very large set of scans has some rare views of the kitchens of some of Frontierland's restaurants, such as this one from Casa de Fritos, circa 1976. I can't quite tell what is coming out of the fryer. Could you get fish and chips at Casa de Fritos?? Maybe those are battered chicken patties.

And finally, for today, the exterior of you-know-what, as seen in January of 1977. The shadows went really dark, but it's still a lovely photo of a bustling day. 

Many thanks as always to the Mysterious Benefactor!