Friday, February 15, 2019

Two Beauties - April 1958

Oh yeah, I love a good photo of the old Stagecoaches, and this one is pretty sweet. with that dramatic sky and the late afternoon sunshine casting a warm glow over the scene. That is one of the "mud wagon" types of coaches, as opposed to the "Concord" type (it could exceed Mach II!) that was also in Frontierland. This attraction was closed in September of 1959.

Next I have this pretty neat picture of the Columbia in Fowler's Harbor, in the early stages of construction. This was just mixed in with a lot of otherwise fairly ordinary slides, so it was a nice discovery. It's hard to believe that this pile of lumber would eventually become the graceful and beautiful square-rigged sailing ship that we know today.

Let's zoom in a little. I wonder if real shipwrights were employed for this project, or if movie industry prop/set builders were so skilled that they could do this sort of thing in their sleep? 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Parade & Subs, July 1971

I'm down to the last pair of slides from a July, 1971 batch. They make for an odd couple, but I don't think there will be too many complaints. 

First is this shot of a parade in progress; I'm a little discombobulated; would the castle be to our left? I was thinking that the trees in the center were part of the hub. (Fun fact: "hub" is shortened from "hubbabubba").

Zooming in, we can see Alice, along with her pals the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit, while the Walrus loiters in the background, probably eating some baby oysters. A groovy marching band with red jackets and white pants follows close behind.

Notice the guy in the tree!

And here's a familiar view of a Submarine (the "Skate") emerging from the dark ride portion of the Submarine Voyage attraction. I love a good waterfall, and this has the main cascade, along with smaller baby falls next to it. The Peoplemover raises the score of this photo by 22.7356933 percent!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Knott's Berry Farm

Here are the last few scans from a series of badly faded & damaged slides of Knott's Berry Farm. In spite of their many flaws, I think they are still worth a look.

The first two show the wonderful Calico Mine Train building - certainly one of the grandest and most impressive things ever to be built at Knott's. Scenic railroads had been a feature at amusement parks for decades, but Bud Hurlbut pulled out all the stops for this one. 

This next photo was taken mere moments after the previous example; look for some of the same people, if you are in the mood. I have no idea why the color is so different, but it is what it is. I like the placement of the bench to the right - who wouldn't want to relax, and take in the people, the mine trains coming and going, and the waterfalls?

This very crude and rustic cart was displayed somewhere on Museum Lane (near the Bird Cage Theatre). Constructed from rough-cut tree branches and large wooden wheels, it was probably pulled by oxen or burros. I wish I knew the story behind it - how ancient is it? Where was it found? Who built it?

And finally, we're over at the popular seal pool, next to Old Mac Donald's Farm. If there's one thing I know about sea lions, it's that they are noisy as heck. The only way to shut them up is to feed them pieces of sardine or anchovy. This one is threatening to ring a bell - he probably does it 1000 times a day, like an obnoxious little kid.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Disneyland In Black and White

I'm using up the last three scans from a small group of black and white negatives, probably from the 1950's. The black and white makes them feel more artistic somehow - maybe these are lost negatives from Ansel Adams! Let's just say that they are so that I can sell them for half a million dollars.

Here's our pal Dumbo, before he had plastic surgery to hide those unsightly ear hinges. He had to do it, Hollywood is so superficial. Shortly after this photo was taken, he went on to star in "Dumbo II: An Elephant Never Forgets". Action aplenty!

I've always assumed that Dumbo's trunk is curled to hold a magic feather - was there ever an intention to add such a feather? Or are we supposed to use our imaginations?

This next one is an unusual shot from inside one of Fort Wilderness' towers. Rifles mounted near the narrow windows allowed pre-video game kids to pretend to shoot at baddies below. A freak accident in 2001 caused a little girl to somehow lose most of a finger when it got caught in the trigger of one of the rifles, and that was the end of this feature.

The Skyway added plenty of visual interest wherever it ran, with bright colors and constant movement. Note that the striped sails are unfurled (the exception rather than the rule, it seems), so it looks extra great. I love how clear this photo is.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Tom Sawyer Island, July 1960

Here are two views of Tom Sawyer Island, as seen from the Plantation House. I admit it, they are kind of "meh"! Squinting for details, we can see the treehouse (and can fire a cannonball right through the window), and the brand-new Cascade Peak. Folks are fishing on the fishing dock, and exiting a raft on the island while others wait to head back to the mainland. 

I can only assume that our photographer snapped this shot because there was a blimp (of all things) overhead. What the! Goodyear still has an airship base in nearby Carson (about 12 miles from Anaheim), which could explain why ol' Blimpie is hovering overhead. Everyone knows that the sight of a blimp is good luck.

Seeing the airship juxtaposed with Tom Sawyer Island reminded me of a lesser-known Mark Twain story, "Tom Sawyer Abroad", which I read when I was a kid (thanks to my grandmother's set of Twain books). Wikipedia's description is as follows: In the story, Tom, Huck, and Jim travel to Africa in a futuristic hot air balloon, where they survive encounters with lions, robbers, and fleas to see some of the world's greatest wonders, including the Pyramids and the Sphinx.

If you are able to read e-books on your mobile device, you can download "Tom Sawyer Abroad" at the Project Gutenberg website. It's free!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Should-Be-Rejects, October 1963

Sorry guys... today's photos are real stinkers. I know it, you know it, and even your neighbor knows it. Just look at them quickly and go about your business. It'll be like ripping off a band-aid; it hurts for a moment, and then forgotten.

Check out this dark and joyless photo of Bea Arthur's Carrousel. I don't blame her, she was a delight. But her Carrousel was just no darn good. The shadow beneath the awning is much darker than it should be, as if light couldn't escape even if it wanted to.  Even the odd angle imparts a Caligari-esque unease to the scene.

The chain blocking the exit from the Hills Bros. Coffee Garden imprisons the patrons, who must drink their bitter brew in silence. A funeral director walks past us, unfazed by the gloom, but wishing he'd gone to clown college like he really wanted.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Ice and Snow

It's February, and that means that it's really cold in some parts of the country. Not so much here in SoCal - unless you are up in the mountains where it snows, like this happy couple that is up on the snowy slopes of Mount Baldy (the slide is from the mid-1950's). Even though I am many many miles away from Mount Baldy (also known as Mount San Antonio - the tallest mountain in the San Gabriel range), I can sometimes see it way in the distance - after some recent rains and some cold temperatures it looks as if it has a deep layer of snow for the first time in many years.

This next slide is dated "February, 1959" - 60 years ago to the month. Two elves (or maybe they are regular children?) are enjoying a sunny day out on a frozen pond. Melissa will enjoy the outfits, I'll bet! The photo reminds me of a Saturday Evening Post illustration. The person to the right has taken a nasty spill - I can sympathize.

Last month I posted a photo that had a child wearing a hat with ear flaps (at Disneyland!), and it reminded Steve Stuart ("Nanook") of some photos of his own childhood! Even though I lived where it got very cold in the winter, I never had a flappy hat. 

Steve is in Manhasset, New York in 1957. The taller boy is his cousin. Looks like they found a stick, and it's a good one.

Well, that pond (or maybe it's a river) in the background hasn't frozen over yet, but that doesn't mean that it's not still in the 30's. If a blizzard suddenly moves in, Steve is more than prepared!

I hope you've enjoyed today's wintery pix; thanks to Steve Stuart for sharing his personal photos!

Friday, February 08, 2019

Peter Pan's Flight, May 1966

Boy howdy, I sure love today's first image showing the fa├žade of the Peter Pan attraction, circa 1966! Look at that color. And the assortment "Op Art" patterns is neat - Eyvind Earle himself helped to design the aesthetic of the "medieval faire" Fantasyland.

Instead of today's 45-minutes (or longer) wait to board the ride, it looks like folks practically walked on. Most of you know that the early versions of the dark rides were considerably different than what we know these days. In the 50's and 60's, your pirate ship flew over London, headed toward the second star to the right, where you wound up in Bakersfield.

Zooming in a bit, we see a father and daughter looking for their "D" tickets - it looks like mom already has her yellow ticket in hand. The two ladies to our right have large bags full of goodies. I would be happy to have an empty example of one of those bags today - full would be even better though.

Not too far away one could find the Tinker Bell Toy Shop; just imagine the cool stuff inside! Perhaps some Hagen Renaker figurines. I tried zooming in on the window display, but it just wasn't clear enough to really see anything clearly. To our right is the Snow White dark ride, which was so scary that thousands of people died of fright halfway through.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

C.K. Holliday & Town Square, September 1966

I wonder how many train aficionados got their introduction to steam locomotives at a Disney park? A bunch, I'd wager. I personally have grown to appreciate trains more and more over the years, and a ride on the Disneyland Railroad was almost always the first thing my family did - mostly to "see the dinosaurs", admittedly!

Here's a fun photo taken by a guest on his way into the park. His camera was loaded and ready to go, so why not take a picture of the beautiful 5/8 scale C.K. Holliday at rest overhead? I like the glimpse into Town Square - another world!

You'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that the attraction posters lining the right side of the tunnel are: Mark Twain; Nature's Wonderland; the Matterhorn; and Alice in Wonderland.

And this picture must have been taken only a minute later, looking north on Main Street. The trees are so large that you can't tell that there is a fairytale castle at the end of the street. But we know! When I imagine that I am standing in that same location on that same beautiful day, I can't decide if I want to rush to my favorite rides, or take my sweet time and really look at everything as I work my way up Main Street.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Summer 1959 Gate Handout

Today I am sharing scans of a beautiful, full-color gate handout from Disneyland, celebrating the amazing additions to Disneyland in the summer of '59. I believe these were placed inside souvenir guidebooks. When I bought this years ago, it was pretty hard to find in good condition, but now they pop up on eBay fairly regularly, and for a fraction of the price that I paid. So it goes. This is probably familiar to you die-hard Disneyland fans, but some of you may have never seen it in detail.

Here's the beautiful cover illustration - I wish I knew who to credit. Sam McKim? John Hench? Herb Ryman? Bob "Twitchy" Hrblschk?

Here's the middle spread, but I'll zoom in on each half so that you can read the copy, presumably written by Marty Sklar.

The left side shows a portrait of Walt that I've seen elsewhere, but I wonder if this was the first time it was used? I think it's interesting that the Matterhorn vehicles look like real bobsleds (complete with runners) shushing down icy trails, instead of like the roller coaster that it actually was. Artistic license? An early concept piece? Those folks in the Skyway gondolas are really crammed in there, but by golly, they are having the best time. 

On the facing page, the subs are featured. What an ambitious and beautiful attraction! Has there ever been anything quite like it? Notice the skipper (in the drawing) popping out of the conning tower to wave to guests. I'd like to see that happen! The artist's concept manages to hint at lots of fun; man-eating sharks, a sunken galleon (filled with treasure, no doubt!), ruins (strongly resembling one of California's Spanish missions, complete with bronze bells) hinting at a sunken civilization, mermaids, and the thing that really gets me excited... KELP.

The back page highlights the Monorail, Motorboats, and the NEW Autopia freeways. Everyone is waving to each other. "Hello up there!". "Well, hello to you too, neighborino!". I count seven confirmed wavers on this page alone. The criss-crossing Monorails are reminiscent of John Hench's famous drawing. Meanwhile, Gramps holds on to his hat - can the human body withstand the stresses of traveling at seven miles per hour?

What a time that was! I hope you have enjoyed this vintage Disneyland handout.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Red Returns, September 1969

It's time to delve back into that folder full of scans of forgotten slides. You never know what you'll find in there! 

Those of you who have been with GDB for many years might remember the lady ("Red") featured today; we previously saw her at Japanese Deer Park, Knott's, and other places. For some reason I skipped some of the slides from her batch, and I'm sorry for it. Here she is, happily meeting Goofy, who is just a little shy. Folks on the Disneyland Railroad wish they were down there with the stars! 

Next, Red patiently waits her turn to meet Mickey Mouse and his pal Pluto. Listen, we've already met Goofy, he's so "five minutes ago". I still love that floral portrait of Mickey, even after all these years.

We'll see Red at least once more!

Monday, February 04, 2019

WDW Postcard Folder, Part 2

Here is part two of Warren Nielsen's scans of a vintage Walt Disney World postcard folder - those folders were super popular souvenirs that probably cost 50 cents or a dollar at the time. And of course the vintage photos give us a great impression of the park as it was 40-ish years ago.

First up is this view of the impressive Grand Canyon Concourse in the Contemporary Resort Hotel, with the massive Mary Blair tile mural at one end. So fantastic!

Even after seeing hundreds of photos of the A-frame Contemporary, I think it's a striking edifice. 

The Country Bear Jamboree was an opening-day attraction in the Magic Kingdom, while the Disneyland version opened about 6 months later. I am almost positive that this exact same photo was used on a Disneyland postcard.

The Crystal Palace definitely makes a big impression in the evening, with the warm glow of lights - in this case, set against a violet sky. Romantic!

Fireworks burst above... well, I don't know where this is! Did the Polynesian Resort have a pool like that? Is that Bay Lake, or the Seven Seas Lagoon?

The Fort Wilderness campgrounds look like a pleasant way to escape the hustle and bustle of the parks. Relax in your deluxe camper, ride a horse, fish for bass, or take a canoe along peaceful waterways.

This worm's eye view of the Haunted Mansion makes the building feel like it is looming over us; and the upper windows and doorway seem to make an angry face - something I've never noticed before.

Many thanks to Warren Nielsen! We have two more installments from this great postcard folder.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Jungle Cruise Snoozers, September 1966

You know the drill; Sunday = low readership = me posting dumb photos that nobody wants to see! 

Well, OK, this first one isn't too bad, but that's because any occasion is lightened up by a boat full of skulls. Nowadays we can all just drive over to Skull City for all of our skull needs, but back in those days, you had to make do with what you could find. Not long after this picture was taken, a pile of colorful throw pillows was added to this tableau.

I know that you probably want a full refund after seeing this picture, but if you stand on your head and squint real hard, you can spy the shadowy form of a rhinoceros. This is probably a Sumatran rhino, which can be found in jungle areas, though they are notoriously shy.

And here is a too-dark photo of frolicking elephants - they love that sacred bathing pool. Not too far from the pool is the sacred tennis courts and the sacred picnic tables. Elephants are very spiritual.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

Random Vintage Images

Today's scans are not the most exciting things in the world; they are leftuggies of a sort - slides that I scanned to get a better look-see, and ultimately being undecided about what to do with them. Maybe they'll make an OK post when they're all together!

First up is this nice Kodachrome photo that I believe is from the 1940's. It's undated, but the mount that was used is generally pre-1950. I wish I could tell where this was - somewhere "out west" seems likely. Nevada? Wyoming perhaps? There's no way of knowing. That red structure is odd - not sure what to make of the unusually-shaped tower bit. Any ideas? Is it part of a mine? The best part is that fantastic woody station wagon.

Next is this 1955 photo definitely shows a mine - the "Arcadian Copper Mine" in "Ripley, near Hancock, in the copper country of Michigan's upper peninsula", as the back of a vintage postcard tells us. Thinking that this must have been the source of millions of dollars in copper, I looked for some background. Here's what I found:

Arcadian mine was a copper mine developed in 1898 near Paavola, (then called Arcadia) in Franklin Township, a short distance northeast of Hancock, in Houghton County, Michigan. Although there was a significant amount of investment in the mine, it was not rich in copper. By 1908, the mine was thought to be one of the most spectacular failures in the region. The mine was operated as a tourist destination from the 1950s to the 1970s.

So now we know the truth!

And lastly, here's a photo of a modest mid-century motel, in Somewheresville, USA. It's sort of cute and chintzy at the same time. The palms might indicate that this is in the Southwest; There appears to be a river (and a boat) just beyond the building. Enjoy sitting by the pool on a luxurious aluminum lawn chair! In Russia those chairs would be made of beets.

Who knows, I may have another selection of random vintage images for you right quick!

Friday, February 01, 2019

Surrey and Streetcar, November 1958

I love the old Main Street vehicles - some of them are still with us, but, like the mysterious Yeti in Nepal, or the elusive Loch Ness Monster, some are rarely seen! One of those crypto-contraptions is the Surrey, which is 100% delightful, from it's bright yellow wheels, glossy black paint (handy in case you also need to transport a corpse), and fringed top (the fringe is black, so it's hard to see here). 

The Red Wagon Inn is to the left; to our right...

... there's a candy-striped pavilion, next to the Baby Station (sponsored by Pablum). The sign overhead says "Thomas A. Edison Square: Grand Opening 1959". It looks like concept artwork was displayed for curious guests. What a fascinating detail! Thomas Edison is famous for inventing the Pop Tart.

From the same group comes this lovely photo of a Horse Drawn Streetcar. No miniature horse here, they got themselves a big guy! I wonder how hard it is to move one of those when it's full? Even with well-oiled wheels, it's probably no trivial matter.

Notice the Christmas tree to the left - unadorned at this point, but it's only November; presumably it will soon be covered in hundreds of shiny ornaments.