Saturday, September 19, 2020

Grand Prix Raceway, November 1973

I've been doing my "Anything Goes Saturdays" for years, but I often have a hard time figuring out what to share this one day per week. Sometimes I just don't have anything that I think is that great in my folder of scans, or else I have some good stuff, but I want to mix things up as much as possible. 

Today, I found a series of five photos from The Magic Kingdom's "Grand Prix Raceway" - the Florida version of the Autopia. I almost always enjoy images of this attraction, so I'm hoping you do too.

First up is this picture of a lady buckling up (safety first!) before her record-setting circuit around the Grand Prix Raceway track. She has this secret push-button quantum thingy that disables the governor of the engine so that she can go nearly 50 miles an hour! 

Were drivers supposed to obey that racing signal (or whatever those lights are called)? If so, I am all for it - it adds an air of authenticity.

I think this was taken from the bridge over the track, as seen in the previous photo. There's the American Flag, and the Goodyear flag - Goodyear sponsored the attraction from opening day thru... well, I couldn't really find a date when their sponsorship ended. Possibly up until 1994 when the ride changed its name to the Tomorrowland Indy Speedway. The other flags appear to be just solid colors or simple patterns, not flags of other nations.

One thing I enjoy about the GPR is the variety of paint styles. Racing stripes, flames, even lightning bolts. But no polka dots, because of THE CONSPIRACY.

We were only able to keep up with this woman by drafting (exploiting the slipstream created by her automobile). 

I realize that the GPR differed from the Autopia because it was based on the concept of a race, while the Anaheim attraction was supposed to be a trip along the miracle of the highway system. But still, a little more landscaping and just stuff to look at might have been a nice idea. How about some Gummi Bears, for instance? Or all of the U.S. Presidents cheering us on?

Well, we were the fastest ever, but we were disqualified because we used our vehicles built-in flame throwers, oil-slick dispersers, thumbtack droppers, and smokescreens. If they don't want us to use them, why do they put them in the vehicles??

I hope you have enjoyed your ride on the Grand Prix Raceway.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Neat Tomorrowland Views, May 1963

I have a pair of fun Tomorrowland photos for you, circa 1963. Let's start with this shot of the Tomorrowland Spaceman looming above all of the mere Earthlings (he was probably half human, half Lunarian). The man to our left holds his souvenir guidebook, it looks like the finger of his right hand is pointing roughly to where they were standing. Ethel Merman (with the straw hat) thinks Moonboy is quite a dish. And buzz-cut kid in the foreground is supposed to follow his family, but he takes one last look behind him.

The little boy in the blue shirt can't believe his eyes. "Mama mia!" (we don't know if spicy meatballs were mentioned, sadly). I believe the checkerboard awnings were placed over benches, though it might have been some spillover dining area too.

Here's a fun portrait of a nice lady in the garden area near the Monsanto House of the Future. She's sitting on one of those amorphous concrete seats, see another view of them HERE. Notice how a mini-berm and trees help to isolate this area from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the park.

Displays give guests a taste of features that your future home might contain for your convenience and ease. A microwave oven, an ultrasonic dishwasher, pop-out sinks and cabinets, polarized plastic ceiling panels, a "cold zone" for irradiated foods, a hi-fidelity music system... what more could you want or need?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Tomorrowland at Night, November 1959

Today I have what I consider to be some extra-special photos from Lou Perry (and graciously shared with us by his daughter, Sue B.!). In 1959, Lou took some rare photos of Tomorrowland at night - being an experienced photographer, the low-light situation posed little problem for him.

As you can see, the vintage photo print faded a bit over the intervening 60+ years...

... but it's nothing that Photoshop can't handle! Wow, what a beautiful sight. The Moonliner looks as if it is not just reflecting light, but is emitting its own. Incandescent. Behind the toothpick-and-olive lights are some souvenir stands (what I wouldn't give to peruse the selection and buy whatever I wanted!); we can also see the fence that surrounded the Flight Circle, and the Skyway terminal.

Next is this closer view of the Moonliner. Like the first example, there was some fading to the color, and yellowing of the paper.

But twiddling a few knobs and pulling a few levers (pronounced "LEE-vers") worked wonders. I never got to see the pre-1967 Tomorrowland at night (as far as I can recall, anyway), but I feel as if I have at least an inkling of how amazing it must have been.

THANK YOU to Lou and Sue!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Knott's Pitchur Gallery

Here are two more "fun photos" from Knott's Berry Farm's "Pitchur Gallery"! I'm always looking for more examples of scenes that I don't have, but it's been a while since I've found any unique versions.

First up is this happy picture. I've never seen another one like it. It's a bit larger than most Pitchur Gallery prints, and it doesn't have the usual rubber stamp on the back indicating that it is from Knott's, and listing prices for additional copies. Maybe it isn't from the Berry Farm at all, but somebody wrote "Barbara and Benny, Knott's, 1962" on the back, so I am taking them at their word. Sort of. Benny is tickling the ivories of that upright piano ("Tom Dooley"), while Barbara is... well, I'm not sure what exactly she is doing. I guess she's real proud of her stockings.

From the 1950's comes this picture of an adorable girl on the back of a horse that looks like it might be from an old merry-go-round. She and her horse have been riding through the vast desert, traveling mostly at night to avoid the scorching heat, and resting by day under creosote bushes. Her name is written on the back, but it's hard to read, it looks like "Berge". Is that a name?! Maybe she's from France or somethin'.

Stay tuned for more photos from Knott's Berry Farm's Pitchur Gallery.

Warren Nielsen found his vial of Knott's gold! I'll share them all. Send them to meeeeee!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

More Stuff From the Box

It's time for even more "stuff from the box"... random items that have been stored in an old cigar box for many years. Hopefully you'll have fun looking at it all.

First up is this set of pins featuring characters from the classic Beatles animated film, "Yellow Submarine". The pins are hand-painted metallic hard plastic (with a metal backing) ©1968 "KFS (King Features Syndicate)-Suba". They are roughly 1 inch tall. You've got a Blue Meanie, the Mayor, an Apple Bonker, Old Fred, John, Paul, George, and Ringo. What, no Jeremy the Boob? No Flying Glove? I don't own much Beatles merch, but I love these pins.

Poking around, I found the publicity images that were used as reference for the pins on several websites. It took longer than you might expect! Designer Heinz Edelmann established the incredible look of this film and the characters.

Next is this nice brass pin from the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels, also known as "Expo 58". The Soviet Union had a huge pavilion at that Fair, and had notable exhibits such as full-sized models of several Sputnik satellites. This pin is a weighty chunk of solid brass with nice genuine enamel.

I later found another pin (with some wear and patina) - same design, but now stamped out of thinner sheet brass. Presumably these were a lot cheaper to make.

Here's a Dopey pin made of some sort of pressed wood (or sawdust) from 1938. There were pins for each of the seven dwarfs, and one for Snow White, but this is the only one I have. I've seen photos of other examples that were painted a bit more skillfully, this one is kind of sloppy. But... I love it anyway.

Here are two "poster stamps" from the 1939 New York World's Fair, one advertising the Denmark pavilion (with a mighty viking ship), and the other from the Bayer pavilion. I sure would love to see "The Maze of Superstition"! Broken mirrors, rabbit's feet, spilled salt, black cats... there were so many to choose from.

Another fun souvenir from the 1939 Fair is this giant "lucky penny". It's about 3 inches in diameter, and seems to have been stamped out of some sort of gray pot metal and coated with a thin layer of copper. "Indian Head" pennies were already old-fashioned by 1939 (the Lincoln head cent was introduced in 1909), but I find this design to be very appealing. I've seen other lucky pennies from this fair, all "Indian head" styles, but varying in quality. Some have sculpts that are much more crude than my example, I kind of like them for that reason.

And finally, here's an uncommon pin advertising the 1933/34 Chicago World's Fair. For some reason, the ink on this lithographed metal pin is a bit tacky, even after more than 80 years, and I am always having to unstick it from the glass of my little display case. At this point it's kind of a lost cause, but I'll hang on to it for nostalgia's sake.

Don't you worry, there is LOTS more stuff in the box!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Tomorrowland and Fantasyland

I have a pair of very nice photos for you today. They're from different lots, not that it matters that much to us. 

We'll start with this shot from February, 1963 as a group of friends/family walk into Tomorrowland. The Clock of the World is behind them, as is the "America the Beautiful" attraction (sponsored by Bell System) - notice the rotating model of a Telstar satellite.

Hey kid, get that finger out of your nose! The boy leading the way is in his khaki outfit, like a miniature GI Joe. The giant Bird of Paradise plant to the right is in bloom.

This next photo is from June, 1962; it's a gorgeous view of the old Skyway gondolas (lots of sapphire blue examples this time) above Old Fantasyland. I just love the color, look at Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, the yellow Monorail in the distance, and even the Mary Blair leaves of the Alice in Wonderland attraction.

I hope you've enjoyed today's photos!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

2 Snoozers from September 1966

Happy Birthday to our GDB pal, stu29573!

Here's a pair of oddball views that have their flaws, but might be worth a look. You decide!

First up is this shot looking down on the turnstiles, floral portrait of Mickey, and Main Street Station. The elevated perspective means that the photographer was aboard the Monorail (the old Mark II style), which is pretty cool, but... the image was very dark. This is how it looks after quite a bit of futzing in Photoshop, and it still feels like we accidentally left our Ray Bans on.

Nevertheless, I would give anything to be walking past those attraction posters toward one of the tunnels beneath the train tracks, to emerge into Town Square, with the sound of a train whistle, and maybe the Disneyland Band, the smell of popcorn... oh yeah!

From the same photographer comes this photo taken from the Disneyland Railroad - the wrought-iron fence shows some motion blur, so the train was moving. There's a mostly open-air dining area to our right, the French Market. And just visible through the trees we can see the cupola that is part of the Pirates of the Caribbean building, though that attraction would not open until March 18th, 1967.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Old Los Angeles

It seems like it's been a while since I have shared any scans of slides featuring vintage Los Angeles, a subject near and dear to my heart. So let's look at a couple of images today!

I'm starting with this shot looking east on Hollywood Boulevard, the photographer was standing right about where Grauman's Chinese Theater is. Across the Street is the Hollywood Paramount Theater, which started life as the "El Capitan" in 1926, showing silent films. Notice that it is showing "The Eyes of Laura Mars", starring Faye Dunaway.

Of course it is now called "El Capitan" again, and the Walt Disney Company has been the lessee for over 30 years. The only movie I've ever seen there is "The Nightmare Before Christmas" during its initial run.

Here's a Google "street view" from what I believe is 2011. The Kodak Theater is to our right (now the Dolby Theater), while the building across the street (with the red banners) is the Hollywood Masonic Temple, where "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" is taped. The tower in the distance was originally the First National Bank, and later Security Pacific Bank (that's how I always think of it).  Not sure who lives there now.

Here's an even more recent view, courtesy of Google Maps. 

Next is a view from 1957, taken from the roof of some unknown building looking toward downtown Los Angeles. My friend Rich W. is a lot more knowledgeable about L.A. history, and he said it was taken somewhere in the Chinatown area looking towards L.A.'s Civic Center. It shows some streetcars on a couple of different lines and the construction of the Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial and waterfall. (Fort Moore was one of just two historic military forts in L.A. from the time of the Mexican-American war).

Rich continues... The best thing was the view of the north end portals of the duo Hill St. tunnels that ran from 1st to Temple St. The hill they ran under was soon completely leveled to construct the courts and Hall of Administration building. I believe that some of the old-looking buildings to our left are part of Olvera Street. 

I hope you have enjoyed today's view of Vintage L.A.!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Beautiful Main Street, 1956

I don't think I am alone in admitting that when I was a kid, I did not appreciate Main Street USA for the wonderful creation that it is. I dreamed about the wonders of Tomorrowland, the fun and color of Fantasyland, the beauty and vastness of Frontierland, and so on. Main Street was a nice place to walk through as you headed toward the fun stuff. What a fool I was!

The more I've learned about Disneyland and its relation to a Hollywood view of America as our grandparents knew it, the more I've come to admire what Walt and his Imagineers accomplished. It really does feel like an especially lovely backlot environment. As I have mentioned (ad nauseum?), just look at the variety of building shapes, colors, materials (including faux brick), along with different shingles, moldings, awnings, window styles...  even the signs are wonderful.

Zooming in a bit, I always get a kick out the giant key outside the Yale & Towne shop. 

Here's a second shot - at first I thought it might have been taken before the first photo, but I see a young man to the extreme right about to cross the street, while in the first image he's loitering outside the Jewelry shop. I love the vehicles - a Surrey, two Horse Drawn Streetcars, and a Horseless Carriage.

You could go see Rudolph Valentino and Vilma Banky at the Main Street Cinema. When Valentino flared his nostrils, women fainted! The tobacco shop Wooden Indian greets us like an old friend.

I hope you have enjoyed these vintage Main Street pix!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Scenes from 1998

I have some 22 year-old photos of Disneyland, courtesy of Mr. X, who personally took these images. The scans are from negatives, those always give me trouble, but I think they came out OK.

Miniature trains are a staple of many amusement parks, but Casey Jr. is special. For one thing... just look at it! Like an oversized toy. But a ride on a train is enhanced by something fun to look at, and that's what Storybook Land has. I wish I was riding the Casey Jr. Circus Train right now!

Here's an unusual shot, taken aboard one of the Horse Drawn Streetcars. Just above the riders are a series of advertisements for restaurants and attractions - presumably much like something a person might have seen back at the turn of the last century.

Next is this photo of a framed poster for the Disneyland Railroad, as seen at New Orleans Square Station. These elaborate serigraph (silkscreen) posters were created by Rudy Lord and Jim Michaelson, and must have been incredibly laborious (and expensive) to produce. My Bicentennial version came with a note saying that over sixty separate screen were used. Compare that to the more familiar attraction posters that might use five or six screens.

I found a better image of what is generally known as the "1977 version". I can't help wondering if the poster in the previous image is a reproduction printed using the less expensive 4 color lithograph method, or if it is one of the genuine serigraphs?

And finally, here's a nice portrait of the Columbia as it magically moved along the Rivers of America without the sails being unfurled. Some say that thousands of sentient minnows push the large boat, but I think that might just be a crazy rumor.

MANY THANKS to Mr. X for sharing more of his personal photos! There are many more to come.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Disneyland 30th Birthday Parade - Part 4

Today's post features the fourth and final installment of photos (taken by Lou Perry and shared by his daughter Sue B.) from Disneyland's 30th birthday parade in 1985. It wasn't the most expensive, elaborate parade, but it had a "cast of hundreds", and enough nods to the park's history to make it pretty fun for Disnerds. 

Of course we are picking up right where we left off the last time, with some Fantasyland characters marching by. Captain Hook, the Queen of Hearts, Alice and the White Rabbit. Alice is wearing a cloak that made me think she was "Briar Rose" for a moment - it was March, so it could have been chilly.

I feel like the Queen of Hearts needs much  bigger head. The character was big in the movie, and she shouted a lot. She also burped a lot, though that wasn't in the movie. Why did they make this so relatively subdued? The flamingo croquet mallet is a nice touch though. I need that in my collection.

Oh jeez, there he is! Mickey Mouse himself! Look at the people on the curb, they are so excited. The Disneyland Band accompanies him, as they have done so many times throughout the decades. 

Pinocchio somehow managed to get a seat on Mickey's float; I'm not suggesting bribery. Or am I?

We can also see Cinderella, and one of her seamstress mouse friends are also there. And a few Dwarfs!

Mickey is looking tanned and well-rested. He eats right (having given up sugar) and exercises, and meditates while listening to ocean sounds.

More fun with the Dwarfs. Who is that lady holding hands with Bashful? She's only with him for his gems!

Poor Grumpy got tangled up in balloons and streamers, but you know what? He's OK with it. He has  mellowed with age. Or else he has just given up.

I love the look of delight on that little boy's face. Grumpy is looking right at him! Notice the woman in her Haunted Mansion costume, carrying a bouquet of (non-eared) balloons. Behind her is a CM carrying a rope that indicates the end of the parade.

Lou took a few last photos as the procession continued around Town Square. I've noticed several people wearing "Indian" headbands with feathers, not sure if they were souvenir hats, or if they were handed out to certain guests. (I wrote this post long before we discussed these hats on the blog, but left it in because I like to look dumb).

Let's watch as the parade continued north on Main Street, with the crowd following close behind.

Thanks so much to Lou Perry, and to Sue B. for all of her time and effort scanning so many photos to share with all of us! There's TONS MORE from Lou and Sue coming up.