Friday, September 04, 2020

Some Nice Rescans

From time to time I like to try rescanning some of the slides that appeared on GDB back in the early years - three scanners ago in some cases. Sometimes the results are not that great; but there are those nice examples that make the effort very worthwhile.

This photo of the Astro Jets and the Douglas Moonliner is from November 1964, and it originally appeared on the blog back in 2006. It's not that bad, really...

... but I am very pleased with the rescan, along with some updated color restoration. Everything is crisper and clearer, and the overall warm pinkish-orange cast has been removed. 

Next is this 1955 image of a rarely-seen Yellowstone Coach (cousin to the Stagecoach) as it begins its journey through the Rainbow Desert. One group of Pack Mules is also heading out (to the right), while another is returning.

Once again, the new scan resulted in a much sharper image - the difference is pretty dramatic! And, like the Rocket photo, the overall warm color cast has been mitigated for a more natural look. When I originally composed this post, I wondered what ever happened to the Yellowstone Coaches, but since then, Mike Cozart informed us that two of them were sent to WDW in Florida to help move guests around Fort Wilderness. Mystery solved!

I hope you have enjoyed today's rescans!



Beautiful restoration work major!! I used to take my slides to a place in Fullerton called PHOTO HALL and a place in San Diego called PHOTO TECH . They would digitize them and do OUTSTANDING work. They could do amazing printing , digitizing from any kind of slide , negative or transparency. The people were trained photographers and professional. But by the 2007 economic crash these places all closed up. Now few people at photo places can’t do anything if it’s beyond pressing a single button. I’ve had HORRIBLE experiences with places like Costco etc and other mail-away slide transfer places who do the crappiest work imaginable. Luckily I’ve found some labs - pricey - but they do quality precise work. I’m glad to see people like yourself putting in the effort to restore and save these images.

Regarding those Disneyland Yellowstone Stagecoaches sent to Walt Disney World: that was in the early 70’s .... 1973 I believe. I was dumbfounded to run across a mid 1990’s Fort Wilderness brochure recently with one of the Yellowstone Coaches featured on the front cover! I didn’t know they were still being used still!! Are they being used today?? They apparently are used to collected campground guests and bring them to Pioneer Hall to see the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue! I bet none of the passengers are aware of the coaches 1950’s Disneyland origins!!

Melissa said...

Wow, what a difference! They looked fine before, but now they look even finer! The color is particularly impressive!

I’ve never run across any mention of the coaches still being used In this century, but I’m no expert.

Chuck said...

Love the "steam" effect on the Moonliner as condensation from the super-cooled fuel "evaporates."

Great work, Major!

Nanook said...


Mighty-fine restoration work, here. The increased resolution of the second image is particularly striking.

And thanks to Chuck's eagle eye, I see the Moonliner is chafing at the bit to head up into the heavens. We can't quite see the Flying Saucers, obscured as it is by the Astro Jets.

Thanks again Major, for this great work.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I love before-and-afters - thank you, Major!

That's a terrific shot of the Moonliner! Babushka-sighting, too.

Andrew said...

Awesome restorations! The second image looks really remote compared to anything that you could probably find in today's park. It actually reminds me more of Animal Kingdom at WDW than Disneyland.

Stu29573 said...

Great work! The venting effect is always nice to see on the Moonliner. It reminds me of watching film of the Saturn V, with huge sheets of ice flaking off of the tanks as it rose into the sky. Fire and ice indeed!
Having been in the photo industry for a good bit while in high school and college, I can say that the line between science and art is a fine one. I would think that by this point most of the artists are dying off, unfortunately. Heck, I wanted to find a fully manual DSLR, only to find that they pretty much don't exist (and the ones that get close are huge money). I can't find anyone that I trust with film any more. It's sad.
Thanks for doing your part to preserve history, Major!

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, thanks! I haven’t tried much in the way of professional slide restoration, but I did take one slide to a well-regarded photo place (this was long before I knew anything about scanning my own slides), in the hopes that they could print out an enlargement for a friend. It came out terrible! Honestly, with a home scanner and a decent printer, I could have produced something better (if not as large as I’d liked). It was very disappointing. I’ve learned a lot over the last 15 years or so, I guess it’s not realistic to expect an employee at Costco or Walgreens to know as much as I do. Very cool that the Yellowstone Coaches were in use up to the 1990s at least! But… that’s 25 to 30 years ago in 2020. I hope they’re still around, but wouldn’t be surprised if they sold them or junked them (you know, the way they do things now).

Melissa, I’m not sure if they would bother to publicize the coaches if they were just used to transport people to Pioneer Hall. But as Mike said, if they ARE still using them, I’m sure nobody has a clue as to their history.

Chuck, yes, that is a very cool detail that, as far as I know, was added when Douglas took over sponsorship.

Nanook, it’s amazing how crappy my old scanner was. Of course I had nothing to compare it to, so I was satisfied at the time. It’s nice to be able to give some of these old slides their due. We can’t see the saucers, but we know they are there! Just like leprechauns.

Lou and Sue, I know you like those! They’re fun for me too. Boy, I really had to look for that babushka.

Andrew, they really did an amazing job with creating a “frontier” on those acres of former orange and walnut groves. And you’re right, they would not be able to do anything like that today.

Stu29573, the vapor and falling ice is something I will always associate with the old Saturn V moon launches - one of the most amazing sights. I wish I could have seen one in person (ditto a Shuttle launch). We used to hear the double sonic booms when the shuttles landed at Edwards Air Force Base (over 100 miles away), that was always kind of exciting, even if I couldn’t see the craft. It makes me sad that film is (in general) an almost-extinct medium, there is much to say for digital technology. Will folks be able to deal with old storage formats and file types 100 years from now? That will be a real problem!

DrGoat said...

Major, hopefully along the way to that 100 years from now, someone will take up the mantel and keep these wonderful images up to date, so to speak. The time frame that these photographs were taken in will never come again. Boy I miss strolling down Mainstreet, veering to the right and seeing that rocket.
Mike, I had pretty good luck with ScanCafe doing my slides to give to the Major. That was several years ago so who knows now. Tucson has a few good places. There's a locally, employee owned place here, Reproductions Inc. that does a good job. We use them for large format architectural drawings, but they do good scanning and reproducing, any size.
Fine work Major, may it be around a long time. Thanks.

Nanook said...

Another issue now is the old 'film folks' who used to do motion picture film restoration are also dying-off, being obviously replaced by folks only familiar with digital. A lot of new film restorations leave much to be desired in terms of "over-correction" in many areas, and arbitrarily-deciding certain film 'artifacts' should be banished - and along with it, the very reason(s) film is so beloved. It's a fine line indeed between success and failure - at least for those "who know better".

JC Shannon said...

Great work Major. Some day, someone in the distant future will come across your restoration work in their research on a place called Disneyland. Some Mick Astin type archaeologist will say something like this. "Known only as Major P., he restored photos from the sacred site Disneyland. We can only speculate that he was a deity or shaman as he had many followers and mad restoration skills. His group would bring him something called churros and dole whips as a tribute." You are going to be famous Major, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant work, Major. And a good choice of subjects too.

The TWA livery was better, IMHO, but I would not turn down a chance to see the McDonnell rocket again.

The vapor effect is very fine. This was done again in DCA in the area devoted to the California desert, I forget what the "land" was called. It was themed to Edwards AFB and Mojave for the Glider Ride. There were prop rocket engines set on test stands and these had water misters spraying cooling jets of water. Great to stand under in the heat, and they provided a similar "fuel evaporation" effect. California Adventure had spots of brilliance.

Thank you for all your hard work on these photos.


Chuck said...

JG, it was called Condor Flats. It kind of reminded me of the part of the USA area of Six Flags Over Texas that had been rethemed in the '90s as a test pilot/astronaut training area - but with a much bigger budget. It even had a motion simulator where you sat in a theater with a giant screen and the seats banked and moved with the images on the screen. I also seem to recall an F-104 on static display, just like at Condor Flats. Maybe Stu can fill in the details I've forgotten.

Stu29573 said...

Chuck, I think you nailed it on the 6 Flags section. I don't remember the F-104, but I don't doubt it was there. I rode the slight simulator once, and it was....fair. They also reused the Cliffhanger ride as a G-Force trainer, if I remember right. An interesting effort, but not great. Actually U.S.A. was always the weakest area of SFOT in my opinion...

JG said...

@Chuck and Stu, Condor Flat sounds right. I liked that part of DCA, partly because I like the desert, and the aviation. It's neat that other parks have similar theming.

One of my BSA troops (I was a council Commissioner for a while) made a field trip to Edwards AFB. We camped at a desert state park and toured the base. Really an amazing place.

We were allowed to drive out to the concrete pit in the taxiway where Chuck Yeager in Glamorous Glennis was loaded onto the plane that took him aloft. It's just a hole in the ground now, on the far side of the runway and flight line, miles to drive around to get there (no crossing the active) and not even a sign.

When I was a little tyke, the family drove east across the desert and we had lunch in a little town north of the base. Rocket Ridge was visible from where we parked, and while we watched there was an engine test. Maybe 1966-67? Spectacular sight.

Good memories, thank you.


JG said...

Chuck and Stu, the little town was Boron, and Rocket Ridge was due south. Apparently the ridge has reverted to it's original name "Leuman Ridge" on the maps.

Here is the view we saw.,-117.6979378,3a,75y,170.83h,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sF2ECA-8bnAS9VgrVpS7uYA!2e0!!7i3328!8i1664?hl=en

Major Pepperidge said...

DrGoat, one of the things that most interests me is a demo that I saw on YouTube years ago, from the people who make Photoshop. They had developed something that could “undo” motion blur from old photos and the example they showed was stunning. I’m sure that it was a complex process, the program had to figure out what the motion had been in order to undo it, so it’s not like one could just click a button. I wonder if this is why it wasn’t ever included with later versions of Photoshop (to my knowledge that is, I’m using a slightly outdated version). I’m glad to know that you have found a service that does a good job with slides, there are probably others out there. Maybe it helps to use a smaller business that can give real attention to each image, rather than a huge big box store that can’t do that?

Nanook, it’s interesting that you mention the “over-correction”, which is a real problem. I’ll have to send you a link to a YouTube video that I recently watched, a guy developed his own method of restoring old films… it’d take too long to go into here, but it was amazing, and it preserved every detail.

Jonathan, I had to look up “Mick Aston”, I’d never heard of him. He looks like a mad professor! I look forward to being profiled on some future TV show, especially if they have an artist’s reconstruction of what they think I looked like. “Why, he looked just like Ernest Borgnine, Earth’s greatest actor!”. I’ll take it.

JG, I have warmed to the Douglas livery, though the simple red TWA markings are so bold that it is hard to top them. Still, they had to change it, and I think they did a good job. I was wondering if the vapor is actually steam? That would probably be easier to create than actual vapor from something that is sub-zero (like liquid nitrogen). I remember the water misters in DCA and have a photo of my niece and nephews playing around in the cool spray. Did they remove those? It seems like they’d still be very welcome on a hot day.

Chuck, I’m sure there have been many changes to DCA since I was last there - I have still never seen “Carsland”. So… yeah. Is Condor Flats no longer there? The ride you describe at Six Flags Over Texas reminds me of the Minions ride at Universal Studios Hollywood… instead of smaller motion simulators, the audience sits in a large theater. It’s still pretty effective, and probably a lot cheaper to build too.

Stu29573, the trouble with simulator rides is that they have a very limited number of effects. When I took my niece to Universal Studios, we rode at least six different simulator rides. Some were more effective than others, but by the last one, it had gotten old. “Oh no, we’re plummeting to our doom” (yawn)!

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I’ll bet that would be very cool to take a tour of Edwards AFB! So much history there. Maybe one of the petrified pieces of gum that Chuck Yeager liked to chew (Beeman’s) was on the ground, and you walked right past it thinking it was a rock! “Rocket Ridge”, what a cool name. Rocketdyne used to do rocket tests in Simi Valley, miles from my parent’s home, but you could feel the rumble when they lit them off. It was really neat!

JG, thank you for the link to the Google Maps image!


BEEMANS chewing gum tasted petrified right out of the wrapper!!

Chuck said...

JG, I went to AFROTC Field Training (similar to enlisted Basic Training, except you are evaluated heavily on leadership skills and go on to two more years of training before you are unleashed upon an unsuspecting Air Force) at Vandenberg AFB in Lompoc in 1991, and they took us on a two-day base visit to Edwards. Had a chance to tour the NASA facility, the little museum (which I understand is bigger now), the anechoic chamber (big enough to put a B-1 bomber inside), some facility away from everything else that dealt with rockets (Rocket Ridge, perhaps?), some of the Shuttle support area, and the Officer's Club (where there was a neat tribute to Pancho's Happy Bottom Riding Club), as well as some other areas.

The highlight was when about 30 of us were sitting in an aircrew briefing room waiting for one of the test pilots to come in and talk to us when Chuck Yeager popped in in a flight suit and said "hi." The sound of 30 jaws simultaneously hitting the floor must have been deafening.

JG said...

Major, it was a great trip. I had no idea of the wealth of things to see there, and we were given VIP backstage access to places that conventional visitors never get to see.

Chuck, that is a great story. We saw the NASA museum, but not the anechoic chamber, nor Rocket Ridge. Those would be really cool to see. And meeting Chuck Yeager, wow.

We did get a tour of the NASA Hangar, which was truly amazing, all white, even the floor, and sparkled like a hospital. We went in at one corner, and across the room was a fighter jet plane, with what I thought was maybe a model or a drone beside it. We walked toward it and the closer we got, I realized that the plane was a B-1 bomber, probably 3 stories tall, and what I thought was a toy drone, was a full-size fighter. The room was so big, and so "blank" (devoid of scale-giving things) that enormous plane looked like a toy. It seemed to take hours to cross that floor and I felt like a bug.

Mojave airport is (or was?) a hotbed of private space development, we visited the Rutan SpaceShip 1 plant (they had just won the Ansari X prize for the orbital flight, we saw the trophy in the lobby) and watched some other private spacecraft test flights there. These places were all very welcoming to the BSA scouts, considering their competitiveness with one another.

Yes, DCA changed Condor Flat to something more generic, and took out (most of) the references to space flight.


JG said...

The private test flight we witnessed was the XCOR rocket racer.

Photos here >>


DrGoat said...

Chuck, well that must have cool. Chuck Yeager. And still with us at 97! We have a really nice Air and Space museum here in Tucson, along with the bone yard at Davis Monthan air force base. Whenever my friend Paul and I are out of ideas for something to do, we head out to the museum.
I had a book everyone in my Dad's unit got when the war was over and they were glad to add it to there display of B-24 Liberator stuff.
Hope everyone has a good Labor Day weekend! It is so hot here I think we will take it easy, maybe a short day trip down south to Tubac and the Santa Cruz Chili Co store and stock up on goodies.
Major, I'm still using Photoshop 7.0 at work. For what I do, it works fine. Mostly deal with aerial photographs and mock-ups of projects.
Thanks everyone.

Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, I’ve never had Beemans, I guess I just assumed it was some sort of spearmint!

Chuck, wow, pretty amazing that you had a visit from Chuck Yeager! Talk about a legend. I wonder what he was doing there, in a flight suit? Did they just let him pop by and fly any old thing whenever he wanted?

JG, hopefully they let each Scout go up in jet; spin ‘em around, go completely vertical until the sky turns dark blue/black, and then plummet to the ground. Good times! I assume they must regularly host troops of Scouts at Edwards AFB. I don’t have a deep, fond memory of Condor Flats, but it doesn’t sound like they replaced it with something better. So why did they bother?

JG, that Rocket Racer looks cute, I think I’ll buy two.

DrGoat, it’s amazing that Chuck Yeager is still with us. I definitely felt a pang of sadness when we lost John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Alan Shepard, Pete Conrad, and many of the other guys who epitomized “cool”. It seemed like they’d live forever. We’re supposed to have a 116° Sunday - something to look forward to! I keep telling myself I’m going to sign up for Photoshop CC, but can never pull the trigger. I really should do it though, considering how much I use PS!


The BEEMANS was famous for their Clove gum.

Chuck said...

JG, that is a great story about the NASA hangar. The anechoic chamber was empty when we visited, but an odd aural experience. Very quiet, with absolutely no echo (as the name implies) - your footsteps and voice sounded really odd.

DrGoat, I have always wanted to visit D-M and the Pima Air Museum, but have never made it to Tuscon. My parents did the Boneyard tour, and my dad said it was really weird to see airplanes (C-141s and C-5s) he'd flown off and on for 24 years of his career out there in varying stages of disassembly. The 460th just inactivated again on July 24th.

Major, back in those days, Chuck Yeager was still flying as a "consultant" at Edwards pretty much whenever he felt like it. He was there getting ready to go up and punch a few more holes in the sky. We just happened to be lucky enough to be there in the same building at the same time and he was gracious enough to stop by and make our day (and it was already a pretty incredible day to begin with).